l die ” she wept
”This is true, the forest witches trust no one, not even their own sisters, such is the curse of the witch. An oath seals their tongues, the oath is sealed with their blood, part of the initiation process ” the Ifa priest observed ”Oju-aye, we will get nothing from her ”
The information could have discouraged anyone else but not Ade, he simply smiled, hes not the kind of person who would accept failure. He needs answers and he needs them now. Ade turned to the witch expressing his most frightful look and then he intensified the torment once more, this time everyone present could tell that he had every intention of killing the witch, her scream now expressed the emotion of the fear of death. The witch looked into Ades eyes and saw how much he was enjoying the moment, her resolve to save herself doubled.
”Oro-Ifa, if shes useless to us alive then she will be useful to us dead ” Ade growled
”My sisters! My sisters! They kept it under the roots of the Iroko tree ”
”Which one of the trees? ” Ade roared in rage
”The tree planted with blood in the centre of the evil forest ” she panted
In a moment the pain stopped and the shrine was quiet once more, the witch had fallen unconscious due to the pain, her spirit was spent, no one could tell if she would ever recover from such an experience.
”Shes supposed to be dead ” Babalakan observed, still shocked by Ades ferocity.
”Yes, I used my hidden chant to seal her spirits inside her body, and then I tormented her mind, she will forever remember me but not what she said to me ” Ade replied.
”Ade ” Osi-Alara called ”is everything all right? ”
”Yes, ” Ade replied, ”why are you asking? ”
”Nothing, its just that I didn recognize you for a moment, are you sure you are Ade ” Babalakan mocked
”Well, I guess I did get carried away while harming that witch ” Ade observed
”When do we go after the stones ” Babalakan growled, obviously thirsty for another fight
”As soon as the Balogun approves ” The Ifa priest responded ”for now go home, Im sure your wives and children have been expecting your arrival, the gods are impatient ”
”And the reward? ” Babalakan pressed
”Young men and their impatience, ” the Ifa priest growled ”ask the Balogun, as you well know I am not involved in your pointless bet, the agreement of men have no concern for the gods ”
”Forgive me babe Ifa I got carried away ” Babalakan apologized humbly.
The three warriors ushered themselves out of the shrine, Osi-Alara grateful that the Ifa priest did not refer to his earlier offence of sneaking into the shrine. The Balogun had entrusted 4 men of the selected warriors of the village to watch over the witch, by the time they reached the Baloguns hut they found him waiting for them with Ogunlara standing by his side.
”It seems like youve won the bet, Ade, Babalakan and Osi-Alara ” the Balogun observed with a grin on his face ”you are truly men and warriors of this village ” then the Balogun began to chant.
”The three rocks that all other rocks fear
The trees, feared by the Iroko
The arrows which always hit their mark
We greet you ”
”And this is the reward (giving Osi-Alara the bag of money) as the bet dictates, for any man able to find out where the stone is and how to retrieve it ”
Babalakan smiled in exhilaration; finally, he had won a place of honour among the warriors of the village, something that eluded his family for many years.
”Free palm wine for everyone! ” Ade shouted in joy
”Haaaaaaaaa! ” The other ẹṣọs cheered
Even though its a celebration among men, it wasn a big celebration because no one got drunk, but everyone was happy except those counting their losses. Babalakan and Osi-Alara enjoyed themselves while having a big laugh about how Ori-Alara had himself publicly humiliated by the Ifa priest
Unknown to all the warriors who celebrated below a black vulture hovered above the village, its red eyes illuminated with pure rage, the vulture had been watching the warrior ever since they returned to the village. Though it could not listen to what they were saying, it had seen all that happened and what made it so angry, was how Ade had tormented its sister. It returns to the forest to report all that it had seen, the vulture had evil plans concerning the hunter that had tormented its helpless sister. The nature of Witches has always been the same, a Witch never forgives a trespass and will never forget there will be retribution.
After 3 hours of merrymaking, all the ẹṣọs left the Baloguns mud house for their home. Ade, Babalakan and Osi-Alara shared the prize money or what was left of it equally before parting ways towards their various homes.
Ade felt a constant burning sensation of excitement, wash through his entire being, has she already delivered my child? He wondered he had already started to feel the warmth of his wifes loving touch and the pleasure of her surrender to him. The door opened long before he had the opportunity to knock and there standing before him was his wife, still heavy in pregnancy but as beautiful as ever
”So youve finally returned home to your wife, ” she nagged
”Bisi, you are as beautiful as you can ever be I… ” Ade said, fumbling with the words as he usually did any time he suspected that his wife was furious at him
”And you think soft words will liberate you from this situation ” she continued
”Im sorry, ” he said, trying to figure out how he had offended her
”The next time you return to the village without seeing me first, then you will never hear the end of it, after all, Im your wife ” she scolded
”Yes, ma! ” Ade mocked, then Adebisis face cooled, she threw her arms around her husband and gave him the welcome kiss that he deserves, washed his feet, served his meal then forced him to bed.
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