“So you find a girl , helpless, unconscious , you defeat the bad guys , save her and bring her right here , where we are trying to have some peace from that idiotic couple party?” said Mayank , looking at the girl who was sleeping on the couch in the hall of Reva’s home.
“Any better ideas?” Aarav asked them ,“I couldn’t leave her, i mean...look at her...i did the first thing that came to my mind.”
Megha said, “Well, its good you brought her here , but the house isn’t safe , and guessing she isn’t mortal, it cant be safe for us too.”
“What do u mean?” Aarav asked her.
“She means , if she turns out to be a fugitive , we will be banished from the mortal world for hiding her . The authorities will need explanations !“said Mayank.
“Listen...“Megha said, “Let her be here this night , and we’ll see about this tomorrow. Okay?”
Aarav and Mayank nodded. Megha continued,“So Aarav how was the so called ,‘couple party’?”
“Literally a waste of time...Reva and Disha started a war there.“Aarav said. But hearing Disha’s name woke them up, Mayank said, “Wait a minute, Disha was there ? What was that bitch doing there?”
“Hey, Mayank ,language ! She’s my girlfriend.“Aarav said .
“You’re dating?” “Disha’s your Girlfriend?” both of them said at the same time.
“What the hell is your problem with Disha? I don’t get it! Even Reva acted like an ass at the party , and Disha was no less. And Reva was accusing Disha for murder .What the hell is going on? And that’s why i got mad and went to the park...SHIT IT!”
He just cut the conversation and went upstairs to his room to sleep. For a long time Aarav tried sleeping , but failed miserably ,so he stared at the plastered ceiling , thinking about the girl , about what miseries could she have underwent. Finally sleep took over him. He again had the same dream about throne room, then about the battlefield , then finally ended up waking up when Shubhanka stabbed him in his chest after giving him a flaming kiss on his lips.
He saw that the time was 3:00 in the morning , he couldn’t sleep anymore, so he went downstairs to have a look at the girl. She was still asleep, so he thought of training for some time with his sword.
He was about to enter the training room beneath the stairs , when he heard someone sobbing. It was surely a female , he followed the voice and ended up in front of Reva’s room. He thought for a moment, whether or not he should disturb her , but then he heard her speak,
“Mother , i can’t, how can someone make anyone fall for them? He isn’t a boy like who we had thought , he’s kind hearted , but stubborn.”
Then a woman’s voice could be heard,
“Revathi, i don’t want excuses...”
At that moment , Aarav who was just listening to what was the conversation , his leg slipped and he fell , pushing the door open, “Shit....i ...wasnt eavesdropping! I just was passing by .”
He saw that Reva was sitting on a chair facing a mirror which was showing a woman wearing a grand dress , in her early forties , with a beautiful and radiant face, that was so much like Reva’s face .
She said, “So we finally meet Aarav. I was trying to contact you! Please , have a seat.”
“No..no...please. I wasn’t meaning to interrupt ....” Aarav said .
“Aarav....sit!” Reva said in a commanding voice. Suddenly, as if his hands and legs moved by themselves, next moment he knew he was sitting beside Reva on a chair.
The woman gave a huge smile and said,“So, Aarav is it? Nice to meet you, I’m Subhadra ...Queen of the Mauryas in the Black kingdom, its really a pleasure meeting you!”
“Its a pleasure too.” Reva kicked him under the chair, so he said,“...your highness....i mean...”
The queen gave a high pitched laugh and said, “Your’e such a gentleman, i would never expect less from someone who so bravely saved my princess...”
“Actually i didn’t....” Aarav tried to say , but got another kick so shut himself up.
“Aarav , i just wanted to thank you for saving Revathi, i want to have a ceremony to award you for your bravery.So i want you to come to the grand feast on the upcoming monday ....that’s all ...and by the way hope you are taking good care of him , Reva!”
She said and the mirror went back to normal. Reva hung her head , her eyes still red after the sobbing.
She said, “Aarav...I’m....”
Aarav stood up and started walking out of the room, on his way ,without turning he said,
“Reva , i don’t want your apology, but yes , i just wanted to say, that i never wanted to get involved in the Black and White shit, but now as i have no other option i have to. But if u can , just stay out of my personal life!”
And he simply walked away to the room.
Aarav trained till 6 and after freshening up he headed downstairs to see Megha standing over the girl , who looked scared as hell.
The moment the girl saw Aarav she ran and hid behind him, and was peeking and looking at Megha.
Aarav took the girl’s hand and made her sit on the couch facing him, he asked her,
“Are u okay? Did u have enough sleep?”
The girl nodded . Aarav continued,
“Are u hungry?” she nodded again. Megha said , “On it...” and headed to the kitchen.
“I’m Aarav , nice to meet you!”
“I’m Shiba...where am i?”
“That’s a ...funny name . Anyways ,You’re safe now , okay? No need to fear , everyone here is good . Now...“Aarav said as softly as he could.
“I’m all dirty” the girl said , showing her bruised hands and face.
“I’ll help you out with that!” Said Reva , suddenly coming out of nowhere. Shiba got scared and again ran behind Aarav to hide and started peeping .
“You scared her. Okay , so Shiba , she is Reva, i cant help you in cleaning you up , so she will help. Okay?” Aarav said again turning himself to face Shiba .
“No, why cant you bath me ? i don’t want anyone else helping me out...“Shiba said with twinkling eyes.
Aarav held both her hands and smiled , and said, “See, i’m a boy, so i can’t help you. Reva will help you out ! ”
Shiba thought for a while and finally nodded , and went to have a bath with Reva.
Pranay entered and he was looking tired , He said,
“Man...i got wasted yesterday, but the night was wild!“he said with a smirk on hid face.
“What the hell are u saying?”
“You’re brother got Laid !”
“What? Weren’t you drunk? And who the hell hooked up with you?”
“Apoorva , ofcourse! Everyone had left the party , but i was still there . I don’t know how, but when i woke up late at night, she was sleeping beside me ...naked!”
Something fell behind them . They turned and saw Megha was standing staring at Pranay , with whatever breakfast she had in her hand , completely strewn on the floor .
She looked embarrassed , and neither of the boys knew why. She bent down, picked up a broken porcelain , and threw it straight at Pranay’s face and simply walked back to the kitchen. It missed his face by inches and Megha never missed a shot.
“What...happened?” Pranay asked.
“Tell me if u get to know.”
At that moment Reva came running, with her sleeves folded and hands wet , she was huffing , she said,
“Aarav....you..should see this....Shiba ....she....”
“What happened to her?“Aarav asked , surprised.
She asked him to follow , and he did. She took him to the bathing room , and when he entered , Shiba was sitting in a corner with her hands folded around her knees and a towel wrapped around her .But it was something else that shocked Aarav the most ....the bathtub was completely filled with red coloured water...blood.
All the clan, except Mayank who had gone home for some work he had to attend, was now standing near the bathing room , and Aarav thought that Shiba would feel embarrassed with so many people looking at her while she was not wearing anything other than a towel. So the boys left the room and headed back to the hall, Reva followed them.
Aarav was the first to ask, he said,
“Reva , what happened ?!”
She looked scared , though she made up her courage and said,
“I...was helping her out to take a bath , so i prepared the hot bath, but the moment she entered the tub , the water became red...Shiba got scared and she just ran to the corner!”
“Who’s Shiba ?” Pranay asked.
“Long story, i’ll tell you later. “Aarav told him .
Everybody were sitting in the hall , tensed , till Megha finally came with Shiba who looked somewhat better . Shiba saw Aarav and came running to him and hugged him, she said,
“I’m scared ! The water, it...”
“It’s alright...“Aarav assured her.“...you see this is my friend Pranay , he’ll help you to have breakfast okay?Will you go with him?”
Shiba thought for a moment and finally nodded and went to the restaurant with Pranay.
After she was gone Aarav asked Megha ,“So...why did it happen?”
Megha replied, “I checked to see what caused it...and...it’s a fresh wound. Her leg has two missing fingers , little fingers of both the legs and that’s what caused the blood....”
Aarav was shocked to hear that ,
How could anyone do such a thing? He thought.
“So...what do you think about it?” Reva asked her.
Megha looked tense, she said, “It’s just a guess...but i think it’s blood magic.”
Reva was shocked , Aarav had no clue what that meant , so he asked ,“What does that mean?”
Megha explained, “You see, some spells require tremendous power to do, so blood magic takes that required power through sacrifice.But what would someone want from a little girl?”
“Bloody hell! But what about the pendant she’s wearing?“Aarav asked.
“I have no clue about that , but its inseparable from her body. I tried removing it, but Shiba said it was hurting , so i never tried again. Aarav, I...think its dangerous to keep the girl here ...if she is really a part of a blood magic spell ,then the one who did it will surely be finding her!” Megha said.
“I don’t give a shit about blood magic. All i care about is Shiba...i found her and i will keep her safe . If u people don’t want to help , i have no problem working alone.“Aarav said .
Reva looked at his determined face , and said, “Aarav , i know you’re angry, but when you became a part of the clan, not only you but also your problems became a part . So we will help you , whether or not you need our help...”
Aarav smiled at what she said , then he remembered something he had wanted to ask her ,
“Reva...why were you accusing Disha of killing everybody? Why do you people hate her so much?”
“Not that shit again. I’m going to college ...come whenever you want.“Megha said and headed back to her room.
Reva looked at Aarav said, ” I know it’s your life , and i don’t want to ruin it , but just one thing , stay away from her as much as you can.”
“If i tell you the truth , you can’t handle it. Anyways are u coming to the college today?”
“No. I’ll stay here and keep a watch at Shiba , maybe i’ll show her the town.”
Reva smiled and said, “You know , you look different when you are concerned.”
“What does that mean now ? ” Hs asked her.
“Never mind ....” She answered and turned back.
When everybody was in the college , and as Aarav had decided to stay back with Shiba . He was sitting on the couch facing her,
“So Shiba , tell me something...do u remember anything about your parents?”
“No..i was too small when she took me.”
“Yeah.. right ,small! Youre grown up now aren’t you?...wait a minute who took you?”
“I don’t remember much....but ...” tears rolled down her eyes .
“Okay okay , no need to tell all that now . How about we go the market and bring some goodies for you? How about an ice-cream?”
“What is an ice-cream?”
"What? You....” Aarav felt sad for the poor girl. He felt pity on her , so he said, “It’s a type of....how about we just go and have it, then you see and decide what and how it is? Okay?”
Shiba was wearing Reva’s old clothes , though they were large for her. Aarav made her wear a cap and took her to the town’s central market. Shiba was astonished by whatever she saw , she would stop in midway and stare and anything that passed by, or at the things at a toy shop, or at the people , some would even give her a smile ,and looking at them smile at her , Shiba’s cheeks would turn pink and she would smile back. Aarav would simply smile seeing her happy .
He bought her a chocolate flavoured ice cream bowl, and a new teddy bear, Finally while returning back , they were just a few streets away from Reva’s home when Aarav first felt it.
Someone was following them, he could feel it. He slowly glanced back and saw no one . Shiba noticed the uneasiness on Aarav’s face , she asked,
“Nothing...just stay close , okay?” she nodded and went back to her usual staring game. Quickly Aarav glanced back again, and this time he was sure he saw a silhouette . He didn’t stop though , his first priority was Shiba , and he had to first see that she is safe.
He stopped abruptly, and Shiba was pulled to stop with a jerk. She looked up to Aarav’s face.
Aarav said, “Shiba , listen , when i say , you run straight and turn on the third left , then you take the 4th right and....”
“Left...is it this or this?” She asked him showing her hands.
“Great...okay, no running. You hide behind me , okay?” she nodded.
They again started walking , and this time , Aarav could clearly hear the foot steps, they were not less than 4 people.
When they were about to reach the 2nd left , a woman came walking towards them wearing a black cloak, and a hoodie was covering her face. Aarav stood still and hid Shiba behind him.
The woman came close and Aarav felt Shiba was shivering , he said, “Shiba...there's no need to be afraid . I’m here ...okay?”
She held his arm and was squeezing it.
The woman raised her head and Aarav saw that she had dark brown eyes , an old and wrinkled face , she had markings all over her forehead. She said,
“Shiba darling , come to Mama. Why did u run away from me? Wasn't i treating you good, you notty girl? Come here my sweet cup cake...”
Shiba was shaking like hell. Aarav turned to face Shiba and kneeling to come to her height , he said,
“Shiba, is she your mother? Do you wanna go?”
Shiba looked at him and with tears in her eyes , she shook her head. Aarav stood back up and faced the woman , he said, “She doesn't want to come , now get lost. You’re scaring her!”
“Mind your business boy! You don’t know who your talking to and neither do u know who the girl is. Get out of the way or i will have to kill you ....you’re not even armed..“The woman said, gritting her teeth.
“Think again” Aarav said pulling out his bracelet .
“Looks like you’re a warrior blood, isn’t that a holy sword?” the woman asked him. “No wonder your so confident . But don’t forget boy, swords aren’t what help us win, its the person who is holding it!”
The moment she stopped speaking , a smoke emerged around the woman , and she vanished .
CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!
Aarav heard heavy metal boots , and the next moment he was surrounded by six well built men , holding huge swords.