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Princess Amarachi - Chapter Eight


Princess Amarachi - Chapter Eight

Theme: And Her Journey to Destiny-Discovery

By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

Copyright ©:
No unauthorized reproduction, reprinting, 
plagiarising, commercialization, or rewording of 
this fictional work is allowed.

Adaoma was unsure of Amarachi’s reaction, so she felt uncomfortable to continue her night with the king that birthed her life regrets. She paused and continued thinking about the entire scenario that led to being pregnant, and how she finally took the decision that made her disappear from Ubulu for a while, like being on a self-exile.
“Go ahead and tell me more,” Amarachi encouraged feeling it’s high time she started absorbing the shock because, in her life, she’d seen a lot and heard a lot; especially when she was told by Ego Oyibo that her biological mom was a madwoman scavenging for food in refuse dumps. “You don’t need to entertain fears because I’ve come to know that Olaedo is my sister; therefore need to treat her as one,” she promised in a bid to make Adaoma free to share her history with the king.
“Please, don’t treat my daughter as royal blood,” Adaoma begged and tried to kneel in plea but Amarachi stopped her.
“Don’t think about it, please,” Amy said and made her sit back on the seat; even though the woman felt so uneasy and worried as if she regretted divulging the secret at all.
“Just do this for me, pleaaaaase,” Adaoma stressed just to make Amy know the gravity of her plea.
“Should I continue treating her as a maid or someone of low class?” Amy queried looking confused and information-starved because she couldn’t understand why the lady sitting next to her was so jittery as she pre-empted her action.
“I need you to keep the information you’ve heard of Olaedo’s birth and parentage as a secret because if it filters into the ears of the queen mother, it may cause a disaster in the palace and for my daughter,” Adaoma solicited with her palms clustered as if she is in prayer.
“Just that?” Amy asked taking everything benignly and lightly, “My Mom knows that for a man to lose his family believing they are all dead and gone, he’s even meant to take another wife. When we were returning to Ubulu, she was even ready to be a second wife to the king but ended up discovering that the king didn’t marry. So what’s your fault or that of the king to have gone for an heir, even though it ended up being a woman and not a man?”
Adaoma didn’t understand it the way Amy understood it because she felt that the secret should have remained a secret which only the king can hear but it ended up being forced on her to divulge the secret that even the dad to the child in question hasn’t heard of.
Adaoma stood up and furtively went to the window to ensure that the boys weren’t listening to their conversation. She saw them sitting around a campfire they made for themselves and roasting bush meat they captured which she didn’t even understand how and when they did it. She shook her head in dismay and came back to her position without saying anything but looking cheerful.
“What’s going on out there?” Amarachi asked out of curiosity.
Adaoma dimpled a prolonged smile and said: “I mostly wish I was born a boy,”
To satisfy her curiosity, Amy stood up, shifted the curtain and saw Dave and Onyedika sharing their roasted bush meat and struggling over who takes the lion’s share. It was then that she understood what Adaoma meant by her statement.
“Seriously men have taken the better and sweeter potion of life,” Amy said and shook her head, “a couple of hours ago, the duo were at daggers drawn but now they are best friends and hugging each other; playing as if they’d been childhood friends. I think I share in your thoughts, Mrs. Adaoma,”
Adaoma smiled while feeling relieved with the comic interlude in their discussion.
“I am not Mrs. Adaoma but Miss,” she corrected and smiled tearfully, showing that she wasn’t really happy to be addressed as Miss.
“Oh, sorry,” Amarachi apologised. she felt like retracting her statement because of the effect I had on the recipient, “I thought you...”
“Yes, you would, my princess,” Adaoma interjected courteously with her fingers in her ear and a twice nod, “Sorry to interrupt you but it reminds me of my life as a single mom. I decided not to have anything to do with royalty anymore but hardship couldn’t allow me to be steadfast to that vow, and being that HRH Eze Omekannaya 1 was so benevolent to all, I decided to take Olaedo back to the palace that I vowed not to visit anymore. I was so surprised that Olaedo was made the chief maid not minding that she was about the youngest of them all. She just found favour in the palace...”
“Blood speaks louder,” Amy inserted between Adaoma’s statements and continued listening.
“I think that’s the reason, but I kept lying to the king that the man that impregnated me was Achokwu from Amiri, a nearby village, not far from Ubulu,”
“I know Amiri very well through reading,” Amy said boastfully to make Adaoma flow with the discussion than spending time describing the village for her, “From history, Amiri and Ubulu were best friends until Mgbidi the big brother to Ubulu caused a fight between them. No need going into history because you know it already,”
“Wow! I’m surprised,” Adaoma said and applauded the princess’s ingenuity, “I thought that all you’d know would be about the city. You must have been reading,”
“Of course I love reading,” Amarachi said and giggled.
“But what matters in the story,” Adaoma added, “is that Ubulu and Amiri later settled and became good friends; though not best friends anymore,”
“Yes, but still,” Amy added in support, “Anya enyi anaghi ala n’ike (the memories of friendship doesn’t fade away easily)”
“What an intelligent princess,” Adaoma said with great delight and admiration.
“It’s just God,” Amy said and raised her eyes to the dilapidated ceiling in thanksgiving to her creator.
“I continued living in that lie to date,” Adaoma went on, “Even Olaedo knows nothing about these. I still maintained that it was Achokwu that got me pregnant. By the time she was of age and wanted to know who the Dad is, Achokwu man had died, though of natural causes,”
“So sorry and sad but see, it favoured you in keeping the secret by making it eternally buried,” Amy said as she observed the mood of the storyteller, “But still, may the soul of Achokwu rest in peace...”
“Amen, but still,” Adaoma said as she narrowed her eyes in sorrow, “I miss him a lot because he was a very good man; no wonder his name was Achokwu, meaning someone who doesn’t seek for trouble,”
“In other words,” Amy added, “a man of peace,”
“Exactly,” Adaoma concurred, “but the truth is this, his death didn’t help much because he’s the only one I told the truth about the king and me. He was the one that accepted to assume responsibility for the child until I’m ready to announce the truth to the king. So if he’s alive, he’d have made the lies easier for me. But now, he’s gone down into the grave with the secret,”
“But don’t you think that secrets can break someone if the person keeps it for long?” Amarachi asked and went to the window to check on the guys keeping guard. She saw that they were still discussing and having fun, so she went back to the discussion table.
“It has been a burden and it’s been breaking me for many years now, especially whenever I look at Olaedo, my beautiful daughter,” Adaoma said and sighed, “I really need to talk to the king but he’s nowhere to hear me out. I feel that the burden is much on me, but now that I have talked to his offspring, I can now die in peace,”
Amarachi couldn’t wrap her head around that last part of the statement because the woman sitting next to her was hail and hearty.
“Die? How?” Amarachi asked getting more confused about the entire thing.
“Yes, it’s likely that I’d die because there is always a grave consequence from anyone who uses the Braille’s method to do the mindreading. Once that method is used, someone pays. But since Olaedo is of royal blood, she won’t pay for it but someone close to her which happens to be me,” Adaoma narrated sorrowfully.
Amy was shocked by this revelation because she just remembered that her mom told her that it was the mindreading that made Mkpuluchi, her twin sister to die, meaning that it was for real that once she reads that book someone close to her may die too. It was mysterious and she couldn’t explain the supernatural force behind the occurrence.
“But the king is also related to the reader being Olaedo,” Amarachi pointed out prudently “why then is he not the one paying for it but you? Oh! I get it; maybe my dad’s disappearance has something to do with Olaedo’s adventurous move of using the Braille method of mindreading,”
“Not at all,” Adaoma objected, “The king is the only one who can use the method and go scot-free without consequences at all but it’s usually the last resort for him to employ that method. The king can’t pay for it because he is the head custodian of culture; therefore pays nothing as a cost for Olaedo’s action. I am the one who isn’t of royal blood, so I’m to pay for it,”
“But since she read it out of curiosity and ignorance of the aftereffect of her action, why is Chukwu Abiama (God of the old religion) not merciful to spare your life. Is there nothing like Christianity here?” she asked bewilderedly.
“Most us all are Christians, but culture can’t be erased,” Adaoma explained, “You may call it fetishism but the eventuality of that action is always there, even to those who don’t believe in it. If you doubt me, read it and see what happens to someone close to you. But I wish you don’t dare,” she advised.
Thinking of Dave being her closest friend aside from her family, and imagining him having a painful death because of mindreading of the kingly book, Amy shrugged.
“I won’t dare, even if I don’t believe in it,” she thought out aloud.
“It was one night when the king was overladen with sorrow for missing his precious wife and queen,” Adaoma began to narrate her ordeal while Amy listened ardently, “I came into his chamber to see the king acting strangely with no one around him. I thought it was just mere sadness until I saw him tying a twine rope to the ceiling fan. It was then I realised that he was about to commit suicide. The king I knew wouldn’t have done that if he was sober, but he was drunk to stupor and wasn’t oblivious of his action at the moment, so I had to intervene forthwith,”
“That was brave of you, ma’am,” Amy exhorted and patted her back gently, “thanks for saving my dad’s life,”
“Most welcome, my princess,” she mouthed smilingly and delved into the mood of serious business once more, “But I paid with my body just to make him happy. I felt happy doing it with him, not that I wanted to, but felt that I was serving my king in my way but I was too young then. I was just a sixteen years old teen with little or no knowledge of sex but I had to do it when he told me that since his wife died, he hadn’t slept with any other woman. My emotions were weak for him and being that I haven’t had the carnal knowledge of any man, I felt that he was worth being my Adam,”
“Adam?” Amy asked rolling her eyes, “Like Adam in the bible?”
Adaoma smiled and nodded affirmatively, “That’s my way of saying that he was the one that deflowered me,” she explained, “He was my first man, so he was my Adam. And since then till date, I have no other man in my life because I felt that no other man is worth being my man if not the king, but a part of me kept deterring me from telling him the truth because I had this untold strong belief that his family, at least his wife, would return someday. Every other person believed that the queen was dead. It was a rumour that she was once found in Onitsha as a madwoman, but when some emissaries were sent to the location, she was already dead, and her corpse carted away by cult members. That was the rumour then,”
“You’re on the right track, dear,” Amy said and shook her head in disbelief, “Ozo Odenjinji must suffer,”
“Sorry, what did you say?” Adaoma asked trying to understand why the princess mentioned a strange name.
“Never mind,” Amy said and chuckled sheepishly, “so when you noticed that you were with child, what did you do?”
“That was when I ran to Amiri village where I stayed in Achokwu’s house until I gave birth to my baby,” Adaoma answered looking up absently at the roof and thinking about the entire scenario, “It wasn’t easy thinking of how heavy-hearted the king would be looking for his favourite maid when I was gone for almost two years but I had to do what I had to do, believing that I was doing the right thing,”
“That was virtuous, even though you made a mistake by the long silence,” Amarachi pointed out, “every other woman would quickly rush to the king an announce about the pregnancy so that she’d be the next queen to replace the supposed dead queen but you didn’t do it but continued waiting for the right queen to return amid the gossip and rumours about her death,”
“I couldn’t do that,” Adaoma muttered.
“I thank you,” Amarachi appreciated immensely; “You’re worth celebrating instead of hiding this from the queen mother. My mom is so benevolent and kind-hearted that she’d even elevate you when she...”
“Not when I’m dying,” Adaoma interrupted tearfully, then held the tail end of her wrapper and began to clean her face draggled with tears.
The contagious emotional moment caught hold of Amarachi who suddenly burst into tears too, feeling so sad, especially not knowing what she’d do to salvage the situation and stop the dying woman from embracing the cold hands of death.
“How can I help?” Amarachi asked with teary eyes, “just tell me anything you want,”
“You’ve helped already by lending your ears to my story. I just felt light after offloading this burden,” Adaoma said with faint cheery and self-piteous smiles on her face.
“Besides, you’d be the one to announce this to the king and my daughter when I’m gone because...”
“No, I won’t,” Amarachi disapproved outrightly, “If you’re gone, no one would believe me. Remember that Olaedo already thinks that Achokwu was her biological dad, and being that you never mentioned the real story to the king’s hearing or Olaedo; no one would believe me when I say this. It would all sound like a fabrication because I never confided in anyone when you’re alive,”
Thinking through the entire reasoning by Amarachi, Adaoma understood that she was in the best position to reveal the real identity of Olaedo. She became so weary and unable to think straight because she knew that she’d soon be gone and if she does without seeing the king, it would be only Olaedo that would know the truth, that’s if she’d be alive to let her know that.
“But I don’t want Olaedo to know yet,” Adaoma maintained, “She’d keep blaming herself for being the cause of my death even though she was so excited when she was telling me about what she did and some of her findings during the mindreading exercise. I don’t want my daughter to die of guilt; rather, I want that secret to remain a secret. Even if she’s told about her bloodline, I don’t want the secret of what the mindreading caused me to filter into her ears. Can you take this secret to your grave with you?” she asked solemnly seeking Amy’s acceptance and vow.
Thinking about it, it was too heavy on Amarachi’s lips because she couldn’t just understand how she’d just make such promise because it was pertinent that she’d reveal the secret to her family, at least to her twin sister. And once it gets to the hearing of Chisimdi, Mkpulumma has already heard it too and it’s no more a secret. Secondly, even though Amarachi believes that the queen mother would take the entire secrets with maturity and prudence, she wasn’t sure that both her mom and Chisimdi would just embrace Olaedo as a family member and not see her as either a gold digger or someone who’d come to compete for the king’s love.
“I really can’t say anything for now, but for now, let it remain a secret, but you better not die because this would be too much for me to bear alone,” Amy answered after her long thoughts.
“But I don’t understand why someone would send you to me concerning your dad’s disappearance,” Adaoma said seeking an answer to the question, “the secret of my one-night affair with the king is known by no one. How then did the elder send you to me?”
Amarachi heaved a sigh of relief but filled with muddiness; with thoughts of the entire thing hovering in her mind’s eye. She snorted and continued tapping her foot on the floor because she was currently bereft of what to say or ask or even what to contribute.
“It was chief Agwoturumbe that directed me to you,” Amarachi answered, “he was also the one that said I should meet Anyamuo whom you people call Akilika ndi muo,”
Adaoma smiled at this point as if she was relieved of her worries. “I’m surprised you got the name correctly, Akilika ndi muo, hmmm,”
“Ha-ha,” Amy laughed out loud, “I’m good with memorising things,”
“I can see,” Adaoma said with excitement, “I see lots of greatness in you but you are yet to know what you have inside of you. You’re the best counsellor I’ve ever met. God will one day reveal the real truth about you that you never knew,”
Amy felt elated as if a prophet just revealed a revelation or even a sorcerer predicting her fertile promising future.
She felt so happy as she imagined having those self-actualization and self-esteem needs she’d always dreamt about.
“I just felt that this was a therapeutic session and I’m happy that you’re smiling at last,” Amy said, “Oh! before I forget, thanks for the compliments,”
“You’re always welcome, my beautiful princess,” Adaoma said and stood, “ I think it’s now time for us to take you home because it’s already 2 am and the palace must have been in turmoil because of your absence,”
“Oh, the palace!” Amarachi yelled and sprang up from the seat, “I just forgot myself entirely. My mom would be so mad at me right now,”
They quickly checked on the guys but didn’t see them at the location where they were meant to be.
The ladies became suspicious because it seemed not normal because the guys promised not to leave their location for any reason.
Opening the door slowly, they were surprised to see some strangers dressed like warriors, with different kinds of weapons. They held Dave and Onyedika captive and couldn’t allow them to make any move.
The faces of the captors were all unfamiliar; the guys hefty and unsmiling. The entire situation spoke volumes of trouble for them. The fidgety ladies became weak as they kept exchanging a battle of looks with the strangers that had ambushed them all.

To be Continued...

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