Kais: “Kill … the dragon?”
She didn’t reply, but from her silence I can tell that I didn’t hear it wrong.
Kais: “Are you … serious?”
Sona: “Why? Of course I am.”
Her response comes instantly. She is acting like it’s the most natural thing in the world to do. Does she even understand what she is saying right now?
Kais: “Why would you want to do that?”
Sona: “Well, I have my own reasons.”
Kais: “And you are not going to say what they are?”
Sona: “I have no obligation to tell you. I told you why I’m here only out of courtesy. Don’t expect any more answers.”
She folds her arms as she says that. True enough, I shouldn’t expect to be getting answer to every single one of my questions, but this is just ridiculous. Why would she try to kill the dragon?
It’s not that I can’t think of any reason why she would want to do it, in fact I know there would be a lot who would have heard this story and wanted to kill him. But that’s like a pipe dream. Nobody would have enough guts to actually try to go through with it. No, this isn’t about guts. Nobody would actually want to die doing something so stupid.
Sona: “Is it really that surprising?”
Kais: “Of course it is. You basically dropped a bombshell on me.”
She sighs hearing me say that. I take a look at the little girl, or the big mass of energy acting like a little girl, lying near the tree trunk. The dragon is the one controlling her and so he would know anything she would know. That means he knows Sona attacked her, but I can’t say if he’s able to hear anything now that the girl has fallen unconscious. Though, by this point, her arms have returned to normal.
Kais: “How exactly, do you intend to fight him?”
Sona: “Well, I can’t really risk letting my secrets get known.”
Kais: “So you say.”
Even though you are willing to openly say you’re here to kill him.
Sona: “Well, that’s about me. What’s your predicament?”
As she asks that question, I realize the fact that I have only been asking questions and answering none by this point. I guess its fare I should tell her what I am here for, except I don’t know it myself.
Kais: “I can’t say.”
Sona: “‘Can’t say’?”
She picked that up fast.
Kais: “I don’t know exactly what I’m here for. I know people have come to this island before and I think their reasons could be kind of similar to why I am here, but I have no idea what they could have been.”
Sona: “Is that so?”
She makes a face of dismay at hearing those words. However, her expressions don’t show a tinge of surprise.
Kais: “You don’t look much surprised by it.”
If anything, I would say she already expected the answer, but was still disappointed when she got it.
Sona: “Well, I guess you want to go to the tomb now?”
Kais: “Yeah, that’s what I was trying to do before you showed up.”
Sona: “I’d say this once – forget it.”
What’s that supposed to mean? I have no idea what’s going on and going to the tomb is the only thing I can think of that might give me some clues. So how am I supposed to just forget about it?
Sona: “There’s no point in you going there.”
Kais: “Why’s that?”
Sona: “I assume you are a psychic.”
I nod. I’m not surprised she managed to figure that out, but if she did, she should know it’s not an easy situation I’m in – near a legend yet not knowing why I am here. I have anxiety building up inside of me every moment. This is going to do nothing but hinder my abilities.
Sona: “Even if you go there, all it will do is shorten your lifespan.”
What? That statement doesn’t sound like a joke. No, from what her expressions say, it’s anything but a joke.
Kais: “Are you telling me the dragon …”
Sona: “I’m telling you your life will end sooner than it should, nothing more nothing less.”
What the hell? Why is she dragging the conversation like this? You can’t just tell someone they’ll die if they do something and then shut up.
Kais: “Damn! At least explain why?”
Sona: “You are a psychic, aren’t you? Why don’t you just read my mind and find out?”
I click my tongue. Reading minds – that will take up too much of my focus. It’s very risky. But from how the conversation seems to be going, there might not be any other choice if I want answers.
Sona: “I see. You are one of those cautious types.”
Sona: “Don’t try to hide it. It’s clear from your face how worried you are about anything going wrong.”
My face, you say? My expression right now is that of an idiot. Some might even call me coward for always thinking of what’s about to come whenever it comes to taking the initiative. But that’s fine with me. Being a coward is far better than being dead.
Kais: “I suppose I can’t deny it.”
Sona: “Well anyway, we got that out of the way, so I don’t think I have any more questions that you could answer.”
That sounds like she is going to declare our conversation is over. That could turn out to be a problem. While I have no qualms with us parting even though most of my questions haven’t been answered, the main reason is that she is someone who intends to defeat the dragon.
Sona: “What? There’s something you wanna say?”
It looks like she noticed the anxiety of my face.
I sigh and collect my thoughts. I don’t know if she understands the situation I’m in, but it looks like she doesn’t.
Kais: “Let’s say you defeat the dragon, what then? Do you know how that could affect the island?”
Sona: “I do. The tomb might break apart. The island, in response, will divide into pieces and each piece will get separated.”
This was something of a premonition in the story. From how she said it, it looks like it will actually happen.
Kais: “And you’re telling me you are going to try to kill him in-spite of that?”
Sona: “I am.”
She doesn’t even flinch in giving that answer; just how important is killing the dragon for her?
Kais: “Well, that would mean I’ll have no way of finding out the answers to any of my questions or to get back. So, I can’t really let you do whatever the hell you want.”
Her eyes widen a bit at hearing my proclamation.
Sona: “So you are telling me you don’t know how to get back?”
Kais: “I did already say I didn’t exactly know the reasons why I’m here, didn’t I? It’s because I was brought were against my will and without giving any knowledge of the place.”
Sona: “I … I see.”
She looks down, shocked after hearing what I just said. It’s hard to understand why she is so shocked. Unless, does it mean …
Kais: “Don’t tell me you know how to get out of here?”
She doesn’t reply but keeps looking down. One second passes. Two seconds pass. Five seconds pass. She doesn’t answer.
Kais: “… What’s wrong?”
She closes her eyes. I’m guessing she is trying to compose herself. On hearing that I can’t get out of here, she lost her composure like that’s a very big problem for her. But why would that be? There’s no reason for her to be this concerned about me since we basically just met. Then, what else could she be worried about that needs me to get out of here?
Sona: “No, it’s nothing. And I don’t know how you can get out of here.”
I realize the choice of words in her sentence indicate something.
Kais: “Does that mean you know how you can get out?”
Sona: “That doesn’t matter to you. You can’t use the method I do.”
Kais: “That’s fine as long as it gives me some hints.”
Sona: “Just … forget it.”
How am I supposed to do that? Forget I am stuck on an island with no way out. How am I supposed to forget that?
Kais: “I don’t know what your problem is, but I think it should be obvious I can’t just forget about it.”
Sona: “I suppose so.”
Kais: “So, are you going to help or not?”
Sona: “Can’t say.”
Damn! This is irritating. I understand she might have her reasons, but it’s still irritating to be treated like this, especially after it started to look like she would be willing to give me some hints.
Sona: “Well, that changes nothing.”
Sona: “I’m going to kill the dragon. Try to stop me and you’ll become a target too.”
Threatening me is one way to keep a potential problem in check. But it won’t work here. While I won’t try to act foolishly and put myself in danger, I am not going to sit around and do nothing either.
Sona: “If that’s clear, I’ll be going now.”
With that declaration, she starts walking. I stand there doing nothing, nothing but thinking. Yes, I can’t act foolishly here. If I have to do something, it should be trying to figure out what I can do to stop her without putting myself in much danger. While I’m fairly certain I can take on that rabbit and defeat it, I am not certain how much damage I will take before I finally defeat it.
She suddenly stops about 20 meters away from me and looks back, her eyes showing a glint of dismay, but says nothing, turns around, and continues walking again.
Kais: “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you do as you please.”
I mutter those words quietly enough so no one can hear them and then turn to look at the little girl resting with her back to a tree’s trunk.
Kais: “Well, she’s just energy, so she should be fine but …”
Her arm getting ripped off was a pretty brutal sight to see. While she has regenerated, or maybe I should say all the dispersed energy has returned to its initial state, it doesn’t change the fact that I saw her get hurt and couldn’t do anything. I do feel bad about it. There’s no way I can’t feel bad about a little girl getting hurt like this. If anything, I’m surprised why I was able to ignore this feeling for this much time.
Kais: “Well, I can’t waste my time like this though. There’s something far more important to think about.”
How to get that stubborn woman to talk? If that’s not possible, I’ll have to find a way to read her mind. In either case, I’ll need a solid defense. There are two situations where I’d be completely open to be attacked. In first case, if she makes that rabbit attack me then due to its ridiculous speed, I’d not be able to defend in time. In the second case, someone else might attack me while I’m not ready. So, I need to be ready to teleport at any moment.
Kais: “I do feel like I’m relying too much on teleportation. Maybe I should try to take a little risk once in a while.”
The thought is refreshing. I think it’s a good thing my mind can have such thoughts. But, there’s no way I can risk it in such a serious situation. If I screw up, I’ll never get a second chance. So while I’m glad the thought came to mind, I can’t follow up on it.
Kais: “Okay, so how am I going to deal with this?”
Pushing these thoughts out of my mind, I try to focus on the question of ‘how to deal with the situation’. First of all, why does that rabbit-like spirit follow her commands? It’s because it has made a contract with her. Or at least that’s how it should be, but in reality there’s no contract between the two. This won’t do. I am not getting anywhere like this. Okay, let’s say they actually do have a contract that I was not able to detect, then how does the situation play out?
This means that she is capable of making contracts with spirits, so there might be other cards up her sleeve I haven’t seen yet. There’s a distinguishing feature of Spirit-Users. It is the fact that the affects of psychic energy, whether harmful or beneficial, are very weak on them. When I fought Ro and Mohammed, I used energy manipulation. It allows me to concentrate the psychic energy in my body into a particular point and release it with a high velocity to do a considerable amount of damage. Of course there are other uses of it. I just used it to attack, but it can be used in many other ways. But to do so, I would need to be safe from any danger. Last time, while we were talking, I readied myself for photokinesis. By the time the fight started, I was ready to turn myself invisible. That gave me the edge I needed to use energy manipulation, but this time won’t be that easy.
Though I do have an arsenal of really powerful psychic abilities, I don’t have enough psychic energy to devote a little to all of them. At best, I can use two abilities together at their full potential. And even for that, I need to prepare myself.
Just from numbers of abilities I can use, I may look to be really powerful, but I am not in the least. At least, I’m nothing compared to Barry.
Sona walks through the forest to reach the tomb. Her spirit-friend is leading the way for her. The rabbit-like spirit exudes an aura that makes every animal back down. Even the bear called Hans, who she has just passed by didn’t move a muscle.
It may look like a rabbit, and seeing beasts be afraid by a rabbit might sound weird, but that’s what it will look to anyone who can’t sense the aura. It is well-known that spirits can take multiple forms, but whenever Sona has called for it, it had only shown itself as a rabbit. Sona herself doesn’t know why this spirit takes the shape of a rabbit. If she had an actual contract with it, maybe she would have found out the answer. But she doesn’t worry much about it. After all, what does it matter if it takes one or seven forms? It can still do what every other spirit can do.
The spirit stops and looks up. Sona realizes the meaning of that glare. It is said that the dragon hates spirits and keeps a barrier around the tomb to stop them from entering. Whether hating spirits part is true or not, the barrier part definitely is. This spirit is telling her that this is as far as it can go. The path straight ahead should soon lead to the tomb. The spirit has does its job well. Now she can go the rest of the way by herself.
Sona: “Okay then, come back.”
She holds out her hand with her palm facing downwards on the spirit. A light emerges on the spirit’s body and it fades away.
Sona: “Well then, I’m finally here.”
She looks ahead as she confirms her resolve to go through with her objective. She can see a clearing after a few trees. That clearing must be the place where the tomb is situated. She has come close to her destination and it fills her with a sense of anxiety over what’s to come.
Sona: “Alright then”
She shakes her head, looks ahead and starts walking again.
Sona: “I can’t back down now. So prepare yourself, dragon.”
With each step she takes, she is closing in on the beast that is known to have befriended ‘god’. This dragon was capable of decimating mountains. It was feared throughout the world and even the strongest of psychics couldn’t take him on alone. So what could this young, blonde woman do to stand up against this monster?
Sona: “I bet you are thinking that, aren’t you? I bet you are underestimating the heck out of me. That will be your downfall.”
She keeps walking, never trying to run away, always moving forward, and taking risks on her life. Even though she knows full well that she wouldn’t get a second chance if she screws up, she doesn’t back down or try to play it safe. More accurately, she doesn’t have the luxury of doing so.
Sona: “I WILL defeat you. I WILL take my revenge”
In truth, she is not fully confident that she will be succesful. But she can’t let it show on her face. The dragon may be able to see her, even if she doesn’t know how. If she shows that she isn’t confident enough in her plan, the one concern that could be building up in the dragon will subside and she won’t get the chance to do what she came to do.
Sona: “Okay then, here we go.”
She stretched out her hand so that her palm is facing the clearing. With this, and a grin on her face, the battle begins.
At the shed house Ro had planned to meet his back-up, there was someone already waiting for him to show up. This person had also just arrived at the place, but they still had to wait a considerable amount of time before Ro shows up.
This person had received a phone call a while back. The caller told them to insert a particular disc in a particular phone booth and monopolize it until Ro shows up. They had hidden their face with a jacket, so Ro never noticed who they were. Once that was done, they walked away from the place and waited for a call. The caller called next time asking them to go to this shed and wait there for Ro to show up.
And so, this person had come to this point. The man who they were speaking with on the phone, Ethan Kales, is not their superior or anything like that. But the simple thing is that their goals align for the moment. He comes up with plans, and they help bring it to fruition. They don’t wholeheartedly trust Ethan; neither does Ethan have complete faith in them. But because of mutual benefit coming from their combined actions, they are willing to keep working with each other.
Having waited a little while, they finally hear footsteps. It was faint and unclear at first, but it slowly becomes clear that they are indeed footsteps. This means that Ro, their target, has arrived there. Realizing this, they decide to hide themselves in the darkness formed by the shadows of boxes of goods kept in the shed.
Ro: “Well, it looks like they aren’t here yet. That’s good in a way.”
Ro looks somewhat relieved that he reached the shed before his back-up. Of course, his back-up was never coming, so it was bound to be this way, but he doesn’t know that. He closes his eyes and tried to move around as if trying to sense his surroundings. They don’t know what Ro is doing, but they have heard of him having the ability to detect any psychic energy in a large radius around him. It was probably that. If only Ro could detect Aural energy too, then their plan would have failed as he would have noticed the disc that bends waves and found that he was not talking to who he thought he was.
Ro: “Okay then, no one nearby is using any kind of psychic. That’s reassuring. Now I just have to wait for them to arrive.”
Of course that’s the answer Ro arrives at. No one nearby is using psychic. As long as the abilities being used aren’t psychic, his half-psychic ability is of no value.
Ro: “Now then”
The sound of a car parking nearby comes. Ro might think the person he talked to on the phone may have arrived, and in a way, he wasn’t wrong.
Ro: “A black safari?”
It’s Ethan, the man who Ro was supposed to find and kill. But, in contrast, Ethan is the one whose plan is succeeding. At least, at this point, Ethan has played Ro for a fool.
Ro: “Is that …”
Seeing the face of the man who came out of the safari, Ro is left stunned. It is not at all a coincidence and Ro understands that well.
Ethan: “Well, I see you are surprised. That’s such a delight to see.”
At this moment, Ro understands. The voice he had heard on the phone, the voice this man has, he makes the connection.
Ethan: “Now you are even more shocked. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”
Ethan’s smiling. It is a smile that shows innocent joy, even if the smile is far from it. Even if a half-psychic, Ro is still superior to Ethan, who is just a human. Seeing someone superior to him in shock and disbelieve is rather elating to him. It is something he has dreamt of for a long time, and now is the time that dream is coming to fruition.
At that moment, there is no longer any reason for the person in the shed beside the two men to keep hidden. And so, that person comes out. In the silence that engulfed the place as a result of Ethan’s quiet celebrations and Ro’s shock.
Ro’s eyes move towards them, and now even more shock is visible on his face.
Ro: “You … you are … Sneha Stone.”
That person, Sneha Stone, steps out of the shed. She looks at Ro with a look of pity in her eyes. It is pity born out of hatred; something she feels for everyone working for Vermillion. But Ro’s shock is far more extreme than her pity. It isn’t just the shock of seeing someone he knew and thought he could trust turn against them, it was far deeper.
Ro: “You … are working with … Ethan Kales?”
Sneha: “And what if I am?”
The image of seeing Sneha just that day surfaces in Ro’s mind. It is the day he and Mohammed took Kais to the island. But they wouldn’t have been able to do so without the help of the woman in front of him.
Ro: “Why … then why were you …?”
Sneha: “Your questions are understandable. Someone who would take the risk to make an enemy out of a psychic like Kais for the sake of orders – I wouldn’t believe someone like that could betray the people in power either.”
She, Sneha Stone, had used her powers to knock Kais out. While he may not have been able to know it was her, the fact remains that she is the one who did it. If he finds out and intends to take revenge, it won’t be easy for her to get out of the mess either. The difference between psychics and other supernaturals is just that big.
Ro: “So … how come you are here?”
A sudden change occurs in Ro’s expressions. Suddenly, the shock is gone from his face, his speech returns to being fluent and a darkness surfaces in his eyes. Sneha gets surprised by this sudden change, but decides to ignore it and answers the question.
Sneha: “Well, the simple truth of the matter is that this has been my goal since the beginning. I am pretty sure our ‘boss’ won’t be as surprised as you are if he finds out about me.”
Ro: “You are telling me Garfield knows?”
There is something off about Ro’s speech. He had always used some sort of honorific when talking about someone superior. This thought bugs Sneha but she tries to keep her attention to the conversation.
Sneha: “I did say ‘if’ he finds out. Shouldn’t that mean he doesn’t?”
Ro looks down. His expression is no longer visible to her.
Ro: “Yeah, I suppose so.”
Sneha: “You know Ro, I have always hated those who suck up to people more powerful than them. Their actions are against the very concept of equality, and I hate it. But that’s why, I also pity you.”
Sneha tightens her hands into a fist as they start glowing. It’s a faint glow but it indicates she is focusing her powers into her fists. It is somewhat similar to energy manipulation that Kais had done, but its output is far more than anything Kais could manage.
Ethan: “Well, is your conversation over?”
Seeing Ro’s back-to-back questions halting, Ethan asks one of his own. Ro’s eyes turn to look at Ethan. His head is still facing down, but the expression that has taken over his mind isn’t an emotion one would generally associate with that posture.
Ro: “Yeah, sure. I’m out of questions.”
He starts walking towards Ethan. Sneha gets ready to attack but Ethan puts up a hand to tell her to stop.
Ro: “At least, there aren’t any questions that I want to ask a scum like you.”
Ro’s body, as he moves, is shaking a little. It’s unclear to both Ethan and Sneha if the shaking was due to fear or something else.
Ethan: “Well, there’s just one thing I need to say to you.”
Ro’s face moves a little upwards, his eyes staring at Ethan. Sneha’s gaze is locked on Ro, but her attention is also caught by Ethan’s words.
Ro: “What’s that?”
Ethan: “You made a mistake when you tried to pick a fight with Kais.”
Ro: “I already know that.”
The look on Ro’s face becomes that of disappointment. He had expected something more important to come out of Ethan’s mouth, but it was something obvious. As a half-psychic who could lose to even the weakest of psychics, he knew full well picking a fight with a psychic who is definitely not amongst the weakest is an idiotic thing to do. No one needs to tell him something so obvious. But the look on Ethan’s face, in contrast, was of bliss.
Ethan: “I don’t think you understand what I mean by that.”
Ethan: “While Kais is a fairly competent psychic, there’s someone else you have made an enemy out of who is much worse.”
Not just Ro, but Sneha is also surprised to hear that. She thinks that maybe Ethan is trying to psyche him out, but from the look on his face, it’s clear how happy he is. At this moment, Ethan Kales is truly happy. This happiness being a sadistic one as it came from imagining the shock Ro would have on his face. And there has to be someone who would be the cause of this shock. While Sneha doesn’t understand all of the twisted logic in his smile, she does understand that Ethan isn’t bluffing.
Sneha: “Who … are you talking about?”
Ethan gaze shifts from Ro to Sneha and back to Ro. He closes his eyes and prepares himself for the shock he is going to witness on their faces and finally, opening his eyes, he continues,