If it were possible, the King would perhaps have run faster than his shadow. It was almost noon time; he raced down to the shrine as fast as his legs could carry him. The manner at which he had stormed out of the palace earlier had left huge question marks hanging on the heads of all the palace residents. The King had run as though he was being chased by a leopard. This single act cleared away every form of uncertainty about the King’s knowledge of the reason behind the ongoing crisis in the Kingdom; they were sure beyond reasonable doubts. By the time he got there, he was panting like a dog that had just triumphed in a fight against a wild cat. The Chief Priest chuckled on seeing him.
“The eyes of the gods are everywhere; their sight is crystal clear in the day, and even clearest in the night. They see through walls and through fogs. They see through hearts and through minds. They know all things; there is no secret before them. Foolish man! You cannot deceive the gods; you cannot go behind the gods” he chuckled again
“I have done evil, O mouthpiece of the gods! I was foolish to think that I could hide from the gods” he quivered in fear
“Shut up! I don’t want to hear that ugly voice of yours! You have put the inhabitants of this land into a state of pandemonium, you have thrown them into a pool of fear, you have brought evil upon the land, and you deserve to die!” the eyes of the Chief Priest spelt anger
“Help me, wise one, I don’t want to die, and my only daughter, I don’t want to lose her” he trembled as he pleaded
“It is late” the Chief Priest shook his head
“How do you mean?”
“Adaeze is taken away, she is in the custody of your brother whom you killed and who had come in the form of a certain entertainer, Ojadike”
The King was devastated. Streams of tears rolled down his cheeks as his mind travelled back to an incident aged twenty years.
Omalugo was ruthlessly raped; she wailed all the way home in zombie-like staggering gaits, blood streaking down her legs as she cried home. The bad news got to the ears of the King of Obodoike, who had in grief related the matter to his son; the warlord of the Kingdom whose anger had boiled to the highest degree at an instant. According to the beautiful woman, the seven men were inhabitants of Umuagwo, a Kingdom well known for craftiness. Obika had gone to the kingdom, and had returned with the heads of the seven greatest warriors of Umuagwo. He had single-handedly defeated the warriors of Umuagwo. Such was the might of his strength, the whole inhabitants of the land of Obodoike sang his praises, he was well known for his great power, and all who knew him foresaw the greatest King that would rule over Obodoike.
The archery and hunting skills of Ikenna were never to be underestimated either. Ikenna was the greatest hunter in the Kingdom. During his hunting expeditions, his bow and arrow had got him a boar, a leopard, an antelope, and a deer. The King never lacked meat in those days. It was said that at one time, he had wrestled with a wild animal and had triumphed. Ikenna was the second prince of Obodoike who was also highly regarded for his might in archery and hunting. But the two princes never saw eye to eye. Ikenna had always envied the position of the heir apparent and as a result had developed a cold heart against his brother.
The death of Obika was the most heart wrenching bombshell in those days. It had left the King mute for several weeks out of shock. The royal house had woken up one morning to his death, he was said to have died in his sleep. That day was the blackest day in the history of Obodoike Kingdom; the palace was dry and terrifyingly quiet. The King had refused food, the Queen had done the same, and Ikenna had wept until his eyeballs were reddened and swollen.
By the time he was back from the world of reminiscence, his cheeks were drenched in tears. He recalled how he had suffocated his brother that night, how he had made the Chief Priest it was a natural death, and seriously he had shed those make-believe tears.
“The killer must be killed, there are no two options” the Chief Priest’s smile was one that portrayed certainty.