TWO WORLDS (3)
Adigun continued his secret affair with Enitan the mermaid, and soon, he got so used to her that he became rather careless and also negligent of his wife. His wife began to suspect that he was seeing someone else but she didn’t know how to catch him red-handed. Although, she knew that he was entitled to more than one wife, especially now that he was rich, but what baffled her was why he couldn’t just bring whomever he was seeing home, instead of hiding her away. His wife felt neglected, but she soothed her loneliness with her husband’s riches. She had suffered for too long with him and now that the goddess had decided to bless them, then she would enjoy it to the fullest without a worry in the world.
Despite several failed attempts to secretly follow Adigun and find out the secret to his wealth, Prince Adeola did not give up. Getting more desperate and in great worry, he decided to visit the village Chief priest who was considered to be the eye of the gods. He was escorted by four of his trusted guards/friends, and while they waited outside the shrine, Prince Adeola walked backwards into the shrine then sat down on a pold low wooden stool that was weather-beaten.
The old traditional priest who was seated on a traditional woven mat and had already sensed him approaching from a mile away, looked up at the Prince and said, “What a surprise it is to have the crown prince of Omi-aye in my shrine…never have you come to the presence of the gods before.” The old man stated.
The prince smirked. “And why is it such a surprise? If anything, old man, you should be honoured to have such a presence like mine. I would have simply summoned you to the palace for some consultation but I decided to humbly come to this wretched place so that no one will get to know what I want from you.”
“No one has the right to summon me from the shrine except the Kabiyesi himself. He’s the ruler and I answer only to anyone who sits on that throne!” The Chief priest calmly corrected.
“Well, sooner or later, I’m going to sit on that throne, so I’ll advise that you start showing some respect from now on, old man, or I’ll have you banished immediately after my coronation!” Prince Adeola threatened.
The old man hung his head and chuckled. When he looked up again, he said, “If anything, you should rather count yourself lucky, Adeola. You should be glad that you have immunity because you are the heir apparent, if not, you’d have been wiped off the face of the Earth a long time ago.”
“What do you mean?” Prince Adeola asked, a bit confused.
“A lot of angry villagers seeking vengeance against you have come to this very shrine, asking to be vindicated. They want you punished severely for your many atrocities against the wives and virgins of this village. You alone have raped seventeen wives and nine virgins and you show no remorse whatsoever. The women of this land are now afraid to go about their daily business because you revel in preying on them. The men cannot even go about their normal lives like before. They are now very protective of their women all because of you.”
“And what does it matter, eh?” Prince Adeola asked in an apathetic tone. “I’m soon to be king of this village anyway and all the women and virgins belong to me! I can take anyone I want and at anytime. Even if you had a wife and I fancy her, she’ll be mine for the night, but fortunately, the gods have forbidden you to revel in the pleasurable thighs of women, lest they cast you from their presence and seal the foresight they have gifted you!”
“Listen to me, Adeola…” The old priest began, “Like I said, you might be immune to me because the gods forbids any mortal from harming any member of the royal family, but keep in mind that you are not untouchable to the gods, and from the way you are going, you are soon to incur their wrath if you do not desist from your evil ways.”
Prince Adeola threw his head backwards and had a good deep laugh. “You really do have a sense of humour, old man. Well, let me tell you this, I’m untouchable, not by man and not by gods! Let that sink!” He said in an undaunted tone. “Now, do not waste anymore of my time on such triviality; tell me why I’m here if indeed you are the eye of the gods.”
The priest reluctant threw his sacred cowries on the woven mat for divination. Soon, he looked up at the anxious Prince. “You have come to know the secret behind Adigun’s wealth, haven’t you?” He asked.
“Very correct…well get to it and ask the gods to give me an answer! I’m ready to pay anything!” Adewale eagerly said.
“Adewale, I’m sure Adigun has already told anyone who cared to listen that the secret to his wealth is Orisa Osun.” The Chief priest said.
“And you expect me to believe that? The rest of you can be gullible all you want, but I’ve a feeling that Adigun is being economical with the truth! There’s more to his wealth that he’s not telling!” Stated the Prince angrily.
“But of what use is the information to you? You are no fisherman. You don’t even know how to use a net!” Said the priest.
“I’m sure that Osun can bless a man in more ways than one. If she won’t bless me because I’m no fisherman, then I want the very thing she gave to Adigun! I won’t sit back and watch a pauper suddenly rise to fame and power overnight! Only the royal family deserves such affluence! Now, throw those cowries again and reveal Adigun’s secret to me!” Adewale ordered.
The Chief priest reluctant complied. He threw the cowries again, waited as he read the message the gods had revealed onto him then he slowly looked up at the Prince with apprehension in his eyes. “My prince, what the gods have revealed onto me is better left unsaid. This information might be to your own detriment more than to your own good!”
“The gods cannot decide my fate! I’m in charge of my fate, now stop your nonsense talk, old man, and tell me what they said!” Adewale snapped.
The priest heaved a sigh now, hung his head for a moment then said, “On normal circumstances, I’m not to reveal such a secret onto you, but because you are royalty, I’ve no choice and I’m bound by my oath to serve the royal family to the best of my ability…I just hope Orisa Osun will be able to forgive me for what I’m about to do.”
“I do not have all the time to waste, old man, out with it already!” Adewale impatiently said.
“The secret to Adigun’s wealth is…the daughter of Orisa Osun.”
Adewale drew his shoulder back in surprise and a little bit of doubt. “Are you saying that Adigun has found favour in the arms of Osun’s daughter?”
“Yes, and she has been dwelling in our midst for the past fourteen months.” Revealed the Chief priest.
“I see…” Adewala said in wonder as he caressed his chin with his thumb and index finger. “Tell me where she is so that I can go demand the portion of my favour from her. Since I’m a prince, she ought to give me a bigger portion than she has given Adigun, the pauper!”
“It’s not that easy, Adewale. She only shows kindness to those whom she deems worthy!”
“Deem worthy?” Adewale asked with a disgruntled look. “Why should any woman whether mortal or immortal have the right to deem any man worthy? Who’s superior here! Is there any other way I can get the favour I seek from her?”
The priest threw his cowries again and said, “She wears a sacred necklace gifted to her by her mother. Any man who can take it from her will forever be powerful and can ask for anything!”
“Good, that’s all I need to know. I won’t go grovelling before a woman because she’s immortal.” Said the prince, more to himself. “Now, let’s go to the last and important part… Where can I find her?”
The priest hesitated. “Adewale, I’ll advise that you give this up! You might end up putting the entire village in trouble!” The priest tried to convince him.
“If I needed your counsel, I’d ask for it!” Adewale spat. “Now, tell me where to find this taboo living in our midst!”
The Chief priest sighed in resignation, consulted his cowries again. “She takes refuge in Adigun’s farm.” He involuntarily answered.
Grinning, Adewale rose with pride then said, “Now one more thing so that I’ll be sure that you are not leading me into an ambush. If I confront this mermaid, can she harm me?”
“Her powers have greatly depleted after giving birth to a child who’s half human! I don’t think she can do much, especially if you ambush her on land.” The priest answered.
Prince Adewale’s eyes shone with greed as he rubbed his palms together in glee. “Gave birth, ehn? So Adigun already laid with her!” He soliloquised. “If that common man can lay with an immortal then she wouldn’t refuse me!” He stated and walked out of the shrine.
The priest rose and quickly said out loud, “Adewale, please do not do what you have in mind! Do not! Do not call the wrath of Orisa Osun upon the whole village! We will suffer greatly for your crime, so I beg of you to just take the necklace and leave her unscathed!”
But Adewale paid no heed to his warnings, he simply left with his men.
After a painful childbirth, Enitan smiled as Adigun carried the baby in his arms towards her.
“It’s a girl.” He told her with a proud smile as she took the baby from her human lover.
“And she has human legs.” She said in awe, tears in her eyes. “She’s so beautiful too.”
“She very well took after her mother.” Adigun complimented.
Enitan smiled and said, “I’ve to name her now… As the river and the land as witnesses, I name this child Ewatomi, which means beauty is enough.”
“A worthy name it is.” Adigun concurred. Then he asked as the baby began to make little sounds of discomfort, probably eager to be breastfed and Enitan did not waste anytime in feeding the baby some milk from her bosom.
“Do you think that she’ll be able to live with my kind?” Adigun curiously asked.
Enitan looked up at Adigun and smiled softly. “Yes, but I’ll have to raise her in the river first so that she’ll be able to alternate and shapeshift whenever she likes…the river will give her the rest of powers she ought to have. Since she was born with human legs, it means that your gene is stronger.”
“So what should I do? Should I take her to the river now?” Adigun asked.
“Please do…and be careful so that my mother doesn’t sense her presence yet. She’ll be furious.” Enitan handed the suckled baby back to Adigun.
Nodding, Adigun wrapped up the child in a piece of cloth and carefully made his way to the river that night. Immediatetly he was gone, Enitan laid down to rest unaware of the men who were lurking in the farm, having surrounded the hut earlier on. When Adewale was sure that Adigun had left, he and his men emerged from their hideouts bearing torches and clubs. His plan was to kidnap the mermaid and take her into hiding where he would make her answer to his every beck and call. Leading the way, Adewale stealthily moved towards the hut and when he saw the mermaid taking a repose, he signalled to his four strongest men to follow him into the hut. Immediatetly, Adewale pounced on Enitan and clamped a hand over her mouth while two strong men held down her tail and two other men pinned her hands to the floor. Enitan’s eyes flew open in alarm and she immediately sensed danger when she saw a man she had never seen before smirking down at her.
Ripping the necklace from her neck, Adewale pulled it loose and quickly tucked it into the pocket of his sokoto. “Mo ti ka e leni. (I’ve caught you today!)”
Enitan tried to struggle free but she was strongly restrained. Adewale stood up and scrutinized her body, taking every detail in. “Carry her.” He ordered his men but when they tried to lift her off the bed, they only groaned under her weight and gave up, especially because her struggling made it very difficult.
“My prince, it’s not possible o. She’s very heavy.” One of the men at the tail complained.
Adewale was furious. “So you mean as strong as you four men are, you can’t carry a common woman?” He asked in disgust.
“But my prince, this is no ordinary woman, this is a mermaid.” The first man pinning down Enitan’s right hand stated.
Adewale paused as he took a good look at Enitan. “If she can’t be taken with us, I could as well have her right here…who knows…” He hesitantly said with a lecherous look on his face. “I might become very powerful if I’m to lay with her… She looks hideous anyway and taking her might bring me nothing but nightmares and misfortune. The old man said the necklace is more important and I already have that in my possession.” Then he began to scrutinize her body as if searching for something. “Can any of you figure out where her womanhood is?” He asked.
One of the two men holding down her tail noticed her slit and said, “I’m not sure, but that might be it.” He gestured with his chin at Enitan’s pelvic.
“Let’s try it out, shall we? Hold her down very well! I don’t want her clawing my eyes out whilst I’m in ecstasy.” Adeola said and took off his traditional agbada, and when Enitan realised what was about to happen, she began to scream and struggle even more. Her scream was so distinct and deliberate that it went straight to Adigun who was lowering the baby into the shallow part of the river near the bank. In alarm, Adigun gasped, turning his head back towards the direction of his farm. Sensing that his lover was probably in trouble, he got up and immediately raced for the farm, abandoning his baby in the water. For now, Enitan was more important to him than the baby was.
In a matter of minutes of raping her, Adewale finally got off Enitan, grinning like a fool as he pulled up his sokoto and began to tie the rope around his waist. “O dun gannn! (She’s very sweet).” He said and his men laughed. “She indeed felt like the goddess she is! Little wonder Adigun has neglected his wife.” He added and his men laughed again. “You know, I should be honoured for being the first prince to lay with the daughter of Osun! Osun should be proud of me because I’m very certain that I’ve just deposited triplets inside of her.”
“You’ll pay for this!” Enitan suddenly hissed in anguish, startling the men whose laughter quickly died away. “You’ll not get away with what you have just done, you callous mortal!”
Adewale smiled in astonishment as he exchanged surprised glances with his men. “She speaks! The half fish speaks!” He exclaimed, his eyes shining with mockery.
“You all will die one by one in terrible ways! I shall seek my vengeance on you lot! I shall wipe out all the males from your family! I shall plague all your males for generations because you’ll never be able to undo the sacrilege you have just committed! Your daughters will always covet men that’s not meant for them! They will always be eaten by jealousy and envy which will only lead to their misfortune or death!”
The men swallowed hard now as they grew uncomfortable with her curses.
“I shall flood your farms with water! I shall kill your crops for the next three generations! Anything caught in the river and cooked in your pot will always taste like sand in your mouth! Your women shall carry their pregnancies for fifteen months and only few will survive child birth! The old will go blind and lame before they are even fifty and painful sores shall cover the heads of your old men!”
“Ha! Ekpe buruku le leyi o! (These are wicked curses!)” The second man holding down her left arm suddenly exclaimed in apprehension, now loosening his hold on her.
“All these curses itori ibalopọ?! (because of sex)” The third man holding her tail was also baffled and scared.
“Oooiinnn!” The first man called Enitan’s bluff, flinching his mouth. “Ko le sise! It won’t work! It’s all mouth!”
“Se wéré ni ye n ni? (Are you a mad person?)” The Fourth man holding her tail fired at the first. “Can’t you hear all the curses that she’s spewing? She’s the child of a goddess, remember?”
The second man fully released Enitan’s left arm now which he had pinned to the bed, then he rose. “Wo, me I can’t stay here anymore and hear her curse out my generations who are innocent! Why should I share in what I didn’t do to her? Mi o kuku ba su n nau. (I didn’t have sex with her na).”
“Nobody is going anywhere!” The Prince suddenly snapped. “We are not cowards! We will all finish this together!”
“Then what do we do?” The third man asked in dread. “We know that curses like this are bound to come to pass especially from a scorned woman.”
Adewale glared down at Enitan for a moment as he made a decision. “We kill her. The curses of a scorned woman will only be mere words dispersed by the wind when she’s dead. She can’t take her revenge if she’s no more… Let’s end her here and now!” He stated and his men gaped up at him in shock.
To be continued…
© Angela Okoduwa