Hey everybody, sorry for dropping off the face of the earth like that.
I hope this chapter makes up for it. enjoy.
"I want that necklace of yours."
Ace's immediate action was to reach up and grab the pendant as if to protect it. To hide it from prying eyes. The urge was nearly impossible to resist and Ace's hand came up slowly before he jerked it back. In one swift motion, his elbow went straight into Hyn's ribs, making the gray wolf grunt painfully and release him.
"Keep your hands off me." The brunette mage said firmly. He then turned to look Kolith in the eye. He had made his decision.
Kolith's eyes narrowed angrily, fur bristling slightly on his neck and shoulders.
"You betray your word?"
"I'm sorry. I can't give you my necklace. I wish I could give it to you, but I just…" Ace paused, searching for the right words, "can't." The single word was the only thing that came out of his mouth, as if there was no other word to describe his reasoning.
Kolith gave a disgusted scoff and a few behind him growled.
"You do realize that in our culture a person is only as good as their word and within five minutes you have destroyed yours?" Kolith said slowly, emphasizing his every word.
Ace swallowed, "Yes."
"Then I see no reason to make any deal with you."
Fuck! Ace mentally cursed. There wasn't any way to get out of this without causing some serious damage. Why does this kind of shit always happen to me?
Zaib crouched down slowly, taking a more defensive stance. He was ready to attack if needed and this comforted the brunette slightly, knowing he had someone to watch his back.
The air became tense as Ace's hands balled into fists, so tight the knuckles turned a pale white.
Kolith bared his teeth slowly and opened his mouth, probably to order the pack to capture the mage and kill him.
"Wait!" A frail tenor suddenly cut through the air. Ace instantly recognized the voice and winced.
I thought I told him to stay out of this?!
Mage and alpha turned to stare at Kraven, the pale man's body shaking slightly and sweat was beading at his hairline.
"If it's stuff like that you want-" Kraven started slowly, reaching down to his waist slowly and pulling pouch from his belt. "I can give you something worth even more valuable than a simple pendant."
Ace's stomach clenched when the tall redhead dumped the Dragon Tear into his hand and held it up for the lycanthrope pack to see.
"Here. Take this instead. I have no use for it."
A few wolves surrounding him stepped back, eyeing the blue stone suspiciously.
They obviously recognized it.
Kolith also seemed to recognize the Dragon Tear, but he seemed more interested than afraid. Forgetting about Ace completely, the black haired wolf made his way over to where Kraven kneeled and examined the offered gem carefully.
"And how did a simple human servant come across a stone like this?" Kolith asked firmly.
"It was a gift." Kraven answered back quietly.
"And you'd give it to me in exchange for your life?"
"For mine and my master's." Kraven shot Ace a furtive glance before ducking his and licking his lips nervously.
Kolith gave Ace a dirty look, a sneer of disgust raising his top lip, "You would save him when he clearly has no wish to give up something of his own to save you?"
Kraven was quiet for a few moments, as if thinking it over in his head, and eventually sighed. A slight smile tugged as his chapped lips. "I'm sure he has his reasons. Just like I have mine."
Ace looked at the ground, guilt clawing its way up his throat like a ravenous daemon, choking him.
Kraven. I'm sorry. I can't give this necklace to anyone. Ace mentally scolded his weakness.
"Look at me." Kolith commanded. Kraven froze for a moment, but then complied, raising his head and meeting the alpha's powerful amber gaze head on. The look on Kraven's face was surprisingly calm, as if he somehow knew, on a subconscious level, that he would not be harmed.
Ace felt Hyn shift uncomfortably behind him and glanced at the gray wolf through his peripheral vision. A deep scowl covered Hyn's suddenly angry face, as if he wanted rush forward and slit Kraven's throat himself. However, the instant Hyn noticed Ace staring he replaced his glare with a bright, devious – and quite obviously fake – smile that stretched from ear to ear.
"You are indeed noble." Kolith's deep vice caught Ace's attention, "It is rare that I find humans worth my while. In exchange for this Dragon Tear, I will allow safe passage out. You will be accompanied by one of our own to make sure you or your…. master will not deviate and cause more trouble. Agreed?"
Kolith held out one hand, as if offering it for a handshake. "I believe the human custom is to shake hands, is it not?"
Kraven didn't pause before nodding his head and grabbing hold of Kolith's large hand before shaking it.
"Agreed." The tall redhead chirped happily. He then let go and held out the Dragon Tear for the huge wolf fay before him.
Kolith took the Dragon Tear carefully, tucking it away in the front pocket of his tunic. He then smiled and inclined his head ever so slightly towards the redhead politely. Ace watched as something resembling relief washed briefly over Kraven's pale face.
He really will do anything for peace, won't he?Ace grumbled to himself. I normally hate weak cowards like that, but I don't hate him. The thought crossed Ace's mind before he realized it. The bottom of his stomach twisted into a knot, but he resolutely ignored its convulsing, blaming it as his nerves getting out of hand. .
Ace suddenly felt a strong hand clamp around his bicep with iron firmness. Turning, the brunette glared at Hyn as the gray lycanthrope began pushing him forward towards the river bank. A disapproving growl still came from Ace's throat, despite his shivering and nudeness. Attempting to wrestle his arm back from Hyn only led to the wolf digging sharp fingernails deep into Ace's olive skin, almost drawing blood. The mage's ever present scowl turned into a painful wince and he barely managed to stop a cry from escaping his mouth by biting his bottom lip.
Hyn giggled. "I like that look." He whispered breathily into Ace's ear.
Ace almost turned and punched Hyn in the face, but he realized that was probably what Hyn wanted. The gray wolf was just trying to get under his skin and every time the brunette fought back Hyn was enjoying it more and more.
Kolith noticed his Beta behind him, holding the rebellious mage and turned to glare at Ace disapprovingly. Despite his obvious distaste for letting the brunette free, he didn't let it show as he addressed Hyn, his low voice brisk and emotionless.
"Hyn, I want you to be their escort." Ace froze at those words, clearly outraged, "Make sure they leave by nightfall."
Hyn's devious grin grew, but he bowed respectfully, "As one wishes."
Without another word, Kolith nodded to the other wolves and turned to leave. Breaking off at a run, the alpha morphed into a sleek black wolf before he disappeared among the dense trees. The other lycanthropes followed his lead and in ten seconds, the only ones left were the mages and gray beta.
Hyn glanced over his shoulder at two humans, his voice maliciously playful. "Shall we proceed?"
Ace's chest puffed out indignantly. "I want my fucking clothes first."
He then turned and stomped over to where he had left his pile of clothes and Sasuth, grumbling violent curses and death threats the whole way.
Kraven's back was stiff as a board, his steps choppy. He kept on looking nervously at the broad back of the grey wolf fay in front of him and the dark face of the mage behind him. Ace had no intention of being anywhere near Hyn so had taken up the rear as the lycanthrope led and Kraven was stuck as mediator in the middle. Zaib flew low overhead and Kraven knew the gryffin was also keeping a close eye on Hyn as well.
However, the wolf in question remained completely unfazed by all of the hostility directed towards him. In fact, he often turned to check to see if the humans were following, asking if they were tired.
The entire time, that smile never left his face.
It was rather unsettling, but Kraven said nothing and simply gave a polite smile back.
When they stopped at a small clearing for Hyn to get his bearings –since there where no paths to follow in these woods – Ace finally snapped.
"Get that stupid smile off your face before I'm forced to punch you." he said bluntly, voice commanding.
"What's wrong Acey, is my smile too charming for you to handle?" Hyn answered in a sing song voice. He obviously wasn't going to take Ace seriously.
"No," Ace snapped, "It's annoying as hell."
Hyn quirked one gray eyebrow, "Wah! He called me annoying. I'm hurt. Ace's so mean."
"And you're so fake," Ace growled, "I don't trust you at all."
That smiling mouth faltered slightly, "Are you calling me a liar?"
"A traitor? A fraud? A hypocrite?"
"No." Ace muttered under his breath and he shuffled his feet uncomfortably.
"Really?!" Hyn said, his smile growing a little, and he paused dramatically. When he spoke, his voice was cheery an high pitched, "Cause that's exactly what I am!!"
Ace's face contorted into a furious mask and his hand flew to the sword hilt at his waist, "You're really staring to piss me off."
Hyn flipped a previously unseen dagger between his fingers, eyes narrowed into golden slits, "I excel at that."
There was a silent pause, nothing around them moving, like everything was taking a deep breath. The calm before the storm.
And then the two swung.
The movement was so fast, neither one of them knew what had happened until they paused and looked. Two sets of wide eyes, one blue and one gold, stared at the still figure separating them. Ace was at a loss for words.
Kraven stood in between the two combatants, the tips of both weapons held still by his thumbs and index fingers.
Ace had forgotten to breathe as his mouth fell open in shock. While the redhead's left kept Hyn's obsidian dagger at bay, Kraven's right was holding Sasuth's tip, the thin sheet of metal pinched between two fingers.
Only a highly skilled swordsman could catch another warrior's blade with his bare hands and not get the entire hand cut off.
Kraven had just grabbed two weapons.
The speed and accuracy the mage slave had used was amazing to say the least.
"Please…. Stop fighting….." Kraven said quietly, his voice monotone.
Hyn jerked his dagger tip from Kraven's pale fingers, giving the redhead a dark look. His surprise was gone, but at least that damn smile hadn't returned and he didn't look like he was going to attack Ace again.
Ace also pulled back, but he still kept his astonished eyes fastened on Kraven. He knew the other mage. He knew that Kraven didn't have any skill with a sword.
Suddenly Ace wasn't so sure.
Kraven finally seemed to realize the extent of what he had just done and he promptly looked down at his feet.
"I'm so sorry." He mumbled, almost incoherently, "I didn't mean to! I just… acted…"
Ace slid Sasuth back into his sheath. "It's ok. But how did you do that?"
Kraven looked up Ace, hands nervously playing with the hem of his tunic, "I don't really know."
"Isn't it obvious." Hyn piped in, his voice a little lower now that he wasn't playing around, "He's been trained in weaponry. And quite well I might add."
Kraven gave Hyn an alarmed look, "No, I haven't! At least, I don't think I have…"
Kraven's brow scrunched up in concentration as he tried to remember. But of course, he couldn't and his face became solemn.
"What an interesting little slave you have," Hyn said silkily to Ace, cocking his head to the side, "Mind sharing?"
Ace's face flushed, "What?! I don't- He's not my slave!! I would never-"
The brunette eventually gave up and just clamped his mouth shut with an irritated click.
"Sure," Hyn winked, his playful manner back, "Now, if you two don't mind, we're almost to the edge of the woods."
Ace nodded his head and pulled his cloak tighter around his shoulders. Night was falling and it was getting cold. As he passed a still emotionless looking Kraven, the brunette mage said quietly, "Don't think we won't talk about this later."
Kraven gave Ace a pained look, but didn't reply.
Whatever he had done, at least he had stopped the fighting.
That was all that mattered to him.
I know it's extremely short but at least something kewl happens, neh? A little Kraven-gone-Blood-Reaper interference is always nice. Plus I like Hyn, he makes me laugh, and the Ace/Hyn interaction is always fun to write. i hope you guys like him cause he's gonna be around for a while.
i should be back up to my regular updating schedule soon. After nearly three months of nothing.
If anything, it will definitely not be three months before i update again.