The Cloak of Nothing: Chapter 72

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


Chapter 72: The exiled king.

The gaming system, the controllers and all the cables levitate in front of me.

“Thanks. I really appreciate it. You have no idea how bad life would be if this broke.”

“I can imagine. I’m a bit of a gamer myself.” Th’Rut rubs his chin. “Hmmm. When you develop yourself a bit more, you should be able to fix things like this.”

“Right,” I say skeptically. He must have seen the fight with Mymud. “So why are you here?” 

“Just checkin’ up on you, Em’. Doing an old friend a favor. Old promises, you know.” Th’Rut poofs out of the corner and sits in my computer chair. 

“Well, Kanti’s relaxing out, and I can watch myself. I appreciate it though. I saw everything that you did for Monad and Kanti… I also saw what happened with Enlil. I’m so—”

“Right,” Th’Rut says leaning back and rolling in the chair. “It’s just a misunderstanding, Em’.  The gods are incapable of good and evil, but man, can they hold grudges like no other.”  Th’Rut says rubbing his forehead shaking his head. “Would you believe, I’ve been around long enough to recite The Iliad as it was spoken by the group of Greeks called Homer. There isn’t much that upsets me aside from my own regret, but what can a man do about that?”

Oh my god… Not now. I was going to play video games and drink soda. He’s going to pull a Kanti and ramble on about shit. Does every adult not know when to shut the fuck up.

 “I followed Aemon long ago,” The’Rut begins.

“Please, no more stories. I know everything.”

“You’re thirteen, Emery. Of course, you do,” he says, sarcastic and condescending. Th’Rut laughs to himself, because it’s so mature. “Anyway,” he continues, “I was over thrown by my Onthiems for my faith… Then Aemon tried to eat me. My entire planet was divided—”

“I know. I know. Well… The short time I was in the Void. I saw the mass separation between the people living on the floating consulate thing…” 

Th’Rut sighs. He poofs and levitates, hovering on his back. “I have several sources that keep me aware. I’ve been trying to cross the boundary ever since the collective effort of my own people banished me to this realm.”

He’s not really saying anything I haven’t heard. “You know,” I interrupt. “For someone who’s been roaming the earth for a long time, you don’t seem very old. I mean, you don’t talk like Kanti. Not that it’s bad. Just based on what you said, and what I’ve seen through Kanti’s memories, I would’ve ex—”

“Ah, well, I had to blend in with my environment if I wanted to eat, even if only occasionally,” Th’Rut laughs, staring at the ceiling. “I couldn’t convince a human to act on negative intent during the renaissance if I was speaking Latin or, at the time, a modern translation of it. Mind you, my actions over the last millennia were to keep my followers from gaining power. 

Anyway, when a nothing sets its sights on a person, it draws out the negativity it’s going to devour by imitating their thoughts, mannerisms and speech. If I were trying to eat you, I couldn’t convince you to be negative if I didn’t say in the way you speak. Imagine hearing: my, my, what a quandary I am in. Such is the life of one with no purpose. The only fit action is to contemplate how to end my existence. You’ll probably laugh or disregard it all together. It’s common sense, Em’. You can’t catch fish with a rifle.”

“Makes sense…” I shrug. If I laugh at his analogy, he’s just going to use it as a platform to continue talking. Ugh. Why does my hand smell like food? I wonder what Eliza’s cooking anyway. What is finger food? Tostones? Chicken fingers? Damn, I want to eat!

Th’Rut poofs beside me. “Well, I don’t want to over extend my welcome then,” he says enthusiastically. 

Shit! He can read my thoughts too! I forgot. He probably thinks I’m an a—

“All good, kid. Stop stressing out over what people think. Your goal is to have a good time, right? I’m getting in the way. Believe or not I was young too. And my culture— most sentient cultures are pretty similar. People want to do what they like and be free. Go on ahead, Em’. I’ll be seein’ you soon anyway. Happy holidays.” 

“Please—please don’t—It’s Christmas. I celebrate Christmas don’t give me that Happy Holidays b-s. I’m not insensitive to non-Christmas celebrating people, so when I talk to them I say Happy Chanukah or Enjoy Ramadan. Happy Holidays is like saying – Oh, it’s your birthday? Congratulations for being alive. But, your birthday is not only about you. I have a birthday too, you know. Just not on the same day. So, no offense, I’d rather just say happy day to you instead. I don’t feel it’s fair that our birthdays are birthdays, but your birthday is more popular than mine because I make no effort to invite people to my party.”

“Done?” Th’Rut asks. 

I nod.

Th’Rut stands up. “Whatever happens over the next few days, don’t get involved. Tell Kanti I said that.”

“I’m the cloak bearer Th’Rut. I’d have to if it gets extreme. Besides, I’m massively O-P.”

Th’Rut sighs. “Don’t fall for a trap. You’re right, your abilities and capabilities far surpass anyone before you, but it’s because Aemon’s in you. You can’t even use your own energy. I feel it, you’re warping around with Kanti’s power. If you want to go and observe, no one will bother you. Rarely do any of the ethereal beings have a problem with the divine ones.”

“Good to know.” I guess we don’t have to completely sit out then.

“That isn’t your call, Emery. I’m serious, tell Kanti what I said. I don’t want to bring up painful memories by telling him not to walk into a trap. Got it?”

How can I refuse? I saw it firsthand. “Ugh. Fine…”

 Th’Rut smiles. “Thanks, Kid. After what you did to Vetra, you’re somewhat infamous, you know? Even the Onthiems who have been on Earth for a really long time, not just a century or so, will try to bait you out of sheer curiosity.”

“Speaking of baiting. I meant to ask you about that. How was Vetra your thane after only being on Earth for eighty-something years? If you stopped consuming humans well before that, it doesn’t completely add up. I mean a thane is like a follower, right?” I pause. “It felt like you baited us to her.”

“I could see that,” Th’Rut says. “I called her my Thane, because I still had, and have some followers. It’s the only way I can keep them from eating human souls. The benefit—since you’re clearly wondering— is having Onthiems to rule over, who still know me as Lord Th’Rut of the Quiltea lineage. And, yes, before you ask— Ris Th’Rut du Quiltea. I make rare appearances so they think I’m off doing king stuff. 

Of those who follow me, I accept a one soul-per century error; Vetra has been the only one under me who has consumed a soul. Obviously, there are Nothing here, and all over, that do not hail me. Those are the ones that you will probably spend most of your time on, since my followers are considerably weak and Kanti can pretty much—or you can—freeze them with no effort.” 

I thought that battle was too easy. “Fair enough. She didn’t even put a fight.”

“My followers won’t, because they can’t. Since they only absorb negative energy, they have enough for sustenance. They rarely possess people, like Vetra did. If anything were to ever happen and Aemon were revived, I would be the single greatest source of power in your area of responsibility. Kanti and I decided it was the best long game plan.

Anyway, I’m telling you for your own good, Emery. Until New Years, enjoy yourself and don’t be a hero. Despite your capabilities, you’ve only fought and banished one threat. One that was designed to be easy to remove,” Th’Rut says sternly.

“Alright. Alright.” I sigh. “I’ll be fine. I won’t go out looking for trouble.”

“Good.”

“Wait, Th’Rut, before you go, I have a question…”

“Shoot kid,” Th’Rut says standing in front of my window.

“How many Nothings… er, uh, Onthiems are on Earth.

“Hmm,” Th’Rut pauses and shrugs. “I—honestly—don’t know. They’re constantly in and out of the Solar System. I can confidently say, that on Earth, there are about a hundred, give or take, at any point in time, I guess.”

That sounds extremely low for the amount of pressure I’ve been feeling. “Has there ever been one for every human?”

“Ha! You’d all be dead by now! Let’s say four Onthiems appear on Earth each year… if the cloak bearer did not exist, and if we—Kanti, Monad and I— didn’t play it smart, there would probably be thousands.”

 “Egh. That’s cool.” I shrug. “Fair enough. Thanks.”

“There isn’t exactly a census for us, ya’ know? The Void, in case you were wondering, is as big as your Jupiter, so there’s probably a lot of shit on my planet that even I have no idea about… Hell, there could be a thousand Nothing here now.”

“Jeez! Alright! Alright! I really gotta’ get going.”

“You got it!” Th’Rut says, poofing next to me. “High-five!”

“Fine.” I high-five Th’Rut.

“Take care of yourself kid, I cloaked your presence. You can’t be detected, unless you use your power excessively. You won’t need that crystal. Give that energy back to Kanti. He needs to be at full strength should anything happen.”

“What? How the hell do you think I’m going to get back to my mom’s house?”

“I said excessively. You know what I mean, tell him,” Th’Rut says looking past me. “Fine.”

“Who’re you talking to? I told you, I came alone.”

Th’Rut sighs. “So, this is the game we’re playing now—Whatever— Look, don’t warp to too many places in a short time period, don’t consume or exorcise anything unless you can use Kanti’s energy. Limit anything that distorts energy.”

“Distorts energy?”

“Jeez, kid, do not use that Second Sight of yours over long distances. Keep everything you do with your third eye and second sight within Eliza’s property. Maybe her whole block. Just don’t try to scan more than half a mile away. I negated your resonance, so your energy—Aemon’s energy isn’t like a homing beacon.” 

“I can see and feel twenty feet around me without it. That would defeat the purpose. Why would I need to restrict it anyway?”

Th’Rut rubs his face and sighs. “Really? You haven’t ex—” He pauses after looking over my shoulder. “Never mind. It’s like a radar. It sends out a signal to get signals back. Anyone or anything perceptive would feel you while you scan for them. Anything that can detect energy would know it’s a cloak bearer’s pulse and would feel Aemon’s essence. Just don’t be an idiot. If you have to think about it, ask about or hesitate, then you shouldn’t do it.” 

“Fine.”

“Great. Anyway, kid, good, at least you know who your mom is,” Th’Rut says shoving me. “Go—”

“—Wait!” I yell, falling back, a few feet from my bedroom door at Eliza’s house. My PS4, my games, and all four of my controllers fall on my chest, knocking the wind out of me. “You can come out now. I know you were following me.”


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