CHAPTER 52

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Saya stares at the diamond around her neck with a smile. Laila touches it, "Princess you've been staring at it for a while now," she chuckles.

"I apologize, I am just shocked but truly happy for you," Saya says looking back at her.

"Congratulations Lady Laila," Nabir bows. "Oh please stop that, address us by our names, you're making things uncomfortable," Laila reprimands smiling.

"How did this happen? Explain everything please," Saya and Nabir eat from the bowl, eagerly waiting for Laila to share her story.

"Well, it happened when you and King Xerxes had left. Stephan had cancelled the celebrations because he was very upset about what happened. I had already packed my things before the celebrations, determined to leave that day. So I went to his chambers and informed him that I wish for him to let me go so I could find love elsewhere. He laughed at me because he thought I was joking but I made it clear that I was leaving, because there was no way I was competing against his other nine women.

The maids took my things into the carriage and I was looking at my chambers one last time. Mara was clearly happy that I was leaving, I didn't spare her another glance. I walked out of the castle only to see King Stephan standing by the carriage.  I fought back my tears and the urge to turn around and go back to my room but I believed it was for the best.

I walked up to him and bowed saying my final farewell. He then said he had a present for me, closing my eyes. When I opened them I saw the diamond hanging around my neck. I was shocked, I couldn't even formulate words. He said that if I went away that I would be taking his heart with me. I was clearly confused because I was not pregnant and had no upper hand. He held my hands and asked me to marry him to which I hesitated because of his nine other women, but I love him so much; I agreed and here we are."

Nabir and Saya are still staring at her waiting for more. Laila chuckles, "I'm done!"

"What about the king's nine other women?" Nabir asks. "He let them go, they don't stay in the castle anymore."

"So Mara left, just like that?" Saya chips in, surprised.

"Mara is trouble, don't get me wrong, but she has her pride and dignity. She left knowing that King Stephan had made up his mind. It would just bring shame unto her if she began cleaning the floor with her tears or started explaining how she won't back down. She went to find a man elsewhere, everyone did."

"I wish that were the case with Oma," Nabir rolls her eyes. That woman does not know when to give up.

"The king has banished her so it's okay Nabir," Saya says to her.

"Yeah but who knows what she will come up with next?"  Saya understands Nabir is worried, she is too, but she shakes it off.

Saya looks around immediately and notices that the clothes she had worn to get here are not in sight. "Laila, where is the cloak I came with?" Saya asks, a bit panicked.

"It's right here," Laila grabs the cloak that is sitting in a small drawer, handing it to her.

The princess grabs it from her looking through the pockets eagerly, she finds the paper, sighing in relief.

"What is that?" Nabir asks, looking at her hand. "It's Xerxes' promise to me. The promise that he'll come back for me, and make Moore a better place."

Laila and Nabir wait for her to explain what she means. "This is a royal decree showing that he is revoking the tradition of women being illiterate unless marriage to royal bloodline."

"WHAT?!" Nabir yells.

"That tradition has been put in place since our forefathers!" Laila adds astonished.

"I know, but in Moore, it will be no more, women will finally have a chance to grow, create and innovate just like the men," Saya says with a smile.

Tears leave Nabir's eyes, she can't believe it. She will finally understand all the scribbling she sees on the sheds and markets that are run by men, she will also learn to scribble as well!

Nabir hugs Saya, "Thank you so much My Lady. You don't know how much this means to me and how much it'll mean to other women." Saya gently pats her back, "It's okay Nabir, women deserve that much at least."

Nabir breaks the hug wiping her tears. "Princess, are you literate?" Laila asks. Saya nods at her with a smile, "I learnt in secret, but King Xerxes is aware," she explains.

"Stephan has given me the go ahead to learn, but I am stuck on it," she says, a bit embarrassed.

"Well I'm here to help anytime. Let's get some air, here is very stuffy." Saya gets down from the bed, Laila and Nabir walking with her outside the room and down the stairs.

They get to the kitchen and see the twins flirting with two maids. "Those men," Nabir says in disapproval.

"I agree, Peter needs to spend more time with you," Laila adds. "I- I didn't s-say that!" Nabir stammers.

"Nabir, it is clear as crystal that both of you feel something for each other, you just chose to not act on it," Saya chuckles.

"I know just what to do!" Laila walks into their view, Saya following, and Nabir behind.

"Why don't we all go to the stream? It is a good way to enjoy the sun," the lady suggests.

"Oh you're already done with your women talk?" Peter asks, throwing a grape in his mouth.

"I would love to enjoy water from the spring," Julius says walking to them. "If you're not interested, flirt till your tongue falls off brother."

Peter winks at the maid walking after the group that had gone a considerable distance.

"That was the point where you were supposed to convince me to come with you!" Peter exclaims, catching up to them.

"You're not worth it," Nabir says, making everyone chuckle.

They finally get to the stream and there are flowers floating on the water, as more water flows from a source that is unknown.

"This is beautiful! The stream in Moore is a bit similar but the water flows from  spaces between rocks.

Julius and Peter take off their shirts jumping into the water splashing it everywhere.

"They're children," Laila shakes her head giggling. "Indeed" Saya raises her dress sitting by the bank putting her legs inside the water, the temperature soothing her.

Laila and Nabir get into the water slowly with their dresses on, splashing at each other. Suddenly Nabir screams as she's pulled inside the water.

"Nabir!" Laila and Saya yell. Saya gets inside as she's able to stand, inside the body of water. Just then she comes up from the water with Peter behind her laughing.

"By the heavens Peter that is not funny!" Nabir exclaims, hitting his chest. Saya feels her baby kicking, he's excited. "My baby thinks otherwise," Saya laughs. Everyone gathers around her, putting their hand on her belly feeling the baby kicking.

"Wow, you have a wild one," Peter says, him and Julius removing their hands.

"I can't wait to meet him," she says to the ladies whose hands are still on her belly.

"I can't wait to conceive mine," Laila giggles.

"I need to meet a man first," Nabir shrugs.

"YOU HAVE PETER!" Saya and Laila exclaim getting the men's attention.

"Don't say it out loud!" Nabir dives into the water in an attempt to hide her embarrassment, making the ladies laugh.

Saya is happy right now, of course Xerxes is fighting a war, but he will win, she just needs to be happy and strong for her, her baby,and her love.

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