"I swear, you stalk me!" Zahra exclaimed, irritated that her second escape route had failed.
"I stalk you?! As it should be! You're supposed to be a prisoner!"
"Can you fault a woman for going on a walk to clear her mind?"
"Can you fault a knight for making sure his captive doesn't run away?"
Stamping her foot, Zahra gave an angry groan. "Can't I go on a walk? Just one little walk? You've no idea how my day has gone!"
Adrian paused, a contemplative mood flashing across his face. Finally, he turned back to Zahra and raised his eyebrows playfully. "Only if I can go on a walk with you," he said.
Heart fluttering slightly, though she couldn't really say why, Zahra let out an angry sigh. The idea does sound somehow lovely...
Adrian waited, watching the expressions that crossed Zahra's face.
"Fine," Zahra said. "You can come with me. But if you so much as lay a hand on me, you'll wish you'd never been born."
Adrian laughed. "Says the little girl who hardly stands above five feet."
"Says the knight who doesn't know a thing about chivalry!" Zahra huffed, secretly enjoying the banter. She didn't bother to lift her skirts as she walked across the path, even though dirt was beginning to lace her hemline. "You are a pathetic excuse for a knight."
Chuckling, Adrian wasn't the least bit fazed. "Come now, isn't that a bit undeserved?"
"I thought capturing a poor, innocent, hapless young lady for committing a crime she didn't even know existed was more undeserved than anything else."
"Touché," Adrian said, chuckling. "I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that quite often whenever I'm with you."
"Only if you keep saying stupid things."
Adrian laughed again, but Zahra beat him to the word. "Touché," she said. "I'll say it so you don't have to."
The light went out from behind Adrian's eyes, and he stopped. "Sara," he said, voice suddenly low, "what exactly happened today that made you want to go for a walk?"
"I suppose I discovered what a cruel one our prince is," Zahra said quietly, blood running cold at the remembrance of the day's happenings.
Something shifted in Adrian's expression. Looking up at the sky, he shook his head. "That man is digging himself a grave," he said, sounding suddenly weary. He lowered his head and met Zahra's eyes again.
A small lightning bolt crashed in Zahra's chest when she looked into those expressive eyes of Adrian's.
"I want you to be on your guard around him," Adrian finally said.
"Why's that?" Zahra asked softly, trying to make sense of the situation. "Why do you care about what happens to me?"