She still dreamed about him. She’d see him fall with moist eyes , screaming herself out , but all he did was smile and say , Don’t blame her , she’s innocent.
She almost laughed thinking that even at the last moments of his life , all Aarav did was think about someone else. And not anyone else , Shiba ! The girl who killed him . Her hands hurt when the nails dug in her palm , whenever she thought of Shiba , all she could feel was hatred . Even when nobody but only Aarav kept on thinking about her and finally saved her , all she did was kill him .
Sometimes Reva felt glad that Megha had made the right choice when she sent Shiba away to the Mauryan kingdom .
If she’d stop here for even a day , i’d end up killing her. Reva thought , but then again , Aarav would come to her mind when she was cursing Shiba . He was the reason she had held her wits and stopped herself from throwing the girl in the abyss . She had even caught her hair to succeed at the thought right at the bridge , but ,
Reva NO ,Pranay had said , Think about Aarav , he died saving her and if you kill her his life will go in waste.
She always wondered how could everyone but her could remain calm. For a month she was lost and couldn’t come over the thought that Aarav was gone . But finally fed up of the gloominess , she had ended up learning cooking and whenever she got time she would go to Aarav's mom and make her lunch and dinner .
She had heard from Aarav’s birth mother that Disha was coming there to talk too . But never met her , until that afternoon.
That Bitch , Reva thought , Never cared about him when he was alive , and now giving her sympathy when he’s gone .
She had thought hard , but ended up with no intention of even looking at Disha’s fake face , lest befriend her .
Aarav didn’t even know she was white . If he had , he’d hate her too. She thought . But somewhere in her brain , a small voice said , Would he really? .
She went downstairs to the hall where Megha and Pranay were busy talking , while Mayank was reading the newspaper . Megha had just returned from the Black kingdom after some family function. An envelope with the Ashoka chakra symbol , a wheel with 24 spikes, which was the sigil of the Mauryas ,was lying on the table . She picked it up as Megha went in to prepare a cup of coffee for Reva.
“What’s this?”Reva asked.
“It came this morning”Pranay said.
“And from when is my mother sending letters?” She asked as she tore open the envelope to see a letter in it .
“No idea.”Pranay said.
She un-folded the letter and with scribbling writing it read,
“What! that’s it? What should that mean?”Pranay asked as she showed it to him.
“I guess it’s the time she wants to talk to you.”Mayank said.
Wasn't i the smart one?, Reva thought .
“Its just to avoid the mirror network communication from getting monitored .”Megha said as she entered with a coffee cup and handed it over to Reva.
“I haven’t spoken to her for a long time.”Reva said , the last she had spoken was to say the dreadful news of Aarav . She didn’t even remember if she had even spoke to her , all she did was cry . And also she saw a tear roll down her mother’s eye too.
“Reva , the other clans are demanding for a match.”Megha said .
“Match ? You mean chess?” Reva asked her.
“But why?” Reva asked.”We had a treaty that we won’t have clan matches.”Reva said.
“Isn't that obvious?” Pranay asked. “They weren’t following any treaty shit , they were afraid to face Aarav . Even without training he was heavy on the Sangamas the last we fought . Now as he’s gone...”
Reva understood .
He was kind and strong , she thought.
She remembered that a million years ago , how she would be annoyed at him and would call him freak . And that same guy had saved her from death by the hands of Nakul , the former clan king of the Sangamas .
“What should we do Reva?” Megha asked.
“If i’d be you , i’d gladly accept it...”Mayank said .
What’s up with him?
“Why?” Reva asked him.
“If we won’t , then they will think that we’re nothing without Aarav . “He said and went back to reading the newspaper.
“ Mayank , you know , its sometimes good to involve in clan discussions .”Pranay said.
Mayank just ‘hmphd’ and ignored him.
“Look whose talking...”Megha said and nudged Pranay in the ribs.
It was true , Pranay never actually was serious . But after Aarav was gone , it was like he grew responsible after losing an eye and a friend . He tried to fill the void as much as possible . But Reva knew that however her clan mates were , however happy they seemed , but deep down they have a regret , a guilt , that they couldn’t save Aarav.
“Mayank’s right....”Reva agreed , “We can’t be weeping all our lives . We need to move on . Megha, accept an invitation , and arrange a match for tomorrow . We need to show them whose the boss here.”
She got up and went upstairs , dressed up and headed to Aarav’s place .
She knocked on the door , and a voice asked,
“Who is it?”
“Miss.Bhanu , its me, Reva...”
“Of course i know its you. Who else would come and meet two old aunts?”Bhanu asked . Reva felt calm when she was here . This whole house felt like Aarav . Everywhere , everything reminded her of him and made her feel his presence .
“How are you?” Indu asked .
“I’m fine Miss Indu.”Reva said as she entered the kitchen where Bhanu was busy doing something.
“Miss.Bhanu , i’ve told you , let me handle this . You just rest.”Reva said .
“Reva , there’s no need you know . You don’t have to help us out of guilt . I’ve told you this so many times...”Bhanu said.
“Its alright . I have no guilt , i like helping that’s all.” Reva said.
“Reva dear , come have a seat ...”Indu said from the hall.
Reva followed miss Bhanu and sat on the sofa.
“Reva , listen , we both know how much you loved him. And maybe he did too , but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move on .”Miss Indusaid,” Everyone has to go some or the other day . We understand what young love is , so you have to move on Reva . You’re just 19 , and all Aarav ever wanted was for his close ones to be happy . I saw him smiling when he was falling , do you know what that means?”
Reva shook her head and wiped a tear that rolled down her eye.
“That means...”Miss Indu continued,”...he was happy with the life he got . He was satisfied . And atleast for him , move on Reva . We know why you come here often , because this place reminds you of him . You go to his room everytime you come here , and sit where he used to and arrange and clean his room . Reva , there’s no need really . If you can’t get over Aarav , he can’t rest seeing you sad . So Reva , seeing you happy , will make him happy .”
Reva was all tears when Indu finished . She was a strong girl , but not at such a situation . The longer she tried to hide her emotions , more difficult will it be to come out of it . She placed her head in Bhanu’s lap and cried for long. Only after an hour or so of sobbing did she felt fine .
She made the dinner for one last time and glanced at Aarav’s room , but just took a look at his picture and bid the two mothers farewell .
When she reached back home it was almost 8 , so she went straight upstairs and found her clanmates waiting . They looked tensed.
Megha handed her a letter and she read,
With our new alliance formed , there is no need for us to fight a fallen clan . We will not waste our time fighting nobodies.
“What the hell! What is this?”Reva asked them.
“We sent the letter to the other clans as you asked , but this is what we got back.”Pranay said.
“What do they mean by ‘new alliance’ and ‘fallen clan’? What is going on?” Reva asked.
“We don’t know ourselves . We were waiting for you to come. Something’s not right...”Megha said.”Reva you better talk about this to the queen. What happens here , affects there and also the other way around.”
“I’ll see , mom is going to speak to me at 8 , and its almost time . Come on...”She said.
Everybody followed and on entering her room , Megha poured some ash over the dressing table mirror and it turned milky and the next moment it wasn’t Reva’s mother who they saw, it was Megha’s brother.
His face was all bloody , and cuts all over his face.
“Big brother you?!” Megha asked.”What happened ?”
“Megha , sister , i don’t have much time . Princess Reva , i’m sorry to say this , but the Mauryan kingdom has fallen , and the queen ...she’s...she’s no more.”