In his cage of red light, he slept soundly, relishing every moment of this aching tiredness in his body. It had been a while since he had last been this spent, and he was glad to feel the pain of being weak. Only when weak would a person strive harder for strength.
His reluctant eyes opened, and he carefully stretched his arms before sitting up. His eyes landed on the girl sleeping by his side, and his heart ached, seeing those dried tears at the corner of her eyes.
“Silly girl…” He whispered and leaned in to plant a kiss on her head.
He lovingly stroked his Ella’s head, careful of not waking her. It was past noontime, and he was certain that Ella had stayed up late to look after him.
Shazan carefully tucked her hair at the back of her ear. He wanted to have a better look at her loveable sleeping face, but what caught his eyes was a fiery red pendant that held a sparkling red gem in it. It was around Ella’s neck, and he had to admit it that it suited her. It looked so perfect on her.
The door of his room opened, and he saw a face peeking inside to have a look.
It was Isha.
When their eyes met, she called out in alarm but shut her mouth fast. She did not want to wake up Ella.
“Come!” He smiled at her and nodded.
The girl entered the room and hurriedly came by his side. She narrowed her eyes to take a better look at him.
“I am fine…” He smiled and told her.
“What happened last night?” She asked in a whisper.
Recalling what had happened last night, his mood turned grim. There were a lot of things he had to sort out.
“Lord Shazan?” Isha’s heart trembled when she saw the grave look in his eyes.
Shazan shook his head and smiled at her.
“I will explain it to you later.” He said and carefully got off the bed.
He rushed inside the bathroom, and after nearly half n hour, he returned dressed and ready for the day. He could have cleaned himself off with his Aura, but he loved the freshness the shower provided him.
Isha picked up a towel from the dressing room and helped him dry his hair.
She had watched the other girls help him several times, but this was the first time she was helping him do this. And it made her feel delighted.
“Thank you!” He wrapped his arm around her waist and picked her up.
He looked in her flustered eyes and leaned in to plant a kiss on her forehead.
“Did I alarm you last night?” He asked.
She nodded shyly.
“We heard Ella screaming your name, and Maira rushed inside the room. She called in the Royal physicians. The King came as well to take a look, and the two queens stayed by Ella’s side to keep a check on you. Only in the morning did everyone leave.” She told him what had happened after he fell unconscious. “How come you were drained of all your strength?” She asked in concern. “No one here had ever seen you so weak.”
“I over-exerted myself in my curiosity.”
“Was it worth it?”
“Yes!” He nodded and put her down on her feet.
He looked around the room and frowned. He hurriedly went to the couch and the tables, but he could not find it anywhere.
“Where’s the book?” He asked Isha.
“It is with Maira. She had doubts that it was related to the book, and so she kept it on her.”
Shazan was shocked to hear her words.
“Why would she keep it on herself if it was dangerous?”
Isha’s face paled at his words.
“Is it…?” She scaredly asked.
Her expressions made him want to tease her a little.
“The book is cursed, and whoever keeps it on themself will be haunted by vengeful ghosts,”
Isha’s eyes quivered in fear but she hurriedly tried to run out of the room to inform Maira about it. She didn’t want her to be harmed.
“No. It is not dangerous.” He caught her in his arms and swung her around. “I was just messing with you.”
“Really?” She doubted his words.
It was not just Maira who doubted that things were related to the book.
The Aryan Princess had insisted on keeping the book on herself. The King and the Queens were quite worried about her decision, but she didn’t give in, and they agreed.
Isha told more details to him about last night. She told him how miserable Ella looked when she saw him lifelessly sprawled in his arms. She had only started crying after everyone had informed her that everything was okay.
She was a strange girl.
When they arrived outside Maira’s room, Isha didn’t knock. She was living with Maira in the same room.
Shazan was shocked to find Queen Izna sitting on the couch next to Maira. They were playing Chess, and the book was placed right next to the board.
“You are up…” The Queen smiled at him, “That’s a relief.”
The words of the Queen turned Maira’s attention to him and she did not care about her next move. She got up from the couch and ran over to him.
“What happened last night?” She demanded the answer right away.
“Is my Maira worried about me?” He chuckled and mischievously looked at her.
Maira didn’t answer his question and kept looking at him stubbornly. She was not in the mood to play around.
“Alright,” He helplessly raised his arms and walked over to sit on the couch where Maira was just sitting.
He took a look at the board and made the move of her behalf.
The Queen did not mind it, and she continued with her move. Soon, the two of them were only focused on the game, and Maira and Isha were left hanging.
“Sit…” Shazan looked at the two girls and asked them to sit by his side.
Isha was the first to comply, and Maira followed her and sat down.
When the two girls had their focus on the game of chess, he informed them of a few details.
“The book is a magical treasure. It records the memories of the person in words. It is a diary called the Diary of Life.”
His words shocked the three of them. Even if they had questions on their minds, they waited for him to say more before asking anything.
“You have read about the stories of Noah’s Ark, right?” He smiled and asked Isha.
“Yes!” Isha nodded. “A comet hit one of the poles of the world, the ice broke and melted, resulting in sea levels rising, and most of the lands were submerged.” She told him what she knew.
“Well… It wasn’t a comet, but sort of an invasion by a race from another world.” He nodded and said. “They wanted to destroy the Humans and Azeros…”
The girls shockingly looked at him.
“The diary had an anecdote of the time when that race tried to submerge the lands in the water. And in history, we have learned that such a thing had happened around twelve-thousand and eight hundred years ago.”
“The time when Noah saved a few humans on his Ark, and there were some Azeros families that escaped the disaster.” Queen Izna nodded in understanding. “Where’s that race now?”
“Gone… All of them were devoured by a Magical Beast that was residing in the waters of the Earth. It devoured all who were involved…”
“A Guardian Beast?” Isha asked in surprise.
“No…” He shook his head. “The diary said that it was a Serpent, and none of the three Guardian Beasts of the world are Serpents.”
“It was Kurzok…” Queen Izna whispered.
“Oh…” He smiled at her. “You have heard of it?”
“Yes,” The Queen nodded. “There are records of it. Though none of the Aryans ever saw it, its tales were passed down to us by the ancestors. They even say that it is not the creature of this World and that it is several times stronger than the Guardian Beasts.”
Shazan nodded to her words.
The things Queen Izna told him were said in the scriptures of various other ancient houses as well.
“If every one of that race died, who wrote this diary?” Maira asked solemnly.
“There was one who did not want to destroy the world. She lived, and perhaps, Kurzok was not strong enough to harm her.”
The girls had a lot of questions, but Shazan did not tell them any details about the woman of the diary. There were things that they were better off not knowing. He told them some more details, but he made sure that they were things that the girls could handle.
“We will go see the Wall in the cave after lunch.” He finished the game of chess with a victory and smiled at them.
The Queen didn’t seem bothered at her loss to him. She got up and left the room with words that she would inform the King and Queen Rania.
“If that was all…” Maira confusedly looked at him. “Why were you in such a miserable state last night?”
“I was not supposed to read the diary, and it was sort of a backlash of forcefully reading it.” He made up a lie mixed in with some truth. “Don’t worry, I just exhausted my strength. I will be back to my prime in no time.” He assured them.
He did not want to worry them by saying that his strength would take a few more days to recover. It was not something that could be recovered by resting a night.
Shazan picked up the book and stroked the leathered covering with care.
He had questions of his own, but there was something he could not understand. It was Aleena. All his questions were about her.
“Maira…” He clenched his fist and gravely looked at the book. “Inform your Grandfather that the Flute is dangerous. It is not something that we can handle. We have to be careful about it.”
The Princess had a pale face at his words. She did not know what made him say that, but she believed him. She nodded and left the room without asking questions.
It didn’t take him much time to understand what the Sound of Destruction was. He could feel that it was the name of the Flute.
Zihanay had left behind three things and a mission for her daughter. The first was the book that contained the story of her life. Second, was a treasure that Aryans lost. He knew that the treasure was on Aleena. And third, was the weapon of the Envoy of Annihilation.
As for the mission she had left behind for Aleena, it was something only that girl could tell him. But what made him curious was why she had not kept the Flute and this book on herself.
He needed answers to his questions, but he did not know how to find her. She disappeared without a trace. And he was not sure if she would even tell him those answers.
“Maira!” A cheerful voice called out excitedly and entered the room.
It was a little boy around nine-years-old, and his innocent face paled the moment he saw Shazan.
The little guy remembered him as the person who had turned this Palace upside down over two years ago. He was the villain who had taken away his older sister.
“Good Afternoon, Prince Vikranth,”
Shazan smiled at the little boy.
“Come here!” He said in a low but deep voice.
The maids that were running after the young prince stopped when they realized who was inside the room. They stayed at the door and refused to make any noise or action.
The little boy’s legs trembled. But he braved up to walk to him.
“Are you looking for my Maira?” Shazan asked the boy when he arrived in front of him.
“Yes,” The boy nodded.
“You know,” He made his smile disappear. “I was a little sad to see that little Prince was not present to welcome me yesterday.”
“My Apologies, Lord Silverstein…” The boy hurriedly apologized as his entire body shivered. “I was with my parents. We were not informed that you were coming.”
“Are you scared of me, little Prince?” He looked in the boy’s dark brown eyes and asked.
The action led the boy to lower his head, and his trembling intensified.
“Yes,” The boy did not lie. “And Mother says that it is fine to fear you.”
“Does your Mother fear me as well?” He asked, amused.
The boy refused to answer. He clenched his little fists and tried his little best to stop his palpitating heart.
“I have heard that Princess Kashish holds grudges against me because I do not allow her daughter to return to the Golden Palace. Is that true?”
The little prince wanted to shake his head in refusal and save his mother from disaster, but he felt that if he lied, his mother would have to suffer a lot.
“She just misses older Sister,” The boy pleadingly said. “Please don’t be mad at her.”
“Oh…” Shazan chuckled at his words. “Who said that I am mad at her?”
The boy obediently stayed silent, and his little heart felt a little relieved to see the man laugh lightly.
“But tell me, little prince, why do you fear me?”
The boy did not know how to answer his question. His mind raced to find appropriate answers, but he feared that they would upset him.
It was Isha who came to the rescue of the little prince. Or maybe not…
“Don’t tease him so much, he a crybaby…”
She walked up to the little guy and ruffled his hair.
“Isha!” The boy grudgingly looked at isha for calling him a crybaby.
“That’s more like the little Aryan Prince. But that is a scary look… I should tell Maira that you shouted at me.” Isha nodded to herself and mused her thoughts loudly.
“But you called me a crybaby!” He refuted.
“Do you not cry anymore, little Prince?” Isha asked him confusedly. “I remember a certain little boy who chased after his older sister all day and cried and complained about how cruel his father was, and how unfair his Older Brother was for not helping him. Oh, and that Prince was a little thief who stole little tiger kittens from Maira’s courtyard and hid them in his. And when he was confronted and caught, he cried as if they had always belonged to him and it was us who had done wrong to him. The little prince cried so much that Maira reluctantly allowed him to keep those kittens.”
The words of Isha made the little boy’s face burn in embarrassment.
“Oh… So, he’s a thief…”
Shazan played along and scrutinized little Vikrath with emotionless eyes.
“No…” The boy cowered in fear and shook his head. “I returned them to this courtyard after you took Maira away…”
“But you did steal them.”
The boy seemed to be on the verge of wetting himself. And just as his tears were about to run down, he heard the two of them laugh heartily.
“See, he’s a crybaby…” Isha said as she tried to suppress her laugh.
The little boy had brightened up his mood a lot, and he could see why even Isha could not resist teasing this little child. He was a little too innocent and honest that everyone would want to bully him.
Shazan gently patted his head and smiled at him.
“You don’t need to fear me,” He told him. “Also, you can address me as a brother. There’s no need to call me Lord Silverstein.”
Seeing a surprised but still a fearful look on the little boy’s face, he stood up and raised the boy in the air by catching him in his Aura.
“I won’t put you down if you won’t address me as a brother.” He said and looked right in his eyes.
The little prince could not make sense of what had gotten inside this fearful Lord of Silverstein Empire, but he knew better than to not listen to his words.
“Brother… Where’s Maira?” The boy lowered her head and whispered.
“Good!” Shazan nodded in satisfaction. “She went to see your grandfather.”
He boy nodded when he touched the ground again. He wanted to run away from this room, but he did not dare to do it.
“Have your parents returned as well?” Shazan asked him.
“Yes…” The boy nodded and then looked up. “Why are you in my sister’s room?” He asked confusedly. “No men are allowed in here.”
“And why are you here, little price? Are you not a man?” He asked back.
“I am still a child. I can come here.” He hurriedly explained himself.
“Maira is mine. So I can come to her room whenever I want.” He replied with a smile.
His words made the boy frown.
“But you have not married her…” The little prince whispered with a lowered head.
“Yes?” Shazan asked in surprise and curiosity.
“Mother told me that you still have not married my Older Sister. It is why she often gets… mad at you. And Grandma Izna is not happy about it as well.”
Shazan curiously looked at the little boy.
“Is that why Queen Izna does not like me?” He asked.
“She does not dislike you, but she is not happy about how you handled things that day.” The boy nodded. “I know it was Father’s fault that he refused to give Maira’s hand to you. And Sister refused as well, and so you used force. But… You hurt my Father’s pride and then hurt Maira’s pride by claiming that she now belonged to you.”
The words of the boy surprised him. He understood what he had done that day was not the best he could have done, but hearing these words from a little boy made him feel a little uncomfortable.
“Maira is prideful. She is a princess in flesh and soul, and her pride does not allow her to admit that she is lesser than any other princess in the world. It’s her pride that separates her from the rest and makes her unique. She had even refused her engagement with cousin Samrath. She wanted to make decisions about her life by herself.” Vikranth talked about her sister with a bright smile. “But you turned her into your possession… You destroyed what made her unique. And that upsets Grandma Izna. That is why she is not happy with you.”
Shazan palely smiled at his words.
“Did your grandmother tell you these things?” He asked.
“Yes,” The little boy nodded. “She taught me to never be like you…” He lowered his head and said.
Shazan chuckled and shook his head.
“She’s right. You should not become like me…” He did not explain the meaning behind that line. “Also, don’t worry about Maira. She’s not someone weak who would allow anyone to trample on her pride. Not even me.”
“Okay…” The boy nodded. “Can I go see my sister?” He asked to be excused.
“Let’s go. It’s lunchtime anyway. And I have to greet your parents.”
Shazan nodded to the little boy and grabbed Isha’s hand as he walked out of the room.
On his way, his mind could not stop thinking about the things the boy had said. He knew those things already, and he had reflected on them over time, but he did not know how to make amends.
There was nothing he could do without Maira’s consent. And if he did try to force something on her again, it would only aggravate the things between them.
♛ Author’s Note:
I hope you liked the chapter. I was not able to upload chapters last week, sorry for that. Here, I am giving you two chapters of the last week, and tomorrow you will get the two chapters of this week. See ya!
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