“Where is Asma?!” screamed a voice, echoing in the great hall.

Everyone who is eating in the great hall turn around to see what the fuss was. The royal family in particular, looked alarmed. Prince Abid actually stopped with a bite halfway to his mouth; his mouth hanging open.

A moment later a fiery haired and rumpled Princess Muqadas walked in holding large swaths of a flowy green fabric in her hands. The princess waved the bunched up fabric in the general direction of the servants table, then said, “Asma, if you don’t appear in the next five seconds I am going to make you eat pickles for the rest of the year!”

“Muqadas!” said the scandalized voice of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Rubina. “please come with me outside the hall.”

“One moment Mother, just as soon as I find that irresponsible maid of mine-” so saying the Princess, hiked up her skirts and rushed off in the direction of the servants tables. “Muqadas!” screeched the Queen, watching her run off in despair. Holding her head in her hands she sighed and said, “What am I going to do with this girl?” Then, turning to her husband she said, “Your Majesty, won’t you please scold your hell raiser of a daughter?”

As the only person in the hall who had unfazed-ly gone on eating, the King simply smiled and said, “Let the girl, have her fun, she is still very young and tomorrow is her betrothal, I am sure she is just nervous.”

“She is sixteen! Other girls her age are already demure and responsible ladies! This is all because you spoil her too much!” exclaimed the Queen in exasperation. The king just smiled mischievously at her, took her hand and kissed it, “I am sorry, my love, I bow to your wisdom.”

“Abid, do be so kind as to find and escort your sister back to her room.” said the King, placating the Queen, knowing that it would take the Crown Prince at least 15 minutes to find her.

The Prince got up, bowed and left to look for his trouble-making sibling.

“Oh, why bother. She gets it from you, after all.” sighed the Queen to the King with a fondly exasperated huff, also knowing that Abid would be too late to prevent the Princess’ plans from playing out.

Meanwhile Abid heads towards the servant tables and asks around about his sister. The servants tell him, that she found Asma and had been seen heading towards the stables.

“Blast it all!” cursed the Prince, knowing that it would be almost impossible to catch her if she managed to mount a horse before he reached there. He ran to the stables, ready for a long day of trying to coral his sister.

To be continued…