Chapter P: Peasant

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General Thomas White tried to ask about Advaita’s father. Advaita was adamant on knowing Rob first as he looked exactly like his father. They decided to go to General Thomas’ house. Tip felt it would be ideal to talk in Thomas’ study room. As they were on their way, Tip said “He could be Rob’s son” to Thomas. “You mean he is a Royal?” replied General Thomas. They remained silent after that.

They were in General Thomas’ study room now. The three were silent for a very long time. Advaita finally spoke as he requested Tip and General to tell him about Rob and his death. “We are not so sure about his death” replied Tip. Both Tip and General Thomas saw each other and nodded together. General Thomas started…

“Rob was the only son of Peasants Liam and Eve. They had their own field unlike other peasants who worked for Lords. Rob used to help them in fields. Seeing his interest in learning, my father got him to the  University of Heaven to study. There Rob was more interested in learning war techniques and sword fighting. He always joined me for training sessions with a wooden sword. Tip and I were very close during those days. Rob soon became one of us.”

Advaita realized why his father was interested in agriculture as well. His father used to advise the chief of Shaka tribe on what to cultivate in different seasons. “A Peasant is the one that brings food to our table. We should respect them more than the hunters” his father had said. He came back from his thoughts as he continued listening to General Thomas again.

Rob, apart from us had started hating others as they used to always bully him for being a poor peasant’s son. He was a silent guy and never retaliated back. But within he had started hating others. He hated that he was poor and had slowly stopped to help his father with work.

Once During a sword session he took on Prince Aiden. Our King was a Prince back then. Nobody used to defeat the Prince even if they could. But that day Rob did. Prince Aiden stormed out of the session furious and sad. The Prince also realized that many lost to him as he was royalty and not because he was better. From the very next day Prince Aiden chose only Rob to practice with. They became close friends and we four became a gang.

The Mural on that wall was painted during one of those days. Rob had become one of the finest swordsmen and there were only few of us who could beat him. Finally Prince Aiden too defeated him. Prince Aiden took that as great achievement and took us to show the palace the next day. I had seen the palace before as I was the Prime Minister’s son. It was the first time for Rob and Tip. They were amused by the beauty of the Palace.

As we roamed freely around the palace courtesy of Prince Aiden, we heard musical instruments playing from one of the rooms. Rob was so fascinated by the music, he ran towards the room as we followed.

Prince Aiden’s sister Princess Agnes Rich was dancing in the middle of the room with musicians playing instruments around her. King William Rich who was seated on the throne in one corner saw Prince Aiden and signaled to come to him. King William after the dance session got over, came to know that Rob was a Peasant’s son. He ordered Rob to get out of the Palace. We left along with Rob as Prince Aiden tried to convince his furious father.  

As we walked back Rob said he would marry the dancer. We told him she was the Princess and it would be impossible for him, for which he said why? can’t a peasant marry a Princess? “The General said.

There was a knock on the door. It was Commander Royston. He had come to discuss on some urgent matters. Advaita and Tip left the room. Before Tip left he said “let’s continue this after the Royal wedding. I need to prepare some more for my act tomorrow.” Advaita agreed to that.

Advaita came back to his room after a quick meal. He was lost in his own thoughts. It was Shadow who brought him back to reality. She had to shake him as he did not respond to her talk. She didn’t say anything but smiled and waited for him to speak.

“You know the Peasant Rob from that Mural” said Advaita holding her hand. “Yes,” she said. “I think he is my father” he said.

Chapter O: One

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Advaita felt restless, he had not slept well last night. He had to solve the mystery. When he went down everyone had already left the house. As he sat on a chair the one memory which his mind had always blocked for so long slowly started to come to light.

‘Advaita was as usual practicing his archery.  He was becoming very good at it. He had successfully hit the ‘X’ mark on the trees many times now. When he was about to shoot another arrow, his father came running towards him. He saw that his father had a sword covered with blood. “Did you kill a beast father?” he asked innocently. His father grabbed his hand and took him from there. The bow and arrow which Advaita had in his hands fell to the ground as he ran along with his father.’

His thoughts were interrupted by soldier Grant. “Please come with me, General Thomas is looking for you” Grant said. “What is this about?” asked Advaita. “He received a letter and after that he said he wanted to talk to you in person, that’s all I know about” replied Grant. As they walked Advaita wondered what this was all about.

They reached a building. As they went in, Grant showed Advaita the room to which he had to go.  As Advaita entered he could make out that the General was not in the best of moods. He asked him to sit on a chair. As Advaita sat General asked rather accusingly “Who are you?” When Advaita heard that, he felt a little confused. “I have already told you that General, I am not sure what you are trying to get at” he replied.  

“We had our pigeon sent to the Channa tribe to check on you. They knew a guy called Advaita with amazing archery skills. But nobody knows from where you came from?” General said. “I told you I am from the Shaka tribe.” Advaita replied. “That is where it gets interesting kid, I asked my soldiers stationed in Channa tribe to go check on that fact too. The Shaka people did acknowledge that they knew you but said that you and your father were cheats and liars.” replied General. “That is not true. My father is not such a person. My father always said that we are the ones who decide what we are and not someone’s perspective. “

General Thomas laughed. “Soldiers tried to talk about what you and your father did. Nobody were ready to talk regarding the matter. About your father, I am not saying whether he was a bad or a good man but the people who knew him said he was a cheat. I didn’t know him” General said. “I think you knew him” replied Advaita assertively.

“What are you trying to say?” replied General Thomas. He was surprised as he was taken aback by what Advaita was trying to imply. Advaita just sat quietly for some time and replied “We need to go to Tip’s house to know more”. This can only be sorted there. “Tip’s House? Why?” asked General Thomas. “I can’t say anything here, you will know when we get there” replied Advaita. The General looked at Advaita for a while. He had a feeling that this man who sat before was not lying and thus decided to go to Tip’s house.

“Grant we are going out for some time. Make sure everything goes as planned. When Royston comes ask him to take over for me till I am back.” General said to Grant as they left. Advaita thought Royston might be the second in command.

They reached Tip’s house. As they went in, Tip was practicing his art. Tip was surprised to see General Thomas and Advaita together at this hour. “What now, speak up” said General Thomas . “What is happening? Can someone please explain.” asked Tip. Advaita said “We need to go to your Painting room Tip if you don’t mind”. Before Tip could say anything General walked past him and opened the door and led them in.

General Thomas and Tip turned towards each other in surprise as Advaita walked them towards the right wall and said “The one in the left beside the King is my father” pointing towards the Mural.

Chapter N: Need

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Advaita was in shock after seeing the portrait of his father on the wall. He did not know how to respond to this. Shadow who was behind him now sensed something was wrong. She touched his shoulder from behind asking him if he was ok. He did not respond. She turned him towards her and asked “what is it?” A few seconds of silence followed.

“Who made this mural?” he finally asked. “Oh, this? Uncle Tip made it when he was around our age.” she was excited to talk about it.”Isn’t it very good? The person in the right is my father general Thomas White”she laughed as she said that. “The centre one is our king Aiden Rich and last person is…” she stopped trying to remember something. Advaita was waiting to know, he looked at her and asked “who is he?” “His name is Rob as far as I can remember. The four were very close friends.” she said. “Where is he now?” asked Advaita. “Father had said he died even before we were born.”

Rob was not his father’s name. Could this be a person who looked very similar to his father he wondered. He felt the need to tell everything to Shadow. “Son, you always need someone with whom you can share everything you feel” his father had said and he knew that it was Shadow. He thought and decided to wait as he was not very sure on this.

“What is it Advaita?” She asked him. He smiled and said “I just thought I had seen that guy before.Maybe it’s a different person.” she smiled back. Shadow knew he was hiding something but she trusted him. Advaita knew that Shadow knew he had not told her the complete truth and she would understand. Such was their love towards each other.

“Shall we go out then,” she asked wrapping her hand in between his. He nodded. As they came out Advaita praised Tip’s work. A soldier came looking for Shadow as Princess Margaret needed her assistance in the palace. Shadow left saying bye to everyone. There were only two days remaining for the royal wedding.

Cully and Tip decided to get the Mural done in Cully’s room after the wedding. Cully soon left the place as he had some work with his father regarding the security matters of the wedding. Tip assured Cully that he himself would drop Advaita at General’s house. Advaita argued that it was not necessary. As always Advaita lost the argument of words.

Advaita said he would like to walk when Tip said he would arrange for a couple of horses to drop him. As they walked Advaita asked “The Mural on the right wall on that room with three guys, shadow said that third guy is dead. What happened?” Tip was surprised and confused by this sudden question by Advaita. “Oh! That was our friend Rob. We were pretty close back in those days. I don’t want to talk much about it” Tip replied with a weak smile. Advaita could see sadness on Tip’s face.

Advaita had reached the General’s place. He was in his own world wondering the different possibilities. Later he met everyone during dinner. Shadow could see Advaita was not his usual self. After dinner Advaita asked General Thomas “Did the Dacoit we capture say anything?”  “The dacoits have been looting in that area for food and money for some time now. He confirmed the same. At least this incident will make them question their actions” General Thomas replied back with a smile.

Later that night the mystery of his father’s face on the wall kept him awake. He needed to solve this mystery.

Chapter M: Mural

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Advaita and Cully were back at Cully’s home. They went directly to the kitchen to find some food. Cully’s sister Shadow was also there. Advaita and Shadow’s eyes met and they smiled at each other. There was a shyness in their face. Servant got some food for them to eat.

As they ate on the table, Cully started to explain how amazing Advaita had been on the training field. Advaita and Shadow were looking at each other and eating slowly. They were not hearing a thing what Cully was saying. As Cully put his arm on Advaita’s shoulders they came back to reality. “You know what, we should have a Mural together. I will go ask Uncle Tip to do it on my room wall” said Cully.

Cully had become an admirer of Advaita after what had happened in the field today. “If world is full of paintings then you should be a Mural” Advaita’s father had told him. With his archery skills he was reaching that stage he felt.  Before Advaita could say anything Cully had left. Advaita turned to shadow and asked “Tip?” “Uncle Tip is a very good painter, maybe we should get our painting done as well” she replied. Advaita smiled but did not say anything.  

After the food, Shadow held Advaita’s hand and took him upstairs to show her paintings. They sat beside a trunk. Shadow opened the trunk and took out a painting that was her favorite. When Advaita saw the painting he was mesmerized by Shadow’s beauty. Shadow noticed it in him. He could see the perfection in the painting. He said “This is really beautiful. You look very beautiful. The painter has painted exactly as you look”. She rested her head on his shoulders. “I am glad you like it” she said. The moment they had seen each other, they knew they were supposed to be together.

“Why you are at the house, aren’t you going to help your mother with the wedding preparations?” he said. She was about to say something when they heard Cully calling for Advaita. They both got up. Advaita said her that he will go down first and later she could come. They both smiled as he said that.

Advaita went down. Cully was waiting for him. “Uncle Tip said he will do a small painting of us first and then use that for the Mural on the wall.” said Cully. “As you guys wish,” replied Advaita. Shadow started to come downstairs. In a hurry to come down she slipped. Advaita was standing in midway. He tried to stop her fall. He slipped, but was able to stop her fall with his left hand but his right hand hit the steps. It hurt a little but he ignored. “Are you ok” he asked as they got down. She nodded.

Shadow said she too will join them as they went to Tip’s house to get the painting done. Tip painted them for hours. With both of them standing side by side. Advaita was very impressed with Tip’s painting skills and appreciated it. Cullen pointed to a room “You know in that very room, he started painting. There are lot of paintings in there” he said. “Can I check them? “ Advaita asked Tip. Tip said ok.  

Cully was talking to Tip as Advaita went to check out the paintings. Shadow who was watching silently when they were getting painted joined Advaita. They went inside the room and started to check the paintings one by one. The room was huge. Each painting amazed Advaita and made him realize how good a painter Tip was.  Shadow explained a few of the paintings as they had historical importance.

Suddenly Advaita’s eyes went on to a Mural on the corner of the right wall. There were three people standing. The painting was a little faded. He was shocked. He moved closer to confirm.

The person on the left was indeed his father!

Chapter L: Lines

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Cully saw Advaita and Soldier Grant coming towards him. Soldiers who were with him went off the field as they approached. As Advaita reached near Cully he said “My father once told me that sometimes you need to cross the line to show who or what you actually are” “What?” replied Cully. “Read between the lines my friend” said Advaita with a smile. Grant had a laugh. He controlled it as Cullen got pissed.

Advaita turned around asking “Where do you practice archery?” “You see those wooden targets with center in red, there you need to shoot. The red mark is called the bulls-eye”. Advaita had never seen such targets. He liked them. “Grant can you go get the bow and arrows” Cully said. Grant nodded and left to get them.

The Prince Brian came out of the building. He saw Cullen speaking with someone. He came towards them and asked “Is this the guy you were talking about?” “Yes Prince Brian, he is Advaita” replied Cully. Advaita nodded.  “I heard that your archery skills are very good. Would you care to demonstrate?” asked Prince. “Grant has gone to get a bow and arrows” replied Cully.

They waited as Grant came back with a longbow and arrows. As Advaita took the bow from him, he noticed the bow was bigger and heavier than his. As he took an arrow he saw that it was heavier too. Grant had got about 15 arrows in a bag. Advaita studied the bow thoroughly.

The target was simple. There were five such targets set for practice in the field. Advaita took a deep breath. He knew it won’t be easy to get the first one right. “May I” he said. Prince Brian signaled him to go ahead.

Advaita stood behind the line which was set and shot the arrow towards one of the targets. He missed the center red mark by a very small margin. Prince Brian shook his head with a little wicked smile on his face. The next target he tried was the one in the farthest. He took an arrow, shot at the target and missed it as well by very small margin.

Prince Brian laughed now “I thought you said he was the best” he said to Cully. Cully was silent. Advaita who had placed the arrow bag on his back shot three arrows back to back aiming towards the remaining three targets and missed the red mark on all occasions. “I think I am wasting my time here. I will be leaving now” Said the Prince. Prince Brian left the field with the remaining soldiers.

Cully was in shock. “How could you miss all five!” he asked Advaita. “How could you lose the sword fight” Advaita asked back with a smile. Cully was silent. Grant who stood beside them was amazed at the events that was unfolding around him.

Advaita turned to Grant “Can you do me a favor and go measure the distance between the arrow and the red mark on each target?” Grant nodded and ran towards the targets. He examined the margins on each targets. As he went from one target to next his smile was getting bigger. To his shock, when he finished checking the 5th target, the margins were same on all.

Even Cully realized with the expression from Grant’s face that Advaita had indeed hit the target, but his targets were not the same as what others thought. “Arrows are all at the same distance from the red mark in each target” said Grant confirming Cully’s thoughts. Advaita was still smiling looking at the expression on Cully’s face. Both Grant and Cully were amazed with his accuracy. “WOW” was all Cully could say. ”Is this what you were talking about when you asked me to read between the lines?” he asked. Advaita laughed.

Advaita looked around. He took two more arrows. There was an ‘O’ shaped window on top floor of the building which was on the end of the field. As he adjusted both arrows on the strings of the bow, he said “Now I will show what I meant by crossing the line. You see that opening on top floor of the building?” he pointed his bow towards it. Advaita checked again the arrow positioning and shot both the arrows at the same time. The arrows hit exactly on top and bottom of the opening and fell on the ground.

Though Cully had seen people shooting multiple arrows simultaneously never had he seen with such accuracy. Grant stood completely shocked. “Shall we go now, I am hungry” said Advaita. Grant and Cully saw each other and joined Advaita. Both walked silently as they were left speechless after such an amazing act by Advaita.

“Your Accuracy is amazing” said Grant finally. Advaita turned to face them with a smile “Friends to be fair, I did miss the first target” he said.

Cullen and Grant laughed as they all left the field.

Chapter K: Kingdom

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Advaita and the soldier came out of Tip’s house. He was thinking about what the people in Bantu tribe had told him that he looked familiar when he was interrupted by the soldier. The soldier asked him “Do you want to go back to the General’s house, sir?” “No, I would like to see the city” Advaita replied. As they walked ahead “What is your name soldier?” Advaita asked. “Grant” the Soldier replied. Advaita asked Grant to call him by his name.

Advaita noticed that only the main roads were clean. The cross roads were filled with waste and horse poop. Also he saw that people were throwing the waste outside onto the streets. “Does anyone look after cleanliness here?” He asked Grant looking at the roads. “No one bothers about these things” Grant replied.

Even though the buildings and streets looked magnificent Advaita was not happy with the way everyone was treated. “A kingdom will not be remembered just by the name of its King but also by the way people live their life in it” Advaita told Grant. This was not the first time Advaita had talked in this fashion, Grant was surprised to see the knowledge Advaita possessed. Advaita’s father had said the saying about the chief and its tribe which he replaced with the king and his kingdom.

Cully had given Advaita some gold coins to buy anything he wanted. He was wondering whether he needed anything from the shops he looked at. He saw a shop selling arrows. He felt he could do with various kinds of arrows. “I need to practice. I need my bow and arrows. How far are we from General’s house?” Advaita asked. “We will take some time to reach there. Master Cullen will be at the training field nearby. There are bows and arrows there” Grant replied.

Advaita thought it would be good idea to see Cully. He asked Grant to take him there. As they reached the training field, Advaita saw that Cully was fighting with someone. The soldiers surrounded them. They stopped at the beginning of the field. Advaita noticed that they were fighting with wooden swords. “Who is the man Cully is dueling with?” asked Advaita, “That’s our Prince Brian” replied Grant.

Advaita was very interested to watch this duel. He had heard a lot about Prince Brian and his sword fighting techniques. Advaita knew how good Cully was. Both Cully and Brian were very quick. Initially Advaita felt they were going at each other as if it was a real combat. After sometime he realized that Cully was not giving his best.

“Tell me honestly Grant, Who is the best sword fighter here in the kingdom?” Asked Advaita. Grant was amazed at how quickly Advaita had come to a conclusion. Many soldiers couldn’t even make out that Cullen was holding off against the prince. But this new guy had found it in a few moments. He smiled and replied with pride “General Thomas is the best.” He continued “Master Cullen is a natural swordsman and matches his father.” Practice got over as the wooden sword fell from Cully’s hand. “It’s a shame” said Advaita.

The Prince walked towards a building which was on other end of the field. Advaita and Grant moved towards Cully who was now talking to a few soldiers. As they moved “Do these kind of things happen everywhere here? The superiors shown as great even though they are not” Advaita asked. Grant just nodded his head. Advaita could sense the anger on Grant’s face when he nodded.

Is this Kingdom really a heaven Advaita wondered?

Chapter J: Jester

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Whites’ came to know all about the incident that had happened. They thanked Advaita for saving their kids’ lives. As they were having dinner that night, “Which tribe do you belong to Advaita?” asked Mr.White. “I am from the Shaka tribe” he replied. “Peter, Do you know of a Shaka tribe in our kingdom? Is it the one on the south border?” He asked the soldier who was standing beside him.

“Yes my lord, it’s on the south border. They are immigrants from the Zulu kingdom. I believe they follow their own rules and not the Kingdom’s” Peter replied. “Thanks Peter, So Advaita why did you leave the tribe?” Advaita was not sure whether he could tell exactly what had happened. Now all the people in room were looking at him. “My Parents died when I was very young. After that I decided to travel around” Advaita finally replied.

Martha noticed that Advaita was a little uneasy talking about his past. “Tomorrow we are going to see the Jester’s act and approve it for the final performance” she said to Shadow. “Advaita you may not have seen these kind of acts before, why don’t you join us?” Said Shadow. “I was thinking of leaving tomorrow” replied Advaita.

“Don’t be in such a hurry my friend. You see the Jester’s act tomorrow. Tip Roy is the best Jester this kingdom has ever produced. Even Mr. White suggested him to stay. Advaita finally agreed, as he felt he had no choice.

The next day Martha, Shadow and Advaita went to Tip’s house. Tip was showing them the act at his place. Queen had specifically said Martha to check it as it will be the finishing act after Princess’ wedding for entertainment. Tip was ready with the costume and makeup when they reached. After initial formalities Tip started with his act. Advaita was sitting in one corner and was observing. As the act progressed Advaita laughed like never before. Everyone were enjoying the act.

Advaita had heard from his father about the Jesters. His father had said “Everyone in the world are like Jesters. A mask from outside but different from inside, hiding their true nature.” When the act got over, Advaita wondered ‘how happy the jester actually is. Does his mask from outside match the one who he is inside?’

His thoughts came back as he saw there was a huge discussion going on between Martha, shadow and Tip. They were suggesting a few things to be added and removed a part or two which involved making fun of the Bridegroom. After sometime Tip enacted again a few more times. Advaita saw that the act was finally ready. He was very impressed by the Jester’s work.

“People will fall in love with this act Tip, very well done” said Martha. “Thank you Martha, Let me clean up and come back normal” He replied. “How was the act Advaita?” asked Martha. “It was good” he replied. They waited for Tip.

As Tip came out “So Advaita, How did you find the act?” he asked. Good is all he said. “This guy doesn’t talk much, does he?” Tip asked Martha with a smile. “Only to the point” she replied back. “Oh! I see” said Tip as everyone laughed. Martha and Shadow decided to go to meet the Queen. Advaita said he would stay at Tip’s for a while. They instructed a soldier to accompany Advaita wherever he wants to go and then left.

“So what is it you wanted to ask, son” said Tip. Advaita had a smile.  “How happy are you as a Jester?” Advaita asked. “You think I am sad?’ Tip questioned back. Advaita shared his father’s view with Tip. Tip had a smile in his face. “Yes we do hide our true emotions, I feel in every profession people do that, not just this one. One has to do his Job irrespective of how their personal life is.” Advaita nodded.

They had the conversation going. Tip explained his art and told stories of the famous Jesters before him. Advaita met Tip’s wife and daughter. Tip’s two elder sons were in the army. They had lunch together. After lunch Advaita decided to leave. He conveyed the same and started to leave.

The soldier assigned to Advaita tagged along. As he was about to go out the front door “Your face looks very familiar” Tip said. Advaita turned and smiled as he walked out of the Jester’s house.

Chapter I: Identity

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The door of the General’s house opened. Advaita was in awe of it. He had never seen a house of this magnitude or beauty. Even a house of the chief in a tribe was very small compared to this.

Shadow turned to look at Advaita who had stopped at the entrance. “Will you come in now or will you be standing there?” She asked. He walked towards her. “I think we need to change your clothes. Mother will be in shock if she sees you like this. My Father’s old clothes may fit you, come on in” She said.

A lady came out of one of the rooms. She had a wooden item in her hand. Seeing Advaita she dropped it in shock. Advaita smiled at her and ran behind Shadow before she could say anything.

“Sometimes you don’t just pretend but make an identity your own” his father had told him. He never understood why his father had said that. Advaita thought he will not wear any new identity but keep the one he had in pride.

Shadow got some clothes from a room. Advaita had never worn them before and was not sure how to wear it. When she placed the clothes in his hands he asked “How do I wear these?” Shadow had a laugh. She explained what she could.

Advaita went inside the room shown.  Shadow had called it shirt and trouser. He wore them. The trouser was loose, he used the rope belt he had and tied it over the shirt also tightening the trouser. The dress felt uncomfortable. There was tunic as well to wear on top of the shirt. He didnt like it, so he did not wear it. He went out.

As he came out from the room Cully was waiting with Shadow. “You look a natural in these. Need shoes too” said Cully. Shadow laughed when she saw him. “You look handsome” she said. Advaita gave an uneasy smile.

“You look different. You look good. I think we should change your name, Advaita is something very different” said Cully. “You guys changed my clothes, but I don’t want to change my identity, I am who I am” replied Advaita. “Relax friend, I was just saying” said Cully with a smile.

Shadow went to her room upstairs. Cully showed Advaita around the house. Advaita saw portraits of many men and women as they walked around the corridor. “My parents are both out. Mother is in Palace with queen helping her in preparation of the wedding. Father is always with the King.” Cully said. Cully was not sure whether Advaita heard any of it as he was busy looking around.

They came back to the entrance now. Cully asked him to sit on one of the chairs as he went upstairs to his room. Sometime later the front doors of the house opened. By looking at them Advaita realised they had to be the parents of Cully and Shadow.

As soon as Thomas White came in, he saw a commoner sitting. “Never seen him before, is he one of Cully’s friends?” He asked his wife Martha. “Who are you son?” Martha in turn asked the commoner.

“I am Advaita” replied the commoner. He retained his Identity…

Chapter H: Heaven

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As the Carriage started moving, they thanked Advaita again. Shadow looked like she was still in shock. Cully looked cool. He was sitting as if it was just another day. Advaita was not sure why he was in that carriage. He wanted to explore the forest.

“I would like to leave now. If you could ask the men outside to stop….” Advaita’s words were cut short by Cully as he said “No way friend, you saved our life, please give us the chance to pay you back. Be with us for a few days and then we will leave you wherever you want to go”. They both argued about it for a bit, then Advaita realised this was a war of words and he could not win. He kept quiet.

Cully saw that Shadow had not spoken once they had moved. He took her hand as he asked “Are you okay?” She nodded. “Where is the Dagger father gave you? Didn’t I tell you to keep it with you?” He asked. She took out the dagger which she had placed below her seat.

As she took out the dagger Advaita noticed that it was similar to the one he had. His father had said the dagger was very special but he never knew why. Advaita wanted to check that dagger, but he said nothing.

“Is that the deer skin you are wearing?” asked Cully, nodded Advaita confirming it. Advaita had never seen the kind of a dress they were wearing but he had heard that rich people wore silk dresses. “So, what were you doing in the forest?” Cully asked. Advaita was not sure what to say. “I am just a wanderer, I move from forest to forest. Wha.. what about you people?” asked Advaita. “Oh, our grandmother is sick, we had gone to visit her. Our father is a Lord and the CHIEF OF ARMY.” Cully said with pride.

“I was wondering why those men attacked you” asked Advaita. Shadow looked at him and turned away, she was still very concerned. “We will question our captive once we get back. I am sure my father will make him speak” said Cully.

“We could have died today, when they took my hand and dragged me. I thought that was it, I will be going to hell. ” Shadow said finally looking at the dagger. She had tears in her eyes. Cully held her hand again. “Being alive is heaven and death is hell. We worry about death so much that we forget the heaven we are in. Live in the moment, this is heaven” said Advaita. Shadow saw him and smiled but she still looked sad. At least his Father’s words made her smile he thought. He didn’t know how to react though; he smiled a bit and looked down.

“Forget about all this, Princess Margaret your best friend is getting married in a few days. Think about the preparation and the events there will be, smile, be happy” said Cully. She nodded. Cully offered her and Advaita some food they had packed. He opened the window and offered some to the soldiers too. Advaita saw that they were out of forest.

After sometime Advaita started to see buildings that made him realise they were almost there. He had heard about the cities in Kingdom, but had never seen any until now. Cullen and Shadow smiled as Advaita was looking out overawed with his eyes wide open. Cully, on seeing the excitement in Advaita’s face started to give him a tour of the city as they moved ahead. The sun was slowly setting down.

They got inside a big wooden gate and then stopped beside a huge house. The open area in front could fit a whole tribe Advaita thought. Cullen took the man that was tied with the soldiers to a small house nearby. He told shadow to take Advaita inside.

“Welcome to our humble house in the city of Heaven” she said as they went in…     

Chapter G: GOD

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It had been months since Advaita had seen Fear. He had moved ahead as Fear stuck to its area. Advaita thought even Fear, a beast had settled down in life whereas he was still a wanderer. He came back from his thoughts as he heard some movements ahead.

He could see a few people ahead who were covered in masks. These could be the dacoits he had heard of he thought. He quickly, with his bags climbed the nearby tree treading caution. As he climbed atop he saw a road where the masked men were hiding around. He felt as if they were setting a trap.  He decided to wait and watch.

He saw many soldiers in horses and a carriage behind them. So this is an ambush he thought. He kept quiet and continued to watch. He could make out that the masked men outnumbered the soldiers. They were at least 5 to 6 members more. He wondered who was in the carriage.

The Dacoits were easily winning. A young man got down from the carriage as the fight was going on. The sword in his hand was glittering. He looked calm. With a single hit he killed a dacoit. He went on to take one more.

Advaita felt the presence of a lady in the carriage. He saw that a few soldiers were down along with couple of masked men. The young soldier was battling three of them now. He wondered whether this could be the Prince of the kingdom, the Channa tribe people talked about a year back when he had stayed with them. They had heard that the prince was the best when it came to sword fighting and could take on many and defeat them with ease. “He is as good with a sword as you are with a bow and an arrow” they had said.

When he came back from his thoughts, the soldiers were either tied up or killed. The young man was atleast battling 5 at a time. One of the masked man was just watching as two forced inside the carriage and tried forcing the lady out of it.

Advaita took his bow and arrows from the bag. He saw that there were totally nine dacoits remaining. He took nine arrows out; It’s time to be God he said to himself. Channa People called the archers God as they helped their own people from afar and usually decided the fate of small wars that happened between the tribes.

With no hesitation Advaita started shooting arrows one after another in succession. All hit the target. He did not shoot to kill but all the arrows severely injured the nine dacoits.

The young man was startled by the sudden change in scenario. The lady was shocked as the two men holding her fell. She ran back inside the carriage. The young man freed the three tied soldiers who were alive. As soon as they were freed they killed the masked men except one.

Advaita saw some movement on top of a tree from the other side of the road. An arrow passed near him. “How did I forget to check the trees” he told himself. He found the location of the man who was shooting arrows as he took an arrow from the bag. With another arrow Advaita took him down. It would have been my last day if he was good thought Advaita.

The man who was on top of the tree fell down. The soldiers seemed surprised. The young man had gone inside the carriage to check the lady. Advaita thought for few minutes and got down to meet the soldiers. They were already looking in his direction trying to find who he was.

As he met them, soldiers doubted him but the young man and lady were generous on him. They thanked him for saving their lives. The young man introduced themselves as Cullen White and his sister Shadow White. “I am A..Advaita” Advaita replied. Cullen ordered the soldiers to move from there. They tied and kept the dacoit in the back of the carriage.

Advaita sat with them inside the carriage. Cullen said “You came as a God”. Advaita was beaming with pride inside but showed none above. He just replied “I just did what I felt was right, I am no God”. “Anyone who teaches and helps others in anyway is God to them” said Shadow.

Advaita smiled and was surprised to hear that as he had heard similar lines from his father. “We still have a long journey ahead” said Cullen as the carriage moved…