As Arkadin sat down at the table, he realised something was wrong. Everything was frozen. Well, not frozen, but slowed down enough to look like everything was frozen. At the other end of the table, Kairos sat awkwardly, his head resting on his clawed wings.
“What’s going on?” Arkadin immediately asked. “You’ve slowed everything down. There’s clearly something wrong.”
Kairos glanced up at Arkadin, rubbing one of his eyes tiredly. “This is such a mess.”
“Yeah, it is. What’s wrong?”
The Whenvern pushed himself upright, then looked at Arkadin properly. He looked exhausted. “I’ve spent the last seven hours going through about seventy thousand different permutations of this whole meeting and what follows it. None of the potential futures look good, not unless I actually step in now and change things.”
Arkadin eyed Kairos suspiciously. “What do you mean by that?”
“I mean that they WILL push you in some way, making you become Arkedetelos. Sure, in most of those permutations, you end up being subdued, but not before multiple mass extinctions, simply because Kinisis is aware you could change. But frankly I don’t want that. No one does.”
The Thantophor sighed loudly. “Really? Am I just destined to become a mindless monster now? Because those four want me to be different?”
“Well, if I hadn’t intervened… yes.”
Snorting harshly through his nostrils, Arkadin began fiddling with the plastic cup sitting beside him. “So how does this intervention work?”
“I have to somehow convince you to be female for a little bit.”
Arkadin blinked, knocking the cup over.
“You… need to convince me to be female?”
“The whole argument we are about to have is that you are too vicious and too dangerous to, well, exist. Epani will argue for you, that you are the best as you are, but Kenon will say that you shouldn’t exist at all and we should just replace you with a faceless void. Yisini will come up with a compromise that maybe if we made you like a house pet rather than Arkedetelos…”
“YISINI WANTS TO TURN ME INTO A DOG?” Arkadin suddenly shouted, slamming his hand into the table. “That… Wow, I can’t believe how little they care about me.”
“They don’t care about you at all.”
“But you do.”
Kairos nodded. “I’ve come to realise that you exist because you do the job that Yisini, Epani and I don’t want to do. Decay is things changing from one form to another. If you want life, if you want stars, there needs to be time to do those things, and in that time, forms need to change. I might have problems with you but I understand now that you are necessary.”
Arkadin took a sharp breath in a vague attempt to calm down. “That doesn’t change the fact that…”
“They don’t understand. Well, Kinisis does, but she just sits back and lets Yisini and Kenon dictate things. Frankly, Epani and I could do more, but… we don’t want to end up ostracised like you. No offense…”
“None taken…” Arkadin sighed.
“The problem is two-fold. The first is that Yisini convinces Kinisis that Kenon is right, you shouldn’t be, well, sentient. The second is the manner in which they forcibly change you. In 39% of scenarios, the act of changing you spurs you into becoming Arkedetelos. In 32% of scenarios, you gradually become Arkedetelos. In the remaining 29%, multiple things could happen, with you becoming Arkedetelos on your own as revenge for the bad treatment against you, but there’s also a significant 11% chance that you become Arkedetelos because Yisini is a retard and forgets to actually look after you the way an owner would look after a pet normally.”
“You’re suggesting that there’s an 11% chance I start starving?”
The Thantophor growled, picked up the cup and chucked it at Yisini. It bounced off the serpent’s head and clanged harmlessly on the floor.
“So…” Arkadin grunted. “The alternative is that I spend a few months in a more feminine form.”
“Fine. I’ll do it. I mean, I spend most of my time as a Rethavok anyway and they’re intersexual. Heck, my Threan form was pretty feminine too…”
The Whenvern’s eyes widened. “You’ll do it?”
“Yep. I don’t want to be Arkedetelos. I don’t want to be mindless. If being female is the way to avoid such a scenario, I’d rather do that.”
“Can you insert that into the debate without raising suspicion that I told you all of this?”
Arkadin nodded. “I can.”
“Very well…” Kairos sighed as time began to speed up around them. “Let’s get this nonsense over with…”