Life in an extra-dimensional Supernatural Prison – Ch 21

Some People are more easily excited than others. Some are also known to break into hysterics if their pen breaks or one hair falls off their head (Stupid, huh?). Most of the people in the latter category obviously fall into the first too. For example, girls are more prone to breaking into tears on the sight of mice or vermin which is considered stupid; but they handle things like giving birth quite bravely where many men usually faint. But you come across many opportunities in your life when you just want to slap the next person due to their stupidity.

I was staring at Agnishikha’s swollen face and had a strong urge to either kill her or commit suicide. The way she was talking made me think that she only took into the numerical value of the time gap. Obviously 11,986 years was a long time for being trapped, but when you calculate the actual passed time in our world, it comes near to almost 98 years. And for an immortal, that is like no time at all. “Then what is the problem Agnishikha? We can have more time to plan and prepare for the time when we escape.” If we escape. Agnishikha blinked and looked at my face as if looking for the first time. She scanned me for a few second and then continued in the same flat, dead voice. “Are you a child Akshat? Or are you so stupid that you can’t count figures? One year is equal to three days! Don’t you get it?”

I had a strong urge to grab my hair and scream in frustration. I knew that the girl was scared half out of her wits, but this was intolerable. I barely caught myself from shaking her. “That is exactly what I am talking about. One year here is equal to three days in our dimension. So we aren’t losing much time!” I was shouting when I finished. Girls were good to look at, and they were beautiful too. But there was seldom any girl who was beautiful, and had at least an ounce of brain matter in her head. Agnishikha jerked back as if singed by my words and stared at me with her eyes as wide as biscuits. And then to infuriate me further, she assumed a scornful expression. Of all things to do, she stood to loom over me and planted her fists on her hips. “And you are telling me now? When I was scared to death that if we were able to return, nothing could have been done? Couldn’t a boy possess a gram of wits in his head?” She threw up her hands in exasperation and stalked off to her room banging the door behind her.

I was staring at the door with my mouth wide open. What was my fault if her dim brain couldn’t interpret a thing except for the numerals? Was it my fault that she had an empty brain? And of all things, she was accusing me? Girls were truly weird. I decided to leave her alone to sulk. It was quite a while since I had a chance for grooming myself so I trudged towards the shower. It was a nice experience after such a hectic day. I had barely had a chance to brush my teeth when we were summoned to Lord Varun in the morning and the trek through the forest had taken a toll on my hygiene. It was almost dark when I came out from the long soak and knocked at Agnishikha’s door.

She opened it wearing a bright red Kurti and black jeans. It was odd the way globalization had affected the preternatural community. The Hindus used to wear only traditional Indian clothing when interacting with other races. The 20th century brought about a huge change in the lives of our ancestors with the intermingling of different cultures. Many creatures from different pantheons started to explore other cultures and ways of life. Hinduism wasn’t unaffected. We received a lot of foreigners interested to know the Hindu way of life. Similarly, many of our people also went to explore other cultures. The result was a supernatural globalization. Now, the Indian subcontinent housed creatures from the Greek, Christian, Egypt, Cyprus, Celtic and many other pantheons. Few of them joined us, the rest of them wanted to only explore our way. We were certainly affected by their ‘exploration’ too, as we had already started into western culture in the mortal world. The desertion of Gods also didn’t encourage us towards keeping with only our way of life, and slowly and more slowly, we were trapped in the glorious event of modern globalization. It was true that we performed our holy ceremonies in our traditional ways, but our day to day life had a strong impression of western culture.

She stared blandly at my face, quite defiant in admitting her mistake about the time gap. I didn’t goad her to accept my point and said. “Let’s go visit Natasha. I have no idea what are we going to do here. And I definitely need some supplies since I don’t carry my closet in my handbag.” I didn’t wait for her reply and turned to walk away. She stood rooted to her place as if deciding between yelling at me or hitting my head, then slammed the door and briskly trotted up to walk beside me with her nose in air. I still had an impression of a strange kinship with her as I had felt upon our first encounter. I hoped it wasn’t some more complex mumbo-jumbo because I was truly tired of the problems of my life. Last week had been the most hectic thing one could have gone through, and I really didn’t like it.

“Do you have any idea what might have happened to Seth and others?” I asked in an attempt to bring down her temperament. Her expression softened for a moment and then she slumped. “I don’t know. I hate being helpless but that’s what we are. The most we can hope is that somehow they were able to teleport to either side during the collapse.” Her tone clearly suggested she wanted to believe so too. The fact that I had escaped and they could not made me feel the ‘survivor’s guilt’. But wait; wasn’t I trapped in a God’s prison? If they escaped then it meant they had a better fate than mine. I shook my head to clear the thoughts. I had only known them a few hours of my life. But it was as if they constituted a large fraction of me. It would have been nice to have a way to talk with them.

We approached the ground floor, which we knew by the enormous gateway on the front of the tower. It let through the only unaltered fading light and we were finally able to get out of the feeling of being underwater. The dim moonlight cut through the blue haze as a lighthouse does in the night and I instantly noticed Maya talking with a few boys at one of the waiting benches. We approached her and before I could have said anything, Agnishikha said. “Hey Maya. Do you have any idea what are we supposed to do next?” Her voice had a careful tinge in it which showed her caution as well as formality with her. The chatting stopped and all of them looked at us. Maya cleared her throat and introduced us. “Guys, meet our newest arrivals, Agnishikha and Akshat. And you guys meet your classmates Rachel, Kunal, Ileana and Utkarsh. You will be studying with them in the upcoming days.” They smiled and waved at us and I did the same with a nod. Maya continued. “As for what you would be doing, your command lies with the immortals, and you will shortly be joining your formal apprenticeship with them. As for now, you have to visit Ronan at the 8th floor and receive your lodging arrangements.”

I nodded and turned with Agnishikha to go to Ronan. There was no lift in the building and we walked up to the central staircase. The tower must have been made by engineering unknown to mankind because there was not any support to the stairs. The walk took us a short time while we walked in silence. Agnishikha’s demeanor had changed since coming here and I really thought that she was under some kind of pressure. Losing my friends was hard for me and Agnishikha had probably had more than a crush on Rocky. Lord Varun’s reason of destroying the veil was a mystery to me. It could not have been due to my disobedience because our imprisonment was a living proof of that. Had he joined Decain? It was definitely a possibility. But if that was so, we were as good as dead. We came upon a pair of giggling twins who were whispering something in the supply closet at the 8th floor’s landing. They tried to act sober when they noticed us and started towards the stairs. Agnishikha smiled and asked them. “Where can we find Ronan? Would you mind telling us?” They looked startled at being addressed and one of them giggled nervously. The other returned Agnishikha’s smile and told us to go to the third room in the next corridor. We left them as they broke into another bout of giggling and turned right. There were only a few people going about in the tower and it seemed almost deserted. On the third door a bronze plaque read ‘Second Authority – Fourth division’. On another, slightly newer plaque below it there was a single word in capitals ‘RONAN’. Below it, there was something scratched in a little smaller font. ‘The Cannon’. We shared a look and I knocked on the door twice.

“Come in!” The familiar voice of Ronan called us in. The room we stepped into was the perfect cross between bleakness, formality and aggressiveness. Ronan sat in a straight-backed leather chair with a gleaming wood table as a companion. It seemed to be crafted with a single piece of wood. How it was possible, I hadn’t had an idea. “I have been expecting you two for quite a while. I am amazed your curiosity died so quickly at the sight of a soft bed.” He was mocking us and I didn’t feel like being mocked. Before I could have a chance to retaliate, Agnishikha got a chance to release her pent up frustration “I would like to see you chased away by your own people and then being hunted by an immortal as you run towards a place you didn’t know existed, and on top of that if you make a god your enemy and get locked into a freaking prison dimension all in a span of 48 hours, then isn’t it fair to get at least a little sleep?” Amazingly, her shrieking didn’t crack the glass of the windows as she thumped her hand on the table in front of Ronan. His eyes were crinkling with amusement as he carefully brushed the paper plain which Agnishikha had crushed under her fist. She was breathing as hard as a raging bull and I thought better than to say anything.

Ronan eyed her intently and turned to me. “And do you have to say something as well?” His voice didn’t reveal even a hint of his familiarity with me. It was as if he didn’t even know me. I shrugged and said “Nope. I think I share the same feelings as her.” He nodded and then said to Agnishikha. “And that young lady; was the last thing you got to say without punishment. Starting now, I am your senior and you will be punished is you insult me, or any other senior.” He waited to look at us piercingly. I remained quiet and Agnishikha’s mouth was agape with the ineffectiveness of her shouting. Ronan plucked two booklets from his desk and threw them at us. “Here is the basic rules and guidelines’ booklet. You will be following each and every rule with utmost respect. It also contains the workings and history of our prison society so you better look at it too. And even after that if you have some doubts, ask one of your seniors. Any questions?” He finished with a clear note of dismissal.

The newfound alien instinct in me to retaliate at being cornered stirred and I asked impulsively, without giving much thought. “What is the purpose of all this? We aren’t getting out anytime soon. So why do we need to go through this apprenticeship and all this?” I was surprised by the amount of rebellion in my voice. Ronan eyed me with his brows raised. He clearly didn’t expect me to say anything. He sighed and stood up. He went to the window and waved his palm in front of it so that a square patch of underwater blue glass brightened and light permeated the room as if from the window of a sunken ship. “Almost every person here is uneducated in any type of particular skill. When the first immortal were imprisoned here, they devised a course of study to educate the prisoners in the art of survival and utilizing the aura. Their purpose was to find out something to fill the free part of prisoners’ time and to make them useful. They planned on creating an elite force of creatures from everywhere and to escape out of this prison. The first six immortals were all from six different pantheons. They all skimmed the best out of their knowledge and put it all together to create the best kind of training and education a being can receive.” He turned to face us. “We still plan the same with a few side aims as well. We use our study to create an elite force of warriors who are also the best in manipulating aura. As you can see, the population here is too large to survive only as weapons. You can find a lot of beings specialized in the art of creating food and other living necessities out of aura.” He paused to settle comfortably on his chair and continued. “So you must train yourself to be the best you can because we might get the chance to get out any moment now. Or perhaps never. But we are going to emerge as the most proficient army in the known universe.”

We were interrupted by a knock exactly at that time and Ronan called for the person to come in. He was a short, stocky boy with a well chiseled body which Maya had introduced to us. His biceps were as solid as rocks and his shoulders could have rivaled any wrestlers’. His skin was fair to the point of being pale which clashed profoundly with his jet black hair. The most noticeable thing in his face was his eyes – The color of sparkling blue. “You called me, Sir?” He asked Ronan in a casual way. There was a certain mischief in the way he carried himself that emanated an aura of adventure around him. “Yes. You must have heard about these two. Meet Akshat and Agnishikha.” He turned to us and continued. “This is Utkarsh and he will escort you to your cabins in the apprentice section. You may leave.”

Agnishikha opened her mouth as if to say something but stopped mid way and stalked off the room. I shared a confused glance with Utkarsh and we followed her after a brief nod to Ronan. As we came out into the corridor, Agnishikha was muttering imperiously standing to a little side. “We should leave her alone. She has been at boiling point since the morning. BY the way, Nice to meet you.” I said to Utkarsh as we marched to Agnishikha. Utkarsh stole a quick glance at her and furtively increased his face to keep a little ahead. “So, you guys had a little bit of trouble with the slaves, as I have heard. Is that right?” He asked me to break the uncomfortable silence. As with all extra dimensional places, I didn’t need to know his tongue to understand what he was saying. I sighed and replied “Not so much. But yeah, it was a lot confusing at the moment. But that fellow cleared our doubts before they could havr appeared with his offer to carry our heads on plates to Lord Varun.” Utkarsh looked at me as if puzzled. He asked “They actually told you their motives? I was half on my way to their city when I found out what they were planning. I was lucky to escape with all my body parts intact.”

My doubts were cleared instantly about what I had guessed about him. There was a crazy light in his eyes as he talked about how he escaped with the help of his boon granted by Lord Hanuman. Utkarsh definitely had a liking for adrenaline infused adventure, and his enthusiasm about it made me think he was on the verge of craziness too. I kept making idle conversation with him as he led us to the 3rd floor and pointed out the boys’ and the girls’ sections to me and Agnishikha. She stalked off towards the girls’ section and He followed me into the boys’. Just as Agnishikha was turning to go into her section, Utkarsh leapt into the corridor and yelled. “Hey girl!” This brought her attention on him directly and he continued without a single thought. “Please comb your hair next time when you march into official meetings. It looks like the tail of a skunk!”

My mouth was open as I watched him laughing with mirth as he clapped on my back. Agnishikha must have broken through her shock because I heard her cursing a long time before she came on the head of corridor. Just as she was coming up on us with her teeth in a ferocious snarl, she hit a boundary of invisibility and bounced back. At this point Utkarsh was rolling on the floor in laughter and Agnishikha’s cursing grew vile to the point of hurting ears. She saw the futility of her ramblings after a few minutes and stood glaring at me as if it was my fault. “I am going to kill you.” She said in a deadly calm voice and turned to walk back towards the girls’ side.

Utkarsh had somehow managed to stand up and was grinning foolishly at her retreating back. “You, my friend are in big trouble.” I said to him and his grin widened if possible. “Don’t worry man. Girls or Boys can’t go into each others’ sections. So chill out and have fun.” He clasped my shoulder and led us to a small door on the far side of the corridor just like the twenty others. He opened it with a gesture at the lock and we stepped inside. It was a square room with the side width of about 10 feet and there was a bed, a pair of chair and table, a closet and what appeared to be a weapons’ rack as furniture. All was dyed gray, or looked gray in the blue light of the underwater tower. He slumped on the bed and sighed heavily. “You never told me. Did you really refuse heaven to Lord Varun to get here?” He asked me as I sat on the chair. That was definitely something I didn’t wanted to discuss. So I tried to evade the topic. “Yes. He came to us ordering like we were his slaves or something and I didn’t like his manners. What if he is a God? We also have self respect.” I shrugged and turned to him. “How did you end up here? And when?”

A wide smile again broke up on his face. He said “You will have to hear the full story then.” Seeing my nod he continued “I was born in Ireland in a small town. My parents didn’t have any relatives and the local populace despised them for some reason. I didn’t get to play with anyone my age, and so I started wandering off into the woods alone. I felt peculiarly aware of the animals. Once I spotted a little monkey trapped in a thorn bush and I couldn’t get him out. Out of frustration, I commanded the bush to move aside and it did. That was the start of my exploration into my abilities. I told my parents and they seemed very happy. My grandpa too had the same kind of abilities and that was the reason for the hate of townspeople for us.” He smiled deviously and said in a evil voice. “You are generally afraid of things you don’t know about.” With a laugh at my startled look, he continued.

“I continued exploring my abilities in the woods and one such evening when I was lifting a boulder the size of a house with my left hand, a procession of the local priests saw me. I was barely 10 years old and they fled on my sight. I immediately returned to my house but didn’t tell my parents about the incident. As was my habit, I went to sleep in a little storeroom built on the outskirts of the woods. At midnight, I was raised by cries and shouts. I peeked out and was greeted by the sights of two bodies burning on crucifix and my house ablaze. There were about 150 men shouting curses and mumbling prayers there and I wept while I hid. It was morning when I was awoken by my neighbor. She was a kind Indian woman who had come to Ireland for a couple of years with her husband. I was afraid that she was going to burn me too, but she took me to her house and fed me while I cried. The priests had removed the bodies and had deposited them in a lake in the woods.

“The lady helped me hide for a month, then she managed to smuggle me with her when she returned to India. She went all the way in ships so I could hide more easily. With my abilities it was fairly simple. So I came to India and immediately fell in love with Hinduism. I felt a strange bias towards lord Hanuman and devoted myself to his way of life. He met in one of my dreams and blessed me with a boon. That was how I came face to face with a devotee of Lord Varun. It was my bad luck that when I was having a little fun with her, Lord Varun passed by and I ended up here. That’s the soul of the story.” He finished with a glorious bow.

I stared at his smiling face and thought about his terrible past. But wasn’t it too late for witch burnings? I frowned and asked him. “And when did you come here?” As usual, his grin widened and he said dramatically. “I’ve been here for 10 years.” I performed a calculation in my mind. If he was here for 10 years, then it meant the time passed in the living world was… a month? I sighed in relief but his grin grew wicked. “Don’t feel relieved my boy. I am senior to you by 10 years. You might want to start thinking about obeying orders.” I looked at him to see if he was joking. My face grew slack as I noticed his wicked grin. Then he burst out laughing. “You are such a sissy. Come on man. I was just joking. This is going to be your room, and the first in the corridor is the warden’s. Feel free to get your clothes and uniforms from him any time you want. My room is the fourth to your left. Get comfortable and meet me in two hours for your tour & dinner.” With a salute he got up and left the room.

I was certain. He was definitely crazy. It was going to be an interesting stay.

 

 

A prison city of the water God – Ch 20

Surprises are an important part of our daily life. If everything would have been previously planned and we were aware of every upcoming thing, then our lives would have been mechanical. I don’t think we would be different from robots. But it doesn’t mean that you come across such a surprise that your heart chokes or you die laughing about its incredulity. As I am a part of a very unpredictable preternatural community, the chances of coming by such surprises increase exponentially. And to die of laughter is a very bad way to die.

I was staring wide-eyed at the scene below me. The people were crazy to go near the limo, and the only thing keeping them from toppling the car was the mass of people all around it. Natasha was beaming foolishly and waving arms at the mob below her. They didn’t seem to mind the twigs and leaves sticking out of her pink frock and hair, or her rumpled appearance. Maya was also looking at the people in shock and she didn’t even notice when I pushed her off the bike. There was no sign of Agnishikha anywhere near the car, and it was impossible to find her among that mob.

Suddenly people started parting to make way for a group of people on the far side of car and the cheering and shouting lessened first, and died downed completely. I couldn’t that far with my naked eyes but I was sure there were two men and three women marching towards the car. Natasha noted them too and slid off the car. The party stood there for a moment and then marched back the way they had come, this time with Natasha. The crowd cheered at their departure and kept murmuring for a while after they left and slowly dispersed thereafter.

Maya cleared her throat loudly behind me and I slowly turned to face her. She had been as cold as frost with me for no reason I could comprehend. She was staring at me tapping her left foot. I tried to grab a chance of escape before her onslaught began. “Why didn’t you tell me an immortal is a celebrity?” Somehow I managed to lace my words with accusation without cracking my voice. She was caught off guard and fumbled for words before speaking. “There are only four immortals in this prison. The complete workings of this place are watched over by them and we bide our time while them teaching us. One more immortal means more chances of learning something new because one immortal has about 5000 students to teach. Got it?”

The woman should have been a lecturer. The way she droned on and on and on would have put her on the list of the best lecturers ever. She was looking at something behind my back and before I could have a chance of opening my mouth, she said “Now would you please stop staring at me like a madman and take us to the city?” She made it sound like it was me who was snapping at her. Women truly are weird. I shook my head and got on the bike. She followed me with a reproachful look and settled herself with her hands on my shoulder. I thought better to say anything about she saying me not to touch her and drove off towards the city.

It was a very strange place. The buildings were made of concrete, brick, stones, steel and glass with no particular arrangement. They were at most 6 stories tall and the roads were well placed in a grid. There was no sign of asphalt on the road. They seemed to be made of entire blocks of stones. As we moved further into the city following a main road, the buildings got much simpler and simpler. All of them were brick or stone with hardly any sign of glass. A tall tower made of shining blue stone seemed to be our destination. The closer we got to the tower, the shorter the buildings got. Now I could have seen a few huts as well. More than a few people called to Maya and she waved or yelled back at them. Everything seemed to be like a normal town, except for the wide variety of creatures.

Half of them were of Indian origin, and half belonged to other Pantheon. There was a group of manticores and once I saw a red demon with horns and forked tail. An original demon. More than a few coyotes roamed the streets and a whole lot of vampires were hanging out near a butchery. There were fairies and a lone banshee, a centaur couple with their foal and once I got a glimpse of a mermaid in a pond. Overall the ride through the city was as much as exciting for me as my first use of telekinesis was. I had no idea what animosity these creatures had with Lord Varun and why had he kept them prisoners.

A lot of thatched roofs could have been seen now, and they suddenly gave way to a spectacular ring of glass and crystal buildings. The ring was about half a kilometer across, and in its center, stood the sparkling blue tower. Sunlight falling on its surface made it appear like clear, blue water. There were a lot of people milling about, and immediately my attention went to a red limo. It was the same Natasha had ridden, which was being led into an unseen ramp to the basement of the tower. A red carpet was being rolled in and there were a lot of people clearing what appeared to be glittering ribbons from the ground.

“Take the right ramp into the basement.” Maya spoke flatly in my ear and I obeyed without any ado. The doorway to the ramp was half under and half above the ground, built into the wall of the tower. I slowly dragged the bike through and parked on an empty spot. Maya quickly got off and I handed the keys to her. She smirked and shook her head. A silvery glow surrounded her and she pressed the key on the tank. Silver sparks enveloped the tank and a small flash forced me to avert my eyes. When I looked back, the key was molded into the tank like a sticker. Maya took in my wide-eyed stare and snorted in obvious contempt.

“Stop gaping like a fool. I simply bonded the key to the bike. Now only an apprentice or a senior can remove it and take the bike. Everything is public property here.” She was pleased with herself and motioned me to follow her. We crossed the parking lot which was full with a wide assortment of vehicles. There were buses, trucks, bikes, cars, a whole lot of SUV’s, and quite a few sport cars. There was a door built-in the far wall without any handle to open it or any keyhole. Maya simply channeled a wisp of her aura into the are where a keyhole should have been, and the door opened to reveal a staircase.

It was as if the system here worked just like the veil. There must have been a sensory system which recognized auras. We climbed up a few flights of stairs and on the third landing, Maya undid another door to let us out in a brightly lit corridor. Its two ends were transparent blue glass and they let in a blue-tinted light which created and illusion of being underwater. We were a little higher up than the adjacent ground and I guessed it to be second or third floor. The basement had different scale of floors than the upper stories. She led me to a bright reception area with no one but a sleepy teenage guy sitting on the counter.

“Hey Chris. Can you register him? He is one of the latest arrivals.” She said with such a warm tone that I jerked to look around if someone else was present. Her voice was completely different from when she was shooting bullets at me. Chris yawned and blinked to clear his eyes. Then a wide smile split his face. “Hi Maya! Did the slaves caused any problem?” He asked while shuffling the papers on the table to pick up a paper-thin tablet. It was a casual question and she replied just casually. “Nope. As always whining about licking our creators’ feet.” Chris nodded without looking at her and his fingers danced on the tab’s screen. “Your name?” He asked me without looking up from the tab. It was weird the way their tones changed when they addressed me. I decided not to point it out and replied as warmly as I could. “Akshat”. He looked up from the tab at my face for just a moment and asked “Akshat… what?” It was as if he was being forced to move his legs backwards while walking forward. He had to be cold to me due to whatever had passed between him and Maya, and he was also befuddled by my friendly tone.

“Only Akshat. No surname, no title.” I replied with a bright smile and a goofy shrug. He nodded while he typed and asked me for my other credentials. I kept replying as warmly as I could, and his tone grew much friendly towards me with a building frown on Maya’s face. It went on for quite a while as he took in my aura for the levels and shook his head understandingly on me being unaware of my godly ancestors. Finally we were done and I departed with a warm handshake. Maya had a permanent scowl on her face and she kept trying to snarl at me on one thing or another. She let me to the fifth floor and knocked on a door in a corridor with a dozen others similar to it. A shuffling of feet came and the door opened to a red-eyed grumpy Agnishikha. Maya smirked at me and departed with a sneer.

Agnishikha had gone back in the room and I followed her in. It was a small sitting room with three doors leading to two bedrooms and a kitchen. She was slumped on the chairs and I hesitantly sat across her. She glanced at me and sniffed loudly. I raised my eyebrows and she sat a little straighter. “I have bad news.” She said in a creaky voice. The way Agnishikha used to behave, it was clear it was either something as simple as a broken nail or the earth colliding with the moon. I nodded despite of my desire to laugh and she said in a dead flat voice.

“Time doesn’t run the same here Akshat. The eldest immortal trapped here is here for 11,986 years. “One year here is equivalent to three days on earth.”

An immortal is a celebrity. Any doubts? – Ch 19

Life is full of variables and constraints. A single small decision can change your whole future or you might try to change it for years and nothing will happen. The chances and occurrences are random enough in a normal person’s life. But when you are a part of a community consisting of preternatural beings from vampires and ghosts to gods themselves, a blink of an eye can make your life turn upside down.

I was staring at Vaul and Ronan. Maya was pressed to the window as if afraid of touching Natasha. The effect of her exclamation only just sank in Agnishikha’s mind. She quickly stiffened and her lips went tight with eyes shooting sparks at Vaul. Before I could have said anything, Ronan assessed the environment in the car and hurriedly said. “Please don’t misinterpret it. It is not what you are thinking. We really cannot escort… Natasha in this car.” His eyes were wide with desperation and I knew the reason. If Natasha got angry enough, then no one was safe in her vicinity. Ronan quickly looked at Maya for support and she straightened in effort to have a little dignity. Her eyes were pleading when she said “Please forgive us Devi. We were unaware of your stature. I shall immediately provide an escort worthy for an immortal.”

Agnishikha and I gaped open-mouthed at her from the use of the formal word ‘Devi’ for addressing great women and goddesses. The gods had long since deserted us due to the start of Kaliyuga and such formalities were dwindling with time. There used to be a period when gods walked among humans in the Satayuga. Gods could be met with worshiping and meditation in the Tretayuga. the Dwaparyuga required grand ceremonies and  the best priests to even steal a glance of a god. And now in the Kaliyuga, the only way to see a god in person for a common man was to go under tapasya. The preternatural community was still graced with the appearance of a god once or twice in a decade, but for all the others seeing a god was impossible. So hearing a word only used in the ancient times was as much a shock as their proclamation was.

Natasha surely noticed our gaping jaws and took the reins in her hands. She smiled at Maya and said. “Don’t be a fool. I’m more than comfortable in this vehicle. Please don’t waste time in calling out for another one.” Her words were for Ronan as well as for Vaul. Maya glanced uncertainly at Ronan for direction. She nodded when Ronan jerked and slid out of the car. Agnishikha groaned and muttered something about ‘pompous’ and ‘show off’ with some words not meant to be uttered from a lady’s mouth. Natasha rolled her eyes but followed Maya and I went out of the car at the same time Vaul did. Ronan was saying something to Maya who was nodding enthusiastically. Vaul strode towards Natasha and prostrated in a formal sashtang dndawat; the most formal namaste. Natasha looked pleased but hastily helped Vaul up on to his feet. There was a peculiar tugging at my aura as if someone was touching an artifact kept in an air-tight box from the outside. It was a brush of aura being used and I realized that the god part of the aura was being used. I turned to face the SUV and my jaw dropped open from what I saw.

There was a shimmering pool of sparkles surrounding the car like a haze and everything was blurry and wavering inside the cloak of sparkles. both silver and gold sparkles surrounded the vehicle which looked as if it was inside a pool of water. Slowly the hulk of the car was all I could see and by the silence around me, Natasha and Agnishikha were busy ogling it too. Somehow I made it out that the silver sparkles were being led by the gold ones as if the silver provided bulk and the golden guided them. The car was merely a red patch amidst the sparkly haze. I thought I watched the car lengthen; or it was my mind playing tricks? The height was getting less too. Slowly a part of metal separated from the bulk and started elongating and compressing weirdly. It was too hazy to look anything clearly. But the coarse thing I saw was that the SUV was divided into two different parts. One small and one large. The disfiguring went on for a few minutes and now all I could see was two red shapes through the haze.

Suddenly all the sparkles seemed to form an opaque wall and everything was blocked from view. Then with a flash as bright as a 1000 watt lamp, the field bulged outwards and I turned to cover my eyes. I was aware of the aura dissipating behind me and I squinted to get the violet spot off my vision. A few sparkles still fizzled here and there but what I saw in the middle made my jaw drop further if possible. There was a limo in all its glory with an off-road bike at its side. Both vehicles were blood-red and the limousine was equipped with off-road wheels and what appeared to be hydraulics. The bike was a simple one with deeply grooved tires. Ronan and Maya walked towards us, beaming. Maya had a sheen of sweat covering her face and there was a slight swaying when she stood upright. But her eyes told she was proud of her work.

“Devi, please allow us to escort you to your proper vehicle. Maya shall take your companions separately.” Ronan said with another namaste. Natasha glanced at me and Agnishikha and nodded to herself. “Agnishikha here will ride with me if you don’t mind. Akshat shall accompany Maya.” Natasha said with a cold look at me. She  was truly being childish. I had taken authority despite of being her shishya and she was now taking a chance to ride in a Limo from me as a punishment. It was also a great loss to not hear the ‘how’ of making such changes to material.

Agnishikha smirked at me and strode to the Limo with Natasha and Vaul. I was left with Maya as we watched them depart. Vaul’s driving didn’t change a bit despite of the Limo which went straight ahead tramping a bush as high as my waist. I kept staring at the residue sparkles the vehicle left for a little while even after it left.

A cough brought me back to the present and I realized that the bike was the vehicle left for me and Maya. She was looking pointedly at me and I glanced nervously between her and the bike. Remembering her encounter with me in my attempt to make idle talk made me fidget a little. She harrumphed and almost snarled at me. “Are you going to wait here whole day? Don’t you have the decency to not keep a girl waiting for long?” Her voice was as cold as her eyes at me. I again looked at the bike and considered the possibility of her at my back with me having no protection against her. The  thought brought an involuntary shudder and I asked her. “Can’t you drive? I don’t even know the way.”

My meek voice had the exact opposite effect of what I had thought. If looks could have killed, I would have been lying dead in uncountable pieces. Her stare decided everything and I strode to the bike. The key was already in there and I dragged it across the bushes to her. I sat and started the bike and the engine growled as a ravaging bear. Maya seemed to be pleased with my obvious amazement at the bike. That look was only momentary as she noticed me sitting waiting for her. “Don’t you dare break hard reaper. Or you shall regret even putting your hands on the lever.” She said in an utterly calm voice. Then she stalked towards the bike and jumped to sit behind me. I slid as far on the tank as I could and let her have all the sitting space. She didn’t even touch any part of my body and grabbed the seat with both hands instead. I shifted to bike into gear and it shot off through the dense bushes.

Maya gave a startled yelp and grabbed my waist as hard as she could. All her frostiness was gone as she clung to me desperately. I didn’t let the bike speed past 30, but the uneven terrain made the ride a roller-coaster. The dirt road was nowhere in sight so I was forced to follow the destruction left by Vaul’s driving. Girls were odd. Very odd. Agnishikha had slapped me when I accidentally locked both of us in a dog crate, and had smothered me with a whole lot of curses appropriate for a street thug. Then she became my friend and behaved like a school kid. Maya was also a little… peculiar. She didn’t even look at me without scowling, and now she was wrapped around my middle like an octopus. I was sure she would point it out as a ‘demand of situation’ later, and would act as nothing ever happened.

“Take the right trough here!” Maya shouted in my ear when we rode down another hill. The trampled grass left by the limo went straight ahead but I took her word for true and turned the bike right. After a few hundred meters, the dirt road came in our view and now I was driving steadily on a smoother, safer road. Maya slackened her grip a little and said in my ear again. “If you are trying to goad me into letting you drive faster, you are certainly being unsuccessful. Try harder.” She shifted a little and now she holding me with her hands on my shoulders. I was doing what? She didn’t make sense at all! Why would I try to go fast when she told me not to break too hard? Couldn’t she have told me exactly what she wanted? Well… Girls never say something straight. they have to make the simplest things complex.

The steady drone of the bike lulled me into my worries. I had been ignoring them for a lot of time. My friends, the veil, and what about the IRC? Had it also gone to Decain? I knew a few reapers who could have died instead of following such a person. But when even gods were allied to him, how much chance a reaper had? I had thought the veil was safe. But bad luck seem to really go with me and spread to the places I went and to the people I met. There was a large number of creatures whose alliances were still unknown. The Weres liked to keep out of the troubles of immortals. But I couldn’t help thinking about the pup I had met at the MP’s place; his son. Did I really left bad luck where I went? I had no idea.

Shaking my head to clear it, I increased the speed a bit and relaxed when Maya didn’t say anything. The road went through mostly low hills and sparse woods. I kept driving and after two or three hours, I met the sign of habitation. A stout stone house sat beside the road. A few men and women were standing guard with strange assortment of weapons. Some had pistols or rifles, and a few had swords and bows. Maya waved at them and they let us pass. She had been quiet for the whole of the journey. I tried to look at her in the rear view mirror, but couldn’t get her face into it.

There was a slight commotion a little ahead of us. A lot of people were gathered and I could hear shouts and cheers. A few were also chanting while others tried to climb over others to get to the center. The crowd thinned for a moment and a bright red limo came into my view. It was still a few hundred meters further, but I could see into the center due to the slight elevated ground on which the bike was. All of them were cheering loudly for someone. Their gestures were full of joy and happiness. And in the center of the crowd, standing on the roof of limo, waving to the people, was Natasha.

Read the full story here.

A merry ride with a Demon, Dwarf and a Princess in an SUV – Ch 18

Many prisons have special accommodations for special criminals. Most of the special prisoners are either highly dangerous or too important to be left among the others. But if one of the ‘criminals’ has not committed any crime except offending the jailor, or all of the ‘criminals’ are held for that same ‘crime’, then it becomes a bit complex to provide luxuries.

I had seen a little bit of Lord Varun’s dimension and there was nothing except wilderness around the path we were traveling. There wasn’t even a sign of a village or any kind of human habitation at all. It was a little bizarre for my taste since I had grown up in the huge, densely populated plains of North India, where an orchard of about 1000 mango trees  was the biggest chunk of vegetation that I could have called a ‘forest’. It had been half an hour of walking since I spotted a flat part of the forest floor large enough to lie down. So it was a relief for me when the trees started thinning and we were greeted by a sudden end to the forest.

The land rose and my view was blocked at the crest of a hill about two miles ahead. The forest stretched to our left and right to the foot of mountains on one side and perhaps water at the other. It was as if someone had taken a ruler and had sketched down the line which was the border of the forest. Probably it was exactly the case. Lord Varun was very neat in drawing the boundaries. Ronan was waiting for us near the foot of the hill with that demon girl. The ladies emerged from the forest muttering angrily with their hair full of twigs and leaves. It was amazing that the forest had left so much of its impression on them while Ronan was as fresh as ever. I looked at my clothes and was content that my clothes didn’t look like a result of wrestling with a tree man.

“If it had been a minute longer, the forest would be burning now.” Agnishikha muttered while stamping through the last bushes. Natasha was in a similar mood and I kept my mouth shut while trotting towards Ronan. He was talking with that girl and both of them fell silent on our approach. The girl stole glances at Natasha while trying to hide it without much success. I was certain her 12 year old appearance had to do a lot with it. “What now? How are we moving further?” Agnishikha asked Ronan, trying to straighten her clothes and snag her hair out of the mess it was. He glanced at the demon girl who nodded and turned towards the hill. “Any moment now. Just wait.” Ronan replied without looking at her. Natasha sighed and tried to pry apart her pink hair with telekinesis. The demon looked at us sharply and her eyes widened after knowing who was using the aura. She opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted as a loud rumble sounded and an SUV soared up from the hill’s crest.

We stared in awe as the bright red vehicle bounded towards us. Rocks and shrubs seemed not to matter to its driver who kept rolling the monster over them. With a loud squealing of tires and squelch of freshly dug soil, it lurched to the left and came to a sliding halt pointing towards the direction it had come. The door banged open and a huge belly preceded the fattest man I had ever seen and probably the shortest too. He barely came up to my chest and was as thick as his width. His face was wrinkled with a worried frown with his eyes on Natasha. I seriously needed to talk to her. She wasn’t behaving even a bit like a kid. The lost look on her face hinted her deep in solving calculus problems, as I thought.

“All well, Vaul?” Ronan asked him casually. The fat man nodded absently and replied. “Trista passed her apprenticeship today. She created a glass full of petrol from 14 sugar-canes. She also created a void as big as my closet. Your arrival is awaited.” He ended with a stiff back. Ronan smiled and turned to us. “Please feel free to choose any seat except the shotgun.” The wave of his arm invited us onwards and we dragged ourselves into the vehicle. I shared the rear with no one while Agnishikha, Natasha and the other demon girl settled in the middle. We shot forward just as Ronan slammed his door shut.

Vaul liked to drive off-road and he never wavered from the straight line we were moving on. A hard packed dirt road curved with us to the right bypassing the hills but Vaul leaped straight over them. “Are any of you an Apprentice?” The demon girl asked in an attempt to start a conversation. She was a little hesitant in asking the question and somehow I knew there was a capital “A” in Apprentice. Agnishikha, being full on volatile for strangers, snapped at her. “Apprentice? Whose? In what?” She truly had no idea how to behave with strangers. I sighed heavily. I had tried to get her attention but catching an eye is not easy from behind. Natasha sniffed and replied to the girl. “None of them had ever had a chance to go through it. Tomorrow was going to be their first lesson of apprenticeship.” The girl looked startled to hear the answer from a 12-year-old kid. Natasha really needed to work her character out. The girl fell quiet after that.

I was hardly able to sit straight as the SUV jumped over rocks and trenches and skidded through mud and shallow ponds. Vaul truly had no intention of leaving his straight line. Agnishikha grumbled about not knowing anything and the demon girl stole curious glances at her. I really didn’t like the silence. “I still don’t know your name.” I tried to cheerfully talk to the girl. She slowly turned to face me and replied after studying my face for a moment. “I am Maya. And no need to introduce yourselves. I know it all.” She smirked and turned her back to me. It was truly peculiar the way girls behaved. You could offend them by just looking or you could make their day by smiling at them.

I settled back and tried to divert my mind from what was happening. My life had really turned upside down. Seth, Lisa, Rocky, Liam, Dean Branat and all those people in the veil were probably dead. Or worse. Only because I had refused Lord Varun. It was truly amazing how quickly my mind adjusted to the things going on. A few days ago, going to Atlantis was the biggest of my concerns. It turned to doing good in the Hell Academy and to help my friends when I was in the veil. And now what I wanted most was to escape this prison and try to help gather the lost part of Kalki’s soul. The thought of leaving all this mambo-jumbo never even came close to my mind. It was my life. And leaving the preternatural community was not something I wanted to do. However hard it was to survive or be happy, but It was my life.

“What is an Apprentice, Natasha?” I asked her without giving a thought to what the other people would think. It was not everyday when an adult asked a kid for advice. Maya and Agnishikha both turned to face us and I was clearly able to see Ronan’s eyes at me from the rear view mirror. Surprisingly Vaul kept his full attention on the road.Natasha sighed heavily and shifted to face me slightly. “Every godling has to learn controlling the part of the godlike aura in his body. Everyone has his special talent too, but they learn a complete different sort of ethe… use of aura. It becomes more than a second nature to use aura afterwards for them. Apprenticeship is the first step in that education. All preternatural beings having heavenly aura are eligible to learn it.” She quickly burrowed her head into her chest after speaking and fell silent. She had stopped halfway in speaking that word and seemed flustered by it. It rang something in my head but the word didn’t come into my mind.

Ronan loudly cleared his throat and asked hesitantly. “Um… Akshat? Will you please explain why am I sensing an immortal’s aura inside the vehicle?” His eyes searched questioningly over Natasha and Agnishikha. It was nice to know that he asked me except any of the others. Agnishikha was clearly on edge and his speaking to me drove her off it. “That is because Natasha is an immortal you fool!” Agnishikha’s voice carried all her frustration in one go. Ronan turned in his seat to look at me. His face clearly showed that he thought Agnishikha was joking. Maya was also looking at me waiting to hear some sort of explanation. But when they saw my expression and knew it to be true, their eyes widened to the point of obscuring their whole faces. Maya’s jaw was hanging open and Ronan had his face as white as marble.

At that exact moment Vaul stamped on the break and the car slid to a halt. Slowly he turned completely back and said in a pained voice. “Then I am afraid I cannot take you any further.”

What to do when you are offered a place in heaven – Definitely not the obvious – Ch 15

Imagine the moment when you open the door and you find out a God is there waiting for you. Impossible, right? Wrong. When you belong to my world, it is possible that you enter a temple to pray and find the God hanging out there to meet his devotees.

I was looking blandly at the guard who had a hint of smile on his face. It turned to confusion when he noticed our looks. Agnishikha was opening and closing her mouth to form words she couldn’t utter. Lord Varun? Here to take us? Wasn’t I in enough trouble as the situation was? But what could have I done before a god did not matter. He could simply bring all his essence here and I was gone. Forget his full, even a fraction of his concentrated essence was enough to disintegrate me into pure energy itself.

The guard cleared his throat and I fumbled to make some words. Rocky beat me to it and strode forth to ask. “Might you be aware of the reason of his presence?” His tone was polite and formal. The guard nodded and replied in the same formal way. “These are the only two godlings currently engaged in any supernatural community. It is best for them to learn with other godlings under the protection of the realm of Gods.” His voice had an edge which pointed the reply as a prepared one. Rocky looked uncertain as Agnishikha found her composure once again and asked the guard. “Didn’t the Gods pay no heed to our warnings about Decain earlier? What has changed now?” Her tone carried her fiery intent well enough. The guard bristled and lost all pretense of acting nice. “Look lady. I am not the person responsible for this or the priests of lord Varun who might answer your questions. I am just here to fetch you and tell you what has been told to me.” He sounded exasperated and there was definitely a hint of truth in what he said.

Meanwhile Seth and Lisa had also arrived at the door and it was getting a little uncomfortable. The guard looked at all of us and continued. “Now will you please accompany me to meet him?” He dared us to deny it and I decided to better comply. A god was not who I wanted as an enemy. I liked to live and leave peacefully. Before Agnishikha could shoot any more of her blazing words at him, I nodded and said. “Okay. Take us to him.”

All of them had a little surprised look on their face as the guard asked for our hands. Agnishikha offered hers unconsciously and we were pulled through a blur to be teleported into a waiting area as it looked. The guard immediately teleported back and we were left in that room. I dearly waited for my graduation from the Hell Academy since it was the day I was to be allowed to teleport from anywhere to any public place in the veil (If I ever managed to do so).

The room we were in was empty except for a pair of plush sofas decorated with velvet designs. There was no one in sight. Or i thought there was not. A cough came from behind us and we turned back to find the person who made it. A gasp left our lips as we met the sight. There was a tall column of water suspended in mid air as if made of jelly. I could bet my life that the water was pure by just looking at it. The water inside it swirled and swished as if someone was shaking the container the water was held in, except there was no container.

A humanoid shape slowly formed as the column came nearer. Gradually the water took solid form and a man appeared out of it. He was wearing simple clothes, perhaps a bit formal. A white shirt and dark blue pants suited him well. He had a handlebar mustache with a hint of two day old stubble. An expressionless face made him look as if weighing us. Agnishikha immediately bowed into a formal namaste. “Lord Varun”. She said respectfully with a hint of awe on her face. I followed a bit later and his lips seemed to twitch as if in distaste.

Before I could do anything else, there was a tug at my aura and several people appeared out of thin air with a swish of flowing clothes. Maharishi Kalson was the most prominent of them all with Natasha a startling appearance in her wild pink. I expected them to bow to Lord Varun or at least a curtsy. They surprised me by taking almost defensive stances. Jacqueline was also with them and she let out at what passed as a barely restrained snarl.

“May I ask you how did you find out this place?” It was Maharishi Kalson. He seemed as professional as ever but a tightness to his mouth betrayed his calmness. Lord Varun glanced at him and suddenly I could feel a chill dampness around me. The room seemed a lot colder under Lord Varun’s glare. He answered calmly. “I am amazed how arrogant you… immortals are. Did you really believe a puny extension of the space can hide you from a God’s eyes? You overstep every threshold of foolishness ever known.”

His face still did not betray any emotion but he seemed on the verge of a smirk. Natasha hissed and stepped forward but she was held back by Jacqueline. Maharishi Kalson appeared to be at a loss of words for a moment. But he mended the bit of uncertainty by nodding at him and looking at me & Agnishikha. Lord Varun smiled and turned to us. “You don’t seem to be much at the first look, but you might be useful once you join your brothers and sisters in heaven. Prepare for departure.”

I blurted out before I could think of holding myself back. “But why? Why do you come for us now? We are as content and as safe here as anywhere else.” there was a sharp intake of breath from anyone as the words hung in the room. I had forgotten that I was before a god. A sheet of cold passed over me and my whole body went rigid. It was as if I was again entrapped by the churail’s spell but a little differently. I was able to move muscles all over my body. But to no visible effect. Lord Varun had taken the water inside me in his control. Agnishikha immediately went down on both her knees and bowed her head to him. “Please forgive his ignorance Lord. He meant no disrespect. He is unaware of the customs he should follow.”

Lord Varun turned his glare to Agnishikha and spoke indifferently. “And might you be from a royal clan, demon?” He asked mockingly and made the word ‘demon’ sound as an insult. Agnishikha looked as if she wanted to throw something at him. Her face was scarlet, whether from anger or humiliation I didn’t know.

Natasha broke free of Jacqueline’s grasp and spat. “Don’t stretch us to the point of breaking lord. You might see another Dev-Asura war unraveling due to your ignorance.” She made the word ‘lord’ sound like an insult and Lord Varun turned to look at her. He was obviously misled by her 12 year old appearance and looked at Kalson mockingly. “Well… I didn’t know you lacked wit enough to grant a child immortality. I fear you humans have degraded yourself beyond the limits. We might have to interfere.”

Everyone looked visibly worried at his words. Natasha was again struggling against Jacqueline who had apparently caught her again. Lord Varun turned his attention back to us and the cramps holding me strengthened a bit. I let out a grunt of pain and was seriously thinking about going on offensive and try using my anchor when suddenly with a huge rumble, the whole building shook. All of us except Lord Varun staggered with the overwhelming amount of aura accompanying the wave. Without a conscious effort I broke out of Lord Varun’s grip. It was as if I was trying to pysh open a door which opened by pulling instead. The first look of shock appeared on his face. It was missed by everyone else as they were scrambling in glazed stares to contact everyone telepathically. Somehow I had the notion that the veil was shrinking.

Seeing everyone scattered, Lord Varun lunged for me. His feet became a spiraling jet of water adding speed to his flight. But Natasha was bounding towards us as fast as Lord Varun and she jumped for our hands. I didn’t know what happened but there was definitely a look of utter hatred and perhaps a gleam of content in his eyes as Lord Varun watched Natasha teleporting with me.

Everthing blurred out and I scrambled to grab Natasha. Before I could have gotten any hold on her, the blur sharpened as we teleported in a meadow in the middle of what appeared to be a forest. Natasha was clutching Agnishikha in her other hand who hastily straightened.

The meadow was full of forest sounds. The sound of insects, birds and wind caressing the trees. The sky was a startling blue and there were no clouds in sight. A stream was flowing through the clearing and a wild array of colorful flowers bloomed on its banks. The air itself was pure to the point that it made itself noticed. It was completely different from the hustle and bustle of the modern cities. I frowned upon how the word ‘modern’ came to my mind.

Natasha suddenly growled and slumped down on the grass with her head in her hands. Agnishikha broke away from staring at our surroundings and looked at me uncertainly. Natasha grabbed a fistful of her hair and howled like a 12 year old. “He tricked me! That rotting piece of God tricked me!” I shot a worried glance at Agnishikha and asked Natasha “Um… Natasha? Who tricked you? And where have you brought us?” My voice was as meek as I could make. I definitely didn’t want to bring the wrath of a pissed immortal upon myself.

Agnishikha sat beside Natasha and warily put her hand on her shoulder when she ignored my question. She jerked to her with a quickness that made both of us flinch. If one could put molten lava into eyes, that was the way Natasha’s eyes looked. She stared at Agnishikha and said in a dead, flat voice.

“Lord Varun has trapped us in a dimension of his own creating. We are the slaves of his will.”

Meeting the strongest immortals on the earth when they are hell bent upon killing you – Ch 13

Life is hard when you are on your own. It is harder when you are only 18. It becomes yet harder when you are trying to preserve your life in a war of immortals. I say it again. It becomes much more harder when you find out you are powerful than a true immortal god. Such was the case with me.

Everyone was looking at me in disbelief. It was as if I had cracked yet another joke again. But their expressions changed as they realized I was saying the truth. I had somehow sensed the aura of the goddess Morrigan which was theoretically and practically impossible for a mere mortal reaper like me.

The silence was broken by Seth. “So he has developed a sensory ability. What is so special about that?” Sensory ability? Immediately everyone relaxed as Lisa let out a relieved laugh. Liam gurgled his choking snigger and bobbed to sit at my shoulder. He asked me for my hand to read my aura and I gladly offered it. A gargoyle is the best thing to look to when you want to know about aura. His eyes glazed when he took my aura in. Everyone was silently waiting for him to respond and my gut clenched when he stiffened. I prayed silently for it to not be something bad again. I was interrupted when Liam let out a long whistle of appreciation. “Holy crap! Akshat has got his own universe in here!” He exclaimed, eyes still closed. “I never had a chance to look into a godling before… Akshat, you have half the power of Earth locked in that barrier of yours. I think only three things are getting out of it right now, but it is gradually weakening. How many abilities do you possess?” Everyone except Seth had their attention fixed on Liam as they openly stared in awe. He was smiling at me as if he knew it already.

Liam didn’t wait for me to answer his question and jumped off my shoulder to continue in mid air “I looked at your abilities and the sensory one is there. It has completely leaked out of the barrier with another one and one is still escaping. My guess is that you were able to sense Morrigan because of your sensory ability plus your ancestry.” It certainly made sense and I released a long held breath. Lisa gave me a slap on my shoulder and smiled. “Don’t go sprouting any more new abilities. You are already tough to keep under my control.” She was joking but a look of jealousy came over Agnishikha’s face and was gone when she smiled and hugged me. “Nice to know you are only one step ahead of me.”

She retreated and bowed to us dramatically. One second she was there and in the next, every part of her body vanished with her clothes and a little of the carpet. It was bizarre that I could sense her aura and not her. It was like Listening a sound right next to your ear and not being able to determine its source. Rocky smiled and gave her invisible body an appreciative nod. She laughed nervously and asked. “How much did I take with me this time?” Liam bobbed to her and settled on her invisible shoulder. He wheezed “Just about a square feet of the carpet. Keep practicing and you will do much better.” Somehow he also forgot to mention that his feet were invisible too.

I was aghast and Seth’s eyes were wide in amazement. Lisa was looking at Agnishikha’s vanished feet wistfully. “I… Why didn’t you tell me before?” I was knocked completely off my rocker seeing her simply vanish. It was also not fair that she had developed such a cool ability while I was stuck with a speedometer. She giggled and appeared back. “I discovered it just two hours ago. I was about to be busted stealing food from kitchen and I willed to be invisible when the cook came round the corner. He simply looked through me and moved further.It was amazing!” She was literally jumping up and down while she said this. It might have looked good on Natasha, but Agnishikha seemed to have a thorn stuck in her foot.

Rocky was smiling fondly and I wondered what was going on in his mind. It was a time of turbulence and things were going to get worse. Rocky’s duty as her bodyguard will keep her safe, but I was afraid they might evolve into a couple. You simply couldn’t afford to deviate in the middle of a war. And Agnishikha was a godling too. It was not hidden that she was going to engage in the fiercest of battles on the front lines due to her ancestry. I had so much to know and so little time was left that I really wished to be a normal boy with a mother and a father. It was a curious thing that I always had a protective instinct. even when I was in the orphanage, I never cried for my parents. I remember always comforting others.

There was a soft swish of displacing air and I instinctively crouched into a defensive stance with Seth behind me. I slowly relaxed as I sensed Natasha’s aura and saw her. She was with two other men from the center table in my hearing. As I had found out, One was Maharishi Kalson and the other was Metheus. He still looked like a wraith, but his appearance was much more substantial in the bright room. Maharishi Kalson was professional looking and had an emotionless look on his face.

“Its amazing how much trouble taking an apprentice has caused me! Hello again Akshat!” Natasha chirped brightly, still in her head to toe pink attire. Metheus looked bored and was glancing at each of us as if looking for something. His gaze settled at Rocky and his expression immediately turned into that of interest. “Its an honor to meet you, Maharishi.” Seth said behind me and I turned to look him bent in a formal namaste. The Maharishi raised his hand and said in blessing “Aayushman Bhav“. It was a blessing of a long, full life. Agnishikha strode forward eying Metheus suspiciously. “You told me to accompany him. I will stay with him when you take him to the Greater Novem.” She said directly to the Maharishi. I still wasn’t able to sense his aura so I tried again. There was a sudden flash of time when I sensed it and its amount made me stagger. He was an immortal and his aura was its living proof.

The Maharishi glanced at me immediately as I touched his aura and Agnishikha stood forgotten for a moment. His eyes were full of life as he searched my aura. Sensing it, he turned back to Agnishikha as if finding nothing. Well… My aura was next to nothing, but if the Maharishi was underestimating me then he was in for a big surprise. He smiled fondly at Agnishikha and said. “Of course princess. I put royalty with royalty for a special reason. But…” He looked at Seth and continued “Wouldn’t it be more convenient if we hear the prophecy here first?” Seth nodded and turned to us. “Akshat, Vasuki, Liam, Will you please excuse us for a few moments?” He hadn’t mentioned Lisa’s name and she shifted to move out with us. “Not you Lisa.” Seth said and turned to the three immortals. “I want her as my sevika. Is that okay with you?” We all turned to look back as Metheus let out a barely concealed snigger. “Of course prince. How can we forget your princely needs?” There was no attempt by Metheus to conceal the sarcasm and the Maharishi shot a warning look at him. Natasha was making faces at Metheus and he hadn’t a single idea that the faces were copying themselves on the back of his suit.

Maharishi nodded to Lisa permitting her to stay in the room and we proceeded out of the room. There was a soft thump as the door closed and I greeted the guards placed at the end of our corridor with a smile. Rocky looked thoughtful and leaned against the wall. Liam was on his usual place at his arm and was also thinking something. I raised my eyebrows in question and he sniggered. “Didn’t see that coming, did we? Seth and Lisa? Mm…” He made a suggestive gesture with his hands and gurgled a amused laugh. Seth had chosen Lisa as his sevika. A sevak or a sevika were assigned to royalties to take care of their needs during formal occasions. It was very similar to the concept of assistant. Lisa would never agree to occupy that position. But if it gave her a chance of visiting the greater Novem, then why not? And perhaps she could enjoy Seth a little?

My thoughts were abruptly ended when the door opened and Metheus called out. “Gargoyle! Come inside right now!” Rocky looked at me questioningly and I shrugged as Liam went inside with a wink at us. The door shut with a resounding thump and I had to wave off the guards. “What was that about?” I asked Rocky about Liam’s summon. He sighed and replied “Liam must be eavesdropping on their conversation and they somehow sensed it. He can listen to people talk by reading their auras. It is a bit like mind reading, but he can only hear what you say; not your thoughts.”

So the only way they had to keep their conversation secret was to take Liam in it. Rocky slumped down the wall and asked me. “Do you like the place?” If he was asking about the veil, he really had no idea how to read body language. “Yup! I always dreamt about a place where no one will be forced to hide what or who they are. A place where all species live together peacefully. And this city… Even if it is just a city, I love it.” He nodded at my replied and I also slid down the wall to sit before him. “Well… What we can see is the Indian part of the veil. Do you remember the darkness we arrived into? That was the area of some other pantheon. They didn’t permitted us to be there, so the only thing we were able to see was the directions leading us to the academy.” I was starting to get the concept of gods sharing space. If the veil existed in the Indian subcontinent it must exist in all countries. “So… The veil is like a miniature planet?” Rocky looked intrigued by my idea and said. “You can definitely assume so. However the pattern of different religions vary here as compared to Earth.”

I was about to say something when the door opened and Liam poked out his head. “They’re gone! Come on in guys.” We sat up and waved to the guards as we got into the room. “They said they will get back within a day and their might be a possibility that the greater Novem might like to meet Akshat. We are to sleep here tonight.” I let out a tired breath and slumped down on my bed. Rocky got himself Seth’s bed while Liam settled on Lisa’s pillow. I really needed a long sleep. I fell asleep with thoughts of clear blue sky in my head.

I was woken by a soft sound made near my ear. I blinked to get the sleep out of my eyes. It was still dark and a small figure was standing by my bed. Natasha.
“What…” i had just started to speak when she jumped at me and straddled me with her palm on my mouth. “Listen carefully Akshat.” She whispered in my ear. “The Greatet Novem has decided to kill you for getting the two parts of Kalki’s soul out from your body. You must flee Akshat, because you are Kalki reincarnate.”

Mortals, Immortals and Gods – More Powerful than all of them? – Ch 12

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.”