Tale – A Toothy Return

“Your brother is waiting for you in your office,” Captain Vallas smiled as the High General walked by.

“My brother?” Elkay blinked. “Which one?”

“Which one is the green one?”

Elkay tutted. Psiksi was supposed to have been in Vriskera, Portalia, helping with the Thanatian problem there. What he was doing here was anybody’s guess. The High General sighed, thanked Vallas then walked in, closing the door behind him.

“So, little Psiksi, what are you…” Elkay paused. “You’re not Psiksi…”

The being, shrouded in black tendrils, smiled. “Yeah, sorry about that, High General…”

Elkay tutted, hands on his hips. “Who do you think you are, barging into my office under the guise of my sibling? You had better not have harmed my little brother! I have already lost enough of my family.”

The creature smiled again, its tendrils fading away. It was carrying a small jewellery box decorated with silver ribbon, which it gently placed on the High General’s desk. As the tendrils faded away further, Elkay could see bits of yellow. Yellow armour plating.

“No… You’re…”

“Dead?” Arkay grinned. “Oh totally. Completely and utterly dead.”

“But you’re breathing!” Elkay gasped, unable to comprehend what was going on. “Your-”

“I just pretend to breathe because I like pretending I’m alive. It’s a purely cosmetic thing.” As soon as Arkay spoke, Elkay realised he wasn’t kidding. He’d stopped breathing and was still talking without any problems. “Plus I find it makes people less scared and less aware whenever I’m nearby.”

“But you’re… supposed to be in Kinigi… That is what Tenuk said to me…” Elkay sputtered. “I mean, I am very happy to see you, little brother, but you have been and gone so many times, every time I wonder if you are playing some sort of horrible, elaborate prank on me. You do seem the sort to plot for decades… Wait… are you here to kill me?”

Arkay couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “Me? Here to kill you? That’s hilarious! And totally not the case! No, Death called dibs on you, some time in the far future. She may have broken her promise with me and my twenty five years, but the other parts of the deal are still intact…” The strange being calmed down. “Sorry, that was funny. But I am 100% not here for you. I’m actually just passing by to pick up someone else, but since I’m here, I thought I’d return something to you.”

“So you are… a servant of Death herself?” Elkay asked. “Killing in the name of Death himself?”

“Herself. But yes, basically!” Arkay shrugged as he pushed the small box across Elkay’s desk. “My current job is to brutally punish the vile and the wicked and drag their souls to Kinigi to be reborn as something better. Because if you’re too evil to live a decent life, you shouldn’t be able to live at all. It’s… Well, it’s not my choice who I kill, I just do as I’m told.”

“Always loyal then?” Elkay tried to joke.

“Oh no. Not at all. Death hates me half the time. But anyway, you should open that.”

Elkay glanced at the box, then slowly opened it. Inside was an incisor. A pointy tooth. A Rethan tooth. HIS tooth!

“What the…”

Arkay’s smile weakened. “I… I only meant to take one tooth. You can’t have the other one back, sadly. Sorry about punching you in the face, but there wasn’t any time to explain. That’s… why I’m explaining now.” His tone changed completely, into something more serious. “Brother, there’s something about you that isn’t natural. And whatever that thing is, it helped me… it helped me protect the universe.”

Elkay blinked, utterly confused. “What?”

“It’s too hard to explain. Cosmic bollocks, mystical piss and all that.” Arkay smiled again and waved. “Have a nice life!”

In a flash of light, Arkay was gone. He may have returned Elkay’s missing tooth, but he’d also left with so many unanswered questions.

With a sigh, Elkay put the little box in a draw in his desk, then went back to work. Somehow he’d have to explain to Vallas where ‘Psiksi’ had gone.