PRINCESS AMARACHI Episode 11 by Okafor Erasmus Ugochukwu
It was about one week since the return of Oduenyi as the diviner.
He was given an apartment some metres away from the palace with a guard guarding him for safety.
Dave and Amarachi went back to school for the final semester before their graduation.
Onyedika went back too but because Ozo Odenjinji who used to sponsor his education was no more there for him he couldn’t continue anymore. He stayed with Dave in Awka but wasn’t going to school because he didn’t pay for his school fees yet. After three days of their arrival to school, being that Dave had taken him as a close friend and brother, he took care of his schooling, though indirectly done by making him his manager at Davis Hotel. His payment was enough to take care of his schooling as he managing the hotel for him. Onyedika stays in one of the rooms in the hotel and goes to school from there.
Amarachi was yet to meet with HRH King Akajiaku 1 of Okporo, Dave Handsome’s dad.
The school resumption was brought forward making her go back to school unprepared, even when she was yet to commence the main search for her dad.
That fateful night, it was midnight; so serene and calm, the nocturnal birds were chirping on the trees and roofs of houses while silence got the entire palace enveloped except for some boring nocturnal sounds in the nearby bushes that kept Chisimdi awake and shivering. She couldn’t sleep a wink because she was used to sneaking into Amarachi’s room to sleep beside her but the palace was too lonely for her because the school resumption separated her from her twin sister. If not for Mkpulumma who dissuaded her from leaving, she’d have left to Awka with Amarachi.
Cuddling the pillows and using the duvet to cover herself couldn’t even help at all because she was frightened to death as if some unknown forces were after her. She even tried to go to the maidservant’s quarters but she was too frightened to even step her foot on the ground let alone going to invite one of her maids to stay with her.
As the ominous droning of strange sounds battled to take possession of the silence of the night, the fears already registered inside of the princess heightened. He tried to visit her mom but being that she doesn’t always get along with Mkpulumma like the way Amy does, she decided to remain calm and not badger the resting Queen who had overworked herself with series of meetings with the king’s cabinet who were not even to be trusted.
To force some sleep to take over her, she cosied up against her pillow and held it tightly to keep warm and take solace in that cuddle; shutting her eyes but still couldn’t doze off.
Groping for her torchlight, she succeeded, flashed the light on the wall clock and discovered that it was just 2 am. The night was still young and long and there was nothing that she could do to fasten the night or draw closer the dawn except to wait much longer.
Suddenly, Chisimdi sprang up from the bed because she knew it was time to confront her fears to overcome it, but as this happened, all that was in her head was the memory of the lightning that struck and how Oduenyi’s divine calling became evident and pronounced before them all. She tried to force him out of her head but the picture remained vivid and disturbing. Apart from that night’s experience, Chisimdi had been having a series of nightmares; seeing herself with Oduenyi in a thick forest that seemed to be where Odimegwu shrine was located. That was strange.
She tiptoed out of her room, took a sweeping look out of fear before heading into the hallway until she found herself out of the apartment and in the large compound of the palace. Everywhere was so serene and cool, with the wanton breeze of the night aerating the environment. She felt as if the playfully mischievous breeze deliberately wanted to instil fears in her but she continued moving to know what was making her feel afraid that very night and why the thoughts of Oduenyi couldn’t leave her mind.
As she walked, she saw the palace guards sleeping, even though they were meant to be keeping guard of the palace. It was only the warriors of Oganihu Eze group that were awake.
Seeing the princess, the warriors shuddered because they didn’t expect to see her by that time of the night. It wasn’t normal to them so one of them came closer to know what was going on.
“My princess,” the called as he tried to hide the liquor he had with him as a sign of respect to royalty.
“Go ahead and enjoy your drink,” Chisimdi urged, “it’s so cold out here, so the use of gin is allowed so that you could keep the body warm. Go ahead. It’s okay to drink,”
“Thank you, my princess,” he replied with slight chuckles and then took a sip while following the princess from behind as she stepped out, “but where are you going by this time of the night?” he asked looking curious.
“I don’t know,” Chisimdi replied straightforwardly, “but I couldn’t sleep. Fright had become my companion since my sister left for school, so I decided to hang out a bit, face my fears and defeat it just as I’m doing currently talking with you,”
“Oh, that’s nice but I think it’s safer for you to go back to your chamber than be outside,” he advised.
“Sorry, what’s your name, please,” Chisimdi asked as she continued sauntering towards the gate.
“I am…Oko… Okoroji,” he faltered, “I’m from Eziama village, precisely Mkpokoro clan,” he added as he followed the princess as her bodyguard, “you’re not used to the village, if not you’d know my clan since you’re from Eziama too,”
The princess shook her head and snorted, held her robe closely because the breeze was threatening to undress her.
“Don’t think that we don’t know anything as you guys assume,” The princess said smilingly, “I know that there are three clans in Eziama; Uzi-Ezike/Ojoko where I belong, Eleke the lost brother that later returned, and then Mkpokoro clan that happens to be the last child of the Eziama which is where you hail from,”
“Wow, that’s so nice for you to recall without difficulty,” Okoroji expressed his awe, “I’m surprised that…”
“Where does Oduenyi come from?” Chisimdi asked as the thoughts kept lingering in her head, making the warrior confused with the way she deviated away from the topic of discussion.
“I don’t get, my princess,” he said with a faint smile, “meanwhile, you’re heading to the gate and it’s dangerous out there,” he warned.
“I know it is, but I won’t stop,” Chisimdi insisted, “but that never answered my question,” she reminded him.
“Ma’am, I don’t know,” he replied, “but from what we all heard, he’s from Ugosimba lineage and we all saw what has happened to him as a divine call. But in terms of his village in Ubulu, he’s from Umuezeala, but seriously, my princess, after that incidence before us all that transfigured him to a diviner, I doubt if he’s from the village he claims because we knew what we knew because he told us. But who knows if it’s really true or he doesn’t even know his lineage. I’m confused in fact,”
“Okay, that’s cool,” the princess said and reached the mountainous gate and tried to open it but the guard stopped her at this point.
“Where exactly are you going, my princess?” Okoroji asked preventing her from using the exit gate, “I may have to alert the other guards or even the queen because the mysterious things happening around this time could even make me guess if you’re the real princess or someone using your image to confuse me,”
After saying that, he unsheathed his sword ready for an attack while the princess watched him with surprise; even though she didn’t expect anything less, especially after hearing of the kind of training the warriors had undergone.
Chisimdi burst into laughter seeing how frightened and armed the guard was. She just smiled and said: “It’s me, but I may want you to escort me to Oduenyi’s house if you doubt if it’s the real me,”
“You mean the Diviner?” he asked looking surprised.
“Do we have two Oduenyi in this kingdom?” Chisimdi asked and smiled, “of course, he’s the one I’m talking about,” she said and continued struggling to open the gate, “If you don’t want to escort me, I’ll go there alone but promise not to tell anyone. I can see the other warrior looking suspiciously at us. Better tell him to keep his mouth shut too while I go and come back furtively,”
Seeing how stubborn the princess was, Okoroji quickly went to meet his counterpart so that he could cover his beat while he escorts the princess to Oduenyi’s house. He didn’t want to take the second option offered by the princess by allowing her to go alone. He felt that it was their responsibility to see that the princess is protected; therefore so risky to allow her to go. Who knows who could be watching from a distance to know that he didn’t do what he was meant to do to prevent the princess from taking such risk?
Before Okoroji could come back to the princess had forced the gate open and was already heading to Oduenyi’s house, so he tried to catch up to ensure that she was safe.
It was surprising to Chisimdi that she suddenly stopped feeling the fears that engrossed her. She felt so happy advancing to Oduenyi’s house.
Getting closer to the princess, Okoroji took a deep breath and continued following her without uttering a word.
“Aren’t you talking?” she asked and smiled while rolling her eyes.
“I used to think that your twin sister is the most stubborn but seems it runs in the family blood,” he jested but felt that the princess could be angry about it, “I’m sorry for the joke, my princess,” he apologised forthwith.
“It runs in the family blood,” Chisimdi muttered and smiled, “do not apologise because you’re right. But how well do you know my dad?” she asked seeking more insight into her dad’s personality, “I need to get a full mental picture of the kind of man he is,”
Okoroji wasn’t just too comfortable talking with the princess because he believed that his job was strictly on guarding her and not having some chitchat with her.
“He is a good man and the best king,” he replied after a couple of minutes of having his tongue clung to the roof of his mouth.
“Are you pretty sure of that?” she asked in a bid to lure him to talk more but the young man simply hummed and kept walking behind her as well as scouting the environment to ensure that no one was following them or watching.
After a few minutes’ walks, they felt that someone was approaching as some footsteps announced the arrival of someone, so they took refuge in the bush and remained there as they waited to know who was approaching by that time of the night; maybe one of the village vigilantes.
When the person got closer, they saw someone hooded in all-white apparel, with a staff that he held in his hand like a king. They became afraid because they couldn’t recognise who the person was and where he was heading.
“I want to confront him to know his mission this time of the night,” Okoroji whispered to the princess, “do I have your permission?”
The princess was so afraid at this point because she wasn’t sure how the confrontation was going to end, especially when other guards weren’t there to help out in case the hooded man was stronger than the ambusher.
“I don’t know, but I think we should allow him to pass in peace,” the princess replied shiveringly, “he may be harmless, but even if he isn’t, let’s allow him to go with his problems so that we won’t trouble this trouble until his trouble troubles us,”
Okoroji was so eager to attack but was surprised when the moving image suddenly stopped and listened as if he knew that some people were there. “He’s seen us,” he said and tried to rush out but the princess held him back.
“Wait a bit,” she whispered, “let’s not attack first because…”
As Chisimdi was still talking, the man started coming towards their direction, and then said: “It is you that is in you that makes you the great or small you that you are. Who is that hiding? A beast or a god?”
Knowing that they’d been sighted Okoroji suddenly held his spear firmly and in position; depicting his expertise in archery, and then threw the heavy javelin at him but the hooded man caught it in the air before it could pierce his heart. “This is Oduenyi, my princess,” the voice said as he removed the hood, “Do not attack me, please. I now felt the connection and I know your heartbeat when I feel it but the heart beats are now two but I could only connect to one. Show yourself,” he said with valour and genuflected in reverence and respect, remaining in that position as he waited for them to come out of hiding. It was as if he had two staff of office; his staff and the javelin which he used to support himself in that kneeling position.
Knowing that it was Oduenyi, the princess heaved a sigh of relief.
“Where are you going by this time of the night?” she asked as she began to come out to meet him.
“To the palace, my princess,” he said and remained there until the princess came close to him.
“Rise,” she said and watched him stand, “that was bravery; catching the arrow in the air as if it’s mere broomstick thrown at you. Let me have it,” she demanded and collected the javelin from him but then discovered it was too heavy that she couldn’t even lift it with ease, “please…please, take it back,” she said stammeringly and handed it over to Oduenyi.
“Oh my God, I almost killed you!” Okoroji exclaimed and tried to hug him but he stopped him.
“Okoroji, you took the right move as a warrior should but let’s say I was lucky to catch the spear,” Oduenyi said and smiled, “Once I’m dressed like this, I don’t hug or shake hands,” he explained, “so don’t think I’m avoiding you or I’m no more the friend that use to defend the kingdom with you. This is a precautionary measure,”
It was obvious to Okoroji that Oduenyi wasn’t the same person that he used to know anymore but a full-fledged diviner that has been chosen by the powers of the supernatural. He was just bewilderedly looking and shrugging at intervals when he saw how the warrior was transformed into a sorcerer.
“I understand, my friend,” Okoroji said meditatively with faint smiles, “the princess and were…”
“We’re coming to your house already,” The princess entered abruptly.
“What a coincidence,” Oduenyi murmured surprisingly. “We can go to my house now or to the palace depending on your choice,” he said to the princess as he waited for her decision.
“Okoroji, you’re dismissed,” Chisimdi said, “Oduenyi would bring me back,”
“I think you’re right, my princess,” Okoroji said and turned to leave, “I fight and defend with the human power but what I saw this night as Oduenyi caught the spear in the air effortlessly, it’s obvious to me that he isn’t fully human anymore because the speed of the spear was strong enough that no human could catch it or stop it. You’re safer with him, my princess,” he concluded and started leaving.
“Your spear, bro,” Oduenyi said and threw the spear in the air to him.
Okoroji caught it and continued going back to the palace.
The princess and Oduenyi remained standing watching the warrior until he disappeared in heir sight, so they turned and started heading to Oduenyi’s house.
The young diviner held the princess as they walked to his house, making the princess wonder why he did that; even though he avoided Okoroji’s handshake saying that he shouldn’t be touched when he’s dressed in that traditional attire.
Chisimdi kept pondering everything in her heart but with lips full of questions and ready to ask him about it once they get to his house.
There was something strange that happened to the princess as they walked. She noticed that her body suddenly became cold, her heart pounding harder, and her thoughts widening as if she was in a trance and seeing things that happen in the spirit realm.
“Finally it’s true,” Oduenyi muttered observantly as they got closer to his house.
The entire feelings enshrouding the princess completely couldn’t allow her to think or even ask questions, not even to respond to his Oduenyi’s last statement. All she needed that very time was to rest because she felt unwell at that very moment.
Getting to his house, Oduenyi opened the door and held the princess who was already passing out in his arms. He carried her in his arms and took her into the room, laid her on the sofa but still didn’t disengage the firm grip of her hands he had already.
After a while of resting, the princess took a deep breath and said: “I think I’m okay now,”
Looking closer into her eyes, Oduenyi smiled and nodded. “I think you are okay indeed,”
“Please, what just happened?” she asked not allowing any time lag, and then tried to sit up but Oduenyi didn’t allow her.
“Keep lying on the sofa because what just happened to you is supernatural,” he said and removed the hooded robe; wearing just shirt and trousers, “this is the exact reason why I was coming to the palace, ready to meet you and confirm if what I saw in my mind’s eye is true or false,”
Chisimdi was forced to sit up because she didn’t understand it anymore this time, so she had to sit and listen. “What were you talking about?” she asked looking information-starved and confused.
“I couldn’t sleep this night,” Oduenyi began while the princess listened attentively, “I discovered that I was so frightened and couldn’t sleep because I was afraid of what I know nothing about. I tried to cuddle my pillow but it didn’t help. I used the duvet and it didn’t help too, so I began to feel so lonely. The warrior that was assigned to be my guard and company used to be my friend because I was and am still one of them, so I tried to consult him and allow him to come into the house but I couldn’t even come out and meet him because I was afraid. I then discovered that it was strange because I can’t remember being afraid for the first time in my life. When I finally summoned the courage to come out of the house, all the came into my head was you. The more I thought of you, the more I had my strength back. This isn’t the first time because since the day you took me into your chamber and tended to me to make me feel better after my first experience with the thunder, a day never passed without thinking of you. I even discovered that I don’t have clear visions anymore except I think of you first, and then summon you spiritually; for me to assume the full form of Ugosimba, my ancestor. I had much power inside of me but couldn’t perform. I never wanted to talk to you because you’re a princess and I shouldn’t have any business with you,”
“Why shouldn’t you?” the princess asked seeking some clearance before he could go on.
Oduenyi didn’t have any reason to give, so he remained calm and speechless.
“Well, I think…I think…”
“You have no reason,” she entered, “so stop pulling back what nature is bringing together,” she added and held his arms, and then gave him a peck on his forehead.
Oduenyi couldn’t understand what happened to him at the moment but he felt so loved and happy, his heart pulsated as his eyes rolled with surprise and ecstasy.
“What was that for, my princess?” Oduenyi asked looking confused.
“I don’t know,” the princess replied cleverly, “I was just led by the spirit to do that and I just did that,”
“There is something I want to tell you,” Oduenyi said boldly and held her hand, making her cold once again.
“Spill it,” Chisimdi said looking into his eyes, “tell me whatever you want to tell me because I just started feeling strangely again inside of me because you held me,”
“Your destiny and mine are intertwined,” he said with tears in his eyes, “I can’t explain it but all I can say is that I’m now beginning to feel that it wasn’t the spirit of your dad or summon by Ugosimba that brought me home but it was you. It was you who has been calling me but I never noticed, and you didn’t too. I am here to answer the call and I’m ready to do whatever you want me to do, my thunder queen” he added solemnly.
‘Thunder queen?’ Chisimdi repeated in her thought but didn’t ask him why he called her that name. Tears filled her eyes because she couldn’t just imagine how such a handsome guy would be shedding tears before her and taking an oath of commitment that she couldn’t even explain. She felt so overtaken by both passion and befuddlement.
“You’re making me feel happy but at the same time confused,” the princess said tearfully and held him close.
Taking a deep breath as if he was fighting to force the speech that was being swallowed up inside of him, Oduenyi cleared his throat and wiped his teary eyes with the tail end of the princess’s nightgown; making the princess surprised with that action.
“The lightning came and broke the barrier that made my divine gifts not to manifest all these while,” Oduenyi continued, “but I don’t always need the thunder once you are there. If the thunder comes, I’ll prophesy and forecast the future, but when it’s gone, I’ll be weak. If this continues, one day I’ll die due to incessant stress of my mind and body caused by the constant visitation of the thunderbolt, so I need the thunder in the form of human so that I won’t need to be convulsive whenever it comes. The thunder is you; therefore, I cannot perform anything if you’re not there. You’re my thunder that is sent by Ugosimba and I can’t be separated from you. If I walk away from you then I’m alone and my gifts won’t last until the power embedded in the lightning finally kills me.
You have gifts and that is your mission too but you never noticed. You’re a gift from Ugosimba to the king who happens to be his spiritual ally. This is why you were vehemently fighting Uremma your sister to join the group called the slay queens fraternity. The reason is that you knew you had a call but you never knew that what was pushing you was Ugosimba; not to join a cult group but to do this work because he knows that you’d discover your real dad someday and will need to bring him back into the land of the living,”
The princess was so shocked that Oduenyi could vividly tell him the things she never shared with him. It was surprising to her because it was obvious that the vision he had about her life as the daughter of Ozo Odenjinji was clear as if he was there when she was hating Uremma just to have the chance to be the leader of the slay queens.
“But how did you know all these?” Chisimdi asked looking so surprised and bemused.
“Because I’m holding your hand right now,” he responded and kissed her hand, “you’re my thunder, and from today, I call you my thunder queen because once I hold your hand, I don’t need to go into convulsion but I’ll still have a clear vision as if the thunder lightning visited,”
Chisimdi couldn’t say anything as an objection because, as Oduenyi was holding her hand, she had a vision too; seeing an average man from a rich background plucking the red Isioma sweet-scented flower from Ubulu stream pathway and reviving the king but she couldn’t see the face of the person, only that it was confirmed to her that the person was from Ajalindu lineage, with a royal robe that made it clear that he was from a rich background and royalty.
“I think I saw something just now,” Chisimdi said looking directly into the eyes of the beautiful man before him.
“What did you see, my thunder queen?” Oduenyi asked and pulled her closer.
“The king would be revived but I’m yet to see the face of the man who happens to be a close ally to the kingdom. No one knows that the descendant of Ajalindu that we are looking for is close to us. I don’t know him because I couldn’t see further than what I saw,”
“Now, do you believe that you’re a seer, a gift from Ugosimba, and that our destiny is intertwined?” Oduenyi asked looking so deep into her eyes with passion.
“Yes, I do, my love,” she responded and pulled him into a kiss.
PRINCESS AMARACHI episode 11
To be continued…
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