This post has the following content warnings:
Aug 05, 2020 9:46 PM
Ben and Kyros on the run, or: I Got Very Attached To My AI Dungeon Game
+ Show First Post
Total: 333
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"I heard someone say they freed her demons by erasing their memories. Not all, just of herself. She claimed it worked, and from how furious the hunters were about it I assume she was right."

Permalink

"I would... forget you?" This isn't what he imagined either, but at least this way Ben can stay stay free and safe as well, he shouldn't be that picky. He swallows. "Can you do that? The memory erasure?"

Permalink

"Not off the top of my head, and I think it take prep anyway; some equipment, and you have to replace the memories if you want it to work properly, just erasing will at best leave you very suspicious, at worst drive you mad, so you really want to get it right. I should be able to research it easily once we're in a city, though, the ritual requires willing participation from everyone involved, so it's not forbidden or anything. A well-stocked university library and we're set."

He's speaking quickly to cover the shaking of his voice, and stuffing in useless details to distract himself from what exactly he's describing. It's the right thing, and he can't let Kyros know how he feels about it, it doesn't matter, what matters is Kyros not having to worry about this mind control thing anymore.

Permalink

Kyros nods slowly, his lips pressed tightly together. "We should... probably do that then, yes. Thank you for telling me."

He gets up and starts walking.

Permalink

"Of course. I'll figure it out." Maybe if I try hard enough you will at least not hate me for the few months before we go through with this?

He joins Kyros on the road. "Please tell me if there's something I can do to make this less bad for you."

Permalink

"Yeah, probably not. Thanks for asking?"

Permalink

He nods.

They walk in silence for an agonizingly long time. Ben wonders... about many thing. Mostly why he's so quick to agree to lose any control over Kyros; he's a demon, he's supposed to be destructive and murderous, and whatever bindings Ben put on him as a ten years old kid were surely not up to any kind of safety standards. And yes, Kyros doesn't seem to have done anything horrifying all his life until yesterday, but he didn't know he could, and now he does and he might- This is not how "evil nature" works, is it? He shouldn't have to know about it to follow it? But still, the responsible thing would probably be to order him not to do anything and call some hunters, because it's just one demon and the risk is enormous, especially if no one can command him anymore after, after... Yeah, that is the thing he should do. The thing he would do if he was a good person. But he's not, and it's one of the times when he's too tired to even try.

He also wonders whether Kyros will ever touch him again before the ritual. The way they hugged before by the river, or at all. He lets his hand hang next to Kyros's as they walk, hoping he might either hold or mercifully ignore it.

Permalink

Kyros wonders how he is going to survive the next few months acting like strangers with Ben. It seems like the right thing to do, the closer they get now the harder it will be to do the ritual when the time comes. And the harder Ben's life will be afterwards.

He doesn't want to act like this, though. He wants more moments like the water fight, or like all the chats they had before escaping. He wonders briefly if he's being made to miss those things, but surely Ben could just go for it if he wanted to force Kyros to be friends?

He briefly squeezes Ben's hand the first time he notices it next to his, but quickly remembers his resolution and withdraws.

Permalink

That's fair.

After a few hours of hiking they come by a meadow surrounded by a thick circle of berry bushes. For the first time in hours Ben dares to ask for Kyros's attention.

"We're probably not going to make it to the city tonight. Should we make camp here?"

Permalink

"Yeah, seems like a good spot. I think I could even try to hunt us something with the bots, how about I do that and you try to make a fire?" He smiles before he remembers he's not supposed to.

Permalink

"Yeah. Yeah, sure."

Permalink

Kyros settles on the ground; the meditation goes quicker this time, he had last used the bots just a few days ago after all. He finds them right away, almost as if they are waiting there excitedly to be a part of him again, and then they are, and it feels good to let the entire swarm swish and swoosh around him without worrying about being noticed, and without anyone commenting on his technique, it feels like stretching out your body after a long ride, like rolling down a hill, like freedom.

And then he hunts. It's a strange feeling, you would expect it to be like using a precision tool or a weapon, but it's not; if anything, it resembles wrestling, a instincts-based, full-body experience despite his actual body being many meters away from action. Slish, slash, and here's... a deer, that's a little bigger than he was going for, this is what you get for getting instinctive. But that's fine. Wait, no, it's not fine, he has to drag it over to the camp somehow.

Some time later he succeeds and flops by the fire, exhausted and triumphant.

Permalink

"Oh wow. Let's hope there are no scavengers in these forests," Ben remarks when he sees him. "But good job, of course, thank you so much. Can I have the knife?"

Permalink

Kyros holds the weapon out.

"Yeah, went a bit overboard there, sorry. Hunting's pretty cool, though, I always thought you could probably make the bots into insanely thin-edged blades, but never got the chance to try it." He laughs.

Permalink

That laugh. That relaxed laugh again. Maybe he shouldn't spoil the moment, but...

"Kyros?"

Permalink

"Yeah?"

Permalink

Deep breath.

"I don't want to pressure you about anything, and I understand you're uncomfortable with me, and if you choose to ignore me until the ritual that's okay. But I would be really, really grateful if you could tell me where we stand. Should I avoid you? Should I act normal? You were silent before, you're laughing now, and maybe it's normal and I'm just dumb and bad at people, but... could you tell me, please?"

Permalink

He hasn't noticed how relaxed he's become again. "Oh. Yeah, I'm sorry, my mood does that. I..." He has to think about it. "I was planning to avoid getting any closer to you. To make the forgetting easier, to make being forgotten easier on you."

Permalink

He nods.

Permalink

"I'm not really sure I can, though."

Permalink

"Is it me? Was I pushy? Just tell me, I can adjust, I owe you this." With what I made your life, I owe you anything that can make you even slightly more comfortable.

Permalink

"No, it's not you," he smiles and imagines hugging him and telling him that no, he doesn't, he's already doing a lot. "I just miss you, okay, I obviously miss you because you were my friend, and now you're my friend with ridiculous powers over me, and I'm scared of that, and I'm scared you will change your mind and say you don't want to do the ritual and actually you would rather command me around, but also it's excruciating to even imagine these next months being like the last few hours. And I don't know what to do about it."

Permalink

FriendNow. Friendfriendfriendfriendfriend. He's not grinning too widely since this is still a horrible situation for Kyros, but he can't suppress the tiniest smile.

Permalink

Kyros chuckles.

"This is what I mean, this expression! How am I supposed to ignore you when you're like this?" He sighs, first theatrically, then again more seriously. "See, I did it again, getting distracted like that. Give me a moment."

He looks away, reminding himself that actually things are not okay and he was supposed to find a solution. Well, the solution he has been trying does not seem to be working very well, can probably just admit he can't keep it up until the ritual. Ben... seemed committed to making him comfortable? He volunteered to go back to prison, that has to count for something.

"Avoiding you is pretty obviously not working. I'm... gonna see if not avoiding you is any better? If you're okay with it? I don't know if it will, I don't know if anything can work, but it seems like the next step."

Permalink

"Yes, yes I am, thank you," he nods enthusiastically. "And if it doesn't work either, it's okay, maybe- maybe in the city we can see each other less, just to discuss ritual stuff? That would probably help, right?"

He has finished cutting up the meat by now and places it over the fire.

Total: 333
Posts Per Page: