Chapter 5 : The Gift of Laumphon
“The king of Laumphon has sent you a gift,” said the First Minister, not concealing his voice to the room.
“A gift for what– never mind, bring it in!” cried the king, and his ministers had never seen him act with such abandon, so little thought. It worried them a little, but then they, also, looked forward to a time of peace.
“Will you accept this gift also?” asked the Third Minister.
“It is a trick,” murmured the other Minister (you know which one).
The double doors were opened, and in front of an even larger box strode a larger woman. She was older than the other princesses, but more noticeably she was taller. Tall almost as Satti himself, she had wide shoulders, a square jaw, and slanting eyes that seemed to perceive all with a short glance. She bowed in front of the king in a mocking manner, and this surprised him enough he did not try to see through the brown scarves fluttering about the cage.
“Do I conquer Laumphon?” he asked her, in the stern, cool tone that preceeded many the kneeling of his enemies.
“Laumphon has stood for a thousand years, and will fly her flag for a thousand years more,” the princess said, in a tone just as cool, just as proud, just as assured.
“I may accept the gift and turn back the proposal.”
“Send me away in disgrace and find no peace in your life, Bathraman Satti. I will be your wife as is my duty and you will have your prize.” She stepped to the cage and undid the latch, pulling the door open before any other could react. The king watched in fascination, and if it had been her design to set loose assassins, he would have been undone, but the three brother lynx wore soft leather collars and cords that allowed them only to wander just around the outside of the cage. The princess let the great cats move past her and did not flinch, though one hissed at her and another spat at a guard coming too close.
Bathraman Satti rose from his seat and walked down, keeping the eye of the princess as he would keep the eye of a bear, and stood himself in the midst of the onry cats. After some minutes of this, at last, she laughed, and he laughed, and the Laumphon princess became the third wife of Satti.
Thus came the end of the Bengal wars, and the four countries settled to enjoy years of peace and prosperity.