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Chapter 10: Green, Gold and Insecurities

They had been walking for four hours. Rivola was feeling absolutely tired and miserable. But not as much as the others. Kareya was shouting out how much hungry and thirsty she was when finally she shut up and walked in silence. Shahir wasn’t faring much better. He kept murmuring about his memories related to the food,

‘Mom used to make the best food. Delicious, mouthwatering buttered cream rolls spread over with jam with little pieces of sugar sprinkled on it…’

Rivola knew that she was faring much better because she knew what it was to be hungry. She kept looking upwards at the trees searching for fruits or nuts or even edible roots but she couldn’t find any. Everything was simply lush green.

She was looking upwards when she felt her boot stuck. She looked down in horror. Her boots were sinking fast into the mud. She screamed,

‘What’s happening?’

The slush was coming up at a rapid speed. It reached her chest when Kareya gasped,

‘We’re trapped! It’s a quicksand!’

The slush had reached to her neck when Rivola felt the notion sink into her head. She was about to die! She was literally facing death.

Gemina seated Siva on an elaborate table set for a godly tea-time. She smiled at Siva and said,

‘Do not worry son of Death. I will not harm you. Would you care for a spot of tea?’ Siva nodded feebly. He didn’t think it wise to refuse the goddess of gems. What if she drowned him a fall of diamonds and turned him into an Emerald. Siva the Emerald!

He sipped the tea and it instantly warmed him. He bit into a soft roll sprinkled with sugar coated with cream and jam. It melted in his mouth. He was reminded of the days he and Lana used to go to picnic on a meadow nearby eating rolls like these made by Lana.

He sighed. He would never meet Lana again probably. There was no use thinking about her. The goddess sipped her tea and said,

‘What are you here for Siva Rudra?’

Siva’s first urge was to lie. He wanted to say that he didn’t know. But then maybe goddesses could read minds. He said honestly,

‘To steal the Topaz of Wealth my lady.’

‘You are here in my temple to steal and yet you tell me about it honestly?’ Gemina asked with a cold look. Maybe he was to be turned into an emerald after all. He nodded.

‘You may not know it, boy; taking the Topaz of Wealth is not easy. It is hidden in the darkest and deepest depths of the temple. You have to pass through a labyrinth of tunnels and the temple will reward you the gem only if it thinks you are worthy. Only if you are its right owner.’

‘Right Owner?’ Siva asked.

‘There were Twelve Immortal Creatures in Terracolipse.’ She said.

‘I know that.’ Siva said. Inferno had mentioned them in one of his letters, ‘The Blue Dragon, The Grey Wolf, The Golden Eagle, The Black Horse, The White Swan, The Great Shark, The Green Snake, The Royal Tiger, The Sleek Dolphin, The Bejeweled Peacock, The Mighty Bear and The Silver Dragon.’ Siva answered counting them off his fingers.

‘Similarly there are Twelve Great Jewels in Terracolipse. The Topaz of Wealth belongs to me.’ She said and her form began to shimmer. Her golden robes melted into a black armor. Her hand held a Cavalry sword and a shield. Suddenly a horse neighed out of nowhere and it dashed towards her and she caught it. She mounted upon the black horse and it neighed raising its forelimbs as Siva crashed to the floor. She smiled from the horse and said,

‘I also was the host of The Black Horse before I became the Queen of the Underworld.’


‘These Twelve Immortal Creatures needed humans as hosts to do divine tasks. Before I was a goddess, the Black Horse chose me. It entered me as a spirit and I helped the Gods fight The Great Legendary War after which I was promoted to a goddess. The Black Horse left me as I achieved my status. The Twelve Immortal Creatures were hosted by twelve different demigods who fought together against the Darkness and are now promoted as gods and goddesses. Each of us similarly found these stones of powers and we have hidden them around the world in different places so that only the Right Owner or the one who hosted these Immortal Creatures could own them.’

‘I don’t understand that owning part.’ Siva said.

‘If the one who hosts the Black Horse comes here to claim the gem, the gem will reach him whatever it takes.’ She said.

There was a low rumbling and the building shook. Gemina looked around in pure astonishment,

‘This is impossible. It can’t be!’

The ground before Siva cracked open and a small marble pedestal rose decorated with intricate designs. On the pedestal placed carefully on a piece of black velvet decorated with elaborate golden designs was a yellow stone.

Siva stood up and muttered, ‘The Topaz of Wealth.’

Aila looked absolutely murderous. She walked towards him and grabbed his collar. She shook him and said,

‘Are you out of your mind?’

’I’m not. Aila, understand. I have to find the Platinum Trophy. It will—’

‘It will---what? You could lose your life for that trophy.’ Kai said.

’If you are so concerned about your lives, you may leave me alone. I will fight with her alone and go find that trophy alone.’ Roy retorted coldly. ’My future at the Center depends on the trophy.’

‘You are being selfish Roy.’ Aila said.

‘I am not. I want the trophy because if I get that, there is no chance of me getting bullied. They would treat me with honor and respect.’ Roy said.

‘You don’t need honor and respect.’ Aila said.

‘You don’t understand do you?’ Roy said stiffly, ‘Why would you understand? You are the pot of honey to my brothers. They treat me like garbage! Did you know that all these thirteen years?’

Aila dropped his collar and said, ‘No.’

‘See?’ Roy said, ’I want their respect. I want them to treat me like a brother not garbage. Now, leave me alone!’

‘It’s not a safe choice Roy.’ Kai said. ‘But still, I am with you buddy.’

‘There is no need of coming with me. Now go. Take care of my sister Kai. She’ll need it.’ Roy said and forced himself to face Grecia as he heard footsteps receding away. Grecia smiled and said,

‘So you have no allies?’

Roy glanced over his shoulder. They were gone. He said, ‘No.’

’Great. The one who says ‘I give up’ or simply dies will be the loser.’ She said and smiled. Roy nodded and said,

‘I agree.’ A tiny voice inside him said,

I’m with you Royal.

‘So, let the game begin.’ Grecia said.

Aila couldn’t believe that Roy had abandoned her. She couldn’t control the gush of tears from her eyes.

She remembered a vague feeling of Kai hugging her wiping off her tears. Rika was comforting her saying that,

‘Your brother will be all right. Who knows maybe he’ll return back to you and say sorry? Now don’t cry.’ They were such sweet friends. In a few moments Aila was cheered up again. But she was still worried about Roy. She clasped Kai’s hand and said,

‘I’m worried Kai.’

‘He told us to go away Jade.’ Kai said slightly annoyed.

‘We can still watch him right?’ Aila said.

‘You’re not going to listen to me if I say no are you?’ Kai said. She grinned. He smiled back. They crept out of the bushes and peeped from between the trees at the scene of the battlefield.

Roy was trapped in a vine grasp. Aila felt a sudden urge to rescue him but she remained silent and studied him. Roy’s arm was bleeding and there cuts across his face. His clothes were smoking. As Aila watched, he freed his hands and brought out his dagger. What was going to do with it? He took his other free hand and slowly felt all the way to the vine. He raised the dagger and pierced it.

Grecia who was rolling with laughter on the ground shrieked as the vine oozed with a greenish liquid smearing Roy with that green mess. Roy freed himself and fell to the ground. Grecia was already sweating. She muttered,

‘How did you break my bond?’

‘Everything has a weakness.’ Roy said with a grin. He brought the dagger before him and grinned. The dagger turned red-hot and was enveloped with red flames getting brighter each second.

‘You’re a Fire-User.’ Grecia paled and a look of horror came over her pretty face. Roy dashed forwards as Grecia summoned more vines. But she was too late. Roy got to her and pointed the blade at her neck holding her.

‘Drop the vines.’ He said. Grecia dropped the vines. She struggled and tried to move but Roy had locked her in a death grip. He grinned. Aila couldn’t believe his look at that time.

His smile was so sinister that a chill went down her spine. He pressed the knife closer and said,

‘Tell me what you have to say.’

‘I give up. Let me go. I won’t harm you.’ Grecia said. Roy however did more than let go. His grip slackened and dropped to the ground dead or unconscious Aila didn’t know as she ran towards him.

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