“I thank you,” I answered, “and certainly you watch well—too well, sometimes, as I have found to-night.”
“You think it pleases me to spy upon you and a certain lady,” went on Kari with an unruffled voice, “but it is not so. What I do is for good reasons, amongst others that I may protect you both, and if I can, bring about what you desire. That lady has a great heart, as I learned but now, and after all you did well to love her, as she does well to love you. Therefore, although the dangers are so many, if I am able, I will help you in your love and bring you together, yes, and save her from the arms of Urco. Nay, ask me not how, for I do not know, and the case seems desperate.”
“But if you go, what shall I do alone?” I asked, alarmed.
“Bide here, I think, Lord, giving it out that your servant Zapana has deserted you. Indeed it seems that this you must do, since the king of this country will scarcely suffer you to be the companion of his daughter upon her marriage journey to Cuzco, even if Upanqui so desires. Nor would it be wise, for if he did, misfortune might befall you on the road. There are some women, Lord, who cannot keep their love out of their eyes, and henceforward there will be plenty to watch the eyes and hearken to the most secret sighings of one of the greatest of them. Now farewell until I come to you again or send others on my behalf. Trust me, I pray you, since to whomever else I may seem false, to you I am true; yes, to you and to another because she has become a part of you.”
Then before I could answer, Kari took my hand and touched it with his lips. Another moment and I had lost sight of him in the shadows.
That night I slept but ill who was overwhelmed with all that had befallen me of good and evil. I had gained a wondrous love, but she who gave it was, it seemed, about to be lost to me, aye, and to be thrown to another whom she hated, to forward the dark policies of a great and warlike people. I had spoken to her with high words of hope, but of it in my heart there was little. She would follow what she held to be her duty to the end, and that end, if she kept her promise and did not die as she desired to do—was—the arms of Urco. From these I could see no escape for her, and the thought maddened me. Moreover, Kari was gone leaving me utterly alone among these strangers, and whether he would return again I did not know. Oh! almost I wished that I were dead.
The morning broke at last and I arose and called for Zapana. Then came others who said that my servant, Zapana, could not be found, whereat I affected surprise and anger. Still these others waited on me well enough, and I rose and ate in pomp and luxury. Scarcely had I finished my meal than there appeared heralds who summoned me to the presence of the king Huaracha.