Chapter 9: The start of a long journey

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"What do you mean? I am no secret. Everybody knows about me."

Viaan was indignant because whatever he heard her say was out of bounds. He was the quiet prince who liked to keep himself out of everything. Everyone knew that. He was quite different when his father was alive. He was energetic and his silly antics made everyone laugh. But after he lost his father, Viaan became reserved and liked to spend time alone. His mother frequently engaged him in conversations but Viaan chose books over people. He only talked with his family when they dined together. He absolutely loved his nieces and nephew. He read them stories and played with them. He loved them. He had no time to think about magic or any thing else.

But now, hearing her say those words made his chest hurt. He wondered that if he spent those evenings with his mother, she would have told him more about her magic. And his brother would tell him something more about his power. He thought that his brother was kidding when he told him. But after Viaan had witnessed everything in Adhira, he believed it was real and that his brother really had magic, a very rare and powerful magic. He was close to Vivaan so he couldn't believe their relationship now. It was worse than he imagined. He adored his brother and his brother hated him.

"I think you should sleep. And he has to rest too." Nairiti told him.

She was right. Vidyut was back from a long journey and he had to report to Adhyay in the morning. He didn't want his friend to be bleary eyed. Viaan nodded and left her room with Vidyut.

"You know, I'm always here. You can talk to me no matter how much sleep I get. It will be like our own party. Okay?"

Viaan felt something bursting out of his heart. It was gratitude. He finally found an awesome friend. He wasn't the lonely person he was before. Now he had people he could rely on.

"I will. You should sleep. I'll wake you up later."

Viaan woke up earlier than he intended. Despite sleeping for less than three hours, he was refreshed. It could be because he would go searching for answers of the questions he asked himself. He knew he was missing some big piece of information and that it was the only thing that mattered.

He was waiting near Adhyay's office. People knew he was lurking there but no one paid him any attention. Adhyay got there when the clock struck eight. He saw Viaan and gestured him to follow inside. Once he was seated, Adhyay opened the window to the side and light flooded in. The scenery outside looked beautiful. Viaan could spend the whole day gazing outside. But he wasn't there for that reason.

Adhyay sat on his chair behind the desk leisurely and looked at Viaan. He was waiting for him to start talking.

"I want to go back to Mihira."

Adhyay wasn't surprised. He knew someday the prince would want to return. But he did not foresee the day coming so fast. He saw no problem with the decision but he was skeptical. Viaan had no good training to protect himself. He was smart enough but sometimes being smart wouldn't be enough.

"I ask you to stay three weeks here. Then you can return to your kingdom. You have to learn fighting here with your magic and also with sword. I know you can fight, but you have to be exceptional in this. That's why I need three weeks. What do you say?"

Viaan was about to answer no but he was interrupted by the knock. He was hally to see it was Nairiti who was closely followed by Vidyut.

"Report?" Adhyay asked Vidyut.

Viaan was surprised that he wasn't asked to leave but then he realised the news wouldn't be good. He braced himself.

"There was a chatter that major changes were happening in the palace."
He looked at Viaan and continued, "King Vivaan was very secretive and I couldn't get more from the people but I noticed that he disappeared somewhere and no one knew where."

Viaan suspected as much. He knew Vivaan had changed. But he couldn't know the extent till he was face to face with his brother. And that moment couldn't come soon.

"And no one saw the queen after her death, only a handful people did. I find that suspicious."

Viaan did too. But he had no firsthand information and he had to rely on what Vidyut had found. He wanted to go back very much then.

Sadly Adhyay saw that too.

"You are leaving only after three weeks, not now."

Nairiti perked up at that. She looked at both of them before asking Viaan, "You want to leave?"

Viaan nodded at her.

"Then you must train faster. You will not be a prince there and certainly not safe. You would have to save yourself. And you can't go there as you. You will die. You have to think that before you make a decision."

Viaan knew they wouldn't let him leave like that and they also had a point. He was not a fool. So he agreed.

The next two weeks were hard on him. He practised with very much determination and his magic practice was getting nowhere. Nairiti was sure that he would fight well in a real fight because of adrenaline. And Viaan thought it was a lie. He knew he couldn't depend on his magic so he focused all his energy on physical training. He was skillful in sword fighting and he could pick locks. He needed less training in that. He was known to snuck away in library because of his skill.

He also learned some basics of how spies operated. He was going to be one. He needed every new skill he could learn. And then the day came. He stood before the mirror examing himself. Nairiti was right about his appearance. He needed to look less like a prince. His hair was long because he had missed his hair styling appointments for three months consecutively. He was happy he was that lazy.

He had used the Kari plant to make his hair reddish. He knew if he didn't look clean, no one would mistake him for a prince. He wore a long reddish brown cloak and a hat on his head. He could use it to cover his face. He met Nairiti outside his room. Like him, she was dressed in a cloak and she handed him a scarf.

They met Vidyut at the staircase. Adhyay had briefed then earlier about the dangers of their quest. Adhyay had asked them to leave the next morning when he had called Viaan the previous day. He told Viaan that he would wait for him to become leader once he came back. Viaan did not say anything to that. He was excited to go back and clear his name. Before the morning light could illuminate, Viaan set off with his companions to his homeland.

Author's note:

I promise, the adventure and mystery will start now. You will know more about Mihira and how people lived there. And more betrayal and secrets are coming your way.

And thank you so much for sticking with me. I know it's hard but I am determined to make this book awesome and I thank you all for encouraging me.

Viaan will emerge from a confused prince to an awesome leader. I really have big plans for him.

This isnt edited. I will edit it today. So forgive me for more mistakes than usual.

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