The sun began to rise over the mountain. It's dim light reflected against the mist, creating a shroud. Dew drops fell from green leaves onto the forest floor below. A slow sigh that could not be heard escaped a pink haired woman in a tree.
The term "woman" is used loosely.
She waits on her haunches from above, a fluffy, tawny tail dangling behind her, ears drawn but alert to any sounds. She'd been waiting in this tree since sundown, through rain and cold. Waiting to see if she was followed. It would seem she wasn't, or at least, wasn't followed very far.
She dropped out of alertness, satisfied that she'd gotten away. She didn't earn the moniker "Lightning" by getting caught after a heist. Though this time, she'd cut it seriously close, taking gold she had found was on its way to be traded for a slave of apparently high quality. If they didn't want their riches stolen, they should have hired more guards, she thought. "Rich fools."
"Well, We can't all be poor fools, can we?" A voice sounded below her. Lightning's tail lifted in surprise. She looked down. A dark-skinned woman stood below her, a wolf-like grin etched on her face, though beastman she was not; her target had had a discriminatory dislike of all beastmen, which is why Lightning had to attack from the outside instead of in. No, this woman was human, though with her toned muscles and her heavy-as-honey accent... No time to want to be captured, she thought, shaking herself. She jumped down from her hideaway.
"What purpose do you have in giving chase, human? Afraid of your Master's whip?" She quipped.
"listen 'ere, pussycat, you've set me behind schedule so just return what you took." The human said, wanting none of Lightning's nonsense. Her green eyes shone with a determination; how curious, she thought.
She strutted further into the undergrowth, putting some space between her and the human. "Too bad, little pet, I hid the gold before I took this spot, so I'm afraid I can't return it~" she sang. The human was instantly riled; if she had stayed closer, she surely would have a hand to her throat, or worse. Death was written in her stare. "The others have surely returned to be punished already, your Master is lucky to have a pet so loyal," she mused.
Before even she could register it, the woman did have a hand to her throat. How could a human move so quickly? "You fool!" The human growled. "You've ruined everything!" With incredible strength, she threw the beast-woman into a tree, her back slamming into its trunk. "Is this just a game to you?" She yelled, "Thanks to you, Lalette...Lalette..."
Were those... Tears? Seems I've misunderstood.
Fleur had put a lot of planning into this, and finally, it seemed all the pieces had come into place. She had passed the interview process to guard this particular caravan on its way to buy a particular slave from the port city. She, like the other mercs, weren't allowed to peek at the treasures held within the caravan, but it was obvious that a hefty sum was being paid.
A hefty sum for the slave girl that could speak to the dead.
It had been a complete tragedy, the tribe mourned when Lalette had been taken from them, but none more so than Fang. She had gone into the forest for three solid days, not speaking to anyone. Some clansmen thought they'd lost her, too.
In a way, they did. She wasn't the same without Lalette, and she decided, on that third, rainy day, she wouldn't rest until she'd saved her. She'd tear down the sky if she had to.
She had it planned to a science; she'd exchange the money for Lalette, then on the return trip she'd take out the other mercenaries and drop the caravan somewhere. Then the two of them would go home, and it'd be just like she'd never left...
These plans seemed to shatter around her when a swarthy beast-woman attacked their caravan. She'd heard of a brown cat by the name of Lightning who stole from the wealthy if the money went to dirty causes. For certain, she lived up to her moniker; she took out the guards that refused to step aside with hard moves that came blindingly fast. She broke in and out of the caravan with a speedy sort of grace, like watching an expert at eating with chopsticks at a food tournament. It was a sight to behold, and it left the remaining guards staring in awe.
It wasn't until she was a bronze silhouette in the distance that Fleur snapped from her stupor and gave chase. She was the only one that did.
Lalette...wait just a bit longer... I'm still coming for you!
Yes, she would tear down the sky to save her. She'd hunt through this entire forest if she had to.
She would break every bone in this cat's body if it meant seeing her again.
"Wait, calm down, we can talk this over," Lightning said soothingly. "I can help you, won't you let me make this up to you?" She'd come to a very grave misunderstanding, she realized. The human woman continued to approach her, slowly, menacingly. Despite her natural advantages, Lightning found herself paralyzed with fear.
"Let me take you to it, you don't have to do this,"'she pleaded. The human was towering above her now. She bent low, her green eyes dark. "If you're lying to me, I'll kill you," she warned. "As slowly and creatively as I can. I'll skin you alive and show you your insides. Understand?" Her head bobbed fearfully. "Good." The woman stood, and reached out her hand. "Since we understand each other, allow me to introduce myself. My name's Fleur Vidal. You are?"
She picked herself up, untrusting of the outstretched hand. "Lightning." She responded curtly, eyeing it warily.
The human; rather, Fleur, offered no apology, and merely shrugged her shoulders. "You really should warm up to me, you know," she said, "After all, you're gonna be stuck with me for a while."
"The treasure...isn't that far..." She started lamely, but a look in Fleur's eyes told her this isn't what she meant. No, that smug grin and green eyes that held such an odd glint, as if she were informing Lightning of some great secret.
"That gold isn't of any concern to me; just a key to the real treasure," she said, voice low. "And you aren't going anywhere until I've reached her."