That night was a restless one.

Zahra tossed and turned, unable to lay aside the events of the day. Beside her, Imelda had drifted off to sleep. Jealous of her sister's slumber, Zahra stood and stalked over to the small window in the cell. What am I doing here? Alexander told me I could go home. So what keeps me back?

What was it that kept Zahra from returning to her family? The Prince had given her permission to return to her home. 

Could it have possibly been the knight that convinced Zahra to stay? Or, it couldn't have been the Prince. Zahra would never stay at the castle for the Prince's sake.

Closing her eyes, Zahra leaned against the wall and shook her head. Why must I be cast into the middle of this? Is it too much to ask for a normal life? 

"If I am a woman of honor," Zahra said softly, "then I would return to my family. My mother is ill; my entire family is probably worried sick about my absence. I've got to go home. I've got no choice."

As she had come with no belongings, Zahra was ready to leave within minutes. She knew the general way back to Cor; in any case, she had a good sense of direction and could find her way home from anywhere. The only problem was the lack of safety in Cor, especially during the night. But no matter. Zahra couldn't be kept from her family a moment longer.

Goodness knew that too much time had already been wasted.

Sneaking around the castle was an easy thing to do, especially since Zahra had been doing it constantly ever since her arrival. Glancing down the darkened corridors, Zahra flattened herself against the wall and forced herself to breathe deeply.

This will be your most important escape yet, Zahra.

Tiptoeing down the corridor, Zahra grimaced at every audible footfall. Yet soon enough she had sneaked her way into the hallway which led to the sickroom. Zahra simply had to see the knight before she left.

The sickroom door had been closed, save a small crack through which Zahra would be able to peep into the room. Peering through the crack, Zahra saw the knight's chest rise and fall. So he was still breathing; that was always a good thing.

And then, the doctor stepped over to the door and closed it, leaving Zahra without another glimpse of Adrian before she left.

Trying to shrug the matter away as though it had no weight on her emotions, Zahra turned and headed for the castle wall.

The End

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