Living in a hostel full of supernatural creatures is not easy. It becomes exceptionally tough when each of them has something better than you and you have nothing to brag about. It also not helps when your roommate is a sexy young witch humping different boys every night.
I was escorted to the hostel by one of the much younger guards. When he opened the door of my room, I almost turned and walked back after seeing the occupant. It was a girl wearing nothing but a long t-shirt and I had the privilege of entering the room while she was bending to pick something up from the floor. I hastily matched the door plaque with the paperwork in my hands. Yep! It was my room and she was my roommate.
After my trial in front of the Novem, the Dean Branat took me to the official registration desk and I had to fill up a stack of forms. Since I was studying on credit (Which was to be paid after I graduated), I opted for everything with the least price. Only now I realized that the ‘shared’ hostel room meant sharing with the opposite gender, not a fellow boy.
I had half a mind to turn back and submit for isolated hostel, but a line in fine print caught my eye.
“Isolated hostel at full capacity. Waiting list at 03“
Well… That was done. The Hell Academy kept three hostels in every grade. One was shared, the one I was in, and the other two were for boys and girls. Since the rift in the Veil had its easiest entrance in the Indian subcontinent, Most of the students here were Indians. The Indian values and morals don’t allow unmarried people, even couples to live with the opposite sex, so most of the Indians opted for the isolated living arrangements. The underworld entrance for the rift was through the Indian afterlife too, so the demons preferred separate living arrangements as well. The shared hostel was for initiates from foreign cultures and for the Indians who couldn’t or didn’t pay for the separate one.
The girl walked to me and shook my hand with a smile. She had Asian origins and was exotically beautiful. She was a little less lucky in the feminine department and had an almost flat figure, but her rippled biceps and well toned body indicated her to be a decent fighter. “I am Lisa. You must be Akshat?” She asked brightly as I entered the room taking my bag from the guard. I had bought the standard kit for first term initiates on credit and it all fit into a backpack which was magically enhanced. I nodded at the guard as he turned to go and faced Lisa. “Yes. That would be me. Who is our third roommate?” Lisa perched on a table as I marched to the farther of the two empty beds in the room. It was next to a window and I found it perfect for me.
“I don’t have any idea about him or her. But make yourself comfortable.” I threw my bag on the bedside chair and crashed on the bed. Lisa was still looking at me and was probably wanted to say something. I raised my eyebrows to ask her and she said hesitantly “You are not a witch or a daayan, I presume?” That was an odd question here. There were initiates and staff of every race present in the veil, and it seemed that they were doing well together…. Perhaps not.
Lisa sensed the direction of my thoughts and a slight tinge of red appeared at the top of her ears. “I didn’t mean that! Really! I just… I just hate cats and a witch or a daayan usually has one. I wanted to make sure that I won’t have to deal with the anti allergy spell in your company.” Oh! So that was it. I stood and presented myself dramatically with a flourish of my hand. “I am a reaper Ma’am. At your service.” She giggled and imitated me. “I am an aghori. At your service.” Her bow revealed too much in her loose shirt and my face flushed as I averted my gaze. Apparently she had noticed it too. She grinned wickedly at me and said “Don’t get embarrassed reaper, you are going to see a lot more than this.” My face went a brighter shade of red and I sputtered to find some words for a decent reply. She laughed at my obvious discomfort and with a wink went inside the shared washroom.
I sat on my bed thinking about my stupidity. Living in a culture full of values had made me very very uncomfortable towards sexy girls who hadn’t had any problems in revealing their skin. I shook my head and turned to check out my share of furniture. With the bed and the chair, I had a study table, a closet and a large headboard with nooks to hold weapons. I picked up my bag and rummaged to take out my clothes. There were four plain t-shirts with three pairs of jeans and some underwear. In a bag was what looked like my academy uniform which consisted of a white shirt and black pants. It was made of a watery material and definitely some kind of aura had been used to make it. I also had a wallet which had a credit card (Apparently they had developed an aura based banking system with the unit currency equal to somewhere around 0.16$), a little cash of around 200 units (The bills were plastic and twice as big as a card), and my reaper ID.
I started to arrange my belongings. I was finished in a surprisingly short time and decided that I definitely needed to go shopping. There was the sound of opening door and Lisa came out with a towel wrapped around her. I immediately turned my gaze away and she smirked. I opened my closet to avoid watching her change, I found a crack lining the inner left corner. Curious, I ran my hand along it and found a notch jjust big enough to hold with three fingers. I tried to open it to no avail. Sighing, I left the crack as it was and rearranged my already arranged possessions.
When it seemed that it was enough time for Lisa to get clothed again, I shut the closet and slowly turned to face the room. She was sitting on her study table combing through her hair. I released my held breath when I was sure she was wearing something. She had a nice form fitting red t-shirt on with a pair of denim shorts. She smiled at me and stood up to grab her purse. “want to go out on a know-each-other lunch?” She asked. Why not? I thought. It wasn’t as if I had something to do. I nodded and also snatched my wallet. “Share?” I asked her about the money we were going to spend. She snorted and shot at me “Come on. You are not good enough to go on a date with me. Its obviously on share basis.” To my credit I didn’t humiliate myself this time saying something odd, and followed her out with a nod.
I turned back to lock the door, but neither I had a key, nor the door had a keyhole. Lisa noticed my confusion and stepped forward to grab the handle. “Here. Let me show you.” Her hand glowed briefly with her aura and I was startled to find it was a brilliant sparky white. Their was a click indicating the door was locked and we started towards the mess-haal. “So… You just held the handle with your aura? Or was it something else?” She winked at a passing girl while licking her lips suggestively, and the girl hurried away. “Yup! It was just a little bit of my aura. Since we are registered in the database, our door responds to only our aura.” She winked at another geeky boy and he flushed furiously dropping his load of books. I realized she enjoyed flirting and was also glad that she was walking beside me. More than a few boys and girls had their eyes on her and she liked the attention. “So… One door will open for only the three roommates?” I asked wondering how did she develop such a sultry attitude. “Yes. Unless you are a Great one and can shift auras.”
I didn’t know about ‘The Great One’ and left it for our lunch conversation. Lisa was busy ogling boobs and tight asses while I observed the design of the Academy grounds. We were in the north-east quadrant of the circular grounds and It was designed like a trailer park. All the buildings were limited to the ground floor and I assumed there were definitely some basements. Basic maps of the buildings were available at most corners. I noticed a faint glimmer in the words of one such map and tried to decipher its aural form. What hit me was so intense that I jerked to a halt in mid-stride. The directions were marked in every language known to humankind and I was only able to read Sanskrit, Hindi and English while the others flew in and out of my consciousness. Everyone would see their practiced language in the directions.
Meanwhile Lisa had noticed me and was coming back looking slightly amused. “What is it? Is there a topless pool around the corner?” She was only half joking and I pointed towards the map. She glanced at it and back at me. “What are you looking at?” She sounded irritated and I said “The aura. Look at it.” she frowned but concentrated on the map and her mouth opened in a silent gasp. “Its so… vast…” She was awestruck. I was about to suggest her to continue on our way when she jerked like an electric shock had hit her. “Which language are you speaking?” She asked urgently. “Um… English? Aren’t you?” I was wondering what was she at. She had an excited glint in her eyes. “No! I was switching between English and Chinese! Didn’t you listen?” She was visibly bubbling with excitement as she continued “O. M. G.! It also works on our speech! We are speaking in some sort of universal language or something!” She was bobbing where she stood and I put a hand on her shoulder to stop her motion. I looked around us and said “Let’s go to the mess-hall. We are attracting unwanted attention.” I pointed her a group of boys and girls looking at us. They had a malevolent look around them. She followed my gaze and we again started going towards the mess-hall.
Just as we entered the hall, two things happened at once. A boy came running through the gate across the hall shouting. “All the betals in the hell are dead! Decain’s general!”; &Two guards teleported just a hairbreadth away from us and almost threatened. “Come with us right now. The Dean wants to see you.” Before we could respond they grabbed our arms and teleported us to the Dean’s office.
It was reinstated and was working again. The Dean looked haggard as he quickly stood up to join us.
“Lisa, Akshat. I have a very very important favour to ask you. Will you help me? ” The man looked desperate and I nodded without thinking. Lisa looked at me and then she too slowly nodded. Branat sighed in obvious relief and said. “Don’t interrupt me. We don’t have much time. Decain had sent one of his generals to get a tribe of betals to join him. They refused him and he killed all of them Only the young prince could be saved in time but he has a severe brain malfunction now. Decain wants his life but I can’t allow that.” So there was a psycho survivor somewhere. So what could we have don? Before I could ask anything, he said. “I beg you two to please accept his guardianship and allow him to be your third roomie.”