Prince Karim bent down and avoided the blow. He
swiftly somersaulted and retrieved his sword
stuck in the sand. He quickly got back on his
feet, surprising the attacker with his agility.
The attacker could not stay focused for long.
Karim cornered the fellow and tied him up using
his own sash. He knew the attackers were sent by
his father's enemy, his own maternal uncle.
Prince Karim was too far away. He might not be
in time to stop his father's killer-to-be.
So far, he had lost 30 of his men. His best
friend, Zoha, lay injured in the market. He spat
out the camel milk in frustration and looked at
his horse for some form of direction. "Tell me,
boy! Can we do this?" he asked. The loyal animal
neighed a response and trotted forward towards
its master, nuzzling his cheek gently. Karim
wore his cloak and climbed onto his horse. He
sped out into the desert, hoping to reach his
kingdom before the light faded and rescue his
father. His mother had always warned him and his
father about her brother, but they never knew he
would really betray them.
Sameera turned around and saw the vague
outline of a horse and its rider speeding at a
wild pace towards the lake. She continued to
wash her clay pot before submerging it fully
into the lake. She took her time, delaying her
actions so as to satisfy her curiosity. "Who'd
ride into a sandstorm on purpose?" she wondered
aloud. Before long, the horse and the man came
to a halt directly behind her.
Prince Karim had carefully veiled his face to
prevent recognition as well as for protection
from the dust the horse swept up with its speed.
He took one long look at Sameera's shabby
clothes and assumed she would know the shortcut
through Beggar's Creek.
"Pardon me, Miss, but would you by any chance
be familiar with the route to Beggar's Creek?"
he asked. In her hastiness to get up, Sameera
accidentally tugged at her face veil. It dropped
to the ground. Karim stared at her, mesmerised.