Agana was finally, after so much endless fighting, dead.
Vaz continued to think about that repeatedly as he walked down the Jungle path that led through further away from the village. He was walking leisurely, red eyes with black specks looked forward at the more recognizable trail than he had seen it before. The only thing he carried on him was a medium-sized sack of food that was draped over his shoulder that he held. He didn’t have a shadow with the rising sun that was over his body.
He hasn’t seen Shade since the intense defeat of the dreaded creature. He figured the shadow chose to stay with the Kikera, seeing it’s power together was even impressive to him. Shade had already consumed the anger within him to be unable to use it in such a way. A being that was drawn to power wouldn’t leave a perfect source like that. Of course, he can always return lower to his vessel, but why? He figured he would take some food from the market and simply leave.
He didn’t think he had a reason to stay in a tribe that was unfamiliar to him.
Agana had been right about one thing as much as he detested that fact. He had devoted everything to kill her that he had lost everything he thought he would return to.
The male and female Xutashi he once called his parents and the brother that was like blood to him, who treated him like their own. Even since he was just walking himself, they were there with Xeya and Syrik. Numi was avenged now. He would have peace in knowing that. It saddened him to know that everything was gone because he was blinded by his rage.
He had gotten what he wanted. His brother was avenged even if it wasn’t by his hands. Perhaps it was better if a purebred finished her. It could have always been Kerrani's plan to allow it to be another... A purebred. But it didn’t matter. It was dead. His mission was completed. He was free.
He tried to never allow his ears to lower to show his emotion even if he was alone. He was always good at hiding his feelings, he never liked it when others knew.
He wouldn’t lie to himself when he knew he was lost now. He was sure he had missed everything in life. His mate perhaps died during his time underground, never found, and died alone. He missed that chance. He knew it. Walking around the world was the only thing he figured he could do since nothing was waiting for him. No family, no home. He truly had nothing. Just as the beast said.
He wondered who had the last laugh at the end.
One of his ears turned slightly at the small noise behind him and his head turned with it. His eyes scanned the area until it landed on a dark figure on a tree close by. He was momentarily surprised to see it there.
Shade was crouched down lowely on the nearest tree near him with his ears low. He was over the fact that Shade has chosen to look like him as his figure. He could choose any he wanted. His black brow rose and he spoke aloud at it, “Did you not want to stay with the Kikera? Although we are bonded, he has more anger than me when you feed on him instead.”
Shade’s ears lower until they weren’t seen. He could feel the shadow’s emotions running through him and his thoughts in his mind. He could feel the bond that they had grown over the time that they had spent together, even in the cave, when they had nobody else but themselves. Friendship. Shade felt friendship towards him. It was something that humbled him. He would stay with him for him only, no matter the anger that someone else had. Shade only had the same goal that Vaz has had too. To kill Agana.
He was sent by a Goddess to do something that was now done and now he was stuck here. No, not stuck, he chose to be here. Shade chose him. Vaz had no shadow on him now, perhaps the shade was being kind and simply saying that because it wouldn’t matter. They were stuck together.
But Vaz wasn’t that foolish.
The right side of his mouth raises upwards in a half-grin. He nods down the long trail ahead and started walking. “Let us go then.”
Shade jumps in excitement and followed him like his shadow.
He made it down the trail a little further above another presence that caught him off guard. He turned and saw two Xutashi’s steps out of the Jungle and towards him. He didn’t growl or show any threat because they weren’t. His head tilted with his confusion that seemed to have stretched even further today. He stood sideways with a sideways glance. “What are you two doing here?”
It was the Chief’s sons. He had recognized them from before. Shade even shared information that he learned from Caji’s thoughts about them, even from the yellow one. Kai’Riba and Na’Kito.
He saw the staff the oldest one held and nearly wanted to growl at it for him to put it away. It was more a saddened growl he wanted to do rather than threatening. It was almost the same one Ran had once held. The memory was secretly painful. He controlled himself.
“We came to find you,” Kai was the first one to speak. Kito was always the type to let others do the talking unless he had something he needed to say. “Did you think that you can just walk away without saying goodbye?”
He gives shade as a curious look that he knew he was getting from his shadow on return. He felt it. “I did not think I needed to do that. I can come and go whenever I please.”
“That’s true,” he nods in agreement. “I was hoping to speak with you before you did. I didn’t think you would leave so quickly.”
“There is enough in your tribe to get rid of the body however you all please,” he managed to keep his cold exterior intact. His back was straight and his posture spoke power similar to the one Caji briefly had. “I don’t care what you do with it.”
“I didn’t want to talk about the body. I wanted to talk to you about something else.”
“He will be fine by the next morning,” he went to walk away. “You two shouldn’t worry about him. He is only drained.”
“That isn’t what I want to speak to you about.”
He stops a second time. “The beast didn’t take any lives. Why else are you two following me? I did what needed to be done.”
Kito finally steps forward when he saw his eagerness to just turn around and walk away. “Don’t you want to stay with the tribe, Vaz? Why are you in a hurry to leave?”
He gives the brothers a look that they couldn’t piece together. His tail and ears were even unreadable. He was good at hiding his emotions when he focused on them. “The world has changed too much for me. My home isn’t the one that I left,” he thought he had explained that enough to them earlier. They needed a reminder. “So I plan to go. What happens after that I don’t know. All I know is that I will not be trapped in the ground for the world to change again.”
To Kai and Kito it sounded like a very complicated version of saying he didn’t know what to do. Especially with himself. “The family you once had may be gone, friend,” Kai wanted to be helpful. He could never imagine what it would be like to lose everything he knew just for a goal. It has to be painful. He did well to hide it. “But we are not dead. If our family has taken you in before then why can we not try to do it again?”
“We cannot make you stay,” Kito added shortly after. “But there is no harm in trying to convince you to. You can stay with us Vazeem, we can introduce you to the family that Syrik and Xeya left behind. I think you will like it,” he smiles. “I have a feeling this world is what Syrik wanted for all of us. Even for you.”
“Especially for you,” Kai nodded in his agreement to his words. “At least give us a chance. Three moons,” he bargains. “You can have a hut of your own and everything you need. If you still feel the same as you do now then you can leave and we will not try to stop you again.”
He was very convincing. Vaz looks at Shade and silently asked his opinion of this. The shadow’s opinions never seemed to lead him in the wrong direction before. The dark silhouette looked at the two for a long while before he felt approval. Shade approved of them.
So why not he?
“Three moons?” He wanted to make sure. “What if I choose to leave before then?”
“I was hoping you will like it before you choose to leave sooner,” Kai’s fast response impressed him. Not many can do that. “Unlike the creature, you will be given a chance to enjoy the changes. I am confident you will like it. ”
Shade’s constant approval continued to fill his mind until it nearly made his ears ring. He gave the shadow a short scolding look before looking at the two before him, “I see no harm in doing it,” he shrugs.
Kito snickered after seeing his crossed look on his face towards the shadow, “So can the shadow speak in your mind?” All three of them started walking down the other way of the trail back to the village.
“No,” Vaz shook his head quickly. “I just know his thoughts and emotions. He cannot speak.”
“Of course he cannot speak,” Kai rolled his eyes to his brother. “What a dumb thing to ask. He doesn’t have a mouth and no one good can read another’s thoughts.”
“It would be nice if you didn’t have a mouth,” Kito retorts. “Then I wouldn’t have to hear you proudly talk about yourself all the time.”
Kai’s end of staff “accidentally” slides between Kito’s legs that it made him fall in the mud. Neither Vaz nor Kai stopped or even turned their head to see if he was alright. Kito winced at his bruised and now muddy bandage around his torso, “I hope Mia cuts your tail off and feeds it to you, stupid cub. Clara is going to kill me, she just put this on!”
He could already tell the similarities of Ran or Numi between these two.
Perhaps this new world was not such a bad change after all.