At the request of the pandavas, Shalya the king of Madhra, brother of Madhri, is on his way to meet them accompanied by his children and his large army. Duryodhana comes to know and orders wayside pavilions be built for them to rest and to treat them with great hospitality. King Shalya, immensely pleased, 'Call the people who built these pavilions, I want to reward them.' Duryodhana who was behind the scenes all this while comes forward to claim credit. Shalya very happy embraces him and asks him, 'What can I do for you?' Duryodhan answers 'Uncle, please lead the entire kaurava army!' and Shalya having asked, accepts ! Duryodhana departs, a very happy man.
Shalya then goes on to meet Yudhisthira, embraces him affectionately and recounts what transpired on his way and his promise to Duryodhana. Yudhisthira reacts with, 'It is just as well! But please do us a favor. Vasudeva and you are considered equal in a combat. When the time comes for Karna and Arjuna to fight, you will be required to become Karna's charioteer. Uncle, if you have any regard for me, you should protect Arjuna! You must destroy Karna's confidence. I know it should not be done, but do it for us!'
Shalya agrees, 'True! I will attack his ego by arguing with him word to word. It is easier to defeat him if his confidence is low! I will do whatever I can. I know that you have suffered in many ways. All this will end and you will soon be happy. Do not feel bad. It happens even to devatas!' And tells him a story where god Indra and his wife face difficulties and finally overcome them. (The message is that even gods get into trouble!)