Kito took the human back to the village as quickly as he could. The first place he could think about taking her was to Zeta. She knew how to heal human women, even sick ones, and he knew he would be putting this girl in good hands if he did.
He went up the stairs and stood at the door of their hut. When he found out it was locked he knocked hard enough for anyone inside to hear. This wasn’t a matter he needed to wait on.
Moments later the door opened, and he stood back so it wouldn’t hit him or the female.
It was Ruro that answered.
Seeing Kito hold the unconscious woman didn’t take his mind long to register what was going on. His eyes widened, “Is she-?”
“No,” he had to stop him right there. “I do not know which she belongs to right now. I found her while I was... Scouting. She is new here. She had been in the rain for a while.”
Ruro looked back and calls out his mate’s name, a moment later Zeta was at the door. The sight of the human instantly put her in a joyful mood and she did a half jump in excitement, “Another human! Bring her inside, bring her inside! Ruro, clear the table so Kito can put her on it and I can check if she has any wounds and then we will put her on the healing bed in the corner. If she has been in the rain then she could grow a temperature, and I hope she didn’t get the mud in any cut.”
Everyone did what she said immediately and Kito placed the girl on the table gently, making sure she didn’t hit her head or injure anything else further. He turned to leave before Zeta could use her dagger to cut the clothes, but Ruro stopped him with a question. “Where are you going?”
“She is not mine,” he answered calmly. “I just brought her here for Zeta. I need to go now. At sunrise, you can tell me if she is doing better or not. ”
He left the hut a little quicker than he intended, shutting the door so more of the night chill couldn’t blow in. He steps down the stairs and back into the village. It greatly upset him that this wasn’t the one, but it did make him feel better at the thought that there was more to come.
It brought him at ease a little. He shut his eyes to let the thought please him.
A heavy raindrop touches his shoulder.
He opens his eyes and looks at his shoulder, his eyes laying on the sights of a strange thick blue liquid sliding down his shoulder, over his collarbone, and down his body over his tattoo. He raised his hand to touch the liquid and feel it between his fingers. He touched this before.
He perks up at the sky to see the stars and the section of dark clouds over the sky. He looked at his hand in confusion. This should only be found in the cave... Why did a drop land on him? From the sky? He was not near the cave, which he stares in the direction of now. Then at the sky again, the rain had dimmed and the clouds retreated to allow sight of the moons and the stars.
This drop didn’t come from any cloud?
He walks forward with the thought that it may be a sign, one that demanded to be noticed. He walked into the Jungle again. He strolled through for a little bit before the rain drizzled to a stop, leaving everything it had drenched before to dry, a process that will be slow. He wandered for a little while, wondering why he hasn’t even seen any of the Warrior Scouters in this section and made a mental note about it. Weak spots were not tolerated around the perimeter of the village. That was learned after the Kikera’s easy entry.
Abruptly, he stopped.
He stopped and stilled. Stiffened. Like a deer would when something was different in their surroundings that they noticed or heard a sound. His tail hangs mindlessly and his ears flatten as if he had lost control of all of it. Every part of him was out of reach. All because of the faint scent that was blowing to him by the humble fresh breeze after the rain.
A smell that invaded his nose and had his head turn to. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath again, inhaled and exhaled, and made his tail powerless to work anymore. It didn’t curl or sway, it just hung.
It was faint but still there. He wondered if anyone else could smell the scent that caught his attention so quickly. If there was any other Warrior here they probably could have. Yet, here he was.
He had to go find out.
He pursues it eagerly and tries to decipher in his mind what it was. It smells like a flower yet it didn’t match any flower he had ever known even in other places or used in his crafting. It is soft, subtle, endlessly pleasant. He wanted more. He marched on, realizing that it was a much fainter aroma than he realized. It wasn’t strong but more like a tease, drawing him in but not giving him enough. He didn’t understand what this was.
He was so caught up with his scattered mind that he hasn’t noticed someone sitting at the roots of a thick tree. His head snapped that way and he couldn’t find it in him to growl. The smell somehow deactivated that.
Luckily he hadn’t. Sitting on the tree was a child. A small, surprisingly tiny young boy that it seemed to vaguely be coming from. The small cub was soaked, his clothes were drenched and his hair was flat against his head with a strange sack on his back. He sat there and looked at Kito with wide, shocked eyes and later, a bigger smile. The Xutashi tilted his head in confusion.
A human boy.
“You!” The boy jumped up in his excitement and pounced him with a tight hug around his waist. Kito rose his hands up in confusion and he looked at him, seeing the boy-cub look up at him with a brighter beaming smile on his face that might stick if he wasn’t careful. “You came! She told me to wait here and you would come and find me! She was right! This is so cool! My picture 'came real! You’re my hero, remember? You look so much cooler when not in crayon!”
Kito didn’t know what to do in this situation. The boy let go of Kito’s waist and kneeled on the ground and opened his bookbag immediately, the sound of the zipper startled the Xutashi and he stood back in alert, ears perked. The boy didn’t seem worried about it as he snatched the paper inside and held it up to Kito, jumping once. “See? I drew you. A little girl told me that she knew where you were and I followed her. She told me to sit by this tree,” he pointed it to make sure Kito understood. “And you came for me! I only doubted it for one second, too! Now you can help me and my Sissy just like Batman do.”
“Uh...” Kito’s feline ears were flat as he looked around the jungle before finally staring at the young boy. He took the paper he continued to hold proudly towards him into his hand to observe it. The cub wouldn’t stop presenting it to him if he didn’t. He saw that it was a picture drawn of him. Not a very good one, but him all the same. Why was his tattoo a bunch of strange black swirls? He didn’t see the color of it, but he knew it was him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get your tattoo right,” the boy said. “I didn’t remember what it looked like from my dreams.”
“A nice blond lady came to me too, but she didn’t speak as much as the little girl did. She let the girl do most of the talking. When the cat lady spoke she told me everything would be okay. I was put here and told to wait. I’m happy you came. Thank you for finding me. It’s scary here in the dark.”
He was stuck in an endless circle of bewilderment that he didn’t know how to free himself from. The boy was waiting here, for him, because he was told to.
He moved closer to the boy to get another take of the faded smell he had. He had his normal scent, meaning that this second aroma was a coat of something else he had touched. The boy was fine with allowing Kito to grab his hand and look at them. Something he touched.
“You said someone was with you?” He looks at the boy with a slight shine in his eyes. This must have been the sign the drop was giving him. “Who?”
“My sissy Clara,” his face grew sad. “I left her to find you. But I was told where she was before the little girl disappeared. She said to find-”
“Two trees that are intertwined?” It was a simple guess. Maybe the girl was the sign that Pasha hasn’t told him. When the boy nodded and smiled again he knew he had guessed right. “I was afraid I would forget the big word. They is together, right? You know where it is, right? I sure hope you do.”
Kito grinned, surprised when the boy wasn’t startled by his fangs. He straightened his back to stand tall again, “Come with me and we will find her.” He didn’t know what a sissy was but he was sure that it was what this boy had come up with for the other human that was missing.
The boy grabbed his hand, which he was surprised by, and walked through the jungle and into the direction he remembered the location to be. After all, he was there not too long ago, how could he have not seen another human there? Maybe his focus was too much on the panicked woman than the other one.
He would find out when he made it there.
“Is your name Neon?” The little boy asked him.
His ears twitched at the strange name. He looked down at him, “What?”
“Neon. Is that your name?”
He shook his head, “No. My name is Na’Kito.”
The boy tilted his head at the name. “I’m Kane. My sister’s name is Clara. She’s hurt. She tried to keep it from me but I knew she was hurting.”
“Why is she hurt?”
The boy didn’t answer that question. He just looked on and kept a firm hold on his hand, Kito helped him over some large protruding roots and deep sections of mud by picking him up with his arm. He giggled when he did, thinking it was a small game, and Kito just allows him to have his humor.
It was when they approached closer to the trees that the smell, unlike before, hit him a little stronger than the boy did. The sweet aroma made him tilt his chin in the air to take it in.
His heart pounded in his chest as he put the pieces together in his mind, or perhaps much deeper than that. Some part of him naturally knew. The trail that he could catch against the tree, the specks of blood.
Blood that he could see against the dark grey tint of the wood was a dark, burgundy color that made him stare at it. Even touch it so it would be on the tip of his finger, his breathing quickened when he saw what he never could see before in his life. It wasn’t grey, black, or darker shades of grey.
“You said she was hurt,” he recalled the question he didn’t answer before. “How?”
Kane looked at the ground to avoid Kito’s gaze. He could tell that his Hero was serious this time and he didn’t want to make him mad. “Richard hurt her.”
Kito’s jaw tensed. He continued forward and tracked air in each direction, the small prints in deep mud that weren’t washed away by the rain was something he found a bit odd. It wasn’t the normal tracks of any of his kind here, it was a track of lines and circles under the footprint. Was this what humans wear on their feet? It wasn’t made for this kind of environment because he pulled one of the shoes out of the mud that it was stuck deep in, observing it for a moment. Why do humans wear such bulky things?
“Clara’s shoe!” The boy squealed. “She’s close! You’re good at this. Could you teach me?”
He glances at the boy and gave a half chuckle, he would spend the moment it took to explain to him the difference between human and Xutashi but didn’t. Every moment counted in a situation like this. Kane holds the shoe while they followed the tracks until the scent becomes more and more consuming.
The trees came into sight now and he told the small boy to wait in a spot under some leave to keep him hidden, he approached the large arch inside again with the same caution. The scent, now filling his senses, was nowhere near the inside of the hollow center. Nobody had been inside since the other human which meant that this woman had gone past this area, not in here. Recognizing more specks of blood on a tree, which stood out due to the only piece of color he could see, and followed it.
The blood was like visible arrows towards the direction she went, and there was no doubt in his mind now. The moment he thought to be joyous was different. He didn’t smile at the realization. He had to try to track her through the jungle further away from the tribe. He wondered if something was interesting about this spot that seemed like another beacon to the human world. He couldn’t explain it.
Then again, nothing about the Blue Water can be officially explained.
He stopped when he saw more disturbance in the mud, the signs of struggle, was now at his feet. His eyes follow over the mess and skimming over it until it finally laid on a body pressed into the mud where exhaustion landed her.
Laying on her back and coated in mud, bruises, and cuts. Her hair was scattered and tangled and coated in mud. Her clothes were soaked and her shirt ripped beyond repair now.
When he saw her everything came to him all at once, so much so it was almost overwhelming. His breath in his body was taken from him and before his very eyes, the world of grey melts away, unearthing the color that was always underneath the surface. The grey on the leaves drips like water and exposed the green and flowers that were around exposed to its hidden vibrant beauty.
He scans her with his pupils stretch wider than they could be before, it consumes most of the blue around it but not entirely. His lungs burn slightly begging for him to release his breath. He finally released it. His body relieves all of its tension.
Happiness bubbles inside of him and a grin came to his lips, a wide, fanged one.
He approaches her and kneels, easily picking up the slight human and holding her halfway so his arm could slide under her shoulders to elevate her. It was the only way he could check her injuries. He searches her face first, his gut turning at the sight of her battered complexion. Her lip cut and swollen, a cut close to her temple, and her cheek were bruised as well. Her shirt was ripped by force rather than a clean-cut a knife could do. Her arm had been cut a little more severely below her elbow where trails of blood eased to the side of her hand.
This must be that Richard’s doing.
He growls as if the human was standing before him now. Whoever this Richard was he would have the nerve to do this to her. Such a tiny human. The woman’s arms and legs were smaller than one should be. She was too thin.
His ears lower and his eyes soften, emotions he had not accounted for swirled inside him all at once. If this was the cub’s sister, and the had been planted images of him in his head by Ser’avi, then this must be the path he was supposed to take. The cub and this woman were meant to be his.
He liked the thought of that.
Thanks for the review Devon and Adona 🖤