Once Tahlae was sure that Rama was asleep she went back to making her plans. The thought had crossed her mind more than once that Drake had set her up, and was the driving force behind whomever was trying to kill Rama, but she wouldn't making any decisions based on that until after she knew for sure whether it was true or not.
Until her suspicion was confirmed the elf was going to try to follow Drake's wants as closely as possible while still insuring Rama's, and now Danny's, safety. She was willing to step outside of those boundaries when needed, but if it became clear that it was all Drake's doing then his wants were the last thing she would care about. In fact she would likely do the opposite of his wants just to spite the bastard that was trying to use her skills against her people.
Tahlae paused in what she was doing to look at the hallway. Both Rama and Danny were snoring away in the next room, and it gave Tahlae a rare moment of worry. What if Drake expected her to do what he didn't want? What if he was pushing her into taking Rama into the wood through reverse psychology and planned to wake his memories in the man there? It could have a devastating effect on her people if that were true, but Tahlae was unsure if it would be the right thing to do until the moment of decision was upon her.
Tahlae in no way believed that Rama would purposely deceive her into thinking he was harmless to her and her people when he wasn't. She could easily tell that he wasn't lying, and that it wasn't Drake in a way behind those eyes. Tahlae had told him to trust her, but she needed to trust him just as much. It was a hard step for her to take with how her past with humans was. Regardless of her past she still felt she could trust Rama, and would until he gave her reason not to.
With a sign Tahlae set back to work in arranging for anything she might need in the next couple days. She had a really good feeling they would be a long couple of days.
Tahlae was just finishing arranging for anything she might need when the two men started showing signs of waking. The elf quickly wiped everything she had done from records, and rose to make them all a good meal. As she did so she realized that soon she would need more supplies to suit her diet, and hoped that whatever was going to happen would soon.
Both men emerged, Rama looking more refreshed than Danny, as Tahlae was about halfway through cooking the meal. Danny watched the elf perplexed, and the woman could tell he was studying her features closely. Rama delivered the man a hit to divert his attention, and the look in Rama's eyes when Tahlae looked at him told her he was still Rama and trusted her.
As Tahlae served up the meal, both men having sat, she explained her plan to them. "For now we're going to sit tight and lay low if you could call this that. I haven't seen anything or heard from Drake's people. I want both of you to be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Nothing is taken unless it's too important to be left behind."
"Where will we go if things go bad?" Danny asked around a mouthful of food.
Tahlae eyed the man, "I won't know until something changes."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked before shoving a huge bite into his mouth.
Tahlae smiled, "If I have no clear plan then it can't be predicted and therefor can't be foiled. It's really for the best if you don't ask questions and do whatever I say."
Danny frowned, "I don't know if I can do that."
The elf shrugged, "Then you'll likely be dead and it won't matter."
Danny nodded, "Yeah I get that; doesn't mean I have to like it."
The elf just smiled in response. Tahlae and Rama finished eating first, and Rama asked the elf, "Hey can I have a word?"
Sudden dread sprung up in the woman, and she couldn't tell what it was from. She nodded slowly as she put away the plates trying to understand what the feeling came from. She stepped around where Danny was eating, and leaned against the wall in the narrow hallway across from Rama. Her eyes didn't meet his gaze, and instead nervously swept over the building through the large living room windows.
"Tahlae…" Rama began.
He never got to finish his thought though. Tahlae spotted the shooter a moment before he let loose, and threw Rama to the floor diving on top of him. She looked over her shoulder as bullets ripped through the beige walls and brown furniture to Danny diving for cover.
She looked to Rama underneath her, and watched as a spot of blood dropped down onto his shirt.
"Rama, I need you to crawl down the hall low as you can. At the door I want you to pop your head up for just a moment then crawl like hell to me room. Stay low in there, got it?"
Rama nodded dumbly at her, and began to move as soon as her weight was off of him.
Tahlae waited until Rama was just at the door, and poked her head around the corner. Sure enough the shoot was training on Rama. Tahlae swung around the corner and fired off her shot before the man could adjust to her movement. Tahlae watched the blood splatter the wall behind him as he fell back.
"Rama, Danny get your shoes on now!" she shouted as she sent a destructive program to the vid unit, and an ant to the dead man. She wasn't fazed as Danny bumped her, sending her into the wall as he scrambled to do her bidding.
Tahlae shoved away from the wall, gun still in her hand as she played the scene over and over in her head. Her eye continually wandered over the building for other shooters, and to be sure the man didn't get up despite the bullet she had put through his head.
"Tahlae you're bleeding!" Rama exclaimed next to her.
The elf hid the weapon away as she turned to him. She ripped a stripe off her clothes, and tied it around her arm. She glanced up to see both men were ready. She pulled her stunner, and nodded to them.
"Let's go," she stated, and moved toward the door with the two scrambling after her.
The elf made sure the hall was clear before opening the door, and headed straight for the stairs. She heard Danny start to protest, but Rama quickly silenced the man. They made it to the ground floor without any issues, and the distinct sound of the elevator crashing down echoed around them as the stepped into the garage.
Just where she wanted it was sitting a flight car. Tahlae snapped the door open, and plopped into the driver seat as she activated the thing with the blood trailing down to her arm. As soon as the other door shut she fired up the engine of the thing, and zoomed out of the garage setting a course that only she knew.
Rama looked over at her before inspecting her arm, "I don't see an exit wound…" he muttered to himself.
"The bullet is imbedded on the humorous bone. There was no break, but the bullet will need to be removed soon before more damage is done." Tahlae replied as she turned into a high end office building.
"We can't come in here unless you have a parking pass!" Danny exclaimed from the back seat wondering what the hell the elf was thinking.
Tahlae ignored him, and pulled up to the empty booth. The car emitted a low sound, and the booth rose the bar to let them pass.
She drove down to the third level, and then pulled off to the side in the only spot open on the level. Without a word she got out, and opened the side hatch of the vehicle.
"Rama, come here."
The man instantly obeyed, and was by her side in a moment. His eyes nearly fell out as she handed him a pair of fine needle nose pliers, "You want me to-" he stumbled over his words.
"It has to come out now, or I can't do my job." When it was apparent that he was still hesitating Tahlae added, "Please Rama, I need you to do this for me."
Rama bit his lip, nodded once, and stepped closer to the elf leaning against the car. When she nodded he pushed the pliers into her wound to grip the bullet.
"Right there," Tahlae gasped out in pain as Rama gripped the bullet. With a swift yank it was out, and dropped to the ground.
Tahlae grabbed a sear patch, and slapped it over her wound. She held in her cry as the patch cartelized the wound.
"Get back in, we have to keep moving," Tahlae told Rama.
He moved to do so, but paused, "Are you going to be ok?"
Tahlae nodded, and gave herself a shot. Rama watched nervousness played across his face then bolted to reenter the vehicle.
Once they were all in again Tahlae left the building behind, and began to drive randomly around the city as she waited for her ants to return. As they began to stream in Tahlae hit the steering wheel, "That bastard is going to pay for this."
"What's up?" Rama asked worriedly.
"I planted an ant on the man that shot at us. It followed the trail straight back to Drake. He set this whole thing up, and I played right into it."
"Why the hell would he do that?" Danny asked as he watched the buildings fly past.
Rama was silent as he thought over the evens, and darkness began to fall.
Tahlae wondered if she was doing the right thing as she set her mind on their next destination. She made sure to slowly drive past Drake's building, much to the men's discomfort, but passed with no problems. Once it was full dark she parked the car in an alley way.
"We go from here on foot," she stated.
Both men looked around the area surprised that once more they were in the upper end of the city.
"Where are we going?" Danny asked as he fell into pace behind Rama and Tahlae.
Danny balked instantly, "What? We can't go in there? They'll kill us for sure! Elves hate city dwellers!"
Tahlae didn't stop or bother to look at him as she said, "Elves are going to kill a fellow elf, a tiger-man with her, and a human that knows about the plans a demon has to cut down the Wood they live in?" she questioned back. "Do you listen to yourself?"
Danny chuckled, "I forgot, in the heat of things, for a moment that you're en elf."
Tahlae shook her head as she led the men into a park for the rich folk that bordered on the Wood lands. Soon enough trees were all around them, and growing thicker and taller until it blocked out the sliver of moon that provided their light.
The woman paused, and opened the pack that she had taken from the car. She extracted a pair of glasses as the two men looked on, and handed them to Rama. "Danny and I will be able to see fine, but your human eyes won't serve you well. Wear those so you don't get hurt even though we'll be moving slowly."
Rama took them with a nod, and put them on. While he couldn't see very well still the glasses tinted things in a new way that made him able to see better than he could before.
Together they began forward again. It wasn't much later that Tahlae halted again motioning for the two men to be silent. They stood in the dark silence for several long moments before there was a snap behind them. Danny instinctively scrambled up the nearest tree, while Tahlae grabbed Rama, covering his mouth, and drug him to a tree. She pulled the man into a small hole at the base of the tree, and they waited pressed to the fragment earth beneath the tree.
A light flashed past them before two booted feet stopped. The man stooped, and Tahlae felt anger rage through her as she saw the man's face. It was a man that Drake had often had her work with.
"They stopped here," he stated, "check the trees."
Tahlae release her grip on Rama, and slithered forward. For a moment she feared that both men would never turn their backs to her at once, but then they finally did as one spotted Danny's tail. Swiftly as she could, the elf launched from her hiding spot, and knocked both men hard on the back of their necks. One dropped to the ground unconscious, but the one she knew only stumbled away from her.
He spun to look at her, and a grin spread across his face. "Looks like Jayson got a hit on you," he smirked, "but you put a bullet in his head in return. Guess that's the only reason I'm still standing; I'll thank him at the funeral."
Tahlae watched him closely as he spoke. "So Drake set me up, shi?"
The man chuckled as he moved away from the tree Danny was in, and back toward the city. "Yeah he set you up, but you played a lot better than he expected you to. Course he doesn't know as much about you as he'd like to think he does." The man shook his head, "Ran right to the Wood though. Listen Tahlae give me Rama, and you still get paid for doing your job, you take him in there with you, and no end check."
"You tell me to do that Grader, but how can I trust that or you for that matter? What do you know about Drake's plans?" Tahlae asked in return, her hand resting on her stunner.
"More than you, ask him yourself if this was all a set up and your job is over now with the link he set up for you to him. Then let me have Rama."
Tahlae had already done that, and at that moment received the confirmation that Drake had set her up "for the good of the boy" according to him. "So he was ok with those idiots nearly frying Danny's brain?"
Grader cringed, "That was an honest mix up. The kid disabled his kill switch undocumented. We had no idea; he wasn't meant to be hurt."
"And Rama? How was he not to be hurt in the gunfire this morning?"
Grader glanced up to Danny in the trees knowing the man was probably recording the conversation, "He was only supposed to be wounded not killed. You Drake would never kill that boy; he needs him too much."
Tahlae nodded slowly, "Yeah, and he needs me too. That's why he authorized you to spill your guts. He needs me to finish his other jobs so that he can get his access to the Wood like he wants." Tahlae cut the line that Drake had set up to her, and moved all her addresses in that instant. "Tell your boss I'm done playing his games. He can burn me and black list me, I don't care. I'm done, and I'm taking Rama into the Wood."
Grader curled his lip in disgust, "Very well, that means I kill you now," and he launched at her.
The elf was ready though, and pulled her stunner, firing it before he could even get close to her. The man fell to the ground atop his partner, and the elf spit on them both.
"Rama, you have the choice, I will take you and Danny into the Wood, or you can take that car and go back to your father now," Tahlae stated as she turned to watch the man shimmy out of his hiding place.
Danny dropped beside Tahlae. Landing gracefully.
"I think I want to go into the Wood, and find out what the cao with was all about." Rama stated firmly.
Tahlae nodded, "Let's go then."