He had just taken a step when something slammed into his back. The force of impact tossed him to the other side of the road where he came to rest near the next line of trees. With a shake of head, Shy tried to collect himself. He grasped the side of a tree trunk, feeling the warmth of healing energy removing scrapes along his arm.
“Ssso…” a hissing voice announced. “You’ve rrreturn. Without my ssson, I sssee.”
“Rusha.” Shy slowly rose to his feet and faced the White Wing leader. Having lived below their treetop homes, he was accustomed to their scents and movements. So, too, had Rusha learned to still his wings long enough to pass the albino’s sharp detections.
Not good a good sign.
“Chante didn’t come with me, but he’s safe.”
“With humansss?” Rusha spread his majestic wings, revealing a creamy underside. Still, the act was a warning, one that Shy hoped did not lead to battle.
“This isn’t my fight.” Shy stood still, keeping his hands at his sides. While his ears checked for possible others still in hiding, his emerald eyes locked on the leader’s every movement. “I didn’t come looking for that.”
Narrowing his eyes, and with feathers extended in full plumage around the face, the leader gave a hiss.
“Then you ssshouldn’t have come at all!”
It was those powerful wings that thrust the harpy forward in the first attack. A swift strike of talons grazed across his chest while Shy twisted from harm’s way. Calling upon his magic to aid in his movements, the Healer was little more than a blur. For all the White Wing’s strength and speed, he was no match against the young Lo-ans’rel.
“Whatever Chronicles has said to you, it’s a lie!” Shy exclaimed. A burst of anger fueled a quick escape by running up one of the trees. He clung to a branch and looked down. It was not long before the harpy decided to follow. There’s no time for this; I have to lose him!
What are you doing? Katherine questioned, but Shy didn’t immediately answer. A plan was developing, one that needed to be timed perfectly in order to succeed.
That’s right. Follow me. Shy hopped from one branch to the other, balancing on one foot in certain places when it became too narrow. From below, he could hear Rusha rapidly scaling the trunks. He’s probably faded his wings to climb. But if I know him, he’ll soon show them again.
There was a brief moment of silence before Rusha did show himself, much faster than Shy had anticipated.
“Reports have claimed my son is fighting alongside the humans – against his own kin! And it’s all YOUR doing!”
Right on cue, Rusha pulled those majestic wings in a display of pure power as he leaped from his perch over to Shy’s. But that proved to be a fatal mistake. Unbeknown, Shy had pulled a long branch back, holding it away from the leader until the Wing had nearly landed next to him. In the time it took for Rusha to swipe his claws at Shy’s face, the branch swung forward, catching him along his left wing.
There came a loud crack as the impact threw the Wing off balance. Instead of landing squarely on the branch, he missed his target and slipped beneath. Shy could hear his rapid descent through the trees, along with his cries of pain from slamming against other branches on his way down.
“Sorry, Rusha,” Shy breathed, then continued in the direction of the clan. “Ladies first.”
When the trees finally ended, the Healer stood at a grand pair of entrance gates. All around were the feathers and haphazardly fallen harpies where humans had managed to defeat. Just passed the gates stood Glory’s majestic home, complete with the same scene of both harpy and human bodies.
He looked up to the sound of breaking glass. There came a scream before the body of harpy was thrust out, and it crumpled down to join the rest lying overtop pavement.
Glory, don’t look! Shy warned, though he knew she was. I’m going in.
Shifting back to a hawk, he headed toward the broken window.