The Divorcee is a Wicked Black Belly Chapter 51: Changes


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An Ning decided to hire Taey as a bodyguard for the twins when they both start school soon, which was two weeks away. Before this, Taey had approached An Ning about a marriage proposal to one of the girls in the village. He had been rather embarrassed about it, claiming that the girl was pressuring him into marriage because she thought she might be pregnant. But it was obvious looking at him that he was besotted.

Taey and the rest of the men he hired to rescue the women from the island have chosen not to leave even after receiving sizeable checks from An Ning. An Ning had been very generous and decided to pay each individual instead of giving them a lump sum as agreed. The amount was so great that they could have gone anywhere and continue to live a prosperous life if they wished but all of them opted to stay instead, even the three young doctors and the two paramedics who decided to pool their resources together and start a practice.

An Ning was surprised but thought it was better for the village because it made them more independent so she decided to build a clinic which was later expanded to include a two-story hospital which Enxuo, before he disappeared, had equipped with the best equipment money could buy. He also bought two planes and built a landing for emergencies, which were put under the management of a young man close to Taey. The man, whose name was Bryan, was also the first of the outsiders to marry into the tribe.

Ceres had been very reluctant to give her consent until someone pointed out to her that the girl, Elon, was already cohabiting with Bryan. Ceres had actually been surprised that someone cared about such things.

"This is not a religious cult, for god's sake," she said, honestly shocked. "Why would anyone care if they're living together married or not? It's not like we haven't done it before."

But it seemed somebody did care and that somebody was Elon herself. The consequences of Enxuo forcibly dragging the Amazon tribe into the 21st century via online interaction had been a little strange. The sexual freedom that the Amazons used to take for granted had been questioned by the younger generation who thought it a little weird that mothers would give up their baby boys to their dads and only keep the child if they were girls.

First of all, that's not what the internet said about the concept of a nucleus family. According to some social forums the youths in the village avidly follow, families consisted of a dad, a mom, and kids living together under the legal term marriage. Under such a contract, each family member had rights, especially baby boys who were not given away just because they were born with a penis.
These young people further argued that children, whether born a girl or a boy, should stay together with both parents so they could build a future together, which sounded like a lot of baloney to Ceres that she was tempted to banish the men from the village so she could have some peace.

But in actuality, it was not the internet that scrambled the minds of these young people but their experiences living in total isolation in the island for twenty years. Most of them were children born of ****. They never knew their fathers and as children were exposed to men that were more brutal than the circumstances they were living in. And most of them never understood why their mothers instinctively shy away from their little brothers, some of whom were born blind and afflicted and were allowed to die as soon as they come out of the womb.

They never dared utter their questions because it was easier to live in ignorance but it was different now since they were no longer just concerned with daily survival but building a future. So questions of morality, honor and commitment were all thrown haphazardly in a pool of rebellion that roiled the tribe.

"All this for a wedding?" Ceres had scoffed.

Of course An Ning had a different take of it than her old-fashioned mother. Ceres, like most of the survivors, had been imprisoned in the village without contact of the world except for Enxuo so her vision was a bit skewered towards keeping the status quo. But the presence of the outsiders already took care of that. Ceres could wave her magic wand and mess with the men's memories but even she could not manipulate mass amnesia.

The question of Bryan and Elon's wedding was easily solved by having the ceremony in the nearest town. This was actually the first wedding the tribe celebrated since they came back so everyone was a bit emotional. The wedding was also a beginning, the harbinger of things to happen. Two more weddings followed after the first one then the pregnancies and the re-shaping of life in Saravia.

When Taey spoke to An Ning about his wedding, she laughed and teased him. She was familiar with his fiancee, a relative of Nyra who occasionaly worked with her in Yu Yan's company. Her name was Irina and she was seventeen years old. Normally, An Ning would have protested against an early marriage for any girl below the age of twenty but this was a special case and Irina and Taey were special people.

Taey had another request that made An Ning laugh out loud.

The wedding happened on a Sunday. The weather was cool, the clouds blue. The bride looked beautiful in an ivory gown made of tulle and satin. Taey was near tears but everybody agreed that Lux was the perfect flower girl and Cas the perfect flower boy. The wedding pictures said it all: the palpable happiness of the couple, the insouciant smiles on the twins' faces as they clowned in front the camera, the enthusiasm of the whole village as they celebrated another wedding.

Life continued for everybody and everybody embraced life again, including An Ning.

Not long after, An Ning faced another crisis when Gara arrived with about a dozen men from his village. It had taken them nearly a week to get to Saravia because of the condition the men were in when Nyra and Gara found them. Both of them decided to inter the men at the nearest hospital until they were fit to travel in their condition.

An Ning took one look at them and nearly gagged. The men bore so many holes and wounds on their bodies that they look less like men than pin cushions. What's more, the metal fused to their bodies have started to emit poison and naturally mingled with their blood. Psychologically, some of them were so damaged they were on the verge of losing their minds; some were so far gone An Ning didn't know if they still could be helped or not.

An Ning wondered what hospital allowed these men to leave in their condition until she remembered that Nyra had told her they bought out a hospital recently put up for sale for this very purpose. Gara had immediately quarantined the hospital staff and put everyone on lockdown while the men were being checked in. He put the fear of god into each of the hospital employees that not a squeak were heard from any of them even when the men were checked out and bundled one by one onto different helicopters.

Nyra, An Ning along with some of the women were waiting on the tarmac when the helicopters arrived one by one. An Ning and Nyra had decided earlier on to take the men straight to the pool and immersed them totally in it to effect the fastest cure. An Ning of course forbid any outsiders to enter Hippolyta's grove. So, except for the sick men, the women drove the men to the grove, carried them on stretchers, then laid them carefully down on the cool water. However, it was not an instant cure but a prolonged agony of screams and scorched flesh that stretched nerves and befouled the air surrounding the river.

"What's wrong?" Nyra screamed at An Ning. "It's hurting them."

"I think they're too far gone to be helped this way," An Ning explained hurriedly. "Take them out. I think I know of another way."

"You don't mean...?"

"Just take them out, Nyra. There's nothing we can do but go through with it."

When the men were pulled out and laid one by one on the river bank, An Ning took out her knife and cut her hand without hesitation. She walked to the first man, opened his mouth and allowed the blood to flow on his tongue. She did the same to the rest of the men groaning on the ground and watched as their shrieks of pain quieted down to low murmurs of discomfort and sleeplessness. The wounds and the holes on their bodies also started to heal fast.

The healing blood, however, could not mend their gaunt bodies nor could it clear them of their nightmares. They were too far gone to be healed completely. It would take time, perhaps a long time for them to ever recover.

Afterwards, Nyra and the women took the men to the hospital where warm beds awaited them. As they were leaving, An Ning was aware of the speculative looks the Amazons were throwing her way but she didn't really care. She was actually pondering about the apparent limitations of Hippolyta's miraculous pool and what it meant to the growing population of the village.

So it had a limitation. Perhaps Hippolyta's essence was wearing out and will dissipate soon? She was still standing, looking absent-mindedly at the river so that when the voice spoke, it actually made her start.

"You fed them your blood, mommy. And I saw their wounds heal fast. Does it mean you have special powers like Superman?"

Castor's voice was merely curious. An Ning couldn't detect a note of disgust or ridicule in it. His expression was especially calm, even languid.

An Ning turned to him and smiled.

"Mommy doesn't have superpowers like Superman. Her blood can heal though which is really nothing special since great grandmama can do it, too. I can't fly like Superman or have super strength like him either."

"Hmnn...I would love it if my blood could heal people, too. It would be awesome. Can I be like you, mommy?"

"I don't know, Cas. Maybe you'll find out later where your super ability lies and then you'll be more awesome than mommy. Are you ready to attend school the day after tomorrow?" said An Ning, changing the subject.

"Uh huh. Taey said human kids are nice so we have nothing to worry about."

"He's right," An Ning agreed. "But if someone bullies you or your sister I don't want you to just stand by and do nothing. Fight them but don't hurt them too much, understand?"

"You think they'll bully us, mommy?"

"I don't know it, I'm sure of it so I want you to be careful and protect your sister."

Castor nodded. An Ning took his hand and together the two of them walked back to the house. Neither of them noticed that the blood was still flowing fresh and red on An Ning's open wound and that it was staining Castor's palm, coloring it a brilliant red.

The following day, which was a Sunday, An Ning woke up to silence. There were no shouts of laughter. No demands for breakfast. No pitter patter of feet on the terrace outside. An Ning sat up with fear pounding in her heart. Her eyes collided with the smiling figure on the mirror. The children were not in the house and Richard was back with another warning.
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