Chapter 22: Questions

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

Ethan says so while the darkness looming over them threatens to destroy everything.

???: “He is. And Kais isn’t ready yet.”

Ethan: “You sure about that?”

???: “Huh?”

Ethan: “I think he just needs a jolt of the truth.”

No response comes back, just like Ethan predicted. Darkness has covered the whole island. This darkness comes from the devil inside Kais. And in front of that devil,

Ethan: “Lead him to the truth of what happened 12 years ago. That should be enough for him to get ‘ready’.”

Abyss: “Tell me, why aren’t you even a little afraid of this darkness?”

Ethan: “I have supernatural eyes which is why I can’t escape from the illusion of darkness having taken over the place. But that’s it. You can deceive my eyes because they are supernatural but there is nothing else you can do to me.”

The energy composition with which this illusion is made is so complex and incomplete that unless it can combine with the energy of others, it doesn’t even work. And that’s the catch. Everyone who has supernatural energy flowing around them can provide the energy required for the illusion to work, but someone like Ethan or any other normal human being will be completely safe.

Ethan sighs and starts walking towards the centre of this illusionary darkness.

Ethan: “I don’t want to blame you for trying to protect him from learning the truth but do remember, that bastard will kill billions just because you got a little attached to a kid and decided to play house.”

Abyss: “Ugh!”

He keeps walking without worrying about himself. After all, only an illusion is blocking his path. There is no need to feel afraid.

Ethan: “So then, what were you really planning when you did this?”

Ethan moves right into the darkness and comes out of it on the other side – unharmed, as one would expect.

Ethan: “Oh, that’s it. I am little disappointed. But I guess I should have seen this coming.”

He sees that Kais is nowhere to be found but footsteps have appeared from the point his body was at.

Ethan: “Those footsteps are probably a diversion, but whatever.”

He looks back at the darkness to see the presence of the entity he had been talking to.

Ethan: “He ran away while you kept me distracted. Well, so be it. Not like he can run away forever.”

Abyss: “Just out of curiosity, what if I decide to keep protecting him?”

Ethan: “Then I’ll destroy you.”

A quick answer given with eyes widened enough to show the sickening conviction. Hearing it, the devil sighs.

Abyss: “I see.”

Saying so, he disappears along with the illusion he had created. Ethan tries to go into the forest when two dogs – Jack and Jill – come in his path.

Ethan: “Ha-ha! You are still around!?”

He sees the dogs being hostile to him and backs off as he looks back only to find everyone else lying unconscious on the beach. Among those 5 individuals, his eyes fell on Barry. Just a while ago, the two men had come to understand something about each other. They had come to understand the fact that there is something good within them. They had been able to relate to each other.

But that is as far as it will go. Nothing can erase the fact that they are two opposing factions. Neither of them can drop their guard against the other and so they will never be friends or anything of the sort. All they can be are enemies who sympathize with each other.

Ethan: “Well, that’s how it will be, I guess.”

Turning to look at the forest again, he spotted little remnants of the illusionary darkness still lingering. Seeing them, he tightened his fists.

Ethan: “There’s too much at stake for you to be worrying about him.”

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

Panting, I lay myself on the ground near the tomb. Well, now that I have left false footprints and teleported out of there back to the tomb, I can finally catch my breath.

Kais: “Still, what was that all about?”

What was up with Barry and Ethan?

Kais: “Also Ethan saw right through that illusion and I had to rush out of there. If he had taken some more time in figuring things out, I could have taken a peak in their minds to try to figure out more about all of them and make all this little less confusing.”

Come to think of it, just whose voice was it that told me that he had seen through it and to run away. In the spur of the moment, I didn’t question it at all but, was he … that demon?

If he was, why did it seem like he and Ethan knew each other well-enough. Damn it! That guy is actually really terrifying.

Kais: “Ha!”

Didn’t I used to think no normal human could ever match up to a psychic? That is why I was so unafraid of Ro and Mohammed when they tried to force me to join Vermillion. And now, I am afraid of someone who isn’t even a half-psychic like them. Man, am I a hypocrite?

Kais: “I guess I am.”

Of course I am. I am a hypocrite by all means. That’s why I am such a failure of a psychic. I try to be cautious and measure every move I make. So what happened when I walked into those slew of monsters back there? I was smiling, goddamn it! I wasn’t trying to figure out my way out of the situation, I was just anticipating whatever was about to come, and I was SMILING!

Kais: “And now that I think about it,”

Back in the tomb (or wherever I went to when I stepped in the tomb), I tried to attack Ethan because he was saying things I didn’t wanted to hear. Isn’t that hypocritical? Just because I thought he was weaker than me (which is true, I guess), I tried to attack him to shut him up. It’s not like he was spouting any lies back there. He was saying the truth. And I didn’t want to face the truth.

Kais: “Damn! That’s even worse than being a hypocrite.”

At that time, I was just trying to run away from reality. Just like all those years that I had tried to look away from the fact that I killed Barry. But ever since this whole mess started, it’s like I am being made to face all those truths again and again. It’s like someone is deliberately trying to make me face everything I don’t want to face.

Kais: “Um …”

I look at the sky and think about it. And then I remember something really important.

Kais: “No way!”

Ozyllus.

I had completely forgotten about him. He appeared in The Cage. I felt a pull from him, and it was just like the one I felt when I stepped in the tomb. Does that mean …

Kais: “It was Ozyllus who brought me to the place I ended up in? Then did he also bring Ethan there? Did he want us to meet?”

No, that might be jumping to conclusions. But he definitely pulled me in that place. I even thought of it back in The Cage. Seeing how The Cage is basically in my subconscious, my thoughts should have been heard by him. And he never denied it. Well, it’s not concrete proof, but I have to assume for now that was the case.

Kais: “And that could or could not mean the dragon is working with him.”

If the dragon sent me there knowing Ozyllus would pull me to a different place, then at the end of the day, he could be willing to help me since Ozyllus seems to be very happy to have me on his side. But if that is the case, why did he send the girl with me? She couldn’t have stayed there with me. Maybe causing me to fall in this confusion was the goal? … Or maybe I should stop going down this spiral of thought.

The other possibility is that he did not know about it which opens a whole different slew of mysteries. Did Ozyllus not want me to do as the dragon says? Or did he just pulled me in then because that was the only time he could and he has nothing against me doing as the dragon says? Damn! The questions just keep multiplying.

Kais: “This is the worst predicament I could have fallen into.”

I take a sigh. I will get nowhere like this. Ignoring these questions is no longer a possibility. I have to find the answers to them. So, what’s the crux of the problems for me here?

Kais: “Maybe the fact that I don’t know the situation this ‘war’ is in at the present. What are the factions fighting this war? I know Vermillion is one of them.”

Wait; didn’t Barry also say something about that?”

Yeah, I think he did. He said the alliance is formed between Vermillion, the dragons and The Ghost Nation. But he also said he and Ro, despite being ghosts, are working with/for vampires.

Kais: “Damn! This is a complicated situation.”

If this war is going to occur between these two factions, then I highly doubt The Vampires’ chances of winning.

Another thing that is concerning me though is something Ethan said about Barry when I was faking unconsciousness. He said Barry had not always been my brother, but he had always been her brother. This ‘her’ – who is she? And what does it all mean? I’d be glad to find out that bastard was not really my brother in reality. But Ethan’s phrasing was ‘not always my brother’. It sounds like there should be something more to it than that.

Kais: “Well, I’m not getting anywhere.”

I feel like the clues are right in front of me but I am unable to grasp them. But what should I do at this point? The best bet seems to be reading their minds. But if I go back to do so, I don’t think getting away from them will be possible after that. I should do everything I can while they are not here and leave the mind-reading to when being hidden from them is no longer an option.

Kais: “At least that is what I’d like to do.”

But I can’t figure anything out. I need to make good use of the time I have right now so I don’t regret it later. But how exactly am I supposed to use it?

I turn my head to look in various directions to see if anything strikes my mind and then it occurs to me –

Ozyllus came into The Cage and he told me his name. But I don’t remember anything after that. What exactly did he do? I have no memory of whatever happened after that. And I am pretty sure it’s not that I have just forgotten but he doesn’t allow me to remember. And I also feel there is something else I don’t remember, something that happened before Ozyllus came.

Kais: “But what exactly could have happened inside The Cage?”

It’s my subconscious after all. Unless someone like Ozyllus tries to invade it, nothing should happen. And then,

Kais: “I am … not the only one that place belongs to, am I?”

No, I’m not.

Kais: “Yeah, there’s someone else in there.”

Come to think of it, whenever I try to remember anything about the conversation that was going on when I and the dragon reached the beach, I feel a strange sense of alienation to those memories. I think they are mine, but at the same time, they are not. And that could mean –

Kais: “That demon?”

If what I think is correct, then the situation is much less pleasant than it first appeared – not that it ever appeared pleasant anyway.

Kais: “Barry did say once in that conversation, that I’m not who I am or something like that.”

That part is a little hazy. And I think it has been made hazy so it is not very easy for me to remember it. I am being made to not remember the things that are going on with the demon within me.

Kais: “I see.”

If that’s case, then is my subconscious doing it? IS Ozyllus doing it? Is that demon doing it? Which seems the most likely?

Kais: “Obviously, the answer is –”

None of them – they are not responsible for this. The one who is responsible for this is … well, Barry.

Kais: “He did put me to sleep after all.”

At the time, it’s not very easy to remember but I think he wanted to ask me, not the demon, what I think of the situation. In order for him to do that, he probably thought it’s best if I do not remember everything that happened or my opinions would get mixed up with that demon’s.

Kais: “But I’m not that weak.”

Sure, his power is on a different level. But he is not so far above me that I will completely forget something if he wanted me to.

Kais: “So now that the situation has spiraled out of his control, I can take advantage of this.”

There is, after all, something about this place that doesn’t match up with the legends. If I can take advantage of that, I may finally understand things better. So, with that decided, I stand up.

Kais: “I have wasted enough time doing nothing.”

It’s time I stop being dictated my how others want to play this game, and start playing it for myself.

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

In the court of the Vampire Kingdom, the four generals gathered together share a sense of anxiety.

Ignis: “Well, why do you think the queen called us here?”

Aquarius: “I would guess it has something to do with the discussion they had while we were not here.”

Ignis: “Oh yeah, we still haven’t been filled in on what exactly they discussed that led Barry and that other ghost to rush out of here?”

As both talk, the other two generals sit in their usual seats silently like they always do. Ignis and Aquarius start feeling uneasy in that atmosphere and so turn towards them.

Ignis: “Hey, you two, don’t you have anything to say? Aren’t you worried or anything?”

Aquarius: “Actually Gaiz, Achlyz, I’m really worried about that too. What do you two think of this?”

As the two are questioned, they look at each other without saying anything as they both close their eyes.

Ignis: “Barry told us to contact him and after the queen did, she immediately told us to gather here to tell us something important. Come on, Gaiz, isn’t there anything in all of this you find suspicious?”

Ignis asks the man sitting beside him in the arrangement of royal chairs, Gaiz.

Gaiz: “There actually is something that’s been bothering me for a while now.”

Ignis: “Oh? Of course there would be. What is it?”

Gaiz: “The fact that the queen and Reid looked extremely distressed when they were walking down the corridor.”

Ignis: “Huh?”

Ignis becomes more anxious than before.

Achlyz: “I and Gaiz saw them walking down the corridor talking so we thought we would leave them be, but then we noticed that they looked like they had seen a ghost.”

Achlyz, who sits in front of Gaiz and beside Aquarius, speaks next.

Aquarius: “Is that so?”

They wonder what that could mean. There can be countless reasons for it, but just as they were about to throw in their guesses, the door to the court opens,

Valdis: “I see you have all assembled like I told you to.”

The four generals immediately stand up and bow to the queen. They notice Reid a little distance behind her not saying anything.

Valdis: “Well, you can raise your heads now.”

Hearing that, the four stand straight and look at the queen.

Valdis: “First of all, I have something to tell you – something very important.”

As soon as she says that, Reid moves to the front and hands them identical books of brown covering.

Reid: “This is one of the artifacts of The Psychic Library.”

All generals: “What!”

The Psychic Library is a place impossible to get to. Yet Reid has brought artifacts from there? They don’t understand how.

Valdis: “To be more precise, these are copies of a particular artifact from the library. It is the book on Vermillion’s long-history.”

Vermillion has existed from a long time. They were formed when Ozyllus was just a kid. And this book has their whole history. It is, by every means, an invaluable artifact.

Valdis: “I would like you all to read it and see for yourself what we saw.”

Hearing that, the four generals bow to her in acceptance. But then,

Aquarius: “If I may, your highness?”

Valdis: “Yes, go on.”

Valdis gets surprised to hear Aquarius asking her a question, but she allows him to ask nonetheless.

Aquarius: “Has he read it?”

Valdis: “Specify.”

Aquarius: “Yes, I’m sorry. Has our strategist read it?”

Aquarius specifies his question just like Valdis asked him to. But that made the question much harder to answer than it was before.

Valdis: “Well …”

Valdis pauses in-between her sentence. The silence continues, but just when Ignis is about to reprimand Aquarius for asking a difficult question like that, Reid looks at the queen.

Reid: “Your highness, I don’t mean to overstep my authority here, but I think that’s a question they need to know the answer of.”

It’s true. Every single person in the court should know the answer to that. They are the highest authority after Valdis in the kingdom after all.

Valdis: “Yes, he has read it.”

And the queen understands and respects that sentiment.

Valdis: “In fact, he is the one who told me to read it after sending me eight copies of the book.”

Eight copies? All the generals as well as Reid wonder as this is the first time any of them have heard of it.

Valdis: “It was one each for me, Barry, Reid, the four of you and … Ro.”

Aquarius: “Ro?”

Ignis: “But he didn’t know Ro was going to be here, did he?”

Valdis: “I think he did. After all, he labeled the books with our names on them.”

The four take a look at their books and find that there is indeed their name slips attached to the books.

Ignis: “But … that would mean that he saw all of this coming?”

Valdis: “Well, looks that way. Seems our strategist is not lacking in information on any part. Well, that’s somewhat good to know.”

The key word in her sentence is ‘somewhat’. Even though he is the man her kingdom’s plans are dependent on, no one in the whole kingdom trusts him. It’s not something like Barry’s case where some trust him and some don’t or something like Reid’s case where his group likes and trusts him but a lot of others don’t. In the strategist’s case, no one, not even Valdis, trusts him. Why is he still their strategist? Only they can tell.

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

In the darkness of The Cage, the ghost of once-godly powerful psychic Ozyllus keeps floating. He knows he doesn’t have enough time. He knows, with the way things are going, Kais is soon going to figure things out. So he needs to hurry and finish what he came to do.

Ozyllus: “But man, that bastard is nowhere to be found!”

He is not floating without any direction. He is constantly pushing himself to go deeper and deeper in The Cage. He does so to find the devil living there.

Ozyllus: “Well, not that I want to see his face though.”

But he needs to. That’s the situation this godly-power has fallen into. Or maybe that’s just how out-of-control this situation is.

When he entered the place, he made Kais’ consciousness return so that he himself could get as much free-time as he can to get to this demon. If his consciousness had been in The Cage then, being that this place is part of his mind, it wouldn’t be easy for Ozyllus to get to his target.

And so to bring about the current situation, Ozyllus introduced himself to make Kais picture all the stories related to Ozyllus. Then he just connected his own knowledge to Kais’ so he could fill all the gaps in those stories. This allowed him to connect with his mind, after which it was child’s play for him to eject him out of The Cage. It was a done through a perfect mix of mind-control and energy manipulation.

Ozyllus: “That said, now he will start figuring things out a lot quicker.”

Even if just for a moment, Kais did come in contact with all the knowledge Ozyllus has, so all of it is stored in his subconscious. And now, while he wouldn’t suddenly know everything, he would definitely make progress lot faster than he did before. Hence, Ozyllus only has the amount of time it will take for Kais to figure out everything and push Ozyllus out of his mind.

Ozyllus: “Oh damn it! Where are you?”

Abyss: “Stop shouting!”

Ozyllus recognizes the voice as soon as he hears it and a smile forms on his face.

Ozyllus: “Guess I don’t need to worry about all that now.”

Ozyllus’ body keeps going deeper and deeper in the darkness till he finally sees another body floating there. That is when he finds his target.

Ozyllus: “Been a while, hasn’t it Abyss?”

Ozyllus asks the question to the figure that was once king of all demons and had brought upon Ozyllus’ demise.

Abyss: “Yes, indeed. It has been a while.”

In the legends that people use to refer to Ozyllus as ‘god’, they refer to Abyss as ‘the devil’. So, once could say this is the meeting of the incarnation of good and the incarnation of evil.

Fortunately or unfortunately, things aren’t that simple.

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

One Reply to “Chapter 22: Questions”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *