"Funny how you two are always showing up together." Renard spoke after welcoming both Scott and Dan into his place. He had sent a message the day before to the Nadri elders, requesting for the best huntsman they had for what she needed. The charges had been exorbitant but he had reasoned that it was well worth it. He knew his request was close to impossible but why give up?
"Why? Were you expecting someone else perhaps?" Scott asked, settling into one of the leather chairs.
"No, not that. The elders made it clear to me whom I would be expecting." He waved one hand in the air as he also sat. "I mean, considering the fact that neither of you likes each other."
Scott and Dan exchanged looks at each other briefly with raised eyebrows.
"And you know that how exactly?" Dan questioned looking back at Renard. He noticed that the Arch Angel was frail-looking and his wings did not shine that much anymore.
"You were told?" Scott asked.
"No, I know."
"I know because it is my duty to know." Renard managed a smile. "I made it my duty to know."
"It is that obvious, is it not?" Scott chuckled. "That we do not see from the same eye?"
"It is obvious, but not from you." Renard pointed at Scott with an almost empty glass of brandy in his shaking hands, then moved his finger to Dan. "It is obvious from him, yes. He makes it very obvious."
"I guess..." Scott turned his head to look at Dan, looking him straight in the eye with a wicked half-smile on his face. "...he does not know how to box up his emotions well."
Dan narrowed his eyes at Scott, a low growl sounding from his throat. His fingers dug into the soft leather chair in which he sat. If there was one thing he so badly wanted to box up, then it was Scott and he wanted to box him up in pieces too.
"There." Renard mused. "There it is!"
Scott laughed a little. "Don't you..."
"We came here for a reason, did we not?" Dan cut in rather impatiently. "So why don't we just get to it."
"And you are the impatient one." Renard smiled. "We have the time to while away."
"Actually, we do not Renard." Scott pointed. "We are really time conscious when it comes to matters like this."
"Exactly. For the first time, I have to agree with Scott on this one, we do not have the time to while away, and frankly I do not think that you do either." Dan smirked, noticing Renard's shaking hands.
Renard smirked too, but obviously, he was pained by Dan's statement. He knew the Nadri was right, he didn't have time on his side for long. Stirring the liquid in his glass, he started.
"I do not have time on my side as you have clearly pointed out. You have noticed my instability."
"It is rather too obvious to be unnoticeable, can we move on?"
"Do you have somewhere else you have to be, Nadri?" Renard asked, already getting pissed off by the rude Nadri.
"Oh no, carry on." Dan smiled and relaxed on the chair. "I have got more time on my hands."
Scott, who had been quiet all the while, finally spoke up when he noticed the temper of Renard building. His instability and Dan's rude attitude would spark a huge flame. He smirked, thinking of how bad Dan would be disgraced by the more powerful Arch Angel, it would bring a smile to his face but he did not want that. At least not now. They were here for something else.
"Your message said you needed us to find you a mixed blood." He eased up the tension.
"It is what I need the most." Renard shifted his attention to the more likable Nadri. "A mixed blood, a human Angel mixed."
"I should tell you that the human Angel mix is almost, if not totally impossible, to find." Scott pointed out. "The last I had encountered was a decade ago."
"The Angel human romance was one of such abominations that sparked off quickly but did not die as quickly as it had started. There are still mixed-bloods out there wherever the humans are in hiding. To find one will be difficult, yes..." Renard took a sip from his glass to wet his quickly drying tongue before continuing. "...but not impossible. Not for you guys at least."
Dan chuckled. "That might turn out to be impossible if you leave it in his hands. A decade is really a long time ago."
"Oh, here we go again." Scott thought and sighed loudly, bowing his head slightly and reclining back on the seat.
"Oh, and you are the better bet?" Renard asked, his displeasure for the Nadri returning and Renard was finding it difficult to hide that fact. Dan noticed but he did not care. He did not mind but rather continued.
"I am the best you can get." Dan puffed. "But my expertise comes at a higher bargain."
"The best?" Renard asked with a chuckle and disbelief.
Dan smirked, his overconfidence glowed all around him.
"Thank you, Dan, but I think I will stick with the one Nadri who has a reputation of getting things done." Renard fired back at him. "Besides, my message had asked for a Nadri with experience and not an apprentice."
Dan growled at Renard as he shot up from his seat, transforming into his real Nadri creature in seconds, and posed to attack the Arch Angel.
"Dan!" Scott yelled a warning to his overbearing half-brother. Honestly, he was already tired of the guy.
"Well, Arch Angel." Dan spoke in the hoarse voice of his Nadri self. "I will leave you to the care of this..." He eyed Scott. "...half-human then. But you should know that this corruption would swallow you quicker than you think!"
Spinning away from them, he leaped once, clearing the space between them and the window in a single bound, as he jumped through, breaking the stained glass window.
"How do you stand him?" Renard asked.
"I don't." Scott sighed and turned back to Renard. "I apologize for that."
"Yeah." Renard leaned back on the chair. "That was my favorite window."
* * * * *
The sun had set quickly over the mountains and the cold came in rapidly, bringing the mist down to the forest which surrounded the gigantic mountains where Sheila and Leo had made their temporary home. To Sheila and for Leo it was a fortress, protected by the river whose waters flow out from the Euphrates, repelling the demons from crossing over and it was much too cold for most demons to fly all the way up. Sheila had waited until the night so they could make their journey by the cover of darkness, ironic because the nighttime was when the demons thrived most but for the sake of Leo, the nighttime was best.
"Why are we using the horses?" Leo asked as he mounted on one. "You can fly."
"And you cannot. That is the reason for the horses." Sheila responded. She eased the horse forward and Leo followed suit.
"I am not that heavy to carry." He continued.
Sheila laughed and looked at him. "No, you are not, but how am I supposed to carry you and the others?"
"The others? What others?"
"We are going into the forest to rescue the other humans which had been taken away from us."
"You are letting me come with you?!" Leo was surprised but still elated. Yes!
Sheila smiled softly. "I should not because it is rather dangerous but then if I delay, it might mean a loss for them."
"And you know they will still be alive till now?" Leo threw at her.
Sheila paused and sighed lightly, truth be told, she was almost sure that they would not still be alive but still, she wanted to go. Humans were being brought in from the forest most of the time but not on a daily basis anymore, it was almost safe to say that Earth was running out of humans. How ironic.
"No, I do not." She answered honestly. "But what I do know, is that there will be humans there and we are going to get them out."
"So..." Leo started but was cut off.
"Leo, let us be positive now. I am positive, and I always will be. We will find what we are looking for, I believe."
He kicked his horse in the side which made the animal move forward at a slow pace and Sheila followed close behind.
"I believe." He said to her and she smiled.
"Great. We will go through the forest and approach from behind." Sheila said and whipped her horse into a slow run ahead of Leo's. "You will stay close behind me at all times."
* * * * *
By the time Scott left Renard's mansion after settling all that was needed and necessary, it was already nighttime, he would now begin the hunt for a mixed-blood and despite his confidence, he did not know where he was to start from because the last mixed blood he had encountered had been almost a decade ago and that was when the war was just beginning.
He laughed to himself, thinking of how an Angel would have considered having a sexual affair with a human but then remembering exactly what he was and how he had come to be, he suddenly did not find it funny anymore. He was also of mixed blood. Maybe he should not blame the celestial creatures, humans are quite attractive - some of them, that is - most especially the females, they all had excellent approaches when it came to seducing. He had experienced that too himself.
As he walked through the forest, he contemplated why the Arch Angel would choose to have his settlement right by the edge of this place. Perhaps he wanted the solitude that came with it being away from the others. Scott understood that and sometimes he felt the same, sometimes like now and all he wanted to do right now was to run. And he did.
He sped through the forest, running faster than was normal and possible for a human, navigating around the trees and over the stumps and roots shooting out above the forest floors until he almost ran into a horse, coming to an abrupt halt.
Sheila's horse neighed and lifted up on both hind legs as it stopped in its tracks, spooked out by the person who had just run in front of it before balancing back on all fours. Sheila held on tight, also surprised by the man in front of her who had seemingly appeared from nowhere, only that he did not just appear, she had seen him run. Sheila looked at him cautiously, no human could run like that. This was no human.
"I guess we did not have to get too far to find a human." Leo chuckled satisfactorily as he pulled up beside Sheila, ready to jump down from the horse. He had not seen the person running because he had been a few paces behind Sheila.
"Stay right where you are Leo and do not dismount from that horse." Sheila spoke to him in her thoughts, the sound of her in his head made his spine tingle. Something was not right with this. He gripped the reins tightly.
"An angel and a human? I guess you must be a renegade." Scott spoke lightly, both hands held behind him. He flashed a smile to Sheila.
"You are not human, aren't you?" She asked although she could sense it.
"I am." Scott replied. "And I am not."
"Nadri?" Leo said to himself, his eyes darting from the man before them to Sheila and then back to the man. What was a Nadri?
"And what might you be?" Scott threw the question to Leo, his eyes fixed on the teenager.
"Is it not obvious?" Sheila defended.
"No?" Scott spoke. "It is not."
In the blink of an eye, Scott's hand shot forward from behind him and a small blade left his hand, spinning freely in the air until it struck Leo in his forearm, just below the shoulder, slicing through his flesh deep enough for blood to pool out. Leo screamed out in pain, Sheila gasped in anger and surprise, Scott smirked as the smell of blood hit his nose, he had found his mixed blood, what luck he had.
"Run Leo!" Sheila's voice was powerful in his thoughts. "Run! Back to the mountains!"