Chapter Twenty Three
“Where is my father?” Kai growled, his two colored eyes flashing white. Zee smiled at the boy before him and sighed softly before moving closer.
“I can not tell you that. But if you come with me, I will bring you to him.” Zee still had that smile on his face, it sent chills down Kai’s spine. For some reason, he got the feeling that his father may be more than anyone had ever realized.
“Let me go home, Zee.” Kai begged, kis eyes darting around the room to see if he could escape.
Zee crossed his arms over his chest, still giving a cold smile. “Home? Your home is with your father, not that man whose smell is all over you. Too bad I didn’t kill that beast. He deserves to die for defiling my master’s precious offspring.”
Kai’s legs shook with his anger and he dug his hands into the soft bed beneath him. He blamed himself for being caught by Zee. .All his wished for in this moment was for Cian and the children to be safe. Now he didn’t even care who his father was. If he died in this house without ever knowing what happened to Cian, he would haunt his father forever. The thought made him smile. Kai released the bed from his fierce grip and stared out the window instead of looking at Zee.
In the background, Kai could hear Zee talking to someone, asking the to quickly inform the “master” that Kai was in the room. As Kai was concentrating on the world outside the window, thinking of nothing other that Cian, the sound of the birds song enveloped him. He stopped breathing when he heard the crunch of a dead tree branch. His senses extremely sharp, his eyes shifted to the forest outside the window.
Everything seemed to come together at once when a yellow sparkle brought his attention to the left. The moon was bright enough that some rays were making their way through the canopy, fracturing as they hit the forest floor beneath it. One ray was shining down on a soft bed of moss. On the moss two large golden paws led up to a soft muzzle and fierce green eyes.
Kai held in his gasp not wanting to startle Zee beside him who had his eyes closed after he had contacted Kai’s father. His blood was circulating faster and faster, causing his heart to thud loudly in his chest. The leopard stared at Kai with an intensity that made him feel like prey. Each paw was the size of his head, maybe more, Kai couldn’t be sure with the three feet separating them. The eyes of the leopard were a glistening green that could look into any creatures’ soul and determined their worthiness.
Kai’s eyes locked onto the leopards and he swore it smiled. He knew those green eyes. The leopard stepped forward and Kai let out a small breath. In a matter of seconds, the leopards face was mere inches from his. His eyes were even more dazzling at such a close distance.
There were flakes of black ice in the bright green. A storm was brewing and Kai wanted to scream with triumph, instead he held absolutely still as the leopard smelled him. He took in a deep breath and seemed to relish in whatever scent he caught, he even sniffed Kai again. When he touched his cold, wet, black nose to his, Kai closed his eyes, not even deathly afraid of the huge beast before him.
Kai turned to stone when a scratchy, wet object ran across his face.
His tongue, Kai thought, He licked me! … I wonder if I taste good…wait! What am I thinking!?
He opened his eyes and found the leopard sitting serenely, his large gold and black tail switching back and forth through the air. The leopard watched him all the while, twitching his tail, it seemed to Kai, in amusement. That was when Kai felt a familiar trembling in his heart. He stared at the leopard before him, watched on as the leopard slowly unfurled golden wings from it’s back.
“Cian.” Kai whispered, his hands trembling. At this soft exclamation, Zee opened his eyes and spotted Cian’s leopard for standing beside Kai.
“Tch, we’ve been found.” Zee muttered, his face turning red with rage. Seeing how Cian was about to take Kai with him, Zee spat out, “I need this child. His blood is far more important than you realize.”
Slowly, as if time was stopped, Cian’s leopard form turned into his human form, his golden hair fluttering in the wind. His green eyes were almost black with rage as he growled at Zee, “Give me back my mate!”
Zee’s eyebrow rose and he snickered, “Your mate? This is something the master did not know.”
Green Elements swirled around Cian as his rage increased. His eyes were now completely black, only pupils showing. His teeth were elongated into fangs, “GIve him back to me!”
Zee laughed maniacally, the air around him swirling with rage. “If you wish to have him, then take him, but only over my dead body.”
“I can grant that wish of yours.” Cian hissed as his body changed back into his leopard form.
Off to the side, in the small room, Kai realized that these two were really going to fight to the death. Looking at the unstable building they were in, Kai glanced at Cian, seeing his mate give him a soft look of assurance, Kai clumsily dashed out of the room and into the forest. The second he turned his back on the two, that small building collapsed into dust, the timber nothing more than small particles.
Cian, in his leopard form, dashed towards Zee, who had black wings on his back. As Kai watched on, Zee took the form of a large crow, his break shining in the dark. Cian roared into the forest, his rage over his mate being stolen from his heightening. Zee chuckled but it came out sounding like a screech. In the next moment, the two clashed more than thirty times, the black body smashing against the golden one.
Kai began to worry for Cian when the smell of blood wafted to his nose. The two were clashing together so quickly that Kai could not tell in Cian was hurt or not. His heart thudded unceasingly, his fear and anxiety over his mate battling causing him to tremble. Kai wished he was strong enough to help Cian defeat Zee.
With a roar, Cian’s body glowed white in the night before the light suddenly went out. After it disappeared, Kai saw that Zee’s human form was beneath Cian’s paws, his breathing labored and blood trickling from his mouth. Cian was not unhurt, his arm had three long gashes from his elbow all the way to the top of his paw. Cian was growling at Zee.
Kai took a step forward towards the two and whispered, “Why does my father want me?”
Zee laughed until it turned into a cough. “I have no reason to tell you.”
Cian growled, his voice louder than normal as it came from his leopard form, “You said something about his blood. Why does his father need his blood?”
“You’ll find out eventually,” Zee cackled as his coughed up blood. In a few seconds, his wheezing came to an abrupt stop and he never took another breath.
Scowling at the body beneath his paw, Cian growled before batting it away and turning to Kai. He lifted his large feline head and nuzzled against Kai. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, they didn’t do anything to me. What about the children?”
“I left them in the hut with food after I contacted Sitross. Reinforcements should be on their way to help us bring the children back home.”
“That’s good.” Kai whispered, giving a shaky smile in response. His hands were trembling he realized, in his mind, he could see Cian dying instead of Zee. This made him feel so lost, and as his insecurities welled up inside him, Cian’s cold nose touched his forehead. Looking up into his mate’s bright green eyes, Kai felt his heart calm down.
“Cian,” Kai breathed, reaching up his arms to wrap them around Cian’s large neck, nuzzling his face into that golden, lush fur. He breathed in the scent of his mate and felt all those feeling of insecurity and helplessness falling away.
“I’ll never leave you,” Cian’s voice floated into his ears causing him to shudder and his grip around the leopard’s neck to tighten.
Kai repeated Cian’s name several times to reassure himself that he wasn’t dreaming. Everything had happened so quickly that he felt as though he was watching a movie back on Earth. Life was chaotic and he had no idea what was happening around him. But..
But, Cian had found him.
His mate had come for him.
And that was all he needed.