Niram takes Mariko to hunt tigers on an elephant’s carriage. Niram shoots down a tiger. He checks on a kneeling on the ground Mariko, who excitedly says her heart is pounding. Mariko says that she thought hunting is for pleasure, but now she understand tiger hunting is needed, since they threaten villages and livestock. She prays for the dead animal.
In another carriage, Queen Krishna praises Mariko for being kind-hearted and Niram for marvelous hunting. Niram counters that he cannot surpass brother Padma’s skill. Queen Krishna asks Niram to entertain the British officer couple on the ride back. Niram asks for his father. Queen Krishna says the king is tired and needs to return early. Niram asks for permission to bring Mariko along. However, Queen Krishna advices him that his friend, Mariko has no position to ride with the Prince and arranges another car for her.
While Niram changes his clothes, he asks servant Nidi to go with Mariko; he fears Krishna is up to something. Nidi makes a displeased face, so Niram asks him what’s up. Mariko answers that Nidi doesn’t want to go with her. Niram says that it’s an order. Niram then orders all servants to get out and asks Mariko to help changing his clothes.
Mariko looks at Niram’s naked back blushing. Niram turns around and pull Mariko into a hug. Mariko surprises, “Meows.” A blushing Mariko tells Niram to put on his clothes. Somethings hurts Mariko’s cheek. That is a bullet made into a ring and is used as a necklace’s pendant. Niram says that it is his lucky charm and he has always wore it on hunting trip since little. Niram attempts to slip the ring to Mariko’s ring finger, gives her his necklace and tells her to protect herself.
On the car ride back, Nidi sees Mariko with Prince Niram’s necklace. He asks her the meaning behind the lucky charm. Mariko doesn’t know and asks for details. Nidi shouts back, “No way, never.” Mariko is mad; she makes angry face at Nidi, who also makes a face back at her.
Niram is with his uncle and the British diplomatic couple. They cheers for the friendly relations between England and India. Niram thinks that these people, from Queen Krishna’s faction, are trying to control this country’s power and wonders about their plan on him. British diplomat, Mr. Dench, mentions that Prince Niram is still single and asks if that is rare for a 20 years old. Niram replies that he doesn’t need to worry since he has a big brother. Mr. Dench continues that Queen Krishna is good at making couple since his brother’s wife is having a second child. Mr. Dench tells Niram to asks Queen Krishna for a match. Mr. Dench questions if Niram already has someone in mind. Niram’s uncle adds, “Once you have it, all that left is to lose it.”
Niram thinks that they either convince or threaten him. He thinks to himself that he understands now how Padma feft when his beloved was used as their shield. His heart feels pain just by touching Mariko. He silently whispers, “Meow.” The British couple and his uncle all stares at him quizzically. Niram smirks alone and thinks that his ring can’t be compared to Shun’s ring, so he didn’t put the ring onto her finger. He wonders what she has done with Shun’s ring.
They pass by a citadel that used to be a fort in a war long time ago. The mountain is beautiful and has running streams, but bandits appear and hunt people there.
Mariko’s car breaks down and they are lost. Mariko notices bandits riding horses down the mountain. They surround Mariko, Nidi and the driver. Nidi pulls out his gun. Mariko pulls the driver away from being slice by sword, and they falls down to the ground. The driver admits that this is not in the plan. He was ordered by Queen Krishna to pretend that they are lost and take them to the old fort. Driver pushes Mariko and Nidi out to take the car and drives away. While the bandits are distracted, Mariko yells out, “Run!” Nidi shoots at the bandits and runs out. Mariko and Nidi run towards the mountain into the woods. Bandit leader tells others to search for Mariko and Nidi and that Queen Krishna specifically ordered them to kill the Chinese person. Prince Niram has gotten too close to Princess Mina; Queen Krishna is going to use Mariko to let Prince Niram know what he will get if he goes against her.
To be continued (Click here for the next chapter)