Many days later, some men came in through a tunnel leading to the pit, and all the girls, trembling with fear, came together at a corner. “Who are they?” Grace whispered to Timi. “Slave dealers” Timi replied, and Grace, trembling, asked; “W…why are they here?” The men kept moving round the girls, observing them and discussing among themselves. “To sell one of us, any of us” Timi whispered back and tried hiding her face behind the girl sitting in front of her. Grace buried her face between her thighs crying, one of the men noticed her. “Hey! Lift your head…… I haven’t seen you before, new girl?” Grace lifted her face and replied the man with fear “Y..y..yes…err…but..”. The man quickly turned to another man whispering. “We don’t have time to waste. They seem to be in a hurry to get back to their mistress. As they said, she needs a girl between the ages of fifteen and sixteen…” “Yea, so…..emm….that girl doesn’t look bad” the second man said. “Girl, how old are you?” to Grace. “Sixteen” Grace replied. The men were pleased as Grace was sixteen, even though she pleaded against being sold, they refused. She was bought at a given price.
Grace was taken far away by the men who came for her. When they got to the plalace, Grace kept looking around, admiring the palace built from elephant tusk. She had never seen such beautiful and gigantic buildings. They took her to a princess. “We are here, Princess” the men said. The princess, a fair lady dressed so beautifully that Grace kept staring at her and admiring her beauty. They gave Grace to the princess and left, she then turns down her face, like her ordeals just dawned on her. “You are beautiful” the princess said but Grace said nothing and kept her face to the ground. “Err…I’m Judith, what’s your name?” the princess asked. “Grace” she replied. “OK….lift your face, I just commented on your beauty, but you said nothing….not even a thank you” Judith said. “Mmm sorry…. I had a lot going through my mind” Grace replied. “Mmm …by the way how old are you?” Judith asked. “I’m sixteen” Grace replied, Judith was excited “Wow….I’m sixteen too. I told them I needed someone of my age, didn’t know they would really get….I think I’m liking you, we should get along really fine” she said and grinned. Judith was so excited to have Grace, for the first time, she got a servant. She quickly took Grace in and got her cleaned up, she got her a nice dress. “Wow….this is awesome” Grace commented. “You like it?” Judith asked, Grace smiled at the question and replied “Absolutely….its like yours. I’ve never worn any dress as beautiful as…this….thank you…emm….what do I call you? Madam? Princess? Your Highness? Mistress?” “Judith would be fine by me…. But my parents would not like it. So Your Highness is OK” Judith replied. “Ok Your Highness” Grace said and smiled. Judith led her to a well furnished room different from all other servants in the palace. She assigned few chores to Grace, she wanted her to be available for her always – more as a friend. Everywhere the princess went, Grace went with her.
One afternoon, Princess Judith and Grace were walking along a garden discussing. “So…Grace, I’ve been wondering….how did you end up a slave? Were your parents slaves? Or?” Judith asked as Grace stopped walking and tears poured down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry…..what’s wrong?” she asked again and Grace answered “I wasn’t a slave….its…its still hard for me to accept everything happening to me right now. It was just one day I became so unfortunate. On my birthday…..my parents were murdered… I still don’t know who the men who murdered them are. They wanted to kill me too……i ran out of the house and they were chasing me through the bush close to my house….and I later fell inside a pit….” Grace started crying. “A pit? How come?” Judith asked. “I don’t know too… I was running and…..it didn’t even look like a pit, it was looking so small…..some grasses were on it so I thought I would just step on them and keep running….I just fell inside…it was narrow…my head kept hitting the sides of…..I can’t talk about that….they killed my parents….mum and dad were just planning to make me happy on my birthday…. and..” Grace stopped and kept crying. Judith started crying with her “Its OK….its ok…..I shouldn’t have asked..I guess” Judith said. “Its ok Your Highness….I’m fine” Grace said, fighting back her tears.
“In the pit, I was considered a slave along with the other girls I met there……and I was sold….just like the other girls” Grace said. “The other girls? Wait! So you are saying…..you fell inside a certain pit and became a slave? And some other unfortunate girls too?” Judith asked and Grace nodded. Judith sympathized with Grace. They talked for a while and Grace escorted Judith to her quarters. As she was returning to her own quarters, she saw one of the men who bought her from the slave dealers. “Good day Miss” the man said with his head bowed. Grace looked around to be sure the man was referring to her, and she answered “Emm…sir…its me. You brought me” “Yes ma’am…how can I be of assistance to you? Or may I escort you back to your quarters?” The man said, Grace was surprised, she declined the offer as she sheepishly went to her room, and the man left afterwards.