The Aryan Warrior

 

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Chapter 1

I am Kirova. A superbeing from a remote galaxy far away from the Milky Way called Luminnoossa. I live in this fourth-dimensional world called Aryan wherein everything is possible. Well… almost everything…

I looked around me. I was surrounded by the giant trees that seemed to reach the sky. I had always loved the smell of the leaves in the Aiglean Forest and the gentle touch of fresh mountain dews before the Sun rises.

I took a deep breath with a gentle smile on my face. This was one of my ordinary days… or so I thought… and the time of the day that I loved the most. I broke into a run, making my way through the giant trees. I climbed and jumped from one tree to another. I always did my training without fault and without absence since I learned to walk. My father always taught me and spoke to me through telepathy whenever he wasn’t busy guarding the lower dimensional worlds of the Milky Way Galaxy. It was his duty as an Arcturian being. Therefore, I’d never seen him in my entire life.

My thoughts were busy of what my future held for me as I ran, climbed, and jumped. I was hunting nothing but myself, my vague future and my mother’s murderer that I knew nothing about. It was like chasing a shadow in the midst of a dark place. I didn’t know where to start but I knew that I had to join the Elite Aryan Army. I would participate in the so-called Banatan, the recruitment of new elite Aryan warriors, in a fortnight. From there, I had a gut feeling that I would learn something about the mystery why my Aryan mother was murdered a few months ago.

That scene when she was brought home lifeless played in my mind again… I gritted my teeth and clenched my hands into tight balls as I was running. I would never forget it for as long as I live. And I swore that I’d find justice for her using my own two hands, even if it would take a while and even if my life would be at stake.

***

My sister, Merova, and I were laughing as we enjoyed our day meal. She was wearing a blue dress that always made her look like a princess. She had waist-long honey-colored hair, green eyes like any Aryans, pearly white skin, and petite as I was but she looked more graceful and fragile—especially when I was beside her to compare with.

Oh, how I wished mother sees you on the way you eat!” She laughed so hard. She always commented on how I ate because I was like a soldier who could eat a dozen platters in a fast pace in a mere dot.

Our mother wasn’t living with us anymore. I thought she was happy living in the huge palace with the “Bluebeard King.” It was seldom that she visited us because her husband had forbidden to see us often as she wanted to. I supposed that the king wasn’t so fond of us, his queen’s daughters with different fathers.

You know that I do the hard work around the house more than you do. You should remind yourself that.” I teased her.

She pouted prettily. My sister was fonder of cooking and cleaning the house than I was, while I would go out and hunt some little animals for our everyday meal. And I also always helped our fellow Aigleans in farming and training the little boys how to fight. These were my great happiness. I felt like I was no different from the Aryans even though I was half-Arcturian, the one and only in our world. Being half-Aryan was both weird and blessing—weird because I was conceived in a different way as my mother had a short-lived relationship with someone who wasn’t living in our world and blessing because I was stronger than any normal Aryan being.

She was about to say something in rebuttal when we heard a knock on the door. She drank the bark juice that I gathered early this morning before she stood up to peer outside. I ran toward her when I heard her gasp and cry.

Oh, Mother!”

I followed her rapidly and stopped when I reached where she was, at the doorway. Her hands covered her face. I felt like I was shaken, and I swayed slightly that I had to hold onto the doorframe so I won’t fall. My mother was lying inside a rectangular sparkling glass, lifeless. Although she seemed to be sleeping in that state, I couldn’t hear her thoughts even though I probed deeper. My throat was constricted with controlled emotion. And I blinked fast.

My beautiful mother who was dressed in a golden gown and with a jeweled crown on her forehead was already dead after becoming a queen for only a year! I had trouble figuring out what happened to her.

Why is she in this state?!” I angrily turned to one of the soldiers who carried her and I looked at the others afterward.

The six tall and well-built soldiers put the rectangular glass down on the ground. And the soldier who seemed to lead the ones who carried my mother answered sorrowfully. “We are sorry about her passing. It is unknown to the king why she died but she had been ill for days…”

Our mother wasn’t ill for a day!” My sister sounded hysterical when she butted in. She kneeled before the rectangular glass and leaned on it as she cried.

I blinked hard and fast to still myself and control my emotions. I was watching my sister cry and I couldn’t do anything. Our neighbors gathered round and looked on with either horrified look or confusion on their faces. I knew that they too were puzzled why our mother was in this state now. She was such a healthy being with glowing beautiful skin. She was the picture of life itself when she was still alive. But now… My mind couldn’t seem to digest what was happening.

Why weren’t we informed of the state of her being then?” I questioned again. My words tasted like bile in my tongue and lips. “We could’ve made her better!”

The leader swallowed and blinked as if he was the guilty one. I looked at him like my eyes were daggers piercing through him. He flinched.

If no one of you knows the reason why she is now lying inside this glass, I want you to remove yourselves out of my land this very instant!” My eyes grew colder by each passing moment as I looked at the soldiers.

They were taken aback while they looked at me. I knew my eyes turned from blue-green to steely blue. I had a glimpse of my skin as well, which turned into bluish color, which was a sign that I wasn’t pure Aryan. In our homeland—and even in the entire Aryan world— I was the only one with the Arcturian heritage running in my veins. With that, some envied me, some admired me and some feared me. At the moment, it was apparently the latest one. And I couldn’t blame them as my reputation preceded me.

The soldiers took their swords out as if I just threatened them physically. And perhaps I did because I just realized it when I felt my weapon’s head move and I heard his chuckle. I looked down at my hand that was holding my poniard, which was given by my father on my seventh birthday. The head, Ponpon I called him, which was part of the crossed handle, looked back at me with his red eyes. I remembered that I had placed my weapon on the table while my sister and I were eating. And because of my telekinetic powers, he was now in my hand.

I’m ready when you are, Kirova,” Ponpon said and he shouted like he was in a battle.

I swallowed and looked at the soldiers who were so bewildered to see my weapon talk. They staggered backward and ran away like I was after them. My sister looked at me with her face damped with tears and my heart went out to her. My heart settled for a moment and I knew that I looked normal again because my skin turned to its pale color once again.

I must talk to the king myself and demand answers as to what happened to our mother,” I promised my sister.

She nodded. And I didn’t need to ask our neighbors to help us. Six of them carried the rectangular glass inside our house. Some women and children already gathered flowers and placed them around the glass. We knew how our mother was beloved by the Aiglean people.

We would stay by our mother’s side overnight, remembering how she lived happily with us and how she lived as the Queen of the Aryan world.

In the light of dawn, we buried our mother the Aiglean way. The dug square hole near our house was surrounded with flowers and fruits as its walls so that if her spirit would decide to visit her body, she wouldn’t feel and see the cold land. But instead, she would see the beautiful surrounding where her body was laid to rest.

When the time came, just as the Sun rose in the sky, our neighbors buried our mother with flowers and fresh leaves. Our way was different from most non-Aiglean would do to their dead, which was to bury by land and stones. My sister and I watched as our mother was covered with fresh flowers and leaves. I held my sister close to me as she cried and we both bade our last goodbye to her. I promised to myself that I’d find her murderer one day. Deep down inside, I had the feeling that it had got to do with the Bluebeard King.

***

I jumped down one last time from up the tree and stopped. My thoughts were dragged to the present when I felt that I wasn’t alone in the forest.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you, Kirova but you were so busy with your own thoughts,” Ponpon said when I took my poniard out of its small scabbard that was securely tied around my left thigh. I revitalized myself using my own violet aura. My heart rate was then back to normal like I never ran for miles.

I smirked at Ponpon. Then, I looked around. That was when I saw him, alone. He was tall, broad-shouldered, well-built with reddish brown hair, and yet he was graceful as a feline. From this distance, I could see his green eyes well and the way he looked at me. I’d never seen such a beautiful creature in my life that was of my opposite sex. He was slightly smiling at me, or so I thought. And my heart jumpstarted at that; it was curious. I never felt something like this before.

I frowned a little. I never saw this Aryan before. I was so certain that he was not from my tribe, the Aigleana, as I could clearly sense the negative energy coming out from his person.

“Who are you? Why are you here?” I asked him.

He looked at the poniard in my hand. He slowly walked toward me. I couldn’t probe into his thoughts even if I wanted to. As it was, I could only probe other people’s minds when they were at the most four or five paces away from me. And he was farther than that at the moment. Perhaps he knew about my ability and he looked quite stronger than any other Aryan I met.

“I’ve been watching you.” He smiled crookedly. Then, he swept his shoulder-length hair away from his face. He was sweating like he was running for miles. I noticed that he also revitalized himself using his gray aura; he gained back his strength and breathed normally.

I raised an eyebrow. For now, he wasn’t a threat so I put back Ponpon in his scabbard.

“Pick me up, Kirova! You don’t know this being!” Ponpon protested.

The stranger’s eyes looked at my weapon with amazement.

“Keep silent, Ponpon,” I told him without looking away from the stranger.

“Does that thing just talked?” He asked me.

“Oh, sure. I do. You see, I’m unique, stranger. No other weapon like me in this entire Aryan world can speak as I do,” Ponpon bragged.

I ignored him. “I asked the questions first. You must not be from around here as you don’t know the rules.” I observed. I crossed my arms under my small breasts.

He chuckled. And he stepped closer to me. “Judging by your almond-shaped eyes, blue-green eyes, positive aura, and long and violet hair… you’re not a pure Aryan. And I heard all about you for a long time now.”

I blinked. No one had ever spelled out my uniqueness in front of me and so arrogantly or carelessly at that. He wasn’t the only one who could be arrogant here. After all, he was in my territory. He was in the Aiglean land. Even the king himself would have thought twice to step on this land.

As it was, he knew that he was never welcome in our land. And by marrying our mother to become his queen, he thought that Aigleans would welcome and accept him then. But he was wrong. Our people didn’t want to get involved with his being a warmonger. He’d been fighting with the rebels, the Furezos, up north for decades—since he became the king, which was even before I was born in this world.

“What do you know about me?” I asked him with puzzlement.

He laughed. “About everything. I just told you that… Kirova…” And with that, he hid behind a tree and was gone.

I was puzzled by that person. I walked back toward my house after I gathered the bark juice for Merova. She loved it since we were little. She was never fond of fruit wine. From where I was, I could see the houses in pyramid style that lined up perfectly. The Sun was already up high and the land was full of busy people doing their respective jobs.

I passed by the farmers who were busy with their own thing. A rabbit-like animal that we called kunijoh was in one hand. (The only difference of it from the so-called Earth’s rabbit was it has only one ear but not as large.) And a jar of bark juice in the other. I smiled at Zelian, a chili pepper grower. He was of middle age, still well-built, and more agile than any average Aryan with 48 chromosomes. He was also considered as one of the good fighters in our tribe. However, I was considered the best as no one had ever defeated me yet. That was why my people gave me the privilege to teach the younger ones how to fight at duskside.

“Good catch today as usual, eh?” He commented, watching the kunijoh in my hand.

I raised it with a smile on my face. “Yes, Zelian!”

“Kirova, come to our house tomorrow night. There’s a wedding party! Bring Merova along!” I heard Oleifa’s voice in the midst of the throng of people going to and fro. I looked back and saw her fat person. I couldn’t possibly miss her. She was one of those unique Aryans who had a fat body. It wasn’t because she ate a lot of food but she often willed that she’d look that way so that she’d be distinguished more easily. Usually, Aryans willed to make themselves unique in appearance. That was why most Aryans were good-looking.

“Sure! She’d be delighted to come. Thank you for the invitation, Oleifa!” I smiled and waved the kunijoh at her.

She smiled warmly, waved back, and went on her way to the market. I caught sight of her boarding on a bus that didn’t touch the ground, unlike the ones I heard stories from my Arcturian father. I wondered how people on the planet Earth, which was a third-dimensional world, would look and live like. My father once described that they more or less looked like us but they didn’t have powers like any average Aryans do. Aryans were naturally strong, intelligent, and agile people. However, on my part, I was half Aryan and most of my powers were inherited from my seventh-dimensional Arcturian father. And we Aryans only ate once or twice a day but humans were said to eat more than three times a day, whereas my father, who was a very powerful being, didn’t need any meal! I couldn’t even imagine how these so-called Earthlings could eat a lot of food and how they spent their energy with it when they weren’t powerful at all.

“What have you got me, Kirova? Bark juice?” Merova was excited when she opened the door for me. She would always feel my presence whenever I was right outside our door.

“You already know what you love. That’s what I’m bringing you from my early morning excursions every day!” I grinned at her and kissed her cheek.

“Oh, thank you very much! As always.” She said happily as she took the jar from my hand.

I went in and cleaned the kunijoh with my telekinetic powers while I sat with my ankles crossed over the table. Merova gave me a disgusted look.

“Take off your feet from the table!” Sure, she was gentle but she could act like a mother to a kid whenever she wanted to. And that was how she was treating me once in a while even though I was older than her.

I put down my feet on the magenta marble floor, which was typically Aryan.

“That’s what you do when you are in deep thought.” She referred to my habit of crossing my ankles and putting them on the table.

“You’re right, Merova. It’s because we met someone in the forest.” Ponpon told her before I could speak.

“Ignore what he said, Merova. I met Oleifa by the way. She invited us to the wedding party at her house.” I smiled at my sister.

Her face lit up at the prospect of attending such a wedding party. It meant a lot to her. She’d been looking for a mate since three years ago. But she hadn’t liked anyone yet in our tribe. Perhaps tomorrow, she’d meet someone that could be considered unique in her standards, which were a puzzle to me as there were no rich and poor in the Aiglean land.

“I should make a unique dress for the party tomorrow then. Or, can you do that for me, Kirova?” She pleaded me.

I smiled at her. She often exploited my telekinetic powers. And that was every single day! However, I didn’t mind. I loved my sister very much as I loved our mother. I got up from the white marble chair and put my hands over my waist. I surveyed her being and I decided what she’d look more beautiful in. I pictured it already in my mind. Long, fitting blue gown, embedded with fresh flowers of different colors, sprinkled with diamonds to glitter in the evening lights and a tiara would do justice to her beautiful face.

“And I think you need a new dress, too. Who knows if we’re going to meet that stranger you just met in the forest tomorrow evening?” And she winked at me before she turned her back to cool her drink in a machine we called Bugnawan, which wasn’t its sole function. It was a machine that was taller than me with some drawer-like divisions with complicated things inside for different purposes like washing or drying clothes, dishes, and others; it also preserved some food, drinks, medical supplies, and others; and it also served as the keeper of house words, meaning that it recorded everything that was said and done inside the house—and no one else could retrieve the recorded data except for the owner/s of the house.

Meet that stranger again? I snorted as I pictured him once again in my mind.

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Chapter 2

I dressed up just like my sister wanted me to. It was a simple lavender gown with embedded stones and jewels that could only be found in the Aiglean land. My high heeled shoes were shining because of the jewels that embedded them as well.

My sister on the other hand looked like a princess that night. She made every being turn his or her head just to admire her beauty. We walked side by side and were greeted. There were already the familiar and unfamiliar faces there. The house was more beautiful than any ordinary days. It was decorated with different kinds of twinkling lights that were floating in the air, fresh flowers, and other kinds of decors that were created by Oleifa herself.

Oleifa’s daughter Zulika was married to Daraton, a being from another tribe called Nazia from the west. As it was, the Aryan world was originally divided into three tribes: the Aigleana in the east, Indi in the north and south, and Nazia in the west. However, Indi was divided into two because of the Bluebeard King. The north was now composed of the rebels they called themselves as Furezos, members of the Furez tribe.

Zulika worked in the palace as a maid. I heard that she stopped going there when my mother died a few months ago. And she met her husband—in the palace while working there—who was a soldier of the Elite Aryan Army. I heard that he was just promoted as a battalion commander. He must have had pleased the king or anyone with influential status at that. The politics was quite a bad and dirty game since the Bluebeard King sat on the throne.

Almost all the Aryan men’s dream was to become an elite warrior in the Aryan Army. And ever since my mother passed away, it became my dream to be one of them. I just knew that I’d be one of them once I participated in the Banatan, which wasn’t so far from now. It might be unconventional as no woman was ever admitted to the Elite Aryan Army in the history of the Aryan world. Well, in reality, it was unheard of that no woman was ever interested in joining the army. But I was determined to do what I planned to do just to catch my mother’s murderer.

Different kinds of drinks and different kinds of dishes were served. Everyone seemed to be so happy for the newlyweds. My sister and I had just offered our congratulations and our little gifts for the new couple, a handmade towel for the baby made by my sister and a baby pillow of velvety cloth filled with long-lasting flowers and young leaves that I made. It was a traditional Aiglean gesture that we were used to whenever there was a wedding. All the gifts were for the baby that the couple would have in the near future.

My sister was taken by Zulika who wanted to introduce her to a young being we’d never seen before. So I left them and amused myself by sitting on a bench outside the house, watching the delightful twinkling lights that turned into different colors in every passing moment.

The laughter and talking seemed far away from me now. I crossed my thigh and ignored Ponpon’s wiggling head that wanted to peer outside my gown. I heard him groan with frustration when he couldn’t see anything.

“This is unfair!” He grumbled.

“Enjoying yourself alone out here?” I heard that unfamiliar yet familiar voice. I turned my head to look behind me and there he was. He was standing with his hands in his pants front pockets.

“Oh, who’s there? Who’s there?” Ponpon asked but I didn’t answer.

It was that stranger from the forest alright. My sister seemed to be right with her foresight lately, I supposed. I drank the fruit wine and turned my head to look in front of me. It was a gesture that I was ignoring him—if he got what I mean.

But it didn’t seem so. He stepped closer to me and he sat down just beside me, looking up at the lights above us. I stole a glance at him. There was a hint of a smile in his beautifully crafted lips and green eyes. He wore different clothes tonight. Yesterday, it was some kind of shiny leathery cloth; but now, it was more formal like the occasion demanded. And to my dismay, he looked even handsomer tonight. I didn’t like what I feel because I was already admiring this man whom I didn’t know about.

I drank from my sparkling glass again, still without the intent to speak.

“I never thought I’d see you again, Kirova.” He said suddenly.

I swallowed the wine. The sweet warm liquid caressed my throat gently. I turned slowly to look at him. He was also looking at me, straight in the eye. There was something there that I couldn’t fathom though.

Then, I quirked my mouth and rolled my eyes upward. “That’s a mutual thought, stranger… just that I never hoped to see you again.” But how come I just lied in front of this stranger? Why was I trying to hide my real feelings from him? Was I afraid that he’d know that I was longing to see his face again even though I wanted to ignore that feeling? But why was I interested in seeing him again even though the chances were so slim?

“How about I give you something to remind you that you indeed met me tonight?” And from his pocket, he pulled out something. It was a very rare kind of flower called amariya. One that could only be found in the north. It was small like daisy but with three petals and a tube-like star in the middle of it and it smelled so sweet. The flower itself would turn into different colors by each passing day. Tonight, it was violet and it just matched my lavender gown. I knew that it would take two months before it would dry up and die.

My eyes went up to his immediately. He couldn’t be one of the Furezos! Instinctively, I probed his thoughts. However, it was blocked by something… or by him. I couldn’t probe deeper than what he could let me.

I looked into his eyes. He smiled at me charmingly than any other Aryan smiled at my direction since I entered the puberty stage. Because in reality, I always thought that my sister was more beautiful than I was.

He leaned closer to me. “I know what powers you have, Kirova. But I’m sorry that I’ll keep myself… private… for the time being,” he said it softly in my ear.

I swallowed. He placed the amariya on my lap without touching my dress. Why did I long to be touched by his fingertips, by his hands, all of the sudden? I swallowed again. My heart was beating so fast because of his nearness and the way he made me feel. It seemed that he awakened something within myself that I’d never felt or known before. It was something of pure instinct…

Our eyes held each other for some time. He suddenly got up and smiled as he looked down at me. It was as if he were thinking twice before he could decide whether to leave me or stay with me longer.

“There you are…” Daraton suddenly stopped when a hand was gestured toward him. He nodded in understanding when his eyes strayed at my direction.

I smiled at Daraton and looked at the stranger once again. It seemed that Daraton and he were closer than I could imagine.

“I promise that this is not the last time we’ll see each other, Kirova.” He said and left. Daraton was on his heels, trying to say something with urgency, which I couldn’t hear.

I looked down at my lap and took the flower with my free hand. The flower looked like jelly but it was as hard as plastic. I only heard some things about this rare flower. It was the first time I got to touch it and peruse it in person. The flower was indeed a wonder.

“Oh, you got yourself an admirer, I see.” Oleifa’s voice boomed in my ear and I looked up. She was also staring at the flower I was holding with fascination. Then, she took the seat where the stranger left.

“You know, there’s a story that I know about this amariya flower. It was told by my late mother.” She smiled at me.

“Oh, your mother was from the north, right?” I just recalled.

“Yes, she was Indic.” Oleifa smiled, nodding. “So, you see? That’s how I got to know the story. A very long time ago, there was once a young Indic woman who lived near the Black Forest. Her job was to gather nectar from different kinds of flowers for the royal family. One day, she found this rare flower, the amariya. As she never found such beauty everyday, she never picked one. She studied the flower for a long time and found out that it could cure almost all wounds and diseases. It is considered as an elixir of life. She then decided to grow this rare flower in her secret garden. And for years, she was known to be the greatest healer in the entire Aryan world. All those who needed the nectar of amariya came to her. One day, a very sick young man came to her. No one knew of his disease. His skin and flesh fell off from his body part by part every other day. She nursed him and made him healthy again. It turned out that the young man was the Grand Crown Prince Goran himself. And because she was so kind and patient in taking care of him and didn’t want anything in return, the prince fell in love with her and married her. He didn’t even bother to undergo the selection of crown princess ceremony.”

“Oh, so that’s the story of the grandfather of the late Queen Berrinis!” I just remembered that King Goran was the one who married a healer. That was in my history class before.

Because of the story, I remembered my own mother. After Queen Berrinis died, her husband married another woman—a Nazian named Dioresh— and after she died mysteriously, my mother was the next queen who also died mysteriously. And currently, it was known all over the Aryan world that the king was looking for another queen. With this thought, I sighed.

“Yes. And now, you know why I said you got yourself an admirer. Amariya stands for love and care, Kirova.” Oleifa looked at me knowingly with a gentle smile on her lips.

I looked at her with puzzled eyes. How could a stranger give me such a flower then? It was ridiculous if he did feel love and care for me. Perhaps, there was just something that that stranger wanted to tell me that he couldn’t yet. And about what he said that he knew all about me for a long time now, could it be that he was stalking me all this time? Instead of feeling fear, I felt an extraordinary excitement ran through my spine.

I must be crazy! A stranger can’t just let me feel things I’d never felt before.

Then, I heard Ponpon sighed. “That was quite a romantic but sad story, Oleifa.”

“Well, every story has its different sides—sad, happy or something else.” Oleifa paused and sighed before she continued to speak. “But that is how life is in this fourth-dimensional world, Ponpon. I should think you’re better off to be in your state at the moment. You don’t need romance!” She teased and laughed at Ponpon mockingly.

I smiled and then laughed along with her.

“That’s so mean!” Ponpon grunted. “You’re making fun of me!”

***

I went back after my morning excursion and found my yawning sister at the kitchen. I placed down the jar of bark juice on the table carefully.

“It was quite a long night,” she said dreamily.

“Right. You came in late.” I pointed out gently.

“Yes, you were so rude. You left me at Oleifa’s!” She turned round to face me. She wasn’t at all dismayed but rather enjoyed her freedom.

I rolled my eyes upward. I sat down in the chair and crossed one foot over the other. I put down Ponpon on the table. He was looking at Merova with his piercing red eyes.

“I heard you mumbling about a man’s name in your sleep.”

Merova blushed. I looked at my sister with a teasing smile on my lips. “So, what was his name, Ponpon?”

“Oh, some name! I even thought it was ridiculous!” His red eyes moved at my direction.

I grinned. “Hmm… perhaps your three-day memory has taking its toll, huh?” I poked his tiny forehead playfully.

“Hey! It doesn’t mean that I only have a three-day memory, I’ve already forgotten where I came from.” He argued pointedly.

It was true. Even though with his short memory, he knew that my father gave him to me when I was seven, which was 18 Aryan years ago. My father revealed that Ponpon could overall remember all those things he considered important to him aside from his short-term memory.

“Poor Ponpon,” my sister said sympathetically. “Anyway, his name’s Luick. He’s from the Nazian tribe.”

I sighed in relief. At least, he wasn’t from the north. It would be troublesome to know someone from up there as the Bluebeard King had somehow eyes and ears everywhere.

“And guess what? He’s an elite Aryan warrior! Isn’t that nice?” She added excitedly, taking the chair that was right across mine. “Perhaps he can help you join the army, Kirova.”

I instinctively put my feet on the table and crossed my ankles. My arms crossed, I was contemplating.

“The annual Banatan is fast approaching, Merova. I’d take my chances there.”

“What? By disguising yourself as a man? Kirova, the king himself would be there. What if he discovers that you’re a woman then?” She said worriedly.

“I won’t pretend to be a man, Merova. I’ll join without pretense. He can make me fight more than three rounds if he wants to just eliminate me from the recruitment process, but I will do everything just so I can join the Elite Aryan Army!” I looked at her with conviction.

Her mouth hung open. She sat back with a sigh and shook her head. “What you’re planning to do is dangerous, Kirova. What if the king…?”

“Of course, he’ll recognize me. I’m that unique, right?” I chuckled.

“It’s not what I meant, Kirova. What if he’s going to punish you or something?”

“I don’t think I’ll commit any crime if I want to join the Banatan, Merova. It’s just a traditional recruitment for new warriors to join the army. It’s never said that a woman is not allowed to join the recruitment. It is just that no woman has the guts to participate in it yet.” My hands gestured in the air as I reasoned to her.

“It’s because it’s very dangerous, Kirova! You could lose your life…” She was too concerned, I knew it.

Of course, I understood what my sister was trying to say. She was afraid that I’d die right in the middle of the Banatan. We both saw for years how bloody and deathly it could get. Men out there in the ring were somehow turned into beasts, fighting for their lives just so they could join the Elite Aryan Army, the King’s army. And many had died in front of those people who loved and cared for them. It was truly a barbaric way to die. But so was war. And we were still in the middle of it even though some had the normalcy bias about it.

I smiled at her. “Now, that’s not very supportive of you, beloved sister.” I stood up gracefully from my chair. “I’ll join the deathly recruitment. Just remember that I’m doing this for our mother. OK?” Then I left her to her own thoughts. I extended my arm and Ponpon was like magnetized by my hand. I put him in the scabbard and went out of the house.

I walked toward the farm. Today, just like any ordinary day, I’d help the farmers. And just before dusk, I’d begin to teach the little boys how to fight. These were one of the things I loved the most in my life. And yet, I wondered how my life would be like once I’d be accepted in the Elite Aryan Army—I was so sure that I’d be admitted to it.

My thoughts were so busy picturing what my future could be like while I was working.

“Hey, you dropped something,” I heard Zelian said.

I looked at him and I saw him pick up the amariya flower on the muddy ground. He was smiling at me but with puzzled eyes as he handed it to me.

“Where did you get that?” He queried.

“Oh, someone gave it to me last night at Oleifa’s.” I was wondering at the same time why it was there with me. I didn’t recall of bringing it with me. “I didn’t see you there by the way.”

“Oh, I was tending to something important.” He shrugged carelessly.

I nodded. Zelian was also considered to be one of the “elders” in our tribe. Although we didn’t have the so-called chief or leader, it was mutually understood among the Aigleans that Zelian was considered to be the “leader”. He was known as a reasonable and just man.

“You could be meeting the chief of the Furezos for all I know, Zelian. But keep it a well-hidden secret,” I advised him jokingly.

He smiled crookedly as if I hit home base. Then, he turned around. I looked at the flower in my hand and decided to go to wash it clean with water. Today, it was golden like the Sun.

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Chapter 3

As the days passed, I kept myself busy with training for the fast-approaching Banatan. And I kept training the little boys in our tribe as usual. They were at least 50 in all. We always practiced near the Aiglean Forest near the huge clear lake we called the Bluegreen Lake.

Today, I continued to train them on how to use the sword on a solo drill. I was demonstrating to them by using my own poniard. They were watching me with eagle eyes as they held their own wooden swords, which were handmade by their respective fathers or mothers.

Later, I watched them demonstrate in front of me, checking how they coped, while Zelian and other elders of the tribe were observing with satisfied look on their faces. Suddenly, I caught sight of movement behind the trees. I walked closer to it while I urged the children to continue. Zelian followed me with his eyes discreetly, but I knew.

I continued my progress toward the forest. “Who’s there?”

Ponpon in my hand was eagerly scanning the woods as well.

“I-it’s me,” an unfamiliar voice answered. And he appeared before me.

He was unknown to me. He was dressed in an elite Aryan warrior suit of black and blue. His long sword was hanging on his side. I didn’t let down my guard.

“Oh, Luick. What are you doing there?” I heard Zelian’s voice behind me. I whirled to look at him.

“Luick?” I echoed and looked at the man.

“Yes. I met your sister Merova… at Zulika’s wedding party.” The man clarified.

I remembered him then. I put Ponpon back to its scabbard while he watched quietly. I saw Luick’s eyes seemed to gravitate at my weapon. There was amazement in his eyes. I didn’t have to ask him how he knew me as Merova’s sister. I was distinguishable everywhere I go.

“I… have a message for you, Zelian,” he turned to Zelian and handed him a piece of khaki-colored paper.

The older being took it and read it quickly. I didn’t probe into his thoughts what contained there. I gave him that respect and privacy. I then turn around and left them without a word. Perhaps Luick still had something to say to Zelian in private.

I went back to my lesson with the children. I tried to ignore my dismay. Just then when I saw the movement in the trees, I thought it was that stranger who stalked me. These days, he filled my thoughts and dreams. Last night, I even had the weirdest dream I ever had. We faced each other, palms joined together, and our lips were sealed into a passionate kiss.

I suddenly felt my blood rushing to my face. I couldn’t just simply recall that dream that I wanted to push aside from my memory. But it was etched there like it was a real memory… like it happened in reality.

After training, I went back to the forest alone. It was where I could find peace wherein I could silently make a channeling—to speak to my Arcturian father. I sat down with crossed legs and my palms facing upward. I closed my eyes and felt the peace surrounding me.

“Father, I summon you.”

In an instant, I felt his warm and serene presence. “What is it, my daughter? Are you troubled?” He asked conversationally, telepathically. Then, his blue beautiful person came right in front of me. He wore his black and red suit uniform as usual. And he was surrounded by sparkling, twinkling lights of rainbow colors.

“I never told you that… mother has already passed away.”

“You don’t need to tell me, Kirova. I know about her passing and it affected me very much.” He calmly said though.

I nodded. “I have no idea why she passed away. Perhaps, you do? I never dared to ask you such a question as this because…”

“You know the reason why I cannot answer you that. And you are right, Kirova. Even though I want to tell you what happened to her, I can still simply deny you of the answer. There are rules in the universe. You are to face your fate whatsoever it is—your mother did. The consequences to pay when you know the truth are better set aside. Therefore, there are things that are better left unknown.” He gently explained to me.

I swallowed. The stranger’s face appeared in my reverie all of a sudden and I frowned. It was because my father could see him in my thoughts—everything from reality to my deepest dreams. And I wasn’t wrong. My father smiled knowingly at me. He was giving me a teasing look now.

“Now, that unique being is quite interesting, my daughter.”

“Oh, Father! He just annoys me…” I frowned.

“You’re still in self-denial but I understand.” He smiled at me knowingly still.

I hated it when he does that. It was so unfair! My father knew everything that I didn’t!

“So, I cannot ask you as well about that being, huh?” I said grudgingly.

He shook his head gently. “No. It’s for you to unravel the truth. But with your mother’s case, I must say to you: caution. Goodbye, my daughter. I must go now.” And he already disappeared before I could say something else.

I opened my eyes and sighed. That was the most dissatisfying conversation I ever had with my father. I got up from the ground and decided to test my prowess in the unlit Aiglean Forest. I ran with only my naked eyes to rely on. Just to round the forest was enough for me before I would go home and get ready for the Banatan tomorrow.

I never broke a pace as I ran around the forest for some time. It was quite exhilarating for me once I was on the run. My mind was filled with different thoughts like the recruitment tomorrow, that stranger, that amariya he gave me, my mother’s death, my sister’s worried face and my father’s calming presence.

Now, it was those moments that I asked of myself: what was my purpose in the Aryan world? And to remember my father’s information about the so-called planet Earth, a third-dimensional world that was in another universe, far away from mine, I couldn’t help but wonder why I was born in this fourth-dimensional planet. Perhaps it was just to live and die? Or merely to savor life for about 1,000 years before being perished by some disease or something else?

“Hold it!” I suddenly heard Ponpon’s voice.

I suddenly stopped. I felt his presence then. I turned around and I saw him once again. I saw him revitalize himself with his gray aura and I did the same using my own violet aura. He stood about 12 paces away from me.

“You know? I just figured it out. You have that special skill called tago to hide your aura and your presence. I must say you’re a powerful Aryan, stranger. It’s not like everybody can do it naturally. And I must admit I have trouble doing that myself.” Then, I crossed my arm as I looked at him.

He sniggered and walked toward me.

“So, he’s awesome then?” Ponpon inquired innocently to the point of stupidity.

“Keep silent, Ponpon,” I commanded him. He sighed and did what I told him to. I was still looking at this man and tried to keep my heart beat normal even though with his nearness.

“You’re going to have trouble doing it because your aura is more positive than negative. Most Aryans, with the right teachers, can do what I can. It’s because Aryans naturally have more negative than positive energy.” He logically said.

I nodded in agreement. Of course, it was the truth. I had the Arcturian blood running in my veins, which hindered me from attaining the tago skill.

“I heard that you’re going to participate in the Banatan tomorrow.” He added.

I raised an eyebrow at him. “Why? Are you here to wish me luck, stranger?”

“As a matter of fact, yes, I do.” He grinned, which made my heart flutter.

I blinked, looking at him. He now stood so close to me. Then, he held out the sweet-smelling amariya almost close to my nose.

“You’re going to need this. I hope you kept the other one I gave you almost a fortnight ago,” he said softly, for my ears only.

I blinked and looked at the flower and then his face that was almost so close to mine. My brows knitted into a furrow. “What do you mean I need that flower?”

“Don’t you know about amariya at all?” He blinked in disbelief.

My mouth gaped open. “Of course, I do! I heard stories—even lessons! Are you taking me for a fool?” I asked annoyingly.

“Then, tell me that you kept the other one. I spent a lot of stone jewels just to give it to you!” He, too, was frowning looking at me.

It made me feel perplexed for a moment. “And why did you spend a lot of stone jewels then? I didn’t ask you to!” I pointed out with a stomp of my foot on the ground. This was getting ridiculous… and even more annoying. I didn’t know him, and yet, he was so talented to get through my nerves.

“Because I’m doing this for your own sake, Kirova!” He answered, taking a step back.

I was taken aback. I didn’t expect that he would say such a thing. “Why are you doing this for my sake? Quit playing this mysterious game, stranger!” I hissed.

“You just keep this and bring it with you tomorrow. I’m sure that this will help.” He placed the flower in my hand as he looked into my eyes. He caressed my face and sealed his lips with mine. My eyes bulged with that sudden and unexpected contact of our lips that I almost forgot to breathe. His eyes were closed and I thought I became cross-eyed when I looked at him at this very close proximity.

Then, he withdrew without warning. He smiled at me charmingly and arrogantly at the same time while I stood there motionless, staring at him. I was still stunned even at the aftermath of that unexpected kiss. And then, he was gone.

I was busy analyzing his action. It was my first kiss! I always thought that when another being’s lips touched with mine it would be disgusting and horrible but it was quite wonderful! And my heart was jumping excitedly until now.

“Wow! That made you motionless, emotionless and… something… more -less,” Ponpon said with a sigh. His red eyes were also bewildered by the stranger’s action.

I swallowed. It was a few moments before I could drag my eyes toward my hand that held the red flower. I swallowed hard.

“But I suppose he’s right,” Ponpon said quietly. “It’s going to boost your healing power, Kirova. You might need it tomorrow. Well, I mean the amariya. Not the kiss that the stranger just gave you…”

I slapped his tiny mouth to shut him up.

“Aww! That hurt!” He complained.

I marched out of the Aiglean Forest. I headed for home by foot, as usual.

“So, how was your day?” My sister asked me curiously as she put down her sewing materials. She was currently sewing a pink suit. I had a better guess; she’d use it for tomorrow’s occasion.

“Well, unbelievable,” I answered and went toward the kitchen to drink some cold fruit wine from the Bugnawan.

“Yes, it was indeed unbelievable…” Ponpon started to talk when I slapped his mouth again.

“Aww! That’s not the first time today, Kirova. I’m warning you…”

“What, Ponpon? What are you going to threaten me with?” I took him out from the scabbard and looked at him hard.

“Oh, well… nothing.” He said defeatedly. He closed his eyes and sighed.

I tossed him on the top of the marble table while my sister was watching me with curious eyes. I never acted so mean to Ponpon before.

“Why are you treating Ponpon this way, Kirova?” She asked at last.

“I’m just mad,” I said and took another gulp of fruit wine.

Then that kiss appeared in my mind once again. It was quite disturbing and exciting at the same time. These feelings were getting under my skin already. I couldn’t understand myself. And the way my father teased me because of that stranger, it was annoying. I couldn’t figure out myself what I was feeling in my own heart. Perhaps I needed someone to interpret it for me?

I sat down on the chair. My sister took the seat opposite it. Her hands were on the table and she was watching me real hard. She was trying to read my feelings but sighed as she gave up, shaking her head.

“I know not what you’re going through right now, sister. But is it about the Banatan?” Her eyes continued to probe mine. I couldn’t speak right away then.

“It’s not, Merova,” Ponpon chimed in. I gave him a warning look. He pouted. “You should tell your sister that you were kissed by that stranger!”

It was beyond belief! Ponpon would never tell something to anyone when I told him not to in the past. What was going on with him lately? Ever since I met that stranger in the forest, Ponpon seemed to gather that being’s negative energy and do what I didn’t want him to do.

“What?” My sister was both surprised and excited when she heard it. Her jaw dropped. “You saw him again tonight?” Then, she blinked fast.

I sighed and looked away. “It wasn’t the first time,” I admitted.

My sister looked at Ponpon and took my weapon. “Tell me more,” she demanded my weapon.

Ponpon needn’t be coerced or anything. And he relayed everything. I couldn’t stop him anymore. I gave up. Perhaps, Ponpon had also the right to act on his own. Perhaps I was holding him back so much for a long time now that he was getting rebellious. I did love him dearly for we’d been together for almost 20 years now. And perhaps, it was just his way of helping me get out of this confusion I was feeling toward that mysterious stranger.

“Oh, he’s so sweet!” Merova said at last, after hearing the story from Ponpon.

I didn’t know how to act then. I was blushing with every word from Ponpon’s mouth, the whole time he was speaking. I blinked at my sister.

“I think he’s like a guardian angel sent by your father, Kirova,” she added.

I frowned at that. It couldn’t be. “Well, I think he’s a Feruzo,” it came out of my mouth before I knew it.

Her eyes grew bigger upon hearing it. “No!” She gasped. “No.” She shook her head.

“How do you explain the amariya, then?” I asked her logically.

“I should say that he really cares for you. I think, I want to meet him soon,” she smiled dreamily.

I was dumbfounded but I caught the satisfied look on Ponpon’s tiny face. He found an ally in my sister.

“What?” Was all I could say afterward.

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