Chapter 7 – Semblance
Rudra had a blank expression on his face and didn’t know what was going on. The woman was still embracing him tightly and her body was extremely cold as if it was made up of ice itself. He finally got a hold of himself and realized that something was definitely wrong, he immediately grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back. She went few steps back and looked at him with a startled look in her eyes.
“Why don’t you give any response to my questions? Are you Soumya or not? What are you doing here in the forest of shadows?” Rudra suddenly asked several questions one after another and stared at her but she did not give a reply, she just stood there looking at him, but this time, there was a sad expression on her face.
Rudra was still in a baffled state, all of this was too hard for him to digest. Then suddenly, the woman turned back, walked up to the place where she had dropped her blade, picked up the blade and stopped. At this time, Rudra was standing there like a statue, constantly looking at her back profile and this was the exact scene that he had seen a moment ago. She was standing in the middle of the bloody scene facing the other way with a blade in her hand, but this time, she slightly turned her head to look at him with a sad look in her eyes, then started walking away from him and gradually disappeared in the darkness of the dense forest.
As she was walking away from him, Rudra felt that he could not move, he could not speak, all he could do was barely lift his hand as if he was trying to grab her departing figure, deep in his heart, he did not want her to go like this, but she vanished, leaving a trace of bitter pain in his heart. He was perplexed because even he did not know why this sad feeling had actually overwhelmed his heart.
Suddenly, the pain in his heart increased dramatically, he could not bear it anymore and fell on the ground, his consciousness started to fade away and he fainted.
“Brat, wake up damn it, what’s wrong with you!” The old man’s loud voice suddenly entered the ears of Rudra and he slowly opened his eyes.
At this time, he was lying on the ground and the old man was right in front of him and constantly shouting. He could clearly hear the sound of flowing river and chirping of the birds. The Sun was rising and the beautiful rays of orange colored sunlight were penetrating through the dense canopy of forest and falling on his face, the black handkerchief had been untied from his face, and present on the ground covered in mud, and his clothes were also covered in soil and mud.
“Brat, thank god you are finally awake!” The old man said and a bright smile appeared on his face. Rudra looked towards the old man and it did not take him too long to understand that this was the real world.
“It was all a dream?” Rudra muttered to himself then looked towards the fast flowing river that was not far away from him, this was the Navi River he had been searching for in the night.
The old man noticed the confused look on Rudra’s face and said: “You seem okay, do you remember what happened to you last night?”
Rudra looked at the old man and told him everything that he had experienced in detail.
“Well, I think it was all a dream. Last night, when we were meditating and resting, you suddenly started running in a certain direction through the forest. I followed you and tried to find out about your unexpected behavior but it was like you were not even conscious. During the entire night, you continued to rush through the forest, you weren’t replying to my questions, your eyes looked cold as if you had already died, only your body was moving on its own. You ultimately came to this place, near the Navi River, fell on the ground and fainted. You have been unconscious for almost an hour.”
When Rudra heard about this, a surprised look appeared on his face. He was unconscious all along and it was all a dream? But, why would he have such a dream and how could he find Navi River in an unconscious state. Many questions suddenly revolved in his mind but he did not have an explanation for them.
While Rudra was occupied trying to understand his own situation and formulating his next course of action, suddenly, his attention was attracted by an arrow flying straight towards him and a firm look appeared on his face. In a flash, he lifted his hand and grabbed the arrow right near his face.
With a fierce look in his eyes and a cold smile on his face, he looked in the direction from where the arrow was shot at him and said: “Now that your sneak attack has failed, why don’t you come out and let me have a good look at your face.”
At this time, Rudra’s face was not covered by the hood and neither did he care, because now he was so close to his destination, the depths of the forest of shadows.
“Ha ha I never thought that someone would actually manage to successfully achieve a sneak attack on the great Rudra.” The old man held his tummy and started laughing.
“Well, it cannot be helped and I admit that I was distracted.” Rudra continued to look in the direction from where the arrow was shot and was all prepared to take action whenever necessary.
The old man flew towards that place, looked around for a bit, then flew back to where Rudra was standing and said with a mischievous smile on his face: “Hey Rudra, I saw them, do you want me to describe their appearances and numbers?”
Rudra looked towards the old man and said: “And you obviously won’t do it for free so what do you want in return?”
The old man hesitated for a bit then said in a low voice: “I want those DVDs I talked about last week.”
Rudra said: “Old man, sometimes you make me doubt that you used to be an almighty yogi.”
The old man scowled and said: “Hmph, a man has his needs, yeah I am a ghost so what? And should you be talking to me out loud, you are breaking your own rule.”
Rudra closed his eyes, and after an instant, he said: “I don’t need to be so cautious in a place where normal humans don’t come. Well, they are five in number, four men with strong builds and one woman, all armed with various weapons and one of them is aiming for my head at the moment. So, I don’t need your help.”
The old man said in an irritated manner: “You are such a boring guy, I don’t know how that poor Soumya will deal with you.”
Rudra suddenly frowned and said: “Why are you bringing her in the discussion all of a sudden? I am facing an unknown enemy at the moment, let me focus!”
The old man said with a mischievous smile on his face: “Well, she drew those beautiful sketches for you and you have started to dream about her, my old eyes can see where this whole thing is heading.”
“Shut up old man, I don’t have time for your weird imaginations. If they are so scared to show themselves, it seems I will have to act.” Rudra grinned then suddenly rushed towards the place where the enemies were hiding.
The old man smiled and muttered to himself: “Things are getting interesting!”