“Are they all...dead?” Reva asked as all of them were looking at the randomly fallen bodies of the people of the Phoenix kingdom’s city.
Megha bent down and pulled out a rune stone from her side purse like bag , and dropped it on the ground , where it puffed . Then she closed her eyes and placed her hand on the dry ground .
“Some are , some aren’t .“She said.“But i feel most are in an intermediate state, similar to coma. Though some are still fine.”
“How far can you sense?“Aarav asked her.
“1km radius...roughly.” Megha answered.
According to the map of the city the commander of the Mauryan army had shown him , the main palace was in the centre of the city , which was nowhere in the 1km radius .
“Guys , we have to hurry.“Pranay said.“We can’t stand wasting time here.”
“No, we first need to know what happened here . The commander said there’s a safe house after 5 streets , we have to go there. There’s a chance that we can find atleast one person whose not in the coma.“Reva said.
All of them pulled over their black cloaks and they started moving towards the city. They never encountered a person who was awake. Wherever the eyes went , all they saw were living corpses. Some bodies, as Megha had said , were lifeless and had began decomposing . Crows were all over the place , having their share on the corpses.
“Looks like this hasn’t happened today.“Mayank said.“Atleast 4 days , looking at the condition in which the corpses are.”
“This place sucks...“Reva complained. “...and stinks.“Pranay added.
“This has to be black magic.“Megha said, “And a powerful one at that. Taking a whole city at once , we’re facing someone very strong.”
Aarav closed his eyes and murmured ,”Vishuddha Chakra...” Using this , he could hear far off distances clearly. He heard footsteps , coming closer and closer every minute.
“Aarav? What happened?“Reva asked holding his arm.
“Footsteps...“He told them,“...atleast 10 people coming closer as we speak.”
“How did you...“Reva had began asking, but Megha cut her off and said.
“That’s not important right now . We need to hide , we can’t be exposed . And guys remember , we are not gonna indulge them.”
They split up , Aarav and Reva in one alleyway , Mayank in the one opposite to them , Megha and Pranay in another. No sooner did they hide , the footsteps became heavy and audible to everyone.
“I see 13.“Aarav heard Mayanak say from the communication rune stone .
“Same here.“Megha agreed.“We'll wait till they go.”
Aarav saw them too , but not all , only 8 of them were visible from where they were standing.
All of the people came and stood over the rooftops and some were standing near the shops in the streets.
“Delicious ...just look at these melons .“Someone said , a woman.
“Stop that , Rose . We aren’t here to taste fruits.“A man with a heavy voice said.“Keep your guard up. Especially you Kevan and rupert, you’re the guys with the horns .”
“Chill, boss , just chill. Who exactly do you think we’re facing here? ” Another woman said.
“Guys, we have to stay alert.“Aarav whispered in the stone .“They have reinforcements.”
“Right.“Megha and Pranay said.
“Got it.“Mayank said.
“What?“Aarav asked her.
“How about we continue what we had started?”
“What do you mean?”
“Dumbass, i mean the kiss...”
“Reva , are you crazy? We’re in the middle of a mission here. A single sound and we’ll be-” Aarav couldn’t complete it. She leaned in and kissed him. He couldn’t stop himself , so he too kissed her back, but again pushed her away.
“Reva , don’t do that again. Why now anyway?” He asked her.
“You look different when you are determined ,and i like that.“She whispered back.
“Get a hang of yourselves , love birds.“Aarav heard Pranay say.
“Bloody hell, the stone’s on?” Aarav hissed.
“You two are such a lovely couple.“Megha added.
“Uh...guys, we’re on a mission here. ” Mayank said.
“Yeah , on a mission , not on your honeymoon to make out in an alleyway...“Pranay said , while Megha giggled.
“Alright, Reva ....“Aarav said , holding the stone as away from himself as possible,“...don’t do that again, till we’re out of this mess.” Reva just smiled and blushed away.
Aarav, though surprised was happy deep inside . He was smiling his face off .
Glad they can just hear ...He thought.
Something happened , something deadly and similar , in his brain. He was feeling an urge to kill. He turned his eyes to look at Reva , he felt calmer , but the urge didn’t go back. He turned to see at the people following them , his urge heightened .
Kill them all! , the voice in his brain said. Spare none!
He held his hands to his head to lower the throbbing . But it was no good .
“No....stop!“He whispered to himself.
“Aarav? Are you alright?“Reva asked.
“Stop!“He said , in an even smaller whisper.
Reva placed her hand on his back , and that seemed to calm him down a little. With all his will , he said,
“Reva...get away from me.”
“Aarav , what’re you saying?”
“Reva...listen to me. I’ll hurt you, please , get away.”
“Guys?” Megha said from the stone,“What’s going on?”
“Reva...please , i beg you.. stay away."Aarav pleaded to her , pressing his hand to his head.
“Aarav...calm down. I know you won’t hurt me.“Reva said.“Just calm down, okay?” She placed her hand on his cheek now . Aarav was feeling worse now, he snatched her hand and pushed her away.
“Did you hear that?” One of the woman among the attackers said.
“Hear what?“Asked another.
“Voices...from the alleyways.“She said.“I’ll better check out...Boss?”
“Go on, but keep your guard up...and take two more.“A heavy voice replied. Aarav heard a thump in the alleyway they were hiding , and then footsteps coming close.
“Reva...“Aarav said,“I don’t have control over myself . Please , someone’s coming , get away from me...I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Aarav , i don’t know what’s going on with you and i don’t care if you hurt me. I’ll stand by your side.”
The pain was gone and anger took over his brain . He was angry now , his head stopped throbbing .
“I SAID GET AWAY!” He yelled and saw fear in Reva’s eyes . Slowly she started sliding away from him. A tear rolled down her eye.
“Who’s there?” The same woman called to them , her and her companions’ footsteps getting close every second. Aarav turned and before he knew , he had his sword, Vajra, in his hand. In the blink of an eye , its tip was at the woman’s throat , a drop of blood trickled down her neck .
“One sound and you’re dead.” He warned her.“Ask your men to go back to the terrace .”
She gulped and with a weak voice she said, “Guys , everything’s alright here . I’ll come...in a minute.”
Megha and Mayank’s voices could continuously be heard from the stone , but Aarav ignored them .
“What is going on here?” Aarav asked her.
“Its a coma spell , cast by ...” She couldn’t complete the sentence . Aarav pulled his sword away , and punched her in the face .
“I asked what is going on, not anything else.“He said.
With a thud , she was down . And before he knew , her companions were jumping in the alleyway from the roofs to check for the source of the sound.
Aarav put his sword back on his wrist and said ,”Water style, fist of water...”
He heard louder noises from the communication stone . He even heard a voice inside him that was urging him not to use it , but his senses were blinded by the urge to kill. With a swift , he was on them , one after the other , he heard bone cracks as his palm hit the opponents’ chests , with loud moans and grunts they were falling to their deaths . He wanted them to die , but his other side of the brain was stopping him from killing them .
You are weak ..., He yelled to it, The weak are meant to die.
No, stop this...give me my body back., the voice yelled back to him. In front of him, 10 bodies were lying on their faces . 3 were standing above . And 2 of them were definitely the ones with the horns to call for reinforcements . He wanted them to call more , so that he could kill even more , but the other part of his brain was telling him to stop them from blowing the horns .
So he jumped , and snatched the horns and broke them to bits by smashing them with his foot , and two more fists to knock the users . He turned , and saw a big man , with a brownish beard was trembling on his foot and fear could be seen in his eye .
“You’re a...monster. You killed them all.“He said.
“Yes i am!” Aarav told him. But the voice inside yelled,
NO, I’M NOT.GO AWAY...
"Thunder style , fist of glowing thunder...” He joined his hands and slowly moved them around him , and they started glowing and burning his skin. He ran and was about to attack the man . The bearded man held his long sword with trembling hands . Aarav’s fist passed through the sword , breaking it to bits . When he was about to touch the man’s chest , when the voice said...
Stop... you’ll kill him . Please , go away.
“I SAID STOP!” Aarav heard his voice.
His head started throbbing again , and immense pain , but it was cooling down . His urge was getting weak , and the pain made him close his eyes.
Finally he felt himself at ease , so he opened them again . He was holding his palm near the man’s chest, inches away . The impact , though hadn’t made contact , but the power had tore away the man’s armour to reveal his hairy chest with a darkened skin at the centre just in front of his palm.
The man was knocked unconscious and Aarav fell on his knees .
He was feeling worse , but he knew that he hadn’t killed anyone. He felt a warm hand on his back , and turned to see Reva , Megha , Pranay and Mayank looking at him . Reva smiled at him .
But he knew that she was scared , it was clearly visible on her face .
“I’m ...sorry.“Aarav told her .“I shouldn’t have hurt you.”
“You didn’t .“She said.“I got hurt because of my stubbornness , you told me to stand back , but i didn’t listen .”
“Why does this keep happening to you?“Pranay asked him,“One moment you were happy and blushing , and the next moment you merely controlled yourself from killing them.”
“Aarav, why is this happening?“Megha asked,“You shouldn’t hide anything from us . You said yourself that we’re family to you. You can tell us.”
Aarav looked at his ‘family’ and pulled his bracelet away from his hand .
“This...is the reason.”
“You’re new sword?”
“Its not an ordinary sword...its the sword of silver you’re looking at.”