* * *
In his private study, the Viceroy was in a meeting with Fr. Kane. Marcos stood at the window and watched the proceedings silently. He could see the Viceroy was in a foul mood. The Viceroy turned menacingly towards Fr. Kane as he calmly sat across the table.
’I don’t understand one thing. On what basis did you promise the villagers on returning back their property?
‘Your highness. I believe that with love and understanding you can win the pagans over rather than by force. It’s just a matter of time before they become a part of our church.’
‘Padre, you are supposed to deal with just the running of the Church, the preaching and your congregation. You don’t have to involve yourself in the administration matters. Leave that to us!’
‘I am sorry your highness. I didn’t mean to intrude in your functioning. Pardon me.’
‘Padre, I am highly disappointed in you. You took the liberty to write directly to the king about this. You know the repercussion of this? At this stage, we will loose hold over this land.’
Fr. Kane silently sat. He knew the Viceroy was in no mood to accept his explanation. Time went by as the Viceroy went on babbling as Fr. Kane silently heard him out. Behind him, Marcos watched the proceedings with a sly smile on his face.
Luck favored Fr. Kane when Antonio discreetly knocked on the door and entered the room. He looked around once and realized the grimness of the situation. But he knew better than to ask. He bowed low before his father.
‘Pai, I am traveling to Bombaim to inspect the new ships we ordered for. I should be back in a few days.’
The Viceroy nodded his head in agreement. ‘Take some of your best men with you. Enemies might be lurking in the high seas.’
‘God be with you, your highness.’ Fr. Kane called out softly.
Antonio looked across at Fr. Kane and nodded his head with a smile.
The Viceroy looked at him disdainfully. ‘You may also leave Padre.’
Fr. Kane got up and bowing low, walked out of the room with Antonio. They descended the stairs silently. From the corridors, Rosalin watched them descend.
‘Is something wrong Padre?’ Antonio asked him gravely.
‘No your highness.’
They were out of the palace. Antonio saw that his men were ready. He ordered a dozen of them to accompany him. As they prepared for the travel, Fr. Kane turned to Antonio.
‘You should have stayed back till the Santos Passos before embarking on the journey your highness.’
‘Padre I wish I could do that. But these ships are supposed to be very good and with the enemies stationed in the high seas and a possibility of an attack any given day, I don’t think its safe for Goa for long. So might as well be prepared.’
‘Yes, duty comes first your highness.’
Antonio looked at him. ‘Padre, call me just Antonio. I am not worthy to be called your highness by you.’
Fr. Kane looked at him. A smile broke on his face. ‘You are a great man Antonio. Have a safe journey. God be with you.’
Antonio took his hand and bowing low, kissed it delicately. Antonio climbed on his horse and Fr. Kane boarded his chariot and they branched out in the opposite directions. Up in the palace, Rosalin watched them go. She picked up her harp and started to play the music. As the music filled the air, she let her mind drift off to the past as she remembered the first time she had met Antonio and Fr. Kane.
* * *
That night before going to bed, Fr. Kane wrote his ‘diary’. ’The Viceroy obviously was not pleased with my decision. But I did what I felt was right. I have a feeling about a bigger war about to happen this very place and if I could dispel it, so be it God.’