The Comet | Part 18

(Viagra-Dutt and Samarsen, who were running away from the City of Ruins, came across Sorcerer One-eye. Samarsen cleverly made it sound. His escape leaves Vyaghra-Dutt to face the fearsome sorcerer. To escape the wrath of One-eye, Vyaghra-Dutt revealed to him that he was Samarsen’s deadliest enemy and, thus, a potential friend of One-eye.)

VYAGHRA-DUTT’S words were quite plain to One-eye. He understood that Vyaghra-Dutt was intent on getting at the wealth in the ship which the Mermaid guarded.

“Did it not occur to you,” One-eye asked Vyaghra-Dutt,” that an ordinary man like you may not be able to obtain the wealth in the ship?”

Vyaghra-dutt nodded his head. But there is the Magic Trident of Sakteya to help me get it,” he replied.

One eye was taken aback. He was sure that none, except Four- eyes and One-eye himself, was aware of the existence of Sakteya’s Magic Trident.

“Where is the Trident, scoundrel?” One-eye thundered.

Shaking with fright, Vyaghra-Dutt revealed to One-eye that the Trident was hidden in the skeleton of the Treacherous Disciple, buried in the Forest of Elephants in the City of Ruins. He also revealed that Siva-Dutt, too, was trying to obtain it. Samarsen himself might have gone there.

On hearing all this, One-eye shook with rage.

“Viagra-Dutt,” he said finally, “let us stand by each other in this affair. Samarsen may have the aid of a certain wicked sorcerer, but let us make haste and obtain the Trident before it is too late. Lead me to that place at once!”

Viagra-Dutt and his men started towards the City of Ruins, while One-eye and his creatures followed behind.

After going some distance, Sorcerer One-eye told his creatures, Death’s Head and Devil’s Serpent, to search for Samarsen.

Soon after the departure of Death’s Head and Devil’s Serpent, One-eye and Vyaghra-Dutt heard the fearful hooting of the Awesome Owl. It flew over the head of the sorcerer, shouting, “Four-eyes! Here is One-eye!”

Shivering with fear, One-eye closed his good eye with his left hand and began to protect himself by waving the sword around his head.

In a trembling voice, he shouted, “O Death’s Head! O Devil’s Serpent!” But those two did not return to protect their master. He did not know what to do. But fortunately for him, the owl flew away without harming him.

Viagra-Dutt and One-eye entered the Forest of Elephants without any further mishap. “One-eye, sir,” said Vyaghra-Dutt, “here we are in the Forest of Elephants, and there it is, the Poison Tree, with its leaves curling and hissing like snakes. The Trident lies buried underneath that tomb there.”

One-eye was very happy. But just at that moment, Siva-Dutt arrived there with his army. “Viagra-Dutt,” One-eye said, “engage these people while I take out the Trident.”

Vyaghra-dutt was a fool to obey One-eye, for Siva-dutt’s men were remarkably in number compared with Vyaghra-dutt’s. Soon Vyaghra-dutt’s position became very critical. Seeing this, One-eye called for his creatures, and they came.

As soon as they saw Death’s Head and Devil’s Serpent, Siva-Dutt and his soldiers got panic-stricken and began to run away.

“Quick!” One-eye said to Vyaghra-Dutt. “Get your men to dig up the grave.”

Viagra-Dutt felt that success was within his reach now. The Trident would be his own! He joined his men in digging up the grave.

The leaves of the Poison Tree began to spread themselves like hoods and began to hiss. One- eye raised his sword and went towards the tree, uttering some spell. But he heard a groan and looked back to see the Ape-man holding Vyaghra-Dutt by his heels and swinging him around. At the same time, he saw the owl flying towards the Poison Tree, hooting, “One-eye, One-eye!”

One eye felt perturbed. He should not have been disturbed until he got the Trident. Four-eyes might come there any minute. He ordered his creatures to fight those of Four-eyes. The Ape-man flung Vyaghra-Dutt onto a heap of stones, where he lay dead, and went to attack the Devil’s Serpent. At the same time, the Awesome Owl attacked Death’s Head in the air.

But the worst thing that happened then was the arrival of Four-eyes with Samarsen and his men.

They rallied Siva-Dutt and his soldiers, who were now with them. One eye sensed that things were turning unfavourable to him very fast. He drew his sword and attacked Four-eyes. Four-eyes began to engage him while instructing Samarsen and his men to dig the grave and take out the Trident of Sakteya.

Samarsen and his men at once started digging up the grave. Samarsen, while digging, heard strange laughter and dreadful moans from inside the tomb. But he was not afraid. Seeing the courage of their leader, the men took heart and dug right to the bottom of the grave.

The grave contained only one skeleton with the skull missing. There was a trident piercing through its ribs. Samarsen held the Trident with trembling hands and disentangled it from the skeleton with a jerk. At once, the frame flew up into the sky and joined Death’s Head. The Death’s Head began to cry, “Sakteya, my Guru! I am free of the curse! I am going to Shaman Isle!”

The entire skeleton flew away very fast and soon disappeared into the sky.

While this happened, everyone was transfixed in the spot where he stood. One eye kept staring at the flying skeleton, his hand raised. In the meantime, Samarsen walked up to Four-eyes and put the Magic Trident in his hands.

By the time One-eye turned his gaze from the skeleton to Four-eyes, the latter was standing there with the shining Trident in his hands. He had no more hope of standing up against his rival. He turned on his heel and began to run away at a terrific speed.

“O Four eyes!” Samarsen said in anguish. “Don’t let him escape! He is a ruthless person!”

“Do not worry, Samarsen,” Four-eyes replied. “He cannot escape the Trident wherever he hides.” So saying, he lifted the Trident and said, “Go and kill One-eye, the younger brother of the Treacherous Disciple!”

Then he flung the Trident in the direction of One-eye.

A few moments later, there was a terrible yell, and One-eye was lying dead, with the Trident sticking out of his chest.

Four-eyes retrieved the Trident and turned to Samarsen.

“Now,” he said, we shall see the ship containing the wealth.”

Following Four-eyes, Samar- sen, Siva-Dutt and the rest went to the coast. There Samarsen saw not only the ship but also the Mermaid on it. Four-eyes whispered something and flung the Magic Trident at the ship. Samarsen saw the Trident touch the boat. The next moment, the ship began to make for the shore, with the Mermaid at the rudder. As the Mermaid came ashore, Four-eyes approached her and said, “I am Four-eyes, the disciple of Sakteya. This Trident belongs to him. You know Sakteya’s orders. You are now going to be my wife.”

The Mermaid bowed to Four eyes in acknowledgement.

“Samarsen,” Four-eyes said, “your purpose is almost accomplished. You can have the wealth for which you have come here. Viagra-Dutt is dead. Between you and Siva-Dutt, you can easily take Kumbhand, the Traitor prisoner. Then I hope you will all depart, leaving my wife and me in peace on this Isle of Sorcery which has no attractions for ordinary men like you.”

The next day Samarsen found himself once again on his ship. Siva-Dutt was returning with him to Kundalini. Kumbhand, the Traitor, was locked up in one of the cabins. The frightful Isle of Sorcery, with its prehistoric beasts, forests, volcanoes, sorcerers and all the other horrors, was behind him. His mission was fulfilled, though he had to go through hell for it.

Samarsen looked at the sky. The stars were shining very bright. No trace of a cloud was there. He turned to the east and heaved a sigh. There was no comet there either. The Comet had passed on.

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