What if…. Chapter Thirteen

Suyodhana frowned as he looked at the young men who stood in front of them. They looked uncomfortable and fidgeted a lot, but that did not stop his frown.
“What are you here for, again?” His voice was mild.
“We want to meet Vrishasena,” the voice was steady and the eyes met his without wavering. Suyodhana admired the courage.
“You are Prativindhya, aren’t you?”
The young man nodded. Suyodhana’s eyes moved over his companions. The sons of the Pandavas. Turning out in full force to meet Vrishasena. They probably considered him as the newest addition to their ranks, thought he.
He could recognize Sutasoma, son of Bheema. Ghatotkacha standing behind all, was just as easily recognizable. The two sons of Arjuna, Abhimanyu and Srutakirti were flanking Prativindhya and Sutasoma. Satanika and Niramitra, the two sons of Nakula stood just behind, with Srutakarma and Suhotra, the sons of Sahadeva behind them.
Suyodhana could have turned them away. Till Vasusena came back, he had the right. But he did not. His enmity was with their fathers, and that too he had willingly forsaken.
“Come,” said he. Not that he liked traipsing along with them, but he had not seen Vrishasena since he came back from Anga. The boy had arrived late in the evening and he had not wanted to disturb him. And this morning, there had been no time and as soon as he was free, this group of young men had come.
Suyodhana did not stop to think of why, in his mind, he thought of Vrishasena as a boy though he was older to all these youths except Ghatotkacha.
They reached Vrishasena’s tent. Vrishasena was not there, a guard told him. He was in the practice grounds.
Suyodhana was not surprised. The armies of Anga were the first to be demobilized and sent home. Vrishasena really had nothing to do in the camp these days.
Suyodhana smiled softly and with pride as he saw Vrishasena sparring with Lakshmana. The two boys were quite frequently in each other’s company owing to their fathers’ friendship. They had developed a camaraderie, though Suyodhana doubted if it would ever grow into the kind of relation he and Vasusena shared.
Vrishasena was more than a sparring partner, he was also correcting the younger man and shouting out instructions and encouragement. Suyodhana remembered he used to do the same to his own brothers.
Thank God we are all alive to see this day, thought he suddenly.

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