He went down for dinner with his mother and sister,the dining table was laden with floral chinas housing delicious meals,from vegetable soup to fried chicken and wraps of pounded yam.
“Its been almost two months already,what shall we do with her?” Lara enquired of her mother after swallowing a ball of pounded yam.
“I don’t know,ask your brother.”
“The traditional revivalist will grant us spiritual direction when he visits tomorrow,our allies have ensured that no one in the big city and Ayetoro can find out her current location.”
“I really dislike her,must you marry her?” Princess Lara asked her brother-the King.
“Must you live? If you must live then I must marry her” he retorted with a cold stare that sealed his sister’s lips with fear.
“Can’t I have her? I get increasingly inveigled whenever I see her.”
“Tradition must not be broken,we have to circumscise her first remember? I’ll get you a courtesan till the Princess gets circumcised” Aderopo’s mother replied with a smile.
“Go and clean up my wife,don’t forget to feed her and take her into the gaol” he commanded Lara who stood up immediately to do his bidding and smiled as the guards who stood circumambient the corridor bowed.
Ireti was dressed in a lengthy magenta gown which belonged to Princess Lara,it was too big for her and she looked lost in it.
She was locked up in the gaol which was a holding cell for offenders in the King’s inner circle. Breathing was difficult because there was just a tiny window which earned her little contact with the outside world.
She laid down on the mattress which was spread on the cold floor,her meal was a wrap of cold moulded pap(eko) and a cup of water. She couldn’t eat,she was engrossed with an introspection of the events she had witnessed thus far.
She traced her hands over her lips and bosom,lips which were consecrated to Sims,bosoms his gentle hands had never caressed, had been defiled by Aderopo. She wept bitterly and prayed earnestly in tongues.
“Mama! I think that Princess is with child! She has been throwing up since morning,her colour looks pale and her body is swollen”
“Stop talking nonsense! Why won’t she be swollen when she’s your brother’s punching bag? I will ask the revivalist when he comes tomorrow” the tiny woman said as she kept flipping through the pages of the newspaper she was holding.
“I can’t wait to have her here beside me,to have her as my wife and Queen. But I must primp her first,she’s too wild and mannerless for me. We must run through this process hurriedly,my body can’t wait any longer” Aderopo soliloquised and he got ready for bed after being entertained by his courtesans.
Ireti felt half dead,her body and soul ached. She felt a sharp pang of pain whenever she rolled on the mattress. She held her chest with loud sobs,”I want my Simon!” she squawked aloud.
“Gooday your Lordship” Aderopo,the Queen,Princess and everyone in the living room knelt before the huge man with a scruffy beard and awkward smell.
He wore a white gown adorned with a blue sash,and held a gold painted sceptre in his hand. He was accompanied by Pastor Alamu, and Prophetess Aina.
They spoke at length with him regarding several issues and Alamu eventually volunteered to bring Ireti out of the gaol and into His Lordship’s presence.
“Alamu! Thank God you’re here!! Please inform my people that I’ve been kidnapped. Help me out!!!” She pleaded aloud when she sighted him.
The guard slapped her and dragged her out whilst Alamu grinned devilishly.
“So here’s the Mighty Princess! Your Father protected you jealously and disobeyed our counsels,where is he now?” Alamu implored daringly.
“We shall do as planned! according to Orunmila’s letter, circumcision of a princess is required for the cleansing of a defiled land so,Yes! She must be circumcised!!” The huge man thundered aloud,those around him nodded in approval.
“Your Lordship!” Queen Ibironke hailed as she knelt before him. “Princess Lara here suggests that the girl is pregnant”
“Really? Bring out the holy cowries Aina!” His Lordship commanded.
The short woman brought out the cowries and called out several incantations.
The woman attempted to touch her womb but shuddered in fear and cried out saying “Demonic Fire! Fire!!” This prompted Ireti to get slapped by the guard who was present.
“Yes My Lordship! She’s pregnant”
“You see Mama? I said it” Lara attested instantly.
“Please! Its a mistake!! I’m not pregnant.. Its not true” she cried out.
Aderopo who was parambulating restlessly kicked her stomach angrily, and she rolled on the floor in pain.
“Who is it for? Answer me! You promiscuous girl!!” He asked angrily.
“Did you say pregnant? I read something about her a few months back,Shalewa! Bring me the newspapers over there” Lara ordered her maid. She adjusted herself and crossed her legs when she received the papers.
“Your Lordship,it says here that she was courting an oyinbo..one Simon Braithwaite.”
“Simon? He was the one who jeopardised your crusade in Lagos,I’m not surprised..they both grew up in Ayetoro,Your Lordship” Alamu added angrily.
“Its not true..please leave him out of this Sir..I’m not..its not for him..” Ireti pleaded.
“Take her back into the cell!” The bearded man commanded. “Are you sure he’s the same person Alamu?”
“I have a picture of him Sir,its in one of those modern magazines you bought for me when you travelled overseas Mama” Lara rejoined as she walked into her room hurriedly to search for the magazine.
“There’s no harm done,it says here in the letter that new born babies can be sacrificed to Orunmila for a King’s peaceful reign. The bastard is a windfall,we’ll make the sacrifice when she gives birth.”
Ireti cried out loud as she held her stomach which felt sore with pain.
“My heart! My Sims…I don’t want them to hurt him.. Please Lord! Save him, else I won’t hesitate to die..I will die if they hurt him..save me from Aderopo..heal me of this pain that’s eating me up like a cancerous growth.”
“Rest in Me!” The still voice commanded her.
Aderopo’s entire day was ruined by the news of Ireti’s ‘pregnancy’.
“Bloody Bastards” he vociferated as he stared at a picture of Simon’s which graced the cover of Business Weekly-a global African magazine.
“They stole our lives and gave us fake replicas of theirs,our freedom they took and sold us into slavery,our religion and tradition they trampled upon in exchange for their fake white god, and now they’ve taken our women also.”
Aderopo visited the gaol at late midnight.
“You are worthless! How could you sell your body to a foreigner? Have you any shame at all? You’re a disgrace to your people” he said indignantly.
“Please hear me out..”
“I don’t want to hear..I want you to look!” He commanded as he dragged her by the hair and showed her Simon’s picture.
She was taken aback by it! Ireti shuddered and wailed out loudly in pain.
“There’s nothing..you’re mistaken…”
He held her by the throat and pushed her head against the wall.
“Your life is hanging by a thread,I won’t hesitate to have my way with you and kill you thereafter. Your circmcision is tomorrow.”
He tore open her gown so he could have a feel of her bosom beneath the under garment she wore and licked his lips satisfactorily.He went out thereafter.