Arc 2: Chapter 22: A Lone Pebble

Abgere: “…”

With an equally horrified and amazed look on his face, he stares at nothingness.

I can understand why. What he has just learnt about the incident that took place in his aunt’s house a few days earlier – I’d be baffled if he wasn’t horrified after hearing it.

So to say, I am baffled for not being horrified at all. I can just accept something like this, like it’s normal.

Just how much of a nutcase am I?

Ethan: “Leave your self-introspection for later.”

As always, Ethan perfectly reads my thoughts without any psychic abilities and then proceeds to mock it.

But, I do know what we are here for takes precedence right now.

Ethan: “I suppose that ‘that white-haired man’ told you that you can never try to Scry for the sake of gaining the knowledge about the location of the Psychic Library, or something along those lines.”

Trisha: “Yes, that is what he told me.”

And that is the reason she was quite hesitant earlier. However, we can’t accept no for an answer here.

Ethan: “Hah! Do a little something then.”

He says as the corners of his lips curl up.

Ethan: “Scry upon the soul of that man.”

As he is pointing at me, his words to Trisha surprise everyone but me. The reason they don’t surprise me is because he had told me earlier what his strategy for compelling this woman into Scrying for us will be. Hence, I knew he was going to play this card.

I don’t know how this is going to work, but I guess I’d have to trust him.

Trisha: “Are you … okay with that?”

Asks the seer while looking confusedly at me.

Ethan: “Of course he is. He uses every bit of spare time he gets to analyse himself. Why would he mind if someone helps him in his research?”

I admit, I do have a habit of keeping my mind occupied with one thought or another.

I was really over-thinking situations and being cautious of everything for the past 12 years. I guess, somewhere along the line, it became a habit. So, now that I am trying to change that, I have ended up picking a habit of self-introspection.

And well,

Ethan: “See, I bet he is probably doing it right now.”

Yeah, well, it’s better than spending my time thinking of ways to curb some sadistic desire to stand atop those who are stronger than me.

Trisha: “Well, if he is okay with it,”

Saying so, Trisha composes herself and puts a hand on her crystal ball again.

This time, her goal is not Ethan Kales but me.

I wonder what kind of image would she come up with. I hope it’s something refreshing. That’s what I hope, at least. What I think it’ll be – is a really twisted one.

Trisha: “Eh!”

Making that weird sound, she only makes me more nervous about it.

Sona: “What do you see?”

Please be something good! Please me something positive! Please don’t me something like … I don’t even know what to think.

Trisha: “Well,”

Gulping once, she says,

Trisha: “The image I see is that of a pebble, alone in the darkness, shaking around as if it’s trying to find a mirror.”

Ethan: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

Of course he laughs.

Sona: “Hahahahaha!!!”

Of course she laughs too.

Sneha: “…”

Gabriel: “…”

Of course those two are surprised enough to not say anything.

Abgere: “That’s … darkly impressive.”

And of course I don’t get whatever the hell he is saying.

Trisha: “What … the hell … are you!!?”

With a terrified expression, she asks me.

But even so, I have no idea what to say. I want to know the answer to that myself. I had hoped this Scrying session would help me with that. But it clearly only made things worse.

So,

Kais: “Why do you look so terrified of me?”

I word whatever thoughts that come to mind first.

Trisha: “How can I not … be terrified of that?”

Ethan scoffs as if it’s stupid of me to not understand the meaning of that. Then Sona smiles like she is looking at a dense idiot.

The other three don’t change their expressions, which doesn’t help the case at all.

Kais: “Hah!”

I calmly sigh,

Kais: “Alright, what the hell is going on?”

And not so calmly, I ask as I stand up while looking at Ethan.

Ethan: “Well,”

Not at all intimidated by that reaction, even thought Trisha freaked out quite a bit and is now looking at me like a scared rabbit looking at a fox, Ethan explains.

Ethan: “Try thinking of that scenario. A place where there only seems to be pebble and nothing else. By the way, the keyword is ‘seems’.”

Okay! I can do that.

I mean, a place where there is nothing but a pebble. Or, there SEEMS to be nothing but a pebble. Does that mean there are other things there?

Ethan: “Now tell me, how many things are there in this scenario?”

Well, obviously, there is more than one since he blatantly said that there SEEMS to be just the pebble. But then, what-

Wait, the heck?

Ethan: “The correct answer is indefinite.”

That’s just … just stupid.

Ethan: “Even though you can’t see it, there are an indefinite number of things in this scenario. However, they are all enshrouded in darkness and are almost like microorganisms in respect to the pebble. That is why, they aren’t even visible to the naked eye.”

Sona: “Hah! So to say that everyone and everything around you is only as significant to you as microorganisms are to a pebble.”

With a dry laugh, she summarizes the analysis.  And well, it’s stupid. I am not buying it. There has to be a different meaning to it.

I mean, sure, it explains Trisha’s reactions quite well. And it is consistent with Barry telling me that I am somehow special. And it does kinda makes sense that every side was so greedily wanting me to join them.

But, still, I … don’t even know how to object to that.

Ethan: “I have read that there are many levels of a person’s being that you can see through Scrying but it seems just the first level of our friend here was enough to absolutely terrify you.”

Looking at the seer who is still somewhat freaked out, he says so.

Ethan: “In that case, it should be pretty clear who, that white-haired man or this moron, is scarier. And hence, it should be clear whose side you should be on.”

I … never expected to hear those words out of his mouth.

Ethan: “So, let me ask you once-and-for-all, which side are you on, Trisha?”

I can sense the discomfort in his voice when asking that question. I understand why he, a man who prides himself for having gone up against and perhaps defeated many supernaturals far stronger than him, doesn’t like the fact that he is using sheer strength to threaten someone.

But, it seems to work.

Trisha comes back to her seat, takes a glance at me with eyes filled with anxiety and some level of despair, and then puts her hand on the crystal.

Just before she starts though,

Trisha: “Just what in the world are you people?”

Ethan: “A trio that God loves to destroy the life of, combo-d with an Aura master and, for a limited time, come with the bonus products of two morons.”

Wow!

*******************************

Seeing the person he has been waiting for arrive an hour late, Spectre Dyne says in an annoyed voice.

Dyne: “Took you long enough!”

Walter: “… Yeah!”

However, unlike his usual stupidly calm and somewhat annoying demeanor, Walter Schmidt makes a serious face as he seems to be contemplating on something.

However, before the Ghost General could ask,

Walter: “Well, sorry about that!”

Walter regains his usual attitude after a long, deep sigh.

Walter: “There are plenty of things I’d like to update you about, and I am sure there a good amount of things that I need to be updated by you about as well,”

Seeing Dyne nod, Walter says,

Walter: “But first, I want to meet with him, the ruler of the Ghost Nation.”

Dyne: “You seem quite serious. What the hell happened? Did you lose your virginity or something?”

Knowing that his friend’s sense of humor is not his greatest quality, Walter merely sighs.

Walter: “I lost that a long time ago. But, to answer your actual question,”

His drooping shoulders lift as he makes a tense face.

Walter: “I had an encounter with someone who might be trouble.”

Dyne: “…”

For the strongest man in the world to appraise someone as ‘trouble’, they would at least be as powerful as a highly-skilled Spectre.

For a moment, Dyne’s mind flashes back to a nightmare he was shown by Barry a few days prior.

It was nightmare where even this man standing in front of him, a man who can decimate mountains with but a kick, had died. Or rather, it seemed like he had been killed. Defeated.

Along with his corpse, there were corpses of the Vampires. The Spectres were there as well.

It was an atrocious sight, one that the Spectre has tried countless times to pass off as just something shown to him to scare him and not having any chance of ever coming about in reality. But, despite his efforts, he hasn’t been able to get that horror out of his mind completely.

Walter: “Everything alright?”

Seeing how Dyne went silent all of a sudden, Walter asks so.

Dyne: “Yeah, just remembering something.”

He says, and tries to skip over the topic, but with a man as skilled as Walter Schmidt, that is not the easiest thing to do.

Walter: “You really are being bothered by something ever since you fought Barry on the island. It’s plain as day to see.”

Dyne: “…”

Walter: “Listen, if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here.”

Dyne: “Hah!”

Hearing so, Dyne sighs quite plainly.

Dyne: “I’d rather not risk becoming the laughing stock by telling you something like that.”

He says, turns around, and starts walking, before Walter can say anything.

Dyne: “Follow me! You want to meet with the head of this nation, don’t you?”

Walter: “Hah! Yes, I do.”

And so, he starts following Dyne.

*******************************

For a good five minutes, Trisha has been trying to Scry to find someone in the entire world who knows the location of the Psychic Library.

It’s reasonably taking this long.

If she were to just scan the physical world, then she would have probably been done by now. But, she has to specifically scan through all the deceptions and mirages and check the memories of every person in every supernatural part of the world.

She’d have to Scry past the illusions around the many seas, mountains, volcanoes and such and find the dragons living within them to scan their memories.

She’d have to Scry past the intricately deceptive network of Vampires.

She’d have to Scry past the materialistic world and then re-scan the entire world just so she can scan the memories of all the ghosts in the world.

Aurals, Spirit-users and Psychics would probably be easier to deal with since they have an easier time disguising themselves as normal humans and so, they don’t live among these hard-to-spy-upon settings.

Finally, when it seems like she’s done with all of it, she breathes a long sigh.

Trisha: “That was exhausting!”

She says weakly.

Abgere supports her by hand to help her lean back as she gives us the results of her Scrying.

Trisha: “It seems I really was being manipulated into thinking this was beyond my bounds. I should have tried this before.”

Ethan: “I doubt it would have worked before.”

He says plainly.

Ethan: “That bastard has become too busy now to be able to keep a check on every single supernatural activity in the world. However, before things got so heated up, he probably would have been able to detect that you were Scrying for something like that and misdirected you.”

Trisha: “I don’t know who you are talking about but can someone out there really be that impressive?”

Well, the person he is talking about is known as ‘God’ these days. That sounds impressive enough?

Trisha: “Anyway, it seems two people know about the location of the Psychic Library.”

Out of the near 8 billion people, millions of Ghosts, and thousands of Dragons, only two people know about it, huh?

This Psychic Library really is quite a legendary place, isn’t it? I was a real ignorant fool to not have known about it all these years.

Sona: “Well, who are these two?”

Trisha: “I can’t tell who exactly they are. If I had tried to Scry that deeply, they may have been able to detect me.”

I see. Well, as long as she can give us a general idea, this trip would have been worth it.

Trisha: “One of them is a human, a simple human.”

She looks uncomfortable as she says so, probably making connections.

Ethan: “That bastard!”

In a rarely spiteful tone, Ethan grits his teeth and tightens his fist as he mutters those words.

A human, a simple human – the strategist of the Vampire Kingdom is a simple human. He has literally no supernatural abilities at all. And still, he seems to be a bigger enigma than most supernaturals out there. And, it seems that he even knows the location of the Psychic Library.

But anyway, she said there were two people. Then who’s the other one?

Trisha: “The other, well, seems to be a Psychic. And, he seems to be really powerful.”

Sona: “Please tell me it’s not Walter Schmidt!”

I can relate to that sentiment.

Trisha: “No, it’s not that man. But, this man might be second only to him in terms of the sheer psychic potential he was exuding.”

… That description … only fits for one man in the entire world.

Abgere: “I see.”

The rage buried within him for a good while now, bursts out on his face. However, he tries his best to keep himself calm, as is made clear by him not outright screaming the words he just said.

Sona: “Man, we were just running in circles, I guess.”

She says so.

Before coming here, we were planning to go to the Phoenix, Reid Vezalius Rosevelt, to get to the location of the library. And now, it seems we are going to have to resume that plan of ours.

After all, the man second only to Walter’s psychic prowess can be none other than the Phoenix himself.

Ethan: “Well, not exactly.”

He says, denying Sona’s earlier statement.

Ethan: “Before, we were just hoping that he’d know about it. There were some things to base that hope on, but we couldn’t be certain that he knew the location of the library. Now, we know for sure.”

I guess, coming here wasn’t completely pointless then.

Abgere: “What are you people going to do?”

He asks, his darkened expression being terrifying enough to make me think he is ready to kill a person.

Ethan: “We’ll go to that where that bastard-”

Abgere: “No!”

Surprisingly, Abgere’s face manages to turn even scarier.

Abgere: “I meant, what are you going to do about Aunt Trisha? Now that she has done something that ‘white-haired man’ didn’t want her to, how are you going to take responsibility of protecting her from those Vampires.”

Asking that, Abgere stares coldly at Ethan.

Ethan finds himself surprised to be asked that. Trisha tries to stop him, maybe scared that I will act like a mafia boss and behead Abgere for his attitude or something, but,

Ethan: “Hahahahaha!!!”

Abgere: “The hell!?”

Yeah, the hell?

Ethan: “My, my, Mr. Abgere. Is that the face of a guilty person I am seeing right now?”

What?

Ethan: “Are you telling me that you somehow helped these Vampires and the ‘white-haired man’ some time ago and now are feeling guilty about it?”

What! That … happened?!

Abgere: “Tsk! Maybe … I did.”

Ethan: “Oh?”

Abgere: “I can’t be sure if he’s the same man, but my gut tells me he is.”

Quite conflicted about his emotions, Abgere says so while doing his best to maintain some form of composure.

Ethan: “I see.”

Ethan smiles half-irritated and half-surprised.

Ethan: “Well then, I think we’ll have to think of a way to keep your aunt safe now, huh?”

As he says so, his expression turns from sarcastic to excited half-way through, as if he realized something while talking.

Abgere: “…”

Ethan: “Actually, now that I think about it, this might be a good time to pay a few allies a visit.”

We have allies?

Ethan: “Well, I guess, it’d be more accurate to say that they are acquaintances.”

Sona: “Who exactly are you talking about?”

Abgere: “You people don’t know either?”

Probably thinking till now that we knew who Ethan’s talking about, he asks with a baffled expression.

Sneha: “Well … I might know who he is referring to.”

Sona: “You HAVE been with him for the longest time, so that would make sense. But, please make it clear for the rest of us!”

Yes, please do that.

Ethan: “Well, simply put, we are going to go meet a few Aurals.”

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