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"Doctor, how are they?" Vanshika asked, looking at her children with pain in her eyes. Jeevika and Viren were on separate beds, in the same room. Viren had a bandage covering the deep cut on his forehead whilst there was bandages across Jeevika's back from where she had been hitting herself.
"M'am, they are fine. From the incidents, they have lost quite a lot of blood but they will get better after rest. Try to keep them out of stress and give them lots of fluid and rest." The doctor ordered as he prescribed some painkillers to keep the pain numb. Vanshika took the slip and nodded as she gave it to a servant to collect. She thanked the doctor as the Earl of Chandia saw the doctor out of the palace. Vanshika sat beside her son and caressed his forehead. She wiped the tear from her eyes, not only for seeing her son and daughter motionless but for seeing her distraught younger son. She sighed and walked towards her daughter in law. She caressed her forehead and struggled to look at the bandages on her back.
"Thank you." She whispered. Today, Jeevika did the one thing that no one would have ever thought of doing. She protected her family, like a lion to its cub. In that very instant, Vanshika knew that Jeevika would be the perfect future Queen.
Her fingers started to move slowly. Jeevika touched Vanshika's hand as she opened her eyes. Her brown eyes instantly illuminated the weary room. "Ma…." She whispered. She tried to sit up but was pulled back against the pain. She hissed and bit her lip as to not let the pain defeat her.
"Jeevika!" Vanshika helped her and kept her comfortable against the pillows. "Careful."
"Water." Vanshika asked Avantika to bring a fresh jug of water. In less than a minute, she was back. Vanshika took the glass near Jeevika's lips and helped her drink the water to refresh her. "Thank you." Jeevika croaked.
Vanshika smiled. "Don't worry beta. I should be the one thanking you, after all you saved my son."
"Ma, please. I didn't just save your son, I helped my husband."
She caressed Jeevika's hair. "I don't know how lucky we are that we have a daughter like you, I can't thank you enough."
"Ma! What are you saying? Please don't embarrass me like that."
"I don't know what to even say, on one hand there is you and Viren and on the other Virat. What should this mother do?"
Jeevika sighed. "…Ma, Virat isn't that bad. Yes, he's a little nave sometimes and he loses control of his emotion but he seriously doesn't do anything wrong on purpose."
"But how do you explain that to everyone else? Today you and Viren just about got saved but what about after that? What if Tanya seriously…"
Jeevika interrupted her. "Nehi ma, please don't think like that! Didn't I say that nothing of that sort will happen. Trust me."
Vanshika tried hard to believe her but she couldn't. Her duty as the Queen was first to the country, but even she wasn't strong enough to believe that everything will be fine especially when Virat was involved. She faked a smile just to make Jeevika happy when Swamini came into the room with medicine in her hand.
"Jeevika, you're awake?" She said. She handed Jeevika a tablet and a glass of water, and watched she consumed it.
"Thanks Buaji." Jeevika smiled before looking at her sleeping husband in deep thoughts. Her thoughts raced between the events earlier and remembered that she hadn't seen Virat lately. Her heart sunk as she thought of Virat in trouble. "Ma, buaji. Where is Virat?" She asked at last. The two elderly women looked at her with a blank face. They didn't know how to reply, the doctor had strictly said not to give them much stress. "Ma…what happened? Where is Virat?" She began to get alarmed.
"Jeevika please calm down. This much stress is not good for you." Swamini tried to make her understand but Jeevika was not one to agree. She began to sit up, not caring about her delicate wounds.
"But, where is Virat? Did something happen to him? Why are you not telling me?"
"We'll tell you but please just rest for a bit." Vanshika made her lean on the pillows to protect her back. "Virat….Actually," Vanshika didn't know how to say this.
"Bauji didn't allow Virat to meet both of you." Swamini replied as she realised that Vanshika had found it difficult to talk.
"What? But why?" Jeevika started to get alarmed as she refused to rest for much longer.
"Jeevika please, calm down! Bauji only did it so that Virat is punished."
"But what did he do so wrong buaji? Yes, unknowingly he created this whole event but even then that was unknowingly right? Why are you forgetting that the victim in this is Virat?"
"What are you saying Jeevika?"
"Whatever Jeevika is saying…is right." A croaky voice was heard from behind. The person coughed as Swamini ran to give him some water. Viren opened his eyes slowly, letting the light slowly enter into his eyes. He rubbed his head as the pain throbbed. Swamini pulled the packet of medicine open and gave him to consume. Jeevika smiled, knowing that her husband was finally awake.
"Virenji." She tried to get up but was stopped by Vanshika.
"I'm fine, Ma. Now that Virenji is fine, I'll be too."
With the help of Vanshika, Jeevika slowly walked up to Viren's side and sat down on his bed, making sure that her back was rested. He smiled wholeheartedly as he saw his wife beside him but became upset knowing that she was hurt. Though he was unconscious before, he was still conscious enough to hear everything that had happened and when she had hurt herself, it felt as if he was the one bearing the pain.
"Jeevika is right, Virat shouldn't be entirely at fault." Viren replied. He felt that now it was his duty to stick up for his younger brother. After all, he was the only person (apart from Jeevika who found out later on), who knew about Virat's troubles. He was the one who Virat trusted, and the one on whose shoulder Virat cried on. "Where is he? I want to see him." Viren asked.
There was nothing else Vanshika and Swamini could do other than obey Viren's request. Vanshika nodded as Swamini went out to get Virat.
Virat stood outside, sitting absentmindedly on the floor. His legs were crossed and his arms holding each side of his leg. He was in deep thoughts. Swamini tapped him on his shoulder. "Virat?" All of a sudden, he got up with a smile on his face. Somehow, he felt as if he was forgiven, he built his hope up that he could see his brother and Jeevika. "Viren and Jeevika have asked for you." She said, not caring to look into his eyes when speaking.
For that moment, Virat could smile for the world. He was so happy that it's hard explaining. He stepped forward to go before stopping and looking back at his Aunt. "Thank you." He said, but she didn't say anything back apart from a slight nod. He sighed. His aunt Swamini has always been a tough nut to crack, and it had taken him long for him to try to please her.
"Bhai…" Virat said as he ran towards his brother. He hugged him, then apologising after Viren groaned and touched his head. He smiled before bowing his head down seeing his brother and sister in law in pain. "I'm sorry…" He whispered.
Instantly they both shook their head, smiling. "Are you crazy?" Viren asked, smirking. "We're already hurt, now don't hurt us anymore by apologising to us."
"Bhai please!" Virat couldn't bare to hear something like that coming from his brother's mouth.
"Okay, I'm sorry." Viren said before laughing.
"Bhai, I'm really sorry. For everything that had happened. It wasn't fair that you got hurt and in the process bhabhi had to…" He stopped and gave a sincere look to Jeevika. He sighed and breathed deeply. "But I promise you, I'll fix this. I'll fix everything before Tanya and her people have the chance to hurt anyone okay?"
"Virat." Jeevika spoke softly. "It's okay, whatever happens, let it happen. We'll be here."
Virat was touched by the generosity of his family but he couldn't let them take the burden. This was one thing that he had to do alone and he was going to do it, whether anyone said anything or not.
"Okay, fine. But I still promise you. From today, Virat Singh Vadhera, Prince of Chandrilasia will make a promise that I will fix everything."
Jeevika smiled as she slowly hugged her devar, she kissed his forehead as if to give him blessings before he stood up and walked away. Virat took one look in his mother's eyes and Vanshika saw the truth in them. She felt as if whatever he was going to do was righteous, and she didn't have the heart to stop him. She walked out, leaving Viren and Jeevika alone.
Viren looked at his wife with care and admiration. "You're amazing, you know that?" He said to her.
She blushed slightly. "I only did what I thought was right."
"And how could I know that I would have such a wife? With looks like an angel but strength as that of a mother protecting her children? What difference is between you and Durga mata?"
"Virenji please. Don't compare me to Her. I am nothing but myself." She turned away but Viren held her head towards him.
"No, you're a Princess. You're my Princess." He kissed her carefully, making sure that he does not hurt himself nor her. He loved her. It was true love and no pain in the world can stop him from being hers. If Viren had thought he couldn't love her more then he was wrong, the events today showed that his respect for her had grown and the love he had for her was so immense that it was unthinkable.
Virat walked away as Vanshika walked behind him. "Virat." She called out. He turned around to see his mother looking up at him. They had always had a strange relationship. She was always busy when he was younger and he felt angry at the world for separating his mother from him. But as he grew up, he began to accept his fate, that he was never going to have a proper mother figure. His faith in the Royal family had decreased and all he wanted was to be normal, a commoner. But the Royal blood running through his strong veins obviously contradicted that.
"Ma…" He whispered. She touched his cheek, wanting to hug him but didn't know how to approach that. Even she knew, that they both didn't share a good relationship. After all, he didn't exactly like her for abandoning him when he was younger for her duties. And even after she heard what that girl, what Maya did, (though it wasn't the full story), she still couldn't be there for him. And every day she repented that. She wished she could give back her child's childhood, those memories and happiness. But it was too late: she couldn't. "Ma, I promise. I'll make it all better." He said sincerely.
She smiled. She had trust in him, it was little but it was there. She nodded and moved her hands towards his head and blessed him. "I believe in you."
Those four words were all that he wanted. For her to trust him was everything to Virat. It was his hope, his strength, his everything and now Virat knew that he will prevail in the end.
Maanvi bashed on her bedroom door as she cried for someone to open it. She shouted and shouted until her throat was sore but still no one came. Her eyes were blotched red from the crying and rubbing. Her skin was red from the heat and she was crying dry tears now. She was tired and weary as she slowly knocked on the door. "Please….open it….Please." She didn't even have the strength to shout or scream anymore.
Outside, Pinky and Beeji stood outside upset. They had spent the first five minutes outside her room door listening to her cry but they couldn't take it anymore so they left. Daboo had tried to open the door but was stopped by Beeji who gave him the strict decision not to, after all it was Shiv's orders.
Suddenly, Madan came in alone with a dejected look.
"Madan, did you find out anything?" Beeji asked concerned, she too was worried about the Vadheras.
He shook his head slowly. "No ma. I couldn't. There was a big jam between the path to the Palace. Media people, guards and God knows who else were there. I couldn't find out anything."
"It's okay Madan, no matter." She looked behind him. "Didn't Shiv come back?"
He shook his head. "No Ma. Infact I didn't even see him. Why? Did something happen? Where's Maanvi?"
"Shiv locked her in her room, otherwise Maanvi will find any way to get away. And who knows what would happen?" Beeji explained. Madan nodded understanding.
Daboo listened to their conversation before hiding away and running towards Maanvi's room. He couldn't open it but Beeji didn't tell him anything about him not talking to her. "Maanvi di.." As soon as Maanvi heard his voice, it was as if she was strong again. She quickly pulled herself up and wiped her dry tears.
"Daboo! Daboo what happened?" She ached to find out anything, just anything that happened.
"Di, Papa came home. But…"
"But he couldn't find out anything." Maanvi sobbed softly before banging softly on the door. Her hands became bruised.
"Please Daboo….open it." She sobbed, breaking down onto the floor.
"Di.." He sniffed and wiped the tears. "I can't di. I can't." He quickly moved away before he started to cry. He wished he could help her, but it was not in his hands.
Maanvi closed her eyes, letting the fresh tears run through her face. She walked up onto her bed and thought about a few nights ago when Virat was on this bed. She even had that note that he wrote hidden away. She wanted to get rid of it but somehow couldn't bare to part herself with it. She fell onto the bed, her body spreading out and leaned into the blanket. She wished she could be there. For a split second, she wished someone would save her as she slowly fell asleep the only person that came to her mind was Virat.
Outside, Shiv stomped outside angry. He had managed to get out near the Palace, free from the eyes of the Media. He needed to talk to Virat at any cost and just hoped that, that would happen. He walked past the elderly woman selling bangles, mangalsutra and sindoor in a cart and ran towards the edge of the street where there was a group of people waiting near the Palace. He wondered how they had arrived as a couple of minutes ago there was no one there. He sighed knowing that now Virat would not come out, at least not in the eyes of the public and turned away to walk back.
It was then when he heard someone whispering his name coming from behind him. He wondered who it was. He saw the figure of a man covered in disguise walking past him, completely unnoticed. He gave a sigh of relief as he realised that the man was the very same person that he was looking for: Virat.
"Virat." Shiv said as soon as they were out of the eyes of people. The road was pretty quiet, apart from the whistling wind in the background. Behind them, in the distant was the woman in the cart selling her things to passer-by's.
"Shiv, thank God you came. I was about to go and…"
"Virat, what happened?" He objected.
Virat told him what had happened earlier. "They were scared as they thought that Tanya would do something, and you know how upset they'd get if there's a chance of a war coming up." Shiv nodded understanding. "That's why….that's why, Maanvi and I were getting married. Which I'm sure you know, but look even today our roka was stopped from happening."
Shiv sighed, trying to calm himself down. "And what? Are you going to give up now? Your roka has been stopped, SO WHAT? Virat, a marriage can happen without all this. In fact, all this is, is just traditions. If you want to help your country, then…"
"What are you saying?"
Shiv looked towards the cart. Virat copied him and sighed. He nodded understanding what he needed to do. Virat walked towards the woman and asked for something. Shiv smiled because he knew that everything will be alright and because he knew that Maanvi would be fine now. She had become so intertwined in their relationship that the marriage would have to happen. He smiled as he knew that everything would go smoothly, after all Shiv was there to ensure that.
"Maanvi di!" Daboo shouted, and banged on the door. Maanvi, who was asleep had slowly woken up. She wondered what her brother was shouting for. "Maanvi di! Are you okay?" She rushed towards the door.
"Daboo, what happened?"
"Di…Shiv is here. And…"
"And? And what? Daboo?" There was no reply. Maanvi became distraught to hear the silence. Then suddenly, she felt a strong ray of light coming into her face as the door opened but in front of her was not Daboo, nor Shiv.
It was Virat.
"Virat?" She whispered. He stepped in, familiar with the very same room that was in not too long ago.
"Maanvi." He spoke out loud softly. Behind them was her parents, Beeji and Daboo.
"Virat? What is..?" She tried to speak but was silenced by Virat. It was him time to speak. He tried to stop himself from crying but a tear escaped.
"Maanvi, do you agree to this rishta?"
"What?" She asked, completely confused. Her hands were cold out of nervousness and fright. She was confused.
"Do you agree to this rishta?"He repeated, looking into her brown eyes.
"Yes." She replied honestly.
"Even if I can't accept you wholeheartedly, for now?"
"Maanvi, even if this is for the country? Do you still agree?"
She didn't know what he was talking about, she sighed before shouting. "YES! YES! YES! I agree to this, I agree to everything."
"Thank you." He whispered as he brought his thumb across her forehead and applied sindoor into her maang. Maanvi stood completely still as the action sunk into her mind.
Behind them, Shiv smiled as a tear fell out of his eyes. His mission was successful. Beeji, Pinky and Madan was somewhat shocked yet happy that everything that was supposed to happen had happened.
Maanvi looked into Virat's eyes, and saw that his was teary eyed. She watched as his thumb fell slowly down, covered in sindoor as he held the box in his other hand.
He did what he thought was right. For the sake of the people and Chandrilasia, he had sacrificed himself and Maanvi's life.
It was truly a fated compromise.
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