Wayel Kati: The Quest of the Seven Guardians
Multiple long spears flew through the air and some even struck the beast and made him roar in anger. Sana took her chance and escaped the monster’s claws while he fell on his knee and injured himself.
Iwan looked around and saw his ministers carefully administering the soldiers for long-range attacks. He felt grateful, but at the same time, mortified. He quickly crawled towards Sana, who was desperately trying to awaken the injured Laiba.
‘Will he be alright?’ asked Sana with teary eyes.
‘Laiba, Lord Laiba?’ Iwan gently nudged the boy but he lay still.
‘Oh Guardians!’ Sana cried helplessly and looked around the chaotic battle between the soldiers and Keioiba.
Iwan rubbed his tears away and tried shaking Laiba to consciousness. Startlingly, Laiba abruptly opened his sparkling eyes and cried, ‘We will be fine! God! What a coincidence!’
While Iwan was struggling to inquire about the bizarre revival and the remark, a bright golden object hurled across the sky and fell right at the centre of the demolished pavilion. Everyone halted their busy battle for a moment, even Keioiba, who turned around to look at the mysterious light.
Iwan narrowed his eyes to look closely at the blinding piece of gold and, to his horror, realized it was a gigantic golden serpentine dragon with antlers, claws, wings and mane.
It immediately turned towards Keioiba and began to wrestle with the creature stubbornly. Keioiba looked small for the first time. The dragon was huge and majestic, covered in glistening golden scales. Its lengthy body curled and twisted while it fought with the tiger-man.
Keioiba tried his best to put his feet on the ground, but the enormous dragon that came out of nowhere began to overpower him. Realizing that his chance at abducting his bride would not be fruitful in the presence of the dragon, he turned towards the eastern forest for escape.
Keioiba leapt away and the dragon flew behind him. The soldiers also followed, more from the desire to witness the unnatural battle between the two. Knowing that the beast was retreating, the dragon slowed down and shrieked a triumphant cry, but he realized he had made a terrible mistake. Keioiba, before leaping away through the forest, captured a handful of soldiers and ran off into the dark. The dragon howled regretfully, but Keioiba was already gone with the soldiers into the dark abyss.
The golden dragon flew back to the destroyed pavilion and landed heavily over the rubble.
‘What is this?’ Iwan murmured, his eyes stuck on the divine beauty.
‘The golden egg,’ Laiba replied weakly.
One of the guardians?’ Sana asked, but nodded as if replying to herself.
‘Our fourth companion,’ Laiba smiled.
The dragon stared at them and then, with thick smoke emerging out of its long nostrils, began to transform into a young boy of around Iwan’s age. Another young boy!
The teenage boy was fair, with long silky hair, slim face, dark beady eyes, pink, plump lips and a thin body. He was a lot taller than Iwan, and most noticeable about him were the pair of golden earrings dangling heavily from his thin earlobes—a chommai. He wore a beautiful cotton loincloth with a tiger and python motif, laced cotton shirt crossed over the chest and a single but large string of gold and stone neckpiece. He smiled at Iwan, while receiving an awkward one from him in return.
‘I am Lungchum! You can call me Lungchum!’ the boy said, running up to the flabbergasted trio.
‘Incredible…’ Laiba said and grinned.
‘What… I mean, who are you?’ Iwan struggled.
‘I am Lungchum, the crown prince of Moirang, King Kongding’s adopted son,’ Lungchum answered, as excited as ever.
‘You can turn into a dragon?’ Sana gaped.