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The Slave Prince Chapter 16
The Story of the Purple Stone
“Did you come to this place looking for your parents? Did you think that you are Ubo’s lost son?” Apo Abet’s voice rose to a shrill.
“No…! Apô, No! I did not know that Tiyo Ubo lost a son… or…or…” Agawe did not know what to say or what to do. All he knew was he was scared… of Apô Abet.
“Did you even think that Ubo is your father and Maeng your mother?” Apô Abet asked calmly.
Agawe just sat there not knowing what to say.
“Agawe… if this stone came from your mother, then you are not Maeng’s son. I would have wanted you to be my grandson… but you are not,” she said sadly. “Hold on to this stone, it may take you to your mother,” she said as she handed Agawe the black pouch.
Agawe took the pouch and was quiet for a long time, then he asked, “Apô, you understand why my mother sent me away, don’t you?”
The old woman nodded. “It is sad… for mothers to watch their babies die because of a little flaw …” She sighed. “I cannot see anything wrong with you…”
Agawe replied, “A black mark on my back.” Then he asked, “Apô, are you going to tell Tiyo Ubo about … me..? He would send me away now because I might bring bad luck….”
“Agawe… saving his and my life is not bringing bad luck to us… besides, Ubo knows more than you think he knows… he is smart... that is why his father trusted him so much…” Apô Abet said.
They continued their trip quietly until Agawe could no longer hold it. “Apô… was the … Tiyo Ubo’s son… did he have…”
“No. He was perfect… and he was not sent away… he was stolen…”
“Stolen? How? Why?” Agawe regretted his questions when he saw the pain in Apo Abet’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Apô…”
After a long silence, Apô Abet began to speak, “That stone is one of a kind. The anitos gave that to my mother… she found it next to her feet after she prayed to them one night…”
Agawe was confused. Apô Ugay’s stone… his real mother’s stone … his stone… owned by Apô Abet’s mother? He had so many questions but chose to remain quiet.
“Innà took the stone home and began to use it for healing but she later found out that it can do more than heal. She became a powerful mabalian… she can put a curse on someone that no other mabalian can lift …”
Apô Abet took a deep breath before she continued, “Ammà had four wives and the last one was from the other village. The other three wives hated her. She had one daughter named Ayag. One day, the mother got ill. The other two wives kept Innà from helping her and she died. Ammà put Ayag under Innà’s care. Innà and I were good to her but the other wives and their children did not treat her well. When ammà died, Ayag left and no one heard anything about her … or about the stone.”
Agawe was stunned, “She took the stone from your Innà?”
“Yes… so Innà put a curse on Ayag and the stone … as long as she lives, she will suffer bad luck…”
The Half-Sister Returns
Apô Abet took another deep breath. “Many years passed… when Innà was no longer with us and Maeng was heavy with a child, Ayag showed up. She begged forgiveness for taking the stone. Ubo did not want to have anything to do with her but I took pity on her… or maybe I wanted the stone back. She said she threw away the stone because it brought her too much bad luck. I did not believe her because I saw that she became a strong mabalian…”
Agawe listened intently as Apô Abet continued, “She stayed and she was so good especially to Maeng. On the day that Maeng labored, no one could wake me up. According to them, I was half-dead…”
“What happened?” Agawe’s curiosity mounted.
“It was Ayag who was there when Maeng delivered her baby… she called Ubo to show how perfect the boy was… and asked to be left alone to attend to Maeng and clean up the baby… no one resisted her … we suspect that she was able to put everyone under a spell…”
“She could do that…?”
“I was the only one who could have stopped her… but until this day, I have no idea how she put me to deep sleep… or maybe she wanted to kill me but failed… it was too late when everyone realized what she did… she was missing and the new-born baby boy was missing … Maeng almost died and Ubo was devastated…”
“Why would she do that? For revenge..?” Agawe answered his own question.
“I was good to her… even when we were young… I was good to her when she came back… I did my best to track her down… but it took us one week to find her and by that time, the boy was no longer with her….”
“So what did you do?”
“I would have wanted the satisfaction of killing her myself when she would not tell us where the boy was… but she beat me to it… she killed herself after telling us that the boy is alive but we will never find him again…”
“Did she tell you why she did it?”
“No… but I believe you’re right – it was for revenge – to make us pay for all the years that bad luck filled her life…”
“Apô… she said she threw away this stone…” Agawe stopped and heaved a sigh, then asked, “Apô… the curse of this stone plus my black mark… now I am doubly cursed?”
“The curse was for Ayag alone … as long as she lives… when she died the curse lifted … Innà said that the stone will work for someone depending on how wicked or how good he is… you are a good person, Agawe… I see that the stone has worked for your good…it has removed the bad luck caused by your black mark… I believe that stone is shaping your future… there is a strong force in you…. I felt the same power my Innà had when she had the stone…”
“Apô… this stone rightfully belongs to you… I should return this to you,” Agawe handed the pouch back to Apo Abet.
“No… I have long ago forgotten about that stone … now I am at peace to think that it belongs to a good person… you can keep that, Agawe…”
After minutes of silence, Agawe asked, “You think this stone can heal Madallay?”
“Let’s see what it can do… Madallay messed with dark forces… if she cooperates, I can help her…”
The Mother of Gayon
When they arrived at Siawan’s house, the old man was civil as he led them to where Madallay was. Agawe saw that Madallay laid on a mat in a crumpled mess. Beside her were jars of liquid in different colors and some leaves strewn all over her body.
“Madallay…” Apô Abet whispered as she sat beside the sick woman. “I am here to help you. This is Apô Abet…”
Madallay stirred and struggled to lie on her back. Agawe’s heart went out to her though he did not understand why.
The woman’s lips moved but the words hardly came out. She struggled until it became audible, “For-give me, Apô … Abet… Miting… Miting… ” Agawe’s chest tightened as tears flowed from Madallay’s eyes.
“I understand….” Apô Abet said. “Tell me about the hex… what did you do? I need to know so I can help you… It was too powerful it almost killed me…”
Madallay lifted a trembling hand and pointed to a bronze box next to one of the jars around her. Agawe picked it up and handed it to Apo Abet.
Apo Abet gasped when she saw the box, “This belongs to my mother. This is something that is never used unless you want to put a hex that kills…” Apo Abet stared at Madallay and asked calmly, “Where did you get this? Who taught you how to use this?!”
“Innà … she taught me…” she said between sobs.
Apô Abet was disturbed. “Are you Ayag’s daughter?”
Read Chapter 17
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