By:  Pen Glowy  Completed
Language: English
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In the midst of mystery and oppression, a maid who desires fortune, catches the eye of the charismatic prince, but in order to survive her adversaries, she must deny him her heart, even as, a dark history is revealed that changes everything after she encounters an entity believed to be just a legend.

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31 Chapters
1:The Unexpected
She was ecstatic about reaching her destination. As the smaller, bland looking cottages behind her gradually blurred and grand ones came into sight along the river, she knew she was close to the part of the village occupied by the affluent.The kingdom of Upland exhibited a marvelous cerulean sky, vivid as her simple dress made vibrant by the host of colors in mixed pieces of cloth, patched together to form the dress that flawlessly covered her beautiful figure.Favored by youth, she tenaciously rowed forward, drifting past trees, grasses, paddling ducks, folks on horses as well as feet and birds flying over the river until finally, her destination, admirable, appeared closely before her.It was a stone-walled one story cottage that proudly overlooked the river and had a wooden dock protruding from its shore, its jutting edge, welcoming. Wrapped around the house was a short sturdy looking wooden fence with medium post gaps. The fence housed an orchard with climb
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2: Strength Through Love and Need
It was a starry sky that night and at Amber’s home, she and her mother Miriam were seated on a bench on the lawn outside their small cottage. Behind them on the front porch was the sculpture of a handsome looking man. Amber was still in her patched dress which glowed under the night sky as the stars and moonlight lent a brilliant light around, the song of crickets surrounding them.Miriam had a kind, pretty face but was worn out from hardship. Affectionately, she ran her hand through Amber’s hair and they smiled at each other unable to mask their misty eyes.“Amber, my star, we do not want to leave each other but my body is weary from all the farming. I work a little and feel sick. If you don’t go, we will starve.”Amber hugged her mother tightly, almost afraid to let her go.“Mother, don’t worry, I will go.” she said over her shoulder.“It’s okay,” Miriam consoled her, “I will
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3: Mystic Encounter
The afternoon was serene and Amber was not busy with any chore, therefore she stood inside the living room downstairs, admiring the portrait of the mansion on the wall. A squeak at the main door caught her attention and she looked to find the door already swinging open by Isis’s hand as she let herself inside the house.The woman was always elegant, Amber thought. With her beauty, it was hard to imagine she could be as stern as she was. She looked like she couldn’t hurt a fly but Amber doubted that.She traded her thoughts over some manners now, remembering she had been raised well. (“You’re a good heart,” Her mother would say).Amber greeted Isis with a smile and went back to eyeing the portrait, pretending not to notice how Isis had just ignored her greeting by not returning the smile. She was also careful not to show how affected she was by the disregard. She was not even prepared to confront her because she had been there long e
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4: Always A Lesson
It was expected that no one would believe her, reasoned Amber, seated over a dinner of pancakes and tea with Isis and Rhea. Amber had already told Rhea about the mermaid she saw and as expected, Rhea did not believe her. It was expected yes, but it still hurt.The experience made her resolve in her heart not to tell anyone else apart from her mother. It was better that way, she believed. At least even if her mother did not believe her, she would neither mock nor call her crazy as Rhea had done when she had told her earlier.Amber did not realize that submerged in her thoughts, she had been picking her food instead of eating it. Her eyes had been glued to her plate and so Isis and Rhea had been eyeing her as they pondered about her detached state.“What is the matter with you Amber?” Isis asked, grabbing her attention. “Are you not grateful for what you have before you?”“She’s sad because I didn’t believe her stup
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5: Roses And Thorns
Indeed, there was always a lesson to learn with life and Amber had just learned one that she needed to apply well, hence, she had to say something to stop her mother from suspecting she was going through any kind of hell at Isis’s home.“You worry too much mother, I am fine. Remember, they even changed my wardrobe.”Miriam seemed convinced given the smile she gave Amber and Amber was relieved that her mother did not have to worry about how she was being treated at Isis’s house even as right there she remembered an ugly incident that always broke her heart whenever it came to her mind.She could still see the smoke that rose from her burning clothes on the ground around which stood a sad looking her, a laughing Rhea and a disdainful Isis. They were all staring down at her burning clothes on the ground behind Isis’s house. She could still recall the dialogue that followed.“So you miss these rags?” Isis had scoffed.
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6: Pricked By Thorns
Amber was sleeping soundly, still buried in the euphoria and aftermath of her enjoyed break from house maid work. While she was sleeping, a yawning Isis and Rhea entered the dining room and headed straight for the table, expecting their regular cups of coffee. And there, their drowsy looks transformed to one of surprise as they encountered an empty table without their regular cups of coffee greeting them.“Mother, no coffee?” Rhea whined.“This is why I keep my maids with me.” Isis fumed. “Only a couple of days break and she has gotten lazy.”“Mother, please do something.” Rhea groaned, stormed to a chair, flopped down and folded her arms as she took on a grumpy look.At that moment, Amber rushed into the dining, still clad in her night dress and looking disheveled from her panicky wake in her sudden realization that she had broken the coffee rule.“I am so sorry I woke up late.” She both
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7: The Quest
Amber again reached for the cabinet, squatted down and peered inside, seeking Isis’s missing bowl but it wasn’t there. She closed the cabinet, straightened up and began chewing her finger nervously as she heard Isis’s voice from the dinning again, a voice that she was growing to dread.“Amber.” Isis called.Amber hastened to the stove and turned it off before answering with a dry cracking voice, a result of the fear that had gripped her.“Coming madam.” She forced her voice to sound brighter and repeated. “Coming madam.”She couldn’t help but continue to chew her finger and she looked around again, nervous as she remembered a scene that had taken place right there in the kitchen some time ago when she had first started to work in Isis’s house. She and Isis were in the kitchen and Isis was showing her the lost ornate looking bowl which then was sitting on the counter.“This is m
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8: Meeting Prince Arnold
Somewhere off Amber’s view, Arnold a young man, fine to behold, rowed his canoe faster, ignoring the chills he felt from the rain that had drenched him. He had heard the voice of a girl weeping and was eager to find out whom because for no certain reason, it bothered him. “Who is that?” he wondered and listening closely, he observed that the voice seemed to be coming from somewhere ahead of him and so he paddled forward until he came into view of Isis’s house where he spotted Amber at the shore. Mercifully, the rain had started to recede and Amber looked up at the approaching Prince in his canoe and stopped crying. She rose and moved closer to the bank as he rowed his boat closer. On reaching the shore, he pinned the paddle into the earth and used that as a pole to anchor the canoe. Amber was wiping her tears with her hands as he approached and within earshot of her, he spoke. “You’re the one crying.” Amber nodded. Wasn’t it obvious? She wondered.
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9: Lost
Hours after Amber’s disappearance, the stormy weather was already back to normal. Isis and Rhea were standing at their front porch looking around in their night dress.“Why isn’t she back?” Rhea asked. “It’s midnight.”“Amber!” Isis called out into the still of the night and her voice echoed, followed by a forlorn silence.“What if something bad happened to her?” Rhea asked. “It was a stormy weather and besides, she said she saw a mermaid, remember?”“Don’t be ridiculous.” Isis chided. “No one has seen one in quite a long time and no one is believed even if they claim to have seen one. The last person that claimed to see one was Amber’s father and he was not believed.”“So mermaids have actually been seen?” Rhea asked, surprised.“Folktales tell that this kingdom used to worship one who disappeared because of th
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10: The Search
Barely seconds after the meeting, had the search for Amber and Arnold begun, led by the King’s men who scouted the riverside of the village.Spiritedly, the searchers in different canoes looked for them, calling out their names but there was no response. Nearby bushes were foraged and there was no sign of them. By sundown when the height of the river was at its lowest, the searchers were all over the water. With sticks, they poked around the riverbed, hoping to find their bodies as by this time, they were feared dead.The search went on with shouts of “Amber” and “Prince” but their calls were only met with echoes that faded into silence so that as night drew near, the sounds of calling birds and crickets filled the air and the exhausted search party returned home.Keeping up for another week, the search finally stopped, erasing all hope even from Prince and Amber’s loved ones. Three days later, Miriam was miserable as she sat
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