Chapter 30: Calm Before The Storm

Sneha: “Well, looks like you were right after all.”

She says while looking at the small dot in the sky which was slowly growing bigger.

Ethan: “You know, it’s kinda awkward to see a technology like that when we are stuck on an island with none of it.”

Sneha: “None of it? What happened to our jets?”

Sneha looks around to try to find the jet they came in and finds nothing.

Ethan: “You mean you didn’t notice until now?”

Sneha: “There were here just a moment ago, weren’t they?”

Ethan: “No, it just looked like that. Barry was casting an illusion to fool us into thinking what you had been thinking.”

Sneha: “Wait, why didn’t you say anything before?”

Ethan: “Because I thought I don’t need to with you being an Aural and stuff. I thought you would have already sensed it in the aura.”

Sneha sighs. Just how many tricks are they gonna try to pull at each other, she wonders.

Sneha: “So, what did he do with our jets?”

Ethan: “Pretty much drowned them underwater. And he did the same to his own jet as well.”

Sneha: “But why did he do that? He should already have known there is no way to go back using those jets.”

Ethan: “Hmm … the barriers, right?”

Sneha nods as she looks back at the dot in the air which has grown considerably larger. She tries to analyze its aura.

Ethan: “What is it?”

Sneha: “It’s a jet too.”

Ethan: “I see. That makes sense.”

Ethan says as he ponders on the previous topic while putting a finger on his cheeks.  Sneha keeps looking at the jet so she doesn’t miss anything. Unlike those in the island who can clearly see it in the sky, the people in the jet would not be able to see the island. To them, it would look like just ocean water. It will only be after they enter the barriers surrounding the island that they’ll see what is truly here.

However, if they keep flying at the normal altitude for a jet, they would just fly over the barrier, so in order to get in the island, they need to know that it’s here and lower their jets accordingly.

Ethan: “Did you see anything?”

Sneha: “It looks like they are lowering themselves a little. Doesn’t look like they did anything to figure out that this is where they needed to lower it.”

Ethan: “Is that so?”

When Barry and Ro came here, Barry already knew that the island was here because he had been here before. Kais and Sneha just followed their lead. Not knowing where they needed to start lowering the altitude was a major reason Ethan tricked Barry and Ro into reaching the island first. But since the people in this jet would need to somehow figure it out, they had thought to spy on them to see how they do it.

Ethan: “Well, they may have already figured it out by the point we started spying on them, they may have figured it out by some means that we couldn’t spot from outside or they may have someone who already knew it was here.”

Sneha: “Yeah, that’s how it seems.”

They come to the conclusion that they have failed at finding out what they intended to find, so they try to forget about it and focus on what’s about to come since it is more important anyway.

Ethan: “I have been thinking about that for a while now actually.”

Not understanding what he is referring to, Sneha turns to look at him only to find a rarely seen troubled expression.

Sneha: “What exactly are you talking about?”

Ethan: “Well you know; why Barry drowned our jets when we couldn’t use it anyway?”

Sneha: “Hmm …”

Neither of them understands his reasoning for it. The reason this question holds so much importance in their eyes is because it can solve a mystery they would not be able to solve by themselves.

Ethan: “I know for a fact that we weren’t just sharing information last night but trying to trick the other as well. While I was trying to get him to think my goal aligns with his, he was trying to do something too. But, how exactly was he tricking me?”

Sneha: “Kinda hard to figure out when you know the other person wasn’t lying about anything, huh?”

Ethan: “I suppose.”

The word ‘deceit’ is often associated with the word ‘lie’. But, lying is just one way of deceiving.

Because of Ethan’s Eyes of Truth and Barry’s ability to read aura, neither of the two tried to deceive the other by lies as the other would have known instantly. While that may have helped in getting information out of the other at that moment, it becomes very hard to figure out exactly what the other party was doing to deceive them.

Sneha: “Hey, it’s about to cross the barriers.”

Ethan looks up at the jet when Sneha says so.

Ethan: “It is really close.”

The moment it enters the barrier, people inside would be able to see the island along with the two standing on the beach.

Sneha: “Should we try to hide now?”

Ethan: “Well, because the ones coming here are ghosts, I doubt it would do us any good to try to hide.”

Because they are energy, they can sense energy, speculates Ethan. It would indeed be hard to hide from ghosts, especially if its someone as powerful as Spectre Dyne.

Ethan: “So, tell me, what kind of image would that Dyne guy have of you?”

Sneha: “Well, we weren’t exactly enemies the last time we met and didn’t leave a bad impression on each other. I can guarantee that. But now the situation has heated up and he might be hostile towards me after learning that I am not working with Vermillion anymore.”

Ethan: “That makes sense.”

He looks at the jet as it pierces through the barrier making a portion of the barrier visible for a while. Ethan could use his eyes to see the position of the barrier anytime but it was invisible to the naked eye.

Ethan: “…”

Sneha: “…”

As the two remain silent, they look at the jet slowly coming lower and lower till it finally lands. After a brief moment of silence, the sound of the shuttle opening comes and two men could be seen standing at the entrance.

Ethan: “And I was so hoping it was not true.”

He says as a bittersweet smile envelope his lips. Sneha glances at him not knowing the meaning of what he just said. But, what she sees is the sight of a man looking afraid and nervous but trying to control it – someone who is trying to hide the fact that his hands are shaking.

Ethan Kales is not a psychopath. He is not some idiot who dives into his death with a smile. He is not someone who puts his life on line to take on monstrously powerful people for the fun of it. Beneath his façade of all that there is a human being; scared of the consequences of his actions and not wanting to repeat the mistakes of his past.

That façade is not there without a reason either. That façade is their because of the fear he felt when a monster first tried to kill him. The reason he would put up that façade, the reason he would do things that can get him killed – is now standing before him.

With fear and anxiety in his eyes, with the façade breaking down a little, he looks at Spectre Dyne, the leader of the army of ghosts.

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Kais: “Ghosts?”

Sona: “Who are those ghosts?”

Dragon: “The representatives of the Ghost Nation. The two most powerful weapons they have are here on the island now.”

Sona: “Why?”

Dragon: “Because they don’t want all of you to join their opposing side.”

No response comes back. The two look at each other in silence.

Dragon: “Now all the players are finally here.”

Sona: “For what?”

She asks with a suspicious gaze.

Dragon: “For what Ozyllus wanted to happen.”

Sona: “And … what did he want to happen?”

Dragon: “Well,”

He looks at us with a resolved glare as he says,

Dragon: “It won’t matter.”

The resolve in his eyes is sickening me,

Dragon: “Because it won’t happen.”

I can’t look at that firm determination in his eyes.

Dragon: “I am no longer afraid of him.”

Stop … it!

Dragon: “I will no longer do as he wants me to.”

Please, stop talking! Stop looking like you are ready to die. Stop looking like you are ready to never give up.

Dragon: “That ‘god’ would now know what pain of losing something is.”

Fish: “So, you are planning to betray him after all.”

Dragon: “Yeah, as should you.”

Fish: “Never, I don’t care if he was really evil or if my whole purpose was something other than what I knew; all I know is that he is the one who made it possible for me to converse like this. I will repay his favor.”

Dragon’s resolve doesn’t waver as he hears this. He is ready to do whatever it takes to ruin Ozyllus’ plans.

Dragon: “I see. Be that as it may, I know what I have to do. Since I am to die anyway, I will at least make it so that bastard doesn’t succeed.”

Sona: “Could you try to be less vague about all this?”

Dragon: “Don’t worry,”

He says as his gaze shifts back and forth from the two of us for a moment and then he closes his eyes,

Dragon: “By the time I die, I’d make sure you all know the truth that the whole world has been kept in dark about.”

As he gives his proclamation, something inside my head hurts. There’s nothing but pain in my head as of now. The doors that I had closed long ago are being torn apart and all I can feel is the pain of the memories beyond those doors flowing in.

Sona: “Are you … okay?”

I look at her and see a worried expression on her face. I can sense the fish’s eyes are fixed on me too, but the same is not true for the dragon. He looks like something like this is an expected occurrence for him.

Dragon: “Those barriers that were stopping you from remembering were put in place probably for your own good. But, time is up.”

It feels like a sharp needle is poking into my brain. The only difference is that the magnitude of pain is far superior to what that would be like. And the more the dragon says, the sharper the pain gets.

Dragon: “I know it must be painful. But, at the end of the day, you will never be able to get out of this mess if you don’t endure that pain.”

I don’t know my posture right now. Am I standing? Am I on my knees? Am I holding my head in my hands? Am I shouting in pain? I don’t know. I don’t even care. Because right now, the only thing I can think about is –

Kais: “He saved my life, didn’t he?”

Sona: “Huh?”

Dragon: “Huh?”

Fish: “Huh?”

I can’t think of anything else but how wrong this sounds, and the fact that it’s not wrong.

Kais: “The demon Abyss – saved my life.”

And I didn’t even realize his existence for so long.

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Abyss: “The dragon seems like he isn’t even afraid of you anymore.”

Ozyllus: “That so?”

What Ozyllus said a while ago is bugging Abyss. He doesn’t know what this man meant by those words but they can’t be anything good.

When you stare into the Abyss, the Abyss stares back into you. It looks like someone is going to find the meaning of those words.

Abyss has been paying attention to every person he can sense there but nothing alarming seems to be happening.

Kais: “Ghosts?”

Sona: “Who are those ghosts?”

Abyss hears Kais and Sona questioning the dragon. The dragon proceeds to explain that they belong to the Ghost Nation.

Ozyllus: “That bringing back any memories?”

Ozyllus asks in a mocking tone. Abyss doesn’t respond but it does remind him of the past – the time when he was the ruler of the Ghost Nation.

Ozyllus: “What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you forgot what the Ghost Nation is?”

Abyss: “Of course not. The Ghost Nation was my domain. What idiot would forget about their domain?”

Ozyllus: “Oh, isn’t that true?”

Unable to understand what Ozyllus want to say,

Abyss: “Are you implying something?”

He asks him. However,

Ozyllus: “If it was just a domain you ruled, you could have forgotten about it after 1000 years. After all, it’s not like that was the only place you ever ruled. But; it was the domain that you ruled and destroyed, now that truly is something you would never be able to forget.”

Abyss: “I destroyed the Ghost Nation? How?”

Ozyllus: “Well, if you had never become their ruler, they would never have had the guts to deny my request to join my army. It’s only because of you that they denied that offer, and hence ended up losing the war.”

A look of disdain comes on Abyss’ face but he keeps his calm. The dark, mellow face of the demon slowly turns back to being composed as he says,

Abyss: “You haven’t changed one bit in the past 1000 years.”

Ozyllus: “Oh, did you want me to change?”

Abyss: “No, of course not. If you had changed, became a better person somehow, I would not feel right hating you.”

Ozyllus: “You are troubled by my existence but you don’t want me to change. You want me to remain someone you can hate rather than someone you may be able to forgive, just because of your selfishness.”

He laughs as he continues,

Ozyllus: “That’s a demon for you.”

Dragon: “Now all the players are finally here.”

Sona: “For what?”

The voices from the outside again grab their attention.

Dragon: “For what Ozyllus wanted to happen.”

Ozyllus: “That bastard is trying to be clever, huh?”

Abyss understands what Ozyllus means by that. The dragon is sealed by a contract in which he has to obey Ozyllus. And one of the orders Ozyllus gave him that he has to obey is that he can’t tell anyone about his real intentions. That said, because of the contract not covering every little aspect of his conversation, he does have room to give hints or vague answers, which is exactly what he is doing right now.

Ozyllus: “That’s amusing.”

They hear Sona asking about Ozyllus’ intentions and the dragon denying her the answer. It is as expected because this is something his contract forbids him to answer.

Ozyllus: “How far can he get like that though?”

Abyss: “…”

Ozyllus: “I’ll tell you – nowhere. All his attempts will only end in failure. He will never be able to accomplish what he is trying to accomplish and will die with only regrets.”

As Abyss listened to him, he realized that his words may not be false. But, he also could sense the resolve coming from the dragon that Kais was reading through his Aura Reading.

By using Aura Reading during that time, Kais has unknowingly allowed Abyss to sense other’s auras too. This is why he could pay attention to them. While Ozyllus couldn’t do so as he was not used to doing something like that, Abyss had been living in that body for years now. He was completely capable of gaining and returning help to Kais.

And so, he could also feel the one thing that made Ozyllus so sure he would win.

Ozyllus: “Tell me, how much is Kais suffering right now seeing that resolve of the dragon?”

Abyss: “… very”

He is suffering a lot.

Ozyllus: “Isn’t that right?”

Ozyllus laughs. He knows why Kais would suffer after seeing something like that.

Ozyllus: “Somewhere deep in his mind, he also knows how the dragon has no chances of succeeding. It is sickening him to see that dragon strengthen his resolve even though he would gain nothing in the end. Isn’t that how it is?”

He asks knowing that the answer can only be ‘yes’. Abyss also knows this. Abyss knows that this is something Kais would really not want to see right now. As much as the demon appreciates the resolve shown by the dragon, it just might be the worst time or place to show it.

Abyss: “Still, that’s how it is now, isn’t it?”

Ozyllus: “Huh?”

Abyss: “You are laughing because of how things are right now. But, what if things change?”

Ozyllus looks at Abyss with narrowed eyes as he says,

Ozyllus: “And how exactly, would it change?”

Abyss: “Do you think I had not been preparing for this kind of situation during the last 12 years I have been in this body?”

Ozyllus grows cautious as he sees Abyss spread his arms and smile.

Abyss: “Breakout!”

As the demon shouts, rays of light penetrate the darkness of The Cage. Ozyllus stares at this change with a mouth gaping wide and horrified eyes.

Dragon: “That ‘god’ would now know what pain of losing something is.”

It’s almost as if his lines were meant for this situation as they ring in Ozyllus’ ears.

Ozyllus: “No … way!”

For the first time in the entire conversation, Abyss laughs like the devil would and,

Abyss: “You can’t even begin to imagine how happy I am to see that expression on your face.”

The rays of light piercing the dark are the fragments of memories that are coming back to Kais. At that moment, he is remembering things that are bound to cause him even more pain. But this pain will not bring Ozyllus success.

Ozyllus: “You …”

Abyss: “What name did you say back then?”

Ozyllus grows silent upon hearing the confident and oppressive tone of the demon known as Abyss.

Abyss: “Oh yeah, Ethan Kales.”

A smile creeps up on his face.

Abyss: “Let’s see what he does about this.”

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