The moment the map left his hand, Ochieng' jumped towards the beast and sent a strong kick on its navel. The beast who was reaching for the map did not expect the kick. The kick landed forthrightly on its bellybutton.
The beast squalled loudly before falling with a great thud. The map it had barely caught was reached for by Jade Eagle.
"Why did you do that?"
The animal roared at Ochieng' ignoring its pain.
"You will know soon."
Ochieng' answered indifferently walking gradually towards the beast. Every step he took made the jackal's heart beat faster and faster. It knew it was currently powerless and its life was in the hands of this young man.
"You know you are not a match for me. Where do you find the gumption to come at me?"
It decided to act lofty, maybe that could impose fear on the young man. It stood up as if nothing had happened trying hard to hide its pain. Unfortunately, the young man kept walking towards it. Its heart sunk.
"Since you want your death, I will grant you your wish."
Forthwith it said so, the beast sent its paw towards Ochieng' with all its might. Its speed and power had greatly reduced after its Achilles point had been hit. It withal did not want to show any weakness lest it lost its life.
Ochieng' intercepted the incoming paw with his fist. As soon as they collided, the massive beast was sent flying a few mitres away.
The others had more or less recovered and were looking at the battle in awe. They could not believe that the huge beast could be sent flying with just a blow from Ochieng'.
He did not give the jackal any chance to escape or think of anything, he arrived before the beast immediately it landed. He lifted his right arm to strike and do away with it.
Knowing that it had been cornered, it decided to end this softly for the sake of its life. After all, its life was more important than any other thing. Where there is life there is hope.
"What do you want to say? Great Jackal, Oh, Dark Jackal from North?" Ochieng' asked with a smirk.
"Please spare my life. I promise to give you everything I have... " The beast pleaded but was cut short by Ochieng'.
"I don't want anything from you, not after you made an attempt on my girl and my friends. After you joined your ancestors, try to teach the future generations how to conduct themselves properly. Teach them the importance of keeping a low profile."
Before the beast could even react, Ochieng's fist sunk in its massive head.
It was already crepuscle. Ochieng', Apeleka and the others chose not to see the lagoon. They instead looked for a comfortable place to spend their night in.
At this time, the two tribe heads had also arrived at a remote place far from Lang tribe. The place was covered with trees and shrubs. They moved deeper into the forest for around fifteen minutes before an old hut appeared before them.
Even though it was old, its beauty was still worth admiration.
"This is the place." Luvembe nodded leaving Lokoit confused.
They jumped from their horses, left them to graze around before they walked to the door of the hut.
"Who wants trouble with these old bones at this far place at this time of the day? Children should be sleeping." An ancient voice came from inside the hut the moment the two men knocked its door.
"Why should I look for trouble with the great Kuru Kureri?" Laughed Luvembe.
"It is you again Luvembe. What are you still waiting there for. Come on in."
"This old man has been living here all alone with no companion. You have no idea how elated I am if some humans can still find it in their hearts to pay me a visit. Let me bring you a gourd of milk, you must be tired after the long journey."
After they got in, they found a thin old man with white hair and shining skin sitting inside in a dimly lit room. The man never stopped grinning after he saw the two men. He welcomed them and after he gave them stools to sit on, he walked to another room and when he appeared again, he had three large gourds.
He gave Luvembe and Lokoit one gourd each and remained with one. They drank milk silently for quite some time before the old man spoke excitedly,
"I can see you walked with a friend brother Luvembe, will I be asking for too much if I ask his name?"
"Not really. I am Lokoit Tangkok, the tribe head of Lang Tribe." Lokoit answered respectfully.
"Haha! I did not know I had become an honorable. I can't believe I have just been visited by two tribe heads at the same time...Honorable Lokoit, which Lang sub tribe do you lead?" The old man's eyes lit up as he asked the question.
"I lead the Nadi sub tribe sir..."
"No no no! Don't call this lowly one 'sir'. It is an honor to meet the tribe head of the great Nadi sub tribe." Kuru Kureri interrupted Lokoit seriously.
"Lokoit, this is Kuru Kureri, a wizard and a Mogwedhi who decided to leave the great Kuri tribe to come and lead a peaceful life here in the woods. He is a great wizard, not even Wizard Lanok can be his match." Luvembe introduced the old man to Lokoit.
"You flatter me Luvembe. Lokoit, I am only an ordinary wizard just like any other. In fact, Lanok and I were students of the same teacher."
Lokoit could not believe what Kuru said. After all, Lanok disappeared from their tribe over fifty years ago after he had served the tribe for a very long time. Even when he appeared a few days ago, he was already a very old man. He could not imagine Kuru's real age.
"That is true. Wizard Lubaku Mukenge, our teacher was a nifty wizard ten thousand seasons ago. No wizard could be his match. We met him one thousand seasons ago when he was almost joining his ancestors. Since he did not want his power to die with him, he imparted them to fifty men and thirteen women who used to serve him when he was at the prime of his life. All these wizards obtained abilities to live long from him. If neither of them met with unexpected fatal experiences, they were bound to live for long."
"Tell me Lokoit, Lanok met something black sometimes back and went into hiding. Is he still in hiding?" Kuru asked, his eyes wetting a little obviously waiting to hear news about an old friend.
"He was killed a few weeks ago immediately he made his appearance." Lokoit answered hurriedly his excitement changing to sadness. That was his tribe's guardian for God's sake.
"He was killed. How is that possible! Apart from Okeyo Kware from Lu tribe and Myself, nobody from Kuri tribe in the south to Kalek tribe in the north is capable of doing that. Okeyo travelled to a land far beyond the seas and was Lanok's best friend so there is no possibility of him killing Lanok and I am here, Who did it?" Kuru asked his eyes emitting a terrifying killing intent.
Okeyo Kware was an anonymous person in the Lu tribe. He used to work for Lubaku Mukenge many years ago when he was still very young. He inherited Lubaku's skills and ventured into dangerous lands after his teacher died. He came to acquire several powers and skills in his hazardous adventure making him greater than his teacher himself, let alone his fellow students. Being a close friend to Lanok, the latter became powerful as well but after Kuru. Kuru was a Mogwedhi besides being a wizard, his power was beyond understanding.
Okeyo realized he was too powerful to lead a humble life and keep a low profile in the small Lu tribe. He decided to travel to where only he knew. Only the wizards that were taught by Lubaku knew him so his stories were never told. He had been away for centuries, it was not possible that he was the one who killed Lanok. After all, he was too powerful to waste his time with the lives of people like Lanok who was like an ant before him.
"He was killed by a bird." Lokoit answered lowering his head.
A cracking sound was heard in the room and what followed next were the parts of Kuru's gourd of milk scattered all over the floor. His eyes had turned wet and red from anger. The aura he emanated made the two tribe heads shrink in fear. The blood vessels on his temples bulged and the killing intent in his eyes made it difficult for one to look directly into his eyes.
"I promised Okeyo to protect this friend of his. Now he is dead. What will I tell him when he comes back?" The old man roared. If one was to look keenly into his eyes, one could see the fear this Kuru had on Okeyo.
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