Being a reaper is a satisfying job. You get to fight evil ghosts, banish demons, and save people and souls. The extra power it provides you also feels great. But it is not so nice when you find out that the extra thing you use from yourself is just a drop of what your body holds, and it is locked away because you are related to a living god. See? Not so nice?
But then you might ask what is wrong in being related to a god? Well… It was wrong for me since I was sitting beside two seriously powerful demons, one being the heir of some royal demon clan and the other her elite bodyguard. I stared in silent shock at the gargoyle who had pronounced my death sentence. Gargoyles never joke about aura, and he had just read mine, declaring my great grandpa a living god. I didn’t even knew him. I was an orphan and the guys at the orphanage told me I was found in a garbage bin. How could a godling can be left in garbage? I was aghast. I hadn’t had a sliver of a chance of escaping the demons. They would tear me alive.
I gathered my courage and looked at the Naaga slumped beside me. I was afraid to meet his eyes and quickly my glance shifted to the demon princess. I couldn’t lower my gaze in time and looked directly into her eyes. I had expected hatred, disgust, violence and a tortured death. But shocking the hell out of me, she was gaping at me in awe. I blinked and looked at the Naaga. He was also staring at me with amazement.
A faint glimmer of hope surged into me as I remembered everything we were taught about the demons was a lie. Maybe it was one of them? Maybe they didn’t hate the God? I gulped and the gargoyle sighed.
“May I make a correction?” He asked. My heart thumped as I waited for him to say it was wrong. The gargoyle looked at me and said. “Your great grandpa was not a living god.” Before I had the chance of taking a sharp breath of relief, he continued. “Your great grandpas were living gods.” That was too much to handle for my little brain in one day and with a tired breath, I passed out,
I woke up to realize the floor was moving. Before I could react, my mind processed the jarring motions of the floor to be a moving vehicle on a bad road. A really really bad road. I kept still trying to assess my surroundings. There was a soft wheezy humming which i recognized as the gargoyle; Liam’s singing. Someone was snoring softly and there was a rustle of paper nearby. The road was quite and by the muffled sounds, the glasses were shut and the the AC was on.
Slowly I cracked my eyes open. It was still dark. I was lying face up on the rearmost seat of a seven seater van. My gaze turned to the bright overhead light to find the Naaga, Parvatesh or as he liked being called, Rocky; reading a newspaper. He had sensed my movement and smiled at me showing his fangs. A sudden chill engulfed as I remembered the last night. I was on the mercy of two demons.
“You were out for quite a while. When did you sleep last time?” He asked. I was confused. Was he trying to play with me? But the princess, Agnishikha had told me all they taught us about demons was a lie. I decided to end it as soon as possible. “Why haven’t you killed me yet?” I asked. My voice firm as I sat upright on the back seat. He looked confused. “Why would I kill you?” His brows clinched in thought. I snorted. “After what happened last night why would not you kill me?” My voice was laced with sarcasm. He looked seriously lost. “Um… I did told you we were taking you to see the proof of the Cell’s betrayal for yourself, didn’t I? And you agreed. Don’t you remember?” I frowned. “Not that. I mean why am I still alive when you know I am related to a god?” He was about to say something when Agnishikha’s muffled voice came from the front. “I told you they filled their brains with crap about us on this side of the veil. Do you get it now?” She was riding shotgun and was also trying to sleep. I glanced back to Rocky when Agnishikha snuggled in her blanket. His expression was amused. “And what if you are the blood of a god? Why should I kill you?” I said cautiously “Because you hate God?” That was it. Agnishikha burst into laughter with Rocky. He was holding his sides as he laughed hysterically. I hadn’t said something funny, had I? I sat there like a fool watching them slowly settle down. There was a big smile on his face when Rocky asked me. “And for what in the four yugas shall I hate the almighty?” I was depressed now. All of my upbringing seemed to be turning out a lie. I gathered myself and said. “You hate him because he banished you into the underworld?” His smile was mischievous when he replied. “And why don’t you hate him when he banished you into the living world?”
I was out of words. Both of them were laughing at me. I seriously hadn’t thought from such a point of view. I had always believed that the living world was better than the underworld. Never had it crossed my mind that the demons might thing the same about underworld. For them, the living world was full of chaos, instability and misery. Demons had control of their lifespan and could live as much as theye liked. And when I started to think about the negative aspect of the living world, so much things came to my mind that with a shudder, I stopped thinking. They were right. And I was right too. The underworld and living world were two sides of the same coin.
Before my thoughts could wander anymore, I yanked myself back to the current situation. “Where are we going?” I asked Rocky. He looked at me and said pointedly. “I told you we were going to show you the proof of the Reaper Cell’s treachery. And if you want to know which place is our destination then I have a lot of explanation to do. Tell me when you are ready.” He said it as if closing the topic and went back to reading newspaper.
I glanced at the clock to find it was 3:45 in the morning. I was tired but I didn’t wanted to sleep again. I thought I might talk to Liam about my both great grandparents being gods, so I went to the middle seat to find it empty. He wasn’t in the back, Agnishikha Was riding shotgun and there was no other place to look for him in the van, unless… I bent forward and peeked around the driver’s seat. Yep, Liam was driving the car. He was perched upon a stack of cushions, and had two sticks tied to his feet. I looked questioningly at the female demon, who had also stopped trying to sleep. She sighed and pointed at his extended feet. “He has been driving for three years now. Vasu made him use mirrors to see forward while he sat at the bottom of the steering wheel.” She pointed to a strange contraption set into the ceiling and steering well. She looked at the sticks and said “This idea came to my mind from watching Mr. Bean. You saw that episode when he rode on the top of his car? I was rolling on the floor with laughter! And when he exploded the paint can? OH my God! and when… ” She suddenly stopped babbling from the look of amazement on my face, and misunderstanding it she blushed deep red. “Sorry. I thought you guys had television here. Its a program aired on… Oh don’t mind. I am a fool. Sorry.” I was silent for three whole seconds. Then I was also laughing my guts out. She looked confused. Then Rocky said “Princess, they too have televisions here, and they do air Mr. Bean.” She frowned at him and then at me and with a huff turned her back to us and started staring out of the window. I coughed to stop my laughter and sat up behind the gearshift. “Sorry. I couldn’t help myself from laughing by the look on your face.” Rocky snorted. I continued “I was shocked myself to find there are televisions in the underworld.” She shot a glare at me and snarled “Of course there are televisions in the underworld. How do you think we pass our time?” I lifted my hands in defeat and she turned back to window without any comment.
Liam was driving peacefully. He had a hat on with a headphone and glasses. He was wearing a shirt, and his his bare legs made his appearance comic as he drove and hummed. I left him as he was and turned to look at Rocky. “I am ready. Tell me our destination.” He sighed and put the newspaper away. I threw a spare cushion at him and we both made ourselves comfortable. He looked up to Agnishikha and said. “You might want to listen this too princess. As I told you It would be better for both of you.” I looked at her and she shifted to face us. Rocky nodded and said. “It will take quite a time. So make yourself comfortable.”
“You might already know that the living world and the underworld balance each other, same as the realm of Gods and the realm of Chaos balance themselves. The living world has an equal ratio of people without aura, ie. humans; and people with aura, who can be classified into a lot of races. People using aura with the help of rituals and incantations are witches or warlocks, people using aura to shift their shapes are weres, people using aura to live after death can be called night-walkers as a whole, and people harnessing aura by the blessing of gods can be classified into one group. Skipping the details, Akshat belongs to the last group. In the underworld, the ratio is same for aura users and non users, but the classification is a little different. all the aura users are demons, with a separate classification of their own. The entities having no aura are of three types. Dead people, Dead demons, And malevolent spirits. All of them are part of the underworld, and its population is thrice the population of living world.
All the notorious and evil spirits are sent to the hell, which is also in the underworld, touching the realm of chaos. The most sacred places in the living world are those which are closest to the realm of gods.
The entities in hell feed from the negativity of both humans and demons. In the last 100 years, the rise in the negativity provided them a lot of energy, and one single demon, known as Decain absorbed all that negativity and opened a rift in the veil separating the realm of chaos from the rest of creation. Somehow he escaped into the chaos and was lost for a few decades. The gods didn’t give him any consideration thinking he was beneath their notice and slowly he scared, convinced and threatened a large part of both the underworld and the living world to join with him. Unfortunately, Few gods also sided with him thinking to use him for their personal rivalry. Most of the underworld is under his control and his reach on the living world has started to increase also.
We are some of the people aware of his intentions and we tried to ask help from the people in power. All of them refused us, laughing at us and now we are a band of almost 3000 people consisting of all kind of aura users. Decain plans on getting rid of all beings without aura, since it was a mere human being who banished him to the hell last time.”
The Naaga looked at me hopefully. If I was getting it all right, the known society was about to fall and the gods were treating it as if it was a game for them (Actually it really was a game for them). Agnishikha was deep in concentration as she pondered upon what he said. I asked “Where do we come in?”
He looked thoughtful then said “We have been trying to track all known aura users which are not under Decain’s influence. We have gathered a considerable number of youngsters on this side of the veil. Our informants have told us that Decain is going to continue gathering forces for atleast two more years. So we are trying to train the youngsters to survive the future.”
He was about to say something more when his phone beeped and within a second he put it to his ear. Liam sensed it too and slowed the van. Rocky was sitting rock still as he talked. “Yes sir…. sir…. 5 hours sir…. WHAT?” He face was white as chalk as he tried to take a breath. Liam jerked the van to a stop and looked at him in disbelief. Rocky’s face was pale as ice as he talked. “But how… When? … Yes sir…. I will sir. I will.” Then he disconnected the phone and barked. “Everyone, OUT! Right now! Liam! Code black. We have got 3 minutes.” Looking at our frozen state he shouted “OUT! Are you waiting for an invitation?” We scrambled out hurriedly. Liam was already out rummaging in the trunk. “Come here. Don’t move until I say.” Agnishikha was scared. I was also confused seeing the calm demon act like this. She said. “You are scaring me Vasu.” He went rigid and turned. “You should be scared! A freaking God is coming for us! Liam? 110 seconds! ” He drew a circle around the van and all of moved inside it instinctively. Liam had four candles and a matchbox. He put the candles on the circle right at the vertices of a square. Rocky traced the circle with his Naaga Mani then the square. Liam lighted all the candles as Rocky touched his Mani to each candle mumbling in Sanskrit. The flames turned green and when all the candles were green he barked at us. “Slide beneath the van headfirst. No arguments! 27 seconds Liam! ” We all scrambled beneath the van, Liam completely inside. Rocky put the Mani in the centre and said. “No matter what happens, don’t lose contact.” We all grappled for the Mani and within a second all of us were touching it. Rocky mumbled something and the Mani glowed brighter. Liam said “any time now.” Before he could finish, a rumble errupted from the ground. It was as if the plates were crying from the load. The ground shook. “Earthquake” Agnishikha mumbled. We all held tha Mani and after what felt like years, the quake ebbed. Rocky sighed and slumped.
“What was it? ” Liam looked at me sadly and my unease grew. “What was it Rocky?” I asked again. He looked up and said. “A god hunting.”
A chill went down my spine. “For whom?” I asked.
Rocky eyed me for a moment and said “Last night didn’t go unnoticed. Decain knows there is a godling out of the God’s realm. He has put a bounty on the godling’s head and the bounty hunters are gods themselves.
Akshat, the Gods are hunting you.”