“Was there a moment where you were, like, scared?” Psiksi asked as he sat in bed, twiddling his thumbs. Sitting at the nearby desk was Arkadin, who had recently made himself look more like a Skyavok to vaguely blend in. Why he was here, sitting in Psiksi’s room, Psiksi had no idea. He just sort of appeared. Everyone else was asleep though, and Psiksi didn’t want to disturb them.
“Well, you don’t feel much, do you? I mean, you can’t die, you can’t be hurt, you can’t be anything, really…”
“I can die…” Arkadin grunted. “I will die one day. A long, long time from now, but I’m not immortal, nothing is really immortal. Not even Kenon, and he existed before this universe existed. Which makes no sense but it’s true. We all die, eventually.”
“But the other things?”
“I feel lots of things! I feel… I feel loneliness. Which is… kinda why I came here. You see, in the last three months, I have had more people visiting me than I’ve had in the last century. I don’t get visitors. People don’t want to see me. They automatically hate me. Yet here you are, with no prior affiliation to me, and you… you don’t just tolerate me, but you actually see me as a good being. Probably more.”
“That’s true…” Psiksi smiled. “I see you as something beautiful.”
“And that doesn’t normally happen to me. Sure, Kenon sees me as his kid, and Yisini sees me as her brother, but relationship-based love? That doesn’t happen. Not to Death Gods. Not to the silly little Thantophor. It’s like being hideously scarred in an accident, but everyone thinks you did it on purpose for the attention. It sucks.”
“Hopefully that will change though, right? People can’t hate you forever!”
“Most of them will. They see me as the reason why they die. Which is kinda true. But the other half is that Yisini hasn’t created anything yet that can evolve past me. Rather than blaming me, why not blame yourselves for living unhealthy lives or failing to fund sciences or working together for a brighter future? Yet no, it’s easier to just blame the Thantophor. It’s all my fault.”
Psiksi shrugged. “Still, if it wasn’t for other things dying, we wouldn’t be, well, here to talk about it! Imagine all the animals my family tree killed to feed themselves so they could procreate!”
Arkadin blinked. “That’s… one way of looking at it, I guess.”
“What about fear? You feel that?”
“Yeah. A little. Mostly for things beyond my control, beyond your understanding.”
“What’s scared you the most?”
Arkadin took a deep breath, then glanced upwards. “I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone. Alright?”
The Thantophor sighed, then started to explain.
“So you know I spent years under the guise of the mortal known as Arkay. I basically made sure that Tenuk, Retvik and Elksia didn’t die, and did very little actual fighting. I was, ironically, the team healer. The medic. With a sniper rifle. Because they’re cool. But anyway, we were confronting Kairos. His weapon was ready, he had his army of Kronospast minions too… and…”
“Kairos isn’t the sharpest tool in the cosmic shed, but he knew to always take out the medic first. So that was what he did. I wasn’t expecting it. His future-seeing abilities trump mine by quite a bit. I can see about, what, ten, twenty seconds into the future? He can see half an hour into the future. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but any longer and Kairos starts breaking his own rules and that’s dangerous.
“Anyway, Kairos used an atom freezer, something that causes every atom in your body to slow down. It’s like being frozen alive, you can’t do anything at all. You basically cease to exist. There’s no you, no consciousness, no movement, nothing. He used this on me…”
Arkadin paused. He trembled ever so slightly.
“For fifteen minutes, the Lord of Death did not exist. Nothing could die. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened, I don’t know how I recovered, but when I woke up, I realised what had happened and I… I freaked out. Very nearly blew my cover too. The freaking out helped us defeat Kairos, but… For those fifteen minutes, the universe was… well, undying.”
The Lord of Death glanced at the clock on the desk. He had been there for a bit now.
“That’s… kinda scary, I guess?” Psiksi seemed uncertain.
“It was terrifying to me. It’s partly why I let Arkay die. I felt I needed to properly experience that feeling again. It’s horrible. Worse than what you experience, because you all know it’s coming, you all subconsciously know that you will be remade and reborn. That future doesn’t exist for me…” Another little pause. “I’m sorry, Psiksi. I have to go.”
“I’ll visit you again soon. I… I need to do this more anyway. Having friends makes a change. But I have duties I must fulfil.”
With a snap of his fingers, the Thantophor disappeared.
Psiksi rubbed his eyes then stared at the clock. Arkadin had been there for exactly fifteen minutes.
Not sure what else to say or do, Psiksi decided to tuck himself in and go to sleep. Hopefully his dreams wouldn’t be too badly affected by the Thantophor’s words…