Harem Post (English)

1. Behind the Palace\'s Wall

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul 1617, reign of Sultan Mustafa I

An arrow shot up. Its tip split the air quickly before it finally hit the target board. Extraneous to another arrow that had been shot and hit the bulls eyes, this last arrow ended at the outermost part.

The archer was silent. Not because he was insulted but because he waited.

One… Two… Three… he counted inside.

What he was waiting for, happened too. The rhythmic laughter of a group of men was heard then. Breaking the tension due to invisible competition that took place on the training ground at dusk that day.

”As always, Salim is never failed to amuse us as the closing for our day, ” the voice of one of the men with a green caftan heard. The sentence of compliment that the man had just uttered was a scornful statement at the same time.

The same man then turned to look at the other men. He said, ” We should thank him for this. ”

Their laughter raised.

A young man named Salim — who was the same archer who shot the last arrow — threw a smile. And their laughter was very deafening to him, though.

Aren they too noisy?, his inner voice said grumpily.

As always, this scene was never missed. They would laugh at Salim as if it was an unwritten custom in every activity or meeting they did together. They would make fun of him for his failures and his foolishness. It seemed like those people couldn find anything else as entertainment besides him inside the palace. What a pity, eh?

In the modern world this is called bullying, Salim was so concerned.

Still, with a lingering smile on his face, Salim looked at the man who had just spoken. His green eyes then moved to take a note of all the other men there; noticing the expressions that showed up on each of their faces.

Those men were nobles. Some of them were princes of the Ottoman Empire, including the man in the green caftan. His name was Prince Feridüddin. He wasn from the first line of the heir to the throne but his position was the highest among those who were there. Prince Feridüddin was a cousin of the current reigning sultan.

Being able to make them laugh with silly stuff he did, for sure, made Salim happy. It meant that everything went as he wished. He wasn that silly, tho.

”What am I compared to the Great Princes of our Sultanate as well as our Pasha (2) who are faithfully served themselves to our Empire, ” Salim said modestly.

His words made the nobles even more proud of themselves. The laughter that had stopped now raised again. But Salim also felt benefited by this condition where they kept making fun of him.

Salim then glanced at Behram. That old man stood behind them along with the other aghas who were serving the princes.

Behram returned Salims gaze. A bent face with a flat expression never changed from him and became his hallmark. He, a man who was aged about 60 years.

Seeing Behram made Salim smirk a little. Salim then refocused himself on the nobles in front of him.

”Because Salim had shown us a good show, it is only appropriate that we close todays archery activities with joy, ” said Feridüddin again.

That was how they left the training ground. This meant that one by one the activities that Salim had to join on this day began to end. At least he could relax a little before having to come back again the next day with different schedules.

The nobles walked through the corridors of the palace according to the order of their respective ranks. A little further back, both the amount ghas and the servants who followed them were also bound by the rule — they walked according to the rank of their masters.

”Salim, you are 25 years old. I don know what kind of martial art training model is suitable for you after this age. But keep practicing, ” Feridüddin gave his advice in his baritone voice. He made fun of Salim again after previously chatting with other nobles.

Again, Salim put a smile as his classic reaction. It wasn his signature style but a kind of unwritten protocol within

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