Chapter 24: Archive

It’s been two hours since I escaped from the beach. By this point, at least some of them would have regained consciousness. And whoever would wake up would be left alone with Ethan until another wakes up. As dangerous as a situation that can be for their minds, I think everyone on the island knows enough to not trust Ethan. So it should be fine. At least that’s what I have to tell myself or I’ll never be able to concentrate on what I am doing.

Ever since I remembered that my demonic side had taken control back then, I have tried to probe into my own memories. Without a doubt, there are gaps in my memory. I feel like I came to know a lot of things for a moment and then forgot them. Which is, needless to say, only possible when ridiculous amount of power is used to make me forget.

Kais: “Well, it’s not all that surprising though.”

Something like this is a pretty normal tactics for psychics, in fact. Since most psychics try to hide their identities from others, erasing people’s memories in case they get found out is a common practice among psychics. Pretty much every psychic on the planet would know how to erase someone else’s memories.

Kais: “That said,”

It’s not like this comes without a price. In fact, there’s a pretty hefty price. The amount of energy used to go into specific parts of another person’s brain to erase a part of their memory is really significant. And if you try to replace those memories with false ones then the price almost doubles up. No half-psychic has this ability because the amount of energy it requires is more than any half-psychic can muster.

Kais: “But I wonder, for someone like him, will it really be that big a deal?”

Surely it’s not like Barry wouldn’t be even a little exhausted after that, but still, the amount of psychic energy he possesses is much larger than normal. If he had used it in time, he would even have been able to easily see through my illusion. Maybe his mind was more exhausted because of other things that he didn’t think of it all being an illusion. Or maybe because he is a ghost, there has been a change in a few of his capabilities.

Kais: “Well, looks like time is up for that.”

While I was thinking all this, I had been walking towards ‘a particular place’ on the island. Now that I have reached there, I need to put other thoughts on hold.

Kais: “Okay then,”

This ‘particular place’ happens to be the other side of the island. From what I could gauge from my abilities, this side is as far from the tomb as the side where I first opened my eyes on. SO the tomb is exactly in the middle on this axis.

Well, finding that wasn’t really the main goal for coming here though. The goal was to find an inconsistency within the legend.

Kais: “And it looks like I found one.”

The legend has mention of a pond near the tomb, but there isn’t one. That’s something that can’t just be glossed over. So I tried to see whether I find it if I followed this direction. And I did.

There’s a pond near the point where the island ends. This side is not a beach and is in fact covered with grass everywhere. The point the grassy lands end, the sea starts. And this is a major reason why I specifically chose this direction to come to rather than any other direction I hadn’t been in.

With my aura reading, I could sense sand in all other directions other than this one. In this direction, all I could sense was grassy lands. And the highest chances for a pond existing is where sand isn’t.

???: “Well would you look at that. The first person to come here is you.”

A sighing voice came. I turn in all direction to find who is talking but there’s no one. I use aura reading but can’t pick up any aura other than mine and … a fish’s.

Kais: “No way. I can’t possibly be talking to a fish right now?”

I am probably frowning right about now.

Fish: “You have a problem with talking to fishes?”

An angry sounding voice came from the pond.

Kais: “…”

Fish: “What?”

This is just another level of weird and I have no response to give to this.

Fish: “Uh, whatever! You better listen since you are not talking.”

The fish comes to the surface of the pond. It’s golden (like every other creature on the island). But there is something different about this creature. And I mean other than the fact that it can talk, its aura feels like that of a psychic.

Fish: “I am what you would call an ‘archive’.”

Kais: “Archive?”

I believe that’s a term used for non-living things.

Fish: “Archive of the psychics.”

Even if you say that, I won’t know what it means. From what I know about the pond from the legend of the island, it’s just supposed to exist. There is no real significance to it. It’s just something that is mentioned in the background. This is probably why both I and Sona subconsciously or consciously ignored the fact it’s not there. But the legend might be incomplete. Or there could be legends related to that pond I haven’t heard. That was my reasoning in deciding to find it, but I would have never expected something like this.

Fish: “What’s wrong? Is there seriously nothing you have to say to that?”

Kais: “That’s not the case, it’s just …”

Fish: “Just?”

Kais: “Just … your aura is that of a psychic and it’s really bugging me how?

Fish: “It’s because I am a psychic.”

That’s not the point. From what I know, only humans should be capable of being psychics.

Kais: “Yeah, I figured that. And I also understand that the reason you can speak is also because you’re a psychic. But how can a fish be a psychic?”

Fish: “I am little offended by that, but anyway, the man who ruled over this island decided that he would perform an experiment to see if a creature other than humans can harness psychic abilities and I was his answer.”

It replies in a matter-of-fact tone. And well, her answer sounds logical but,

Kais: “The man who ruled over this island, huh. How many years ago did this happen?”

Fish: “I haven’t been counting years so I don’t know exactly but it was probably about a thousand years ago.”

Wait! Thousand years! That means –

Kais: “I … see. So when you said the man who ruled over this island, you meant –”

She probably is talking about –

Fish: “Yeah, I meant Ozyllus.”

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

Abyss: “How’s it going, god?”

-came the voice of devil in a sarcastic manner while the owner of it looked Ozyllus in the eye as both of them keep floating in Kais’ consciousness.

Ozyllus: “Well, since you don’t really seem like in a very friendly mood, let’s get to the point.”

Abyss: “I agree. So why did you come here?”

Ozyllus: “Well, the first reason is to ask you why you are in this boy’s mind.”

Abyss: “It’s because he has the most potential as a psychic out of all the living creatures. And so I would be able to absorb more energy from him than anyone else.”

Ozyllus: “True. The second reason is to ask you to leave this boy’s body.”

Abyss: “Denied. That’s not happening.”

Ozyllus sighs. The two have said all they have said with straight faces looking like they are completely indifferent to what their conversation is all about.

Ozyllus: “The third reason is to ask you to not show yourself in front of others too much if leaving his body is not possible.”

Abyss: “It’s not like I have been parading myself. I have only taken over his body three times by now.”

Ozyllus: “Three times, you say?”

Abyss: “Yeah, what about it?”

Ozyllus: “I know you took over his body once to kill Barry and that you did it recently when he was about to face everyone else on the island.”

Abyss: “And you want to know when the other time was?”

Ozyllus: “I do.”

Abyss: “Well, let’s see. Two half-psychic morons and a stupid Aural woman were trying to kidnap him and bring him to this island. I took over his body to send him to sleep when he got hit by that woman so he can’t resist. I did act as if I was sleeping so they wouldn’t have known something like that happened.”

Ozyllus: “I see. He too has no idea that happened, which is why I wasn’t able to find this in his memories.”

Abyss: “Yeah, yeah, that’s all fine and all. Now leave if there’s nothing else.”

Ozyllus: “Man, you sure seem hostile today.”

Abyss: “When have I not been hostile to you?”

Ozyllus: “When we first met.”

Abyss: “That was only because I didn’t know who you were.”

Ozyllus: “That’s fair. I guess we did become sworn enemies later on.”

Abyss: “Yes, we did. Now get out of here.”

With the hostility not dropping and irritation rising, Abyss gives Ozyllus a threatening glare. Seemingly unaffected though,

Ozyllus: “You know; I am curious about why you even answered my questions.”

Abyss: “Because I didn’t think someone like you could do me any harm even if I were to answer them.”

Ozyllus: “Really? That’s all.”

Abyss: “That’s all.”

Ozyllus: “A little hard to believe.”

Abyss: “I don’t care if you believe it or not.”

Ozyllus: “Fine, fine, I am leaving. Besides, it’s not our era to fight anymore. It’s theirs.”

Abyss: “Theirs, huh?”

Abyss’s eyebrows twitch on hearing the word.

Ozyllus: “Yeah, I have sent the man with Eyes of Truth to destroy the boy you are inheriting. At least try to challenge him, okay?”

Abyss: “Cheap provocation.”

Ozyllus: “Obviously it is. I am not nearly as good as you in the art of provocation after all, devil.”

Having returned the sarcasm, Ozyllus decided to leave Kais’ consciousness. Unfortunately for him, something unexpected has happened and he would no longer be able to do so. Unknowingly of that, he floats while pushing his body to reach out of The Cage – the cage that binds the devil.

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

Ethan: “You are pretty defenseless right now, aren’t you?”

-Is the first thing Barry hears when he opens his eyes.

Barry: “Defenseless, you say?”

Ethan: “Yeah, could’ve tortured the heck out of you.”

Barry gets up to come to a sitting position as he sees Ethan and Sneha sitting on different rocks both staring at him with different expressions. Sneha seemed like she was fed up with something while Ethan was smiling.

Barry: “Then why didn’t you use the opportunity?”

Ethan: “Well, fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t derive any pleasure from physically torturing someone.”

The key word – physically.

Barry: That’s something I probably didn’t need to know.”

Ethan: “Really, isn’t any information about your enemy helpful?”

Barry: “Not really, at least not in my opinion.”

Ethan sighs as Barry gets up on his feet. He notices that the dragon and Ro are still unconscious. He sighs as well.

Ethan: “I am guessing you have already figured out what happened back there.”

Barry: “Yeah, I have. The kid sure has grown up … a little.”

Ethan: “Is that the face of a big brother I am seeing?”

Barry gives no answer but instead turns to look at the sky and the sun which is going to set in a couple of hours.

Ghosts have a tendency to appear blurry. This is not their natural appearance but an appearance they intentionally create whenever they meet anyone to give the false impression of it being their natural appearance. But now that someone with Eyes of Truth is seeing him, his real appearance becomes clear.

Ethan: “Hmm … not bad.”

He has black hair, fair skin, blue eyes – in other words, his facial features are a lot like Kais’.

Ethan: “You two do look similar after all.”

Barry: “Somehow we do, even though we aren’t really related.”

Ethan stands up while also looking at the sky. Seeing this,

Sneha: “Well, Barry – you have heard of Aurals, haven’t you?”

Barry: “Yeah, I know who you are.”

Barry skips to answering the question that Sneha would have asked after he had answered with yes.

Barry: “People who use Aura as a power source instead of psychic energy are called Aurals. You are one of them. Obviously I know at least that much.”

Sneha: “Well, that’s good to hear because my next question is – do you know who I am?”

This question is more specific than the previous one and Barry understands that.

Barry: “Hm.”

He smirks.

Barry: “You were trained in Aural Arts ever since you were a kid. You were a genius and had surpassed many of your teachers even though as a little kid, and were about to reach the final stage of your training when one day a disaster struck 12 years ago. ‘Someone’ committed a massacre, and among those killed were your teachers and peers. After that, you were left all alone in the world.”

-Needless to say who that ‘someone’ was.

Sneha: “So you have the guts to say all that right in front of me.”

Barry: “It’s not about guts. It’s about the fact that I know that, for whatever reason, you have no hostile intent towards me.”

Sneha sighs.

Sneha: “Well, I guess I can accept that answer.”

Ethan: “Well then, if you are done, you might want to take a look at this.”

He says as he points at the dragon. The two look at the direction he is pointing but don’t see anything out of ordinary.

Barry: “What? Is there something wrong with him?”

Ethan: “Try touching him.”

Barry moves closer cautiously and does as Ethan said to, only to find that –

Barry: “What the hell! This is sand.”

He finds that the thing that looked like the dragon’s body lying unconscious was actually a lump of sand colored into looking like his body by some unknown means and the real body was nowhere to be found.

Sneha: “Wait, sand? That means …”

Ethan: “Yeah, he is not here. But he’s trying to deceive us into thinking he is.”

Sneha: “Then where is he?”

Ethan: “This is a guess but probably somewhere inside the forest. And he is doing something for which he needs to deceive us.”

He says as his grin grows wider.

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

I find myself in the middle of the forest as I keep following the aura of the person I need to find right now.

Kais: “I am close.”

I can sense the distance is much less than what it initially was. Meeting the golden fish helped me understand a few things. One of them is that I need the help of this person.

???: “Who’s there?”

I hear the voice I have heard enough times to recognize it by sound. It belongs to the person I am after.

Kais: “It’s me.”

I come out of the thick forest into a little gap where she could see me. Seeing my face, she doesn’t drop her guard though.

Sona: “You sure like to spy on people from bushes.”

Kais: “Very funny. Might I ask for you to stop trying to summon a spirit right now?”

She looks me in the eye with clear suspicion and her one hand is already in a pose as if she’s summoning something.

Sona: “There’s not much reason for me to trust you, you know. And my energy is completely restored now so I can summon any of my spirits. Right now, you better don’t make any suspicious moves.”

I can tell that’s a genuine threat.

Kais: “Well, as you say.”

And so I raise my hands as if I am surrendering.

Sona: “Huh? What are you doing?”

Kais: “This way, you can see that I am not doing anything suspicious here.”

I need her to trust me on this.

Sona: “What’s your game here?”

It looks like she’s ready to listen to me now, but she is still probably suspicious and would double check every word I say.

Kais: “I just want your help with something.”

Sona: “Go on.”

Kais: “Well, have you heard the legend of this island?”

Sona: “I have.”

Kais: “If you remember, there was a pond near the tomb in the legend, but it’s not present in reality.”

Sona: “Yeah, I noticed that too.”

Kais: “Well, I have found where that pond is.”

Sona: “You have, huh?”

Kais: “And that’s what I need you to look at. I think only a spirit-user like you would be able to understand what’s really going on there?”

Sona looks at me silently for a while as I await the answer that is about to come. Regardless of what the nervousness of my face may look like, I already know the answer that’s about to come.

Sona: “I deny. I can’t trust you enough to follow you like that.”

Kais: “Why not just summon a spirit to keep me in check?”

It’s a valid suggestion in my opinion, but I know she won’t accept.

Sona: “No, that won’t work either.”

Kais: “Can’t trust your spirits enough either?”

Sona: “That’s … not the problem.”

Yeah, I know. The problem is that you think I’ll be stronger than your spirits. I am sure you trust no one at this point, not even yourself.

Kais: “Well, too bad then.”

Sona: “Huh!”

She gasps as the branch of a tree suddenly grabs her right arm by circling around it.

Sona: “What the …?”

Kais: “Sorry about this, but it’s not me wanting your help right now, but needing it. So I can’t accept a ‘no’.”

She tries to use her other hand to summon the spirit but another branch comes and grabs that.

Sona: “Damn! What the hell kind of psychic ability is this?”

Kais: “It’s just basic Psychokinesis with the target of kinesis being the branches.”

It’s a simple but extremely useful ability that is one of the most basic ones any psychic possesses.

Kais: “Ha … it’s just like our past selves.”

Sona stops struggling and looks at me as she hears that.

Kais: “It’s an ability that controls others while itself being controlled by its users. It’s just like we used to control our lives with our abilities while unknowingly being controlled by someone else instead.”

She glances sideways.

Sona: “I see. So you remember, huh?”

Kais: “Not completely. My memories have been locked many layers inside my own mind. Someone is trying to make me forget things that may inconvenience them. But I need to remember those things.”

She doesn’t say anything while I keep talking.

Kais: “And because I need to remember, I need your help. You are the only one capable of helping me in this situation. So please,”

I bow.

Kais: “help me.”

For a moment, no answer comes back. I wonder if she would still say ‘no’. I really can’t accept that answer and will have to force her if that happens.

Sona: “Don’t act like it’s a request after saying you can’t accept ‘no’ for an answer.”

Well, I guess she is making a good point, but I needed to tell her honestly how things are for me to really make her consider helping me.

She sighs. I look up and find a surprising smile on her face as she says,

Sona: “Fine, I’ll help you.”

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

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