The mountain of a giant staggered through the bushes. Each step was a reminder of what he had to do for the little chief. A moment of sincerity he was proud of having succumbed to. The eyes of his youth had flashed before him in that one moment. Strong, rash, and eager to prove their might. How he missed such simpler days. His vision blurred for a mere second before he steadied himself. His legs trembled with every step, almost giving way. Was he really growing old?
“I am the mighty Kaikuzi. Who can defeat me?” he mumbled in encouragement, “Most definitely not a small mortal.” He growled under his breath.
Just then, a few twigs broke close to him. The giant tried to open his eyes to catch a glimpse of what was headed his way. Who was this shaggy and haggard mortal?
Two pairs of eyes stared into each other, one relieved and one burning like fiery embers. The crowd that had been chanting was now silent as a graveyard. Even Adeke, who was hanging by Gipiir’s neck, landed on her feet, slowly stepping away from Gipiir while giving a slight bow to her Chief. Everyone was slowly backing away from the two warriors whose chests were both heaving, but for different reasons all together. A small circle unconsciously formed around the two brothers; it looked like they were getting ready for a showdown.
Labongo could not hide his relief upon seeing his brother back. He quickly looked him over to make sure he was not harmed and then he immediately set his eyes on the spear in his brother’s hand.
The beginning of a hatred between two brothers that had loved each other so. What had happened to the admiration that was always reflected in the eyes of Gipiir whenever he set eyes on Labongo? It was replaced with a dark, empty glare.
Labongo’s eyes suddenly turned cold. He squinted them into small slits as he looked back into Gipiir’s eyes. His hand tightly squeezed his even bigger and enormous spear. He gripped it with both hands as they began to tremble from its weight.
“I see you have returned,” said Labongo.
“Did you anticipate that I would not make it out of the thicket you pushed me into?” asked Gipiir, tilting his head to the side, curling his lips into a crooked grin.
There it was. The smile of mockery. He still was the proud fool that had walked back into the bushes for that damned spear. Had Gipiir really learnt nothing of what Labongo was trying to embed into him? Boy that little man really did have a thick skull, no wonder his head was enormous.
Gipiir looked at the spear in his brother’s hands. His face, twisting with rage. Just what was that spear made of? It did not look like an ordinary spear. He quickly raised his eyes only to catch the self righteous Labongo smile in approval of the intimidation he read on Gipiir’s face.
“I thought you would never return that spear, “ Labongo said, giving a slight pause, “so I acquired a stronger and mightier weapon. “ He finished, then followed his words with a roar of laughter.
Gipiir squinted his eyes until they were the size of two small peas. What did this self righteous idiot take him for? Did he know everything he had endured just for this damned spear. Symbol of the tribe’s leader his left eyeball. Was all that suffering for nothing? Gipiir suddenly raised his voice in laughter. It was a deep laughter that made the ground shake like the it was the night of the tribal dance. It had suddenly dawned on Gipiir. This was all a game. It was just good old Labongo showing his power as the mighty chief.
“Not every man can wield the key to power, eh Labongo!” Gipiir bellowed.
Labongo widened his eyes, bewildered at the thunderous voice that came from Gipiir. Gipiir gave another hearty laugh , bending over and clutching his belly with his hand that was not holding the spear.
Suddenly Gipiir let out a strained laughter. One straight from the gut, sharp as a stem and fake as any lie. He was angry and anyone could see it despite his facade. Instantly stopping to a deafening silence, he spoke up, “I return to you your key to power- Brother!” said Gipiir, holding out the Spear for Labongo with a slight bow.
Labongo handed his heavy spear to a warrior that was standing closest to him with a low chuckle.
“Take this. I have to embrace my brother.” Said Labongo, with a slight nod of approval.
Two chests heaved as the pair made contact in an embrace. One excited and content while another was scarred and ferocious. As Labongo led Gipiir to his hut for a warm homemade meal, his hand on Gipiir’s now broad shoulders, he had no idea what lay ahead of him.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK ON WEDNESDAY