It was two hours ago. According to the unstable time right now, it was a day ago. But regardless, that was when we entered the tomb. The little girl was the first one to step in, followed by Sneha and then Sona. After that, it was my turn.
The three of them looked at me as I lifted my foot to step in the tomb. That was it? I am about to step in the real tomb, I thought to myself. And as I thought that, only then did I realize something.
Sona: “Don’t take forever.”
Kais: “Wait! If I step in the tomb,”
This is Ozyllus’ tomb. If I step in, who knows what may happen? My concern was about the fact that he was locked inside The Cage because I could overpower him when he was in my mind. But if I stepped inside, that power balance could change.
Girl: “Come on already.”
I stepped back.
Kais: “Listen, there’s something I haven’t told you.”
I said so to Sona as I looked at her. She narrowed her eyes but didn’t say anything.
Kais: “The thing is; Ozyllus’ soul is currently in my subconscious.”
All three of them gasped as they heard that.
Sona: “T-That’s a pretty lame joke.”
Kais: “You know I am not joking.”
I was serious and, from the expression on her face, I could tell that she understood that.
Sona: “… Damn!”
She immediately caught on to what I was getting at.
Sneha: “How did that happen?”
I knew all three of them wanted the answer to that question.
Kais: “Well, he was the one who invaded my consciousness. It happened on the beach.”
Sona: “Wait, seriously!?”
She was wide-eyed as she looked at me. I nodded in response.
Sona: “Then don’t tell me that … that …”
I didn’t get what exactly she was so shocked about.
Sneha: “No way, the other personality?”
Sneha caught on to what Sona was thinking and as she worded it, I got it too.
Kais: “No, that wasn’t Ozyllus.”
After I gained all of my memories back, I remembered all the times that other personality had taken over my mind.
Sona: “You know about that?”
Kais: “It was because he was trying to make me forget everything about him that I kept forgetting everything every time the other personality was in control.”
Sona: “I see. So then that would have been a part of all the memories you gained back.”
Because she is a spirit-user, subjects like souls and what they can and can’t do is very well-known to her. So, she was the quickest to understand everything that had happened to me involving the souls of Abyss and Ozyllus.
Sona: “But regardless, that’s not the current issue.”
That’s true. So no one objected to her pushing the issue aside.
Sona: “What is the state of his soul right now?”
She asked me with serious and focused eyes.
Kais: “I locked him in a part of my subconscious called The Cage. It’s basically a-”
-A dimension where a psychic’s consciousness rests while one goes to sleep. Or so I was about to say,
Sona: “Yeah, I know what The Cage is. Barry had explained it to me.”
Kais: “I see. That helps.”
Sona: “You are afraid he may be able to break out of there if you step in his tomb.”
I nodded. I was never so confident in myself to think I’d be able to keep him locked in if it comes to fighting on equal footing, much less when I am in a place that may be beneficial to him.
Sneha: “Okay, so I need some clarification. Just because it’s his tomb, would it really make his power grow.”
I was not sure about that either. I was just being cautious. If anyone would have known the answer to that, it would have been Sona.
Sona: “It’s not something that would happen in anyone’s case. But in his case, there’s a chance.”
Girl: “Excuse me,”
She tilted her head as she asked Sona,
Girl: “why would it be anything different for him when you said that he was not a god, but another human?”
That was a good point. At the end of the day, if he was just a human, then no matter how powerful he may have been; the same laws that apply to everyone else should apply to him too.
Sona: “It’s not about him being a human or a god; it’s about him being a cunning asshole.”
She replied in a bit of irritated tone.
Sona: “There are some methods for increasing a soul’s power that can only be performed by someone who has a physical body. It’s very possible he could have set the tomb in a way that one or two of them are performed as soon as his soul entered the tomb.”
That was a bit of a stretch to think.
Sona: “What’s even more possible however – is that he could have made the dragon put in some mechanism like that in here, since the dragon was following him for all these years and everything.”
Now that was completely possible.
Sona: “The question is – is it worth the risk?”
And the answer to that question could only have been given by the dragon, who had told us to go in the tomb without telling us why.
She took a long sigh and looked at me.
Sneha: “My goal has nothing to do with what yours is but I need someone who has been recognized by Ozyllus to come with me. It’s probably because Kais fulfils that requirement that nothing is happening to me right now.”
Sona fulfilled that requirement too but Sneha didn’t know that.
Sneha: “I would offer to listen to your problems but with the time as it is now, that could backfire.”
That was true. If we lost a lot of time on this, it could definitely backfire in ways we couldn’t imagine. Not to mention the obvious fact that the two who attacked us back there could come here since it seemed like their target was me.
Sona: “This is a problem.”
She looked at the ground in irritation at not being able to come up with any solutions for the said problem.
Girl: “Then I think you should step in the tomb.”
She said with a smile as if it was no big deal. Needless to say, someone would not like that attitude.
Sona: “Do you even understand what’s going on here?”
Sona asked with quite some irritation visible on her face.
Girl: “I know, I know. But shouldn’t you choose to learn as much as you can when you get the chance. After all, it’s not like you can keep him caged in forever.”
To all of our surprise, she made a very sound point.
Sneha: “I am all for that idea.”
Sneha supported her in that decision. In the end, the decision still was mine and Sona’s input was the most crucial but,
Sona: “Oh boy!”
Sona: “… she has a point, we should go in.”
And agreed to it as well. I couldn’t help but agree too. I couldn’t waste any more time on something like that. I had to sacrifice either the knowledge that could help me in the long run or the cage holding him in that would help me in the short run only.
Kais: “Fine then!”
With that decided, I stepped in the tomb; and as soon as I did that, a sharp pain arose in my head.
Ozyllus: “That sure took a while.”
He said as he materialized before us outside of the tomb.
Girl: “I can’t believe it!”
Sneha: “No way! Is that really …”
The two looked at him in astonishment.
Ozyllus: “I am. I definitely am.”
He proudly told them with a smile. That astonishment, however, was not present on our – mine and Sona’s – faces. To us, who had seen him once before, we couldn’t afford to be astonished every time we saw this legend. The only expressions we could manage to muster up at him were – hate and disgust.
Ozyllus: “Don’t look at me like that, Sona.”
He said to Sona as she looked as if about ready to kill him. It makes sense, to be honest. After learning the truth about the incident that took everything from her, he is the one who has inherited all the hatred that Sona once directed towards the dragon.
Ozyllus: “Oh well, I can’t really change your impression of me now that it has gotten this bad. I wish I could but I can’t.”
He said as he started to walk away from us.
I looked back at him, leaving the left side of my chest I had ended up holding while the pain intensified in my head.
Kais: “Not gonna try to stop us?”
I provoked him to see what his response was. I didn’t want to find out later that he had set up an ambush. So I asked this question because, if he had acted like he won’t stop us and was lying, I would have known.
Ozyllus: “No, there’s no point in trying to stop you. I doubt the devil inside you will just sit back and let me do whatever I want to you.”
It made me angry beyond my imagination to hear Abyss being referred to as the devil, and by him on top of that. But, before I snapped, Sona grabbed my arm tightly to bring me back to reality.
Sona: “Don’t lose it!”
She told me as she looked me in the eye. I nodded. I was thankful to her for stopping me because I knew I couldn’t have stopped myself.
I looked at Sneha and the girl, and then glanced at Sona.
Kais: “Let’s get going.”
Sona nodded and hence, we started walking. Ozyllus didn’t say anything after that. Since I was neither facing in his direction nor trying to read his aura (because I was disgusted with him enough to want to stay away from everything that is his), I don’t know what expression he had at that moment.
Walter: “Is it over?”
The strongest man in the world looked down at the dragon and Ro as he said so.
Walter: “Have you finally realized you can’t defeat me?”
Even after seeing the terrifying display of pyrokinesis and healing, the two had still tried to attack him. However, none of their attacks had landed.
The dragon had even tried to aggravate him so that Walter tries to kill the dragon and ends up dying himself but he had gotten his limbs torn off and asked, “Do you get how ineffective that ability of yours truly is?”
After that, Walter had healed him back to health with all his limbs re-attached to his body and asked him, “Do you two have any other tricks up your sleeve or shall we call it quits?”
The two had become well-aware of their chances of victory and how slim they were. So, they had given up on trying to win and decided to just buy time since that was what they needed to do anyway. But,
Ro: “You … bastard!”
Ro cursed him as he tightened his grip on his severed arm.
Walter: “You can call me whatever you want but please answer me already, are you done with your little charade?”
Ro clicked his tongue. The dragon, on the other hand, asked Walter,
Dragon: “Do you even have a weakness?”
Walter: “If I had a weakness, I wouldn’t have been given that title of the world’s strongest.”
He said as he looked down on the dragon who was covered in blood.
Walter: “It is because I left anyone who could be more powerful than me so far behind that this title was given to me.”
He wasn’t bragging, but just plainly stating the facts.
Walter: “It was because I became invincible. Now, do you two still want to try fighting me?”
He asked while looking down on the two. However,
There was simply no way to oppose him. Ro’s contact with his right arm had been severed within a blink of an eye and the dragon had seen the same happen to all of his limbs. They knew full-well they can’t stop him no matter what they may try to pull.
Ro: “Why didn’t you just made us unable to move or something from the start?”
Ro asked him as if to say, “If you’re gonna look down on us, at least show us your true power from the start?”
Walter: “I am not a big fan of pointless violence.”
He said while sighing.
Ro: “Tch! You did more violence by repeatedly tearing our limbs off.”
Walter: “That can’t be denied. And I suppose doing that might have actually ended up saving me the trouble of defeating you multiple times. Still, what’s done is done.”
He turned to the direction where Barry and Dyne would be.
Walter: “I suppose I should go help Dyne now. We have lost quite a bit of time after all.”
He looked at the two as he said,
Walter: “Aren’t you glad you bought a fair bit of time for them?”
He started walking away without waiting for an answer. Having left behind, the two wondered,
Ro: “I don’t buy it.”
Dragon: “What exactly are you talking about?”
Ro: “That excuse of pointless violence.”
Dragon: “That, huh?”
The dragon looked at Walter while saying,
Dragon: “Yeah, I don’t buy it either. But what do you think his real intentions were?”
Ro pursed his lips on hearing that question.
Ro: “I wonder, and this is just a guess but,”
He looked at the dragon with uncertainty written all over his face.
Ro: “Did he want to let Kais, Sona and the girl get some time to go into the tomb?”
Dragon: “That wouldn’t make any sense.”
Ro: “I know. But, his phrasing about us being glad for having bought them some time just seemed off to me. He understands well-enough that we are just thwarting their mission by trying to buy those three some time but he doesn’t stop us. Why?”
Ro’s concerns were very understandable and his guess, if correct, would explain the reason for it. But then his real intentions in coming to the island become clouded in the mist.
Dragon: “Damn! I hate to admit it, but your guess could actually be on the spot.”
The dragon said as he looked at Walter in confusion and irritation.
Walter, on the other hand, listened to that conversation through his clairaudience and smiled.
Walter: “Dyne, are you okay?”
Walter asked his Spectre partner. But before Dyne answered him, he saw for himself the scene of the battle between him and Barry. Dyne’s uniform had burn marks all over it and Barry’s clothes were torn apart from places to places. The cuts on both of them were deep enough that if they had a physical body, blood would have been coming out without pause.
Dyne: “I’ve been better,”
Dyne responded to Walter’s question anyway.
Dyne: “And worse.”
He referred to the situation in front of Walter’s eyes as – neither the worst nor the best Dyne has seen.
Barry: “I suppose you defeated the two of them.”
Walter: “Are you disappointed?”
Barry: “No, I expected that would happen.”
Walter: “Not confident in your friends?”
Barry: “Regardless of whether any of us would call the others our friends, I know how powerful you are.”
Barry wasn’t lying, not about thinking of none of them as a friend, and not about knowing how powerful Walter is.
Dyne: “If that is the case, do you still want to try to fight us?”
Dyne asked Barry if he would fight them knowing he would have to take on both of them.
Barry: “I doubt I stand a chance.”
Walter: “I think you might actually be able to do me some heavy damage though.”
Walter wasn’t mocking or provoking him, he was just saying what he thought of Barry’s abilities.
Barry: “I know I will do you some heavy damage. The point is that it doesn’t matter anymore.”
Dyne: “It doesn’t.”
Barry: “I can’t sense Kais’ or Sona’s aura anywhere on the island. That would mean they have entered the tomb. My mission is accomplished.”
Dyne: “Tch! I took too long.”
Dyne got irritated at himself and Barry as he heard that but,
Walter: “I wouldn’t worry too much. We just need to bring Kais on our side, right? It’s not like he would stay in the tomb forever. We can just talk to him when he comes out.”
Dyne listened to him with a suspicious gaze. He wasn’t suspicious of Walter but of what he is saying and was trying to think of anything that may go wrong with that approach.
Dyne: “Still though, there’s a big chance he might not come with us. Who knows what he would learn in the tomb?”
Walter: “I can’t deny that.”
Walter said as he turned towards Barry, who had fallen on the ground out of exhaustion.
Walter: “But if you remember, we had two missions while coming here.”
Dyne: “Yeah, I remember.”
Dyne said as he stood up straight and turned towards Barry as well. Seeing that, Barry gazed at them in surprise but soon his lips curled into a faint smile as he looked down on the ground.
Barry: “I see.”
Dyne: “You already understand what we are talking about, huh?”
Barry: “Yeah, you were told to kill me, weren’t you? Well, I am already dead, so I guess it will be more accurate to say ending my existence.”
Dyne didn’t say anything, letting the silence be the reply.
Barry: “It makes sense. Now that the war is almost here, it makes sense that your superiors would tell you to dispose of someone who had been a bother to you people before.”
Dyne: “That’s true.”
Dyne walked towards Barry, not charging to kill, but simply walked towards him.
Dyne: “You are one of the few people who actually made my superiors sweat.”
There was no excitement in Dyne’s voice about the fact that he was going to kill the ghost who had been his archenemy for such a long time.
Barry said as he looked at Dyne.
Barry: “I had a feeling I would die on this island.”
Dyne stopped a foot away from where Barry was and bent to his knees.
Dyne: “I suppose your instincts were right, mine never are.”
Barry: “Yeah, I know how much of a loser you are when it comes to that stuff.”
Dyne sighed as he saw Barry smirk over his own comment. Walter kept silently watching that exchange as,
Dyne: “I suppose I must.”
He said as he put his hands on his helm and took it off. For the first time ever, Dyne had shown his face to someone outside of the Ghost Nation.
Seeing it, Barry smiled.
Barry: “It isn’t that good of a face that I’d be glad I got to see it before dying.”
Dyne: “I doubt any face would be that good, so stop being an asshole.”
Barry chuckled and said,
Barry: “Hey; let me be a bit of an asshole on my death, will you?”
Dyne smiled as he heard that. What followed was a moment of silence, comfortable silence. That silence was broken when Dyne took a long sigh.
Dyne: “If we weren’t on opposite sides, I would have opposed to the decision to kill you with all I could. But,”
Barry: “I don’t need you to tell me that. I know you enough to know that already.”
Barry had accepted his fate right when he had stepped his foot on the island. His instincts, courtesy of being a psychic, had always been very accurate. So, he knew he was going to die … again, but for the final time this time. He was ready for it. And now, the only thing he needed to really do, he has done. So now, he is ready to accept his death without any struggle.
12 years ago, on a particular day, a 20-year-old youngster stood in front of the so-called god.
Ozyllus: “You do understand, don’t you? It will be your sister and everyone else in the Vampire Kingdom if not anyone here, obviously, done by someone else but a slaughter will happen. And I will make sure Kais witnesses it.”
Barry: “Why you-”
His hands were shaking with rage as he heard those words.
Ozyllus: “I have my reasons. You don’t need to know them. All you need to do is choose – the about a million people in the Vampire Kingdom along with Valdis, who in one way or another are somewhat involved with the war and guilty for some things at least, or a thousand or so uninvolved innocent humans around you, whose corpses will Kais see today?”
There was no helping it. He could try to warn everyone in Vampire Kingdom but they wouldn’t believe him. They wouldn’t believe ‘god’ would do something like this.
No matter what he did, the corpses would align. He had to make the choice of whose corpses those would be. And so, he turned back. He started heading towards the place he would turn into a graveyard as he was stopped by a voice.
Ozyllus: “Since I may not get any other chance to say this, I just wanted to tell you. The reason you and Valdis got attacked by the vampires and lost your home as well as your parents, it was because I told them to attack.”
Barry’s hands clenched tighter than ever.
Ozyllus: “I found you two to be specially gifted in some aspects and so I made sure I put your talents to good use, so I told them to turn your sister into a vampire since she had a lot of potential to be a very strong one and told them to let you be.”
Blood started dripping from the clutches of his hand.
Barry: “Ozyllus, remember this.”
He said as the angry screams of a victim rung in his head.
Barry: “I’ll make sure Kais learns those things you are trying to hide from him.”
Barry: “And when that will happen, you’ll see your dream falling apart in front of your eyes.”
Ozyllus’ eyebrows twitched as he heard.
Ozyllus: “Well, you won’t be alive to see that day.”
The so-called god muttered under his breath.
Dyne: “Barry, I want you to know,”
He said as his lance touched Barry’s neck.
Dyne: “That I am happy right now.”
He lifted his lance.
Dyne: “And it’s not because an enemy of mine is dying. It’s because you are being freed …”
He lifted his lance enough so the strike would deal a killing blow.
Dyne: “freed from this twisted world our ancestors have given us.”
He brought his lance down and beheaded the psychic-ghost lying in front of him. Barry had resigned his fate knowing that he had fulfilled the promise he made to Ozyllus 12 years ago. He knew he could not win against the two of them anyway, so there was no point in further resistance by him. So, he had resigned himself.
In that moment though, Dyne felt as if he had heard him say – “I’m happy too.” And unexpectedly, the Spectre fell to his knees in a show of grief that no one could have seen coming.
Dyne: “I hope … you rest in peace.”