Rama, Sita, and Lakshman wander through the jungle for about ten years before anything really big happens. Sure, they kill some demons, meet some major saints, learn a lot of lessons, but to a modern audience this is boring, and for a modern writer difficult to transcribe. So we'll just say that they have a lot of fun travelling through the woods. Everywhere they go the ground becomes softer, the grass kinder and the water sweeter. They are incarnations of the divine, after all. The have no worries, no stresses, just day after day of finding food, eating it, singing and laughing. Money does not pass through their hands. Only berries, wild meat, and the root and mushroom soups that Sita cooks seasoned with the herbs she gathers.
Life is good for them, suffice it to say. One day they find a particularly nice area of grassland with a river running through it and a fine stretch of trees and decide to build a house and settle down there. They've gone far enough from Ayodhya, they agree. Rama and Lakshman cut down some trees, Sita weaves some leaves together for a roof. Most likely they're chanting some sacred hymn.
It's sweaty work so Rama and Lakshman take off their shirts. A demoness, Surpanakha by name, sees them and thinks Rama is unavoidably attractive. So she comes and says something lewd, and of course Lakshman says something rude in response. Pretty soon they're fighting, a pretty standard demon fight except that she's a pretty lady demon, so they don't kill her. Rama shoots off her nose.
As it happens this demoness is the sister to the Emperor of the Ten Worlds. She flies home, holding her face where her nose used to be, and lodges an informal complaint with her brother. "Rama cut off my nose!" She screams as she runs through the marble halls into his throne room. "To spite my face, he cut off my nose! You're my brother, do something."
"Let me see." He says affectionately, moving her hands away from the scar. "Oh, that's hideous." He laughs with tender amusement and pity.
"Everyone get out!" She shrieks and runs around beating guards and petitioners until they leave, splashing blood everywhere in the process.
When they are alone he asks, "Who did this again?"
"Rama! His name was Rama. I know exactly where he is. He was building a house. I want to rip all of his limbs off of his body then bite off both his heads!" Ravana's hysterical sister wails. "And his wife, I will eat her oversized eyes!"
"Enough, enough. Calm down. A doctor will see to you. You won't look any worse. Your nose was a little big before. A simple procedure. This man you want me to kill has probably done you a favor."
"Rama cut off my nose!"
"Rama? Why does that name sound so familiar?" The Demon King puzzles through his memories. There are a lot of names in there collected through a very long life.
While he is distracted she reaches up and pinches his nose in two fingers, as though about to steal it from a child, "Because he cut off my nose!"
He brushes her hand away. "Go! Out woman! To the doctor. You are giving me a headache." And he pushes her out of the room. Seeing her leave, his attendants return.
"This Rama may be an actual problem, your majesty. If you were to take care of it, not only would your sister be pleased with you, but you could save yourself some headaches in the future." His uncle Maricha advises.
Vibhishana, Ravana's brother, cuts in before Ravana can reply, "Rama is the heir to the Kingdom of Ayodhya, your majesty. He is a very skilled archer and even knows some magic spells. You have heard of him because he has been slaying your fiercest warriors along with their dukes and lords everywhere he goes. The story, as I understand it, is that he was banished by his father and his younger brother was made king instead. This story caught my attention because it is said that instead of ruling for himself, his brother has put the man--this Rama's--shoes on the throne. I simply could not understand it. I have not gone to investigate myself because the kingdom is in a region that has slipped from your control. It would not be--"
Ravana cuts him off, sharply, "Slipped from my control? The universe is in my control. His name is Rama? Does he travel alone?"
"No, my lord, he is with his brother and his wife."
"A wife? Is she attractive? Yes, I believe Surpa mentioned a woman with... eyes that were too big?" He strokes his long mustache diabolically. "Surely this will be an interesting hunt!"
"You understand that to bed another man's wife, particularly a king's wife, Ravana--Lord Ravana--it is bad karma. Nothing good can come of it. Sure, fight the man. Sure, kill the man. But think nothing of his wife. That is my advice as your humble brother."
"You are not here as my brother, Vibhishan."
"I am always your brother, dear lord."
"I mean you are not here." Ravana scowls slightly at his brother. He barks, "Out! You've told me enough and you've overstepped yourself alongside it. Take your steps to the garden. And send for some tea while you're at it. Maricha, we have planning to do."
So he plans with Maricha, who like many demons can change his form at will, to pay Rama a visit. Maricha is to change himself into a beautiful stag and lure Rama and Lakshman away while Ravana steals Sita.
In Part Five - Monks Monkeys and Kings: The story finally takes off.