"Brother, forgive me for forcing you to come here! This place does not deserve your presence. It was a mistake to choose to stop over at Ujjayini." Subhadra poured out.
She found her brother smiling indulgently. Though his eyes did not show any reproach, she could sense that he was not pleased. She moved closer to where he was seated and put her arms around his neck. "Brother Krishna, are you angry at the stubbornness of your little sister? ". She implored.
Krishna held her hands with a more pronounced smile to assure her. "I am not angry with you little sister. I know much more about the double edged strategies that come into play when Kingdoms and alliances are concerned. Most of the Kings of Aryavarta have resorted to bartering the futures of their daughters to their lust for power and more power. You are too young to fathom what goes on in the minds of such people, dear sister."
Subhadra continued to protest in a milder tone now. "Brother, I know cousin Mitravinda well. I am sure she is not a part of those strategies you talk about. The moment I saw her, bedecked as the new bride today, she took me close to her, almost clung to me and asked, literally whispered into my ear whether you've come. When I told that we were leaving, I saw her eyes shrinking in pain. She appeared so crest fallen. My heart went out to her and ... "
"Then, did she speak something else?" Krishna asked.
"She might have. But that brute of a prince of Avanti barged in and she could speak no more. He also had escorted a guest, the princess of Anagha who came to congratulate our cousin. I saw this sudden change in Mitravinda. She acted as if she was happy and nothing wrong was happenning. That Anuvinda was hinting at your wedding with Rukmini in such a demeaning way that... that..." Subhadra could continue no longer in her fury
"Then he was just fortunate that my sister spared him of his life!" Laughed Krishna.
Subhadra continued, "He did not have the demeanor to act well at least in front of the princess of Anagha who was a guest. Had she not been there, I would have surely told him what I think of him! Brother, let us not tarry here even for a moment. Let us leave NOW."
Krishna took his sister closer to him and seated her by his side. "Little sister, Big Brother has gone to seek an audience with the King, our uncle. We have to wait for him to come back. If he says so, we shall at once leave this place that has committed the unfortunate sin of hurting you."
Subhadra's eyes grew moist. "All due to me. Had I not been so insistent, I would not have heard those words which still bore into my ears and heart. Forgive me brother."
Touched by her emotions, Krishna took her to his bosom to console her. Further conversation was interrupted by a maid.
"Lord, there is a guest seeking an audience with Lady Subhadra."
"With me? Who can that be?" Subhadra stood up surprised. She looked at Krishna who also looked curious.
"Lady, She says she is the princess of Anagha. She says she has to give you the vermillion of today's Gauripooja." The maid seemed unsure.
"My Aunt or cousin could have sent it through..." Subhadra stopped midway looking at the expression of her brother.
"Speak to her sister." Turning to the maid, he asked, "Is she accompanied by anyone?"
"Lord, she is with her maid, or an attendant."
"Let her is with due honors and speak to her Subhadra. I shall await our Big brother." Saying so, Krishna left the room.
Subhadra, still puzzled told the maid to lead the princess of Anagha in. She saw her walking in with measured steps, her eyes showing an unsure expression."
"Welcome, princess of Anagha! I am pleased to see you again. Please be seated." Subhadra welcomed Abhaya.
Abhaya walked in holding a container of vermillion. She did not take a seat and handed it out to Subhadra. "Your aunt and cousin have sent this for you Lady Subhadra. The vermillion from today's worship. They have mentioned that it is auspicious to get a worthy husband."
Subhadra moved closer and received the container. She was surprised to find something else under it, that the princess of Anagha was trying to hand over in secrecy.
She turned to the maid. "Bring some refreshment for our distinguished guest."
As the maid left, Subhadra kept aside the container and was surprised to find a scroll. She looked questioningly at Abhaya who spoke in a low tone. "Lady Subhadra, Your cousin, Princess Mitravinda wanted this to be delivered to you. It is a letter to your brother."
Subhadra's eyes grew wider in surprise. "Did my cousin tell you to give this letter? Does anyone else know about this? Did you agree by yourself to bring it to me? Your Highness?"
Abhaya calmed down and looked at Subhadra, "I understand that it appears strange. I feel so myself. But I also understand that the princess of Avanthi had no other way. I only did my bit to ease her predicament. Please Subhadra, keep this a secret and hand it over to your brother."
Subhadra took the scroll into her hand and gave an understanding smile.
"I am concerned that your Highness was dragged into this. Thank you for this and tell my cousin that she consider her message delivered."
Abhaya turned to leave. "It is almost sunset. I must leave now."
"Take care princess." Subhadra walked with her towards the door. I really admire your courage and co-operation."