Cale felt the branches slapping against his face.
He had to warn Liek. He knew that he was in danger. He didn't care. Two assassins were going to be ordered to take out his little brother, and he couldn't sit back and let anything more happen. It was his fault that Liek had these killers after him. It was his fault for trying to push Liek into doing things that he didn't want to do. Everything was happening because of him.
He had to make things right with his brother, even if it meant abandoning his pride.
Liek's scent was getting stronger, but there was another scent in the air. Something was following him. Cale stopped.
The other werewolf was nearby. How long had he been followed? Two assassins were standing by for the order to kill, and the dark-haired assassin was busy being reprimanded by the elders. The only assassin that was left was the scout.
Cale knew that the scout was probably the weakest of the five assassins, but he was an assassin nonetheless.
"Come out, assassin. I know you're here." He called.
To his surprise, a shape stepped out from behind a tree.
The assassin had his nails drawn, ready to attack.
Liek and Isaac sat together, just enjoying the remainder of the evening.
Nothing needed to be said between the two of them. The buck that Liek had caught would give them at least a week's worth of food. Hannah had gone to bed long ago, and Liek could feel his fatigue pulling down on his eyelids. Soon enough, Liek was overcome by sleep.
Never had he felt so complete. The three weeks that he had spent under Isaac's roof, Liek finally felt at peace. This place was a good place. Isaac was a good man, and Hannah was a lovely girl. Liek sometimes dreamed about Hannah. In all of his sixteen years, he had never felt anything for any of the werewolf girls that seemed to throw themselves at his feet.
Even though he was still considered a child by other werewolves, Hannah made him feel like a grown man. Every time he wondered if she loved him, he felt lightheaded, and his stomach seemed to flutter. Every time she was around him, he could only focus on her presence.
He could see Hannah's face in his mind's eye, as Isaac carried him to bed.
He could feel her lips pressed against his own as he was covered with the sheets on his very own bed.
He could hear her heartbeat against his chest as Isaac kissed his forehead goodnight.
Liek could feel tears again.
The last thing he ever remembered of his real father was the way he felt that kiss on his forehead every night. Who knew that humans and werewolves could be so similar?
For the first time in nearly ten years, Liek slept with a smile on his face.
Cale could hear the air being split next to his ear as he dodged the assassin's nail. He had never seen anything move the way this assassin could move. They seemed to dance as they both parried, slashed, ducked and dodged.
Cale rushed forward, grabbed the assassin by the waist, and twisted. The hip-toss took the assassin's feet out from under him. Cale frantically grabbed for an arm, and planted his foot into the side of the assassin's face. He was going to rip the assassin's shoulder out of its socket. He felt it stretch, and then he heard a sickening pop. The assassin screamed.
Cale continued to hold on for dear life, but the assassin twisted and pierced Cale's foot with his nail. It was Cale's turn to scream.
He rolled away from the assassin, and stood up. The pain in his foot was magnificent. The assassin punched his shoulder back into its socket, and rushed towards Cale again. Cale could see the nail coming straight for him. He reacted out of instinct.
To his own surprise, Cale locked his arm with the assassin's in an overhook, and punched him in the side of the head with his other fist. The assassin grunted, and fell to his knee. Cale continued punching. Something told him to use his nail, but he was delerious with rage. The assassin brought his other arm forward to block. Cale grabbed that one too in another overhook, but immediately regretted doing so.
He felt his nose collapse as the assassin butted him with his forehead. Cale felt the hot blood on his face. He returned the blow with a swift knee to the groin. The assassin doubled over, and Cale took a step back.
"I do not wish to fight you, assassin!" He rasped through blood-stained teeth.
The assassin stared back blankly.
"What!? Do not play games with me, finish what you've started!"
"I've started nothing here, it was you who attacked me!"
The assassin sat down, cradling his groin. Cale knelt down and pressed his hand to his face. The blood was running freely down his chin. Nothing was said for quite some time.
"Why did you run off to give aid to a traitor, sir?" The assassin began.
Cale chuckled. There was no denying it. His actions were less than discreet. He had relieved himself of his duty as a commander upon hearing the news that two assassins would be sent out for his brother. His intentions were more than obvious.
"Tell me, assassin. Do you have any family?"
The assassin stared back in shock. Nobody had ever openly asked an assassin such a personal question.
"What!? What sort of question is that?"
"A very simple one, of course. Would you like me to repeat it?"
The assassin continued to stare back blankly. Nobody had ever asked him anything like that before. Nobody in the village even knew his name. He should just rip Cale's throat out. But why should he? Cale was no threat to him. The pain in his groin had dulled and he brought himself to his feet. Cale continued to kneel, holding his shattered nose. It would be so easy.
But would he do it? Was there any point? No. A kill like that would be a disgrace.
"I have a sister." He plainly said.
Cale rose to his feet. He would either be killed for what he was about to say, or the chances of saving his brother would be increased dramatically.
"So tell me... if you knew your sister was going to die tomorrow, would you not try to save her?"
The assassin remained silent. There was nothing he could say to that. The two werewolves looked at each other. One side of the assassin was telling him to finish Cale off, but the other wanted to help him. What should he do?
Cale stepped forward until he was staring directly into the assassin's eyes.
"What is your name, assassin?"
to be continued....
Cale felt the branches slapping against his face.