An adaptation of one of my favorite folklore, revolving around two proud women.
Once in a far away land, there lived a rajah who was known far and wide. This particular rajah was a great ruler and a very hospitable leader yet he was not known because of such qualities. He was neither known because of his conquests, nor because of his wealth. Instead, he was known because of the incomparable beauty of his daughter, Prinsesa Magayon.
Prinsesa Magayon, they say, was the epitome of perfection. Her hair, cascading just below her shoulders, was the wavy rays of the sun as it peeks through the earth before starting a new day; her eyes – the color of the most exquisite of all teas which could tame even the angriest beast; her lashes – thick enough to capture the sun’s rays and trap them in her eyes; her lips – tempting in their haughty curves; and luscious in their crimson softness; and her voice- comparable to the muses of the air who orchestrate the songs of nature. This daughter of Rajah Lakan was truly a grace and beauty incarnate.
Day after day, spears of countless young men, even those coming from faraway lands, were trusted on the rajah’s staircase, yet no one could make the rajah give up his precious daughter. Even the richest of all merchants, Liu Mi Chen and his incomprehensible wealth couldn’t temp the rajah to betroth his daughter.
One hot afternoon, Prinsesa Magayon was on her way to a river to take the bath. She was in a really foul mood that afternoon because even the huge fans of her slaves could not drive away the heat. Her slaves could only cower in fear at every word of their angry mistress.
Prinsesa Magayon and her servants, made their way towards the princess’ favorite spot in the river. But upon arriving at the area, they were surprised to see a solitary girl in a boat floating lightly on the water. The girl was clad with the proud clothes of a warrior.
The princess, seeing this stranger in her favorite place, regarded her haughtily.
“Who are you?” demanded the irritated princess.
“I am Maharlika.” answered the girl politely.
“A Maharlika?” questioned the princess.
“Uh... Yes. A Maharlika. Slave to no one but myself, Prinsesa Magayon.” she replied smiling.
“You know me?” inquired the now curious princess.
“Who would not know you, you magical of all creatures? Who has not heard of you, most lovely of all beings? I have heard of you from afar and I have come. I have seen you and you have stirred my blood alive. None can satisfy me until I have won you over.”
“Who are you to dare speak to me, Prinsesa Magayon, daughter of Rajah Lakan in such way? None can satisfy me until I have won you over.” The princess scoffed. "Know you not the punishment for such imprudence is death?”
“I know, most imperious of all beings, and I dare.”
“You dare!” The two brown orbs of the princess turned a shade darker upon hearing what the woman uttered. This was the very first time that she was addressed in such a manner. The once calm sea was challenged and was threatening to unleash its fury. “You, a mere Maharlika, dare address me in such a despicable manner. You, a mere simple woman, daring to woo the daughter of Rajah Lakan!”
“I am a Maharlika. A noble woman.” The woman answered in a dignified manner. “I have lips, so I dare speak and I have a heart so I dare love.”
At this point, if not for her nature as a princess, the sea of wrath could have swept that proud woman away. But enclosed by her natural restraint, Prinsesa Magayon’s eyes could simply blaze as her voice trembled in great anger.
“My father would know these words uttered by your lips and his warriors would search this river for you.”
Upon hearing this, Maharlika merely kept quiet and brought her boat nearer the shore as an answer. She then jumped out of the boat in one swift motion, bringing with her a spear, and slowly walked towards the princess. Though her indignation was eating her up, the princess still could not help but examine the proud woman as she walked towards her.
The proud woman exudes elegance and power in her dignified way of walking. Her stunning built and her sun-kissed skin gives off the aura of strength, strength even more emphasized by each stride she takes. Her soft silky black hair flowing and stopping just a little below her shoulders passionately adored by the wind’s soft touches... Her eyebrows the color of the dark night sky without its stars was thick enough to accentuate her enthralling eyes... those eyes, the color of a sparrow’s wing... were alluring... yet warm... They were kind eyes, kind and loving eyes though not without the glint of a warrior’s courage... Her nose, tall and proud brings emphasis to her soft, plump, pink lips with the freshness of a blooming rose...
She indeed was an enchanting woman… a dangerously enchanting woman.
The woman’s strides stopped a few steps from Prinsesa Magayon. Their eyes met and however cliché it may sound, right at that moment, everything ceased to exist, except for these two proud strangers by the river. An enchanting realm engulfed them, a realm where only heartbeats exist. Yet seconds after, the magic faded upon the sound of hurrying footsteps. They both turned their heads and saw a servant rushing towards them. The servant stopped in front of Prinsesa Magayon and gave the proper reverence before stating her purpose.
“Rajah Lakan, ruler of this land, requests for your presence Prinsesa Magayon. Liu Mi Chen’s ships have arrived, bringing with them, immense treasures from their prosperous land.”
Upon hearing her father’s urgent call, Prinsesa Magayon immediately summoned her servants and prepared to go back.
“I would go with you to ask the honor of the presence of Rajah Lakan. I was sent here by Rajah Maginoo for an important errand.”
Prinsesa Magayon suppressed a frown. She immediately recognized the name. He is no less than the most trusted ally of his father and a ruler of a nearby land.
This woman who dared speak in such a manner is a subordinate of Rajah Maginoo?
With this new information in mind, Prinsesa Magayon huffed out in frustration with her servants and the warrior-woman in tow.
Prinsesa Magayon arrived at the rajah’s abode and hurriedly went to her room. Maharlika, who was then left outside, flung her spear into Rajah Lakan’s staircase.
“Who is it?” the rajah’s powerful voice bellowed.
“It is I, Maharlika. Rajah Maginoo sent me to ask for your daughter, Prinsesa Magayon’s hand.”
The powerful rajah, upon hearing the name of his faithful ally and friend, immediately asked the woman to come up for them to discuss the matter. Prinsesa Magayon after hearing the stranger’s request, started venting out her anger inside her room.
She was sent by Rajah Maginoo to ask for my hand yet she dared speak to me that way? She dared proclaim her love to me?
Her servants could only silently cower in fear as the daughter of the rajah continued to let loose the reign of her unexplainable anger towards the foreign woman.
Days passed by slowly, until one day, the rajah summoned Prinsesa Magayon and asked to choose between his faithful friend Rajah Maginoo and the foreigner, Liu Mi Chen. But in truth, the rajah actually wished for his daughter to pick his faithful ally. Prinsesa Magayon, not really wanting any of the two, since Rajah Maginoo is already too old for her and Liu Mi Chen is a man of a foreign land, voiced this out to her father. The rajah, hearing this decision of his daughter, immediately concluded Rajah Maginoo as the worthy man for his daughter. Prinsesa Magayon would have wanted to voice out her disagreement but because disobedience was never an option in those days, the princess could not do anything but to obey. The arrangement for the joining of hearts of Rajah Maginoo and Prinsesa Magayon progressed, although the princess went through it with a heavy heart.
A week passed by and one day, a servant relayed to Prinsesa Magayon, a message from Liu Mi Chen.
“Prinsesa Magayon, Liu Mi Chen requests for the honor of your presence. Their ships would leave the dock at the end of this day and he deemed it a pity if your grace would not see the finest of all silks that he has brought.”
Prinsesa Magayon, obliged by the custom, finally decided to grant Liu Mi Chen’s ship a visit since the foreigner was still one of their cherished visitors.
Upon arriving at his ship, Prinsesa Magayon was immediate entertained by the delighted Liu Mi Chen.
“It is my pleasure that the renowned Prinsesa Magayon has finally granted us the honor of her presence.”
Prinsesa Magayon merely nodded in acknowledgement of the foreigner’s words. She was then led to the looms of the most fine-looking silks she has ever seen. Liu Mi Chen seeing the twinkle in the eyes of the princess deemed it the right time to voice out his proposal.
“Prinsesa Magayon, if you would only come with me to be my wife, I would lay every kind of treasure at your feet, you would be the Empress of my realm, and you would acquire everything that you set your eyes on.”
The princess who looked unfazed stopped examining the silks laid and faced Liu Mi Chen.
“It is my sorrow to decline Liu Mi Chen but I simply cannot accept your offer.”
Upon hearing the princess’ words, Liu Mi Chen’s eyes immediately sparkled as if he has already expected the refusal of his offer. He calmly took out a black metallic object and pointed it at the disinterested princess.
“Since you would not willingly accompany me to my journey, I would have to then forcefully take you with me.”
The princess looked at the foreign man in disgust. She still seemed to be unperturbed by the small gun pointed at her.
“My father rules a hundred warriors. He could so easily send a couple of hundreds in order to get me from you. I am then sure that he would give you the rightful punishment for such imprudence.”
The foreign man upon hearing the princess’ undisturbed voice, merely laughed. He then pointed to the multitude of ships that he owns.
“Do you really not think that I would have prepared for this kind of occurrence?”
The man again laughed upon seeing the princess’ baffled expression.
“Can you see all these ships? Do you think all they contain are mere items for exchange? You’ve mistaken! For they also contains canons that could sink your land and defeat all your warriors in sheer few minutes.”
Suddenly, a young woman in a warrior’s attire jumped into the boat. This caused all Liu Mi Chen’s men, including him to point their weapons at her. The woman remained composed in the midst of all these. She stood there in a dignified manner, although she was wet from head to toe.
“Who are you?” inquired the puzzled Liu Mi Chen.
Prinsesa Magayon silently chuckled at the question. She found it amusing that everyone who meets Maharlika asks who she is.
“I am Prinsesa Maharlika, daughter of Rajah Maginoo, ruler of Minawan. But as of yesterday, after my father’s death, I am now Prinsesa Maharlika, ruler of Minawan. And I am here to take Prinsesa Magayon away.”
Liu Mi Chen bellowed in laughter upon hearing what the brave warrior said.
“I pity you. I would have opted to let your poor soul go if you have not mentioned the last fraction. Now, I will grant you the disgraceful death you earnestly sought. ”
Still pointing a gun at Prinsesa Maharlika, he motioned for one of his subordinates to get him something. The subordinate immediately left then went back with a rattan vessel in hand. The merchant asked another subordinate to take out what is inside the container. The latter refused, a terrified expression marring his once arrogant contour. The refusal aroused the anger of the trader and he at once directed the tip of the metal in his hand towards the disobedient subordinate.
“You dare disobey me? Take it out right this instant or the first bullet of this invention would pass through your body!”
Upon hearing this, the subordinate shuddered in fear and had no other choice but to do as what his master bids. He then shakily lifted the lid of the vessel and reached inside. The moment his hand dived into the vessel, he dropped down, bitten and already dead. The foreign leader smiled.
“You shall reach inside the vessel where the cobra is. If you manage to take it out, your freedom has been paid, but if you would not succeed it would cost you your dear life.”
Prinsesa Maharlika upon hearing what the merchant said, glanced at the seemingly unconcerned Prinsesa Magayon, before walking without the slightest hesitation towards the deemed vessel of death. She then reached inside and through a force unknown to everyone, managed to hold the cobra by the head before trusting it into Liu Mi Chen’s face. The foreign man immediately dropped down without a soul in his body. With this done, the warrior-princess turned to the stunned Prinsesa Magayon and ushered her to jump.
“Jump into the water Prinsesa Magayon! My multitudes of men are waiting in the shore. They would be ready to assist you.”
And the two jumped into the water and swam with all they might towards the shore. Prinsesa Magayon still with all her grandeur, reached land first. She then immediately surveyed her surroundings and as she expected, there were no multitudes of warriors awaiting their arrival. She smiled.
Prinsesa Maharlika right then at that moment reached the place where the haughty princess stood. Prinsesa Magayon then feeling the arrival of the other, started walking, still with that smile adorning her enchanting features. But before the princess completely left the baffled ruler, she stopped for a while and mirthfully uttered:
“Trust your spear for yourself and you will not trust in vain.”
Days after, Prinsesa Magayon and Prinsesa Maharlika, now ruler of two adjoined lands, could be seen standing on an elevated part of their domain as they stare into the now calm sea. The warrior-princess’ hands encircled Prinsesa Magayon’s waist as the breeze lightly touches their deity given bodies. Prinsesa Maharlika then planted a kiss on Prinsesa Magayon’s cheek, a gesture that resulted into a tint of red adorning the latter’s cheeks.
“Most majestic of all beings, other half of my soul, look around you. Look at this land that we now rule. I would make this, our land, the most prosperous of all lands, and a symbol of my never fading adoration towards you..”
Prinsesa Magayon upon hearing the words of her beloved, smiled a blissful smile, before placing her hands atop the clasped hands of her lover.
“Never did I doubt, and never will I doubt your words my warrior. My heart has spoken to yours from the first time we’ve met and it has devoted its all to you...”
With that said, Prinsesa Magayon turned around and faced her now forever companion. And with the muses orchestrating the song of nature, their lips touched, sealing the promise uttered by their blissful hearts.