Scowling, I began stomping down the path that spiraled around Mythic Mountain, heading off to the forests of the Valley to find Kai. Still shaken from Kyra's attack, the moment replayed in my mind until I knew every detail of what happened -- including the face and voice of the man who saved me. He haunted my thoughts, making me curious about who he was. However, I began to focus on calling out for Kai while avoiding the gazes of Valley citizens who would surely bring word to my family that I was still around. My mother would be upset to hear it, but I hoped that at some point I get to tell my brothers and father that I was alright and on my quest to search for Terrance.
My hands began shaking as I sighed, wondering about the blood in my veins. I had telepathy due to the Darkblood, and was immune to curses, poisons and most things I could want to be immune to because of the Lightblood running through me, but I couldn't figure out what other tricks could occur because of the clash of blood in my veins. Everyone around me was certain that there was more, but I couldn't figure out how to access it.
Maybe it's because I'm afraid, I thought, realizing my hands were shaking worse. My entire life, I wanted to avoid Darkbloods and trouble, and magic in general since I had none. But now, I had secret magic, two blood types, and I was in the center of a contract with the Queen and my brother had been kidnapped.
I exhaled, whistling without even meaning to. Fear is okay, but I need to keep it under control, I told myself, convincing myself that I would survive. First, Kai. Then I would deal with the Prince, Kyra, and my strange protector.
Oh, and my actual magic.
Finally, the ground leveled out, and I was approaching the Valley marketplace. Servants of the castle and regular Lightbloods ran back and forth, arms full, while stronger guards patrolled, looking out for Darkbloods. Even if I'd been raised here my entire life, I tensed every time a guard glanced my way. It looked suspicious as I walked, using my thick hair to hide my face, sticking close to the shadows of the buildings as I made my way across the Valley to the forests. Strangers sent me confused looks as they noticed several guards staring my way. I was the only Lightblood trying to hide, to become invisible, and I was doing a terrible job. Yet I had lasted until the edge of the marketplace, where gardens tended to by volunteers began, when a guard finally decided to start tailing me. I spotted the young looking Lightblood girl jogging toward me and my heart rate spiked, even if I was working with the Queen and Prince. If my mother was still acting as strange as she was, she would accuse me of being Darkblood next time she saw me, and I didn't need those rumours.
I needed Terrance back.
Sending a glare over my shoulder at the guard, I burst into a sprint and darted into an alley, making turns left and right without thinking. Someone shouted behind me, and four pairs of footsteps pounded on the ground as guards and possibly other random Lightbloods followed. I cursed, wishing for a useful power as I did my best to lose the guards. Though they were posing a threat to me, I couldn't be mad at them -- they were trying to protect the town from the Darkbloods that had done horrible things to us.
Kai, if you're out there, I could use some advice, I thought, lungs burning as I rounded another corner. Sunlight blinded me briefly before I realized where I was; in the center of the gardens in broad daylight. Groaning, I ducked into one if the larger crowds and kept my head down as I shuffled along with them, listening to the thundering footsteps of those following me. Praying to the gods above, I maneuvered into the middle of the crowd, praying that my cover would hide me until I could find an alley to take me to the forest.
I must've jinxed myself, because suddenly, the crowd began walking back the other way, farther from the forests at the end of the city. I cursed, glancing around for the guards. They were watching the crowds, trying to locate my figure. Holding my breath, I waited until everyone else had pushed past me, putting me on the edge of the crowd, before breaking into a sprint, keeping to the main street. It was easier to maneuver than the alleyways, and I could see the forest from here. After the garden came an inn and tavern, right at the edge of town, then the overgrown forests of the Valley.
Where Kai should be.
"There!" Someone shouted. I looked over my shoulder to see guards, six of them, running after me.
Kai! I yelled in my mind, urgency making the thought feel more like a bomb. Help me! I need you to help me! Please!
At the sound of the deep voice echoing through my head, I nearly cried. I'm on my way to the forest, but I was trying to avoid getting seen and drew the attention of the guards. I need a getaway mount!
I'm coming. Keep talking, it helps me find your location.
My lungs threatened to burst as I continued pushing myself, blabbering gibberish through the Darkblood connection. It made Kai laugh through the bond as he came to find me, something that somehow lifted some of the pressure from my shoulders. People had begun to stop and stare as I ran from the guards, and I caught snippets of their whispers.
"...she get attacked by Darkbloods...?"
This was a complete fail, I told myself, nearly giving up then and there until I saw a flash of blue through the trees at the end of the road. It seemed as if I was finally able to breathe properly when Kai burst through the bushes, leaves caught on his scales as he ran for me. A wave of comfort came through the telepathic connection as he got closer, pushing himself at a speed I'd never reach. He slowed down as he ducked, allowing me to latch onto the horns on either side of his head. I squeezed tight as he slid, gaining enough traction to turn and dash for the trees once again, his large form causing the guards to pause in fear. I swung around his head, screaming partly in delight as he turned. The ride was steadier as he ran on a straight path and I was able to slide down his neck, settling in the spot at the base of his neck in front of his legs and wing.
Thank you so much, I thought, holding onto his neck as he took me away from the gossiping citizens. He didn't respond, but I knew he was happy to help.
The thought made me smile as the shadows of trees appeared overhead.