The Void Cow #38

He points the murdery end of his staff at my torso. “Disrespect our Queen one more godsdamn time and I’ll do more than just knock you on your ass. Now answer her!”

“Actually, you knocked me on my face; not my ass,” I respond.

Like a flash of lightning, the guard twirls his staff around to the blunt end. Like thunder, he lays a loud smack against my cheek, which echoes in the throne room and harmonizes with the thud of my head hitting the floor. I briefly catch a glimpse of little bluebirds surrounding me. They blur and fade in a dim red-purple cloud. Behind them stands the enormous legs of a hoofed creature. The tip of its muzzle pushes down at me through the strange fog. It sniffs me.

“This thing reeks of a special kind of stupidity. Do you really think this mortal is the key to opening a portal to their realm?”

“We do, Your Voidness!” The birds chirp in unison.

“I say you flush this turd, but it’s your invasion. Do whatever you want with it. Go nuts! As long as you remove it from my realm first. It’s really stinking up the place.”

The birds flap their wings, creating a mighty wind that pushes me away. I see red, then black, then white, then I’m back in the Queen’s throne room.

“You see it now, don’t you? The Void,” the Queen says with a soul-penetrating gaze.

“I saw a magic fog and some bluebirds and…a giant horse—who was kind of an asshole.”

“It’s not a giant horse; it’s a giant cow. The Void Cow. You just got a glimpse into her domain. Those bluebirds do her bidding, more or less.”

“So I’m cursed by a giant cow and some birds that live in a mystic gas?”

“The Void exists outside of our known space and time. The Void Cow is a fifth-dimensional being. She can reach into any instance of our reality. Any permutation. Any version of you based on causality.”

“She’s a god,” I state with awe.

“No—the gods we worship are constructs of our imagination. The Void Cow is…udderly real.”

The guards laugh at the Queen’s remark.

I decide to risk another wallop on the noggin. “Why are you laughing? This is some serious shit!”

“Udderly real?” A guard makes a statement with the tone of a question.

I shake my head and shrug.

“It’s a cow. Cows have udders. It’s a play on words. Are you really this stupid? Queen, with all due respect—“

The Queen interrupts, “Espion, I know what you’re about to say and I’m just going to stop you right there. Yes, this lowly guard is stupid. Yes, the only reason they even have their job is because their uncle is a big shot. Yes, they’re privileged as all hell. Yes, nepotism exists in my Queendom. A monarchy is literally built on nepotism. But for better or worse, they’re who we’ve got. They received the curse. They have a connection with The Void. This is an opportunity we must take.”

My Royal Highness descends the throne and casually closes the distance between us. “You have a heavy burden on your shoulders, protector of the Buttcrack Trail. Whether you like it or not, you are the key to our nation’s salvation.” She clinches her teeth for a moment before continuing, “We need you…your connection to The Void is paramount for us to win the war against our enemies—the kingdom of Uruk. What will you do? Will you help us? Or will you start brushing up on your Urukese to prepare for your new masters?”

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