Duryodhana watched his demoralized troops heading back to the tent and was angry beyond reason.
Today was a failure on two counts and Duryodhana knew it – one was that the Samshaptakas were unable to keep Arjuna away from the main battlefield. Duryodhana knew that he had lost more than enough people on a single day, then was sensible in a single day of war, but then he ruthlessly crushed all thoughts in that direction. The second and the more grievous cause of anger was that Dronacharya had failed to deliver on his promise. The more he thought about it, the more Duryodhana got furious about it. That man…that teacher had promised to bring Yudhishtara captive to him. And he had failed....Duryodhana fumed angrily.
Karna sensing that his friend was in a dangerous mood, led his friend away from the Guru. Karna realized the importance of having the soldiers believe that all was well in the army. Having two top generals verbally assault each other, would do nothing for the morale of the soldiers. So that day Karna was able to get his friend to sleep without a confrontation with Dronacharya. Karna hoped….really hoped that his friend’s bad mood would be washed away in the morning….
Duryodhana woke up early in the morning and after his prayers, the first person he saw was Dronacharya. As Karna was not there near him, Duryodhana felt his anger rise again. Without caring about anything, Duryodhana lashed out at the teacher. ‘You promised! You promised!’ Duryodhana shouted so loudly that almost every single Kaurava soldier heard him. ‘You had Yudhishtara right in your sight and you failed! You purposely did not capture him!’ Duryodhana said in a sneering voice.
Dronacharya looked lost for words as he looked unable to talk back. The sudden paling of the teacher combined with the silence only made Duryodhana more angry. ‘The Gods themselves cannot stand against you and you are trying to tell me that you failed to bring Yudhishtara captive, because the Pandavas stopped you!’ Duryodhana yelled loudly.
Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu watched this scene quietly. Being a soldier of the Kaurava army, he knew that Drona had done no wrong. It was just that Arjuna had been a brilliant fighter. Besides now Jayadratha saw a few soldiers snickering as they saw Dronacharya receiving a verbal lash from Duryodhana. He walked up to Duryodhana leading the two men inside the camp. ‘My friend! Let us talk about this inside!’ Jayadratha said in a fierce whisper.
‘Who the…’ Duryodhana shouted almost pushing Jayadratha away. But Jayadratha was firm as he pulled the prince inside the tent with him.
Dronacharya was unable to believe that Duryodhana was shouting at him for yesterday’s battle. Dronacharya did not understand how Duryodhana could blame him for it. And adding to this was the feeling of shame…Duryodhana talked to him like this before all the soldiers…
‘We need to have a plan!’ Jayadratha was talking to Duryodhana in a soothing voice.
‘What plan?’ Duryodhana demanded angrily. ‘No matter how much we plan, this man here, does not seem capable of keeping his promise!’
‘My friend!’ Karna hurriedly came inside as Jayadratha sighed in relief. If anyone could control Duryodhana, it would be Karna.
'Karna! Another day in battle and the cursed Yudhishtara is not yet captured! Despite having the best soldiers...I just...' Duryodhana looked angrily at Dronacharya as Karna shook his head.
'I will form the Chakravyugha today!' Drona said finally finding his voice.
There was a silence in the tent for some minutes as everyone thought what Dronacharya had just said.
Karna slowly nodded his head. 'There are only four people in the Pandava army who can break the Chakravyugha!'
Jayadratha frowned as he looked at Karna. 'Four?'
It was Dronacharya, who answered. 'Krishna, Arjuna, Pradhyumna....'
Jayadratha frowned. 'Pradhyumna? The first son of Krishna?' Dronacharya nodded.
'Who is the fourth?' Jayadratha asked as the teacher looked like he had no intention of continuing.
'Abhimanyu!' Dronacharya said after a long time. He looked at Duryodhana, with hurt anger. 'If I do not get Yudhishtara today, I will atleast kill a Maharathi (the highest grade of warriors) of the Pandavas!'
Duryodhana cleared his throat and shook his head. 'If Arjuna can break the Chakravyugha, what is going to prevent him, from doing what he did yesterday? He would just break open any formation and lay waste all our soldiers!' Duryodhana said half in anger and half in misery.
'The Samshaptakas have to still keep their promise!' Karna reminded Duryodhana gently.
Duryodhana looked at Karna for a few seconds and then again turned to Dronacharya. 'If Arjuna and Krishna are led away by the Samshaptakas....then....'
Dronacharya slowly nodded his head. 'Yes! Either the Pandavas would fall to our formation or they would have to send the young Abhimanyu inside!'
'Abhimanyu is a minor!' Duryodhana said in a sneering manner. 'What will he do against the might of the Kaurava army?'
Duryodhana suddenly faltered as he watched Drona in anger again. 'If Abhimanyu is able to break the formation, the other Pandavas would just follow him and wreck the soldiers! What sort of a foolish plan is that?' he demanded angrily.
'No, they won't!' Jayadratha said softly as all of them looked at the king of the Sindhu.
'What are you talking about?' Duryodhana asked.
Jayadratha said with an almost dangerous smile. 'Just lead Arjuna away with the Samshaptakas, I will make sure that the other four Pandavas cannot do anything!'
'You are saying that you can stop the four Pandavas?' Karna asked almost shocked at the expression on Jayadratha's face.
'Yes!' Jayadratha said with a conviction that shocked Karna, more than anything else.
Duryodhana gave a chilling smile as he turned to Karna. 'I believe, today, the Pandavas would lose someone powerful and really close to them!'