Am-heh stopped the sharing of memories. He had enough. He had exactly what he needed now. He laughed, loud and long. There was no way he could lose, knowing what he knew. The Children of Nuit would triumph! Earth was theirs. He would be redeemed before Atum for this.
Kemushi was not so joyful. She fell to her hands and knees on the dock, weeping uncontrollably.
Am-heh glanced at her curiously. “What's the matter with you?”
She curled into fetal position, sobbing. “It's gone! I was a God...and now it's all gone!” she wept. “To ascend so high, the first Infinity, to see it all...only to fall back! Even to be shamed by Atum, to be judged, a shamed God, was better than this, being merely mortal. Was that power, that glory...is that how you feel all the time?”
“Only in my memories,” he told her. “I, too, felt the diminishment you now know, when I was intersected into this domain. Unlike you, however, my own Fall is temporary. When I depart this place and return whence I came, I will reclaim all my former powers.” He peered at her huddled form. “You don't even know your mistake, do you?”
Her weeping abated. She lifted a tear-soaked face. “What? What are you talking about?”
Am-heh grinned a terrible grin. “The sharing was two-way,” he said. “You forgot to specify a one-way link. You got my memories, and I received yours...even the ones you hid from Wu all those years. I know why you were hiding.”
Kemushi's body went rigid. “I don't know what you're talking about,” she said.
Am-heh laughed, a great triumphant roar of a laugh. “How fortunate for me that you believed Tsuneo, your Hermit. He convinced you that your family was still alive, and I have reaped the benefit of that. To think that all I hoped for was to convince you of my alien origin!” He leered at her. “Are you convinced, now that you remember being not just an alien – but an alien god?”
“I can't believe Atum gave you another chance,” she moaned. “Didn't he see what you are? Or was he blinded by the fact of your common heritage? There are no words for such evil. No words!”
“Oh, don't be such a drama queen,” he chuckled. “And so hypocritical, too! I know all about your Hellbomb. A fitting term. And you, that created such a engine of destruction, you dare to call me evil?” He laughed again. “This time you're stealing chaos from the gods.”
Kemushi hung her head. “It was a different time, and I was a different person,” she whispered. “My family was dead. I had nothing to live for. By the time I came to my senses, it was already complete!”
Am-heh couldn't stop grinning. “And so you fled, taking the activation codes with you. How clever, to set it up so that any attempt to dismantle it or cut the power or remote access would trigger it. They couldn't take it apart, power it down...or disable your access. As soon as you found a haven, and got into Wu's link bed, they couldn't touch you, because you could set it off before they could log you out or sedate you.”
“I just wanted to be left alone,” she said numbly. “The only way to ensure that was retaining control of it. I left a message detailing everything. Then I went into self-imposed exile. I was willing to spend the rest of my life in Wu's link bed, until you came along.”
“But I did come along,” he said, grinning. “And now, thanks to your decision to share memory...I have the activation code too.”
“That code would do no one any good,” she said.
“Oh, I know that, thanks to you,” he smiled. “But I don't have to destroy your planet to win. I just have to be able to.”
“The Covenant,” she said. “Oh god, what have I done?”
“You've picked your Masters!” he said cheerfully. “After I devour the other immortal, I'll deliver the ultimatum. There will be no second match; the others will have to surrender your world. Humans shall serve the Children of Nuit, until such time as you are worthy of Transcending yourselves. You're now our slaves. And you've made it all inevitable!” His laughter was that of a joyous maniac.
“NO!” Kemushi cried. “Never!”
Am-heh's joy diminished slightly when she vanished. Too bad she got away, for now, he thought. But I know all her secrets; I don't need her help to travel in these simulations, these Realms, any more.
And he could always eat her later, anyway.
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