“Where were you two and Why the hell are you all flushed red?” Megha asked Reva as they were ascending the steps to the hill-top following the other bored looking lazy guards who didn’t even care to look at them , but yet they maintained their distance.
“Flushed red? Me? Not at all . And about the late....well , we were just having some...couple time.“Reva said while Aarav avoided Pranay’s weird gaze.
“You two love birds...“Pranay sighed .“Reva, teenage pregnancy is not good.”
“You asshole...“Reva said as she knuckled his head.“We didn’t do anything like that."
“Uh...shouldn’t we go? We’re getting a bit late don’t you think?“Aarav said , turning red.
With every step , the trident was becoming clearer in view . It was really huge , almost the size of the Mauryan Palace. As the building closed in , Aarav couldn’t believe his eyes,
“How can it be?”
“How can what be?” Pranay asked.
“Its just...no , nothing.” He said .
You’re thinking rubbish. He told himself.
When they were almost 100 steps from the guard post , the huge compound came into view . Aarav was shocked .
“How the hell can that be true?”
“You alright? You’re talking to yourself....“Pranay said.
“Yeah, its really nothing.”
“Mad in love that’s all.“Pranay muttered.
“So , how exactly should we get in?” Reva asked.“We can’t follow the guards , that’s for sure.”
Aarav remembered what he had seen . “Follow me.” Aarav told and didn’t wait for their response .
“Aarav wait !”
He started running as fast as he could through the grass grown beside the steps ignoring his friends’ calls. He ran till he reached the compound and looking around for guards he started tapping his legs near the bottom of the walls. His friends were running behind him , none understanding what he was doing . But he didn’t care right now .
He searched hard but couldn’t find it , then he remembered ,“The cliff!“He said and started walking towards the other end of the trident . He stopped at a corner and looked around for guards , and waited till the guy went away . He quickly reached the trap door and tapped his foot .
“This is it. Guys don’t ask , just get in...” He said and slipped through .
Just as he had expected , he was standing in front of the building numbered 7. He looked back and saw Megha coming in , then Reva , Pranay and last Mayank who need a hand to be pulled out from the door. Aarav was about to get in the building when a hand jerked him backwards.
“What the hell is going on?“Megha asked, “How did you know there was a trap door to get in? I doubt even my brother or father knows about it.”
“Listen ...“Aarav told her holding her shoulders ,” I know its absurd and it was a hunch , but i saw all of this in a dream , just this morning.”
“What ? Dream!?” Pranay asked.
" And going by the dreams i get everyday , my mother is here.“He told them.
“But isn’t your mother at my place in Kamhaan?“Reva asked.
“Not mom , i mean the mother who gave me birth. My real mother , my mom’s younger sister.“Aarav’s blood was pumping high , he was highly excited and at his heels .
“But...“Reva tried to say. But Aarav had already headed towards the back door of the building .
“Let him go. “Megha said.“He’s being selfish for the first time . And besides , i’d do anything just to see my mom. His mother is alive , atleast, and he’s finally going to meet her , just by a jail break-in. Where my mother’s gone , its far more difficult. Let’s go.”
Megha followed him , and the rest too.
“But why aren’t there any guards here?” Pranay asked as they walked in through the back door following Aarav.
“This part of the trident is out of commission .“Megha said.“Usually , harmless and old aged criminals are kept here who have no strength left to escape. ”
“Does that mean Aarav’s real mother is a criminal?“Reva asked lowering her voice for Aarav shouldn’t hear .
“No" .Megha said, “She’s a war-prisoner . ”
“But why? What did my mom do?“Aarav asked.“What threat could a weak woman do? Bloody bastards!”
“Its not like that Aarav. You see , when i saw your mom for the first time , i had suspicions about who your real mother could be. But now , i know who she really is.“Megha said.
Aarav stopped in his tracks and Reva almost bumped into him.
“What the hell are you saying?”
“I should have told this early , i was even planning to , but then you went away.“Megha said.
“Tell me now!"Aarav urged.
“Alright , listen . Your mother was the daughter of the king who ruled before the Phoenix. The Chalukyas. After that , i don't know why and how , but after the Phoenix took control , she was taken prisoner.”
“H-How do you...know all this ? You knew my mother was alive and yet you wait till i figure it out myself? . Why did you?” Aarav said.
“Aarav , i’m sorry...” Megha said.“My brother told this to me . He had almost taken permission to even free her , but then his term as commander ended here and he couldn’t do a thing . And if all i said is true , then you’re the last remaining heir to the throne of the Phoenix . I thought that if i told this to anyone , you’d be in danger...and i didn’t even have a single hint that all along you were having dreams about your mother being here.”
Megha taught he would scream or yell at her for hiding the truth , but he didn’t . Aarav closed his eye for a moment and took a long breath , he opened them again .
“Its ...alright. Nothing’s lost yet . I’ll find my mother and you go on ahead .”
“Let me come...“Megha said.
“No, you’re the only one apart from me who knows the way to the dimension door . Take all of them and go . I’ll follow.“Aarav told her and didn’t wait for a reply . He turned and headed straight towards the lower floors of the building.
“He’s angry."Reva said once Aarav was out of sight.
“He should be , else he isn't normal.“Megha said .“I should have told him earlier...”
“Its alright . I know Aarav better...“Pranay said.“He’ll handle himself fine . For now , i think we should go.”
Everyone agreed and they followed Megha .
His head was going explode out of anger . Aarav was struggling hard not to smash any walls with his fist. He was holding his fists so tight , they were turning white and his nails were digging in his skin.
His footsteps were echoing through the silent corridor of the abandoned prison. He knew the way , so he didn’t think , he kept on following the path which he had seen in his dream .
It was getting darker with each step , so he pulled out Vajra , and said.“Saber.” His sword was glowing with a yellow light showing him the path ahead.
He could feel the uneasiness growing .
What will i tell her? Will she even recognize me?, he thought as he entered a turned over the corner and entered a corridor that was stinking of rotting corpses .
The sulphur was causing his eyes to water , so he pulled his cloak collar to the nose and raised his pace.
He was almost running when he finally reached the corridor where at the far end was the cell he was looking for.
His footsteps became heavy and he started having second thoughts .
What if she is...she is...NO , DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!, he said to himself.
He finally saw it . A cell at the far end of the corridor . He stopped just when he was a foot away from the cell , and raised his sword high to look inside . First he saw her but didn’t recognize , then what he thought to be a sack of bones , turned out to be a living human.
He took a step closer , and by the scrap of his boot, the body looked up and dragged itself towards him .
Aarav got scared and moved away as his mother , his real mother came into view . A walking corpse , a body with no flesh but just bones wrapped by a paper thin skin . Her eyes almost falling out of their sockets .
“M-m-move back!” Aarav told her . She did and he swung his sword and the rusted iron bars crumpled at his feet . He went in and all his life ran out of his body. He bent and looked at his mother and a tear rolled down his eye. He tried to speak but he couldn’t manage a thing other than a cry.
“You came...“She whispered .“You look just him , like your father . You were just this small when you first cried.“She said showing her arm which looked nothing more than a bone. She moved her hand and touched his cheek .
No sooner did Aarav felt her rough skin , his sword hand began to tremble , and his sword started emitting blue light . As if the sword was giving out energy , Aarav saw his mother becoming human again. Her arms started filling with muscles , so did her whole body and now Aarav was looking at a woman who looked so much like the mother who took care of him for 17 years.
“You’ve finally found it.” She said. Her body returned and she was just as Aarav had always imagined from the day he started getting the dream about her. Beautiful , kind and most of all , a mother .
Now he saw who he had got his eyes and nose from . He knew and had no doubt about it that this woman was his mother , the mother who gave him birth, the mother who nurtured him for 9 months and brought into this world.
The blue light from the sword was making her eyes shine . And Aarav was not sure what was emanating more brightness , the sword or his mother’s eyes.
Aarav eyes were moist with tears rolling down . He wasn’t even sure why he was crying. He wiped his eyes, and said...
“Let’s go.“And lifted her in his arms , adjusting the sword in one hand. He simply followed the light , and walked towards where the light shone brightest . And before he knew he was standing somewhere in eternity .
All around him red , blue and black space . Millions and millions of bridges coming from infinity towards infinity. And where he was standing , was on one of those bridges . And in front of him , four of his friends facing an average man holding a sword , and behind him , a girl of about 13 , hiding behind the man .
Then he recognized them , the man was Hector and the girl was...