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Obiageri - Episode 24




Obiageri - Episode 24

By Amah's Heart



Ifeoma has stopped breastfeeding, she totally depend on the normal food and Njideka packed a lot of food for us which will last us until we get to our village.

After feeding Ifeoma she will gently walk back to her father who will sweep her off her feet, and tickle her a little until she starts laughing.

 When we finally got to the village I was shock to see villagers were already awaiting our return.

It was a smooth journey back home and the moment our feet touched the soil of our land, I couldn’t hide my joy anymore

I looked up at Ukadke who was carrying Ifeoma all through the journey, he smile back at me and used his spare hand to brush back my hair.

The journey was never stressful, all I looked forward was to see my father again.

Some of the villagers who thought I was already dead were truly shock to see me, they look at Ifeoma in Ukadike’s hand and their imagination was running with speed.

I scanned through the people who were present to grace our return. 

And just then I saw Mma who ran up to me and threw herself into my arms.

She was crying as she held me, apologising to the wrongs I can no longer remember or hold against her. 

I gladly returned the hug, I whispered to her ears that I never hold any grudge against her and she will always remain my sister.

It was a great relief hearing me speak those kind words to her.

I hugged so many others who came to welcome me back home, I kept looking around for my father as I greet many other villagers. 

I asked Mma about my father and she said a messenger has ran home to inform him of my arrival.

I later saw my father rushing down with two young men running alongside, he was with his walking stick.

I sighted him first and ran to him before he could even get to where the few villagers where gathered up, i threw my hands around him happily.

He looked at me again to ascertain if I was truly the one and with this confirmation he looked up to heaven and began to thank God, singing different praises to God for bringing me back alive in good health.

Ukadike stood at a distance watching everything with a full smile on his face.

Many people where crowding up around him, some were even struggling with others to get closer to him. 

The villagers were seeing Ukadike differently, not as a wrestler who defeated Nduka or a total stranger living in the outskirt of the village and refused to mingle with the people, even when he was offered plots of land and other properties to build in and even to choose a wife Ukaidke turned it down and remained where he was.

 Nobody knew his true identity because he was a wanderer and acted very strange. And now they felt privileged to stand very close to him, kneeling down in greetings, welcoming him back home as the next ruler of the entire kingdom, heir to the throne. 

Women began to sing happily and the young men sang a heroic song, playing a musical flute and drums. While some young maiden dance around him, shaking their back side seriously as if they were in a competition.

GμΠ was fired into the air multiple times to announce our return, those who were not out came out of their houses to join the welcoming party.

I collected Ifeoma from Ukadike and carried her to my father, he opened his mouth in shock as he saw his granddaughter.

It looks unbelievable to him, he wipe his eyes repeatedly trying to be sure that everything happening was not a dream. I’m not just alive I also have a daughter who is so much like me, my father couldn’t contain his joy.

Father carried Ifeoma who was flowing with everyone happily. 

Ifeoma looked around at the strange faces, she looked at her grandfather and back at me, I smile at her and she giggle loudly making father to laugh.

Father wiped off a drop of joyful tears rolling down his cheek, he looked at me and stretch his hands out while still holding Ifeoma in the other hand and I went into his waiting arms.

He held me and Ifeoma so close and never stopped thanking God.

While the heroic song and dance was going on for Ukadike, I was busy with my father and so many other people.

Mma was beside me, she couldn’t hide her excitement.

I asked her about her mother she pointed to Ego as she approached us quietly, Mma wanted to hold Ifeoma, she collected her from father while Ego joined us.

I knew Ego was finding it difficult to relate with me, we have never had a good relationship  before, always spiting ourselves back then.

 Ego mumbled something, she wanted to say something but couldn’t express herself. I went to her and hugged her in a way she never expected.

She held me to herself and couldn’t utter a word, the emotion was just too much for her.

I noticed few beautiful maiden gathered at a far end, away from everyone, they stare at Ukadike, talking in a whisper.

I asked Mma who are they, she told me they were the maidens competing to win Ukadike’s heart. 

They have being practising their dance and parade none stop just to be chosen as Ukadike’s bride and also the Queen of the land, anticipating for his return, they never knew he will come back with me because many villagers believed me to be dëåd.

One of the maiden noticed me looking at them with a smile she quickly tapped others and they returned their looks to me and quickly bent their head.

There was a taller and chubby one among them, she was really beautiful, the maiden wanted to come to me but the other four stopped her, she tried again and I watch them pull her back and said something to her which she did not adhere to. 

She found her way out of the group and walk straight to me.

She greeted me shyly and I responded warmly.

“Aham bu Udoka (my name is Udoka) I’m among the maiden rehearsing none stop for Prince Ezenwa’s return, we all thought he will pick a bride among us after hearing rumours of your dea@th but sincerely I’m happy to know you are not only alive and healthy you also have a daughter for him…indeed the gods are with you, I just want to say you are welcomed home Oby…you deserve all this ceremony because you have a large heart. please accept me as your friend…I want to be your friend and when you finally become Ukadike’e wife please permit me to serve you as the queen of our land…please. Others are shy and scared, they don’t know how to approach you but I know this may be the only opportunity for me to relate with you…"

She apologised right there and said she thank God that the stories of my de@th was not true and she welcomes me back to my home town.

Udoka asked if she can touch Ifeoma and I said yes that she should go ahead.

Ukadike was being entertained, villagers knows that he will become the next igwe after his father so they respected him greatly and also sang my praises to everyone’s hearing.

And that was how we all danced to the palace.

The igwe welcomed us, he was so happy and couldn’t hide his joy as we return.

Akabugo was standing beside his father as the igwe thanked the gods of the land for protecting and bringing us back just at the right time.

Akabugo looked at me and quickly looked away.

I was also told by my father that Akabugo has collected back the pride price he paid to him.

So I’m very free to marry whoever my heart lies with and he is also free to marry whoever he desires which he was already planning to do but nobody knows who his bride will be.

It was another great relief despite I have already been informed about it from the elderly woman.

I remember the elderly woman and frown, I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, i have wanted to but could not recognised where she lives again, I went with Nnamdi and Chioma in search of her but we did not find her or her place again, I looked out to see her all through my final days there but did not set my eyes on her again.

I wondered where she might be.

Another welcoming party was schedule on the next nkwo day, which will take place in three weeks’ time, it will also be the day Ukadike will finally make me his bride.

He was so happy and whispered to my ear

“Finally Oby, you will rule the kingdom alongside with me as my own loving wife, a strong and beautiful Queen for the people, this was all I asked from God and he has grant my heart desires after a long fight…”

I blushed at his word and smile shyly.

I love the fixed day, three weeks from now is enough time for me to be able to invite Njideka and her lovely family down.

It will be a five days celebration and I will love to have them all around me.

And the igwe of Nkuzi kingdom which is Njideka’s village will also be present.

We had a long singing and welcoming party before I finally returned home with my father.

Ego, Mma and also Udoka who have been following me up and down even after others left to their various houses she still followed me back home. 

Mma’a mother, Ego was carrying Ifeoma as we walk back to the house.

I couldn’t get to talk to Akabugo, i don’t even know what to say to him and he kept his distance from me and also from his elder brother.

He quietly sat with his father obediently, I saw when he looked at Mma who was busy with Ifeoma.

Mma glanced towards his direction and looked away.

Another new day began beautifully and I looked forward to finally having the man that I have always loved, the father of my child and also the man of his people all to myself.

Is a dream come true for me, I can’t wait for our upcoming traditional marriage to take place.

(Do not take credit or Plagiarize AMAH'S HEART stories)

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