RITUPARNA and Nala flew to Damayanti’s svayamvara, their chariot speeding through the air. Rituparna promised Nala he would teach him his skill at dice. Later, at King Bhima’s court, Damayanti was shocked to view the misshapen charioteer Vahuka (Nala in disguise) and wondered what he knew of her husband. Her maid reported to her Vahuka’s amazing powers; how he could light a fire with a wave of his hand and make a withered branch bloom again with fresh flowers. Damayanti asked her maid to take some ingredients to Vahuka; when the food returned, one taste of it was enough to convince her that Vahuka must indeed be her husband.
So she summoned Vahuka and asked him directly if he had ever left his wife alone in a dark forest. Vahuka wept and answered that it was indeed him but he was forced to act as he was possessed by an evil spirit. That spirit had caused him to gamble away everything he cared about. Nala felt ashamed at his cowardice and asked Damayanti to marry Rituparna as he was handsome, rich and talented. But Damayanti refused and said she was prepared to reconcile with him as he was her true husband, even though he was now so hideously deformed. Suddenly they heard heavenly music in the sky and Damayanti and Vahuka were showered with petals as they embraced. Vahuka lost his ugliness and was transformed into the handsome and smiling Nala once again.
Rituparna was delighted at the happiness of the couple and forgot his sorrow at losing Damayanti. As promised, he began to teach Nala the secret of winning at dice. Later the happy couple returned to Nishadha, where Nala’s evil brother Pushkara had his abode. Pushkara was not at all happy at seeing Nala again and asked him to return to the forest, where he had his home. But Nala challenged him again to a game, and assured him should he lose, he could have Damayanti. On seeing Damayanti, Pushkara could not contain his lust and agreed heartily, with an arrogant confidence at his own skill at dice. They played and Pushkara began losing rapidly. When he had lost everything, he cursed Nala heartily, and began to flee from the court. Ever gracious, Nala called him back and gave him an allowance and a fine house in the city where Pushkara lived bitterly till the end of his days. Nala and Damayanti reigned in contentment and soon had children too to share in their happiness.