Diamond in the Forest


© Amah

Nike mother was advising Nike on how she will behave when she gets to the palace
“I’m glad you made it among the four maidens to work in the palace for the princess, remember all I have told you, when you get there, don’t let that awọn Aje ọmọbinrin (the daughter of a witch) order you around, you are suppose to be the one in that her position as the princess personal maid, is a very big offer if you understand it, ti o Aje girl (that witch girl) is practically heading you, she has more power over you in that palace and you shouldn’t let that, do everything you can to over throne her and take her position, she will hold it for three years and if she serve the princess well she will keep her for another three years depending on the agreement, now the benefit is that her mother will be well known and also respected more than me, the kingdom will be paying her mother some certain fee, and giving her new wrapper, all this good thing was suppose to be mine but they use their witch power to take it and that girl has a higher rank more than you, you are under her because she is close to the princess than you are so Nike you have a lot of work to do…are you listening to me Nike…
“bẹẹni iya (yes mother)
“Good, I don’t want to hear that she is my sister or she is my friend, that girl is very dangerous…I have seen that already, I tried different things on her but it all failed that was why I call her aje, (witch) she is a witch, and you should be careful with her, don’t go there and start doing sister or friend
“o jẹ bẹni arabinrin mi tabi ore mi, (she is neither my sister or my friend) i si korira rẹ ki Elo (I hate her so much)
“yes, iyen dara (that is good) hate all of them all with passion, ṣe o mọ ti o ba wa siwaju sii lẹwa ju re, (do you know that you are more beautiful than her) don’t let her intimidate you, be a good pretender, stab them behind and laugh with them in the open, be smart Nike, I know you are just like me, be very smart, who knows you may become the next queen, if Leja refuses to still look at you then focused your target on the prince, even if he later pick interest in you deal with him but your main target should be the prince, if you ever need me am here for you, just rush down here and I will empower you if things get complicated…
Remi was with her grandma that morning
“Nigba ti yoo o nipari fi fun awọn ààfin? (When will you finally leave for the palace?)
Ọjọ mẹta lati bayi awọn ẹṣọ yoo wa fun wa … Mo lero bakan nipa gbogbo ohun … sugbon yiya (Three days from now the guards will come for us…I feel somehow about the wh0le thing…but excited)
“O ko dun yiya si mi, gbogbo awọn ọmọ omidan yoo jẹ ki yiya lati sí ni yi gan ìfilọ (You don’t sound excited to me, every young maiden will be so excited to jump at this very offer), most people want to be just a servant, cutting grass and cleaning floor all that matters to them is just to be in the palace but here you are…you are going to be the princess right hand lady…well I see this coming and I feel the need to ring this again to your ears, rii daju pe o bori korira pẹlu ife (make sure you overcome hate with love), you will be pushed, they will get to your skin, you will be hurt but Oluwaremilekun, mi ti o dara sayin ọmọ , (my good grandchild) don’t allow them to bend you, I see anger and revenge in your eyes, don’t let it pull you down, you are stronger than you think you are, you are going to the palace to serve so make sure you serve with all sincerity and never indulge in anything that will stain your name, don’t try to compete with anyone that’s not the reason you are in the palace…you will always be a winner and will excel because you have the ear of the gods, don’t let them bring you down…
“Gbobgo won (all of them) ti o ba wa awọn enia yi (who are this people)…who are “them” you make me feel going to the palace will be a bad idea…what exactly is it Iya…I don’t understand, i ko ye …
“o yoo ye nigba ti akoko ba. (you will understand when the time comes)…don’t be afraid of the future because whatever that can’t kill you will only make you stronger…is an old adage we use back then, those days a man can marry five wives and there will still be understanding among them, anyone that causes trouble will be chased back to her father’s house, despite evil was in the land but it could be hærdly seen, sisters and friend remain true, despite there was still enemies but it wasn’t so much like this days, the hatred, strife, ilara ati ojukokoro (envy and covetousness)…” is the other of the day, everyone want to get ahead of the other, don’t be like them my child, stand out and the gods will keep blessing you…two will want you but only one will have you…
“awọn ọkunrin meji, ti o ati awọn ti o” (two men, who and who) …will I marry Leja just like you got married to grandpa who was ones a guard and later turned into hunting, you told me the other day that I share same fate with you but in a different way…I thought of all you said but couldn’t make sense out of it…so Leja is a guard is he the man I will end up with…
“far from that but time will tell…we may thread a similar path but our destiny lies in the hand of our maker…is not because you are a good dancer that made the land to chose you to serve the princess is because it has being predestined to happen, I was a good dancer in my own time too…I have one old picture that “ihinrere, nwọn si mu aworan ti wa (missionaries, they took picture of us) , nwọn kọ ile-iwe fun wa ( they built school for us) but they chased them out of the land, nitori Ọba si wi nwọn si mu a funfun enia gbagbo lati wa ati ki o fe lati ba ilẹ, (because the king said they brought a white man believe to us and wanted to corrupt the land) about your question if you will marry Leja…hmm, jẹ ki awọn ife ti awọn oriṣa ṣee ṣe (let the will of the gods be done)
“hmmm, I was told that it was the old obas that built the school, I don’t even know the full story except now…. iya.. da soro ni àdììtú, i yoo jẹ itanran (grandma, stop speaking in riddles, I will be fine)
“Mo mọ o yoo jẹ itanran, ko ba kuna lati be mi nigba ti ngbe ní ààfin, i yoo gan padanu ti o ọmọ mi (I know you will be fine, don’t fail to visit me while living in the palace, i will really miss you my child)
They talked deep into the night before Remi left
After three days, the guard came for them, Remi and Nike left for the palace
They arrive and has to go through cleansing and changing up to their provided palace attire.
Leja was looking for opportunity to sit and talk with Remi who ju
st newly resumed her duty with the princess who seem to be taken with her
The prince did not want to rush things, he was given Remi time to settle in very well before he approaches her
Nike was trying to get Leja’s attention but he was not interested in her and he made that clear through his actions towards her, Nike and three other maiden where servants in the palace, Remi was always with the princess, running some personal errand for her, some times she will assign any of the four girls to do some minor stuff just as the princess instruct.
The prince called Leja as he watch from his open chamber, Remi and the princess walk round the large compound talking and laughing at something, the prince watched Remi closely and has to call Leja who was also keeping eye on Remi, the prince asked him to come and he quickly did
“i fẹ arabinrin mi ká bimo (I like that my sister’s maid) kini orukọ rẹ lẹẹkansi (what is her name again)
Leja looked at the Prince and eyed him, he stammered through words, jealousy was written all over him but he has to respect the king’s son
“orukọ rẹ ni Remi mi ọmọ-alade. (Her name is Remi, my prince.)
“o jẹ kan lẹwa omidan (she is a beautiful maiden) do you know that she was among the best dancer in the last festive dance, let me say she was the best among all the maiden, strong and bold, I like her and I’m just waiting for the right time to approach her and…
Leja started coughing continuously, he wanted to distract the prince from saying another thing about Remi, he couldn’t bear to hear another word from the prince concerning the woman he also want, so he suddenly came up with the fake cough
“o wa ti o dara Leja, lọ ki o si ya omi, (are you alright Leja, go and take water) binu … lọ ki o si ya diẹ ninu awọn omi (sorry, go and take some water)
Leja quietly left the prince, when he was out of sight he stopped the fake cough and gave a heavy sigh before walking away.
To be continued… 
NEXT (episode 4)                                                                        PREVIOUS (episode 2)

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