Sorry about this being so late, guys. Threw this one together in my free time, so it’s pretty unedited, without much movement. I hope to get some more actual movement in the next installment around Friday.
This hunter, yes, he realized she had a name, but she would remain ‘the hunter’ in his mind until she proved herself to be anything more, was of some relation to Ptero, that much Kace could tell. To what extent, though, Kace would have to ask the older male. While their resemblance was subtle and hardly noticeable, they carried themselves with the same attentive, almost wary, dignity, and rich confidence.
Kace trailed behind the two humans, carrying a sleeping Lukas in his arms, listening to their conversation, but staying out of it. He would talk with Ptero later to get the information he really wanted about the hunter. Until then, he would simply observe.
“…couple years after you headed out,” the hunter was saying, “I split, too. Figured that if you were doin’ it, being a Hunter couldn’t be such a bad gig. And well,” she gestured to the surrounding forest, “here I am.”
Ptero chuckled bitterly.
“Good job, huh? Yeah, I thought that for a time…not anymore. Not anymore,” he finished with a sigh.
The hunter is silent, simply bobbing her head, whether it be in agreement or acknowledgement, Kace couldn’t tell. He shifted Lukas, who barely stirs in his sleep, on his hip, carefully minding the younger Angel’s wings. He’d have to check them over for damage. He couldn’t be sure that the hunter hadn’t hurt Lu when she stepped on the downy appendages. If she had, relative of Ptero or not, she’d be in for hell. Lu was small for an angel as he was, and he didn’t need anything, especially not wing damage, to keep him from growing the way he needed to. His arms tightened subconsciously around his charge.
The conversation following was simple small talk, which Kace opted to ignore, choosing instead to wander idly through his thoughts. He seemed to be doing that a lot recently.
When he met Ptero a couple months ago, the two were anything but friendly, jumping at each other’s throats right off the bat. The older man was a hunter, the strongest Kace had ever faced. The first confrontation was hopeless. Kace had foolishly brought Lukas with him into the forest, away from the safety of their makeshift village at the forest’s edge, and it instantly gave Ptero the upper hand. To this day, Kace hadn’t the slightest clue why Ptero had let him go when he clearly had the upper hand.
Ptero returned a few days later with claims of a feud with his employer, and offering to team up with Kace and give him protection. It wasn’t until Ptero told him about the legion of skilled hunters that would inevitably come for the angel and his hatchling that Kace reluctantly agreed. It was obvious that the hunters he’d faced in the past were nothing but common thugs looking for some quick cash, and that he wouldn’t stand a chance against fully fledged hunters. He had to protect Lukas, and if risking the presence of a hunter was what it would take to do that, he would. He’d rather take his chances with one hunter turning on him rather than an army of them, anyways.
The first few weeks of this arrangement had been rough. Both males were hostile, and any attempts Ptero made to engage in conversation with Kace or Lukas were met with harsh aggression. Kace recalled many sleepless nights, too afraid to let his guard down. Every day that passed only increased his paranoia, and with it, his hostility. Even Lukas was careful not to spark Kace’s anger.
Then Ptero came back from his rounds one morning, a grave expression etched onto his face.
They ran. Bringing only the small bags that they’d packed in advance, they ran. The next week, it might’ve been shorter, or longer, Kace couldn’t remember, was spent in a blur of mindless panic, weeks of anxiety raging forth. Kace knew that the only reason he’d been able to stay alive during that time was because of Ptero. He knew how hunters behaved, how they moved, how they thought. He knew how to avoid them, and he did, without fail. But most importantly, he knew how to keep a level head. He knew how to keep a level head, and because of that, they had survived long enough to temporarily rid themselves of the hunters.
While on the run, their relationship changed. Kace was given no choice but to place his trust in Ptero, and the older man risked his life more than once to keep his word, eventually earning Kace’s hesitantly given trust, and sooner than the angel could have ever expected, his friendship.
Kace trusted Ptero with his life, with Lukas’s life. He owed Ptero his life.
As they pushed back a wall of shrubbery, revealing the minimalistic campsite they’d been set up but a few days ago, Kace prayed that they could trust this hunter, too.