“Another visitor for you, Princess Izdihar,” came the voice of her servant, Fayez.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Izdihar snapped. “What will it be this time... runaway camels, wars over wells... or maybe you just want to -”
Izdihar opened the door and with a breath of relief saw her best friend standing there. She nodded to the servant and they went into Izdihar’s chamber.
“Oh, Shahrazad...” Izdihar fell into an embrace with the other girl.
“Izdihar, what’s wrong?” Shahrazad sat her down and looked into her eyes.
Izdihar’s eyes watered, blurring the image of her friend, in her plain sari, her hair loose in waves around her face. She wiped her eyes and met Shahrazad’s gaze. Her friend’s black eyes blazed with concern.
“I’m so worried,” said Izdihar. “Adviser Sayyid...”
“What about him? What’s that evil -?” She broke off at the look on Izdihar’s face.
“He...” The princess’s voice was a choked whisper. “He’s going to propose to me. I know it.”
Shahrazad stared at her friend, her mouth slightly open in horror.
“The way he was looking at me...” Izdihar buried her face in her hands. “What can I do when he does?”
“It’s alright,” said Shahrazad, standing up and starting to pace up and down the room. “Your father will surely be back any day now.”
“I’m scared though,” said Izdihar. “He’s never been gone for this long before. What if...?”
Shahrazad sat back down next to her and held her hands, looking into her eyes. Her mouth was set in a familiar determined line. “Has your father ever let this kingdom down before?”
“King Basir will return soon, and he won’t let Adviser Sayyid marry you. In the meantime, you just have to hold your own for a little longer.”
“Thanks, Shahrazad. You’re right. Father will know what to do.”