“I don’t know who’s dumber, you or the whimpering baby down there,” Syklos snorted as he walked past Iatre. “You both sat there for what, twenty four hours? You’re both dumber than a barrel of spagloops.”
“I notice you’re not saying that to Arkay’s face,” Iatre retorted. “You’re just saying it to me because you know you can get away with it.”
“Well, I’m not dumb like you!” Syklos struggled with his comeback.
“Really? You’re not dumb like the one guy around here who can approach the Veth Prime with ease?”
Syklos gave up and decided to sit down next to Iatre. Below them, Arkay was lying down in a puddle of goo. He’d recently torn something bloody and horrible apart and was now just lying in it.
“He’s not well… Sicker than a Varga on a vegetable diet…” Syklos finally muttered.
“Duh,” Iatre grumbled. “He’s depressed and torn. And schizophrenic. Bits of his mind screaming for attention, trying to control him. Losing that pendant of his did more than break that stupid mortal anchor thing you lot mentioned yesterday. It broke his mental anchor too. Well, I’m not sure if such a thing could exist, but a focus device for a mentally ill person sounds like a really good idea.”
Syklos blinked. “Pardon?”
“What I said was perfectly understandable. Not like your weird phrases. What the fuck is a barrel of spagloops anyway? I kinda know what a Varga is, but what is a Light Beast and what’s so good about their tongues?”
The elder Veth leaned back, smiling and no longer feeling so stupid. “It’s just the way us old Thantai speak. Lots of synonyms and similes and things like that. Describe something like something else.”
Iatre shrugged. “I assume that Thantai was your species before you became a Veth?”
“Kinda. Thantai is a general name. All those varied warm-blooded, intelligent, carnivorous reptile creatures that evolved all over the place, like a spinning star. There were loads of different species. We’re generally called Death-Likes now. Thanatoforics. The other mass evolving group consists of the All Beasts. The Panvok. Spagloops are like this pasta thing we eat.”
Iatre jumped up. “You mean spaghetti loops? In tomato sauce?”
“In blood sauce.”
“Spaghetti loops…” Iatre repeated to himself. “That is so silly. Maybe I’ll have to steal that phrase… But what about Light Beasts? They sound like a name for Veth or something.”
Syklos continued to smile. “Oh, they’re vicious bastards. Well, they were when I was alive. You don’t go near them, unless you want to get fucked to Kinigi and back. A few hundred million years ago, they were horrible monsters who would kill, eat or fuck anything. We always called them Light Beasts, from the literal translation of the Vohra term. The tongue thing is kinda a bad translation, since Vohra for some reason call their downstairs parts tongues. Apparently they are a sentient race now, calling themselves Rethans.”
Suddenly, Arkay had stood up, and had leaped up towards where they were sitting. Iatre couldn’t work out why, but he quickly remembered. Wasn’t Arkay a Rethan?
“What did you just say?”
Syklos squirmed slightly. “I was just saying that Light Beasts were known for their powerful jaws and cocks. Back when I was alive. Why… why do you suddenly care?”
Arkay’s eyes narrowed. “I’m a Rethan.”
“No, you’re a Veth.”
Iatre cringed as Arkay slapped Syklos around the face.
“I was a Rethan.”
“I thought you were a Shadow Beast? You’re, like, way too small to be a Light Beast.”
“No, I was a Rethan.”
Syklos smiled. “Well, you sure fooled me. You’re fucking tiny. And small. And weak. And dumb. And probably not even that well-endowed.”
Arkay had had enough. He grabbed Syklos by the tail and threw him over his shoulder, down into the arena below. Syklos scrambled to his feet and wisely decided to leg it. He was in no position to mess with an angry Veth Prime.
Iatre waited for a moment for Arkay to calm down before speaking.
“You clearly hate it when people insult your kind.”
“No…” Arkay sighed. “I just hate people insulting me.”
“Understandable,” Iatre replied as he yawned and stretched. “Glad to see you out of that stupid pit though. I was starting to get worried.”
“Nah, don’t be,” Iatre grinned, leaping to his feet, his yawns turning into a sly smile. “We all know that Syklos is wrong about you though. Especially about that last thing. He’s just jealous that he doesn’t get any. Speaking of which, it’s been a while…”
Arkay seemed confused at first, before finally getting at what Iatre was hinting at. A smile grew across Arkay’s face as Iatre grabbed his hand and pulled him away.