“Prince, there is no point trying to find that out. I have eyes and ears in every corner of this kingdom. There is nothing that can happen in this kingdom, without my knowledge.”
The elephant continued its majestic gait. There were soldiers in front and at the back of the elephant. The rain stopped. She saw the clouds disperse and the stars come out. She wondered if the astrologer’s words of her son, who would rule the three worlds, would be true. She drifted off to sleep.
“I had received information that a girl with knowledge of a very important information related to the state, was traveling on this stretch of road to Nagapattinam. She knows information about someone who is a great threat to the kingdom. I had given orders to my men to capture her and bring her here. Perhaps they might have gotten the wrong person.”
Vanathi said in a trembling voice – “Do you know who I am? I belong to the Kodumbalur Velars. If you harm me, you will be vanquished completely.”
He hissed back, “Yes, we know about you. That is why we were waiting for you. Keep quiet for a while.”
He jumped on the Kalamugar and knocked him down. He pinned him down and sat on his belly and tugged at his beard, which came off. Vandhiyathevan looked at the saint and realised who it was
“Child, keep quiet when elders are talking. If you do, a tiger will eat you up. And no, a fish cannot eat a tiger.”
Earlier when Vandhiyathevan had seen her, she looked like a sarvaalankara-bhooshani (one who was bedecked with every type of jewellery). Now, she looked different. Her hair was untied, and she looked like the fierce Durga Devi.
A flood of thoughts raced through Vandhiyathevan’s mind. What happened to Vanathi? He had no idea. What happened to Madhuranthakan? Again, he was clueless. What will happen to him, by the end of the night? That seemed to be a dead end too.This seemed to be a coup more complex than what he had seen being planned in the Kadambur palace.
I intend to wait for no one. I do not need wise counsel from any elders. I need a favour from you. I would like you to accompany me to the Nagapattinam Choodamani Viharam, which is where I intend to go.
Vandhiyathevan shuddered thinking about the bed-ridden Sundara Chozhar in Thanjavur, the Prince Arulmozhi suffering from the tropical fever in Nagapattinam, Prince Aditya Karikalan meeting the Pazhuvoor Rani in Kadambur, and Madhuranthakar, whose recent lust for the throne had angered the people.