Chapter 8 Page 9
Posted December 29, 2022 at 11:52 pm

You ever get teased by children so bad you change your name and/or have an epiphany about your true nature. Maybe you would if they also hit you with a bat



        The Sphinx of Games looked to the larger spirit next to him, and Truth’s gaze soon followed suit. It took their sibling several seconds to react, throughout which you could nearly hear the golden sphinx’s synapses popping to warm life like an old home in the winter. With the full might of his intellect at long last brought to bear, he turned to face the empty air beside him, certain he would find whatever his brother and sister had been staring at.

        Another few seconds passed in silence.

        “Wait,” the big sphinx said, looking stunned and more than a little bit hurt. “You guys want ME to leave??”

        The Sphinx of Games let out a snarling hiss of frustration. “For the hundredth time at the hundredth meeting, YES!! Once the crone’s arrived unarmed, you circle until we signal.” He swept his tail along the poolside, flicking dust against his great wall of a brother. “Hurry up! Your powers interfere!”

        “Tch. Psh. Like, whatever, man. Sorry if I gave you the benny of the denny you’d be nicer this time, bro.” The big sphinx sagged as his wings lifted him from the ground, flying like a child being carried off to bed. Disappearing slowly into the sunset sky, his voice carried back in pouting singsong, the softest, echoing “I’m rubber, you’re glue! I’d rather bounce than stick with you!”

        Everyone watched him as he left; his siblings with relief, and Devilora with the pleasant, patient malice of a future widow eager to inherit from her husband. A subtle wave of spectral sensation spread and settled in his absence, bringing eyes down from the sky back to its source. The Sphinx of Truth, unbound at last, began to stretch luxuriously.

        “I apowogize for that unseamwy dispway,” she purred, lifting her leg to lick herself in an equally unseemly display. “As gwating as his pwesence is, I twust you twust we mean you no harm, nor an ounce more diswespect than you are due.”

        Vice Principal DuNacht grinned, bowing ever so slightly more than her crooked bones compelled her to. “Trust? No. You’ll have to settle for my sympathies, my feathered feline friend. I mean, every litter has its RUNT, but...” She let the sentence hang on the word, grinning wider when the little sphinx began to rankle, before diverting her suggestion to the sky. “WELL, if the odd cat out is that substantial, you must have carried quite a burden of self-loathing way back when. Before they chipped the old block to bits to carve the colorful little puppy food pyramid you are today, that is! Nyeh heh heh heh!”

        A startling series of sounds ensued as the Sphinx of Games lunged forward with a furious hiss, only to be instantly yanked back by an unseen force, leaving him scrambling at the limit of an invisible leash.

        “Dear me!” Devilora gasped. “That certainly doesn’t look like a sphinx that means no harm.” Her feigned surprise gave way to a sly smile. “This is why the truth of your intentions won’t suffice—THOSE can CHANGE! No... I demand the truth of what will be!”

        The Sphinx of Truth, whose own hackles had been raised by her sibling’s sudden outburst, narrowed her eyes as Games struggled beside her.

        “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue? Here, I’ll hurry the formalities along. I’m not getting any younger, after all. Heh heh.” The vice principal cleared her throat, evicting what sounded like several spiders worth of cobwebs in the process. “Today I will not harm a sphinx, nor will a sphinx harm me.”

        The Sphinx of Games sputtered out a skeptical scoff, now seemingly free from his restraints.

        Devilora scoffed right back. “Oh, cease your yowling, Sphinx of Games. Pah! And what a disgraceful misnomer—why ANYONE would willingly align themselves with such frivolity when authority is your power’s true form... it’s beyond me! Games... disgusting! Once they have you playing bingo, well, you might as well just CLIMB into your GRAVE!” She shook her head. “I doubt you’d understand, fool gamer that you are, but believe it or not, your own powers stopped you short, not me and my strings. You make rules into reality, do you not?” 

        Devilora jabbed her considerable chin in the direction of a faded sign dangling from the fence.

        “You managed to try all three going for my throat like that. Temper, temper!”

        The Sphinx of Truth silenced her sibling’s impending retort with an outstretched wing. “He is well aware of the westwictions his infwuence imposes on this pwace. Since wast we met, my bwudder has embwaced the twue nature of his abiwities.”

        “You stand before the fully realized SPHINX OF RULES,” growled the spirit formerly known as the Sphinx of Games, “and you can count yourself lucky that the laws of this filthy human watering hole bind us BOTH!” The Sphinx of Rules dug sharp claws into the tile beneath him, flaunting his status as a poltergeist by way of the scratches left behind.

        “Yes, that’s the idea. Your powers and the pool’s rules keep us predators in check.” Vice Principal DuNacht glanced back towards Truth. “What were you telling him before, that you brought him to these meetings to be muscle?” She sized up Rules’ beanpole body with a ridiculing snicker. “I thought you couldn’t speak such glaring lies.”

        The Sphinx of Truth tilted her head to its cutest possible position. “When old wadies die, their cats eat them. Would you wike to know the twuth of when you’ll die?” She licked her lips, flashing tiny fangs. “I’d wike to know the twuth of when you’ll die.”

        Devilora cackled, causing Rules’ fur to stand on end. “I’ll pass! Curiosity kills the thrill, among other less important things. Just the usual prophecy, please. That is, if your price is still the same...” She held out her hand, extending spindly fingers like the fronds of some foul plant.

        The sphinx siblings looked at each other, then back to her. Truth answered with a slow, reluctant nod.