After getting the hidden answer in the incredible riddle, Ikuku waited to hear from the strange tortoise-man who said nothing but stared at him with his hands folded thereby showcasing his six-packs and hard muscles. The shell of a tortoise could be seen on his back while his head totally displayed the head of a tortoise. Only a small rounded fabric covered his waist, hence, nobody knows if his manhood was that of a tortoise or a human being. As Ikuku waited patiently, still returning the stare, a small creeping tortoise began to climb the body of the tortiose-man. Ikuku got fed up.
“Clever one” he broke the silence. “What’s the fate of the young boy with the magical eyeglasses in his possession?”
“Hazardous” the tortoise-man replied then continued. “The magical eyeglasses was forged in the liquid fire of Mount Loom. It sees the horrible part of the future and anyone whom it has chosen must do his damnedest not just to protect it but also take up the responsibility of saving lives.”
Ikuku thought for a while. “Whom it has chosen?” he murmured then took a step forward. “Late Mr Uba kept it for his son, Ken, so he wasn’t chosen by the eyeglasses”
“If he wasn’t chosen, the Graths won’t be after him and anyone who knows about the eyeglasses through him”
“Graths?” Ikuku became confused, while the tortiose-man bent down, carry one of the creeping tortoises and placed it on his shoulder.
“Yes, those men in black are called Graths and they must see that the bearer of the eyeglasses dies, and anyone who knows about it”
The tortoise-man giggled and began to walk to a nearby dwarf tree where he placed the tortoise on one of the branches. “The reason why the Graths attack him must be unlocked first” he replied, turning his back on him.
“Unlock? How?” Ikuku’s curiosity increased.
“Have you forgotten where you are, old man?” The tortoise-man returned back to his position and initial posture, like a bouncer. “You are in the the den of cleverness. Therefore you must answer a riddle to unlock the answer you seek”
“Shoot” Ikuku transferred his staff from one hand to the other, getting ready for the riddle.
“You’re escaping a labyrinth, and there are three doors in front of you. The door on the left leads to a raging inferno. The door in the center leads to a deadly assassin. The door on the right leads to a lion that hasn’t eaten in three months. Which door do you choose?”
The riddle was once again another bomb for Ikuku. He stood firm wrecks his brain for several minutes without knowing which door he would choose to open in such situation. He exhaled deeply, hopelessly directing his eyes to the tortoise-man. “What’s ranging inferno?” he asked.
“A large fire that is dangerously out of control” he answered sincerely. After a long wait, the tortoise-man smiled and said, “Old man, if you can’t get riddles as simple as this, how much more the young boy who must travel to mount Loom to set himself free from the wrath of the Graths because he must answer riddles harder than this till the end of his journey”
Ikuku met his eyes. “You mean Ken will travel to mouth Loom?”
“Yes, to do that which his father couldn’t do, hence brought about the attack by the Graths who killed him”
“What couldn’t the father do?”
“Unlock the answer with the riddle I asked you coz what the father couldn’t do is the reason why the Graths are after him and anyone who knows about the magical eyeglasses” the tortoise-man carried another creeping tortoise to the dwarf tree. “You have ten seconds to answer the riddle, old man, otherwise leave my den” he said without looking at him and began to count down from ten, nine, eight..
Ikuku bent down his head, before he could raise it up again, his time expired.
The tortoise-man turned. “Leave my den” he commanded and began to go back to the confusing image.
“Please, you need to help the young boy!” Ikuku pleaded in a loud voice.
“The young boy must die like his father coz I believe he won’t be able to do that which his father couldn’t do, just like you couldn’t answer a simple riddle” he vanished into the confusing image, while Ikuku became disappointed. Therefore he turned to leave hopelessly. In his life, no riddle had ever been difficult for him, then why now? He thought as he was leaving the den of cleverness. Just after moving out of sight, he hurriedly came back and said, “I know the answer now! Please, come back, the clever one!” he didn’t hear a response but only the echo of his own voice. “Please, I beg of you! I know my time has expired, but for the sake of the young innocent boy, come and hear me out!” he waited and waited until he losed hope and began to stagger out, but a voice came from behind.
“What’s the answer?”
Ikuku turned sharply. “I must not choose the left door because I’ll be consumed by fire. I must not also choose the center door because I’ll be killed by a deadly assassin, but I’ll choose the right door that leads to a lion that hasn’t eaten in three months”
The tortoise-man smiled. “Correct, but why?” he folded his hands staring at the old man.
“Because the lion is dead”
“How do you know?”
Ikuku boldly stepped closer to him. “I know because no animal stays hungry in three months and remains alive”
“Bravo, old man” he smiled. “Now, listen let me tell you what Uba couldn’t do which the young boy must do in order not to be killed by the Graths and anyone who knows about the eyeglasses” he began to tell him..
Back to the city, at Roland hospital, Wisdom had woken up to see Ken standing beside his bed. His breathing rate changed. He couldn’t move his head but his hands and legs could make an inch movement. Ken bent down to hear from him when he saw his mouth quivering to talk.
“They wanted to kill me, Ken. What did I do? Am I the one with the magical eyeglasses?”
Ken met his sad eyes. “I know all this, Wisdom. I just discovered that anyone who knows about the eyeglasses will be attacked by these men. That’s why you must not tell anybody about it to keep them safe”
Wisdom groaned. “What have you gotten me into? And who are these men?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I hope Ikuku comes back with the answer” he stood up.
Wisdom became surprise. “Ikuku?”
Just then, Mr Dennis and the doctor walked inside the ward, while Ken gradually left the hospital to their house. It was already getting late. He entered into his room to see Ikuku standing at the window once again. So he did not only become frightened but also gasped with a hand on his chest.
“Must you always behave like a ghost?”
Ikuku turned from the window. “A ghost wouldn’t find a riddle so difficult in the den of cleverness”
Ken stepped forward. “What do you mean? That reminds me; the eyeglasses developed what I don’t understand. It beeped with red light yesterday. After I wore it, I saw a little girl fell from a swing at the city mall in the next two and half hours. I thought I’m only to first call the names of…”
“Listen, lad” Ikuku interrupted him. ” In any way you can save lives with the eyeglasses, do it coz it’s your responsibility, and you must not allow it taken from you by anybody”
“What about the men in black?” Ken spread his hands.
“Graths” Ikuku walked towards an iron bed and sat on its edge. “They are called Graths” he clarified then continued as Ken sat beside him. “The Graths are not attacking you to take the eyeglasses. They are working so tirelessly to see you and anyone who knows about the eyeglasses dead.”
“Why?” Ken stared at his lips.
“Because you have not done that which your father couldn’t do”
Ken thought for a while, bending his head downward. However, Ikuku anticipated for him to ask him what the father couldn’t do. Suddenly, he raised his head up and asked, “What’s that?”
Ikuku stood up. “Late Mr Uba, your father, unknowingly journeyed to mouth Loom in the course of hunting as a hunter. Fortunately, the magical eyeglasses chose him as the bearer. He needed to answer a riddle to be able to use the eyeglasses in peace, but couldn’t answer it. He left with the eyeglasses because he knew that would make him a god because only gods see the future tragedy. So due to he couldn’t answer the riddle, the Graths were sent by the god of cleverness of mouth Loom to kill him but never to take the eyeglasses” he looked at Ken. “So lad, the riddle was what your father couldn’t do”
Ken stood up too. “Are you saying, I have to travel to mouth Loom to answer the riddle?”
“Yes, after you must have answered other riddles before the main riddle, and I don’t think you can do it” Ikuku replied.
He placed a hand on his shoulder. “I found myself not being able to answer a riddle at Irie den of cleverness, and I was made to understand by the clever one that the riddle was simpler than the ones at mouth loom. So tell me, lad, how can you answer riddles harder than the one I sweated like a Christmas goat before I got it right? And you must do it within the interval of ten seconds”
Hearing all that, Ken became speechless staring at Ikuku like a hunter aiming at an antelope to be shot dead…
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