The beautiful altar before turned to dust but the soul was still floating like before. Ochieng' was wondering what was happening when the old man's voice resounded in his ears,
"There are things I am not allowed to talk about. What I was to tell you I have already told you. The other reason why I was sealed here was to give you an object that could help you in this journey. Once we finish this conversation, I will be gone but you will find the object. My I know your name before I go."
"I am Ochieng' Lwanda." Smiled Ochieng'.
"You are the seventeenth Lu Ordainer. You people from the Lu tribe are really blessed."
"Which tribe were you from elder?"
"I was from the Tata tribe my grandchild...Now, I want you to take care as you wander. This world is vast, you may meet dangers that may kill you before you do what you are supposed to do. Live well and continue helping humans stay safe. We shall meet again."
"We shall meet again." Ochieng' bowed respectfully and anxiously waited for what could happen next.
The soul dissipated immediately and the hall stayed quiet for around ten minutes. He then heard some rumblings before the hall started shaking intensely. This time he never felt any fluctuation of emotions. He had somehow grown immune to fear after the incident with Mbaraka Nyika.
When the shaking stopped, the hall remained quiet again. This time it was silent to an extent that Ochieng' could hear his own heartbeats.
Suddenly, a silver bracelet fell on the floor at exactly the center. Ochieng' went and picked it at once. The bracelet glowed almost blinding him for a few seconds. When he managed to see, he was already standing before Apeleka and the others. The bracelet was sparkling on his left wrist. His lover and friends were looking at him with moistened eyes.
Apeleka who could not just stand there ran to fall in his embrace. They hugged for a long time invoking the beasts' envy.
"Are you alright?" She asked after she left his arms.
"I am." Smiled the young man.
The other animals smiled at him and he nodded slightly as an indication that he was he was right.
"What did you come out with?" Jade Eagle asked after they had a short rest but when it saw the bitter smile on the young man's face, it decided to toss the issue aside. After all, Ochieng' came back from the 'vault' the same way he went.
What Ochieng' did not know was that apart from him who had the bracelet on his wrist, nobody or no beast could see it. After all, he was yet to learn what it really was.
"You had me leave my comfy edifice just to come and see an Ordainer disappear and appear with empty hands?" Ratong' trounced.
The others burst out in laughter. They really did not know what to tell this idiotic fellow.
"Hey Ratong'! After all the riding and exposure to the world, this is what you have to say? You even had a taste of the Holy water... you are such an ungrateful bastard!" Jade Eagle gibed.
"That is what you think? You told me we were going to obtain treasure that would make my powers soar by leaps and bounds. How else did you want to get h..."
"Enough!" Ochieng' came in with a smile, "It is very simple. Ratong' since you are not appreciating the ride, we will have you go back to the forbidden land by yourself. After all, you seem to be here because you were invited by your greed."
The others laughed again enraging Ratong'. There was nothing it could however do. It was the weakest fellow here after Apeleka. Since Apeleka was protected by Ochieng' and the others, Ratong' had nobody to vent its anger on.
"Tell me, what did you expect when you came?" Ochieng' asked seriously. Ratong' was his friend just like any other beast here.
"Ochieng' I am sorry. I was only anticipating great things here. I thought I could even obtain a wing!" Seeing that Ochieng' asked in good will, Ratong' answered with a bitter smile.
"How I wish I could give you wings." Ochieng' sighed.
As soon as Ochieng' finished, the bracelet shimmered and everyone saw Ratong's body morphing into a small and dark lion. It's skin became as hard as steel and its eyes became extremely red. Its look was savage and the aura around it changed such that Apeleka and the other beasts found it hard to breathe.
Dark wings with yellow patches appeared on the beasts back. Its ferocious eyes lit up with excitement. It flapped its newfound wings with great force. This sent off a series of winds that swept out like a raging tornado. Everyone present was blasted off like bullets from guns. Only Ochieng' stayed his ground.
Ochieng' lifted his left arm to take a closer look at the bracelet on his wrist. He really could not understand what was happening.
Seeing Ochieng' looking at his wrist with wonderment, the beast immediately understood that the changes that took place in its body was the doing of the young man. It roared with exhilaration. From its point of view, there was nothing peculiar about the young man's arm but his face showed that its changes had something to with his arm. It jumped to the young man and covered him with his wings laughing dementedly.
"Thank you brother, thank you brother."
It continuously patted the young man's back with its wings tears flowing uncontrollably from its red eyes. For the first time it felt this happy and it was for the first time it really felt the importance of that young man. The love and respect it had for him soared to another level.
Ochieng' however shook his head piercingly. Apeleka, the love of his life was lying not far away from him because of this dumb fellow, how could he be okay?
He pushed the beast away and ran for Apeleka leaving the beast sighing bitterly. He extended his hand and helped her up.
"Are you okay?" He did not forget to inquire affectionately.
"I am okay Ochieng'." She looked into his eyes and smiled.
"If I were her, maybe I would have received the same care." Jakony shook its head trying to get itself up.
"Are you jealous?" Mudho smiled at the bird jokingly.
After they were all up, they fixated their eyes on Ratong' who was jumping up and down with joy. Fear was manifestly written in their eyes. It dawned on them that Ratong' was the most powerful companion of theirs after Ochieng'.
Tout ensemble, Ochieng' only took less than one hour inside the vault. It was barely afternoon.
"Ochieng', what did you just do to Ratong'?" The lions tribe head inquired. It had been calm all this while and had seen everything that had taken place. Before they were sent flying a few minutes ago, Ochieng' made a wish and its brother underwent a transformation. Even though it was in a terrible condition at the moment, everything that had taken place did no not go past it.
The others also turned their heads to Ochieng'. Apart from Apeleka and Mudho who had fully recovered, the others were yet to. The two birds looked ugly in their unkempt state. Jade Eagle's appearance even looked exaggerated. One glance at it and one could think that it was an atrocious beast.
"I think I just made a wish and everything happened. I really don't understand." Ochieng' answered still looking at his wrist.
"What is in your arm Ochieng'?" Ratong' who had calmed down asked anticipatively. It had seen Ochieng's behavior during its transformation.
"Are you not seeing?" Ochieng' was bewildered. The bracelet was in his wrist for all to see. Furthermore he did not have it before he entered the hall, why was Ratong' acting like it was not seeing it?
"There is nothing in your arm Ochieng', do not try to fool us." That was Apeleka throwing a wicked smile at him.
Ochieng' widened his eyes in shock. When he saw that the others were nodding to agree with Apeleka, he chose not to talk about the bracelet. He tried making wishes for the other beasts but all was in vain. He tried making a wish for Apeleka but failed. He decided to forget about the wishes for the time being.
"It seems we are going to have a new rider this time round." Ochieng' rolled his eyes at Ratong' who was elated beyond imagination.
Ratong' wanted to riposte because of its size but when he willed to enlarge, it happened immediately what made it smile from ear to ear.
"Let us go!"
It shouted joyfully and without wasting time, the others jumped on its back and the lion disappeared.
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