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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Before Iftikhar broke in upon us


Morgiana

drew up one little foot on the divan, and clasped it with both hands.

"_Wallah!_ How admirable has been your trap, foster-brother. Mary had told nearly all you had done, before Iftikhar broke in upon us. Woe to us, and joy to you! Allah grant we may have our day also. So it was you alone that penetrated the disguise of Cid Musa. Allah himself might hardly outwit you!"

Zeyneb smiled at the flattery. "I am honored, foster-sister."

"And tell this," demanded she, letting her foot drop to the rugs, "are the faithless sentries warned?"

"_Mashallah_, no! They think all is well. In the morning they are seized and beheaded. We led the prisoners to the palace by another way."

"What escapes you, my Zeyneb!" cried the other, rising and stepping toward the doorway. "But tell me this,--are the horses of these three adventurers taken?"

Zeyneb gave a start and a curse.

"Blasted am I! Forgotten! Iftikhar left all in my hands. The horses are still where they were tethered. They will be taken by morning. I will go and send for them at once."

Before he could cry out, Morgiana had dashed to the door and shot the bolt.

"_Wallah!_ You rave," howled the dwarf, smitten with fear. "Help, Hakem!"

For Morgiana, with arms outstretched, stood before the door, her face flaming defiance.

"Mary," cried Morgiana, "are you very strong? Pluck that adder Hakem round the neck, and hold fast! For the life of Richard Longsword, hold!"

Dwarf and eunuch had sprung on Morgiana, but the Greek also. Right round the body of the effeminate Hakem Mary cast her white arms, caught him, held him; for the strength of an angel was given her, and the eunuch's strength was that of a fatted sheep. Meantime Morgiana and Zeyneb waged their fiercer battle.

"Mad woman!" raged the dwarf, writhing, struggling, snapping as for dear life. "You shall be flogged for this, beheaded, flayed! Release, or you die! Release! Let go, or--" But Morgiana wrested him almost from his feet as they struggled, and every time he saw the terrible purpose in her eyes his heart sank lower. And still they wrestled.

"Help! Rescue!" shrieked the dwarf, feeling himself nigh mastered. Even louder howled Hakem, tight held in the vise of Mary's arms.

Shrill above their cry was the laugh of Morgiana. "Aye, shriek! Call as you will," sped her boast. "Louder!--louder! Call Iftikhar, the eunuchs, the 'devoted.' Far below, none hear. Cry louder--we are alone in the tower of the palace. Call! Call! None hears save Allah, and it is He who fights for me! Call again! Make the stars pity, and rain their aid--naught is nearer!"

Zeyneb wrested one hand free. For a twinkling he brandished a dagger. A second twinkling, it flew from his hand across the room.


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