Chapter 43: Fire

No matter where he looks, there is fire. There is only fire. No, fire would be too mild of a description of it. A more accurate description would be inferno.

Dyne: “No way. This isn’t true.”

The Spectre, Dyne, falls as he sees this scenery, as he sees all the other Spectres slaughtered.

Dyne: “This is … just impossible.”

He says as he looks at the inferno around him in disbelief.

Dyne: “This is … an illusion. It has to be. There’s just no way, something like this just isn’t possible in reality.”

He denies what he sees. He has to.

Dyne: “After all, we are the strongest army in the entire world.”

This is not wrong.

Dyne: “We could defeat any army in the world. We can even defeat the whole The Dragon Alliance by ourselves.”

This is not wrong either.

Dyne: “We could even … even defeat Walter … “

He notices something that catches his eyes.

Dyne: “if we …”

He lowers his gaze to look at it.

Dyne: “fight together …”

He says as he gets a good look at what had caught his sight.

Dyne: “This … is just plain absurd!”

He denies it. He can never believe it. The psychic hailed as ‘the strongest man in the world’ lies dead in front of his eyes.

Dyne: “It’s unreal!”

He drags himself back from that scene, that unbelievable scene.

Dyne: “This just doesn’t make any sense.”

He says as he tries to look away but is unable to.

Dyne: “Who could possibly do something like this?”

He asks when there was no one to answer.

Dyne: “That’s right. There’s no one.”

He smiles, no, frowns. He frowns to convince himself.

Dyne: “There just is no one who can create this disaster. No one in the world has the power to do this.”

He keeps crawling backwards and frowning in disbelief unable to look away from the sight of Walter Schmidt’s corpse.

Dyne: “That’s just it. There’s no one. This is not a reality. This is just an illusion.”

He does not remember that he was set ablaze and is being shown these illusions by Barry. Those memories have been temporarily sealed away. But if he believes, if he believes enough that this is an illusion, then he will realize that it really is.

Dyne: “This is an illusion. It has to be. It can only be an illusion.”

And fortunately for him, ghosts don’t have dreams. They can’t have dreams. So, the only possibility for denying this reality he can think of is it being an illusion.

Dyne: “This is an illusion. This is an illusion. This is an illusion. Huh …”

His words stop coming out as he feels a presence behind him. He feels that there’s someone standing behind him.

Dyne: “No, it’s just an illusion. Even that presence is an illusion.”

That presence even overtakes his inability to look away from Walter’s corpse. He tries to convince himself to not do it yet he can’t stop his head from turning to look back. His curiosity seems to be getting the better of him.

Dyne: “Huh!”

And it doesn’t turn out very good for him.

Dyne: “No, no, no, no, no, no,”

He keeps saying the word of denial as he looks at the sight behind him.

Dyne: “no, no, no, no,”

He keeps repeating the same word as many times as he could. That was just how unbelievable the sight in front of his eyes was.

One man … among all the fallen, there is one man standing.

His hands are soaked in blood.

His clothes are soaked in blood.

His face is soaked in blood.

And he has tears flowing from his eyes.

Dyne: “no, no, no, not possible. There is no one alive … who can do this.”

Walter Schmidt is supposed to be the most powerful person in the world. And even he couldn’t slaughter all the Spectres in the world by himself.

Dyne: “There is just no way!”

He crawls away as he denies that scene.

It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to exist who can do this. If there really is someone who can do this, he would truly be … the devil.

And yet,

Dyne: “No, stay away!”

He crawls away as he sees the figure soaked in blood from head to toe coming towards him.

Dyne: “Don’t come any closer! Stay away from me!”

But even as the Spectre says so, the figure doesn’t stop. He keeps walking towards Dyne.

Dyne: “Damn it! Don’t underestimate me!”

He shouts at that figure but it doesn’t faze him. Instead, a reply comes back.

Figure: “I am not underestimating you. I know how powerful you are.”

He says as he walks towards the horrified Spectre.

Figure: “Which is why, I became more powerful than you.”

Dyne: “What!?”

Figure: “I saw you people destroying the world as if it’s your plaything. And I saw myself being able to do nothing as you took everything from me.”

He says to the Spectre whom he stares with bloodshot eyes.

Figure: “That is why; I became more powerful than you. I did so to destroy you all. I did so to stop your carnage.”

He says as he steps right in front of the Spectre.

Figure: “And I ended up losing everything again.”

He says as he kicks Dyne’s head.

Figure: “I couldn’t stop you.”

He says as tears flow from his eyes and he pounces on the Spectre.

Figure: “In the end, all of you ended up destroying everything again.”

He says as he bends down.

Figure: “So I, in return, stopped abiding by the rules too …”

He says as he punched the Spectre.

Figure: “and destroyed all of you.”

He punched the Spectre again and again.

Figure: “And in the end, I am left alone.”

He says as he kept punching with his bloodied hands. His words ringing in Dyne’s ears as the Spectre’s existence started to come to an end.

Figure: “I gained nothing …”

The blood on his hands couldn’t come from ghosts like the Spectres but it was still there. And that couldn’t all be Walter’s blood. But then where did all that blood came from? The Spectre wondered that question as his existence kept fading away little-by-little.

Figure: “but lost everything.”

And the answer came to him very soon. As his vision faded away, the last thing he caught in his eyes was the sight of the vampires.

Dyne: “Ah!”

He realized then. The war was over. It became the end of Spectres. It became the end of vampires. And it probably didn’t end on just that. This figure, this man, the only survivor is left all alone after this war.

Dyne: “Who … are you?”

Figure: “Just someone who wanted to save those dear to him … and couldn’t. My name is not important.”

Dyne, hearing that, gave up and surrendered his existence. But the figure, devoid of any reason to live, kept hitting his head.

The voices of those bloody hands hitting the Spectre’s helm kept ringing and the inferno kept burning. Surely, there will come a moment when the inferno will extinguish, and so will the sound of those hands.

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Neither Ro nor the dragon would be able to defeat or even gain an equal footing against Walter Schmidt alone. But by working together, they have managed to bring him to his knees.

Ro: “We can’t stop.”

Ro says to the dragon who relaxes somewhat after seeing the snakes’ poison spreading in Walter’s body. The dragon nods.

Dragon: “Yeah, I know. I am not planning to stop either.”

As he finishes his sentence, as if right on cue, much larger snakes that looked like pythons with golden skin surround Walter.

Ro: “Eh!”

Ro just can’t watch something as horrible as this but he has to force himself to do it.

Dragon: “I don’t blame you for feeling nauseous right now.”

The dragon isn’t lying.

Dragon: “After doing your part, you are free to turn away.”

Ro again runs to Walter and uses the same trick he has used for three times now. That is to say, the trick that has worked like a charm for three times now.

Walter: “Damn!”

He says as he grits his teeth in pain but can’t even lift his fingers to stop Ro from putting his hand through his body in diluted form and then condensing it with the atmosphere some of its portions are in touch with.

Walter: “GAAHH!!!”

As usual, the trick ends up being a very painful experience for Walter. This pain, however, worsens for him in every turn because of the now present poison in his veins. Ro, on the other hand, was building endurance against the pain he feels during this, which was already much lower than what Walter felt.

Dragon: “Okay, pull back already.”

The dragon says in a forceful tone that brings Ro’s focus back on the subject and Ro pulls his hands out and retreats.

Dragon: “What were you doing?”

He asks as he motions his pythons to attack Walter.

Ro: “Sorry, I just noticed how my endurance against this pain is increasing on every single try.”

Dragon: “Well, that’s a good thing but …”

Ro: “Yeah, I know. I won’t let myself lose focus again.”

He says with an affirming attitude that gives reassurance to the dragon.

Walter: “Again, you say?”

Walter looks at the two with bloodshot eyes as he asks them.

Ro: “Well, what about it? Finally going to try to stop us?”

Walter: “You … stop messing with me!”

He says as the pythons bite on his hands and his legs while the poison keeps destroying his body from inside out.

Dragon: “Sorry, but we need to stop you.”

Walter: “Yeah. That you do.”

Walter bleeds from his mouth as he speaks but he still continues,

Walter: “Which is why … come up with something new for crying out loud!”

He says as his irritation becomes more and more visible in his voice.

Walter: “This trick of yours was fine once and twice but now you are just being one-trick ponies.”

He displays his irritation clearly.

Ro: “If the same thing works, then why would we change it?”

His bloodshot eyes grow even more intense after hearing Ro’s words.

Walter: “Works? Oh please!”

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

Barry keeps his distance from the burning body of the Spectre as he continues showing him the illusions using his photokinesis.

Barry: “If only I could take a look inside his mind at the same time and see for myself what he is seeing, I could control the illusions to make sure he doesn’t get a chance to figure out it’s an illusion.”

Barry laments his inability to do so.

Barry: “But I can’t risk it. I need to stay on-guard.”

Dyne could potentially pull something Barry had not anticipated or Walter could come to his rescue. In either case, Barry needs to be on-guard.

Barry: “Still, I can at least do this.”

He says as he intensifies the flames on Dyne with his pyrokinesis. Pyrokinesis takes more energy than telepathy. But, it takes less focus. And focus is what Barry can’t devote right now, energy he has in abundance.

Barry: “I hope he stays there for long though, long enough that Kais gets to the interior of the tomb.”

Barry wishes so. Since he is unable to see what illusions Dyne is seeing, he can only wish for it. The way illusions work is not as simple as it may sound at first. One can’t just show others an illusion they want to.

Barry: “Yeah, only idiots or monsters would try to do that.”

In which, most who try it would be idiots. Although perceptiveness varies depending on who the person in question is, the subconscious part of the brain is always very perceptive. If the illusion has even a slight error in a detail, the subconscious brain would pick up on that and the person would start feeling something wrong with what he/she is seeing.

In order to create a perfect illusion, you need to know literally everything. If you want to show an illusion of a desert, you need to know the properties of every grain of sand, the plants, whether among many others to create an illusion that the subconscious wouldn’t be able to pick up on. The only other way to do it is to put so much psychic energy into creating that illusion that others wouldn’t even have that much energy in them. That feat is only possible by someone like Kais, and he did do it back on the beach.

Barry: “But even so, I could still mold them a little if I could see them.”

When a person just tries to use photokinesis to show others an illusion, they just insert light rays with the ability to form an illusion. These illusions connect with the targeted person’s consciousness and use their memories both from the conscious and subconscious parts to create an illusion they wouldn’t want to see.

That said, that illusion could be something the person so wants to deny that they would immediately start thinking it’s an illusion. And once that happens, the person would soon start to realize that it really is one.

If Barry was able to see what Dyne was seeing and how Dyne was reacting to it, he could do some modifications to that illusion to make sure that doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, that was not something he could spare his attention to.

Barry: “But still, it has been a while since I sent him in there. I suppose its working fine.”

Barry says as he tries to think positively. Unfortunately for him,

Dyne: “It’s just not possible!”

Dyne breaks out of his illusion right at that moment, though it would be more accurate to say there was just no illusion to see after having literally been killed in it.

Barry: “Shit!”

Dyne: “It will never happen!”

Dyne seems to be unable to get the illusion out of his mind. Barry thinks of using this chance to attack Dyne, but …

Dyne: “That illusion was the stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life.”

He says something that catches Barry’s attention.

Dyne: “All the Spectres, dead; all the vampires, dead; Walter, dead; others, probably dead. It was just the most impossible outcome ever.”

Barry stops in his tracks as he hears that. That illusion would be something Dyne never wanted to see and formed from his memories. But that also means that there is something in his memories that indicates the possibility of such a future.

Barry: “No way!”

Dyne: “That’s what I am saying.”

He looks at Barry with bloodshot eyes. He doesn’t even care about his burning body. He doesn’t even feel the pain, at least, not more than the shock and disbelief.

Barry: “Tch!”

Barry regains focus. He realizes that he needs to focus on what he is doing at that moment. And so, he tries to intensify the flames on Dyne but,

Dyne: “If the inferno comes, it will be because of him.”

Dyne says as if declaring.

Dyne: “If the corpses align, it will be because of him.”

Dyne says again as if declaring. And in the same tone, he continues,

Dyne: “It will be Walter who would do it. If not him, then nobody would do it.”

Dyne remembers the promise Walter made to him and the trust he gained from the Spectre to think he would stay true to it. He would not allow himself to believe in an illusion that is only possible if that promise is broken.

Dyne: “There’s only person who knows how to play with fire, and that’s Walter Schmidt.”

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

Walter is irritated by the fact that Ro and the dragon keep repeating the same trick again and again. But the two are willing to continue on with it if it keeps working. If Walter finds a way out of it, they have more tricks up their sleeves. That is what the both of them think.

Walter: “You people sure are confident, aren’t you? You do know I can heal myself with my psychic?”

He says as he reads those thoughts in their heads.

Ro: “Yeah, but you can only heal your wounds. The poison inside will keep you at bay.”

Walter: “Too bad, you don’t know anything.”

He says as he clenches his fists and fire forms on them.

Ro: “Is he going to try to seal his wounds close?”

Dragon: “With the poison already in his body, that won’t do much for him.”

Walter: “True, which is why sealing my wounds isn’t going to be enough.”

He cuts in their conversation with a big grin on his face.

Walter: “But this will be.”

As he says that, the fire on his hands spreads from his body to hand wounds to his legs to his face to his back and hence, the whole body is covered in flames.

Dragon: “What!?”

The pythons retreat from the fire. And just as they do that, the fire even intensifies … it intensifies to the point it becomes a blaze and it keeps becoming fiercer.

Dragon: “Just what is he doing!!?”

Ro: “I have no idea!”

The two watch in sheer shock.

Walter: “Now then, let’s turn the heat on.”

He says as if to mock the fire that was already present. But he wouldn’t bluff at a time like this. He doesn’t need to. And that’s because he can literally increase it to the level that it kills him. And he does just that.

By increasing the heat to what can only be found on the sun’s surface, he kills himself. As the person responsible for the fire dies, the fire disappears immediately. Thanks to that, the dragon and Ro only get half-burned to death.

Dragon: “AAHHH!!! AAHHH!!! What the hell was that bastard thinking?”

Ro: “AHHH!!! AAAHH!!! Like I said before, I have no idea, but now that he’s dead, I suppose we won.”

Even though they had ended up coming on top against the world’s strongest, they just didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment because the reason for their victory was the opponent. And then,

Walter: “Who did you think is dead?”

He says while stepping out of the smoke he had created and looking down at the fallen, half-burnt ghost and the dragon in his human-form.

Dragon: “WHAT!”

Ro: “No way!”

Walter: “Yes way!”

He says mockingly with a smirk on his face.

Ro: “How are you still alive?”

Walter: “All I had to do was heal myself before my soul completely disconnects from my body.”

The two listeners are left with their mouths hanging wide as they see the monster beyond all monsters standing in front of them talking about healing a dead person, especially himself, back to life like it’s no big deal.

What else could they do when their opponent’s title of the strongest in the world truly dawned on them?

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