The ride to the King’s palace was more than an hour as he lived in the outskirts of town. The King lived in an enormous estate all by himself, and it was going to be difficult to locate the exact place where Eno was being held.
‘This is going to be harder than I thought.’ Sam pulled the mask off his face as he stared at the array of identical houses in front of them.
The area was expanse, airy and green. Just before the first house, which was shielded by a tall fence and a golden gate, there was a large field. At the sidelines, statues of ancient kings were erected.
‘Do you think he would stay here?’ Elvis whispered.
‘I don’t know…’ Sam replied honestly.
They were about moving when two huge men dressed in white stormed out of the gate towards them. They carried guns. And from the look on their faces, it seemed they had come prepared for the visit of the mask and his friend.
‘I guessed the Princess got my message then.’ Sam chuckled and quickly pulled out his gun from his pocket. Swiftly, he pointed it at the two men who were advancing towards them.
Elvis followed suit, these men would be the ones to lead them to the King for negotiations.
‘Stop right there if you want to see tomorrow’s sunrise!’ Sam fingered the trigger and advanced towards the men, whose stern facial expressions had softened.
Sam quickly remembered that he hadn’t shielded his face from their view, so he did. The mask swallowed his oval face completely, leaving open his mouth and his eyes.
‘Elvis?’ He called in a sharp voice.
‘Yes boss.’ Elvis hurried to his side.
‘I need you to leave, I don’t know what will happen in there, but you need to hold the fort while I am away.’ Sam wanted to speak to Yemi alone, he knew Elvis hadn’t been too comfortable with his decision to forgo the Vermillion for Eno. He didn’t want anything to hinder him. Elvis wasn’t seeing the bigger picture here; he didn’t have an idea of what he was planning for the King.
Elvis had wanted to argue, but he knew that this was neither the time nor the place, so he quickly rushed back to the car and drove away.
‘Now it’s just me, who dies first?’ Sam’s laughter was hysterical, and it scared the men.
‘Who are you?!’ One of the men yelled, trying to sound courageous.
Sam knew how to get the attention he needed, because he was quite sure that the King was within those walls.
‘I hate to do this, but I am really sorry.’ He pointed his gun directly at the crotch of the man that had just spoken, before releasing the trigger.
****
The King had been in his royal garden, drinking Iced Tea and eating some cookies, while conversing with Tayo whose focus was on the laptop she carried. She was telling her brother to forget Sam’s threat, there was nothing he could do to their plans.
‘I have already dropped a bomb in his camp, in two days, he and his band would be scattered in many ways.’ She couldn’t take her eyes off the site where the news she had constructed was being published.
Yemi had always wondered where Tayo got her intelligence from, ‘What did you do this time?’ He sipped coolly from his mug, his mind still on Eno who had refused to take neither food nor water.
Tayo had done something very dirty and she knew her brother wouldn’t approve.
‘I sent some thugs to bomb a refinery in Ughelli. It’s on the Mask now, and nobody would ever trace it back to us.’ She averted her brother’s eyes when she noticed a glint of displeasure.
Yemi suddenly lost his appetite, ‘What? How could you do something like that Tayo? I thought we agreed not to shed innocent blood on the path to fulfilling this cause.’
She rolled her eyes and snorted, ‘Chill, the boys assured me that no life was lost. Only properties were destroyed and they could always start over.’ Tayo knew her brother was chicken livered and he always left her to do the dirty work.
‘Hey, if we don’t distract Sam and his militants, they would never let us be. Vermillion would make us even more powerful than the sitting President of the United States. Countries that have interest in bomb and explosives would bow to her feet. It is a potent mineral for technological advancement and I want you to see that.’ She explained why she had taken that decision without informing him.
Yemi dropped the mug on the stool close to him, ‘Are you sure no life was lost?’ He rarely fought dirty, but his sister was used to that kind of way, and it scared him sometimes.
She had forgotten about their position of authority as royals. If the crimes she had committed were somehow traced back to them, they would lose honor before society.
‘Come on bro, have I ever lied to you all these years?’ She couldn’t understand why it was so hard for the King to believe her.
He was about to answer when a shattering sound ended the silence that the palace had once enjoyed.
Yemi rose to his feet at once, ‘Something is wrong.’ At the same time, his body guards all rushed closer to where he stood and suggested he left for his chambers while the checked what was going on.
Tayo’s brows furrowed in confusion, but she immediately relaxed as she remembered the message she had received from the Mask.
‘Brother…’ she called to Yemi.
‘Let us go inside, we’ll talk later.’ He whispered to his sister but she wouldn’t budge.
‘No, I think Samuel Ojonugwa is here. He threatened to pay us a visit.’ Tayo had a feeling that Sam must have heard the news of the explosion, and he was mad that someone was framing him up.
She hoped that he hadn’t traced the news back to her as that would be terrible.
‘I don’t care whoever it is, but someone dangerous is out there and his intent is to harm us.’ Yemi replied.
He knew his sister would remain stubborn, so he quickly ordered a guard to bundle her back to the palace.

To be continued…………………

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