The Princess got to know Prince Mentor’s phone number by heart. He complained she always managed to interrupt his shower or his shaving, no matter what time of the morning she rang.
She had to rely on him, and she hated it. He did not try to undermine her, or make her look bad like her “mentor” at the previous job. The only fault she found was he could give long-winded explanations, and forget about traps for the unwary. There were plenty of them. Sometimes he thought something was easy, when it was not. She broke something at work “which would only take fifteen minutes to do” and he was not there that day to help fix it. She was annoyed at him.
The day after, while he was helping fix the problem, she let her resentment against him show. “If not for you, I would have got away from here.” He shot back, “Don’t blame me for being kept here.” Not daring to explain the King’s will she replied “If you had not resigned, this job would not have come up, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation!” He shrugged and laughed “It’s too bad. Find out what you are here for! I have no sympathy.” Irritated, she kept her silence. She knew why she was there, but he didn’t, clearly. “To man belong the purposes of the heart, to the King belongs the reply of the tongue.” She kept silent.
At lunch, Prince Mentor revealed he was an American. His father had been a helicopter pilot in the US Army in Central America and South East Asia, then he flew for a firm called Air America. At the end of the Vietnam War the family settled in New Zealand. She went still, casually asking him “Where do you come from in the States?” He replied “I come from Florida”. She stirred her cup of coffee and kept silent as her mind quickly fitted the pieces together. Prince Mentor watched the spoon go around and around in her cup. “I think your coffee is stirred” he said quizzically.
She listened as Prince Mentor talked about his childhood as an Air America Brat. Princess Eve had said Prince Mentor had an interesting story about where he had come from, but she hadn’t taken much notice at the time.
At the end of the day, she said to the King who was smiling; “So, the chosen is American. Who knew? His accent sounds like he was born and bred here, from the South Island perhaps. No, I am not going to tell him what you said. Stop smiling.”
Later, she dismissed it. She was simply reading too much into things. It was all just a lot of coincidences, one after the other. It was nothing, really. She had to keep both feet on the ground and watch that imagination. The King had said “From the east I summon a bird of prey.” Both kingdoms of Ishmael and Isaac bore an eagle for their symbol, Ishmael’s was a golden black eagle, Isaac’s an American bald eagle.
Iraq and America were on the news every day, for the kingdoms were in conflict. The King told her Iraq represented Ishmael, and America represented Isaac. She looked back at the brown eyed, golden skinned man from Iraq, who still waited for her at the oasis and said “Isaac is not interested in me, but Ishmael is.” She had not stopped messaging Ishmael. He was a salve to her wounded heart, especially in the light of Prince Mentor’s indifference. It appeared that both men had been summoned from a far off land. Which would fulfill the King’s purpose for her? Her heart already knew the answer. Above her, the eagle flew.