Ejike kept away from Adaku’s hut for a few weeks, he made do, with his other wives. He felt that if he gave her a little time off, she would conceive. He watched her and also told his wives to keep an eye on her, but Adaku showed no signs that she had conceived.
Adaku however, soon began to adapt to her life in Ogwashi-Uku. She went with Chioma to fetch water from the stream; they farmed the family’s farms with the other members of the family. She even went with Chioma to the Jetty to hawk cashew nuts, smoked fishes and vegetables from the senior wife’s backyard.
Chioma: “I wish one day, when we are old enough, you can take me to your land. I would like to see your people” she said one day while they sat in the market, with their wares in front of them. Adaku didn’t answer because; she didn’t want to ever go back to Igbundu, there was no difference between Igbundu and Ogwashi-Uku. Chioma was still going on and on about Ogwashi-Uku and who she was going to marry, but Adaku had tuned in to the conversation of two men, who sold bush meat.
Man 1: “In Lagos, their women put on short clothes, with their breast outside, they even go to work. Some of them don’t even give birth; they tell their husbands that, they want to pursue their career and he should wait”
Man 2: “Wait for what, did he marry her to wait?” the man asked in surprise.
Man 1: “There, they like school oh. Their women tell their husbands that maintenance of the house is fifty-fifty; a man is expected to enter the kitchen and cook for her to come and eat. Even man is expected to pound yam if he wants pounded yam”
Man 2: “O di egwu, you mean that? Nde Yoruba, they will not kill somebody with their way of life” he replied, obviously awed by what his ears were hearing.
Adaku however was happy to know that there was a place in Nigeria, where women were not seen as dumb human beings, that were only good for giving birth to boys, but human beings who required the same respect as the men. But she was sad; the place looked like it was on another planet. She looked out towards the Niger and all she saw was water. How do they go to this place, that so favors women? She asked herself.
Chioma: “Adaku, where is your mind? Today seems to be slow, perhaps we should head on home before it gets dark” she nudged Adaku out of her inner thoughts.
That night after she helped the senior wife prepare dinner, she went into her room to ponder about what she had heard at the market.
Adaku: “Mother, the promise that I made to you, there is somewhere in this country that I can make it happen, but the place is so far, and I am just alone in this world, how do I get there?” she said to the empty room, hoping that her late mother heard her, and would send help. Instead of help however, all she got was more troubles. Ejike entered the hut, wearing only a wrapper around his waist.
Ejike: “What did you do with the seed I gave you, are you also barren, as you are weak?” he asked, fixing her an angry stare. Adaku could not say anything, fear had descended on her. Just when she was beginning to relax into her life in this new land, the nightmares were about to begin again. She wanted to plead, but she held herself. She wouldn’t beg, she was the daughter of a King, if he wanted to violate her, he could go ahead, she would just close her mind to it.
Ejike came towards her and grabbed her by the wrapper she tied on her chest; he threw her to the bed and pounced on her. She just lay there on the bed, with dead eyes that looked at him with resolve. The more she remained emotionless, the harder he pounded into her. All levels of pain was ricocheting through her, but she refused to scream, her mind left what was happening to her, to happier times in Igbundu. When her father and mother loved themselves more than life.
When Ejike was spent, he fell on her and slept off; she did not feel the weight on her because her mind was not there. When it was morning, Ejike woke up and saw that he was lying on her, and her eyes were wide open, he got up from her.
Ejike: “What kind of human being is this? Does she feel anything?” he looked at her with disgust and left her hut. As he left, the senior wife came in, she saw Adaku lying there, her eyes were staring at the ceiling, and she looked lifeless.
Senior wife: “Adaku! Adaku!” she screamed shaking the girl vigorously. Her eyes shifted and she looked at the senior wife. All the hurt feelings came bubbling to the top, and she broke down in tears. The senior wife held her and began to rock her gently.
Senior Wife: “Don’t cry again, it is going to be alright. I will get some more herbs from the medicine man” she said in her local dialect. Adaku could now understand little, so the words brought succor to her.
Chike had heard that Ejike had raped Adaku again when the senior wife came to get herbs from his father, so he had gone to the stream to wait, hoping that Adaku would come, but she did not come, only Chioma did.
Chike: “Chioma, how are you?”
Chioma: “Chike, I am fine” she said, suddenly glowing, and twisting the cornrows her mother had done her hair in.
Chike: “Did Adaku not come with you to the stream?” he asked, there was anxiety on his face.
Chioma: “No, she is not feeling too good” she replied. Chike clenched his fist at this, all he could think of, was punching Ejike till he bled, but he was just a boy of 18, and Ejike was the village wrestler, his back had never touched the ground.
Chike: “Please send my regards” he said and walked away. Chioma was so happy that Chike talked to her, so much that she told her playmates that night under the mango tree.
Chioma: “The most handsome boy in this village likes me”
Girl 1: “You mean Chike?”
Chioma: “Of course, I am sure we will get married when I am ripe enough for marriage” she said gaily.
Girl 2: “Really, but your father married a girl that is not ripe for marriage na”
Girl 1: “Talk about double standards” she said and chuckled. They all knew the ordeal Adaku was going through in the hands of Ejike. Chioma’s father, it was all over the village.
Chioma looked at them with anger in her eyes, and walked away. On ehr way home, she wondered why it had to be her father who was involved in child marriage. She sighed.
In Igbundu, Azagba rallied support for his supposed coronation, he had three members of the king making council in his pocket, but they were powerless to give him his desire because, the Ezemmuo, was the one who gave the final say.
After three months, that Adaku was kidnapped, the village had no king, the former king was still mad, and without his daughter’s love and care, he was withering away. By this time, Azagba had garnered support from more than half of the king making council. He saw Ezemmuo, as the only person standing before him and his goal of the kingship. He dismissed the chief priest as inconsequential; after all it was not the first time that he was ignored by a king. Emelu ignored him and killed his first wife. But he didn’t stop to think, what became of Emelu.
Azagba sat in his house, pondering on the best way to solve the problem; he paced his house up and down. His senior wife was coming with his food when she saw him pacing, she immediately turned away, he was in one of his moods, which could easily turn violent if provoked. He got up abruptly and took a keg of palm wine which he kept in a corner of his room. It was freshly tapped and smelled good. He left the house with the keg of palm wine, without telling anyone, where he was going. He walked the short distance to Ezemmuo’s house, whistling to himself.
Azagba: “Wisdom of the gods, I greet you” he said as he entered Ezemmuo’s compound. Ezemmuo just looked at him, wondering if he had come to bribe him again.
Ezemmuo: “Welcome royal blood” he said with indifference.
Azagba: “Yes i am royal blood, but Igbundu was made on the blood and sweat of my fore fathers. I realize that Igbundu is bigger than my own ambition. That is why I am repentant. I am going to bring back the princess; she is with a friend of mine, here in Ogwashi-Uku. The gods are wiser than man” he said soberly.
Ezemmuo: “I am glad, you are back to your senses. Good times are ahead. I trust you, you are the eldest and the wiser. I pity the condition in which your brother is. We hope that when the will of the gods is done, they will have mercy on Emelu” he said.
Azagba: “Lets drink to the new Igbundu” he said as he uncorked the keg. Ezemmuo called for his wives to get drinking gourds. They brought two, and Azagba persuaded Ezemmuo to drink first, since he was the elder of the two of them. Ezemmuo poured wine into his gourd and after pouring libations on the ground, he drank from the gourd, it was obviously too sweet, so he drank all. Azagba poured into his gourd, and held it in his hand while they discussed.
When Azagba left, Ezemmuo called for his wives to bring him dinner. The senior wife brought him his bowl of akpu and ofe owerri. He took a morsel, and drank more from the palm wine keg. It then occurred to him that Azagba did not drink from his gourd.
Ezemmuo: “Royal blood, you don’t want to drink, don’t worry, I will finish all. Thank you Azagba for coming back to your senses” he took another drink and toasted to the good of Igbundu. Then he began to cough, before his wives could rush out to him, he was already spurting blood. He fell on the floor and began to roll, clutching his stomach, within seconds, he was dead.
Question: Who killed Ezemmuo, and what effect would his death have on Igbundu?
See Episode 12 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
EXCLUSIVELY FROM ADELOVE.COM
All Rights Reserved