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Wu.Z

Ireland

Hello there! I'm a seventeen year old aspiring author or screenwriter and as curious as a new born kitten.

Hope

November 27, 2018

 
I heard the news that morning. More than half the nation was in mourning because the King of Xavia had passed away in the night. In other words, my father passed away.
    The king's guards had arrived at our door at around six. They took me into the kitchen and told me what happened. It had been in his sleep. The doctors were called and tried to do everything they could but it was too late. His heart had stopped. They offered their condolences and allowed Ma Osa, her daughters, and David who had arrived from the next room to come in and see me. Ma Osa took me in her arms holding me, Judith and Winter held my hands and stroked my hair while David, my personal guard, talked silently to the other guards who were looking nervously in my direction.
   In all of this, I didn't seem to feel anything. Sure there were a few tears in my eyes from the shock of it all but they quickly disappeared. I suppose you can't feel that much about a person who you haven't seen in almost ten years.
"Your mother wished to come and tell you", said one of the guards fiddling with a letter in his hand, "But she realized the danger."
I nodded in understanding. These were dangerous times. Even more so now after what has happened. He handed the card to me his eyes filled with sympathy. Now the tears began to surface.
"I want to read it alone please", I breathed holding the letter to my chest.
"Of course your highness", replied the guard bowing and nodded to his partner to leave with him.  Your Highness. I hadn't heard that in ages but I recognized the writing on the card instantly. I'd seen it so many times before. I turned around and saw that I was alone. They were all in the sitting room.
 I heaved in a breath and sat down on a stool. I traced the cursive writing on the envelope, tore it open then pulled out the letter...

To my dearest Imotenya,
By the time you get this, you will have probably heard the news about your father. I'm so sorry you couldn't be at his side during his final moments but you know how the situation is. Why you couldn't be with us in the first place. He spoke of nothing but you. I know from your letters that Ma Osa is treating you very well and that David is keeping a firm eye on you but it's time for you to come home now. I wish I could put it off but the advisers said that we demonstrate a show a power to the rebels.
  
  I froze at the mention of the rebels. The reason why I couldn't be with my family. The reason why this kingdom was in turmoil. I swallowed then continued with the letter…

They need to see that the kingdoms new hope is unafraid. I'm so worried though. They were as far as the city just last week and if they breach the palace, God knows what could happen. But I hope for the best and count my blessings. I will get to see you again. I suppose you've grown so beautiful. Will you still recognize your dear mama?  I've entrusted you to the king's own guards for protection and of course, you have David, for your journey to the palace. Have a safe journey home my love and I'll see you soon. I love you.
From Mother

That's when the floodgates broke out.I pushed it clumsily back into the envelope for fear that my tears would wash off the ink. I loved my mother and from what I read from her letters, she loved me too but did she know me. I hadn't seen her or the palace in almost 10 years, not counting the time Ma Osa took us to Beni City for the annual parade near the palace.
   Ma Osa, Judith, Winter, David. They were the only real family I'd known for most of my life. This was the only life I'd known. Now I'd have to leave it for some palace under threat to take a role that I wasn't even sure I was prepared to take.
  "Aria?" I turned to see David peering round the door. "We need to speak with you." I certainly did not want to speak to them. I already knew what they were about to say.
"We have to leave now", I said, "Don't we." My guard's silence spoke volumes. "Well tell them we're not going."
"Ria, we have to …"
"No, we don't !", I snapped locking eyes with him. He made a few steps towards me and reached for my shoulders. A gesture that always seemed to quell me out of my foulest of moods but not today. I jerked back almost falling off my stool. "Have you not heard of the threats in and around the palace and you all want to throw me into all that!"
"Aria, the kingdom needs you!", David yelled back. Then he backed away slightly. I was a little stunned at that outburst.  Not because technically I outranked him but because there were only two times when he really yelled at me. Once was when I lay down in the middle of the road and tried to see how quickly I could get up before I got ran over. The second time was when I almost stabbed myself while fiddling with his ceremonial sword. The things those two had in common was that I was doing something really stupid.
He took a breath and ran a hand quickly through his short hair. "I'm sorry your highness", he said calmly, "But people everywhere are worried. Right now nobody is sure who is the heir. Many believe you're dead."
I shivered. And many more want me dead.
"They need to see that stability can resume for the kingdom. They need to see that there's hope for us still." Hope. New hope. That's what my mother had called me in her letter. That's what I had to be. It was my duty. Whether I wanted it or not.
I sighed and got up. "Okay. We'll go."
David looked relieved as if he knew that if I didn't agree he would have to drag me out of the house pulling and screaming until we got to the palace.
"Hey", he whispered stooping down to my level which even at 15 going on 16 was quite low. "Security been increased and I'll be with you just I have been all these years little dove." I chuckled a little. That endearment which to me was an oxymoron was a favorite of David's from the moment when I was thrust into his arms for protection at age 5.  I began to feel a bit guilty. For all my tantrums, stubbornness and rebellious nature, David had always been by my side. A part of me knew that this was his duty as a guard but another part felt like he actually liked me. Not as a monarch, or protectorate but as a friend.
  He smiled too but then his expression grew slightly somber. "I'm sorry about your father", he said looking truly sorry for me, "And I'm sorry that I'm only telling you that now." I chuckled again.
"It's alright, you had things to discuss. I understand."  He nodded and moved to hug me but the kitchen door opened with the guard almost falling in.
   "Your Highness", he breathed quickly, "It is best that we leave as soon as possible."
I and David nodded and made our way out to where Judith and Winter were sweeping and Ma Osa was sitting down but got up once she saw me. She looked stricken. I ran into her arms again, my face pressed against her chest. I hadn't even considered how Ma Osa would feel at my leaving. She had basically raised me alongside her own children. She was strong, so loving, I almost felt bad at leaving. I turned to the door and saw Judith and Winter standing there, brooms in hand, with the same expression as their mother. Ma Osa let go of me and dried her eyes with the edge of her apron. "Winnie find a bag for Aria."  Winter ran in towards the cupboard while Judith came in and pushed me towards the bathroom. "Wash quickly", she said then made her way to our shared bedroom.
  I brushed my teeth and poured water from the shower into the bucket. It was cold as we didn't have time to boil water. Not many had hot water in Sapele. I used a bowl to splash water over my body. I wanted to forgo the soap but then I remembered I was going to the palace. I suppose I was to make a decent impression. I got out and wrapped myself in the nearest towel then rushed to our bedroom.
  Judith and Winter were there Judith pulling out some of my clothes and Winter holding an old suitcase. " Winnie, you found it", I gasped looking at the little black thing. It was the same suitcase that I brought with me ten years ago.
"Yes", giggled Winter, "I'm sure it can hold everything you have." That was a no-brainer. I had a scare number of clothes, some trinkets and a few books on politics and history that I had never read. "I can't believe you're going to the palace!", she continued excitedly.
"Of course she is", snapped Judith, "It's where her family is."
I pulled Winter towards me softly. She's a sweet little thing and was just a baby when I first met her.
"We're your family too", she said indignantly looking at Judith then turned back to me with her wide eyes. "Right?"
I laughed. "Yes, you are. You're the daughter of my mother's father's third wife's sister's daughter."
"And what's that in English?", sniffed Judith suppressing a smile. She had seemed so cold and grown up in the last few years so I was glad when she still engaged in our inside jokes.
 There was a knock on our door. Winter answered and Ma Osa stepped in. "Are you finished?", she asked and noticed our sheepish expressions and the empty suitcase. She just ignored us and I noticed she had a  clothing wrap. "It's for you Aria."
I took it, unzipped it and gasped with what I saw. It was a black dress. A mourning dress.
    I sighed a little. I had almost forgotten the actual reason I had to go to the palace. I fingered the black tulle that billowed at the ends with velvet roses at the sleeves.
"It's beautiful", whispered Judith, "Even though it's black." Winter stared at the dress utterly awestruck. It was probably the most opulent thing she had ever seen in her life and this was just a mourning dress. I put it on and relished the feel of it against my skin.  Ma Osa, Judith, and Winter looked at me sweetly. "You look like a princess", she said rushing to hug me. "No my dear", said Ma Osa fondly, "She is a princess.”























                        




 
                                                                Chapter 2

I didn't really have to pack anything as I'd be measured for new clothes when we got to the palace and all books and other things I might need would be provided but I packed a scarf given to me by Ma Osa, my bundle of letters and my sun necklace, a gift from my mother. Ma Osa had packed me some food for the journey as well.
 I dragged my suitcase out with the help of Judith as Winter came out behind us.
  We were met with a limousine flanked by two Bentleys. We gasped. Even though I came here in a limousine I was still thrilled to see one right outside my door. The guards stood by one Bentley and David against the sleek vehicle. It brought back how real the situation was now. I turned to my foster family. They embraced me in an intimate hug that I didn't want to leave. We pulled back eventually but Winter held onto my hand.
 "Promise me", she whimpered, "That you'll write, tell me everything won't you?"
"I will", I said to her and to Judith who tried to hide the tears in her eyes. She, like her mother, was tough. She squeezed my shoulder and bent down towards my ear. "I'm sure you can do it", she whispered, "Be a princess I mean."
 My shoulders tensed a bit. "I hope so." She let go of me and smiled.
  I moved towards the car giving the driver my suitcase then looked at the house that had been my home all these years. The small windows with the homemade curtains, the soot-stained walls, the stray nails that stuck out at odd places and small grasses that grew by the doorway. I'd miss this place.  
"Your Highness." I heard a voice behind me. It was the driver holding open the door of the limo to me. I breathed slowly. Here we go. I stepped into the limo and David slid into the seats opposite me. They were made of soft black leather with golden threads. I looked out the window and watched my foster family waving at me. I waved back as the driver slipped into his seat and the guards got into their car.  
 We began to drive out of the compound while Winnie ran after the limo her little legs looking like they were flying until she and the house and Judy and Ma Osa were far in the distance but I continued waving as if that would keep them closer. We drove through the sandy streets where shops were starting to open and people were sweeping their storefronts and the fronts of houses. Some people looked up and gave us some waves and cheers at the prospect of seeing a royal entourage. It was probably the most interesting thing they'd seen since palm wine. A man in wrapper with a toothbrush still in his mouth came running out of a backyard shouting after us. "Long live the king."
    I sighed sadly. Did anyone else not know yet?
"I don't think the newspapers have been sent out", said David probably reading my mind, "Besides it's Sapele they'd probably be the last to know if the world was ending."
I laughed. That was true. If not because of my distant family being here Sapele was a good place to hide. It was a small rural village where everyone was happy in their small corner of the world and almost could afford to be oblivious to what went on on the other side of the ‘Goodbye Sapele' sign that we had just passed.  
"There are bread and mineral in the cooler", the driver said looking at us through the mirror.
"Thank you", I replied remembering that we had skipped breakfast.  He smiled putting up the glass between the driver's seat and the passenger seats.
 I pulled a small lever and out popped a selection of fizzy drinks and bottles of water. I took a bottle that said ‘sparkling water' then looked at David staring pensively out the window then took out another one.
"Here", I offered him the bottle. He took it silently with a grin.
"Thank you, your highness."
I sighed. "It's just me."
"Well, it won't be when we're at the palace, so we better start getting used to it."
That alerted me to something.  
"You'll still be my guard right?"
"Of course", he answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, "It's what I was trained to do wasn't it."
"Was herding cattle and farming part of your training too?", I quipped.
While in Sapele, David had worked on our neighbor's small plot of land to be close to me.
"Not really," he shrugged, "Just something I picked up along life."
   David's family was well off enough and I think was in business, not agriculture. That job was reserved for him as the youngest of eight brothers. Most of them went into the business field while others joined the army. David was only fourteen as he'd told me when he arrived at the palace to be the king's attendant.  After a few months, he got assigned to be my guard. He had confided to me himself on how he didn't understand why I was not assigned someone older and more experienced but he said that with what he had demonstrated, he was the best candidate not even mentioning the fact he would not be recognized as being from the palace.
   The road was wide and open with an abundance of trees and red sand, hitting potholes constantly. We passed the tiny village of Mosalgar where we had gone swimming last summer. Ma Osa's oldest son Koda came as well with his wife and children and Uncle Philip we made a whole day of it. I began to feel nostalgic. With all the prestige at the palace would I be happy there?
"David, did you like being at the palace?",I asked looking at him intently. He turned to me and smiled. "You've lived there for five years", he said but then his face fell a bit when he saw my expression, "You don't remember it ?"
"Not really. We don't talk about it that much", I said, " But I suppose things would have changed by now anyway."
"You're right", he replied, "Unless the rebel attacks have been understated."
"Have you ever been involved with the rebels?" David bit his lip and looked out the window again.
"Yes. There were attacks when we were there. Ever since the law change."
The law change. Where all our problems began.
David looked relieved as if he knew that if I didn't agree he would have to drag me out of the house pulling and screaming until we got to the palace.
"Hey", he whispered stooping down to my level which even at 15 going on 16 was quite low. "Security been increased and I'll be with you just I have been all these years little dove." I chuckled a little. That endearment which to me was an oxymoron was a favorite of David's from the moment when I was thrust into his arms for protection at age 5.  I began to feel a bit guilty. For all my tantrums, stubbornness and rebellious nature, David had always been by my side. A part of me knew that this was his duty as a guard but another part felt like he actually liked me. Not as a monarch, or protectorate but as a friend.
  He smiled too but then his expression grew slightly somber. "I'm sorry about your father", he said looking truly sorry for me, "And I'm sorry that I'm only telling you that now." I chuckled again.
"It's alright, you had things to discuss. I understand."  He nodded and moved to hug me but the kitchen door opened with the guard almost falling in.
   "Your Highness", he breathed quickly, "It is best that we leave as soon as possible."
I and David nodded and made our way out to where Judith and Winter were sweeping and Ma Osa was sitting down but got up once she saw me. She looked stricken. I ran into her arms again, my face pressed against her chest. I hadn't even considered how Ma Osa would feel at my leaving. She had basically raised me alongside her own children. She was strong, so loving, I almost felt bad at leaving. I turned to the door and saw Judith and Winter standing there, brooms in hand, with the same expression as their mother. Ma Osa let go of me and dried her eyes with the edge of her apron. "Winnie find a bag for Aria."  Winter ran in towards the cupboard while Judith came in and pushed me towards the bathroom. "Wash quickly", she said then made her way to our shared bedroom.
  I brushed my teeth and poured water from the shower into the bucket. It was cold as we didn't have time to boil water. Not many had hot water in Sapele. I used a bowl to splash water over my body. I wanted to forgo the soap but then I remembered I was going to the palace. I suppose I was to make a decent impression. I got out and wrapped myself in the nearest towel then rushed to our bedroom.
  Judith and Winter were there Judith pulling out some of my clothes and Winter holding an old suitcase. " Winnie, you found it", I gasped looking at the little black thing. It was the same suitcase that I brought with me ten years ago.
"Yes", giggled Winter, "I'm sure it can hold everything you have." That was a no-brainer. I had a scare number of clothes, some trinkets and a few books on politics and history that I had never read. "I can't believe you're going to the palace!", she continued excitedly.
"Of course she is", snapped Judith, "It's where her family is."
I pulled Winter towards me softly. She's a sweet little thing and was just a baby when I first met her.
"We're your family too", she said indignantly looking at Judith then turned back to me with her wide eyes. "Right?"
I laughed. "Yes, you are. You're the daughter of my mother's father's third wife's sister's daughter."
"And what's that in English?", sniffed Judith suppressing a smile. She had seemed so cold and grown up in the last few years so I was glad when she still engaged in our inside jokes.
 There was a knock on our door. Winter answered and Ma Osa stepped in. "Are you finished?", she asked and noticed our sheepish expressions and the empty suitcase. She just ignored us and I noticed she had a  clothing wrap. "It's for you Aria."
I took it, unzipped it and gasped with what I saw. It was a black dress. A mourning dress.
    I sighed a little. I had almost forgotten the actual reason I had to go to the palace. I fingered the black tulle that billowed at the ends with velvet roses at the sleeves.
"It's beautiful", whispered Judith, "Even though it's black." Winter stared at the dress utterly awestruck. It was probably the most opulent thing she had ever seen in her life and this was just a mourning dress. I put it on and relished the feel of it against my skin.  Ma Osa, Judith, and Winter looked at me sweetly. "You look like a princess", she said rushing to hug me. "No my dear", said Ma Osa fondly, "She is a princess.”
                        




 
                                                                Chapter 2

I didn't really have to pack anything as I'd be measured for new clothes when we got to the palace and all books and other things I might need would be provided but I packed a scarf given to me by Ma Osa, my bundle of letters and my sun necklace, a gift from my mother. Ma Osa had packed me some food for the journey as well.
 I dragged my suitcase out with the help of Judith as Winter came out behind us.
  We were met with a limousine flanked by two Bentleys. We gasped. Even though I came here in a limousine I was still thrilled to see one right outside my door. The guards stood by one Bentley and David against the sleek vehicle. It brought back how real the situation was now. I turned to my foster family. They embraced me in an intimate hug that I didn't want to leave. We pulled back eventually but Winter held onto my hand.
 "Promise me", she whimpered, "That you'll write, tell me everything won't you?"
"I will", I said to her and to Judith who tried to hide the tears in her eyes. She, like her mother, was tough. She squeezed my shoulder and bent down towards my ear. "I'm sure you can do it", she whispered, "Be a princess I mean."
 My shoulders tensed a bit. "I hope so." She let go of me and smiled.
  I moved towards the car giving the driver my suitcase then looked at the house that had been my home all these years. The small windows with the homemade curtains, the soot-stained walls, the stray nails that stuck out at odd places and small grasses that grew by the doorway. I'd miss this place.  
"Your Highness." I heard a voice behind me. It was the driver holding open the door of the limo to me. I breathed slowly. Here we go. I stepped into the limo and David slid into the seats opposite me. They were made of soft black leather with golden threads. I looked out the window and watched my foster family waving at me. I waved back as the driver slipped into his seat and the guards got into their car.  
 We began to drive out of the compound while Winnie ran after the limo her little legs looking like they were flying until she and the house and Judy and Ma Osa were far in the distance but I continued waving as if that would keep them closer. We drove through the sandy streets where shops were starting to open and people were sweeping their storefronts and the fronts of houses. Some people looked up and gave us some waves and cheers at the prospect of seeing a royal entourage. It was probably the most interesting thing they'd seen since palm wine. A man in wrapper with a toothbrush still in his mouth came running out of a backyard shouting after us. "Long live the king."
    I sighed sadly. Did anyone else not know yet?
"I don't think the newspapers have been sent out", said David probably reading my mind, "Besides it's Sapele they'd probably be the last to know if the world was ending."
I laughed. That was true. If not because of my distant family being here Sapele was a good place to hide. It was a small rural village where everyone was happy in their small corner of the world and almost could afford to be oblivious to what went on on the other side of the ‘Goodbye Sapele' sign that we had just passed.  
"There are bread and mineral in the cooler", the driver said looking at us through the mirror.
"Thank you", I replied remembering that we had skipped breakfast.  He smiled putting up the glass between the driver's seat and the passenger seats.
 I pulled a small lever and out popped a selection of fizzy drinks and bottles of water. I took a bottle that said ‘sparkling water' then looked at David staring pensively out the window then took out another one.
"Here", I offered him the bottle. He took it silently with a grin.
"Thank you, your highness."
I sighed. "It's just me."
"Well, it won't be when we're at the palace, so we better start getting used to it."
That alerted me to something.  
"You'll still be my guard right?"
"Of course", he answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, "It's what I was trained to do wasn't it."
"Was herding cattle and farming part of your training too?", I quipped.
While in Sapele, David had worked on our neighbor's small plot of land to be close to me.
"Not really," he shrugged, "Just something I picked up along life."
   David's family was well off enough and I think was in business, not agriculture. That job was reserved for him as the youngest of eight brothers. Most of them went into the business field while others joined the army. David was only fourteen as he'd told me when he arrived at the palace to be the king's attendant.  After a few months, he got assigned to be my guard. He had confided to me himself on how he didn't understand why I was not assigned someone older and more experienced but he said that with what he had demonstrated, he was the best candidate not even mentioning the fact he would not be recognized as being from the palace.
   The road was wide and open with an abundance of trees and red sand, hitting potholes constantly. We passed the tiny village of Mosalgar where we had gone swimming last summer. Ma Osa's oldest son Koda came as well with his wife and children and Uncle Philip we made a whole day of it. I began to feel nostalgic. With all the prestige at the palace would I be happy there?
"David, did you like being at the palace?",I asked looking at him intently. He turned to me and smiled. "You've lived there for five years", he said but then his face fell a bit when he saw my expression, "You don't remember it ?"
"Not really. We don't talk about it that much", I said, " But I suppose things would have changed by now anyway."
"You're right", he replied, "Unless the rebel attacks have been understated."
"Have you ever been involved with the rebels?" David bit his lip and looked out the window again.
"Yes. There were attacks when we were there. Ever since the law change."
The law change. Where all our problems began.
Ever since the start of the monarchy, only a male heir could take the throne. That's why in the past kings had many wives to increase the chance of having a boy.  When I was a born my mother demanded that the law be changed. She thought it unfair that because of my gender I'd lose my birthright. There was a lot of disputes and agreements but eventually, Princess Imotenya Aria Accra was the heir apparent.  
 Of course, this revolutionary action split the nation. Literally. Many Chiefs left the council and started rebellions against all that Xavia stands for not to talk of the nearest male relative, my Uncle Lucky that was cheated out of his chance of the crown. So basically my so-called birthright has put a blazing target on my back especially after the time my nursery in the palace mysteriously caught on fire. Everyone suspected it was Uncle Lucky. That was why I had to live away from the palace. For my own protection. Until today.
I was starting to feel a little sleepy even though at this time of the day everyone would be awake.
"You can lie down if you want", said David kindly, pulling out a blanket from another compartment.
"Can I move next to you?", I asked looking earnest. David didn't look so sure at this.
"I don't think that would be appropriate…"
"Please."
He pursed his lips then motioned to the seat next to him. I took off my seat belt and moved beside him. I leaned my head against his shoulder as I had done so many times before and he tucked the blanket up to my neck. Soon after that, I fell asleep.



                                            



                                                                Chapter 3
"Ria? We're almost there."
My eyelids fluttered at the sound of David's voice. He removed his arm that had been around my shoulder for a while and that was enough to prompt me to sit up, the blanket falling to the floor.
 I looked out and saw that we had finally entered Beni city. The sand was redder, the buildings were taller and everything seemed much more elaborate. As we drove through the city I sensed a somber atmosphere throughout. I caught sight of some newspaper vendors. The story must be out now. The king's death.  We drove past the Oba's market and the museum then there it was.
 The palace.
It's high orange gates stood out amongst the cream walls. There were gold images along some of the walls of lions. The gates opened and we drove inside. I saw that the sand inside the gates seemed lighter than that on the Beni roads. There were other buildings inside the grounds as well. I recognized them vaguely from what I saw on tv and from memory.
There was the administrative building to the left where all the offices were and where the king received visitors and in the past made judgments.
  Further down was a post office, a school, and even a zoo. I wondered if I had been raised in the palace would that school be where I got my education.
 We came to a space that was bound off by red rope marked ‘Royal'. The other car stopped in a space beside us. The driver got out and opened the back door.
"Your Highness", he bowed with an outstretched hand. I took it. This would take some getting used to. David followed and looked around cautiously. Once he was sure we were safe he nodded to the driver.
"Have a good day your highness", he said with a humble smile.
"And to you", I replied. With that, he walked towards the direction of the administration chambers.
 The other guards had gotten out as well and were standing still as if awaiting orders.
"Let's go", David said authoritatively to the guards. Without a word, they positioned themselves right in front of us and we moved in the direction of what I remembered as the royal family living quarters. My new home.
  Two bronze lions were perched on either side of the door, bronze being our country's national stone. Inside there was an abundance of silver ornaments as well as wooden masks, ivory tusks and ornate jewelry pieces. If this was the main hall, I wondered what the actual rooms would look like. Some guards were on patrol through the hall and a few maids were sweeping and polishing the decor but all activity seemed to halt as soon as they saw me. The maids bowed down low and some of the guards saluted. It felt strange being in a room where everyone was paying homage to me. I just smiled and followed the two guards in front of me. I heard a maid behind me say "She's so little" while another hummed in agreement. I wanted to turn around but then thought that would make things more nerve-wracking than they were already.
 We approached a parlor at the end of the corridor. Potted hibiscus stood on either side and  I could hear the sound of chatter from inside. I turned to David and he gave me a look saying ‘it's alright'.  
One guard knocked at the door and an almost inaudible ‘enter' came. He pushed open the door and he stepped inside saying "My queen, she's here." He gestured for us to follow him when he and his partner stood on either side of the door as if they were there the whole time.
  The room was not as embellished as the main hall but there was a touch of class that made you stare in awe. But I didn't. I didn't because standing in front of me was a woman in a black dress like mine only more ornate. Her hair was held up by black beads as well that under normal circumstances would be a deep orange.
A silence passed between us before she ran to hug me.
"Imotenya", she whispered her voice breaking holding me tight, "You're home."
 I breathed in her soft vanilla scent and exquisite soap that put my homemade lump to shame.
"Hello mother", I squeaked into her shoulder relishing this moment. Sure, Ma Osa gave me hugs occasionally but it wasn't the same as having the person who gave birth to you, who was meant to love you unconditionally hug you. It just felt natural even if you haven't seen them in almost forever.
 She pulled back almost reluctantly as if realizing that we were not alone. She caught sight of David and reached out for his hand. He came over and went down on one knee reverently.
"Thank you", mother said sounding more queenlike, "For my daughter."
He just bowed his head in such a humble and sweet manner.
"It was my honor to be of service to the king", he replied then looked at me, "And to be in the company of such a charming young girl."
I would have blushed if my checks were light enough.
Mother just nodded and gestured for the guards and David got up to leave.
"David wait", I called before he could walk out the door. He turned and I walked towards him giving him a hug. He returned it almost as tightly as mother had to me.
"Tell me I'll see you around soon", I pressed. I might have had my mother but that didn't mean I wouldn't want a more familiar face around.
He quirked an eyebrow. "Do you want to see me?"
"Yes."
"Then you will little dove." He let go of me with a wink and one final bow to the queen and left the room.

 

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