"And what might you be?" The Nadri had thrown the question to Leo, his eyes fixed on the teenager. Sheila's horse bobbled its head, unable to stay steady, maybe it knew that finding a Nadri, or rather, running into one in the middle of the forest was a sign of danger.
"Is it not obvious?" Sheila defended.
She tried as much as she could to keep her horse in between the Nadri and Leo who remained quiet and observant but the powerful beast she was on would not just stay put. She could hear the fleeting thoughts running through his mind and knew that he had no clue as to how dangerous and fast this short conversation could turn deadly. Sheila was ready for anything.
"No?" The Nadri spoke. "It is not so obvious."
Sheila reached for her sword discreetly, grabbing hold of the hilt. "And what are you trying to imply by saying that?"
The Nadri leaned to the side so he could get a better look at Leo and he asked. "Are you hurt?"
Sheila turned to look at Leo who shifted his gaze from the Nadri to Sheila and back to the Nadri, unable to respond.
"You are, aren't you?" The Nadri said and touch his index finger to his nose. "I can smell you but it is quite faint and I might be wrong but I am also convinced that I am not."
"What are you driving at?!" Sheila snapped at the Nadri, she had to get Leo away from this creature before...
She saw him move, like a blur and in the blink of an eye, his hand shot forward from behind him and a small blade left his hand, spinning freely in the air until it sliced Leo in his forearm, just below the shoulder, cutting through his flesh deep enough for blood to pool out. Leo screamed out in pain, Sheila gasped in anger and surprise, the Nadri smirked as the smell of blood hit his nose, he had struck gold, he had found his mixed blood. What luck he had.
Sheila panicked for a second, her eyes on the Nadri, she did not like the look on his face. He was out here to hunt and by the look of things, he had found his prey.
"Run Leo!" Sheila's voice was powerful in his thoughts. "Run! Back to the mountains!"
Scott watched the boy slap the reins on the horse hard and the beast jumped forward, turning around back and running into the forest. Sheila followed suit behind Leo but Scott stood still a while. He chuckled at his luck, while he had been thinking that this was going to be near impossible, who knew he would find what he was looking for so soon? His luck had brought what he needed directly to him.
He took in a deep breath, he could still smell the mixed-blood getting away from him. They were on horses but it did not matter, he was just as fast and could catch up to them but where was the fun if he did so so soon? He gave them a couple of minutes before running after them, blurring through the forest as excitement flooded through him. Even Dan had not been able to get him this riled up before. He howled.
Sheila whipped the horse harder, it neighed loudly and sped through the forest, she turned her head briefly to the side and caught a glimpse of Leo, his body was low and his grip on the horse's reins was firm. She could feel his heartbeat accelerating, she could feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins, she could feel the fear that wrapped around him like a water suit. She reached out to him in her thoughts.
"I've got you, Leo... I am here with you."
He turned his head to her, the fear in his eyes burned bright and as they fled away on the horse with the wind pushing against them, it swept his blood-stained cloak behind him and Sheila noticed that the huge gash which had been caused by the Nadri's blade on his forearm had almost sealed. She spun her head forward to navigate the horse as realization dawned on her, he was a mixed breed and not an ordinary human as she had presumed. She suddenly understood why the Nadri wanted him so badly, she had to get him out of the Nadri's reach.
They both could hear his distant howling, they could try and outrun him on the horses but the smell of Leo's blood would draw him to them like a bear to a honeycomb. She pulled on her horse's reins and the creature came to an unsteady halt, going up on its hind legs before balancing back on the ground with Sheila still on its back, it trotted and bobbed its head up and down in discomfort. Leo also pulled in his horse's reins when he saw Sheila stop.
"What are you doing?!" He screamed at her. "We have to keep going!"
"We keep going and he finds us." She led her horse to his. "Take off your cloak and hand it over."
"Do it now!"
He did not delay, he took it off immediately and handed it to her, she wiped whatever blood was on his arm with the cloak in a hurry before wrapping it around herself and handed him a bottle of water.
"Wash your arm, wash the blood off."
Leo took the bottle and reached his hand to feel the injury on his arm, his eyes widened and he looked at his arm to confirm, feeling his fingers on the part where his injury should have been, but it was not there. He looked up to Sheila.
"Wash it off now Leo! We do not have the time for questions and answers!" She got off her horse. "Lean your hand on the horse's neck and wash it off."
He did so quickly. They could hear the Nadri's howl.
"Now get off the horse, take mine. Ride straight for the mountains, get rid of the horse as soon as you get to the river, and wait on the other side for me. Stay hidden!"
"What are you going to do?" Leo asked as he mounted Sheila's horse.
"I need to get rid of that Nadri or he will not let off until he gets you." She got on Leo's horse, its white neck already stained with his blood. "Remember Leo, stay safe."
"You too Sheila." He kicked the side of the horse sharply and it bolted forward, riding north.
Sheila rode steady Eastward but she did not ride too fast, she wanted the Nadri to follow her and she really hoped that he did so she could buy Leo some more time to make it back to the mountains.
Soon she got to the very dense part of the forest and abandoned the horse. With Leo's bloody cloak still wrapped around her body, she made her way through. She could hear the howl of the Nadri and knew that he was close by, relief flooded her that the Nadri had followed her instead and not Leo.
She dropped his bloody cloak by the edge of the stream which cut through the forest and ran for the farthest tree she could reach and started to climb, when she saw him slowly approaching, she paused and slowed her heartbeat, calming herself down so her breathing was quieter.
Scott approached the water with caution, his nose picked up the smell of the mix breed's blood before his very keen eyesight caught sight of the cloak by the edge of the stream. He walked closer and paused, narrowing his eyes as he concentrated.
The image of the moon over the water was constantly disturbed by the tiny ripples rising from below the surface. The endless silence irritated him. He needed something to assure him he was headed in the right direction but the only sounds that got to his ears were the cacophony of the dark come to life - sleeping nature and night scavengers.
He got down and put his hand to the ground, eyes closed, listening for either of their heartbeats. He had been trained severally for this but she seemed to make his task onerous. They could not have just vanished, he knew that.
He cursed under his breath. Damn! She was good at what she does, she had managed to hide the mixed blood and had diverted his attention to her using his blood strained cloak as a distraction.
She was a smart one, he had to give her credit for that. But she had just ruined his plans and possibly his chances of ever getting him again. He breathed in to calm himself, if he could not get the boy then he would get the Angel and force her to take him to where she was hiding the mixed blood. That should he easy, he was after all a Nadri and he had hunted down Angels before her, although it was not something that he did for fun, so he could hunt her down as well.
Sheila was still, her heartbeat steady. She clung to the tree branch like it was her raison d'etre, which in a way was not far from the truth. Nadirs had the sharpest ears of the forbidden creatures, a little extra noise would alert him of her exact position, but she needed to climb higher, if she could it would give her enough free space for her wings to open up widely because the trees in here were densely closed together, getting higher would allow her to escape before he would get to her.
From where she was she could see him as clear as day - just the way Angels functioned. They could not see darkness - standing by the edge of the lake, he had his back towards her, his head slowly moving from left to right registering every sound.
Taking soft deep breaths, she resumed her climbing, reached out for the branch above, and gave it most of her weight. She regretted it immediately because it bent, then snapped, sending her crashing to the ground. No time, she hurtled to her feet.
His head turned at the sound as he narrowed his scarlet red eyes and locked unto the figure that fled him. He ran as fast as lightning, as smooth as the wind, easily navigating around the trees, his cape flying wildly around him like bits of an umbrella.
He heard her call a name and under the split milk of the moon he saw her get off the ground, gone was the body hug, leather war suit she had worn, in its place was white apparel which adorned her glowing skin and two mighty wings which were no longer hidden by the huge cloak. Scott grinned an evil grin, in two flaps she would be gone but the clustered trees prevented her from being able to open up her wings fully.
She was fast.
He was faster.
It filled his vain unthinking heart with pride. He leaped, unsheathed two blades, and landed on top of her, bringing her to the ground and pinning her by the shoulder. She screamed, red hot blood sipped out from where the blade broke her skin.
"You feel pain?" He smirked. "You have been with the humans for too long, you are becoming one of them!" He twisted the blades. She grabbed his hands, burning the part of his skin which she held.
"I could say the same for you, Nadri. You are human."
"Ohh you noticed. I sometimes forget." He brought his tongue to her cheek and licked her, his throat vibrated in a groan. "Where is he?"
"What makes you think I will tell you that?"
"It is a shame." He sighed, touching every single part of her face with his gaze. "You are pretty but I will have to kill you if you do not tell me."
"You humor me."
"Oh really?" Scott chuckled.
"Angels can not be killed using a mere blade, looks like someone did not finish his study." Holding his wrist, she pulled the blades out and her skin sealed itself, leaving no trace of breakage.
"No, but they can be transformed." He smirked and with a flick of his wrist he had one hand free and on her throat and in an instant his lips locked hers.
Sheila squirmed beneath him, trying to fight him off, her free hand grabbed his throat and his skin sizzled where she touched. Her wings shot out powerfully from beneath her and wrapped them in an embrace, heating up rapidly.
Scott, feeling the immense heat relaxed his hold on her neck and she immediately pushed him off her, got to her feet, and fled. She would have plenty of time to deal with him later but right now she had to get to Leo.
Scott remained on the forest floor, and in a daze, his back was on the ground and one hand was placed on his chest, feeling his rapidly beating heart, his eyes still wide in amazement, and his lips remain parted. As he laid on the floor, he turned his head and watched as the Angel ran, her wings spread open and like spectrums of white light vanishing into the break of day, she escaped him.