THE lovely Koje sunflower didn’t have to wait too long for the crown prince.
For after a few sunsets, Àlà hastened back to Koje to see his adorable once again. He’d absolutely missed Iyun, like Iyun had missed him too.
That morning, Àlà waited for the beautiful maiden at a beautiful grassland spread out between two lofty mountains. There he could gaze into Iyun’s pretty eyes all day, without other eyes staring at him.
Prince Àlà paced around the grassy plain with his hands behind him, as he fancied a special time with his lady.
A flock of clean, white flamingos played freely in the low grass, landing on the low green to peck tiny insects. And then, flapping off awhile when the prince’s restless feet disturbed them.
Iyun’s heart fluttered as she walked up the valley with Shao, who had been sent by the prince to fetch her.
The young maiden’s steps seemed lighter than ever. She raced up like a gazelle to meet the gentleman who’d captured her entire mind.
Àlà’s ears tingled at the instant as the winds blew a slender, feminine voice into them. He raised his head at once. He was certain it was Iyun’s.
And there ahead, he saw his lady walking up in an entrancing feminine gait.
Àlà’s heartbeat stopped a moment. The earth itself stayed its restless spin. Everything stopped in its race. Except Àlà’s eager feet.
For the young man sprinted like the flight of a lightning bolt. To meet his lady on her way to him.
And the playful white birds on Àlà’s pathway scattered and spread out in the morning air.
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Iyun’s eyes lit up when she saw the gorgeous gentleman sprint towards her. She never knew Àlà could be so consumed by her, so head over heels in love with her.
Even Shao was astonished beyond what words could place. That the Prince of the kingdom could so love a slave… without the least sense of shame.
The crown prince reached the approaching two and blurted out just as soon. ‘Ah, Iyun… I’m so happy you came!’ he exclaimed.
Iyun didn’t say anything. She only tried to catch a coy glimpse of his dark, brown eyes… which she’d missed so much.
Iyun only now realised how keenly she wanted Àlà to own her completely. And how so much she wished they would be together.
Àlà spoke. ‘Erm… I prepared a seat for us over there,’ he said, pointing a finger in the distance behind him.
There in the open vale, the downward slope of the mountain foot was sparsely littered with bits of beautiful crimson petals.
And they looked so charming and alluring over the low green.
The crown prince beckoned on his lady to join him.
Iyun decided against asking Àlà to explain himself over the romance themed park that he had created for them to meet at. Even when they hadn’t even confessed their feelings to each other.
Iyun had found a man that treasured her more than she treasured herself, in fact. And so she chose to be the fool in Àlà’s loving arms.
The beautiful girl chose to be all natural and true with this man. She decided to be less and less calculative.
And if these were what a fool in love was, Iyun really wanted to be Àlà’s fool. She wanted to be Àlà’s love.
Àlà led his lady to a seat in the beautiful meadow. And when Shao went ahead to join the duo, Àlà asked him to stay at the other side of the mountain foot. ‘Sorry, Shao,’ he said. ‘Today’s seat is for two.’
Shao excused the two, and the prince turned to his lady right away.
‘About what you asked me the last time, Iyun,’ he began, ‘I spoke to our scholars in Jaiye. But they said the brilliant idea didn’t have a name yet in Jaiye.’
He put in. ‘It only shows that the original thinker must be wise,’ he smiled as he looked into Iyun’s eyes. ‘You’re so wise, Iyun,’ he said.
Iyun’s eyes blinked nervously, a couple of times. She bowed her gaze to avoid Ala’s eye. She felt shy that Àlà was saying that, looking into her eyes.
Àlà thought to tell Iyun about himself already. He thought to reveal his identity right away. But he hesitated and suggested they take a walk instead.
The lovely two ambled along the flower littered grassy vale, relishing in the comforting shade cast over them by the hugely sitting mountains.
Àlà had beautified the valley path he intended them to take with bits of flower petals earlier that morning. And Iyun couldn’t help wondering what an excellent romantic the gentleman must be.
The two lovebirds revelled in the gentle mountain breeze as it blew cold over their supple skins. And some lovely birdsong added a harmony to their little chatters.
‘Have you been to this mountainside before, Iyun?’ Àlà asked.
‘Yes,’ replied Iyun. She took a quick glance around. ‘But this flowers…’ she hesitated.
‘Yes, they’re freshly spread,’ interrupted Àlà. ‘They’re here because I chose to sit and walk with you with here.’
He looked at her. ‘So if you chose to sit with me forever, then our seat will be flower adorned till we see the end of all days,’ he said. ‘Till there’s no longer a tomorrow,’ he finished.
Iyun kept quiet for a while, trying to figure the deeper thing behind Àlà’s words. She tried so hard to grasp the intention behind them.
The prince kept his eyes on the young beauty still.
He smiled. ‘If you’re with me forever, I’ll do more for you than answering puzzles you don’t know. I will be more. I will be the answer to your heart… I will be yours.’
Iyun’s heart leaped in her bosom. Right then, the damsel knew what Àlà meant. She knew what he wanted. She could tell it by the beat in her very heart.
Yet the moment Iyun’s heart leapt so high, it came down crashing to ground and shattering to pieces.
The young girl wouldn’t place her faith and love in vain promises.
An elite scholar could answer a few puzzles, Iyun admitted. Yet some puzzles were way beyond elite knowledge. How then could Àlà offer something so beyond him… as a love proposal?
Iyun wondered how the man could ever be her heart’s very answer? If Àlà knew what that meant at all. And she was sure any Jaiye man would know.
She pondered in a baffled daze. Why will he promise to be the answer to my heart? Why does he think he can answer my mystery? Why does think he can solve my misery?
Iyun was hurt to her very bones at the blatant display of lies.
Everything sadly had to end right then. Irrespective of how lofty a wishful dream the man had afforded her in the mind-consuming days behind.
She was the fool for loving a clever man from Jaiye, she thought.
And she would rather grow old and die in the misery of a Koje slave. Than give her heart to the man who just wooed her on a flagrant bluff.
Iyun wondered and wondered.
How could he ever be the answer to my mysterious misery?!
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