Chapter 44: Fate

It has been a day. Not really, but according to the time on the island right now, it has; though if one tries to use their sense of time well, they would know that it has only been two hours. It has only been two hours since the fiasco with the time began.

Ethan: “Well,”

He says as he steps out of the bushes into the clearing.

Ethan: “I am finally here.”

A faint smile is on his lips and there’s good reason for it. He is seeing what can be called one of the most important reminders of history for the very first time.

Ethan: “Ha!”

A sigh escapes his lips as he looks at the golden monument. He is neither taken in by its beauty nor disgusted by it. Even though there is a smile on his lips, there is no real awe felt by seeing the monument. The only reason for the smile is the sense of achievement felt by him in reaching this place.

Ethan: “Still though,”

And yet, he can’t deny that there’s something amiss.

Ethan: “I’m sure …”

There should be something there that is not.

Ethan: “there should be a pond here.”

He remembers the legend well. He has studied about it many a times so as to completely memorize everything about it. And it is times like these when that memorization helps him noticing things that may or may not seem insignificant.

Ethan: “And then,”

His eyes, as they try to look for the pond, spot something else that catches his interest.

Ethan: “So she went in, huh?”

He understands immediately that his partner has gone in the tomb as he sees her footsteps leading up to the gate of the tomb. There are, however, no footsteps inside the tomb.

Ethan: “And she’s wasn’t alone either.”

He says as he sees three other footprints besides her going in the tomb as well. And just like her footprints, they can only be seen up till the entrance.

Ethan: “Now this is interesting. If I try to step in the tomb, I would probably find out the reason for that. But, I’ll hold off on that for now.”

He decides to first properly search the clearing and everything around it. After all, it’s quite possible he would be led to a place he can’t leave just by stepping backwards when he steps in the tomb.

Ethan: “So, I am really curious about where the pond is.”

He puts a hand on his chin as he wonders about that.

???: “I can tell you if you want me to.”

A voice, a familiar voice comes from behind.

Ethan: “…”

He recognizes that voice, and is caught off-guard by it.

???: “But I suppose you probably hate me so much you wouldn’t want to hear anything from me.”

His eyes stare at the ground as his mind clogs up with hatred. The desire the kill the owner of this voice takes over him as he turns around.

???: “See, I knew you hate me.”

The voice continues. As he hears that, he realizes something. He realizes he was about to do something really stupid. And he steps back.

Ethan: “No, no,”

???: “No?”

Ethan: “No, please, feel free to tell me.”

He says while his head hangs low and his eyes stare at the ground trying to hide his anger and hatred.

Ethan: “Where is the pond mentioned in the legends, Ozyllus?”

He asks the owner of that voice.

Ozyllus: “Well, the pond’s on the opposite end of the island to the beach you initially landed on.”

Ethan: “I see.”

He understands that if he loses himself to anger or hatred right now, all the things he had done for so long would be for naught. So, he has to stop himself. He has to think rationally. He has to look at the man who turned his life upside down and try to talk to him calmly and rationally as if the hatred from 12 years ago has disappeared.

Ethan: “Then, tell me, why are you here?”

He holds those hands that are shaking from anger and asks so.

Ozyllus: “That’s a good question, considering your position.”

Ethan: “My Position?”

As Ozyllus sees his reaction, he ponders on how to give the answer to his question. After a moment of silence, he asks,

Ozyllus: “Do you know why I chose your eyes?”

Ethan’s lips curl in disgust as he hears that question.

Ethan: “… I don’t.”

Ozyllus: “It was because you didn’t have a purpose.”

Ethan: “What!?”

His eyebrows twitch and his hands tighten but he is still somehow able to stop himself from attacking the so-called god.

Ozyllus: “It’s because, out of all the people in the world that I saw every day, you seemed like the most devoid of a reason to live.”

He says as he turns to look at the sky.

Ozyllus: “It was as if there you had no real desires, as if you were living for the sake of living.”

He continues on.

Ozyllus: “You looked like you’ll easily jump off a cliff if you feel like it, because there was just nothing driving you to live.”

Ethan hears those words with wide-eyed shock on his face.

Ethan: “T-That’s … bullshit!”

He says to the so-called god.

Ozyllus: “Is it?”

Ethan: “Of course it is. I was an eight-year-old boy. Maybe I had just not found anything that I was passionate about, but that doesn’t mean I was …”

Ozyllus: “You were.”

Ozyllus cuts in.

Ozyllus: “It was not that you had no passion for anything you did; it was that you didn’t have any feeling at all towards it.”

Ethan is left unable to respond. Memories of when he was an eight-year-old could have easily been forgotten by him if his life remained ordinary. But the incident that happened that changed his life forever was etched into his memory. And so, he couldn’t forget the days around that fateful day either.

He remembers them. He remembers them well. And so, he can’t refute Ozyllus’ words, because they spell the truth.

Ozyllus: “If you missed eating, you didn’t feel anything. If you missed class, you didn’t feel anything. If you were ignored by everyone, you didn’t feel anything. If you were bullied by everyone, you didn’t feel anything. If you were congratulated on your birthday by everyone, you didn’t feel anything.”

Ozyllus keeps wording those irrefutable facts and Ethan is left with no room to escape.

Ozyllus: “It was as if, no, you really were … hollow. You were hollow inside.”

It’s true. Ethan knows it’s true. And as someone who had made it a habit to face facts for facts without trying to ever run away from reality, he has nothing to say.

Ozyllus: “Your life looked to me like an empty vessel, so I thought you would be the perfect person to be given this responsibility, since it could fill that vessel.”

He turns his head to Ethan. Ethan doesn’t meet his gaze as he looks away but Ozyllus smiles as he sees that.

Ozyllus: “I made up a lie about your eyes being capable of saving the world and asked for them. I thought it would work. Because you didn’t seem to have any motivation to live, I had thought you wouldn’t have any attachment to your eyes either.”

Ozyllus turns to look at the sky again.

Ozyllus: “But in the end, there was something inside you. You weren’t completely hollow inside after all. You didn’t want to experience pain and so you refused me. Furthermore, you felt fear too.”

His lips keep moving.

Ozyllus: “But by then, I had already decided. I had already chosen you and I just could not bear to have memories of making another victim for no good reason. So I stuck with the one I had already involved in the war and had already made a victim, you.”

He said. His hair covers his eyes so Ethan Kales wouldn’t know, but there are tears forming in them.

Ozyllus: “I ended up forcibly taking your eyes and giving you the eyes of my former friend, Sagax.”

Ethan is left with emotions so complicated he can’t even try to explain.

Ozyllus: “That is why I chose you. I made an error in my judgment of you and ended up choosing you. But alas, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

He says as his face darkens.

Ozyllus: “Now that brings me to your question – Why am I here?”

He says as if just remembering it.

Ozyllus: “I am here because Kais stepped foot in that tomb.”

Ethan wants to ask to explain further but the words just don’t come out.

Ozyllus: “I was in his subconscious when he sealed it using his psychic abilities of mind-controlling on himself. But when he stepped in this tomb, in the tomb where my dead body lays, I regained all the power that I otherwise lacked to force my way out of there. And hence, I was able to be here at this moment.”

Ozyllus finishes explaining.

Ethan: “HA! HA! HA!”

To distract himself from everything that the so-called god had said before, Ethan laughs like a madman.

Ethan: “A god – sneaked away like that? What a joke! How pathetic … of a god are you!”

He tried to act as if he didn’t care about the things that were said a moment ago. Seeing that, Ozyllus smiled.

Ozyllus: “Are you sure you want to ignore the reality of your emotions and try to act tough?”

Ozyllus words hit their mark and Ethan is left unable to continue mocking him. He had made a vow to himself that he would never try to ignore the reality yet when it came down to it, he did it anyway.

Ozyllus: “In case you are wondering why I told you about all that before answering your question, it was because I wanted you to understand what your position is.”

Ozyllus turned to look straight at Ethan.

Ozyllus: “You are the man who will see history unfold in front of your eyes. At least, that’s what anyone in your position tries to do.”

He starts walking towards Ethan.

Ozyllus: “Everyone like you who is alive at a time of war like this tries to observe it as a third-party and create its legend. There was one exception though. It was Sagax, whose eyes you have right now.”

He continues walking and Ethan starts stepping back.

Ozyllus: “He could have easily stayed out of the war and just observed it too but he tried to stop it. He was one of the people who really wanted the war to end. And in the end, that cost him a lot.”

Ozyllus keeps walking towards him and Ethan tries to step backwards.

Ozyllus: “If he had stayed out of the war and just observed, it would have been so much better for him, but that’s not what he did. Some might say he was a fool and some might say he was brave, but none of it matters.”

Ozyllus stops few steps away from Ethan.

Ozyllus: “In the end, he lost more than he gained and died regretting ever involving himself in the war. That is all that matters.”

He looks at Ethan straight in his eyes.

Ozyllus: “So tell me, knowing all this, knowing the fate of the man who tried to involve himself in the war like you are, would you still try to change things?”

The answer to this question would mean everything to Ozyllus.

Ozyllus: “I know you want to destroy me. I know that’s what you have desired. I now also know that you had been trying to destroy my plans from the start. I know the reason you let him, the Vampire Kingdom’s strategist, spread true legends about vampires was so my efforts at making them seem more dangerous than they are were sabotaged. I know the reason you sought out Sneha’s help was because it would have been easy for you to manipulate her into going against me since I am the reason all her teachers and fellow students at the shrine died.”

Ethan understands how important to Ozyllus the answer to this question is.

Ozyllus: “So, knowing the fate that awaits you on this path, would you still continue doing what you have been doing?”

Ethan can clearly see the darkness on Ozyllus’ face as he asks this question, as he begs for an answer. So, Ethan replies,

Ethan: “Like I care about a bunch of fatalistic nonsense. I only care about my goal.”

Ozyllus: “The goal that you were told to accomplish by another?”

Ethan: “The goal that I felt the strongest urge to follow when that another told me about it.”

Ethan’s reply makes his intentions as clear as they could be.

Ozyllus: “I see.”

Ozyllus closes his eyes as he hears that,

Ozyllus: “If that’s the case,”

Then opens them.

Ozyllus: “Then go try your hand at it as well.”

Ozyllus says as he raises his right hand and touches Ethan’s forehead.

Ozyllus: “Who knows, maybe you really could change the fate.”

He says as he taps Ethan on his forehead making him step back; and having not realized that he was just one step away from the tomb, Ethan steps right into it.

As soon as he steps in the tomb, Ethan sees the darkness in the tomb disappearing by fires that continue to ignite on both sides of the walls.

Ethan: “What!?”

As he looks back at where Ozyllus was standing, he finds there to be no one. The so-called god had left him without giving him a chance to find out what he thought of his decision to go against fate.

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