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.”