14. The Quandary

“Because it was you who said ‘Pain alone cures Pain’ my lord”.

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“HOW DARE HE ENTER OUR BORDER? THAT FILTHY CREATURE USE TO FEAR TO EVEN TO COME NEAR THE PLACE WHERE WE HAD ALREADY PASSED, BUT NOW HE HAD GOT GUTS TO ENTER OUR TERRITORY”. I woke up disturbed by the monotonous scream of someone near me. I slowly opened my eyes and tried to calibrate my Iris, after getting an approximate vision, I tried to identify where I was and whose scream was that. At first, I was able to see only a few things. I recognized the stones collected by me in my back, placed around me. Then I was able to recognize something which was familiar to me, it was my whip and my Trishul too.

“JUST BECAUSE LORD DOESN’T COME STRAIGHT TO DEAL THINGS NOWADAYS, THESE FILTHY CREATURES MUST NOT GET THIS MANY GUTS. AND HOW DARE HE CHALLENGE ME? ME? HUUU, IF AT ALL THIS HUMAN DIDN’T COME IN MY WAY I WOULD HAVE CUT HIS KITTEN TAIL AND WORE IT AS A GARLAND AROUND MY NECK”. I was so annoyed and was also curious to find who is shouting in such an anger, disturbing my sleep. I turned towards the direction from where the yelling sound came.

I got shocked to see a big black bear standing at a near distance. My whole body shivered in fear on what would happen next. BUT, there was this guts that bloomed in my heart and it gave me a new energy to face that bear and kill it. I noticed that it was the same bear which attacked me before. I believe that the yelling was the person who saved me from those monsters and now he is caught by the same bear which he didn’t kill when he had the chance. Without taking my eyes from the bear, which was turning against me, I took my whip and Trishul which was near me and stood up steady and strong filled with energy. My wounds? It was there, in spite of that I stood up to face this monstrous bear using the unidentifiable energy that I have in me.

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I tossed my whip aiming at the bear’s neck, but unfortunately, it got locked around its right hand. It got alert and tried to get free of my hold. One thing that Vishakha told me and never forget was to see my enemy as my prey and once I get hold of my prey I must never waste my time but to kill my prey without giving it time to kill me. I used my Trishul to pierce through it, but I was late. That fat huge monstrous bear pulled me towards it using the whip which I used on it. Once I went near it all that energy that I felt a few seconds back got vanished. I was in pain, all my wounds tore me into pieces.

I created an unknown energy which was not there for me and tried to escape from the situation, but my body was not strong enough to sync with my mind. I saw my death in front of me in the claws of that bear, which was humongous and even more ferocious because of my action against it. In the commotion that took place, I stamped on a sharp rock which pierced my foot, making it bleed more. There was silence, I was able to sense everything around me in slow motion. It was as if I had got back that same energy which I had a few minutes back. I looked down, it was the same kind of rock which I collected. And my feet it got healed instantly.

I took a firm stand and pulled the whip towards me. I had got an enormous power because of that rock. I easily tossed the bear here and there using my whip. Then I felt inside me that it was the time to do what is meant to do “ KILL MY PREY”. I held my whip firmly and pulled it towards me and simultaneously brought my Trishul forward in such a way to kill that bear with a single stroke. I was almost near the point to kill that bear and my Trishul was very close to that bears neck, suddenly I felt motionless. I felt something has held me or someone to be fact. It was the same silhouette. It pulled me back into the circle and made me lie down without my permission I got astonished.

The bear which I left without killing, came towards me to tear me into pieces. The silhouette which pulled me back chocked that bear and ordered “STOP….. OPEN YOUR EYES BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING STUPID”.  That bear came close to me, saw me keenly, touched the scar on my forehead and stared at my Trishul and whip and went two steps back struggling to stand on its four legs. “ IT’S HIM, IT’S HIM, IT HAS STARTED, OUR DESTINATION HAS ARRIVED” rejoiced that bear. “Wait a minute, did I hear these words from that bear?”. When I was thinking about it that silhouette poured some water in my mouth, it was not just normal water but the solution of that stone which I collected and of course normal water.

It was little concentrated compared to what Vishakha gave. I felt pain all over my body and I started to scream “WHY CAN’T YOU GIVE THIS TO ME WHEN I WAS UNCONSCIOUS?”. The only answer that came back from the silhouette was “Because it was you who said ‘Pain alone cures Pain’ my lord”. I lost all the energy I had in me and felt like an empty shell without the pearl. I again fainted but this time with a dilemma, whether my faint was due to that solution or because of the shock seeing a talking bear.

……….To Be Continued……….

13. The Imprudence

Isolation is the worst thing to happen to anyone after they have been neglected by their loved ones. Twenty-four hours isolated travel was a very long time to squeeze the essence out of my brain and my heart. All the way along I had the memories that I spent with Durga and professor. I was also in a dilemma on how can they be so mean and selfish to send me away once my work is done there. I loved them both with a true heart, didn’t they reciprocate with true heart earlier? Or was I been so stupid to see their real face?

Twenty-four hours travel. It was not an easy travel to digest. All those bouncy roads, sloppy roads, steep roads, mud roads, marshy roads. what else can one miss in a twenty-four hours bus travel that too in a government bus? yet I enjoy the beauty of nature on the way to Anjaneri. Those avenues, all those hills which I passed, beautiful hamlets filled with green carpet vegetation, and lakes too.” What the dickens am I trying to do? Believing to self-convince myself, I’m just fooling my mind. I had to change three buses to get to Nasik a city near Anjaneri hills.

Isolation is the worst thing to happen to anyone after they have been neglected by their loved ones. Twenty-four hours isolated travel was a very long time to squeeze the essence out of my brain and my heart. All the way along I had the memories that I spent with Durga and professor. I was also in a dilemma on how can they be so mean and selfish to send me away once my work is done there. I loved them both with a true heart, didn’t they reciprocate with true heart earlier? Or was I been so stupid to see their real face?

I got down in the bus terminal in Nasik and asked for an auto to take me near the Anjaneri hill. That stupid auto man agreed only to take me till Trimbak a city near Anjaneri hills. As I didn’t bring my camera along with me, I had to rent a DSLR camera on my way to my destination. Half of the money that I got for my research, funded by the government disappeared in these chores itself. I packed everything and again got into the auto and reached the spot.

Basically, Anjaneri is a tourist spot which welcomes the tourists to enjoy its waterfalls and a famous Hanuman temple. In Fact, it is believed to be the birthplace of the great lord Hanuman and I came here in search of proofs that he still loiters there. I didn’t use the path which was commonly used by others. Instead, I jumped over the fence to go into Anjaneri forest. It was very silent, I believed it was not the season for tourism as I didn’t see even a single person not even the priest on my way.

It was very silent, dead silent. Actually, it was water drop silent. I took my camera and prepared it for its purpose. I found nothing on my way interesting to add as a proof for my thesis except for some isolated statues and some rock. But the rocks were not just some normal rocks, it was similar to the one which was possessed by Vishakha in Nagapuram. I started to collect it. It was as if someone had played Hansel and Gretel there dropping those stones as bread crumbs to create a route for the followers. My hand was not sufficient to hold all the rocks, so took my backpack and threw away all the unwanted stuff and started to collect all the stones. I even took some photos on the way the stones were placed in a random but sequel manner.

During the collection of the stones, I found the most horrifying sight one can ever see. It was a border issue I hope. There was a fight between a ferocious tiger and a monstrous bear. I stood in an unnoticeable distance just like some other small animals witnessing the fight. I started to take pictures out of eagerness, but suddenly due to lack of light the DSLR camera with which I took pics turned on the flash automatically, there was a pause in the fight and all the animals turned their sight towards me. Just as the proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’ i got caught by the two fierce animals. Remaining you already know.

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I have been chased three-quarter miles and now I’m in an unexpected gap in a cliff opposite to an anonymous cave. It all happened because of me. I should have stayed with my friends, at least I should have told them about my where about. Now, it’s too late to regret and I don’t know whether I would survive or not. I have been encountered by a ferocious tiger at one end and a monstrous bear at the other end. It’s really hard for me to escape, “Is there anyone to save me?” My screams are useless.grizzly_bear_test_subject_by_iron_fox

“Wait a second who’s that approaching towards me. Let me have a closer look”. Stupid thought, I got hit by the claws of that ferocious tiger and a blunt hit on my head at the rock behind me. “What a stupid person I am? Going out of my hide place to see someone who is approaching me. Very bad idea”. I lost more blood and it appears like I’m floating in a pool of blood in just two minutes and I feel dizzy too.2FF0023F-A4C6-45F9-9660-EC62056A4B92

I saw that figure which approached me, grabbing the tiger by its tail and tossed it like a thread tied to a rock, then that monstrous bear, which was rolled down the slope like a barrel. After dealing with those animals, I was taken into the cave which was opposite to the steep where I was hiding. Due to too much loss of blood, my vision got blurred and I was able to see only the silhouette of the figure that was carrying me to the cave. Then I blacked out.

12. The Outrage

He now works for his new master “Aashu”. Something struck me, I heard the same name spelled out by Smithii. “Who is this Aashu? Is he any local leader or some great man who has the influence to change the chores that were undertaken by us? Is it because of his pressure Durga and professor are being busy?”

With great eagerness and happiness, we reached the surface through the exit from the back side of the banyan tree, where I proposed Durga. Once we went out, the Vishakahans disappeared, so did Mahatapase. To my core shock, my Trishul and whip also got vanished. Yet with great enthusiasm, I went towards the caravan to meet My Professor and Durga, but they were not there. Self Convincing that they would be in the entrance I urged towards the excavation spot and got even more surprised to see many permanent tents and campfires half burnt, here and there around the entrance.

My eyes searched for two people among the mobs, My Professor and Durga. After a long search, I located both My Professor and Durga. I went near and hugged them both to show my happiness, but I was shocked and upset to see them deny it. I got suspicious of the situation and asked them “What happened?”. The unanimous answer which I received from both of them was “Don’t waste our time, we have lot work to be done”. That was harsh and it really hurt me.

I tried hard and found Kamal who also treated me weirdly. He said that he now works for his new master “Aashu”. Something struck me, I heard the same name spelled out by Smithii. “Who is this Aashu? Is he any local leader or some great man who has the influence to change the chores that were undertaken by us? Is it because of his pressure Durga and professor are being busy?” many questions moved randomly in the form of a digital board in my mind. I asked Kamal to take me to this so-called Aashu. He replied that only if Aashu decides, one can see him.

Unsatisfied with Kamal’s reply I again went to My Professor and Durga. I asked him to explain to me what was happening there. “Move your grief-stricken face out of my vision you stupid. Don’t you have any useful work to be done? Get out of here” shouted My Professor. I was really taken aback and my face now appeared to be a grief-stricken one. I didn’t expect that from him, not the man who loved me like his own son. I turned towards Durga who too said that I must go and do something useful and great. I got furious and shouted back at both “What do you expect me to do? You both tell me to get lost but where would I go?”

The attention of the whole crew turned towards me. “What the hell? Just before few minutes, both My Professor and Durga shouted at me like monsters and none cared but when I retaliated that too in a minimal sound, I have got the whole crew turned towards me”. Both professor and Durga came close to me and said: “Your work over here is over, now you can go back”. I controlled my anger and asked them back “Where do you expect me to go? You know, that it was you, who called me when I was depressed about my thesis and now you are pushing me to go back, really tell me what to do”. There was silence for around ten seconds then Durga replied: “Go back and finish your thesis, prove you are not wrong, just get lost from here and leave us to work in harmony”.

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I saw into their eyes, both of their lips said “Get lost” but their eyes meant “Please don’t”. In uncontrollable anger, I obeyed their lips and began to pack my things to leave the place. None helped me to pack my things. And none came to drop me back in the bus terminal to get my bus back to home. As I said before the village is an isolated one and there is no transport facility too unless someone comes here from outside. I had to walk all long for miles to reach the bus terminal. Once I reached the bus terminal I got really agitated and anguished, I threw my backpack down which opened and scattered all the stuff inside it.  Regaining my conscience I again packed all the stuff back into it, in the process I found something which has already occupied a large portion of my backpack. I took it out, it was a file. I found my thesis papers inside it when I opened it. My bus back to Chennai arrived at the platform, I got into it and took a window seat near the back side entrance.

Something provoked me to look at my thesis work again which was in my hand. I opened it read the first page of it, after which I went into the stream of consciousness and was thinking about all the incidents that took place in the past few months. I had a great doubt on the sudden change in the behavior of the people whom I loved a lot. I felt that they could have at least told me the reason for their sudden hatred towards me. Thinking about these things I didn’t notice that the first page of my thesis flew out through the window. I grabbed my other papers and left the bus along with my backpack to get my first page that was taken by the cunning wind. I ran behind it here and there in an oscillatory movement.

Finally, it went inside a bus, I went behind it and found the first page of the paper on the window seat near the back entrance of that bus. I decided to sit at that seat to take some air and took the paper. It was titled “Proofs in Anjaneri” and I heard the conductor getting into the bus crowing “Passengers to Anjaneri get into the bus, the bus is gonna leave now”. I stared at the paper for few times and decided to go to Anjaneri to find whether what I believed was correct. I have already seen many miracles near the temple in the cave but have promised Vishakha that I won’t reveal any of their secrets to anyone in the above world. So with a blind belief, I began my quest on a legend to prove Chiranjivi’s are real.

 

……….To Be Continued……….

11. The Replenishment

“Anger has clouded your senses and now you will pay for’ it” saying this she saw towards me. “Now there is a new fate which God has written a very long back, who will take the life which the Lord gave you”

I woke up in an alert on hearing the horn, a war horn. For the past few days, I’m blacking out often. I found myself dressed up in some weird warrior costume and I had a bow hanging around my shoulder. Mahatapase was who entered the room helped me with my Trishul and my whip. We both went out to find what was happening. It was the Smithiis, they started to attack the Vishakhans without any prior notice. I was in a dilemma on to whom I must support, either Vishakha or Smithii. Vishakha who saw me coming out ordered me to get into the safe zone. But I’m not a person who runs away from a fight, yet my confusion still remained. I asked Mahatapase to whom I must support. To my surprise Mahatapase talked, he just uttered the name Vishakha.

Though it was answered by Mahatapase my mind didn’t take it so easily. Even for example elders used to say never trust a person with a snake mind as they might turn against us at anytime Here Vishakha and her men snakes who can transform into humans or maybe humans who can transform into snakes. “How is it possible for me to believe them?” there were bloodshed and wounds all around me, but none attacked me. But to my analysis, it was Vishakhans who had their upper hand.

My concentration went to Vishakha, who went snooping into Smithiis safe house. The thing that I saw gave me a shock. Vishakha whom I thought as a undefeatable person was kneeling down and Smithii had his sword on her neck. “Every Time it was you who gets the blessing of God, what mistake did I do, why didn’t he bless me with everything like he blessed you? He gave us back our life equally, he blessed us with immortality equally then why didn’t he bless me with the “Mighty Arc”. Am I not worthy of it? Or is it because he considers you as his daughter?” shouted Smithii. He continued “Even now, I tried to trick that stupid fellow who carried the Trishul and the whip of the great Lord and get me my Mighty Arc but YOU, it was YOU who came in the middle and took it back from me. He abandoned us both in this hell for a long time and still you believe in him?” and slapped Vishakha for multiple times.00519f429dea5c4044ca4c5a7280c638-cobra-tattoo-snake-tattoo

It hurt me very badly but the reason was anonymous, is it for the slap that Vishakha got for me or Smithii calling a stupid. Then with a sympathetic voice, he said “Many centuries before we were good friends, very close enough that anyone could get jealous on us, it was all his mistake. He gave us something and took everything from us. Let us make a deal. Give me the Mighty Arc as per my right and I would spare your life considering our long-broken friendship, or else die protecting it from me”. Vishakha with a Cynical smile answered “Anger has clouded your senses and now you will pay for’ it” saying this she saw towards me. “Now there is a new fate which God has written a very long back, who will take the life which the Lord gave you” screamed Vishakha in pride. Hearing this Smithii got even more ferocious and transformed into a mongoose. He started to attack Vishakha vigorously and tore her skin apart.

I jumped into the scene to save Vishakha and used my whip to catch the untraceable fast Smithii, who was in the form of a mongoose. My mind became clear. I had the clarity to decide on whose side I must fight. I pierced my Trishul through Smithii who transformed back into human form and died. His last statement was “This is why I trusted Ashu to you”. I helped Vishakha to get up who instructed me, that we must get back to her place in order to help her people. We were late, most of the Vishakhans were slaughtered by the Smithiis and only a few along with Mahatapase was fighting against the Smithiis.

Vishakha looked at me and told me to use the Mighty Arc. Readily I took it in my hand which transformed into a heavy bow. “Wow it was really a Mighty Arc”, I asked her for an arrow using which I could shoot the enemies, but she neglected my request and instructed me to just pull the string and aim at the enemy. I did as she instructed. “What the hell?”. The same laser kind of arrow appeared between my fingers, when I released, it hit the enemy making them fall down instantly. It was kind of game which I really enjoyed, but it was not enough, we were overpowered. Vishakha grabbed my hand and dragged me towards the opposite direction.

We reached the top of a hill nearby and she instructed me to use the mighty arc, but this time she told me to hold the string which I pull for a long time. My hand worked automatically. My action created the laser light grow even brighter, hot and heavy, and she told me to release it on her own place to destroy everything. I hesitated first, but she insisted me to trust her. I saw her eyes, it had a truth, having faith on her I did as she said. There appeared a great explosion, anything around the explosion for a kilometer burned into ashes. We went to the spot after the fire went down, everything that was burnt magically got back to its own state. Trees, flowers, statues and even grasses. But the dead stayed dead except the difference, they got their human state. Vishakha took the stone with which she prepared the potion for me and dipped in the water in a nearby vessel that had water and poured it into the mouths of the dead.

Everyone came to life one by one and started to help Vishakha in her chores. They even gave it to the Smithiis, to my surprise even to Smithii himself. But there was a difference only the Vishakhans got back their human form while the Smithiis remained as mongoose, who ran away into the shrubs. Vishakha with a smiling face approached me and said everything had turned back to its normal state and that I can continue my journey back to the above land with the help of two Vishakhans, but with two conditions. First one was to name the place, I named it Nagapuram as it was resided by the snakes and the second condition was to keep Nagapuram on high secrecy. I promised her, bid her goodbye, took some stuff and started to move with two Vishakhans. I felt that I was missing something or someone. It was Mahatapase I searched for him even Vishakha helped me to search him. There was again multiple sounds of great roar above a tree. It was Mahatapase, sound asleep. Before I left, Vishakha said that we would meet soon and bid me goodbye again.

………. To Be Continued ……….

10. The Veiled Vishakha

I woke up encountering the most calmest face I have ever seen. It was her, Vishakha. Sitting near me she was mixing something in a cup of water. It was like a stone. She enquired me whether I have any injuries and tome me to lift myself. While I was getting up she assaulted me down and made me gulp the water that she had in her hand. What the hell was mixed in that water, it tasted like drinking an animal’s blood. Drinking that water gagged me and made me feel dizzy.  In Spite of dizziness I went for my Trishul which was not near me. Then try to escape from there but couldn’t take even a single step. My whole body felt an immense pain that I have never felt before. I twisted and fell down on the floor unable to move my body. Vishakha lifted me to my bed and whispered “Everything would be more than normal soon don’t worry” and left the place.

After a couple of hours I got my consciousness back and went out of the room where I was made to rest. The first sight I saw was Mahatapse massacring a table full of eatable. Even after seeing me he didn’t have any courtesy to stop his ravage but continued it again as if he didn’t see me. I felt something weird it me. I felt light and weightless. My pace is walking differed from earlier. I felt different kind of energy surging through my veins. Feeling that much power was new to my body, so I lost my balance often and so had to hold a nearby statue for balance, but I collapsed down along with the statue. “What the hell?” my mind again went to dilemma. Is it the statue that was weak or I got stronger. I was taken back to a situation where my professor said a proverb “ like a sitting of a crow made the palm fruit fall down” (kaka ukkara panam pazham vizhindhadham). Which made me laugh inside.

My mind got curious to find what all I could do. I began to hit every statue that was near by, everything broke into pieces, I enjoyed it like anything for a second I forgot that I’m an archeologist and broke all the statues near me. An arrow from a far distance hit my shoulder very hard before I could get aware of it. I fell down in pain. in Spite of pain I pulled out the arrow and got shocked to see it glow very bright and got even more shocked when the arrow vanished in few second. There was a great pain on my shoulder which compelled me to examine it. That’s where I found the greatest shock. The injury caused by the arrow began to enclose itself and healed on the spot. All my pain had vanished.

As I got healed I stood furiously to find who shot the arrow. it was dead silent. I made my ears so clear in order to hear even a minute sound that was created around me. After concentrating for sometime I heard a roar. I was a constant roar with same phase. My mind began to think which animal was around me, whether a lion or a tiger or who know a mixture of many carnivorous animals. I located the direction from which the roaring sound came and moved towards it. It was from the same place where I saw Mahatapse eating. I feared that his life would be in danger and ran towards him. What the hell? The sound that I heard was not really a roar but a snore created by Mahatapase after finishing his heavy feast. Suddenly all my senses started to work in a union I felt something approaching behind me, I heard something piercing the air behind me. I smelt something very different which I had never smelt before, through the reflection of the power mit hanging on Mahatapase’s waist I was able to see another arrow that approached me. I dodged it and turned back. As I turned back I saw arrows shot at me from multiple directions. I dodged every arrow very easily as if it came in slow motion. I even catched certain arrows too. After sometime the arrow showers stopped and there was great applause.

I sensed movement here and there in the bushes. The movement was towards me and also in Godspeed. “ what’s next? Whatever it may be I can tackle it with the energy that I posses now” I was over-confident on my power. On all directions snakes emerged from the bushes. I laughed cynically thinking that even arrows couldn’t shake me. What would these snakes could do? All of a sudden all the snakes stopped before me at a far distance. They all were in a position as if they were staring at me. All of a sudden they all transformed into humans. One among them was Vishakha. Seeing this sight I was really taken aback and shocked. My mind got blank and I fainted on the same spot where I saw it.

She is a snake, one can never trust her, she is evil, she is a deceiver, TRiCKSTER”. All the words said by Smithii about Vishakha echoed in my mind. I woke up with sweating and saw Vishakha near me. Filled with fear and alert I tried to get away from her. She tried to convince me. I was not ready to listen to her and mind was not ready to believe her. She hold my hand firmly and looked in my eyes. She told me to be calm and listen to what she is gonna say. “ I know you are confused and scared. Just calm down and take some rest until you regenerate your energy. We have a lot to discuss and a lot to get cleared”. Talking to me she took a pouch which was hanging on her waist. The same pouch in which she collected the ashes of the Mighty Arc. she emptied the pouch on my chest, which started to burn like hell. it was as if it sucked all the energy that was left in my body and made me so weak. With heaviness on my eyelashes I opened eyes and saw the Mighty Arc over me. “Who is she really?” was the main question that revolved in my head and I blacked out.

9. The Mighty Arc

It became dark very soon. We were soothed by the fire started by Mahatapase. She was still unconscious, even after a tiresome roll down, even after trenched in the stream, still unconscious yet alive. “Who is she? why did she come to the rail track? Why is she still unconscious?” Many questions like this kept my mind busy, blinding me to witness what would happen next. She was unusually beautiful. It was as if I’m been mesmerised by her beauty. The only question that continuously ran in my mind was “who she is ?”

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It became dark very soon. We were soothed by the fire started by Mahatapase. She was still unconscious, even after a tiresome roll down, even after trenched in the stream, still unconscious yet alive. “Who is she? why did she come to the rail track? Why is she still unconscious?” Many questions like this kept my mind busy, blinding me to witness what would happen next. She was unusually beautiful. It was as if I’m been mesmerised by her beauty. The only question that continuously ran in my mind was “who she is ?”

I went to fetch something to eat for myself and Mahatapase, where I heard some movement in the woods. I got alert and gripped my Trishul tight in order to face anything that approaches. All of a student there was a sound of multiple metallic clash. I rushed towards the camp which we temporarily made and saw a group of mob dressed weirdly with weapons in their hands charging against Mahatapase. I went in between them and began to charge at them. “Who are these guys? This place is filled with mysteries, first it was just a woman, now a group of men. Where were they when we first entered the temple?”

We were over powered and were also not sure of their motive too. Suddenly there was a horn sound, a war horn. On hearing it the mob which attacked us ran away out of fear. “Who blew that horn?” I expected my professor to be there. To my surprise there was another set of mobs on different attire who marched towards us. They had fur on their skins which looked odd; whether they were friends or foe was a great doubt for me and Mahatapase. We both gripped our weapons and stood in battle position; but all of a sudden the surrounded us and stood against us, as if they were protecting us from someone. After sometime an elderly person in armor came towards us with a smiling face. ” You are lucky today as we crossed this way, or else no one could have saved you both from the brutality you could have encountered” said the elderly person in armour.

He introduced himself Smithii. He was the local clan leader of the Smithiis which was named after him. He provided us with some water and food which was carried by his men and further welcomed us to his place to take rest and stay safe for that night. we readily accepted for his aid as we were very tired and would not be able to protect ourselves if someone attacks us at night. His vision then turned to the woman who was lying nearby. He clapped his hand on his thigh and said with a confident tone ” This is why those vermins attacked you” and laughed weirdly.

With the guidance and help of the Smithiis we reached a small cave like entrance which ended into a great palace with an assemblage many men, women and children. This really surprised me. An underworld within an underworld, we were welcomed warmly and was given separate rooms to take rest. They took the women to the prison and Smithii said that we would talk about other things on the next day morning. On passing I heard many Smithiis talking about the prisoner, they said that there would be peace and prosperity in their land here after. Some gossiped that after many decades their race have finally defeated their deadly enemy.

The next day we were taken to the hall where Smithii and his noble men were seated; they asked us many questions and I was the one who were answering them all. After hearing complete detail about us they were very eager to know about the temple and how i got the Trishul. Again and again their questions were only on the Trishul that i possessed. After the investigation session, we were taken to have royal food. Each plate that was placed in front of us had different kinds of food on various vegetables, fruits and flesh that they cultivated over there. During the feast, Smithii told us about the cunning Vishakhans, who were leaded by their great queen Vishakha. He said that she was a great threat to the Smithiis, as they possessed the most powerful weapon created by God himself.

He told that they were living for many centuries as it was a gift given by God for eternal life and both Vishakha and Smithii grew up together. Once they met God himself who accidentally killed them both. So in order to rectify his mistake he gave life to both Smithii and Vishakha, during the process of giving life Vishakha became a snake. Later  her mind was corrupted by evil from whom She got the power to mesmerize anyone with her look and kill anyone with a single kiss, because of her special ability Vishaksha started her own clan with snakes and ruled it brutally.

He further said that long time back there was a great war between God and evil at the temple during which the Smithiis helped God in the battle, as a result God gifted them with a great weapon named “The Mighty Arc” for their safety against the Vishakhans who turned evil. Later there was a war between the Vishakhans and the Smithiis for acquiring the weapon given by God. During the battle the weapon was broken into two pieces. One part of was looted by the Vishakhans while the other was kept safe with the Smithiis. He said that only the people who are worthy for it can use it, and he added that Smithii and Vishakha had the ability to use it. Recently when they arrested Vishakha along with us, they got back the remaining piece and now its easy for Smithii to protect his people from the Vishakhans.

After the feast Smithii ordered one among his noble men to bring the broken pieces of the Mighty Arc. A white furry man brought something covered in velvet. On reaching Smithii he removed the velvet, it was two bows. Two bows with only some variations in it. With a bright happy face Smithii took both the bows and tried to unite it into one in order to recreate the Mighty Arc. His attempts failed, because of which he got furious and asked the guards to bring the prisoner to the hall.

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Vishakha was brought by a guard with her hands chained. On seeing me she got little surprised, which was seen in her eyes. Smithii questioned Vishakha on what she has done to the Mighty Arc. She stood silent starting at me. There was a slap given to Vishakha. After which she said “Only the blessed and worthy can recreate the Mighty Arc, you try it now”. Smithii with a satirical tone laughed and said ” you could have said this before and avoid that slap”. On hearing this Vishakha started to laugh and said ” I was talking to him.” Her index finger pointed towards me.

Smithii without thinking anything gave both the bow in my hand and told me to unite it. I tried many times but it repelled as if I tried to unite two magnets of the same poles. After a many tries, I managed to bring the bows together and hold it tight. The bows became very hot and bright and all of a sudden it turned into ashes. Smithii got shocked. He shouted at Vishakha stating she has tricked her and destroyed the weapon. She cursed her ” trickster ” and threw everything he had in his hand. Everyone in the hall was thrown back due to a great explosion. Again the same mob who attacked us on the first hand entered the hall. They unchained Vishakha who rushed towards the turned-ash bows and collected it all in a velvet cloth and kidnapped us from there within a fraction of seconds. The final sound that I heard before I went unconscious was the monstrous scream of Smithii.

……….To Be Continued……….

8. The Softened Boulder

We were instructed to go back side of the temple in order to reach back to the surface with a second path. We all prayed that at least that path must be a normal one. I don’t know why but my mind was so suspicious of all the things that I saw. I felt like some thing was wrong there. We walked just for a kilometre and suddenly a railway track was encountered by us. What the hell. How did this track come here? What is there which cannot surprise me? really I’m fed up with these un imaginable surprise. But the Railway track was not so clean it was covered with mud here and there and was also rusty. The hologram that we carried instructed us to go along the railway track that too in an opposite direction toward the temple. What the hell? We just now came out of the temple and now we had to again go inside the temple. Is this hologram helping us or is it too confused just like we all are.

We were instructed to go back side of the temple in order to reach back to the surface with a second path. We all prayed that at least that path must be a normal one. I don’t know why but my mind was so suspicious of all the things that I saw. I felt like some thing was wrong there. We walked just for a kilometre and suddenly a railway track was encountered by us. What the hell. How did this track come here? What is there which cannot surprise me? really I’m fed up with these un imaginable surprise. But the Railtrack was not so clean it was covered with mud here and there and was also rusty. The hologram that we carried instructed us to go along the railway track that too in an opposite direction toward the temple. What the hell? We just now came out of the temple and now we had to again go inside the temple. Is this hologram helping us or is it too confused just like we all are.

We all followed the track not because instructed by the hologram but for our professor’s words who insisted to go as per the instructions given by the hologram. We reached an entrance to a tunnel had its entrance sloping towards the ground like a subway. We all took our touches and entered the tunnel one by one. Our hectic walk came to an end with a wagon in front of us. It was also too dusty, professor and Kamal started to clean it, Durga helped them by providing the thing needed for them while myself and Mahatapase were instructed to check the perimeter and guard them.

There was an entrance which was closed by mud and gravels, but that was not the one thing that we found. It was intentionally closed by someone. May be to block someone who was about to escape from there. What would have happened here? Why there is a need for a wagon and railroad inside a temple. And who was blocked from exiting this temple? These were the questions that moved around my head again and again but didn’t show it to others, as my professor would again scold me for being a sceptic on everything that I saw. Mahatapase saw something and stood motionless, I went near him and touched his shoulders. Tears flooded from his eyes and he sat down over there itself and continued to week. I saw towards the direction where he saw and found a portrait of a woman she was so beautiful.

We heard our professor’s call for us to return back to the wagon, so went but it was not just a wagon, it had a motor behind it which pushes the wagon on the rail road. I didn’t ask Mahatapase about anything and just made him get on the wagon. Once all boarded the wagon our professor started the motor and we all started to move. It moved very slowly but gradually it increased its pace and started to move fast. There was no joystick to control its speed and there was no break too. Only an on and off switch was there for us to use that wagon. Slowly we all began to enjoy the ride. It was similar to a rollercoaster as it moved randomly in a zig-zag movement. We all started to shout out of joy. After a long time, we all started to laugh and shout like anything. When I checked Mahatapase. He was very sad with tears in his eyes.

Something got Mahatapase’s attention. He started to shout like a mad man pointing at something. We all moved our heads toward that direction and found something very odd. It was a woman. She was lying on the rail track. “Is she dead? No, she is moving. Is she stuck between the track? Or is it a trap?” though these thoughts circulated my mind, I was very much concerned to take some action to save her. We tried to stop the wagon but it had already gained its maximum speed. Even after switching off the motor, we were unable to control the speed.

Mahatapase without thinking anything jumped before the wagon and tried to create a barrier between that woman and our wagon. His effort worked but not effectively. We still approached that woman in an impactable speed. I calculated the distance and jumped and ran fast to reach the woman before the wagon could do and grabbed her in my arms, but it was late the wagon reached us and we were about to be hit by it. Suddenly Mahatapase turned towards me and pushed us aside from the track. The last voice I heard was my professor’s who said “follow the track and reach us soon on the surface”

We three rolled and rolled for a long time and fell into a stream that crossed us. I was so exhausted, it was Mahatapase who dragged me and that woman from the stream to the land. She was still unconscious. My eyes went towards Mahatapase who was still shedding tears. What has happened? A man who was so tough and robust is now shedding tears like anything. Who was that woman in that portrait? I thought he was a man who lacked any kind of feeling, like a boulder. But now only I have witnessed this softened boulder.

………. To Be Continued ……….