"I knew we weren't alone in there" Chi exclaimed as the world around them began to materialize.
"What are you going to do now?" she asked.
Chris was lost in thought and could barely hear anything Chi was saying. All he could think about was Ronke and how he was going to make this right.
"She probably thinks I'm a wizard or even worse thinks she's going mad" he thought to himself.
The first option would have been totally wrong anyways. Chris wasn't a wizard by any standards although Chi on the other hand was a mage of the second order.
In retrospect, meeting her changed his life in many positive ways but he still could help but feel like it was both a gift and a curse.
As a child, Chris had always been a wild card. He was terrible at school and didn't do so well class. This wasn't because he wasn't smart, in fact you would think he was a genius if you saw him play sports or participate in any of the vocational subjects. His major problem was that he didn't have the patience to learn, all he wanted to do was 'do'.
Chi on the other hand was the best student in his class and in their primary school. A Straight A’s student who was always on time, she never spoke to anyone or had any friends in class. Most students thought she was a snob and although this was true to a large extent, it didn't change the fact that most people were just jealous.
They never crossed paths as they both existed in two different worlds until that Friday. Friday was Chris' best day in school because classes were short and the rest of the day was dedicated to sporting activities, Chi on the other hand usually disappeared after classes on Fridays and was nowhere near the field.
Oddly enough on this Friday, Chi was around for sports. Although she was a spectator mostly, she was on the field till the end of school.
After school hours Chris and a couple of boys stayed behind to play football while Chi was waiting for her driver to come pick her up. A few minutes later, Chris' game ended and he picked up his bag to leave the school premises just as Chi's red Toyota Camry drove into the school compound. He was just outside the gate of the school buying chocolate ice-cream from the local ice-cream seller when the car drove past him.
He didn't live far away so he just strolled home every day which usually turned out to be the best part of his daily routine. As he approached the turn that led to his street he saw the red Toyota parked on the other side of the road.
"They probably stopped to get some ice-cream" he said to himself. His ice-cream was already done and he began to consider getting another when he heard her scream.
Looking back, he probably should have kept walking but he decided to go see what was going on.
He found her in the backseat behind the driver's seat curled up in the corner with a mortified look on her face.
Opening the back door from the other side he asked,
"What's the problem?"
Her eyes seemed to be staring into space and it took a couple of seconds before she could focus on him.
"Go away!!!! Please, please leave me alone. They are coming, and if they find you here they'll kill you" she yelled with fears in her eyes.
He looked at her confused.
"Where is the driver?
Please get down from the car so we can find a way to get you home" he said with urgency in his voice.
Her face went still for a couple of seconds then she began to panic again tears gushing down her eyes.
"She's running mad, all those books have finally made her insane" Chris' thought to himself.
She grabbed him by his shirt and screamed,
"They're here, they've found me. Please run, run Chris!!! RUN!!!"
Chris was only beginning to wrap his head around how she knew who he was when he felt it. A sharp pain on the side of his stomach snapped him back to reality. He was bleeding and before he could react he felt a slash on his left arm close to his shoulder. In that instant his instincts kicked in and he knew he was in danger, he took a step back and studied his environment.
He couldn't see anything out of place, but the blood soaking his shirt told him otherwise. In that instant he felt the air around him shift slightly and he jumped in the direction of the shift lunging forward like a wounded animal. He landed on a figure he could see but he didn't care, his mind didn't have time to process or ask questions he just kept punching and kicking until the figure stopped moving. The figure materialized and turned into a man knocked unconscious.
Chi immediately jumped out of the car and ran towards Chris. His vision was blurring and he was bleeding out. She knelt beside him placing his head on her laps in tears, he couldn't quite hear what she was saying but she was mumbling something he didn't quite understand. That was the first time he ever saw the smoke and he was convinced that he was dying.
Chris opened his eyes to meet Chi staring at him with a smile. He looked around trying to figure out where he was but he couldn't recognize his surroundings.
He was lying down and Chi was resting at his bedside. As he tried to stand up, she stopped him,
"You're not completely healed Chris, you still need to rest" she said.
"Healed? What happened..." he asked weakly.
She only smiled as she placed her hand on his whispering,
He saw a puff of smoke come out of her mouth and he gasped as his memoires started flooding back. He had a lot of questions to ask, but he couldn't resist the compulsion to fall asleep as he slumped back into bed.
Chris woke up a second time with no one around his bed. He stood up and felt a slight pain on his stomach, he checked but he didn't see any marks or scars. He checked his left arm and saw nothing, there was no pain in the arm at all in fact.
"How long have I been asleep?" He thought.
Chi walked in through the door smiling and saying,
"I sensed you waking up, how's the stomach? It still hurts a bit right?"
He looked at her grimly and asked,
"Where am I and what is going on?"
The explanation Chi gave him that day sealed his fate and from that day he became her guardian.
Studying his surroundings now, it still felt like twenty years ago when he first came here. The book that brought them here was one of the few conduits that led to the Ethereal Realm. Chi's family was one of the most elite family of mages and that's the only reason why she had a conduit in the first place.
They materialized outside the Dome of Ether, a structure shaped like a gigantic egg. The dome was popularly known as the center of magic and several domes were built all around the world, it was rumored that these were the focal points where all the magical energy in the world converged.
It was also the place where the three major factions in the world met to deliberate on issues that affect the balance of the world. The factions were; the mages, the guardians and the humans.
“Let’s go in, we're already late" Chris said walking in front of Chi as they entered the dome.
"Wouldn't be the first time" Chi replied with a smirk on her face.
"Do you ever take anything seriously?" Chris asked slightly irritated. Chi could sense that he was upset about Ronke, but that didn't stop her from teasing him a little more.
"You were a lot more fun as a kid you know. I don't know what they feed you guys in the guardian order that makes you all so uptight" she replied.
Chris just kept on walking not paying attention to any of the people around the various sections of the dome, he didn't even reply any greetings.
They finally got to the door of Chamber One, the largest of all the seven chambers in the dome.
"Kids grow up eventually you know" he said finally as he turned the door knob.
"I know Chris, I know...and don't worry, she'll be fine' Chi said tapping his shoulder lightly.
"Okay, let's get this over with" he said pulling the door open.
The chamber’s design changed from time to time depending on the occasion it was being used for. Today it had the design of a court room, with the three factions sitting on three different rows and the two heads of each faction sitting on an elevated platform.
"Chidinma Ananaba and Chris Adedeji; mage of the second order and her guardian you're late again" General Musa said.
"Apologies sir." Chris replied
Chris couldn’t help thinking they were in trouble again, the tension in the air was too palpable.
General Musa was one of the two heads of the Guardian Order and as mean as he looked, he was the nice one in the duo.
“Both of you come forward quickly, we have a mission for you” Master Folashade said.
“So we’re not in trouble?” Chris asked the master mage, walking with Chi towards the six of them.
“No you’re not” she replied.
“We initially summoned you here because Chi has refused to take the promotion trials for the first order” Senator Obiora said.
“So we were in trouble…” Chi said with a smirk.
“Forget that, a matter of grave importance came up on your way here. A human saw magic in use and we have to deal with it as soon as possible” Master Jude interjected.
“No offense Master Jude, but this happens all the time. Can’t we just erase their memory as always” Chi asked.
“That’s the problem child, we already tried. We sent two of our best second order mages to erase every trace of the memory.
We were able to erase the imprints on the minds of those the subject told but the subject’s memories remain intact” Senator Laila said.
“What do you need us to do?” Chris asked.
“We need Chidinma to attempt to erase the subject’s memory. As an esper her natural abilities with the mind are more powerful than most spells we can make.” Master Folashade said.
“And if doesn’t work?” Chi asked.
“Then that would confirm our fears” Master Jude replied.
“What fears?” Chris asked.
“We suspect that the subject has witch hunter blood. If a mage with Chidinma’s unique gifts cannot erase the subject’s memory, then it means that the witch hunter blood in the subject is strong.” General Musa said.
“Okay?” Chris asked, sensing that they weren’t done.
“And as a member of the guardian order it would be your sole responsibility to protect your mage and the mage order from such a threat.
You will have to kill the subject before they get any stronger or get discovered by the witch hunters.” General Segun finally spoke.
“You’re asking me to kill someone who hasn’t done anything wrong yet just because they have the potential to be a threat to us?” Chris asked furiously.
“Calm down child, this is only if Chi fails to erase the subject’s memory. We both know the chances of that happening are very slim.” Senator Laila said.
Chi came to stand beside Chris holding his hand to calm him down.
“What’s the name of the subject and where can we find him?” Chi asked.
“Him? No, this subject is a female. Her name is Ronke Badmos, I’m sure you’re already familiar with her” General Segun said.
Chris’ eyes widened and he hands went cold.