link for the previous epi
New golden day commenced. Swara stirred in sleep. She stretched out her arms drowsily to fund Sanskar. Alas! he was not there. Swara sat up. She felt hungry? Where was Sanskar? She left the tent of boughs and moved around to find him. No. He was not there.
“Sanskar… Sanskar where are you?” she called out.
No answer. She sat down near the tent to wait for him. Her eyes drank the sight of the beautiful shelter in which they spent their precious night. It was then she noticed a note pinned to the tent. A few words were scrawled in pencil:
” Good morning Sunshine. I am going to get us something to eat. Light a fire if you can. I love you.”
It read.She smiled. “I love you too Sanskar.” she whispered.
She heard a rustle behind her. May be Sanskar is returning.She put on her best possible smile and turned back. But the sight in front of her terrified her. It was an unfamiliar face. A Gypsy.She was taken aback. Next second, she jumped on her feet and started shouting for Sanskar. The man held out a hand to stop her from screaming.
“Please don’t scream lady. I am not here to harm you. I am a loyal servant of Sarovar” he spoke.
Swara stopped screaming and looked at him.
“Is there a faithful servant left to him?” she asked.
“Yes lady. yes. and that’s me Pawan.”
“Pawan. So tell me why did you follow us? If you love your master so much why didn’t you let us go in our own way? Why can’t you just let us leave in peace?” she asked.
“It is because only you can save him lady.”
“Save him? What do you mean by save him?”
“Dear lady, you don’t know the gypsies. They know every inch of this forest. Sometimes better than Sarovar. They know that you are camping here. They mean to come here tonight. Once the track him down, they will surely shoot him.”
Swara panicked. Pawan’s words were hitting her hard.
“We must tell him then. we must warn him. So that both of us can escape. Sankar… Sanskar…” she called out.
“Don’t call him lady” Pawan warned.”You can never escape the gypsies. You are running short of time. Only you can help him.” Pawan said.
“Me? How can I ? Tell me Pawan. I’ll do anything to keep him safe.”
“By returning yourself to Naik.” Pawan said.
“Naik? What do you mean by returning myself to Naik?”
“Don’t take me wrong lady. If you go back to the gypsy encampment, Naik will send you back to the palace safe and sound. Don’t wait for Sarovar to come back. He’ll not let you go even that means risking his own life. Once you are out of his life the gypsies will merrily accept him as our leader once again. Think lady. think.Will you let him die for you?”
Swara thought for a while. Pawan was right.She can’t let him die for their love. His life was way too precious for her. His life must not be risked. Much better that she should go back to Sanjay and ensure her lover’s freedom. Last night he had made her entirely his. Leaving him even without bidding farewell seemed cruel. But any sacrifice would be worthwhile if she could save his precious life.
Turning back to Pawan she asked ” is it true? if I go back to the tribe, will they return me to the palace and accept Sarovar as their leader again? Do you swear it?”
“It is true lady.” he said hurriedly. “Come I’ll take you to the horse. Then I’ll come back to Sarovar and tell him what you have done.”
Her eyes filled with tears.
“Yes. tell him all my heart is left behind with him and that I can never love any other man till my last breath. Tell him that I have gone back to the palace to save his life; that if he follows or tries to get me back, I will refuse to come for it will again put his life in danger.”
“Yes, yes” Pawan nodded impatiently. “Lady we must hurry. Or it will be too late to save him.”
The words made her sprang into action. A few minutes later she was standing on the outskirts of the forest. A black horse stood there tethered to a tree. It was saddled, ready for her.
Pawan touched the horse gently.
“He knows the way back. He will lead you even if you are unsure.”
She mounted the horse. Her face was strong, eyes desperate. If only she could see him for one last time, hear him saying that he understood, that he would always remember her as she would remember him, and their wonderful dream of love. She rode away.
Pawan called after her:
“You have saved him lady. I’ll tell him everything.”
The man’s words comforted her a little. Still her agony, her tears, her grief – didn’t die down.
Once she was out of sight, Pawan mounted on his own horse which rode him all the way up from the gypsy encampment in the mountains to the forest, grinning widely.
“She has swallowed the bait. Now we are going to enjoy her. She’ll entertain us. Naik has promised us that.”
About ten minutes after the man rode away, to the gypsy encampment in the hope of feeding his own lust with Swara, like many others.
Huh…here’s the next episode. The 12th one. I want your comments on this. I replied to all your comments on the previous chapter there. Leave your valuable comments here also. I’d love to read them and reply to them. Please, if there are any silent readers, do comment… Ignore typos, if any..