I’m getting better, she thought.
“We shall resume the narration of the story of the beautiful Candace of Meroe?” he crooned, his sing-song voice betraying a bearing of sheer boredom.
Nala’s fingers twitched, envisioning plunging her dagger again and again.
“Alexander coveted the lands south of the Oasis of Siwa,” Nala continued, sprinting towards him, feinting a lazy punch he deftly dodged. “The Queen could not let the Roman army…” Nala crouched and thrust her foot between his legs. He leapt, avoiding yet another attack, and Nala rolled across the floor. “….invade her kingdom.”
Finally, she thought as she retrieved her dagger. She jumped to her feet and launched, kicking away from the ornate bed. She tucked her arms in, clutching the dagger to her breast. She twisted midair, and landed behind him, brandishing her dagger once again.
With a calm that infuriated Nala, the man reached out and clasped her forearm, and twisted her arm behind her back. Her momentum, however, had not abated and he fell on his back, Nala still locked in his grip.
“She rode atop her war elephant, positioning her armies strategically, and…”
Nala fell silent, panting softly, as the story failed to breach her lips. Her body glistened with sweat and she realized if it weren’t for the dagger pressed to her back, a different scenario could be gleaned from a casual observer. There faces were inches apart, seemingly caught in each others gravity. She was the moon caught in his influence. She breathed hard and their breath comingled, her body heaving to drink in life.
Their eyes locked, and Nala realized, that like the moon, she was forced to look upon him, she examined the scene below – irises that defied definition, smooth skin, tanned and flawless. She scanned the contours of his face from the outline of his full lips to his eyes. Her gaze lit him up as the moon did the Earth.
His eyes conveyed an intelligence and a warmth that welcomed her. She exhausted her words to describe his intense stare – its power unchanged since their first encounter.
“And?” he whispered, ending the hush.
“And Alexander feared the Nubian army and returned to the sea, never to return.”
A few moments of heavy breathing passed and Nala realized his grip had faltered. She swung her arm, and brought the dagger to bear.
He twisted his head and the dagger impacted the wooden floor, tip buried in a gap between two planks. A thin line of blood presented itself from the edge of his ear, a testament to his inattention. He pushed her away, and pulled the dagger from the floor. He examined the dagger and noticed the twinge of red against the metal.
He leaned his head back an laughed. It echoed off the walls and roof. His shoulders shook as his laughter cut through the silence of a moonless night.
Nala was frozen by the clear merriment. She had never heard him laugh before.
In all the time she’d spent with him, he maintained an aloof expression of indifference. He slipped in the occasional scowl or smirk, but primarily, it was boredom. An unbridaled laugh seemed alien.
Had he gone insane? she wondered, calculating another desperate attack.
He looked at her, his laughter faded. “You are a stupid girl, Nala, but I am more the fool.”