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“HE WHO STRUGGLES IS BETTER THAN HE WHO NEVER ATTEMPTS”
= SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
The Black Book
“OH MY GOD!”, Sandhya almost shouted, “LOOK!” “I don’t believe it. ITS TRUE!”, exclaimed a very excited Maya. “It is THE BLACK BOOK grandpa always told us about”, said Joyce, visibly very excited to have finally found out that her grand father had always told them the real stories about the book and the magical world no one was aware of. The book itself was an ancient looking and was bound in some kind of mysterious black leather which despite the years was really soft and smooth to touch. “Then the prophecies he told us about are true?” The three sisters were very close to each other. They along with their beloved grandpa lived in Trishakti. Their grandfather had told them seemingly unbelievable and fantastic tales about the kingdom of magic and the other worlds that existed alongside earth and were the center of all universal activities. Aliens, the ignorant general public called them, grandpa called them the ancients, the pure souls, the elders who were responsible for the creation of man and his development from apes. How ever fantastic the stories of grandpa were the girls believed them. Their grand father was the best! Having being orphaned at a very young age they had almost no memories of their parents. All they had was their grandfather and they loved him and he loved them. “Hey lets not jump our guns, we don’t even know what is inside it or if everything written in it is not a mere figment of someone’s wild imagination or is there some truth in it. These are just stories that we have heard from our grandpa who might have made it all up for our story time”, Sandhya silenced them both with her argument. Sandhya being the eldest of them considered herself more mature and took pride in the fact that her sisters always looked up to her for guidance whenever they needed it. It was infact her idea to find the book that their grandfather had told was long lost in their library and would surface only when the right time came. “So the right time has come!” exclaimed Joyce as if reading her thoughts. Again!
This somewhat annoyed Sandhya, lately Joyce seemed to read all her thoughts and she did not like it, it was as if someone was in her head, but she loved her sister too much to tell her how she felt. “But Sandhya , y….you told us that this book is for real and the other world exists, you even said that there was a gate which could take us into the other dimensions into the world of magic and this book is the key to most of the worlds longest kept secrets. What happened to all that? , a visibly hurt Maya said making a gesture of opening an invisible gate with her hands and peeping inside. “Hey what did you see on the other side?” “Magic!”, a wide eyed Maya claimed and they all started laughing.
“Come let’s open the book and see for ourselves “ “Yes” And very excitedly they picked up the book. Their excitement was very short lived.
Unseen to them was a shadow lurking behind them, waiting and watching. The figure rose from the shadows. Luckily the girls had their backs towards him for even their wildest imagination or story could not have prepared them for this horror that was right behind them. The creature was at least 9 feet tall. Its face was full of warts end hair as if he had been boiled in a boiler. He had a slit for a nose and a lipless mouth, from which his teeth were protruding out. He was wearing a hooded cloak of some strange material that hid most of his face. The three sisters were so engrossed in their discovery that they never noticed the movements behind their back. The creature was pointing his three fingered palm towards them and muttering something. It all happened very quickly. A green beam hit the three sisters simultaneously and there was a strange flash and within a second they were lying limp on the ground. The book was now lying in front of the creature’s hungry stare, and the lipless mouth broke into the most satanic smile one could ever possibly imagine.
“So here you are”, he hissed. “The Black Book…… I wonder what you have in you that make you so precious to Lord Grisly.” “Haaah… Master will be pleased……..” A spine chilling hollow laugh rang out in the library and the surroundings suddenly became horribly quiet as the creature picked the book from the ground and melted into the shadows as noiselessly as he had arrived. A few days earlier he suddenly felt that he should come to this house and he would get some really great news, he ignored the voice in his head for some time but it kept growing more and more persistent and didn’t let him alone even for a while, and so he came here not in search of any answers but to shut the voice in his head, and wasn’t he pleased.
The creature had never anticipated that someone would be keeping an eye over him. He took pride in the fact that he was always alert and could smell his enemies from a mile it was what had made him one of the most trusted agents of Lord Grisly. In his moment of triumph he made one terrible mistake. He forgot that his powers were greatly reduced on Earth, his senses were not at their peak, and worst of all, he had relaxed and became carefree for some time. Unfortunately for him it was all the time that he had. Suddenly right behind him a shadow moved, a brilliant flash of silver cut him into two parts. The attack was so sudden that he could not even open his mouth to scream, and he suddenly burst into green flames and vaporized before he could know what had hit him. A minute later the only proof of the creature’s brief presence there was the Book lying on the street and a nauseating smell of burnt flesh in the air. The attacker was still vigilant his sword firmly in his hand and waited for any sign of another magical creature. There was none. After making sure he was alone he looked towards the book. It was lying on the road as if waiting to be picked up. He had heard that the book was alive and it chose its bearer. It was the door to the secrets of this Universe and had been created by the most powerful ancient magicians, who had put all their powers and portions of their souls into the book when they created it. It was the book created to lead the Universe to light in the dark ages. It had been foretold by the elders that darkness would engulf everything that came in its way. The forces of an
evil Lord will prevail who would be so powerful that no one would be able to stand in front of him only the chosen one would be able to stand up against him. He did not know what was in the book or how it chose its bearer. He did not have most of the answers. He was not told much about the book, but he had grown up believing that The Black Book would not let the hope of a better tomorrow die. And he was willing to give up his life for his belief.
He picked up the book, put it in his backpack, and secured it. Looking at the place where he had killed the creature with his sword, all he saw was a florescent green bubbling liquid with a stench that aloud could render even the best the perfumes of this word useless. “Looks like my friend here never took a bath in his life”, he chuckled out aloud. He had been following the creature very closely for over an year now and had even began to have doubt the sanity of his mission, but it had come almost as a respite when he had been led to this entablature .It was just like what he had seen in his dreams, a sense of dejavu had swept over him for a while and his guard had dropped just for a while and he was caught unawares at the sudden attack. The girls had to be protected, but the book was to be kept safe right now. “I need to be more careful in the future. “, he chided himself. Now that the book was safe with him, slowly he entered the house making his way towards the library. He saw that the girls were lying senseless in a heap on the floor. Stooping down he saw their pretty faces. “So innocent, how anything could harm such lovely children”, he thought. He felt their pulse, and had almost panicked before he caught a faint glimpse of it in all three. They were just stunned, stupefied without much physical harm. It was a miracle that they were safe after such an assault. He effortlessly picked the girls took them to the couch and gently seated them. He then closed his eyes and recited some ancient healing incantation and the girls one by one regained their senses. Slowly they got to their feet; still dizziness lingered in their minds “W…..what happened? “, asked Maya
“Something had hit us, and we fainted”, recalled Sandhya “The Book, The Black Book…” “NOOOOOOOOO” “ITS GONE!”, they exclaimed in unison. “Don’t worry girls, the book is in safe hands, and you too are safe “, came a voice from right behind them, and they almost jumped to their feet. Looking behind they found the source of the voice standing behind the couch. “Who are you? Why did you attack us?”, asked Sandhya The stranger in front of them was a remarkably handsome man, he was over 6 feet tall, broad shoulders and bulging muscles. In spite of his tough physical build, he had a genuine dimpled smile on his face and they found him quite cute, which some what put them at ease; after all he had not tied them or anything. “He looks like a Greek God”, Sandhya thought. “You bet he does” said Joyce. Again! “Stop reading my thoughts”, Sandhya thought, staring at Joyce Joyce looked at her and smiled her cutest smile as if again reading her thoughts. “I am Rudra”, said the man, his voice warm and comforting. “But who are you Rudra?”, asked Sandhya. “I am a soldier, sent to your world to protect the Black Book from falling into the wrong hands, also I am here to protect you too” , he paused to let the information sink in before he continued again “ you girls might have heard stories about its powers from your grandfather. This book has been with your family for generations. You are the guardians of the book till the Chosen One arrives and takes it from you” “But “, interrupted Maya,”if it was with us from generations why dint anyone come to take it from us.” “No one knew about your family’s whereabouts .no one knew because the Black Book’s powers protected you from being found out by any Magical Creature from our world, and no one here knows about the book and its powers…” “But if we were so well protected, how did you find us?”, asked Joyce.
“….” Rudra was silent for a while, how much should he tell them he deliberated in his mind. Even though he had been following the creature from so long he had no idea as to how he had found about the book’s guardian family. Finally he answered “I don’t know how they found out about you, but whatever they did, they have not used magic. It might be that they used the resources of your own world to track you” “You mean you were not the one who found out about us?”, Sandhya was visibly worried. “Hey wait when we discovered the book we were attacked by something, who or what was it? Did it take the book?” Maya too was worried now. “His name was Chhal; he was a spy of the Dark Lord.” Rudra paused, his voice calm, “I had accidentally found out that he was being sent to your world so I was ordered to follow him. It took him one year to reach you . Initially I did not know about his mission but I followed him like a shadow never letting him realize that he was never alone. Now I am glad that I had not given up my mission, and my patience paid off well” “So you say Chhal worked for the Dark Lord, Who do you work for” , asked a curious Joyce , inspite of all her efforts she was unable to read his mind .it was as if an invisible wall surrounded his brain keeping her out of it. “I work for Princess Adya. We are known as the Pure Souls. Ages ago the Angels walked on Earth. When the times had started to change, when the evil forces started becoming more and more powerful, humans became greedy and tried to usurp power to fulfill their lust which kept growing each day. For the betterment of the universe and to keep the balance of power a Book was created and handed over to the Princess by Ancient Magicians, to restore the balance.” Rudra paused, he could see disbelief in the eyes of the girls, yet none interrupted him so he continued, “It was a big risk to keep the book in our world and Earth required it to continue its existence so the Elders selected a Book Keeper from amongst the Pure Souls and sent him to the non magical world of Earth…”
“But why did u have to send it away. It would have been much safer with you people; after all you are creatures of magic and have powers much beyond our imagination, so why send it to some unknown obscure place?” Inquired Sandhya. “Precisely my point, sending it away to an unknown place was the best thing we could do to save it.”
“Why?” “If you have forgotten, let me refresh your memory, the evil forces were becoming more and more powerful every passing day. It would have been only a matter of time when they would have become powerful enough to defeat us and take the Book from us, remember the book only works for one master and till he arrived and used it we would have been helpless.” The silence was absolute. Rudra felt that he was succeeding in making them understand so he continued. “It was in our best interest to send it to some place no one, even we dint know about, and see we were able to stop them from reaching it…” “Until now, now that they have found about us they will take the book and probably kill us in the process “Maya was visibly scared “Not if I can help it. You girls are going with me we would into hiding till I can communicate with the Elders Council and take their advice. Let us hurry up we don’t know how much time do we have. Girls get ready and pack your things we have to leave as soon as possible, take only the essential things with yourself. And here is the Book keep it with you”, said Rudra handing them the Book. Inside he was hoping that Chhal had not communicated with his master and told them about his discovery, it appeared to him that he had stumbled upon the Book rather than doing it intentionally because he had come alone .Rudra didn’t like that he had to kill Chhal without challenging him but he could not risk giving him a chance to run away or communicate with his troop, for Rudra knew that Chhal was not alone. Any way he had to hurry and get into hiding before someone recognized him. Yes he had to hurry.
Somewhere in Trishakti, in an old obscure bungalow, in a hall in the basement a meeting was taking place. The Bungalow had been their hiding place since many years; staying here they were carefully watching the humans and their activities and had been searching for the Black Book. The hall was a large old-fashioned one. It was rather under furnished, having just a large mahogany table in the center. The walls were adorned with the stuffed heads of various antique animals. The roof and walls were painted with certain strange signs. The light in the room was dim, the only light source being the moderate fire in the fire place. There were a total of six men in the hall; at least they looked somewhat like men. All were very tall and hugely built. The atmosphere was eerie and there loomed an unspoken tension on the faces of every individual. The low light and the dancing shadows coupled with the surroundings created a very scary atmosphere, capable of sending shivers down the spine of anyone.
“There is no news of Chhal, I’ve tried to contact him but could not locate him “Kapali was getting furious. As if his face was less horrible already that it also had a long scar running from his forehead to the other corner of his face: a gift Shaurya had given him before he had punctured both his pride and lungs, it had given him a lot of pleasure to watch him die slowly, the scar was a small price he had paid to become Lord Grisly’s favorite lieutenant. It was his ornament and he wore it with pride. “Should we send someone to lookout for him? He may be lying in some gutter, intoxicated with the liquor the earthlings drink to lose their senses, horrible! “, said Beasta, who was the tallest of them all. He was wearing a hoody much similar to the one Chhal wore. He had earned his name after taming the wildest Red Dragons in the Forests of the Mystical Woods. He was the only one who had come back alive! “What is your opinion lieutenant?” Sutan asked turning towards Kapali. Kapali was silent for a while and when he spoke his voice was grim and his tone serious. “Hummmmmm… It’s unlikely that Chhal would do something like that, I know him well enough to say that he wouldn’t dare disobey a direct order of the Dark Lord. I feel something has happened to him.” “No!”, interrupted Durjan, “No Earthling has the power to hurt Chhal. Do not insult my brother Lieutenant; you know he is one of your finest fighters, even the Magical creatures are afraid to face his fury. No human can stand up to him, let alone fight him!”
His eyes were like burning ambers, his temper really foul, Durjan was really angry that they had insulted his brother’s powers. Even in a pleasant mood he looked terrible and now that he was seething in anger it made him look even worse than his brother. “You are right Durjan, but something is wrong somewhere. Had he been intoxicated with the earthling’s drink I would have had found him by now”, said Kapali trying to calm Durjan, last thing he wanted was a fight within his troops. “Did he get some information about the book and wanting to take all the credit for himself had gone to the Master?” argued Beasta “This is serious; we must at once all go in search of Chhal. He cant just vanish all of a sudden, its very difficult for him to go unnoticed in between these puny little earthlings, someone somewhere must have had seen him. We will find him.” Kapali looked gravely at his group. When he gave orders he expected them to be followed to the last word. He took a deep breath and began, “We will all go in search of Chhal. He would have left a trail somewhere for us. If he is in danger we will get him out of it, if he is not then he would find himself in one. Durjan and Sutan you will go north, Kuru and Kamala would stay here and focus your tantrik energies to track him, Beasta and I will go keep an eye on the human transport systems, but before we leave all of you must take human forms and look like normal earthlings. Now leave!”
The train Journey
“CADETS FALLIN!”, howled Major Sarin. It did not matter to him if he was standing at the platform of Trishakti Railway Station. His job was to command one thousand cadets bubbling with restless energy, eager to reach home.
The Major was the no nonsense Adjutant of The National Military Academy. He was known, respected, and feared by all the cadets of the academy. No one had the guts to defy his orders even when they were one step short of leaving for home for a month long semester vacation, of course the fact helped that he could cut short their vacation and they could end up running around the 5km periphery road in full punishment gear with a back pack of 5 kg every afternoon when the others were enjoying their vacations. They knew he had done it before and he could do it again. There was an absolute pin drop silence on the railway platform for about a minute as the passengers were all watching awestruck at the cadets quietly forming up in a neat formation of threes. It was a satisfied looking Major Sarin, who broke the silence, speaking to his absolutely attentive audience, “Cadets you are going home for your term break, I hope you will enjoy your holidays to the max and comeback refreshed for another semester of training. In your term break do not indulge in activities which might bring a bad name to this prestigious academy of yours. My best wishes are with all of you. Enjoy your holidays, ACA take charge!” “Academy, Attention………. Stand at ease………… Attention.”, the Academy Cadet Adjutant or the ACA as he was popularly called, commanded the cadets and then turning towards the Adjutant spoke in a much lower voice,” Sir may I have your permission to break them off?” “ACA carry on.” He saluted the Adjutant one more time and turning towards the cadets said,” Six Termers Please carry on. Please don’t take any juniors along.” The very highly disciplined looking formation of cadets broke up into a cheering crowd as the six Termers broke off from the formation, but the other cadets were standing still, waiting for their turn to be told to move.
“Hey Dhruv, what’s your program for the vacations?” Ravi asked. He seemed to be bubbling with joy. “Nothing much buddy, all things aside, I am going to sleep for 2-3 days continuously and recharge my dead batteries”, replied Dhruv as he pulled his backpack onto his shoulder. “So now we get to be the Six Termers finally. The Gods of the Academy”, he said gesturing towards the heaven.
“Yes and now for once we don’t have to constantly watch our backs and no one would be behind us all the time.” chipped in Ravi, visibly cheerfully. “Yeah, no one but The Divisional Officers, The Squadron Commanders, The Service Instructors, The Battalion Commander, The…”, Das retorted, before he was cut out by Dhruv “Das shut up, will you?” “Please Man we are going home don’t spoil the mood by taking the names of all the demons of this Academy”, Ravi looked upset. “You two keep arguing id better leave, my train is about to come. See you both when I am back. Bye, have a blast”, said Dhruv leaving for his platform. “Bye” Dhruv had not even had a chance to look at his ticket, and find his seating arrangement. “AS2, Berth No. 13”, the ticket said. “Wow it’s a Friday and I have berth No.13, cool.” He thought about his mother and a smile came on his face she would have never let him take berth no. 13. As he sat down on his berth and looked around seats around him were either vacant or were occupied by grim looking men in business suits. “It is going to be a long boring journey after all, I wish I dint have to go home….”
A philosopher once said: “Be careful of what you wish for, for you might actually get it!”
“DHRUV!” “Dhruv, you come back here right now! You naughty monkey, come here.” yelled his mother. In her eyes this boy was nothing but trouble, she just wished she could pack him up and send him to some place far-far away so that she could at least breathe. “This boy is nothing but trouble, what has he broken now?” inquired his father. He too like Dhruv’s mother wanted him to simply vanish from their lives. “This boy, I tell you, is the devil incarnate. Tell me of a single kid who alone can cause havoc in the entire neighborhood, leading gangs of boys as is he was some street gang leader. Wish I could just send him away for some time, but no one is ready to have him even for a day.” lamented his mother. Suddenly there was a loud knock at the door. “Mr. Tiwari, Mr. Tiwari, please open the door” “What now?”, he grumped what had this boy done now he wondered, “Who is it?” As the door opened a bunch of men rushed inside. “Tiwari sir, congratulations, distributes some sweets. Dhruv has been selected for training at the National Military Academy, the only boy who ever made it from our locality till now”, beamed Mr. Jha, his dream was to join the Academy and serve in the Armed forces as an officer, but he could not make it, just like his other friends. Dreams are just dreams after all. But strangely the most notorious teenager of the locality had got selected. May be their standards had dropped, he tried to console himself. “What?” Mr. Tiwari was somewhat bewildered. No one had ever been selected in NMA from his locality alright, but Dhruv. No way. This was some kind of practical joke, he knew it, and his neighbors were pulling his leg. “Yes, 67th rank in the overall merit list.” Someone thrust a copy of the day’s newspaper in his hand. “What!” Mrs. Tiwari had by now come out of the kitchen and was looking at the crowd somewhat astounded. Dhruv was listening to all of it, hiding under the staircase, not knowing what to do. It must be a dream, he thought. That was 3 years ago.
Everything changed in his life that very moment. From being an absolute burden, he suddenly became ‘the apple of his parents eye’, an outlaw who suddenly became a role model. The change was so sudden that he couldn’t digest what was going on around him. The very people who shooed him away not so long ago, started inviting him for Tea and became very sweet to him, almost too sweet he thought.
The train’s movements brought him back to the present reality. He slowly became aware that he was no longer alone. He was sitting in front of 3 very beautiful girls. They were so attractive that he couldn’t help but steal glances towards them. He continued till his stealth suddenly coincided with that of the girls. And Dhruv couldn’t help going all red from shyness. They too were stealing glances at him. It won’t be such a long journey home after all. He had no idea how wrong he was.
“He is so cute”, whispered Maya. “Yeah and above all he is a gentleman cadet”, Sandhya seemed charmed by a guy for the first time. “And he is so shy, just look at him”, giggled Joyce. “Looks like he likes us too”, added Maya. “No he likes me more”, as usual Sandhya couldn’t help bossing over her younger sisters. They all looked at each other in mock surprise and suddenly as if on cue, burst into a roaring laughter, which unfortunately made Dhruv very nervous, for he felt they were laughing at him. And his cheeks turned deep crimson. Luckily for him it was the time Rudra entered the compartment and their giggles at once died down to a whisper. He looked carefully at Dhruv as if deciding his fate, before he sat down right next to him. He probed Dhruv’s mind and at last he was satisfied and seemed to become a little cheerful. He even flashed a smile at him. “Strange man “, Dhruv thought. The train was now passing through some jungle, it had been almost 3 hours since the journey had begun but Dhruv had hardly taken his eyes off the girl in the red frock, she seemed to be the eldest of the three, about 17 may be, he guessed. He had never felt so charmed by a girl before this; it was as if he was not himself right now. She too liked
him; he could tell by the way she periodically stole glances at him, but he couldn’t get over his sudden shyness. Suddenly the whole train shook as if someone had suddenly applied the emergency brakes. Dhruv suddenly say a look of horror creep on to the face of the girls. The man accompanying them looked tense and alert as if expecting some sudden ambush. “Girls stay here till I come back. Dhruv on your honor of being a soldier I ask you to take care of them please”, he said looking first at the girls and then at him. “How do you know my name?” Dhruv was beginning to get nervous. “Later” The stranger dismissed him with a wave of his hand, and went out of the compartment as if searching for someone. “What is the matter?” he asked turning towards the girls,” What is this all about?” “Please help us. Our lives are in danger”, was all he could get out of them. But looking at their ashen faces he immediately decided to help them. He felt his training in the Academy had made him ready to face any eventuality in life, little was he aware that all his beliefs, all his trainings could not prepare him to face what was about to happen to him. About 10 minutes had passed there was no sign of the man. There was a strange silence in the forest; even the natural sounds of birds and animals were absent. Dhruv was standing at the gate looking outside and wondering what was wrong, and where had the man disappeared. The girls called him Rudra, nice name he thought.
As soon as Rudra stepped out of the rail coach, he felt the familiar rush of adrenalin into his blood. They were here, but how did they find him, he had been discreet and had made sure he dint leave any tell tale marks behind him. He had even entered the first compartment at the station and made the girls sit in the last. It was what had saved him from being ambushed, he guessed. He had to be careful; other passengers had also dismounted to find out what the problem was, he had to try not getting the innocents killed. He moved a little further away from the train to a vantage point, from where he could observe the whole train. It was about ten minutes before he finally identified his pursuers, they had all taken human form that was why it took him so long to recognize them. Now he could see there were six of them, searching the train compartments in groups of twos. They were fast approaching towards the girls, he had to hurry. As Rudra
rushed back into his compartment, he was spotted by Durjan, whose eyes were now burning like hot ambers, he had found out about his brothers death, and he was dying to kill Rudra, and avenge his brother. He could make out by Rudra’s hasty manners that he had recognized them. There was no need to be cautious now. He changed into his original form and rushed towards him, letting out a light growl. The others saw him throwing caution to abandon, so they too rushed to follow him, taking their original forms back. A few unlucky passengers who unwittingly crossed their way were hurtled in all directions.
The time had come, Rudra realized. Hearing the hues and cries of the passengers outside he could make out that he was no match for the combined power of these devils, somehow he had to lead them away from the girls. As he rushed into the compartment, he shouted,” Take the book and run, while I try to stop the Dark Lord’s men.” Turning towards Dhruv he pleaded,” Take the girls with you and stay together if you want to live.” Poor Dhruv was so bewildered that he couldn’t fathom what was going on around him; he stayed on his seat till he got the first glimpse of Durjan. It was even before he decided to run away that he found that his legs had already carried him towards the girls, away from the demonic creatures. The last that he saw before jumping out was that the man had drawn a fantastic silver sword out of nowhere and had taken a stance as if to fight.
Dhruv led the girls deep into the forest, initially not knowing where he was heading, but soon he got hold of himself and stopped. He guessed that they were quite far from the train by now. He looked at his watch; it had been almost 10 minutes since they had been running like mad. They? Where were the girls? He suddenly looked around and was relieved to find out that they were in sight and catching up with him. He instinctively took charge, “What was all that? Who are you? What are we running from? “ The questions came out more forcefully than he had wanted and the girls looked near the edge of crying. “Ok-ok, first let us get out of here, we would do the talking later”, he said and coaxed the girls to move. He had to navigate through the jungle; it was as if for now that he had done all the navigation exercises, for the night was fast approaching, they had to hurry. It was strange he thought, he dint even knew their names and here he was leading them into an unknown forest. “Lucky me”, he chuckled.
Back in the train a fierce fight was going on. Rudra was trying to buy as much time for the girls to get away as he could, but his strength would soon give way to fatigue, what then who would stop them then, he shivered at his own thought. They had now come out in the open. There were sparks flying everywhere, and his opponents had realized what a strong foe he was, His sword was flashing every where, cutting all the attacks they made on him. They were six soon he would be exhausted enough to just let in one assault, that would be the end of him, Durjan thought. “He has no where to run now, RUN??? He never tried to run, instead he came out in the open to fight”, Kapali was wondering, “It all now made sense; he was protecting some one, but who? Of course the Black Book!” The realization hit him real hard, he had to act fast. “Kamala, Beasta, Kuru, go into the jungle and find the one who has the Black Book”, he thundered. The three left at that very moment. As soon as Rudra heard this he struck back with renewed energy, if they got the book his death would be vain. He could not let it happen not till he was alive. Durjan was a little distracted by the recent development that he missed the sudden attack Rudra inflicted upon him, when he realized his mistake it was too late, his head had left his shoulder and now lay groveling in the dust. The eyes still open, as if amazed before they started melting into the same green stinking liquid that Chhal had turned into. An enraged Kapali hit out at him in rage, not looking that Sutan was also attacking from the opposite direction. Rudra chose the easiest alternative, he ducked. Kapali sent his spear right through Sutan’s heart, who in turn had pierced Kapali’s belly. Rudra dint even wait to see them fall, he was already rushing into the jungle, muttering under his breath, “The Book, I have to save it.”
The Escape To Where?
The Jungle was becoming denser and denser as they kept sprinting on. Dhruv had been in his best physical shape so it was no difficult deal for him to keep running for hours at a stretch, but he was worried about the girls because all he could do was motivate them to move on and he knew that it wasn’t enough. He had offered to take their back pack from them but they had out rightly refused his help, taking turns amongst themselves to carry the load. Soon they reached a groove of mango trees; luckily they were laden with ripe mangoes. They had not realized how hungry they were until they saw the ripe mangoes. It was almost dark now and Dhruv decided to take a break for the girl’s sake. Poor things they seemed on the verge of collapsing. “Let’s wait here for a while and take a break. You people hungry?” he asked them. They all nodded in agreement. The eldest looking girl amongst them then got up and came towards him. His heart skipped a beat, despite her disheveled appearance she looked beautiful, and inspite of himself he found himself gaping at her till she came right in front of him and extended her hand as a warm handshake gesture, which he took without thinking even once. “I am Sandhya; these are my sisters, Maya and Joyce. Sorry we had to end up like this.” “I am Dhruv. “, was all he could mutter. “Why were these monsters behind you” he wanted to ask but all he could do was flash a smile at her. “Lets eat some mangoes, while we have time”, Joyce intervened looking at mango tree, “I am hungry.” They had been eating mangoes for about 5 minutes, when Dhruv felt someone approach and he tensed, even though he was well trained in martial arts he was no match for these monsters, but he could not let these girls fall into the hands of these monsters. God knows what they might do with them. He had to put up a fight and allow the girls to escape even at his own cost. This is what he was taught at the academy ‘SERVICE BEFORE SELF’. He turned towards the direction of the sound and found that three monstrous creatures were staring at him and the girls. “GIVE ME THE BOOK” a cold voice thundered. And Dhruv found the ends of his hair stand up. How was he going to face them he wondered but he had to.
“What Book?” he asked, trying to buy some time and also to satisfy his curiosity. He noticed that the air suddenly had become very cold and it had suddenly become all very quiet as if even the creatures of the wild were afraid to utter a sound. “THE BLACK BOOK” thundered the voice again; it was strange he thought the voice sounded mechanical. “I have no book”, he said. “NOT YOU, THE GIRL WITH THE BAG. GIVE ME THE BOOK AND I’LL LET YOU LIVE. HURRY” “I have no book “, Sandhya lied. Suddenly her bag slid from her back and split into two exposing the book to the hungry stare of the three monsters. Dhruv stepped in between them and the book as they took a step towards the book; he had picked up a broken branch and stood in a posture as if ready to attack. “YOU….HAAAA…HAAAAAA”, a hollow laugh rang out in the atmosphere. Dhruv spun around and landed a hard blow on the head of the first monster. “CRRRACK” the branch broke as he looked in disbelief. There not as much as a grunt produced, it was as if he had hit him with a flower. But the monster grew mad at him. “GET READY TO DIE RAT” He moved menacingly towards Dhruv, his fist hit Dhruv squarely in the pit of his stomach; it was as if all the air was suddenly drawn out of his lungs as his body flew in the air and landed at least 10 feet away. It felt as if all his bones were broken, yet he had to get up. Slowly as he got to his feet, the monster came towards him. Two things happened simultaneously. Dhruv saw Rudra come up behind the monsters and strike them with his now blazing silver sword, and the book opened on its own, there was no wind, not even a gentle breeze. It was as if it had a mind of its own. It was a strange sight as a light was being emitted by the book. The monster stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the book opening that was when Rudra struck him; he had already finished the other two. The book was slowly rising in the air now, and the light it was emitting was gradually engulfing all the surroundings, including them. Dhruv could see that they were being drawn towards the book as if being pulled by some invisible force. This was all so fantastic, he would never have believed if someone had told him about mysterious
monsters, a book that had supernatural powers a day ago, and now he was in midst of all these events. There was a sudden gush of air which thrust him towards the book and unknowingly he held out his hand and touched it. It was as if the time stopped still. He felt his body floating in the air. The scenes around him were changing drastically now. He saw many men dressed up in strange cloaks chanting some strange incantations. It was not any language known to him that they were speaking but strangely he understood the very essence of what they were speaking. They were preparing a holy book that would save the worlds from falling into the hands of evil. The book was to be controlled by a Book Master who would be chosen by the Book itself. He alone would be able to harness the full powers of the book. “Dhruv…….” a soft gentle voice was calling him,” I chose you.” Suddenly everything around him vanished and he once again found himself in the midst of the jungle along with the girls and Rudra, only now he held in his hand the book while the others were gaping at him. “Y…you are chosen to be The Book Master! Wow, the book chose you, we all saw it.” “What is this whole thing all about?” Hardly had he asked this question than the book again rose in the air. The same soothing voice called them again, “There is a lot that you have to learn. Get ready.” Suddenly without warning they all started rising in the air, spinning around the book. The Higher and higher they went, the more and more space seemed to curve in and take the form of a sort of tunnel in which they felt themselves being sucked into. Then suddenly there was a flash of light and everything vanished in thin air. The Jungle air was warm again, the sky clear. There was no trace of the uncanny group or the book. Even the monsters had disappeared. The only tell tale signs which were left were the sticky mess in the grass and the stench left behind in the air, enough to make bile rise into the mouth of anyone. The next day the only telltale remnant of the days incident was a short newspaper article in the local news paper stating the disappearance of a cadet under mysterious circumstances from the Trishakti Express. It stated no more.
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