The Legacy of Kalki Vol. 1 – The Last Army

The Last Army

Hello to all the readers of the great world of Science Fiction & Fantasy. I have a good news to share and I am (almost) sure you are going to like it as well.

When the current, fully edited draft of The Legacy of Kalki crossed the (holy) mammoth number of 500000 words, I decided to split it among a few volumes. The initial plan was to publish 3 volumes with each relating to 4 parts of Kalki’s soul. But now I plan on releasing 3 volumes with 3 parts of Kalki’s soul in each and 3 short novellas which would narrate the other 3 parts from a different person’s POV (Yet to be disclosed).

I am planning to bring in the novellas between the major volumes with a parallel timeline (A brilliant suggestion by one of my beta readers) & to give them away for free to whoever will buy the previous volume.

The Last Army

Coming to title of my first volume, I can give you all a sneak peek into the story.

The Mortal Realm has become a battlefield for the Gods & pawns of Chaos while the Earth crawls with horrendous creatures born of true evil. Mankind is on the verge of World War 3 and humans are simple “cannon fodder” for the superior powers busy in their war. Everyone awaits the good guys to make things right but they have vanished without a trace and everything seems lost…

Lost in the ashes,
In a world that dies,
From the depths of the blue,
The first of them rise.

Doomed to be dead,
Everyone of them thrives,
Facing annihilation,
The Last Army arrives.

Trapped like fish in a God’s net – Ch 16

Gods are good. They care for us. They created us and they are the sole reason for our continued existence.They love us and we have to respect them back. Right? Wrong. Gods are anything but the above. they only care about the number of people worshiping them and the power they gain from us. The are selfish, arrogant and… Well, you cannot be much happy with a god when he has trapped you in a completely different dimension. So it isn’t exactly my fault for being a bit angry with them. Is it?

I staredwide eyed at our surroundings. Natasha had her head down in her hands again and Agnishikha was casting scared glances at the forests surrounding us as if the trees might jump at us anytime. A feel of unease grew as I looked at the forest with a new perspective. It was a dimension created by Lord Varun? I didn’t know that parallel dimensions existed out of science fiction stories. Well, Neither did Reapers or demons, but that was not the point. If it was created by Lord Varun, then everything here was in his control, all living and non living things akin. We were like cats trapped in a stadium full of dogs. And only one thing was certain. We had to get out or we were dead meat.

Natasha removed her head from her hands and shakily stood up. She had a defeated look in her eyes. The depth of her eyes only betrayed her age right now. It was as if a cauldron full of pain and hurt was poured into a marble the size of a pea and all of it had been accepted with nothing more than casualness. There was a cover of utter calm over all that turmoil as if a single sheet of paper was holding back a tsunami. I shuddered at how much I was able to interpret by just looking at her. Agnishikha joined Natasha also but refrained from putting her hand on her shoulder.

“There must be a way out of here. Right, Natasha?” She asked with a look of hope on her face. Natasha turned to her and stared at nothing. She said in a flat tone. “No one but Lord Varun can let us out of here. His aura is the only key to pass through the barrier separating this dimension from the others. And then we would need a dimensional ex…” She paused abruptly and shook her head as for clearing it. Taking a deep breath she continued. This time fixing her eyes on Agnishikha. “What I mean to say is that the only way we can escape is with Lord Varun’s help. There is no other way.”

Her words brought a sniff from Agnishikha and I frowned. Natasha was behaving very oddly. She used to be full of life and just as energetic as a 12 year old girl which she looked like. Now it was as if all life had left her. I was about to ask her about dimensions when Agnishikha suddenly jerked and asked her. “What about the veil Natasha?” She had an urgency in her voice and I was ashamed to admit that I had completely forgotten about the only sanctuary which had sheltered me. Natasha glanced at the sky and said in the same dead voice. “Gone. Its gone. I cannot feel it. He caused it to collapse on itself.”

Agnishikha  looked confused for a moment then flushed furiously in embarrassment. She mumbled. “Oh! I am sorry about that. But…” She stopped in mid sentence to find Natasha staring into nothingness again. She had a worried look on her face and I was sure she wasn’t talking about the veil we came from. But was there another veil? Agnishikha looked at me and there was a glint in her eyes which told me there was another veil. But separating what? She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. “And what about the veil keeping this dimension separated from the others?” She asked.

Natasha slowly looked at her and scanned her face as if looking for something. “Yes. There is a veil. But we need Lord Varun, at least his aura, to go through it.” She kept staring at her and dismissed her with a shake of her head. Natasha looked around closely as Agnishikha slumped again. If there was a veil, then it could be torn, right? I opened my mouth to ask Natasha and she spoke first. “Don’t even try to think about it. A veil of a God’s dimension can be torn only by a god powerful than him.” She had that fiery edge in her voice that indicated her returning to normal behavior.

Agnishikha cleared her throat and asked Natasha before I could form words for my next question. The need to ask her vanished as Agnishikha asked exactly what I was going to. “Can that work with godlings too?” She had her brows raised at Natasha. It was a good point. We weren’t gods, but we did possess three living god ancestors. Two in my case and one for Agnishikha. We might be able to rip the veil. “Have you fools forgotten about that barrier holding your powers back? If somehow your ancestors were more powerful than Lord Varun, then there might be a chance that you could overcome the veil with your full potential. Tell me if I am unaware of you breaking through your barrier this morning?” Her words felt like whip lashes. But she was right too. I had discovered only two of my godly abilities and I didn’t know how to learn the rest.

Agnishikha was deep in thoughts. She had a frown on her face and I had no idea what we were going to do next. I asked Natasha. “What shall be our course of action?” She was still not fully out of her zombie mode as she laughed maniacally at my question. The sound ended just as abruptly as it had started. She shrugged and said. “Whatever our chances of escaping might be, we shall aim for the thinnest part of the veil.” She then closed her eyes and pointed to her right. “There is the weakest part of it. We shall have to travel by mundane means as teleporting is not possible here.”

Agnishikha let out a weak laugh. “At least we have something to do now. Lord Varun would have won the moment we quit.” She stopped with a grimace. I was about to ask Natasha more about the travel when there was a rustle of leaves behind us and a man growled. “Lord Varun will be pleased to have your heads.”

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.”

The revelation – A dark Kalki? – Ch 14

When you have been running on adrenaline for three days without any sleep, its only natural that your body gets tired as hell. And then if you get a chance to sleep, you wake up only after the morning. So much for saying. When you are me, You are raised by an immortal jumping on you and telling you that you are the incarnation of one of the trinity and a bunch of other immortals are going to kill you. Fun, Isn’t it? No. It is not.

It took my mind a few seconds to decipher what I was hearing. I was Kalki reincarnate? Was she serious? And when the meaning seeped in completely, I jumped right out of the bed. I expected Natasha to fly off me and land somewhere on the wall. I wildly looked for her in the dark room only to find it without any hint of pink. Looking down, I was a little confused by seeing me still in my bed. Hadn’t I jumped? That was when the truth hit me. I was dreaming.

I slumped back on the bed and looked at my bedside watch. It showed 3:46 in the morning and I sighed heavily. It was going to be another day with headaches for me. I shut my eyes and tried to sleep again. But the dream lingered as if it was some kind of premonition from my subconscious. I decided to try the world famous trick and started to count sheep in a field. Slowly I lost count and started counting in a loop till 12. This time, I forgot when I was awake and gradually faded into slumber.

My slumber was disturbed by a loud squealing and stamping of feet. Groggily I opened my eyes and looked to find what the commotion was all about. Agnishikha was squealing in delight and was jumping up and down while holding Liam’s hands. The gargoyle was bobbing up and down in mid air and looked green. Seth and Rocky were laughing at Lisa who was red faced and was holding what looked like a tissue box. She quickly stepped through the bouncing couple and vanished into the bathroom. Seth found me looking at him and immediately his smile vanished. He touched Agnishikha on her shoulder and whispered something to her. She let go of Liam’s hand who shakily shifted to Rocky’s shoulder. I was being stared by all of them and their looks were a little ominous.

I stood up and stretched. It was creepy the way they were staring at me and I was completely freaked out. “Hi guys?” I asked hoping against hope that their expression might change. They said nothing and a voice came from behind them. “Just tell him and let him decide what it means. Cut out the drama and excuse me.” It was Lisa who had washed her still red face and pushed through the lot to face me. “Your choice Akshat. Bad news first or good news?” I liked that girl for this very reason. She was solid. I didn’t want to start my morning with a bad news so I chose to hear the good one first. “Um… The good news? And please stop staring at me like that. Its creeping me out.” As if my words broke them out of some kind of trance, all of them mumbled apologies and settled on the closest things they could find. It was a chair for Seth, bed for Agnishikha, table for Rocky and Lisa pulled me down back on my bed with her.

“I think Lisa might want to say the good news.” Rocky said and Lisa sighed. “Okay. The good news we found out at the greater Novem concerns the alliance of the other pantheons. The Greek and Roman Pantheons have decided to sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold. They will decide to interfere only if we are on the verge of loosing. The Celtic, Jain, Sikh, Islam, Maayab and a few other pantheons have decided to stay neutral because ‘It doesn’t concerns them’. A few gods from each of them have decided to join Decain but they are ignoring that part of the situation. Our most successful exchange is with the Norse. They are considering it as the beginning of the Ragnarok and are ready to join us at the moment Loki gets free. This is the greatest advantage for us since none of the Norse have joined Decain.” She finished with a smile.

If that was the good news then I was certainly disappointed. Not that it wasn’t a good thing, but what were the chances of Loki getting free if Decain found out it might help us? I was certainly hoping for the help of other gods but when our own had refused us, who would like to do so?

“And for the bad part… Liam will tell you.” She said and patted my arm as if assuring me. Liam jumped from Rocky’s shoulder and settled on Lisa’s outstretched arm. He cleared his throat and said. “Decain has sent us a message.  He claims he has the person who holds three parts of Kalki’s soul out of the dozen. And he is the same person who attacked Seth’s tribe. The worst thing is… Decain claims ‘He is the brother of that reaper godling you are hiding in your dungeons.'”

They all became silent as they let me respond. The Godling they were hiding? And he was a reaper? it meant that… I looked up into their faces in horror. I had a brother? And he was supporting Decain? That was unexpected. And how could he hold three parts of Kalki’s twelve?

I had a lot of questions swirling in my head. You have to be a little unsettled if your brother was an evil pawn who had killed a whole tribe. I looked at Seth expecting his anger or loathing for me. But what I found was only sympathy. I turned to Liam and asked. “How can he possess three parts of Kalki’s soul?” It was a little surprising when my voice came out normal and steady. Liam looked taken aback and he glanced at Rocky. With his nod, Liam wheezed. “It is possible to wrench out the part of a living god from one’s soul if a higher God wills it. If he is your brother, his bloodline allows him to possess a god’s soul. if Decain has the blessings of a higher god and if he has the skills to do the transfer and he has found the beings having Kalki’s soul, then he might…”

He left the sentence hanging and dropped on the bed. The way Liam’s ears twitched and the jerkiness of his glances showed that he was scared. Agnishikha tried to cheer us up and said. “Did anyone notice the number of “if”s and “might”s in Liam’s explanation? Come on guys! That is a lot of variables even for Decain! And relax… None of our gods shall side with him. And those who will do so, don’t have enough strength to bless him. So calm down. He is not getting the most important part he needs and our side wouldn’t help him at any price.”

Her voice had a tinge of hope mixed with forced happiness. Overall it sounded like she needed some convincing herself. Everyone was lost in thoughts as I pondered upon what she said. None of us shall help him… A chill went down my spine as I recited Liam’s explanation about Chaos. “Um… Guys?” It drew their attention and from the look on Lisa’s face, she had reached the same conclusion as me. “Aren’t there creatures of Chaos in the same class as our higher Gods? What if they helped him?”

The silence which followed my words was so foreboding that I wished I had not pointed it out. Lisa was thinking something from the look on her face and she asked Rocky. “Wouldn’t the soul of Kalki change if it is bound by a Chaotic creature? I mean… The power of the Kalki avatar resides in the fact that Kalki has almost all of Lord Vishnu’s aura. Wouldn’t the aura change if someone from the other side blesses it?”

Her hope was obvious the way she asked the question. If the soul was changed, then it would not be Kalki any longer. That would cause a lot of different possibilities as it meant other Gods from the trinity could interfere.

Rocky was uncomfortable when he looked at Liam for the answer. His discomfort was obvious and Seth replied in his stead. “No one can say for sure. If that being from Chaos has an aura even a little bit similar to Lord Vishnu then they will consume each other. But the most probable thing is that the chaotic aura may taint Kalki’s and make it evil.” He paused to emphasize his point and continued. “It would be like covering a pure white football with a black balloon. It would hardly affect the use of the ball, but it will be black instead of being white.”

He finished his explanation and looked at Lisa for her reaction. Her lips were clamped in worry. Agnishikha was deep in thoughts and the same was the case with everyone. It was a very bad thing if it happened. No ordinary god could defeat my brother and we will have to go looking for the rest of Kalki’s part of souls for even a little fighting chance. Even then, It would be hard to make the possessors of the souls fight together.

“Don’t worry guys. The Novem will see to it. We just have to do our part.” Agnishikha said as if closing the topic. “Who is coming for breakfast?” She asked as she got ready to head out. Everyone stood in unison and Seth held back to walk with me. “Don’t worry Aksh, we will figure something out. Just hope that Kalki doesn’t become dark.”

I smiled weakly at him. Agnishikha opened the door to find a guard with his hand raised to knock. He stepped back and said politely. “Princess Agnishikha, reaper Akshat, Lord Varun is here to take you to the realm of Gods.”

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.”

Its finally time for the Kalki Avatar – Ch 11

Living among supernatural creatures gives you at least one thing. You are not easily scared. And if there is something you are afraid of, it is better to leave it alone.

But not with a luck like mine. The Dean of my institute had just begged me to take in a betal as my roommate and I was stuck with his choice since I was almost a refugee in his protection fleeing from both sides in a war of immortals. I had no choice but to follow his orders and to look after a betal and that too a mentally unbalanced one.

Lisa looked horrified at the Dean and said “But fa…. Dean! That is dangerous! How can you do this to us?” Branat looked defeated as he motioned the guards to leave the room. He directed us towards the sofa and made lunch appear on the adjoining table with a wave of his hand. He slumped into his leather chair and put his hands on his eyes. I stole a worried glance with Lisa when the Dean seemed to fill up with some kind of invisible strength. He looked up and sat straighter. It was as if all tiredness had vanished from him to be replaced by a steely resolve. “Akshat, Lisa is my daughter.” He said looking directly in my eyes.

Well that was a surprise. I had never thought about it. But now it kind of made sense. Branat said he trusted only us. I didn’t know why he trusted me, but now it was obvious why he trusted her. But putting her in a room with a betal? She must have done something really bad to deserve such harsh punishment. “Um… Isn’t it one more reason why you should not put a betal with her in a room?” I asked hoping against hope that he might change his decision. Branat was still staring into my eyes when Lisa followed me suit. “Yes father. Why do you trust him?” Wait. What? She was doubting me? Well… Frankly speaking I too had no idea why he trusted me. But her tone still stung. The Dean looked into her eyes and something passed between them. She relaxed immediately and now both of them looked determined.

“I trust you Akshat. Why do I do so that is something I cannot tell you. But before you ask me again I want to tell you a fact that only a few selected members of the Novem know.” That caught my attention and I sat waiting for him to continue. “The reason behind Decain’s attack on the Betal tribe is very crucial for this war. There was a rumor concerning a prophetic betal. Decain sought his skills and when his tribe refused to help him, he massacred them all. Betals are still a species none of us know much about and so are their abilities. We have reasons to believe that this particular betal has the skill of prophecy and it concerns the last avatar of Lord Vishnu.” The last avatar of Vishnu was supposed to be Kalki. Contrary to the mundanes’ knowledge, the time of his arrival had come and gone a few decades ago. It was a breach in the balance of positive and negative. Everyone in the supernatural community was waiting for someone else to take action and restore the balance but no one dared to do it themselves.

“That means this particular betal might lead to the reincarnation of Kalki, isn’t it?” If that was true, then the Dean trusted me to-o-o-o much. A person of such importance should be kept in the highest security safe-house. But Decain’s increasing influence had ensured that the safest place to hide him was inside the veil. And since he was only a prince, it might be easier to hide him among thousands of other youngsters.

Branat nodded at me as if reading my thoughts and continued “Now you see why am I trying to hide him in plain sight. Decain’s army will be looking for him in several strongholds filled with decoys. The only thing they would miss is that every single one of them will be a decoy.”

Lisa was in deep thoughts and I pondered upon it too. Everything fit perfectly except one. “Dean Branat? Sorry but I need to know why do you trust me this much. Its like handing the remote of a nuclear warhead to the babysitter of your neighbor’s kid.” The Dean immediately became stiff. Lisa said in exasperation. “Come on Dad. Its not something that big. If you can trust him with the betal, why can’t you trust him with his past?” Branat looked sharply at her daughter. His expressions softened as she stood her ground. It was odd to see such a domination game between a father & daughter.

Branat sighed heavily and slumped back unto the leather. “Tell him what you want to. But don’t regret it later.” He said closing his eyes as a sign of clear dismissal. We picked up a hot dog each and proceeded through the gate. The guards let us past without any question. We were almost out of the corridor when with a swish of displacing air Natasha appeared before us in a flurry of pink. She touched our hands and for the second time in a row, we were teleported forcefully. This time we arrived in what seemed like an unused room for initiates. Natasha immediately grabbed Lisa by her neck and slammed her into a wall.

There was a grunt of pain as Lisa squirmed to get free. It seemed almost comic with the 12 year old appearance of Natasha. “How many of your friends know about him?” She snarled looking up at Lisa’s face. She groaned as the pressure increased around her throat. “Hey! Where have you brought us? And why are you assaulting my roommate? Let her go!” I protested trying to pull Natasha away. She didn’t even notice I was pulling her. Lisa coughed and said. “Let me go Natasha. I am from the Prime.” She tried to keep her voice low on the last part to avoid letting me hear her. But thanks to the quiet room, it was completely ineffective.

Natasha stiffened for a moment then banged Lisa against the wall again. “Prove it” She growled. Lisa looked straight into her eyes and a word thrummed in the room. “Etherea” With an appreciative nod Natasha loosened her grip and let Lisa go. The energetic innocent look was back on her face as she said merrily. “Sorry for your inconvenience Akshat. Let me take you to your room.” She extended both her arms and we allowed her to take ours. With another blurring swish, we were in the mess hall, which was empty by now. “See you at your first lesson!” She exclaimed and popped out of the existence. I didn’t feel any twitch in the surrounding aura again. It was as if Natasha had jumped into a pool without creating a single ripple.

I decided to confront Lisa later. We had enough action for a day, so we got out of the hall and walked towards our room. It was a bizarre experience to have so much happening in my life within a week. I remembered how I was afraid of the MP and the fact that he might hand me over to the police. That brought a smile on my face. The definition of ‘dangerous’ had changed far too much in the last three days for me. It was not a good thing, but I liked it. I felt like I belonged here unlike my experience with the reaper cell since my introduction into the supernatural community.

Lisa looked tired. Despite of the momentary determination in the office, she was quite haggard and her shoulders were drooped. We reached our corridor and I wasn’t even a little bit surprised to find a couple of guards situated at my door. One of them noticed us and knocked at the door. Lisa took a sharp breath when it opened and the Novem member with gigantic breasts on a petite body marched out to face us.

“Branat has told you everything, I presume?” She asked me getting directly to the point. She didn’t even looked at Lisa. It was as if she were a part of the wall. Lisa was looking down as if ashamed of something. I had no problem with the lady but I didn’t like the way Lisa submitted to her. “Yup! You can now leave our room and get back into your plush Novem apartment.” Lisa jerked her head up as if electrified. The lady raised her eyebrows at me as if inviting me to say more.

I stood my ground and changed my stance as if waiting for her to get out of my way. She licked her lips in a not-so-innocent way and leaned towards me to show me a nice view of her massive cleavage as she whispered in my year “Are you sure you are going to be okay with a betal who has been rambling about Kalki for three hours nonstop and might blow up the whole hostel trying to kill a fly?” Her voice had the perfect mixture of eroticism and warning. It made hairs stand on the back of my neck and I suppressed a desire to look down at her bosom again. She smirked and motioned me to follow her, again nothing for Lisa.

We entered the room and Lisa shut the door. I immediately looked at the empty middle bed to find it occupied by a frail boy of around 16 or 17. He had dark skin which clashed beautifully with his pure white hair. He was sitting still as rock and only his lips moved. The lady led us to my bed which the betal was facing. He was garbed in the academy uniform and it suited him well. The lady sat on my bed and I leaned against my table to the right of the betal. Lisa was still looking at me when she settled on my chair.

“Hello my dear! Look who are here to meet you! Your new roommates!” The lady said cheerfully. The only sign that the betal showed of noticing her was his eyeballs moving to focus on her. It was as if he was looking at clouds. Observing one, then moving on to another. The lady seemed oblivious to his reaction as she continued. “Let us start from the lowest.” She grabbed Lisa’s arm and dragged her to sit in front of the betal. “This is Lisa. Your first roomie.” The betal gave the same response to her when Lisa tried to smile at him. This tym the lady was a ittle disappointed but she didn’t let the expression linger on her face for long. She motioned me to step forward and said to the betal “And this your third roomie. Akshat.”

There was a sudden silence which didn’t go away. You don’t notice the sound of traffic unless it vanishes. This was the same kind of silence. I glanced at Lisa and the lady who were staring at the betal and me respectively, awe on their face. Then I realized what had happened. The betal had stopped his mumbling at my sight and was staring at me. Slowly he stood up and offered me a trembling hand. “Its nice to meet you. I am Geran. May I call you Aksh?”

I was too stunned to react properly until Lisa nudged me. Hard. I shakily shook his shaking hand and he let out a relieved breath. He glanced at the lady “How much time has passed since the attack?” She looked surprised and replied “4 hours, Why?” The betal glanced at the wall clock and turned confidently towards us. “I need to summon a meeting of the greater Novem. Right now I was having a prophecy and I would definitely like to share it with them.” The lady looked amused. He was talking in a stately way which might have been okay for kings in movies. “You are aware that the greater Novem helds one meeting in a year? You will have to wait for 10 more months. And even then, why would they see you? ” The betal smiled and said “They will see me because I know how, where and when the reincarnation of Kalki shall take place.”

How to do well while sharing room with creature from hell – Ch 10

Living in a hostel full of supernatural creatures is not easy. It becomes exceptionally tough when each of them has something better than you and you have nothing to brag about. It also not helps when your roommate is a sexy young witch humping different boys every night.

I was escorted to the hostel by one of the much younger guards. When he opened the door of my room, I almost turned and walked back after seeing the occupant. It was a girl wearing nothing but a long t-shirt and I had the privilege of entering the room while she was bending to pick something up from the floor. I hastily matched the door plaque with the paperwork in my hands. Yep! It was my room and she  was my roommate.

After my trial in front of the Novem, the Dean Branat took me to the official registration desk and I had to fill up a stack of forms. Since I was studying on credit (Which was to be paid after I graduated), I opted for everything with the least price. Only now I realized that the ‘shared’ hostel room meant sharing with the opposite gender, not a fellow boy.

I had half a mind to turn back and submit for isolated hostel, but a line in fine print caught my eye.

Isolated hostel at full capacity. Waiting list at  03

Well… That was done. The Hell Academy kept three hostels in every grade. One was shared, the one I was in, and the other two were for boys and girls. Since the rift in the Veil had its easiest entrance in the Indian subcontinent, Most of the students here were Indians. The Indian values and morals don’t allow unmarried people, even couples to live with the opposite sex, so most of the Indians opted for the isolated living arrangements. The underworld entrance for the rift was through the Indian afterlife too, so the demons preferred separate living arrangements as well. The shared hostel was for initiates from foreign cultures and for the Indians who couldn’t or didn’t pay for the separate one.

The girl walked to me and shook my hand with a smile. She had Asian origins and was exotically beautiful. She was a little less lucky in the feminine department and had an almost flat figure, but her rippled biceps and well toned body indicated her to be a decent fighter. “I am Lisa. You must be Akshat?” She asked brightly as I entered the room taking my bag from the guard. I had bought the standard kit for first term initiates on credit and it all fit into a backpack which was magically enhanced. I nodded at the guard as he turned to go and faced Lisa. “Yes. That would be me. Who is our third roommate?” Lisa perched on a table as I marched to the farther of the two empty beds in the room. It was next to a window and I found it perfect for me.

“I don’t have any idea about him or her. But make yourself comfortable.” I threw my bag on the bedside chair and crashed on the bed. Lisa was still looking at me and was probably wanted to say something. I raised my eyebrows to ask her and she said hesitantly “You are not a witch or a daayan, I presume?” That was an odd question here. There were initiates and staff of every race present in the veil, and it seemed that they were doing well together…. Perhaps not.

Lisa sensed the direction of my thoughts and a slight tinge of red appeared at the top of her ears. “I didn’t mean that! Really! I just… I just hate cats and a witch or a daayan usually has one. I wanted to make sure that I won’t have to deal with the anti allergy spell in your company.” Oh! So that was it. I stood and presented myself dramatically with a flourish of my hand. “I am a reaper Ma’am. At your service.” She giggled and imitated me. “I am an aghori. At your service.” Her bow revealed too much in her loose shirt and my face flushed as I averted my gaze. Apparently she had noticed it too. She grinned wickedly at me and said “Don’t get embarrassed reaper, you are going to see a lot more than this.” My face went a brighter shade of red and I sputtered to find some words for a decent reply. She laughed at my obvious discomfort and with a wink went inside the shared washroom.

I sat on my bed thinking about my stupidity. Living in a culture full of values had made me very very uncomfortable towards sexy girls who hadn’t had any problems in revealing their skin. I shook my head and turned to check out my share of furniture. With the bed and the chair, I had a study table, a closet and a large headboard with nooks to hold weapons. I picked up my bag and rummaged to take out my clothes. There were four plain t-shirts with three pairs of jeans and some underwear. In a bag was what looked like my academy uniform which consisted of a white shirt and black pants. It was made of a watery material and definitely some kind of aura had been used to make it. I also had a wallet which had a credit card (Apparently they had developed an aura based banking system with the unit currency equal to somewhere around 0.16$), a little cash of around 200 units (The bills were plastic and twice as big as a card), and my reaper ID.

I started to arrange my belongings. I was finished in a surprisingly short time and decided that I definitely needed to go shopping. There was the sound of opening door and Lisa came out with a towel wrapped around her. I immediately turned my gaze away and she smirked. I opened my closet to avoid watching her change, I found a crack lining the inner left corner. Curious, I ran my hand along it and found a notch jjust big enough to hold with three fingers. I tried to open it to no avail. Sighing, I left the crack as it was and rearranged my already arranged possessions.

When it seemed that it was enough time for Lisa to get clothed again, I shut the closet and slowly turned to face the room. She was sitting on her study table combing through her hair. I released my held breath when I was sure she was wearing something. She had a nice form fitting red t-shirt on with a pair of denim shorts. She smiled at me and stood up to grab her purse. “want to go out on a know-each-other lunch?” She asked. Why not? I thought. It wasn’t as if I had something to do. I nodded and also snatched my wallet. “Share?” I asked her about the money we were going to spend. She snorted and shot at me “Come on. You are not good enough to go on a date with me. Its obviously on share basis.” To my credit I didn’t humiliate myself this time saying something odd, and followed her out with a nod.

I turned back to lock the door, but neither I had a key, nor the door had a keyhole. Lisa noticed my confusion and stepped forward to grab the handle. “Here. Let me show you.” Her hand glowed briefly with her aura and I was startled to find it was a brilliant sparky white. Their was a click indicating the door was locked and we started towards the mess-haal. “So… You just held the handle with your aura? Or was it something else?” She winked at a passing girl while licking her lips suggestively, and the girl hurried away. “Yup! It was just a little bit of my aura. Since we are registered in the database, our door responds to only our aura.” She winked at another geeky boy and he flushed furiously dropping his load of books. I realized she enjoyed flirting and was also glad that she was walking beside me. More than a few boys and girls had their eyes on her and she liked the attention. “So… One door will open for only the three roommates?” I asked wondering how did she develop such a sultry attitude. “Yes. Unless you are a Great one and can shift auras.”

I didn’t know about ‘The Great One’ and left it for our lunch conversation. Lisa was busy ogling boobs and tight asses while I observed the design of the Academy grounds. We were in the north-east quadrant of the circular grounds and It was designed like a trailer park. All the buildings were limited to the ground floor and I assumed there were definitely some basements. Basic maps of the buildings were  available at most corners. I noticed a faint glimmer in the words of one such map and tried to decipher its aural form. What hit me was so intense that I jerked to a halt in mid-stride. The directions were marked in every language known to humankind and I was only able to read Sanskrit, Hindi and English while the others flew in and out of my consciousness. Everyone would see their practiced language in the directions.

Meanwhile Lisa had noticed me and was coming back looking slightly amused. “What is it? Is there a topless pool around the corner?” She was only half joking and I pointed towards the map. She glanced at it and back at me. “What are you looking at?” She sounded irritated and I said “The aura. Look at it.” she frowned but concentrated on the map and her mouth opened in a silent gasp. “Its so… vast…” She was awestruck. I was about to suggest her to continue on our way when she jerked like an electric shock had hit her. “Which language are you speaking?” She asked urgently. “Um… English? Aren’t you?” I was wondering what was she at. She had an excited glint in her eyes. “No! I was switching between English and Chinese! Didn’t you listen?” She was visibly bubbling with excitement as she continued “O. M. G.! It also works on our speech! We are speaking in some sort of universal language or something!” She was bobbing where she stood and I put a hand on her shoulder to stop her motion. I looked around us and said “Let’s go to the mess-hall. We are attracting unwanted attention.” I pointed her a group of boys and girls looking at us. They had a malevolent look around them. She followed my gaze and we again started going towards the mess-hall.

Just as we entered the hall, two things happened at once. A boy came running through the gate across the hall shouting. “All the betals in the hell are dead! Decain’s general!”; &Two guards teleported just a hairbreadth away from us and almost threatened. “Come with us right now. The Dean wants to see you.” Before we could respond they grabbed our arms and teleported us to the Dean’s office.

It was reinstated and was working again. The Dean looked haggard as he quickly stood up to join us.
“Lisa, Akshat. I have a very very important favour to ask you. Will you help me? ” The man looked desperate and I nodded without thinking. Lisa looked at me and then she too slowly nodded. Branat sighed in obvious relief and said. “Don’t interrupt me. We don’t have much time. Decain had sent one of his generals to get a tribe of betals to join him. They refused him and he killed all of them Only the young prince could be saved in time but he has a severe brain malfunction now. Decain wants his life but I can’t allow that.” So there was a psycho survivor somewhere. So what could we have don? Before I could ask anything, he said. “I beg you two to please accept his guardianship and allow him to be your third roomie.”