An Unexpected Twist… Chapter Sixteen

Vasusena sat on the verandah of the little inn. The physician had told him that both the soldier and Kunti would be all right in a couple of days. Kunti, though unhurt, had been severely dehydrated.
Vasusena had sent a message to Bheeshma regarding the ambush and another message to Dhritarashtra also regarding the news from the Pandavas. He had sent the messages through one of the villagers who was going to Hastinapura. He had stayed on in the village in the meantime, though he went nowhere near the physician’s house after the day he dropped Kunti there and the physician told him she would be all right.
He hoped Bheeshma would send a message soon. He did not want to be tarrying here. The inn where he stayed was not uncomfortable, but he was homesick. He had to get back to Anga. That was the only priority now.
He looked up as he heard the commotion. A chariot drew up in front of the inn and Bheeshma got down from it.
He rose and went to greet the patriarch. They exchanged some small talk and then Bheeshma told him he need not stay on any longer if he did not wish to.
“I shall personally convey my daughter-in-law to her sons,” he told Vasusena. “And you have my eternal gratitude for saving her life.”
“There wasn’t much else I could do,” Vasusena mumbled. It made him feel awkward to be thanked.
Bheeshma smiled. “Learning to accept gratitude with grace is also part of being a warrior.” His voice held no mockery, but a gentle affection.
Vasusena was surprised, but he only nodded. “My training seems to be incomplete, then,”
Bheeshma smiled again. “You will learn,” he said.
“I would like to return to Anga,” Vasusena spoke.
Bheeshma nodded. “You may go.”
For a moment, Vasusena contemplated requesting Bheeshma not to tell Kunti’s sons about the ambush. But then he decided against it. What reason could he give Bheeshma? And even if he somehow managed to convince the grandsire, Kunti might tell her sons. How many people could he swear to secrecy?
Bheeshma placed a hand on his shoulder. “You have done so much for us,” he said. “Go back to your kingdom and be with your family. I shall send word when Suyodhana returns.”
Vasusena nodded. A lump rose to his throat and tears to his eyes. He swallowed and blinked, but his vision was still hazy as he watched Bheeshma climb into his chariot.


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