There are moments when you hear the silence. And then there are the moments when you feel it. I had had my share of stunned silences when I was a kid. I was shocked the most when a ragged beggar had turned into a yamdoot when I touched him and that was probably the most jolting experience of my life. But it feels different when you are opened to a whole new world of possibilities and hope. It was such a silence when the betal told us the subject of his prophecy.
We were all still and were staring at the betal prince. He was smiling nervously and clearly was moved was the look of awe on our face. The voluptuous lady suddenly got up from the bed and grabbed my shoulder. “Guard him with your life. I am going to see Maharishi Kalson. Don’t let anyone in the room and tell them Jacqueline is working inside.” She said in a excited voice and teleported out of existence. There was an awkward silence as all of us waited for another to speak. It was broken by Lisa. She asked the prince. “So… What should we call you? Your Majesty? His Greatness? or something else?” She was only half joking but the betal let out a nervous laugh. “No need for any of that. Friends call me Seth. And since you are going to be my roommates, you come into the same category.” He said giving both of us an embarrassed smile. He was so… normal looking that I doubt any of us would even assume him a prince if we saw him in public. He looked just like the geek next door.
I was unnerved by the fact that he kept stealing glances at me. He had simply asked to call me with my nickname which no one knew. I decided to settle on the bed and asked him. “So… How do you know me?” He also sat on a chair and dragged another from Lisa’s side of room for her. It seemed as if he was deciding what to say when there was a knock on the door. We all froze. The lady, Jacqueline had told us to let in no one. I motioned for Lisa to sit when she started for the door and opened it a crack myself. There was a flap of something leathery and a female voice squealed. “Get off Liam. I just combed it all!” After a thump and a groan a male voice complained “Ow! What did I do?” I recognized them immediately. It was Agnishikha, Rocky and Liam. I was just thinking whether to meet them outside or ignore them when someone pulled me from the door and shoved it wide open.
I stumbled for a moment then straightened to see a tangle of limbs scrambling on the floor. It was Seth hugging Lisa. They both were squealing like kids and I found a distraught looking Rocky staring them in obvious confusion. I nodded at him when he caught my eye and together we pulled Lisa and Seth from the floor who were still giggling madly. It was hard to imagine Seth as a boy who had just lost his whole tribe. Or he was unaware of the fate of his people. I shoved them inside the room with a little help from rocky and shut the door again. We all settled around Lisa’s bed dragging chairs from my side of the room. Agnishikha and Seth were on the bed still giggling and Liam was perched on Lisa’s table lamp.
It was as if they had just noticed us, Seth and Agnishikha immediately sobered and mumbled apologies. Before we could do more than roll our eyes, Agnishikha blurted out. “Why didn’t you tell me that Seth was your roommate! I thought we were friends!” It was typical Agnishikha. A hot badass demon for strangers and innocent bubbly girl for friends. Rocky cleared his throat and she immediately blushed. Seth looked embarrassed as well and straightened his shirt in an attempt to appear serene. Agnishikha looked at Lisa and said brightly. “Hello. I am Agnishikha. A friend of Akshat for a few hours and this is my bodyguard Vasuki. I must apologies for my sudden intrusion into your quarters. I am sorry.” Lisa looked uncomfortable with the formality in Agnishikha’s tone. She looked at me and I encouraged her with a nod. She cleared her throat and said. “Its not a big deal. This room belongs to Akshat as well and since you know Seth too, You are as good as a friend of mine.”
Agnishikha looked relieved and said to Rocky. “Vasu! You might not remember him. Seth used to come with his father when my dad took me to the royal meet every Year. We were the only kids with the same interests, as the others only cared to learn the royal ways. It was so-o-o much fun.” She smiled at Seth and continued. “Seth, Lisa, meet my royal bodyguard-cum-teacher and my closest and the best friend in the whole underworld.” Rocky looked proud with as he shook Seth’s hand. Then he nodded at Lisa who was again chewing her lower lip ogling Rocky. Apparently he failed to notice it and I shot a warning glare at her. She simply winked at me and turned to face the others, where Liam was being introduced.
“Guys? Seth was supposed to stay in this room and not to see anyone, don’t you remember? I think we might be in a problem.” She definitely had a point. Jacqueline had clearly told us to not let anyone in the room. That was really not the case seeing Seth had bolted outside to meet his friend. He was guilty as he said. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. She completely vanished from the grid and I was afraid that she was in trouble.” Agnishikha waved him off and said. “Don’t worry about it. Maharishi Kalson himself asked me to meet Seth. He was afraid he might not be comfortable with only strangers. Too bad that I was sent to my reserved bed at the isolated wing or I would definitely liked to shift with him.” She was back to her babbling which was a good sign. She completely missed the horrified look on Rocky’s face when she said the last line about shifting with Seth. “Princess?” He asked looking utterly crestfallen. Agnishikha was confused for a moment by the look on his face then her face went as red as a carrot. “Not like that Vasu. I like him as my brother! I didn’t mean that I… Ugh!!! Its nothing like that!!!” Her eyes were downcast in embarrassment and Rocky’s ears were red at the top. Lisa and Seth were trying their best to control their laughter and Liam was holding his stomach as he laughed.
I smiled and winked at Rocky. He had a sheepish look on his face which told me his reaction had more to do with jealousy than honor of a princess. Liam shakily bobbed up to Seth’s shoulder and extended his hand. “May I?” He asked for the permission to read Seth’s aura. Seth nodded absently and handed him his hand as he broke into a debate with Lisa about royalty indulging in sex market. The same glazed look came into Liam’s eyes when he read Seth’s aura and he exclaimed “Cool…” He bobbed back to the table lamp and I definitely caught him glancing at me.
I decided to ignore him and asked Agnishikha. “Who is this Maharishi Kalson?” She gladly grabbed the chance to get away from the debate going on between Seth and Lisa about queens using candles in their kings’ absence. “He is the prime authority in the city and the leader of the Novem here. He was the man sitting beside Natasha at your trial, don’t you remember?” So that strong man in the center was the Maharishi. But I couldn’t sense his aura at all. It was as if he didn’t even possess it. And didn’t Maharishis wear dhoti and live in forests? I asked her again “But I couldn’t sense his aura. And he was wearing a shirt and jeans and his hair was cropped short. Don’t Maharishis use to wear only dhoti and have a lot of hair on their face?” Liam laughed at me hearing my question. He had also left Seth and Lisa’s conversation which now had progressed to royal harems. Liam wheezed as he joined us. “Don’t be absurd akshat. This is the 21st century. Whu would anyone wear a dhoti on a regular basis? It is only used ceremonially. And the hairstyle is just a thing of convenience. As for the aura, Maharishi Kalson’s aura is on a completely different level than ours. If our aura can be compared to radio waves, His aura is like microwaves. That is a completely different class.”
Rocky was nodding his head and Agnishikha was listening to Seth explaining about whores and prostitution in royalty to Lisa. Liam had definitely cleared my doubts. If there were different classes of aura then it explained why I couldn’t sense him. But I had felt Morrigan’s aura. It had almost crushed me with its mere presence. Did she had lesser aura than the Maharishi? I decided to ask Liam. “But what about Morrigan? Was her aura less than the Maharishi?”
It was as if I had cracked a joke. Rocky and Liam burst into laughter with Lisa, who was also eavesdropping on our conversation. Agnishikha, me and Seth watched them in confusion. Seth was not sure what was so funny about three queens sharing bed with a king. He had no idea what we were talking about. Agnishikha looked pissed. “What? I didn’t sense anything from her too! So what’s funny about asking her class?” Wait, What? She didn’t sense it? But I did… Rocky grabbed a table for support and slowly recovered from his laughing fit. He was still grinning ear to ear when he said. “Sorry princess. Morrigan is a god. And that too an immortal one. Not even living god can sense true immortal gods and you are comparing her to a Maharishi? He is like an ant to her. Even if Kalki was here, he wouldn’t be able to sense her.” Seth looked content as he nodded in Rocky’s support. Liam bobbed in mid air and wheezed to Agnishikha. “Basically there are five classes of beings possessing aura. On the top resides the God and the Chaos, which are the source of all positive and negative things in the universe and cannot interfere in the workings of it. Then there are Higher Gods and the ones on the dark side. Lord Vishnu, Gaia, Jesus, Allah and a few others come into this class. I shall not name any one from the dark side as the only one I know of this class is Tartarus. Then there are the Gods. Every minor and major one. Decain comes into this class too as he has acquired powers from Chaos itself. Then the fourth class is of extremely powerful mortals who have gained enough aura and blessings of a higher god to become immortal. Our Maharishi, Natasha and Metheus come in this class. And then the fifth class is made of all other aura possessing beings including us. A being can only sense aura of the entities residing in his class or lower to it. Satisfied?”
Liam took a heavy breath when he finished and returned to his spot on Rocky’s shoulder. He left behind a lingering silence as everyone except Rocky pondered upon what he had said. Apparently they were also unaware of the whole thing by the look of deep concentration on their face as they sorted things out. But Liam had said that one could only sense aura of someone lower than them. And I had sensed, no, felt Morrigan’s aura.
“Guys” I said bringing all of their attention to me. “I think I had sensed Morrigan’s aura.”