Hanging by a Thread
I thought we were friends.
At least, that's what I thought.
I though she would listen to me.
What did I do?
I thought I was her friend, her companion, her buddy. I was certain that she'd at least take the time to say goodbye.
Ever since I met her, I hung around her a lot. And she wouldn't mind. She would just shrug it off. Of course, she was always annoyed, one way or another. I knew I should've been acting more mature for my age, but...I don't know.
She didn't mind.
She never minded at all.
Even when I got myself into trouble, or her into trouble, or the other Desert Scarabs into trouble, practically killing ourselves...
We'd hang around the other scarabs, with Horace, with Jenna, with Zack...we'd all be happy. Our harsh words were all jokes, and if they were honest, that was just because that was our style, to be low. We had no real leader, though the one we usually trusted most was her.
There was something about her that was honorable. She was spunky, she was tough, she was smart. She wasn't like the prissy Princess Amira, who we always taunted behind her back. She acted more like a boy. She was swift, she was sly, and she was agile.
And she was caring.
It was like she herself was a princess...a unique one.
One time I even joked about this. "I have brought you some royal Ummagines, your Alluring Majesty," I said regally, bending down on one knee and presenting her with the odd fruit.
She smirked and took one from my hands. "Oh, shut up, Tomos," she said, biting into the purple stuff. She swallowed. "You know I'm not like the princess in Sakhmet."
"Oh yes," I said, continuing my mocking as I sat next to her on the walltops of somebody's house. "You are much more bossier and much more craftier."
She rolled her eyes and gave me a shove, meant to be horseplay, but rough. I laughed.
Secretly, I always though of Nabile as a princess. She was as beautiful as one, with those rich, beaded clothes she once stole, now slightly worn out. Time brought onto me where I've managed to take a liking to her. I always wanted to tell her that I liked her, but I didn't want to. Knowing Nabile, she was unpredictable. I always thought that my joking would eventually hint to her, "Look at me! I am soooo into you!"
But I guess it never did.
For instead, when that stupid cursed suitor strode into Sahkmet, we even mocked him ourself. And then he went back to that city, what was it called? Qasala, right.
"Looks like Amira has another suitor," Nabile snickered. "Not a bad pick at that."
I scoffed and shook my head with a smirk. Girls. I decided to follow him, since, of course, the suitors were all rich princes, right?
Tell that to the dead city we landed smack dab in.
It was dead, completely dead. We finally found something worthwhile, with magnificant weapons and treasure of all sorts! It was like a dream come true. Since Nabile was into books and all that useless scrollery, she was more interested in that. While she read some ancient tablets with legendary language I forget the complicated name of, I looked among the shiny treasure.
"These are so beautiful," she whispered, and she ran her fingers gently through the carved stone. I watched her intently. She was a puzzle, one that was intriguing. "If only I knew what they meant."
She pulled out a scrap of paper and a quill and began scribbling them down, trying to decipher them somehow. I told you she was smart. She stole books from the rich libraries of Sakhmet, so I expected her to know this stuff. I even tried reading through some of those books. I was deeply puzzled about the books, the books that told about people living happily ever after, and the others, where there were no happy endings...
I thought all stories end in happy endings.
When she was done, she turned to me, and I saw that her eyes were filled with pity and sorrow, something I have never really seen in her before. "This is such a sad tale," she had said softly.
Of course, I was interested in the treasure more, but her...I'd listen to what she'd have to say. "This had better be important," I replied, walking into the room.
She turned and nodded at the tablets, looking at the scrap of paper in here hand. "'Once, a noble prince, Jazan of Qasala, was struck by a terrible curse'," she read. "'One night his entire city was transformed into a thing of nightmares. His people became monsters. None were spared.'"
Her voice cracked as she continued on. "'Jazan was doomed to live a tortured existence, until he weds the Princess of Sakhmet. When true love unites, Qasala will live again.'"
I scoffed and rolled my eyes. Why they loved all this love fluff was unknown to me. "Sounds like a load of mushy rot to me!" I retorted, walking away. "Trust you to waste your time on a silly little love story. Now, come see this!"
But I couldn't get it out of my head. Nabile...she sounded passionate, as though she actually loved this Jazan guy. It happened later after we got in trouble yet again; I just had to pick up that ring at release some kind of evil spirit onto Borovan knows what, then to make matters worse, nearly get impaled in a spike pit.
Nabile saved us, of course. "Don't go picking up anything else," she told me. "Goodness knows what might happen to us."
I gave a sheepish grin and found my face turning hot. She turned at me again, desperate. "According to those tablets, there was a prince named Jazan who fell under a terrible curse," she explained. "He must be the guy trying to marry Princess Amira." She stood up. "Let's go back to the library. We have to find a way to lift the curse and free both Jazan and Sakhmet."
When we went back to the library, she was furiously skimming through the tablets and scrolls. Great Thyora, she was obsessed with him! I even mocked her relentlessly. This was stupid. She was in love with a, oh, legendary and all-powerful misunderstood prince!
She just shook her head and stared unimpressed at me. Earlier, I had stared at her through the ring I found. So pretty, she was so pretty...
Then we were transported to Sakhmet. I saw Princess Amira, her eyes wide as Weewoo eggs. I saw that stupid Jazan that Nabile was making a ridiculous fuss about. And then I saw Sakhmet, being engulfed in flames, and I couldn't believe my eyes. Nabile was in love with a madman who was trying to destroy our beloved city!
I realized later after we were separated and trapped in different places that she might try to stop him...even marry him!
I couldn't let this happen.
I had to stop her, before it was too late.
I escaped, and I ran.
I ran from the monsters destroying Sakhmet. I ran from the undead guards, who were after me. I ran. I ran for the sake of Nabile and for the sake of Sakhmet, for somehow, this was wrong, this was very wrong.
And I stopped.
For she was up there already, her hair down, dressed up in an elaborate dress. She was stunning and radiant, like I always saw her.
And right next to her was Jazan.
I understood. They were both in wedding clothes. From the sides, everybody was shocked, but they were all happy. They were all smiling, grateful that their people and his people were saved.
"Nabile, no!" I cried, reaching out and trying to get through the crowd. "Don't do it!"
She didn't hear me.
Nobody heard me.
They all ignored me. Some of them glanced at my direction, with glances of, "What are you, crazy? Shut up, boy!" They all focused on the ceremony, and I felt a horrible feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach, one I hated oh so much.
And then she turned with Jazan and exited.
The feeling intensified. I wanted to cry out again, to tell her that what she was doing was wrong, but all I could manage was to croak. I was at a complete loss of words.
Sakhmet was saved. Qasala could have the chance to live again. Jazan's curse would be lifted and he would be redeemed. Everybody was happy, so why shouldn't I be?
Because I lost something even more important that Sakhmet, or Qasala, or a curse. And now I understood the stories, where there were no happy endings.
Life was not a happy ending.
Nabile had just left me there, standing wide-eyed like an idiot, wondering what she was doing. She just left.
Just like that.
And at that moment, I hated it. I hated everything.
I hated Princess Amira. I hated Prince Jazan. I fiercely wished that the monsters truly would've destroyed Sahkmet, and that Jazan would've just been destroyed, and not redeemed.
And I hated Nabile.
The moment I realized that, I hated myself. I hated what I was wishing. I hated the hate I was experiencing. I hated how immature I was acting.
And I cried.
Men are not supposed to cry, but I cried. Nobody noticed, not even the Scarabs, who went back out on the streets to resume their thefts. I did see Amira glance my way, and shake her head in pity as she continued walking away, but nobody noticed when they threw me back on the streets.
I was nothing.
Just like I was nothing to Nabile.
When I thought we were friends...