Sooki and her girls took me to the palace’s lawn. It was near to the beach. There were people enthusiastically preparing for the function. Some were lighting huge beacons, candle, torches. Some others were arranging benches,tables whereas some were busy making a huge fire pit for the night.
There were gigantic pillars installed to the four sides of the enclosure. Nardi women were busy decorating them with flowers. They made a stage out of wood planks and adorned it with sea shells. There was also a throne-like chair near the fire pit, facing the stage. It was made from precious pearls. It had elephant teeth handles and it’s cushions were handmade by Nardi women. They were stitched with silk thread and embellished with golden sequins.
Soon Nardi tribes began to arrive. They seated on the benches and chairs arranged for them. The palace staff was welcoming each guest with great love and warmth. They were served fresh steamed fish, beef barbecue, chicken, turkey, seafood, fruits and juices. Young couples presented dance to them. Groups performed traditional melodies on rare instruments. And Nardi women including Sooki sang beautiful songs to entertain us. I loved a beautiful dance performance that involved 6 people. It was a slow, rhythmic circular dance motion called, “Moi”.
I was supposed to enter with Ryan after all guests would settle. Ryan held my hands when a drummer announced our names.
“WelcOma twO lOvas: RyOn & JOneeet (welcome two lovers: Ryan & Janet)”
I walked proudly besides my lover. He, who made me feel so special and changed my life to 180 degrees. I could never think I was that lucky. So, listening my name taken with him brought tears in my eyes.
As soon as we started walking, people got up from their seats. They were clapping. Sooki walked behind me, holding my draping gown from the back. And a lad was holding Ryan’s white long rob also. Nobody could think we were people from the 21st century, one who was a modern woman and the other, CEO and a successful business tycoon!
“I love you, Ryan” I whispered in his ears.
He replied with a smile saying, “Me too”
In the end, The Nardis’ paid tribute to us. They involved us in their activities on stage and requested us to dance with them. Dancing with Ryan on that night was probably the most accomplishing experience.
We could not sleep that night. We did not want to waste our last night. There was romance, dance, happiness, merry-making in the air. The starry night, the sea breeze and the beacon rays were driving us mad. We were soaked in each other’s love and carried away by a mix of emotions. We were happy and sad all at the same time. Sad, because we had to got back and happy, because we were together.
“It’s just like a dream, Ryan”
“You are THAT dream darlin,” he answered still staring at the twinkling stars above.
“Ryan…..I love you so much”
“I love you too Janet”
“I still cannot believe you are a real fantasy, Ryan”
“Fantasy? I am not a fantasy dear. I am your love”
“No…I am not lying. I did not know you were a real charming prince from this fantasy land”
“It is not fantasy. It is my hard work. I gave my life to earn this. You remember…I came to your city empty-handed. My dad, who was an intelligent fish trader found job there and raised me with great care. He taught me everything. But as soon as I became 14, he died leaving nothing but a will for me”
“What kind of will?”
“He wrote, learn from life.explore for yourself. Make your living and when you reach a level,go back to your homeland. Meet Nardis”
“What….Why did he say that? Did you follow his advise?”
“Yes. I followed it. I moved to different cities for trading purposes. I learned those skills from my dad. I traded with many nations. And when I became stable. I decided to visit Nardi”
“Then” I asked putting both hands on my cheeks.
“I discovered….the land belonged to my dad. He was among nobility here. So, when I reached this place for the first time. The natives gave me a letter and a bag. The letter from my dad. It said, “welcome son, you achieved my dream. Now, you deserve this bag. I opened that small velvet bag and found keys. Gold keys to the decades old palace building” Ryan had tiny dew drops in his beautiful eyes.
I wiped them with my hands and hugged him till dawn.(to be continued…)