Chapter 21: Villains

There are 7 people on the island at present. Seven individuals who are all linked to each other far closer than they realize.

Barry, who is a ghost, a psychic and is working for vampires, somehow also is the brother of Valdis, the queen of vampires.

Ro, who was a half-psychic, now is a ghost and is also working for vampires, somehow is really important to the vampires.

These two of them are standing near someone who is fallen on the ground. This man who is on the ground with his eyes closed is one of the strongest, if not the strongest psychic in the world but he doesn’t even know it and has caused a major disruption inside himself.

The three psychics being next to each other causes all the psychic energy in the surrounding to be attracted towards them. Seeing this, a certain someone is left to wonder why Ro’s psychic energy is still present around him even though he can no longer use his ability. This man, Ethan, is a completely normal human being, or so he says.

He has the Eyes of Truth and has fooled many psychics with his schemes.

Noticing the expression on Ethan’s face, a woman powerful enough to decimate mountains looks sharply at the ghost of her former “colleague”. From the fact that Ethan is looking at him, she understands that he is not someone to be taken lightly under any circumstances. The cold smile on Ethan’s face – the expression that says he is interested in this man – is a clear message for her, Sneha.

Ethan and Sneha stand a little distance away from Kais and are facing the two ghosts.

The person who is trying to keep an eye on everyone also more or less gets this impression of Ro from the atmosphere. This person, no, this dragon that is feared throughout the ranks of Vermillion as well as The Vampire Kingdom is calm. At least, that is his facial expression. His real feelings at the moment are that of turmoil. This dragon – someone who doesn’t even have a name – is also one of them.

He is standing diagonally away from both parties. His positioning is something like that of a referee before the match begins.

Finally, the woman whose only desire is to kill this dragon and has vowed to sacrifice everything for that purpose but still could not completely give up on her humanity for the sake of this purpose – Sona – is the last one of the seven.

She is standing a little distance away from the dragon diagonally behind him.

These seven people are in complicated relationships with each other. Ro and Barry do not completely trust each other but work together because that seems to be the best for them. Ethan and Sneha don’t completely trust each other but work together because their goals align. Neither of two parties is at good terms with the other. Then there is the dragon that is a source of concern for everyone because no one knows what he is thinking. He himself is cautious of everyone because no one here has earned his trust. Finally there’s the woman who doesn’t seem to be a part in the grand scheme of things but is still connected to this scenario somehow because of her wanting revenge against the dragon.

Finally, there’s him, someone who all the parties want on their side. And so all of them are trying to either deceive him or coerce him into joining them. But the problem in front of all of them is –

Barry: “He is too cautious, isn’t he?”

He says while looking at the person he is talking about.

Ethan: “Isn’t that your fault though?”

Ethan says also looking at the person they are talking about.

Barry: “I suppose.”

If Barry had never done the atrocious things he did 12 years ago, Kais probably wouldn’t be this cautious about things.

Barry: “But there was nothing I could do about that. That was something I had to do.”

He doesn’t show any tinge of regret.

Ethan: “That so? And what was the reason? Why was it something you ‘had’ to do?”

Barry: “Do you really expect me to answer that?”

Barry turns towards Ethan as he answers. Annoyance, just for a moment, had come to his face but Ethan regained his mask and said,

Ethan: “I don’t.”

He closes his eyes as he continues,

Ethan: “But I can take a guess.”

Barry furrowed his eyebrows urging his to continue.

Ethan: “Let’s see, you wanted him to kill you.”

Barry: “And why would I want to be killed?”

Ethan: “That’s easy.”

Ethan lifts his finger and points at Barry.

Ethan: “To get like that.”

He is pointing towards a man with light blue cape with stripes on it, the dress hidden within the cape being crimson-brownish. He has fair skin and a rather good-looking face that somehow matches with this weird mix of colors.

Ethan: “Or to be more exact, to become a ghost who is working under vampires.”

This clothing he has was made especially for him by the vampires. It was made with the same material they use to restrain ghosts. Something like this can only be worn by a ghost who is working for vampires.

Barry: “And why exactly would I want to be something like that?”

Ethan: “Simply because, you were not always his brother. But you were always her brother.”

All eyes look at Ethan, all except Barry’s. He looks down for a moment and then closes his eyes.

Barry: “I see. That’s what you say, huh?”

His voice is calm, his face has a gentle smile on it and it paints him in a light completely different from what he usually looks like. Right now, the solitude of his life is showing itself on his face. Noticing that expression from the corner of his eyes, Ro becomes baffled.

Barry: “Well, you are not completely wrong.”

Ethan: “I see.”

Ethan can’t show this ghost sympathy but he can say this,

Ethan: “You’ll someday be free of all this.”

He can say this because it is a fact he knows.

They are two people who have played villains extremely well. So, while looking at each other, there has to be some iota of sympathy welling up inside them.

For both of their companions, seeing this is bizarre but for once it doesn’t look like either them is trying to fake their smiles.

Barry: “I guess we should be glad he is not conscious yet.”

To someone who has come to hate one and be wary of the other, this does not bode well. So he is glad that someone who is unconscious, or is he?

Barry: “The hell!”

He exclaims with a look of horror on his face. Ethan looks at Kais and understands why Barry reacted that way.

Ethan: “I see.”

However, unlike Barry, Ethan doesn’t show surprise or shock. His expression remains calm. Because what is going on is not a problem for him, but it’s a problem for his opposing party. Just because the two men came to understand each other to an extent doesn’t mean their enmity suddenly disappears.

Sneha: “Just what is going on here?”

Sneha asks being unable to understand what has gotten Barry so freaked out.

Ethan: “Well, Nietzsche once said,”

A quote that is a little too terrifying in this context.

Ethan: “When you gaze into the abyss for long,”

Darkness starts enveloping the island as everyone but Ethan panics.

Ethan: “the abyss gazes back into you.”

???: “Well done!”

A demonic voice rings out. Ethan looks at the source of the voice, and the source of the darkness.

???: “Now, I need to kill someone here.”

Ethan closes his eyes and smiles before adding,

Ethan: “So that ‘someone’ is here after all.”

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

Nietzsche also said, “There are no facts, only interpretations.” And so one is free to interpret anything and everything whatever way they want to.

Valdis: “That’s a terrifying thing to think about.”

Reid: “Yes, your highness.”

In the palace corridor of the Vampire Kingdom, the two people are walking.

Valdis: “Ha! To think that all our history could have been made on lies and the truth might be hidden somewhere under the rubble that we may never be able to dig out. Truly, that’s a truth I’d wanted to avoid knowing if I could.”

Reid doesn’t say anything but he understands the queen’s feelings. After all, he is thinking the same thing.

It hurts to find out that all you think you knew about the history was a lie. What if someone who was praised as a hero in the history books was actually a villain?

It is a terrifying concept.

Reid: “Your highness?”

Valdis: “Yes, is something bothering you?”

Reid: “Actually, there is.”

The two of them are just walking down the corridor. They aren’t particularly doing anything other than walking and talking. And yet there was much gloom in the air.

Reid: “I never thought of Ozyllus as a hero.”

He is praised as someone who united psychics, ghosts and vampires. All records of him only praise him. Yet, Reid never really thought that highly of him.

Reid: “But … but I never thought … he would be …”

Reid had always known why this interpretation of history exists. It was because Ozyllus won. So those who wrote about history wrote about him as if he was a hero. If he had lost, that would not be the case.

Reid: “I never thought he would be such a demon.”

But even if he had lost, he would have probably been considered a fallen warrior. He would probably be seen as someone who had a dream and failed to accomplish it. That’s how Reid had imagined it. But unfortunately, the untold story of Ozyllus – is too dark and brutal.

Valdis: “I see. I understand. I never thought he would be someone like this either.”

But now they know the truth. Now they know – that Ozyllus was no savior or hero, he was quite opposite to that.

Valdis: “The question is – does Barry know all this?”

Reid: “He probably does.”

By the fact that he is the one to ask them to contact their strategist and ask him about this before leaving the Vampire Kingdom makes it highly likely he knows this. And if that is the case, why did he still go to the island? Why did he go there knowing he may not return.

At this stage; if they lose Barry, they lose the war.

Valdis: “I guess everything went according to Ozyllus’ plan, didn’t it?”

She says with a bitter expression on her face as she barely stops herself from shedding a tear.

 

I saw a strong light shining on me and sensed a pull from it. I see. So I thought, “my time in The Cage is already up.”

But then I realized that it isn’t the light that I would face after waking up. It is the light that would not allow me to wake up.

???: “Well, hello there.”

What? Who are you?

???: “Aw, you don’t recognize me?”

I don’t. But I do … I do recognize this pull. It is the same one that … that I felt when I stepped in the tomb.

???: “Starting to piece it all together? Good. Now, who do you think I could be?”

The voice keeps coming from all directions. Where is the source of the voice exactly and who is its owner? The voice itself keeps echoing not making it easy for me to understand anything from it.

???: “So you can’t figure it out?”

Damn!

???: “Well, then I guess I should just tell you.”

Okay then, who exactly are you?

???: “I am Ozyllus.”

Just as I heard that, the faces of the people on the island come to mind. And then it dawns on me – the truth, the lie; the reality, the forgery; the god, the human; it all became clear to me. And for just this moment, I know everything.

I know everything.

I know who Sona is. I know why the dragon was trying to deceive me. I know why Barry caused that tragedy. I know who Sneha is. I know how much Ro has suffered. And I know why Ethan Kales is doing what he is.

And I … can do nothing. This is a war we are meant to lose. Our life’s story is … a goddamn tragedy.

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

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    Chapter 21 – Villains

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