AN UN-FRIENDLY MATCH
Aarav and his clanmates were standing at the far end of the park, in a makeshift tent, discussing the strategy for the match, with Mayank guarding the tent , so he was waiting outside though listening to what was the discussion .
Reva was clearly the weakest part of the clan when it came to combat, but everyone felt that none could defeat her in strategizing the battle. With a stick she was pointing at various points on the map of the park which was spread in front of them. She was saying,
“The park has been divided into 5 parts, the children’s play area, the lover’s benches, the lake, the tennis court and this...” she said pointing the stick at a place on the map where trees were drawn. She continued,
“.... its a tree covered area. And in order to win we need to conquer atleast three, which will clearly be the first three locations that i mentioned. The children’s play area has large structures ....”
Pranay continued the sentence, he said,
“We can use them to our advantage, we have two swordsmen that’ll be quite helpful.”
Megha shook her head and said, ” No... we can’t do that, we can’t let them know Aarav’s technique of fighting at such an early stage. And not to forget , they have two wazirs who can be a threat, also 5 more members, not to forget Pritam is a beast blood”
“What does that mean?” asked Aarav.
“It means he can turn into a larger and stronger animal sort of a thing, though for a short time” replied Pranay.
“And if u ever face him that way , you just turn away and run hell!” said Mayank from outside.
“So what should we do ?” asked Aarav.
“Alright then, children’s play area will be conquered by Pranay and Mayank. And as soon as you reach there, don’t start fighting if they are already there, just wait for my command. And as soon as you conquer, put the flag there and run back to the tent. Clear ?”
“Yeah” said Pranay,
" Clear as water” said Mayank from outside.
Reva continued , “Now, about the Lover’s benches, its quite dark there, considering for what lover’s do there , so i think Aarav can go with Megha , and as soon as you conquer, you should go to the lake, which on the way while returning if you chose the second path , and all of this only if Pranay or Mayank or both return safely, after conquering the play area. ”
“What about the other two locations?” asked Aarav.
Reva looked at him said,
“The tennis court is too open, it will impossible to conquer, and the forest area....it is quite a choice, there we can actually use Pranay and Aarav as a surprise attack, but we should have atleast two of the areas under possession before doing the act...there is a risk of losing a member.”
Megha spoke next,
“Right , now talking about their team, the hathis are the twins Zoya and Alia, their ability, summoning water, so they will be at the lake. They are good , but yet rookies, so not a problem. Then comes the knight, name unknown , ability unknown, same with the wazirs, Nakul constantly changes his team, so they are unpredictable . Now the real threats that we know of, Pritam, their second in command , but the most dangerous is Nakul, though he looks like show off , he’s quite a pain, his ability , psychic wave, he introduces negative thoughts in a person’s mind causing him to lose his sanity.”
“What ?” Aarav said, completely shocked by what he just heard.“That is...creepy!”
Pranay continued what Aarav was saying, he said,
“Hell is an understatement for what he can actually do. He’s a monster if u ask me. You’ll just jump from a 10 storied building and never know the reason why you did it. But there is a limit to his actions, it depends on how much hatred he has on the person he wants to fill in the negativeness. You know, he’s charged of killing two mortals for the reason that they took his usual seat in his college. ”
“Man, Pranay ,you should start a club or something named ‘how to scare your teammate’. “Aarav said.
Reva shook her head in frustration and said,
" Be serious , he’s telling the truth, we can’t loose any teammate. Anyways, if u spot him anywhere on the field , try hiding in dark places where the sight can be blocked.”
Everybody nodded and so the fight began. Each of them were given special stones by Megha which could be used for communicating .
As planned Pranay and Mayank left for the children’s playing area immediately, and after fifteen minutes they were back in the tent. Mayank had got a pretty nasty cut across his arm and his back. Pranay said,
" Knight, Kumar was his name, ability , wind control but untrained, put up quite a fight, i was knocked unconscious by his breath wind . He chocked me to death without even touching, so Mayank had to fight the guy, and you know Mayank’s ability, shockwave , his ass got shocked and so we won.”
Mayank felt weak and so Megha had to apply an ointment over his wounds, so was ought to take rest. Reva said,
" That bastard Nakul, he knew we’d be attacking there first, so he gave only one of them. Anyways, we can’t lose time and members anymore, Megha and freak , you’re up next. Go, quick !”
Aarav was running with Megha towards the Lover’s benches, and they reached there, but to their surprise there was’nt anyone from the opponent’s team, so as a result, they had to wait for them.
Aarav and Megha hid on a nearby tree, and were observing when Aarav asked,
" So Megha ,how many matches have you played totally ?”
" Four till date, official i mean, one draw , one loss and two wins.” She said.
" So what exactly happens when a team loses? ” Aarav asked.
" That depends on the winning team, if they are willing to let you rule , then that’s it, or they can trade in some players. Or the worst case scenario, death !”
" You people are surely dangerous” But she ignored his reply as they heard Reva speak in the runestone.
She said in a hurried voice, ” The tent is being attacked, Mayank is still unconscious , Pranay and i are trying to hold them back, its the wazirs, they’re too strong, one can summon trees to his command and other one spits acid. Megha, if we loose contact, you’re in command. So...”
She couldn’t complete the sentence , she was cut off.
Megha spoke, ” That’s bad, we had’nt expected this...”
" Wait a minute , i didn’t know we could raid tents!” said Aarav , completely clueless.
Megha looked at his face and said, “I knew it from the beginning this would happen , this is allowed only in real battles. That asshole cheated us. Aarav we need to win this at any cost, or you will loose your clan even before starting your journey! Its all on us now, so follow as i say. Change of plans, we will have to conquer the lake first, before the tent raid ends, or else they will team up and instead of two we will have to fight six of them! Come on ,NOW!”
She jumped from the tree and Aarav started following her, he was clueless about what she was saying but he had known her for some time now, and so he knew that she was a worthy leader.
Running side by side, he asked her,
“Megha, what about the play area and benches?”
“We cant go back , we’ll lose a lot of time in doing that, instead we’ll capture the lake, the court and the forest area...” she said.
" The twins are at the lake, wazirs at the tent, what about the other two?” he asked .
“If we are lucky enough, Pritam and Nakul won’t be there , and as to the twins, i’ll handle them myself, you bulk your strength for the big-bulls.”
Aarav didn’t ask twice ,he simply nodded and finally they reached the lake and Megha asked him to run around the area and hide near the path leading to the forest area.
He hid in a place where he could clearly observe the fight and also if needed he could help at any moment.
He saw that Megha simply walked near the shore of the lake, the twins who looked skinny and short , were sitting or as if waiting for her. Megha didn’t waste her time speaking she simply started kicking their asses with her deadly nun-chucks.
Though the twins looked weak , they weren’t giving Megha a chance for a full contact, they were using their hands and using them , they were throwing heavy blows of water towards her.
They threw many gushers, but finally they looked tired. So at that moment ,the twins held their hands and with the hands that were free they created a very huge ball and threw it in Megha’s direction.
And Aarav saw that the moment the ball was inches away from their hands , they ran after it. Suddenly he knew what they were upto. Without thinking , he ran in their direction, pulled out his bracelet which turned into his sword , and yelled ,
“MEGHA JUMP HIGH , ITS A DOUBLE ATTACK!”
The twins were caught by surprise seeing him so suddenly, but it was too late , Megha had already jumped up high, and had pulled out a stone and threw it with all her might. The moment it came in contact with the ground it exploded, sending one of them into the air , but the other twin used that impact to jump and run away, but saw that Aarav was coming in that direction itself.
So she used her weapon, which was a small mace, started waving it madly in Aarav’s direction , Aarav got slip past her mace, and hit her in the back with a strong kick. She fell unconscious and Aarav said,
“Sorry, i don’t usually hit girls, but u know....clan at stake and all.”
He could hear heavy footsteps of Megha coming towards him.
“Stop talking to an unconscious body you, idiot! And run, we don’t have time”
He started running with her and he said,
“Gosh, i thought you’d thank me, anyways , no need...”
She sounded angry , her tone could clearly be recognized,
“How many times should i tell you Aarav, do only what you are asked! There was no need for you to run in their direction. Anyways..”
But she couldn’t complete her sentence. She stopped dead in her tracks and was looking ahead of them. Aarav stopped too, and saw that they had reached the tennis court. But that was not what had stopped them , what stopped them was standing right in front them.
It was the largest thing which Aarav had ever seen , that could stand on two legs.
The ...thing was glaring at them with its red eyes . It roared loud sending echoing sounds through the park.
Is it human? No too big.
Then is it a monster? No, too small for that.
Aarav had never seen such a thing in his whole life. The largest thing which he had seen other than the elephant in the zoo, was his neighbour’s dog, which often he got chased by in his childhood. Megha wasn’t in shock, though she did looked a bit scared.
“What the hell is that thing?” Aarav asked her.
“I told you about their second in command right? That’s him for sure.” She replied.
“Uh....Megha , i also remember Mayank saying to run hell if we see it , shouldn’t we do that?” he asked completely scared as hell.
“I know , but we have to face it anyway....”
At that moment , Reva’s voice could be heard from the communication stone, she was panting, she said,
“Calm down Reva ....“Megha said. There was silence where Reva’s long breaths could be heard. Finally she spoke,
“The wazirs are down , but they took out Pranay and Mayank , i’m using Pranay’s stone , what are the updates?”
“The twins are down too , but ...” Megha said,
“But what? And i guess you’ve figured out this was that asshole Nakul’s plan right ?” Reva asked.
“Um...Megha that thing is getting angry.....” Aarav said as a loud roar could be heard.
Reva too heard it, she asked, “What the hell was that? Don’t tell me...”
“Yeah, its Pritam alright , and he’s acting like a monster. Reva listen , you go to the forest area and don’t engage , we’ll handle here as fast as we can , okay?” Megha said.
" Yeah” and the line was cutoff.
Megha and Aarav looked ahead of them and still the beast was glaring and roaring like a mad.
“Why the hell isn’t he attacking ?” Aarav asked.
“I think he’s storing up , the more he waits , the more his ability is under control! If we attack, he’ll tear us up and if we don’t, we’ll have to face an even more angry beast. What do you think should we do?” she asked.
“Bloody hell, i don’t know. But i would attack rather than giving him the first chance.” Aarav answered.
Megha smiled and said,
“Thought you’d say that. Listen, here’s what we’ll do, i’ll engage and when he’s weak enough , you start giving blows faster and powerful with each blow at exactly one spot, and try not to cut him up if u can. Understood?”
“Megha, are u mad? If u charge at him alone , he’ll get an open chance to pin you to the ground and what if u die with the impact?”
“Ha...look who’s speaking, you can take me , Mayank and Pranay head on and and you’re telling me to play defence? And don’t worry about dying, if u haven’t noticed , the whole area is under non-killable charm, it’ll just make your ability null and void if u try and kill your opponent. ”
“I don’t know what the hell your saying , but what i know is if we lose you now, it’ll be hard to get past Nakul, and even if we somehow succeed , i don’t have a clue what that Bastard Nakul is!”
She faced him and placed a hand on his cheek, and said,
“Listen , Aarav, a warrior doesn’t loose a battle when he is defeated or overpowered by his opponent, a warrior loses when he loses faith in himself. Now do as i say, or I’ll kick your butt before i kick that beast”
He looked at her and the next moment he knew , she ran and the beast too charged at her, when it was inches away, she did a 360 degree flip and landed a heavy shot at his head. The impact made the beast to fall face to the ground. But the beast was back on foot in a minute. He charged back , Megha dodged and hit straight at his face.
He growled loudly and covered his face, and surprisingly he grew larger . blow after blow, the beast was getting himself kicked, he grew larger and larger , but the plan completely failed. Instead of the beast , Megha now looked tired.
Aarav couldn’t stand watching anymore , his hands had started itching .he said,
“Megha ,he’s growing larger after every hit ! You cant keep on attacking him , try something else!”
An idea flashed Aarav’s mind he said loudly,
“Megha , can u create a wall like the one you did while recruitment?”
Megha was shocked to hear it, she hadn’t thought about it at all. At that moment she looked at Aarav , but she was blown in the air, by the now even bigger beast.
Aarav ran to her direction, and on the way he pulled out his bracelet and now held Galade in his hand. He quickly ran, missing the beast by a foot and quickly helped her out.
“Are you okay?” He asked her.
“Broken bone , but yeah , you’re idea can be worked out , but you will have to listen to what i have to say! I will create the wall and hold him for as long as i can, but in the mean time , you will have to defeat Nakul . If the king is defeated then we win by default, and you have to do it quick .“she said.
“But what about you? Look at you, you’re not strong enough, and i can’t leave you alone!“. Aarav asked her.
She looked at his tensed face,and said,
“Listen Aarav, if u are not willing to do this, then you’re disobeying your commander. Please...”
Aarav looked at her and said,
“Alright, do whatever you want! I don’t care !”
And he simply ran towards the forest area, he could hear the loud uproars of Pritam. When he could clearly see the area , he saw that Reva was facing a skinny looking guy, who could clearly be distinguished even in a crowd.
That pervertish face and those greedy eyes , not to mention the silky hair, it was definitely Nakul.
Aarav screamed and said,
“REVA, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK ARE YOU DOING?”
He went close and saw that she was holding her hands to her head and mumbling,
“No....i cant ....im useless, i want to die right now...”
Aarav saw her face and saw that she was crying .
“Reva what are u talking ? Why do u want to die?”
She didn’t hear him, instead she turned and looked him in the face. She said,
“Aarav , i don’t want to die, please...”
She hugged him and started weeping in his arms. Aarav faced Nakul and asked,
“What the hell did you do to her , you asshole?!”
Nakul laughed a devilish laugh and said,
“Look who it is, i,m honoured to finally meet you Aarav! Join me now, and don’t suffer what she is going through! And if u don’t know, Reva cares for you , you know?”
“What the hell are u even saying ?! Not in hell will i join a betraying son-of-a-bitch like you!”
“Ah...looks like you need to learn to mind your language.”
Both his hands were in his pockets , he pulled one hand out and snapped a finger. Aarav’s head had begun to hurt, all his memories came back to him, how he was bullied, how he would weep in the school toilet, how his head was once sticked inside the toilet seat, how he would cry on his birthdays locked up in his room, everything.
“STOP IT! STOP!” Aarav cried.
“I never would have done it if i wanted to stop! Ill defeat you first, then win over Mauryan clan , and then i’ll marry the beautiful Reva!”
He again laughed .
Aarav was struggling , his head was going to blow if this didn’t stop. His sword fell out of his hand and he fell to the ground with both hands on his head. Reva fell unconscious beside him.
Memories spun , he saw his father’s body in the morgue, his grandmother’s dead body spread on the floor of his house. Then he saw himself being stabbed by a girl whose body was on fire. He felt her hot lips on his , and searing pain when the dagger cut though his chest.
He saw a million people being slaughtered in front of him. Aarav forced himself to snap out of it. He tried his best but failed, he could hear Nakul’s demonic laugh ,
He said,“Reva just say that you love me, and i’ll spare all your lives, but not this Aarav’s ! if anybody deserves to die , its you , you bloody filth. Suddenly you appear out of nowhere and join the clan, and not only that, my love , Reva , she cares about you and not me!”
Aarav wasn’t getting a word what Nakul was saying.
“Stop it, Nakul. I don’t know what u are saying, but if u really love her , then don’t hurt her!”
Aarav tried opening his eyes, he failed. He tried thinking about something else, he tried thinking about how his mother loves him, but one part of his mind that was controlled by Nakul thought
She lied to you for 17 years
“No she loves me!” Aarav screamed.
“Looks like its taking effect!“Nakul said.
He thought about how Pranay always helped him out , but the controlled part said,
Where was he when he getting yourself bullied by that Mayank?
Aarav remembered about his first kiss with Disha, but the other part said
If she really likes you, then why did she wait for so long?
“She was just unsure about how i would act!” Aarav screamed back.
“STOP IT! I SAID STOP!”
As if his mind heard his cry , everything stopped , even the demonic laughter of Nakul. A very powerful lightning struck right beside Nakul and Aarav tried opening his eyes and saw a masked guy holding Nakul’s neck in one hand and a blue coloured sword in the other.
The masked guy said,
“You killed two innocent mortals with your ability, and the punishment for that is DEATH!”
Aarav closed his eyes and opened them again, and saw that blood was fallen all over the ground , a body with no head was lying there , and something rolled towards him. He couldn’t see what it was , but the masked guy came towards Aarav and bent down, he said,
“You are strong, the Priest was right. We’ll meet again”
And the next thing he knew , he was lying on the soft bed in his room at Reva’s place.