“ARA: THE STAR BORN TO GLEAM”
“No! No, it can’t be! I was there. I saw it. It was perfectly fine and thriving. You are lying. The world has not ended!” Ara said with fear in her voice and tears rolling down her cheeks. She wanted to believe her eyes and herself but unfortunately, she couldn’t argue with the truth. The truth, that was right before her eyes! The truth which encompasses many mysteries that are flaming to be unravelled.
Ara was a star when she was taken in by Queen Sanabia and King Dame of the kingdom of the ‘Ivory’. According to the queen, it was by chance that she came across Ara. She was the youngest and the only star living in the kingdom. The most fascinating feature about the kingdom was that all the children born there were of same species, the Sombretics, who are essentially of Sepharic origin and perhaps that was the reason why she never associated with her own siblings. Nevertheless, the queen loved all her children equally. The queen never hid the fact from Ara that she was adopted. In her own words, “a child should never be kept in the shadows of falsehood, even if the truth is painful to process.”
The kingdom was situated far away in the galaxy and the queen and the king were tasked with the protection of the most cherished creation of God, the ‘Universe for Humans’. The queen and the king were themselves appointed as protectors of human world by their parents and now they had to forward this legacy to their own children. So, they tasked their eldest Daughter, Ursa, to protect ‘K’rakhvan’, a planet where the Martians coexist with citizens of Drovonan Universe and to prevent them from waging war on each other. The task was difficult and therefore, it demanded monitoring by someone well experienced and skilled and Ursa had always been really good with sharp objects and tricking the minds. Ursa was accompanied by Eridanus, her younger brother, who was fluent in Akkaedian, the language spoken on K’rakhvan. The queen and the king took time to analyse and distributed planets in different universes to each child based on that child’s powers and conditions of the planets. Now, the only planet left was ‘the human world’ in Dame’s Universe and the only child not assigned was Ara.
Sanabia and Dame spent months discussing on whether they should or should not? And after months of debate, they finally concluded that Ara has to take care of the human world but only for a short period of time. When Ara heard the news, she was happy as well as sad; happy because she was finally getting a task and sad because it wasn’t for a long time. Ara expressed her discontent to Sanabia and stated that she is capable to be a protector and that they don’t have to worry about the human world. Sanabia gently holds her hand and explained, “Your father and I trust you very much and we are sure that you can be someone more than just a protector someday. But right now, you are just a teenager who has no training in getting a hold of the power you have! And once you have learnt how to control your powers, you can be anyone you want; more than just a protector.” Even though, Ara smiled and agreed to what her mother was saying, she was feeling frosty and angry. She was dying to leave, to prove to everyone in the kingdom that she was the greatest and the best protector of all.
Finally, her wait was over and she finally got to see the human world. Ara was filled with excitement and enthusiasm. There was not an ounce of nervousness to be seen on Ara’s face. Once she reached there, she was told specifically what was her job. According to the Ivory Conventional Wisdom, she was supposed to keep a watch against any visitation from extra-terrestrial beings and to make sure that the human world keeps thriving and existing. She wasn’t supposed to intervene physically in the existence of human world or engage. The job didn’t seem too hard to Ara. She was feeling sure about her job and herself. However, little did she know that her belief was going to change everything.
“Doesn’t matter what you say. You did this! It’s right in front of your eyes. You are responsible for all of this chaos!” said an angry and frustrated Meadow, the warrior queen of ‘Uxilla’. Even though Meadow was only four years older than Ara, they weren’t close. Perhaps because they weren’t real siblings. Their relationship had always been complicated and with this problem at hand, it became more puzzling. Ara, trying to reassure her sister, firmly said, “I did not do this, okay! And where’s Mum? I want to talk to her. She would know who did this!” As soon as Ara expressed her wish to meet Sanabia, Meadow’s patience broke like a glass and for the first time, Ara saw rage and disgust in her eyes! With a repulsive and sickening face, Meadow sarcastically said, “You want to meet Mum? Fine. Tell us where she is and we are gonna go there and talk to her”, and her voice started breaking down. At first, Ara actually thought that her sister was joking but it turns out she wasn’t. Sanabia was missing and Ara was the last being to talk to her. Ara was in shock and terrified, not only because her mother was missing but also because she was unaware of the news! Ara was enraged and she furiously asked Meadow, “Mum’s missing and none of you even thought to inform me!? Had all of you forgotten about me?”
Meadow, with a concerned and confused voice, informed Ara, “We did inform you about her disappearance. We had even sent out frequency signals to inform you. But you were undetectable! It was almost like you were invisible. Thankfully, Phoenix is gifted with the power of astral projection and after 14 days in your universe’s timeline, she found you, asleep and floating! It has been years in our kingdom since Mum disappeared.” Ara was disoriented at this revelation. Her mind was filled with chilly and guilty thoughts. How could she have been so negligent? How could she have been this angry at her own mother that she didn’t even bothered to ask if her mother reached home? Suddenly, her body started feeling cold and aching from top to bottom as if she was frozen, unable to move. And in that moment, her priority was to find her mother as soon as possible and as healthy as possible. Without wasting a second of the time of Dame’s Universe, Ara proposed to search for her mother. Fortunately, her brothers and sisters, haven’t been idle and were constantly searching for their mother. As soon as the news reached the siblings’ quarters, they began the search, without caring for anything else in the multiverse and finally, they found something.
They didn’t find what they had expected but it was as challenging. A new time sphincter had opened up which resulted in the preliminary creation of a world. Some of the siblings were unsure if labelling this phenomenon as a severe trouble would be apt. However, Leo, the “Omniverse’s Brainiac” explained in detail why this time sphincter could be a major trouble not only for them but for the whole multiverse. “The multiverse encompasses several realities and each reality has a world of its own. It’s a process of nature. No one gets to interfere with it. In simpler terms, the multiverse isn’t big enough or strong enough to accommodate or support realities that are deliberately created or initiated. Now, this time sphincter could have opened up because of anomalies in the timelines of multiple realities in different universes, like a parallel universe or alternate universes. But to start off fresh creation of an entirely new reality of a yet non-existent world, requires an immoderate breakdown of a cosmic energy! So, whoever did this, is a really powerful being, and it needs to be stopped!”
Now, the siblings were brainstorming ideas to stop, creation of a new reality as well as the really powerful being. But, to their horror, not a single idea was capable enough to handle both the situations. However, even in this moment of hopelessness, Delphine, the second in command after Ursa, proposed that they needed someone who had an equally strong and endless power to deal with these situations. And at that moment, one name rang into the minds of all siblings. Every sibling in the room was now looking at Ara and as soon as she realised what they were all thinking, she blatantly disagreed. “You are the only one who is powerful enough to stop this,” said Orris, the Major General of the ‘Legions of Ziaur’. Ara was gifted with powers of Multiversal Manipulation, which meant that she was capable of psychokinesis, cosmic manipulation, perception manipulation and several other things. So, in order to stop this creation of a new reality, Ara was supposed to use her power of reality consumption in order to stop further development and her power of existence manipulation to destroy the foundations of yet non-existent world, so that it does not form in any other future of the multiverse. Ara understood that it was the need of the hour and she had to do this nevertheless. She did exactly what she was supposed to do. She used her powers and the problem at hand was dealt with. But still they had no clue who started it and where their mother could be.
The siblings were concerned for their father as well. Since the wife’s disappearance, the king had been desperately sending out search parties in the universe to find. All the other chores were suspended in the Kingdom, which was something that had never happened before. Not for one day had the king rested or slept properly. He was stubborn and miserable, but he had to rest for his own health. So, Morpheus, who is a Somnolent, put the King under the sleep spell and Devorah, the Oneiric, made sure that he stays asleep by tucking him away into a dream. They knew that it was wrong and a misuse of their own powers to some extent, but the restless nights weren’t going to bring back the Queen. Instead, it was just deteriorating the King’s health and sanity. Devorah was fashioning the dream as it was perpetuating and controlling the dream but after sometime the king began to slip away from what Devorah was showing him. She didn’t know what her father was dreaming about. This was because Devorah could only see what she was making someone see and that too could not be transmitted. In this case, another problem was that the dream wasn’t the one manufactured by Devorah, so, even Devorah couldn’t see the dream; so, she gathered her siblings. It was clear that not all of them could hear or see what their father was dreaming about. However, Fable was a Mystic Telepath, who could perceive the dream as well as project it. The only glitch in this process was that it could not be reviewed again or stored in the memory. The dream will continue on its original pace and one cannot change it. Nevertheless, Fable lay right next to his father and asked everyone in the room to be quiet as he had to focus his mind in order, for this to work. And when he opened his eyes, they all could see what the dream was. They could see their mother and father in a room. The details of the room were not clear, but they all could understand that their mother was worried and evidently their father was trying to calm her down. When Fable focused more, it was revealed that Sanabia, the mother, was worried and stressed about the human world, Ara was protecting. She was concerned about what was happening in that world. And that was the time, when they all heard their mother’s voice once again.
Sanabia with a concerned tone said, “Something is really wrong. This isn’t how the human world is supposed to thrive!” On being asked what was so wrong with the human world, by Dame, she answered, “It is too perfect! The most cherished invention of The God of Creation cannot be this flawless. And where is Ara? She should have been back if everything is so good. Why hasn’t she come back home?” Dame calmed her and consolidated her by telling her, “Ara is all grown up and maybe she hasn’t come back because she needs some time to herself. Worrying about her is in your nature because you are a mother, and I think she can handle anything thrown her way.” Sanabia was about to say something when Fable suddenly wakes up and the dream is gone like a leaf in a storm. The dream was not complete but was sufficiently revealing. Now, all they had to do was ask Ara about her conversation with mother and from there, they could retrace their mother’s steps and find her. Ara told them, “Mum came to visit me and alert me about some danger. Apparently, she thought that there was something wrong with the human world. It was like, they had forgotten all the negative emotions; like those feelings of hatred, greed or lust were wiped clean from the hearts of these humans. I told her that maybe it’s because I was doing a good job at protecting them from the inculcators of such bad emotions. But she didn’t believe that. She wanted me to return home and leave everything. But I refused to leave with her. I was angry at her, at the fact that she doesn’t even consider that I am capable of doing this! So, I told her to leave me alone and never come back.” Ara could easily make out what her siblings were thinking about her, their eyes were revealing fragments of anger and disgust towards her. She knew that nothing she says, is going to make it right and that she will always be guilty for treating her mother like that. She apologised to everyone, but apologising wasn’t going to bring back their mother. They asked her if she remembers anything that happened afterwards that was strange. However, she revealed that she doesn’t remember what happened after that fight.
By this point, it was clear to everyone that the being who opened up the time sphincter and messed with the human world, is undoubtedly the abductor of their mother. Crystal, in a frightened tone, asked her siblings, “But what could be the motive? Why would anyone want to abduct mother?’’ Sadly, there was an answer to her question. Leo answered, ‘’Mum had sensed that there was something wrong and she even went to warn Ara. She could have stopped the apocalypse and I think that was the reason, she was abducted.’’ Never had Ara ever saw her big brother this scared and uncertain while giving an answer. It was a chilling and indigestible moment for her. However, she overcame all these feelings and reckoned that there was no time to waste. She needed a plan, specifically structured to make the abductor crawl out of the rabbit hole, because that being, held the key to fixing the chaos unleashed. Most importantly, she didn’t want to bring anymore pain to her father or her siblings and so, she decided to go solo with some little help from Crystal.
Crystal was the last person Ara could go to help for, since, she was an Inter-dimensional teleporter. She could jump in and out of different dimensions like the alternate dimension or
even a parallel dimension with much ease. “What! What do you want me to do?” asked Crystal bewildered. Ara told her one more time and said, “I want you to take me to the alternate dimension.’’ Crystal had heard her the first time but what was so unbelievable was that Ara would ask her to do something like this. “Are you insane! Mum’s missing, everyone’s stressed and you want me to take you to alternate dimension! And why exactly you want to teleport there?’’ Crystal found Ara’s answer to be more insensible, as Ara replied, “I want to see my alternate self and make sure that I don’t have anything to do with all of this.” Ara could literally feel her sister’s rage and will to slap her but somehow Crystal controlled herself and explained, “You can’t just teleport to check-up on yourself in alternate dimension. This is not how inter-dimensional teleporting works. Your two selves that survive in different dimensions, are not supposed to exist in the same dimension! It can be dangerous. It can jeopardise your existence in all dimensions! So, no, I am not taking you anywhere. Besides, you would never do anything like this. I mean, from where do you even picked that idea?’’ Ara wasn’t sure if she should reveal, but Crystal was necessary for her plan to work and she deserved to know. So, Ara revealed that the energy signature that was used to destroy the human world was the same as that of her own, which she used to destroy and decapitate the time sphincter. There was a moment of silence between the two as her sister was trying to take in, this new and awkwardly horrifying information. After a few minutes, Crystal agreed to her plan and assured her that they are not going to find anything like that. But Ara didn’t believe her.
They teleported to the alternate dimension of the same universe and were greeted by a cold and deep voice, saying, “Hello, Ara of the Kingdom of Ivory, I have been waiting for you to show up here. I am Ara of the Doomed Constellation, your alternate self or you can call me ‘The Ravager’!’’ Ara, without further ado, asked her alternate self the first question,
“Did you caused the apocalypse in the human world which I was protecting?” The Ravager smiled and nodded in agreement.
“Did you open up the time sphincter and initiated that new reality?” In response for this question too, The Ravager agreed and smiled proudly.
“Did you abduct our mother, Queen Sanabia, because she was going to stop the apocalypse?”
The Ravager with a disgusted smug said, “I am disappointed in you Ara. I honestly thought you would be smarter than that, that YOU, out of all beings, would understand me better than anyone else. You really thought that your mother could have screwed up my plan?”
“What do you mean? You wanted to destroy life on the human world by causing that apocalypse! And you took our mother away because she found out about it and she was going to mess up your plan!” asked genuinely concerned Ara.
“Oh, my dear Ara, causing the apocalypse and destroying the human world doesn’t even come close to my plan! I didn’t know that you are this naïve and such a dim-witted fool, like your mother!’’ The Ravager said laughing smugly.
Ara and Crystal proceeded to hurt The Ravager but she was too powerful and she threw both of them violently away. When Ara got back on her feet, she saw, Crystal and all the other planetary motions were at halt. When time froze, Ara felt a little sting in her body and she suddenly began feeling weak and faintish. She asked in a weak and trembling voice, “Why are you doing this? What do you want?”
“I want to make sure that YOU suffer just like I did. You weren’t supposed to live Ara. Sanabia wasn’t supposed to find you or adopt you, because as soon as that happened, my reality in this dimension changed. I had everything because YOU had nothing! When that reversed, I became an orphan. My world blinked away into destruction because there were no king or queen to lead and guide. Different worlds waged war on each other in my dimension, causing incalculable loss of life and destruction. Your mother, the so-called queen, knew about what was going on in my dimension. She had sensed it. She could have helped me and so many like me by returning you to your fate. Instead, she chose to nurture you and raise you, and that made my existence Hell! I was alone and miserable and helpless and all that because of you! So, now I have decided I am going to destroy you and this multiverse just like YOU ruined me!’’ The Ravager started powering up and was creating several realities and rupturing the time tunnels. Ara realised she had to stop her alternate self, otherwise everything will turn to dust. Ara picked herself up and tried to stop The Ravager, but all of a sudden, Sanabia jumped in and they both vanished.
Ara couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Is it really you Mum?” asked an anxious and overwhelmed Ara.
“Yes! It is me, your mother,”
and they both hugged each other and held each other as tightly as possible. Ara asked her mother about her whereabouts, to which Sanabia replied,
“I was in captivity. Your alternate self really hates me and she used me to get you here. She knew you will, she will rip this multiverse apart.”
Ara didn’t understand as to how her presence could have helped The Ravager in ripping apart the multiverse, until her mother explained to her. Sanabia told her, “In order to destroy the multiverse, she needed to weaken your powers. She froze the time, so that you won’t teleport back and that weakened your powers. She has been using you since the start. When I came to warn you about the danger, she had already created a distorted reality for you. And when she caused the apocalypse, your powers erupted into the cosmic universe and you slipped into a cryogenic sleep. The eruption was so powerful that it knocked me out and some part of your power got absorbed by the black hole, which further opened the time sphincter.” Even though, Sanabia had figured out many mysteries yet she was unable to decipher how to stop The Ravager. Ara did have an idea but telling her mother might result in a premature rejection of the idea. So, Ara slipped her mother into a deep unconscious state and left her in the blanket of her power and she returned to confront The Ravager. There was only one mysterious question left in the mind of Ara, the answer of which could only be given by The Ravager.
Ara stood in front of her alternate self and asked her, “If you wanted to destroy me so badly, why not kill me? Oh, I know, because then, you won’t be able to exist. You needed me to be just enough conscious to help you create multiple realities and open time tunnels so that you could survive in this fake alternate dimension. Basically, your existence is completely dependent on my existence. And if I cease to exist, you are dead!’’ Having said that, Ara took a deep breath and began to use an excessive and increasing amount of her power, causing her body to evaporate and soon enough, she was gone. The Ravager’s body slowly started decomposing and everything had gone back to normal. Ara had wiped away her existence from all dimensions by sacrificing herself in one dimension. She truly was the star born to gleam the brightest.
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