Recap- Guptasura had a bet with Jatasura on trying to gain the perfect boon and hence went to the Himalayas for his penance,read about it HERE
So here I am after thirteen years of continuous penance eating once every 30 days. I survived and at last Bhaktapriya (one who loves his devotees) Shiva came in front of me impressed with my devotion and will power.
“Rise from your penance kid. We are very pleased with your devotion and so we have decided to give you any boon that you desire. You name it and we will provide it. But don’t forget, you can’t ask for invincibility or immortality.” (if you are wondering who the ‘we’ here refers to, don’t! You see out here important personalities like Gods and royalties usually use that term to describe only themselves. So the ‘we’ used above is just Lord Shiva himself)
As I heard his voice I was filled with fear, joy, and excitement. After thirteen years of hell and hardship it was finally over. I was going to get what I wanted. But what exactly did I want? I never actually gave it a thought. I was too busy trying to please him. Then somewhere from the deep end of my mind I could feebly hear Jatasura’s voice telling “Ask for the perfect boon.”
But what was the perfect boon? Whatever I would say they would always find some way to negate the effect. But what if they couldn’t see me at all. Then I am perfectly safe, right?
“Oh, great lord Shiva I feel humbled that you came all the way down here just to grant me a boon. Before your powers I am nothing. However, there is one thing I want to ask of you. I want to become invisible at my will. And when I am invisible I shall not be harmed by anything.”
I was in turmoil. If he saw through my plan and refused, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. It’s not like you could question Shiva’s actions. I was distracted from my thoughts when I heard “Ok, as you wish son. You can have that power.”
After that there was a bright light and he just vanished leaving me the happiest Asura (and the most powerful) in the world there with thoughts ranging from having a big feast to attacking and conquering the deva outposts right away. But there were more pressing matters I had to take care of before I rejoiced.
“Hey Jatasura. Remember me? I came directly from the Himalayas just to meet you.”
Shocked, as if he had just seen a ghost he took his time and finally muttered
“You are back, Gupt?”
“Yeah I am back. Who do you think is standing in front of you now?”
I was so angry that I wanted to just hit him hard to make him realise the obvious. But he was an old friend and the reason I had these powers so I will just let him absorb the fact.
“Hey Jatasura get ready to serve me your whole life, I have finally been granted the perfect boon.”
“And what would that be? I don’t see any difference.” he challenged.
“Well, how about now?” I said and I concentrated hard and willed myself to disappear right where I was standing. In a minute only my clothes were visible. I myself couldn’t believe it.
The mirror wasn’t showing my body either, just my clothes. Wanting to test my powers I said “Jatasura, attack me with everything you have got. Swords, javelins, magic, all at once.”
Before I even had a chance to assure him nothing would happen he attacked, he sure was afraid of life long servitude I guess. But as soon as those things came near me there was a strange fluid barrier which seemed to shield me. On reaching it all the materials broke and the magic just created small fireworks but had no effect on me. I would have been mad at him if I wasn’t amazed by my own powers.
“But Gupt, what about when you are visible? Can I hit you then?” Jatasura questioned.
“Yes, you can hurt me then.” I smiled at his question which obviously he couldn’t see.
“Then you didn’t get the perfect boon, did you?” he asked. He was so happy at finding out the loop hole that he was finding it difficult to hide his big grin.
“It’s only a problem if I become visible that’s why I plan on never being visible again. People will have to learn to address me by the clothes I wear. I’m planning to wear a mask for their sake but inside I am going to be invisible throughout my life.” saying that I took out an old war mask which was nearly extinct in our tribe from the pouch my father had given me. It was a family heirloom and had belonged to my grandfather. I was now planning to make it my face. I turned and covered all the uncovered areas on my body with bandages and other clothes to not show my invisibility at all. Everything is set for me to become the ruler I just have to take care the only witness present. So I turned to Jatasura and with a commanding voice said
“You have two choices. Become my true servant forever and never disclose my secret to anyone or die at this moment so my secret is safe for ever.”
Jatasura knew this was coming so he fell down to his knees and started massaging my feet a gesture which confirmed his servitude. Things were going as I had planned. Now I just had to go talk to my father and inherit my right to become the commander of the army.
Today all the Devas came to me to seek protection, they knew I was the only one who would show sympathy to them. Their exact words were
“You have to save us great Lord. Guptasura is very dangerous. Last night he attacked the lone outpost in the eastern hills and totally destroyed it. What’s even more terrifying is that he did it all alone without even an army backing him up.” Both Brahma and Shiva always follow the rules strictly. They say that the balance of nature should be upheld and that’s why they keep giving the Asuras any boon they want and in the end it becomes my duty to try to save the world by finding out a loop hole in the boons. I was given the title of Vishnu – the preserver and I have to uphold it by any means. But this kid is different. He is surely not as dumb as the other Asuras I had to kill earlier. I had been watching him from a long time. I tried sending an Apsara (heavenly damsel) to seduce him while we was in penance so that he would get distracted and abandon his goal. But that didn’t work out and he was able to get his boon at last. I keep trying to persuade those two not to give out such powerful boons but when will they listen to me. It took a lot of persuading just to implement the rules of no immortality and no invincibility. They just are so easy to flatter that they don’t even think twice before saying yes and I am left to clean their mess.
Now what should I do with this guy. He surely is intelligent. He has already thought about all the possible scenarios where I could trick him. My direct involvement will just complicate things more so I must try a more discrete approach. I can’t act now or it would just anger Shiva and he is just difficult to handle when he is angered.
AFTER A YEAR……..
It’s been a long time since I had to worry about Guptasura but now I must act on it. I have postponed the inevitable long enough. He destroyed all the Deva outposts and has killed more than tens of thousands of people in the short period. No one is being able to stop him. Obviously they won’t be able to. No one knows his real power or why he is invincible till date. I hear the king is throwing the biggest feast ever in his honour where thousands of animals are going to be slaughtered to feed all those hungry Asuras present there. But what do I do? I have to do everything in secrecy. Probably it’s time I turn into a woman again. I hate seducing other males especially those Asuras. They are so ugly and disgusting. But if my plans works correctly then the seeds of his destruction will be sown much before the feast itself.
So here I am in the Asura kings palace, now to find the prince. I must give these Asuras some credit for their style and grandeur. Wow! The mirror does show a pretty image of me. Damn it! I have to control myself a lot whenever I am in this woman form. It’s frustrating but I do get a lot of great comments from people. That guy is uglier than the rest. He must be in a high rank. I shall ask him.
“Hey, you! The one with the weird sword. Come here.” I shout.
He seems to be pissed off so I was right in thinking he is a high ranking official.
“Do you know where prince Meghdoot is? I was told to meet him. He seems to have sprouted a liking for me”
Well that worked. Anger drained from his face and he just stood humbly and replied
“Ma’am if you have been requested by the prince you are our guest. Please take this corridor and it will lead you to the palace grounds. The prince is practicing there.”
“Ok, thanks a lot. I will find my way you don’t have to accompany me.” I reply.
Now I just have to find the prince.
Oh, there he is and now I see why he has gotten his title. He is the ugliest Asura I have ever encountered, with those two fangs out of his mouth he looks more like a crazy bull than a humanoid. His arrow just missed the target, now is my chance.
“You must be prince Meghdoot.”
“Yes I am the prince, and you are?”
I was prepared for this question already and in the most seductive voice I could gather I reply
“I am a long-time fan. I started following you after you single handedly defeated a hundred of the Deva elites nearly 7 years ago. But you seem to have lost most of your charm since then.”
He seemed to be enchanted by my body, but when he was able to grasp the real meaning behind my words he was furious.
“What do you mean by the taunt you just threw my way. I am still as efficient and will surely be the best ruler this land has ever had. If you ever again talk to me like this I will make sure you will be hanged and your dead body will be left to rot and be eaten by the vultures.”
“I didn’t mean to taunt you. I just wanted to know about the rumours floating around that Guptasura is going to be the next king. He was the one who brought the Asura Empire to its full pride, wasn’t he?”
“He was the one to build the empire but he is still a slave, a speck of dust in front of my true talents without his boon you know.”
Well I did hit the sweet spot, now to administer the finishing blow.
“Prince, why do you think that only he has the boon? If you want the secret of the boon come with me.”
He is confused, but Asuras aren’t exactly the thinking type, are they? He is following me. I will have to simplify my theory for his dumb brain for sure.
“Today we have all gathered here to honour our General Guptasura, who has been the pillar and the tip of the attack of our armies and has in the process amassed us Asuras great lands and wealth. I can proudly claim that at this point we are the biggest empire ever to be created in Asura history all thanks to Guptasura.”
As soon as he said my name there was a lot of noise. Some were hailing my name, some were clapping and my mates nearby were outright whistling. I miss Jatasura. He was a good servant but he died in the attack of the western province. So now I have to stay in the mask every day since the past three years. It’s an irritation, but the kind of power it gives me makes me invincible, a necessary evil.
There has been talk of me being the king but that’s not going to happen. The king loves his son much more than the kingdom and the ruling part I could never do. It would be a really big burden. I am better off being the General of the Army. This is where the real power lies anyhow.
Suddenly, out of nowhere came the noise of a trumpet being blown forcefully as if someone was trying to gain everyone’s attention. And he surely succeeded as within a matter of minutes every body was looking at him and it was none other than the prince. Everyone got up to respect him but he seemed oblivious to his surroundings. He looked at me from across the crowd and said
“Well, well. Today we celebrate our great General’s victory over all the lands. We really owe all our prosperity to him. But who do you owe the victory to General?”
He is annoying me now, I can kill him in less than five minutes. Does he not realize that? But everyone seems to be staring at me. I better handle the situation well or I would face the king’s wrath.
“What do you mean prince? I owe my victory to my skills and a great, loyal army that follows me everywhere.”
Why is he laughing? It’s like he is testing me. Does he know something? Is my secret revealed? But Jatasura died and he was very loyal to me. I know he never uttered a single word, I trust him. Let me just hear him out.
“I have one small question great General. What is behind that mask? What is such a big secret that you are hiding all the 4 pahars (6 hour cycle) of the day, since five years?”
The king got angry and said
“We all know here that the General was able to get the perfect boon and in the process his body was disfigured, he is wearing that mask and bandages since to hide that fact only. He has done the ultimate sacrifice for our tribe so don’t you dare talk to him without respect which he truly deserves.”
Wow I never knew the king had such a high opinion on me. It’s good that he doesn’t know about the bet or the real boon.
“Father, how naïve are you? Can’t you see it is all trickery? If he really was disfigured why hasn’t he taken any medication or ever tried to find a cure. Moreover we all know that nobody has ever seen his face. Only Jatasura had seen his face but he died long back just after assuring us that this was Guptasura himself. How did he die? Was he a witness or a victim?”
He surely seems to have interpreted the situation wrongly. But he doesn’t seem to know the real boon. I should listen to his theory it sure seems interesting.
“What are you trying to imply Prince? You think that I am not Guptasura?”
He smiled slyly and uttered “You are a Deva.”
I really didn’t see that coming. I was about to laugh out loud but seeing the gravity of the situation had to refrain. Everyone is looking at me. I have to gain everybody back to my side. If the prince is proven wrong now he will also be seen as not suitable for the throne. But all that is a long shot.
“Prince, that is the wildest theory I have ever heard in my life. May I know made you think so?”
Again that crooked smile. He really is making it very difficult to not kill him right now. In fact, if it wasn’t for his father he would be long dead by now.
“I am pretty sure of this because, the Devas seem to be surrendering so easily in recent days. I know there have been some casualties but strangely enough you have never killed any deva captain. They are safe and sound acting as puppets for you. Then as I already said you never show your face and Jatasura, who was the only one to have seen your face is dead. So tell me how you were able to become the first to ever get a perfect invincibility boon while others have tried real hard before you to get it? Or did you kill Guptasura while he was in his penance and took up his identity and cooked this elaborate story to get the Asura throne to surrender to the Devas as soon as the king made you his heir?”
Saying this he threw the javelin towards me but in mid-air it started glowing and even though it couldn’t harm me it somehow was able to break the mask I was wearing. Everyone is shocked. Why wouldn’t they be? Before them was standing a body without any face. No point in hiding now. So I started peeling out my bandages as one by one my body parts were being shown to be invisible. I was also explaining to everyone about my invisibility boon, some awed some booed telling me to show my face so that they would be able to determine if I was an Asura or not. I have no other choice
“I know you have the parasite of doubt eating over your brain right now, so I will become visible to you but just for one minute as during that minute I would be vulnerable to death. I request the soldiers to be fully alert.”
Saying so I became visible but at that instant I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I bent down to see that I was struck by an arrow and it had come from the prince but instead of the prince there was the famed Vishnu standing there, with a bow out and pointed towards me. So he had succeeded in cheating me too, probably killing the prince on the way after he had served his purpose. I was about to turn invisible again but before I could get over the shock and do that there was another arrow heading towards my forehead. And then there was darkness!