‘Yummy, these Balenciaga shoes are worth the price.’ Eno couldn’t take her eyes off the phone screen. The shoes were adorned with glittery silver stones which added a classic touch to it. She liked it that Elena was concerned about her happiness. Eno knew she was in a good place at this point in her life, but she her joy wasn’t complete as her sister was still missing.

The moment Cassie crossed her mind; her zeal concerning the shoes waned. And Elena quickly noticed the frown on her face.

‘Don’t you like the shoes?’ Elena narrowed her eyes. One minute her sister had been bubbly, now she wore a gloomy face.

Eno shrugged, ‘I don’t think Sam is really a shoe person. I’ve never seen him with a wristwatch. Maybe I should get him one, what do you think?’ She forced a smile and moved towards the sink to wash out the cabbages she had soaked in warm water.

Elena rolled her eyes, ‘Come on sis, you can deceive every other person with your fake smile, but not me. What is wrong?’ Elena dragged in air sharply. She hoped that her sister hadn’t found out that she was researching about Sam.

Eno closed her eyes shortly and opened them, ‘its Cassie. I don’t know how long we’ll keep floating in the air and pretending that she has been taken by someone unknown. I don’t know how long we’re going to do this.’

Elena had wanted to find out if the King was behind her sister’s kidnap, but Sam’s matter had popped up. Unlike her elder sister, she now had a conviction that her mother knew something about Cassie’s disappearance.

‘You know what I think?’ Elena moved over to the sink and placed two hands on Eno’s shoulders.

‘What do you think?’ Eno searched her sister’s eyes.

‘I think we should relax,’ Elena shrugged.

Eno scoffed, she couldn’t believe what her younger sister had just said.

‘Relax? Why would we do something like that? Okay, I know we have spent a lot of money working the Police but that is not enough reason to forget our sister. Look at dad; we had to lie to him the other day. You know he was very close to Cassie, how do you think he would feel when he finally discovers that we haven’t seen her for two months plus?’

Elena got her sister’s points. She perfectly understood why they had to begin a fresh search. Cassie and father had been very close. Their love for fashion design had further strengthened their bond.

‘I had a conviction last night that mother knows about Cassie’s kidnap. Remember that we told her about it and she didn’t seem to worry about anything.’ Elena replied.

Unknown to the sisters, their father had heard all of their conversations and it greatly shocked him. He now came to terms with the reason the girls had been so evasive about his questions of Cassie.

His heart broke into a wild race and pound firmly against his chest. He almost fell from the stair because his legs lost their fire when he heard the news.

At first, he wanted to storm back to his room and find a way to contact the devil he had married. But that wouldn’t lead him to Cassie. Tamar was more evil than he thought. Perhaps it was time to tell the children the secret about their mother.

He walked slowly towards the kitchen. He had heard enough. A lot of things had changed while he was away, and it made him feel bad. He was a coward that had allowed Tamar emasculate him. He had abandoned his children at their greatest time of need; he hoped Cassie would forgive him if she was ever found.

Eno’s lips shivered as she quickly noticed their father walk in. The old man had a scowl on his face, and she had a feeling he had overheard their conversation about Cassie.

‘Dad?’ Elena pulled her arms away from her sister and faced him.

‘Good morning, I trust that you slept well.’ Eno pushed a smile.

Mr. Benjamin didn’t return either of their smiles. They had welcomed him with the same fake demeanor and he had felt everything was alright.

‘What happened to your sister? Tell me everything that happened while I was away!’

The girls quickly exchanged glances. They couldn’t tell their father the truth about Cassie’s mysterious disappearance. He had gone through enough in their mother’s hands. The old man deserved some peace and calm. He was worthy of rest.

‘Dad, can we talk about this later? You’ll need to eat your breakfast.’ Elena quickly rushed to his side so she could lead him away from the kitchen, but he wouldn’t have any more of their lies and deceit.

‘Stop right there!’ he yelled.

‘I want both of you to tell me what is happening now. I need to know if your sister is safe.’ 

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  The princess had been the first to wake. Tayo had woken up with a throbbing head and a swirling belly. She knew her condition was a result of the stress she’d encountered in the meeting with the Russians. The only cure to her discomfort was having breakfast and taking some milk, as she usually did when she was overstressed.

Tayo grabbed her phone first before rolling out of the bed. So many thoughts had run through her mind as she strolled out of the bedroom towards the dining hall. She hadn’t received any message from the Mask or his men and that scared her. She had offered them a fair deal, and if they refused to take her offer, that would be an open declaration of war.

‘I can’t let that happen on my watch.’ She muttered under her breath as she neared the hall. Her brother was still mad at her for tricking the Mask and his men. If they rejected her offer, she would have no other choice but to sacrifice herself.

The Mask was a dangerous criminal and she had offended him twice. His wrath could consume the whole royal family, but she didn’t want that. She loved Yemi too much to allow any harm come his way.

‘What am I having for breakfast?’ She stopped at the entrance. There were two guards in place and she had directed her questions at them.

‘The maids haven’t dropped anything yet.’ One of them replied, and his response annoyed her.

Tayo bit her lip feeling quite disappointed. She had expected to fill her belly with a delicious breakfast before going about the day’s activities. Angrily, she strolled away from the dining hall and decided to check what the maids were up to.

Her right hand held the phone tightly while the left encircled her flat belly. She wondered why the King wasn’t up yet. Yemi was a morning person and an early riser. Most times, he left the palace before she even woke up.

“She has quality designs. If the princess has someone to fund her dreams of going to a fashion school, she could become a unique brand…” A female voice said.

Tayo’s brows narrowed at the mention of “princess”. Had the maids resorted to early morning gossip about her instead of preparing her food?

‘I can’t believe this.’ Tayo increased her footsteps. The maids were all going to receive a tough punishment from her. They had easily forgotten their place in the royal house. It was necessary to remind that they were servants.

Pelumi and the other maids had been talking about Cassie’s designs. They were awed by her high level of creativity and the sophistication of her designs. While in the royal garden, Cassie had told the maids about her ambitions and her hope to attend the best fashion school in the world.

‘Why are you girls talking about me?’ Tayo stormed into the kitchen.

At once, the girls dispersed. They were all shocked to see the princess this morning and they were more surprised at the question she had thrown at them. None of them could remember talking about princess Tayo. Who would even dare try that, knowing how arrogant she was?

‘Are you all deaf? I heard my name in this place clearly. Is this what you do early in the morning instead of working?’ Tayo scoffed. Their silence enraged her further.

The maids’ heads were bowed; they couldn’t utter a word in the presence of Princess Tayo. Pelumi had a feeling that her cousin, Tayo, had misunderstood them when she had heard the mention of her title. But she didn’t have the courage to speak.

Tayo stared at their bowed heads and shivery feet. She didn’t know the name of the other girls, but she recognized her relative. She couldn’t believe that Pelumi would join these girls in backbiting her.

‘What were you guys talking about Pelumi?’ Tayo called out her cousin.

To be continued…

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