The Slave Prince Chapter 15
The Powerful Hex
Agawe reached the wooden house at mid-afternoon. First thing he saw was his horse. Nobody seemed to care that the horse came home without him, he thought. Then he noticed that there were so many men around the house and there was so much activity inside. When he came through the kitchen door, he saw the women crying.
“Ehhhh… Apô Abet is ill… very ill.”
This is not happening, Agawe thought, as he went to the large room and found Ayong crying. “Ayong… what happened?”
“Agawe…” he cried, “ Apô Abet…” and he sobbed wildly.
“Tell me what happened, Ayong…”
Just then, he heard Ubo’s voice, “Agawe … you’re here.” He came down. “The mabalians are saying that someone put a hex on Innà, a very strong and powerful hex…” he banged his fist on the table.
“Who do you think is doing this, Tiyo?” Agawe asked.
“I don’t know… no hex can penetrate Innà unless it is very, very powerful. She has not offended anyone except Siawan and Madallay because of what happened to Miting…” Ubo sighed, “Madallay could have asked a powerful mabalian to do this,” Ubo took a deep breath, “I don’t know what I’ll do if anything happens to Innà…” he said grimly.
One mabalian came out of Apô Abet’s room. “Ubo… Abet is asking for Agawe…”
Ubo looked at the mabalian and then to Agawe. “How did she know you’re back? And what does she want from you?”
“Ubo… she is getting weaker…” the mabalian said with urgency.
“Go, Agawe….” Ubo looked defeated.
When Agawe entered the room, Apô Abet dismissed the mabalians. Agawe stared at the old trembling woman and his mind cried out, “I cannot lose another Apô..!” He kneeled beside her.
The Stone Heals
Apô Abet weakly whispered something and Agawe had to move closer to make the words out. “Agawe… I knew you’re here… there is something in you that makes me stronger… a very powerful force that fights off the hex… what is it?”
Agawe knew it’s the stone…. he immediately pulled the purple stone from its pouch and put it in Apô Abet’s hand. Apô Abet stared at it for a moment and the old woman’s pale face grew paler. She closed her fist over the stone, held on to Agawe’s hands, closed her eyes and started to chant weakly.
Agawe watched wide-eyed as he saw a streak of light burst from their hands holding the stone and enveloped his body and the body of the old woman lying on the mat in the floor. His hands shook but oddly enough, Agawe was not afraid. He felt powerful and strong. When the light went off, he saw that Apô Abet stopped trembling. She was so still.
What have I done, Agawe thought. Then Apô Abet stirred and opened her eyes. “Agawe...” he said softly. “Salamat, Apô…” the old woman thanked him. “Go and tell them I need food.”
Everybody rejoiced at Apô Abet’s recovery. Agawe was called up again. He saw Apô Abet holding a candle above a basin of water. As the candle dripped into the water, an image began to form.
“Manama! It’s Madallay herself!” Ubo said. “How can Madallay be powerful enough to put the hex on you, Innà?”
“That I have to know… but first, let me return the favor …” Apo Abet said with rage in her eyes.
Agawe was surprised that Apô Abet did not mention the stone or how it helped her. He knew without a doubt that it was Apô Abet who saved him from being killed when he was a baby. The purple stone belonged to her… it was all she needed to heal her from a powerful hex.
What Goes Around Comes Around
The following day, Agawe was startled as Ayong shook him up from his sleep. “Agawe… hurry up… something is going on…”
“Ayong, what happened?”
“Gayon is in there… with his men…”
“What?” Agawe was alarmed. “What does he want?” He was sure it was about the failed ambush. He had forgotten it with the excitement of Apô Abet’s illness and recovery. He wondered if Gayon came to apologize for trying to kill him.
“Come on…. Let’s go!” Ayong half-pulled him down the stairs.
Agawe burst into the large room and found a subdued Gayon pleading. Agawe saw the huge bruise and the broken lip. Gayon gazed at Agawe fiercely but turned back to Ubo and Apô Abet. “I am begging you to spare Innà, Apô Abet… please lift the hex…”
“Gayon…how sure are you that I put the hex on her…?”
Agawe noticed that Gayon was trying to control his anger, as he spoke, “Apô… I’m sure you know by now that Innà put a hex on you which you successfully sent back to her. She knows… and she knows that if you do not lift it… she will die…” Gayon gritted his teeth, “If Innà dies, I will make sure someone pays for it…” His voice was steely.
“Young man, if you are going to make threats here,” Ubo said as calmly as he could, “You can leave…”
“I am not leaving until Apô Abet lifts the hex..! You can kill me here!” Gayon screamed, then to everyone’s surprise, he wept like a child.
“Gayon… “I cannot lift the hex because it is not mine… it is your mother’s hex which ricocheted to her but I will help her… I need to go to her but can I come back here alive? Your mother tried to kill me…”
“Innà!” Ubo snapped, “You will not go anywhere… Gayon, bring Madallay here.”
“Tiyo… she is too weak to travel… she might die on the way…” Gayon protested.
“I will not put Innà in danger… I don’t trust you…”
“Then I will stay here in exchange for Apô Abet… If anything happens to her, you can kill me…”
Ubo sighed. “You and your men… wait outside,” he told Gayon. “You watch them,” Ubo ordered his own men.
“Innà…” Ubo started.
“Don’t worry, Ubo… I will be alright.”
“I will go with you, Apô…” Agawe said.
“Yes… I will need you, Agawe.”
“I will go, too…” Ayong volunteered.
“No, Apô… stay here…” Apô Abet said.
Ayong’s protests were overruled.
Apô Abet sat on a sled pulled by a carabao while Agawe and the men escorting them were on horseback. Ubo did not want to take chances.
Apo Abet Learns the Truth
Half-way to their destination, Apô Abet asked Agawe to sit with her in the sled.
“Agawe, I need you to tell me how you got this stone…” She pulled the pouch from her waist.
“Apô… my Apô Ugay gave me the stone…”
“She is al-lang?”
“Al-langs don’t own these kinds of stone, Agawe.!!”Apô Abet screeched and Agawe cowered.
“I am telling you the truth, Apô…. My Apô Ugay said her mistress gave her the stone…”
“Who is this mistress? Why would she give your apô a powerful charm?”
“To protect … her son…?” Agawe said tentatively.
Agawe sat there nervously as Apô Abet stared at him… squinting her eyes, and studying every line on his face. Then she said slowly, “The first time I saw you, I knew there is something about you…” the old woman’s face lighted up with the realization, “you are not al-lang…” she declared.
Read Chapter 16
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