Yudhistira was stunned by Krishna’s announcement. Krishna had said he had nothing to do with it, but if Suyodhana interpreted his knowledge as complicity, things could turn ugly.
The way Suyodhana’s face paled on hearing Krishna’s words was a study. Yudhistira felt a pang of sympathy for his cousin which he suppressed. If he cared half as much for them, they would not be on this battlefield today.
“Against his will?” Suyodhana found his voice. It was low and strained now. “By whom? Is he in danger?”
Krishna’s eyes held a tinge of compassion, but more of hardness. Yudhistira felt misgivings stir within him as he saw that.
“He’s in no danger. He’s been taken by someone who desires to keep him alive. And he’s not here on earth right now. So I suggest you get back to the business at hand and forget your friend.”
“Not on earth?” Yudhistira blushed as all eyes turned to him. The question had burst from him almost involuntarily.
“Who took him?” Suyodhana’s question had been simultaneous.
Krishna sighed. “I can tell you who took him, but it’s not going to help you.”
“Tell me!” Suyodhana almost snapped.
Krishna raised his eyebrows. “Some manners there!”
Suyodhana swallowed. “I’m sorry,” his voice was milder, but still strained. “If you knew how it felt-”
Yudhistira felt his compassion coming to the fore. It was all he could do to prevent himself from laying a comforting hand on the other man’s shoulder.
The tinge of compassion in Krishna’s eyes deepened, though his voice and expression were both neutral.
“He’s been taken by his chosen deity, the Sun God. With a little help from others, of course.”
The gasp of surprise was collective.
“Others?” Grandsire Bheeshma’s voice held strain as well.
“The God of death,” murmured Krishna. “Without his concurrence, such a thing cannot happen.”
“Why?” Asked Arjuna, sounding confused. “Why would two devas go to all that trouble for him?”
“To keep him alive, presumably,” Krishna answered. “And to devas, it isn’t much of a trouble, as you put it.”
“Why would they want to keep him alive is what I meant,”
“I’m not privy to their reasons.” Said Krishna.
“Hazard a guess,” said Arjuna.
“It’s best I do not,” replied his friend.
“How do you know this?” Asked Suyodhana suddenly.
“Because they told me.” Was the surprising answer.