Zahra stood at the window and looked out over the castle grounds.
From somewhere near her prison cell, the sound of a violin drifted out and over the courtyard. Shrines that honored the gods of old were scattered all throughout the grounds. If Zahra remembered correctly, Alexander was not a believer in the ancient religion of Avana, but his father was highly religious.
Candles were lit in the distance. Zahra had once wandered over in that direction, but she had immediately been ushered away. She had gone too far and had unknowingly entered the place where the king's harem and lesser wives lodged.
It's no wonder that the prince's personal life is in shambles. His father never practiced moral decency.
With a soft sigh, Zahra allowed her gaze to drift over in the direction of where the prince himself dwelled. Had it only been recently that she had stood on his balcony, allowing him to comfort her? Yes, and it had been that very morning that the knight had arrived from Cor in such terribly health.
Heart aching with both concern for Adrian and confusion due to Alexander, Zahra clenched the sill of the window with both hands, trying not to allow her mind to wander to negative assumptions, assumptions such as I'll never leave this place or Adrian will never recover.
One unwanted thought, however, trumped them all.
Should I ever leave this place, I am glad to have the prince's kiss upon my lips.
Completely unsettled by the errant thought, Zahra turned from the window and glanced over at where Imelda sat in the corner, finger-combing her hair and watching her sister. Neither said a word for a very long time.
Finally, Imelda broke the silence. "You're really bothered by all this day's events, aren't you?"
Uncomfortable, Zahra didn't quite know what to say. Yes, her life had been forever changed since coming to stay as a prisoner. Who could have known that destiny would be so cruel?
Without a word's worth of response to her sister's inquiry, Zahra turned and left the cell.