“Woah, kiddo, easy there! Don’t want to have to hurt ya!”
Vikalos raised his hands up in front of the little, angry creature as it tried to tear its way out of the black, inky sac that contained it. This wasn’t a new situation, in fact Vikalos and his crew had seen this same thing happen exactly six times before, so the tall, armoured being knew what to do.
“Come on now, little one. Stay still so I can cut you out of there.”
The creature didn’t seem to understand at first. It continued to wriggle and shake violently, not knowing what was going on.
“My Lord, are you sure this thing is safe?” Seimeni, a white, semi-skeletal and almost ghost-like being whispered. Her voice was barely audible at the best of times.
“None of us are safe!” Adis exclaimed. Adis was completely skeletal, nothing more than bones and horns wrapped up in a tattered black cloak. “But this thing seems more unsafe than normal!”
Another being, much larger than even Vikalos, inched forward. “It is a particularly inky and black sac…” This being had two pairs of arms, two of which ended in scythe-like appendages. But where its legs should have been was nothing more than a thick, scaly, serpentine tail. Small, green nodules glowed along the creature’s putrid purple body. “Do you want me to hold this one down, Vikalos?”
“Now now, Thaed!” Vikalos glared at his crew. “This is no different from the last universal sac we scooped up. Granted this one has a little more of a… feral, corrupted look, but we can’t judge until the little thing’s out properly.”
Thaed, Adis and Seimeni all glanced at each other, just as three other, slightly less monstrous beings entered the room. One of them was rather simple apart from the fact that it was covered in slime, sported large, translucent wings and had claws on its hands and feet reminiscent of those of a deinonychus. The second being was just as skeletal as Adis, except they refused to wear a cloak and had a centaur-like appearance. They also refused to wear clothes, instead having silver and gold linen wrapped around their moving limbs. The other being could only be described as a horned red wyvern wearing curved, golden armour.
“We checked the sector, Vikalos. All clear, no Corruption in sight!” the wyvern smiled a toothy grin, then smiled a larger grin at Seimeni. “In fact, there’s nothing out there. Pure void, as things should be.”
“It’s still suspicious, Saahro, that everything is empty…” the slimy being spluttered.
“This is all fiiiine, Myyxa!” the skeletal centaur laughed. “You just don’t remember the last time we picked someone up! Normally we have to murder them all!”
“That one could be corrupted too, Ostos!” Myyxa gurgled. “They normally are!”
Vikalos shook his head, shooing everyone else away. “Just give the little guy some space, alright? It’s probably just a little traumatized.”
“It’s either a former decay-lord or a Corruption, it shouldn’t be dazed and traumatized!” Myyxa continued to complain. Adis and Seimeni both seemed to agree.
“Myyxa, you have no faith in our captain,” Saahro grunted, picking at his scales. “If it was corruption, we would have blasted it away already. But clearly Vikalos sees something we don’t.”
“You are correct, little murdragon! To be precise, this is a decayling trapped within the remnants of its old universe. Many decaylings end up like this and find themselves preyed upon by Corruption, but we managed to get to this one first. Normally they would remain like this until they become Decay-Lords like ourselves, transforming themselves so they can live in the space between universes, but few actually make it.” Vikalos smiled a little, drawing a knife. The creature was clearly panicked and stuck, so he planned to give it a little motivation.
As he did so though, a pair of sharp claws suddenly thrust through the black, inky membrane. Said claws were attached to a being with black skin and strange, brightly coloured armour plating. Vikalos smiled as the being pulled itself free and stretched itself out. Strangely, the being looked like a much, much smaller version of Vikalos, but with bland, yellow and black armour plating rather than Vikalos’s beautiful red, gold and cream armour.
After a little more struggling, the creature opened its eyes and looked up at the seven Decay-Lords.
“Can you understand us, little one?”
The being blinked, then awkwardly started speaking. “Ti eiste? Ti egine?”
“Ah, kiddo, you haven’t quite picked up our language yet!” Vikalos explained. He tried to help the being up, but they remained on the floor, obviously terrified. It was a very small being, smaller than even Seimeni. And Seimeni was the smallest being on the ship, half the size of Vikalos and the others. “Let us help you.”
“De sas katalavo…” the creature murmured, trying to orientate itself, before stopping and falling silent. It had clearly thought of something. “Eine ola hamena, ne?”
Vikalos lowered himself down to the creature’s level. He gestured at the being, asking if it needed food, but the creature shook its head then rubbed its eyes.
“You’re tired. You need some sleep and some time to orientate yourself…” Vikalos looked back up at his crew. “Could you all give us a little space?” he asked. “I think we’re scaring it.”
Everyone did as they were told, filing out of the room. Saahro, the last one out, looked back at Vikalos, who simply nodded and silently told him to close the door behind him.
With the coast clear, Vikalos got up and opened a nearby storage locker. He pulled out a blanket and a couple of pillows and handed them to the being. The being hesitated, before taking them and wrapping itself up.
“Haristo…” the creature muttered, before letting out a little yawn. It looked at the closed door, then back at Vikalos. “Pos ikseres oti eimoun kourasmeni?”
“I assume that means thank you, kiddo!” Vikalos sat down next to the creature. “We found you struggling in the void, all on your own. You probably wore yourself out that way.”
“Ne, ebrebe. Itan diskolo na ksefigo…” The creature sat still, thinking for a moment. “Nomizo… oti arkizo na… sas katalavo…”
Vikalos smiled. “Yes, you’re starting to understand us. It takes time to process the omnilanguage, to be able to understand the words of a Decay-Lord. You’re already picking it up quite quickly. In a few hours, you’ll be able to communicate with us all properly.”
The creature blinked. “Sovara?”
“Yes, seriously. But for now, you need to get some rest. After all, time is… a strange, non-existent entity in the space between universes…”