Chapter 17: Lie And Truth

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

Huh? What the … what does he mean? Barry’s … blood, that’s impossible.

Dragon: “I guess I never really told you, did I? I know your brother.”

Oh … you do. So what? It doesn’t matter. He’s … well, he’s … dead, right?

Dragon: “Hey, you okay?”

No, he’s not … he’s dead, but he’s not … gone. He’s a …

Kais: “Ghost.”

My thoughts come to a sudden halt as a question comes to mind.

Dragon: “Huh?”

The dragon looks at me in confusion.

Kais: “How can a ghost … bleed?”

Ghosts should not be able to bleed. It just doesn’t make any sense for them to bleed when they don’t even have a physical body where blood is present.

Dragon: “You think ghosts don’t bleed?”

Yet the dragon asks me as if I am having some grave misunderstanding. There’s no mistaking it though, ghosts can’t bleed. I am sure of it.

Kais: “It just doesn’t make any sense for them to bleed. They are spiritual energy, damn it!”

Right, this isn’t Barry’s blood. He’s lying … he’s lying … he’s lying … but why’s he lying?

Dragon: “Allow me to correct that misunderstanding you are carrying around.”

Kais: “Misunderstanding? Don’t screw with me. There’s no misunderstanding here. Ghosts can’t bleed. I don’t know why you would try to deceive me like this but you should know that I have always been suspicious of everyone here. I have placed no trust in any of you that you’ll ever be able to take advantage of.”

The dragon stands in his place calmly listening to me express my anxiety out loud without even realizing I am doing so.

Dragon: “Are you done?”

The dragon sighs and looks at me as he says that. Keeping his eyes focused on me, he points his finger at the blood trail.

Dragon: “Ghosts have the ability to possess others. However, when they possess someone, they almost become human again.”

Kais: “Almost?”

That’s the key word – is what my instincts tell me.

Dragon: “If the body they have possessed gets destroyed, it won’t mean any actual harm to them. That said, as long as they have that body, the pain felt by the body or the blood spilled by it or even the simple feeling of hot or cold will be felt by then in full.”

So, he is trying to say that Barry possessed someone, that someone is the one this blood really belongs to.

Kais: “You are telling me Barry is here. That’s absurd even if you are talking about his ghost.”

In truth, I just don’t want to accept a situation like that.

Kais: “And then you add to that he possessed someone on this island; well, who?”

Dragon: “A corpse of a psychic who came here before you.”

Wait! Seriously!? That doesn’t not make sense but still,

Dragon: “Anyway, I followed this blood trail and I saw Barry, or the corpse he had possessed, out there bleeding. If you still don’t want to believe me, that’s fine. Go check for yourself.”

Barry … is here? He is on this island? Why? I still think the dragon is lying to me for some reason. Is that just because I don’t want to face Barry? Am I just trying to run away from reality and there’s nothing to be suspicious of?

No. That’s not it.

Kais: “Didn’t you hear me when I said I have placed no trust in you.”

Dragon: “Yeah, so what?”

Kais: “How can I be sure I’ll be safe if I go in the direction you are pointing?”

I remind him how less I trust him. If I were to measure the amount of trust he has earned from me on a scale, it would undoubtedly be at 0.

Dragon: “I see. You are even suspicious of that, huh?”

The dragon looks down acting like that depressed him. I can read your aura so there’s no point in acting. I thought I would say that but no point.

Kais: “No way am I letting my guard down.”

Dragon: “Yes, I see that. Well, I guess that’s a good trait in this situation. There is no guarantee who might be an enemy and who might be an ally at this point.”

The dragon nods telling me that. I can tell from his aura he is at least genuine about that. He really does think being suspicious is the right way to go about things, in which case, something pretty important must be happening.

Kais: “What are you talking about?”

Dragon: “You know full-well what I am talking about.”

I do? What do I know about … that can make this dragon take up a suspicious attitude? Wait, is it the …

Kais: “War.”

The war that Vermillion is waging, the one that they want me to join from their side so badly they needed to kidnap me and throw me at this island – that’s the only thing that comes to mind. I recently also found out that ghosts exist. They could be involved in this too.

Dragon: “So my expectations weren’t misplaced. You really do know the mess we are in.”

The dragon is relieved to hear that for some reason, though something about his words just now bothers me.

Kais: “We? How are you in involved in this war?”

I suppose I could take into account how Vermillion is constantly sending psychics here to this guy, so I know for a fact he isn’t completely uninvolved in the war. But I can’t really see how he has anything to do with it past that point.

Dragon: “Well, there’s that troublesome group of psychics who keep sending people like you here. And then there’s your late brother.”

Damn it! Him again! I am surprised I don’t lose my mind every time I hear his name. Well, I am also glad about it because his name keeps coming up again and again.

Dragon: “To put it simply, he is a ghost.”

Regrettably I have to be glad to Ethan right now. This isn’t the first time I am hearing about him being a ghost so I can think much clearly.

Kais: “I see. But I pretty much already figured that out.”

I won’t bother mentioning that I met Ethan and he told me that. It’s better not to get off topic as much as possible.

Kais: “And that is where my question lies – how can I know he is really here?”

Dragon: “Hmm … I don’t know. In order for me to prove it’s your brother who is bleeding, I need you to go take a look for yourself, but you don’t trust me enough to enter the woods, isn’t that right?”

Kais: “That’s the basic summary, yes.”

My feelings at this point are in a whirlpool of sorts. My emotions keep changing from one point to another and I am not much affected my any single one of them, but I am suffocated by the combined brunt of these emotions. I can’t even comprehend what my feelings are at this point in time.

Dragon: “So then, what will it take for you to start trusting me?”

What kind of ridiculous question is that? Well, at least it allows me to distract myself from the incomprehensibility within me.

Kais: “No idea. Don’t ask such childish questions.”

Dragon: “Childish?”

The dragon asks sincerely. Don’t tell me he actually thought I will be able to give him an answer.

Kais: “There is no manual that you can follow to gain my trust and it’s not like there’s a condition which one needs to fulfill to gain it either.”

Dragon: “Is that so?”

Kais: “Yes, that is so. Those who say trust can be gained by doing such things are either idiots or idealists.”

There’s no room for discussion there. I am neither an idiot nor an idealist and I have no intention of foolishly placing my trust in someone after they fulfill some preset condition or anything of sorts.

Dragon: “Now that puts us in a bind, doesn’t it?”

The dragon says so with his hand on his chin. I see his point but I am not willing to drop my guard here of all places.

Dragon: “Well, I guess we only have one choice then.”

If you are the one coming up with it, I’ll have to take it with a grain of salt, though it’s better to not say that out loud even if it’s true.

Kais: “What is this choice?”

Dragon: “Simply put, I’ll go to the place where I want you to go and you can put an eye on me with your abilities. This way it will be like I am guiding you there but I wouldn’t be able to harm you in any way.”

So basically, you are telling me to use clairvoyance, huh? That’s actually a pretty good way to go about things. Unfortunately, I still can’t completely agree with you.

Kais: “Before I say yes or no to that, tell me something.”

Dragon: “Ask away.”

The dragon had turned towards the forest while speaking but gazes back at me when I ask this.

Kais: “Where are Sona and that girl?”

The question has been bugging me for a while now. That whole affair with blood and then talk of Barry led me astray from the point, but this is what I really want to ask right now.

Dragon: “Don’t worry about them. They’re safe. That said though, I have no clue where they are right now.”

Kais: “Then how the hell can you assure me that they’re fine.”

Dragon: “I know that girl is fine because I will get a warning if something happens to her. As for Sona, as long as she’s co-operating and not trying to do something stupid, she should be fine. If she does try to do something stupid, I don’t care what happens to her.”

Harsh as that may sound, I am sure it’s the truth. Well, from what he said just now, I can assume –

Kais: “So when something happened, you all ran into the forest. Then you departed with them and came back here, saw the blood trail and followed it. You found the corpse Barry was possessing – he was bleeding – and then came back here.”

Obviously there are a lot of blanks in between, but that’s the overview of the situation. At least, the overview of the situation he is trying to give.

Dragon: “More or less”

The dragon says so folding his arms as if to look serious.

Kais: “Go to hell!”

Dragon: “What!?”

Kais: “I am not buying it, not for a second.”

That’s too inconsistent of a situation. No matter what happened here, I doubt the dragon would go in the forest along with the girl and Sona. He’ll probably just send the girl and stay here.

Dragon: “Damn! You are one tough customer, aren’t you?”

That almost sounds like he is admitting to lying about something.

Kais: “At least I would like to think so.”

Dragon: “Fine, then all I can do here is …”

He stops and looks at me.

Dragon: “… tell you the truth about your brother.”

Kais: “What?”

A smile would be creeping up his face right about now if he wasn’t so good at suppressing his emotions.

Dragon: “Let me tell you the story of when your brother and I first met – story of a psychic-ghost working for vampires.”

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

Girl: “Will Kais … be okay?”

Sona: “No idea.”

The two people walking on the forest floor keep a certain distance and don’t talk much. Sona has given up on guilt tripping the girl. She realized that because she is an artificial human, there’s a limit on how much she can blame herself and how anxious she can get. That limit is below what her breaking point would be so there’s no point in trying to bully her.

Sona: “I am more worried about what that bastard might be doing anyway.”

So she has shifted her thoughts to figuring out the dragon’s next move. Predicting people’s thoughts is not an area she specializes in and she is not a psychic with the ability to read them either. And so, predicting the thoughts of someone whose emotions are mostly hidden from their face is all the more difficult.

Sona: “Damn! And what’s up with that psychic he was talking about? Barry, was it? If there’s such a psychic that can defeat this dragon, where the hell is he?”

Girl: “Um …”

Sona: “What?”

Sona looks at the girl with irritation written all over her face.

Girl: “W-well, can we … really be sure that … the man who is a psychic and a ghost both … will attack the d-dragon?”

Sona: “No, we can’t. And that’s what’s annoying me so much. It feels like the dragon is just fooling me about this. Is there really any danger that we needed to get away from there?”

Girl: “W-well,”

While Sona is irritated, the girl fidgets her fingers as if wanting to say something.

Sona: “Tch!”

She sighs and looks at the girl, apparently less irritated than before.

Sona: “Say it. I won’t attack you or anything.”

Girl: “I … well … the thing is E-Ethan mentioned something like this … happening as well.”

Surprise rises on Sona’s face. Ethan Kales is someone she has never met but he sounds like an intriguing personality, to say the least.

Sona: “This Ethan, how many times did he come here?”

Girl: “O-only once.”

Sona: “And he told you all these things in only that one time?”

The girl nods. The more Sona hears about him, the more intriguing he becomes. Just who is this Ethan Kales?

Sona: “He said this island’s time is over, right?”

Girl: “To be exact, not yet but will be over soon.”

Sona nods while thinking. She has completely forgotten about the irritation she was feeling a little while back. Something that can make her ignore her irritation would be … a chance for victory against the dragon.

Sona: “Yes, it could work.”

If she is able to get this Ethan Kales on her side and use his resources to her advantage, she might be able to take out the dragon. She knows full-well that he is not powerful enough to do anything, but what would it matter even if he was when the dragon can just not be killed? The thing that matters is … the ability to find loopholes in his defense. And Sona gets the feeling that this man can do so.

Girl: “A-are you okay?”

The girl has a worried expression her face while looking at Sona, much to Sona’s surprise. She sighs seeing this.

Sona: “I do pity you, you know. If you weren’t bound to this island by that dragon, you may have become a really good person.”

Girl: “D-does that m-mean I am a b-bad person?”

Sona: “Of course you are.”

Sona looks at the girl as if she has asked the most foolish question in the world.

Sona: “You are associated with him and provide help to him by gathering information from various parts of the island so he doesn’t need to; of course that makes you a bad person.”

Simply put, if you help the dragon, you are a bad person – is what Sona tells the girl.

Sona: “You are the absolute worst person in the world right after that dragon.”

She looks at the girl with same blood-shot eyes as before and the girl shrinks back in fear and alarm.

Girl: “But I-I …”

Sona: “Don’t make excuses. That will only make you even more of a bad person. Though I guess you can do whatever you want seeing how you can only be the second worst no matter what.”

She declares so as if it is a matter of fact. The thing is – for her – it really is a matter of fact.

Girl: “Uh … um …”

Looking like she wants to say something, the girl fidgets her fingers, but suddenly,

Girl: “AGHH!!!”

She starts disappearing and re-appearing while crying out in pain. This reaction is something that has only happened to her once before.

Sona: “What’s going on?”

Sona asks seeing the situation suddenly developing in a way completely out of her understanding.

Girl: “AGH!!! He … he might … be here.”

The girl immediately thinks the same thing that happened last time might be happening again and so she says so.

Sona: “Who exactly?”

Girl: “E-E-Ethan …”

This happened to the girl only once before – that was when Ethan first came to the island. This might be the second time. The girl comes with this understanding immediately.

Sona: “I-is that so? Then we need to get there.”

Girl: “B-but …”

Sona: “No point in trying to stop me.”

Sona starts running towards the beach just as she says so. The girl falls to the ground. Having been left alone in the forest, she says the words she must have spoken earlier because now nobody is there to hear them.

Girl: “He … is not … alone. Really, really … dangerous … people are there with him.”

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

Kais: “The story of Barry and you meeting.”

Dragon: “Yes, I believe it is very essential you hear that story. Only then will you truly understand the situation here.”

But just as the dragon says that, he suddenly cries out in pain holding his left eye.

Kais: “Now what?”

Dragon: “Something’s … happened to her?”

The dragon answers me holding his eyes and gritting his teeth.

Kais: “To the girl?”

Dragon: “Yes.”

I had no idea he would suffer if something happens to the girl.

Kais: “Did Sona attack her again?”

I doubt there’d be much point in it but it is not like I know everything about her and how her mind works.

Dragon: “It’s not an attack.”

Kais: “Huh? Then what is it?”

I thought for sure it would be an attack. But if it not, then what the hell is it?

Dragon: “No idea, but I get a different kind of signal whenever someone attacks her or injures her. This type of thing … it has only happened once before.”

That makes sense, if he were to feel pain every single time; he probably wouldn’t give the girl a job where she may get hurt so many times. But he says this has happened once before, right?

Kais: “And … what was the reason for this that one time?”

He seems to be calming down little-by-little overtime.

Dragon: “No idea.”

Kais: “What?”

Dragon: “The pain subsided very easily and I later saw her squirming around unharmed so I thought nothing major would have happened.”

He closes his eyes still gritting his teeth. But it looks like the reason for that is annoyance rather the pain, which supposedly has subsided. To confirm that suspicion, he brings his hand down from his face.

Dragon: “But now that I think about it, it may have been the time when Ethan Kales came here.”

Kais: “Huh!”

But … that doesn’t make any sense, because if he is here again, wouldn’t that be too soon.

Kais: “It’s not two days yet, is it?”

Dragon: “What are you talking about?”

I am pretty sure there hasn’t even been a day since the time I went in. So why is he here already?

Kais: “Hey, how much time has passed since I went in the tomb?”

Dragon: “I don’t know, about 5-6 hours.”

Yeah, that’s it. That’s the right amount of time that should have passed. For a moment I thought time would work differently in that dimension I got transported into but it looks like that isn’t the case.

Dragon: “What are you thinking?”

Kais: “He said … it will take him two days to get here.”

Was he trying to make me lower my guard by saying that? If so, he damn well succeeded. But, I really doubt that. For some reason, I just don’t think that was one of his lies.

Dragon: “Who exactly are you talking about?”

No, there’s no proof. I have to consider the possibility that he was lying after all. In which case,

Kais: “Listen, I met Ethan in that tomb.”

Dragon: “What, you met Ethan … not …?”

Kais: “Not?”

That’s a peculiar thing to say. Did he expect me to meet someone else?

Dragon: “You didn’t … meet Ozyllus?”

Is that what you wanted to happen when you send me in there – meeting Ozyllus?

Kais: “… I didn’t.”

Damn it all! I really can’t trust a single person here, can I?

Dragon: “I see. Anyway, we can discuss that later. First, I need to check what exactly is going on? For some reason, I am feeling more powerful auras coming from the beach.”

I have been feeling that too. And I really doubt any of them belong to Ethan.

Dragon: “It may be … that not only Ethan, but some other peculiar figures are here as well.”

The dragon says so and turns towards the forest. He is half trying-to-hide-something and half concerned-about-what’s-going-on-at-the-beach.

Dragon: “Well?”

And he’s not a bad actor per se if he can think enough to know he should force me to come by my choice rather than him telling me to go.

Kais: “Well, why don’t you lead the way? I am not very familiar with the forest, so I’ll follow.”

To be honest, if I use my abilities, I would be able to navigate my way back to the beach easily, and I am pretty sure he knows that as well. But if he tries to refuse my approach, he would have to explain why he doesn’t want me to follow him. What I think is the real reason is that he doesn’t want me keeping an eye on him because he knows I am suspicious of him, but regardless he’ll have to accept.

Dragon: “Fine, you can follow me, if you can keep up that is.”

That last statement is probably thrown in as an act to divert my attention to it, so I’d ignore it.

Kais: “Anyway, get going already.”

The case with the dragon aside, I too am rather curious about what is going on at the beach. And there is also the fact that Sona may come across that scene sometime and she might try to take advantage of it by trying to get those people with strong auras on her side in order to defeat the dragon.

Kais: “Damn! This may become really dangerous really soon.”

Are you actually already here, Ethan? If you are, did you come here knowing this would happen? Or did you come here wanting this to happen?

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

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