“Ekaro Mami…the Oba’s men are here… they brought a message from The Oba…
“Haaa, hope all is well…
“I hope so Mami, they are probably here to remind us about the first moon light dance where the princess will chose a personal maid and two attendant for herself…
The woman took her wrapper and tied around her wa-ist before going outside to attend to the men.
Remi went to the kitchen and picked up her water Calabash, she called her younger brother to join her so that they can go to the stream, she has wished to hear what the king’s men came for but she needed to fetch water for the house and also for her grandmother who lives not too far from them.
One of the king’s chief guard who has picked interest in her was among the men that came to the house, she wanted to avoid him seeing her,
Despite he has made his intentions known to her in the last festive dance, he has walked up to her after the dance
“You are beautiful and you dance well too, my name is Leja, I’m the Chief guard here…
“Thank you Leja, my name is Remi…Oluwarem
ilekun, that’s my full name…
“Remi, that’s a beautiful name, is that your sister…I mean the girl you came in with… she’s not much of a good dancer, maybe you can teach her…or she won’t be able to participate in the next festive dance…
“Her name is Nike, she’s my step sister…I will teach her, please don’t exclude her from the list of maidian who will dance next season…
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“Alright, I won’t if only you will teach her to be a good dancer like you are…I like you Remi…can I get to see you tomorrow evening under the oak tree close to the market place…I will be there waiting for you…
“Sorry Leja, I can’t, I’m not allowed to keep male friends for now, Mami said there’s time for everything and the time for me to start keeping male friends has not come yet…
“Okay Remi, I respect your wishes, I will patiently wait until you are ready… just don’t forget that some one cares deeply for you and don’t fail to let me know if you need anything…
“That’s so kind of you Leja, goodbye..
Nike has refused to talk with her on there way home because of Leja, as they got closer to the house, Nike turned to Remi angrily
“Who do you even think you are, because everyone was cheering at you at the dance floor you decided to go and sell yourself to Leja, I liked him first before you but he didn’t even look at me when I was dancing rather his eyes was on you… you know I like him yet you went there to sed-ce him so that you can have him… you and your witch mother plan….
“Shhhh… don’t call Mami a witch, leave her out of this, Nike, you can become a good dancer if only you can come and practice with me, I will teach you some good steps, and as for Leja… I’m not interested in him… I have no interest in him at all, I have made that known to him already… you must not be bitter all the time Nike…
They were still talking when Nike saw her mother coming, it was a good opportunity for her to impress her mother who usually tell her to attack Remi, and she should not allow Remi to win her in anything
Nike suddenly slapped Remi who was still talking, Remi held her cheek in shock, Nike did not stop there she started raining insultive words at Remi, who stood and wondered what she did wrong.
When Nike mother walked up to them, Remi was about to complain to her about her daughter’s behavior but the woman hushed her to keep quiet
“Nike my daughter, can not just attack you, when she’s not mad, you and your witch mother has always been jealous of me and my daughter, that was how she bewitched my husband and made him to love her more than me, is a good thing he ended up in the grave, the gods fought for us and stroke him dead because he was displeasing me to please your wicked mother, let me tell you something… no matter what you people do The gods eyes is on us, maa yege (I will surely win), Nike Will always be ahead of you no matter what..you and your mother will not succeed…omo iya aje (daughter of a witch)
She and her daughter walked away, leaving Remi standing
When Remi got home she complained to her mother
“I don’t understand why they always see us as enemy, we are not in any competition with them, when your Baba was alive he does everything equally, if he buys one wrapper for me he will also buys one wrapper for her, he tried not to show favoritism to any one of us yet she was never satisfied…iya Nike will see her daughter doing wrong but will not call her to order… you were born in the month of Ogun (August) while Nike came after a month, osu Owara, (month of October) so by right you are her elder sister… for everything they have been doing to us Olorun a se idajowon (God will judge).
Remi remembered her last fight with Nike as she walked along the bush path with her brother, her Calabash was placed safely on her head as she greeted other women coming from the stream that morning, she has tried to avoid Nike and her mother ever since their last fight, Remi who always listen to her mother’s advice has kept to herself and kept away from all trouble.
“E ku aaro, (morning greetings) please hope all is well
“Oruko mi ni Leja, (my name is Leja) Alafia ni fun ile yin, lati odo Oba (peace be unto your household, greetings from the king) we are going round the wh0le village, reminding people of the coming first moon dance, where the princess will chose her personal maidian… please info your daughter to be at the palace on time that day because the event will be starting early in the morning…
,”O se, (thank you)
“E se iya mi. (Thank you ma)
They turned and went to the next house belonging to iya Nike and knocked, Nike who has being watching Leja speak to iya Remi (Remi’s mother) from the window with her mother gets more angry with every minute that passes, she was relived as Leja approached their hut, she quickly ran out of The house but Leja did not pick interest in her he just greeted them and gave them t
he message, as he tried to leave iya Nike said to him
he message, as he tried to leave iya Nike said to him
“Leja, oko mi..se daadaa ni o wa? (Leja my husband, hope you are fine)
“Mo wa daadaa…ese. (am fine, thank you)
“Sometimes, you can come and visit us. My daughter is fond of you, you are strong and the gods blessed you with good look, I also hærd that you have acquired another large plot of land close to the steam…you are doing well for yourself…not all Young men of this land are well doing as you are…you have the Oba’s ear…
“The piece of land was giving to me by the Oba, after I saved the prince from drawning at the oku river where he went to swim, I didn’t acquire the land rather it was a gift but I appreciate your kind gesture..
“So a wh0le “omo oba” (king’s son) can not swim, that’s unfortunate… thanks to the gods that you were there to save him… what do you say to my request of coming around…
“I will, on one condition…if Remi will be around and agree to sit beside me, then I will honor your request, … and by the way Remi is a very good dancer, I asked her to teach her sister, Nike some fine moves that is the only way Nike will be selected among the palace maidians… she need to start practicing now with Remi… before the said day arrives… where’s Remi, I have not seen her around..
“You should have asked her mother where she sent her to… she sometimes send her out to go and give herself to other men just for them to have food, she can even sells her daughter for a loaf of bread… gba mi gbo (believe me) they are not what they appear to be
“Kin n se otito (that’s not true) but not withstanding maybe I should bring some money for them since that’s the reason Remi goes to meet other men, if I give them enough money they will have enough food… that’s what i will do, “oni a dara o, O da abo (have a nice day, good bye)
He walked out, leaving them standing and wondering what kind of man he was
“You shouldn’t have told him that iya mi, it will seem like we hate them and that will push me far away from Leja, I don’t want that… now look at what you caused, they have gotten undeserved money from Leja, that money that Leja intend to give them was suppose to be ours if you have acted well…
“You are right Omobirin mi, (my daughter) i acted without thinking but don’t worry we will still win, from now onward just play along with Remi, pretend to be sorry and tell her to teach you the dance, because Leja said that’s your only way to the palace so do everything you can do to enter there…
Leja came back and gave Remi’s mother money but the woman rejected it, Leja pleaded to her to accept it if not for anything but for her children, Remi and her brother, he did not tell the woman what Nike’s mother said, he kept pleading until she finally took it
Few days later Nike came to Remi and pretended to be sorry as she ask Remi to teach her how to dance and Remi was glad to do that
They kept practicing every day, non stop as Remi tried to make sure that Nike gets the dance moves Right but Nike was a slow leaner and it was difficult teaching her but Remi was determined to make her get itll
The day finally came and Remi prepared early in the morning and left with Nike to the palace
They arrived on time with other young girls and boys, the dance floor was getting crowded as more people kept coming,
They later changed into their dance costumes.
Remi took Nike to one corner and asked her if she still remember all the dance moves, she told her how to throw her legs and wa-ist and how to Master all the move
The king’s only son was looking out from his window and saw two girls practicing their dance moves, he picked interest in one, she was beautiful and a good dancer as she teaches her second some dance steps, he doesn’t know who the young beautiful girl is but he was determined to find out.
After the dance he Will ask Leja, who seem to know everyone, who the girl may be.
When Remi and Nike was returning to the dance floor Leja saw them and came to Remi
“E jowo Remi, (excuse me)ikini irele mi (my kind greetings to you)
He walked to a quiet place with her leaving Nike to join others, Nike was really angry as Leja took Remi away, jealousy was written all over her but she tried not to show it as she smile and walked away.
Leja kept on greeting Remi with full smile on his face
“Ko ye mi… (I don’t understand) is there a problem… Hope we are not in any trouble with this your early morning greetings…
“Ra ra o (not at all) I just wanted to wish you luck and to tell you that you are beautiful and hope you still have me in mind concerning my request…or maybe we will talk about it after the dance….yoo dara o (good luck)
“Ese… thank you.
She walked back to join the others, the prince saw Leja talking with her from his chamber window, he wondered what Leja was telling her
No one has ever caught his attention like The strange girl did, it wasn’t because of her beauty alone but there was something else about her and he was determined to find out.
it was a good thing that Leja knows her, getting to her won’t be difficult because Leja will help him out with her every detail.
To be continued…
Special thanks to Amah’s Heart.