Bane (Page 27)
For a moment, all Kahli could do for a moment was stare. Dread pooled inside her heart. Will. It was Will. He tried to save her. Horror overcame the dread, and she pushed herself up. Kahli tried to run, but when she stood up, the earth felt like it was tipped on its side. Her fingers pressed against her neck. It felt wet. Damn. Kahli staggered across the ice toward Will and feel to her knees.
“Will,” she said, voice strained as she tried to lift the bike off of him. But it was too heavy, and she was too weak. Removing her gloves, she pressed her hands to the sides of his face. The side that hit the ground was covered in blood. There was hardly and skin left. The damage went up into his hairline and traveled down the side of his body. Kahli felt tears in her eyes. “Will, please…” Please wake up. Please don’t die. Lowering her head to his chest, she heard his heart beating slowly. Erratically. The blood beneath him seeped into the ice, coloring it like a second sun.
She wiped the tears away, trying to think. The howl that she knew too well erupted in the distance. There was too much blood. The wolves would be on them in a matter of moments. Kahli didn’t know what else to do. He was half human, half vampire. Blood was the only thing she had that could heal him. Unwrapping the scarf at her neck, she leaned over him watching the crimson drops fall on his pale lips. She pinched his lips, forcing the blood into his mouth. More drops splattered from her wound, and she did it again. She felt Will swallow, and she did it again before collapsing on his chest. Weakness overcame her. Kahli couldn’t think, she couldn’t lift her head, and she couldn’t fend for herself—even when the wolf’s warm breath washed over her face.
Something warm slid over her neck in a glob. Her eyes fluttered opened. Instead of screaming, she stared death in the face. A white wolf was standing over her where she’d rolled off of Will. Her back was in the snow, her neck staining the ice with a sunburst of scarlet. She didn’t move to wipe the wolf’s drool off her neck. The beast’s black lips were snarling, revealing pointed teeth. Its breath was warm and Kahli felt so cold. Through droopy lids, her eyes tracked the wolf.
There was a groan next to her, and before Kahli shifted her eyes to see what happened, the wolf was yanked out of view. It squealed like a pup, and was gone. Will’s face, his perfect whole face, loomed over her. “Kahli,” his voice came out it a breath. He scooped her up in his arms. Every part of her protested. She knew there was no way to survive this. She’d lost too much blood. The wound was too big. The wolves were too close.
“Leave me,” she whispered, her eyes closing. Her body no longer felt numb from the cold. Warmth covered her head to toe and she wanted to sleep.
Will shook her. Her eyes snapped open. The jostling made pain erupt inside of her again, “Kalahandra, don’t you die on me.”
She smiled weakly at him, “Are you trying to compel me?”
He nodded, sadness consumed him though his words were light, “Maybe. Definitely.” Silence spanned between them, and Kahli felt her eyes growing heavier again. Will cursed. Her body was turned upright, and she felt the bike under them. The engine reeved and she blacked out.
Scents filled her head before she opened her eyes. Wood was burning. It crackled and radiated warmth. Peeling her eyelids opened, she looked around. It wasn’t until then that she realized that she was laying in Will’s arms. They were deep in the belly of an underground cave. The walls crept high forming a ceiling that disappeared in the inky shadows overhead. Rock formations jutted up from the floor and hung in long spikes from the ceiling. It was as if this space had been there, undisturbed, for centuries. The hollow echo of silence felt haunting, as if they’d broken into a sanctuary.
“Hey,” Will said, his hands gently stroking her hair. “You’re awake.” His voice was soft, but it echoed slightly. The cave was vast and the area that the fire didn’t touch seemed to stretch on forever in endless night. Different sounds filled her ears now, water dripping and flowing.
Kahli’s throat was burning. Will helped her sit up enough to take a drink. It felt like she had sand in her throat. “What happened?” She tried to lean on her arm and hold herself up, but she was too weak. Her body started to slump. Will lowered her back onto her mat in front of the fire.
“You survived. We both did.” Will’s chest felt like it was being crushed.
She lived. It meant two things. Both wonderful and horrible. He licked his lips, averting his gaze. The fire crackled and he stared into it. “We’re safe from the wolves, for now. It’s the Trackers we have to watch out for. The king did a number on your neck. I’m not sure how long we can outrun him, not when he’s had so much blood.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Blood binds, Kahli. He claimed you. You’re his. He can sense you’re alive and he’ll find you.” Will’s voice was strained. He ran his fingers through his hair, shaking his head. “I don’t know how to counter that. Your blood is powerful. I knew it before. That was why I wouldn’t talk to you about it. The more the vamps knew, the worse it would have been for you. The first night I sealed your wound, and tasted your blood—my God.” His voice became breathless, “I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts of you ravaged my mind. And now… It’s worse. It’s like your heartbeat is mine, like your life is connected to me. I can feel your pulse when I’m not even touching you. And I wasn’t the one who claimed you. I can’t image how much stronger that is for the king. He won’t let you walk away, Kahli. I saw him… he was still alive.”
Kahli closed her eyes and tried to think. The stinging at her neck caught her attention and her fingers drifted there. The skin itched like it’d healed recently. It felt smooth beneath her touch, “You healed me.” There was shock in her voice, and her jade eyes turned to Will. His gaze didn’t meet hers.
Instead he stared into the fire. He nodded, “Yeah, I healed you.” He breathed hard, waiting for her to ask how. It was the question that would destroy everything. It was the question he never wanted to answer. The orange flames were burning into his eyes, he’d been staring at it so long. Kahli was silent. When he turned to look at her, her green eyes were soft.
“I did something wrong.”
Will snorted, “I know. Stabbing the king wasn’t my idea of an escape plan. The only way we survive this is if the Queen kills the King.”
Kahli bit her lips together. The line between Will’s eyes was deep. “That’s not what I meant. I didn’t know what to do when your bike went down. It took you with it and dragged you across the ice.” His eyes were cold, watching her. The pit of her stomach dipped lower, the icy air crept up her spine. “I didn’t know how else to heal you, so I—”
He cut her off, “You force-fed me blood. A lot of it. I know.” He stared at her. “I feel it inside of me. I feel you,” he breathed.
She looked away, the intensity of his gaze unnerved her. “So, what now?”
Stretching, Will placed his hands behind his head and leaned back on his mat. “Now we wait for them to come and get us. They’ll kill me for aiding you and drag you back to the palace where you’ll die after the king has enough of you. Or we can do something proactive, something they’d never expect…” his voice trailed off. His blue eyes stared at the ceiling of the cavern.
He rolled onto his side, and watched her through the flames. “We assassinate the royal family… We kill the King and Queen.”