“Please Sir! Throw me instead!!” Olori Ayoka pleaded and held onto her daughter tightly.
“You’re bigger than her,I can’t lift you. And I can’t drop both of you either,you are my leverage” he bawled devilishly.
As they approached the slope,the soldiers who laid an ambush few metres away stopped shooting when they saw him lifting someone out of the bus.
“Rest in Peace my love” he declared and threw her down the sandy slope.
Olori Ayoka attempted to fall with her but she was pulled back and flogged by the only surviving guard.
“Won ti pa omo mi oh” she wailed out loud.
“Shut her up” Aderopo’s mother commanded. She had always been envious of Ayoka’s prestige and repute,the clothes she wore and her gold jewellries. Words could not explain how great King Aderopo’s mother felt.
Ireti’s head hit a sharp gravel,and her clothes were ripped by the stones. She bled from all sides and the guards who ran to her rescue were too slow,her body rolled speedily.
Her knees were badly scratched by the stones and she landed half dead at the levelled plain of the road where the soldiers stood.
“Ahhhhhh!! He has killed our Princess!!! Amofin must be razed to the ground this very day. Go and alert our Commander! Princess Ireti..”The team leader cried out.
“Let’s take her to the clinic!” The youngest member suggested and they flagged down the next car they saw.
Ireti was taken to the Community Hospital which was established by her Father. The hospital was filled with tons of people,indigenes,traditional rulers,reporters and journalists were present.
The reporters interrogated the nurse who was sent to address them all.
“Is she alive?”
“Who is responsible?”
“Can we see her?”
“We can’t tell if she’ll survive. Her condition is critical and her legs have been paralysed. We urge you all to pray earnestly for her. Thank You!”The stout nurse remarked courteously.
“Mama! Come and see this!!” Ayo called out. It’s the news report,Ireti was declared half dead.”
“Half dead? What of my grand son?? Why aren’t they mentioning him?” She cried out with her hands placed on her head.
“Pack my bags Ayo! I’m going to Ayetoro this instant!! You can’t come with me..someone needs to supervise the company” she added and walked out with a confident stride.
She got on the road a few minutes later,it was a night journey and her driver was disturbed by her numerous complaints.
“I said that girl will kill him…please save my son Lord! Now that you’ve taken her.. don’t take him too” she prayed out loud.
“Ayetoro,the greatest and wealthiest western town in Nigeria has been drowned into a sea of sadness.The Community church is filled with indigenes and non-indigenes who have come to pray for Ireti,the Princess who has rendered great help to them all. She advised her father to build schools,hospitals,roads and several more infrastructures for Ayetoro when he was alive. They fondly called her his Special Adviser. Hundreds of people have flocked into this town,and more are coming in by the second. Kidnapped a day after her father’s death,the mighty people of Ayetoro are wailing and praying for their princess’ recovery” A news reporter commented in front of the Royal Palace.
“We wia nor told dah she waz mizzing. We ask our shifs about her ehnn… last month becauz we af nor see her for a while now, and we knw awa Prinzezz neva stay for two months witawt we hearing from her. He nw say dat ehn..she trafu to Geneva wit Olori.. Na one girl,Shola fwom Amofin inform us say dm kidnap awa pwinzezz,so we arrest all dose shifu and we af send awa men to destroy Amofin,”the president of the cocoa farmers association narrated sadly to the press men.
“Nothing must happen to her! She encouraged her father to abolish girl child circumcision when our Church leaders were too scared to talk!! She encouraged us all and supported our education” The senior prefects of Ayetoro Grammar School lamented to the foreign news reporter in tears.
Ayetoro’s soldiers went to war against the people of Amofin,they laid waste to the lives of the soldiers,chiefs and everyone who was involved in the attack on their royal family.
The prisoners were freed,Aderopo and his entourage were arrested, but unfortunately Princess Lara and Amofin’s Queen Regent,lost their lives in the process. The wound Lara sustained infected her whole body and by the time she was taken to the clinic,it was too late.
The village was saturated by the gospel which was preached to them by John and several foreign missionaries.
“How is she doing?” Olori Ayoka asked the doctor a few hours after she was freed.
“She’s not responding Ma,I’m afraid she has to be flown out of the country for medical treatment.”
Olori Ayoka lamented out loud and she was comforted by Asake and several elderly women.
“Ehmm..what did I hear about her legs?” She asked nervously.
“Hmmm..we can’t really say Ma…I’m sure the doctors in India will provide more details” She lied.
Ireti’s legs were paralysed,the chances of her walking were very slim,but the doctor was advised not to tell the Queen yet,to prevent her from hurting herself. She looked lifeless,no one was allowed to see her,not even her mother.
Simon’s grandma slapped him thrice and commanded him to get into the jeep that was parked in front of the prison yard.
“You’re an idiot! A fool to say the least…olorun o ni je ki obinrin pa ehh..(May you not be killed by a woman)…you want to kill me? Is that it? Kill me because of the dead princess..kill me Simon” she exclaimed aloud and dragged his hand towards her throat.
“Look at you! I can’t believe this..you look like a ghost…see how swollen your eyes and arms are..when last did you eat? And the aso oke you’re wearing is too old and too large…I don’t know what to do with you anymore…I’m fed up” she added after placing her hands on his neck to check his temperature.
Simon refused to reply,tears dropped down his eyes and he bowed his head and supported it with his hands.
They lodged in an hotel located in the state capital and she threw the bag she packed at him,it contained several of his clothes and shoes.
“You must be hungry…I’ve called for room service” she verbalized tenderly.
He tossed and turned on his bed.
“I can’t sleep” he soliloquised and turned on the television set.
The news headline got to him,he couldn’t believe his eyes. According to the reporter,Ireti was in a coma and she had slim chances of survival. He prayed for her once more,and fell asleep.
“We have to go to the clinic Mama!” He pleaded with the elderly woman who wanted them to head home immediately.
“What’s your problem? You want to go and see her when you’re not alright too? Don’t you know you need medical attention also…?”
After hours of begging,she instructed the driver to take them both to the hospital.
His grandma met a lot of familiar faces at the clinic and instantly got engrossed in a conversation with the women she recognised.
Olori Ayoka hugged and kissed Sims on the cheek the instant she saw him.
“My Son! That’s who you are my dear…thanks for your labour of love. Good to see that you’re alive! Ireti was told otherwise.” she remarked with a vibrant smile on her face.
His grandma excused herself from the conversation she was involved in when she over heard someone say that her grandson was with the Queen.
“How is my love?” He asked with a concerned look on his face.
“Hmmm….she’s not fine ohh…”
“When are we leaving? You know Patricia is waiting for you in Lagos” his grandma chipped in when she got a hint of what they were talking about.
“Good evening Ma” Olori Ayoka asserted nicely.
“Thanks for permitting him to come out here….I’m so glad he’s with my daughter. They’re a beautiful couple and a wonderful team”
“Couple? You must be confused Olori,my son has a fiancee and its not Ireti. He’s just the princess’ friend and nothing more.” His grandma replied and walked out on the Queen.
Simon didn’t hear this,he was with Ayike and Ireti’s other friends.
“Just inform me of whatever new developments there might be,I’ll see you in India” he said to Ayike after embracing her tightly and encouraging her.
He returned to Lagos with his grandma but truth be told,his heart was with Ireti.