Dharmasena had accompanied the King of Avanthi as the latter wanted him to meet the various royal nobility that had arrived at Avanthi. Jayasena would relive and remind their student days at the slightest opportunity and also narrate memorable incidents to the guests whom they personally met. He would speak highly of the valour that Dharmasena had displayed even as a young boy. Though overwhelmed with the generosity of Jayasena, the King of Anagha maintained his humble yet royal demeanor, much to the admiration of one and all who met him.
Prince Vinda personally introduced the suitors who had arrived from all the corners of Aryavarta. The alliance with Avanthi was much sought after and the princes and Kings vied with each other in their valiant past and glorious ancestry. Of all the suitors, Dharmasena observed that the biggest host was from the Kurus of Hastinapura. The suitor was none other than their crown prince Duryodhana. Though the illustrious history and past exploits of Kurus were too well known to everyone, Vinda took all the pains to explain the legacy of Emperor Bharata of the Lunar dynasty to the ones who assembled there.
Duryodhana, in all his princely aura was enjoying the narration of Vinda and the awe that was created as he was referred to as the scion of the most powerful dynasty in the Aryavarta. Dharmasena also noticed the feeling of envy felt by other suitors as they noticed the special treatment meted out to the Kaurava host by the prince of Avanti. It was evident whom the brother of the bride favored for his brother in law to be.
In his heart, the King of Anagha did not hold the Kuru prince in high regards. Duryodhana's hatred towards his Paternal cousins, the five sons of Pandu was also a well known fact. His attempts to kill the five brothers in more than one instance were whispered over the royal families and it created a different kind of awe around the ambitious prince of Hastinapura. However the alliance was desirable from both sides.
Jayasena insisted Dharmasena to partake the day's lunch along with him and the August suitor gathering. It was late aternoon by the time the King of Anagha and Vikram along with Commander Veerabahu retired to their guest house. Care was taken to attend to their comforts. Upon inquiring, the King came to know that Princess Abhaya had accompanied the bride to be for her Gauri Pooja at her request. He was happy that his daughter had endeared herself to the royal womenfolk so soon that her presence was insisted by the bride.
He found Veerabahu too tired from the journey, giving into sleep. Telling Vikram to have his siesta too, Dharmasena decided to await his daughter. The preparations of the Swayamvara at Avanthi set him thinking. In a couple of years, it would be time for his daughter to be wedded to a groom who deserves her. Dharmasena was also happy that his Kingdom being much smaller would not attract attention from such suitors who desire alliances only as channels to power consolidation. He would take all the care to ensure that his beloved daughter who had emulated and imbibed the values he believed, would be wedded to a Lion of a man who would lead her on the path of Dharma.
The thought of his daughter's wedding chased away any traces of sleep that was visiting the King of Anagha. He got up from his place and walked over to the street from the back entrance of their guest house. The street was relatively free of the hustle of activity and had a view of the Sun in the western Horizon. Though there was time for the customary evening Sun worship, Dharmasena bowed to the Planetary OverLord, putting forth his desire and ambition about his future Son-in-law.
"O Eternal Witness of the 14 worlds, Surya, Scorcher of Ignorance and illuminator of intellect, Show me the right Kind of Husband for my beloved daughter. Let me place her hand in that of a Youth who, in your divine knowledge, has embodied the timeless Dharma."
The sight of the reddening ball and the cooling day gladdened his heart. He sensed someone else walking towards him from the perpendicular street. The figure looked familiar as it drew closer and Dharmasena strained his eyes against the Sun to know who it was. A flash of his memories brought a smile to his lips. He walked over to the person who also recognized him and greeted him with a customary salutation.
"Greetings, King of Anagha! It is a privilege ordained by the almighty that I could meet you again."
Dharmasena was pleasantly surprised. "Vaasudeva, the best among the scions of Shoora? It immensely gladdens my heart that your noble self remembers me."
"A man ceases to be worthy enough to be an Arya, if he forgets those who were his benefactors in the past. How can I forget you, Your Majesty?" Krishna replied with an indulgent smile.
Attracted to him as he was four years back in the wilderness of Anagha, Dharmasena affectionately held the dark son of Vasudeva by his arms and spoke, "Vaasudeva, I have heard of your exploits time and again. It was a moment of where the acts of my past births favored me, when I could be of a minor use to the noble yadavas. It was my Dharma that I followed. You hail it as something very great. It is not."
"Illustrious Ruler of Anagha, "Krishna replied and continued, "It is true that standing by the distressed is the dharma of the rulers. It is still a privilege to meet the ones who stand by their Dharma. And your humility sets you apart. I am still proud and pleased to have met you."
Dharmasena led Vaasudeva to the portico of the guest house and seated him before he enquired about the welfare of the Yadu household. He was aware of the relationship between Krishna and the family of Avanti. He was surprised to know that Krishna was at Avanti only as he stopped on his way to his gurukul and had not arrived for the Swayamvara of Princess Mitravinda. He wondered what stopped King Jayasena and Queen Rajadhi from offering the hand of their daughter to this Young Lion who brought glory to the Yadu lineage.
Krishna stood up to leave even as Dharmasena wanted him to stay longer. "King of Anagha, my sister would be alone, waiting for me. Grant me Leave. I pray to the Great God that he grants me this privilege of meeting you again. "
Dharmasena kept gazing at the departing figure. "God of Gods! What did the creator place in this Youth that mesmerizes those who accost him? I cant help feeling drawn to him."