A big engagement party is being held for Solor and Gamzatti in the garden of the Rajah’s palace. There are a lot of guests there, and a number of celebratory dances break out. Like, A LOT. These dances feature a bunch of people that don’t really have anything to do with our story. They are also exactly why people hate engagement parties. Solor and Gamzatti do a little pas de deux, and for a minute, you forget that you kinda hate them and stuff.
Nikiya is at the party. (Unfortunately, the performance contract she signed was ironclad.) She is commanded to dance and entertain the guests. She does so because it’s her job, but it’s a pretty somber dance, and she only plays her veena half-heartedly. Also, as she’s dancing she fixes her eyes on Solor, which creates a seriously creepy vibe at the party.
Now remember Aya? Gamzatti’s servant? The Rajah tells her to grab a basket of flowers that he has set aside for Nikiya. Aya presents the bayadère with the basket, which Nikiya believes to be from Solor (mostly because Aya kinda implies that they are).
Nikiya is overjoyed, and the vibe of her dancing goes from seriously creepy to only slightly creepy. Solor is, as always, confused, and begins miming: babe, I didn’t buy those flowers for you, in Nikiya’s general direction. If Nikiya had bothered to check the card, she would have known that the basket was actually from the Rajah and Gamzatti, which might have given her a clue about the deadly snake concealed beneath the blossoms. Alas, Nikiya is holding the basket a little too close to her face, sniffing her pretty flowers, and bam! The snake strikes! A toxic bite is delivered to her neck.
As she’s rolling around on the ground, Nikiya puts two and two together and realizes Gamzatti and/or the Rajah are probably responsible for the venomous blow. Solor tries to help, but the Rajah stops him. Nikiya is writhing and flopping about as the snake’s venom does whatever venom does, and watches as Solor leaves the party with Gamzatti.
I know what you’re thinking: surely, Nikiya won’t die! There are still two more acts in this ballet! Well, the High Brahmin steps forward and offers Nikiya an antidote. Phewf! There is a weeeeeee condition though: he says he’ll only save her life if she will love him forever and ever. So Nikiya dies. Because she’d rather be dead than live without her beloved Solor. And also, she’d rather be dead than live with a dude who keeps forgetting he’s some sort of celibate priest.
So, you were wrong. Nikiya is dead. And if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering a) why the High Brahmin walks around with antidotes in his pocket, and b) how it is that Nikiya can still love that asshat, Solor.
I don’t know what to tell you.