Aarav got up the next day and got ready for college. He dressed up and went downstairs. His mom was busy doing his lunch and preparing breakfast. He could feel that their bond had grown a million times more after the conversation last night.
She came and pulled his right cheek ,
“Mom, I’m not a kid!”
“Yeah, yeah , I know, now that you have a girlfriend, you’re not a kid anymore. But seriously, if u be this energetic everyday, you will definitely feel college interesting....”
He reached the college and to his surprise, there was a different vibe to the college today. But, his life never was normal, how could it even be normal?
He saw that on one side of the gate, Pranay was standing , ofcourse waiting for Aarav, and in the exact opposite side, Disha was waiting, giving angry glances at Pranay. Without looking on either sides , he walked straight to the class. He took a seat and after ten minutes all of them were in the class .
Pranay asusual ,was sitting right behind him. He was saying in hushed tone,
“Dude ...where the hell were you yesterday?”
“Hadn’t Megha asked me to stay away?”
“If u keep taking everyone seriously, teachers will be gods...”
The lecture going on was physics and Aarav was highly struggling, as usual , to keep up with the class. The teacher noticed Aarav and Pranay talking in hushed voices, she said,
“Mr.Pranay and Mr.Aarav, if u don’t like the class, atleast have the courtesy to shut your mouths!”
Pranay was surprisingly Brave in talking to lecturers and to especially those who were a pain in the ass for Aarav. He said,
“If the class was interesting, we’d never talk!”
“Dude , just shut the hell up! Are u trying for a detention?”
The teacher heard what Aarav had said , though how, even the teacher had no idea. She said,
“Mr.Aarav , I’d love to give you detentions, but first get out of the class and meet me after the class, both of you!”
Both of them were standing in the corridor , while the teacher’s angry noises could be heard. Aarav was angry at Pranay,
“You know how I am at physics , and everytime you somehow make that lecturer mad and we end up getting out. Not all are born ‘Newton’ or ‘Einstein’ like you!”
“Chill out , who cares about physics . Anyways take this...”
He handed Aarav a wooden box with a carved design of a sword on it.
“Why?” Asked Aarav.
“I had planned on giving this to you yesterday, but you know, circumstances...so have it, it’s your birthday present!”
Aarav opened the box and saw a silver bracelet , with a black pearl containing a white mist inside it.
“This looks....expensive. Pranay, there wasn’t a need...”
“Of course there was, you’ll be a warrior soon, you should have it. Anyways I didn’t buy it. It’s my family hierloom ....”
“Hey! I....can’t take it.... It’s yours, by all means!′
“Now now, drama queen, you are the only person to call family, and if u don’t take it, I’ll just throw it in the lake at the park....”
This was Pranay’s speciality , whenever Aarav would be mad at him, he would just find the right way to calm him.
Aarav was wishing, that even if one percent of what his mother had told him, about ‘the day would be good if u are energetic ’, was true. It turned out just like any other day, or maybe even worse. His favourite subject, mathematics, was a free class, but the physics lecturers came as a substitute. Even the chemistry lecturer came for 2 extra periods. Finally , after struggling to stay awake in the last period , the bell finally rang and the day ended.
He ran to go back home. He was walking with Pranay by his side who was talking about some new girl who he had made his new crush , when two heavy hands pressed him hard on his shoulder.
Aarav turned and saw Mayank looking down at him . Aarav wasn’t sure what to do. He just said,
“Listen , I just don’t want to get beaten up here! ”
Mayank gave a weird look and said with his boyish voice ,
“No, I won’t beat you up here, but sure at Princess Reva’s place. Today is recruitment day , just after college, Come all prepared , you wouldn’t want to fight us with those gentle hands of yours!”
He patted two heavy blows on Aarav’s back and walked away. Aarav turned to Pranay.
“Um....Pranay..what fight was he speaking of?”
“Oh! It’s nothing.... You have to fight to make your position in the team, that’s all! If u defeat Mayank, you are the new Hathi, if u defeat me, you are the new knoght , if u defeat Megha , which is basically impossible , you can choose whatever position you want, except for the king of course”
“So ...I can be anything if I defeat Megha?”
“Your going too far my boy, first get past Mayank, and then me , I’m telling you , I won’t go easy!”
“Yeah yeah ,it won’t come it, that elephant Mayank won’t let me pass him. I’m destined to become a water boy or someone like that!”
Pranay gave a laugh and finally both the boys reached Reva’s house surprisingly early. He knocked on the door and Reva opened it.
“Hey Pranay and ...freak, good to see you Pranay, hope your hand is good! And not at all good to see you freak. Come in, please...”
Aarav just ignored her, while Pranay gave a forced laugh and they entered the room. For some time all of them sat in the hall when finally after 10 minutes, Mayank and Megha arrived.
Mayank saw Aarav and said,
“So you really came huh! I thought you’d run away....”
Megha saw Aarav and she tried to give a smile but Reva glared at her so she just looked away. Reva stood up,
“So as now everybody is here, let me introduce our new recruit, freak! I mean...Aarav. And as you have already met the others , this is Mayank. Now, if u can, not that I care, but just follow me.”
Reva started going outside the room. Aarav and the others followed her. She went near the steps and went behind them, where there was a cupboard. She opened it and walked in .
Every body followed and when Aarav went in , he saw that it was a training room. Full of shields , maces , swords , nunchucks, knives, daggers and so many other things.
The moment all of them were inside, Reva said,
“This is our training room. And yes, freak, choose your weapon, and I hope Pranay has told you the procedure.”
“Can I get that same sword?”
“What sword ?”
“The same one with which I made you unconsious....”
“Oh...um....Reva , I forgot to tell you, he is talking about Galade....”
Reva looked taken aback. She stared at Aarav’s face for a moment and said,
“You could.... touch the Galade?”
" So it’s named Galade. Yeah, I did use it....” Said Aarav.
“Who the hell are you ?”
Aarav gave a small laugh ,
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out! But what’s so much about touching it?”
“It can only be touched by true bloods and also among true bloods, they should have a special ability!”
“And what exactly is that?” Asked Aarav.
“Warrior blood.” Replied Reva. She continued, “To say in general, abilities are of many types, healing, warrior, offensive, defense, dark and many more.Warrior blood lines are specialized in certain tactics. But, alas , you won’t stand a chance against any of us, warrior blood or not... Freak....”
Aarav got frustrated by her constant mocking. He said,
“Listen Reva, I don’t know what your problem is , but if u can, then just, STOP CALLING ME THAT!”
“Win against any one of us and I’ll call you by your name, freak!“Reva said.
" Megha make the preparations.”
Megha nodded and she took out the similar shaped but different coloured stone and closed it in one of her hands and with the other hand she was circling and moving around the room.
In no time a circle was drawn in the centre of the room and a small audience table had sprung up in the corner. She brought the sword, Galade, covered in a cloth and gave it Aarav .
He pulled it out and saw that all the four of them were staring at him while he did so.
Mayank came and stood inside the circle just like Aarav had done. And the moment their eyes met, the circle in which they were standing, was covered in invisible walls.
Mayank faced Aarav and said,
“Now, I’ll beat you up!”
Aarav saw a ring in both of Mayank’s index fingers. Mayank gave a wicked smile and raised both of his hands in such a way that , his fingers were clearly visible to Aarav.
In the blink of an eye, Mayank had two maces in his hands and the rings in his index fingers were no longer there. Aarav was shocked.
What the hell! He thought, they weren’t there a moment ago!
His sword felt cold his hands. Mayank charged and Aarav dodged just in time and was saved from a dreadful bull-charge. Mayank was yelling like mad,
“Don’t you act like a woman and jump away , you freak! Stand and fight like a man.”
Aarav was ignoring Mayank’s dreadful attempt of making him charge like a mad against a mad bull holding two maces .
Aarav believed that though he was weak against Mayank , but he wasn’t foolish. He knew that much. Mayank was charging at him like a bulldozer , and Aarav was successful to dodge each and every one of them. He could hear Reva yelling,
“Mayank, we don’t have the whole day! Just kill the freak!”
If Aarav was angry at anyone the most, it would be Reva. From the day he had met her, for no reason at all she was being too mean to him. He simply tried to ignore whatever she was saying , and he quiet well knew that she was purposefully yelling so he would get discouraged.
While he was thinking all of this, for a moment his eyes turned away from Mayank , and the next moment he knew, he was lying on the hard wooden ground after getting a head on charge from Mayank. He was hurt bad and his sword was lying near the invisible wall.
Mayank came close to him and stood looking down at Aarav, he said,
“First rule of combat, never give an opening to your opponent....yaaaahhh!”
Mayank lifted both of his maces and banged them on Aarav. He was sure that if he gets hit ,he’s done for good, so just in time , Aarav slipped between Mayank’s legs and quickly stood up just in time to see the floor where he was a moment ago , crumble to pieces.
There were now two large holes in that place. But before Aarav could get up and do anything, Mayank turned and kicked Aarav in his rib.
“Thought you would escape? Not a chance !” said Mayank.
The impact had pushed Aarav towards the invisible wall , just beside his sword , but the pain in his ribcage was so bad , that he couldn’t move an inch. He struggled to get his hand on the sword, and finally , crawling and in pain, he reached his sword and the moment he touched it , a pain so unbearable hit his body, that for a moment he thought he fell unconscious, but the pain had gone just as it had come and surprising as it was, the pain which he had in his ribcage was gone.
As if the sword had made his body heal, Aarav was feeling a new energy inside his body. And as if senses were also renewed , he was now manipulating Mayank’s moves.
He was back to his usual trick of dodging the mad bull charges. But the difference was that instead of dodging blindly he was now observing Mayank’s movements , and he observed a pattern.
Mayank wasn’t fast , and neither were his movements , and the slowest were his turns. After charging and missing Aarav, he would turn and while coming back, he would take a longer time. Aarav saw that the mad bull was becoming tired.
And the moment Mayank charged again, everything around Aarav went a hundred times slower. He could clearly see Mayank running in slow motion. Aarav didn’t think twice, he ran in Mayank’s difrection and slid below his legs and the next moment he was standing facing Mayank’s back.
Again he saw the bull was turning to face him, but in slow motion. Aarav wasn’t knowing what was happening and at the moment he didn’t care.
He simply hit as hard as he could with the hilt of his sword to Mayank’s head and the next moment , the bull was lying unconscious on the floor.
Aarav came back to his senses and everything had become normal again. He heard footsteps running towards him. Reva , Megha and Pranay were now standing beside him and watching from his face to the unconscious body.
Literally , their mouths were hanging open. Megha was the first one to come out of the shock. She said,
“What the hell, just happened ? ”
“What?” asked Aarav.
Pranay replied, ” Dude, one moment you were lying on the floor and the next moment , you were bashing Mayank in the head, how the hell did u do it?”
Reva’s face was still in shock. She couldn’t believe how someone as weak as Aarav, could ever defeat the big bull of their team. She just couldn’t accept defeat from a weakling and especially , someone as disgusting as Aarav! She said,
“It was just luck, no big deal! Anyways , Mayank wasn’t feeling right from a week! You...”
She pointed her finger towards Aarav and continued,
“....don’t get all happy , you still have to fight Pranay and Megha!”
The floor was repaired , Mayank was sleeping unconscious in the room upstairs , Reva and Megha were sitting in the audience and Pranay and Aarav were standing facing each other inside the invisible walled circle.
“I had thought i’d go easy on you Aarav, but i saw the way you move , and now don’t you expect me to go easy on you.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you!”
Both of them nodded at each other and in no time Pranay was running along the wall with his black coloured sword. Aarav was keenly observing his movement , but if the effect of the magic of the sword was over or not , he never knew, but even without it ,he was certain that Pranay wasn’t following a pattern at all.
Before he could think of a plan , he got the first slash and he dodged it by inches. Even Aarav himself was shocked to see his instincts. He could hear Pranay saying,
“Didn’t expect you to dodge it, you really surprise me Aarav ! I never knew you were so good at this. ”
“Welcome to my world.”
As Aarav was expecting , Pranay was distracting him, but somehow he knew the direction in which Pranay was going to strike. The swords clashed and the impact sent both of them crashing on the invisible wall.
Aarav and Pranay , both had their backs in pain. But in no time , they were back on their feet. If anyone was shocked to see Aarav’s skills in sword fighting other than himself ,was Reva. She was feeling completely foolish to have ever called him weak. But her ego was above everything to her.
Megha was intensely seeing the battle between the friends , and always she had admired Pranay for his extraordinary skills in handling the sword. But now , she felt that Aarav was equally matching him, though he had no experience in handling it. She turned to Reva who was sitting beside her and said,
“Reva , what do you think about him? Do you still believe he is weak?”
Reva , though heard Megha but completely ignored her . The sounds of metal clashing to metal was becoming more and more intense. Pranay was an offensive type of knight , and so he was giving the blows one after the other nonstop , whereas Aarav on the other hand , though still in shock , was defending to Pranay’s every blow in return.
Both of the boys had grew tired , but neither were giving up. Pranay had never even thought that the same boy who he had once saved from a bully, would be this strong and determined. He never knew that the kind and calm looking Aarav had this warrior side to him.
Pranay stopped in his tracks. His legs were worn out and would give up any moment. He and Aarav were both panting and huffing to catch breath, but neither were backing down.
“One final blow , Aarav, my best shot , try it if u can. Yaaaahhh....”
Pranay charged straight in, and Aarav was ready, still unaware of how he had this much determination. Maybe the mindset to stand against all the odds was strong enough to keep him standing .
Pranay gave the final blow , and wind rippled as Aarav gave his best defence . The swords had collided so bad , that cracks were visible in the invisible wall, and both of their shirts were torn off.
And the next moment they knew, Aarav and Pranay were both lying unconscious on the hard and cracked wooden floor of the training room.