While she awaited his response, the wedding preparations were going full steam ahead. Because she had shirked her duties in order to read, the previous week, this week she was extremely busy. She was dragged from one dress fitting to another, to a luncheon with the court ladies, to welcoming the guests which had started arriving. It was in this hectic atmosphere that one guest arrived who she had been waiting impatiently. Her elder brother Ahmer and his wife Afshan were here. Ahmer, being the crown prince had been touring the nation for the last two years, building alliances and gathering support while also getting to know his people. His wife Afshan, Gul’s dearest friend had of course accompanied him.
She had known Afshan for 12 years, ever since she came to serve as handmade to the princess. They had not got along that well at first, Afshan was always, the first to finish her embroidery plates, the first to understand a new concept in political theory lessons, the first to complete any assigned work and generally she had been intimidating perfect and cold. She was praised by all the adults and held up as an example for the rest of us, while shunned by the other girls for her serious demeanor.
Gul on the other hand had been constantly surrounded by sycophants, whom she escaped in order to keep company with her brother and his friends. She had always made friends with boys more easily and after her lessons, Gul tended to give the sycophants the slip, joining the boys in their mock sword fights. It so happened that one day Gul had disappeared a little earlier than usual eager to join the boys in a horse race, and the Governess had been looking for her to discuss her latest needlepoint.
The Governess sent the impeccable Afshan to find the princess, and Afshan being rather intelligent and not unobservant, had realized that Gul was usually with the Prince’s retinue. Afshan made short work of finding the princess, but she was afraid of horses and unwilling to approach her directly. She turned to the nearest boy and said politely, “Dear Sir, if you would be kind enough to assist me, I would be most grateful if you would alert the Princess Anousheh that one of her household requires her presence.”
The Prince snorted at her formality and looking her up and down,ignored her contemptuously, having no patience for what he saw as brown-nosing. Afshan was a little bewildered and annoyed at this obvious dismissal, and tried to gain his attention once more.
“My good sir, if I may, it is a matter of the utmost importance that I speak to the princess at once.” She addressed him.
The Prince turned his steely gaze on her once more, unused to even his non verbal orders being gainsaid. “No you may not, if you want to speak with Gul, you’ll have to step on the field yourself.” he sneered.
“But Sir-”, tried Afshan, having never been met with such hostility in return for politeness before.
“But nothing,it is not my duty to help you if you are too lazy to do your own work. How you can expect others to jump to do your bidding, I don’t understand. I wonder how such an arrogant, presumptuous, lazy and incompetent bootlicker, ever got invited the palace in the first place.” he retorted scathingly.
Now, Afshan, having never met or even seen the Prince up close, had not realized to whom she was speaking. After hearing this she…
To be continued…