Kittens Playing God

Chapter 7: Information

Lasha accepted that she would lie awake that night. Thinking of which last words to say to her parents. Really, she had nothing to say. She just wanted to hear from them. One last ‘we love you’. That she’d make a good demigod for this world. That they didn’t mind that she stopped going to school. Approved of her new friends.

The wardrobe door creaked open. Lasha watched it in the dark. Did she not properly close it? For a while she debated how much it would bother her to leave it ajar overnight. Then it snapped back shut. There was no draft in here. Something closed it. She held her hand up to the lamp and turned it on. She was immortal, so, nothing to worry about, right?

She approached the wardrobe. As it did nothing in response, she put her hand on the knob and pulled it open.
“Uh, sorry. I was hiding!” An Attejs sat inside. It was not Jaliehv but someone Lasha hadn’t seen before.
“Hiding from who?”
“Jaliehv. Has she gone home?”
“They’re all gone. Who are you?”
The Attejs climbed out of the wardrobe. Both Jaliehv and this one had a rather child-like appearance. Apparently that’s how they all looked, according to Algasath. It is to trick intelligent species into thinking them harmless.
“My name is Malai. I need to speak to Algasath.”
Lasha was about to say he was asleep, but he probably wasn’t. “Why?” she asked though.
“Important and delicate information.”
Well, what’s the worst she could do? Lasha agreed to lead her to Algasath.

They found him in the library. He didn’t notice them, deep in thought sitting in a reading corner.
“Hello Algasath.” Malai almost jumped on his lap. “I have something important to tell you!”
“Who is this?” Algasath looked at Lasha for help.
“I’m Malai. Is it safe to talk here?” Malai answered for herself.
“Yeah. Safe from whom?”
“Jaliehv. She is planning something. I think it’s not good. I came to warn you.”
“Planning what?”
“I don’t know. But a lot of Attejs have disappeared lately. You are discouraged from asking questions. I’m not a spy, so I don’t know what’s going on but I can feel it’s bad!”
Algasath examined Malai for a moment. “So what do you suggest I do?”
“I wanted to go investigate. But I needed to tell someone else first before I got myself into danger. Please tell anyone you trust. Prepare for it. If I don’t return, then at least you are warned.”
“Where do you plan to look?”
“Jaliehv’s pyramids in Jekit-Lafier. Whatever she is doing, she probably hid it there.”
“If she really is planning anything, then it’s too dangerous for a mortal to go. I’m not sure if you are telling the truth, but I’m not risking your life either way. I’ll go.” Algasath stood up.
“I’ll come too, dad.” Lasha offered.
“No. Gods still have the power to kill you. And I need someone here to keep an eye on Malai.”
“Will you go right now?”
“Of course. We shouldn’t give Jaliehv the time to hide her secret project.”

“You’re not going.”
Lasha recognized the voice but couldn’t spot the owner. Cynthia’s dark fur blended in with the shadows. “I will. Jaliehv may not be able to hurt you, but she might attack the Sjetta again. She has no such card to play with me.”
“Fair point. What are you still doing here though, Cynthia?”
“Curiosity killed the cat.” she answered. Lasha wasn’t sure who the cat was here.
Algasath stared down at her.
“What, don’t you trust me?”
“No, you’re right. It’s best if you go.”
Cynthia gave an approving smile, then disappeared.
“Malai, you should stay here. If what you say is true, then you might be in danger. You should not be seen in the city either, for your own protection. Let’s keep it a secret you’re here, until we know what’s going on.”
“I understand.”
Algasath knelt down to touch her arm, then he vanished. A moment later, he returned without her. He sighed. “I don’t like treating others this way, but I won’t take any chances.”
“Where did you put her?”
“About a hundred meters below in the lower parts of Amieredetta. If her mission was to infiltrate, she won’t be able to contact anyone from down there.”
“I hope she was honest.”
“Me too. Go back to sleep, Lasha. You should worry about your return to the human world.”


Against her expectations, Lasha woke up in the morning. So she did sleep after all, but not a lot. She had just enough time to put on clothes before someone knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Lasha said, and Madrian did. He wore his human form again.
“Hey.” he said.
“Will you take me there now?”
Madrian motioned for her to sit down on the bed. Another lecture before they left?
“I’m afraid they’ve already moved on.”
“...What’s that mean?”
“Their souls have been reborn. In a couple of years, their new lives will begin Kindergarten.”
“They didn’t wait for me?”
“It’s actually quite common for parents to not wait for their children. After all, they’d likely wait for several decades. They saw that you were okay. They believed that things would go well for you. They felt it was the right time.”
Madrian had warned her but she didn’t actually expect them to be gone. After they’ve been torn from her so suddenly, surely there was something left to say.
“They loved you and you knew that. You don’t need them to tell you that again. They don’t need you to tell them either. I know it feels like you missed the chance to tell them, but they know.”
“Then what is the point of the Afterlife? Why not just rebirth souls immediately like it is for Sjetta?”
“When a soul is reborn, it loses all memories of its previous life. At least, that’s how it should be. If they don’t find closure, they might carry these into their new life in unhealthy ways. Your parents needed to see you were okay and taken care of before they could move on. That has been granted to them.”
“So, who are they now?”
“They have no relation aside from using the same soul. There is no point in finding them. They’re completely different people. We don’t keep track of that anyway.”
“...Damn it.”
“I’m sorry I got your hopes up.” he shook his head. “To be honest, I already knew when we first talked about it. I just didn’t know how to tell you. I didn’t handle that right, I’m sorry.”
“...I should go get breakfast.” Lasha didn’t wait for Madrian to disappear, she just went out through the door. It was fine. She already knew the past five years she won’t see them again. Only for a night, she believed something else. It was just a bummer. Nothing to get too worked up over. She just wondered if Madrian remained in her room for a reason. To make sure she does go straight for breakfast? How much did her parents see? He couldn’t have shown them all of it. Lasha felt a little sick.


Algasath noticed nothing during breakfast, which signaled to Lasha that she successfully swallowed her feelings. Great! No reply from Apolomyem yet, so she decided to hang out with Marvie.

Lasha found her in the magical court. Both of them had tried to learn magic at some point in their lives and lost patience soon after. They still liked to watch others with a true passion exercize every now and then. For both of them, magic was something new. Apparently they hadn’t figured it out on Shandae yet, or at least not wherever Marvie grew up. Lasha had expected it to be just nonsense, you wave a stick, speak some latin and something happens. But it does have its rules and logic, to a certain degree. As it was explained to her, magic is basically you coaxing the universe into bending the rules for you. And there are five different paths of magic to do so.

There was Universe magic, which operated on a sort of mana system. They called it ‘Well’ though. You can do magic until you’ve used up your Well. The more impact the spell has, the more Well it uses and Well is replenished during sleep. Using spells also gradually expands the Wellpool. The downside of this kind of magic was that it can’t maintain long-lasting spells. It was mostly used by battlemages.

For enduring spells, Nature magic is used. That would be for construction or healing. It has more rigid rules but the results don’t need any Well channeled into it to maintain itself. No Well is needed at all for this magic. In turn, the end result of the spell must conform to the laws of nature. It only allows for material to be transmuted somewhat. For example, to regrow a limb, you can use any meat and bone. You can turn wood into other types of wood.

Chaos magic was the half-forbidden kind. It wasn’t restricted by Well or the laws of nature and had the greatest potential of all, but was also the most dangerous. Or, if all precautions were taken, the most tedious. It basically worked like getting a wish from a malicious fairy. If you define your spell too vaguely, it will try to interpret your words in a mischievous way. It won’t kill you, end the world or mangle you so bad you’ll never want to risk it again. It has a sense of self-preservation. But you’ll have to really plan out your spells and check for loopholes, which makes it very ill-suited for battlemagic. To work, you’ll have to state your spells through speech, text or otherwise, unlike the other magics that work by thought alone.

There were two other types of magic but Lasha had tuned out there. The teacher also made her feel like those last two weren’t really important and no one who seriously cared about learning magic should bother with them.

“Hey! Any news on your upcoming mission? I’m sure I'll get to accompany you.” Marvyad greeted her.
“Nothing yet.” Lasha sat down next to her.

Three Sjetta trained their magic in the court. A wide open area at the back of the cave, where you can safely throw untrained magic around. To learn magic, you had to accept that you will see very little results for a lot of work. Beginners would usually learn the basics with fire magic before they chose their specialty. Fire was just the best element to teach the general idea of using magic, while also instilling the adequate respect. Magic users would usually focus on a certain theme like frost magic, flesh magic, wood magic, but they all knew a little fire spell from their beginnings.

The display in the training area wasn’t exactly flashy, but whenever someone managed to create their first flame, seeing their joy made it worth it.

“I heard there is an alternative to magic if you want to get special powers.” Marvie alluded.
“Becoming a demigod? I don’t think that’s easily available to the general public.”
“No, actually. You can become a Vampire.”
“Vampires are made up.”
“No, they’re real, they’re just named after Vampires. Because they siphon magic off people to maintain their youth, or something.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. How do you become a Vampire?”
“You drink their blood. They can also bite you and inject it into you.”
“And what can Vampires do?”
“I think they get much better hearing. And they can stop aging, like I said. I dunno, the Asterian I talked to only heard rumors themselves. But they also said that there are more mutations like this. Vampires are the hearing one and there is one for every other sensory organ. Including taste.”
“So you could gain the sense of taste by becoming a tongue vampire, is that what you’re leading up to?”
“Maybe. Depends on what else it does to me.”
“I think I’m good with just my demigod powers.”
“I just remember you talking about Vampires and thought you might want to know.”
“If they’re as cool as Vampires in fiction… I don’t think I want to have to drink blood though.”
“No, they said they drink magic? Or, Well? So you’ll have to find a Universe user specifically. Won’t matter to you anyway, since you already don’t age. But yeah, what exactly can you do as a demigod of darkness actually?”
“I can make these shadow spheres.” Lasha made one. “Or rather, I can control nearby shadows and turn them into ones. So I’m powerless in complete light. But I can also change the shape of the shadows into whatever.” Lasha turned the sphere into a sword. “I can’t make them solid though. I can also freeze anything inside the shadows. That’s it, aside from the immortality. Except I can apparently still be killed by other gods and demigods. My body is immortal but my soul is not, so magical attacks to the soul that are powerful enough can still kill me.”
“But it’s not like they let anyone be a demigod, so I think you’ll be fine.”
“Yeah, as long as no gods turn out evil.”
“That shouldn’t be possible, right?”
“I don’t know. They do feel a lot like ordinary people. Flaws included.”
Marvie wasn’t sure how to continue that conversation. She thought for a moment about a new topic.

“When we do get up there, is Marvie an acceptable human name, or do I get a codename?”
“Marvie is okay.”
“Oh come on, don’t spoil the fun! Gimme a human name!”
“That’s a cop-out! Put some effort in.”
“Oh, I know what this is! I know Shandari like to give each other new names when marrying!”
“It’s not analogous to a marriage, you hag!”
“Shut up, that’s not an appropriate insult.”
“If you had to have a Shandari name, it’d be… Vetyk.”
“Alright. You’d be… Denise.”
Marvie acted a little taken aback. Lasha wasn’t sure if she was playing or if that was a slur in her language.
“...What’s your reasoning?” Marvie asked.
“I dunno, you just seem like a Denise to me. That’s just a normal human name.”
“You just came up with a random name again!”
“Well, why am I Vetyk then?”
“Lasha means cold night, right? I translated that into Resi… somewhat.”
“But Marilyn was too cheap? I don’t even know what your name means.”
“Neither do I.”
“I don’t know the human origins of Lasha either.”
“...Are you alright? You haven’t smiled yet.”
Lasha leaned her head against Marvyad. “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine.”
“You know, I’d rather call you my best friend than my caritami. Human relationships are much easier and comfortable for me to navigate.”
“I think it works the same way for Sjetta and Asterians.”
“You’re so pedantic.”
“And you’re my best friend.”


“Howdy-ho, fellas!” the black cat Asterian in Algasath’s throne room said and waved an arm. Lasha and Marvie refused to respond with anything other than a blank stare.
“Yeah, I’ve been mulling over how to introduce myself for the past hour… That wasn’t it. I’m Milala, nice to meet you.” she held out a hand. The traits she inherited from her animal were the ears, poking out from her hair of the same black color, and a tail, though Lasha noticed it shifted into a green-scaled chameleon tail halfway through, curled into a spiral appropriately. Milala noticed her attention.
“Oh, I’m a chameleopard. Like, chameleon and leopard. The two words don’t mix as well in speech.”
“Asterians can be hybrids?” Lasha wondered.
“No, that’s a legitimate, distinct species. Were you not familiar? I even used the human name- Nevermind, I’m actually here on behalf of Cynthia. I was sent to inform Apolomyem about the meeting. I’m a fellow demigod. Stay on topic.” she berated herself. “He said okay. He wasn’t required to have actually listened to me the whole way through, right? Ah, whatever. Cynthia is busy, so I came to tell you. You were waiting.”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Lasha responded.
“Man, you make me nervous. You’ve got such a serious… “she crudely encircled the body part in question with an open palm “...face.”
“Don’t rib my girl.” Marvyad interjected. “She’s got me for that.”
“Yeah, I was actually supposed to tell Algasath. I dunno who you are, I just figured you’re his kid. He here?” Milala looked around.
“Probably.” Lasha walked past her to find him herself. She didn’t bother catching up on introducing herself back. Milala got the picture. The catgirl followed her.
“Sorry, if I appeared rude. I don’t spend a lot of time with conversations.”
“It’s fine. Us demigods gotta stick together, right?” Lasha said.
“I guess.”
“And me.” Marvyad added.
“And you.” Lasha showed her an inclusive smile.

“So, are you an earth type or air type?” Lasha asked in between pushing away curtains and shouting for her dad.
“Like, in a personality type quiz way?”
“No, like-”
“ a divine element?”
“Yes, I got you. You’re darkness.”
“What’s Apolomyem like?”
“Oh, like your dad turned up to eleven. Over the years, he just got scared of everything. And now he’s too fucking terrified to even show his face anywhere, despite being invincible. Sorry, is it ok to cuss?”
“Knock yourself out.”
“Yeah. Guess what form he takes nowadays. Just an ol’ cloud. Really, I feel more like Cynthia’s demigod than his.”
“I don’t think dad is here right now. We should wait in the…” she can’t call it the throne room in front of strangers.
“The foyer slash conference room?” Milala guessed. “Whatever it is. Not even sure if it’s a room. Is a cave a room? Or only these holes you put in the walls?”
Lasha didn’t respond. The three sat down at the table in the throne room. It and the chairs hadn’t yet been removed after the meeting. Lasha had already completely forgotten her original plans at home. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of Milala yet. She was fun and Lasha could see herself being friends with her, but she probably didn’t have the time and lived far away. Unless Lasha could teleport too? She wondered how much of this demigod stuff was supposed to be common knowledge.

Algasath finally returned home with a bag of groceries in his hand.
“Oh, hey Milala.” he said. “Sorry, I was getting lunch. Did you wait long?”
Milala didn’t care about that. “Oh, can I cook? Can I cook?” she pointed at the bag.
“Oh, sure.”
“Nice, let’s see what you got.”
Algasath placed the bag on the table and Milala immediately picked it back up and walked towards the kitchen, looking inside. “Oh, yes, nice!” she said to herself.
“That’s not what you came here for though…?” Algasath said but wasn’t entirely sure either.
“Apolomyem gave his ok.” Lasha answered in her stead. Milala vanished into the kitchen.
“He did? Good. When do you want to go then?”
“Tomorrow? Can Marvie come too?”
“And she can stay for lunch too, of course.” Algasath sat down. It appeared they would not eat in the dining room this time. Lasha looked up at the ceiling and wondered as well whether this counted as outside.
“Any news from Cynthia yet?” Lasha asked.
“No. It is taking a bit long just to check a place out, isn’t it?” Algasath worried.
“Maybe she got a lead and is pursuing that to its end first?” Marvyad speculated.
“I didn’t want to keep Malai down there for too long. But if anything happened to Cynthia, that only makes it more likely she set a trap for us.”
“But Cynthia is immortal, right?”
“Yeah... “ Algasath said.

“Different question.” Lasha started. “Can I teleport as a demigod?”
“Sorry, no. But you can learn it with magic.”
“I’m too impatient for magic.”
“That’s fine. Your physical abilities are improved, so you should be able to get places faster. You won’t be as fast as an air demigod though.”
“I was just asking in general. Wondering how much trouble it would be for Milala to come.”
Algasath smiled. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind making the effort. If you can convince her. She’s a bit of a recluse herself.”

“It’s ready!” Milala said, skillfully holding four plates in her arms, gently placing them in front of her patrons. It not only smelled delicious, it also looked gorgeous. Lasha would’ve expected this to be the dish seen in an expensive cooking show, not coming out of their little kitchen.
Marvyad looked up from her plate with a sour face. “I’m missing out again, aren’t I?”

Next Part: Chapter 8: Surface