Mṛgāṅkavatī could not stop herself, and they spent many a night passionately, with Manaḥsvāmin transforming himself back into a woman during the day.
After a few days, they heard about the minister’s son, who was on his way back from his teerth yātrā, and was about to reach home by the end of the week.
Manaḥsvāmin convinced Mṛgāṅkavatī, and they ran away together that very night.
एतस्मिंश् च कथासंधौ मूलदेवः स तद्गुरुः ।
बुद्ध्वा तद् अखिलं भूत्वा भूयो वृद्धद्विजाकृतिः ॥ १२,२२.१०० ॥
शशिनानुगतः सख्या तरुणद्विजरूपिणा ।
आगत्य तं यशःकेतुं प्रह्वो राजानम् अब्रवीत् ॥ १२,२२.१०१ ॥
आनीतो ऽयं मया पुत्रो देहि मे तां स्नुषाम् इति ।
ततः संमन्त्र्य स नृपः शापभीतस् तम् अभ्यधात् ॥ १२,२२.१०२ ॥
ब्रह्मन् न जाने क्व गता सा स्नुषा ते क्षमस्व तत् ।
अपराधात् सुतस्यार्थे ददामि स्वसुतां तव ॥ १२,२२.१०३ ॥
इत्य् उक्त्वा धूर्तराजं तं कृतकक्रोधनिष्ठुरम् ।
विब्रुवाणं जरद्विप्ररूपं प्रार्थ्य स भूपतिः ॥ १२,२२.१०४ ॥
तत्सख्ये कृततत्पुत्रव्यपदेशाय तां ददौ ।
तनयां शशिने तस्मै यथाविधि शशिप्रभाम् ॥ १२,२२.१०५ ॥
ततः स मूलदेवस् तौ यथाभूतौ वधूवरौ ।
आदाय स्वास्पदं प्रायाद् राजार्थेष्व् अकृतस्पृहः ॥ १२,२२.१०६ ॥
At this point in the story, it so happened that Mūladeva, the crooked master, heard of what had transpired. And so he again assumed the form of an old Brāhman, and accompanied by his friend Śaśin, who had assumed the form of a young Brāhman, went to the king’s court and met King Yaśaḥketu.
“O mighty king! I managed to locate my son, and bring him back”, he said, pointing to Śaśin. “I would now like to take back my daughter-in-law, who I had left in your care.”
The king bowed to the old Brāhman. His hands trembled, since he feared that the Brāhman would curse him for having done what he did.
“O revered Brāhman, I don’t know where your daughter-in-law went – she ran away! Please forgive me, and as penance, I offer my own daughter to your son, in marriage…”
Mūladeva smiled inside, but pretended to be very angry. He protested, and the king fell at his feet, and after a prolonged act, Mūladeva pretended to be pacified.
King Yaśaḥketu ensured that the marriage to Śaśin was conducted as per proper Vedic rites, following which Mūladeva took the newly-wed bride and the bridegroom back to his house, showing little care or desire for the king’s wealth.
तत्र तस्मिंश् च मिलिते मनःस्वामीन्य् अभून् महान् ।
विवादो मूलदेवाग्रे शशिनस् तस्य चोभयोः ॥ १२,२२.१०७ ॥
मनःस्वाम्य् अब्रवीद् एषा दीयतां मे शशिप्रभा ।
कन्यैव हि मयोदूडा प्राग् असौ गुर्वनुग्रहात् ॥ १२,२२.१०८ ॥
शशी जगाद को ऽस्यास् त्वं मूर्ख दारा इयं मम ।
अग्निसाक्षिकम् एषा हि पित्रा मे प्रतिपादिता ॥ १२,२२.१०९ ॥
एवं मायाबलप्राप्तराजपुत्रीनिमित्ततः ।
विवादासक्तयोर् नासीत् परिच्छेदस् तयोर् द्वयोः ॥ १२,२२.११० ॥
When they reached back home, they found a furious Manaḥsvāmin waiting for them. An argument ensued between him and Śaśin, and as Mūladeva watched on, Manaḥsvāmin said…
“Śaśiprabhā is mine, how dare you try to take her away from me? I obtained her with the help of Mūladeva. How can you now conspire to have her for yourself?”
Śaśin replied in an equally furious tone…
“You fool! Who are you to her? She is my wife, and her father gave her in marriage to me, a marriage that has been sanctified by the Vedic rites!”
And so they went on fighting, both of them having obtained the princess through deceit…and Mūladeva watched on, wondering what to do…The matter was never decided.
तद् राजंस् त्वं मम ब्रूहि तावत् कस्योपपद्यते ।
भार्या सा संशयं छिन्धि पूर्वोक्तः समयो ऽस्ति ते ॥ १२,२२.१११ ॥
The Vetāla finished his story, and then addressed King Vikram and said…
“So tell me, o King, to whom did the princess Śaśiprabhā belong? To Manaḥsvāmin, or to Śaśin?
“Remember, if you know the answer, and don’t tell me the truth, your head will burst into a hundred pieces!“
King Vikram replied…
to be continued…