In a room made of glass and mirrors, a man and woman were sitting on a table facing each other. The woman was in her mid-thirties, and her disheveled, miserable look did not rouse any sympathy in the man’s eyes.
“You killed you’re a High-Guard, injured three of your friends, and broke into the Royal Treasury.” He listed her crimes to her. “What were you looking for in the Royal Treasury?”
The woman’s eyes brimmed with tears at the man’s words. Her hands, still stained in the blood of the High-Guard that she had slain, trembled in fear and agony that sparked from her heart.
Her mind raced as she felt tempted to reveal everything before the man. However, no matter how hard she tried, she could not recall the reason why she had done everything.
“I don’t remember…” She whispered in a low voice.
The tears streamed out of her eyes.
“Is Indra okay?”
The man smiled at her question.
“You injured him heavily, but he will survive.” The man told her. “But why do you care about him now? You did not hesitate to kill a fellow High-Guard, and you had not hesitated when you plunged your dagger in Indra’s chest. I saw the wound you left him, it must have been painful, and he must have howled miserably in that pain.”
The words broke her. But she felt calm enough to answer the man.
“I love him. He is my little brother.” She stated before pleadingly looking at the man. “I don’t know why I did what I did, but I would have never hurt my brother or my friends. I could have never betrayed the House of Aryans.”
“But everything I told you is the truth. Have you not seen the footage just now?”
The smile on his face was pale.
Her answers had given him a bad feeling.
He did not waste any more time with her and stood up to leave the room.
The woman looked at him and wanted to ask for mercy, but she could only lower her head as the pain of her crimes hammered on her heart.
Outside the room, the people present had heard everything that was said in the interrogation chamber.
“What’s going on?” Akash asked as soon as Shazan came out of the room.
“Her mind was being controlled by something.” He gave the information he had found. “It was an enchantment, and whatever she did was under the influence of that enchantment. Once she failed her mission, the enchantment freed her.”
People were shocked at his words.
“Is this even possible?” Rani-Ma asked as her face showed an evident fear.
“Yes…” He nodded. “I have never seen such an enchantment before, but I am certain that it was an enchantment. There were no signs of her losing her vitality or a harmed mind. Whatever or whoever made such an enchantment was an accomplished Witch or a Wizard.”
“Is there any possibility that it was a person controlling her and not an enchantment?” Queen Izna asked solemnly.
“There are only three people in that world that I know of who can pull it off. But all three of the people capable of such a feat have not been involved in this matter.” He smiled and answered her. “I am one of those three, and the other two are my wives.”
The words did not shock or surprise the people. It only made them agitated that they had no leads on the culprit.
“Do you have a record of the places she had been to in the last three or four days?” Shazan inquired.
“We checked into it. She had only been guarding the treasury, and yesterday, she was inside the volcanic crater.” Akash told the key pieces of information.
“What was she doing in the Volcanic Crater?” He inquired.
“There were tremors in the Crater, and…” Akash stopped before saying anything more.
“It’s okay,” He shook his head and waved his hand. “If it is a secret, you don’t need to inform me.”
“I…” Akash lowered his head.
“We will take you there tomorrow. You can see it for yourself.” The King of Aryans said with a smile. “We don’t need to keep any secrets from you.”
The words eased the awkwardness in the room, and everyone sincerely smiled at Shazan.
“Thank you…” He nodded to the King.
The reason why Akash had asked him to come to Arkaya was to interrogate the incident that took place yesterday. They had tried the means at their hands to interrogate the woman, but she was completely blank about the incident and the crimes that she had committed.
“Get someone to bring some food and water for her,” Shazan recalled the miserable appearance of the woman inside the glassed-cage and said.
“Yeah…” Akash sighed and nodded.
They had tortured a person who had only been under an influence. He did not feel bad about it, but he could not feel right about it either.
The High-Guards of the Palace were all on alert. They were all tensed, knowing that one of them had betrayed the House of Aryans, there was fear, shame, and doubts engulfing their minds. The matter had to be treated with care and honesty, but it was going to be a tough task to proclaim the woman as completely innocent when they did not have the right answers.
“What did the Guards say when they had caught her?” He asked. “Had she struggled a lot?”
Rani-Ma nodded at him.
“She fought till her body had no strength left. The High Guards had managed to bind her in the shadow binding, but she had struggled as if her life depended on it.” She said. “Her goal was to only get inside the treasury. She had no care for what happened to her. But after she was drained of strength and fainted, she woke up blank.”
Shazan nodded to her and seemed to be lost in thought.
“What is it?” Maira, who had been silent, suddenly asked.
“I am just curious about her goal.” He smiled and did not hide his curiosity. “What kind of treasure are you guys hiding?”
The King laughed at his frankness.
“We don’t know. There are a lot of things of value, but we have not ascertained what she was after.” He replied and turned around to leave. “Come, I will take you there.”
The words surprised Shazan, but his heart was warm. The King trusted him not for his status, but because he felt assured that he would never harm Maira’s family.
The two Queens, Akash, and Maira followed the two of them to the Royal Treasury.
The layers of security systems made Shazan chuckle. It was truly an impregnable bastion. The five people who could open this Treasury were the King, his Two Queens, their son, and Akash.
The wealth the Aryans had amassed over the centuries was before his eyes in hills of gold. There were ancient texts, paintings, artifacts, and even some magical Talismans.
The Silverstein Empire too had massive wealth, but the wealth he had back home was more historic than materialistic. Aryans seemed to have no qualms in amassing gold and shinies.
He walked around the treasury, taking a look at the ancient texts and historic remanents.
Afterward, he walked to the back of the Treasury from where he felt a mystical aura oozing out.
What he came to see was an ancient Artifact that looked like a Dial. There was a map on it that seemed to be living, and the Dial was moving ever so slowly in the anti-clockwise direction.
“So this is what makes this Island a Paradise.” He smiled as he closely observed the map.
It was Arkaya’s detailed map, but it did not have the Palace or other man-made places on it.
“Yes,” The King nodded to his words. “This is perhaps our greatest treasure. It was gifted to our First Ancestor by someone, and later when the Aryans had discovered this Island, we used it here.”
Shazan nodded and observed the flow of Aura on the Dial. The Map and the Dial had two different Auras, but they worked in harmony as if they belong to the same origin.
“Have the High-Guards been inside the Treasury?”
“Most of them have.” Rani-Ma nodded. “We do trust them, and we have never faced any betrayals in history by our High-Guards. Some accompany us here when they have to be rewarded, or if we have to move things around.”
“And that woman had been in here?”
“Yes,” She nodded.
“Do you think she was after this Dial?” The King frowned and asked.
Shazan shook his head.
“It can not easily be destroyed or taken away.” He said and smiled. “Also, it can not be used at any other place again. It is bound to the island of Arkaya.”
“Hmm…” The King knew about it and nodded to his words.
“I am sure you have guessed as to what she was after.” He smiled at the three of them. “What do you think she was after?”
“We are not sure.” Rani-Ma shook her head.
The King seemed to be lost in some thoughts.
“We have doubts that it has to be something related to that Wall in the volcanic crater.” Queen Izna told him. “When the Island was discovered, the Volcano was no longer active. It seemed to have died long ago. In the crater is a cave, and at the back of that cave is a Wall with ancient Inscriptions.”
“The Language of Amazeros?” He asked in surprise.
“Yes,” The King nodded. “But we are still trying to decipher and understand those words. So far, we have learned nothing.”
“Any idea what race those words belong to?” Shazan asked the key question.
“All we know is that they don’t belong to Azeros. It is some other race.” Rani-Ma smiled and answered him.
They could see the anticipation in his eyes. And for some reason, it made them all feel happy.
“There were three things that Aryans had found by that wall.” Queen Izna walked to the corner where a glassed pillar was. “Two of them are these.”
Inside that pillar was a shelf, and on it was a flute and a leathered book.
Shazan observed the flute first. It was carved out of a red-gold colored wood. There were inscriptions on it, but there was nothing else that made it look anything special other than its beauty. Whoever would lay his eyes on it would only find it a beautiful flute, but Shazan instinctively felt that it was dangerous.
“What’s this?” He inquired.
“A flute.” Akash chuckled and answered, but seeing that Shazan had a deep frown on his face, he looked at the flute once again.
No matter how hard the rest of them looked at it, they did not find anything special about this flute.
“It is just a flute,” Rani-Ma said and placed her hand off the glassed pillar. The system scanned her prints, and then when a lid opened, she took out the flute and presented it to him.
Shazan frowned as he looked at the flute in her hand. The dangerous feeling spiked up, but she seemed to be in no discomfort as she held it in her hands.
He carefully accepted it in his hands, and just as he was about to inspect it with his Aura, he felt a chill in his heart, and he stopped.
“Has anyone ever tried inspecting it?”
His expressions made everyone feel that something was off.
“Many did that. I did it as well.” Queen Izna looked at him curiously. “What’s wrong?” She asked.
“It is terrifying…” He whispered and ran his finger along with the Inscriptions on the flute. “I have a feeling that if I tried inspecting it… It will be… a calamity.” He stopped and thought before saying the word that appeared in his mind.
“A Calamity?” Akash frowned and came forward to take a better look at the flute.
“Are you certain?” Maira did not doubt his words, but she still asked the question.
“My instincts have never betrayed me.” He answered solemnly. “I am not scared of it, but I do not dare to provoke something I might be incapable of stopping.” He carefully placed the Flute back in its case.
He had decided to bring Renesme here to see what she had to say about it.
“Can I take a picture of it?” He asked.
He took out his cellphone and took several pictures of it, making sure that he got every inscription on the flute.
It was then when he brought his hand near his face that he noticed something peculiar.
He sniffed his forefinger, and the smell was strong on it. It was the same finger he had used to trace those inscriptions. But the smell was something he was familiar with.
His weird behavior did not escape the eyes of the people present there. Akash, who was close to him took a whiff as well, and his eyes widened in shock.
“What kind of heavenly scent is this?!” He asked in shock.
The rest of the people also came forward to take a sniff, and they had the same question on their minds.
“I am not sure what it is, but it is something that belongs to me.” Shazan lowered his hand and looked at the book that was by the side of the flute.
He was not comfortable with having people smell his hand like that.
Seeing him not willing to answer anything regarding that scent, the four of them did not pester him.
He picked up the book after looking at it for a while. The leather was soft and smooth. It was dull red, and there were no inscriptions or anything on it. The thickness of the book was only that of a hundred pages, but it was quite heavy for a book that size. He could feel not feel any strands of life from the book, but mystically, it still felt alive.
He opened the book, and his brows furrowed.
It was blank. The pages were light red, but there was nothing on them. There was not a single word on those hundred or so pages.
“It is a strange book. We have inspected it as well, but it contains no words. We even tried to write on it with different inks, blood, and even Auras, but nothing can be recorded on it.” The King told him and he came forward and made a small cut in his finger.
The blood from the cut dropped down on the page and sank in it, disappearing as if it never was there.
There was no Aura in the book. And Shazan’s interest piqued after witnessing it.
“Can I keep it for a couple of days?” He requested the King.
The King smiled at his request.
“Alright. You can keep it for a few days.” He agreed without any hesitation.
“Thank you!” He gratefully nodded to him. “What’s the third item?”
He looked at Queen Izna and asked.
“The third Item is missing now. We only saw its records in the diary of the Ancestor. The item had vanished a couple of days after these things were found.” She answered.
“Someone stole it?”
“We don’t know what happened to it. There are no records about it.” Rani-Ma answered him.
“Why do you think that whatever happened is related to these three things?” He looked at Queen Izna and asked.
“There was an Earthquake on the island. And I can say with confidence that it originated from that Wall inside the cave. The people present in front of the Wall at that time all saw weird inscriptions brighten up, and right after that, we sent a few batches of High-Guards to inspect the area. She was in the first batch to arrive near the wall to take a look at it. And in the evening, she tried to break inside the treasury. It can be a coincidence, but my instincts tell me otherwise.”
Her eyes turned grave as soon as she said these words.
“We need to get the people away from the Wall.” She looked at the King for the order.
The King nodded, and Akash hurriedly left the Treasury to pass on the orders. He was smart enough to not waste time and take risks.
“Are we going to take a look at the Wall right now?” The King asked Shazan.
“We will go check it out in the morning. I need to contact the Empire and see if I can get anything on the Flute.” He replied and glanced at the flute again.
“Is it related to this Flute?”
Shazan frowned and thought for a while.
“We have no proof to be certain of this, but yes, if what Queen Izna said is right, it is either the book in my hands… or the Flute.” He replied to the King.
“You think it is the Book, right?” Maira asked as she looked at the book in his hands. “Is that why you are keeping it on you?”
“No,” He shook his head. “I want to study it. And if you ask me, I would place my bet on the Flute.”
“Wouldn’t it be safer if you kept the flute on you?” Maira asked.
Her words held faith in his strength and honesty. She had lived in the Palace with him for two years, and she did not doubt his honesty to his friends and allies.
It was one of his few traits that she appreciated.
“Not necessarily.” He shook his head. “The Flute is reacting to my presence. Perhaps it is why only I can feel how dangerous it is. I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to keep it on me.” He said and looked at the King. “I think you need to place someone here to keep a look at the Flute. At least for the time when we will be inspecting the Wall tomorrow.”
The King nodded to his words.
“I will ask Akash or Vikaros to keep a watch on it.”
Shazan nodded in agreement.
He had faith in the strength of Akash, and Vikaros was just as strong. He was more capable than his son when it came to guarding something. But he was not the kind of a person suited to be the King. That was why he had passed on the title of the Crown Prince to his son, Akash.
A while later, Maira guided him to the room he would be staying in. Surprisingly, it was in her courtyard, right next to her room.
“It was not me,” She stubbornly looked at him. “Rani-Ma arranged your room to be here.”
“I didn’t say anything…” He chuckled and winked at her. “Good Night, Princess!” He quickly planted a kiss on her head and rushed inside his room.
He closed the door and sat on the couch before taking out the book and looking at it impatiently.
“Master, what is this?”
Ella, in her negligee, got up from the bed and came to sit with him. She looked at the book in his hand with curiosity, and as she touched the cover, she felt even more attracted to it.
“That’s what I want to find out.” He smiled and took out his cellphone. He passed the phone to Ella and instructed her. “Contact Karen, and make her inquire about the pictures I recently took. Tell her to ask The Blood Clan, the Moon Clan, and order Hexis to secretly check for it in the Wise Blood Order. Make sure no one else gets to know of this.”
Ella nodded to him and got up from the couch as she called Karen.
But just as she opened the images of the flute, she looked at it, mesmerized, and surprised. It was a simple flute, but it was beautiful. And an unknown feeling started welling up in her heart.
♛ Author’s Note:
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