Chapter 8

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Malawashina's eyes blinked heavily at the realization that the carriage had come to a complete halt. Utati too shook her head to rid herself of sleep. Yawning, she opened the curtains slightly, only to cough for the dust had not yet fully settled.

"I wonder why we have stopped," Malawashina yawned as she stretched her jeweled arms out in front of her.

"Perhaps to water the animals?" Utati suggested, herself too yawning.

Malawashina nodded at the suggestion in agreement. "I too am parched," she admitted.

Utati immediately sat to attention. "Shall I fetch some water?" She suggested.

"As long as it is wet." Malawashina grinned sleepily as she looked out the curtains. The dust further ahead had not yet cleared and so it was difficult to see what was going on.

"Wet, as long as it is not beer?" Utati teased. Malawashina shot her a look, but then chuckled.

"Mother forbade it, remember?"

"Is it really that bad?"

"When you are older, I will let you try it."

"But the prince was allowed to drink..."

"Because he is a prince, Utati." Malawashina looked back at her again, her words stern.

"Yes, and I am but a mere, lowly servant..." Utati grumbled as she rolled her eyes in indignation.

Malawashina's expression softened, and she looked to her younger friend with a gentle and affectionate smile. "You know you mean far more than that to me."

Yet, Utati simply groaned and jumped out of the carriage, leaving her mistress curious as to what had just transpired.


"Princess Malawashina?" A gruff voice called not but a moment later. She opened the curtain and peered out. There, still dressed in his finest garments that were now heavily flecked with dust, stood Saduhi, a tall, burly man of mid-age who had once stood as her father's lieutenant. His wiry brown hair was pulled back and tucked under a cap of cotton, and his thick beard had been braided and now tied into a tight bun under his broad chin.

"Greetings, Saduhi!" Malawashina smiled at the familiar face. "I am still always surprised to see you here."

"And why is that?" He asked, his dark eyes amused.

"I thought you would never leave my father's side, let alone be an emissary to Egypt."

"Someone has to escort you there."

"Is that not why the Egyptians came all the way to Kadesh?" She eyed him.

"And we are supposed to trust them with your protection?" He laughed. Yet his jovial demeanor faded when he saw his princess did not share his amusement.

"Or did the king send you with me for a different purpose?"

His expression became confused. Why was her tone so biting all of a sudden?

"No, princess," he replied honestly, "It was specifically your honourable father, General Hattusili, that asked me to escort you. He trusts me with his life as I trust him, and as I hope that you too, his most beloved daughter, can also trust in me." He placed his large fist upon his broad chest and bowed his head in respect.

Malawashina sighed and nodded. "I do not mean to be so pointed," she apologised.

"But I assure you that I am safe with the Egyptians, why else would my father wish to marry me off to one? But I am glad and honoured to have you looking over me."

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