4. Friend and Foe
Jai Mata Di
May the blessings of Matarani always brighten up your path and guide you through the tough times.
A very happy Navratri and Dussehra to all of you!
It is not a shame to be deceived; but it is to stay in the deception.
Memories of our meet,
Freshens and fades every day;
From smiling at your face,
To weeping in your depart;
We meet and fall apart,
And I live in that;
Everyday, life remains to your presence!
Sometimes, the puzzles of life look extremely difficult to understand, and sometimes, it offers the simplest answers to mysteries. Like night and day; when they never meet, one has to leave for other to rule, their absence can be sensed in other; very dutifully, night brings the dawn so the day can rise, and in evening, the sun sets so the night can fall.
For many; it may be simple, some might question the law of nature, or perhaps many already have many explanations in theories; but for someone trying to understand the play of life; might call it the impatience of meeting in their relationship.
Perhaps, in horizon; away from prying eyes, day and night meet, maybe a touch, or maybe a moment; they get.
I wonder if they’re happy, when world lives while they wait; perhaps for eternity; they’ll never meet.
The honk from the road almost jerks me upright; from the morning, mind shifts to my surroundings. The argument on the road is causing crowd to accumulate, blocking the path completely. Through the window, I can’t see clearly but chaos are quite clear to assert.
With another sigh and another glance at the white—blue sky, I shift my gaze to my bed which I left in the early morning hours after my peaceful sleep; peaceful sleep after a long time.
My lips curve into a blissful smile, a peaceful sleep…!
I almost stagger as my Lehanga stuck in the Bed’s foot; sighing, I untie it, letting it fall and kiss the floor before making my way to the bathroom; night was beautiful but the day needs me.
Though, it passed, our moment passed…!
The cool fresh shower hits me and night freshens in mind; I close my eyes as water pours down cooling down my skin; igniting the raw rush of emotions as it goes.
“I’ll protect you…!”
His words still ringing like he said and left, vanishing in thin air; for the sin in a blink, I lost his touch, his presence before rushing through the lawn through long alleys, running behind his essence until Prince found me.
Shattering like the pearls from thread; my brother held me, taking me back to the security of my home, holding me until I lost all my strength to weep anymore; kissing my forehead for strength to sleep. I know he was standing right outside the door, I know, he knew I was having trouble in closing my eyes but he stayed out, letting me fight my own battle, until sleep took over and found me in a wonderland.
Having enough of the rain, I wrap myself with towel, wrapping my mind in his cold impassive eyes which had an ocean inside yet I felt like an intruder, restricted to touch his shore.
The crumbled Lehanga on floor comes to my sight, I rush toward it; calmly folding it, “You’ll be my favorite, though I can’t wear you. You’re incomplete without your Dupatta, so am I without him.”
And only he can complete us…!
The chiming of my mobile distracts me, placing the lehenga neatly on bed; I pick up the call instantly finding my brother’s smirking face on screen.
“Your Cryptic Friend is revealed.”
The day is bright outside, like it has all the reasons to shine; perhaps, it has, the warm wind is playing tunes and the trees are dancing, breeze is calm, indeed its warm, for any day of fall. Yet the clouds are sneaking from the daylight; probably finding their way to shade and spread cross the sky.
I let out a relaxed sigh, nature has its own story for every day, one just need a moment and interest to let it unfold their enchantment.
This made me realize, nature is always the same, magical in every breath, it was great there, it is spellbinding here.
The aroma of coffee and cakes from the take-out package is ruling in air, I lean further against the couch; the furniture of my Boss’s cabin never seemed so comfortable, probably because we never saved a moment of comfort with him; it was always stress or stiff back taking responsibilities on cases.
My stance surprises me, despite the chaos brewing inside, my face is relaxed; another trait I learnt from my mentor and Gideon taught me with excellency.
The commotion of the door stirs the air, my eyes continue to look ahead at the bright day outside.
“Miss. William, what work brought you from leave?”
Standing up, my lips curve into a smile; a silent whisper of apology for Raisin and Harsha leaves, after all, I’m going to miss the wedding.
“You’re missing an important wedding, I surmise. Is it related to the matter you wanted discuss earlier?”
I get a good look at the composed face of my boss, as he takes his chair, making his things comfortable.
I let out another sigh, only if he could be available that day.
Taking the package, I place the take-outs on his desk, “I brought you coffee and cake.”
Mr. Wilson cocks his brow in silent enquiry, and I shrug with a smile, “A treat.”
Mr. Wilson honors me with his silence, “The mess of the mighty Almond Vines is solved, the culprit is revealed and law-suit is over before it could begin. Our months of hard work is paid off. So, I thought, why not a small treat.”
Teacher regards me quietly, as I take out the coffee cups and present the cakes on his desk. He is reading me behind my grin, his astute gaze is proclaiming it so precisely.
Effortlessly, he picks one offering the other one to me, my gaze sticks to the third one left untouched.
“It would’ve been great if Jason could join us, after all, he was also involved since the very beginning.”
Mr. Wilson leans back, “Some are destined to conclude the work; some are mere catalysts.”
I can’t help but scowl at his soft mumble, as he opens the lid, before taking a carefree sip.
“Ah! Yes, we made it. Greefy Inc. can’t thank you enough for it. But It’s been long time child—”
“Yes, three months, to be precise.” I break off his speech, taking the first taste, bitterness melts with sweet memories and hustles which turned my trip into a memorable one. “I returned after revealing the mole from A V Inc.”
Three months tearing all ties and promises.
The mist of memories come and fades and despite the calm, I notice his frown through his fidgeting.
“The culprit from there side was revealed and punished. But there was someone from our company, the last knot of this mess.”
From the misty memories, my gaze focuses on my boss’s astute one, “From these three months, I was trying to find him, and guess what, I found him today.”
Sip, one after other, I wait for a reaction but could find none and agitation reaches to another level, I put back the mug with a little force.
Sometimes, despite the strict hold of mind, emotions slip because the impact of situation is too harsh and strong to hold on; it can be a moment or mere a blink of time, we stagger and lose it all, and composing seems the toughest.
My gaze falls under the weight of my upcoming words, confidence shrinks.
“Was it you?”
Tranquility leaves and a thick layer of heaviness spreads.
I hear him sigh, “You must trust your allegations, for the culprit to accept them.”
My gaze shoots up and he leans forward, “You don’t believe your allegations, you’re not convinced, Niera.” I gulp against his confident smile.
I force myself to remain calm.
His gaze averts to the documents and my tablet neatly resting on the couch, “You’ve proofs.” Before colliding my astonished ones, “I surmise your Brother helped.”
“Your brother is genuine, he outsmarted years of knowledge through his wits.” His serene smile and words seem enough to crumble my world of belief. Not just my teacher accepted, he seems in no guilt.
My grip on the chrome desk tightens, almost slitting my palm, before it loosens altogether as I take a closer look, was he really serious, am I assessing the situation wrong?
“Was it you?” a voice so foreign, rings through cabin, strange to be recognized as mine, but it was.
The man I have come to adore like a father-figure, my mentor, my teacher, sighs. Quietly his shrewd gaze moves from one place to another before settles to my way.
“Jason, where is he?”
I rush, desperate; I realize more than knowing of my friend’s whereabouts, I’m dodging the main topic.
Because I’m afraid of the answer. Although I can guess, but the attestation from him will be lethal for me, I’m afraid of this answer.
“Fearing won’t change answer. I have taught you well than fearing.” My mentor speaks, leaving his chair, passing me, taking one on couch.
“What is there to fear, child?” my breath hitch, blood rushes to pit of stomach.
“Mr. Wilson, was it you, wh—are you Cryptic Friend?” the words leave a sour taste in my mouth.
How can Mr. Wilson? No…!
The mere mention leaves a sore taste in my conscience.
My teacher never answers, nor I find in me to push him.
“Mr. Wilson? I—”
“You’ve evidences, then why this discussion?” he shrugs, taking a look at documents on the table; his calm demeanor is so strong, still intact.
“Because evidences or your confession can’t give me answers, they can’t provide me reasons for your doing.” I can feel the bitterness.
Despite my rage, his eyes remain relax and this sole factor is affecting me so much.
“You can’t change past, why question then?”
“Yes, I can’t change what’s done. But I have the right to know. This trip has changed—”
The commotion of the door melts my word-flow; I stop, the discussion shouldn’t reach another ear, I need my teacher alone.
Other must leave!
With the same thought, I turn only to halt again when I notice the commanding presence of Sir Gerard with us, a stiff Julie bowing to his back, closes the door, leaving us in the cocoon of privacy.
With a wrinkled forehead, I reach him.
“Sir Gerard!” I call for him, but he seems lost, or perhaps stunned. His gaze fixed on my Boss as Mr. Wilson bows before flaunting small smile.
I gape, he bowed! It means Mr. Wilson knows.
Can life be more surprising? Where I was desperate to keep my secrets inside, the majestic world of my fantasy was not a gift of mine; it has its roots all over; yes, it surely rules the world, both worlds; mine too.
“It’s been long, Sir Gerard.” Mr. Wilson breaks the thick layer of tensed silence.
“Never expected you near Niera.” From my peripheral view, I notice Sir Gerard’s sharp glance my way.
My boss smirks in return, “Never excepting doesn’t make it different.”
The crisp mumble of Mr. Wilson does an effort to shake me, “I vowed to protect future.”
“You left after making vow.” Sir Gerard sighs, looking away. Disappointment collides the cool air making it chiller.
“That’s because I was protecting the future, nurturing it in my care.” Sir Gerard scoffs at Mr. Wilson’s words before his gaze crashes at my way and his expression stills.
A serene tranquillity stirs around us which doesn’t look pleasing to me.
So many revelations falling over my sanity seems burdensome.
Mr. Wilson is my Cryptic Friend, who was blackmailing me, there are high chances he is the one behind this fiasco.
He is aware of the realm of supernatural world. Not only that he knows Sir Gerard, apparently, they are both well acquainted with each other.
“From what I have searched, Legal Notice from Almond Vines has reached Greefy Inc. a few days back, which has been stay—ordered by the Main office, which must be your place.”
Prince’s words succeed to pull me in shock, bewilderment gripped me effectively; They are suing us for this misapprehension!
It only means, “He knew before the legal actions could take place.”
The mist of memories collides in my senses like a whip, my eyes widen at another revelation.
He is the mastermind.
“Then, I must take back, what belongs to Kingdom.”
Sir Gerard’s words knock me out of my reverie, I oscillate my gaze between the two respected figures, I’ve come to adore and admire the most in values; however, they seem completely immune to my presence, perhaps, they’ve forgotten a breathing company around them.
“If it was a possession, I would’ve let you. But then, what’s in my care, is far more precious and powerful; I can’t give you what has will to make decisions.”
Mr. Wilson is a part of Kingdom? Or has he something which belongs to the Kingdom Alicia?
An audible sigh of exasperation slips Sir Gerard before he turns, placing his palm on my head, he smiles, “Child, how about you let us have some discussions?”
His warm smile fails to help me ease up; my gaze moves to my teacher whose eyes are charismatically calm. He nods, but I stand, looking up at my mentor with a broken dam of bafflements.
Standing like a dumb mannequin, I continue to wonder, can I stay? Can I ask for my explanations first? Can I throw a tantrum?
Should I? Am I in a position to bargain, I steal a glance at my company. My answer looms in the sharp edge of their gaze.
And then I sigh, looking down, I turn and walk out.
Whenever complications I faced, his presence gave courage, his advices helped me to find solutions, his assurance was my line of stone, which I believed for each of my hurdle. It won’t be wrong, if I say he had been the pillar on which I built my foundation for my career; because his first approval was his trust in me, for which I always stayed devoted, even going to the Mysterious Majestic Land of Kingdom Alicia.
The place of a Mentor—a teacher is pious and high, for those you understand their significance; they are the ray which guide us through our journey of success.
For me, it was only Mr. Wilson’s trust that changed my path, enlightened it through his experience moulding my knowledge into perfection of career.
Absolute numbness in the still air of the surroundings against the chaotic stare of mine, I want to thrash against it, to destroy every last ounce of peace lingering around, so it can feel the turmoil inside me. I squint against the bright sunrays, turning away from the light, my mind shifts away from one thought to another.
He was absolutely right, although, I was the one confronting him, I don’t believe the printed papers and mail details collected by my brother.
It took me every ounce of my strength to not slap him and grab his collar, when Prince gave me the evidences; my brother can’t make such mistakes, he shouldn’t make such crap. But he was quiet, calm, letting me glare at him before he left asking me to face the fact rather than denying it.
The day seems so neutral, the crowd down on streets is on their ways, I find the site alluring to witness from the roof; a couple of floors creating height, makes me feel different from them, though, all of us are same; juggling through the dilemmas of life.
From the buzzing street down there, I raise my head squinting through direct sunrays, just to find Sir Gerard presenting himself, instantly I straighten up.
The shrewd eyes gleam in pure joy of maturity, as they watch me; I wonder if I’ll be this sparkling mature in my old age.
And I frown, “How did you find me?”
I’m sure, not many know of my mind palace.
Sir Gerard smiles softly, looking at the busy streets, “Your Mentor told me, he said to find you in the heights where you can see the world but hide in your thoughts.”
Despite my state, I smile, “He knows me well.”
Maybe, that’s how…He played me well…!
“An honest teacher will throw his protégé into abyss of troubles, only to bright him toward the light, and I know, if he has done something, there must a meaning behind it.”
I refrain myself from sharing details, instead, I sigh, looking down.
“You’ve many queries, I surmise.”
He smiles, “I wish to resolve them before my leave.”
A part of me crumbles, and pain comes in form of shock, “You’re leaving?”
Surprisingly, Sir Gerard’s lips curl further, “I must return where I belong, Child. It’s only when I’ll find peace and serenity.”
Eccentrically, his words leave a mark; leaving a mark of deeper meaning. I hum, nodding.
I hold on to the steel railing for support, “When do you plan to return?”
A ray of bright ray ignited with his arrival dims, so soon.
Sir Gerard finds a reason to chuckle at my upset sulking face, before he pats my head.
“Not every answer or reason present itself to you; some answers ask your efforts; some reasons need your will and some mysteries await your first move to unveil.”
When I face him, he looks ahead—not down but ahead, his mature wrinkles sparkling golden against the soft sun-light.
Yes, a true Guardian and Knight!
“Was it about Mr. Wil—”
Shaking his head, he continues to smile, “A word for faith and courage.”
Moments pass as I digest his words, rolled in word play, I’m sure, I’ve received a precious piece of advice but then as he said, I’ve to put efforts to understand them.
Instead, I submerge myself into colorful queries to ask him regarding everyone there, but then the shrewd man surprises me yet again.
“When do you plan to return, Child?”
His words and the confidence dripping in his tone surprises me, he is asking for my return, like it’s my place to be, like it’s my home.
And despite all pleas, pleads and whispers of my soul, I remain calm a woeful smile slips, “I accomplished my task, my reason to stay there was to save Greefy Inc., it’s done. I—there is no reason to return.”
My heart sinks in the venom of my words, I am lying, hurting us both.
His lips curve into a bright smirk, “Was saving your people and accomplishing task, your only reason to stay there.”
An exasperated breath escapes me, no, that place has become significant than life; it holds my precious; my family…my people…my Miracle.
Some reasons need your will.
Heart busts into excruciating pain, eyes shut close.
Reading faces has been one his traits, Sir Gerard reads my dilemma and smiles, “Will you come back?”
And with my entire body screaming a Yes, I shake my head, “No.”
“So, will it all end here?”
October 25, 2020
Decisions are easy to make, only if fate could support it…!
Will fate accept her decision?
Sorry guys, I had been dormant for these four weeks, keeping you all waiting. Well, so much to do and time is sand in hand.
Well, nothing can be done for the lost time but I hope to bring you regular updates.
Now, back to our Chapter, how was it?
What could be between the two astute figures?
Is Mr. Wilson also a part of Kingdom?
What discussion they had in between?
Will Niera never return?
Excited for more, stay turned for upcoming surprises, Gidiera has planned for you.
How was this update? Let me know your views.
‘Jai Mata Di’