Kent shook his head slowly.
“Show me or I will kill you now!” shouted Nix.
“No. You won’t do that. You have been ordered not to kill me.”
“Are you so sure about that?” said Nix, bringing the gun back up to Kent’s face again.
“Yes, I think Peterson would have been very particular about that. Especially to you.”
Nix stared down the sights of his gun, his resolve fading away. Eventually he put the gun down and nodded.
“Yes, Sophim Peterson has specifically told me not to kill you. He wants to kill you himself.”
“Has he told you this? That he wants to kill me himself?”
“No. But I think I know him well enough. I think he enjoys the killing and doesn’t want to share the fun. Which is fair enough, I intend to do the same thing when I am his rank one day.”
“Hmmm, so Peterson doesn’t trust you to know the truth then. Interesting.”
Nix laughed, “You’re trying to spread suspicion into the ranks of the Tyranni? Have you any idea how ridiculous that is?”
Kent shook his head and relaxed his arms, “I hardly think I need to sow any seeds of suspicion into the ranks of the Tyranni, you do such a good job of it yourselves. Although, I don’t think that is your speciality. Tell me Nix, have you actually killed anyone?”
“Not yet,” Nix sounded forlorn and slightly embarrassed at having to admit that he had not yet committed even one murder.
“Ok, so my guess is that your favourite god would be Mudtra.”
Nix nodded, “Yes, lord Mudtra is the fittest, the toughest, most determined to survive.”
“And have you committed the other sins of Mudtra?”
“Theft and destruction? Yes. Of course.”
“So you just need to commit a random cold-blooded murder of a human being to rise up to the rank of Sybaran?”
“I see. So you are looking for the opportunity to kill someone?”
“Yes, I am.” Nix placed the muzzle of his gun on Kent’s temple.
Kent swallowed hard, but remained still. The words “random cold-blooded murder” however seemed to linger in the air, seeping into Nix’s thoughts as he held the gun. The gun started to feel heavy in his hands and soon Nix lost interest with threatening him and returned the gun to the holster concealed under his jacket. Kent looked over his clothing and checked his bag was undamaged. Satisfied that everything was in good order, her slung the bag back on his shoulders and made to leave.
“Well, it has been lovely taking a brisk stroll with you around the nature here, but I need to get going now.”
“You can’t just leave!” protested Nix.
“Well, sure I can. As much as you would like to murder me, you are under strict instructions not to murder me, and well even if you murdered me it still wouldn’t count as the completion of your Mudtra initiation as I am not some random person. So while it has been a more eventful afternoon than I had planned for, I think will just skip lunch today and go back to work.”
With that Kent started walking back towards the entrance of the park with Nix following him.
“I will scour this whole park if I have to, but I will find your base and burn it to the ground.”
“Sounds great, be careful not to set the whole forest on fire. It could be quite nasty.”
“Don’t you care about what I could do?”
“Not really, although I am a bit confused because as I recall fear, threats, manipulation, and so on are the domain of Spardes, not Mudtra. However, I suspect there’s a lot of overlap among the three dark gods.”
Nix trailed behind Kent, “What are you doing? I want to know where your base is. Show me!”
Kent shook his head, “No. I don’t think that would be a good decision for me to make.”
“Well, great, this was a waste of time!” cursed Nix.
“Actually no, it wasn’t. It’s given me some inspiration for my parable writing.”
“Yes, see, you appeared when I was on the path to my home, I panicked, I left the path, the place of order, and ventured in chaos, driven by the fear of the predator pursuing me. I ran until I could not run anymore and was forced to face my fear. Realised that the predator was actually toothless, and now I am returning to the path. Yes, I can turn this into a nice little parable about the struggle to keep faith.”
Nix scoffed, “None of that makes any sense. You are a weakling, I have the power. I am the apex predator.”
“Yes, yes, yes. You came here, and in the name of Mudtra you flexed your muscle and displayed your dominance over me.”
“That’s right, I am dominant over you, and don’t you forget it.”
Kent stepped back onto the path, with Nix following him.
“Yes, you proved today that you had the power to prevent me from eating lunch.”
“Oh wow! You really think you’re so clever don’t you? You think you’re better than me. That you’ve outsmarted me. Don’t ever forget that I could kill you, and one day I will get that opportunity to do so.”
Kent chuckled and Nix demanded that he explain why he was laughing.
“I am laughing because you think power is about destroying things. Anyone can destroy. Power is the ability to create something.”
“Why would I create something when I just take it from someone else?”
“For many reasons: because it wouldn’t be necessary, because people will grow to hate you, because it discourages people from being productive, because it is better to earn things than to take them.”
“But I don’t care, I have the gun, I can make people do whatever I want whenever I want. I have security, and everything I need. Force is the solution to all problems unless you’re a weakling pacifist.”
“Yes and there is one more reason for you: because the Demiurge won’t allow it and he is mightier than all men combined.”
Nix laughed, “You are a fool. There is no Demiurge. Only the spirit gods exist.”
Kent didn’t laugh nor smile, his expression was stern and sombre, “Even if you killed me, murdered all the Aeshir, and all the other good people on this Earth so that only the Tyranni were left, the Demiurge has decreed that you and your kind may never have final victory.”
Nix was stunned into silence by Kent’s conviction in what he had just said. It wasn’t long before Kent was at his bicycle and was getting ready to leave for work again. Nix stared at him crestfallen. All his fury, his superiority in physical strength, his powerful weapons, and all the destruction he wrought was merely to the effect of denying Kent his afternoon meal.
“You sound like you have faith,” muttered Nix as he headed for his car, “A bullet will cure that for you one day.”
“I am getting there, bit by bit, but it’s not an easy journey,” Kent looked up at Nix, “Next time you show up I won’t fun away. You won’t get a chance to apply your bullet cure.”
Nix walked over to his car cursing Kent under his breath. Kent hesitated but decided to speak up.
“You haven’t been with the Tyranni for very long, maybe you could change your mind and not commit that murder? Maybe it isn’t too late for you?”
Nix chuckled, “You’re delusional Kent, I will taste blood, I will suck the life out of someone innocent soon. Your demiurge be damned.”
Kent frowned, he hadn’t expected to feel worse after such a statement, and so he pedalled away his mind still uneasy despite freeing himself of Nix.