Chapter 3: An end and a beginning

“Do you feel regret? Or perhaps guilt at what you’ve done?” asked the faceless being.

“None, do you?”

The soul returned the question right back at the being knowing there wouldn’t be any substantial response.

No matter what the soul did, it didn’t seem to affect the being much. This seemingly infuriating carefree attitude only served to annoy the ‘Soul Eater’ even more. However, the stray soul didn’t understand the being’s way of thinking. Did the creator of this seemingly bizarre and twisted place actually care at all what happened to the other souls? This great architect that helped shape the very system which brought out new life, did any of this matter to it? What of those other gods? Did any of this matter at all?

“It is time for your reincarnation, won’t you accept this life that has been chosen for you? Acceptance will bring salvation. Once the gods have what they seek, you will no longer need to suffer.”

The words of the being woke the ‘Soul Eater’ from its thoughts.

“Never! I will make my own path! You’ll be seeing me again soon!”

The soul went on its merry way, thinking it would devour another soul, but this time, something changed. The broken veil that it sought was nowhere in sight; it had been sealed shut. The loophole it had found, seemed to be gone.

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“Did something happen?”

That creation that tried to slip into another body to swap souls instead found itself being sucked into a very familiar, and despicable hole.

Had it been tricked by those beings which it hated most?

But why now? the bewildered soul thought.

Once the bright light that had blinded the ‘Soul Eater’ had gone, it was then greeted by the sound of a wailing baby. But it wasn’t hearing the sound; it was emitting it.

Wait! What the hell is going on? Oh no! I’m a baby? I can’t believe this! Wait a second… I have my memories? What’s going on!?

That being had indeed prepared a surprise. Normally, when being brought back into this world, the soul would be transported into the body of a baby. But at some point, the soul had discovered it could take the body of another being if it were quick enough. Doing so would inevitably cause the new host body to die, but during a short period of time, it would be able to operate it and devour other souls.

As a newborn child, it was almost impossible for it to take its own life. The lack of freedom was also an annoyance.

Dammit, living as a baby is going to be a nightmare! I can’t move my body freely!

Normally when the soul was reincarnated, it wouldn’t retain its memories of past lives until after it died, but something had changed. This time, things were different, the cursed soul retained its memory and consciousness.

Am I even a boy? Wait, yes, I am. At least there’s that. I hate being a girl the most. Women have to suffer too much pain. Those are always the worst memories….

The ‘Soul Eater’ did its best to look at its surroundings, but it could only see blurry figures of a few individuals.  As the baby boy was still crying, one of the individuals stepped forward and lifted him up, bringing him towards a pair of breasts.  Even though the soul’s consciousness had now started to merge properly with the mind, it still had little control over the body and immediately begun suckling at the nipple that was presented.

The cursed soul tried to control this new body and stop from drinking from the woman’s breast, but there was very little it could do to stop it from reacting. At least when it started drinking the milk from her teat, its body calmed down to a certain degree.

For now, it would accept its new family’s warmth, but unfortunately, there were no feelings of love.

Those feelings had disappeared many lifetimes ago.

I can’t believe this, this is humiliating…

The body the cursed soul had come to inhabit continued to suckle at the breast of the strange woman despite the souls attempt to do otherwise. Its current experience was vastly different from any before, and there was a dissonance as the soul and consciousness merged with the body of the baby.

Without a doubt, the cursed soul had somehow been tricked by that being and placed within this baby. Just thinking about how it must be laughing up in that place infuriated the cursed soul. If it could gnash its teeth, it certainly would, but unfortunately, the body of the baby was still not responding.

It must be because this is an unnatural occurrence. A baby is not meant to have a fully formed consciousness and soul. I don’t think that this was ever intended to happen. I wonder if this is some strange unforeseen consequence of devouring the potential within souls.

Strangely enough, the cursed soul was able to think properly despite not being in full control of its body yet.

I will just have to put up with this humiliation for now… just thinking about having to live as a baby with my fully formed consciousness is terrifying. I guess I should also start considering myself as a ‘he’ now since I know I am a male.

The baby which had previously been crying and somewhat out of control of its limbs had become much more calm. It no longer moved its arms and legs seemingly without purpose, and its eyes had a tinge of intelligence which had not previously been there.

The two adult individuals had not noticed this and were busily speaking to each other in a language the cursed soul was not fully familiar with.

No, it is somewhat familiar but also different. Hmm… it definitely has elements of the Qunic language, but the dialect is strange. Some of the words I somewhat recognize, it must be a derivative language. Who knows how much time has passed since I was last born normally.

While the newly birthed body of the cursed soul continued to drink from the woman’s breast, the cursed soul struggled to move its eyes to observe the two adults as they conversed. It listened carefully in an attempt to pick up familiar words and hopefully to familiarize itself with the language.

Thankfully, the more it heard the two adults speak, the more familiar the language sounded until it began to pick up words.

“Lenia…. ….. …. fine ….. … okay ….?”

Lenia, it must be the name of the woman. I suppose she must be this baby’s mother.

“Did …. ….. …. .. name … Kithe? He is .. ….. … boy. Look …. ….”

The baby’s mother looked gently at the baby as she spoke. Her laughter was gentle and filled with warmth and her eyes, though tired, were joyful. She exuded a motherly warmth that was filled with love and hope for her newborn son.

It’s truly a shame. I almost feel bad for these two poor souls. They don’t know yet that my birth is meant to be a curse and that calamity will certainly come to this warm home. Well, you can only curse those despicable gods for your ill fortune. I am already prepared for what is to come, it no longer matters either way. Once I return to that place, I will definitely say something to that being for the both of you.

Only allowed on

The man the cursed soul assumed was the baby’s father leaned over with a thoughtful expression and then said with a smile.

“His name …. …. Aleksandros.”

Aleksandros… I guess that’s this body’s name… my name. I suppose it is as good as any. I am much calmer than before, strangely. Is it because I have accepted my fate? No… perhaps it is the calmness of knowing what is to come. Should I stick around to see what the gods have in store for me this time? Or should I jump into a river somewhere and drown before that happens?

No… something is different this time… perhaps I should let things play out… for now. Either way, there is no rush.

The adults he assumed were his parents continued their conversation with Aleksandros in his baby’s body picking up words here and there. Mostly his eyes wandered about observing his surroundings. He was hoping to gain as much information as he could despite his helpless state.

After finishing his meal, another woman took Aleksandros from the arms of the woman laying on the bed and placed him inside an old-fashioned looking crib. Despite looking to be of an ancient style, it was beautifully decorated and well cushioned. Aleksandros didn’t feel any discomfort as he was laid within it. He began to feel somewhat sleepy, but he struggled to keep his eyes open as much as possible.

The young man he assumed to be his father looked down at him and smiled. It was clearly a smile of joy and expectation. He had no idea that the baby which was his son, was looking at him with eyes of pity, nor what the baby was truly thinking as it met its father’s eyes.

I know some may think me evil for the things that I have done, but I am the only one that knows what happened so long ago. Even though the taint on their souls disgusts me, I still feel pity for this young couple who will surely face calamity only because they were unlucky enough to know me.

The man was surprised to see a peculiar look on his newborn son. He already found it strange that the baby had stopped crying and was eerily calm. Although he was inexperienced when it came to babies, he didn’t think this was natural.

A look of concern creased his eyes, but it was only for a moment as others beside him assured him with their words. Aleksandros couldn’t follow their entire conversation, but he could make some simple assumptions about it.

However, he could no longer bring himself to care about what was going on around him as he drifted off to sleep.

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