9.

The rain had been going on for three weeks, the rising waters around this religious town meant no travel until the rain stopped. The monks that wandered around the streets, helping the elderly by bringing them fruit produce from their temple, mending the clothes of the growing children that ran the streets, chanting outside of homes of the dying to ease their transition into the next life.

His Majesty’s protégé sat by an open window, watching a line of monks walk down the wet cobblestone street below. The stirring in their chest and eyes was a new sensation.

“It’s been twenty years and you still haven’t given me a name to call you, you know,” His Majesty said, breaking the silence of rain and chanting.

“Only fools with no morals and no hope for their fellow man care about their name. And besides, aren’t we going to kill them all? What’s the point of them knowing my name?” The irritation in their voice made His Majesty raise an eyebrow.

“Well, not all of them, I suppose… But enough. But, don’t you want them to whisper about you to their children? About all your deeds–“

“You said I was bred specifically to eat worlds. Then I shall do just that, Your Majesty. You don’t even go by your actual name, just a title. Are you ashamed of you were before you inhibited that body? Is the humanity that you tried to snuff out trying to escape and remember who he was all these years?”

His Majesty felt angry and embarrassed. His protégé smirked.

“See? You are weak. You slumbered for how many centuries before snatching me up from another time when you should have just–“

You be quiet,” His Majesty bellowed, crushing the cup of tea he held with his bare hand.

KILLED THE ENTIRE CITY OF K’TON WITH VENGEANCE AND SWALLOWED THE WORLD THEN. BUT YOU WANTED TO MAKE THEM FEAR YOU, SO YOU SLEPT. YOU ARE WEAK.

His Majesty was on the younger, his eyes going from the bored blue-grey to the raw anger of black, his face morphing and changing into something that would have frightened a normal human. They started to laugh, their eyes still the color of the sun starting to pull the color of night away, the calmness almost terrifying to His Majesty.

“I told you. I will be better than you. I was never afraid of you.”

Their rebellious smile still stood when His Majesty put his fist through their chest, driving it straight through their back. Black blood started to pour of their smiling mouth.

“You were a mistake,” His Majesty said, pulling his hand from their torso.

They slowly fell to their knees, watching the blood pour from the hole in their chest. They started to laugh.

“The only mistake here… Is you thinking I’d be your bride.”

His Majesty looked down at them as they looked up at him.

“You should have just kept the love of that husk’s life alive if you wanted an Imperial Bride. I would rather die before a bride to any man, no matter how powerful.”

His majesty grabbed them by the neck.

“Wish… Granted,” he murmured before reeling back and tossing them out the window.

Glass rained down on the streets as their body flew through the sky, through the tops of chimneys, over the tops of the tents the street children lived in, bouncing over the swollen river before sliding through the mud and stopping at the stairs to the temple where the monks resided. A couple of hours had passed before the line of monks that walked the streets started to walk up the path to the temple. The leader gasped and broke from the line, dropping their offerings and produce into the mud and rushing to kneel at their side. The other monks followed, a few of them rushing inside and getting help from others.

They carried the bleeding and muddied one into a windowless room filled with incense smoke, stripping them of their fancy clothes before gasping and stepping back.

Where the hole was, there was no heart. No hair graced any part of their body. No genitals to let them know if they needed any extra care and grace and understanding. They watched as this person continued to breath before one of them went back to cleaning them up. They wiped up the black blood with a rough cloth as it did not scrub away easy.

One of them touched the blood with a bare finger, their eyes rolling in the back of their head as they started to sway and chant.

“Nath y’ral ro gatho, nath y’ral ro gatho, nath y’ral ro gatho…”

The other monks watched them as they chanted for five minutes before falling over. They were still alive, one of the monks had checked on them before dragging them out the room and coming back with latex gloves. The other monks put them on, while the attendant monk changed out the incense sticks and getting the room ready for surgery.

As a pair of hands worked on trying to get the hole in their chest closed, the passed out person dreamt.

They soared through the stars of the galaxy in a body they never got to experience, passing by the sleeping giants that ruled the sky, barely escaping the clutches of dark patches that would have sent them who knows where. They always seemed to come here when they slept.

Have you figured out who you are yet?” a whispered asked from the middle of an exploding star.

They didn’t answer, watching debris from fractured planets gracefully move through the vastness.

Do you really wish to not be remembered?

FOR WHAT!? To be an echo centuries later?! To only survive as a terrible memory? I am Death. I bring sadness and destruction. No one should remember my name as I bring horror.”

As the monk pulled the last stitch through their back, the patient gasped, back to their current reality. They sat up, watching the monks bow down before them.

“Death is welcomed here,” the monks chanted.

The patient watched them, placing a hand on the stitches on their chest.

“Nath y’ral ro gatho,” they replied softly, black tears rolling down their cheeks.

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