The next morning Matt poured the rest of what had been dinner onto the smoldering remains of the fire. Although no one else heard Matt blurt out Jihan’s name the night before Omar did and pulled him to the side.

“I have notice that you were showing way too much interest in our Dancer. Be careful my friend she belongs to Lord Asim. To call her by name is a serious lack of discretion. Don’t let it happen again.” Omar saw Matt’s expression and didn’t like it. “You are a stranger here so I pardon you this once. Never use her name around here again if you want to live.” He pulled out a very long knife. “Do I make myself clear?”

The old man grabbed Matt by the collar before he could respond. He dragged him away from Omar and back to their site. “Are you going to kill the whole camp?” Matt turned giving Peters a peculiar look. “Pull yourself together Stewart. You’re not the first man to feel that way about the princess.”

Matt was still shaking. “It was as if something triggered in my mind and I lost control.”

 “See that man over there, the one with no hands. He felt the same way too.”

“You’re just hilarious, aren’t you?”

“You could have taken the whole camp on. Listen to yourself. You weren’t even scared, were you?””

“You’re right I do sound crazy.”

“Like a love-sick puppy dog or one in heat? “We didn’t come here to chase dancers. We’re here to learn about the Khad. Agreed?”

Matt nodded yes. “I’m trying to keep a low profile remember. 

“Good, now put your Johnson back in your pants.”

“How much further to the Village?”

“Didn’t you just say you were keeping a low profile?”

“I got my reasons for going.”

“Which brings us to Jihan. Why are you going to her wedding?”

“The Village?”

“It’s just over that hill.” Peters sat back.

“Aren’t you coming?”

“No, unlike you I can’t keep a low profile.” He starts to roll a smoke. Matt stopped him and pulled out some fresh cigars from his pack and handed them to him. “For me? You’re okay for a crazy man.” The old man lit one of the cigars, took a long drag, and savored it.

“Anyway, thanks old man.” Matt headed up the trail.

Peters took a drag as he watched Matt march up the trail. “Good luck, destiny beckons.”


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