9 Battle in the dark
Nze reigned in near Danjuma with blood on his sword and horses hooves as he had mowed his way through all the townspeople obstructing him. He paused as he attempted to pick Danjuma up onto the horse, asking "where did they go? why did you shout mage?"
"There is no time to talk," Danjuma cut him off, "Hurry, their heading out of town but be careful the boy is with an internal mage, at the very least."
As Nze abandoned his shield with Danjuma and prepared to charge after the pair, they caught sight of the town constables racing towards them, joined by a crowd of angry family members holding farming and household tools as weapons. Danjuma removed his knives from the injured horse and said to Nze with a smile, "Go, I will clean this up."
Meanwhile, back at the Anizoba's residence, the old man could not control his excitement as he hurried towards the sphere on display in the glass case. He was so impatient that he punched through the glass to grab the sphere causing severe wounds to his hands.
As soon as the blood on his hands touched the sphere, it was absolved into it and became weightless just as with Nnenna. However, what was odd, was that, the severe wound on the old man's hand could be seen to be rapidly healing.
"What... what are you? Wait... are you guys Knights? What are Knights doing here?" Tunde asked with fear and bewilderment in his voice.
However, the old man just laughed and ignored him. A strange blue radiance seemed to flow from the old man towards the sphere causing the sphere to expand.
In addition, this seemed to trigger a chain reaction as water drops started appearing on the surface of the sphere; then another convergence of energy centered around the old man and the sphere and a sharp blue light spread throughout the house.
After a short while, the sphere, equally, cracked with shards scattering around the foyer and then a snake like creature with horns on its head floated up into the air from the remains and circled around the old man.
"Finally, finally. I am a real mage. After all this time." the old man said, then turning back to the Anizoba's, he continued, "It's time to celebrate Osaze. You can go and help the others finish off the town. I am going to play a game with these people...a game I love so much which I like to call 'who can survive the longest'...all three of us will play, yes even me, but you should know that I never lose...ha ha ha haha"
Musa pushed the horse to move faster despite the additional weight and the inconvenience of riding through the forest.
They had left the town and were making good progress towards the place were Musa had stashed their getaway pack in one of the entrances to the abandoned mine near the town. However, he had heard the sound of galloping behind him so he had diverted from the official path to the mines and was racing through the forest in order to lose his pursuer.
The night was as clear as day to him so he could easily navigate through the forest paths and only hope that his pursuer would find it had catch up- at least not before they reached the mines.
Therefore, as soon as he saw the mine entrance up ahead, Musa relaxed and, remembering his training, his breathing became imperceptible and his eyes changed into that of a predator.
Nze did not like it.
He saw the horse he was chasing tied to a tree in front of the mine and contemplated killing it. It seemed this 'mage' that Danjuma mentioned was so confident of handling him in the mine that he took the time to tie his horse. Nze didn't even know if there were more mages in the cave.
Luckily, his elemental affinity and normal fighting style were suited to tight spaces and even multiple opponents as his metal element increased his defense. Strength, speed and defense. The three guards of his master, even though his master as a self-healer from the water element, and someone who had even learnt from those old monsters, didn't need any assistance.
However, what mattered now was that he had left his shield with Danjuma in order to catch up so he was in a more dangerous situation.
Equally, there was no time to waste as Nze didn't know if there were other exits to the mine. So he entered cautious with his body crouched in on himself and his sword held diagonally in front.
As he proceeded further in, Nze was further annoyed that he didn't have a torch as the tunnel was pitch black but then he figured it would affect all of them anyway and he could rely on his other senses. In fact, he felt himself relax as if he could sense the metal around him.
The mine shaft was initially broad but narrowed as it sloped downwards. However after a couple meters down it abruptly widen as the shaft had hit a natural cave underground. There were stalactites and stalagmites littered around the cave but unfortunately Nze coud not see anything.
As he proceeded forward, he suddenly felt apprehensive as if something was staring at him in the dark. Just when he was telling himself to relax, his sixth sense indicated an attack from his back so he swung his sword ruthlessly behind him. Although, his sword passed through nothing, he, himself, felt a blade stab through the seams of his metal armor and leave a long gash on his ribs.
He kicked in the direction he thought his assailant was in and followed up with another slash of his sword but it was like he was fighting against a ghost. None of his attacks struck but blades appeared all around him from the dark. He was taking many wounds but his metal guard ability reduced the extent of the damage. Realizing he needed to do something different, he protected his vitals and began to back up as best he could. Just as he was moving back he tripped on an exposed rock and opened up his guard.
Musa had slipped back into the shadow of his training and was again comfortable in the darkness as he assaulted the man he had been watching for a month. He didn't have much experience fighting against mages, especially given his control issues, but he felt that the man before him had an unusually strong defense.
However, all he needed to do was make sure Nze stayed outside the mine as he knew the way to another exit, which was close enough to a farm, where they could find horses. In fact, he had tied the horse outside to fool his pursuer.
Therefore, he was glad when he saw Nze backing up.
But when he saw him trip, creating an opening, Musa could not resist charging forward to finish him off.
Jide was crouched in one of the side tunnels.
Musa had told him to practice the breathing and control that he had been training as a way to stay quiet.
So Jide was in as comfortable a position as possible as he visualized the energy within him, flowing around his body with his breath. As his body calmed down from the adrenaline rush, he finally fell into a trance and saw the clearest vision so far such that it did not feel like a vision. It actually felt like he was experiencing it in vivid detail with an omni-directional view and slowed time.
The vision was of Musa's fight with Nze and he was glad as it seemed that Musa had the advantage. But as he saw Musa move to finish of the stumbling Nze, there was a glint in Nze eyes that Jide could see clearly. Then Nze quickly changed the direction of his sword, succeeding in stabbing it into an unsuspecting Musa.
"NO!" Jide screamed as he woke up from his vision.