All right! I'm ending the poll early. Kai had the lead the entire time and I don't think the poll was accurately keeping count. It kept fluctuating(adding votes then taking them away...whatever. soooo...). PLUS I've already finished his perspective. So do you want it?
Of course you do! It's Kai! Right?
If you haven't finished/read Kaleidoscope yet I suggest holding off on reading this scene unless you like SPOILERS.
Carry on at your own risk...
The smell hit me like a pack of freshly dead radiks. The scent of blood was overpowering. I knew Declan smelled it too when his head twisted sharply to the side and he breathed in.
“Liam…Owen,” I exhaled, my mind immediately shifting into protector mode.
Declan began spewing instructions to Calliope and all I could think was that I needed to get her out of here. If it were the last thing I ever did I would keep her away from Favner and his men. She argued with Declan and I nearly picked her up myself, hauling her over my shoulder and away.
“Go!” he urged her.
She finally bent her knees and shot up into the trees. Declan and I shared one look and he nodded for me to follow her. I wouldn’t have let him deter me either way, but at least we were on the same page.
When I landed on the limb next to her, her eyes were full of alarm as she tried to steady herself. I didn’t think, I just reached out and grabbed her hand. I couldn’t trust her to not fall behind if I couldn’t keep her close. I gestured in the direction we were headed before I darted off the branch. It didn’t matter where we went as long as it was far from Liam and Owen. Declan would hold them off. I trusted him to do that much. I would keep her safe until then.
Their scent lingered as we soared through the trees. I tried to serpentine to cut them off our trail, but no matter how far I tried to get they seemed to follow. So I picked up my speed until I knew they were far enough off our path that I could stop. I reluctantly let go of her hand to pace the limb and think.
How could Declan and I let this happen? They shouldn’t be able to find us so easily. This was the second time in less than a week. It was unacceptable.
Calliope’s soft voice interrupted my thoughts. “What was that all about?”
I exhaled, trying to control my anger. “Favner’s Keepers. Liam and Owen.”
“The ones that came close to us before?” I nodded because it was taking everything I had not to yell at her to stay quiet. “How do you know it was them?”
I clenched my teeth together. I knew it wasn’t her fault that I couldn’t control my temper, but if Liam and Owen were to get ahold of her I knew I couldn’t live with myself. “They have a certain…stench.”
“What? Why?” Her curiosity never ceased. But I didn’t want to indulge in her faery lessons today. I needed to be prepared. My eyes skimmed the woodlands for even the slightest sign of them.
“Their preference for raw meat,” I said quietly.
I saw her cringe from the corner of my eye. “And you smelled that?” Her voice was so scared. I hated that we hadn’t been more cautious. We never should have let her back in the forest after the first time we knew they were near, that there was even the slightest possibility that they would come back.
“As Keepers our senses have to be heightened.” The wind blew and their scent was back full force. They were too close. She was distracting me. I heard leaves crunch. They weren’t just too close they were nearly below us. A branch snapped and I grabbed Calliope against my chest and pulled us to the trunk with my hand over her mouth. We couldn’t chance her making even the tiniest sound.
Owen’s voice drifted from below us. “Someone’s been in these parts of the forest. I knew I sensed it before. It’s stronger than last time.”
If I couldn’t keep Calliope safe I’d never be able to live with myself. Declan would never forgive me.
They let their eyes drift around the forest. If they even looked a few feet further they would see us. I needed to be prepared to take them out. I’d be better off if Declan were with me, but I could do it alone if I had to. Where was Declan? How had he not led them in another direction?
“Favner won’t be pleased when he finds out. Who do you think is foolish enough to try and escape?” I nearly scoffed. I was notfoolish. They were the idiots who actually thought following Favner was a good idea.
“I don’t know, Owen,” Liam muttered. “But we will find out. They won’t get past us for long.”
I felt Calliope’s rapid heartbeat. I felt her shaky breath. I would never let anything hurt her. I tightened my grip on her body. It felt better to hold her a little more firmly.
“They must have gone further east.” Liam was finally satisfied that we weren’t near, but Owen kept roaming the surrounding area. “Come, Owen,” Liam commanded.
I wanted to beat both of their heads in. Owen finally agreed to leave, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I kept Calliope encompassed in my arms. It made the most sense to stay close to her.
“They’re gone,” I whispered near her ear. A breeze moved through, making her floral scent even more prominent. I inhaled and hoped she didn’t notice. I lift my hand from her mouth and brushed my fingers down her soft skin. It was a stupid move. I shouldn’t have done it, but then her head rested against my chest as she breathed a sigh and I knew I never wanted to move from this spot.
My fingers itched at her wrist. I wanted to take her hand in mine again, just to feel her securely there, but it would only make everything worse. Wouldn’t it? “Are you okay?”
I felt her inhale before she said, “I think so.”
“Calliope—” I began.
The bough trembled beneath us and I realized I had completely lost my awareness of our surroundings.