It had felt like a small eternity, but finally, a trickle of flames blasted through the surface of the fleshy lump, and Retvik could finally breathe somewhat fresh air. Or rather, very limited air, because they were essentially in the cold of space. Either way, the flesh, pus and muscles around them began to simmer and burn away, leaving a small, slime-free platform to stand on.
“Good work, Retvik…” Arkadin panted as he immediately dropped the still unconscious Litvir on the platform where Retvik was standing. “Was beginning to think we would never get out.”
“Mhm. Now we just have to find the ship.”
Retvik stared upwards, up into the darkness. This darkness was very different from the darkness they had just escaped. Vast emptiness, compared to dense, fog-filled chambers. There was space to breathe out here. Space to think.
“I really don’t see the ship…” Arkadin muttered. While Retvik had been gazing into the void, Arkadin had been using his keen senses to try and locate the ship that had dropped them off on this stupid, fleshy landscape. Much to his growing concern, he couldn’t even tell whether the ship was close by or not. “Can’t hear it, and I definitely can’t smell it. This putrid place is still fucking with my senses. Almost as if they do not want us to find them. I suppose at least the voices have stopped.”
“Mhm…” Retvik continued to gaze upwards. He was glad to be able to clear his thoughts. A brief respite before the horrors started again. After a brief moment of clarity, whispers formed in his mind. Questions that Retvik had wanted to ask and didn’t have time to say. “Arkadin?”
The little Decayling grunted, sitting down next to his unconscious comrade, making sure that Litvir was still alive. “What’s up?”
“Can we… talk?”
Retvik nodded. “Yes, now. We at at the surface. We cannot do much else now we are here, and I need to rest briefly after burning through half a kilometre of flesh while having voices whisper in my head. I have questions I have wanted to ask you for a long time.”
Arkadin sighed. “I’m… really not feeling it right now, Retvik. Sorry, but this place is making me feel weird.”
“Like… I don’t know. It’s like this place wants me to open up and spill all my damn secrets. Like, I’ve been desperate for months, years now, but I feign ignorance and lie about my feelings because these feelings make me feel impure. Heck, if we actually had time together, just the two of us, actually together and completely in private, there’s a lot of things I’d want to do. But as it stands, I’m still too scared to actually say what I want, so I just lie. I lie all the time. Especially about what I really want. I mean, you really think I just don’t touch myself? Of course I do, I just feel horrible afterwards.”
Arkadin paused, then shook his head.
“This place is making me say things. I want to leave.”
Retvik shrugged, hiding a smile. “It is fine. We are both stressed. We will be less stressed once we get off this lump.”
“You just let me talk…” Arkadin grunted, then shook his head again. Now wasn’t the time for that sort of thing, he had already decided that. Instead, he closed his eyes and took as deep a breath as he could, breathing in through his nostrils.
Retvik waited for Arkadin to do something. After a pause that was slightly too long, Arkadin opened his eyes and turned back to Retvik.
“So, good news, I think I know where our ship is.”
“That is good!” Retvik smiled. “Is there bad news?”
“Yeah. I just realised why we can’t find the ship.”
“I smell Voidborns. Lots of them…”
Retvik grunted, picking up Litvir and throwing him almost effortlessly over his shoulder. “We should get going then. The Decay Lords might need our help…”