Forty-OneMature

That night Sayyid was caught trying to escape and Basir sentenced him to death. It was the only way of ensuring his daughter and his kingdom were safe from his former adviser. Mazin and a couple more of his guards, who tried to help him, were imprisoned. However most of the guards had no loyalty towards Sayyid and there was no more trouble once Sayyid was dead. Some returned to King Basir’s employ. “They just wanted to be part of the winning side,” said Basir to Izdihar.

            A week after Basir’s arrival, everyone gathered to see off the army from over the mountains. King Basir thanked them in their own language. “I hope this will not be the end of the link of friendship between our two peoples,” he said, to them and then to the onlookers. The huge crowds cheered as the small army made their way waving through the streets and out of the gates into the desert, with a small group of camels laden with packs.

            The city gradually returned to normal. The conversion from royal tower to school was reversed easily; little had been changed. It appeared that the men in charge had been sleeping in the royal quarters, with cooks, other teachers and the children in the servants or guards’ quarters. Some rooms had been turned into classrooms. The workbooks found there had been burned; the children seemed to have been learning about Sayyid's supreme power and divine right to rule. The king’s taxes were temporarily suspended after Basir confiscated Sayyid’s hoard of gold, and the topmost floor of his tower was destroyed, while a long thin spire was placed at the top of their own. The life of the city came back to its streets and walkways, once again filled with cheerful hustle and bustle.

Basir set up a scheme to help anyone left in trouble after Sayyid’s regime, of which Faruq was put in charge. Some had been badly hurt by his tax-collectors or had their homes all but destroyed in worse versions of what had happened to Shihab. Shahrazad bumped into Shihab and Amani not long after and was pleased to find that they looked elated. Faruq had managed to return the engagement ring Shihab had never had a chance to give to Amani, and she was wearing it proudly.

There was an atmosphere of celebration in the city as they prepared for the next big event; the marriage of Princess Izdihar to one of her father’s men.

The End

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