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The news had come like a boulder on her already weak heart to Reva. Then Aarav ,now her mother.
Megha’s brother was too worn out to talk , so all he had said was,
Meet me at the first inn that you see when you enter the kingdom’s market.

Reva was worried whether they would meet him or his corpse. Megha was sad too , but controlled herself and sat with Reva. The moment they had got the news , they had packed what clothes and food they could and left the clan base at once without thinking twice. Because according to Pranay , if the other clans already know about the downfall , then they wouldn’t waste a moment and try to capture Reva too.

They were hiding in the 3rd safe house that they seldom used . It had a direct underground way from the main house , so once they had reached there , Pranay had filled the whole tunnel with soil and rocks .

Reva couldn’t stop her tears.
“Reva , we don’t know for sure if the queen is really gone...”Megha said.

But Reva knew that the Lord Commander would never had told them the news if it wasn’t confirmed .
Reva had always admired her mother . She was what people would have called a perfect woman . She took care of Reva , even after she took the charge as queen after her husband , Reva’s father that is, had died . Even at an young age , her mother was responsible , smart and a loving mother . She had controlled the kingdom , saved it to go to ruins after the king died , and loved Reva all at the same time.

“We’re heading out.”Mayank announced .”Its almost twelve . We can pass unnoticed.”

“But we can’t go without a transporter...” Megha said.”And a permission letter.”She added.

“There is one woman who can help . She had helped us the last time...You remember Samana?”Pranay asked.

“The red light district woman?” Megha asked .

“She’s the one. Only she can help us out and create a fake permission letter. And if we don’t hurry , the news will spread and it’ll be even more difficult.” Pranay said.

“Reva get up .There’s hope...”Megha said and lifted Reva to the feet. Reva’s toes were numb , and eyes were moist .
Stay strong. You’re mother would have stood strong , and so would have Aarav. , Reva told herself and wiped the tears of her cheeks. She clutched the dagger that Aarav had given her tight in her palm .

“Let’s go...”Reva told them.

“Reva , are you alright?”Pranay asked. Reva nodded , and slowly in the shadows , they walked towards the red light district of Kamhaan .

The building stood tall and bright among the many other smaller ones. Pranay quickly went in , and brought Samana back from the building .Her face was bolder and more beautiful than the last time Reva had seen her. She folded her hands and stood in front of them.

“You wanted to talk?” She asked and started looking around .”Where’s the fifth one? The hot boy you had? Don’t tell me he left the clan , i had said i’d help him out with his virginity , but he never came.” She added.

“Uh...we need to talk ,Miss.Samana . Can we go somewhere where we can talk unheard?” Pranay said adjusting his eye-patch.

“Sure , why not?”She said , and put a hand over Pranay’s shoulder.”You’re not too bad yourself , join me some time will you?”

Megha humph’d while Pranay smiled awkwardly , and gave glances at Megha.

Samana took them through an alleyway , where they found a couple in an embarrassing situation. The girl gasped while the man picked her up and headed the other way when Samana yelled ,”GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HERE.”

“A club? Are you mad?” Pranay asked as Samana had brought them in front of a club flooded by people.

“We asked a place where we could speak unheard...a club ?”Reva asked.

“Listen , you’re kids so you don’t know. The best places where you can speak without getting heard , are the noisiest ones. Most people here will be drunk, remaining will be busy upstairs . So there’s no place more safer.”

With no choice left , they followed her inside . They occupied a table , which was busy with yet another couple , who went upstairs tangled in kisses , after Samana said, ”Go upstairs.”

Samana ordered vodka , while the rest water . “Speak up...”She said sucking the juice out of a lemon.”And start with your boyfriend.” pointing her finger at Reva.

“He’s...he’s gone...”Reva said avoiding Samana’s eyes.

“What do you mean?” Samana asked.

“He’s...dead. “ Samana closed her mouth and the lemon she was sucking dropped from her hand.

“What? How?” she asked .

“Almost 7 months ago , he fell of the bridge protecting Shiba...”Megha said.

“Tell her the truth Megha ...”Reva said ,”Shiba jumped off the bridge , and Aarav followed to pull her back . He pulled her up , but she stabbed him in the chest with his own sword.”

Stay strong and don’t cry .

“The same girl who was with you the last time?”Samana asked .

Reva nodded .”I’m sorry...i didn’t know.” Samana said keeping her hand over Reva’s.

“Its alright.”Reva said . “But we aren’t here to tell you that. Before we say anything , Samana , we need to know whether we can trust you...”

“With your life.”She replied.

“Then listen...”Reva said , and told her about the downfall of the Mauryas , the new alliance , Megha’s brother and about the fake permission to cross the door of split .

“I understand...”Samana said .”But , don’t you think the news would have reached the door guards as well?”

“We won’t know until we try...”Mayank said.

“He’s right.”Pranay agreed.” And the more we wait , the difficult will it be to pass...”

“Then why are we still here?” Samana asked, and without wasting another second , they headed back to the building where she worked . She wrote something in a paper , and they were already at the bridge before they knew.

The guard looked at the letter suspiciously , but eventually believed it and let them pass.

“This is the farthest i can take you , but i can’t help once you reach there.” Samana said as they finally reached the secret door that was used by smugglers and spies.

“Thanks alot...”Reva told her.

“Its the least i could do , for him atleast...”She said pointing at the sky. “He was a good lad you know . His eyes spoke everything , and all i could see in his eyes was kindness...Well, later then...” and that was the last they saw of her.

They followed the darkness of the passage and finally saw the entrance on the other side. They came out and the place was an old abandoned building just outside the city . There were noises coming from the other rooms , and the moment they entered the corridor of the building , 2 men stood with their backs on either side of the door.

“Huh? Kids?” The giant looking one said.

“From when are kids in the business?” The skinny one said. Pranay and Mayank stood between the girls and the men.

“We’ll pay...”Pranay said raising his hands .”Just let us go.”

The giant and skinny guy both laughed and showed their crooked and yellow teeth.
“You’re funny young-pirate , but we don’t deal with money . We have more coins than the treasury of the palace if you count. We’ll take the beauties and you can go...”

Pranay slowly pulled his sword from the pendant he wore, Mayank had his maces in hand , Megha her nunchucks and Reva had the dagger Aarav had given in one hand , and the other palm burning bright red.

“Kids , you’ll deal with us . But there will be 20 more coming before you know , and what then?”Giant asked.

“Fancy toys , hand them over and you can go...”The skinny guy said.

“These?” Pranay asked.”Only if you let us go...”

“We are men of words...”The giant said pulling out the maces from Mayank’s hands , Megha handed over the nunchucks and Pranay his sword. Reva held her hand tight and didn’t leave her fist.

“That dagger will be cherry on cake , hand it over girl!”Skinny guy said.

Stay strong , don’t forget who you are. She told herself and gave the dagger to the man without even thinking .

“Follow...”The giant said , and all four of them followed . They took them through the steps and just near the entrance , he turned.
“Isn't this the entrance?” Pranay asked.

“There’s another easy way , follow...” Skinny said . They took them to a room and knocked on the door .

“Boss , open up!”Skinny said. “We have visitors.” The door opened and in front of them a man was sitting on a rocking chair , in darkness .

Something’s not right. Reva thought.

“Boss do you know who we got?” Giant asked.

“Why ? Are they who we’re searching for?” The boss asked.

“No , boss . We have better . “ Skinny said.

“RUN!” Reva yelled and began running , just to fall on her butt . She heard something hitting flesh , and thump , somebody fell behind her . And the next thing she knew , she was tied along with Megha , Pranay and Mayank in some damp room . She opened her eyes and yelled,

”I know who you are ...”said the boss’ voice , and Reva heard foot steps echoing on the floor .

“You don’t know anything about us.” Megha said.

“Uh-uh beautiful . You’re mistaken . We have the exact people , we have the Lord Commander’s sister , and of course the main attraction , the queen of the Mauryas!” Boss said sliding a finger over Reva’s cheek.

“I’m not the queen , i’m her daughter.” Reva told him , pushing her face away from him .

“No , no , gorgeous , i guess you’re missing something . Tell me...”Boss said,” Who was your mother?”

“The queen of the Mauryas .” Reva said.

“Nah...a word is missing , she was the former queen of the Mauryas . Now tell me , do you have any siblings?” He asked.

“No...”Reva said , helpless .

“So , according to the rules of royal blood , who are you?”

Then she realized,
I’m the queen.

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