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Rolfin's Orb
Book 11 - Diamond – Malawi
Chapter 14

Johnny bid farewell to Nahimena. “Mairi, could you please come with me,” he said, taking her hand.

“But I’ve got to…”

“Never mind. It can wait. I need to discuss something with you.” He opened the door and pulled her outside.

They walked into the woods. “Where are we going, Johnny?” Mairi turned to look back at the cottage.

“Trust me.” Johnny led her into a clearing. The grass shimmered emerald green. A fairy ring of mushrooms grew in the center. Tall pines encircled the area, yet a ray of sunlight had found its way through the deep green needles and shone down on them. Johnny took Mairi’s hand in his.

“What’s going on, Johnny? You’re being very mysterious.” Mairi felt her cheeks redden.

“Mairi, I made a decision today. I am not going back to Burill. I’m staying here, with you.” Johnny gulped with nervousness. “I want to fix up the castle, the house in Inverdrochit and…”

“And what, Johnny?”

“I want to ask you to marry me.” He gazed into her eyes, watching as they filled with tears. “Have I upset you? Why are you crying?”

“I’m not crying,” Mairi said, wiping the tears away. “I’m not crying because I’m said. I’m happy. Of course I will marry you, Johnny. Nothing would make me happier.

Johnny laughed out loud. “I want us to be married in Castle Athdara. I want to live in Inverdrochit, in the house you grew up in.”

“Yes, of course. We’ve got a lot of work to do then and we’ll need a lot of help.” Mairi threw her arms around his neck.

“Fiona will be happy, won’t she?” Johnny’s face turned more serious.

“Fiona loves you. Of course she’ll be happy.” Mairi kissed him on the lips. “Let’s go and tell everyone.” She took Johnny’s hand and turned to run.

“Wait. I have an engagement ring for you.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring.

“Johnny! It’s beautiful. It looks ancient.”

“It is. It is Queen Sarmantha’s wedding ring. After I found the bodies, I took their jewels and put them in a secret, hidden room in the castle.”

“Hidden? Secret? You mean nobody knew about it, but you?” Mairi chuckled.

“Not many people knew about it. I went to the room, rummaged through everything and found this. I know she’d want you to have it.” Johnny slipped it on her finger.

“It’s beautiful. Look at it. What is it?”

“It’s pure gold and Norwegian Thulite. Don’t you love the pink stone?” Johnny pulled her hand up to look.

“I’ve never heard of that stone before,” Mairi said.

“That ring was handed down for generations and given to Queen Sarmantha by her mother, Queen Finna. They were both born in Norway and are descendants of Norwegian kings that go back centuries.”

“I’ll treasure it always,” Mairi said. “Thank you. It’s so pretty.”

“Now we can go and tell everyone,” Johnny said. He let go of her hand and ran. “I’ll beat you there.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Mairi said and ran after him.

                               *  *  *

Johnny won the race, bursting into Angus’s croft with Mairi right behind.

“Mum! What are you two doing? Mum, what’s on your finger. Is it what I think it is?” Fiona ran over to see.

Mairi giggled. She couldn’t contain her joy. “It is. Johnny asked me to marry him. This is my engagement ring.”

“It’s beautiful, Mum. Come and see, Elspet.” The three women stood at the door gawking at the ring.

“It used to belong to Queen Sarmantha. In fact it was her wedding ring,” Mairi said.

“That means that Johnny is staying here. Are we going to live in Castle Athdara?” Fiona jumped for joy.

“We’ll live in my old house at Inverdrochit.”

“That’s even better. Johnny, you’re going to be my stepfather.” Fiona threw her arms around his neck and squeezed hard. “I love you, Johnny. Thanks for marrying my mum.”

“When is the wedding going to be?” Elspet patted Mairi’s hand.

“As soon as the castle is fixed up. We want to get married there,” Mairi said.

“Cool. I’ll take photos of your wedding,” Elspet said.

“I know this is an exciting time for you all, but we really need to have Fiona, Callum and Elspet leave. They’ve got to get that twelfth jewel in the orb.” Jimmy patted Johnny on the back. “You’ve decided to stay then, have you?”

“Yes. I can’t leave Mairi and Fiona. I belong here now.”

 “I understand, Johnny. We’ll talk later.” Jimmy went to see Mairi’s ring.

Fiona filled her pack with everything they usually took, including more film, food, torch and water. She made sure Callum and Elspet took their coats. “We’re going to Mongolia. It’s autumn there too, so it’s probably freezing by now. Since we’re not sure what part of Mongolia we’re going to, we’d better be prepared for the worst.”

Callum and Elspet hugged everyone and said their goodbyes. “We’re off now. Remember that Nahimena told us our traps will be the most dangerous of all and we should be careful. Mum, I’m happy for you and you too, Johnny. Take care of Mum for me.” Fiona kissed Johnny’s cheek and her mother’s too. “Daleth shapish yam.”

Fiona, Callum and Elspet disappeared, leaving a room full of worried people behind.

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