The spies, deputed by Duryodhana return to Hastinapura and report 'Maharaja! We searched the forests and could not find them. Having heard that the chariots were taken to Dvaravati, we looked there, but no sign of either the Pandavas or Draupadi! But we have some good news! Keechaka who conquered the land of Trigarta is dead, killed by gandharvas in the night. What do we do next? We await your orders.'
Duryodhana goes silent for a while and then says, 'It is difficult to decide what to do next. If the pandavas complete the year, they will surely be here, full of anger. But if we expose them before the year, they will be forced to swallow their anger and go back to the forest!' then asks the assembled courtiers 'Give me your suggestions!'
Karna suggests sending a better group to search more thoroughly. Dussasana supports the suggestion, but adds, 'They could have been killed by the wild animals or must have sailed the seas. You need not worry about them any more'. Drona reacts differently, does not believe that the pandavas are dead, 'Pandavas are brave and intelligent, with Arjuna taking care of them, they cannot be dead. They are just waiting for the period to end. You can try to locate them, but they will not be found.'
Bheeshma concurs with Drona, 'They are not dead, they are waiting for the period of the oath to end. Their dharma will protect them, others will not be able to discover them. I will tell you what I think. Wherever Yudhisthira lives, people will be without jealousy, followers of dhrama, yagna and yaaga will be performed, there will good rains and good harvest, fruits will be sweet, flowers fragrant, cattle will be healthy and yeild a lot of milk. People will be happy and they would be hiding in such a place. I cannot think of anything else. If you believe this, I suggest you take a suitable action!'
Guru Kripa advises, 'Keep searching! But I also suggest we prepare for the expected eventualities. We should not underestimate even the ordinary enemies. Then what should one say about the very skilled pandavas? They are in hiding now, but they are bound to come out into the open. You need to collect people around you and accumulate wealth to face them. You must decide and act, only then will you be able to meet their challenge.'
The king of Trigartha, Susharma, tries to avenge his earlier defeats from the Virata king. 'Keechaka, the chief of their army is now dead, killed for his misdeeds by a gandharva. The king is now weak and helpless. If you agree let us attack. His country is known to be wealthy. We can plunder their riches. We can attack the country piece by piece or go directly to his capital and steal all his cattle. Force him to accede or destroy his army conquer his kingdom. This will make you stronger'.
Karna supports the idea! Duryodhana agrees and calls his younger brother Dussasana and tells him 'Consult the elders and collect an army. Let all of us go. Let Susharma go with Trigartha army and attack Virata and capture the cows. We will follow a day later.'
Author Kamala's version gives Duryodhana the credit of analysing, Keechaka's death and Bheeshma's opinion that wherever Yudhisthrira lives would be a place of prosperity, and concluding that the most likely place for Pandavas to hide would be Virata and deciding to attack Virata.