You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 8

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A Tale of Two Kids

At the crack of dawn, Livia woke Sage up, “Get up! Someone may come here soon.”

The duo ran out of the Gurukul as fast as they could. As soon as they were at a safe distance from that place, Sage opened the manuscript and glanced through it. One page caught his attention. Sage started reading it aloud.

This one has the oldest of legends hidden in its pages. It’s a tale of two kids who have the power to time travel but not at will. They’ll fall into calamities but will emerge stronger and wiser out of it. Although, one lapse of attention is all it takes to make death their constant companion. It’ll all begin here in the land of Bharata.

“Bharata is India! Sage, they’re talking about us!” Livia exclaimed.

“Duh,” Sage rolled his eyes.

“This is going to be so much fun,” Livia celebrated.

“How?”

“We can see the Indus Valley civilizations! The city of Ayodhya! And the kingdoms from the Mahabharata! And—,”

Sage interrupted Livia, “Did you miss it? We may die! Is ‘Hell’ on your list of places to travel?”

“Great, Sage! We won’t have any fun at all,” Livia sulked.

“Did I say that? If we get there, we’ll check out those cool sites. But this isn’t a sightseeing trip. It’s a mission of sorts,” Sage retorted.

Reality started sinking into Livia’s mind. They could die on this adventure. If there was one thing she loved more than a chance to see historical sites in their full glory, it was missing an early trip to heaven. Livia sighed. She agreed with Sage for once.

They returned to the treehouse. A disappointed Livia climbed up the tree and lay down on the rough floor. Feeling angry, Sage grabbed his homemade bow and jumped out of the treehouse. He shot at a tree nearby, trying to land at least one good shot. There wasn’t much progress. As he kept practicing, his frustration increased.

A loud thud shook Sage out of his practice. He spun around to see Livia with her bow in her hands.

“Can I try?” she asked.

“Yeah! Go ahead,” he said.

“I’m pathetic! We need to practice more,” she laughed, but Sage refused to smile.

“Cheer up, Sage. We have two choices. Either, we crib about our fate. Or we make the best of it. The legend says we could return stronger and wiser. Let’s make that happen.”

Wow! I haven’t seen this side of Livia. She’s so optimistic! Yes, she’s right. I love history, anyway. We might as well enjoy until we live, he thought.

“I have an idea! Kids in that Gurukul carried bows and arrows,” Sage said, feeling light and happy.

“Brilliant! We’ll learn archery from them. Secretly, right?”

“Obviously! We can’t just waltz in! We’ll become their target practice then.”

“Duh.”

“Never mind that! Now, on to some competition,” Sage said, as he nocked an arrow into his bow.

The arrow flew straight onto the target. “How did that happen?” he screamed in disbelief. “Livia, let’s see you beat that!”

None of their arrows made it to the target after that.

“We should stop this. I’m going to freshen up at the river. Should I get some water for you?” Livia asked.

“I’m fine, Livia. I’ll make a few more arrows now.”

“It’ll be a while before I return. I’ve to refill those edible plants and medicinal herbs. If we stay here and practice archery, we may need more of that,” Livia said.

“Thank you, Livia. Your knowledge of herbs and shrubs has helped us.”

“Thank you, Sage. Your survival skills have kept us alive.”

As the legend spoke, they had just emerged stronger and wiser. Sage and Livia had learned the power of gratitude. Gradually, they had started respecting each other, at least a little bit.

*****

Note: This is a collaborative effort with Rishi Sridhar.

*****

You can read the next part in this series here: Part 10

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