Slowing Down

Something is different around here.

Some time ago, I allowed myself to become Kinisis’s partner. My duties mostly remained the same. Kill the unkillable. Protect the Cycle. Lead the Veth. The first two, they seem mostly identical to the duties I performed before I took Kinisis’s hand. The latter… Well, that is what’s changed.

I didn’t notice anything until Iatre ran up to me, screaming about multiplication. He asked me what 7*9 was. I told him, 63. He looked at me, blinked several times then whispered something about how he should have known that. He wandered off. I thought nothing more of it.

My new partnership with Kinisis coincided with the rolling out of a series of upgrades to Veth. Nearly everyone has been upgraded to Version 9, apart from myself and Istoria. Istoria requires her V5 form to do her duty and my V7 form is superior to that of a V9 Veth.

After Iatre, who had been the first to become a V9 Veth, came back to me today, asking me what 6*8 was, I wondered whether something was wrong. I spoke to Iatre and he explained he was having huge difficulties with basic mathematics, but his advanced knowledge was still intact. Iatre was worried this was an unintended side effect of upgrading himself, something he could not have predicted. He was scared that the upgrades would eventually make all V9 Veth stupid.

I told him I would bring his issues up with Kinisis and see if we could do anything to fix it. After all, it is my duty as Veth Prime to look after my fellow Veth.

Iatre felt better after that. He went back to work, designing some sort of spray gas that could detect and kill ‘various infections’, as he described it.

So I went to Kinisis. But before I did so, I put some time aside to watch other Veth. They seemed… Slow. They still performed their duties perfectly, but when they weren’t working, they were slow and laboured. As if their minds had become more primitive. They still responded to me normally, and every Veth I asked seemed perfectly happy, but there was clearly a sluggish tone to their movements.

When I asked her about my fellow Veth, she was busy watching a device she called the ‘Jar’, where she put souls she personally did not want to go down the cycle at this very moment. The Jar had been empty for a long time and was still empty when I approached, so I was unsure why she was so interested in it. I immediately asked her if she thought something was wrong with her Veth.

Kinisis was coy at first, but I soon got an answer from her.

“Because I made them slow.”

“But why?” I couldn’t help but ask.

“Because I like them better like this!” Kinisis explained. “They work better. They don’t question why. They do as I ask.”

I still didn’t understand. Kinisis made a flurry of different points, but none of them made sense. She ended the conversation with “BECAUSE I CAN!” then stormed off in a huff.

I realised, as soon as Kinisis disappeared, that I was less of a leader and more a babysitter of Veth.