That night, they ate like they had never seen food before. Sam was determined that no food particle would remain on his plate. He cleared his plate and the plates of everybody beside him.
Little did they know that Vera had put the herb she talked about into their food. After eating, they all went to the green bed shown to them.
They woke up to find themselves at the forest where they encountered the vines. As they had agreed with Vera, some of them were without the memories of Vera and what happened with the vines.
They went back to the camp for a briefing. OZed was tired of the whole event. He just wanted to hit his bed. He was not the only one that felt that way. Nancy was ready to drop on her feet. She was so tired she felt her bones would melt.
‘I think we did well for our country,’ Chike said to those that had been granted their memories. Nancy, Senator and his wife, OZed, Musa, and Sam. He had called them into his room. ‘I want you to write down all you know about what happened and bring it to my office by this time next week. I want to go through it before documenting it in the country’s greatest secret. I do not want to take chances.’ He slowly looked from one to the other. ‘And you must promise that once you are done with the documenting, it will be the last time you think or say something about this event. I don’t want to risk anything.’
‘We get your point,’ Sam echoed, ‘and we will do our best to keep our mouths shut. I will add more effort.’
‘See that you do that, Sam, because I cannot trust your mouth to obey you,’ Sam censured.
‘I understand. Is there any other thing I can do for you before I officially crash?’
‘Go knock yourself out.’
‘How many times do I have to tell you not to interact with the humans? They are trouble.’
‘If they are trouble,’ Vera told her father, ‘why do we live our lives just to make them happy? I just don’t get it.’
He was talking to her the only way he could; in a vision. She knew that whenever she opened her mind to accept a vision from her father, it was like calling a family meeting because her brothers, Oxi and Hydro, would want to come. She did not have the time or the patience to deal with them.
The face she saw of her father was just a blurry green face. She knew that was not her father’s real face. Truth be told, she did not really know her father’s real face. Whenever she came close to him, one part of her body literally withered and died. The only person who could see him was Oxi because he could not harm him. Hydro could not also go close to him.
‘That is the way God wanted it to be. Don’t try to tell me that you are questioning God? He made it that way so that everything can have a pattern. You are messing with that pattern, child.’
Vera’s father was a strong believer in God. What he did not know was that some people on this earth actually worshipped him like a God. If he knew that he would be appalled. ‘I did nothing wrong. You know blood kills me. Do you want me to just die in silence? I can’t do that.’
‘She has a point,’ said a new voice. By the crystal sound of the voice, Vera knew it was Hydro. His voice was sweet and small, as though he was afraid to raise it. She knew what his voice could do if he decided to raise it.
‘We know you have good reasons for what you did,’ Hydro was still saying, ‘but that is not an excuse to reveal us to the humans. You know what they can do when they feel threatened. As much as you had good intentions, what you did was very reckless.’
There was no ocean when Vera opened her mind to the vision. Now, however, that Hydro had invited himself, there was a big ocean in her vision, because Hydro needed water around him. It was from this ocean that she heard his voice. It was grating to her ear. It always was.
Trust Hydro to start it that way. Hydro would always start a statement as though he supported what she was doing, but at the end, he would tell her just what he thought of her actions.
‘I knew you would say that,’ Vera said accusingly. ‘What would you have done if you were in my situation? I am the most delicate of all of us. I and my people die easily. I just couldn’t stand and do nothing.’
‘Every day, the rivers and oceans all over the world are being misused and ill treated. They dump refuse, human bodies, rotten things and all other things that do not bear mentioning. Have you ever seen me charge at them with one of my mermaids or try to do anything about it? No. That is because I respect and follow the rules.’
She could not see Hydro’s face so she did not really know where to face while answering him. She opted to face the general direction of the ocean while baring her mind to him. ‘We are not in the same condition here. You have a way of recovering from whatever blow the humans dealt you, but I do not. When their blood touches me or one of mine, I just die because that is how it works. If I do not do anything, then one day I am going to be dead. Is that what you guys want?’
‘I say she is right,’ Oxi said. ‘She was careful with her actions with the humans so why don’t we just let the matter die? Whenever you have your conference vision, I can’t help but be involved. Can we all stop now?’
No one could point from where Oxi was talking. His voice was all over the place. It should. He was air. He was the peacemaker of all of them. He did not like being disturbed at all. Vera was actually surprised when he joined in the protest concerning the humans’ discovery of her abode.
‘Admit it, father, I had to do it,’ Vera implored. ’The human beings were very corrupt. They had to be punished since they set up a system that favoured the people who were actually the ones that shed the blood. As they were not punished as they deserved, I had to do something.
‘Those I took were cold-blooded murderers. And they were all greedy. Like the Anis. Emeka did not have to involve himself in money ritual; he already had a lot. Yet he went ahead and did it. No one found out, and if they did, what would they have done? He is above the law. Can you imagine that?’
‘That is why you should not get involved with them,’ her father bellowed. ‘I know you love justice but I am begging you now not to do that again. It is dangerous,’ he stressed. ‘You tried to do that sixteen years ago and I stopped you. Nancy is the result of that. You need to stop!’
‘You killed Gea,’ Vera said sourly. ‘You did not have to do that, but I forgive you. I protect what is mine, Father, and I will not have you do what you did to Gea to any of mine again. This is my domain and I will look after it the way I see fit. Besides, I always cover my track. And I intend to stop. The thing is that Nigeria is so corrupt that it needs divine miracle. What I did have ensured that corruption in the country will be reduced. Come next generation, I shall not regret my action.’
‘I also pray you do not regret it. I do not blame you, sister,’ Oxi said with empathy. ‘Humans are just so trying. Sometimes, I feel like blowing the lot of them to Hades. But then I hold myself back. You have a quick temper. I understand your reaction.’
‘I on the other hand do not understand it,’ Hydro contradicted. ‘You did not have to yank them off the face of earth. You could…’
‘What could I have done?’ Vera snapped. ‘Kill all of them and be done with it? Take Nancy so she would not track me? Allow them to suffocate me with their blood so that I would have to move again? Do you not think that I have contemplated all those options? I chose the one that was the best of all of them. I will really love it if you will just let it be. I am tired of this conversation and I am going.’
‘Just take it easy,’ her father said in a now softer tone. ‘Don’t do anything you will regret. Nothing rash. That is all I ask.’
‘I will not do anything rash, Father. I hope you will trust me.’
‘I do trust you. It is that temper of yours that I do not trust.’
‘Thanks, father,’ Vera said, sounding cheerful.
‘What about me, Father? Do you trust me and my temper?’ Hydro asked.
‘Not even one of you.’
‘Come on, that’s not fair, Father. Not fair at all,’ Oxi put in mockingly.
Vera left the vision. She was very satisfied at how everything went. Yeah, she was OK with Nigeria now.