It was the second time, this month, that Uncle Emeka had been woken up around midnight, by the sound of pounding on the inn’s front door. And this time, it felt like the door would soon give way as the whole inn was shaking.
He rushed down the stairs as if the inn was on fire, carrying a cudgel and passed by some patrons, who had opened their doors to check what was happening while still in their pyjamas.
As most of his regulars were farmers, who lived nearby, he wasn’t shocked or re-assured by their presence. However, he noticed that Nze was fully dressed when he passed him, with his sword even strapped to his waist, so he was glad for the company. He also noticed Jide’s door ajar but could not be bothered to figure out where that little rat was hiding.
“Stop, stop, I am coming…I’m coming. Don’t break down my door!”
Uncle Emeka did not want to waste any precious time, checking through the peep-hole as he felt the sight of him and Nze would be deterrent enough and so he quickly unlocked the front door.
Unfortunately for him, a gigantic man in armour, entered into the inn and threw him well across the room. Uncle Emeka did not even see him move clearly.
In a daze on the floor of the bar, Uncle Emeka was expecting Nze to attack or call for help but Nze only turned around and proceeded up the stairs.
The gigantic man was carrying a warhammer in his hand and started to swing it menacingly as he slowly approached a recovering Uncle Emeka. However, a short man who just entered the inn said to him, “Wait for masters instructions, he might be useful…after all the innkeeper knows all the towns gossip…he he he.”
The other patrons took a look at what was happening downstairs before rushing back to their rooms and bolting the doors.
The short man only laughed and used a knife to clean his fingernails, but thankfully the gigantic man had stopped approaching Uncle Emeka even though Uncle Emeka could tell that the gigantic man was still wrestling with his decision.
Moments later, the old man had come down the stairs and so had Nze with Aunt Bisi held by him in a firm grip.
“Explain.” said the old man.
Danjuma stepped forward and said to his master, “We found a tunnel in the ruins that led to an underground chamber, but from the tracks I found, it seemed that two kids had already been there before me. We figured they must be from this town so it was time to be more direct…he he he.” Danjuma explained while casting a lecherous grin at Aunt Bisi in her nightwear, with a protrusion in his pants.
“Master,” Nze added as he drew his attention, “the boy is missing…”
The old man frown at the others as he said, “You let someone leave?”
“No…” Danjuma started.
Nze interjected, “No master, he was gone before they got here…I…I didn’t even notice him leave. May be he found one and already…”
Anger could be clearly seen on the old man’s face as he figured out what Nze meant.
“So its been here all along. There had better be more than one. The boy won’t be able to get anywhere without help. Osaze go up and take care of the extras. Nze, Danjuma, by any means, make the innkeeper and his wife talk. It seems we should have done this all along. I will search his room, be quick.” The old man decided to check the room himself as he did not trust his subordinates.
The quiet night was again disturbed by screams and the sleeping town began to wake up to a nightmare.
Meanwhile, Musa and Jide were rushing to Nnenna’s house when they heard the first bloodcurdling scream.
Musa had seen the two men approaching in the night and had used his training to sneak Jide out of the inn before they got there. There had been no time to get anything or tell anyone. Now they were on their way to save Nnenna and as many people as the could. However, they were afraid to draw too much attention to themselves.
On hearing the screams, Musa grabbed Jide and raced to the Anizoba’s.
The Anizoba’s residence was the biggest in the town and situated not too far from the inn as both of them were located near the major thoroughfare of the town.
Musa’s speed was super human despite the additional weight and he easily scaled the wall of Nnenna’s house, bringing Jide along. However, the lights were lit in the house and the guards and the family were roused by the screams.
Musa whispered to Jide, “You have to go in an convince them. I will steal some horses and open their back door and gate. If they don’t believe you, you must hurry to the back of the house with Nnenna. I can’t wait long. Do you understand? We can’t save everyone.”
It was only now that Jide realised Musa was in black leather armour that had a head piece with two long straight daggers with black handles that seemed to suck the light at his side. After taking a few steps a way from Jide, it seemed Musa vanished into the night. Jide now realised what Musa meant when he said he was more proficient in stealth and subterfuge than direct confrontation.
Gathering his courage, Jide rushed to his friend’s house, shouting, “We have to get away, everyone we have to get away!”
Everyone in the Anizoba household was pulled to the sound of his desperate voice and went closer to him. Although this made things easier for Musa, just as Jide was about to explain further, he fell into another vision.