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PostPosted: Wed May 4, '11, 12:21 pm
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Prince Na’il and Mah, now dressed as his nurse once more, knelt before the Rajah of Divya and paid reverence to him. The king, recognizing his guest as the prince of Landan, smiled and bid his two guests arise.

“So, my dear Prince Na’il, to what do we owe the honor of the presence of the heir to the Landan throne?” asked the Rajah genially.

“Your majesty, we have come on a delicate mission.”

Stroking the long, black hairs that sprouted out of his chin, the Rajah replied, “Oh? Please go on.”

“By order of Sayyida Layla, the Fairy Queen, we have come to ask you to free Aliyah, Princess of Dalia.”

The Rajah grew livid at Na’il’s bold request. “Release Aliyah? Why would I want to do that?”

“My lord, if she is not released soon, great calamities will fall upon Divya and quite possibly my own kingdom.”

The Rajah laughed Na’il to scorn. “What sort of disasters are you suggesting?”

The prince looked at his feet and shook his head. “Forgive me, your majesty. I know not. I have simply been sent here on Layla’s errand to deliver Aliyah.”

“Liar!” retorted the Rajah. “You have come here to steal the source of my country’s newfound prosperity! You have come here with eyes full of greed and envy. You have come here as prince, but are in fact a common thief! Guards, show Prince Na’il how we treat thieves in our country.”

A trio of guards armed with scimitars surrounded Na’il and Mah, taking the prince’s own sword away and shoving them out of the Rajah’s presence. The prince and his nurse went along willingly to wherever the dungeon was. As they approached a sinister-looking stone staircase that led into the bowels of the earth, the ground began to tremble. The guards stopped to look around, frightened so much that they had become as pale as the clouds on a warm summer afternoon.

Suddenly, one of the castle walls collapsed into a heap of strewn rubble. Na’il and Mah acted quickly. The prince lunged forward, slamming his shoulder into one of the guards, knocking him off balance. Mah threw her dress up, blocking the other guards’ vision while thrusting her leg into the both men’s secrets, causing them to fall to the ground, howling in pain. Several punches later, all three men were laid out on the ground.

Na’il and Mah grabbed the men’s weapons and slipped into the shadows to hide from the scores of guards who went to investigate the destruction of the palace wall. As the voluminous clouds of dust began to settle, a lone figure stepped down from the pile of debris. It was Shahren, the golem, who lumbered slowly in the direction of the frightened men, some of whom took off in flight at the sight of the powerful mud creature. Others called for their comrades-in-arms to charge him, their assegai pointed forward, ready to gore the golem on impact.

Shahren knelt down and began picking up huge hunks of the wall and hurl them at the soldiers. The Rajah’s men scrambled in all directions beneath the deadly rain of brick and dried mortar. Several of them braved the golem’s defense and, running up the hill of cement, tried to engage the golem in personal combat. To the guards’ horror, their powerful spears snapped like brittle twigs when they struck Shahren’s sculpted mud armor. With a powerful blow with his rock-like forearm, he sent men flying to the ground below. He seized a third man and, lifting him high above his head, hurled him forward like a child throws his toy ball.

While the guards were being driven away, Na’il struck up eye contact with Shahren. He made a quick gesture with his head that he and Mah were about to descend into the dungeon. The golem nodded in understanding and continued his onslaught against the guards. One of the soldiers, however, spotted Na’il poking his head out of the shadows. The guard raised his voice in alarm, but before he could warn his comrades, an arrow-like bolt of light shot out of Na’il’s robes and struck the man, causing him to faint on the spot.

“Thank you, Layla al-Saghira,” said the prince to the tiny girl who hid within his robes. “I am forever in your debt.”

Mah grabbed the prince by the arm and dragged him to the staircase. “Hurry, my lord, let us descend before the other soldiers see us.”

They ran quickly down the stairs, which led into a long corridor marked by the oppressive stench of human filth. Hearing voices echoing throughout the hall, they stepped back up to the last bend in the staircase. Mah immediately began removing her trousers and pulling down her blouse, leaving her bra exposed. She then tore the sides of her skirt-like outer garment until her legs were exposed. Gesturing for Na’il to wait, she stepped back into the corridor and made her way to the source of the voices.

The flame-haired nurse found herself face to face with a trio of prison guards, who sat at a table drinking goblets of wine while telling jokes amongst themselves. They quickly noticed the entrance of the scantily-clad Mah and, laughing to themselves, lifted their goblets in a toast.

“And what is a beautiful maiden like you doing in a place like this?” one of them asked.

Mah feigned a giggle. “The captain of the guard sent me to entertain you as a reward for your ceaseless service and merit in guarding Aliyah.”

One of the men slammed his fist on the table, startling Mah, who nonetheless kept her façade. “Then entertain us! Lead us on no longer!”

The red haired maiden nodded and began to dance. She was encouraged by the three men clapping their hands and stopping their feet. Mah threw her arms into the air and let them fall slowly and rhythmically, letting twisting her hands from side to the other in a slow, but seductive manner. The men’s eyes were soon fixed on hypnotic movements her hips and her belly made.

She drew closer to one of the men and beckoned for him to join her. The man, grinning madly, got up and started to move his body to Mah’s pace. Lifting her arms into the air, she lowered them, brushing her hands lightly against the man’s face. Suddenly, she swung her elbow and smashed it into the man’s temple, causing him to slump down onto the table. The other two men reached for their swords, but the nurse was too fast. She spun around, her skirt flying into one man’s face, preventing him from seeing her heel come smashing into to it. Keeping her spinning momentum, she picked up the chair the first guard had been sitting in and swung it in a wide arc, breaking it over the third guard’s head and knocking him unconscious.

Na’il came running into the corridor just in time to see Mah tying the unconscious men up and stashing their bodies in a corner. He found the iron ring with some keys suspended from it hanging from a wooden peg in the wall. The prince grabbed the key ring and removed Layla from his robes, setting the little fairy clone on his shoulders.

“We must hurry, Prince Na’il. Shahren will not be able to hold up the guards much longer,” pleaded the golden-haired homunculus.

“As you say, Layla,” agreed Na’il. “Please direct us to the right cell.”

Walking down the musty corridor at a fast, but meaningful pace, they gazed into the small grated windows that decorated each door in the dungeon. It was finally near the end that Layla exclaimed, “Here! I can feel the presence of alchemy in the walls around us!”

Fumbling through the keys for the right one, Na’il began to feel strange. For a moment, he felt as if he was back in Sayyida Layla’s temple with the powerful fairy queen watching him intensely. He glanced behind him to see Mah standing there, waiting expectantly for him to open the door. Turning his attentions back to the door, he felt a faint, but familiar sensation in his body, the warmth in his body that he felt after eating the moon cake in his dream. His heart began to beat mercilessly against his chest as he turned the doorknob.

The door swung open and Na’il dashed inside. Standing before was a beautiful maiden. Her milky white skin gave off a faint glow, like the full moon showering an open field with its tender light. Her flowing robes were as blue as the sky on a clear summer day. Her hair was the color of bright jade, with two long tresses running down the side of her face tied up in blue silk threads. Her large turquoise eyes melted Na’il’s heart as they gazed first fearfully and then lovingly into his.

Na’il stood speechless in the presence of the princess of Dalia for almost a few minutes before she spoke.

“Who are you?”

Na’il took several steps forward and knelt before her, taking Aliyah’s hand into his and kissing it gently, but passionately. “My dear Aliyah, I am Na'il Sarik bin Rais bin Sa'iki al-Satiri al-Landani. I have come on Sayyida Layla’s errand to rescue you.”

The ethereal beauty smiled. She helped Na’il to his feet and curtsied to him. “I am indeed for your courage. But we cannot talk much more now. The Rajah and his guards will soon be upon us. Come!”

The princess led Na’il out of her cell and into the dungeon corridor. As they moved further and further away from her cell, her body began to give us off a pale blue light. Soon, not only Aliyah’s body, but everbody else’s was glowing as well. Mah and the prince began to feel light and strange, and were slowly enveloped with blue light until they could no longer see the dungeon around them.

When the light dissipated, they found themselves standing on a large grassy plain. The city of Divya was nowhere in sight. To everybody’s surprise, Shahren, who had remained outside to hold back the Divyan soldiers, was standing right next to them, with nary a scratch on his earthen body. Aliyah, who had used her magic to carry them away from the palace, walked up to Na’il and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

“Thank you,” she said. Turning to Mah, Shahren, and to Layla, who sat perched on Mah’s shoulder, she added, “Thank you all for coming to my rescue. Do not be frightened or worried. You are all safe now. The Rajah’s armies shall not find us where we are. My brother will be happy to know that I’m safe. Now please, Prince Na’il, please tell me the tale of how you found me. I am most interested.”

Na’il proceeded to tell Aliyah his tale, starting with the dreams of Layla the Fairy Queen followed his subsequent imprisonment in a tower at the Landana Castle, followed by his and Mah’s flight from the North Country to Aridia, where they found the Layla al-Saghira, after which they came to Elesvaram.

At the end of his story, Na’il reached out and pulled Aliyah’s hand gently to his lips and kissed it lightly. “My dear princess Aliyah, if you would grant your servant such an honor, my friends and I would love to know how you came to be a prisoner of the Rajah of Divya. It must be a fanciful tale, indeed.”

The princess with the jade tresses grinned and sat on the grass. “My dear Prince Na’il, you have judged rightly in saying that my story is a fantastic one. I am indebted to you for your kindness and admire your devotion to Layla, something any other mortal would’ve dismissed as a mere dream. Therefore, let me tell you my own tale and I pray that it fall on believing ears.”

The adventures of Na'il and his companions and the tale of Aliyah will continue in the next story...

Last edited by H-Man on Wed May 4, '11, 12:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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