Click HERE for previous episodesMona came to my room to tell me that a man and a woman were waiting to see me. I told her to let them in and I was shocked to see that it was Mason and Tena. They told me that they were married. Mason looked at me with disdain, it tore me into pieces. I was lost, I needed to be saved.Prince Ari came in immediately when he heard from his personal guard that I had some guests, he was paranoid. I was so happy to see him. Mason frowned when he saw Prince Ari; I introduced him to Tena and Mason as my old friends. I tiptoed to kiss him, I bent down to remove the anklet Mason gave me and flung it away.Prince Ari looked perplexed “I’m ready.” I said. Prince Ari forgot that there were other people in the room. He smiled and slowly made me sit on the bed and placed his hands on my ankles.“You have the most beautiful ankles.” he said.After he placed the anklet on my left leg, he kissed it. I looked at Mason and gave him a look, indicating that I was ready to start afresh.Mason’s betrayal was so painful; I told myself that I had to focus on being the best wife. Mona came back to get me prepared for the banquet. She saw the anklet that I discarded on the floor. She picked it up and kept it inside my new jewellry box. She did not say a word about the anklet.The Queen came in immediately; apparently she heard rumours that I had an anklet from another man. She called me so many names. I stretched out my left leg for her to see.“Your highness, this anklet was given to me by Prince Ari. If you doubt, go ask him.”I looked at Mona with disgust; she was the only one that knew about the anklet. The queen stormed out of my room and I told Mona that she should leave my room and never come back.“I am so sorry, the Queen threatened me. I promise to be discrete from now on.”I forgave her and I made her swear that she’d never speak about my affairs to any soul. She nodded and wiped the tears off her face. Prince Ari came to get me, Mona excused herself.“I don’t want to attend the banquet; I want to stay in my room.”“It’s mandatory and by the way you look so beautiful from head to toe.”“Thanks. What am I to expect at the banquet.”“Nothing much, our engagement shall be announced.”He wanted to say something else but he changed his mind. I pressed him to spill it out and he asked me if I had ever known a man.“Yes.” I replied “I know many men.”“That was not what I meant. Are you whole?”I was lost but when I remembered what Omo and I discussed, I understood and nodded slowly. He smiled and led me out of the room. I was wearing a short gown whose back was bare except for beads. My hair wasn’t let down this time; letting down my hair was inappropiate for the gown I was wearing.Prince Ari was wearing a tunic and a pair of trousers that made him look like the prince he was. On getting to the banquet hall, all eyes were fixed on us. I was tensed but Prince Ari’s hand around my waist was reassuring I smiled at him. There were so many candles, there was a central pool“Too much pools in Amei.” I whispered.“Water is life my love.”When I saw the king seated at the high table, I felt my knees grow weak ‘he is very nice, unlike his queen, my mother’ said Ari. When we got to him, I knelt down and greeted him. He smiled at me and lifted me up“Welcome my child” he said.He held my left wrist and faced the people“Your future Queen.” he announced. The people cheered.Prince Ari and I were ushered to our seats near the King and Queen. There was a cultural display, I was absent minded. Afterwards, Prince Ari and I danced, I was in another world, when my gaze rested on Mason, and he was frolicking with Tena. They looked happy and this upset me. I withdrew and Prince Ari noticed and stopped dancing.“You look tired, let’s sit down.” he said.The next performance was intriguing; it was a young female water dancer. She thrilled the crowd. She was dancing in the pool, she was like a fish. The crowd went wild, I stood up to clap. That was the only thing I enjoyed. There were so many activities but I was no longer interested, Prince Ari and I left the banquet hall for a while. He wanted to be alone with me. When we were alone, he asked me why I changed my mind about the anklet.“That anklet is my past; I did a lot of thinking when you left. I have left my past behind and I am ready to embrace the future.”He asked if my love interest was around, I wanted to lie at first but I told him the truth because I did not want any secret between us.“He is here with his wife.”“Do you love him?”“I am not concerned with any man except you. I have moved on.”After dinner, Mason and Tena came to meet me.“Sulking?” Mason asked, giving me a sardonic smile.“Oh yes. I wonder why the bride to be is all alone.” Replied Tena.I just kept staring at them and they kept asking stupid questions. When I was tired of hearing their irritating voices, I stood up and left. I was furious at myself for acting so silly. It rained althrough the night. Surprisingly, I slept very well.It was a chilly morning; I remained in bed because I felt so cold. About an hour later, there was a knock on my door; I forced myself to get off the bed to open the door. Mona was worried because I looked so sick. I remained for many hours and had a very hot bath and I felt better afterwards.I was really enjoying my stay in Amei. Two people were not happy about it. Mason and Tena, Tena realised her mistake. My engagement with Prince Ari improved the relationship between Amei and Ane. Prince Ari made me forget all about Mason, the Queen’s attitude towards me changed.She became friendlier. Everything was perfect till Prince Ari’s immediate younger brother died. The whole palace was thrown into mouring. I overheard the Queen lamenting to Prince Ari“That brother of yours brought us nothing but pain. I hope he is suffering wherever he is. Who will liberate us from this curse?”Two days after, one of the chief priest’s daughter died. One day after, a chief’s son died. People started dying anyhow, there were at least 3 deaths per day. I grew worried, I needed to get in contact with Omo but I didn’t know how. I used the situation to my advantage, telling Prince Ari that I could not give him any child because of the incessant deaths in Amei. He didn’t seem to have a problem with my statement“Let’s take a break from the palace.”We went to the island at the far east of Amei. I wanted to talk about the mysterious deaths but I was worried that it would upset him. On getting to the island, we took the narrow path leading to the king’s house. Ari stopped and I bumped into him, I hissed and asked why he did that. A baby in a basket and a snake, the baby was laughing because the snake was playing with the baby. I was more than horrified; Ari led me back to where we came from.I was not happy with Ari’s decision to leave the baby alone with the snake. Ari told me he was going to go back to get the baby.“I hope the snake leaves before I get there. I don’t want to excit the snake, it may bite the baby.”“I’ll go with you.” I replied“You are going nowhere, there is a snake out there and I am not risking your life.”After many minutes of arguing, I stayed back while he went to get the baby. Prince Ari came back with the child after so many minutes. When we got to the palace, everyone was amazed. The guards wanted to ask questions but they didn’t dare. Ari went straight to his father and told him what he found on the island.“I will find the mother of this child. I will make her regret abandoning this child.” Ari said.The king was of the same opinion, all the women were summoned. I was present at the meeting but the Queen was absent for she was still mourning her dead son. The king was present, Ari was looking so angry. The meeting ended in a dead lock. A woman offered to take care of the child and people murmured because they thought the child was her’s.“I am barren; this child is a ray of hope. I want to mother this child. This might be the only opportunity I may get to be a mother.”The woman took the child and everyone was dismissed. I was opportuned to speak to the Chief priest about the mysterious deaths plaguing Amei. He told me a host of things. He told me that pregnant women were not allowed to come out during the day.“An anje dies volitionally. People are born to live but anjes are born to die. A child can be born a couple of times to a specific family. Anjes are spirits, when an anje spirit sights a pregnant woman, it ushers the growing fetus away. When an anje gains access to our world which is the human world, they seek each other’s company.”“Can’t they be cured?” I asked.“It is so rare my child. They are so unrepentant” he replied “sometimes, a name of contempt or complaint is given to the child.”“Does it salvage the situation?” I asked.“No, there is no hope for Amei. Except divine intervention. Some times, their bodies are mangled to make them look less attractive so that they won’t keep coming back.”“You know so much about them.” I remarked“I am the Chief priest; I lost all my children to the anje curse. My daughter, the one that just died came back nine times. I had to bar my wife from getting pregnant again.”The chief priest said that half of Amei had the anje curse; our conversation was interuppted by Ari. He wasn’t a huge fan of the Chief priest. The chief priest left immediately he saw Ari.“Your friend is coming to visit.” he said.“I have no friend, my friend is in Ane and her name is Mena.”“This one’s name is Tena, the one that came with her husband to the banquet.”“You should have asked me first before giving her the consent to come.”“How was I supposed to get in touch with you? You were busy speaking to the chief priest!”He stormed out and I was amazed. I didn’t want to see Mason because I knew my emotions would betray me. I didn’t want any problem with Prince Ari. I was also worried about Tena because I knew she was up to something sinister. I waited patiently for the doom’s hour.They finally came and my worst fear was confirmed. I was still in love with Mason Nikos; I stole glances at him occasionally. I was not myself, I missed everything about him. His hair, his mouth, his eyes, his laugh. I hated the nostalgic feeling it brought “I’ll be right back” I announced. Prince Ari offered to show Tena around. Mason reluctantly followed them but he left when he got the chance. He snuck into my chamber!I was lying on the bed, I was crying. I didn’t know Mason was around. I sniffed occasionally so it was easy to know I was crying. I felt a hand on my hair, it was soothing.“I am so sorry Ari, I feel sick. Extend my apology to Tena and her husband.”“I know you still love me.” said MasonThat voice! I sat up immediately and when I discovered it was Mason, I bit my lips. I told him that I didn’t love him and he laughed.“Prove it!” He snapped.“I don’t have to prove it to you Nikos. Leave me in peace; is Tena not enough for you? Why do you keep coming here?”Mason drew me close, I literally stopped breathing. He kissed me slowly and I knew that Mason was going to ruin my new life. When he stopped kissing me, he placed his left thumb on my lips. I was mesmerized by that kiss; it was as if I was no longer in this world. His voice brought me back to reality when he said. “Your heart is still with me Jess, each time you are in his arms, I will be the one you think of, the one you visualize.”
Written by Kezi Angela Patrick
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