We walked in silence, even Zenx quiet now, accepting Hunter wasn't listening to his protests, threats or pleadings. My eyes scanned the forest though I knew those creatures weren't likely to make another appearance. I relaxed slightly, slackening my pace and inhaled the clean, misty air. Dew dampened the leaves beneath our feet on the trail, making our sounds undetectable. Hunter sighed, suddenly, and I shot him a glance. ''How are we going to explain him to the others?'' he asked, scowling, but not at me. Rather at the inconvenience of being the one to carry a free meal to the others.
''I'll take responsibility,'' I said plainly. ''I don't mind.''
''No, because it'll break whatever control they have over themselves,'' he said, almost distraught. ''They'll rip you apart if they can't have him.''
''They won't.'' My voice sounded firm and strong, yet I was shivering with the thought; shivering because of why they were letting me live. ''I'm their blood sign. I'm too precious to them.'' Hunter stopped walking and looked at me with such intensity, I felt my cheeks burn. He lay a hand on my shoulder, slightly resting on my neck. His fingers stroked the scars he had inflicted upon me, and I felt a shudder run through him. He said nothing, bent to peck me on the lips and was walking away again in a matter to those few, brusque seconds.
I knew of the conflict that tore him apart inside, of the wild hunger barely contained and the guilt and remorse. Being a blood sign was a complex thing and in my case, a weight constantly on my frail shoulders. As a child, I had been marked; an intricate tattoo on the nape of my neck, almost resembling a set of ragged wings. That mark showed the world that I was not to be touched, only by aristocracy. But a different kind of aristocracy.
The world of vampyres I hadn't even known about until about seven or eight months ago, the one in which I was supposed to live in. That's where the blood sign comes in; I am sacred to all vampyres - or at least my blood is. If bitten and my blood absorbed, its flavour changes to whatever the vampyre wills it to be. Of course, the effects on me are horrid and I am immensly weaker after. Not that a vampyre would be concerned. And that's where I realised Hunter was different - he realised as soon as he had bitten me what I was, and recoiled in horror as I cried so helplessly, looking so lost and frightened. He took me to where I resided now, explained his world and its contents to me, weaving a tapestry so thick with detail I couldn't comprehend it at first.
But I do, and even now, sometimes it's hard to keep calm about.
''Keller,'' said Hunter's voice and I looked up from my dirty feet. ''You need to go to Theo and tell him what you saw,'' he said and continued walking. I saw the tall, towering mansion fan out beyond the thinning forest, then the derelict iron gates. ''But what if Theo's out?'' I asked tentively. Hunter sighed.
''Then go to Athena or someone,'' he suggested passively. I frowned at his tone of voice, but let it slide - he had to deal with something bigger then I at the moment. I nodded and trotted before him, opening the gates with the twist of my hand. I shoved the gate open and went forward, my heart thumping. I breathed in quick breaths, almost panicking. My hands clasped firmly together. I will not panic. Nor will I show fear. What had I to fear? No one would touch me here, not without granted permission. And besides, I could near enough handle myself.
So why had this panic invaded my mind?