He replied, "An hundred thousand Persian horse;" and Gharib rejoined, "Take ten thousand horse and go to thy people and occupy them with war; I will follow on thy trail." So Rustam mounted and taking ten thousand Arab horse made for his tribe, saying in himself, "I will do a deed shall whiten my face with King Gharib."
Then King Zau al-Makan summoned Rustam and Bahram and Tarkash, and when they were in presence bespoke them thus, "Know that we have lain here all these years and we have not won to our wish; nay, we have but gained increase of care and concern; for indeed we came, thinking to take our man bote for King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and in so doing my brother Sharrkan was slain; so is our sorrow grown to sorrows twain and our affliction to afflictions twain.
Finally Tahart was reached, a town within the modern Algeria, the seat of the Beni Rustam, a tribe which gave him the kindliest welcome. To them, as to the Barcans, he seemed a prince in disguise. Near by was a tribe of Arabs named the Nefezah, to which his mother had belonged, and from which he hoped for protection and assistance.
When it was the One Hundred and Second Night, She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sharrkan saw the Moslems in conquered plight and the Chamberlain upon the brink of retreat and flight and the sword havoc dight among the righteous and the workers of upright, the cause of this weakness among the Moslems was that the accursed old woman, Zat al- Dawahi, the foe of the Faith, after seeing that Bahram and Rustam had set forward with their troops to join Sharrkan and his brother Zau al-Makan, repaired to the camp of the Mahometans before Constantinople and caused the mission of the Emir Tarkash, as hath been before said.
Such was the case with the Kafirs; but as regards the host of Al-Islam, when Zau al-Makan returned to his tent, he thought of naught but his brother and, going into the pavilion, found him in evil case and sore condition; whereupon he summoned for counsel the Wazir Dandan and Rustam and Bahram.
Quoth the Ajami, "What shall I say that I may become of the party of this Lord and enter thy Faith?"; and quoth Gharib, "Say, 'There is no god but the God, and Abraham is the Friend of God'." So Rustam pronounced the profession of the Faith and was enrolled among the people of felicity.
"Are you," he said calmly, "trying to establish any connection between the death of Dacre and the absence from Kurrumpore of this man Rustam Karin?" "Not only Rustam Karin, sir," responded the Major sharply. "Ah! Quite so. How did Dacre die?" Sir Reginald still spoke quietly, judicially. There was nothing encouraging in his aspect.
"Oh, everyone knows that Everard is a regular sleuth-hound," said Tommy. "He is more native than the natives when there is anything of this kind in the wind. He is a born detective, and he and that old chap in the bazaar are such a strong combination that they are practically infallible and invincible." "Do you mean Rustam Karin?" Stella spoke very quietly, not lifting her eyes from her work.
The year A.D. 636 now arrived, and the Persians resolved upon an extraordinary effort. An army of 120,000 men was enrolled, and Rustam, reckoned the best general of the day, was placed at its head.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Stella. This affair has upset you. It's only old Rustam Karin." "I know. I know. I have known for a long time that it was Rustam Karin who killed Ralph." Stella's voice vibrated on a strange note. "He may be Everard's chosen friend," she said. "But a day will come when he will turn upon him too.