PRINCESS AMARACHI Episode 20 by Okafor Erasmus Ugochukwu
The king declared fourteen days of games, festivals, public holidays, and merriment in the whole of Ubulu, making everyone intoxicated with fun and happiness; an experience that was rare and never felt in the kingdom since history recorded. The men wrestled, the woman danced, the Isioma flower became active and effective again because Pastor Chike and Chisimdi began to use them for healing the people. Those who’re interested in being healed traditionally go to Chisimdi while those who wanted it in the modern religious way go to Pastor Chike;
though the latter seldom visits, therefore not always. The beauty of it all is that there was nothing like religions segregation in Ubulu except embracing goodness and abhorring evil. Many disputes were settled within one week, many brothers and sisters that had issues were settled, making blessings to naturally begin to fall on everyone as if there had been a stagnancy of blessings that got broken into fruitfulness and favours. Many clans, villages, cities, and nations come to Ubulu on a pilgrimage because the Isioma flower became a centre of tourism and attraction that made all kinds of ailment to be attended to.
The use of the flower to heal didn’t just attract many people but boosted the economy of the village because people started making use of the village hotels, building residential houses, industries and paying for the health services being provided by the great diviner and physician. It was so surprising that even the foreign countries had an interest in Ubulu in a bid to harness God’s gift of the sweet-scented flowers, making Ubulu be known; not just all over the country but in the entire world. The Nigerian government even decided to come close to the village, turning it into a city with road constructions and other social amenities and infrastructure.
That early morning being the eve of the grand wedding meant to take place in the palace, Uremma just woke up feeling like the world just crashed in her life because she felt shattered and unable to move on with life. The story of her dad’s malicious act made her realise that she had no dad at all. She got so angry and weak because she almost believed the cunning man thinking that his stays in detention made him change but none of these happened.
Osisioma, Chibunna, and Akunna were already in Ubulu helping out in the wedding preparations but Uremma was nowhere to be found. All calls made to her phone were not fruitful causing lots of fretfulness for her friends, especially Amarachi who sensed that something could be wrong somewhere.
Amy was unsettled because Uremma was meant to be her cousin and should be the one closest to her for the wedding prep than every other person. It was surprising that in the early hours of the day when people were busy preparing, Amarachi didn’t tell anyone that she was leaving the palace just to seek Uremma. She simply whispered her movement to Chisimdi who gave her the approval but still urged her to be cautious about it.
Amarachi who was meant to be around since the wedding was to hold the next day left for Awka immediately without delay. She tried to be in control of her emotions but the uncontrollable emotions reflected on the way she navigated along the road to Awka without scruples.
In a jiffy, Amy was in Awka and went straight to Uremma’s house. Getting to her cousin’s house, she waited by the gate as her horn honked at intervals but no one answered. For about twenty minutes she got no reply, so she began to force the gate open but it didn’t, showing that it was locked from the inside. It was obvious that Uremma was around but didn’t want to open the gate.
Being that she already sensed danger, Amarachi quickly removed her high-heeled shoes, looked around searchingly and found a ladder that she used to climb the fence. It wasn’t easy for her because the security wires disturbed her entrance but she still jumped through the fence into the compound, having few cuts but not a deep one that would be of great concern. It was a successful entrance.
Without delay, Amy rushed to Uremma’s apartment and forced it open. Getting to the sitting room, she was surprised to see Uremma lying lifeless on the ground with empty bottles of different kinds of strong drinks lying casually on the floor.
The scariest was seeing a robe on her neck as if she just attempted suicide using the ceiling fan. Amy confirmed her fears by looking up to see that some parts of the rope were still tying on the fan showing that she actually hung herself but probably the robe wasn’t strong enough to keep her suspended in the air, hence the cutting.
Amarachi was greatly shocked but didn’t know what to do, so she began to rush out of the house to seek help. Getting to the gate to open it, she was so surprised to see Chisimdi trying to enter too.
“Oh, God, I thank you for sending my sister,” Amy said and held Chisimdi by the hand and dragged her to the scene.
“Uremma is either dead or dying,” she announced with grave fear as they bolted into the sitting room.
When they got there, they saw the poor girl still lying lifeless without movement.
Seeing that Uremma was already cold, Chisimdi became afraid. The two girls began to cry but that never stopped Chisimdi from trying her best for Uremma she knew all her life as she grew up thinking she was her younger sister.
“She isn’t dead,” Chisimdi said assuredly checking her neck pulse.
“Are you sure?” Amy asked looking so confused and uneasy, “I know the gods are always wise but I’m so bereft of…”
“I saw this suicide attempt coming in a vision like a flash of light few meanings after you left, hence the need to start coming after you,” Chisimdi said sobbingly as she panted and throbbed with great anxiety, “I saw her in my vision as she was dangling in the air and I knew that it wasn’t a mission you could go alone without my help,”
“Way forward, please,” Amy said flapping her hands with fear and uncertainty.
“If I can revive others, my blood would never be a problem even if it means being stripped of this divine call when I’m done with her,” Chisimdi said solemnly with a deep resolution.
Without a waste of time, Chisimdi began to pray, no more the usual incantation this time. She prayed to God using different bible verses and psalms, asking God to intervene in Uremma’s case.
After the long cry and long prayer, she undressed the girl and began to anoint her body with the oil extracted from the sweet-scented Isioma flower. As she smeared the oil on her, she prayed fervently; attracting the powers of the supernatural on the dying girl.
After a while of praying, Uremma’s limbs began to move, showing that she was coming back to life. Chisimdi continued until the poor girl opened her eyes and saw her two sisters around her.
Uremma in that weak state was happy to finally waking up to see the two most important people in her life.
Amy and Chisimdi made Uremma sit up and rest her back on the sofa.
“You can now remove the rope from her neck,” Chisimdi said and slapped Uremma a bit on her cheek saying: “Naughty sister, don’t ever think of making us dead with fear next time,”
Uremma smiled faintly and kept calm while Amy removed the ropes from her neck.
“Don’t ever try this anymore,” Amarachi warned tearfully with joy and kissed her hair, “Hmmm, your hair is smelly already. So if you’d died you would go to heaven with a smelly hair?”
“The angels will just chase her away into hellfire because of that,” Chisimdi replied and they all started laughing but as the laugh went on, Amy became thoughtful and started reminiscing on the entire suicide and revival thing.
“Amy, you look thoughtful,” Uremma said observantly, “I hope you won’t start your sermons again. I know I did something stupid but I never realised it until I woke up to find you guys around me. This made me realise how much I would have missed you if I died because of a man who doesn’t in his life want anything good for himself. From today, Ozo Omenka or Odenjinji, no matter what he calls himself is dead inside of me and I wish to see him suffer and pay for his sins,”
“I’m glad you said this, but that wasn’t why I was thoughtful,” Amy said raising the bar of the curiosity in the listeners.
“Then what were you thinking about?” Chisimdi asked and crossed her legs.
“I don’t know how to put it but let me say it this way,” Amy said still looking meditative, “Uremma is our blood and you just revived her using the powers of the flower. How is it possible because you’ve always said that you can heal others but not your blood; since you’re not of Ajalindu lineage? You couldn’t resuscitate dad from the coma, and you also said that if the assassins had succeeded killing me, you couldn’t have brought me back to life as you did to Chibunna.
This got me thinking because I don’t need someone to start lecturing me on how Uremma is not more my blood and some woman from one kingdom gave birth to her. I don’t need stories anymore in or all these unending secrets that…”
“You’ve said much already and I got you point, twiney,” Chisimdi said and smiled.
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“I hope Amy isn’t right with that last statement because I’d just jump into the river and die,” Uremma said in melancholy.
“I now see that you’re beginning to see suicide as an option,” Chisimdi said strictly with a warning tone.
“I’m sorry for that,” Uremma apologised, “but just that I can’t live without you that is my family already. My life would be a mess if…”
An embrace from the twin sisters got her mouth shut; making her focus on the love they shared. They wept on each other’s arms until they realised that it was late, and they needed to start going back to the village.
As they went back, Amarachi kept thinking of why Chisimdi didn’t answer her question, even Chisimdi was confused too and couldn’t explain why the use of the flower worked on Uremma even though she came to give it a try since she couldn’t trace Pastor Chike who she believed was in the position to revive her.
She was even beginning to think that Amarachi could be right that there was something about Uremma that they were yet to know about. Amid those thoughts, she kept on driving back to Ubulu believing that she was at least happy that her sister was back to life and didn’t die; whether she was her blood or not.
Getting to Ubulu, the three sisters met the king and Mkpulumma looking so worked up and worried. The couple was mad at the guards for allowing the twins to go without any security making them feel as if something bad had happened to them. Even calls they made to their phones indicated that they weren’t available to take the calls.
Seeing the two beautiful angels coming home with Uremma, the king rushed at them and embraced them feeling so relieved and enraptured.
King Omekannaya had heard about Uremma a lot but never met her for the first time, so he became curious to know who the third person that looked like his daughters was.
Uremma, my daughter, I guess,” The king said and pulled her closer without seeking to be clarified of his guess. “I’d longed to see you, at least to see my blood, even though your dad…” he swallowed spit and decided the gulp down the unspoken words because of the effect it would have on the girl, “Well, Omenka was a good man but I can’t explain what went wrong along the line,”
he added and gave Uremma a peck, “but let me tell you this; I am your dad now and you already have your room decorated and kempt with the touch of royalty. Your dad is still my blood no matter what. So you’re now my daughter until he comes home for…”
“Daddy, my king,” Uremma said with a curtsy, “I don’t know him anymore because he almost ruined my life. He was never a good man, so don’t defend him; I know you still feel a tinge of love for the monster. Let’s say that he had a devil inside him but it kept growing untamed until the devil became mature in him; sprouted and became prominent for all to see. Okuko ga abu oke na ebido na eju (the fowl that would be male starts from the time it’s a chick).
Meanwhile, Sir, I apologise for my intrusion with words when the great king was still giving his weighty and didactic counsel,” she concluded, bowed before the king and waited for his blessings.
The king was so proud of that oratorical speech, making him pull her up and back into a warm embrace.
Mkpulumma watched everything from a few steps away, feeling so proud and happy that everything about her family was being characterised by joy. As she waited, she suddenly developed stomach upset, ran to the nearest flower and vomited.
The three sisters were concerned and tried to rush towards the queen but the king stopped them and said: “I think my seed is germinating, so don’t be worried because that was the same spot she vomited when she was pregnant with you twins,”
The sisters were all happy and started clapping.
In an exceedingly short time, almost happening simultaneously, the great Ikoro (mighty drum) began to sound from Oduenyi’s house and being heard far and wide, making the king nod that the diviner already confirmed the sex of the child.
“What’s the Ikoro for?” Amarachi asked looking so happy that her mom was pregnant.
“If it was ekwe (smaller drum) that sounded,” The king explained, “it means that the child is a girl child….”
“Oh my God,” Chisimdi shouted, “So the Ikoro means you now have an heir?”
“You can say that again,” The king said smilingly with pride, and then looked at Chisimdi. “But I’m surprised you didn’t see that coming, my young diviner,” he added and stroked Chisimdi’s hair.
“I didbyut wasn’t sure of what I saw until now,” Simdi said and laughed and they all went to the queen and made her sit for resting.
The king made all to seat at the veranda while other people were busy with the preparations for the upcoming wedding.
Some would-be in-laws were all coming and going while the wedding planners took charge of everything, except for a few things that would require royal attention.
After a while of observing Mkpulumma by the palace physician, Amy who couldn’t wait to avoid forgetting the question that kept bothering her said: “Dad, even though we didn’t plan to tell you this because of the sensitivity of the issue, the question that has been hanging on my lips couldn’t allow me to keep it a secret anymore,”
“And what could that be my destiny helper?” The king called, making Amy smile for hearing such sweet name for the first time from her dad.
“Wow,” Chisimdi said and smiled; “if she’s your destiny helper, then what about me?” she asked seeking recognition too.
“Okay, you’re Anyachukwu; meaning the eye of the gods, and it’s befitting for someone who is a divine gift from Ugosimba,”
“I love this ooo,” Chisimdi yelled and cuddled her dad.
“Am I not your daughter too?” Uremma asked smiling as she waited for her turn for the name-giving.
“Why not, nwam (my daughter)” the king said and smiled, “Hmmm,” he gestured in thought for a while and then said: “You’re Mkpuluchim (the seed from my God), that’s after your mom who was a very good woman just like her twin sister. In fact, from today, you’re Mkpuluchim; a name I’d fondly call you,”
Tears of joy overtook Uremma as she accepted the name with love and tenderness.
“Daddy, you’re the best,” Uremma said and embraced him.
“But where is Olaedo that would always be working without knowing that she’s no more a maid but a princess?” Mkpulumma asked smiling as she looked searchingly for her, “this girl will never…”
As she was still talking, Olaedo was seen directing the maids, the guards and running up and down to make sure that the wedding prep was a success. Her sisters and parents were so proud of her, so they didn’t have to disturb her in doing what she knows how to do best. Even Osisioma and Akunna were at their best helping out as if they didn’t even notice that Amarachi or her sisters were around. Chibunna was seen making the guards and other people around him laugh with his unending jokes and clownish behaviour as they arranged the canopies and chairs for the wedding.
“She took that after her mom,” The king said observantly.
“Darling, I want to make a suggestion, ” Mkpulumma added and came closer to the king and began to caress his beards.
“Anything for you, my sunshine,” the king said and chuckled with the endearing feelings of the gentle touch from his wife making him feel loved.
“Adaoma played a huge role in your life, but it seems she’s been sitting at the back seat all these while and no one talks about her,” The queen said looking caringly at her hubby.
“Go on,” the king urged and listened.
“I wish she gets a better position, even though I know you may have good plans for her but just that you aren’t sure of how I’d take it, but I suggest you build a better house for her or give her a position at the palace. I trust my husband and I know you’d never do what you did some years back that produced Olaedo because I’m now around to be your company until I die,”
The statement touched the king, making him smile as he kissed his wife.
“Well, I’ve never forgotten but I won’t want her to stay in the palace so that rumours wouldn’t have it that the king is keeping a concubine in the palace, ” The king expatiated, “The people can always talk, even if they have no reason to, but it’s just normal. I’ll build a house for her, and since she is good at being the head and a manager, she’d be employed in the new company being built by the Mexican government,”
The children and the queen were so happy for the thoughtful words of the king. They were so proud to have him as their blood because he is full of wisdom and humanity.
“I love you so much, my hubby,” Mkpulumma said and embraced him tightly.
“We love you, daddy,” the three girls chorused and joined in the warm hug.
“But the question is this,” Amarachi began to avoid sweeping the disturbing thoughts under the carpet of forgetfulness.
“This daughter of mine is just so shrewd,” The king said observantly and listened, “she’ll never forget until this question of hers is attended to. Okay, shoot, my daughter!”
“Thanks, dad for the compliment,” Amy said and blushed, “Uremma, or rather, Mkpuluchim attempted suicide this morning and that was why Chisimdi and I rushed to Awka,”
“Oh my…” the king exclaimed with his mouth agape.
“Why wouldn’t such a pretty girl to that?”Mkpulumma asked, “My sister wouldn’t be happy for this wherever she is,”
“I’m sorry, ma,” Uremma said and knelt before them all but the queen made her sit on her lap.
“Don’t do that again, please,” Mkpulumma said and caressed her hair, “you are just like me and no one would ever know that you’re not my daughter. I know it has to do with your dad but that’s not enough reason to think of such,”
Uremma nodded in acceptance but didn’t talk or dispute the caution.
“Dad, the truth is that I revived Uremma using the Isioma flower but according to my revelation, I wouldn’t be able to cure any of my family,” Chisimdi cut in; making the obscurity of the situation known.
“Amarachi didn’t want to tell you about Uremma’s suicide attempt but she couldn’t ask the question without mentioning what led to it,”
Amy felt so proud of her sister for defending her and at the same time surprised that Chisimdi had no answer for the question she asked her when they were at Awka.
“And the question is; how did it work?” The king helped out.
“Exactly,” Amy said and smiled looking at Chisimdi, “Oh, you were even confused too, and that was why you didn’t reply or answer the question when I asked. And I was busy feeling that you were hiding things that the gods revealed to you,”
“Well,” the king began and cleared his throat, “according to the history, after the banishment of Ajalindu clan from this village, the good spirit dwelling in Eke Ubulu stream became angry and then cursed the royal lineage but not with severe punishment. It was according to history that they couldn’t be cured with the Isioma flower being the curse, but many years after, one of the royal lineage and the daughter to the king, Amanda Dike prayed and fasted many months begging the spirit of Ubulu stream to lift the curse.
She was the daughter of the king and a very intelligent child too. The destiny of her dad and everything about the kingdom rested on her shoulders, making the good spirit to lift the curse but not entirely. It was made to be that the royal blood could get cured by someone of Ajalindu blood but not from anyone in the royal family who’s blessed by the gods to use the flower to heal like Ajalindu descendants.
Amanda Ike had a twin sister, Ogbenyeanu (someone destined to be married to the wealthy) who suddenly got the healing gift but when their dad was dying, she couldn’t help him because she realised her gift late.
She never knew she had such gifts until her dad died. Since then until now, it became a curse but the unimaginable happened because, as it was prophesied many years back; a strong diviner would arise in the royal clan and will end up destroying the curse. I never believed it would be in my stead but ended up seeing that it is possible to be done. What happened during the days of Amanda Ike and her twin sister, Ogbenyeanu, never repeated for centuries until it came to you, my children.
Ogbenyeanu is just like Chisimdi while Amanda Ike is like Amarachi of our time. History repeated itself but the difference is that the king didn’t die as he did then because if I ended up dying, kingship would have left this family to another village or clan. I was brought back alive, though not by my daughter but by the same people that were banished from Ubulu. God is wonderful, ”
“Wow, this is so cool and I’m happy,” Amarachi said feeling amazed.
“God loves us so much, even to raise a diviner from someone who couldn’t even be humble or wise enough to attend school but ended up sleeping with her dad’s friends,” Chisimdi said crying softly, making everybody especially Uremma to shudder concerning the revelation.
“I didn’t get that?” Uremma said and took a deep breath as she kept gazing intently at Chisimdi. “So those chiefs you go out with telling me that they were business partners and needs their dreams interpreted were your…Oh my God!”
“Yes, the monster called dad used me just as he used my mom but I thought I was making money and making him happy but deep down inside me, I was hurting,” Chisimdi said sorrowfully, “If I have my opportunity, I’d take a pound of flesh from him and ensure that I spit on his grave when he finally dies painfully,”
“Don’t say that about him,” The king corrected and pulled her into an embrace to comfort the sorrowful narrator. “We all have one dark past or the other but what matters is being remorseful afterward and seeking the forgiveness of God to move on,”
“I’m glad that he ended up not being my biological dad,” Chisimdi added disgustedly, gritting her teeth in anger.
“And I’m glad that the devil never used me for his money rituals as he planned,” Uremma said and went to Chisimdi to comfort her, “he used both of us…”
“But thank God that you two are liberated,” Mkpulumma said.
“Back to the discussion as we thank God for the lives of Uremma and my sweet twin sister,” Amy said and patted their backs. “Dad, how are you sure that the ban had been lifted and it wasn’t a coincidence or luck that made Chisimdi succeed in healing Uremma.
“Meanwhile,” The king continued because he knew that Amy needed to get the full details and wouldn’t rest until she does,” I forgot to tell you that I sneaked into my library and had the mindreading to know what I’ve missed when I was gone into the spirit realm at Odimegwu forest,”
he narrated as they all listened attentively, “A lot was revealed to me, and among them is that the curse had been lifted and freedom restored in full but was only effective when I’m alive. Before my revival from the coma that almost separated my body from my soul, the curse was still there but after my resuscitation, it got lifted because Akilika the greatest flutist used his life to pay for it, so you can see that it wasn’t free because someone paid for it.
Anyamuo was meant to stay for the next five years but he sacrificed it just for me and my family to have everlasting freedom that would be written on the sand of time; a bliss that would move from generation to generation,”
The explanation got them all relaxed and happy because they felt that everything was complete and exactly the way it was meant to be even though they felt for the old man who gave her life for the curse to be lifted.
“Meanwhile, after the wedding for tomorrow,” Mkpulumma said on behalf of the king, “there would be a grand burial, or rather, a grand funeral filled with happiness and celebration of a life well spent for Anyamuo. Akilika was a man of the people and the burial would be a burial by the nation, and not just for Ubulu.
If you must know,” she added with a sense of happiness and fulfilment, “Guinness book of records just recorded that he died being the oldest man in Africa. You can now see that more awards would be coming for the deceased for a fulfilled life filled with great honour,”
Everybody gave a round of applause that even attracted other friends and everyone in the palace, making them gather to hear the good news, but as this happened, the great Ikoro sounded from Oduenyi’s house the second time; making the king stand and began to dance while the Ogbuoja came forward and started playing the Egwu omumu song (song of fruitfulness).
Everybody was confused because the Ikoro wasn’t meant to sound the second time.
“What’s happening?” Amy said and stood up looking so confused but bereft of words.
“Wait for it, my wife,” The king said dancing and pointing at Mkpulumma.
“Wait for what…?” Mkpulumma said but because she could complete her statement she had another stomach upset and then rushed out again to vomit.
The king suddenly stopped dancing, smiled and said: “Two boys in the womb. I just ended up having two dimkpa (strongmen) in my palace,”
The people cheered and joined the king in the dance of egwu omumu.
PRINCESS AMARACHI episode 20
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