“Its really hard!” Disha yelled for the millionth time .
“Try harder , its not a thing which you learn in just a week.” The Priest said.
A week since her training had began with the Priest. One week ago she had come to his quarters , just like every other day , but with a mission .
‘I want to learn the art of skin changing ’ she had told him. And he had gladly accepted it . The reason for her to ask him was simple . She wanted to keep herself busy and to avoid Aarav as much as possible , but when 3 days ago he had left the palace along with his squad , she felt stupid of ever thinking to avoid him . And another reason , the guests are sooo lame , all they ever talk about is her marriage , the decoration , the food , the jewellery, this and that , bull shit.
She was tired of every guest coming and speaking to her , and talking shit . Some idiotic landlords cracked some lame jokes about poverty , and not to forget so many young men had come to her asking her hand in marriage . She was fed up of telling them that she was just 19 .
So the Priest had gladly understood her situation , and had started the training . She was standing facing a container made of glass with just one honey bee inside it . She had to concentrate her entire body energy in her eyes , whatever the hell that means , and focus all her concentration on the bee .
The first two days , she felt stupid doing this , but on the third day , her eye had glowed purple , for just a moment , and she felt her body getting smaller and lighter , but then it was gone . And after that , for 4 hours her body had been weak to do anything. On the fourth day , she had done it twice and wanted to try more , but the Priest had said,
’You shouldn’t surpass your limits’ , so she had no choice but to rest . The fifth day was a failure , but the sixth was the best of all . She had become the honey bee for close to a minute which according to the Priest was a miracle , considering for how less time she had been practicing .
But today , she was trying and trying with no result at all , and in addition to that , she felt weak.
“Its probably because you over did yesterday.” The Priest said. “But I suppose its worth it.”
It surely was , everything felt so big all of a sudden. And all she could think of was honey . She just wished that she could quickly master it and try it out on a bird ,
How would it feel to fly...she thought.
“Avantika , take some rest and listen carefully.” He said. Sometimes the old man forgot she was Disha and not her grandmother Avantika , but she felt a bit proud being called by that name.
She sat on the red cushioned chair in his room . He continued.
“Being a skin changer is not easy , and I suppose I don't have to tell you why , as you already understand it quite well . But before anything , you need to know some things that you should take care of.”
“First of all , I guess your grandmother has already told you this . The three circles inside the pupil of a skin changer’s eye represent 3 lives. If you die while you are in another being’s body , one circle will get vanished...when all the three circles are gone , you will die. “
“Second and most important , you cannot posses all the beings . For any being to be possessed , it should let you take over its soul . Larger the animal ,more will be the complexity of its brain , and harder will it be to control . Suppose you transfer into a body of a being that doesn’t want you to take over , but yet you force yourself , the animal or bird will go berserk , and its soul will get attached to yours , and you will be stuck in there forever . Do you get it?”
“I do. But what about my body ? What will happen to it when i’m in some other body?”
“It will be comatized . A living corpse that’s all...so keep this in mind , whenever you skinchange , take precautions that there is someone by you’re side...or at the most , if you are alone , before skinchanging , hide in a well protected place.”
“I get it, but just one more thing , why am I learning this?”
“Alas , I am just a servant of god , and don’t know what the future will bring , but remember Avantika , the future is dark. Now you can go and take some rest . The following days you will be busy , and I guess this is the last session.”
“Last one? You mean the next one will after the wedding?”
“I’m afraid not . After the wedding ...circumstances won’t be good , but keep practicing and don’t over do yourself.God bless you and yes , help him out.” And she knew by ‘him’ he meant Aarav , oh sorry , Scott. He finally said as she touched his feet and headed out , thinking about what ‘circumstances won’t be good’ could mean.
On the way to her room , she met her mother who was roaming from her chamber to the queen’s chamber , and once in a while to meet Dhruv ,i.e Disha’s brother and the bridegroom , who was highly nervous.
“You will be alright.” she told him as she sat beside him . “Even the princess isn’t so nervous. Cheer up big bro!”
“Easy for you to say , but yeah , i should admit , she’s too pretty.”
“Enjoy then , i’ll be going.”
“Hey , monkey face!” He called.
“Don’t you dare call me that ! Pig face!”
“Aw...is my sweet little sister afraid that she’ll be loved less since my wife will come in between us?”
“Shut up ! “
“Anyways , the queen was calling you....Phantom queen I mean.”
“Jerk.”She said and headed out towards the queens quarters . On the way she met many guests , whom she wished and quickly escaped before any more proposals came , and knocked on the queen’s door.
“Come in...” She heard the queen say , and inside she saw the grandest dresses she had ever seen . The queen was holding a Vardhana style dress .
“Your highness.” Disha bowed. The queen nodded and handed the dress over to her. “This will look beautiful on Princess Sara!”
“You really think?”
“Yes , i’m pretty sure about it.”
The next hour Disha spent with the queen trying and suggesting dresses . Her mother visited twice and hurried away again. She came in for the third time , and queen was busy talking to her , when Disha finally had time to look around the room.
It was really huge , and beautiful not to forget. A large double sized bed near the window , and almost a whole wall was full of windows . A huge chandelier hanging in the centre of the room . She was sitting on the bed beside which there was a table with some pictures kept on it , and she looked at them .
Little Princess Sara with her beautiful skin running alongside a puppy dog , the next one ,a family picture with Princess Sara sitting on the king’s shoulders while the queen was laughing , then the third picture was about someone else , 2 women and a man . It was a marriage picture , considering the man was holding hands with one of the women in a bridal costume . The man’s face looked so much similar , but where had she seen it? Beside the man ,she recognized the second woman , it was a younger and more beautiful queen of the Phantom in her twenties . The women in the bride’s dress...she couldn’t believe her eyes...it was Indumati , Aarav’s birth mother! And only then did she realize why was the man's face so similar , it was just like Aarav.
She heard the door close , and her mother was gone . The queen turned and saw Disha and the horror on her face...Oh god...
“Disha ...what are you-”
“Wh-who are you?” Disha asked her with trembling hands , the picture frame shaking vigorously in her hands.
“Disha , wait , listen to me!”
“This is the wedding picture of Aarav’s parents isn’t it? Who are you ?”
The queen moved swiftly and caught Disha by the arm before she fell unconscious.
Disha woke up , to see the queen hovering over her with a wet cloth in her hand. She smiled and said,
“Disha...you were tired I suppose . Now wait and let me tell you something before you jump to conclusions . “ Disha had no choice but to nod. She sat upright and listened.
And the story began ,
“Before I became the queen of the Phantom , I was Padma Rajput. 22 years ago , the Rajputs ruled the entire White world , just like the Phantom does now . And my brother , Harsh Rajput , was the king of the Rajputs after my father passed away . He fell in love with the Princess he saw in his dream , but didn’t know who she was . After a year he finally found the woman , and she was Indumati , princess of the Chanakya Kingdom.”
“Yes , its a kingdom of the black world , yet , my brother followed his dream and finally found her , and married her in secret. It was a miracle actually , where people from the black and white worlds despise each other , these two loved each other. A year later it was prophesized that the child born of the two bloods will be the seventh incarnation...and that child ...was Aarav.”
“What happened to Aarav’s dad? Is he still alive?”
For that , the smiling face lost all its colour , she started weeping . Padma finally wiped her tears and said,
“My brother was killed.”
“What? But how?”
“The Phantom kingdom was a small clan neighbouring the Rajputs back then , and their Prince used to come to the palace for meetings and functions. I fell in love with him , and blinded by love I never realized what i had done. He never loved me , not one bit , all he wanted was the kingdom , which he did . Some months later , I took the prince as my husband , and on that very day , my family was poisoned and they died right in front of my eyes drinking the wedding wine and that cunning prince whom I married , rules as the King of the Phantom now. Indumati and my brother were alive but as prisoners. Then 3 years later, on the day she gave birth , she ran away to her elder sister to whom she handed the baby Aarav.”
"What happened to Aarav's father?"
"He was killed . The day the news spread that Indumati was going to be a mother , my monster husband executed him publicly."
Now everything fit perfectly in the puzzle , Aarav’s other mother , Bhanumati took care of Aarav for 17 years.
“What happened to Indumati after she gave Aarav to her sister? Where was she before Aarav found her ?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know ...for years I cried , i have the blood of my own kin on my hands. When I see him , i can’t help myself but cry.”
“Yes...he’s right in front of my eyes , and he looks just like my Brother.”
“The king of the Phantom , does he know?”
“He doesn’t ...but soon enough he will , and my only living blood will die , and i cannot do a thing...again.”
“Your highness...but why didn’t you run away? The king is a monster!”
“For my daughter.”
“Does Aarav know about this?”
“Of course not , he doesn’t even know who he is...what will i tell him? That I murdered his own father?”
“Miss Padma...tell me just one thing, if Aarav’s father was the actual king of the white world , and Miss.Indu’s family was the largest kingdom in the black world...who actually is Aarav? Black or White?”
“He’s both. He’s the living true heir to the throne of the two worlds , the person to bring the centuries old quarrel to a stop , he, is the seventh incarnation!”
Well, looks like some questions from Book 1 were answered in this chapter . Hope you liked it , this chapter was really difficult to type , i really don't know why . But according to me, this will be the most important chapter till now! Anyways...enjoy!