She gently stood and tried walking towards the door.
She let out a scream, as she felt her legs give way beneath her and she fell onto the floor with a thud. “You should stay in bed my lady”, the old man said, charging in with Young. “She is as stubborn as a mule, good luck making her stay in bed”, Young joked, lifting Meba, back into bed and settling her in. “Having been unconscious for two days, you will need more rest, your highness.” The old man continued. “Too much movement, I’m afraid, will have you fainting on us again, and we could lose you then”. “Me? Unconscious for two days?! Why do you refer to me as your highness?!” Meba retorted, slightly frowning. “My name is Meba, please leave it at that.” “As you wish, my lady,” was the response she got.
“Wise one, is she strong enough to travel on this journey with me? I have to proceed on my way possibly soon because there is still a long way to go.” Young asked as he and the old man emerged from the room into the radiance of the moonlit night. It was so beautiful outside. Young felt as if he had been transported into space.
The moon looked like it was hanging at an arm’s length from them, and the stars were twinkling so brightly. He kept squinting his eyes, yet couldn’t bring himself to look away.
“This is our village at night, beautiful isn’t it?” The old man praised on realizing Young had been captivated. The sparse cluster of buildings stood faintly distant; Young stood amazed. “I have never seen the night this dark, yet, somehow so crystal clear. How come no one is outside enjoying the night breeze and beauty? The silence is appalling. Don’t your people realize that this is a rare blessing that you have here?” “We were once a small city,” the old man said. “We had riverside picnics, fireside cinemas, libraries even a clinic and cathedral…” his voice trailed off, as he stared into the night, “but you won’t see those anymore.”
Young didn’t have the opportunity to ask why, as the old man scurried ahead of him into a sprawling expanse of bushes that surrounded them. “Into the bushes at this time of the night?” He wondered. “Please follow me if you will”, the old man turned and said, as though haven read Young’s thoughts. He added, “I need to get some fresh herbs for the princess’s health and it can’t wait till the morrow. Young had only been in the old man’s company a few hours and already sensed he was a man of great wisdom and knowledge. Little did he know that, hours yet to come and a hundred miles away, the knowledge he would pick up from this night’s expedition, would save his life.
It took Young and the old man twenty minutes, to accomplish their mission and head back home. As the two men approached the stony path they had passed on their way earlier, Young knew he could find his bearing back to the old man’s house, from there, as he had taken it as a landmark.
To Be Continued……..
[Author: Alex Bruno (Ghana), ©The Telescope International. All Rights Reserved.]
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