By NLRC Staff

Still recovering, King NLB looked around the room. He saw nothing much in the room expect a bed, a chair and a closet. The room looked so empty for him as he was used to the luxurious furniture and lavish lifestyle in his palace. The simple setup of the room surprised him but at the same time he liked the simplicity and he found the new place very welcoming and warm.

A few days passed by and the girl nursed him back to good health. King NLB was now used to the modest surroundings and to the simplicity of his new life. "Thank you for nursing me back to health. How can I ever pay you back for what you have done for me?" King NLB expressed his gratitude and said, "If you need anything, please just let me know." He could not hide his kingly instincts and forgot that he had disguised himself as a commoner and that he was not a king who could give many things as he pleased. But bringing himself back to the reality of being a commoner, he tried not to talk about such things. King NLB wanted find more about the girl and said, "But, by the way, I did not even get a chance to ask your name."

"Ah, my name, my name is Pabitra Sundari. You can just call me Pabi," she answered. King NLB was surprised to know that her name was the same as the kingdom's name. But before he could say anything, Pabi continued, "and, not only you, I did not get to know your name either."

"Ah right, you can just call me, NLB," he tried to introduce himself as a commoner.

After the introduction, Pabi seemed busy with her day to day activities. "So, NLB, could you come with me to the town and help me do my shopping?" She thought he could help her on many things she had to do at the house.

"Of course," he could not say no to Pabi, especially after all the things she had done for him. Besides, it had been many days he had not been out of the house and he was actually eager to go out somewhere. Soon, they both arrived at a town and started shopping. It was a small town named Kalaspur and everyone pretty much knew everyone else, and most of all, Pabi was a familiar face in the town. Most of the people recognized her.

Pabi and King NLB went from one shop to the other as Pabi had a long shopping list and there were many shops they had to go to in order to get all the items in the list. Being a king, King NLB had never gone shopping before. It was the first time for him to actually go to a shop, interact with the shopkeeper and buy stuff from there, but he was actually really enjoying every moment of it. When they reached the bottom of the shopping list, it had already been dark. With lots of bags full of stuff, both of them hurried back home.

When they got home, Pabi started to get things ready in the kitchen. She got the stove ready and prepared dinner. Sitting by the table, they started discussing about the events that had happened during the day.

"The shopkeepers were really nice today and they gave us lots of good stuff for a very good price," Pabi started.

"It really looked as if they all have known you pretty well for a long time," replied King NLB.

"Of course; I know them well, I always go to the town myself for shopping," Pabi said, "and that's how they have known me well as well."

King NLB was not sure why she had bought all those stuff at once, and inquired, "But did you really need all of those stuff?"

"Uh, I don't know; they might come handy later on, you know," replied Pabi.

They talked for a long time about the day. Clearly, King NLB was enjoying his new way of life that he had never got to experience while he lived in the palace. It had been a long day; the walk to and from the town, the shopping and the carrying of the heavy bags on the way back had made them tired. Soon, they went to sleep.

The next morning, King NLB woke up to a sweet and strange smell. It was coming from the kitchen. Pabi was making something with the spices she had bought the other day from the town. She looked around and noticed King NLB looking at her.

"Good thing that you woke up," she acknowledged his presence and asked, "would you mind cutting the firewood for the kitchen please?"

"Huh!" King NLB was surprised to hear her ask him to do something. As a king, no one had asked him to do anything before. He collected himself and answered, "Cut the firewood! Um, okay." But before he started cutting the firewood, he wanted to ask Pabi one question. He had been very curious about what she was cooking in the kitchen, and asked, "But what are you making? It smells so nice."

"Oh, this is Lapsi," she said referring to the sour fruit found in Asia, "and I am going to make pickles out of it. The Lapsi pickle is one of my favorites."

After explaining what she was making, she reminded him about the firewood, "Well, to make the pickle, I need to boil the Lapsi, and to boil it I need more firewood, which I do not have much left. So, would you mind cutting some?"

"Ok, but you have to give me the pickle as soon as you are done making it," he agreed to help.

"Sure," Pabi then got back to cooking as he went outside and prepared to cut a pile of firewood outside the house. As a king, who was trained to use a sword, he found it a little weird cutting firewood, but he did not mind doing it because he really liked Pabi and he liked living with her and helping her.

Soon he was done chopping the firewood and brought them back in the kitchen. Pabi had finished making the Lapsi pickle and as promised it to him, she served the first serving to him. King NLB liked the pickle very much. "A little sour and a little sweet, but so yummy," he could not hide his appreciation for Pabi's cooking. He even asked Pabi to teach him how to make the pickle. Pabi gently smiled.

Days passed by; King NLB was enjoying every moment of his new life and seemed to have forgotten everything else. It had already been a month since he had started living with her. Living as a commoner, he had forgotten that he was also a king.

One morning, he woke up early and sat next to Pabi in front of her bed waiting for her to wake up. Pabi soon woke up and noticed him sitting beside her bed.

"Huh! NLB, what happened?" Pabi had never seen NLB waiting for her like that beside her bed.

"Pabi, all these days I spent with you, you have been wonderful," King NLB was not sure how to explain the things to Pabi, "but I was in a journey and I need to go back to where I came from."

Pabi was shocked; she had also started to like NLB and the thought of him leaving her made her very sad. "But if you go, I will be all alone here and very lonely," Pabi said and begged, "please don't go; I want to be with you."

"I am so sorry, Pabi. I have to go now, but I will come back for you," King NLB said, "I will definitely come back for you."

Leaving Pabi behind and making her feel sad, he then left her house and started making his way toward his castle.

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