(Princess Kamalini with Rekti)
“I want to drink his blood.”
The way she utters those extreme words calmly makes me breathless. I gather my senses and push my words from my tongue.
“Are you sure about what you are saying?” I ask her. “You never mentioned anything so violent before; are you okay, Kamalini?”
She breathes in a huff of air and shuts her eyes. She does it when she is angry or when she finally made a decision.
“Yes, I am certainly going to do this.’’ She takes a momentary pause and studies my eyes. "I stand on my decision, and I am going to do it not caring what you think.”
The silence between us is stale and the waves of the river occupy it by questioning her motive.
“Who are you talking about?” She never demanded anything before. For the past few months, she is going through the turmoil of emotions. Being a princess is overwhelming, but taking the anger on innocent people; is not right.
“The Golden Deer.” She exclaims. “I want to drink its blood. It has magical powers, and when we consume its blood we can travel dimensions.”
A sinister reflection sparks in her eyes.
“You are the princess of the most affluent kingdom, next in line for the throne. Do you think this behavior is appropriate for you?”
I know I am crossing the line, I am a servant but before that, I am a friend. A friend must guide without acknowledging the consequences.
“You know your place in my life. Don't you?” Her words hit me sharply. “Your job is to protect me and to take care of my needs. So, do what I say.”
“But Nali….” She cuts me in our conversation.
She raises her palm and signaling me to not speak anything. ''I princess Kamalini, of Kingdom Ekalki, command you to take me to the northeast shore.’’
I gulp down the tears which swell in my throat. Still, I want to take the last chance.
“Nali, are you sure…” My hands were shaking, but I gathered my courage.
She glares at me with her raven black eyes, and her face flushes up.
“Will you take me, or should I travel myself alone?” When I did not respond to her right after, she stood up and tried to jump down from the boat. I cannot let her embark on this madness alone. ‘'Wait Nali, I will take you. Please sit down.” I catch her wrists and give her an apologetic look.
She positions her back upright and takes her sword because the underwater bandits were habitual in the river.
I start rowing my boat, pushing the water away with my paddle, and watching Nali. She never has requested such rampant wish; there is a strong reason behind it.
But her behavior and words stung me like a poisoned arrow. I never even imagined in my dreams that Nali will take me for granted due to my ranking.
“I am sorry.” I hear a faint voice. "I know I have hurt you Rekti, but it was not my intention. It's necessary.”
“What is necessary, Nali? There is prohibition over the hunting of the Golden Deer in our kingdom and finding a one is also not easy.” I scan her expressions. “You are the daughter of the most powerful King; you are brave and courageous, yet what you are craving for?”
She slides towards me, “I want to avenge the death of my mother. That is the only goal I have in my life.”
“Your father already had avenged your mother's death, right when she died. Don't you know that?” My pitch unfurls; the step which Nali is taking is far more dangerous than anything.
“If I drink its blood, then I will be able to travel time.” I guess her next words. “Maybe, I can travel back when they were in the temple and save her before she gets attacked.”
Her response stuns me, and a strange confusion hovers over my thoughts.
“You know time does not stop for anyone. You can't change your past or future. All you can work on is present; speak logically Nali.”
“I promise you, it will work. Today I read it in the library, and I guarantee you that no harm will happen.” She assures me by squeezing my wrist gently.
In the distance, we hear a howl; we have arrived at the northeast shore. We both look at each other and promise with our eyes.
I take the boat on the side of the bank and gather my knives. I first come out of it; I have to inspect any area where the princess arrives. I run my eyes at each corner, there are trees and poisonous ivy. In the deep silence, we can hear the wolves howling and the trees rumbling. The wind flirts with my hair, and a cool breeze kisses my neck. I see no danger.
I signal the princess to come behind me.
“So, what we have to do next?” Her madness will ruin me one day.
She snatches a knife out from my hand and throws it in the dark void.
“Nali, we are short on weapons, use it wisely..” Before I could complete my sentence, she shuts me by placing her palm and points her eyes to a trail.
A golden trail appears with sky blue wasps. She smiles at me and marches forward.
The trail leads to a den, a big boulder covers its entry. On it was my sharp knife, standing on its small point.
“I think we have reached the site.” She utters it with utmost gratification.
“What and where?” I question her knowledge.
“To the den of the Golden Deer. They are the only species of Deer that live in natural caves, and can you see the boulder?” I shake my head. “It means the mother deer has shut her children inside to protect them from the predators.”
“Like you.” I taunt her with a smile.
“Yes like me. Now we have to remove the boulder and just grab them. I will see the rest of it.”
“The thing which looks easy; has a lot of hidden secrets," I say aloud.
“I know father says it a lot. Let's leave that and do our work first.” She takes few steps towards the den when I hear a sharp twang.
It is the noise of a bow. I cover Nali immediately, but the arrow pierces my arm.
“Rekti.” I hear Nali shout.
But then I hear the faint yet fast winds through which the arrows reach towards us. I cover her immediately and face my back towards them. They pierce my back, and a stream of blood flows from my mouth. I have to protect her at any cost.