Hunted

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The last thing I remember was everyone fighting. Havala was bleeding and controlling a wave of water she seemed to have summoned from the river. Then everything started to tip and spin before going black.

Now I could feel hard-packed ground at my back, my wings were gone but my body hurt all over. Someone was gently calling my name, pleading me to wake up in a soft tone. I wasn't totally sure of the voice, but I assumed it was Sanna. I felt a smile spread on my face and I opened my eyes. But instead of the slit, yellow eyes of my friend, I was met with the deep violet gaze of Nisvārtha Shade.

I frowned and sat up with a groan, holding my throbbing head. "How long was I out?"

"Not even half an hour," he grunted. "But the real question is have you completely lost your mind?"

I looked at him, so not in the mood for his attitude. "I beg your pardon?"

"You could not manage to control yourself for fifteen minutes? Insulting the Warlord? Threatening him? Freeing one of his prisoners?"

"I told the truth you arrogant bastard!" I snapped. "That git was a coward and I wasn't about to let him kill people because it made him feel like a man."

Nisvārtha growled, "And what of the prisoner?"

I growled back, "What of him? He helped us, and he didn't belong down there."

"And you are judging this on what? Do not tell me you are so naive to have believed him."

I groaned in frustration, "He was telling the truth, Nisvārtha!"

"You can't possibly know that, Kendra." Nisvārtha said with a sigh, like I was some fool lass who had bought into a scam.

I was about to give a snarky reply in turn when Suruli landed next to us. The Hunters are approaching, she said gravely.

I had no idea what that meant, but everyone else did. Sanna muttered a word I didn't know like it was a curse, Havala moaned in despair, and Śarat readied herself for takeoff.

When I looked back at Nisvārtha, he had shifted and was giving me a frustrated look.

I stuck my tongue out at him before climbing on his back, whoever these Hunters were, their presence obviously did not bode well for us.

Everyone took to the sky, even Sanna. The three who had wings flew at amazing speeds through the canyons of Grey Rock. On our way to the city we had walked along the tops of these great rips in the earth, but now we flew through them, twisting and turning through the labyrinth of rock. I held on with all of my strength so I wouldn't fall off, and after my wee nap my strength had returned, but my body still hurt and my headache refused to wane.

Who are these Hunters? I asked.

I heard Nisvārtha sigh, Even after the Drake War ended, some still thirsted for the blood of my kind. These people, mostly wyrms and wyverns, formed a band of hunters, intent on killing every last drake.

I bit my lip, Do you think someone recognized you while you were shifted?

No, he said. No civilian would have bothered getting close enough, and if I had been recognized by a civilian, I doubt they would have gone through the trouble of summoning the Hunters.

Then who?

Kappu, Nisvārtha growled. After we left he must have send word to them.

Bloody coward, I hissed. Then I remembered something. How could he have known? I asked. He never saw you shift.

Yes, but he must have recognized my name. Shade was my family's name, before the war my grandparents were close personal friends of the Myājik, and during those five-hundred years my parents played pivotal roles in the outcome of the war.

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