A Grim Glory - ON HOLD

Grim. The creature that lurks in the dark. The creature that does not hesitate to kill. So they say.

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17. Gunshots

At midday, they both stopped to rest. Grim on the ground, and Merana perching in a tree. The journey so far had been smooth, and her arms ached slightly. The dark forest was drawing closer, she would only have another half an hour before she would have to moving into her human form. She watched Grim carefully. At the moment, he was down by the small stream, drinking what he could. They had stopped near the edge of a field, a ditch at one end with a crystal clear stream glittering along the bottom. It was an interesting resting point, as a small group of trees sheltered the area in which they were. A few lonely sheep were grazing in the field, watching both Grim and Merana carefully. They could tell she was not an actual Red Kite, animals were smart in that way. They could... sense things. She watched them for a while, seeing the way their fleeces rippled slightly in the breeze, and they way that they would take a mouthful of grass and watch them whilst chewing. She turned her head back to see Grim moving towards her. “Drink.” He said, his tone calm and indifferent. She cocked her head to one side, before ruffling her feathers and hopping to the ground, slowing her descent with a small flick of her wings. She then half walked, half glided towards the stream landing neatly on a rock in the centre of it. She bent down and began to drink. It was weird having to drink like a bird, and it took her a few goes to finally get the hang of it. Merana looked up, surprised to find Grim lying low in the bushes. He met her gaze and gave her a look that said 'Do not move a muscle. There are unwanted visitors right behind you.' And yet, despite his warning, she turned, and found herself face-to-face with a gun barrel. She panicked, naturally. After all, that was what you were meant to do when a gun was being pointed at you. She screeched angrily, before flapping into the air. Big Mistake. Gunshots followed her, and she weaved through the air to dodge between them.

Another shot rung through the air behind her. She swerved. Too late. Screeching in a language as colourful as a rainbow, she fell out of the air. The bullet had hit her right wing. Not as bad as it could have been, but Merana had been better. Pain ran down her arm, and she turned back to human subconsciously. She cradled her arm. Blood stained her fingers. A man loomed over her, looking as shocked as she felt. “Where did you....” He trailed off, staring at her arm. He shook his head, and took a moment to get a scrap of cloth to put over the bullet wound. Boy did it hurt. She made several remarks about the pain, before trying to get to her feet. She hissed in pain and slumped back down. The man looked at her, his brow creasing in concentration. She sat like this for a while. That was when the fog came. It came thickly, swallowing up the sky. Long tendrils wrapped around her. The man seemed frozen. All blood rushed from his face. He stared behind her. She turned. Coming from the gloom were two pinpricks. Two, blood red pinpricks. Occasionally, they would go out, and reappear moments later. Grim. Even now, Merana felt a pang of worry, before scolding herself. Grim was her friend. Wasn't he? He took a step forward, and she was now able to make out the black mass behind him. His cloak. He said it stored more magic then other cloaks. That would mean he was exceptionally powerful.

She gulped, and the man started backing away. “Take the girl!” he cried, throwing up his hands in a helpless gesture. Grim stepped into the small circle around them that seemed to be free of fog. He tilted his head.

“You would rather have one more of your next generation dead, rather then for me to take you?”

“Uhhh....” The man stuttered, taking a step back for every step Grim took.

“You would rather allow me to... wipe out your race?”

The man blinked at him, before turning on his heals and running away. He left the gun behind. Merana looked up at Grim. He was watching the space which the man had last occupied, obviously listening for something.

He turned to her a few minutes later, and examined her, his eye drifting to the sodden rag around her arm.

“You are hurt.” He observed, his voice calm.

“Yes. That happens a lot when you are a human being.”

“Your race must be very clumsy.”

“Meh.”

“Do you want me to heal it?”

“Sure. Heal away...” She gestured towards her arm with her good one, taking off the rag carefully, biting her lip as the cool air hit the open wound.

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