Story Lovers; Titled: My Dream, Vol 2, Chapter 13 by Fapohunda Bolanle.
Walking through the forest to the old physician’s house, Timi suddenly stopped moving. “What is it, Timi?” Grace asked. “I seem to have lost track. There is no sign of a house anywhere…its just forest”. “Look!” Tony shouted as he spotted a house afar off, and they rushed towards it. It looked deserted.
The building looked old and close to collapsing, It was fairly empty with no windows. It had two doors; the main entrance and the one to the balcony. “Are you sure someone lives here” Tony said, observing the house as he scoffed.
Grace entered through the door, leading the way into the house.
She walked ahead slowly as she carefully looked around. The room was not so bright as the roof and walls were closely covered with leaves. Grace stumbled on a cup of water and spilled the content on the floor. Moving further, he began to whisper “Hello…anyone home?”. Her voice was filled with a considerable amount of fear as she could hardly see. Almost at the middle of the room, she was petrified as the rays of light escaping through the holes in the roof illuminated the scene in front of her; drops of blood on the floor with some blood stained pieces of clothes. She stumbled as Miracle caught her and held her hands.
Miracle decided to lead the way, tracing the drops of blood leading to the balcony. There, a man was, sitting atop a huge log of wood extending from the bush nearby, his back turned to them. Judging from the weak structures of the legs and hands slowly making some moves, they deduced that he was the old physician they were seeking. “Greetings, sir” Miracle said.
The old man turned to the direction of the voice and saw the four of them standing by the door. “You must be travelers..” the old man said as he continued his business. Timi stepped forward and called on to the old man who recognized her immediately he saw her. He was pleased to see Timi as he had wondered many times how she would survive the last time he saw her. He offered them to share the log of wood on which he was sitting.
Timi noticed that the man was nursing a wound which looked somewhat deep and understood the reason for the blood trace from the room. The man had been attacked by a wild boar while he was hunting and was treating himself with some herbs. Timi helped him dress his wounds as they exchanged pleasantries and he asked Timi how she had survived after their encounter which she carefully narrated to him.
Afterwards, they told the old man the main reason for their visit. When Grace’s identity was revealed to the old man, he immediately went on his knees in front of her. “Please spare my life, Your Highness, the former king had threatened to kill my whole family had I not obeyed. Please spare my life” He said sobbing.
“Please, get up sir. We understand that…and we also understand that you are hiding here in the forest. But know this, your life is not safe here in the forest. There are animals who are willing to have you for a meal just as the people you are hiding from. We will be responsible for your safety now.Will you go with us?” Grace said as the man stood up. They told him he had to follow them and testify in the court.
The old man immediately agreed to follow them as long as they were going to keep him safe and he also wanted the throne to fall into the right hands. “Poor Judith, she had just been Queen for barely one week…” Tony teased. “The more she wields power, the more difficult it will be for us. She would soon win the ministers to herself, if we don’t hurry..” Miracle added as Timi nodded and said “Yes, so the earlier, the better”. They started their way out of the forest and to the palace.
When they got to the palace, they proceeded to the court. When they got to the court, Queen Judith was surprised to see them walk into the palace of their own accord. She kept staring at Grace in disbelief, wondering how she got the nerves to present herself in front of her boldly. Grace, on the other hand, returned her stare until she forced Queen Judith to blink.
Then, they remembered to greet the personality sitting on the throne. They bowed their heads according to tradition, but Queen Judith refused to return their greetings, she had a lot going through her mind. She kept thinking of possible reasons for their presence at the court – it seemed to be very important, as she knew those four would have no time to spare for unimportant visits.
Just then, as some of the ministers recognized the old physician who was standing with them and wondering what was going on, Queen Judith also noticed him. She recognized him immediately. “This was grandfather’s royal physician. What is he doing with them? What on earth is Grace planning?…”.
Different thoughts kept flowing through her mind as Tony broke the silence. He urged the ministers never to be bothered for they had not come to bother them but to open their eyes to things they had been totally ignorant of. Tony faced the ministers and started, “With permission from Her Majesty…” though he knew that the Queen had not said anything since they got there. “ We have some things to share with the court, things we should have never been ignorant of. Please permit us” He said as the ministers, after looking at one another had sheepishly nodded in consent.
Tony signalled to the old man to start his testimony. He had his head bowed to the ground as he asked for the forgiveness of the ministers before he proceeded. Afterwards, he began his story, he narrated how desperate and power crazed Judith’s father had been that he had ordered him to gradually poison his father who was at that time the King. As soon as the ministers heard this, they became confused, they began to murmur.
Miracle’s father, standing amongst the other ministers kept staring at his son questioningly, so as Tony’s father. “I’m sorry to confuse you all in this manner, but I am Grace, Alli Johnson’s daughter, the rightful heir to the throne” The ministers’ murmur grew louder as Grace spoke up, Queen Judith became angry as she wanted to silent them before they implicated her and her father. “Silence! Drag these scoundrels out of my palace and burn them alive! How dare you…”
Queen Judith started angrily as Miracle’s father cut in, “Apologies Your Majesty, but could you be kind enough to allow them finish their business and not leave the court to confusion?” he said with his head bowed, showing all the humility that would oblige the Queen to honour his request. Queen Judith was now left with no choice but to allow them speak, as the whole court was staring at her, waiting for her response.
Grace continued and revealed how Queen Judith’s father caused the death of his father by poison in order to take the throne, and how he killed the whole family of the rightful heir to the throne. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she recalled the death of her parents. Miracle and Tony were helpless as they could not console her, for she was testifying in court. Some of the ministers began to feel pity for her as one shouted in a loud voice,
“What nonsense! Do you think the court is a joke?”. Suddenly, Miracle lifted a fist in the air with the recorder in it. The court became silent as they all wondered what could be the reason behind the fist in the air. Queen Judith swore under her breath as she was already tongue tied at the whole revelation before the ministers. Miracle looked at Grace who gave him a nod of consent in return as he pressed a button of the recorder.
The recorder began to play the testimonies of the guards Miracle had recorded. The ministers were dumbfounded. The testimonies made it known to them that there was a pit which was also a passage to a brothel, a place that served as a source of income for the former king – a dirty source. It was a secret place which no one knew about in the palace. “What audacity have you to mislead my ministers!!!?” Queen Judith shouted with a coarse voice. Just then, the recorder played the conversation between herself and Grace, “And you think after all these you will go without being punished?”.
There was silence in the air as all eyes were turned towards the Queen who was bewildered. “Isnt that Her Majesty’s voice?” A minister said to another. Luckily for them, the recorder was a very expensive one Miracle had brought from the States, it brought out the voice clearly as though the speaker was right in front of them. “No. Its time for me to punish and not to be punished. I’m taking back what is rightfully mine – the throne” the recorder kept on playing.
“You barely take care of yourself and you dare dream of managing the throne and the entire kingdom? Do you even know what it takes?” the voice of the princess continued from the recorder. “Even my father had to engage himself in illegal tradings, human trafficking and all the likes in order to keep the throne and manage the officials…” Just then, Miracle stopped the recorder from playing. The ministers kept staring choreographically from the recorder to the Queen, jaws dropped.
A look of triumph was displayed on Grace’s face against the look of defeat on the Queen’s face as all the ministers seemed very much convinced. The look on Grace’s face highly provoked Queen Judith as she immediately grabbed the royal sword beside the throne and swiftly moved towards Grace.
Before she could stab Grace, two guards rushed forward to refrain her. They got hold of the sword and held her tightly as she could not move. “You ungrateful wretch!! I wish you had died with your family!!” she said as she looked at the guards holding her. “Fools! You dare hold your Queen in this manner?” Tears rolled down her cheeks as she saw the ministers bowing slightly and filled with shame to Grace who was sitting down on the floor, happy that she had finally triumphed but at the same time had lost all her strength.
The Prime Minister, however, stepped forward and said “Queen Judith is hereby deposed and exiled to the countryside for fooling the throne!” Judith collapsed to the floor immediately.
Judith’s mother was also sentenced to confinement in her quarters with the guards the court had assigned to be on standby always at her quarters. She never stopped to grieve the misfortune that had befallen herself and her daughter.
© Fapohunda Bolanle
About The Author
Fapohunda Bolanle Busola is a 400 level student of Classics department, University of Ibadan. She is a fine artist, footballer and a writer with particular interests in Prose and Drama.
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Story Lovers; Titled: My Dream, Vol 2, Chapter 13 by Fapohunda Bolanle