Vijaybhanu could not believe his ears.
“What on earth, possessed you to commit such a grave crime? You murdered your own brothers. You are a butcher, a monster. I… I think I made a blunder” said a dumbstruck and exasperated Pundit unable to comprehend the notoriety of the man, he revered.
The new king reflected for a moment, framing his arguments in support of his actions, which seemed rather devious to the upright Pundit.
“My dear Pundit ji, I have always held you in high esteem. Please hear me out before you develop any conclusion about me” said Vikram calmly, pacifying the fuming Vijaybahnu.
After a brief pause, he continued, “You should know that I do not commit an act without a good reason, not without evaluating its consequences. In my opinion, men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge. I have always preferred the latter option; I crush my enemies: needs less effort and less price.”
Vijaybhanu was stunned to hear his logic. He could see an epitome of Acharya Chanakya, the shrewd, yet illustrious teacher, who integrated India in a tumultuous time against external adversities, who installed Chandragupta Maurya as the Emperor of India, who was essayist of one of the supreme treatise ‘Arthashastra’, an economic masterpiece, the lexicon for governing a diverse and vast country with apposite dexterity. Vijaybhanu, though, appreciated Acharya’s effort and intentions but was not very appreciative of his means to achieve the desired results. After contemplating for a moment, he said, “Wrong is wrong, a sin is sin. It cannot and ought not to be justified, lest it will set an immoral precedent.”
“You are now the King and my honor will forbid me to leave the state affairs at this critical juncture; I am bound to serve you. But from now on, you are only my King, no more son-like” said the pundit very unsure about the words, he was uttering as well as his future course of actions. He seemed like a disgraced father who had just lost his innocuous son to the wicked clutches of the Devil, whose son now had become the apostle of debauchery.
“Very well” said Vikram in a reverent tone, masquerading his remorse with an emotionless, brutish impression, “I need the details of men serving our army, our spy network, volume of weaponry we have in our inventory, any records of wars beforehand and of course, any book dealing with strategies of warfare, right away.”
“But King, I am not in charge of that. Our…”
“I want you to collect it for me, immediately” responded the king in an authoritative tone. “By the way, I… umm.. I also need to meet the famous ganika – prostitute of the city” added the king unable to hide his awkwardness that arose from the thought of what Vijaybhanu would think about him.
“Yes, King. I will do the needful” replied the pundit coldly.