“We’ve been found let’s get out of here now!” Omotayo turned the keys and opened the gate.
As they got out of the gate they ran as fast as their legs could carry them they could hear the soldiers chasing after them. They ran through trees so it will be difficult for the rebels to trail them. Omotayo and Adunni hid behind a large tree breathing heavily.
“I didn’t know there was a thick forest outside the village” Adunni said panting
“It was not possible for you to know because of the great wall surrounding the village but, that is not the issue now we have to hide somewhere otherwise we will be caught.” Omotayo said panting heavily.
“Everywhere is so dark let’s go further, we should get out of this forest before dawn otherwise we will become sacrificial lambs to the gods.” When they could no longer hear the footsteps of the soldiers following them they began to run again. They came across a cave.
“Wait, we could hide here till tomorrow morning” Adunni said panting
“But, won’t we have to set up a fire to keep warm and drive away wild animals?” Omotayo asked panting heavily.
Adunni shook her head “we can’t do that it will give away our position, don’t be afraid, I doubt if the rebels would choose a place crawling with wild animals to set up their village. Don’t be afraid of the cold either we have always slept in the cold.”
Omotayo nodded her head in agreement and they entered the cave, the cave was very dark and they could hear water dripping somewhere in the cave. They were both scared but they had no choice its either they stayed in the cave and be eaten by a wild animal if any resided in the cave or they go back outside and risk been caught by the rebels. They sat on the floor and rested their backs on the walls of the cave, they were very tired and exhausted the weather was not friendly either, they were also scared and unsure if they would be safe in the cave. They both prayed silently to the gods to protect them.
“It is dark in here” Omotayo whispered “if the gods spare our lives and we are not caught by the rebels or eaten by any wild animal, where do we go from here? Where do we start from? How do we find our loved ones? She asked. Adunni smiled wearily and moved closer to Omotayo
“You ask too many questions my darling, I am also as scared as you are but remember we are in this together and we must never leave each other.” Omotayo nodded her head and hugged Adunni and they both drifted off to sleep.
Ajani paced about his office feeling uncomfortable and angry; it had never happened before, no slave had attempted escape, the men were afraid for their lives and never dared to take up arms not mention escaping the village and women escaped the village. He still could not believe it, how did they ever learn about the rear gate, it was a disgrace to him as the commander of the rebels. He could only hope that the soldiers he sent out would find them. He was deep in his thoughts when he heard a knock on his door.
“You may enter” he said and a soldier entered all dressed in black which was the uniform of the rebels. Seeing the expression on the soldier’s face Ajani shook his head he knew they had failed. The soldier who came in to report immediately fell to his knees.
“My lord, forgive me I have failed. My squad and I searched through the forest all night but we could not find them and when it was dawn we decided to…”
“You decided to return with failure” Ajani interrupted angrily. “Do you realize what their escape will do to us? Our position has been compromised how could two women escape able bodied trained soldiers like you? Do you recognize the women that escaped?”
“Yes my lord from the findings I made I found out that one of the women is the elder sister of the young girl that was taken by his highness not too long ago, while the other woman is someone who always keeps to herself.” the soldier explained
Ajani looked at him with disgust “what manner of fool are you? I only asked if you could recognize them I don’t need that entire story… wait did you just say their loved ones were taken by his highness?”
“Yes my lord, but it is only one of them whose sister was taken” the soldier replied
Ajani nodded finally taking in what motivated them to escape “can you recognize these women I mean physical recognition” he asked the soldier kneeling before him.
“Yes my lord”
“Good, double the duties of the slaves, do not give them any breathing space. I want you to send out another search party and if at the end of the day those women are not found, we will have to leave this place.” Ajani instructed
“Yes my lord” the soldier said bowed and left to carry out the orders.
Adunni was the first to wake up, she stretched and yawned it took her few seconds to remember what had happened she tapped Omotayo gently “Omotayo it’s already dawn, we have to leave now.” Omotayo opened her eyes slowly she looked around and then she remembered were she was and why she was there.
“I can’t believe we slept off, there was no wild animal after all” Omotayo said sleepily.
“The gods have protected us but we have to leave this place the rebels managed to miss this place last night I do not think they will miss it again.”
Omotayo nodded in agreement “but where will we go? We can barely recognize his highness or whatever he is called, how do I find my sister?” she asked.
“Calm down Omotayo there is a way, when I snuck into the store to steal the poison we used I had to hide behind one of the tables where the they kept the various potions because two soldiers came in unexpectedly, it was then I overheard them talking about a border village they said the supreme commander is there presently, rebuilding the damage the rebels caused during their last raid. If we could find this village we could get help from the noble soldiers of Ifokanbale”
“Did you by any chance know the name of this village?” Omotayo asked
Adunni frowned a bit trying to remember the name “they said it is village in the north I think they called the village Ayedara”
“Did you just say Ayedara?” Omotayo asked,
Adunni nodded her head “do you know the place?” She asked and Omotayo smiled as she remembered her village but the smile quickly disappeared and her eyes filled with tears.
“That’s my village it used to be a peaceful place except during the times of war which I never experienced since I was born. I only have memories of it as a sweet and peaceful place even the garrison soldiers were quite nice and friendly” Omotayo was still reminiscing when Adunni shook her
“Come back to reality it is a good thing that it is your village so you must know the way to get there” Adunni said smiling obviously excited and happy.
Omotayo walked away from Adunni turning her back on her “we are in the middle of nowhere how can I possibly know the way back? I don’t even know how we got here”
“But you were not blind folded when they brought you here I think if you try hard you will find the way to your village” Adunni said encouragingly
“I hope so let us pray that the gods will not let us down this time” Omotayo said as she turned to face her friend. “I wish we could change these wrappers I feel guilty and uncomfortable wearing them. Did we really have to kill those girls?” Omotayo asked.
“I know how you feel, I did what I felt was necessary at that time I will explain how it all happened to you once we get to a safe place.
“There is a cave here” one of the rebel soldiers alerted his comrades, they all rushed towards the cave. Ajagun the soldier who reported to Ajani earlier came up he was second in command to Ajani and no one could defeat him in battle except Ajani the great general of the rebels it was popular knowledge that Ajagun was only loyal to the general and anything he says are considered as words from the great general himself. Ajagun was a very huge person and is infamous for his brutality he was even more brutal than the general himself and no soldier of lower rank dared disregard him. It happened one time that a soldier mistakenly ran into him because he was drunk Ajagun removed the man’s eyes with his bare hands.
“What are you all waiting for? Search the cave and bring them out kill them if you have to” Ajagun ordered. The soldiers all rushed in but they came out with nothing except one of the hair beads that had fallen off Omotayo’s head.
“There is no one in there” one of the soldiers said
“We should go after them” another soldier said and all the other soldiers started to go after them.
“Stop!” Ajagun roared “where do you think you are all going?” he asked, they all stopped in their tracks. “They are long gone but they cannot survive in this forest if the wild animals don’t get them first, they will die of hunger. Let us go back we have to inform the general”
“Yes general” they said and began to march back towards the village.”