“What have you infected me with?”
Kenon was vaguely annoyed with his guards. Normally they were much better at keeping unwanted people out of his throne room, especially when Kenon wanted to be left alone. But today, they had failed their job spectacularly. Standing in the middle of Kenon’s private area was one of his little advisors.
“What is wrong with you today, little Rethais? Is something bothering you?”
Rethais was standing on Kenon’s desk, his sharp talons crunching into the thick, varnished wood. Normally, Kenon would have expected better from his Vice General, however Kenon was very much aware of what had brought Rethais here.
“Yes, something is bothering me. Something rather troubling!” Rethais growled, crossing his arms angrily. “Tell me, Voidborn, what is this infection you have thrust upon me and how many other beings have you also infected?”
Smiling, Kenon dismissed his guards then closed the door behind him. The room was now devoid of anyone aside from himself and Rethais. As Kenon approached, he shed his Rethan disguise, revealing his true, shadowy form. Rethais though did not seem too bothered, standing his ground and remaining strong.
“Are you going to stop with your theatrics and answer my question?” Rethais tutted. “Because we both have work to do today and I would like you to be honest for once.”
“Hah…” Kenon let out a little laugh. Rethais’s strutting was rather amusing. “You wish to know what I have done to you?”
“Of course. Are you going to make me repeat myself?”
This time, Kenon didn’t laugh. He stopped staring Rethais down and instead shoved Rethais off his desk, reaching for some paperwork. Rethais very quickly picked himself up, not sure how to retaliate.
“Why will you not speak?”
“Speak to me with the required respect and I will.”
Rethais took a deep breath and rolled his eyes. “High General Kenon, why have you infected me with some sort of rather cold rash that is spreading across my body, and have you infected anyone else?”
Kenon replied with a grunt as he sat down at his desk. “You do not like the immortalization process?”
“The what now?” Rethais asked as he stood in front of the desk, leaning on the paperwork Kenon was pretending to deal with.
“The immortalization process. The process in which you are made into a Voidborn.”
“That…” Rethais paused, taking a moment to string a sentence together. “That sounds like something you just made up to cover your tracks.”
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is it to you?”
Rethais closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He knew he was about to do something very angry and very stupid, but he was also very sick of being treated like an idiot. In one swift, clean movement, Rethais slapped the Void Lord across the face, knocking Kenon’s golden mask off. As the mask clanged against the cold, marble floor, both beings stared at each other in shock.
“Why do you…” Rethais rubbed his eyes, trying to work out what he was looking at. “You look like… like someone took the Thantophor’s head and squished it…”
Kenon snarled as he summoned another mask and quickly covered up his face. “And why do you think that is, boy? I had a hand in creating the Thantophor, and I plan to create another one.”
“As my own personal, immortal assistant. A role I hope you would like to take.”
Rethais fell silent, closing his eyes, trying to briefly forget what he saw and understand what the Void Lord was talking about.
“Let me get this straight. Rather than, like a reasonable being, asking me if I wished to be made immortal and to serve you for all eternity, you decided to infect me with a horrible skin condition, make me fear for my life and have to confront you to obtain answers?”
Kenon nodded. “Yes.”
“You do realise that is, pardon my language, FUCKING RETARDED?”
The Void Lord shrugged. “You think any of my other assistants have been willing?”
Rethais sighed. “Your assistants would be far, far more willing if you actually asked them. While yes, I would love to be immortal, I do not want to be tied to your side for all of eternity.”
Kenon smiled, leaning forward. “Ah, but my offer is tempting, yes? You do not want to die. That is why you came to me, because you felt that fear. So perhaps you will at least consider my offer: immortality, in exchange for your eternal servitude?”
“That is a very harsh question…” Rethais sighed. “You are preying on my mortal fears.”
“I do not ask for much in return. You already serve me. In this case, you would continue serving me long past your death.”
“I do not want to serve you forever though. At some point I wish to retire from my duties and live a life of luxury, but the universe tends to not want me to do that.”
“So you do not want immortality?”
Rethais growled. “Of course I do! Like all other beings, I do not want to die!”
“But you do not agree to my terms.”
Again, Rethais took a deep breath. “I want to live my life first, before I agree to an eternity chained to you. How about…” Rethais had to think quickly. If he said no now, he knew the Void Lord would never bring this up again. “How about you give me immortality now. And when all my loved ones, all the beings I care about are gone… then I start my eternal duties to you?”
The High General tilted his head to one side, utterly curious. “You would offer yourself to me?”
“In exchange for immortality, of course. But I need my own freedoms, and I want a guaranteed contract, which we will both sign, with the other deities as witnesses.”
Kenon smiled, then pulled out some paper and began writing. “Very well. I shall draw up a contract, and present it to you for you to read. Until then, get out of my office.”
Before Rethais could throw out a witty comeback, the Void Lord snapped his fingers. Instantly, Rethais found himself in his own office, with a weird, warm feeling in his neck.
“Well… that could have gone worse…” Rethais frowned as he felt the cold rash on his side slowly fade.