“We think they are near Quirinarca Island, since no other clan lives there. You could maybe go further north and ask around carefully about it,” he suggested. It grated on Kiara’s nerves that he thought she didn’t know what to do to get information.
Don’t piss him off, Caereka almost begged.
What do you think I could possibly do to piss him off, exactly? Kiara asked, knowing she wasn’t likely to get an answer. As expected, Caereka simply ignored her, leaving Kiara to her own devices.
“Well, why do you think they would talk to me any more than they would talk to you?” Kiara asked him. People tended to be wary of her since she appeared to be of the Draconic Clan, which was cause for worry to them. Humans were already wary around sakridae, but you put a sakridae fugitive into the mix and very few speak to you for any amount of gold, much less for free.
“Because I happen to look like a demon, and they tend to either run away from demons or try to stab a pitch fork through my gut. On the other hand, you tend to look like a sakridae, and they practically bow down and praise the very ground your kind walk on. They’d tell you anything you want to know,” he said with an obvious strain on his self-control.
Kiara simply smiled at him, glad to have finally found a soft spot, or at least a spot softer than most she could have tried. “Well, the reaction changes when there’s a price on your head. Doesn’t matter if I saved their pathetic town or not, they won’t think twice about killing me now if it means they get rich,” she said, cheerful as ever. It wasn’t completely true, but she needed to get permission from Sorix before she breathed a word about her clan.
Früelan considered her for a moment. “Why would the other sakridae put a price of your head?”
“Well, other than the fact that my clan is supposed to have been completely destroyed 2000 years ago, it might be because I’ve done a few questionable things in the past that they didn’t like. But, of course, I’m not exactly sure about the matter,” Kiara said disparagingly. “You obviously haven’t looked me up before. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the information, so I’ll get back to you if I can, and you won’t hear from me again if I can’t.”
The demon seemed taken aback and after a moment’s hesitation, said, “I see. I hope to see you again soon then.” And without so much as another word, he vanished in a black mist that lingered in the air before dissipating.
Kiara slid down along the tree truck behind her until she once again sat on the ground and let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. She sat there for a few minutes, listening to the rain fall around her and looking up at the dark clouds that towered in the sky, blocking out the afternoon sun.
You just had to say that didn’t you? Caereka said dryly
Which part? Kiara asked, slightly amused.
All of it, Caereka clarified. She seemed worried about the way Früelan had reacted.
What aren’t you telling me? Kiara asked. She didn’t like the shades of worry rolling off of Caereka’s consciousness.
Früelan can be crueler than any tyrant. If he decides you aren’t a good person for their court to be dealing with he will not hesitate to rip you limb from limb. If he decides he likes you, on the other hand, you may just be the luckiest sakridae to ever walk this realm.
Except for the fact that I’m not a sakridae, Kiara thought, pushing herself to her feet. She stood there for a moment, letting the pain subside a little before painfully shape-shifting into a large gray cat with dark stripes down her spine and along her sides to the white tip of her long tail.
Well, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt us, Caereka said sounding tired. Kiara paused, surprised to find out that souls themselves could get tired after all and waited as Caereka drifted back behind the ruins of the wall.
She unsheathed her claws and let them sink into the soft ground, trying to ignore the blast of pain as the fractured bone cracked a little more during the shape-shifting and her muscles made her want to scream with agony. She wasn’t sure how much longer the leg would support her and so set off at a slow pace into the forest, doing her best to keep the weight off of her leg, even hobbling on only three legs for a distance.