Chapter 11: Infinite Possibilities

I stand in the darkness alone. Ethan Kales left a few moments ago. The way he arrived, the way our conversation went and then the smile on his face when he was leaving (I only saw a hint of it but I know it was there) all makes me vary of everything that’s happening here.

I have no idea where I am and what I am here for. For all I know, this could be a trap the dragon sent me to. I am inclining towards believing that’s not actually the case, but there’s no guarantee.

Kais: “Well, I’ll have to get a move on.”

Even if my head is full of questions, and even if I am anxious as hell because of them, I have to keep moving. Thinking about them might give a theory or two about what their answer might be, but a theory I come up wouldn’t necessarily be true. I’ll never find any answers unless I look for people who know them.

Kais: “Well, I’ll also have to make them talk.”

That won’t be the easiest thing to do, but it sure wouldn’t be as hard as finding them. So, the crux of the situation is, I’m surrounded by various supernatural events, I don’t know everything about any of them, and I’ll have to try to know as much as I can to proceed.

Kais: “Not a very ideal island adventure, but I guess I have no choice but to do it.”

With that decided, I take a step forward. But just as my feet touch the ground again, I feel a chill run down my spine.

Kais: “What … was that?”

There’s darkness all around me. The torch Ethan had brought and had (for some reason) left before leaving is still here and the only source of light so far. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness and so I can see some things clearly but not everything. In which case, it won’t be very hard to sneak attack me.

Kais: “So if anyone tries to attack me, I’m screwed –”

Or at least an onlooker might think that. I am constantly using Aura-Reading so I can detect any hostile movements and it is impossible to do me any harm without me noticing it. Which is why – there’s no reason for me to get afraid or have chills run down my spine.

Kais: “So why did that happen?”

I don’t think it was just some random happening that I should ignore. More than I trust anyone or anything else, I have to trust in my senses. After all, my entire psychic arsenal is more or less dependent on them and they have not failed me once in my lifetime. If I felt a chill run down my spine, there has to be a reason for it.

Kais: “So what just happened?”

I turn to look back but nothing appears, I turn some more and the same result repeats itself. As I keep looking, I keep coming to the same conclusion – that everything is fine. But I just refuse to believe that.

Kais: “Can someone slip through without me noticing?”

It’s a terrifying thought, but one that I need to consider. One of the psychic abilities is to hide your presence. While Aura-Reading should be the counter to the ability, it’s not omnipotent. I know I am not the most powerful psychic in the world. What if someone much more powerful than me tries to use that ability and sneak past me, at least my mind should notice it. In which case, a shiver running down my spine should be a warning of sorts.

Kais: “But can’t they just teleport out of here instead?”

If the person was trying to attack me, then it makes sense for them to slip past me, but if all they wanted was to pass me without me noticing them, then they could just teleport away from my range.

Kais: “Unless there was some ulterior motive …”

An ulterior motive – that would make them try to get past me without me noticing. I check my own aura and I am the same as before. No changes have been done to me internally or externally.

Kais: “There is nothing dangerous on me either.”

Then, what other reason could there be?

Kais: “Actually, that’s a waste of time, isn’t it?”

Coming up with a reason I don’t even know who had for sneaking past me is absurd. There can be so many reasons and there’s no way I can think of and verify all of them. If I am to think of things that might have happened, I need to make sure I am safe for now (which I already have) and to tighten up my defenses.

Kais: “This will take some effort though.”

The ability I am about to use is Psychic Barrier and the name is pretty self-explanatory. It will cover me in all fronts and no one can pass unless I allow them to. Though once inside, a person can do anything to me without worrying about the barrier.

Kais: “Okay then.”

I close my eyes as I focus my energy into my heart. I have to cover my heart with my psychic energy to activate the barrier. One crucial thing about this ability is that it relies solely on my psychic energy. I can’t use any atmospheric energy to power it up. So as my energy runs out, the layer of energy covering my heart will get thinner and my barrier will get weaker. When that happens, there will be no instant way to replenish it.

Kais: “Finally.”

The process of activating this barrier doesn’t take too much time, only about 15-20 seconds for me, but it takes a lot of effort in just that much time. But while the barrier has all these negatives, it gives me huge positives too. In Aura Reading, someone can teleport from a point from one point to another, both outside of my range, and can avoid detection. This happens because in teleportation, psychic energy of the person mixes with the atmospheric energy and travels to the other point. Since atmospheric energy is used to do aura-reading, it feels like nothing is out of order. On the other hand, if someone tries to teleport in a way that their energy would even touch the barrier, I would know because it would differ from the energy of the barrier which will be purely mine.

Kais: “So I can say I am as safe as I can manage to be right now.”

And now that I have confirmed that much, I should get back to the task at hand. I came here to go to do something the dragon says should become clear to me somehow. It is not clear yet, but for now I want to get to the place where Ozyllus’ body is.

Kais: “Sorry about it but,”

I know the dragon doesn’t want me to go near it and all that, but I can’t ignore this once in a lifetime chance now that I am alone.

Thinking that, I start walking in the direction Ethan came from. I might find something there, after all I have been walking straight up to here without any chance to diverge so it’s not like there are any other routes I can take. Even if there was, it can be checked later when I return.

Kais: “Being by myself helps quite a bit actually.”

I don’t have anything against the dragon or the girl, but since I am alone here, I have a lot of freedom I wouldn’t have had otherwise and I am glad for it. I have to make decisions for myself and no one would stop me. I am not saying I want everyone to keep agreeing with me, but I hate it when people disagree without giving any explanation as to why.

Kais: “And those two probably won’t explain why.”

I can be sure of that with the dragon, and the girl probably doesn’t know anything the dragon doesn’t want others to find out.

Kais: “That being said though …”

And this is a question that has bugged me for a while now, why did the dragon send her here with me? It’s hard to believe the dragon didn’t know she would just disperse and get drawn back. That can mean that this is not the place the dragon intended me to be. The place should be inside the tomb but we got teleported to a different space when we stepped in. Maybe my assumption that this was as he wanted was wrong.

Kais: “And that would mean – I am in someone’s trap right now.”

So what should I do? Should I try to get back to the tomb? But even if this all is true and I get back to the tomb somehow, there’s no guarantee it would be less dangerous there. Either way, I am in a very dangerous position. I can trust no one here – not the dragon, the girl, Sona, Ethan or anyone else.

The worst part of this problem all is that I have no idea how big of a problem it is and the mysteries just keep piling one over the other.

Kais: “I can’t even decide what to do now.”

I say that as I realize that I have stopped moving. That’s only natural though. I thought I needed to find Ozyllus’ coffin and that I might if I go in the direction Ethan came from but now I have doubts about this place even being the real tomb.

Kais: “This is risky. There’s no doubt about that.”

Do I have any clues that could help me here? There must be something. There must be some sort of information I can use to at least take a step forward in the right path. Think! Damn it! Think!

Kais: “Wait!”

I suddenly remember something the dragon said back then.

Dragon: “The tomb belongs to Ozyllus. No one can dare step foot in if his soul does not allow them to.”

So is this what he meant? Does Ozyllus’ soul send me here? As unlikely as that sounds, it is not impossible. Ozyllus’ soul should be powerful enough to send me to a different space. Ozyllus would have done much more, but his soul can’t be as strong as he was. Still, sending me here should still be child’s play for him.

Kais: “Come to think of it, Ethan –”

He said ghosts exist. That could also mean Ozyllus exists as a ghost and not a soul, as terrifying as that may sound. If that’s true though, would the tomb really be the place he would be lurking around. Unlike souls that are bound to the place the body rests, ghosts are free to do whatever they want or go wherever they want. At least, that’s what I have heard. Since I didn’t even know they actually exist until a few moments ago, I had never dug much deeper into their topic.

Coming back to the point though, even if he exists only as a soul, if he’s capable of teleporting me here, then he should be capable of contacting the dragon somehow too. So, is he a soul or a ghost?

Kais: “Damn! Either scenario is very plausible, so I think I should just keep this in the back of my mind for now.”

Ghosts exist and are free to move as they desire. But in that case, Ozyllus would probably keep interfering with the world. It’s a terrifying thought that a being so powerful would keep interfering with the world. It almost sounds as if he’s a ‘demon’ … or a ‘god’. The world did call him a god but that was just metaphorically. If anyone believed him to be a real god, they would be some fools.

There’s a possibility that ghosts aren’t capable of interfering with the physical world because they don’t belong to it anymore. In that case, he shouldn’t be capable of teleporting me here either … unless he is so powerful he can break the rules, which makes this theory non-valuable, at least for now. Besides, that’s far-fetched too. No matter how powerful he is, and no matter who calls him a god, he can’t go around breaking metaphysical laws and controlling space-time on the tip of his fingers. All us psychics can do is bend these laws a little and get a convenient solution to problems not possible normally. The possibility of him solely being able to interfere with the physical world – I would say it’s unrealistic without a doubt.

Then another possibility is contracts and conditions. What if forming contracts allows these ghosts to interfere with the physical world? It certainly becomes possible in the case of lower and middle-class spirits like that rabbit-like spirit and even a high-class one like Death. But Ozyllus would be a spirit definitely among the most supreme ones. I doubt any human on earth will be powerful enough to make a contract with such a spirit. I don’t know the details of spirits and contracts but the individual ability of the spirit-user does matter when making a contract and as far as I know, in present, there exists no human being who can make a contract with that high-level of a spirit.

Kais: “Though what if –”

The dragon did it. The dragon might be able to do so and would probably be glad to make a contract with his friend. That could also be a clue for why the dragon would be here if he says Ozyllus’ soul can protect the tomb by itself.

The only problem in this theory I can think of right now is that the dragon is essentially not a being that would be capable of forming contracts since that’s restricted to human beings. One way around it could be that when he gained his human form, he became able to make contracts with spirits among other human-like attributes he got, but I have no confirmation on that front and there’s no indication of anything like that being possible.

I have been standing here thinking over these things looking like an idiot for a while now. If the barrier wasn’t up, I could have been the most vulnerable person in the world right now. But the barrier is up and I am safe. So I wonder now what exactly the reason for that chill I felt was.

If someone else was indeed here and had snuck past me, did they just go do whatever they came to do? Because if they didn’t, and are instead waiting somewhere around here, it won’t matter much what they do unless I take my barrier down. If they did run away, then who were they and why were they here?

Kais: “Huh!”

A dry smile comes on my mouth. I guess I now understand why those students who couldn’t write a thing on the test papers were so irritated about it even knowing full well nothing about it will change from the irritation. Truly, having questions and questions and questions and no answers – is a truly irritating thing.

Kais: “Well, but I would say I am in a worse situation.”

At least there’s a time-limit for them after which they would have to hand the test papers, return home and relax. In my situation, I wouldn’t be free of this mess unless I find some answers.

Kais: “Damn! This sucks.”

Well, complaining won’t do much to help but there’s nothing else I can think of right now. Even coming up with theories is only confusing me more because of the lack of information there is. I am not some super genius detective-of-the-century for crying out loud. Can’t I get more hints here? Isn’t there any other clue?

Dragon: “If they fear me and constantly try to appeal to me thinking they’ll gain some kind of benefit from it, then they are completely incompetent.”

I suddenly remember the dragon said that. He said that’s his criteria for judging if someone’s a competent psychic or not. But what’s up with that. We psychics are not some chivalrous knights. Many strong ones, knowing they are weaker than the dragon, might try that approach. He shouldn’t judge them based on that. I guess personal opinion is what drives him to this method.

Kais: “But isn’t that childish?”

A dragon that has lived so many centuries and had befriended a psychic like Ozyllus would really be so childish? It’s really hard to believe and I am inclining on the possibility that there’s something more to the story than that. There should be a reason as to why he uses this method. Obviously, the possibility always exists that the dragon really is that childish and I am wasting my time over-thinking things but I can’t go on betting that’s the case.

Kais: “But then what’s the reason?”

There’s also the fact that this wasn’t the only thing he mentioned about his criteria back then. He also mentioned,

Dragon: “If they fear me and try to run away from me, then they are incompetent as well.”

Trying to run away is deeply ingrained in my head. I doubt I am the only psychic who thinks that way though. Barry once told me that psychics have different personalities, and while that may seem obvious, that’s an important piece of information. It is not that only people with certain kind of personalities could be psychic; their personalities can differ as much as possible. That does mean that psychics who would not run away would be exist but the exact opposite is obviously also true.

Dragon: “If they fear me and try to attack me in blind rage, they are incompetent too.”

Though I kind of agree that a psychic who would not be able to keep his emotions in check and attack someone in blind rage can be considered incompetent, when I combine this to how the dragon has seen the previous two kinds, he doesn’t mean that they should try to stay calm and think rationally at all times. What the dragon wants in psychics is –

Dragon: “But if they fear me and try to sort out their thoughts because of it and hold a conversation with me, then I’ll deem them competent enough to enter.”

It does sound like he wants psychics to think calmly and rationally, but that’s not the case. A psychic who sees the dragon and if afraid of him is not one the dragon opposes. In fact, he welcomes the fear. But in fear, running away by teleporting or some other method would be a good decision a lot of times, but that’s not what the dragon wants us to do.

He wants us to put up a façade and talk to him. There’s definitely something twisted about a man who would walk into the face of the dragon and talk to him even after being afraid. I guess that would mean I have a screw loose in my head too.

Kais: “Not that I can really deny that with how calm I have been.”

My emotions have not overwhelmed me once on this island. I feel like they should have, but they haven’t. Is this some kind of effect that the island is causing on me? If so, then wouldn’t it be the same for every other psychic too? Wouldn’t they all be able to think in the same calm way like I have? In which case, many more would have come to the same conclusion too.

Kais: “However …”

Not everyone will voice those thoughts. Some people will keep it in their head trying to be cautious. What would happen to them? The dragon didn’t say anything about being against caution, yet if he fails to recognize such a person, he would be against caution. Then, if a psychic does not remain cautious and just talks to the dragon even after being afraid of him, he would basically be a fool. After all, even I was cautious too and I am sure he knew about it, but he had no problem with it.

Now if there’s some degree of caution that the dragon is fine with, then how does that play into the infinite number of situations possible? How will he judge the individual every time keeping ‘how cautious they should be’ in mind? That’s it. That’s just not going to work. You can’t measure someone’s caution. There’s no way you can be accurately judging in that regard. Then, there’s something more to his words? Is there? Even that aspect is not fully clear to me.

Kais: “What about that other theory?”

If the theory that Ozyllus’ ghosts had formed a contract with the dragon is true, then was Ozyllus doing the real judgment and the dragon was just making excuses to cover it up? That’s seems possible. It’s very likely that he had not expected Ozyllus to consider me capable of entering the tomb so he got startled and randomly came up with this nonsense from the top of his head.

But that’s only possible in case the theory about Ozyllus’ ghosts being in the spirit-form and forming a contract with the dragon is true. Is it true? Well, it certainly is possible, but it’s not something I would place my hopes on.

It is just not in the nature of any being other than humans to make contracts with spirits. The thought that transforming into a human gave him the ability is not the most believable thing in the world. After all, he only changes his physical form. He can’t change what’s deeply ingrained in his very species.

Kais: “Could Ozyllus be so powerful he could do even that?”

Ever since Barry first told me stories of that god-like psychic, I had always wondered exactly how powerful he is. Is he so powerful that we are not even capable of estimating his strength? From how no one ever speaks about his strength in comparison to anyone but god; that might be the case. But is becoming so powerful even possible?

Many say that we have lost the supernatural because of technology but it is just foolish rambling of people who know nothing about supernatural. Things like pollution, global warming and such have no effect on how powerful a psychic can be. Yet it is a fact that no one in the world is even close to some of the legends.  They were powerful enough that every psychic on the whole planet would feel their aura when they don’t keep it under-control. And it’s not possible someone could keep their aura under-control 24×7. But I have never felt anything of that magnitude and from what I know from Barry’s stories about the guys working for Vermillion, there hasn’t been anyone that powerful in at least the previous two centuries.

Kais: “Damn! This isn’t working.”

Whenever I start to think about one question, it leads to another and another and another till I get distracted from the topic. All I can come up with is theories.

Kais: “Okay.”

I need to make a decision now. Thinking like this isn’t going to do me any good. Sure it is good to have some theories prepared so I can make links to them when I get some answers, but to keep thinking them will only be a headache for my brain. First of all, I can’t think of a theory for every single question without there being some holes in them. If I am not able to spot those inconsistencies then with some false evidence, I can easily start thinking of a fake possibility as reality.

Kais: “Which is why – I need to start walking again.”

I was about to go in the direction Ethan came from and went in when I felt that chill. I have worried about it enough and my barrier is in its place so I am safe from whoever the reason for that chill was. Now I need to get back to it.

Kais: “Okay, no time to waste.”

I decide I will start walking immediately. If I don’t do this, some other doubt will arise in my mind. That’s just the kind of person I am.

‘You are the type of guy who is so skeptical of everything that you would carefully analyze every possibility and find flaws in it, ending up doing nothing.’

This is something someone once said to me. As much as I hate it, that person’s right. I am that kind of person. So, I have to force myself to do ‘something’ so as to not end up doing ‘nothing’. That’s the only ‘positive’ way for me to look at it.

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

I have been walking for about half an hour now. This sure is a long road. I am pretty sure I have not strayed from my path. I am also sure some kind of stupid trick where ‘I think I am going straight but I am actually revolving in circles’ is not being played on me. This is, in all honesty, a path so long it would take me this much time and I would still not see the exit, or any other room for that matter.

Kais: “What”

As if just on cue, I see a bright light in the distance. It looks like just a dot from here, but I can tell it’s the exit.

Kais: “What the hell!”

If I am nearing an exit, does that mean I am going to exit to a different place than I was at before? This definitely is a different space than the island was on so it would make perfect sense for that to happen.

Kais: “And just where would that be now?”

Ethan did come from this direction and go back the same way. But did he come this far? I can’t tell because I spent so much time thinking I lost all the chance I had for catching up to the guy.

Kais: “Uh, whatever, who cares about him?”

To say the truth, the only feeling I have for that man is that of wariness. I just can’t trust him no matter what. And if I remember correctly, I did feel a chill run down my spine back when we shook hands in the store.

Kais: “He is someone to be cautious of. There’s no way I can bring myself to trust him, especially with him having those ‘Eyes of Truth’.”

If he really has those eyes, then he can be considered a threat to psychics. And well, that is what the legend says about the possessor of those eyes.

Kais: “The legend, right.”

How many of those legends have I found to be true already?

An island where only psychics lived – well, I was there before entering this place.

A man whose eyes could not be deceived – if Ethan didn’t lie about his eyes, then that’s who he has become, even though the legend was about a completely different person.

A dragon who befriended a god – well I met him alright.

A man who slaughtered thousands – I don’t even want to think about that but that came true 12 years ago already.

A demon that destroys the world – I don’t think I have any confirmation about this one, but I hope it’s not true.

Well, that’s that. While thinking about these things, I have reached the exit of the place. The bright light is a mere 10 meters away from me now.

Kais: “It’s time to see what’s beyond this point.”

I think that as I step into the brightness and feel my body getting transported to another space.

Kais: “Well then?”

I walk through the light. There’s nothing visible beyond the whiteness of the light, so I don’t know where exactly I might end up at, but I have come this far, I have to take the risk now … with teleportation ready for any moment.

My eyes get covered with pure white for a second and then the scenery appears – the scenery that’s familiar in a way.

Kais: “I’m … back … at the island.”

I guess this possibility did occur to me but since nothing had really happened in there, I thought I will end of somewhere else instead of returning to the starting point. What was the point of going in? Was it to meet Ethan? That’s can’t be. Well, I’m back on the island now so I should focus on that. Well, I can see everything I could see before I went in. It seems like everything’s the same. If there’s a difference, then that’s …

Kais: “No one’s here.”

Sona, the dragon and the little girl – there should be three or at least two people here. But they are nowhere to be found.

Kais: “Did they go somewhere?”

I hope the situation didn’t get any worse while I was not around. If those two started fighting again, Sona would probably die, but she should be aware of that. So something stupid like that shouldn’t have happened.

Kais: “But then, what did happen?”

I start walking towards the place they were sitting at when I left. Maybe I’ll find some clue. That’s the thought at least.

Kais: “Wait! What!!!”

But what I see there is … blood.

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