"Em, are you sure about this?" Mekhi brought her from her thoughts. She was busy playing with the head of one of her arrows, lost deep in thought about Amethyst and Jezebel, so lost in her head that she jumped at the sound of his voice by her ear.
"Sure about what?" she questioned.
"You haven't been on the best of terms with your sister since..." he trailed off, not wanted the listening ears to hear their conversation. He knew this was a touchy subject for the younger.
"I know," she quipped. "But they would do anything for me. Jezebel would do anything to get out of the Spring and Amethyst, hell, you know Amethyst. She's always been trying to stay on my ass. They'll help. I know they will."
Both of them knew she was trying to convince herself more than him, but neither of them spoke up about it. Mekhi just stared at the woman, lips parted. He inhaled and opened his mouth, as if about to speak, but he was interrupted by his fiancée.
"When are we leaving?"
Emerson's eyes flickered as she continued to stare at the man before her, then focused her attention on the interruption. "Soon."
She stood from her spot and walked out the back door, hoisting her quiver over her shoulder and pulling her hood over her head. She kicked her feet into the ground as she trekked through the strange backyard, which looked a lot like the woods she was so accustomed to. She looked up into the sky and took a deep breath, closing her eyes. She could hear the faint sounds of birds chirping and animals rustling around in trees. A faint smile painted her lips. This was how it was supposed to be.
She turned quickly on her heels and didn't hesitate to nock an arrow, but her frustrations only grew when she saw who had snuck up on her.
"What are you doing here?" she huffed, walking back towards the trees. She almost ignored him, but decided it would probably be awkward in the long run.
"I saw you run out. Are you okay?"
"Are you sure?"
"I said I'm fine." She kept her words short and clipped, and she left him standing there, wandering off into the woods. She needed to clear her head before she lost control. Again.
"You know you can talk to me. What's going on?" he followed her, mimicking step by step.
She glanced around her, looking at the trees and the birds flittering around the woods, and came to an abrupt stop when a shadow moved in the corner of her eye.
Nicholas made a noise of distress. "Seriously, Emer-"
She shoved a hand over his mouth, a gesture they were both becoming all too familiar with, and narrowed her eyes at him. She shook her head once and walked slowly through the woods, staying alert.
Nicholas furrowed his eyebrows and followed her, and didn't question the woman either. By now he had grown to trust her. He tried to keep his movements as silent as hers, and even with those clunky boots she had on, her footsteps still remained quiet, whereas the leaves were crunching underneath his feet with every step he took.
A branch snapped underneath his foot and they both froze. Emerson turned her head slightly to eye the man behind her, only warning him with her eyes, and she kept moving. She kept her bow by her thigh as she slinked through the trees, when a flicker of movement caught her eye.
She didn't hesitate.
She drew her arrow and shot, catching whatever, or whoever it was, and she heard a loud thud not a second later. She motioned for Nicholas to follow her, still not speaking, as she didn't want to alert any companions that may be lurking by the creature.
They walked quietly towards the lump she shot down, and Emerson realized that it couldn't possibly be Rochester, and probably wouldn't be anyone close to him either. Rochester wouldn't let himself get shot by an arrow, not with the amount of magic he had.
A low groan drew both of them from their thoughts and Emerson's eyebrows shot up. She reached her mind out to the creature, trying to decipher whether it was animal, natural, or Unnatural, but all she got was a mix of indecipherable thoughts from whatever it was.
Fed up with waiting, she took off running toward the sound of distress and stopped in her tracks when she saw what she had shot.
Son of a bitch, she thought.
"Nicholas," she spoke quickly, eyeing the small boy before them. "Help me move him to the house."
He blinked back at her in surprise. "Why?"
"Just trust me," she snapped. While she knew she could handle moving the small child perfectly fine on her own, she didn't want to risk aggregating the wound relocating him. She shook her head from the thoughts and slung her bow around her shoulder. "Now."
She gripped her hands underneath the child's armpits, grimacing at the sound of his groans. She struck him just under his collarbone on his left side, so she made sure to avoid moving that area around too much. She gave Nicholas a pointed look, signaling him to grab his ankles.
He moved quickly, not wanting to anger the fae any more than he already had, and placed his sweaty hands around the small boys ankles. He looked young, around 12 or 14, and Nicholas thought he was definitely too young to be traveling the woods by himself, even if it was close to property.
They quickly and carefully carried the boy to Avery's house, barreling through the back door, and Nicholas didn't hesitate to call for help as they laid him on the kitchen table. He momentarily forgot that he was with a fae, and one with a healing ability, at that, but Emerson didn't stop him. The least she could do was apologize for the mess she had got them into.
"What happened?" Mekhi was the first to speak.
"We were outside-"
Emerson cut him off. "I shot him."
She figured there was no point in dancing around the truth. There was an arrow sticking out of the kid's body, a surefire telling of the truth.
"You shot a kid?" Avery questioned.
"I didn't mean to," Emerson defended herself. "I heard some noises, and assumed it was Rochester, or a lackey of his sent to spy on us. When you live in the woods for as long as I have, you learn to act first, ask questions later."
"Can't you..."Mekhi trailed off, gesturing to the arrow. "help him?"
The fae nodded. "Yes, but there's something I need to tell you guys. The boy isn't human."
"He's Unnatural?" Nicholas asked.
Emerson only nodded. "I don't know how he got here, or why he's here, but all I know is he's a servant to the royal family. See the crest on his foot? That's the royal family's seal. And gods only know what they're going to do when they find out I've shot down a servant."
All four of them looked at the boy's foot. It was heavily scarred over, tinged pale pink, almost white, but a tree and sword could faintly be made out on the arch of his foot.
"I mean, he's just a servant right? It's not like he's family. I'm sure they won't be too angry at us," Avery offered.
Emerson shook her head and pursed her lips tightly. "You don't understand. The royal family is very...particular when it comes to staff. I don't know what exactly this boy is, but what I do know is the King only hires Unnatruals because his family is Unnatural, and his servants are treated as family as well. What he's doing here? I have no idea."
"Can't you read his thoughts?" Nicholas piped in.
Emerson paused, glancing at the wolf, then to the small boy on the table. She hadn't thought about that. She had never tried to initiate trying to read someone's thoughts before, as it was never a pleasant feeling for either party, but the least she could do was try.
"Let me get this damn thing out of him first."
She moved to the boy's side, taking her cloak off and putting her bow and quiver down by the boy's feet. She touched the tender skin around the wound, noting how the blood was red, meaning two things. One, he didn't;t come from magic, and two, he was at least still breathing. Unnatural's blood tends to turn dark, or even black, when they stop breathing, so that was a good sign.
She took a deep breath and told the other three to stand back, before she pulled the arrow out without warning any of them. Blood spattered on the table and her face, and she threw the arrow on the ground. She brought her hands over the wound and closed her eyes, parting her lips. She ignored the boys moans and screams and focused on trying to heal him, and when she felt a hum coarse through her body, she knew it was starting to work. She exhaled and and flexed her fingers before letting a trickle of magic shoot out of her hand and into the boy's shoulder, and when he sighed, she knew it was done.
She opened her eyes to the scene in front of her. Mainly blood, a ruined arrow, and three pairs of widened eyes and some type of gargling noise. She opened her mouth to ask what was going on when Nicholas stopped her.
She looked down and saw that her hair had lightened and had cursed herself for forgetting that using her abilities meant her glamour disappeared, and she gave the wolf a faint smile before shifting back to her human form.
'You-You've never showed me that before," Mekhi finally spoke.
Emerson shrugged as she looked for something to wipe the blood off her face. "You never asked."
He gaped at her, then looked to his fiancée for help, but she just gave him the same shrug as the fae did. Avery handed Emerson a hand towel and she thanked her silently as she wiped it across her face.
"Now what?" Avery asked, gesturing to the boy.
"We wait for him to wake up."