“Wakey wakey, kiddo!”
Saahro giggled to himself as the little creature leaped out of bed in shock, then scared itself even more by teleporting across the room. The teleportation seemed more of a surprise to the creature than the large, armoured death dragon was. After briefly reorientating itself, the creature tried to walk back and found itself teleporting across the room again, falling face first in front of Saahro.
“You’re not doing well, are you?”
The creature sighed, picking itself up.
“At least I understand what you’re all saying now…” It was still wobbly on its feet. “How long was I asleep?”
“What do you mean, how long?”
“What amount of time was I asleep for?” the creature rephrased its question, only to be met by nervous laughter.
Saahro shook his head. Little gold and red scales drifted down onto the floor. “There’s no real way of measuring time out here, silly! This is the space between universes, there’s no time, only space! No measurable time at least. The only thing you can use is Planck Time and not only does that vary from place to place, it’s such a small unit of time that you can’t actually use it!”
The creature sighed nervously. “I guess I have been sleeping for ages then?”
“You slept as long as you needed to. Come, Vikalos wants to talk to you.”
The death dragon awkwardly turned around in the tight room and entered the main hallway, which suited the dragon’s size a lot better. There were nine other bedrooms, one of which was empty. The four rooms on the end were much larger than the room the creature had been given.
The rest of the ship seemed to lead on from this main hallway. A simple straight line from the back of the cockpit all the way to the cargo hold. None of the rooms had labels and most of the doors were shut, opening into the rooms.
“Uh…” the creature muttered something. Saahro peered over his shoulder to make sure it was still following.
“Everything alright there?”
“Yeah… I have a lot of questions…”
“Vikalos will help you answer them. He knows better than the rest of us.” Saahro knocked on the door with an armoured claw, then waited for an answer. After a brief moment, the door slid upwards, revealing an office that would have looked humble if it wasn’t bright white and lined with gold. “In you go!”
“Thank you, Saahro!” Vikalos smiled as the murdragon pushed the little creature inside. The door immediately closed behind it, trapping it. “Come here, kiddo. Come and sit here at my desk.”
The creature did as it was told. Vikalos was sitting behind a curved, white desk with gold trims. There was a simple stool in front of the desk for the creature to sit on. As it did so, it noticed that this Vikalos being… looked vaguely familiar.
“Hello, little one!” Vikalos leaned forward. It quickly occurred to the creature why Vikalos seemed familiar. He was basically a much bigger, much more heavily armoured version of the creature, wearing red and gold rather than black and yellow. “How did you sleep?”
“Uh, reasonably well, all things considered. Where are we and how did I get here?”
“I would prefer if I asked the questions first, but to answer your query, you are on the Deathven Vessel Shimmer’s Plight and we picked you up as a little decayling, as we found you floating in the void, trapped inside the remains of your universe.”
“My… universe…” the creature repeated, before abruptly bursting into tears. “I killed it! I murdered everything I cared about! I am a horrible monster!”
Vikalos sighed, leaning forward even more. “You are not a monster. You spared your universe from 10 duodecillion potential year-epochs of decay and despair as matter would slowly break down and all forms of light and life disappeared. There is nothing incorrect about ending the life of something that is already essentially dead.”
The creature shuddered, wiping away tears. “I… I guess so… Are you… a death god too?”
“Was. Everyone here is a Decay-Lord. You’re still a decayliing though. And I need to know more about you. Like, for starters, your name and what your universe is like and how you were made.”
The creature’s tears were replaced by confusion. “How I was made?”
“Yes. That is probably the most important question here.”
“Take your time.”
The creature slumped, trying to think. “She made me. Took me from an old universe. Took me apart and fused me with other things. Bound me to darkness and decay. Then she told me my duty and that was what I did… I did my job well. I organized decay, dealt with death and stopped the things from trying to kill us before our time.”
Vikalos smiled. “You are an antifthor decayling. Not very common, even out here on the strips of infinity. We are lucky we picked you up, the Fthoroi around here would have wanted to consume you and the Voidborns would have wanted to weaponize you.”
“Yeah but… what IS all of this?” the creature shook its head, its confusion not going away. “None of this makes any sense!”
“What do you mean?” Vikalos asked.
“There’s like… a whole extra-universal ecosystem that I don’t understand or even knew existed! I thought I was… kinda just destined to float eternally…”
Vikalos tutted. “Perhaps, but you got lucky. We found you. You will be able to live a mostly peaceful post-universe existence. Now, little one, do you have a name?”
The little creature hesitated. “If I tell you my name, can I get something to eat?”
“Of course. We will also show you around and help you get comfortable while you stay here.”
“Will you tell me why you think I am so important?”
The creature smiled slightly. “My name is Arkidetelos, but you can call me Arkay.”