Prologue

A long time ago, humans were at peace until a great war broke out between gods and demons to decide for the rightful ruler of all three realms. As the war continued, it devastated the entire planet, sparing no life on earth. The air of the surface became unbreathable for humans. The foul smell of blood had taken over lands. For survival, the human race moved to underground caves where they made their colony and started living beneath the very grounds of mother earth.

With time, war kept on growing, so did the hatred of humans towards both gods and demons. Left with dying sun and no moon to shine in the night sky, anguish became a fuel for humans who finally decided to take revenge upon all these mighty beings and reclaim the earth.

Using black magic and sorcery, a very powerful magician was trying to revive a forbidden magical stone called the Hell Stone from its passive state which was if active, could grant any person the power beyond any supernatural being. Somehow, demons found out about it and in fury, marched underground, slaughtering every human species that they could find on their way.

Unable to revive that stone, the magician was left with no choice but to grab it in his hand and run towards the exit point, connected to an underground ocean cave. On the way, the sorcerer got attacked by these nasty demonic beings. Somehow, he managed to ward off these demons with his sorcery skills. However, as he reached the exit, one of the demons attacked him and slashed both of his hands. Sadly, both his hands and the stone fell on to the vast ocean where it was said to be lost forever. Until now.

Chapter One

More than thousand years have passed since the war between gods and demons has ended, shattering entire life force on planet earth. Humans are still living inside these naturally created, underground caves which were being occupied by their ancestors a long time ago. In all this time, people flourished their civilization by using all the available resources present inside their cave system. The entry points of these caves are still guarded by old demon repelling charms that were installed by predecessors for their safety against demons.

Among hundreds of these caves around the world, Behemoth cave was regarded to be the biggest and the largest cave in the entire world. Looking at its gigantic size, the ancestors named this cave as Behemoth, derived from the name of the biggest land animal to have ever lived on earth.

The cave passage was so large, it extended more than 8 kilometres in length, 220 meters high and 170 meters wide. The cave, being so big, it had its own river and climate system. It consisted of about 80m tall stalagmites inside of it. People had carved cave holes inside this gigantic cave, giving the shape of small adjustable rooms with enough capacity to fit a family of four to five members in it.

All the entry and exit points of the cave were above the ceilings. One would need to use the hanging rope ladder to reach to these entry points. There were more than 50 to 70 exit points that could be used to go to the outside world. People had established a rope system inside the cave, granting them access to reach to other cave holes built on walls.

As for food source, they mostly relied upon fishes and cave shrimps. In the worst scenario, they ate insects too. The turquoise-blue water of the cave river was more than perfect for drinking purpose. Since everything was available inside here, it was unnecessary to risk their lives by going to the surface, filled with dangers.

Though Behemoth was huge, due to less number of the population residing inside this cave, they had not been fully able to explore all parts of it. Less than 200 families had taken shelter inside in here, who only roamed around those territories marked as safe. Fear of the unknown left most parts of this cave unexplored, creating the mystery of its own.

Among children, a girl named Mika had been around the group for a while. Her father was the one who brought her in here and introduced her to other humans for the first time. When she arrived, she had just turned 7. At first, people living inside showed objection regarding their stay as they were sensitive in adding new members to their group. But when her father offered his expertise to secure the entry points using his demon repelling magic spells, they agreed to let them stay.

As a child, Mika appeared sharp, beautiful and bright for her age. She had long golden hair which shone just like the blazing sun. Her fair and bright skin made her stand out among others like some little version of the princess from a fairy tale. Her yellowish coloured eyes made her unique among other kids of her age. Nobody had ever seen a little girl, possessing bright coloured eyes like hers before. Calm and innocent, her eyes shone like that of stars, always hiding deep secrets behind her mysterious and enigmatic stare.

In their arrival, they were clothed in the maroon coloured cape that hid all their outfit. It was attached with the big hood, useful for concealing their identity from others. Judging by their appearance, other folks assumed them to be travellers from a faraway place.

As for her father, his name was Charles. His face spoke of his charismatic and enthusiastic nature. With a gentle and calm voice, the way he conversed sounded very appealing for others to hear. About 6 feet tall, he looked like a young man who had not even turned 30. He had neatly trimmed his beard, with not-so-short hair, pony-tailed at the back of his head. His grey eyes worked as a charm for him, concealing his real age like a fine aged wine stored in an antique cellar.

When he introduced Mika to others as his daughter, nobody believed him. She had fair skin while his skin’s texture was the deep brown. Neither his face traits nor the colour of his hair matched with her appearance as he possessed black coloured hair just like to that of any ordinary people. If observed carefully, one could say that they were like opposite poles, dissimilar to one another in every possible way.

No matter what the world said about their relationship, they did not seem concern about any of such rumours. As her father, he loved her dearly and cared for her feelings. On the other hand, she only trusted her dad. They knew that, in every bond, trust acts as a brick in erecting the wall of the strong relationship. If taken out, the wall falls apart, bringing down the whole foundation with it.

Charles: The demon repelling charms and the markings of magic spells drawn on these cave walls has started to fade with time. This has caused the magic barrier around the cave to weaken. If not repaired in time, this could lead to the compromise of this hideout and discovery of Behemoth by other demons. I am a magician. If you want, I can help you in strengthening the security and protection of your cave. All I ask from you in return is to let me and my daughter have a shelter in this place.

Everybody inside the cave thought for a moment. Among other people, Elders were the old age group, recognized as the pillars of cave’s foundation. With their great expertise and awareness, they had protected their generation from outside threats since ancient eras. These Elders were known for maintaining law and order in here. After hearing this, they became impressed with him and took him in.

Within no time, Charles became an important member of the colony. He worked hard to strengthen the security of the cave by using stronger and powerful magic spells that proved to be almost impossible for any demon to break through it. He helped to extend their territory to a greater length. As a result, people got more space to work upon from inside. With every rise in the area, they extended their number of entry and exit points that could be used to go in and out from there.

While he worked day and night to discover more area and expand the cave’s domain, Mika, who only desired to stay alongside her father, became lonely at some point. She used to sit in her cavern room all alone, waiting for her father to return from his work. Many children of her age tried to befriend her but she always kept on avoiding everybody, never letting anyone know about her. A fear inside her did not allow her to get friendly with others. She thought that if she got close to anyone, she might end up hurting them.

Since humans have a tendency to judge others too quickly, parents of those children had begun to call her as bad-tempered, proudly type and egocentric girl. Without trying to understand her or know about what she was going through or how she came to be like this, all of them had begun to think of her as a girl with attitude. Like everyone, she too had a reason for that but in this world of chaos, nobody had extra time to spare for her as they seemed too busy in their own fantasy land.

Unlike other children, most of her childhood memories did not exist on her mind. All her memories portrayed only good things about the journey of her life except one. This bad memory of hers was related to an incident before Charles brought her in here.

In her recollection, she could remember her hands soaked with blood. When she looked down in her reminiscence, she could see blood trails and followed it, only to find her injured father lying in his own pool of blood. In shock, she had held her father tightly in her arms and was crying beside him.

These were the only details that she could recall from her remembrance. Whether it happened for real or was just a part of her imagination, she could never be sure about any of this as her father never mentioned about such incident to have ever occurred in their lives before.

Since that time, she has been trying to remember and uncover the mystery regarding this dreadful past, stuck inside her memory like a thorn of roses but to no use. No matter how hard she tried, she could not put these pieces together. With time, she became more aware regarding herself and her father, resulting in complete isolation from the outside world.

Maybe her memory was misleading but to avoid such horrible incidents from ever taking place in her life, she made up her mind to change her living ways and her lifestyle, concerning about safety of people around her. To avoid harming others, the only thing she could do was take precaution about it and avoid direct contact with other people as much as possible. This became the reason behind her solitude.

While she was alone, she used to visit a river that had existed even before the ancestors discovered this cave. People used the water of this river for fishing and drinking purpose. It was directly connected with the mainstream that flowed down from the high part of mountains, rushing down with jet force to meet with river stream. In its tremendous flow, many fishes got dragged into its high flowing current of the stream, becoming food for cave’s population.

One day, she noticed a brook that was disconnected from the mainstream of the cave river, travelling in some other direction. As she followed it, it led her to a stone, covered with mosses. When she looked down, she could see that brook travelling beneath it.

Looking closely, she found an opening from where a ray of light was entering through a hole, falling upon those beautiful leaves of mosses. With sheer strength, she moved that stone, only to discover a secret passage that led her to the undiscovered part of the cave. For all this time, this cavern had remained invisible from the eyes of others. After seeing it, she planned to use this place as her hideout.

As time went by, she started visiting this secret cave often. Whenever she felt alone, she would come here and sit beside the brook, flowing with a gem-blue stream of tantalizing water. Here, she mostly enjoyed hearing the dribbling sound made by gushing flow of water. Brook’s high current made colourful pebbles strike with one another, causing tiny pebbles to jump ashore. Its brook bed was covered with colourful pebbles, which appeared as a disco ball in the presence of red light that came crashing down through small pores of the ceiling.

While she sat there all alone, she took out a red shard belonging to some kind of sacred stone. It was tied to her neck by her dear father. To prevent people from ever noticing it, she wore a bigger maroon-coloured cloak every day. It was given to her as a gift by Charles on her 7th birthday. When he gave it to her, he also took a promise from her, never to show or reveal it to anyone.

He said that showing this shard to others may put their lives in danger. He also told her to never lose it as it was special. While she was looking at that fragment, giving all her attention to it, her eyes got hold of some fishes that were trying to swim their way through the brook stream. In hurry, she carefully hid her shard inside her cloak and chased after those fishes.

When those fishes moved, she could see their flexible bodies, moving their tails back and forth like the pendulum from a hanging clock. She tried to catch these fishes with her bare hands but these creatures were too slippery to be caught so easily. The more she sprung, the faster fishes moved to avoid her, using its lubricious body to glide away from her.

Mika’s father got busier and rarely got time to spend with her as he always engaged himself in the inspection of the cave’s vulnerabilities. One day, she went near him, held his hand and dragged him to the river. When they reached there, she took him through brook’s passage that led to the gateway of her hideout. Out of curiosity, he asked her where she was taking him but she had thought carefully in her mind, not to reveal to him about anything until they reached to her hideout.

While she moved the stone covered with mosses with her tiny little hands, Charles was astonished to see her discovery and her overwhelming secret that she was keeping away from him for all this time. After entering inside, she closed the gateway of her entrance. During his sightseeing, he observed that the cavern had grown a vast number of stalactites over the ceilings.

Many days had passed, he had not taken a break from his workload to spend some quality time with his daughter. Instead of worrying today, he jumped into that brook bed with her and began to enjoy their time by playing with water. They tried to wet each other by splashing water over one another. While they played, a glimpse of complete madness could be observed in their silly actions.

After playing with her for some time, he got tired and got out from the water. He sat beside ashore and watched her play with those fishes. As those fishes splashed water on her face, she would look at him with the face of disapproval. Seeing her crybaby’s face, instead of encouraging her, he would burst into laughter. This made her angry. In anger, she stomped, scaring all those fishes around her. Before dark, they returned back to their cavern room as soon as possible.

That same night, he left for the surface world without telling her about where he was going. He left her while she was asleep. When she woke up, she was shaken from head to toe to hear from Elders that her father had left them without informing anyone. While she insisted on going outside, they did not let her leave. They tried to assure her by telling her that he might return before sunset. For whole night, she kept on waiting for him without sleeping but to her dismay, he never returned

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