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Gipiir and Labongo #19

By Mugabe Victor

No one knows the secrets of the gods like the mind of a chief. The two share the seat of fate like conjoined twins on the edge of a bicycle. They both want to scream but are not allowed to show fear; lest we fall into disarray; they both want to cry but cannot show pain; lest we run in fright; they both want to scatter but are weighed down by the cries of their subjects; lest we look down upon them for their cowardice. Oh, how I pity them both.

Labongo looked out at the horizon. Despite the darkness of the night, it was still beautiful. The cascading clouds fogged out the shine from the stars but nothing could compare to the brief peace that teased his heart. A piercing cold from the Western winds shook him to the bone, his skin rapturing with goose pimples. However, that could not compare to what he felt in his chest. There was no way he would be returning to his accursed wife.  “Maybe I should set up my own house up here,” he thought to himself. 

A thought easily distorted by the sudden snap of a twig. “Who is there?” Labongo barked, readying his fists for a mystery brawl. The rustling continued as a dark, massive figure emerged. A man as tall as a tree, and bold as the desert floor. His face was hidden from Labongo’s eyes, but nothing could hide his fierce physique; he was a warrior for sure. With both his arms raised to the sky and his spear firmly in his grasp, the man inched closer only to stop with the sudden twitch from Gipiir. “Do I discomfort you little warrior?” he asked mockingly. 

“Drop your spear on the ground and use your foot to shove it towards me,” Labongo commanded. The man smiled, amused for some reason. Tossing the spear to the ground he watched Labongo’s every move. “What worries you little warrior?”

“That would be none of your business, giant,” Labongo replied, “Now do as I have commanded,”

Kicking the spear towards Labongo, he watched as the chief struggled to lift the massive weapon. It was the size of a tree trunk and weighed as much as an adolescent child. “Do you like it?” the man asked.

“I am the one asking the questions around here,” Labongo grumbled under the weight. “I can give it to you if you’d like,” the man cheekily replied.

“Who, or what exactly are you?”

“For a small thing, you come with so many questions,” the man retorted, “Do you have some kind of high standing within that village by the valley?”

Silence enveloped the two, none willing to let his guard down before the other. 

“Fine, I will go first,” the man grumbled, “I am looking for a boy; about the height of a footstool, wild eyes like that of the fish and a sharp voice like the cry of a starved cat, have you seen him before?”

“No,”

“I guess I am wasting my time here then,” the man replied, “Give me my spear and I will be on my way,”

With a smug smile Labongo held the spear out of reach, “I do not think you understand your position here giant, you crossed paths with the mighty chief of Pubungu,”

“So what?”

“You owe me tribute for crossing into my lands,” Labongo rattled on as the two watched their every movement. 

“Oh, so you are the chief that banished his brother for losing a spear?” the man scoffed as he watched Labongo’s grip tighten upon the stick, “You really do like your spears, don’t you?”

The wind blew, drawing up a dust demon between the two as though playing the part of referee. “I need that for what I need to do,” the man continued, staring down at the arrogant look on Labongo’s face, “What do you think you gain from taking a traveller’s spear?”

“I get to tell every one that I bargained it off a giant,” Labongo replied.

“And you will finally receive all the love and respect meant for the chief of Pubungu,” the man replied, “You men and your egos,”

“Leave now, or the story will be about how I killed a giant for its spear,” 

The man laughed wholeheartedly, his chest thrusting with every majestic breath. “You think you can defeat me? A god? In combat?”

“A god? Then that makes for a better story,” Labongo replied.

“And if I win, what do I get in return?” the man asked only for Labongo to reply with silence.

“I want your brother, your child or your wife, your choice,” the man answered before Labongo got a chance. 

Forming a fighting stance, he watched the chief hesitate before readying himself. 

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEDNESDAY

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Gipiir and Labongo #18

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