Sun had already begun his descent. Maybe, he could no longer bear to look at the mayhem humans had created on the battlefield. Dead bodies of soldiers lying on the ground for miles. Hordes of Hyena’s and Vultures were fighting over the carcasses.
The main architect of this carnage was not stopping even to take a breath as if some devil had taken hold of him. It was just difficult to digest the fact that a week ago same warrior refused to take up arms. Even the lord of three worlds who had reins of the horses in his hands looked perturbed. There was no stopping him. It seemed that Kauravas had already surrendered to his might.
Arjun’s quiver was fast emptying as the sunset was close. Kaurava foot soldiers were praying for the day to end. His deadly arrows have rained on them, piercing men and animals, earth and sky alike. It would take them all night to clear bodies which Arjun had left in his wake.
It was the bloodiest day yet in the Mahabharata.
On the other side of the Kurukshetra, the holy battlefield, other equally powerful warrior was getting the regular news on the exploits of Arjun, he was not too worried, though. “He is the only one, once I finish him, they will crumble like an aunt hill”, he thought.
Karan took out his lethal arrow, this arrow was a gift from a Sadhu he had once saved during floods. This arrow could pierce thousand people in one go and then return to the quiver same as before. He had planned to use it later but Arjun’s antics forced his hand. He wanted to finish the day at a high note for his Army.
To access the arrow, he had to say solemn mantras which were taught to him by the Sadhu. For that he needed a moment.
From a faraway place, Yudishtar sensed what Karan was doing. He thought of informing Arjun or Bheem, but then he realised he needs to stop Karan himself or it will be too late.
He ordered his charioteer to take him close to Karan’s chariot. It didn’t take him long to get close to the mighty warrior and see him hand folded saying his prayers.
Yudishtar bought out his conch and blew it loudly to announce that he was challenging the mighty Karan. Everyone was surprised, nobody challenged Karan, that was the unwritten rule.
Karan opened his eyes, he was surprised to see Yudhistar standing in his chariot ready to fight.
“Oh! mighty Son of Pandu, I hope you have not given up so soon”, Karan mocked him. “What brings you here? Turn back and I will not harm you. I don’t want Kunti to cry over you so soon.”
“Mock me as much as you can, we may have come from the same mother but this evening world will know that those who stand with evil will eventually fall.”
“Yudishtar, who is evil and who is not, is a tough question. We warriors do not concern ourselves with those questions. That is not our job. The hand that feeds us is the hand we abide by. Since, you have infuriated me, be prepared for the fury I am about to unleash.
With this a barrage of arrows escaped from the bow of Karan and pierced every inch of the Yudishtar’s body, surprisingly they didn’t go that deep. They just drew a small amount of blood and pierced the skin, Those arrows were not meant to kill and Karan saw to that.
Yuidshtar’s charioteer was not that lucky, one stray arrow was enough to kill him. Pandav king was unable to stand up now. Karan got down from his chariot and helped him to stand, took off his metal vests and handed him over to his foot soldier.
The news spread like a wildfire in both the camps. “Karan sent the eldest Pandav brother without clothes and chariot". It was was like honey to the Kaurava princes
Everyone was wary of Arjun’s reaction. Yudishtar was put up in the Vaidya tent. He was unable to even turn his head. Injury marks were all over his body, even the medicinal paste applied by the Vaidya couldn’t keep the pain in check.
Arjun had just returned from the battlefield. He was busy taking off his heavy armour, it took three people to lift that. He was about to sit to eat when Bheem barged and spilled the beans.
Arjun grabbed the nearest sword and ran out. Bheem tried to stop him, but the look in Arjun’s eyes rooted him in his place, he followed Arjun and sent the guard to Krishna to come fast. Bheem had this bad feeling.
Arjun could see nothing, anger had blinded his eyes, blood was pulsating in his ears. He could hear nothing. Hundreds of men tried to stop him, but they just found the ground. Arjun was like a mad elephant, trampling anything that came in his way.
The naked sword in his hands wanted blood. Today was the day this ended, thought Arjun.
As soon as he barged the attendants left the tent quickly. Yudishtar was stuck with fear.
“I wish you had died on the battleground, I would have burned you proudly. But you have hung my head in shame today. Are you really our brother?"
“ He was summoning a lethal arrow, it would have killed a quarter of our army and there was no one to stop him.” Yudihtstar pleaded.
“I killed 10 thousand men today and lost another half, this is war. Nobody will come alive out of it. It has swallowed the mighty Bheeshma and you think you saved a thousand men by running naked from Karan. What a laugh Kauravas must be having on your expense? Tonight I will finish what Karan has left unfinished. Let the world know that cowards have no place in this brave clan of Pandu”
“Arjunnnnnnnnnnn…….kill me if you want to, but hold your poisonous tongue. I have always followed Dharma”. Yudhistra had tears in his eyes.
“Dharma!!!!!” Arjun started laughing loudly. "Which Dharma are you talking about? You are the root cause of every misfortune that has ever befallen our family. Who inspired you to play dice with that handicapped devil from the far east mountains? Was it the Lord Indra himself? Who gave you the authority to gamble our lives? Were we your slaves? and you were the reason Draupadi was disrobed in full public view while she was bleeding. The blood of all the people who have died since that day is on your hands and you talk of Dharma. Yudishtar, I will be surprised if you will find a place even in the underground. You will die a dog’s death and wander in the as a ghost. And today, I will see to it that you get that”.
As soon as Arjun lifted the sword, Krishna appeared out of now where.
“Parth, what are you doing?”
“Lord!! tell me why he should live after today. He ran away naked from our greatest enemy Karan. He is the black spot on our history and today I will have his head. From tomorrow onwards no one will be able to mock Pandava’s”.
“What has gotten into you? You think just because you are the greatest warrior, that gives you the authority to mock everyone. He is your elder brother, in case you have forgotten.”
“ Lord, how can I forget it, but I would rather have Shikhandi as our elder brother. It is because of him we have been reduced to paupers. We do not have a single village to call our own. From last 12 years, our women and children are living like tribals. We sleep at night not knowing whether we will have a place to sleep tomorrow. We have trailed through darkest of the jungles, fought and killed half the demons there. When the real demon is lying in front of me. I want to end his life and mine next. I cannot have him sully the name of the Mighty Pandu anymore. I cannot live with this.”