Ethan: “So let me get this straight.”
He says as he stares at Barry.
Ethan: “You are telling me this Spectre called Dyne, who is in command of the army of the ghosts, might be stronger than you.”
Ethan: “And you are saying you know him too?”
He asks while turning towards Sneha. She nods and says,
Sneha: “Yes, and I have seen his powers to a certain extent. From what I have seen of him, it wouldn’t have been enough to defeat me or Barry, but I know he was holding back a lot.”
Ro: “What’s wrong? You seem quite bothered by it. Does your plan collapse because of this?”
Hearing Ro ask the question with a smile, Ethan answers with a smile.
Ethan: “No … no, my plan can never collapse.”
Ro: “Aren’t you being a little overconfident?”
Ethan: “No, I’m not. It’s literally impossible for my plan to fail.”
Barry: “Oh? And why is that?”
It’s because there is no plan. Ethan answers honestly in his mind, only in his mind.
Ethan: “Well, why would I tell you?”
He never had any plans. All he had was a goal – to involve Kais in the war that’s about to begin between The Dragon Alliance and The Vampire Kingdom. He never spent his time thinking how he would do it, because at the end of the day, it’s not realistically possible for him to come up with a foolproof plan, especially when the information he has is so limited.
It’s also impossible to come up with a plan for every situation because there can be thousands upon thousands of things that can happen that he wouldn’t have been able to predict. Which is why, he wouldn’t even bother with making plans beforehand.
After a brief stare down, Barry sighs signaling he is not planning to try to probe any further at the moment.
Ethan: “Well, I didn’t expect a tactical retreat.”
Deciding to not keep asking the same question again and again when you know the answer would not come – is the only logical way to go about this – is what Barry thinks as he dismisses Ethan’s lines with,
Barry: “What tactical retreat? It’s only tactical if I gain something by not retreating too.”
Sneha: “Can’t deny that.”
Ethan: “Yeah, yeah.”
He says while getting up from the rock he was sitting on,
Ethan: “Well, I think we were talking about how some of the best of every field are here. One of the best psychics is here, one of the best Aurals is, one of the best spirit-users is, etc. What do you think?”
Barry: “I think it’s too much of a coincidence.”
Sneha: “Well, duh.”
She says in an exhausted tone. This exhaustion is probably due to the complexity of the situation rather than physical exhaustion, thinks Ethan.
Barry: “No need to start mocking me, you know.”
He sighs while saying so, and then continues,
Barry: “Well first of all, I didn’t bring up Dyne without a reason you know.”
Ethan becomes curious on hearing that. Dyne is someone Ethan knows nothing about. So, he needs to.
Ethan: “And what is that reason you speak of?”
Barry: “Well, since we are from opposing factions, we have fought each other before. And when I fought him was when I first found out, the secrets of the ghosts.”
Barry: “Just to be clear, I am referring to the faction of Ghost Nation, not all ghosts in general. And I am talking about the reason why they have been able to hold their own against the vampires for so long.”
Sneha: “You are talking about their army?”
Barry nods. Ethan raises his hands and says,
Ethan: “A little clarification, please?”
With a short sigh, Sneha says,
Sneha: “Well, due to political problems, the Ghost Nation has become the weakest faction of all when it comes to numbers. Yet they are capable of warding off any threats. You know why that is?”
Ethan: “From what you guys have been saying, it’s because of their army.”
Sneha: “Yeah, they are low on numbers; and not just by a hundred or so, the number of soldiers in their army amounts to only a quarter of Vermillion’s.”
Ro: “It’s that low?”
Ethan: “I am so glad I am not the only ignorant one here.”
Ro feels discomfort on being in the same position as Ethan but he doesn’t say anything.
Barry: “Anyway, the leader of that army is Dyne. He is someone I may lose to when it comes to sheer power and he is no slob in the strategy department either.”
Ethan: “So basically, they have got a very strong army with a very impressive leader for them to follow.”
Sneha: “Yeah, that’s the short version of it.”
Ethan: “Hmm …”
Ethan sighs and looks up at the sky, which had turned dark with no stars being visible. He looks at it while he thinks about the things he has just heard. Apparently, Barry does the same and then Sneha and Ro as well.
Ethan: “Have you ever heard the saying ‘all humans are equal’.”
The other three look at Ethan in surprise. Something they didn’t expect him to say had come out of his mouth. Barry tries to ask why’s he is mentioning that when,
Ethan: “What a cheesy bunch of nonsense, right?”
He turns to Barry as he continues,
Ethan: “Don’t tell me you think this saying makes any sense?”
Barry: “No, that’s not the case.”
Ethan narrows his eyes as he notices a hint of a smile on Barry’s lips.
Ethan: “Well, anyway,”
He turns his gaze towards the forest,
Ethan: “That girl isn’t watching us anymore. That dragon probably called her back when he came to know I had noticed him.”
Sneha: “You mean when you basically announced that to everyone, right?”
Sneha had asked in a sarcastic tone but Ethan didn’t seem to care.
Ethan: “That aside, I think I have an idea of what Barry was trying to say earlier.”
Barry: “You do, huh?”
Barry looks at Ethan with a calm and calculating gaze while Ethan continues to look at the forest.
Ethan: “Yeah, when you said that you didn’t bring up Dyne without a reason, the reason you were talking about is this – since he is so powerful, the ghosts would want to utilize his prowess in the most dangerous of situations.”
Barry nods, so Ethan continues,
Ethan: “Being that this island is such an important piece of history and all, when an event as big as this island getting destroyed happens, the Ghost Nation would want to make sure the disturbance in the power balance this event causes does not affect them too much.”
Ro: “So are you telling me they would send someone here from their side to make sure of that?”
Barry: “Yeah, that’s what I think.”
Ethan: “And since they may need to fight you when they come here, the person who will be sent here will probably be Dyne.”
Sneha: “Assuming they know that this island is going to be destroyed, that can happen. But does that answer the question this whole conversation started with?”
Ethan: “No, it doesn’t.”
The question still remains – why is every person on the island of a different origin of power?
Ro: “If I am remembering correctly, Barry didn’t say what the secrets of the ghosts that he found out were.”
Barry: “Yeah, that.”
Ethan: “Well, there’s just so many things that keep distracting us, aren’t there? Well, what were those secrets?”
Barry stays silent for a while as he ponders on how to answer while the other three eagerly await his next words. After having thought it over in his mind once, he finally speaks,
Barry: “Well, let’s put it like this – the same type of energy composition that makes up a ghost’s body makes up a demon’s body.”
Ethan: “Now demons are involved?”
Sneha: “Believe it or not, demons are always involved.”
She says half-sarcastically while looking at Ethan.
Barry: “Yeah, but I am talking about a real demon here.”
Sneha: “Yeah, I know. And I know that they have the same structure as well. There are lots of theories floating around over how demons and ghosts can be the same.”
Barry: “Yeah, well, it seems like that’s actually not untrue.”
A grim look starts surfacing on his face as he says so.
Ro: “I am little lost here.”
Barry: “To put it simply, do you know what the highest form of a ghost is called?”
Ro: “Highest form?”
Barry nods and continues,
Barry: “On reaching the highest stage of power, if the ghost is, for the lack of a better term, good, then they become an angel. If the ghost is evil, they become a demon.”
Ro looks at Barry in surprise for a moment but immediately regains composure.
Ro: “I see.”
He gulps while he thinks of the theories in his head. He then says,
Ro: “I was planning on asking you later, but what is a Spectre?”
Barry: “Uh? Oh yeah, you wouldn’t know. You only recently found out about ghosts in the first place.”
Barry stands up as he says,
Barry: “Spectres are artificially created ghosts made to kill vampires. They are weapons designed specifically for the current war.”
Ro: “I … see. If that’s case, then they are creating ghosts who can …”
He goes silent. So,
Ethan: “become demons while still being under their control.”
Ethan finishes his sentence for him.
Sneha: “The Spectres can turn into demons and become ridiculously powerful, but because they were created artificially, the ghosts would have probably used some methods to make sure they follow the commands given to them even after they have become demons. Is that what you are saying?”
Barry nods with a matter-of-fact look on his face as he already knows what she would say next.
Sneha: “Isn’t this just a speculation then? Unless you know for sure that they are planning to control them after they turn into Demons, there is no way to confirm this, is there?”
Barry: “And what if I tell you I already have proof that they are trying to control the Spectres in that way.”
Other three look at Barry with different looks of surprise. Ro is surprised on seeing how much information he actually has.
Sneha is surprised on hearing that there is proof that ghosts may possess something that can control demons.
Ethan is surprised that he is revealing everything to them.
Ethan: “Well, what’s the proof?”
Barry: “Take a guess.”
He says while folding his arms and sighing as if to tease the others.
Sneha: “What the heck?”
Ro: “Just say it already, man.”
It works in aggravating them.
Barry: “Come on, try to think for …”
Ethan cuts in with his guess.
Ethan: “That’s my guess. You did mention they could also become Angels, right? What if they are trying to use the army to do all the dirty work, so the citizens can actually remain in better mental states? By strengthening themselves, a lot of the citizens who have never committed any crimes and truly believe they have never done anything wrong, they may end up becoming Angels.”
Ro: “Are you serious!?”
Ro stands from the shock of hearing that.
Barry: “Yeah, he is right on the money.”
Barry says while nodding.
Sneha: “S … so, by pitting everyone who is targeting the ghosts against their army, they are trying to distract us from what they are really trying to do behind the scenes. And what they are trying to do is – create Angels.”
Barry: “Yeah, that’s how it is. Those angels will be able to cancel out the power of the demons and internal conflict can be avoided to a certain extent.”
Ethan: “But it won’t completely stop the conflict, which maybe the reason for the political problems you mentioned earlier.”
Barry: “Yeah, that could be one of the reasons of the conflict. I am sure that won’t be the only reason for it though.”
As Barry says that, the full-picture starts to become clearer to Ethan.
Ethan: “Barry, if Dyne does come here, do you have some way to know it the moment he enters the island or something like that.”
Barry: “If you are trying to measure how powerful I am, I refuse to disclose that information. You aren’t a very trustworthy person after all.”
Ethan: “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Barry: “U-uh? Why?”
Ethan: “That agitation confirms it’s a yes.”
Barry sighs with his shoulders dropping a little.
Barry: “You pulled a fast one, huh?”
One of the few things Ethan has going for him is the ability to see the psychic energy surrounding Barry. If Barry was only acting, Ethan would be seeing a slightly agitated movement in the energy, but that’s not the case. ‘Okay, that’s the actual proof it’s a yes,’ Ethan says in his mind as up until then, everything was a bluff.
Ethan: “Yeah, I actually did.”
Deciding to let him think that Barry made some kind of expression that gave him away will let Ethan use this trick again because he won’t bother trying to keep the energy around him in his control when he lies as he would be too busy keeping his expressions under control.
Having done all that, he comes back to the topic.
Ethan: “So you would know it whenever he comes here, huh? If what I am thinking is right, he might not be alone.”
Barry: “Yeah, there’s a fair chance he would bring another person along with him.”
Ethan smiles and says,
Ethan: “Yeah, I guess.”
As the two dogs, Jack and Jill, had not been willing to let the four of them in the forest, they decided they would call it a ceasefire and take rest at the beach. Barry and Sneha, probably even Ro could easily handle those dogs and anything else the forest may throw at them, but they decided to not let the chance to rest slip by.
And so, they talked with each other. They discussed things even though they were not allies. They decided to share some information with each other regardless. Was this because Ethan and Barry had come to some sort of understanding earlier? Was it because they found some hidden profit by having this conversation? Or did they just didn’t consider each other true enemies?
No matter what it was, many hours have passed now and the morning sun is rising. This is the time they have to start to do what they need to do. The dogs won’t come in their way as soon as the sun rises is something both Barry and Ethan knew of. So they would now be free to enter the forest and start to work towards their goals.
And so, on the beach right now, only Ethan and Sneha are remaining.
Sneha: “Do you really think it was a good idea letting them go in the forest first?”
Ethan: “I do.”
Sneha: “Any specific reason for you thinking that?”
Ethan: “Actually, there is.”
Sneha: “And what’s that?”
Ethan: “I noticed something last night while we were talking to them. The fact that every person on this island has a different arsenal of abilities is pretty confusing, right?”
Sneha: “It is, though I don’t know if saying ‘different arsenal’ is right. I mean, Barry’s abilities are basically like a mix of Ro’s and Kais’.”
Ethan: “I suppose, but you know what I mean. Anyway, my point is – maybe we should shift our perspective a little.”
Ethan: “Let’s say – you and I are like the Aural faction here.”
Sneha: “Are we?”
Ethan: “You are an Aural and I do have good relations to other Aurals. Besides, what other group is on better terms with them than us.”
Sneha sighs and nods.
Sneha: “That’s fair. What about it?”
Ethan: “Well, Barry and Ro are definitely the Vampire faction. I am pretty sure Kais and Sona can be put in the same faction for being the ones who are the most unstable elements of us all.”
Sneha: “That would be a weird faction.”
Ethan: “Yeah, I know. But anyway, the dragon and the girl can be considered a different faction too, couldn’t they?”
Sneha: “Okay, so you are basically trying to look at it from the perspective of where our interests align in this upcoming war, right? And it somehow seems to be that every side has two members.”
Ethan: “Yeah, and I don’t understand why, but I think ‘god’ wanted it to end this way. He is a big reason why we are in this position after all.”
Sneha nods in understanding. The two of them know very well that Ozyllus was not as noble of a soul as the records claim him to be. They also know his soul is still trying to mess with the real world. So they are able to come up with such a theory.
Sneha: “So how exactly does it all tie up?”
Ethan: “Not sure about that, but if this is indeed not-a-coincidence, then two representatives of Ghost Nation will be sent here.”
Sneha: “And … what about it? You are wondering who the second one will be?”
Ethan: “Yeah, that’s exactly what I am wondering.”
Sneha: “Well, that is an interesting question. And you let them go in first so we could wait for those two to arrive here, is that it?”
Ethan: “Yeah, precisely. The dragon and consequently, the whole island is gonna die in three days. I doubt the Ghost Nation can afford to wait any longer before sending them.”
Sneha turns to look at the sky. No indication of anyone coming can be seen so far.
Sneha: “I don’t know if you are right about that or not, I mean for all we know, they may actually not even know that the island is going to get destroyed.”
There comes no reply. So, she continues,
Sneha: “There is something I wanted to ask you, Ethan.”
Ethan: “What’s that?”
Sneha: “The first time that girl sees the dragon out of the tomb, the island will be in its final days, what’s up with that prophecy? How’d you do it?”
Ethan: “Well, I would like to tell you, but I can’t risk anyone finding out about that. Sorry about this.”
She sighs as she keeps looking at the sky and smiles.
Sneha: “Well, it’s fine. Not like I actually expected any answers in the first place.”
Hearing that, Ethan also sighs and also turns to the sky. In his thoughts, he gives Sneha the answer. He tells her that there is no reason for the island to get destroyed. So why would it be destroyed? Even the dragon doesn’t know why it would happen. All that Ozyllus told him is that it will happen. But Ethan knows the reason for it. In his mind, he tells Sneha that the only reason the island would be destroyed will be because of the girl. It will be because she thinks the island would end that it would end. That’s how powerful she truly is.
The dragon may have created her, but someone else has done some modifications on her, and now because of that, she can vaguely understand the value of names, she can vaguely remember pointless things that the dragon programmed her brain to forget after a while. Those modifications are why she is now so powerful that if she thinks about something strongly, it would happen. In other words, Ethan Kales never did any prophesying about any destruction, he is the one who set up the said destruction.
After all, he is not someone who warns people of tragedies. He is the one who causes them.