I stand at the entrance to the tomb alongside the little girl who has no name. She is still scared and shaken by the shock of what she saw before.
Kais: “You okay?”
The girl nods. Both of us keep our eyes at the tomb.
Girl: “I’m sorry. I’m just … a little …”
It’s understandable. I am bit bewildered myself.
Kais: “Don’t worry about it. I am not in a hurry.”
After all, there are some really important moments of my life coming up, I need to be prepared. If you are giving me extra time to do so, I’ll gladly accept it.
Girl: “He said his name was … was … Ethan … Kales.”
Dragon: “Ethan Kales?”
I have heard that name before, I think. But where was it? He’s a brown-haired youth as tall as me with the name Ethan Kales.
The scene from the store flashes through my mind. That round object; the man who picked it up – had brown hair, was as tall as me and his name was Ethan Kales. Yeah, it had totally slipped my mind.
Dragon: “I’ve never heard of anyone with that name. Do you two know anything?”
After her short ‘no’, all three of them turn towards me.
Kais: “I may have heard it. But … he doesn’t seem to someone with any special abilities or so.”
Dragon: “He was a normal human?”
I nod. Ethan Kales is definitely a normal human. I know it from his aura. But the fact remains that the description matches him perfectly. And now that I think about it, I got chills from shaking hands with him. I tried to ignore it back then, but what if there was a reason for that, something even my psychic senses couldn’t pick up.
Girl: “I already told you. He said he was no one special himself.”
That’s true. She did say that. If that man was really the Ethan Kales I met, could he be also involved with Ro and Mohammed.
Kais: “It is possible.”
Dragon: “Huh? What is possible?”
I said that in a soft voice but it seems like he heard me. Well, I don’t think I need to answer him though.
Dragon: “Don’t even think of ignoring my question.”
Damn! Fine, I don’t think telling him makes too much of a difference right now. It might affect the situation later on, but nothing would change now.
Kais: “I met this guy named Ethan Kales sometime before coming here. He is a pretty good match for what she is saying.”
Sona: “Before coming here? Is that so?”
Well, it’s more like before being brought here, but I’ll feel like junk that got dumped at an island if I say it like that.
Kais: “Yeah, more or less.”
Girl: “But didn’t you say you didn’t come here, but were brought here.”
Kais: “Did I say that? Well, I may have.”
Sona: “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Kais: “It was something like – a few powerful people ganged up on me, kidnapped me and left me here.”
Sona: “You sure don’t sound like anyone who’s been kidnapped.”
It’s hard to think of my situation that way. It’s not like I’m being kept tied up or anything. Also the kidnappers are not even here.
Dragon: “Well, we can discuss your predicament later. For now, tell me all you know about this man – Ethan Kales?”
Kais: “There’s not much else to tell you. We just met once and that’s all. Other than his facial features which she already told you about, there’s nothing much I know about him.”
Well, there’s something else actually. I sigh before saying,
Kais: “If it helps, there was a woman there with him.”
Dragon: “How did she look?”
Kais: “Well, she was tall, pale-faced and quite pretty.”
Dragon: “I don’t know how to distinguish you human based on the last part, but I can work with the other two parts.”
Sona: “Isn’t that still pretty vague though?”
Kais: “Well, I only saw her once too.”
I can do a few things to help in finding her, but I’ll keep that to myself for now –
Dragon: “I’d expect a psychic to have a way of remembering more about her.”
Or so I thought.
Damn! This guy knows quite a lot about psychic abilities, doesn’t he? Of course he does, he befriended one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, psychic in history.
Sona: “Well, what about it?”
Kais: “I don’t have complete faith in the two of you or anything, so I won’t use any ability that may make me vulnerable.”
Sona looks disappointed after hearing the answer and the dragon shows no change. He might have expected me to say this.
Dragon: “I guess I’ll have to wait because winning your trust will probably be impossible.”
Kais: “I wouldn’t call it impossible but not very easy for sure.”
Dragon: “And I don’t have the patience to do something so tiresome.”
That’s a roundabout way of insulting me.
Dragon: “Well, if that’s how the situation stands, let’s get back to the original topic.”
Kais: “Me going into the tomb, right?”
The girl looks at me, surprised by what she just heard, and tilts her head.
Dragon: “That’s right, you are to accompany him and keep an eye on him.”
The dragon says while looking at the girl. Somehow, she immediately knows he’s talking to her and nods without even looking back. These two don’t have any names as far as I know, yet they are able to perfectly communicate with each other. Is that because he made her? Well, it’s possible.
Girl: “I understand.”
She looks at me with her tilting-head-expression.
Dragon: “If you find him doing anything suspicious, you just need to call for me in your mind.”
He says that as he looks at me.
Kais: “Basically you are telling me there is no way I can get away with anything suspicious. (While sighing) Don’t worry about it; I’m not going to do anything to upset your friend.”
Dragon: “If you understand, then that’s good.”
Kais: “Obviously, I am not going into the tomb to sneak away and screw around.”
The first thing I need to do in the tomb is to find a way to sneak away.
Kais: “But wait, the last I heard, she had never been in the tomb. How would she know it even if I do anything suspicious?”
Dragon: “I just transferred all the information about the tomb into her head. So don’t worry about it.”
Well, that settles that.
And so we are here, standing in front of the tomb of Ozyllus, ready to go in while the dragon and the spirit-user stand a little distance away, looking at us.
Girl: “Okay, I am ready to go.”
With her saying so, my time to prepare is also over. In these moments, I thought over all the things that happened from going to store, to the deal with Ro and Mohammed, to this island, to the fight between Death and the dragon and to now. I need to keep all the relevant information in my head to understand how to proceed from here.
Kais: “Okay then, let’s get moving.”
While I have no reason to betray anyone here, I am not fully confident they are the same. So I will have to tread my steps carefully. After all, everything can change and even this girl who looks so innocent and pure could be an enemy in the future.
Dragon: “Don’t forget …”
Kais: “Not gonna do anything to Ozyllus’ body, now shut up!”
That’s right, I am going to act the way he wants me to and try to keep being on good terms with him. But, if the current situation changes, my stance might have to change too. If that happens, I need to be prepared.
After Kais and the girl went in the tomb, an atmosphere of awkwardness is left between the two people left. Neither of them tries to ease this atmosphere. After quite some time goes by in silence, one of them finally breaks the ice.
Dragon: “Do you still plan to kill me?”
Sona: “If I can.”
She doesn’t even hesitate in giving that answer. It is as if she isn’t even afraid of the dragon at all. No, that’s impossible. The effect of fear is active and hence she is indeed afraid of him, but her hatred is far too much to be engulfed by fear.
Dragon: “That’s disheartening to hear.”
Sona: “As if a monster like you even has a heart.”
Dragon: “I do have a heart. If not, how in the world would I have become a psychic’s friend?”
Sona gets irritated upon hearing the dragon say ‘friend’. To her, the dragon is someone abhorrent who would lie about a god.
Sona: “Get out of your delusions, dragon. That whole thing about you befriending Ozyllus is a farce.”
Dragon: “You are saying the story is false.”
Sona: “The story is true to most extent. But the interpretation of it is nothing more than you trying to deceive the world.”
Dragon: “How so?”
Sona: “You didn’t become his friend. He merely pitied you and let you live. Going around saying you became his friend when in reality all you had been was a defeated creature who only survived because of pity – that’s truly pathetic.”
The dragon doesn’t answer right away, but keeps looking at her. Since she is no psychic, she cannot tell what emotions he’s trying to suppress at the moment, but she knows they are not pleasant.
Sona: “Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself looking like the man who kicked your ass?”
Dragon: “Sona, was it? I see that you know some things I’d really want no one to know.”
The dragon looks at her with the same eyes he had when the killing intent towards Ethan Kales had taken over his aura.
Sona: “Well, too bad I already know it.”
But she does not flinch on seeing that. It is almost like she had expected it, even though that isn’t the case.
Dragon: “But what if an ‘accident’ happens to you and you become unable to tell anyone?”
The dragon uses a very well-known roundabout way to threaten her. But being well-known doesn’t make it any less meaningful.
Sona: “Do you honestly believe I came here that unprepared?”
Dragon: “You are telling me you expected something like this?”
Sona looks at the dragon with hostile intent clear in her eyes and the dragon asks the expected question.
Sona: “I always considered Death to be weaker than you. It’s not that surprising to me that it lost. I was shocked at first because I thought it was winning but then it suddenly exploded. The end result – I’d say I had more or less expected that.”
The dragon knew this is the truth. From the beginning he had known the only reason for her shock was the situation suddenly turning from her victory to defeat. But what comes next?
Dragon: “Are you telling me you came here knowing you’d lose? Or are you telling me there’s still some card up your sleeve?”
Sona: “Which do you think?”
Her attitude surprises the dragon. It is as if the dragon has fallen in her trap and she is barely holding back on her laughter because of it.
Dragon: “What … did you do?”
Sona looks up at the sky ignoring the anxious dragon.
Sona: “I just remembered something.”
Dragon: “And what’s that?”
Sona: “Why should I tell you?”
The dragon is irritated but trying to suppress it. Not being able to see that irritation on his face, she is a little disappointed, but still feels joy in the fact that he has became anxious and irritated.
Dragon: “Why you …”
But even though he tries to intimidate her, the dragon doesn’t do anything to force the truth out of her either. He understands that something like that won’t work on her. The fear caused by his special effect is barely present in her. The dragon has no idea why she is behaving in such a way.
Sona: “So you are just going to stop at intimidation?”
Dragon: “I might have to.”
Sona: “Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA!”
She laughs as if she has never laughed in ages.
Dragon: “Are you even sane anymore?”
Sona: “I don’t know.”
This woman has lost her mind. This is all the dragon can understand from her behavior. He thinks of just ignoring her. After all, there’s no way to understand what’s going on in her head. If only there was –
Sona: “What’s wrong, dragon? Wishing to be a psychic now?”
The dragon clicks his tongue in annoyance.
Dragon: “Will you just shut up?”
Sona: “Ha! Ha! As if I’ll ever do something because you asked me to.”
Dragon: “What’s wrong with you, woman? I can’t remember ever doing something so horrible to anyone that they would hate me this much.”
Sona’s laughs came to a halt. Her eyes as they stare at the dragon are bloodshot. A silence follows. This silence is so unsettling that even the dragon is petrified in his place.
After a short while, that seemed like an eternity to the dragon, passed, Sona looks down.
Sona: “So you say you don’t remember, huh? Well, that’s not surprising. Why would a dragon like you bother to remember the people whose lives you destroyed?”
Dragon: “What … what the hell are you talking about?”
In this moment, the dragon, the most powerful creature on the island is trembling in front of Sona, the spirit-user without any spirits left to combat him and the weakest on the island.
Dragon: “When did I ever destroy anyone’s lives?”
Sona: “When did you destroy our lives? Are you trying to make me remember those painful memories now?”
She looks at the dragon with bloodshot eyes again as the dragon takes a step back.
Sona: “I see. So it wasn’t enough to take everything I had from me. You still want to bring me more pain by reminding me of those days.”
Dragon: “W-wait a second! That’s not what I meant and you know it.”
Sona: “Stop making excuses!”
Dragon: “E-exactly, stop making excuses to lash out at me.”
Sweat has formed on the dragon’s forehead. His breathing has become heavy and the pressure in his brain is making him unable to think.
Sona: “You truly are and always will be – pathetic.”
When I first entered the tomb, I felt something off. It was like something had changed. But I couldn’t hear or see anything happening. So I kept that thought at the back of my mind and started walking.
Slowly as I walked, the darkness lessened by increasing number of lights, I realize what was going on.
Girl: “I feel … so dizzy … right now.”
She complained of dizziness earlier but I didn’t realize the reason for that. I thought it would be because of the shock and fear she would have sensed when the dragon heard about Ethan. But that was not it.
Kais: “Are you going to be okay?”
Girl: “I’m … sorry to say but … I don’t think … I would be … okay.”
She trips over a pebble. I try to catch her falling figure but I am too far away and she ends up falling head-first. When I try to pick her up, I feel her weight is almost negligible, like she isn’t even here.
Kais: “I know she is made of energy but … isn’t she too light?”
And then I notice. She has started to fade away. The energy is dispersing and flowing back to the direction of the exit/entrance. As soon as I see that, my brain comes up with a theory for what’s going on.
Kais: “That feeling I had when I entered – could it be related to this?”
What if this tomb is cut off from the rest of the island? What if this place is in a space of its own?
Kais: “Also …”
There’s the fact that I have been walking for a while, going deeper and deeper, but I have not reached anywhere. From outside, the tomb never looked this big. What if the moment I entered the tomb, I was transported to a different place? No, if we go by that assumption, then this might just be the real tomb.”
While I had been thinking, the girl continued to disappear and now she is gone. I am left alone in the tomb. I have a theory on how this situation has come to be, but something is still unclear.
Kais: “But he would have probably known about this, so why did he send her here?”
My theory about her disappearance is that because she is energy, she needs an actual host and she can only stay within a certain range of that host, which would probably be the dragon. Since she came into a different space, she could not stay here for long because the distance between them automatically grew exponentially large. But he should have already known this would happen. So why did he send her in the first place?
Kais: “I’m burdened with enough questions already and more keep piling up. What’s wrong with my life?”
Of course I only say that as a joke to relax myself. I don’t say it expecting an answer would come. And yet,
???: “There’s nothing wrong with your life, Kais.”
A voice rings out answering my questions.
Kais: “Who’s there?”
I hear footsteps coming towards me. The lights are dim but enough to allow me to see someone walking towards me with a torch in his hand. The place I am is narrow like a lobby but wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side. So it shouldn’t be a problem for me to run away if I can’t use teleportation in this space.
???: “‘who’s there?’ Are you serious? Can’t you think of a less cliché way to ask?”
???: “And why are you asking anyway, you already forgot?”
The voice is of a male. I can distinctly recognize it and I have no reason to not suspect him after what that girl said in front of the other two.
Kais: “Ethan … Kales?”
Ethan: “So you do remember. Good to know.”
Kais: “Why are you here?”
Ethan: “Would you believe me if I said I am the ghost of Ozyllus?”
Kais: “Even if you were the world’s best actor, I wouldn’t believe it. I have seen how he truly looked, you are different from that.”
Ethan: “I see. I guess a psychic would have trust in his eyes, even if he can’t have trust in anything else.”
During our conversation, he kept walking with the torch in his hand and I keep slowly moving forward.
Kais: “Who or what I trust in and not is none of your business.”
Ethan: “Well, I guess it’s not.”
Kais: “So tell me, why are you here? This time say the real reason.”
Ethan: “Nah, sometimes reality is too boring to speak of, and I like to indulge myself in whatever’s the most interesting thing to do.”
Kais: “So basically you are a troll?”
Ethan: “A troll in a dark, cave-like place makes me look like an ugly monster from dark fantasy books.”
Kais: “Well, it’s not like I have a much better opinion of you than that.”
Ethan: “Yeah, I figured that might be the case.”
We stop as we have reached a point where we could clearly see each other with the torchlight.
Ethan: “I am curious though. With all that has been happening with you, did you get a chance to think about that object?”
I didn’t. Back then I decided I’d hold on to it but now it’s gone, and I have no idea where. At least, that’s the truth.
Kais: “I sure did. And I have a few suspects in mind that it may actually belong to.”
But no way am I not taking my chances here.
Ethan: “Well, I hope I’m not one of them.”
Kais: “You are.”
Ethan: “I figured.”
Ethan grins. I have no idea what’s going on in his head.
Ethan: “I suppose I can tell you this much. It was mine. I took some help from an Aural friend of mine to place it in your wallet.”
Kais: “And that all was just a setup to meet me, I presume?”
Ethan: “Well now,”
He grin grows wider.
Ethan: “Why would you think I would have wanted to meet you so badly I would set all that up?”
That kinda makes me seem arrogant but anyway,
Kais: “You wanted to confirm I’m a psychic.”
Kais: “I don’t know why but I got a chill when I shook your hand. That was because you were somehow checking my aura, wasn’t it?”
I don’t know this for certain but it’s my main guess.
Ethan: “Yeah, well done. Your guess was on the mark.”
The fact that he knew it was just a guess is kinda annoying but I’ll have to roll with it for now.
Kais: “So anyway, since you don’t seem to be willing to say why you’re here, is there something else you can help me with?”
Ethan: “Are you sure you worded that correctly and it wasn’t like ‘is there something I can help you with’?”
Kais: “Like hell I’d help you.”
I fake a disgusted face to see if it annoys him. But it seems like he’s faking a smile as an answer.
Ethan: “Oh boy! This is only the second time we are meeting and you already hate my guts.”
Kais: “I get the feeling that happens a lot with you.”
Ethan: “Ah! That’s a psychic’s intuition for you.”
He says as if he’s proudly displaying something he has rather than something I have.
Kais: “So, anything you’ll tell me or are you just wasting my time?”
Ethan: “That’s harsh. Anyway, if you want me to tell you something, then …”
He starts wondering for a while before finally saying,
Ethan: “Well, there is something that I actually wanted to ask you but,”
He pauses, probably intentionally, making me anxious.
Kais: “Ask me what?”
Ethan: “Do you know ghosts are real and Barry is one of them?”