Siren Song Chapter 144: Amira

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Through the brightly lit halls perfumed with the scent of jasmine and myrrhe, the sound of barefeet slapping tile and the jingling of jewelry echoed throughout.



Amira al-Hassan saw her older brother Jari Maan Al-Hassan and launched herself at him, seeing that he was lost in thought. Attached to his back she draped her arms casually over his shoulders and smiled excitedly.



"Akhi1, you have finally returned. Tell me all about where your journey!"



Jari Maan Al-Hassan stumbled from the sudden weight thrown at his back. He turned to scold his little sister, she was 17 already and far too old to act like the monkey she was as a child, yet when he turned her expression made him swallow his words.



Her glittering eyes, like the highest quality citrine and dravite brown tourmaline, looked at him starved for any and all information from the outside world. Amira al-Hassan was extremely pampered and sheltered by their father and as such had had seldom few chances to see the world outside the palace grounds.



"Ah, at this rate, we will never be able to find you a husband at this rate if you continue to act so unladylike!" Teasingly he gave her cheek a small pinch. Over the few months he had been gone she had matured and become far more beautiful than she had already been. Even with her wild nature, her beauty alone would attract numerous suitors.



"That suits me just as well, I doubt there would be a man in this world that I could find to be my equal." Scowling she slipped off of her brother's back. The two thin gold bangles on her ankles made a soft tinkling as she hit the ground, before slowly sauntering away from him.



"Of course you should know that Ya Ab promised me if I never marry he would have you look after me for the rest of my life... Oh wait you probably wouldn't be able to propose to and marry Fajr would you?" As she walked away she tapped a finger to her lip as if deep in concentration.



"Hey how would you know about this, I have not even talked to Ya Ab about this matter!" Embarrassed Jari al-Hassan ran after her as she kept ahead of him by a pace or two.



"You know I have my ways to find out whatever I want to especially from my chamber maid!



"Also perhaps you should stop writing her name in the dirt and dust, or calling out her name at night so loudly! It's quite distracting you know..Also Fajr shared this with me.." Amira al-Hassan pulled a small folded piece of paper from her shirt.



"Ah Fajr, my dearest Fajr, you fragrance is sweeter and more addictive than the jasmine and your beauty more luminous than the glow of the full moon. Without your luminous glow the nights are a long and lonely affair. I cannot wait until I return to the palace so that my thirst can be quenched in the oasis of your presence. When I return I shall talk with my father about marriage, await my arrival dearest."



"Ah you are a devil, not another word, give that to me at once! Amira!" His ears burning Jari Maan al-Hassan reached for the letter, missing as she pulled it away teasingly before taking off leaving. His words echoed through the halls behind her, as she continued to read it as she ran.



He tried to catch her several times to makes her stop but she slipped past him and dodged at every turn waving her prize in his face when he missed.



"You will have to catch me if you want it back!" Laughing she took off running down the hall before coming to a skidding stop and hid in the shadows of a pillar.



"Amira you-!" Catching up to her he snatched the paper from her hands as she stared down to the open courtyard.



"Shh, Akhi! Ya Ab has a guest look!" Amira shushed her older brother and let him take the paper from her hands, uninterested in it any longer. Her attention fixed on the tall pale stranger who walked with her father below.



"Who is that man with Abi?" Turning she looked to her older brother staying in the shadows of the pillar as she spied on him.



"Ah it is the foreigner again, Liang Joo something. Pay him no mind, he will not be here for long." Jari Maan al-Hassan looked down at the man dismissively and walked away. "Come with me if you still want the gifts I brought for you, though after how you just were I'm not sure if I should still give them to you.."



"Wait, Jari I didn't mean it come back!" Taking one last look at the man she ran to catch up to her brother, her long braids bouncing on her back.



----



Later that evening to her great surprise her brothers all sat with her at the dining table, not only her older brother Jari Maan al-Hassan but also her older brothers Mamud Ilyas and Fahir Sarhan al-Hassan. Both of whom she had not seen since her last birthday the Autumn before.



At 22, 24, and 26, respectively, her older brothers had moved out and away to start their own lives and families while assisting her father.



Only Jari Maan al-Hassan among her brothers remained unmarried, though not for long it seemed, she giggled to herself thinking of his letter earlier. Strangely though, their father was not there by the time that they had all gathered, even though the food was already served.



Just as Mamud Ilyas al-Hassan began to ask where he was the man in question entered with the pale foreigner from earlier. Seeing their father bring the man in her, two eldest brothers protested, at the man having been brought to eat with their family.



"I will explain later to you for now you will show courtesy to our guest Liang Ju-Long." Hakim al-Hassan gave his sons a stern look silencing them before sitting with Liang Ju-Long to his left beside him.



Amira al-Hassan sat on the man's other side, stiffening when he sat beside her, almost close enough to touch. Throughout the meal she kept silent, unlike her usual self, as she snuck side glances through the curtain of her hair at the man.



Even though he was very different looking, she couldn't help think that he was kind of good-looking in a silent and stone- faced kind of way. As if sensing her gaze the stranger turned his head before she could quickly avert it. Embarrassed at having been caught she kept her eyes to her plate for the rest of the meal.



As soon as the meal was through she excused herself, quickly taking off to find a good place to hide and eavesdrop in, on her father and brother's conversation.



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