I have one condition…

Read the previous part here...

The maiden slowly opened her eyes, which fell on the handsome king, a warrior whose wounds spoke of a hundred wars fought and won…and startled, she sprang from the couch, and hid her face in shyness.

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

कृतातिथ्या नतमुखी पूजयन्तीव पादयोः ।
फुल्लेक्षणोत्पलन्यासैः शनैर् एतम् उवाच च ॥ १२,१९.१०० ॥

को भवान् किम् अगम्यं च प्रविष्ठो ऽसि रसातलम् ।
राजचिह्नाङ्किततनोः किं च ते तापसव्रतम् ॥ १२,१९.१०१ ॥

इत्य् आदिश महाभाग प्रसादो यदि ते मयि ।
एवं तस्या वचः श्रुत्वा स राजा प्रत्युवाच ताम् ॥ १२,१९.१०२ ॥

अङ्गराजो यशःकेतुर् इति नाम्नास्मि सुन्दरि ।
आप्ताद् अन्वहदृश्यां च त्वाम् अश्रौषम् इहाम्बुधौ ॥ १२,१९.१०३ ॥

ततस् त्वदर्थं कृत्वेमं वेषं राज्यं विमुच्य च ।
आगत्यैष प्रविष्टो ऽहम् अनुमार्गेण ते ऽम्बुधिम् ॥ १२,१९.१०४ ॥

Looking at his feet, her head down, she spoke to him in a shy voice…

“Who are you, and why have you come here? This part of the world is not accessible to many, so I wonder how you reached here…”

“And why is your body, that is marked with the wounds of a man of royalty, covered by the garb of an ascetic? I would like to know, so please tell me everything…”

The king smiled and replied…

“My dear, I am Yaśaḥketu, the king of Aṅga. One of my ministers told me about you, and how you were seen everyday rising from the waves of the sea. He told me about your beauty, and your lovely voice, and I fell in love with you the moment I heard about you.”

“And so I abandoned my kingdom, put on the garb of an ascetic, and came down all the way here, just for your sake. I saw you rise from the sea, and I followed you when you sank back into the deep waters.

“Oh fair maiden, you have my heart. At least tell me who you are, and why are you here?”

तन् मे कथय कासि त्वम् इत्य् उक्ते तेन चाथ सा ।
सलज्जा सानुरागा च सानन्दा चैवम् अभ्यधात् ॥ १२,१९.१०५ ॥

मृगाङ्कसेन इत्य् अस्ति श्रीमान् विद्याधराधिपः ।
मां मृगाङ्कवतीं नाम्ना विद्धि तस्य सुताम् इमाम् ॥ १२,१९.१०६ ॥

स माम् अस्मिन् स्वनगरे विमुच्यैकाकिनीं पिता ।
न जाने हेतुना केन गतः क्वापि सपौरकः ॥ १२,१९.१०७ ॥

तेनाहं शून्यवसतेर् निर्विण्णोन्मज्ज्य वारिधेः ।
यन्त्रकल्पद्रुमारूढा गायामि भवितव्यताम् ॥ १२,१९.१०८ ॥

एवम् उक्तवती तेन स्मरता तन् मुनेर् वचः ।
तथारज्यत सा राज्ञा वचोभिः प्रेमपेशलैः ॥ १२,१९.१०९ ॥

यथानुरागविवशा भार्यात्वं तस्य तत्क्षणम् ।
अङ्गीचकार वीरस्य समयं त्व् एकम् अभ्यधात् ॥ १२,१९.११० ॥

When she heard him speak this way, she blushed, and with mixed feelings of affection and happiness, she replied…

“I am Mṛgāṅkavatī, the daughter of Mṛgāṅkasena, the king of the Yidyādharas. My father, for reasons unknown to me, left me alone in this city, and left with the rest of his subjects. I don’t know where he went, and if he will ever be back…”

“And so, alone and isolated in this beautiful city, I rise up into the real world, on my kalpavriksh, and sing songs about how one cannot avoid fate, for it seems that my fate has left me here, abandoned without anyone to love and care for me…”

When she said this, the king recalled what Kuśanābha had told him, and he brought her close to him and held her affectionately, wanting to give her all the love in the world and even more.

Mṛgāṅkavatī too was overpowered by affection, and agreed to accept him as her husband. But, she told him that she had one condition…

to be continued…