PAST STORIES AND SECRETS
It was completely dark when Aarav opened his eyes . All around him, the place was damp and wet . And he was feeling tingling all over his body , like a warm liquid flowing. He tried moving , but fell even deeper .
I would’ve seen clearly if i was blind, he thought looking at the dark in front of him . Slowly the place was becoming smaller , the warm liquid which was like tickle , was growing hotter by the minute . It had begun to itch , his whole body was itching . He tried to scream , but tasted the weird liquid on his tongue that hurt when touched .
Wherever he was ,it was churning . The liquid was burning more and more , his body as if shrinking , getting stuffed in a box . The liquid touched his eye and it burnt like hell .
Then he realized that the liquid was acid , slowly pouring in his blood . He couldn’t bare it , it was too much .
His body was burning , eyes hurting and tongue was numb .
He closed his eyes tight , but then....
Something happened in his chest , as if his body was being controlled by someone else .
His body was heating up even more , but this time , he felt calm , as if the new heat was cooling the acid’s heat . Then someone spoke , a divine voice , not the hissing of the serpent ,
It said , ”Sword’s dance.”
He felt blue and white light within the darkness of his eye-lids , and the next moment he was free , floating in the air that had a scent of blood , fire and burning flesh .
The divine voice inside his body said ,
"Vritra , how dare you come back ? Now , the only punishment i give you is death.” .
He then heard the serpent’s hiss , ”Lord , no , please , mercy....” It hissed ,”I did not come here on my will , i was brought ....”
Aarav opened his eyes and he was no more in the cave , he was somewhere else . There was nothing here except white light , then a figure came walking towards him , he was wearing a green cloak . He joined his hands and said ,
“You saved me .I was foolish to accept the demon’s offer , please forgive me.”
“Who are you?” Aarav asked .
“I am the king of the Serpent village , and i was blinded by power . Please forgive me. ” He took Aarav’s hand and placed a coin in his palm , a silver coin .
“I was destined to be saved by you , great one , and as a token of your kindness , this is what i was to give you...Now i take your leave.” He bowed once again and left . Aarav saw the coin in his hand , when he heard a familiar voice .
“Wake up!” It said , “Now!”
He was shook awake , and when Aarav opened his eyes , he saw two people staring down at him , Master Blade and Master Bheema .
He sat right up . And looked around , he was back in the cave , and the enormous carcass of the serpent was fallen some distance away , its head was nowhere to be seen .Then he looked at himself , he had something in his fist , a metallic substance . He opened it and saw that it was the same coin the king of the serpent village had given him.
But that was a dream! He thought.
“W-w-what happened ?” Aarav asked in a trembling voice .
“From what i see ...” Said Master Bheema ,“...You've slain the bloody reptile all by yourself .”
“I ...what?” Aarav didn’t know what was going on .
“Aarav , are you alright?” Blade asked him .
No , you old hag , how can i be ?
“Yes ,i’m fine , who killed the monster?” Aarav asked them .
Master Bheema gave a puzzled look , while Master Ashwa was expressionless .
“You dont remember ?” Bheema asked .“Damn , boy , you’re something else . And what is it in your hand? ...Don’t tell me its...”
“Yes it is, its the three coin treasure’s second coin , you killed the serpent Aarav .Now first lets get out , this place won’t be safe anymore...” Ashwa(Blade) said .
Aarav tried getting up , but he fell on his knees . He was too weak to stand , so Master Bheema , with ease , carried him outside the cave . When they finally reached the opening , Master Ashwa handed him Galade , and made him drink some liquid .
It gave a cool sensation in his throat and only then did he feel a bit better .
“Where’s Chirayu?” Master Ashwa asked .
“He...ran away.” Aarav said in a small voice.
“What? That old git , how could he?” Master Bheema was looking angry. “Let him run , a coward always a coward , now boy , tell me , how did you kill the serpent ?”
“Spare the details for later on , Bheema , we should head back to the serpent village ."
After returning , Aarav was treated by the serpent village doctors , and he slept for a whole day . Master Bheema was hell bent on knowing how Aarav had killed the serpent , so he formed a cock-and-bull story about how he used this and that technique and confused the snake , and it ended up biting its own tail , which was poisonous even to its body , so its head exploded and it died .
Though Master Bheema was not satisfied , he didn’t push any further for details as Master Ashwa wanted Aarav to rest .
So finally after three days , Master Bheema bid him good-bye and said that he would surely kill Master Chirayu , and also invited Aarav to his town .
The serpent village was free once again , a new king was throned and all the work was back to normal there , so after resting , they waited for a fortnite for the door to open and Master Ashwa and Aarav left the village of serpents and back through the underground path of the lake .
They were camping in one of the forests on their way to their next destination , and sitting by the fire having their supper . Master Ashwa hadn’t spoken much since they had left the village of serpents.
Finally he said,
“Its good you didn’t tell Bheema about it.”
“About what?” Aarav asked .
“Sword’s dance , what else. I know youvused that inside the snake . And also now you own two coins.”
“But...how do you know i can use it? Only my clan members know about it. And how do you know of the coin? ”
“Boy , do you know who had asked me to train you? It was the Priest himself . And the Priest knows everything , present ,past and sometimes even the future. And as about the coin mystery, you heard about the legend that goes in the east?.”
“Legend? Is it about the freeing a soul and about the parts of sword , is that it?”
“You’ve heard it then. ”
“Yeah , i heard it from the trader who brought me the land of the sun. Is it true then?”
“Yeah. It talks about a warrior , and that’s absolutely you , no doubt. You freed a demon from its cages , then you freed a pure soul who had lost its track, that’s the serpent . And each of it gave you a coin, am i right?”
“Those coins aren’t any normal coins , Aarav . When Lord Silver died , the worlds got divided once again , and because of that , or maybe its the other way , i dont know , his sword got divided too, into four parts , one part was found and forged as a hilt of the sword , and that sword is in your wrist as a bracelet...”
“Yes. The other three parts which took the form of coins , were lost . The demon you freed , i dont know how it had the first coin , but it did , and now you have it . The second coin was with Vritra , and the third coin is in the place where we’re headed.”
“Where are we headed?”
“You’ll know soon enough . But let me tell you boy , once you get all the four pieces , you will finally be the master of the Sword of Silver. And that sword has to be forged and that is no normal sword , it beholds many secrets and mysteries and according to the predictions made by astrologers , the person who yields the sword of silver is the seventh incarnation . ”
“But , Shiba is the seventh incarnation , shouldn’t she be the one with the sword?”
“I dont know , maybe or maybe not . ”
“So who exactly are the incarnations?”
“From olden days , the worlds are being held together by legendary beings known as the incarnations . They all belong to a certain bloodline .Silver was the sixth , but once he died , all fell apart. ”
“So does that mean , I can be...”
“I told you i don't know , its just a prediction . All the answers lie with only one guy , The Priest. He’s your man.”
“Where can I find him?”
“Nobody knows , some say nobody can find him. He finds you...”
“But how do you know him?”
" I was a normal teenager , going on his normal life . But i decided i should become something , that’s when i met him , the Priest. He taught me everything , but i was a mere mortal , what could i possibly do? ...”
“You’re a mortal?”
“Yeah, funny right? But he didn’t give up , he taught me all he could , and in return asked me 2 favours . One , he asked me to train someone .You know him as Lord Silver ...”
“Yes, and that’s not it. I was a peace maker between the mortals and you people , but one day , the Priest , the same guy whom i admired , whom i treated like the father i never had , betrayed me. He said i was turning the mortals against your people , so without any proof , the same student whom i once taught , sent men to kill me , but instead , they killed my 16 year old daughter and my wife . From that day i swore to kill every person from this filthy world of Black and White who dared kill a mortal , from that day , i came to be known as ‘The Justice Blade’...”
Aarav was speechless. How can someone bare the loss of loved ones? This always smiling , always kind and strict old man , had so much trouble in his life . He saw a tear roll down his white beard in the splinters of the burning hearth .
“I’m sorry...” was what Aarav managed to say.
“I made up my mind to never see the Priest again . But a year ago , he comes to me , and tells me that i should help another useless boy to train . And i agreed , giving up my self-respect and pride.
‘It is for the greater good!’ he said .Well , what can we do , past is past . Buckle up boy , sleep this night , and at the brink of dawn , we will head out , and that’s it . I’m free of you , and all you filthy people . ”
Aarav wasn’t in the mood of eating , after realizing that the old man had ended up , though not purposefully , but blamed him for giving up his self-respect. But he rather not face the old man’s wrath when he knows he’s wasted food , so reluctantly he stuffed the food in his mouth , and went to sleep.
Dreams haunted his peaceful sleep , he was running in the same corridor with black and white doors , Shiba running ahead of him .
“You couldn’t save me...” She said .
She changed , she was now the woman who looked like his mother , but he knew it wasn’t her .
“Save me...” She wept . Aarav tried to reach her , but bars fell in between him and the woman . The scene changed , he was lying on the field , the flaming woman , Shubhanka was back , she said ,
“I always loved you...but i was born for this...” and she kissed him . He felt her hot lips on his , then a dagger in his chest.
And as always , that was the end of his sleep.
In the morning , at the brink of dawn , as Ashwa had said , they left towards their next destination . He felt he was going through a similar route, but he kept his thought to himself .
Then finally at around mid afternoon , they finally reached the borders of an enormous town. Then he saw it , shining in the sun light , bright with old stones of marble , large as ever ,
THE MAURYAN PALACE.