Life in the Castle

Despite the fact that Adrian lay dying in the sickroom, castle life went on. Alexander served his duties to the kingdom, guards refused to allow Imelda exit the cell, and Zahra switched constantly between assisting Adrian - which she could only stand a few minutes of before nearly passing out - and aimlessly wandering the castle grounds.

It would seem that everyone needs Adrian to stay alive, Zahra mused to herself. Running her hand along the intricately designed fence that lined the path on which she walked, Zahra finally allowed despair to overtake her heart.

The day crawled on.

Still caged inside the castle walls, Zahra forced herself to keep her sanity. Yet no matter what she did, all she wanted was to leave the castle and its stuffy inhabitants for just a moment. The outside world called. Perhaps she could find something to help the knight.

The sky was just beginning to darken when Zahra looked up at the castle gates and saw Alexander conversing with one of the guards. Even though she was quite a distance away from the prince, Zahra could tell that Alexander was having a difficult time focusing on the situation at hand. He's probably being driven crazy with worry.

Prince Alexander looked down and saw Zahra watching. He gave a slight nod of acknowledgement, and Zahra, who was still reeling from that day's kiss, glanced away. Her face burned with an emotion she could not label.

Adrian is out there dying, and here I am, blushing like a schoolgirl over a man I couldn't possibly respect less.

When Zahra looked back up, the prince was no longer watching her.

Slightly disappointed and frustrated with herself for being so, Zahra turned and headed back toward the dungeons. There was no use wandering around when she could not keep her mind from things of a most intolerable nature.

But when Zahra reached her cell, she saw Imelda's inquisitive eyes. No doubt the younger sister would ask what was so troublesome. In her unwillingness to tell Imelda why she was bothered, Zahra stalked back out of the cell and entered the sickroom. She knelt beside Adrian for the umpteenth time that day. Sighing, she pressed her forehead against Adrian's hand and allowed herself a moment's rest.

Finally, the wearied prisoner whispered, "You simply have to get better, Adrian. I absolutely cannot take much more of this."

The End

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