Five Times

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Chapter 18

Lara and James had a good time in kayaking. They reached the shore and James got down from the boat and helped Lara out.

The other whales were waiting for Lara to step down from the boat. They had planned to pull her completely inside the water so that they could make her stand in front of their king, Whalros.

They were totally out of mind that pulling Lara in was actually unfavorable to their king. All the whales had unknowingly planned to help Intelina.

Lara put both her legs out of the boat and stepped out.

“She is out. Pull her now,” exclaimed one of the whales.

The next second, one of the whales grabbed Lara’s foot and dragged her in with full force. Lara fell down flat to her face to the ground.

“James!!” Lara screamed.

Before Lara could completely move inside the water, James held both her hands and pulled her in the opposite direction. But James couldn’t compete with the power of whales.

“James, it’s paining. Something is clutching my foot,” Lara said aloud. James was bewildered.

James tried his best to get her out, but he couldn’t cope for long. He too felt being dragged in.

“Lara, hold on. Don’t worry. You will be fine,” James was blabbering.

“Don’t take too much time. Just pull her in with one stroke,” instructed one of the whales and the whale which was dragging Lara in nodded approvingly.

It made it’s clutch tighter around Lara’s legs.

“Ahhh!!! James, I feel like the bones being twitched,” Lara screamed.

The whale used all its power and tugged her inside the water in one go. James tangled in the mud and fell down. Lara was fully inside the water along with the ring.

“Help!” Lara yelled.

The moment the ring touched the water; all the whales were thrashed in the opposite direction. Lara was awestruck at the sight in front of her. She slightly got the glimpse of the creature which resembled like a man and also like a whale.

She suddenly raised her hands out for help.

Her body trembled after seeing that. She thought that something unusual is happening. She was not sure that it was the ring that was helping her.

James slowly stepped in the water to help Lara. He held her tightly and started moving out. But, the whale again clutched the foot, this time it clutched James’ foot and dragged him in.

“Lara!” he screamed and the next second he was inside the water.

Lara too went inside with James as he was gripping Lara tightly and the same thing happened again. The whales were thrown out and were badly hit because the ring had again touched the water.

Now both James and Lara noticed the magic that happened in front of them. They stayed spellbound for a few seconds and soon recovered.

They then stepped out of the water in a hurry and made them safe.

“What is happening, James?” Lara asked with curiosity.

James just stared at Lara and shook his head sideways.

Both were shivering like anything. They couldn’t get their mind out of the incident that had just happened.

“Did you notice the weird creatures, James?” Lara kept on asking questions.

James nodded in a yes and said, “I saw the face of a man and a whale’s body,”

“I too saw that,” Lara screeched and cupped her mouth.

James put his arms around Lara and consoled her. “Don’t talk to anyone about this. Just forget it, okay?” said James and looked at Lara.

She just nodded and both headed towards their resort.

Back in the whale’s palace, Intelina was finally free. The last two ropes fell lifeless on the floor. She jerked herself up from the chair and squealed in joy. She thanked the almighty for freeing her up.

“But this was not just enough,” she said to herself.

I have to kill Whalros. For that, I have to find where the ring is.

She was sure that the ring was nearby somewhere in the land.

Intelina stormed out of the palace without thinking twice and started swimming towards the land.

In the elephant beach, Abi’s parents and Adhi’s parents sat on the beach discussing Abi and Adhi.

Ahana and Diya were playing with a ball they had carried with them. Diya would throw the ball to Ahana and Ahana will try catching it.

Their game continued for a long time. Ahana felt exhausted and she badly needed to rest. But Diya would not allow her to do so. Abi too was not there to console Diya.

Ahana was thinking of some reason to stop the game. The wind helped her.

While Ahana threw the ball to Diya, the wind took it in other direction and the ball rolled in the floor away from Diya.

“Ma, my ball,” Diya screamed.

“Diya, go fast, take the ball,” Ahana said.

Diya ran as fast as she could to get hold of the ball. Ahana kept Diya in her sight all the time and she was convinced that Diya was not so far from her. So, she decided to rest a bit.

Diya ran after the ball. But the wind had given a tough time to Diya. Whenever Diya was about to touch the ball, it would go farther away from her and she would follow it.

Now, Ahana too was indulged in chatting about Abi and Adhi and so she missed to keep track of Diya.

Diya finally reached the ball which stopped beside a small rock. She took a deep breath and stooped down to take it.

But before she could do that, another pair of hands picked the ball and handed it to Diya. She raised her gaze to see who it is. The moment Diya saw the figure in front of her, her eyes parted in surprise.

She looked at the person from top to bottom, still with her eyes wide. Slowly Diya’s lips extended and let out a sweet smile.

“Lara aunty,” she squealed.

It was actually the queen of the ocean, who was standing in front of her. Intelina was confused at Diya’s words.

“Lara? Who is it?” asked Intelina.

Diya chuckled at Intelina’s question and said, “No one can cheat me. You are Lara aunty. I know you well,” Diya said and again looked at her from up and down.

Then with some streaks on her forehead, Diya asked, “Where did you get this beautiful frock?”

For a few minutes, Intelina’s mind went totally blank. She somehow tried to understand the little girl’s words.

“What is your name, baby?” Intelina asked with a smile after a pause.

Diya’s face turned red all of a sudden. “What? You forgot my name?”

Intelina stood silent. “Is there someone else who resembles me?” she thought to herself.

“I am Diya. We met at the beach for the first time. And I even got you the tablets when you were suffering in the boat,” she said everything.

Now Intelina was clear that there was someone else named Lara, who looks like her. She decided to make Diya understand it.

“Listen, Diya..” Intelina started but she was cut in the middle.

“I even told you that I like your ring. Can’t you remember me even now?” Diya said and glared at Intelina.

Intelina’s lips parted and eyes sparkled in joy on hearing the word ring. Yet, she wanted to confirm it.

“Hmm...Ring? That green… ring?” Intelina asked hesitantly.

Only then Diya noticed that the ring was missing in Intelina’s hands. “Exactly!! But, where is that ring? You missed it?”

Every bit of pieces finally fell in place. Intelina understood everything.

She nodded meekly at Diya and muttered, “Yes, I missed it,”

Diya just stared right at Intelina and waited for her to talk more.

Intelina resumed herself soon and saw Diya looking at her. She then knelt down to match Diya’s height.

“Listen, I am not Lara. I am Intelina,”

“What? Inte….” Diya found it difficult to pronounce it.

Intelina gave a tight-lipped smile and said, “Leave it. Never mind. Just listen to me,” she said and continued.

“See, tell everything that I tell you to your Lara aunty, okay?” Intelina asked and waited for Diya to nod.

Diya still couldn’t believe that she was not Lara. Yet she nodded.

“Good. You just ask your Lara aunty to throw the ring back into the sea. Okay?” Intelina said.

Diya was confused. “Why? It is her ring,” she said.

“No baby. That ring was mine. I really need it now. So that I can protect you all,” Intelina tried to be cool.

“Protect us? Why should you protect us?” Diya’s question was never-ending.

“Baby, all of you are in danger. You heard of whales? That is going to kill you all. Only the ring can protect everyone. Please help me get that ring,” Intelina said and caressed Diya’s cheeks.

Diya stood there bewildered on not knowing how to respond to Intelina.

Intelina again pleaded. “Please baby. Do this for me. It is really important and urgent. Just tell Lara that all of you will die if the ring didn’t reach the water,”

Diya finally nodded her head in a yes.

"Good. I have to return to the sea now. I cannot roam around like this. It may create confusions," Intelina then gave a peck on her cheeks and left.

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