No matter what happened, no matter what I learned, everything seemed to be telling me only one thing – Ozyllus is the source of all despair. He is the reason we all had to suffer as children and he is the reason we still suffer. He is the root of all our problems and if we destroy his plans, we would finally be able to live our lives.
On the other hand, Abyss is someone who has been trying to save us from Ozyllus’ schemes. He has been the only reason we have not been completely manipulated by Ozyllus. He is the only reason we have time to prepare to strike back. It is all because he tried to take away as much pain as he could from our lives.
And in the end, Abyss is the one we called devil and Ozyllus is the one we called god. Or, that’s at least how we used to call them. And that’s at least how most of the world who knows of their existence calls them.
So, if we destroy his plans, if we put a stop to all of Ozyllus’ schemes, will that really be enough? What are his real motives and end goal in the first place? We don’t even know that much. What exactly does stopping him even mean? All I have been doing is talking about putting a stop to his plans, but I don’t even know how to go about it? In order to stop him, what exactly should I do and how exactly should I do it?
Do I need to get stronger? Of course, I’d need to get stronger.
Do I need more information? I absolutely do. I barely have any information.
Do I need to team up with others? That should be the most obvious thing. I can’t possibly stop him all by myself.
So, what needs to be done first? What is the most important thing here? What can I postpone for now? Is there anything I can postpone at all?
All I can think of at this point is questions. Someone out there surely knows the answers to these questions, right? I wonder, who that someone would be and how am I supposed to find them?
After questioning all this, the only thing I can think of while looking at my situation right now is that I am a hopeless idiot for trying to do something like this. But, is that so bad? Is it?
I have never been one to be very confident in myself. Even though I have never been not good at anything I tried to do; I just never felt like I could do something that I had never done before. I could just never bring myself to be confident in my abilities as a psychic or a person. Maybe I need to change that. Barry told me that I am someone who has potential to be as powerful as Ozyllus. So, maybe I should stop looking down on myself. Maybe I should try to forget about the fact that I couldn’t do anything as Barry slaughtered so many people. Maybe I should try to forget that I was so powerless.
And that, as I think about it I realize, is impossible. I can never forget about it. That incident 12 years ago was what could easily be the most unforgettable incident of my life. How could I ever forget something like that? So the only way around it is to try to do something while keeping that memory etched in my mind.
I know I should try to turn that memory into an inspiration for my goal. But is that even realistically possible? I know Barry and all the people he killed were all victims. Remembering that incident definitely makes my blood boil and makes me want to kick Ozyllus’ ass, but even though the rage inside me burns so much, my intellect tells me to not rely on my emotions.
As a psychic, leaving everything to my emotions is the worst possible thing I can do. If I stop using my brain, my psychic abilities will only weaken. Emotions don’t matter here. This is a fact. Unlike in fairy tales, emotions of rage, hatred or sorrow can’t empower me, they would only weaken me. So, I can’t let my rage or hatred against that so-called god be the biggest driving force or I’ll lose myself when it really matters.
So, as I lay in a pool of questions, I ask myself – what is it that I lack? What is it that I need to achieve my goal? It would be so convenient if someone were to give me the answer.
Unfortunately, time is running out and I don’t even have the luxury to dream of that possibility. All I have done until now has been guided by someone else’s words. I was told to destroy Ozyllus, I was told to go to the tomb and so on. As much as I hate to say it, I have never really taken one step towards my goal without someone else’s help.
Now though, that help would not come to me anymore.
Now, I am forced to choose.
Sneha: “I see. So Ozyllus truly has been manipulating everyone, huh?”
As Sona had finished telling us of her tragic experience 12 years ago, Sneha said so with a dejected face.
Sona: “Yeah, he has. He manipulated me. He manipulated Barry. He manipulated Kais. He had manipulated the dragon too. I don’t know much about you, so I can’t say if that holds up in your case as well though.”
Sneha: “I think it does.”
To Sona’s straight faced summarization of Ozyllus’ victims, Sneha nods and adds her name to the list of victims.
The little girl, as if wanting to say something, looks at us three one-by-one but drops her head without actually saying anything.
Kais: “What is it?”
Girl: “Um …”
Hesitation was on her face as she glanced between me and Sona again-and-again.
Sona: “If there’s something you want to say, just say it.”
Although her words and attitude were business-like at the moment, Sona’s voice was not at all intimidating or forceful.
Girl: “The thing is-”
Hence the girl started speaking in a rather calm tone.
Girl: “I think this coffin is …”
She trailed off leaving us with a question mark above our heads. Though from what she spoke, we did understand what to do to get the answer she didn’t give.
Sona glanced at me as if to confirm my intention and I nodded to tell her to go ahead. Seeing that, she stepped near the coffin and raised a hand as she started calling a spirit.
Girl: “Eek! Are you going to open it!?”
Well, what else are we supposed to do when you trail off like that? I almost voiced the question but before I could actually come out and say it, Sona’s spirit appeared. This spirit was the size of a child as tall as the nameless girl with us.
Though, from the looks of it, it wasn’t a human child but a vampire one. The sharp canines were very visible once it opened its mouth. The petite frame of the child made one feel like it’s a poor boy starving to death. However,
Sona: “Don’t let the appearance mislead you.”
Its contractor said so in a plain voice.
Sona: “Out of all the spirits in my arsenal, he was second in strength only to Death. So I guess he’s the spirit with most raw power I have right now.”
That’s quite impressive actually. The rabbit-like spirit that I have seen her using the most is very fast but I do think that’s not the only reason its attacks are powerful. Sure, it’s speed give it an advantage over others but the attacks themselves are pretty damn powerful even without the speed. She said that this vampire-child-like-spirit has more raw power than that makes it quite a powerful spirit in my opinion.
Sona: “Now Sagzear,”
As we came to know its name, I certainly felt like the name belongs to a vampire.
Sona: “Open this coffin.”
She gave her order and her spirit immediately responded to it. As the spirit lifted the lid of the coffin, I was, for a moment, left amazed at how easily it had lifted what would certainly have been a very heavy lid. But soon my attention drew back to the interior of the coffin itself.
Sona: “Oh … god!”
She lost composure as she said so and the reason for it was pretty clear. Upon seeing the interior, even Sneha who had been quite while she was looking at the floor sprang up in surprise.
Sneha: “It’s empty?”
That’s exactly what it was. There was no body in it. No traces of it either. The only thing inside was … nothing.
Girl: “Yeah, that’s … what I felt.”
It makes sense that she, being made of energy, would sense something like this before the three of us and now we know why she was acting funny. But after that relatively minor question is given an answer to, a much bigger question comes blaring at us. Or, it would be more accurate to say that another big question comes at us.
Sneha: “But, this just doesn’t make any sense.”
Sona: “Well, it isn’t the first time that’s happened.”
Sona seemed to be least surprised of the three of us as she regained her composure soon enough and only showed disappointment on her face.
Sona: “In either case, there might still be something here worth looking … into.”
She paused once between her words. The reason for it, I presume, was because of the interior of the coffin. It didn’t look like the body was taken out of it or something like that. The interior looked like it had always been empty, as if it hadn’t even been opened before. That could be surmised from the shine coming from the interior.
Kais: “A coffin made of gold and one that looks unused at that …”
As I voiced my thought out loud, I had unconsciously placed a hand on my chin.
Kais: “It’s obvious something like that is custom made.”
Because seriously, no matter what era it was, things actually made of gold don’t exist for the sake of showcasing. In fact, this might be truer for 1000 years ago than it is for now but anyway,
Kais: “And the size definitely looks like what the dragon would fit in.”
Sneha: “Hmm … and since the dragon is using Ozyllus’ appearance, that must mean Ozyllus would also fit in it.”
Sneha understood where I was going with that and the other two probably did as well. All signs did point to this being his coffin. But, where is his body?
Sona: “Well, I can kind of help with that.”
She said while turning to her vampire-spirit and nodding to it. The spirit bowed to her as if to say ‘as you wish’ and got to whatever she wanted it to do.
Girl: “What’s it doing?”
The curious nature of the little girl got the better of her and she asked the question before either of us.
Sona: “I told it to trace the energy surrounding the coffin. If it’s successful, we can find some connection to this coffin.”
Girl: “Wouldn’t that just lead to the dragon though?”
Sona: “Even if it does, I don’t think it will lead us out of the tomb.”
I understood what Sona meant but the others seemed to have not as they tilted their heads with questioning looks.
Kais: “There must be some other place that the dragon might have gone to from here instead of just the entrance. And if there is, tracing the energy surrounding the coffin could lead us there.”
Sneha: “But, we both checked all the doors and the walls, didn’t we? There were no hidden doors or anything like that out there. Where else would he go other than the outside?”
Kais: “Yeah, that’s true. But still this girl never saw the dragon outside even once before the day I was brought here.”
Sona nodded to my line of suspicion and so I continued laying out my doubts, not noticing how Sneha had gotten uncomfortable when I mentioned being brought here.
Kais: “Furthermore, Ethan Kales was completely sure that she would not see the dragon outside of the tomb even once before this stage, i.e., last days of the island comes up.”
So, by taking into account all those things, there has to be somewhere in this tomb he would have been spending his time if he was always staying inside whenever the girl passed by here.
Ethan: “While I’m glad to see that those two are able to think through things, I don’t get where this is going at all.”
Ethan wears an unexcited face as he hears about the incidents from Sneha.
Ethan: “The whole tomb was devoid of anything useful and the dragon seemed to have been spending most of his time here. It doesn’t seem like there is any breakthrough.”
Sneha doesn’t deny him as those were the exact thoughts of everyone present on the top floor back then as well.
Sneha: “That seemed to be the case, but apparently, was not.”
She has been looking down for most of the time and Ethan didn’t find anything in the story so far that would lead to her acting like that. So, while suppressing his urge to directly ask the reason for that, he decides to listen to her story chronologically.
Ethan: “So that means you guys actually found something in the tomb, right? Well, please go on.”
Sneha: “It was a …”
Sneha sighed as she said,
Sneha: “Black hole.”
For a moment, Ethan was left speechless. ‘Black Hole’ is something he never expected to hear at a time like this.
Sneha: “When that vampire-like spirit of Sona started tracing the energy out of the room, we followed it. But just as we thought it would go down the stairs, it started … stepping on air.”
Ethan: “Whoa! Slow down! Black hole? Stepping on air? Neither of the two makes sense, even with supernatural abilities thrown into the mix.”
Sneha nodded and continued with an unchanging expression.
Sneha: “None of us really understood it either but we still followed the spirit in the hopes that it will lead to something. Surprisingly, when we tried to step foot on the path her spirit had walked on, it really felt like there was ground beneath our feet.”
Ethan: “So, an invisible floor?”
Sneha: “That should be it, but neither Kais nor I sensed it even though both of us used our methods of reading auras.”
Sneha’s eyes gaze at Ethan as he starts to wonder what that would mean. Even though he hadn’t said anything, Sneha decides to stop talking and letting him think to see if he can come up with an explanation.
Ethan: “So, does this mean that there can be things that can’t be detected reading the aura?”
Sneha: “Well, technically, there are a lot of things that don’t get detected by reading the aura.”
Ethan knows that well. But, he still can’t help but ask.
Sneha: “However, aura detects any and all forms of energy, be it psychic, spiritual or something else. So, in this case, none of those things should be responsible for that invisibility.”
As her words assured him of the facts he already understood, Ethan formulated a few guesses as to what the reason for that invisibility would have been.
Ethan: “Before you realized that there was invisible floor there, what exactly did you see there?”
Sneha: “Just an empty space. More than half of the top floor is the room in which the coffin was and we thought the rest of the area had been left blank. We didn’t pay it much notice at first.”
Ethan: “I see. Could it all have been made invisible by some scientific means?”
Sneha: “You know any scientific means to do that?”
Sneha’s tone might make it sound like she is mocking Ethan but in actuality, she is not. She is genuinely curious of what he might come up with.
Ethan: “Hmm … I don’t.”
Ethan closes his eyes while saying so as to admit that wouldn’t have been the case.
Ethan: “But in that case, the one other thing I can think of is that the floors didn’t really exist in the first place.”
Sneha’s eyes-widening on that answer as she understands everything of what he means to say and adds to it,
Sneha: “That’s it!”
Ethan: “Wait, really!?”
Sneha: “Yeah, that would explain so many things.”
She regains some energy in her voice as she states,
Sneha: “It felt like our feet were standing on something solid, which could very well be hardened air and magnetization.”
Ethan: “I’m not catching any of that.”
After a sigh, he says,
Ethan: “My guess was that somehow the floors are formed when one steps on that part of the air and it seems like you agree that it was what was going on, but how exactly?”
Sneha: “It was the coffin.”
Ethan: “The coffin?”
The three people, one mass of energy and one spirit all walked on invisible floors.
Each step made it look like we’d fall, but that didn’t happen and henceforth slowly but eventually, we reached the other end of the floor, the wall opposite to the one the room with the coffin is in.
But as we walked on this floor, we didn’t realize that removing the coffin’s lid had caused the air to harden enough for us to walk on. I knew full well there’d be psychic energy surrounding the coffin so I didn’t think much of it when I sensed it. I assume Sneha was the same too. And by doing that, we failed to notice that the psychic energy is causing psychokinesis so that molecules of the air and small solid objects around are lined up and contracted in a way it became capable of being called a floor. As for the reason why they were lined up like this, it was because of magnetism. There were various north poles and south poles here and as their existence was also obvious, none of us paid attention to it either.
While it looks obvious now, none of us thought of it and so, without realizing the how of it, the five of us walked on the hardened air and reached the other end of the floor. And as the first person to reach there, the vampire-like spirit touched the wall and all of a sudden, the tomb started to shake.
Sneha: “What the hell!”
Sona: “Sagzear, what are you doing?”
The spirit looked back at us blankly as if it didn’t understand why Sona was yelling at it. Our freaked out selves though were busy trying to get to the wall as fast as we could.
The little girl was the second one to reach the wall, followed by Sneha, Sona and me. During all of that, the tomb kept shaking.
Kais: “Did you figure anything out?”
I asked them as soon as I reached the wall, but they had no luck with it. Although they had tried to investigate the wall, especially the place that Sagzear touched, they found nothing. And the same was the case for me.
Girl: “W-why is the tomb shaking so much?”
She put her hands to her head and squatted down in a very childlike response to the situation. But as if right on cue, the tomb stopped shaking as soon as she did that.
Girl: “U-uh, i-it’s over!?”
Relief came upon our faces, a very short-lived one.
Sneha: “Hey, what is that?”
Sneha was the first one to spot it and point it out to us. As I followed her finger, I found a minute black substance floating around in the air. By the time all five of us noticed it; the substance had started to grow larger and had started to exude an attracting force. Furthermore, the force it was exuding was much more than what it should be for something so small.
Seeing all that signs, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it was.
Sona: “A-a black hole?”
By the time she said that, one of us had already started to fly towards the black hole unable to resist the attracting force. That person was the little girl.
She cried out as she got sucked in and left the four of us behind. We were left speechless. The first thought that crossed my mind was to use teleportation to get someplace away from the black hole. And as that thought came to my mind, my body started to act on its own without me even agreeing to that approach. But in all honesty, I was glad my subconscious was faster than my conscious in making that decision.
Sona: “Go back!”
Sona ordered so to her spirit, Sagzear, and it disappeared away. But just as that happened, she got sucked in the black hole.
I wanted to help somehow. I wanted to try to save the two of them. But, I realized no matter how much potential anyone says I have, I am not going to be able to suddenly fight against a black hole. However, I didn’t teleport away. I was stopped by a voice, a voice I had heard for the first time 12 years ago and the second time a day ago in The Cage.
Abyss: “Don’t try to resist it.”
Abyss: “I know it looks dangerous, but you need to let yourself see – the other side of that darkness.”
As I heard that, the energy gathered in my body to use teleportation just dissipated away. There was no time to think of anything. I stopped resisting completely. And,
I saw a shocked expression on Sneha Stone’s face as I got sucked in the black hole. But even though it was only for a second, no, much less than a second, I saw the black hole shrinking in size.
And then I got sucked in.
As soon as I did, I tried to look behind me and spotted the little girl and Sona floating with their eyes closed. They seemed to be unconscious. After not seeing Sneha for a while, I realized that she didn’t get sucked in.
That gave me a sigh of relief as I moved my gaze in the darkness. Before I had realized it, my body was floating just like Sona and the girl but I didn’t fall unconscious.
Kais: “Just … what in the hell is going on?”
As I posed my question to nobody, somebody answered me.
???: “‘What is going on?’ What a foolish question to ask?”
The voice was loud but not unpleasant and came from my back. In order to find the source of that voice, I turned back and saw,
???: “What is going on – is what we call the beginning of a dream, a scarlet dream.”
I saw my father in that darkness talking to me as if it was natural and my mother was beside him as if standing in the middle of nowhere.
While looking at me, their son, the couple was smiling. However, it wasn’t a happy smile, it was a malicious grin.