The royal guards entered the cave one of them saw the dying fire and called the others to come and seeall along the maiden was hiding behind one of the biggest rocks at the back of the cave.Her heart was beating so fast in fear of being discovered and therefore the princess loosing her life.
Guard 1 : Mollo o osa fishago ipontsha gore be ale gona moo ese kgale(This fire is still hotit seems she was here not so long ago)
Guard 2 :Wa reresha (You're right)
.He said after evaluating the fire placehe stood up to look around
Guard 3 : Mohlomongwe osa le gonaare nyakishisheng gabotse.Le fate le matlapa ka moka le sa sheye le letee(Maybe she's still aroundlet's investigate properly.Look even under the stones and leave non unturned)
Others : Wa reresha monna (You're right man)
.They started combing every corner and most of the stones in there.Just when they were going to check where the maiden was hiding they heard a dog burking outside
Guard 1 : Keng bjalompsa edirang mo gare ga naga kgole le gae (What nowwhat is the doing in the middle of nowhere so far from home)
Guard 3 : Mohlomongwe e bone se sengweareyeng reyo hlola(Maybe it saw somethinglet's check it out)
.All along the maiden was holding her breath when the guards ran to the entrance to investigate the matter but only one remained
Guard 4 : Ereng ke ntshe meetse ke tla le latela(Let me urinate I'll catch up with you)
Guard 1 : Go lokile o dire ka pela monna gape nako ere shiile kua moshate ba letile dipowelo (Its fine but make it quick man time is not on our sidethey are awaiting our feedback at the palace)
Guard 4 :Go lokile ke tla dira bjalo (Alright I'll do so)
.He quickly ran forward to check the coast then went back next to the big rock the maiden was hinding in
Guard 4 : Oka tswaga ke tsebe gore goreng ke go thusha eupsa pelo yaka enore ke go thushe(You may come outI don't know why I'm helping you out but my heart just tells me to do so)
.The maiden debated for a second before she appeared from her hiding placeshaking and trembling Maiden : Dumela (Greetings)
Guard 4 : Dumela le wenaosebete mosadi towe.Eupsa seo gase nyake nna.Ke tla go thusha gotswa ka mooo dire gore o a tshaba.Ose lebelele le morago gobane nako elatelang nkase go lokele ka tsela ee.Ke nale lapa le bana bao basa ntlhokang ga ke nyake go hwela taba tsa batho (Greetings to you tooyou are really a brave woman.But that's still non of my businessI'll help you leave this place only this once.Next time I won't be this kindI have a family and kids to live for.I don't want to die for minding other people's affairs )
.The maiden nodded greatfullyas the guard signalled for her to follow him.The others were following the barking dog to wherever it was leading themthey managed to snuck out
Maiden : Kea leboga weshoModimo le badimo ba go okeletse matsatsi a bophelo ka botho bja gago (Thank you my brotherMay God and our gods prolong your life for this kind gesture )
.The guard nodded while looking aroundhe saw two of the guards returning to the cave entrance and quickly pushed the maiden aside
Guard 4 :Ga re na nakotshabesha gona bjalo.Gopola nna le wena gase ra bonana ebile gare tsebane.Gere go hwetsa gapega di sale matsong aka.Nna tema yaka ke ekgathilekamoka di matsogong a gago go tloga bjalo.Sepela setse ba a bowa(We don't have timeyou must run now.Remember you and I have never met and we don't know each other right.If we ever find you againit's no longer my problem.I've played my role and now the ball is in your court.Go now they are coming back)
.All along the maiden was nodding vigorouslyshe then ran and never looked back.She kept on praying and thanking the gods that it was still a bit dark although dawn was approaching so they won't easily see her if she manages to escape their clutches.Luckily it has stopped raining although the grass was a bit slippery she managed to run as fast as her legs could carry her.
# THE PALACE
It was very early in the morning when Hunadi felt someone nudging her painfully disturbing her from her deep sleep.She staired and blinked several times as she turned to look at the person who was nudging her
Second wife : Tsoga mosadi (Wake up woman)
Hunadi : Keng ( What)
.She asked in irritationthe second wife clapped her hands chuckling
Second wife : Wena o bolela lenna bjalo nxaa?tsoga re hloka go bolela pele moshate o otsoga ka moka(Are you talking to me like that mxm? wake up we need to talk before the whole palace awakens)
.Hunadi woke up reluctantly rubbing her eyes vigorously and yawns before she spoke to her sister in marriage
Hunadi : Ore go reng kgantheonyaka go bolela eng lenna(What do you want to talk to me about?)
.The second wife shook her head
Second wife : Put your head together we don't have timeour plans almost backfired
Hunadi : Which plans are you referring to nowcan't we discuss this later I want to sleep
.She tried to cover her head but the second wife roughly grabbed the bedding and threw them on the floor
Second wife : Are you kidding me right now
don't tell me that you forgot about your daughter
.Hunadi was silent for few seconds then she remembered how she cried for her daughter when she woke up few hours ago and what transpired before then.She screamed but the second wife put her hand on her mouth
Hunadi : Oh my God my baby
Second wife : Heey hey hold your horses do you want to wake the enemy
.In a second Hunadi was now sobbing silently
Hunadi : What happened while I was knocked outwait a minute.wasn't I supposed to sleep for few hours not for two nights and a day
Second wife : There's no time for that
Hunadi : Don't you dare dismiss me like thatyou overdosed on the herbs.Don't you know the dangers of the herb if you overdose?it might lead to madness or loss of memory?Oooh my Godwere you trying to kill me?
.Hunadi stared at the second wife with disbelief who rolled her eyes at her
Second wife : If I wanted you dead believe you me you would have been long gone by nowlook I admit i might have gone a little overboard with the overdose though but I wasn't trying to kill you
Hunadi : A little !!?
Second wife : Fine more than a little thenbut you didn't die akere (isn't it)I will never wish that of youwhat do you take me for?the fact is someone saw the maiden that night and quickly alerted the king and now the men and youth of this village are out there searching for her.We need to come up with a plan in case they catch her.
Hunadi : Ooh my God I can't let my baby diemy baby can't die sister.Ooh please my Lord protect my daughter and the kind maiden from this vultures I'm begging p....
Second wife : Get hold of yourself wena (You)these people must not know or suspect you have a hand in this.You need to playb the victim in all this so that you can gain their trust and sympathy
Hunadi : Do you think they caught up with her?
Second wife : Maybe and maybe not.But the fact is the villagers are breathing fire.They are out for blood and some of then already suspect you had a hand in all this
Hunadi : Ooh nono noo
.Hunadi held her mouth with her hands in fear tears streaming down her face
Second wife : Hey maan wena ake o leke goba le sebete(agh just try to be brave)there's no time to be a cry baby here think about your baby
.She nodded still crying silently
Second wife : Now wipe those tears off your face and pretend you still don't remember anything until the witch doctor comes to check on you
Hunadi : Its hard but I will try
Second wife : Try harder it's do or dieand if somehow they catch the maiden you need to play your cards right.You might even consider running away from here yourself with the princess that's if we are lucky enough to even get close to her this timewhich seems unlikely though because now they will be alert.
Hunadi : Please don't scare me
Second wife : You need to face the facts and realityand be prepared for war or of watching your daughter being burnt alive as a sacrifice to their so called gods. I'm going to my chambers before your noisy big sister wakes up and starts searching for me.I'll see you in an hour or two.Hunadi you need to be strong girl
.Hunadi nodded and watched the second wife close the door behind her.She took her bedding from the floor and covered her whole body and cried her heart out until sleep overcame her again since it seemed the sleeping herbs were still doing their thing on her body
One of the guards who were checking out the barking dogs joined the guard who helped the maiden escape just few minutes after she disappeared behind the trees.He pretended to be fixing his trousers as the other looks at him suspiciously
Guard 1 :Tshila ye ya mpsa be eno bogola lefelaoke nka e bolaya ke e ripe molalanyana o keo lahlele kua kgole (The stupid dirty dog it turns out it was barking at nothing in particularI feel like I should have slithered its little throat and thrown it so far away)
Guard 4 : Ao (Oh)
.The other guard stared at him for a while
Guard 1 : Wena go reng ka wena (And what's up with you?)
Guard 4 : Gase seloke noba ke ipotsisha gore akabe ukhutile kae ga naga le gore gotla diragalang gere sa mo hwetse (Its nothingI'm just wondering where she's hiding and what will happen if we don't find her)
.The 1st guard was still staring at him suspiciously when they heard the others shouting and claiming that they've just seen her running towards the river
Guard 1 : Go ipontsha ge badimo ba arabile potsisho ya gagoa reye monna (Its seems the gods have just answered your questionlet's go man)
.He said as he ran towards the other guards who were already ahead of him
Guard 4 : Badimo ba geshole tla ntshwarela ka nako enngwe monna o swanetse go dira seo se tla pholoshang bophelo bja gagwele lena lea tseba gore ke lekile (Ooh my godsyou just have to forgive me.Sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do to save his life.You know I've tried)
.He mumbled to himself as he followed the otherson the others side of the river the maiden had just finished easing herself and getting up to run again when she heard the guards shouting and she saw one pointing at her.She quickly ranwith them in pursuit.Her heart was beating so fast and higher she could swear it was beating in her ears and her chest was burning so terribly out of exhaustion.And the guards were closing in on her
Maiden : Ooh Modimo waka se dumele ke wele matsogong a mothogobane a sehlogo ga ana kwelo bohloko.Go kaone ge bophelo bjaka bo tsea ke wena kgoshi yaka gobane ke ngwana wa gago(Ooh my God don't let me fall into the hands of men (humans)because it has no mercy.I'd rather you take my life my Lord because I'm your child)
Guard 2 :Hey wena re go swerese hlwele o eya pele.Ya gago tsela efelela mo(Hey you we got youno more running.Your road ends here)
Guard 3 : Tswara okwe(Feel this )
.He shouted as he throws his rod at herbut only its tip hit her head.She didn't stop nor did she look backshe could feel their footsteps catching up with her.She started crying silently and her vision got blurred with tears
Maiden : Morenaka(My God)this can't be the end for us.
.Just then she saw the dog ran towards the river she followed it even though she knew she doesn't know how to swim.She prayed that the river is not deep otherwise it's over for her and the princess.She reached the river just when they caught up with her and it was a bit full because of the rainshe knew she doesn't stand a chance so she turned and looked at the six men who were now approaching her.Her rescuer followed behind with remorse written all over his face.As she cried helplessly asking herself why God and the gods have forsaken her when she needs them the most.She involuntarily moved back as they approached herwithout warning she slipped and almost fell into the river but one of the guards got hold of her but in all the confusion the grass basket slipped through her fingers and fell in the river with a thud and floated above the water
Maiden : NOOOOO MY PRINCESS NOOOO.
.The second guard came to help the first one to drag the maiden away from the riveras she cried hysterically for the princessshe stretched her hand to try and save her but the guards roughly pulled her while the others used their sticks to try to pull the basket to them but the more they tried it just floated away.They tried several times but to no availthe basket floated away with the tide.They watched it until they could not see it anymoreall this time the maiden was crying and begging them to let her jump into the river so she could die with her princess.The first guard slapped her so hard her nose bled same time then they dragged her away kicking and screaming