“You ill-mannered woman!”
The yell that filled the room startled Adesua as she walked into her father’s quarters.
The woman who yelled pointed a finger at the other. “Why would you think my son stole the talisman?”
The older woman didn’t budge at the act. She only adjusted her crown before speaking up, “Do you think no one knows your son and you are planning to overthrow the king? What could be more effective than stealing the sacred item during this festive period?” Her eyes widened in a glare.
Adesua stood dead in her track, her mouth slightly open. She had been surprised to wake up and find the palace in pandemonium that morning. The palace guards were trooping everywhere, searching from one chamber to the next. The news that the royal family’s token of power had been stolen was spreading like fire in harmattan.
“Kabiyesi.” The older queen faced the king. “Only the royal lineage can access where the item is kept. My son and I haven’t been there and the same goes for Adesua and you. So, no one else apart from Prince Tife could have taken the item. Except Queen Romola is the one who took it.”
“My king,” Queen Romola cried. “Believe me, my son knows nothing of this.”
The king was quiet, his stony face that was consumed in anger made it clear that he had no intention to speak. There was the sound of footsteps in the room as a guard rushed in and announced that Prince Tife was nowhere to be found.
“That’s it!” King Aderonu stood with a start. He bellowed at the younger queen. “You will rot in the dungeon if by the end of today your son and the talisman are not found.”
His voice was as steady as his face was stern, making her quiver. Adesua’s heart raced at the thought of what her father might do. He could throw his wife into the dungeon and have the illegitimate Prince Tife killed if the talisman was not found. She wondered if the tender prince who always had a smile on his face had truly stolen the object. At that moment, Adesua caught the older queen smirking.
The abrupt bursting of the door made everyone turn to look. The older queen’s shoulders stiffened.
“Tife never took the talisman,” Prince Tade—the first queen’s son spoke up. He threw the man covered in blood on the floor. “Tell them,” he ordered.
A gasp escaped the older woman’s lips as she stared at the man, her palms turning sweaty.
“The…the queen hired me.” The man groaned in pain. “She said I’d receive plenty of gifts if I stole something for her.”
“She had Tife kidnapped and locked-up somewhere.” Prince Tade continued from where the man stopped. “I overheard my mother’s discussion with this man. She was talking about framing Tife.”
“No, no.” The older queen stuttered.
But the king was on his feet now, his eyes red with rage.
“Guards! Seize her!”
Yaqub Abdullahi is a Lagos based Nigerian writer. When not found engrossed in a crime fiction book, he’s working on exposing a murderer in his own works. He likes to cool, act, and play Scrabble.