Before long the news of Ezemmuo’s death spread through the village, and the story was that he was poisoned because he had coughed blood while eating. They concluded that the food he was eating was poisoned, none of the wives thought of the palm wine that Azagba brought. The senior wife was the one whose turn it was to feed her husband, so she was accused of killing her husband. She was brought before the chief council to state why she killed her husband.
Senior wife: “Please, I did not kill my husband. I would never do that because I have no reason to, Ezemmuo gave me sons, and he made me a real woman.” she cried. She felt double pain, losing the man of her youth, and being accused for his death.
Chief: “You didn’t kill your husband, then who did? Your food was the one that was poisoned, he ate your food and died, what else do you want to say. Tell us, why did you kill your husband?” The second wife had always wanted the first wife out of the way because the first wife was the Ezemmuo’s favorite wife, sometimes he didn’t mind if it was the turn of the other wives to take care of him, he would eat the first wife’s food, and sleep in her hut. It so happened, that on this day that the Ezemmuo was poisoned, it was the day meant for the second wife to take care of her husband, but he had asked his first wife to cook for him. So now that the first wife was accused, she saw it as a way to pay her back for rubbing the Ezemmuo’s love for her in their faces.
Second Wife: “Why did you kill our husband, I was going to give him more sons, why did you choose to make me a widow” she cried with exaggerated sobs, her eyes were red with crying, and phlegm dropped from her nostrils.
Chief: “Take her away to the prison; we shall deliberate on the issue” one of the chiefs present ordered and Ezemmuo’s senior wife was dragged away.
The Chief priest was consulted, because the people were tired of waiting for the princess to be returned, they couldn’t go on forever without a king.
Chief Priest: “The secret of who took the princess died with the Ezemmuo, and the one who killed the Ezemmuo knows the whereabouts of the princess”
Chief: “Does it mean the senior wife of Ezemmuo knows where the princess is?”
Chief priest: “The gods did not reveal that” he replied,
So the council of chiefs went back to their respective homes, more confused than they were, before they went to the chief priest. They commissioned some of the guards to get the information out of the senior wife. When Azagba heard what the chief priest had said, he laughed loud like a man gone mad.
Azagba: “They don’t know who killed Ezemmuo, some gods!” he said sarcastically. Even his wives could hear his laughter from their huts; they prayed to their chi that he would not be struck with madness like his brother, Emelu.
Azagba saw the time as the opportunity to get what he had always wanted, the people were confused and they needed direction. So he paid the towncrier to go round the village with the ‘summon’ to gather at the village square. He was ready to take Igbundu, his birthright had been passed for far too long, and he would destroy anyone who stood in his path.
The people heard the summons, and gathered at the village square to hear from who had gathered them. Even the sick managed to go to the village square, the way Igbundu was at the time, they could not afford to miss any information. Azagba had the youth of the village erect a podium, on which he stood, and with his good oratory skills, turned the people against the chief priest.
Azagba: “We have been foolish for too long. Tell me in which land, do the people stay without a king? But great Igbundu has been without a king since my brother went mad, and whose fault is it, it is the fault of the chief priest. He lied to us that the gods want Adaku of the woman who killed our prince, to rule Igbundu. Did your fathers ever tell you, that Igbundu was ever ruled by a woman? The chief priest connived with the late queen to kill our prince and inflict Emelu with madness. He even caused drought in the land, just to blackmail the people into heeding his bad advice. Igbundu, take back your destiny from the lying chief priest.” He said and the crowd cheered, his words resonated with the thoughts they had been harboring in their hearts.
Azagba: “I am the eldest of in the Igbundu, my fore-fathers made Igbundu, and the only person who can make Igbundu great again, is me Azagba.” He said and the crowd cheered the more. Even though there were some who thought the kingship should go to another family, they had been outnumbered because Azagba’s speech had garnered more fans for him.
The Youth of the village marched to the chief priest’s shrine with leaves in their hands, black soot on their faces, and war songs on their lips, they wanted the chief priest dead for allegedly misleading the people. The chief priest came out when he heard the song.
Chief priest: “Azagba, royal blood, your destruction shall be like a wav, it shall spread through the length and breadth of the whole. People will gather to gawk at your decaying skin. You have entered a duel with the gods and you will not win” he said just as the youth reached his shrine. They began to throw dry leaves at the shrine, while some dragged him into the shrine. They set the shrine ablaze and the chief priest’s scream went up in an agonizing cry.
Chief priest: “gods of my fathers, please forgive them, they have been misled by Azagba” he cried out. Just at that moment, thunder clapped in the sky, and descended on the youth. They scampered away, but some of them were hit and they died on the spot.
In Ogwashi-Uku, Ejike did not give Adaku anymore period of rest, every night he came in and raped her brutally, whenever she fought, she ended up being battered as well as being raped. So she learnt, she just closed her mind like she did the second time and allowed him finish with her. But months passed, in spite of the rapes, Adaku didn’t get pregnant. Ejike was angrier each day he looked and didn’t see any sign of pregnancy in her. He couldn’t believe that he spent so much money to marry a barren woman.
One day, she went to the stream, to fetch water, she entered the stream and dipped in wishing that somehow the stream would carry her away because she didn’t have the courage to take her own life away.
Adaku: “Mother, my suffering is much. Give me a child, perhaps, if I have a child, Ejike the husband who was forced on me will pity me and stop treating me so badly” she cried. Then she felt a hand touch her, she turned and saw Chike, she had not seen him since that day when he fainted, but her husband’s daughter, Chioma always talked about him.
Chike: “Adaku, daughter of a king. I am sorry that you have to go through so much suffering in this land. Now you think all men from Ogwashi-Uku are like your husband, but no, we are good people” he said, and began to wipe the tears on her face.
Adaku: “Thank you” she replied curtly, wanting him o leave her alone.
Chike: “I see you, perhaps it is how much you are suffered, but you are deep. You are not like the other girls in this village. I want to be your friend, I am someone who understands you” he said, while Adaku watched his face; the way his lips moved and the way is eyes became dark as he spoke.
Adaku: “Maybe if we had met in a different world, I would have loved him. In this life, I cannot have him, I already have a husband who treats me like an animal” she said within her heart as she watched him. Then she said;
Adaku: “You cannot be my friend. Married women don’t keep male friends, Ejike will kill you, if he sees you near me” she said. Chike impulsively pulled her into a tight embrace. Then they heard a branch break; somebody was watching them.
Question: Who was watching them?
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