Chapter 16: Chase

Sneha: “Is this the one?”

Sneha asks while pointing at a private jet.

Ethan: “Probably.”

Sneha: “What the hell do you mean ‘probably’?”

Seeing Ethan’s carefree attitude makes her irritated, though her reaction only ends up amusing Ethan.

Sneha: “(sighing) whatever!”

The two have this conversation while walking towards a private jet. They had planned to meet at the airport, which they did. But that is where the hoax begins. After they met, they left the airport through back entrances without letting anyone spot them.

Sneha: “Still, was all that really necessary?”

Ethan: “Can’t really say it was ‘necessary’, but it’s more like – what’s it called – yeah, better safe than sorry.”

Ro was killed and suspicion could easily fall upon people like Sneha and Mohammed who were with him a little while before his death, as well as Ethan who was his target. There was a chance they would be followed, so they devised this fake out.

Ethan: “Well, anyway, once we get on the plane, there would be nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter if they find out about our real plan or even try to catch up with us.”

Sneha: “I understand why it doesn’t matter if they find out that we were trying deceive them and that our real plan was to take a private jet, but how will it not be a problem if they try to catch up with us?”

Ethan: “Well, let’s just say –”

Ethan turns towards Sneha as he smiles and closes his eyes,

Ethan: “They won’t get a chance to actually catch us. Someone else would do it before them.”

Sneha: “What!?”

Ethan has a troublesome habit of dropping bombshells on people. He doesn’t think about anyone’s feelings when he reveals shocking information. The worst part of it all was that he was aware of this habit of his and actually enjoys doing so.

Sneha: “W-who are you talking about?”

Someone will catch them before Vermillion can. That’s what Ethan says, but what exactly does he mean? Sneha keeps repeating that question in her mind.

Ethan: “Well, a particular group of people should be out hunting for us. Our friend will probably be there as well.”

Sneha: “What friend?”

Ethan: “The one we killed last night.”

This man really loves torturing people with the truth. The man he is talking about has to be Ro Garland. Sneha understands that but the problem is – for what reason would he, or his ghost, come after them so soon?

Sneha: “Are you telling me he would want revenge after having been turned into a ghost?”

The fact that he is a ghost now and hasn’t completely gone away from their lives is disturbing enough for her. The guilt of seeing someone she had a part in killing is too big. Add to that the possibility that he might want revenge.

Ethan: “Nope.”

However, even though Sneha thought it would be the best reason for it, Ethan denies it.

Sneha: “Are you going to explain?”

Sneha looks at him suspiciously making it clear that she doesn’t completely trust him and is ready to use force against him if necessary.

Ethan: “That’s a scary expression. Anyway, the reason is simply that he would have met Barry and others Barry is affiliated with. In that case, they would have probably figured out that the situation is playing out as I want it to. I bet they are coming to stop me.”

Ethan says so with his usual carefree expression that has not changed once since the start of the conversation.

Sneha: “Isn’t that something we need to worry about?”

Anxiety starts creeping up her face as she asks that but Ethan’s attitude (much to her irritation) remains the same.

Ethan: “Why? It’s not that big a deal.”

He gives an answer that would make him seem like a fool, but Sneha understands there must be a reason he says so.

Sneha: “Are you even sane right now?”

Yet the first thing she does is reprimand him, or at least try to.

Ethan: “What do you think?”

Sneha: “You aren’t.”

Sneha gives her honest judgment of his sanity, i.e., he doesn’t have any.

Ethan: “Damn! That’s harsh.”

Ethan acts as though that hurt him by pulling out his tongue but Sneha has known him enough to know it’s all just an act.

Sneha: “It’s the truth.”

So she spends no time bothering to comfort him.

Ethan: “Anyway, we’re here. So now sir pilot,”

Ethan says to the man standing beside the jet as they had reached the jet while talking.

Ethan: “Are we ready to go?”

Pilot: “We are.”

The pilot nods, to which Ethan smiles and looks at Sneha, who sighs. The three are to head to a place that’s said to be one of the most dangerous and mysterious places in the world, ‘the island where only psychics lived’.

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

Ro: “That bastard should be around the airport right now.”

Barry: “No, he wouldn’t be.”

While discussing where they first need to go, Ro voices his thoughts on were Ethan would be, but to his surprise, Barry denies his guess.

Ro: “Huh, why? That’s where he was going, right?”

Ro asks as if to confirm. He did hear Ethan saying something like ‘airport’ when Ro was dying and he also heard this from the Intel that ghosts had gathered on him, so he should have been right about it.

Barry: “Think about it. Would he really be able to get to that island through some airline?”

Barry voices a fair point. Only those who already know about the legend of the island can enter the place. This is the very reason Kais immediately assumed that the psychics who were sent to the island would all have known about it back when he was coming up with theories on Vermillion’s involvement in all of this. But there is an easy way around this problem, and Ro doesn’t think Barry would have just missed it.

Ro: “No, but he could be planning to get close to the place, maybe meet someone who knows about it enough to enter it and then go in with them.”

Ro states a very simple solution to the problem, but …

Barry: “No, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t need to do that.”

Ro: “?”

With an expression of questioning, he looks at Barry.

Barry: “I am not fully sure of this but I think Ethan himself knows about the island enough to enter it. In fact, there’s a strong possibility he had gone there himself.”

Ro: “Wait, seriously!?”

As Barry says that, Ro becomes more confused.

Ro: “But then why do you think he can’t there with a plane?”

Barry: “It’s a thing about height.”

Ro: “Huh?”

Barry: “The barrier makes the place the island is at seem like there’s nothing but water from outside. In which case, if someone doesn’t know where exactly that barrier is then,”

Ro: “Then they’d end up flying over the barrier.”

Barry nods.

Ro: “So, even if he does know about it enough that he’ll be able to pass through the barrier and enter, if he doesn’t realize where it is then he’d have no way of entering it.

Something like convincing the pilot to lower the plane on a place that looks like just water is already something one would have some problems with. If the person himself is not even sure that there’s the island beneath then there’d be no way he’ll be able to pull it off.

In either case, going to a place near the island and then getting to the island from there somehow seems like the only thing Ethan can do. The first part can be done by a private jet, but what about the second?

Ro: “Just how is he planning to find the island? I mean that barrier has, like a million safety devices on it.”

The said safety devices make the barrier and everything inside it invisible; stop any sound as well as odor from escaping from within; and also creates the illusion of the place being a simple part of the ocean.

Ro: “That barrier is something not even the Eyes of Truth can detect unless they are used at their full potential.”

And so, the fact that the two don’t know about Ethan’s eyes comes about to not make any difference in this situation. Or so it would seem.

Barry: “Regardless of how Ethan is planning to get to the island, we will need to catch up before he does.”

Barry points out that what Ro is worrying about isn’t actually their concern.

Barry: “If we get to him before he can go into the island, that’s that. It won’t matter anymore what he was planning.”

Understanding the point made, Ro nods.

Ro: “But will we really be able to catch up?”

Barry: “We will. This jet we are in …”

He points at the controller of the jet as if pointing at the black jet itself,

Barry: “Is the fastest vehicle of the entire Vampire Kingdom.”

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

Ethan: “They should be arriving soon enough.”

Ethan says so while staring out the window. He and Sneha are sitting in the opposite corners of the passengers lobby.

Sneha: “Talking about Ro and … Barry?”

Sneha asks the question as she wishes for the answer to be ‘no’. She doesn’t want to hear a ‘yes’ to that but she already knows that’s the answer.

Ethan: “Yeah.”

And the answer doesn’t surprise her at all.

Sneha: “No matter how devious you are, I really doubt you can outsmart someone like Barry, especially when he also has Ro’s support.”

Ethan: “Well, that’s the interesting part, isn’t it?”

Ethan accepts that evaluation of his abilities without a struggle. So what does he intend to do? What exactly is he thinking?

Ethan: “I’d like it if more people were sent to stop us since that will make it easier to create some chaos, but I think those two will be the only ones who would come.”

Sneha: “And why’s that?”

Ethan: “Simply put, the fact that Barry didn’t do anything while we were ambushing Ro means he hadn’t figured out my plan back then.”

She nods in affirmation.

Ethan: “So whenever he figured it out, he probably rushed here along with Ro who obviously would have wanted to come as well. I doubt they would have waited long enough to let others get ready to come here.”

Sneha: “You are saying because he was already late in noticing it, he would rush here so he could at least minimize the damage.”

Ethan: “Something like that.”

Ethan nods while smiling as he answers her question. His logic makes sense, surprisingly enough seeing how his mind isn’t the most sensible thing on the planet.

Sneha: “I see.”

Sneha thinks of what may happen when they come here as she looks at Ethan. He doesn’t seem bothered by it at all. It is almost as if he’s inviting them here.

Sneha: “So is this part of your plan?”

Ethan: “Well, it sure is convenient to think that way, isn’t it?”

An unexpected answer comes from Ethan, forcing her to look at his expressions, which she finds to be –

Sneha: “What’s up with that face?”

The smile has vanished from his face and what has replaced it is a dark expression showcasing almost despair.

Ethan: “It just happens to be that’s what people like to believe. They think every problem that arises in their lives is because of a scheme of other, all the while they live as if they are saints.”

Sneha doesn’t say anything. The sudden change in his expression is so overwhelming that she can’t bring herself to respond.

Ethan: “That’s what causes genocide, doesn’t it? I bet that’s what caused that incident 12 years ago.”

Ethan’s words make sense, but Sneha has no idea why he would certainly start saying these things. It’s true that he may think these things deep underneath but did something she say trigger them to come out? After all, just a little while ago, he was smirking. No, to say the truth, she had always known – that smile of his was a fake one.

Sneha: “So … you mean to tell me this is not a part of your plan? Shouldn’t that mean we are in trouble?”

Ethan stays silent for a moment while the darkness slowly goes away from his face. He then sighs and answers,

Ethan: “Well, they think it is all part of my plan, so it doesn’t matter what’s the truth. After all, history isn’t shaped on facts; it is shaped on people’s perception of those facts.”

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

Having flown in the jet for hours now, Barry and Ro are getting more and more anxious about finding and intercepting Ethan. They knew the journey will take a while, but they had no idea it would take this long.

Ro: “Hey, you sure we are going in the right direction, right?”

Barry: “Here’s a friendly advice for you, whenever someone says that, they only end up increasing their own stress level no matter what the answer is.”

Ro clicks his tongue in annoyance at both his partner and the situation they are in. Barry tries to keep a poker face while answering Ro, but in truth he too is desperately asking this question to himself.

Barry: “Well, can you check where we are right now?”

Ro: “Wouldn’t that increase stress?”

Ro says as if get back on him, but then goes on to check their location anyway.

Ro: “We are …”

He stops mid-sentence on noticing where they are.

Barry: “Something wrong?”

Ro: “We are … about a minute away from the island.”

Barry: “What!”

Both ghosts look at each other in astonishment. Neither of them expected they’d reach the island so soon, and before they ever come across Ethan’s jet as well.

Ro: “Doesn’t this pose problems on our front though?”

Ro asks the obvious question that starts bugging the both of them.

Barry: “This might not be that bad of a situation actually.”

Ro: “Huh?”

Barry: “We were to come here eventually anyway, so why not now? And if things are going right, then we can just stop Ethan when he comes here.”

Ro understands Barry’s logic but he thinks this ghost is being too optimistic about the situation.

Ro: “I get what you are saying. The thing is – what if Ethan’s already here?”

Barry: “That’s fine as well. As long as Kais hasn’t agreed to his deal, it should be fine, right? After all, we did take into account the possibility that he may come here before we ever get a chance to intercept him.”

Ro: “Well, that’s true as well.”

They did indeed think of that situation as a possibility and came up with counter-measures for it. So they can manage the situation as long as Ethan’s schemes haven’t succeeded.

Barry: “Well then,”

He looks at Ro, and both nod. Following that, the black jet whose pilot isn’t even in the jet is brought down to the island and they get off on the shore.

Ro: “No matter what you may say about technology, travelling in a jet whose pilot controls it from a station back from the Vampire Kingdom is still creepy.”

Barry: “Well, it isn’t our technology, you know. The Vampire Kingdom stole this thing from the Ghost Nation. They are the ones you should blame for it.”

As the two continue to do some off-topic chatter, the doors are opened up for them to get out.

Ro: “Okay then, we should first find out if he is here or not?”

Bringing his attention back to the matter at hand, Ro says so.

Barry: “True.”

???: “Do you really plan to do so?”

But just as the two are about to head out, the barrier is crossed by another jet and a voice comes from it. This jet is much more ordinary looking than the black jet that the two ghosts have travelled in but regardless it is a high speed jet.

Ro: “What the hell?”

The jet lands on the ground right beside the black jet and the door opens up. Two people come out from the jet and they are two people both the ghosts can recognize pretty easily.

Ro: “Ethan!? Sneha!? What’s …?”

The timing has been too good to be a coincidence. This definitely isn’t a coincidence is what the two ghosts think.

Ethan: “Are you perhaps considering the possibility that this might not be coincidence?”

Barry: “What’s going on here?”

Sneha sighs on hearing Barry’s question as she looks at Ethan,

Sneha: “I can’t believe such a plan worked.”

Ethan: “Hey now, even something like my eyes can be useful sometimes.”

Ro: “Your eyes?”

Ethan looks at Ro and Barry as he continues,

Ethan: “We had no way to tell where this island was so we got undercover and let your jet pass by. Once you entered the barrier, all we had to do was following your lead and lower yourselves accordingly.”

Ro: “But you shouldn’t have been able to see our jet.”

Sneha sighs as she hears that. Ethan gleefully responds to Ro.

Ethan: “You tried to use a lower-level version of the invisibility spell surrounding this place on your own jet, right?

He pauses to observe the reaction of the two ghosts. Their gazes stay fixed on Ethan as he says these words. This brings a certain sense of joy to him, but he continues without trying to celebrate.

Ethan: “Unfortunately, my eyes can’t be deceived by that level of spell. That’s the one thing I have that separates me from completely normal humans.

Barry: “Wait now, are you telling me …”

Barry stops mid-sentence. He can’t grasp the situation. No, in truth, he can grasp the situation but that is what makes it so hard to accept.

Ethan: “Well, I guess I’ll finish it for you …”

He says as he closes his eyes and pauses. Then, opening his eyes, and staring right at the two ghosts, this ‘normal’ human says,

Ethan: “I have ‘The Eyes of Truth’.”

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

4 Replies to “Chapter 16: Chase”

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