Guest Author
The Legend of Kitaanu – Chapter 10
Writer: Ragini Parashar
Illustrator: Arjun Nair

If you’re not familiar with the story so far, start here, at the beginning of the series. In Chapter 9, Kitaanu discovered what the king wanted from him. Read on to find out what happens next.

Good clothes, the best food and calling a big palace home—Kitaanu suddenly had it all. A team of five servant germs was assigned to him. But everybody seemed scared of him and nobody wanted to be friends with him. He felt lonely for the first time in his moskid life. It had been a week since that fateful day—when he was chosen as the heir.

His life revolved around strict rules, and he terribly missed Soupakki’s warmth and liveliness.

Soupakki was a firefly, who loved landing in hot soups that humans ordered at posh restaurants. In spite of being a risky diver, he never drowned. His wings glowed even at night. Humans had clicked photos of him, tried to catch him in glass jars but he had evaded all forms of arrest. He was a celebrity in Annukulpuram, the head moskit at the orphanage, and the best grown-up in Kitaanu’s compound eyes. Life, without his laughter and storytelling, seemed tough to deal with for the crown prince.

Although Kitaanu’s updates were sent to the king hourly daily, they were to meet that day. After ten seconds of tête-à-tête, the Maharaja asked him if he needed anything.

He needed noise, dirt, grime, filth, giggles, tittle tattle… he needed them all. But he couldn’t say it out loud. Only one name came to his mind—Rogaanu. The Maharaja’s eyes lit up while his minister only nodded. Rogaanu and Kitaanu had started life together—in Annukulpuram and at the orphanage. The pair had been inseparable since then. Life without Rogaanu was unimaginable.

Five fluttery weeks ago, in the muddy monsoons, some moskits were busy sliding off the oily pakoras that humans were relishing, while others were landing in muddy puddles. But a few moskits, pale with grief, were on duty—they had to drop off two baby orphans, and their belongings, at the orphanage.

It was the Maharaja’s responsibility to name the new orphans, and he decided on a common suffix for moskid names. That special hour—when the next king was born—it was ‘aanu’. In a dingy room at the orphanage, two cots were placed next to each other. The six letters between K and R faded on that rainy day, as Rogaanu’s arrival at the orphanage happened immediately after Kitaanu’s. The room was theirs by right. Orphans were grouped according to their hour of birth, and no third name was added to the sad list—since no other moskid was born and orphaned in that hour.

They always woke up to each other’s lolling faces. Rogaanu and Kitaanu analysed the bedtime stories they were told, after lights out. While Kitaanu marvelled at the brave military tactics featured in the tales, Rogaanu made a note of how new weapons, even if fictitious, could change warfare. Kitaanu’s casualness was balanced by Rogaanu’s seriousness.

Kitaanu always gave Rogaanu his share of sweet blood juice⁠, while Kitaanu’s favourite spicy plant sap was always saved up by Rogaanu. They did meet other moskids at school, but they never felt jealous of them having families, really. For they had Soupakki.

Suddenly, Kitaanu was snapped out of his flashback by a happy whistle⁠—made by none other than Rogaanu!

The historic day of the school tour, when Kitaanu discovered his special powers, was recalled⁠—with all the fine details, and the gravity of the situation sunk in finally. Kitaanu and Rogaanu were relieved to have been reunited. Rogaanu had silently sobbed for nights on end. Since he had no news of Kitaanu after the school tour, he had imagined the worst⁠—Kitaanu being no more. Rogaanu revealed that Soupakki was another secret keeper now. He had happily agreed to doing his bit⁠—in not revealing details of Kitaanu’s life as a crown prince, at the clean palace.

He’d sent Kitaanu’s favourite storybook as a gift—The Diary of Diarrhea. Kitaanu opened the first page, only to find a note that said, “Until we dive into soups again.” Life suddenly seemed bearable. With Rogaanu coming to live with him at the clean palace, he knew it would only get better.

Maharaj Yatoosh had two expectations, which one of the ministers had conveyed to them in a sticky tone—‘To stay out of trouble and study hard’. On hearing that, Kitaanu gulped uneasily while Rogaanu laughed hard, patting his antennae.

Their palace was kept clean on purpose. It was super secretive and no smart stranger would dare trespass it. White was the colour of danger in Annukulpuram, after all. The servant moskits were more useful than Kitaanu had initially found them to be. His crown prince aura and Rogaanu’s coaxing was all it took to know the inside stories related to the kingdom and its people. As he listened to one of the servant moskits that night, Kitaanu had a feeling that the teacher he was to meet the next day would be his favorite.

What happens next? Find out in chapter 11 of The Legend of Kitaanu!

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