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Chapter Q: ? (Question)

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Shadow was surprised to hear what Advaita had just said as he explained her what had happened during the day. She then told him about the wedding preparations of Princess Margaret and how she took care of arrangements. She felt so tired that she decided to have a day and came back.

They came down for dinner. As they ate, Advaita had one question in his mind. It was the question General Thomas had asked Tip when they came back “Was he a royal?” He had heard among the Shakas that his parents were outsiders. Was Princess Agnes his mother? He wondered. He shared his thoughts with Shadow as well. She had never seen Princess Agnes but she had heard that there was a room in the palace full of paintings and they might be able to find her portrait there. “I do not remember my mother’s face as she died when I was very young. All I remember is she had black hair” replied Advaita.

Cully was back and he joined them on the table. “All the People from Benin Kingdom have come. Prince Rufus was looking stunning in his Royal attire today. King Edward and Queen Erica of the Benin Kingdom looked amazing and they were very happy with our arrangements” said Cully. “Where are your parents?” asked Advaita. “They are still with the King and Queen” he replied.

Cullen left after food. He wanted to get up early as he had lot of work to do tomorrow. Shadow wanted to stay with Advaita and talk till her parents came. Advaita insisted that she go and get some rest. She reluctantly left for her room to get some sleep.

It was very late by the time General Thomas and Martha White arrived. Martha enquired about her children Cully and Shadow. Advaita told her that they were both asleep in their rooms. Later she left for her room saying Advaita to come to the wedding tomorrow. General Thomas as soon as he had seen Advaita said “We can’t talk about this today. We will sit and have a talk once the wedding is over”. Advaita nodded.

He was back in his room. He saw his father’s dagger. Now he realised why Shadow had a similar dagger as he had. “Life is a maze. Every answered question may lead to another question” his father had told. Now he had loads of question that needed to be answered as he fell asleep clutching the dagger in his hand.

Shadow woke him up next morning. As Advaita slowly opened his eyes, he saw Shadow was looking like an angel. She thanked him as he complimented her. She was wearing a dress having a combination of white and yellow colours. It looked amazing on her. She said pointing towards a table “I have placed your dress over there. Please get ready and come as soon as possible. Soldier Grant will be waiting for you below when you are ready to take you to palace. Advaita nodded and she left.
Advaita saw that even his dress was a pattern of white and yellow. He wondered how she managed to pull this off in such less time. He got ready and went downstairs. Grant was waiting for him at the entrance. They left for the palace.

As they entered the surroundings of the Palace Advaita was in awe of the place. The whole Palace was dressed as a bride. Grant who was a regular in this area admitted that even he was amused by the beauty of the decoration. Advaita asked “When is the wedding?” “It will be later in the day. First there is a gathering in the great hall where the Kings of both kingdoms will address the gathering.” Grant replied. Sun had just arisen.

They were inside the Palace now. Advaita had never seen such beauty in his life. He admired the work of the people who had done such a marvellous job. They went to the Great Hall. Many people were already there. Advaita felt bad when he came to know only lords can attend this gathering and no other commoners. His eyes met Shadows’ who was seated in the front. They both smiled as they looked at each other.

She came near his seat and asked Grant to be with Cully. Grant left them. Soon General Thomas started to talk to the gathering as he introduced the Kings and their family ‘seated to my right are King of Heaven Aiden Rich, this is his wife Queen Catherine, their Prince Brian, and their Princess Margaret and Princess Sarah, and seated to my left King of Benin Edward, Queen Erika and their Prince Rufus.’

As the talk went on Advaita asked Shadow to go look for that storeroom. She said she had already found it. They slowly slipped off from the Great Hall and went to there. As they entered, they found the room pitch dark; they lit some fire torches and searched for the painting amidst the noise coming from the Great Hall. Shadow found the painting with King William and his children Prince Aiden and Princess Agnes. She showed Advaita the painting. Advaita tried hard to remember but he could not. He just held the painting and questioned the lady “Are you my mother?”

Shadow who was silent until noticed something weird from outside. Advaita who was till now buried deep within his thoughts also noticed something unusual as he looked at Shadow. The Noise in the Great Hall had stopped. They ran back wondering what might have happened.