???: “The line between insanity and sanity – how thick is it exactly? If one tries to break a person little by little, how much time will it take to drive them insane? If one tries to break them at once, how big should the impact be? I have always wondered these things.”
Floating in nothingness, a voice whispers this to Ro. He knows whose voice it is, but he cannot understand what the voice wants from him.
He calls out the name of the person that voice belongs to.
And the person responds.
Ro: “Why haven’t you done anything yet?”
He asks a question that had been bugging him for a while.
Barry: “Well, done what?”
The person answers that with a question.
Ro: “Why haven’t you attacked me yet?”
He clarifies his question a bit.
Barry: “And why exactly would I attack you?”
And the person answers with a question again.
Ro: “Because you … would want revenge, right?”
His questions go on.
Answering with questions also goes on.
This exchange is almost poetic in a sense. It’s as if Ro is asking to be attacked. It’s as if he wants Barry to attack him. Why would Ro want that? It was like … he is asking for a punishment.
Ro: “Why are you acting like …?”
He himself does not even understand why his own heart desires these punishments. Yet, he asks someone else their reasoning. This is all he could do not to lose himself completely.
Barry: “Revenge for what exactly?”
Yet the other person keeps answering with questions. It’s as if none of Ro’s questions made any sense to him.
Ro: “For your brother.”
Ro says it out loud. He acknowledges what he has done is wrong. After all, he has died. He might as well start confessing his sins now.
Barry: “You are talking like you killed him or something.”
Barry’s answer this time is not a question though. This time, it’s a smirking reply as if to say Ro is wrong about something.
Ro: “We didn’t, but …”
Ro could do nothing but ask.
Barry: “You kidnapped him, right?”
Barry would again answer with a question; even if it’s a question he already knows the answer to.
Ro: “Yes, wouldn’t you …”
Before Ro could finish his question,
Barry: “Do you honestly think he’s that weak?”
Barry’s next answer in the form of another question would come.
This one surprises Ro.
Barry: “Do you honestly think you could have kidnapped him just like that?”
Yet, Barry’s answers remaining as questions keep slicing up a hole in Ro’s perception of the event.
Ro: “What do you …?”
The hole is being widened and widened until,
Barry: “Remember he felt a pain in his stomach after he took care of you two?”
Barry would finally open it up completely.
Ro: “I do.”
Ro could already guess what the next line would be, but he could just not believe it.
Barry: “Why was that?”
Barry decides to probe in the doubts that he has brought to Ro’s mind.
Ro: “Because … because … it was because invisible water …”
Ro tries to explain the cause for it, at least the one lie he had told the victim before.
Barry: “Don’t bother lying to me.”
Barry knows it’s a lie. He would not be affected by it – not in the slightest.
Ro knows it’s a lie too. But he would still try to act as if it’s not.
Barry: “I know that was not the case.”
Barry would not allow him to continue the façade. He would keep widening the hole.
Ro: “But it …”
Ro would try to cling to the lie as long as he can.
Barry: “It is your tactics to say things that mess with your opponent’s brains.”
Barry would expose his secrets.
Barry: “You just saw he was feeling pain and tried to make it look like it was because of you two.”
He would just not stop widening the hole in Ro’s assumptions.
Ro: “How … do you …”
Ro would finally give up and ask.
Barry: “Know this?”
Barry would try to be sly.
Ro would get irritated by the fact that he does not know the answer.
Barry: “Well, it’s quite simple. I was the real reason he was feeling pain.”
Barry would finally deal the finishing blow.
Ro had already understood this before Barry said it. But it was his good mind that could understand this, not his fragile heart.
Barry: “It was a punch from this hand.”
Barry would say so bringing up his right hand.
Ro would ask the reason for it. There must have been one, right?
Barry: “That’s simple. I wanted him to be taken to that island.”
Barry has no reason to try to hide it, so he would gladly spill the beans.
Ro would be hit with another unbelievable remark.
Barry: “And I guess that would make me your accomplice.”
Barry would continue widening the hole, even after it had already done its job.
Barry: “Now why would I want to take revenge on my accomplices?”
Ro: “But … that’s absurd.”
Ro would say what he truly thinks and he would feel a little relief over it, maybe he has spoken what’s on his mind after a long time.
Barry: “There’s nothing so unbelievable about it.”
Barry would not allow for the relief to be there though.
Ro would not even try to ask with words. He would not have the willpower to ask the question that could shatter all his believes.
Barry: “You Embers have no idea how the real world operates. So it may look absurd to you, but it’s just natural.”
Barry would say something so important so casually.
Ro: “What does that …?”
Ro would try to muster his willpower to keep asking the questions.
Barry: “It means you are a bunch of idiots.”
Barry has stopped answering with questions for a while. But the effect of his answers is still the same.
Ro: “What do you …?”
Simple questions like ‘what’ and ‘why’ are all that Ro could say at this point.
Barry: “Well, you’ll learn that in a short while. You’ll learn what actually happens in the shadows.”
Barry: “Yeah, shadows. You ready? You are going to find out things are far more complicated than any of you ever thought it would be.”
Ro: “Just … explain already.”
Ro is anxious.
Barry: “I don’t know where to start and where to end, so just wait like I told you to.”
Barry truly does not know how he could explain things to anyone even if he tried to.
Barry: “Yeah. That’s it. Just wait!”
Ro looks at Barry, eyes full of surprise.
Barry: “And maybe … I’ll get my answer …”
There’s a wide grin on his face.
Ro: “Your answer … to what?”
Barry: “I said it earlier, right? How thick is the line between sanity and insanity?”
She has crossed that line. However thick it was – Sona has crossed the line to insanity.
Dragon: “You really are that happy over my death?”
The dragon had already understood that she hated him for some reason, but to think she is this happy over his death is beyond his imagination.
Sona: “No! Not in the least!”
But she denies that.
The dragon doesn’t understand why she would deny it. It’s clear she is happy. She is laughing like crazy … to the point she might have become crazy.
Sona: “It’s not your death that I am laughing because of.”
Sona explains what she means. But the explanation only further confuses the dragon.
Dragon: “Then what … is it?”
The dragon asks his question – the only question that has filled the depths of his minds.
Sona: “It’s my foolishness.”
Sona answers - still bloodshot-eyes, death glare coming from her, hostile intent very clear, but not in the slightest trying to deceive.
Dragon: “Your … what now?”
The dragon just could not comprehend what he just heard.
Sona: “My foolishness. How ill-prepared was I?”
Sona repeats her answer. She says the words as if to mock herself.
Dragon: “What do you …?”
The dragon can do nothing but ask.
Sona: “There’s just four days left. After that, you’ll die.”
Sona affirms the facts.
Dragon: “Yes, that’s …”
The dragon supports the affirmation.
Sona: “While that maybe a good thing for everyone, but then I will never be able to take my revenge.”
Then Sona finally voices her innermost feelings. These feeling – can only be called ‘hatred’. It may get twisted in many other forms, but at the end of the day, it would remain one feeling – pure hatred.
The dragon is left bereft of words. Yet he could mutter that one word that describes all his thoughts at the moment.
Sona: “I can’t let you die like that.”
Dragon: “You …”
The dragon can barely speak anything after the shock of finding out the level of hatred Sona has for him.
Sona: “You deserve to die by my hands.”
Sona does not stop elaborating her hatred. She continues, paying no mind to the dragon.
Dragon: “W-why you …”
The dragon tries to stop her words. He tries to get some answers. He tries to ask a question that could explain that intense hatred of hers.
Sona: “That’s the only way. There’s no other way around it.”
She does not give any answers. She only shows how true her hatred.
Sona: “Within four days, I’ll have to somehow find a way to kill you.”
She goes on and on as if talking to herself, motivating herself to kill. If this is not insanity, then what is it?
Dragon: “What’s wrong with you?”
The dragon just asks a question he knows there can never be a good enough answer to.
Sona: “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
And yet Sona defies his expectations by her answer. Insane to the point where she is the only sane person in her eyes – that is what she has become.
Dragon: “How greedy can you be?”
The dragon asks her what he truly wanted to ask her at that moment.
But he used a word he doesn’t even understand the true meaning of. That’s a trigger – one the dragon has accidently pulled.
Dragon: “Isn’t it enough I’m going to die?”
He doesn’t even realize it, so he continues on.
Sona: “Of course it’s not.”
Her voice grows colder than it ever was. The dragon had thought he had seen her hostile intent, but all he had seen was the tip of the iceberg.
He clicks his tongue in how out of control the situation is. He had no idea there would exist someone who would hate him this much.
Sona: “Dying naturally as if you have lived a long happy life and are finally passing away – that’s not the death you deserve.”
She voices all her feelings in those words.
Dragon: “Why’s that?”
The dragon continues to ask. He foolishly asks the question he never should have. And then without even realizing the severity of his words, he continues on. When the person he is talking to has already lost sanity, what effect can this bring – it’s not the easiest thing to figure this out.
Sona: “Because you are the greatest sinner in the world. You deserve to die by the hands of those whose lives you destroyed.”
Sona claims what she thinks is right. And what she thinks is right is all that matters to her.
The dragon can understand why someone like that would be hated so much, but he can’t understand how he can be that someone.
Sona: “Never – you will never … ever … be allowed a peaceful death. You just don’t deserve it.”
Her anger bursts out as she shouts those words at the dragon.
Dragon: “Why would you … hate me that much?”
The dragon can never think of himself as such a grave sinner. Just what did he do?
Sona: “Ha! Ha! Why would I hate you that much?”
Sona laughs as if it’s the most foolish question she has ever heard.
Dragon: “Tell me. At least tell me the answer to that.”
The dragon demands an answer. Just what sins has he committed? He is dying to know.
Sona: “You took everything from me.”
And the answer he gets is a vague one, yet the one that best summarizes everything that had happened.
Sona: “You took everything from me. Bit-by-bit you destroyed my life.”
Sona adds the words that further explain his sins.
Dragon: “I …”
Sona: “Taking everything from me and expecting to not be hated – just how greedy can you be?”
And with that, she clears up the severity of the word ‘greed’ that the dragon had uttered before without knowing its value.
Ethan Kales is someone who has forgotten what sanity even means. With one massive blow, his sanity had run out of life and insanity had taken over his being.
Ethan: “I didn’t expect you to be this early.”
He arrives at the airport from where he and Sneha have to take a flight. But Sneha had arrived before him.
Sneha: “I just didn’t have anything else to do.”
She is being honest. She had received no orders from Vermillion for a while now. It did bug her if the reason for that is that they had found out about her being a double agent, but after a while, it won’t matter.
Ethan: “I see. Well, I guess I didn’t either.”
Ethan, on the other hand, didn’t have anyone to take orders from, so it was a natural response for him.
Sneha: “Not like you do anything anyway.”
Sneha says that in a mocking tone.
Ethan: “That’s harsh.”
Ethan responds with a smile that’s makes it hard to judge whether he took it as a joke or was hurt by it.
Sneha: “It’s the truth.”
But Sneha doesn’t even bother with those details. She has come to understand that understanding this man is beyond her.
Ethan: “Not quite. I do have things to do.”
Ethan keeps up the smile and denies her statement.
Sneha: “And what exactly are these ‘things’?”
Sneha asks a question she truly wants to know the answer to after hearing his words.
Ethan: “Well, for starters, visiting a psychic.”
Ethan casually states that.
Sneha: “What! Who are you talking about?”
But Sneha can’t contain her surprise. Her voice pitches higher and her questions describe her feelings.
Ethan: “Well, Kais.”
And Ethan continues to casually answer her questions.
Sneha: “You … visited him. What the hell does that mean?”
He was on the island and Ethan was here. How could he have visited him? This very logical question comes to her mind.
Ethan: “Come now, it isn’t all that surprising.”
But Ethan acts as if it’s normal for things like that to happen.
Sneha: “Not surprising. How’s something that’s not even possible not surprising when it actually happens.”
Sneha can’t understand him – she knows that full well, but it is in moments like these when this fact starts to annoy her.
Ethan: “Well, shouldn’t anything be possible? These supernatural things do tend to make everything that looks impossible on the surface possible after all.”
Ethan says that as if he knows nothing about the limitations of various supernatural powers. But knowing those limitations is the entire reason he has become such a threat to Vermillion. So how could he say something like that?
Sneha: “These powers are not omnipotent. Now explain what you meant?”
Sneha demands an answer one could very well say she deserves.
Ethan: “Calm down, will you?”
Ethan casually asks her to calm down, not affected by the surprise that has taken over Sneha.
Sneha gets irritated by that. This is a feeling she has felt pretty much every time she had met this man.
Ethan: “All that happened was my soul got transferred to a dark place where I met him. I don’t know how it happened, but it happened when I was sleeping last night.”
He casually explains what happened.
Sneha: “What! Are you joking?”
Sneha just can’t understand what he is saying.
Ethan: “I’m not. It really did happen.”
But Ethan confirms that it’s true.
Sneha: “Then how can you be not concerned about it. This is something I have never heard of. What if someone really powerful was pulling the strings behind this?”
Sneha voices her concerns - the concerns very genuine in respect to her own safety that could be harmed if this ‘someone’ knows about her being an accomplice.
Ethan: “Well, doesn’t that make things more interesting though?”
Yet Ethan Kales talks about it like it doesn’t bother him at all. The terrifying part – it might really not bother him at all.
Sneha: “What the hell!”
Sneha can’t keep her irritation in check.
Ethan: “Calm down, Sneha. All it would mean is that another person is trying to get in my way. I’ll just have to defeat them. It’s not that big of a deal.”
That’s the genuine stance Ethan Kales has taken.
Ethan: “It doesn’t matter how powerful that guy is.”
No matter if it’s a half-psychic, a psychic, someone like Sneha, spirit-user, a dragon, or even a god; all of them are beings more powerful than Ethan Kales.
Ethan: “If even a half-psychic can overpower me, then what benefit would there be in being more powerful?”
So it doesn’t matter which one of them it is, all he has to do – is outsmart them.
Ethan: “No matter how powerful they are, they’ll lose anyway.”
It was not a sound logic, but that’s the logic Ethan Kales has for going against pretty much everyone in the world. This logic was born when he first realized how powerful some people are in this unfair world. It was born when he met the demon he hates more than anyone else in the world.
Ethan: “It really doesn’t matter at all.”
That one blow to his sanity was all it took to make him cross the line. This – was the insanity of Ethan Kales.
Barry: “Those are the questions I have asked myself several times ever since I died. I just could not get them out of my head.”
Ro: “That’s …”
Ro tries to voice his thoughts but stops midway. He understands nothing will change even by him saying those things.
Barry: “So pitiful, isn’t it?”
Barry says as if to mock himself.
Barry: “But these are my queries – If one tries to break a person little by little, how much time will it take to drive them insane?”
How much time - as much as it took to drive Sona insane?
Barry: “How distorted will their view be?”
How distorted – as much as to scare a dragon?
Barry: “If one tries to break them at once, how big should the impact be?”
How big – as big as the sight of the disaster Ethan witnessed?
Barry: “And how distorted will their view be?”
How distorted – as much as to put half-psychics on the same level as a god?
Barry: “And what will happen – if such broken people confront each other?”
Ro: “Ha! Ha! Well, they’ll meet alright. They sure will. You’ll find out your answer.”
Barry: “I guess that’s true.”
Ro: “Yeah, they’ll meet.”
Ro does not know who he’s talking about but he knows he is talking about someone real. And that’s all he needs to know to understand – they are going to meet. And that meeting will change everything.
Barry: “Yeah, they’ll meet. And I …”
Barry’s emotion at this moment is that of excitement, just pure excitement.
Barry: “I … eagerly wait for the time that happens.”