He stood there in silence for a long time. The words of the girl still echoed in his mind, and he failed to make sense of what was happening.
“Ella…” He called out her name.
She looked at him with the usual anticipation in her eyes, and that was enough for him to deduce that the girl before him was his Ella.
“You can read what’s written on it?” He asked, gesturing at where the name of Zihanay should be.
“Of course!” She answered him as if it was a matter of fact.
“What do you mean?” She asked confusedly.
“You could read it last night as well?” He thought for a while and asked.
Ella looked to be lost in some thoughts, but then her eyes shot wide open in realization.
“It is the same book that was blank?” She anxiously asked.
Shazan observed her expressions and nodded.
The girl was more confused than him now. She panicked and grabbed the diary from his hand.
“How does it have words now…” She whispered as she inspected it.
“I don’t see any words.”
His words made her more anxious, but then she seriously looked at him.
“Do you want me to read it to you?” She asked.
Shazan frowned when he observed the change in her composure. She recovered from her panic state comfortably, and now she was eager to help him read it.
“I have read it before. I know what’s in it.”
She felt disappointed after hearing his words, but then she asked the question that she should have asked a while back.
“But how can I read it?”
He did not have the answer to her question, but then his eyes landed on the Flute in her hands, and he braced himself for the pain.
Shazan searched for any life essence in the Flute, but this time, the Flute remained docile, and he could not feel anything.
To confirm his thoughts, he took the Flute from her hand and inspected it again.
The soul-rendering pain returned, and he nearly fell on his knees.
“You are scaring me…” Ella supported him in her arms and begged him to stop hurting himself.
“It’s okay now.”
He gave the Flute back to her and tested it one last time.
The Flute did not respond as long as it was in her hands, but if he took it in his hands, it attacked him.
“You don’t find the language in the book strange?” He turned her attention back to the diary.
“They are strange. The script is so pretty.” She traced the words with her forefinger and commented.
“And?” She confusedly asked back.
Shazan decided to stop inquiring about anything. He had just used his powers to influence her mind to answer him truthfully. And she did not know anything about what was going on.
“You can keep the diary and read it. But it is a sad story.” He planted a kiss on her head and smiled.
“Okay…” She nodded her head.
He took her around the Palace, and they walked together for hours.
He was lost in his thoughts and aimlessly wandered around. And she was happy to accompany him.
“Are you looking for something?” Ella asked when she saw the weariness in his expressions.
“Yes…” He nodded his head. “I am looking for a girl.”
Ella was surprised at his answer.
“Her name is Aaleen Kulsekzar. She is the daughter of the woman this diary belongs to.” He informed her and glanced at her expressions.
“Aaleen…” Ella whispered the name and stopped walking.
“What is it?” He asked her curiously.
“It’s a familiar name, but I can’t seem to remember where I heard it.” She tried her best to recall and answered him.
“I see…” He nodded and hugged her in his arms. “There’s no need to push yourself.” He caressed her back gently.
“Mhm…” Ella closed her eyes and hugged him back. There was a sweet smile on her lips as she savored the feel of being in his arms.
Shazan palely smiled and used all of his strength to inspect her body for any lifeform.
His heart trembled at what he found, but he did not panic and only hugged her tightly.
What he saw was Aaleen residing inside of Ella. She was inside her body, living in it even without Ella knowing anything about it. He stayed calm and checked for any changes in Ella’s body, and only after he found no harm to her life did he breathe again.
“Don’t run this time.” He whispered near her ear. “I have so many things I want to ask you.”
“Why would I run?” Ella confusedly asked him and hugged him tightly, but the soul of fire inside her body trembled at being caught.
The girl fell powerlessly in her arms as he made her unconscious.
Aaleen obediently exited Ella’s body and looked at him curiously.
Shazan knew that he could not keep using his powers for long, and he had to ask the right questions as fast as possible.
“Why did you not keep the Flute and the Book on yourself?” He asked the first question that had bothered him.
“I can’t touch the Flute without a body. It would suck me inside and imprison me forever if I did it.” She did not hesitate or play around with him. “The diary is now only a diary. It has served its purpose, and I have read it. I don’t need it anymore.”
Shazan frowned at her last words. Any child would have kept the diary as it would be their mother’s last words. But Aaleen seemed to have no such emotions.
She came close to him and sniffed around where he had dried blood on his clothes.
Her face of flames leaned on him, and she looked right in his eyes.
“What is this scent?” She asked curiously.
“It’s my Blood.” He replied and then immediately asked for another question. “Do you know what is on the other side of the Annihilation Channel that has opened?”
“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “But it must be a world close to this world, and the one that has failed the test of Annihilation.”
“And why is the army of Annihilation Beasts not invading us? Only a few have come out. They are unorganized and have varying strengths.”
“Oh…” She seemed surprised to hear his words and then thought for a while. “It must be because the Beasts are all waiting on their set channels. This is not one of the Original Channels, and so the commanders of the Annihilation army have not realized that it exists. Only the Beasts that have not matured yet must come here wandering. The mature ones are all waiting at their designated Passages.”
Shazan heaved a sigh of relief at hearing her words. A lot of his tension had eased.
“How strong are the mature One-Star Beasts?”
“That depends on how old the Beast is, but the one with a fully congealed Star will, at least, be in the early realms of the stage of Assimilation.”
All his fears came crashing down on him again. He could deduce that the strongest Spider they had fought was in the middle realms of Ascendence. The youngest they had fought was in the late realms of Initial Stage.
“How many creatures would come in the first test?”
“999999 One-Star Annihilation Beasts,” Aaleen answered, and then proceeded to say more. “99999 Two-Star Annihilation Beasts in the second Test. 9999 Three-Star Beasts in the third test. 999 Four-Star beasts in the fourth test. 99 Five-Star Beasts in the fifth Test. The Worlds that pass the fifth Test can choose to take on the sixth Test or remain in the fifth level forever. In the sixth Test, the world must face against 9 Envoys of Annihilation. It is suicide if you ask me.”
“How is a World even supposed to win against an Army that is, at least, in Assimilation Stage?” He asked solemnly. “Here, people can not advance their realms of Strength once they enter the Stage of Ascendence.”
“In my mother’s memories, Worlds rarely survived the First Test, but those that did, only managed to survive narrowly. The key is to stay together and use brains. In terms of strength, there is no way that the army of Annihilation can be defeated.” Aleen told him and then laughed lightly. “But what you are facing is not a test. It is even possible that a Two or Three Star Beast would enter this world from that passage. And it would kill everything in its path.”
Shazan stayed silent at her words. He took his time to suppress his fears and focused on gaining more information.
“Why did the seal only break now? I am sure that someone must have played the Flute before as well.”
“Because the countdown till the first test has begun. Several Dimensional Channels have opened in this Planet that connects it to the other lesser worlds. The process is important to have several different races to mix. If it is only Humans and Azeros in your World, there is no way it can survive the first test. The same goes for the other worlds. They will need Azeros from this Planet.”
Her answers only raised more questions in his mind, and it was starting to hurt now.
“Why were you inside Ella’s body?” He asked her.
It was the first question she hesitated at, and she did not answer it.
Seeing her anxiousness, he had a bad premonition about everything.
“I won’t harm her. I promise.” She meekly said.
Blood dripped out of the nose as he kept exerting himself. He was at his limit, and he had no choice but to withdraw his powers.
The figure of Aaleen vanished from his eyes. He could not see her now, and in his current state, he was too vulnerable.
“I hope you will keep your words.” He whispered. “If you do harm her, I will make you suffer…”
He did not know how he would do it, but he could never forgive anyone who harmed his family.
Shazan carried Ella inside the Palace and found Maira.
Maira was on a call with Karen, and when she saw how haggard he looked, she frowned.
“I will call you right back.” She said and ended the call before coming to him. “What happened?”
He did not want to lie to her, but he could not reveal things to her just yet.
“Help me find a room for her.” He smiled and said.
She was not pleased with his refusal to answer her, but she did not ask again and led him to a spare room.
He heard a whisper near them, but he did not turn in the direction of the voice, fearing that it would raise questions in Maira’s mind. She did not seem to have heard anything.
“What do you mean?” He isolated his voice from Maira’s ears and talked to the invisible girl.
“Her personality is like Wind. It is her Element, but she is steadfast as Earth as well.”
Shazan did not understand her words. He had no clue what she was talking about.
“And what is my personality like?” He asked her curiously.
He received no reply for a long time. It was only after he settled Ella on the bed and drank some water did he get an answer.
“I can’t determine it. You are strange.”
“I am strange?”
For some reason, he did not like her words.
“Yes. And you are scary.” She added to annoy him more.
“What are you mumbling?” Maira asked confusedly.
“Nothing.” He smiled at her. “Can you arrange for food? I am hungry.”
“You don’t have to return to the Cave?” She frowned and asked.
Maira knew that his presence here meant that the people there would be in more danger. Her grandparents, father, and older brother were there fighting. She did not want to force him to do anything, but she expected him to protect them.
“I will leave soon.” Shazan smiled and told her. “They will be fine.” And he assured her.
She did not ask him any more questions and left with a slight nod.
“She has always been a quiet one,” Aaleen commented on Maira.
“How do you know that?”
“I wake up from time to time, and I have seen people grow on this land. I have known her since she was a baby.”
Shazan sprawled down on the couch and closed his eyes.
“Why did you run away last night?” He asked as he found Aaleen sticking near him, seemingly interested in him.
She hesitated at his question. And then she whispered in a low voice.
“There has never been anyone who could see me since I was born…”
“I see.” He understood her meaning and did not force her to explain herself.
“How are you able to see me?” She asked confusedly. “You are not even in the Ascension stage, and even the people in the Assimilation stage can not see my kind.”
“Your kind…” Shazan opened his eyes and frowned.
There was a question he had forgotten to ask her.
“I can see anything with strands of life in it.” He told her. “It’s my power.”
“What race are you?” He asked her curiously.
“I am a Djinn.” She proudly answered him. “My race is one of the superior races in the Universe. We are purest of the lifeforms and were created from the strongest of the Elements. I am a soul of fire.”
“So there are Souls of Water, Wind, and Earth as well?”
“Yes!” Aaleen excitedly said. “I have not seen them myself, but I have seen in my mother’s memories. There are kinds of Djinns of every Element in existence. Ice, Wood, Smoke, Lightning, Metal, Crystal, Magama, and then there are very few Djinns of Light and Darkness.”
“Magma Djinn?” Shazan was confused. “Is it a stronger version of Fire Djinn?
“No!” Aaleen was not pleased with his words. “That’s not how our strengths are determined. Magma is more destructive, but it is not as flexible. It can only unleash its full power on land. The Fire has no such restrictions. If a Fire Djinn and Magma Djinn fight, it is possible that a winner would not emerge, but that is only if their strengths are equal and if they don’t use other means.”
Shazan carefully listened to everything she told him. And the more she told him about her race, the more he was interested in exploring other races.
“What is your Law?” He asked another important question.
Renesme had long ago told him about the Laws that govern everything and from which everything originates.
The Powers of Silverstein originated from the Law of Spirit, and the Powers of Keira and Aryans originated from the Law of Judgement.
“Djinn is one of the Unique existences that was not created by the Law of Creation. We do not follow a specific Law, and we were created by the Laws of Spirit, Life, and Death together. But if you mean by where our most powers lie, then they lie on the Law of Spirit.” Aaleen proudly told him.
“And how strong are you?” He mischievously smiled and asked.
Aaleen turned quiet and remained so for a while.
Shazan had only asked her the question because everything else she told him made no sense to him. He still lacked knowledge and wanted to know more about her.
“You don’t have to…”
“We are different and unique, but we are not capable of wielding our complete strength without a body,” Aaleen whispered. “I am way stronger than anyone you must have met in life, but if I had the body, I would be stronger.”
“I see…” He remembered reading in the diary that Zihanay was given a human body by the Apostle of Annihilation. “You have been around for so long. Why have you not found one yet?”
“That’s not how it works. We can not become one with a body that walks on the path of Amazeros. We can not take the body of an Azeros or any other race. There’s only one race that can provide a body to the Djinn and that is Human.” Aaleen did not hide the secret of her race from him. “But even then, there are some conditions that must be met. The Human must be of the same gender as the Djinn and their personalities must match. They need to be in complete sync to become one and powerful.”
Shazan could more or less understand what she said. And as he was contemplating the matter, he realized something that made his heart skip a beat.
“What were you doing in Ella’s body?” He gravely asked her.
“She is the perfect body for me…” Her voice sounded from the side of sleeping, Ella.
Shazan turned to look in the direction and prepared himself. He was helpless in the situation, and his fears were shrouding the rhythm of his heart.
“You want to take her body?” He controlled himself to ask the question as gently as he could.
A gust of wind came at him. Even though he could not see her right now, he could feel that Aaleen was standing in front of him. He could feel her existence in the warmth that surrounded him.
“I promised you, I won’t harm her.” Aaleen voiced the words sweetly. “You must be scared after reading about how my Mother obtained the body, and what the Apostle did to the human soul. Right?”
He nodded to her words. That was his biggest fear of the moment. He did not want to lose his Ella.
“There are three ways it’s done. First is by Eradicating the Human soul and taking complete control of the body.” She told him solemnly. “The second is by giving up your soul, and let the human become a Djinn, possessing all your powers. And the third is by merging the two souls into one.”
Shazan closed his eyes and clenched his fists.
“What happens to her?”
“I will be Ella and she will be Aaleen.” Ella giggled. “I want to merge our souls into one. That way, your Ella will still be there and so will I be. We will both be controlling the body as one soul.”
He was still not comfortable with her words. He knew that he was in no position to make her give up on a body that she found after thousands of years.
“I told you that the two souls have to be in sync. It means that our personalities are the same. Both of us would not lose any part of our personalities but instead gain a little more from each other.”
“And why are you asking me for permission?”
“Because if I am to become one with her, you will be my husband as well. Our feelings will become one, and as she is now, our life will center around you.”
Shazan frowned at her words.
“If I refuse…?”
“I will ask her then, and she will accept me.” Aaleen confidently said.
“What makes you so sure of that?”
“I saw her memories. I know her desires and insecurities.” She giggled and chimed. “She loves her Master, and her love is so great that she would gladly accept me. It is because if she becomes one with me, she will have the strength to always be by your side.”
He stayed silent at her words and closed his eyes.
There was no doubt in his mind that the words she had just said were not true. Everything she told him was something he was already aware of.
“Ella’s greatest insecurity is that she finds herself too ordinary to be joined to you. She knows that you love her, but she does not consider herself worthy of it.”
Aaleen did not say anything more to him and stood there in silence.
Minutes passed, and he remained silent. His mind was not having a lot of thoughts. He had already made the decision. He was only taking this time to relish the memories he had with his beautiful Ella.
“I refuse…” He smiled and told her.
“I know.” Aaleen giggled mischievously. “I will ask her, Master…”
♛ Author’s Note:
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