THE LAST COMPETITION … (18+) … Part 26



White light from Ikuku’s magical staff served as an illuminant in the dark voluminous rocky den of cleverness, hoping to meet the god of cleverness and defeating him in order to be free from the swards and guns of the Graths. All lies on Ken’s shoulder, a young clever boy, harmless and quiet. As they proceeded, even though he was walking side by side with Mercy, his mind had gone out of him, thinking of the very words of Odili: “ have to answer riddles in ten seconds otherwise lose your life and forever be attacked by the Graths.” The young boy also remembered his mother whom he had always wanted to be safe and happy. Why would all this happen when she wanted to have her wedding? He thought and thought.
They arrived to a brighter place, illuminated by moonlight which is to say that the sky became visible to them but rocks never disappeared on their way. Mercy looked up at the moon just like Ikuku did. The color of the moonlight camouflaged with that of his staff.
“How can we from inside come outside, yet without getting to our destination?” Mercy asked. “Will this journey end at all?” she added.
“It doesn’t matter. The end always reminds you of the beginning” Ikuku replied.
“What does that mean or are you indirectly talking to Ken again?”
Before Mercy could get a reply, Ken hurried to a corner and started vomiting. When Mercy wanted to rush him, Ikuku prevented her saying, “Don’t go near him!” She stopped as if paused with a remote.
Jade got surprised, staring at Ikuku. “What are you saying? Can’t you see he’s vomiting?” She also wanted to rush Ken, yet, Ikuku rebuked her saying, “Don’t you dare go near him!” She paused at the same spot Mercy remained pinned. Therefore the two girls stared at Ikuku, wondering what came over him.
“So you brought him here to let him die?” Mercy broke the silence. “I thought you are a good man not knowing that you’re a Wolff in a sheep clothing!” she added.
“Our body physiology determines our clothings” Ikuku substantiated.
“What?” Mercy glanced at Jade in confusion then looked back at Ikuku again, this time, glaring. “Are you kidding me? Must you always say something I don’t understand? What has body and clothing have to do with Wolff and sheep?”
“But you just said it yourself”
Jade looked back at Ken to see him sitting tiredly and still vomiting, then she hurried to Ikuku like a lioness after her prey. Her voice grew cold but sparked with anger. “I do not know what you are intending to do or the power you have, but read my lips, I will not watch my brother die in this den of insanity. Do your worst!” she ran to Ken, followed by Mercy.
However, Ikuku had become flabbergasted at the manner and boldness Jade spoke and disobeyed him. So he stared at them speechlessly.
Ken rested his head on Jade’s arms like a child on his mother’s while Mercy out water for him. Ken washed off his mouth with the water, breathing heavily. Mercy examined his temperature and turned to Ikuku. “His temperature is getting high!” she said, but Ikuku turned his back on them. Disappointing, she sigh then bent down to exam Ken the more.
“We can go home, Ken” Jade said as she whipped off food particles from his shirt. Suddenly, the magical eyeglasses began to beep from the bag. Hearing the sound, Ikuku turned to see Mercy bringing it out from the bag. She looked at it strangely before handling him to Ken who staggered up, put it on and began to shed tears regarding to what he saw through it. He removed it and glanced at Ikuku, while the girls waited in anticipation to hear from him.
“What’s it, Ken?” Jade asked him.
Ken remained quiet still staring at Ikuku.
“Ken?” Mercy called, yet, he didn’t say anything.
He dried his tears. “I’m fine. Please, I’ll like to walk alone as we proceed” his voice came dryly.
“I told them you needed to be alone as you said, but they wouldn’t listen” Ikuku said from a distance then continued. “Women react quickly just as the girls did and called me names. But they never used their subconsciousness to know that you were suffering from mental readiness which caused anxiety and rise of body temperature.” He walked closer to them, concentrating on Ken. “The Graths will be attacking the city by day-brake. You have seen it, haven’t you? That’s why the magical eyeglasses beeped. You can’t save everybody by going back, but you can by moving forward” silence creeped in. Ikuku patted Ken’s shoulder and led the way once again. Jade glanced at Ken and followed him. Mercy couldn’t leave him, so she stood with him silently, looking into his eyes.
“Go, I’ll be fine” Ken told her.
She shook her head negatively.
“Go, I’ll be fine” he repeated.
After staring at him for a while, Mercy walked out, sniffing in tears. Ken followed from behind. Of course he took record of everything and every word spoken by everybody at the arena.
Finally, they met the last messenger of god of cleverness. They could see a burning fire on a rock which brightened the place. That enabled them to see the messenger, standing on the middle of the road with arms folded like a bouncer. He was as huge as a wrestler without a single smile on his face. One could get scared by his look alone. Seeing him, Ikuku stepped aside likewise others thereby giving Ken space to stand before him. He looked up at him like a child looking up at a mango tree. He wasn’t scared of him rather scared of the riddle that might come from him.
“Uba the second, I am called the wise one” the huge man began. “No joke, no dullness and no kindness. Only cleverness” he paused thereby generating a few seconds tranquillity. “You have a few more hours to meet with the god of cleverness if you answer my riddles”
“Riddles?” Ken wanted to be sure.
“Yes, riddles” the wise one replied.
“Sorry, i thought I’ll be answering only one riddle”
“You have no choice here, young man”
Ken swallowed hard, waiting for him to shoot.
He cleared his throat then began. “I’ll ask you two riddles at the same time and you must answer each within ten seconds. Therefore, you have twenty seconds all together. Failure to do that, you’ll grow cold and die. First riddle..”
“Whoa whoa whoa” Ken interrupted him. “I’m not a computer. How do you expect me to grab two riddles at the same time and answer them at the same time too? I must have forgotten the second one after answering the first one”
“Like i said, you have no choice here” the wise one began. “First riddle: When I am filled, I can point the way. When I am empty, nothing moves me. I have two skins; One without and one within. What am I?
Second riddle: The man who invented me doesn’t want me. The man who takes me doesn’t need me. The man who needs me doesn’t know me. What am I?” He waited for a moment and said, “Your time starts now; nineteen, eighteen,…”
Meanwhile, Ken had bent down, jotting down his riddles on the ground with a rock. Though he didn’t get all the words, those he couldn’t get, he replaced them with a letter. As his time was getting exhausted, he stared at the two riddles he had jotted on the ground, thinking very fast. The last riddle wasn’t hard for him, so he concentrated on the first one. His time remained only seven seconds, yet, he had not said anything.
“C’mon, Ken” Mercy whispered.
Ikuku looked at her in a way to say: BE QUIET.
At the last count, Ken stood up, looking at the wise one. “You’re both glove and coffin” he answered.
The man didn’t say anything thereby maintaining constant eye contact and creating uncomfortable tranquillity because all stared at him to say something. He cleared his throat once again. “You are clever enough to met my god” he said.
Hearing that, Jade exhaled, Ikuku smiled while Mercy hugged Ken tightly. Surprisingly to her, she saw blood gushing out from his nose thereby changing her mood. Ikuku noticed how she stared at him with a sad face.
“What is it?” He drew nearer.
“He’s nose-bleeding” Mercy replied. Jade rushed at the place too to see Ken cleaning the blood. Meanwhile, the wise one had disappeared to only God knows where. Jade brought out a piece of fabric and began to clean the blood.
“What could be the cause?” Mercy asked Ikuku, but before he answered she said to him. “If you know you will just say what I won’t understand, don’t answer me @all”
Ken smiled.
Ikuku answered saying, “He has stressed his brain a lot, that’s why he’s nose-bleeding” he led the way expecting them to follow them, but Jade said to him, “Give us some break, please”
Ikuku sharply turned. “Why? The Graths will be invading the city by day break. We need to move on” he continued.
Ken looked at Jade. “He’s right. Let’s go”
“Are you sure you can handle it?”
Ken nodded.
The sun rose from east thereby giving out a brand new day for the people of Enugu. Already, news had been passed across that nobody should come out from his or her home because the Graths will be attacking from that morning. The city looked deserted as if rapture took place just like Ken saw in his dream. (See season 1 episode 1). No single being could be seen on the road of the city, only parked cars, flying animals and policemen who were ready for the Graths.
At the residence of Mr Raymond, armed securities surrounded the house, also ready for the Graths. Just as their eyes roamed around like that of dogs, a knock came from the gate. One of them opened it to see Mrs Jane, Mercy’s mother. Already, she had called Ken through her daughter’s phone, but Mrs Ukachi picked it and told her to come over for protection. Therefore, immediately the security man opened the gate, Mr Raymond shouted from a window, “Let her in! We told her to come”
When Mrs Jane entered into the house, her eyes caught with Mrs Ukachi’s. Of course Mrs Ukachi knew her very well as the wife of the man who deceived him, but Mrs Jane had no clue that she was her late husband’s mistress.
“Come in” Mrs Ukachi met her.
“My daughter ran after your son” she said as she was taking a seat.
“Really?” Mrs Ukachi sat opposite her with Mr Raymond. “I don’t know what to say” she added. “Let me get you some water” she stood up.
Wisdom and his father never failed to be ready for the Graths too at the hospital even as securities had been deployed to guide the hospital. Wisdom looked at his father from the sick bed where he put bullets in a gun. “I love you dad” he said.
Mr Dennis quit and looked at him. “I love you more, son, just like your late mother” he touched his head and continued while Wisdom smiled.
Back to the den of cleverness, Ken stood face to face with the god of cleverness, while Ikuku and co. stood behind him. They could see the liquid fire where the eyeglasses was formed. The god himself, had a simple appearance unlike his messengers. He was a handsome man of early thirties with bushy hair. Uncharacteristically, he was naked with a fabric tied round his waist without footwears. Even Ikuku became confused. Therefore he asked the man, “Are you the god of cleverness?”
The man didn’t respond to that rather sat down on a small stool behind him, staring at Ken. “Uba, your father didn’t come here by mistake, he was directed by me only because the magical eyeglasses chose him, but I later became disappointed because he couldn’t answer just a riddle which brought about the attack by the Graths” he stood up, walked towards the liquid fire and staring at it. From his statement, nobody told Ikuku that he was the god of cleverness. Suddenly, he came back and continued, still looking at Ken. “The Graths have been unlished on the city. The faster you answer the riddle which your father couldn’t answer, the less life they will take. Are you ready?”
Ken glanced at Ikuku. “Yes” he replied.
The god of cleverness went back to his seat and said, “I am known and remembered at my end, but totally forgetten in the middle. What am I?”


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