BLACK AND WHITE#2 - THE RED DEMON

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15-REVA

“What do you think happened to her?” asked Megha , as they were travelling in long , common carts used for travelling . Reva , Megha , Pranay and Mayank had decided that they would first know the proper details of the attack and take over of the palace at the guild meet ,The commander though, consistently refused to let them go. So they were heading out to the only remaining ally of the fallen Mauryas , which were the Sangamas .

Though they weren’t sure , whether or not the Sangamas were actually an ally , but they were the last hope . If Reva wanted her home back , she wanted to give back the kingdom to the citizens , she needed to take it back , by force or by brain . So , she had come up with a plan that she would require the help of many allies as possible.

“Hey , you there? What do you think happened to her?” Megha asked again.

“Who?” Reva asked.

“Reva , her! “ Pranay said.

“If you’re talking about Shiba , she has a name . “ Reva said.

“I don’t want to take that name.” Pranay said .

“Listen , guys , i know its hard . But it was Aarav’s final wish to protect her and not blame her . But what you people are doing is exactly against his wish.” Reva said , though she herself would start cursing Shiba .

“Reva how can you? She killed him . He died protecting her , and what did she do in return? Put his own sword in his chest . Sorry to say , but i can’t forgive her , i’m not as kind as Aarav was .”Pranay said and that was the last he spoke , after that , though he was pretending, he ended up falling asleep on Megha’s shoulder.
They really look like a couple . Reva thought , in some parallel universe , i would too , if he wasn’t ...no , don’t ! You’re the queen , stay strong .

No sooner had the night passed , they took a stop at an inn , and in the bright sunlight of the next day , they were standing in the capital of the Sangamas . Reva looked at it , it wasn’t that huge of a capital , but still, not small either . From the outskirts of the city , the palace was visible . But that wasn’t where they were headed .

They got down , Pranay still angry , Mayank still yawning , and Megha as always , strong and vigilant.
This is the best i can get. Reva thought .

“Where can we find him?” Reva asked.

“Not far. My brother said we’ll find him praying at a temple at exactly 12.” Megha said , pulling out her pocket watch . “Its almost twelve . Let’s go , else we’ll miss him.”

They found the kingdom’s main temple no sooner , and as they entered they spotted the man they were searching for . The minister of the Sangamas , who comes in common clothing everyday to visit the temple of Lord Silver . Reva saw in front of her , and Lord Silver stood tall , with a sword in hand and a flower in the other .
Just be by my side , that’s all i ask. Reva prayed , clutching the dagger Aarav had given her.

They slowly walked towards the man , as he was deep in prayer. He was mumbling something under his breath . Reva went close enough to hear what he was praying , though she didn’t want to hear.
“...my mother , my wife and my daughter and keep all the people be safe . Let the dead rest in peace , and the living sleep with a full stomach . If i’ve done any wrongs , then lead me to make them right.”

A righteous person, Reva thought.

He mumbled some more words , and finally opened his eyes and looked at the statue . And turned , then saw Reva and the others and smiled .
“I was expecting you , Queen Reva...Please , come...” He added and they slowly followed him . He took them to the main hall , and then near the entrance , instead of the door , he looked around then tapped the wall . His hand glowed orange , and the whole wall turned into a door , and led them in a room.

“That’s...awesome.”Exclaimed Pranay .

The wall turned normal again , and inside , the room lit up to a library . He motioned them to sit on the chairs surrounding a table . He too took the seat .

“Now , how can a common man help you?” He asked.

“Common man?” Reva asked.

“Well , you still don’t know...” He said , as 5 glasses and a tea pot flew out of no where and landed in front of them . The tea pot poured tea in the cups.
“Don’t worry , its not poison.”He said and sipped. “So , how can a common man help you?” He asked again.

“You’re the minister right?” Megha asked.

“Was .."

”What do you mean?”Reva asked.

“I was stripped off my post just a month before the dear Mauryan Queen was murdered against my king's will.”He said. He understood the shock on their faces , and said, ”Well...let me tell you from the beginning. 2 years ago , when the Sangama Princess married the Hoysala king , everything changed.”

“ What changed?”Pranay asked.

“ He started interfering in the Sangama’s rule. And as if that wasn’t a problem enough , the Chera clan’s old king was killed , and his son took the place . And so the Hoysala king expanded his plans towards the Mauryas . He started bribing soldiers , guards , maids and whoever he could from the Mauryan Palace. I strongly opposed his mere interference , and he was annoyed by my counsel to the king . And finally , when the guild meet came , and i was forcibly made to be resigned against the wish of the king , they gave a go for the plan . The king was against it , from the beginning , but as i said , his hands were tied. One wrong step of the Sangama king , could cost him his daughter and now his to-be-born grandchild’s life .”

“We need the help of the king.” Reva said. The minister gave a quizzical look and asked,

“What possibly could the king do?”

“The Mauryan clan has no allies other than the Sangamas...”Reva said.

“Queen Reva , i seriously mean no offense , but the Mauryan kingdom is no longer standing . And if you want the Sangama king’s help , i cannot convince him . The least i could do , is take you to him . The palace is full of spies , not one word goes unheard .”He said.

Reva thought for a while .
“Fine then , take us to him.”


The minister kept on walking in dark and dingy alleyways , for an hour , and finally they came up on a wall , where the minister used his power again . His ability was that he could convert any wall in a door , any door in a wall . His hand glowed reddish orange and the wall turned to reveal a staircase.

“You’re ability is unique.”Reva told him , as he turned the door to wall again.

“Well , just got lucky in that matter . In fact , the door-wall ability is the main reason i’m able to roam as i wish. Once , i was almost caught by a soldier , when in time I got in a room and turned the door to wall . “ He said as they ascended the steps .

For some more time , they climbed and finally at a wall , they got in and inside a man sat with his head in his hands , and a large bottle of mortal alcohol. He shuffled in his seat and said,
“Glad you came , Bharat , i was gonna go mad...”He said , and turned and gave a weird look when he saw Reva then realized who she was . He stood up and bowed,
“I am really sorry my lady , even though i knew...i couldn’t help your mother . I am to blame...please , forgive me if you can!” He said.

“No , no , please , don’t say that . Its not your fault . “ Reva assured him .

After they sat on the table , Megha used a rune stone so that the voice shouldn’t leave the room .

“Queen Reva, please tell me how can i help...”King Airavat said then gave a wierd look . “Sorry to ask my lady , but as far as i remember , there was yet another member in your clan. Aarav was his name right?”

And he has fans everywhere . Reva thought , and told him the whole story from start to end , again struggling to hold her tears back when the death part came .

“I’m...really sorry . But i didn’t know...”Airavat said.

“Its alright sir , but the reason we came here-”Reva had started but the minister continued her sentence .

“Airavat , they need your help in taking back the Mauryan kingdom.” He said.

“I would love to do that , my queen , but if i had that much military strength , i would already have marched and put that bastard’s head on a spike , even though he’s my son-in-law. I was the happiest person when i knew that my daughter was going to marry such a brave youth , but only if i had known.”Airavat said.

“Please sir , its not your mistake. “ Reva said. “But still , your army is almost as large and strong as the allied forces of the remaining .”

“You are mistaken my queen , the truth is, the Hoysala king took half of my army when he married my daughter.” He said .

The problems just don’t stop do they? She thought .

“Isnt there anything we can do , ser?” Pranay asked.

“I don’t exactly think that there is.” He said.

“Actually , there is...” Minister Bharat said . “Infiltration .”

“Don’t talk rubbish old man , we don’t have troops for infiltration of the capital...that’s what we are discussing here!”Airavat said.

“Infiltration of the capital is not possible , and neither is it an option , the people will be in danger, we can’t afford to cause a threat to their lives.”Reva said.

“You’re mother would really be proud of you , young queen . But i didn’t mean infiltration of the capital , what i meant was infiltration of the palace. “Minister said.

“It is dangerous.”The king said .

“But its the only way .”Reva said .”We infiltrate the palace , and hold the Hoysala king as hostage , while we do this , another group will start attacking the guards once the alliance members are secured under us.”

“But , King Airavat , is it really possible for a king with a weak army to kill the queen ? I mean, it was really a very dangerous risk. I don’t think he’s alone , other than the Chera king , i really think that there is someone stronger behind this...”Megha said.

Nothing less expected from the commander’s sister. Reva thought.

“She’s right , Airavat . The cause was not only for capturing the kingdom of Maurya , there is larger cause . “Minister said .

“ We can’t know unless we act...” Reva said."The Kingdom of Maurya has to stand tall..."


And the young queen of the Mauryas takes her first step towards victory...
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