August 11, 2010
In one entire day on the island in the middle of nowhere, we saw an animal unknown to us, two pirate ships carrying that unprecedented animal- along with other otherworldly creatures- and Zenya disappearing to nowhere and appearing again out of nowhere.
Our trip from the Bermudas had taken a drastic turn when we had hit that whirlpool; it had taken another one when we hit the shores of this island. Today, I had a feeling, the counter was going to hit again. Zenya was taking us to another place she had discovered, that is, when we thought she had disappeared she had actually come across an entirely new location. But what Fred and I were not able to get was what place could there possibly be around this godforsaken island that was well within reach without a boat or a raft.
We had been asked to carry fire torches, writing material- my journal, that had survived with me as I always had it too close to me all the time- and enough food and fresh water for supper by our ever-enthusiastic archaeologist. When we had put out our camp fire and tucked rest of the evidence of us inhabiting the site safely in some thick bushes, we had looked at Zenya with keen eyes for leading us while she had just stood there on the opposite side of the waterfall. When we had asked her to lead the way, she had pointed at the waterfall and said, “This IS the way.” and then climbed onto the biggest rock directly beside the waterfall, disappearing again.
The waterfall had all this time hidden a secret dark passageway that sloped downwards. By Fred’s estimate, after three minutes into the passageway, we had been walking below the sea level. By the stench of the seawater inside this ten by ten feet stone wall passageway, even I could tell we were below the sea level. The stone walls had been built quite sturdily and had been sealed in such a way that the sea pressure could never bother collapsing the roofs. But what amazes me even now is the fact that the walls are nearly a thousand years old. The odd inscriptions on the walls have a few letters similar to the Denzen excavation site I had worked on four years ago, which itself is the living proof of a thousand-year old work of architecture.
But that wasn’t what Zenya had discovered. She had gone to the farther end of the passageway after nearly a ten minutes’ walk. The end had a stone carved flawlessly in the shape of mermaids pouring wines and playing the harp. It was only when Zenya moved it without breaking a sweat that we realised it was a false dead-end. A wooden door at that. It opened into a room that hadn’t been cleaned in ages. The room was built with the same sturdy stones, but with a much better finish. From the looks of the articles lying about on the floor and the shelves around us, it seemed like a huge kitchen. There were still cases of unopened wines lying on one shelf while cobwebs covered the wine glasses on another. Some broken plates lay on the floor while a huge pot was sitting in the fireplace. There were still pots and pans all over the place, lying as if waiting for the owner of this place to come home. Everything had been left in a hurry it seemed. Did something to the owner?
Zenya had patiently let us scrutinize the place. When she thought we were content with what we had seen, she had exclaimed with hidden excitement she wanted us to come see another room. “But please, when you notice it, don’t get a heart attack.” I might have been content with my finding there and then because I had not yet entered the place Zenya had discovered yesterday.
In front of us lay the great dining hall. But it wasn’t the rare piece of chandelier that hung from the ceiling, neither was it the velvet violet seats that caught our eyes. It was definitely not the painted pictures of warriors or beautiful maids or that one fierce golden-eyed wolf that we noticed and dropped our jaws. It was also not the windows that decorated the hall from ceiling to floor, it was what we saw outside those windows.
The sky outside us was painted by ripples of blue that moved in a trance. It took a moment’s notice to realise we were still under the sea. This place was levels below sea water. What kind of underwater amusement park was this? I had rushed out of the hall in search for a door that led outside. When I did, I was not ready for what I saw. The water engulfed the whole place- which turned out to be a huge castle- creating a dome of air around it. What was more shocking than this discovery was the discovery of no glass walls. This wasn’t an aquarium. The water was floating around the castle. Or is it the other way round?
I had gone closer to the edge of the dome. I had heard Zenya say ‘It’s alright. Try it’. She knew what I was thinking. She always knew. I had cautiously drawn my fingers and with one scary moment of the thought of bursting this air bubble, put my fingers into the water.
Believe me when I tell you that my heart had danced with joy like a ten-year old as the water had quivered between my fingers like it does when you try to do the same to a calm stream. For the first time since I had lost myself at sea had I felt the joy of discovering something. I had forgotten how it felt to walk into something buried deep into the ground. Only this time, it was buried under the water, that too in the most mystical way possible.