“Is it just me, or does this place make no sense?” Iatre asked as the four Veth wearily walked through a valley. Its walls were the same squidgy pink material that coated everything else. The only difference was that this was a valley and not a hill or an open field or something like that.
“Nothing makes any sense!” Syklos snapped. “Nothing has ever made any sense ever since Kinisis decided she was going insane and wanted to fuck around with us!”
Continuity put an arm around Syklos’s shoulder to calm him down, but Syklos shrugged him off. He was angry and pissed off and he’d had enough of Continuity trying to be nice.
“Stop it. Stop being Kinisis’s little bitch! I know I was hard on Arkay when he first got here but it turns out we were all fucking wrong!”
Continuity stepped away, giving Syklos some space. Clearly all this had gotten to him. It was rare for the former Veth Prime to lash out like that. Speaking of Veth Primes, Continuity had forgotten about Arkay. He turned around and realised Arkay wasn’t there.
“Uh… Where IS Arkay?”
Iatre glanced at the other two Veth. “Did we… leave him behind when we last stopped to rest?”
Syklos growled. “No, he was with us. We should move on, he’ll catch up.”
“You sure?” Iatre asked. “I mean, he’s not the… brightest person around… Oh wait, never mind, I see him! He’s back there!”
Iatre pointed back down the valley. A yellow speck could be seen about a hundred or so meters away. From there, it looked like Arkay had gotten tired and fallen asleep on a rock. With a smile, Iatre skipped off to go meet the Veth Prime, but after a couple of steps, he tripped and fell.
“Are you alright?” Continuity gasped as he rushed to Iatre’s aid.
The young Veth rolled onto his back and was staring at his feet.
“Iatre?” Syklos appeared, standing behind Continuity. “Iatre, what’s wrong?”
“My feet…” He prodded the tips of his toes with a finger. “They’re… sticky… I’m sticky…”
Syklos glanced at them both, then sighed. “You stay here. I am going to see if Arkay is alright.”
As Syklos stomped off, Continuity helped Iatre to his feet. They both watched as Syklos leaped over pink, rubbery rocks, being careful not to fall over himself.
“Continuity, I feel weird…” Iatre finally admitted.
“I feel like I am melting. It is a curious sensation…” Iatre fell silent, then removed the gloves that covered his hands. Underneath them, his skin looked like it was slowly dripping down his arm. But none of the drips were falling off, they were just gathering on his fingers. “Is Death absorbing me?”
“I… I don’t know…” Continuity sighed. “That’s not what being absorbed looks like, normally…”
Iatre looked up and started walking towards where Arkay and Syklos were. As they got closer, they realised Syklos was incredibly worried, and Arkay wasn’t moving. Worse, Arkay had the same sort of melting skin problem Iatre was going through. Clearly Arkay had fallen and knocked himself out.
“S-s-she’s rebuilding…” Syklos stuttered. “Starting with the youngest… you two…”
Iatre sat down next to Arkay. He suddenly felt really sleepy.
“Is that a bad thing?”
“It is when Kinisis is in an unstable mental state…” Continuity explained. “She might build us all back wrong. Or not at all.”
“We have to stop her! Somehow…” Syklos interrupted. “She might destroy everything. Maybe let something in. We can’t defend Kinigi if we’re all being reduced to our base forms and turned into something new. But how do we get back?”
The young Veth yawned, then smiled as he pulled an object out of his trousers. He muttered something about how handy it was being the only properly clothed Veth, then handed the object to Continuity. It was a silver key.
“Where did you get this?” Continuity blinked.
“Stole it just before we did that stupid ritual,” Iatre grinned. “I have no idea what it does. Thought it’d be useful. Thought you’d be angry at me.”
“It’s a portal key. Lets one travel around Kinigi much faster than normal.”
“Huh… if only I’d known earlier…” Iatre’s smile was fading. “Tell you what. I’ll stay here with Arkay. You two go save the universe or whatever.”
Syklos and Continuity both looked at each other.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be fine,” Iatre reassured them. “Kinigi is more important, right?”
The young Veth waved as his superiors faded away in a shower of silver sparks. As exhaustion overcame him, he snuggled up to his friend and slowly fell asleep.