The Price of Vengeance

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Hunting Me

Thunder cracked above Disseus and Nim jerked. Making Disseus’ arms tighten protectively around her. Protecting her as she slept.

He let his wild reveries play out in his mind’s eye.

After she’d spotted him up on Black Rock’s that foggy morning and he’d fired a warning arrow past her to let her know he was aware of her presence, he’d climbed down the rocks and headed into the trees with her nipping at his heels like a small yappy dog.

She was so close on his heels, and therefore slammed into his back as he abruptly stopped and pulled a spiced flower from a bush. Looking at it thoughtfully.

“I know enough.”

“You don’t know anything.” She countered.

Turning fully, he lifted a quizzical brow. Knocking her hood back he eyed her face as she gasped in surprise at how rapidly he rounded on her. His face relaxed.

“Nealinim.” He finished as if it confirmed what he’d already known.

I could always sense when she was near. Smell that sweet scent that is hers alone.

“You know me?” She blinked at him in shock. Stunned that he’d even know her name.

I knew who she was. She was impossible to miss as she skirted the Harbinger meeting fires, peering from behind the tents to hear our conversations.

Always intrigued by Harbinger plots.

Pointedly ignoring her, only made her tail him more doggedly. She’d followed him all the way out into that blasted field where he’d pulled a limp rabbit up by the ears. Lifting it above the hazy fog to inspect its size.

Not bad.

She hissed through her teeth. “You shot the rabbit?’

“You thought I was trying to shoot you?” He lifted a questioning brow as he straightened and began heading back toward the Harbinger Camp.

Her silence was answer enough.

“If you’d been my target, you wouldn’t be standing now.” He tossed over his shoulder. Warning her away.

And not knowing enough about to her to be aware it’d only make her more intrigued.

***

Only a few days later had found her the one perched on the Black Rocks.

Apparently, her inability to charm me had only made her more intent on her task. Getting past my sturdy defenses to sweet talk me into giving her, her way.

She wanted me to train her. She wanted to be the only Fey Guardian in history to be trained by a Harbinger. It was an interesting plan, needless to say and would make her the most ferocious fey.

Nim’s ambitions had led her to believe if she could become one of the greatest Guardians ever to live, the First Water Fey would make her their Diamond. Royalty. They had the power to select one, she knew. The Guardians could appoint her.

Royalty amongst fey is determined by strength and battle ability rather than by blood.

Succeeding in that endeavor, would’ve meant coming a long way from being an orphan that belonged nowhere and was loved by no one.

But she’d needed a Harbinger to train her.

And she wanted it to be me.

The one the others were already calling The Feral, the hound of Death.

He was the one man feared by nearly everyone in Enuchte. Even his own kind skirted carefully around him.

Avoiding my path whenever possible.

And there she was, trying to steer her way into it at every turn.

***

It was well known that no one relished meeting him on the training field.

I was the best of them. The most vicious. The most skilled…And she’d been watching me enough to know.

He’d come out of the woods from practicing his archery and spotted her atop the boulders. Asking dryly. “Your throne princess?”

She’d looked down at him in surprise. “I told you I’m no princess.”

He scoffed. “Come down. Before you hurt yourself.”

“I won’t.” She lifted her chin defiantly.

Lowering his head, he stared at her deliberately. “Don’t make me come up there and get you.”

“I’m perfectly able to come down on my own. I’m more agile than you think. I could be real good at warfare...If you’d teach me.”

Not a chance. Lips tightening, he looked at her unwaveringly.

“Is that a ‘no’?”

He refused to answer.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Then I’m not coming down.”

“Really?”

From the corner of her eyes, she saw his brows shoot up. “Unlike most people here. I’m not scared of you.”

She wasn’t. Too impetuous to be afraid of what she should’ve been.

“You should be.”

“I’m not.” She looked down at him steadily.

“A little bit?”

“Not even.”

“Hmm. I’ll have to remedy that.” He immediately started heading up the rock pile. A bit of a playful streak rising to the fore. Something he’d carefully stomped down over the last few years. Growing more severe in his harsh duties as a Harbinger.

She watched him until she was certain he wasn’t bluffing.

He was going all the way up.

Making a choking sound, she tipped off the other side and began to skitter down the rocks.

Reaching the top, he looked down at her, biting one cheek disapprovingly. “Are you baiting me girl?”

She peered up at him from the bottom of the backside. Shielding her eyes to see him. “Would you bite?”

His brows lifted again before shooting back down. “I may.”

She smiled invitingly. “Come down.” She crooked a finger. “Train me.”

“No.” Back straightening, he lifted his chin.

“I can wait. And I’m not going away.”

“Yes, you are.” Turning he climbed down the other side.

She met him there. “No. I’m not.”

He’d given her his most intimidating glower. Staring at her ominously.

Seeing she was unflinching, her chin only hitching a bit more at the challenging look in his eyes, he’d relented with a grunt.

Giving her his back.

The first time.

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