The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 38

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen

Chapter 38: What’s bad about immortality? You’re confused, just pull the trigger.

“Kanti, will Raunch go to Olciaum Sorti Vivus?” I can’t believe I almost ate him. For being alive, or dead, I guess, it felt like Raunch was incapable of evil. It would’ve been a complete failure in my responsibilities as the cloak bearer if I couldn’t help such high resonating spirit crossover. 

“You felt it yourself. The cloak is capable of more than the divines are in terms of humanity. We cannot comprehend levels of humanity without the principle of a beneficial mass utility of individual acts—” 

“English, Kanti.”

“An individual act that does not affect the resonance of others, is an act that has no purpose; in addition, the act, in order to be the most favorable, must be beneficial to more than half of those involved or directly affected, if more than one being were involved. The best course of action is universally applicable, given identical circumstances, as it will yield the best result regardless of the actors.”

I nod. “So, is failure even worse to divines?” 

“Absolutely not. Young Emery, do not fear failure; it is inevitable. Recognizing and coping with loss equips one with clarity the that enables success. But, the sentient creature must possess the courage to pursue that ambition it yearns for. Failure, to the weak, is a debilitating event that haunts the troves of the psyche. Unfortunately, there is no serum for weakness except the divine quality of acceptance.”

“That sounds like a contradiction, Kanti,” I say, lying on the ground, scanning the house with my second sight. “If there is a best action, and actions that don’t matter, then failure has to be one or the other. It has to be bad.”

“At the risk of redundancy, Young Emery, the measure of any act is the positive resonance it yields and to how many of those directly affected. Failure, to the right mind, is an opportunity to do something better. There are crucial moments where failure is not possible, but if it occurs, one can do nothing save for accept the consequences especially when the outcome was beyond the actor’s control. One must possess the strength of character to not categorize themselves as a failure and use the experience to their advantage. Of course, that does not abscond one’s responsibility to make sufficient effort. Selective ignorance of foreseeable failure due to willful complacency or manageable incompetency is inexcusable.

The divines judge the act, not the individual; however, acts shape the individual. Most individuals release more positivity due to the sum of their thoughts and actions; however, through empirical observation, one who commits repetitive acts of negativity resonates at a negative level. The gods do not have good or evil, but it cannot be denied that low resonance causes more destruction than would naturally occur thus, spreading low resonance. Again, though we do not recognize good or evil, we recognize unfavorability as it pertains to the majority of beings in existence. That said, the divines place value and emphasis on the aforementioned.”

“I get it. I get it… Unbiased measuring of people—or creatures—through their actions.  It would only be a failure if I ate Raunch and didn’t learn from it. Raunch had a great soul. He’s fine. I get it.” I sit up and move my clothes to the dryer.

“Unfortunately, despite that being true, no creature can recover from destroying matter. Though the cloak negates the impact of devouring non-human souls, no cloak bearer can recover from devouring a human one.”  

“Alright!” Man, he’s still talking.

Kanti smiles. “Young Emery, relish in your success. Young Raunch was able to cross over. You also succeeded in teleportation. An incredible feat for possessing the cloak for just over one day.”  

It’s hard to believe all that stuff happened yesterday. I feel like I’ve had the cloak my whole life. “It’s kind of embarrassing that I can’t fly, but I can teleport.”

“Adaptability, Young Emery. It will serve you well.” Kanti trots up the stairs behind me. “If you can master the advance technique, I have faith you will take flight soon. In addition, you hovered around Raunch for a moment.”

“That is true. I almost forgot. I was focused on the scene though and forgot myself.” Kanti’s right. If I’m able to maintain my ghost-mode, talk to him, and walk up the stairs without losing my focus, I should be able to fly soon. I walk through the basement door and into the kitchen. “What would have happened if I would’ve eaten Mymud? Just out of curiosity. Is eating a divine worse than eating a human?” I ask peeking my head through the refrigerator and waving my hands through Eliza’s cabinets. 

“Mymud was not a completely independent being. Being birthed of my energy, I made it so it could not possess a will. The destruction of non-organic energy is not a crime against existence. It would be no different than choosing to devour the souls, for lack of better term, of your clothing. Provided that you would not desire or attempt to consume me, there would have been no negative repercussions,” Kanti replies, hovering on his purple mist. “Even if you were to devour me, divine energy is not a soul; consuming divine energy has no direct impact on a cloak bearer aside from making the cloak bearer more powerful and—” 

I raise my hand mocking Kanti’s voice, “Souls, Young Emery, have a different resonance than creatures of the meta. The only true detriment to the bearer comes from consuming low resonating souls; human souls and anything that resonates below that, down to the lowest resonating creatures we know of: The Nothing.”  That was pretty spot on.

Kanti chuckles. “Indeed. Keep in mind, Young Emery, there are other beings who resonate as low, or lower than Nothing, but unless we devote time to exploring the Abyss, there would be no situation where knowledge of their existence would be relevant. They are not attracted to human souls.”

“And, human souls help maintain the fabric of existence… yadda, yadda, yadda…” I walk through the couch and plop myself down. “I just don’t want the cloak to separate from me. I don’t want to die that way, and… In a weird way… It’s improving my quality of life.” 

“It is a gift. For your predecessors, it was not the cloak that brought them turmoil either.” Kanti hovers to the space in front of the fireplace, descending until the mist fades when his paws touch ground. 

“What was it?” I can imagine having something like that thing inside of me driving them to consume souls, but I can’t understand why anyone would knowingly toss away their existence. 

“The pain of outliving loved ones, the realization that the duties of the cloak bearer are infinite, deciding to leave their families to keep them safe… There are hosts of reasons for the misery of your predecessors, and, to one who bears the cloak. Attending all of your children’s funerals from afar, and having to keep up with the changes of the world, will alter one’s perception. It is inevitable.”

“Nah!” I blurt out, nonchalantly flicking my wrist. “I think that’s cool. New life, all the time. It’s a constant adventure. Way better than seeing the woman I love get old and having to tell her I’m still attracted… I don’t have to worry about eating, sleeping, anything. I can even go through space and then spiritual space—I mean the Abyss. It’s a sweet deal for getting to be a hero IRL.”


“You know, in real life. IRL.” 


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