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Warning! This page contains spoilers for Aru Shah and the End of Time.
|“||When the Pandavas left, they bade farewell to all except the one thing that had given them shelter and watched over them as they slept. Was my beauty not enough to tempt them to stay? My illusions were forged of the same stuff that made up their dreams. I was their dream home. Literally. But still they left. So why should I believe they would come back?||”|
In exchange for them sparing his life, the demon king Mayasura agreed to build the Pandava brothers the most beautiful palace the world had ever seen. It came with illusions that befuddled the mind and heightened the senses. They were so convincing that when an enemy prince (who was also the Pandavas' cousin) came to visit, he fell through a floor tile that was actually water, and he nearly broke his foot jumping into a pool that turned out to be cleverly polished sapphires. The eldest Pandava liked to read but had trouble choosing a room, so the palace made sure his bed could float anywhere and books could be brought to him. The youngest liked to admire himself, so it made sure there were plenty of places where he might catch glimpses of his beauty. The second youngest liked the sciences, so the palace made sure there was always an abundance of living things to study. The second eldest liked to test his strength, so it made sure he had challenging arenas. The third eldest liked a little of everything, so it made sure nothing escaped his interest. The wife of the Pandavas, Draupadi, wanted peace most of all, but the closest the palace could muster was light.
Aru Shah and Mini slide down to the palace after solving a puzzle in the Halls of Death. They notice the lack of smell and all of the forest was fake, Aru saves Mini from a fake water puddle, it was the first time she felt like she'd done something magical. They find a secret passage way in a waterfall, inside is a hall where the palace speaks to them. It laughs at the claim that they are the Pandava reincarnations, it sulked that they left their dream home. He says the woods once wriggled with deplorable things, but the creatures were banished when the Pandavas decided to build their home. It has not let anyone past these halls that was not a Pandava or one of their guests, it first thought it wasn't worth remembering when the new lives didn't remember that they had a house. It decides to test the girls to prove that they really are the Pandavas.
Aru Shah was sent back to the forest, leaves purposely made tiny paper cuts on her. It gives her a bow and arrow and says "If you aim true, you’ll escape this illusion." But if not she'll die, then he sends fireflies were made of actual fire towards her. But even with Monsoon's pendant, Aru couldn't find any targets, to make matters worse she lost her arrow. Recalling the story of Arjuna and the fish’s eye, a tale about about focusing and peeling away distractions, she realized that everything was a lie. So she remembered real memories and an Otherworld door appeared for her to escape.
Mini on the other hand was arguing with a clone of herself. She defeated it by saying "And so it stands to reason that the fastest thing in the world is not a person or a creature, but a thought!" The Palace of Illusions says that only Yudhistira would've been able to out-reason himself through wisdom and only Arjuna would've had the vision and perception to escape the mind's own fear. It was so glad that the Pandavas were actually back, for three hundred years after they left it kept the floors polished, the ceilings free of dust, the larders full, and it watered the plants. Aru explains that they don't remember anything from their past lives, the palace gave them crystal bowls of light pink ice cream from a chandelier as well as ice skates with an icy floor. They enjoy it but have to be on their way, Mini bike through the air, Aru was given a towel after she got a brain freeze and explore the rest of the palace. Before they leave, the palace gives them a piece of home that will provide them with with rest, shelter, and protection when they are in need. It also warns them of the Bridge of Forgetting up ahead, it thinks that one day it'll be forgotten.
Chitrigupta mentions the Palace of Illusions after Aru Shah uses his pen to blackmail Arielle Reddy, Poppy Lopez, and Burton Prater. He tells her that the palace sends its love and says hello, making Aru say hello to the palace.
The Palace of Illusions had a forest with a sky but without a smell, the dirt was actually silk and you can walk right through the trees. It also contained quicksand that looked like a water puddle and contained a talking shark. The road that wound through the forest was the same color as the DEIGN sign.
A secret door that looked like it was a running waterfall was the color of the side of a cliff. Behind that door, the floor with lapis lazuli tiles was caked with dust. There are also horses made of rose petals, their eyes were bloodred blossoms, their floral manes were the luminous pink of dawn, and their teeth were tightly furled white buds. The floors can transform in a cliff near the sea complete with a shark.
Other rooms included a chamber full of glass birds. A serpent slithered out of a hole in a wall, its scales fashioned of rivers and seas. Down a long hallway was the skyline of a distant city.
When the palace talks the walls shake and eventually forms a face with broken tiles for a mouth and two braziers for eyes. It can also spell words out with fire embers.
| Then there was the little one...
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- The Palace of Illusions is Roshani Chokshi favorite character, it was inspired by her childhood home and her ginormous Great Pyrenees named Panda.
- The palace said that the youngest Pandava liked to admire himself and the second youngest liked the sciences. However, Sahadeva, the youngest, was known for being wise and Nakula the second youngest, was known for being beautiful.
- Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 25
- Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 26