Chapter 10: Hidden Pasts
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Ethan: “Do you know ghosts are real and Barry is one of them?”

Wait! My brain didn’t even process that.

Ethan: “So, did you know this?”

Kais: “You –”

Ethan: “Yeah, what?”

I see him smiling as usual, only this time I can’t keep my calm completely. This might only backfire but I gotta ask.

Kais: “How do you know Barry?”

Ethan: “Well, that’s simple.”

Kais: “Simple – how?”

The burst of emotions inside me isn’t coming out. Instead, I think my face right now has become emotionless.

Ethan: “Hmm …”

Is this some kind of defense mechanism my body seems to be using? It might help me use psychic if needs be but, the anxiety deep within me continues to grow because of it.

Kais: “Answer already.”

If he takes any more time answering, I might not be able to stop my emotions from running wild.

Ethan: “You really shouldn’t try to hold back those emotions.”

Kais: “Who are you … to give my any advice?”

Ethan: “I guess that’s true too. I am not a psychic like you, I can’t completely understand your pain, but I sure as hell know that it’s not good for you.”

Ethan’s tone during these lines has suddenly become serious. I look at him to find that his smile has completely disappeared.

Ethan: “Anyway, the decision is up to you in the end.”

Kais: “You … haven’t answered my question yet.”

Ethan: “How did I know Barry, right?”

Kais: “Right.”

Ethan: “Are you sure you want to know?”

I understand what he’s trying to say. Knowing the truth might hurt me even more. But regardless, I have to find out what he means.

Kais: “Yeah, spill it.”

Ethan: “Well, as you wish then.”

He walks towards me not saying anything. I have my guard up for anything suspicious he might try to do, but

Ethan: “The Eyes of Truth”

Kais: “What?”

Ethan looks at me but I can’t look back.

Ethan: “This is the reason that I know you … and that I know Barry.”

His eyes - there’s some kind of shine coming from them. They are glowing enough to make me avert my gaze from them.

Kais: “What’s that?”

But no eyes should be able to shine like this. And, this light coming from it is … blue. There’s no blue light I can see that his eyes would be reflecting. But then, what’s up with him?

Ethan: “I said it before. These are the ‘Eyes of Truth’.”

Kais: “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

What are these ‘Eyes of Truth’ anyway? That just sounds like a name you’d come up with to sound cool.

Ethan: “Do I really need to say?”

Kais: “Of course you …”

And then it dawns on me. I have heard about something like this before. I think I know what it means.

Kais: “They are … from the legend?”

Ethan: “Well, I guess you remember now.”

A man whose eyes could not be deceived.

This was one of the stories Barry told me. If it’s true, then ‘Eyes of Truth’ would be a pretty accurate name for them.

Kais: “But that means … you are …”

Ethan: “If you are thinking I am the man from that legend, I am not. At least, I don’t think I am. I am just a 20-year-old normal human with special eyes.”

Kais: “But then why do you have them?”

This isn’t something hereditary. So that possibility does not exist. Then how can he gain something from a legend of about 1000 years ago.

Ethan: “No idea.”

The ‘Eyes of Truth’ keep glowing and the shine is always blinding. It is as if the eyes don’t want anyone to look into them while they look into others.

Kais: “You are … no normal human.”

Ethan: “Or so you say.”

Kais: “You –”

Ethan: “Against completely inhuman people like you and her, do my eyes really make that much of a difference.”

*******************************

Sona: “You truly are and always will be – pathetic.”

The sight of a human insulting a dragon is rare to say the least. What is even rarer is the sight of the dragon not retorting.

Dragon: “Damn!”

To think a being like him would actually be terrified of a human who could do nothing but talk was beyond imagination. Yet, this moment has come to pass.

Sona: “Don’t bother, dragon. You will never be free from the terror you are feeling now.”

Dragon: “What!?”

Sona: “I did say I have done my fair bit of research, didn’t I?”

Dragon: “You did, but … what’s that supposed to mean?”

The dragon’s anxiousness is finally coming to his face. Sona is delighted to see this. She doesn’t want his expression to relax. She wants him to keep suffering for all eternity. That’s the severity of the hatred she has for him.

Sona: “Figure it out for yourself.”

So she decides to not tell the dragon anything. Keep him in the dark while bullying him – the perfect way to cause suffering. That’s the thought in Sona’s mind.

Dragon: “You … answer me this instant.”

The words that sound like a threat are far from it. Said in a shaking voice, these words are the dragon’s cries for truth –

Sona: “You want answers?”

Dragon: “Of course I do.”

Sona looks at the dragon with the same bloodshot eyes. She is utterly disgusted by this creature. She wants him to keep suffering. Yet she still has some sanity inside her. She won’t let an opportunity slip away.

Sona: “Then, answer me first.”

Dragon: “Huh?”

Sona: “Don’t be so surprised. There are a lot of things I have no idea about. But you know about them.”

The dragon understands the point too, but whether he can answer or not depends on the questions. If he doesn’t answer though, he won’t get any answers in return.

Sona: “So? What do you say?”

Dragon: “I can’t guarantee I will answer.”

Sona: “Then I can’t guarantee you’ll get any answers either.”

Dragon: “Tch!”

He clicks his tongue. He wants the answers to his questions. It is not something he needs, but something he desperately desires after seeing Sona’s animosity. But is that desire strong enough for him to ignore the reason for which he tries to hide ‘those answers’?

Dragon: “Well, what is it you want to ask?”

He decides to ask. After all, there’s a chance her questions would be ones he can answer after all.

Sona: “Well, now that you’re ready …”

The dragon has calmed down a little because of the sudden change in Sona’s behavior from complete killing intent to a mix of killing intent and curiosity.

Sona: “How long do you have to live?”

And then a question comes that agitates him again.

Dragon: “What-”

This is a question he never expected anyone to ask him, because no one should even be able to think of it.

Sona: “I know you are going to die shortly. I am just asking how much time is left for it to happen.”

Sona’s eyes are still bloodshot but there is also a tiny glimpse of certainty in them. She knows for a fact that the dragon would die. How she came to know about it? Only she can answer that.

Dragon: “How do you know about that?”

The dragon does not understand how anyone could know about something that – he has done his utmost to hide from the rest of the world.

Sona: “I’m the one asking questions right now.”

He clicks his tongue. Sona is not going to answer and there is no point in trying to force her to, because it won’t work. This much is clear just from her last sentence.

Sona: “Now answer. Or is that something you can’t tell me?”

Dragon: “No, it’s-”

She demands an answer and the dragon can comply, so there should be no reason he shouldn’t answer. That’s the line of reasoning that drives the woman whose mind is almost at the brink of insanity.

Dragon: “I won’t say.”

The dragon, however, still refuses to answer. This isn’t something he has an obligation to keep secret, but something he wants to keep secret. And to him, both secrets have the same value.

Sona: “So that’s how it is?”

The dragon knows what is coming. She would lash out at him. She would insult him and try to intimidate him. The dragon is more powerful but for some reason he will still be afraid. That’s what is going to happen. At least, he thinks that is what’s going to happen.

Sona: “So, the time left is so short you’re afraid to tell me?”

Dragon: “Huh!?”

The dragon looks at the woman in disbelieve. How could she understand that so quickly? The dragon has thought of her as someone on the brink of insanity. So how could she think and figure things out like a completely sane person.

Sona: “That reaction tells me I am right.”

But, on the other end, it isn’t sound logic that the woman used to figure it out. It is indeed a barely sane mind that came up with that logic.

There was the possibility that there was so much time left that it could somehow inconvenience the dragon if others knew about it. There was also the possibility that he would die at a particular date or time that others should not know about. But the one that appealed to Sona the most was the one where his enemy dies very soon. And so she wanted that one to be right. Thus, she convinced her – that is the real reason.

This is the logic behind her thoughts. Now that she knows it’s true, she doesn’t even bother to worry how irrationally her mind is working.

Dragon: “Damn you!”

To the dragon who has had his secret figured out without an explanation as to how she did it, it may look like she has been thinking like a sane person and using deductive reasoning, but the truth couldn’t be further from it. It is insanity that allowed her to figure it out after all.

Sona: “So, how much time is left?”

Dragon: “Don’t think I will …”

Sona: “Less than a year?”

Dragon: “What!?”

Sona: “Right again, huh?

The dragon’s reaction is easy to read. At least, it is easy to read for Sona. He has been anxious for a while now. Combine that expression with his words, and every time it would look like Sona has hit the mark. And she won’t even bother to think of other possibilities.

Sona: “Then, if I narrow it down again – less than a month?”

The expression doesn’t change and Sona ignores everything else and takes it as a ‘yes’. She just wouldn’t accept anything that would seem less pleasant. Just like how she will never bother thinking about the loopholes in every single one of her theory.

Sona: “What about – less than a week?”

The same reaction, the same interpretation – Sona decides this will be as less as it can go. If it was less than a day, the dragon would be much more anxious. So she decides she wouldn’t ask if it’s less than a day or not because the answer is very likely to be a ‘no’, something she doesn’t want to hear.

Dragon: “Tch!”

The dragon looks at her with the same anxiety as before, but for the first time, she notices his eyes, unlike his face showing his true emotions.

Dragon: “It’s …”

Those emotions are disbelieve and … resignation.

Dragon: “Four days.”

Sona: “Four … days?”

Dragon: “That’s all I have left.”

Sona: “Just four days. I see, just four days, huh?”

The dragon nods. His secret has been almost completely exposed. He thinks there is no point in hiding it anymore and spills the last part himself.

Sona: “I see.”

She looks at the ground as her hair covers her face.  Her expression at the moment – the dragon has no idea what it is.

Sona: “So it’s … just four days.”

Dragon: “Yes.”

The dragon interprets her sentence as a question to confirm what she hears and answers once more. But it was not a question; it is far from any question, it is … the crossing of the line.

Sona: “Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA!”

She bursts out laughing. Her laughs echo through the forest. They are a show of pure delight, or so one would expect.

In reality, they are laughs of despair.

*******************************

Kais: “Inhuman people like me and … her?”

Who does he mean by that?

Ethan: “Don’t you remember there was a woman with me when we first met?”

Kais: “She’s a psychic too?”

I didn’t sense any psychic energy from her. But if she is powerful enough, she should be able to hide her aura. So the possibility exists. However,

Ethan: “No, but she is a pretty dangerous supernatural nonetheless.”

Ethan answering my questions without the smile makes me uncomfortable. Till now, I had thought of Ethan as a sadist. Seeing him without a smile when I am pained by my inner-emotions trying to burst out, that preconception seems to be shattering.

Kais: “Guess you’re not that big of an asshole.”

Ethan: “I don’t know what I ever did to give you that impression. At least, I don’t think I have done anything yet.”

Kais: “Yet?”

Ethan: “Yeah well, who knows what the future may hold?”

It is as clear as it could be that Ethan is willing to go up against anyone if given a reason to. I have picked up on this and have taken care to maintain a safe distance between us.

Kais: “You did say it’s because of your ‘Eyes of Truth’, but …”

Ethan: “But I didn’t exactly tell you how it all ties up, right?”

Yeah, basically, he hasn’t answered the question yet.

Ethan: “Well, the easiest way to explain would be to say –”

He pauses again. That annoys me but from the looks of things, it doesn’t seem to be his goal to annoy me. It looks like he is collecting his thoughts.

Ethan: “I was a witness.”

Kais: “Witness … of what?”

Ethan: “Of the disaster 12 years ago.”

Kais: “___”

Ethan: “Hey, you okay?”

My mind can’t process that. What he just said is totally absurd, isn’t it? There’s no way it’s true. He must be trying to mess with my head.

Ethan: “I’m not lying, you know.”

There he goes again trying to act like a mind-reader even though he is just a human. That’s right. He’s just a normal human. He thinks he can outmatch a psychic by using a few deceiving words. He must think too lightly of us psychics.

Ethan: “I don’t undervalue any of you people.”

This bastard! Who does he think he is? Trying to act all high and mighty like that, are we a joke to him?

Ethan: “In contrast, I think you are all terrifyingly powerful people.”

Kais: “Why you …”

Ethan: “Trying to lash out at me won’t help.”

Kais: “Tch!”

Ethan: “You know what would help though - letting your emotions through.”

Kais: “Do you think I am a child that I’d start crying now?”

Ethan: “The thinking that only children cry is a very conceited thing to say in reality.”

What’s wrong with this guy? Just shut up!

Kais: “You sure you don’t think that way because you’re still a crybaby yourself.”

Ethan: “Well, you are free to call me whatever you want. I am not the most self-esteemed man so I don’t really care all that much.”

And that just irritates me even more, you bastard.

Ethan: “But anyway, all I did was answer. But that was enough to make you this despaired. This is why I warned you before.”

Kais: “Alright fine, will you shut up for a second?”

Ethan: “If you stop trying to put a lid on your emotions, I will.”

Kais: “Shut the hell up!”

If he doesn’t shut his mouth by himself, there’s only one way to make him.

Kais: “If this hurts, don’t blame me.”

I am not a big fan of using my psychic abilities to attack, but this guy needs a good beat-down to keep his mouth shut.

Ethan: “It won’t work.”

Kais: “Like hell it won’t.”

I focus my energy in my hands and give him a solid punch in his stomach – only to see my hand going through his body.

Ethan: “I told you it won’t work. Only my soul is here, so anything you do with the intention of hurting my body will be ineffective.”

Kais: “But how is that …”

Ethan: “Well, I don’t know.”

Kais: “What?”

Is he messing with me again?

Ethan: “Something happened and I fell unconscious. Then I found myself here, but only in spirit form. I don’t know what happened though and I had never seen this place before. So I have no idea what’s going on.”

Kais: “Damn! Things I don’t understand – just keep piling up.”

Ethan: “Well, that aside, I think you have pretty much started to hate me now, so I’ll be going.”

Kais: “The way you say it makes it sound like you came here just so I could start completely hating you.”

I say that when Ethan is turning away. Even though I am not sure, I think I saw a glimpse of smile on that face of his.

Ethan: “Well, I’ll see you in two days, and this time in flesh.”

Kais: “So I’ll get a chance to punch you after all.”

A smirking sound comes from him.

Ethan: “I’m not sure you’d be benefited much from that though.”

While saying that, Ethan leaves the range of my sight. He leaves his torch behind so there’s no way I can see him. But he says we would meet in two days, right? Will we now?

*******************************

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