I could hear Jay calling to me, faintly, through the fog that clouded my brain. All I could focus on was one word: impossible. Impossible. There was no way-. It must be a trick. Zelthar must have trained these people; shown them my one weakness. My one Achilles heel. There's no way anyone could survive an inferno like that. No way. No. Impossible. It had to be a trick. It was just Zelthar playing mind games like he always did. There's no way he could still be alive. My fist tightened impossibly around the ring, forcing the metal to bite deep into my skin. Alarm shot through Jay's voice as he saw the tiny trickles of blood creep from between my vice-like grip.
"Asha, please, there are more coming. Please, get up!" He sounded desperate and at the corner of my eye, I saw him fling a glance at the surrounding forest.
I forced my emotions back into the box that they were placed in whilst I was the Shadow. I felt my face go blank and Jay's hand left my shoulder.
"Run." My voice was emotionless, business-like. Cold. It was everything that a ruthless assassin would be and nothing of myself. I was locked away in a box at the back of my mind. All that was left was the Shadow because only the Shadow could survive the night with Jay by her side. All Asha wanted to do was curl up and cry until her fiance returned to her.
He's dead. You watched Zelthar burn him. Nothing survives his flames. Don't fall for it. Don't be an idiot again. Jay's life hangs in the balance.
As much as my head could tell me what was necessary for survival, my heart raged against it. I wanted to run to them, to force the truth from their lips, to use the skills I excelled at to extract every last detail from them about the matter until their very souls rebelled against exsistence itself. However, I knew that doing so would only spell death for Jay and most likely myself alongside him. So I ran, as my heart and soul cried against it, Jay and I flashed through the trees, faster than the eye could follow, until all sounds of the Hunters were merely a memory.
We broke out of the forest, into clear silvered meadows. We kept running, extending any lead we had and didn't let up our pace until we were within city limits again. A faint sheen of sweat coated our skin and both Jay and I had a glaze of exhaustion in our eyes. We needed to feed and we needed to rest-both of us had injuries and both of us had used any reserves of strength that we had.
"I can hear a club, maybe two blocks over. Find a couple for dinner?" I spoke in a voice that was too low to be picked up by human hearing-not that any were visible just before dawn-but still easily within hearing range for Jay, who looked about ready to sleep standing.
He merely nodded, clearly too exhausted to argue. I swiftly found us a way in and an easy meal. We drained them, disposing of the bodies deftly before finding a cheap hotel room to rest up in. Shortly after my head hit the cloned pillow by Jay's, I fell into a deep, thankfully dreamless sleep.