Ro stood in shock as he raised his voice. He just couldn’t help it.
Walter: “Barry is gone. How many times do you want me to repeat it?”
Ro: “Don’t mess with me!”
He shouted at the Spectre.
Dyne: “We are not doing anything like that.”
Dyne said as he stepped forward and showed Ro his lance.
Dyne: “It was by this lance that I beheaded him. His existence is forever over.”
Dyne said in an emotionless voice. Ro stood still in shock as he stared at that lance.
Dragon: “I see. So that’s it for him, huh?”
The dragon’s voice was melancholic. Neither the Spectre now the former half-psychic knew why. But, Walter Schmidt distinctly understood.
Walter: “It really is unfortunate, but I think he was ready for it.”
The dragon nodded. He had seen the same resignation in Barry’s eyes that were in his own. He knew Barry was ready for it.
Dragon: “Still, it’s kind of sad to hear.”
The dragon was leaning from a tree as he stood at the place he was defeated by Walter Schmidt a few moments before.
On the loss of the psychic-ghost known as Barry, all that the dragon felt was a sense of melancholy. Walter understood that melancholy, for he felt it too. Barry had only ever been a victim and he still tried to do all in his power to help Kais find the truth. In the end though, he couldn’t even see for himself if his efforts brought any success.
That was why the dragon and Walter felt sad. The dragon was well-aware that the same fate awaited him. Walter, on the other hand, is someone who will be left with the burden to carry out Barry’s wishes after his death, or he wouldn’t be able to have any peace of mind. Both, for what would become of them, felt melancholic.
Dyne: “Well, we know that Kais has already gone in the tomb, so the only chance we will get of bringing him on our side will be after he comes out.”
Walter nodded and the two turned to look in the direction the tomb is. However,
Dragon: “I don’t know if you’ll be able to do that.”
He had no sarcasm or hostility in his voice as he said so. He just stated what he thought.
Dyne: “And why’s that?”
Dyne turned to him as he asked.
Dragon: “There’s a particular person he may meet there after which, bringing him on either side might not work out so well.”
Ro: “And who is that ‘particular person’?”
The surprise on Ro’s face was also present on Dyne’s, but not on Walter’s.
Dragon: “I am pretty sure Barry knew the answer to that. And well, Kais will too when comes out so just ask him.”
The dragon glances at Ro when he mentioned Barry. Ro’s eyes widened for a second and he looked confused, as the dragon expected he would.
Ro: “That doesn’t make any sense. Why would Barry let something happen that would end up causing our mission problems?”
Their mission was to bring Kais to the Vampire Kingdom’s sides, so why would Barry let Kais go in the tomb when it would sabotage that mission?
Walter: “Maybe he didn’t care about your mission all that much.”
Ro looked at Walter in anger.
Ro: “And that is exactly what I am saying doesn’t make any sense. Why would he not stop something that would sabotage a mission given to him by Valdis herself? I mean, even if you ignore the fact that they are siblings, he was still obliged to serve his queen. Just why would he not care about the mission?”
Walter: “Yeah, he definitely had the obligation to obey, but maybe he didn’t care about that obligation all that much.”
Ro: “Well, I …”
-don’t think that’s possible.
The words don’t come out of his mouth. How much did he know about Barry anyway? Definitely not enough to give those words much meaning.
Dyne: “I doubt he didn’t felt the obligation to fulfill his mission.”
Dyne, however, while still staring at the forest, rejects Walter’s assumption.
Dyne: “The reason he would have let something like that happen was simply because of who he was.”
The other three looked at the Spectre in confusion.
Dyne: “Because of who he was as a person. He was someone who couldn’t live with the guilt of having done what he did 12 years ago.”
There was no one who could refute Dyne’s words, because they were the words of the person who knew Barry, albeit not completely, but better than anyone else on the island.
Dyne: “Because he couldn’t live with the guilt, he tried to atone. And since he couldn’t have atoned for every life he had taken, he would have tried to find some closure in atoning to Kais, whose life he had destroyed.”
So was Dyne’s explanation to Barry’s mindset. What was really the reason – there was no way to make sure.
Dyne: “Either way,”
Dyne turned around and looked at the three as he said,
Dyne: “he did what he thought he should do. Now, we need to do what we think we should do. There’s no reason to fret over anything else.”
He said with a strong voice, a voice no one refuted to.
It had been half an hour from real-time. On the time-axis however, it had been 6 hours; 6 hours since we entered the tomb.
Sneha: “We have been walking for quite a while now.”
Girl: “It has been half an hour.”
Sneha: “Yeah, I know that. I meant to say that we should have come across something of value by now.”
It’s strange but we hadn’t seen a single thing by then except the walls, the floor and the ceiling.
Sona: “That’s been bugging me too, to be honest.”
I was constantly using Aura-Reading so we couldn’t have missed some hidden doors either. So the fact that for half an hour, we had been walking in what seemed like an empty tomb would surely worry anyone.
Girl: “Hmm … we are on the third floor now so …”
She trailed off. The one other thing we had seen except walls, floor and ceiling were the stairs. We were already on the third floor and all the floors below us had been completely empty. And it looked like the same would be true for that floor also.
Sona: “I don’t know what to think about this but …”
She turned to look at me as she asked,
Sona: “Do you suppose Ozyllus could be doing something for the tomb to look this way to us.”
Her worrying about something like that made total sense but that was not the case.
Kais: “If he had been doing something like that, I would have known. Have some faith in my Aura Reading, will you?”
I said in a somewhat light-hearted tone even though my mind was full of heavy thoughts. Or maybe that was the reason I used that tone.
Sona: “It’s not that I don’t have faith in your abilities. But I am worried that he might be using some mechanism that your abilities wouldn’t be able to detect.”
We had mentioned the possibility of something like that existing before I entered the tomb. And while this isn’t what we were afraid something like that would be used for, who is to say that there is no mechanism that can be used for this purpose.
Sneha: “I really doubt that though.”
Sneha however objected to that guess.
Sneha: “Alongside him using his Aura-Reading ability, I have also been constantly keeping an eye out for anything that may have any relations to supernatural. And I have come up empty.”
Sona nodded as if to say she understood that, but the anxiety still didn’t seem to leave her mind. And so,
Kais: “There’s something I have been wondering about for a while too.”
Sona turned to me as I voiced my concern.
Kais: “How exactly is this island going to get destroyed?”
I asked the question that had been weighing on my mind.
Kais: “I assume it has something to do with the tomb as well.”
I looked at the girl as I asked that,
Girl: “I have no idea.”
But much to no one’s surprise, she didn’t know anything about that.
Kais: “Tell me, how much do you know about this island?”
She put a finger to her cheeks and looked up as she wondered. Seeing her actions which matched her figure, it’s actually pretty easy to forget that she’s made of energy and is not a real child.
Girl: “I don’t know how large or small you would call my knowledge of the island, but I don’t think I know a lot.”
She then started to mention all the things she knows.
Girl: “I do know that the flow of energy on the island favors psychics.”
That is something I think most people who know of this island also know.
Girl: “I know that the island has a pond on the opposite side of the beach that everyone from outside first appears on.”
I found that out about half a day ago.
Girl: “I know all the animals living on the island.”
That is something I didn’t expect. Knowing a lot of them is something of a given when she has only ever been on the island but knowing all of them is an amazing feat even for her.
Girl: “I know that this tomb is for … is for …”
She knew the name but hesitated in saying it.
Sneha: “What’s wrong?”
And then I remembered that she and the animals in the forest had become very lively when I had mentioned Ozyllus’ name back when I was talking to her for the first time.
Kais: “I think there’s a reason why she is hesitating. We should rather not force her to say it.”
Sona: “Is that so? Well, fine.”
Sneha nodded as well. I made the suggestion and both women agreed to it. Seeing that, the little girl continued.
Girl: “Well, I also know that the island would get destroyed somehow after the dragon steps out of the tomb the first time.”
Kais: “I think it was more like after you see him out of the tomb the first time but anyway, that last one was said to you by Ethan Kales, wasn’t it?”
Sona: “Do you know anything about that?”
Seeing where I was going with that, Sona asked that question while looking at Sneha. She moved her head in denial.
Sneha: “I don’t know about everything he says. In fact, I don’t have a clue about most of the things he says.”
So it seemed. I didn’t expect her to know much to be honest. I just can’t picture anyone knowing the meaning of most of the things that Ethan says, much less everything.
Sona: “Well, that’s that I suppose. We’ll just have to leave that issue.”
Kais: “If that’s the case, then I want to ask you something too.”
I said while looking at Sneha.
Kais: “What exactly is in the tomb that you are after?”
Hearing my question, she narrowed her eyes as she looked at me with suspicion.
Kais: “You are using my help to get there so you should at least let me know that.”
Sneha: “Hmm …”
She wondered about whether to tell me or not as I and Sona glanced at each other. The little girl watched our exchange from further ahead.
She tried to probe Sneha to give an answer and, in response, she sighed. The probing seemed to have done its job.
Sneha: “I have been searching for records of the history of a particular shrine.”
Sneha: “It was the shrine that I was raised in as a kid.”
She revealed that information with a straight face, leaving me surprised. Though for Sona’s reaction, it seemed like she had predicted that.
Sneha: “Out of all the people that lived there, I am the only one alive.”
She said in a voice that seemed to be losing some of its composure.
Sneha: “There are a lot of questions in my mind for those that lived there. And the only way I may be able to get the answers to those questions are by finding the history of that shrine. So I am searching for the records of their history.”
Her reasons made sense.
Sona: “And those records would be present in the tomb?”
But it didn’t make any sense how she would find those records in this tomb of all places.
Sneha: “Well, I have been shown some proof that the records would be here.”
Sona: “By whom?”
Sneha: “By Ethan.”
I had seen that answer coming but it still was surprising.
But after hearing all that, it made some sense why Sneha and Ethan were working together. Ethan would have wanted someone with supernatural abilities on his side (probably). Sneha agreed to be that person in exchange for giving her this information. I don’t know how he would have known those records would be in this tomb and how he would have given proof of it but at least some things had cleared up.
Sona: “I see. But does it really look like we’ll find anything in this tomb.”
She said while looking at the stairs we were approaching. The fact that the tomb had so many floors and empty ones at that was a troubling issue no matter how you look at it. From how it looks from the outside, we figured that the next floor would be the last one. And since we had not found Ozyllus’ body so far, it would be on the top floor as well.
Girl: “Something wrong?”
She asked with a curious look while titling her head as she looked at us three who had stopped walking.
Sona: “No, it’s nothing.”
She said while looking at me as if asking if I have anything to say. I closed my eyes to say ‘no’ and she understood it. Sneha didn’t say anything either. And so, after spending about 40 minutes in the tomb, which would be 8 hours on the time-axis, we finally reached the top floor, empty-handed.
Ethan: “Now this is something I didn’t expect.”
Ethan says, baffled about the fact that the tomb has been completely empty. It has been half an hour since he entered the tomb. And since he had to search every corner of it by himself as opposed to the previous party of four, he had only reached the second floor so far.
Ethan: “Still, I would expect there to be something on these lower floors of the tomb.”
There was no one around to hear these words. They weren’t meant for anyone anyway. The only reason Ethan said those words was to keep calm. He didn’t know what would happen in this tomb and so needs to keep his cool for any kind of situation. Unfortunately, doing that isn’t that easy especially when the fear of unknown looms over you, so he tries to talk to himself in an effort to ease the burden on his mind.
Ethan: “I should have two more floors to go before I reach the top one. And I’ll probably come across them before or at that floor.”
He took a long sigh and looked up. By them, he obviously meant Sneha and Kais since those two are the only ones he really knew well in this tomb.
Ethan: “Let’s just hope nothing has happened that would make either of them extra hostile towards me.”
He stands no chance in a fight and the only way he can get around by using his brains is if no one tries to kill him the moment they see him. That is why; he can only wish that the situation is in his favor.
However, he meets Sneha much sooner than he expected.
Ethan: “Uh …”
A gasp escapes his lips as he suddenly sees her kneeling on the ground when he takes a turn.
Sneha: “I see, it’s you, huh?”
She says as she looks at him. Her voice, for some reason, is sad. And she is alone.
Ethan: “Care to explain what’s going on?”
Sneha: “Well, something really twisted.”
Is all Sneha says in her response to Ethan, which only ends up confusing him more. But from Ozyllus’ tone before and Sneha’s attitude now, he does understand one thing – that a dramatic turn of events has taken place, one that would affect the players involved for the rest of their lives.