Arjuna led the company on his steed, head held high, but uncertain on how he would go about his duty. He wanted to look both sides, to see Baheera and Vakur; it brought him a great deal of assurance to know his father’s lieutenants were by his side.
This was his first visit to Mirivrah – a township under the Avanti’s jurisdiction. In fact, this was his first visit to any place outside of Wagharr on official duty. The purpose was to settle an internal dispute between two ministers – Mantri Asmukh Kheri and Mantri Tavishur Gillan who were the administrators of the land. The news of their disharmony was spreading quickly; the township was divided in its loyalties and had become nothing short of a battlefield.
Nearing the gates, Arjuna glanced at its humble walls and caught a faint glimpse of the guards stationed inside the watchtowers. The red and yellow flag fluttering in the wind depicted two rearing horses facing one other.
‘Quite appropriate,’ Arjuna thought.
The guards at the gate held out their spears, but quickly withdrew having recognized Baheera and Vakur. They stared at Arjuna, and then realized he bore a striking resemblance to Raja Apeksharan- the King of Wagharr.
“Either Avanti is not serious, or the King of Wagharr has no interest in taking Avanti’s orders seriously,” said one of the guards, sizing up the young prince.
Arjuna smiled. “Well said, protector of Mirivrah. Your words are crafty. In fact, so crafty that I feel you are good with words alone.”
The guard clenched his teeth, but knew Baheera and Vakur too well to engage in a conflict with the Wagharrians.
Arjuna’s voice was firm as he said: “Respect the word of Avanti. Fear the wrath of Hanuman.”
The guards obliged without further delay as they made way and opened the gates.
Both Baheera and Vakur suppressed a smile.
The young prince was coming of age.