Chapter 5: Command to Kill

Bread? A shiver went down Ginika’s spine when he realized that he, too, was guilty of the same crime.

They had given their lives to the masters in exchange for food. It struck him to realize that liberation was farfetched until they release themselves from every encumbrance of the emperor.

A shrilling cry echoed through the night as a girl burst into the stage. At first, the people clapped their hands with admiration, thinking she was trying to be more fun while maintaining the act.

But that expression dissolved into horror when they realized what was happening.

She was kneeling down on the sandy floor, nodding her head uncontrollably as if intoxicated by a concentrated liquor.

“I see you, son and liberator of our land.” She said.

Silence brood the night as the music died with the passing air. The people only stared at their inevitable doom.

The emperor had banned magic from the land. He had destroyed every trace of magic and people linked to it. It had been a hundred and fifty years, but that was a long time ago. The people had inter married among themselves and magic had returned.

Yet when the people discovered that they had magic, they had decided to secretly teach their young ones how to use magic. But at the same time, keeping it away from the emperor and his taskmasters.

Ginika sat up. His heart was racing when he recognized the braided hair. It was Zahra.

“You who was born to bring justice to the land,” Zahra continued as if in a trance.

Some men hurried into the crowd and seized her.

Ginika recognized one of them. It was Zahra’s father, Kichi.

The fear in his eyes was eminent to that of the villagers. He and the other two men tried to carry her away, but the taskmaster stopped them.

“My… Lord,” Kichi stammered “She is talking gibberish and—”

“Let her be, I want to hear what she had to say,”

Kichi shared a disturbing glance with the other two men. He grumbled uneasily before releasing the hands of his daughter.

“You who, with your strength, will destroy darkness and bring balance to the world. You who was born with the powers of Gini, liberate us from the shackle of the Emperor just as the prophesy has foretold.” Zahra’s scream percolated the night as she fell to the ground.

Whatever power that had possessed seemed to have disappeared. She was panting heavily and looked exhausted.

Ginika was boiling with rage.

It was not unusual to see a person who has two powers, but he was angry that Zahra hadn’t told him that she was a Sword seeker and a Seer.

“Well, well, well.” The taskmaster smiled and walked slowly towards Zahra.

For a woman her size, the taskmaster’s voice was oddly juvenile.

The glow of some fireflies pricked Ginika’s curiosity, and he lifted his head. He couldn’t see them clearly, but this time, he was glad his eyes were not playing tricks on him.

Just on the top of the palm tree, which stood opposite the wagon. He saw three bats, picking their body with their small mouth.

Their eyes glowed blood red, and their wings seemed to be made from black smoke.

“So you, Drudge, have been practicing magic?” The taskmasters' voice brought Ginika’s attention back to the circle, “and all this while you have tried to fool me with some drama?” The woman shook her head with regret. “How could I be so stupid.” She added before sighing heavily.

Zahra lifted her eyes to meet that of the taskmaster. She held on to it, the fire that was heating out from the gaze could be felt throughout the circle.

‘Please don’t say anything rash,’ Ginika pleaded with her in his thoughts. His heart was racing, and every pulse seemed to be getting louder and louder.

“Go and tell your master that his days have been numbered” Zahra gnashed her teeth, “Tell him that his death would be painful, and slow. The one born with Gini is coming. The liberator and the flaming hair demon is coming for him to crush down his empire.”

The crowd exclaimed with fear at her words. Some of them shouted at her to remain quiet, while others were pleading with the taskmaster.

The taskmaster laughed as if her words were the funniest thing she had ever had.

“I think you should go and tell him yourself,” The woman drew out her sword. It glints with the fire, every edge heating the cold air around it.

“But, don’t worry, I will tell him myself.” The taskmaster said. She held Zahra’s head, and traced her sword around her throat, revealing the white skin underneath.

“ZAHRA. NO!!” Kichi shouted and picked up Zahra’s body, which was still convulsing. The parameter had on the sand was already covered with blood.

“ZAHRA,” Someone shouted and burst into the circle. It was Dodo and Zahra’s mother. They both were crying their hearts out as the knelt down beside the lifeless body.

Ginika’s world slowed as he stared at the circle but not seeing it. He tried to scream, but no words came out from his mouth. His vision blurred as tears licked, not even caring when he started crying as they sip out through his eyes, and dropping in down heavily.

“Zahra. God Zahra” Ginika sobbed.

“Kill every baby,” The taskmasters shouted. “Seven years and below. Pregnant mothers too. Eliminate them all. I don’t want to hear the cry of any male child that is Seven years or below. Kill them all!”

The circle broke into pandemonium as the villagers started running helter-skelter. Fathers were calling out to wife, and mothers were calling out to children.

‘Chika.’ Ginika wiped his eyes and searched the village square, which currently was like the hive of an ant that has been stirred up. He panicked when he remembered his little brother, who was five years old.

His feet were already on the ground before he could think of jumping down, and then he ran to the only place where he last saw his brother. He needed to go home, asap!

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