Musa did not waste anymore words as he channelled his dark essence and entered the shadow path.
He rematerialised behind Ubong already realising a back hand backstab with corrosive dark essence coating his blade. However Seun was responsive enough due to his pre-cognitive ability, so he instinctively drove the shield on his left hand backwards to deflect Musa’s attack.
The corrosive force destroyed his shield but had provided enough time for Ubong to distance herself and Seun followed up with a thrust from his sword which just passed through Musa’s shadow image that dissipated into dark smoke.
As the dark smoke cleared, five silhouettes of Musa charged at Ubong and Seun to encircle and finish them off but Ikemefuna and the rest of the mercenary group had had enough time to react and charged forward. Ikemefuna rotated executing a whirlwind slash with his great sword to scatter three dark clones of Musa’s.
Following this, more and more members of the caravan were joining the fray to protect their new mates while Ubong was concentrating light energy in her eyes to search for the real Musa, but, this time, it was to no avail.
Turayo finally recovered and shouted, “Stop Musa. We can’t act rashly. I realise I acted hastily; our alliance right now is shaky at best but our enemies are powerful and still united despite the atrocities they commit. It is my fault for starting the infighting, but if what that brawny guy with the great sword said is true, we must let reason prevail for now at least.”
Musa’s voice came from the shadow of a branch while the melee with his clones was still on-going.
“Aunt… No elder Turayo. My anger must be satisfied. Niyi’s death must be avenged. I am willing to postpone her recompense but then we must go now after the hand that directed the knife, your nephew Hafis. What say you?” Musa responded in an indifferent voice though his emotions were as sharp as a blade.
After he finished speaking, Musa’s clones disappeared into thin air and Musa’s form emerged hanging upside down from the shadow of a tree branch.
He was dressed in camouflage black and dark grey leather armour with a cloak made of pure dark essence that seem sentient and was in perpetual motion.
But the most chilling aspect was his eyes which were a gate to the abyss.
“Stay, stay your hand for now she could be useful.” Turayo responded in anguish, “We… will go after Hafis immediately.”
“So be it.” Musa added and vanished.
“My power as an internal mages is really limited compared to external mages.” Jide said to himself as he laughed.
He had just tried for the millionth time to enter into the time stream again by triggering his visionscape but had failed again.
Jide wanted to access the time stream again to check the conditions of his friends. He was riddled with guilt about abandoning Musa because he had seen Hafis betrayal clearly and was initially going to solve that problem.
However, his revelation had shown him a larger threat.
A threat that could be cataclysmic.
Therefore, Jide joined caravans, rode alone, travelled by boat and did anything possible to get to the forgotten lands as quickly as possible. So by now, he had passed all the inhabited places and would have to travel through wild, abandoned lands, roaming with monsters.
As Jide unstrapped his great sword he remembered the last peaceful day he had when he and Nnenna were fighting monsters outside their little town.
“Wait for me Nnenna. I will definitely be on time, definitely. Everything will be solved… once I find the Mandela clan”
“Your understanding of internal mages and external mages is limited at best.” Ibrahim stated unapologetically.
“So today we will be laying the foundation for all of you, including you Tunde as a refresher. After a week of training, I will no longer train Amina or Tunde. I only accept exceptional talents as formal students; so I will be working with Nnenna and Obi exclusively.” Ibrahim continued.
“Better pay attention” Ibrahim started, “most of our knowledge is on internal mages but there are still some records from the era of external mages we will examine later. Fortunately, I encountered a Monk in my youth who accepted to train me as an outer disciple. My teacher never told me where he was from, except that he was a part of the Mandela clan, but I suspect he wasn’t even from this continent. His knowledge was too vast.”
“Infernal mages are actually categories as Warriors who just use their ability anyhow, Knights who have mastered their ability and may even have manifested one sub-ability and Monks who have various sub-abilities. The barrier between Warrior and Knights is just training both the body and the power, but to reach a Monk, you must learn to control the side-effects from the emotional imbalance elemental energy causes. And obviously you know about the rare dual-elemental mage.” At this Ibrahim pointed at himself with a smile.
“So we will first start with training the body. Welcome to my own, self-designed obstacle course.” Ibrahim said as he led the group out into the backyard of the residence provided by the Oshodi Kingdom. He had transformed the place with ropes and stakes into a convoluted obstacles course with moving and stationary parts.
Nze walked into the throne room feeling very apprehensive. He was left with the thankless task of informing the old man about Ubong’s escape. This was particularly frustrating for him as he had just recently told his master about Danjuma’s death and Musa’s escape. But it could not be avoided.
Nze walked upto the old man and genuflected before saying, “Reporting to Emperor Sesi Mandela…