Chapter 15: Dissipating Fear

Sona: “Just how greedy can you be?”

As Sona says those words, the dragon comes to understand two things. One – she is beyond saving and will try to kill him no matter what. Two – the word ‘greed’ he had uttered before was a trigger he accidently pulled and now all he can do is try to defend against the onslaught.

Dragon: “I can’t possibly understand what happened to you if you don’t say it.”

The dragon pauses and looks at the woman with blood-shot eyes staring at him as if staring at his soul.

Dragon: “But if that is how things stand then … I will defend myself.”

The dragon declares so. It’s not that he has regained composure, the blood-shot eyes are still terrifying to him, but now he is able to at least make decisions instead of purely being petrified. Though this change may have occurred only due to desperation, it is still better than being unable to do anything.

Sona: “You’ll … defend yourself?”

Sona’s tone of voice almost seems as if she doesn’t even understand what those words mean. It is a creepy, scary and truly dark state she has fallen in.

Dragon: “I will. If you want to attack me, do it, but I won’t be standing here and taking it.”

The dragon says so firmly. He knows he is someone she can’t really beat, so when it comes down to it this is all about willpower. If he does not lose to her in willpower, she would not win in anything.

Sona: “You think I care what you do.”

Sona takes a step forward as she says so and the terror comes back to the dragon’s heart for a moment. But this time, he is immediately able to calm himself and think.

Dragon: “Don’t be so conceited.”

The dragon says so as if reprimanding her. This is a tone the dragon should have been using from the start but the terror that had taken control over him didn’t allow him to do so.

Sona: “Conceited?”

Sona tilts her head to ask what he would mean. Seeing her tilt her head makes it look like it would almost break off. The dragon suppresses the urge to scream and continues,

Dragon: “When it comes down to it, you can’t defeat me; all you are doing is trying to scare me.”

Hearing those words, the corners of her lips twist into a smile.

Sona: “That so? Well it sure as hell is working then, isn’t it?”

Dragon: “Tch!”

He clicks his tongue to show his irritation. He knows full-well that is it the truth, but he can’t let this fact keep affecting him.

Sona: “What’s wrong? You went silent all of a sudden.”

Sona says so with the same creepy smile on her face, but before the dragon could answer, something else happens.

Dragon: “What!?”

Sona: “Hmm … this isn’t how it was supposed to go, was it?”

Both look at the mass of energy floating out of the tomb. It gathers near the dragon and combines to form the shape of a little girl, one they were both familiar with.

Dragon: “Why … are you here?”

The girl opens her eyes after the dragon’s question. She didn’t hear it but the fact that she is here is enough for her to wonder that herself.

Girl: “Why … am I … here?”

The girl looks at the dragon and then at Sona and moves a step back.

Girl: “U-uh, R-R-Sona …”

Sona: “Terrified, are we?”

Sona asks with blood-shot eyes and a smile. This expression seems to almost take her life out of her, but that doesn’t happen, it can only happen to people made of real mass and emotions.

Girl: “W-why are y-you l-like …”

The girl trembles as she asks Sona the question that has taken over all her worries. She doesn’t expect an answer but she just has to ask.

Sona: “First, why not tell me why you are here. This isn’t how it was supposed to go, right?”

Sona points out what is a bigger concern according to her.

Girl: “I-I … don’t know.”

The girl looks down as she answers. The dragon is standing behind her looking at her and Sona simultaneously. He has decided to stay quiet while this conversation happens.

Sona: “You don’t know, you say? Well, how about we ask the one who sent you in then?”

But Sona won’t allow that. She would not let him get a moment to calmly think things. The fear she is projecting onto the dragon must not fade, because … she isn’t satisfied yet.

Dragon: “Well, I don’t know either.”

The dragon answers as he looks at Sona.

Sona: “So this wasn’t a part of your plan?”

Sona says so as if it is the most obvious conclusion. The dragon too understands why one would think this way. He nods in denial.

Dragon: “There was no reason for something like this to happen. She should be with him right now. If something like this happened, then that means the place they both were at isn’t exactly the tomb.”

Sona: “Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!”

She bursts out laughing even though the dragon’s response was in a grave tone. Neither the dragon nor the girl can understand the reason. At this point, it is doubtful even Sona herself understands.

Dragon: “Why … the heck … are you … no, is there even a reason to it?”

The dragon says so as if to say that she is insane and would laugh without a reason for it.

Sona: “I can’t say why … but I just want to laugh … maybe it’s because of how … pathetic you people are. I … just can’t help myself.”

Her laughing makes her sentences break off at many points but neither of them tries to speak before she finishes.

Girl: “But then, does … this mean … Kais is alone there?”

The girl asks in a trembling voice but Sona immediately answers her,

Sona: “Hell yeah it means that.”

The girl looks at Sona with bewildered eyes. She has never seen someone say words like that with a smile on their face.

Sona: “And you are the reason for it.”

Sona blames the girl for the current situation. The girl can’t do anything but try to object.

Girl: “But I … I didn’t …”

Sona: “Didn’t leave on purpose, or by choice, or didn’t mean to do so – no matter what excuse you come up with, it is your fault.”

Sona doesn’t allow her to escape the blame. She wants to guilt trip her and she would do so.

Girl: “B-but I …”

The girl, while trembling, tries to make out words, but Sona doesn’t allow her to.

Sona: “Are those excuses what you are going to say to him if something happens to him?”

Girl: “S-something happens?”

The girl looks at Sona with teary eyes almost begging her to stop talking, but a woman who has lost sanity would have lost kindness too.

Sona: “Like what if he gets brutally injured or even dies. Will that be your excuse?”

She continues to attack at her sense of guilt and bully her. Her shoulders tremble and tears start flowing from her eyes.

Dragon: “Tch! I see the human emotions he put in you are backfiring now.”

The girl doesn’t move an inch but Sona’s attention turns towards the dragon.

Sona: “Human emotions, huh? Yeah, you put human emotions in it, that’s why it is so fun to bully that mass of energy.”

In her maddening mind, she could not register the fact that the dragon said someone else put human emotions into her.

Dragon: “Fun, you say?”

The word ‘fun’ disgusts the dragon. There is no negative emotion Sona doesn’t have for the dragon, but slowly this is becoming mutual.

Dragon: “You are having fun bullying a little girl …”

Sona: “The one that you created.”

Emphasizing on ‘you’, Sona makes the point clear. It isn’t that she would want to bully anyone and everyone; it is the fact that she is a little girl he created that she is so happy about her feeling pain.

Girl: “K-Kais may … die?”

The girl says so with trembling shoulders and tears flowing from her eyes having covered her whole face in them. Guilt has, in every way, overwhelmed her.

Dragon: “No, don’t worry about it. This was probably caused by someone. I doubt their intention was to kill him though.”

His words almost sound like false consolation. Sona gets amused after hearing so.

Sona: “Oh yeah, why’s that?”

She wants to tear apart any consolation he may give the girl. He is trying to give some hope to the girl, she would destroy that hope. That should put the girl in even bigger despair – the same thing that happened to Sona, now she intends do that to this little girl.

Dragon: “Why’s that, huh? The thing is – not just anybody can cause such a rift to happen, but I know a few people who can do so.”

To Sona, these words sound like an attempt at trying to escape from the point of the question by going to at it in a roundabout fashion.

Sona: “Don’t bother explaining stuff everyone knows. Why do you think they would not intend to kill him?”

But she would not let him get his way. She would not let him get away with it.

Dragon: “Tch!”

A click of tongue by the dragon – could be a sign that he has been caught in his tracks. This almost brings Sona to the point of bursting out laughing again, but …

Dragon: “Because the ones who would probably do this kind of thing right now would be the ones fighting a war.”

The girl and Sona both turn their attention towards the dragon. The girl stops crying and Sona stops smiling.

Dragon: “Allow me to clarify myself. When I said there are people I know who can do something like that, I didn’t mention that only one of them is alive.”

If those who are not alive are ghosts, they may still have the power to do that – is something the dragon cunningly drives their attention away from.

Dragon: “Those bastards have tried a lot to bring me to their side, haven’t they?”

The dragon says so with an irritated expression as both Sona and the girl widen their eyes at him. It wasn’t just Sona who thought he was just trying to console the girl with a lie, the girl herself also thought so. But that’s not the case.

Sona: “Hold on, what war?”

Dragon: “You must know it yourself, there’s a war about to begin between two opposing supernatural factions, isn’t it?”

The dragon asks her as if testing her insight on the situation. Sona stays silent and keeps staring at him – trying to find any hints that he is bluffing, but none come out.

Dragon: “I suppose you don’t know it then. Well, one of the two factions is the Vampire Kingdom.”

The dragon says so as if reminiscing the moment he had come in contact with them.

Sona: “Even if that’s true, there’s no way a vampire will have this kind of power.”

It isn’t a question of ‘how much’ but the question of ‘what type’ that contradicts his statement.

Dragon: “When did I ever say it needs to be a vampire?”

Sona: “Huh? W-what the hell do you mean?”

His lines don’t match up. If he is talking about the Vampires faction, then obviously it means a vampire is the one he should have been talking about.

Dragon: “The vampires do have some non-vampire allies, you know. One of them is a ghost as well as a psychic.”

Sona: “Wait! What!”

Girl: “T-that’s impossible!”

Both of them find themselves shocked by that revelation. It is something that, by definition, shouldn’t even be possible.

Dragon: “Why so?”

But on the other hand, the dragon asks that as if it is a completely natural occurrence and the ones calling it impossible are the fools here.

Girl: “Because even if he was a psychic when alive, he should lose those powers after dying.”

Just like the girl says, the vampires, ghosts and psychics are three different types of supernaturals. None of them can merge with the other.

Dragon: “Well, let’s just say there are a lot of factors at play here. This story is more complicated than you’d expect, or rather want it to be.”

Sona: “T-that’s complete bullshit! You’re lying, aren’t you?”

Sona immediately denies his words. She just can’t believe an entity like that can exist. If someone really is like that, then that person should be here. They should be here helping her get rid of this dragon. But they are not. So there is no point to their existence. Sona’s minds form those reasons.

Dragon: “Believe of it what you will. It’s not like I gain anything by convincing you anyway.”

The dragon doesn’t bother trying to convince either of them, but he makes his point very clear. By not trying to convince them, he has convinced them that it is not a desperate lie.

Girl: “B-but then, t-that person w-would be …”

Dragon: “Right, he is powerful enough to defeat me.”

Hearing the dragon say those words only fills Sona with deeper despair. Why isn’t that person here? Why are they not helping her?

Dragon: “I bet he wanted to bring Kais to his side and so brought him to a place where they could meet. Then he waited till she was out of the way and met him.”

The dragon’s conclusion, needless to say, is wrong. But none of them really know what’s going on inside, so it doesn’t matter, that conclusion is all they have to go on.

Sona: “Then … he wants to … bring Kais to his side. But why, what is he capable of? Kais doesn’t even seem like the type that would like to fight.”

Dragon: “That’s what I don’t understand, but there is something that points me towards a possible answer.”

The dragon remembers what that person had said to him.

“Wait for the time Kais comes here, I’ll be sure to come back too.”

Back then, the dragon didn’t even know who Kais was and he didn’t immediately remember that line when he first met Kais. By the time he remembered, Kais was already in the tomb.

Dragon: “Damn! This could end badly.”

The dragon says so with worry in his voice. His expressions don’t show his real emotions so Sona had stopped paying any mind to them but then she notices something.

Sona: “Huh!?”

Dragon: “What?”

The dragon looks at her asking why she made that expression. Sona, on the other hand, does not answer his question.

Sona: “Nothing.”

Obviously, it isn’t ‘nothing’. She sees his eyebrows twitch and worry being expressed on his face. Even this dragon, whose skills maybe on par with a master con-artist, can’t control his worry.

Dragon: “Anyway, things are about to get out of hand here. Since you want to kill me within four days, I don’t expect you to want to die right now.”

If that person who is a psychic and a ghost is intending to bring Kais to their side, the dragon is coming in their way. The dragon is trying to say that she might get caught in the cross-fire.

Sona: “A-ah!”

Sona understands what he is trying to say. The fact that the fear that had formed on his face during their conversation has completely disappeared now annoys her to no end but she knows that’s not what’s important here.

Sona: “Fine! I’ll go.”

Dragon: “Thanks for the co-operation.”

The dragon says so and turns towards the tomb.

Dragon: “You go as well.”

His words are directed at the little girl who had fallen to her knees. She gets up and nods before running towards the forest.

Dragon: “Well then,”

Now left alone near the exit to the tomb, he stares at it for a while. Then, underneath his breath, he silently mutters,

Dragon: “If I let my emotions show on my face, I would probably be smiling while telling them to go. Well, I guess these acting skills can be quite helpful sometimes.”

He says so while smiling. The smile caused by the incidents that took place few moments earlier is clear as day on his face, but no one is around to notice it.

Dragon: “Well, time to get to work.”

He says just before he tears open a wound on his right arm.

Dragon: “I need to make sure the blood is fresh. What better way than this?”

He says as he moves back while dropping blood on the floor.

Dragon: “It should be about time he comes back. Well, I hope you met Ozyllus in there.”

The dragon says so as he continues to widen the blood trail. What he said was no lie. Barry had indeed met him and said the words – “Wait for the time Kais comes here, I’ll be sure to come back too.”

Dragon: “Well, Kais came here alright, time for you to show up too, Barry.”

There was a rare wide grin on his face.

Dragon: “I’m waiting.”

At this point in time, Barry is in the court with three other people discussing the topic of Ethan Kales.

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

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 it won’t happen. Yet, I am indeed back on the island. 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.

Kais: “W-what the hell is going on?”

I say so as I turn my head in all directions. The blood trail … it is in a straight line.

Kais: “This seems like … like something …”

… That’s deliberately left for me. This looks like someone wants me to follow this trail.

Kais: “But … even knowing that, can I really ignore it?”

I don’t think I can. Of course I will be cautious, but I have to know whose blood this is. Moreover, Ethan said we will meet in two days. Before he arrives here, I need to have familiarized myself with this island. Whatever happens after he comes here, I need to be ready for it.

Having made enough excuses to start following the trail, I suddenly notice something.

Kais: “Wait now, there’s … a message.”

I thought this was a message to tell me to follow the trail, but there is actually something written on the floor with the blood.

Kais: “Let’s see.”

I think it is written in English, meaning whoever wrote this probably intended for someone else to read it, in which case, there’s a high chance that could be me.

Kais: “I think it’s W … A …”

Wait! What the heck! What’s the meaning of this? Why would someone write such a thing? And with blood no less.

WAR

Written in blood, large enough for anyone to see from the top of a tree even, this can be taken as a declaration of war. But I doubt that’s what it is.

The blood after ‘R’ trails in a straight line towards the forest. So whoever’s blood this is either went there or was dragged there.

Kais: “Either way, the situation seems to have taken a turn for the worse.”

Dragon: “Indeed.”

I look in the direction of the blood trail, the same direction the dragon’s voice comes from. He enters my field of view.

Dragon: “Glad to see you are unhurt.”

I notice that the dragon is completely fine. There’re no traces of blood on his body that I can detect, not even with Aura Reading.

Kais: “So this blood is not yours then?”

I thought for sure he would be the one who was bleeding. The possibility that it is Sona’s did cross my mind but with ‘WAR’ written with it, I can’t picture a scenario where it belongs to her.

Dragon: “No, it isn’t. But can you guess whose it is?”

The dragon says so as to give fuel to my curiosity.

Kais: “I can’t.”

I answer honestly. There’s no point in pretending to know.

Dragon: “Well, this is Barry’s blood.”

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