The Prince Ch. 01bybeingmale©
Greetings to the readers,
This is my first ever story on literotica or anywhere for that matter. Hope you all enjoy it and share your opinions with me.
This chapter is written as a prologue to the story. The aim of writing this chapter was introducing the important characters in this series. Spend a few minutes with them, you might like them.
This story is purely a work of fiction based in ancient India. All characters are at least 18 years old. All rights reserved.
The huge, ancient banyan tree stands magnificently at the far end of the training ground. Innumerable aerial roots hang down the tree, giving a proof of its old age. The old man is standing near the tree, inspecting his assistant Raman's handwork. A breeze of wind blows by long white hair of his head and beard that make him look as ancient as the tree. In his highly rich, peach colored clothes, he looks like a divine entity. He is the chief Guru of the great empire of Magadh. He is responsible for the training of all the best warriors in the empire, including princes. He also guides all other gurus, who are responsible for the mass training of warriors of the Magadh army.
At the old age of sixty years, Guru Bhargava is still stronger than a lion. No other warrior in the whole empire, young or old, would dare to challenge him for a duel. Though he is a master of all kinds of weapons and battle tactics, his love for archery is well known. There isn't a person on earth who could do better with a bow. His knowledge of arrow enchantments is something that was rare in the empire before he came. The only other warrior, who is as skilled at the particular art, is my grandfather.
Guru Bhargava had come to the empire with an infant daughter about twenty years ago and offered his loyalty to my uncle, our great King Sagara. Being the smart ruler he is, our king quickly realized Bhargava's potential and readily appointed him to train the best warriors in the army. Over the time he gained high enough respect and authority to be the most powerful person of the empire, besides the royal family. With his rise, the empire grew in strength and might. He has been instrumental in countless battles, defeating various foes of the empire over the years.
He seems pleased with Raman's efforts. The wooden bird is hanging from one of the top branches like a pendulum. It is moving to and fro in a constant linear motion, under Bhargava's enchants. As our Guru walks with a firm gait towards us, everyone looks at him anxiously. Raman follows him obediently, happy to have pleased the old man. Bhargava stops at some distance from all of us students and looks intently towards all the males and two females present. Many fidget in their places, as nobody knows what awaits them next.
"Children, today each one of you is going to aim at a moving target. This is a test for extreme concentration and only the successful marksmen get to stay and learn the more complex enchantments from now on. Since all of you have already excelled in the battle form of your liking, those who fail will have to leave for the army," roars the master in his heavy voice.
"And of course, the target is the center of the eye of that bird," he adds after a brief moment's pause.
Everybody groans. When we woke up this morning, none of us had the slightest clue that it might possibly be our last day to train with our beloved Guru. This task is nearly impossible and everyone has realized it. While each one of us is good enough to aim at a moving target, today our master has set the target at a distance where a good archer would most probably miss a stationary shot. Even a fraction of error means a miss. On top of that, each one of us is supposed to aim at the center of the tiny eye of the oscillating bird, from such a long distance. Murmurs of nervousness start out. Nobody wants to leave this place, for we all have our perfect little world out here. Leaving the training means a huge change in life and like every human being in this world, we are afraid of change.
"Silence!" says the thundering voice of Bhargava. "You all are warriors of the great Empire of Magadh, not some coward tribesmen. Now get ready with your bows. I want all of you to create your own arrows and then shoot it at the target."
His voice has the power to silence everybody. Even the free birds stop chirping.
"I'm ready Master," says prince Raghav, readily standing up.
Everyone stares at him with curiosity. As always he succeeds in commanding attention and rightly so. After all he is the first heir to the throne and elder son to the king from his first wife. Naturally, he has to be first at everything. Even though the Gada or the club is his favorite weapon on a battlefield, he wants to go first with the bow. For some people it is a sign of confidence and leadership, while for others it is a sign of arrogance and stupidity. Our Guru belongs to the first category.
"Good," Bhargava says approving. "Now go ahead and make me proud, prince Raghav."
Raghav smiles as he earns our master's approval. He steps ahead and walks to the spot where a circle is drawn on the soil. As always, Raman has done his job impeccably. The circle is drawn in a perfectly round shape. Raghav looks towards Raman and nods his approval. That is what a leader is supposed to do, encourage the men who are good at their jobs. It still doesn't mean that everybody likes him. My best friend Kush is one of those.
"Why does he always make a show of everything?" asks Kush from my side, displaying his dislike for the future king.
I look sideways at my best friend with a wry smile on my face. I shrug at him and focus back on my older cousin.
Raghav bows to the master first and then enters the circle. He touches his bow to his forehead in a gesture of respect. Closing his eyes, he begins enchanting to create an arrow with magic. Our Guru prefers to call it Energy of the Universe and not magic. He says you can convert any form of energy into another form, if you know how.
Anyways, creating an arrow is the easy part. Everyone can do it. But creating it quick and giving it the desired shape needs immense skills. I created my first arrow when I was ten and it was curved with a mushroom head. It was kind of funny and embarrassing at the same time. But once I had taken notice of Kush's flower-headed arrow, I had hurt my gut laughing back then. Guruji says you can judge your opponent's ability by his speed of crafting a decent arrow. This makes Raghav a good bowman, since he has created a perfectly straight arrow, in very little time.
He mounts the arrow on the bow and holds the bow firmly in front of him. As he stretches back the bowstring to its limit, his hands are steady and parallel to the ground. He gradually raises the bow to get the required elevation. I admire his concentration as he fixes his gaze on the target. The look on his face is very intense. A few moments to make the necessary adjustments and he takes the shot. The arrow flies with a great speed towards the target. As the arrow cuts through the wind, the sound of the flying arrow can be heard as everyone is quietly holding their breath, waiting for the hit.
As the arrow strikes, the bird wildly sways sideways with the impact. The arrow manages only to brush the leg of the bird. A grim expression takes over Raghav's face. He kicks the dirt with disgust. Guru Bhargava's face remains passive. But I think he is still pleased with the almost perfect shot. My cousin goes and sits back with a gruff face. Suddenly the atmosphere has become much more tense, as everyone has realized their slim chances of success after the failure of a top warrior.
One by one, others go ahead and try their luck at shooting the target. Some of them miss by little, others by large. But no one has succeeded in touching the bird yet, except Raghav, let alone its eye. Now it's Maya's turn. She is Bhargava's only daughter and my betrothed. Being Bhargava's daughter lends her the luxury to train as a warrior, which most of the women do not have.
A woman is considered as the most treasured asset in a man's life. This philosophy makes our men over-protective of their women. Women are given the utmost respect but usually are not allowed to fight alongside men. Every time I look at my lady-love, I do not agree with the people. Ever since we were engaged at the age of fourteen, my eyes have followed her every single move. She is as graceful as a woman can be. And yet, she has managed to become one of the finest woman warriors of our generation. Most of the males out there cannot outdo her in an archery duel. Whenever I lay my eyes on her, my chest swell with certain pride.
As she stands up on those shapely legs of hers, I cannot help but admire her perfect feminine posture. With a woman-like subtleness she glances sideways at me. As I catch her looking at me, she quickly averts her eyes from me. A shy little smile crosses her beautiful face. Just like that my heart skips a beat. She has ensured that my attention is solely on her. She bows to her father and goes to the circle. Once she steps inside, she closes her long eyelashes momentarily. When she opens them, there is a determined look fixed on her face. She instantly creates a beautiful arrow with the spell. Without delay, she mounts it on her bow and aims. The arrow leaves the bow a moment later and strikes the bird dead in its belly.
She looks at her father for approval. He gives the slightest nod possible. That relieves her tense features slightly. As she makes her way towards her place, she once again glances in my direction. A discreet nod of my head lets her know my approval. She returns the gesture with another one of her dazzling smiles. It feels great to bring the smile back on her beautiful face. I can devote his whole life to this task. She goes and sits near her best friend Meera, who is the next one to try her aim.
Meera stands up and every eye is set on her. That girl is a walking erotic dream. Blessed with ample curves and a perfectly toned warrior body, she is the epitome of artistic creation, created by the God himself. Every single male trainee lusts after her and she is aware of that. Raghav actually harbors intentions to make her the future queen of the empire, which according to me is a really bad idea.
Surprisingly, she also looks in my direction, same as Maya did before. But it's a look of disgust on her face that I can easily recognize. Oh yes, she hates me. All the males of our species for that matter. But somehow I manage to be the most hated person in her life. It wasn't like that always though. We were actually very good friends as kids. Somewhere during growing years, she stopped talking to me and started hating me. Till date, I'm not sure what I've done to earn her hatred. I even tried to ask her about it in the past, but just got ignored. Now I too have some anger of my own for her in my system.
It's difficult for a hot-blooded prince like me to stay calm when a merchant's daughter, even as beautiful as her, looks at me with such disdain. That's right; she came to Magadh with her merchant father as a child. Her father would trade with our neighboring empire and once brought some valuable gifts for the king to gain his favors. Happy with his gifts, the generous king rewarded him some land and a nice house. King also took Meera under his wings and requested Bhargava to train her with Maya. Bhargava didn't only accept her but kept her with him. After her merchant father's demise soon, Bhargava accepted her as his second daughter. Maya and Meera are as close as two persons can be and that's what keeps my anger in check. My respect for my guru and my lady-love requires me to ignore the infuriating lass.
Well, she is hard to ignore actually. Not only she is beautiful, she is also a beast on the battlefield. She can defeat almost every male at hand to hand combat. Maya and her, both of them make the best warrior pair among all of the pair is probably even better than me and Kush. Guru Bhargava always claims that Meera will go on to become the best woman archer of our era. That's how good she is. The fact that she has crafted her arrow before she even reaches the circle is a testimony to her aggressive nature. She takes very little time to aim and shoots the arrow without a moments delay. The arrow flies at a frightening speed and strikes the rim of the eye! Everybody is awed. Yet she seems slightly disappointed, which can be perceived as a quality of a perfectionist. Bhargava finally has a smile on his face. But it's me, she looks at first. Her gaze seems to be challenging me to top her act. I do not react, even though I'm furious as hell. It's not my turn yet.
Kush goes on next. His arrow manages to cut through the wooden feathers on the tail of the bird. That's a good one from him and he knows it. He comes back and sits beside me.
"Good one, mate!" I say as he punches my fist.
"Thanks," he says with a broad smile on his face. "And Shaurya, good luck! Show everybody, why you are considered the best marksman in the whole empire."
I smile at my best friend's kind words. I know he is being partial to me so I do not let his words affect me. I stand up and bow to my guru. He doesn't acknowledge me. He never does until I do what he asks of me. He has always been hard on me that way. I'm not sure if one actually treats his future son-in-law this way. Well, I'm too eager to demonstrate my skills to mull over his lack of acknowledgement. My mind is solely focused on hitting the center of that tiny eye and show Meera her place. I take a deep breath and calm my senses. As I step inside the circle I recall my idol, the legendary archer Arjuna. Till date, he is the best archer to have walked on this earth. Once, he had to hit the eye of a fish which was placed behind seven rotating wheels. Each wheel rotating in opposite direction to that of its adjacent one. And he did it by merely watching the fish's reflection in water.
The mere thought of such an unbelievable feat fills me with inspiration. A moment later I have crafted an arrow. An arrow, which has a pointed head made of iron with a tiny area of cross section. While the shaft adjacent to the arrowhead is made of hardwood, the remainder of the shaft consists of softwood. Softwood makes my arrow lightweight. I will rapidly lose the force by using a lighter arrow but it will have less drop during its flight, something that is desirable at such a long distance. The three feathers running along the length of the shaft enhance the beauty of my arrow. But their actual purpose is to behave as fletching that increase the accuracy. I am satisfied with my creation, so would Bhargava be.
As I mount the arrow on my bow and stretch the bowstring to its elastic limit up to my ear, my mind stops feeling any kind of emotion. Neither I can feel any excitement nor a little bit of anxiety. All I can feel is a gentle breeze against my skin; the wind seems to be friendly for the moment. I consider the gravitational pull that will act on the arrow during its flight, I have the perfect elevation. I squint my open eye; the eye of the bird is oscillating steadily in an arc. I determine its range of movement and speed; I know exactly when and where my arrow is going to meet its center. It's a gift to register so much of information in a fraction of a second, I'm thankful to god for that. I'm ready but I recheck all the data again, there is no space for a mistake. Every little noise in my surroundings has vanished; I can sense some anticipation building behind me.
Twang! I love the peculiar sound the bow-string makes as my arrow leaves it. A dull thunk is heard from the distance, which means the bird is hit. I'm ecstatic to see the arrow tip embedded deep inside the center of the bird-eye. There is some clapping and whistling behind my back. I turn around to see Guru Bhargava walking towards me with a smiling face. I smile back at him sheepishly. I'm hugged in a very strong embrace by the old man.
"Well done, son," I hear him whispering in my ear. "I knew that you would do it."
"Thank you, Master."
I'm happy to hear him call me son. 'That's more like a future father-in-law, old man,' I want to add, but I resist. I look at my betrothed over his shoulder; she seems genuinely pleased with me. She looks so beautiful when she beams with joy. Beside her is the man-hater bitch with a face devoid of any kind of emotion, even as I smirk at her. Kush is whistling like crazy, I hope the disciplinary self of Bhargava doesn't kick in. Finally my guru frees me and I can go back to my place.
There is one more candidate left yet, prince Prithvi, the son of king's younger wife, third in line to the throne. Oh yeah, the king can take more than one wives. Perks of being the king! It must feel special to be able to marry multiple women. Well, Prithvi is the youngest and most mischievous prince among the three of us. He is creatively funny and one never knows what's on his mind. It's impossible to dislike him and I love him deeply. Both of us are as close as real brothers. Apart from Kush, Prithvi is someone I can confide my secrets in.
After the customary bow to the guru, Prithvi goes to the circle and mumbles an enchantment. Habitually, he makes somewhat exaggerated lip movements while whispering the spell which makes it very easy to recognize the enchantment he has mumbled. Surprisingly, he is not creating the regular arrow. Most of the trainees around me are confused. I am worried that Guru Bhargava will have my behind for this since I'm the one who discovered that particular enchantment and taught it to Kush and Prithvi. I look at Bhargava and it dawns on me that he has recognized it, but he makes no move to stop Prithvi.
As the enchanted arrow leaves the bow, it transforms into a shower of arrows. Several of those arrows pierce the wooden surface of the bird's body. All the students are stunned. They have only heard of such amazing tricks but never seen one in reality. Prithvi's face breaks into a smug smile as he turns around. He is amused with himself as he has hit the target without using much of his aiming skills. Everyone starts clapping for him. I don't, because I do not appreciate him revealing our secret. Bhargava seems slightly unhappy, so we might be in for some punishment later.
"Alright pupils," says Bhargava, once everyone calms down. "Only one of you have managed to hit the target but since five others were almost as good, they also can stay here to learn advanced battle arts and refine their skills." I am happy that I won't be staying here alone. Other chosen five look very much relieved, rest don't.
"I'm very sad that most of you kids couldn't make it and have to leave, but I'm also very happy because the inclusion of highly skilled warriors such as you all will strengthen the empire's army a lot. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new phase in your life. I hope you serve the empire with all your might and courage. Bring glory to the empire my children, my blessings are always with you," with that he concludes his little speech. His eyes are moist, a very rare sight indeed.
Everybody has become emotional. Many have tears in their eyes, some are letting them flow. A couple of guys are even sobbing, I personally think that is quite un-warrior like. Probably I'm being a little harsh on them but warriors don't cry, I suppose. I suppress every emotion deep in my heart and prevent any tears from crossing the boundary set for them. One by one I hug them all and wish them luck. They all congratulate me in return and many wish me greatness. I promise them, one day I will achieve it for sure. Hasn't that always been the purpose of my life?