Delia looks over at the unconscious man beside her, heat rolling off of him in waves. His brother had called him Kellan. And the brother was Jereth and also on his way. He’d left the call on but muted himself, for which she’s eternally thankful. If Delia had had to listen to the running and the death of these brothers, she’d have lost it by now.
She checks the phone, shocked to find that the call is only ticking into it’s eighth minute. It feels like hours since she clumsily placed the call. The thought of her own lack of poise pushes her to shake her own head. Damn dead body scare.
“Delia? Delia, are you there?” Jereth’s voice comes across the line, but she can hear it echoing to her left too.
“Here! We’re here!” The phone stays at her side as she yells, pushing herself to standing, to jumping. The bulky figure comes into view, easily the size of the injured man at her feet, larger even. As he slows, he shifts smoothly to his knees next to his brother, checking the pulse at the younger man’s throat.
“He’s alive, he’s been attacked.” It takes Delia a moment to realize that Jereth isn’t speaking to her or himself, but someone else on his phone.
“Claws, definitely claws. The girl found him as he lost consciousness. Must be the Hectare Pack, this is their territory she found him in.” His tone is obedient and oddly formal, much different than the calm, commanding tone he’d used with her.
He’s talking to a man then, Delia thinks to herself, willing her eyes not to roll. Jereth begins to pace as he speaks, shoulders tense. Delia takes his place beside Kellan’s limp form, scanning the wounds now visible beneath torn fabric. Blood still trickles from them, the clean edges crusting ever so slightly. Clean edges.
“Wait! Jereth, wait!”
“What?” He comes to a stop in front of her.
“Why was he here?”
“What do you mean?”
“Those wounds aren’t claw wounds.”
“Yes, they are.”
“The edges are smooth Jereth, not ragged.”
“Goddess damn, you’re thick. Those are from a grif kouto, you idiot.” Delia realizes she’s shouting and warmth floods her cheeks as he blinks at her.
“You panic at his blood but you can look at his wounds and tell me exactly what weapon made them?” His brows knit together and she huffs an exasperated sigh, shrugging off her jacket and sliding down the collar of her blouse to expose her shoulder. The marks of four smooth lines cross one another across her skin, weaving together.
“I’m shit with bodies but I know my weapons. I know this weapon, and I know who wields it. So tell me, why was he here? Why this beat?”
“You’re one of them.”
“One of whom?” She pears out from under her lashes, trying to undo the slip of her tongue, the revelation of her family ties.
“Which –” She’s saved by a groaning behind her and whips around to see the injured man try to push himself up.
“Stop, hey, woah there, stop.” Before they process what’s happening, she’s at his side and Kellan is letting her pull him gently to his starting point. She slides her phone out of her pocket, looking up at Jereth. “The blades are coated in poison and I guarantee they slipped a tracker in there, so you’re going to want my help.”
“We’re to trust you?”
“You don’t have any other choice.”
“Somehow, I think we can find a better option than a syndicate’s street whore.”
“Why, Jereth, I ought to let your brother die and my men kill you for that.” She watches as his mind wraps around the words, dialing. She raises her phone to her ear, the soft voice on the other end of the line soothing her nerves. “I’m heading that way, clear the med table and get Helga’s bag from the attic. I’ll grab her on my way into the warehouse. The mangey dogs got caught by Manchanko goons. No, different pack this time.” She ends the call as the voice grunts and begins to give orders, the chaos in the background dying out.
“You’re not a part of the Manchanko Syndicate?” He asks as she hangs up.
“Lord no. Now, pick up your brother and follow me.” She looks over at the once again limp form and releases a tense breath as she notes the heavy eyes following her.
“No more information than that?”
“You may ask one question.”
“What’s your name?” Jereth’s voice is strained as he leans his brother against his back and lifts. As Delia makes to respond, another voice, a strained voice, cuts her off.
“The one we would know.” She smirks at Kellan’s words, meeting the glint in his eyes with one of her own.”
“You just said –” Jereth’s anger flares once more, his desire to take his frustration out on her plain in his eyes, but his brother cuts him off.
“Jer, she’s the defector.”