My body aches with each step as I stumble through the tunnels under the palace following the lamps up the stairs into the main hall of the palace. I just hope I can make it back to my quarters before I pass out.
I have to admit that was a pretty bad beating; I felt myself blacking out quite a few times. Most men would probably have died taking forty lashes two days in a row. It’s a miracle I got through today’s beating in one piece; God has to be with me. I know He says to turn the other cheek; but I don’t know how many more slaps across the face I can take. Sure it’s heaping a ton of hot coals on Amari’s pretty little head when I smile after enduring one of her whippings, but all I think I’m doing is adding fuel to her fire. I don’t think she’s going to be happy until I’m dead.
I don’t know what Amari’s problem is with me. Ever since she came here two years ago, she’s been jealous of me. I don’t know why, I mean, I’m nobody. Just a slave. Help. She’s the Princess of Nubia betrothed to wed Prince Ammon. If I had all that I wouldn’t care about the goings on of a lowly servant like me. I’d be too busy wearing the finest gowns and getting grapes fed to me-
I’m halfway across the corridor when I hear footsteps rushing behind me; I’m knocked off my feet as I’m tackled to the ground. It’s not Sammet or his brother Sammel; my attacker is smaller and much lighter than the burly twins. It seems Amari isn’t through with me yet.
Amari screams in a furious rage as she slaps me across the face again and again. My eyes grow wide as I catch the blade rising in the moonlight. I gasp as she plunges it towards my heart. They grow even wider when I feel the cold steel blade shatter against my chest.
The shocked look on Amari’s face makes my night. “Guess they don’t make em’ like they used to Princess.”
“Demon! You’re a demon!” She yells.
More like she has the devil in her. And I’m so mad now I’m ready to rebuke her. In the instant where she’s caught off guard, I swat the broken blade out of her hand. It flies across the courtyard and lands in a corner. A hard shove sends the princess flying halfway across the hall onto the tiled mosaic floor.
Moonlight from the windows shine on the handle of the broken blade; Amari sees the weapon and her eyes grow wide. She crawls towards it; I grab at her and I’m kicked in the face. In that moment, she gets to her feet. She sprints for the blade; I race behind her. Before she can get halfway to it I grab a handful of her raven hair and get her in a headlock. As we wrestle, she claws at my hands.
“Whips do not break your flesh, knives do not cut through your heart. What kind of creature are you?”
I’ve been trying to figure that out for some time now. I thought all the changes I was going through was me just becoming a woman. But I’ve been doing more than growing taller and getting breasts these days. At first I thought it strange when I didn’t have a flow of blood every month like other women. But they started really getting weird over the last two years when I started being able to run faster than cheetahs, lift more than Sammet and Sammel combined and move more nimbly than our best acrobats and wrestlers. I’ve done my best to keep most of these changes a secret; but now that she knows about them she’s sure to have me killed.
“Y’know, I was gonna ask you the same question.”
An elbow catches me in the gut and Amari slips out of my grasp. She’s about to start running for the knife again, I grab at her and get another elbow in the face. She frantically rushes across the hall and trips over her own feet. Desperate to get the weapon, she crawls on her hands and knees; and lunges to grab at the blade. She practically craps herself when she sees me standing in front of her with the broken dagger in my hand.
Amari clutches her chest as she catches the look in my eyes. “By the gods! You are swift as the wind!”
“You’d be surprised what people can do when someone’s trying to kill them Princess.”
“Now I understand why your mother named you after the goddess.”
I catch the cold look in her dark brown eyes. “Yet you’re still unrepentant.”
“Do you mean to smite me goddess?” Amari mocks.
It takes every iota of courage in me to resist that temptation. I may be just a slave, but I’m not a murderer. That’s a line I refuse to cross. While I have my issues with the Princess, I’d never betray the kingdom of Nubia. I’d give my life for my King.
I stick the blade into the pillar next to me. “The God I serve says turn the other cheek. To forgive. Even you.”
“Then you’re a fool for serving such a god.” Amari snarls as she gets up. “I’ll have your head on my mantel this night.”
I get anxious as I see Sammet, Sammel, and the other royal guards approaching. “You said you’d rather die than be subjugated by me. You’ll have your wish this night goddess.”
The Royal guards catch Amari’s cold eyes. “Take her to the dungeon.” She orders “And tell the executioner to sharpen his axe.”
Amari rushes up to me as the guards brush past her. “Let’s see if your neck can break the blade of an axe the way a dagger breaks against your heart.”
Sammet and Sammel are about grab me when a voice calls out in the distance.
In the moonlight, I make out the lean sinewy silhouette of Prince Ammon. The tall handsome bronze colored man dressed in a white linen kilt and gold jewels steps into the moonlight. He gestures and the twins let me go. I gaze into his deep brown eyes and my heart races. If he goes along with her, I’m a dead woman.
“You’ve gotten yourself into quite the mess little princess.” Ammon teases. “Striking a member of the royal family is a serious offense.”
This from the boy who I used to beat up when I was seven. “You wouldn’t happen to have a royal pardon on you right now?”
Ammon puts his head down. “Unfortunately in this situation I don’t little princess.”
Guess I’m going to be with my Lord at the ripe old age of seventeen. “Sammet, Sammel, Take Isis back to her quarters. Guard her until I come to receive her.”
“Yes my Prince?” The twins say.
Sammet and Sammel flank my sides as we walk down the hall to the servant’s quarters. My heart races in my chest as I’m taken to bide my time before I meet the executioner.