I noticed Yaya was as surprised as I was when we entered Jagun. He hardly knew the village. We appeared so lost. A ragged crone beckoned on us at a hut's doorstep where she sat. She held a rod in her right hand. We walked up to her and exchanged greetings.
"Aren't you the son of Keji, the palm wine tapper that fell off the palm tree like two years ago?"
"Mama, my… My father fell off the…" Yaya answered with quivering lips.
"What are you doing with mama Ilu? Don't you know insanity has added to her senility?" a passer-by asked, "If she gets up, she'll hit the two of you with the rod in her hand."
"But this woman knows my father's name!"
"So? Is that news? I pity you!" the young man said and walked away.
We turned and walked towards a woman and her son who were making local mats but a young woman ran into us.
"I'm sorry," she said, looked up at our faces and laughed, "Jagun is now safe for strangers, huh? When there were still wars, you did not come o!"
"We are indigenes of Jagun, young woman. It was during the same war you mentioned that we were taken as captives to Alontan."
She looked at us intently, "Okay!" she said and made to leave.
"But you can help us find our relatives, can't you?"
"I'd like to but I'm in a hurry now. Anyway, what is the name of your clan?"
"Korewa? Korewa no longer exists. I think it's now Sikeola," she said and turned to the woman under the shed, "Mama Peju, these people asked of Korewa. Isn't it known as Sikeola now?"
"Yes!" the woman answered.
"I'm going that way so follow me."
"Thank you!" We said.
"I just hope you find your home," she said.
We walked for a while till we met a young man who frowned upon seeing Yaya. He tried to remember if he knew him.
"Keji's son? Babajide?"
"What a resemblance!"
"It seems you know them," the young woman said, and without waiting for a reply said, "I'll take another path now. Please help them find their way home."
"Haha, is this Keji's son?" Another passer-by said.
The young woman left when people started gathering.
Yaya turned to the good looking man; he frowned his face on seeing him, he tried to remember him.
"Jide, it's me Wale, your friend."
Yaya nodded with a smile, "Yeah, Wale!"
The two embraced happily.
"Who is this beauty? Your wife? Or is this hem... haw..."
"She is Ewato—"
"It's a lie! Ewatomi!" He sounded so happy as he looked me over. I smiled back.
We arrived at our house with a crowd.
"Where are my children o!" A feminine voice rang out from the hut.
She ran out in a blouse and wrapper, almost falling over, "Babajide!" she shouted with delight.
She gave Jide a lasting embrace, then me, "Ewatomi, the daughter of the fearless one. Almighty, how wondrous are your works?"
I could recognize none of them. Not even my mother.
"Thank you everyone," she said before the people started departing one after the other, and in groups.
We went in with Wale.
We had to relate all that we faced in Alontan to them after our father returned from farm with our two younger ones.
"I felt I finally found love when my brother came to me only to discover that I was fooling myself."
Jide laughed, "You were loved Ewa, but no man confessed his love to you because if they do, they would be dealt with."
"Because the most beautiful of the maids is usually turned into the head lady-in-waiting to become the heir prince' wife. No one dared to touch you unless there is a new captive who is more beautiful."
The rest of us sighed.
Jide said, "You won't have the chance of marrying until they become king and queen. I couldn't watch you live such a life so I escaped with you since the king has gotten a woman he wants the prince to marry."
I kissed him fondly on the cheek, "Thank you Yaya, I love you."
They laughed at the name.
I was at the stream fetching water into my pot the next day with Remilekun, Wale's sister when we heard footsteps. We turned and rested our gaze on a very good looking man dressed in fine robes with his guards.
"Your highness, my prince!" Remi greeted with her heads bowed.
I swallowed hard as I bowed with reference too, "Your highness, my prince!"
I looked up at his face and my heart fluttered through the disarming smile he gave me.
"I guess you are Ewatomi, the beauty that returned from captivity yesterday."
I nodded, "Yes, my prince."
"Would you mind if I speak with you for a while?"
"No my prince."
"Come," he said and stretched out his hand. I left the stream, gave him my hand and I was dazed as he swiftly pulled me to him. He kissed me!
After the lasting kiss, he breathed, "Be my queen, Ewa. Will you?"
I left my gaze on him without words.
"I see you're surprised. Do not be surprised for long. I'll come to your house tomorrow for a reply."
I simply nodded and watched him leave with his men.
"Wonders! Wonders in Jagun!" Remi exclaimed.
"The prince just wooed you? I've never heard of that before! You're too lucky!"
"And you think he sincerely loves me?" I asked as I carried my pot of water on my head while Remi had done that.
"He does! And he's such a sweet man, just like his father"
I smiled, "The Prince loves me! So I am loveable!?"
Remilekun and I laughed. I refused to give an ear to the other men who tried to woo me till we got home.
When I related all that Remilekun and I encountered at the stream, it was the Prince's part that captivated them. Everyone were happy for me.
My younger sister and I, together with Remilekun and her two friends were helping my mother dye her clothes for market when we started hearing noises.
A lad ran our way.
"Deji, what's wrong?"
"War?" we asked but he was gone.
Another lanky youngster ran up to us and told us the same thing. Just as we made to run in, my father, Jide and my younger brother ran up to us.
"What's going on?" We chorused.
Jide panted, "We were in the farm when we…" he digressed, "They're from Alontan!"
My father added, "I guess they are here for you and your brother."
I was shocked and more shocked when their horses came into view. The heir prince, his father and few war men. They stopped in front of us and got off their horses.
We all bowed in reference and greeted them.
"You escaped, right?" the prince asked.
"My son is getting married in two weeks’ time and you think you can escape your responsibilities? You've been sold off to me by those who captured you. You belong to me!"
We all knelt, begging.
"Please your majesty," our parents pleaded, "They've been away from us for so long, please…"
"Even the king can't stop me now! Besides him being my tight friend, I paid so much money to get you."
"Please your highness, we beg."
"Tie them to the horses!"
The men advanced towards us and dragged us. We cried.
"Enough!" A husky voice said.
We all turned to face our king, his son and some men.
"Adejare!" Alontan's king called.
"Do not call me Dejumo because you didn't even care to check on me first."
"I'll still do that. Pardon me for that."
"Alright, so what's all these for?"
"They ran away from my palace, and they are my slaves. I bought them with my money and I am going with them"
"You have every right to do that my friend but you'll have to let go of these ones for me."
"No father. I can't do without having Yaya around me," Alontan's heir Prince said.
"And his sister is to be his wife's handmaid," his father added.
"Adejare, I am begging you to let go of these ones," our king said.
We were all surprised.
"My son has never loved a woman. Now that he does, will you take her away? Or make her brother remain a slave?"
"I love her father. Let her remain with me," Jagun's heir Prince said.
The kings sighed.
"For your sakes, I've let go of…"
"You can't also take Yaya away from me!"
"You have to let go of him, Dekola" his father said.
"No, I love him!" he said and went to take him by his wrist.
Jide stood up to him, "You never showed me love" he breathed.
"I was only acting as a superior. I…"
"I believe you my prince. I love you too."
Dekola let go of his hand and embraced him. After the embrace he sighed, "I'll let go of you now Yaya but never stay far from me."
Jide nodded but said, "I knew you love my sister."
That shocked everyone. Dekola looked embarrassed.
"If she remained there with you and your wife, you'll one day be unable to resist the urge and you will misbehave. I knew what that would cause: enmity between you and your father, your kingdom and that of your wife. I had to prevent it despite wanting you for my sister."
"Thank you very much, Yaya" The king said.
"I hope you love the woman betrothed to you now?" Jide asked.
He nodded with a smile, "Thanks Yaya. I've always known you to want the best for me."
"Now, you are both free!" The king announced.
We shouted for joy. After they left for the palace, we sighed.
Remilekun and I had a chat as she helped me plait my hair.
I turned to the direction from where I heard my name and smiled on seeing the prince all alone, under a tree, few yards away. Remilekun left my hair and I covered it with a scarf. I got to him and he smiled, making me smile back.
"You look more beautiful each passing day, Ewa."
He nodded, "Yes!"
"I believe you."
"Ewa, I'm here to listen to your response to my question."
I shook my head, "I won't marry you!"
He looked surprised, "Why Ewa? What did I do?"
"Nothing. If you want me to marry you, give me five reasons why I should not marry you!"
He frowned, "I don't know what to say. You expect me to badmouth myself?"
I laughed, "I can as well say there's no reason for me not to marry you. I'm all yours"
He tickled me, "You scared me!"
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Thanks for the comments 💕
Very unique,true expression of wisdom
Nice one there! Very short and exciting.
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