Click HERE for previous episodesHe left instantly, I kept touching my lips. I prayed that no one saw Mason leave or come in. Prince Ari came to check on me later, I lied that I was feeling dizzy. He didn’t seem to care, he didn’t even stay long. Mena came some days later and I wanted to share my chamber with her and the Queen refused vehemently. Mena’s room was far away from my chamber. Prince Ari avoided me, I wasn’t perturbed, and all I ever thought about was Mason.Weeks became months and Prince Ari became tired of me. There was no romance between us, no chemistry and we quarrelled often. I did not care about the stupid plan Omo had, I knew it was time to run away. Mena tried to talk sense into me, she told me to forget about Mason and work things out with Ari but I told her it was impossible“Another is with my heart, I am doing everything I can to retrieve it but I can’t.”One day, I went to the market with Mona. I saw a very handsome boy; he was about 14 or 15 years of age. He was very tall; his skin was as smooth as clay. Each time he looked at me, his eyes became like a pair of vortex. He looked so strange so I started keeping tabs on him. When we got back, I told Mona to trail him. When Mona got back, she told me all she found out about the mystery boy and she also told me something a bit disturbing.“I have been observing for a while now, I don’t want to seem like a gossip.”“What did you observe?” I asked.“Oh err…never mind my princess, I am just being paranoid.”“You either speak or get into trouble.” I replied.“The way Prince Ari stares at your friend is strange. That was the way he used to stare at you when you first came to Amei. People are talking my princess.”“What are they saying?”“They…They say you are barren. The Queen was about to confront you but the Prince barred her. You are losing him, please do something.”“I know Mona and when the time is right I will give Prince Ari an heir.”Mona followed me to the market the next day and I saw the mystery boy. I was opportune to speak to him, I invited him to lunch but he declined.“I am so sorry your highness; I won’t be able to make it. I need to finish selling these food stuffs or mother will be upset.”I bought all the food stuffs and he looked so elated. We entered the palace through an alternate route and no one saw us. The room I took him to was secluded from the others. After lunch, we had a little talk.“I know what you are Aarun.” I said.He stiffened and replied “Yes…Yes you do your highness. I…I am just a boy who has found favour in your sight.”“You are one of them Aarun! I know your type, you are cruel and wickedness is written all over you.”“I have to leave your highness. Mother would be searching for me.”“Who sent your kind to Amei?” I asked“I do not know what you are saying.”“I will kill you if you do not confess.”His eyes were sparkling now, he looked very angry.“You think I care? Kill me and I shall return again. I am born to die, I am a spirit. I was sent here to torment Amei.”I was beginning to have a re-think so I pleaded with him“I apologize Aarun, forgive me”. Why are you doing this to your family? Don’ you care?”“I don’t care, it’s so much fun. I will keep returning until my mother’s body dries out with age.”“What do you stand to gain?” I askedHe laughed wickedly, “Every penny my parents spend on me enters my treasury in the spirit world. The tears of my mother is priceless, it is worth more than gold. I will become very rich after I collect the tears and sell it in the spirit world.”“Don’t you love them? Your family I mean.”“No your highness, I love power, fame and wealth. I get to enjoy that in the spirit world.”“When are you leaving?” I asked.“I do not know but I want to die handsome and I also want to die young because when I grow old, no one will love me deeply and I will also be less handsome.”“You are of the devil” I muttered “I will kill you.”“Like I said your highness, death is nothing to me. It is a game, lunch was lovely your highness.”Aarun left immediately, fear danced in my heart. I retired to my chambers and I didn’t even notice Prince Ari come in“You are growing wings. Why didn’t you open the door?”“S…Sorry, my mind travelled.”“It’s alright. The second stage of our marriage has to be finalized. You need to carry my child.”“I am not ready, leave me alone!”Prince Ari slapped me and began to rip my dress apart. I pleaded with Prince Ari; I could not struggle with him because he was too strong for me.“I have waited for 5 months and I am weary. We are doing things my way.”“Please give me more time; I’ll even give you 10 children.”He left me alone and stormed out. I wept my eyes sore, Mena rushed in, I told her what Prince Ari tried to do and she left my chamber to Prince Ari’s to chastise him. Tena appeared in my room and started laughing at me.“Go and check them, Go Jessa. You have failed, your marriage is over. Your husband and your bosom friend have betrayed you.”I ran towards Ari’s chamber. When I got to the door, I heard soft moans.“It can’t be.” I said.“Oh yes. I can get you inside without alerting them.” replied Tena.Without waiting for my reply, she held my hands and we appeared in Ari’s chamber. Mena and Ari were at it. Tena lead me out and when I got to my chamber, I started another round of crying. I looked at my ankle and shook my head. I removed the anklet and placed it on my bed“Time to leave, I am coming home Omo.”Tena was still around. I turned around to address her.“You win Tena, I am leaving. I am going back to Lagos. My regards to Mason, I wish two of you a blissful union with lots of children.”Tena stiffened, “I hate children.”“Then your marriage will end like mine. Mason loves kids.”Tena was slighted, she left me alone. I sent for Mona and told her about Ari and Mena’s betrayal. I also told her about my intention to leave; the humiliation was too much for me. She helped me disguise as a maid, I was able to leave without any suspicion. After few days, I got to Ane and I didn’t go to Oris’ place. I went to the palace, Keria was so happy to see me.She was already married to Prince Kes and Omo had revealed herself to them long ago, so she was a frequent visitor to the palace. She made them swear never to reveal her identity. Omo was in the palace when I got there, I didn’t want to see her. Too late, she had already seen me. Keria took Omo and I to a room and left. After Keria left, Omo stood up and backed me.“Speak! Why are you here? What bothers you?”“I lost everything Omo. I lost Mena, Ari and Mason because of your stupid plan.”“How did you lose them?”“I caught Ari and Mena in bed. I left Amei two days ago, I had to disguise myself. There was a vessel leaving for Ane so I had to take the opportunity. I want to go back to my family; I demand you take me back. Amei is finished! There is no redemption because they are cursed. Do not try to unite Amei and Ane, Tena won, we lost. Let’s face the reality.”Omo left the room and came back after a few minutes. She came back with a jar and sprinkled it around the room, she smiled at me.“Everything is working my child. Everything is going as planned. Mena will get pregnant and the relationship between Ane and Amei will get better. You once told me that carrying Ari’s child was not an option.”I was relieved a bit to hear that but I was still mad at Mena. “Mason is married to Tena. He swore that he would wait.”Omo started laughing, “Like I said, everything is going well. Do not worry your pretty head because I told Mason to marry Tena. I had to coerce him. That was what I was discussing with him the day I came to fetch you. That man can destroy the world for you. He loves you dearly; Oti never loved me that way.”I smiled and brought out the anklet Mason gave me. When I was leaving Amei, I took it along because I felt it was the only possession that mattered. I caressed it and smiled.“I’ll leave you to rest.” said Omo.After I had rested, I went in search of Omo. She was in the palace garden, she was in deep thought and I didn’t want to disturb her so I turned back.“What is it Jessa?” She asked.“Nothing, I just wanted to ask you when you would take me back to Lagos.”“No one is going back to Lagos for now.” she replied.She was still holding on to the jar and I had to ask her what the jar was meant for.“This jar contains a certain kind of dust that bars monitoring spirits like Tena.”“How did you find it?” I asked.“Memuna, my dead sister, my right hand woman, and Mena’s great grandmother discovered it.”“How did she…?”“She never told me Jessa. I need you to go back to Amei.”“Are you insane Omo? The place is cursed. Why do you really care about them? Ane is cursed and you are from Ane so what happens to Amei is none of your concern.”“You do not know the whole truth.” she said.“I do not need to know. Take me back to my family. They probably think I am dead.”“It is too late because Mason has committed himself. He is our wild card and if you leave, you will lose Mason forever. Go back to Amei.”“How will I face Ari? He doesn’t love me anymore. I am like a piece of rag to him.”“So you think, he may be madly in love with Mena but you are still his wife and you are certainly no piece of rag.”I told Omo that I would stay for a few more days just to clear my head but my little vacation was cut short by Prince Ari and Mena. I was so furious, “You came to embarrass me? You brought your mistress along to get me?” I asked.“I do not know what you are talking about my love. You were nowhere to be found and when I discovered your anklet, I knew you had left. Forgive me.”I walked out and Mena ran after me. She tried to reason with me“It’s not what you think, I was just consoling him because he was so sad.”“Wow Mena, you consoled my husband by warming his bed? Tell Ari to leave because I am leaving for Lagos tomorrow.”Mena left and went to get Ari. She told Ari what I said. He came to meet me, he met me crying. I didn’t love him but I was hurt, I felt cheated.“Have you come to mock me?”“No!” he replied “I am sorry I tried to force myself on you, I am also sorry for cheating. Mother and Father are worried and they ordered me to come get you or deal with the consequences. I really care about you.”“I forgive you. I will return on only one condition.”“Which is?” He asked.“Mena leaves.”“Done.” he replied “you brought her in the first place.”“I am scared of getting pregnant because of the situation in Amei. Do something.” I said.“I understand but what do I do? I have lost a brother. The maker seems angry at Amei and the chief priest seems blind and deaf, he has not been able to proffer any solution.”
Written by Kezi Angela Patrick
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