“I admire your courage and your honesty, sir. That is why I like you. I do not see too many people. I do not ride the chariot like the Princess. I travel in a closed palanquin. I speak to only those from whom I need work done. And most of them are spineless and lack honesty. You speak your mind.”
There was a uniquely sweet smell surrounding him in the palanquin. He could not fathom what it was, but it was intoxicating. His mind was playing tricks on him. He now thought it might not be a bad idea to meet Nandini once more. He wanted to see what she wanted from him. He also wanted to know the truth behind the mute queen in Lanka, looking similar to her.
The magician sniggered. “My magic powers are much more superior to the predictions that are made using the stars. Do you not know that I created the squall out of the calmest waters, using my magical powers? Even that stupid Vallavarayan did not believe it initially. I am sure he must have believed it, when he drowned.”
“My name is Raakkammal. I am the daughter-in-law of the lighthouse keeper.”
“Forgive me, my Queen. You look like someone else familiar to me. I am sure there could be nothing related to that dumb lady and you.”
She sighed a sigh of relief when the Pazhuvettarayar climbed aboard the ship. “I was worried till he reached the ship safely. He is getting old. Did you see how much loyalty that he has to the Chozha kingdom? Did you see how he got broken when he heard the news about the Prince from you? Do you think the Prince could have escaped?”
“Devi, my name is Parthibendra Pallavan.”
“Parthibendra, why did you just stop with your name? Why not your titles? Why the sudden humility? Parthibendran is the conqueror of Venganaadu and Kalingam; and is the one who beheaded Veerapandian.”
The squall had left its mark on the Chozhanaadu coastline. From Kodikkarai, all the way to Kaveripoompattinam, the strong winds had uprooted trees, blown away roofs of houses, and caused widespread damage.
Periya Pazhuvettarayar and his wife, Nandini had just reached Kodikkarai the previous day.
It is not right to accept the throne from the Buddhist monks. Religious emissaries should never interfere in politics. This would lead to problems in religion and in politics.
“She gave me an important task.”
“Which was.. ”
“To come here to Lanka and search for the Pandiya coronation crown and a bejeweled scepter. Apparently, it is hidden in some jungle here in Lanka.”
“Listen, there is even more to what he has to say. He claims that you met this young spy outside the Thanjavur gates when you were travelling here. He also says that you must have given him the ring then. He claims that the spy also came into this very palace and met you surreptitiously here. Or, he says, the ring must have gotten to him through that other magician who keeps frequenting this palace.”