Home grew farther away with every hoofbeat. Morgana rode west, taking advantage of every hour of daylight to forge as much distance between her and Baghdad as possible. It had been three days since she’d fled with the enchanted treasures. She’d promised her mawlay she would take them far away. Though that had meant disappearing in the middle of the night and leaving the only home she’d ever known, she wouldn’t let him down.
Had Ali Baba foreseen this day? After all, he’d been the one to teach her to ride—a skill most female servants lacked. “There may come a time when you need to run faster than your feet can take you,” he’d told her.
And when he’d returned from India with the enchanted apple, the flying carpet, and a mysterious ivory spyglass, he insisted on keeping them at home where he could guard them day and night instead of in the chamber. “The magic in these treasures must be closely protected from the evil shadows lurking in the darkness, waiting to strike. If given a chance to possess the enchanted objects, they will exploit them for their own greed, with no regard for the costs.”
The prince and princess had feared the same for the lamp. And they’d been right. An evil shadow had struck, and there had been costs, irrevocable ones. Nevertheless, Ali Baba’s foresight to hide the three magical treasures under the stone floor of his bedroom in a woven sack had given Morgana the chance to grab it, stick the lamp inside, and flee with all four treasures before any other shadows came out of the darkness.
She threw a glance at the sack, now tightly tied to the horse’s saddle. Pressing the hamsa to her chest, she prayed Deena could forgive her for leaving without saying goodbye and that she’d found her letter. Otherwise, it was only a matter of time before the emir sent his officers to hunt her down. That’s if he hadn’t already.
Copyright © 2024 by Nedda Lewers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.