Good afternoon my people,” Ezinne greeted the crowd before her. “Today we are celebrating Ngala herself and we will all witness the coronation of the Prince.
We have all seen lots of evil things happening in Ikemba, but today will be the end of all this calamity, because someone has paid the price and she did it willing.
She was not just an ordinary girl, but someone extraordinary. She gave up her life for the love she has for this kingdom.
Although the first time she came to this kingdom she was treated with wickedness, that didn’t make her hate us. Instead she sacrificed herself for us to have our King, and today she is going to be honored for the rest of our existence.
Our children and the unborn generation shall respect and honor her. But the sacrifice is not yet complete.
Nnenna, the woman who was unjustly killed by our former Queen is back to destroy our kingdom, and the only thing that can stop her is the willing sacrifice of two women.
Miriam has done her part, and I will complete the ritual by offering myself willingly.” She raised up her hands.
Chioma’s heart skipped a beat. “What is she saying? I hope it’s not what I am thinking.”
“Chioma and Obiageli, please come forward,” Ezinne said. The two girls advanced to her. “Chioma, you are a strong girl and a brave fighter.
” From the beginning I knew you were just too great to succeed me. You shall save this kingdom by being their Priestess. You will take over from the Chief Priest. Please rule them with love and serve the gods well, and the heavens will always be with you.”
Tears teased Chioma’s cheeks. “Eese!”
Chioma stared longingly at her mother, knowing that this was the last day she’d ever see her again and hear her words of prayers.
To Obiageli, Ezinne said, “Obiageli, you are a great child and a wonderful gift to me in my last days. You shall take over from me as the second greatest witch Ikemba has ever had, and you shall serve this kingdom with love. The two of you must work together to bring back the joy that once existed in this kingdom.”
She turned to face the crowd. “Now is the time to complete the ritual.
“Nnenna, forgive and forget all that we did wrong and accept this sacrifice we offer willingly. Please turn your anger away from this kingdom and rest in peace.”
The sky darkened and an uncanny wind blew, bringing with it the clap of thunder. It took a few moments for the darkness to restore light to its place.
Esther swept her eyes around, but Ezinne was gone. “Where is she?”
Everyone else looked around, and when they didn’t see her, they grieved over her. They know they would never see her again.
“Be quiet, everyone, for she has joined our ancestors and this shall be marked an honorable day,” Chioma said. “It is a day that two great women gave up their lives for us, and for that act of bravery, we shall respect them. As I stand here as your new Chief Priestess, I promise that I shall restore peace to this village.”
The festival went on with the whole villagers celebrating until it was the King’s turn to make a speech.
He faced the crowd. “I’m happy that all this is over and now we are back to being one happy kingdom, even though it cost us two very special people. It took from me the only woman I have ever loved and also took a mother from us. But now I understand why Miriam did it and I respect her for that decision. In fact, it has deepened my love for her. As I stand here today as your new King, I promise to do my best to restore peace and progress in Ikemba.”
The people of Ikemba bowed, hailing their new King.
Esther mused over everything that had taken place in the palace. “I can’t believe this. So Miriam and Ella are no more and Chioma has all of a sudden become the Chief Priest, and she has also left the palace.
I don’t even know where Amara ran off too. It’s just Angel and I that are left here now. So Miriam was actually a Princess and nobody knew.
She was even a mermaid. Hmm. So Obiageli is the daughter of Obioma, the bad witch. But how come she was chosen? The gods know best, so I can’t question their decision. I pray that things really go back to normal.”
She returned to the dishes she’d been washing.
King Michael Jaja, his mother and the new Chief Priest were sat in the living room of the palace, discussing about a seemingly important issue, when a guard walked in uninvited.
“What are you doing here?” the Queen asked.
The guard bowed, his face filled with fear. “Your majesty, a visitor came and she said that her name is Amara. She said she is the biological daughter of Ezinne the great witch and she is here to take what rightfully belongs to her.”
“What do you mean by that?” Chioma asked. “I don’t know of any Amara apart from the one who used to work here.”
“Priestess, she is the same Amara who used to work here,” the guard said. “But now she is different.”
“What do mean by she is different?” the Queen asked.
“She has an unbelievably strange power,” the guard explained. “As I speak right now, two of our men are lying dead. She killed them immediately she walked in.”
The Queen stood up, fear peeking through her elegance. ‘Who is this second Amara that came back, and what does she want from us?’ she wondered.
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