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Turning over I try to get comfortable, the pillows are just as soft and plush as they were in J or rather, Manyata's room, but I can't seem to get comfortable. I guess I was lying to her when I said sleep would come easy with them; because I can't seem to fall asleep myself. A flash of lightening forces me to open my eyes. I guess sleep is out of the question tonight- I should have just gone out; at least it would have been more productive.
Sitting up on the side of my bed, elbows on my knees I take a moment to stare into the dark, cold and wet night. It's familiar of course, it just seems like yesterday my sheer determination to fined Manyata got me killed in this type of weather'
16 Years Ago...
The Royal palace was quite, any sounds made by the adults were muffled under the unusual weather of angry rain and howling wind; although, it was not enough to keep a curious prince from eavesdropping on the Adult's conversation.
Yuvraj Udayveer knew better, at the tender age of 5, he was mature and understood what was expected him in life: Greatness. Yet, this burden had not yet prevented him from being a rambunctious little one, with quick feet and a taste for fun. Uday would not have been so crass as to listen in on his father, Brijraj, Komal , and Rajmata, but in the last week something had gone wrong, the police came and went, Komal could not stop crying, and Manyata was nowhere to be seen. He wondered where she was, Grijraj was busy helping Brijraj, and the last time he had asked Komal she had just held him tight and cried endlessly, for some reason it made him want to cry, and he didn't even know why.
Slowly, still clad in his spiderman pajamas (even a prince can admire a Superhero) he crept down the curved stair case, his socks quite on the marble floor. Clutched in one hand was the Jerry stuffed animal, Manyata had Tom- well, Tom was in Manyata's room at least. As he made his way down the corridor to the sitting area, he heard heart wrentching sobs. Part of him wanted to run away from the distress- the young, child so vulnerable and innocent; yet part of him wanted to charge in, listen and fix the situation- the Rajput blood and Yuvraj in him. He choose the middle crept to the side of the door and peered in.
Rajmata stood in the middle, holding Komal close, in Komal's hand, Tom was being held as if he would do something, fix something or bring someone back. Brijraj was pacing, and his father with him. There were four black suited men in the room, with rifles standing on edge and looking passive. The tension in the room was thick, and an intuitive child such as Uday noticed it immediately.
It seemed like forever but Brijraj spoke:
Brijraj: Panch Din! Panch Din beeth chukay hain! Hamari Bethi Kayah hain, abbi taak yeh be nain patha laga appe logo se!
He looked angrily at the suited men. Grijraj placed his hand on Brijraj's shoulder,
Grijraj: Deehraj rakhye Brijraj, us Murari ko hum dohund layange; aur Manyata mil jayangee!
Manyata Mil Jayangee? Uday stood there in confusion. He knew she wasn't at her home, but no one had said anything about her being found'she was lost then? He felt a lump rise in his little throat. Here he had been playing his games and with his toys, and Manyata was lost? But where?
Brijraj: Grijraj, God only knows where she is, out there alone, in the cold.
Uday looked out the window, it was raining so hard that he couldn't see past the railing of the balcony. Manyata was out there? Alone?
Komal's broken voice brought back his attention: She's hungry, I...I... I promised I'd feed her... and now. She doesn't even have her mouse to help her sleep. How could this have happened to us?
Rajmata being an intuitive person saw the look of exhaustion seeping in with her daughter-in-law's tears.
Rajmata: Brijraj, I think it's time you take Komal to rest, this has been an exhausting day. She needs to rest for herself and for Jainandani.
Hearing their decision to approach, Uday moved aside until Komal and Brijraj had walked up to the guest rooms in the Palace.
He would have walked up to his room, but his ears couldn't seem to let the conversation go:
Rajmata: Grijraj, thank you for letting us stay here, you have been more than generous.
Grijraj: Nonsense Ma Shab, this is your home too; and if leaving the Palace while the police investigate the premises can help find Manyata faster, it is my honour to be of any help.
Rajmata: It must be hard for the Uday, you haven't been able to spend time with him on your return from England.
Grijraj: If only, he's been more concerned about Manyata, "Where is she Daddy? I came up with a new game we can play- Shekar!"
Rajmata discreetly whipped a tear away: I don't understand how we can explain to him that someone has kidnapped her. Inside I want to pretend this will be resolved quickly, and there won't be any need for explanations: but a Week has passed Grijraj. One entire week and all of Rajastan's Police Force and the most Elite of India's service officials have not been able to find our Manyata. One entire week
Uday stood there in shock, the soft plush Jerry fell silently from his little hands to the marble floor. Manyata kidnapped? As a prince, he had been taught the word and its meaning, and to prevent these instances been told not to interact with anyone he did not know, and only go places with those authorized to be at his beck and call. For a moment he was angry:
Determination set in last. He bent and grabbed his Jerry, and swiftly made his way up the stairs and to his room. Quietly he opened his closet; although he was a prince, there were Nannies which were hired to keep an eye on him, who were soundly sleeping the room next to his. In the corner of his closet a dark blue Spiderman backpack was neatly placed next to his various running shoes. Grabbing the bag, he pulled a few folded shirts, some pants, clean undies, and a blanket for Manyata. Opening his nightstand Uday took out his Minnie flashlight, a few rupees he had laying around, and multiple Oreos he had hidden to snack on. He tried to fit Jerry in there, but he was too big and there was not enough room.
Silently the 5 year old prince made his way down the hallway, still in his spider man Pjs, now with a matching backpack held in his arms, and determination set in his eyes.
He had almost made it to the stairs, when he gently placed the bag near the banister, and looked into the Nursery, where his baby sister Unnati slept. He had to say bye to her before he saved Manyata.
The Nursery was pink, and held two cribs: the Oak one matched its surroundings and furnishings, that held Unnati, the other was a portable, and should have held Jainandini, but was currently empty. He almost walked out once he saw Komal holding Jainandini in the rocking chair, but paused as soon as he saw Tom.
Komal was asleep, exhausted from the taxing week, and couldn't bear to leave Jai alone...just in case something else happened. In her lax fingers, she held her first born's treasure: the stuffed little plush mouse, Tom.
Uday carefully entered the room, and peered into Unnati's crib. Smiling he reached in and touched her little fingers, she curled her hand around his fingers. Gently letting go, he blew his little sister a kiss. Nervous, but determined nonetheless, he made his way to the rocking chair. Komal was obviously asleep, but she still held Tom: not very tightly, but still near. Looking around Uday found a Plush Winnie the Pooh bear, about the same size and gently switched the two.
Komal's eyes shifted in her sleep, she muttered something incoherent, and a few tears rolled out from her closed eyes. Uday had the urge to sooth, and protect: but duty called- Manyata needed to be found.
Quietly Uday left the nursery, promising in his heart that he would bring back Manyata and make sure Komal Aunty would never cry again. Silently down the stairs, and through the kitchen where the door would not make noise in the great hall; Uday opened the door, and started into the night, the rain was icy, hard, and fast. He felt scared for a moment, as if he should turn back and hide under the covers. But it was only a moment. Grasping the door knob, he pulled himself past the threshold, taking the first step to finding Manyata. And there went a 5 year old Prince, with no more than Spiderman Pj's, Running shoes, a backpack on his shoulders, and a little plush Tom mouse to find not only a princess, but his best friend, Manyata.
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