I Am No Prey by Amal Clare May 25, 2021

31-Gone

Still Everard's POV

My uncle walked out the building, a malicious gleam in his eyes. As soon as he was out of view, I went to the basement, heart palpitating and hoping that I was wrong. That she didn't do what I think she did. As soon as the elevator doors opened, I heard banging and Anne and Marie screaming for someone. 

I rushed to where the sound was coming from behind one of the doors to find the handle melted off. Melted. 

"What the hell happened," I growled, not bothering to waste my time trying to get the door open. 

"The damn fool of a girl locked us in here!" Marie snapped. "Now get us out!" 

I spent one night with the girl and now she snapped at me and thought she had a claim to me. It was a definite mistake keeping her around with Cerise here, but wherever Marie went, Anne followed, and Anne was needed here. 

"I'm going to get you out soon, now quit banging the door." 

I went to Easton's room, finding the door already open. I stepped inside, the bed was empty, all his books and games still beside the bed and the TV turned off. It wouldn't do any good, but I called his name out anyway. Of course, no reply. 

I was such a fool. An infatuated fool just like my uncle accused me of. I ripped back the sheets and turned over the bed, furious at myself, at her. She had no idea what she had just done. Who she had just damned. I slammed my fist in the wall, not feeling it at all. I did it again, and again, until the skin over my knuckles broke and blood stained the wall. I watched the blood drip from my hands and onto the floor, next to the auburn feather on the floor. Throat clogging up, I bent down and picked it up. I should've crumpled it in my hand and destroyed it. Instead, I pocketed the soft feather. 

had to find them. I ran to the elevator and went to the first floor. Thanks to the Commander, they could already be out of the city. So I went to the surveillance team room. I pushed open the doors and was already barking orders before I even stepped in. 

"I want you to pull out the security footage of every camera around the building and play everything that happened in the past hour."

Immediately, they started doing that and the footages played on the large screen against the wall. My eyes tracked each one, but I couldn't tell which was her, Easton, or Daniel with all the people leaving the building at that time. Daniel planned it well. 

"Pull up the footage for every camera in the city, you see anyone with red hair, I want to know. Anyone travelling with two others, male six feet three and a boy five feet, I want to know." I got on the phone with a squad team. As soon as the phone picked up I fired orders. 

"This is not a drill, we have a loose end on the run, travelling with a girl and a child. Check every train station, bus, and every goddamned taxi if you have to. Put Rome under lockdown, no one gets in or out without me knowing. I want every city in the country alerted that we have a traitor. Anyone who's seen Daniel de Luca comes to me." 

I trained my eyes on the multiple screens playing in front of me. It was tourist season, the streets were packed, and Daniel was probably having them all wear disguises, him included. By the time we found them, they'd be long gone. I let out a colorful string of curses. If she'd gone without help, I'd have found her in the hour. 

Where would they go then? It was somewhere in Italy since Cerise couldn't leave the country and Daniel's tracker went off the grid over an hour ago. 

"You," I barked at one of them, not caring about my tone. "Find out exactly where Daniel has been in the last week and mark it all, find out where he grew up, where he likes to visit, every place he worked in before he got here. We're sending out squad teams to each of those locations and having them thoroughly checked." 

I raked my hands through my hair. What else? What else would he have done? Knowing him, he'd probably pick a disguise for them that slapped me in my face. Probably one that painted him and Cerise as a couple. With Easton as their kid. I shivered at the thought, poor Easton. Except there were probably millions of couples with one child in Rome right now. 

I watched one of the cameras outside a train station, playing over half an hour ago, when the screen went dark. 

"Stop!" 

One of them stopped the footage. "Rewind that one"- I pointed to the right screen- "fifteen seconds ago."

He listened, and I saw three people pile out a taxi. A man with sunglasses and a casual outfit, but the same build, height, and hair color as Daniel. Then a girl with brown hair, jeans, and a hoodie, then a boy with large sunglasses and a baseball cap. My heart lurched, it was them, I knew it. 

"Focus on the camera monitoring the entrance of the station, go forward a minute."

They did, and we watched people enter, my eyes training on each one, and crossing all of them out. There was a family of three, but the child was a girl. A few moments later, a man walked in, his waist wrapped around a woman and a boy walking in front of them. Anger surged in me from the way he held her waist, even if she was almost unrecognizable. But I'd recognize that gait anywhere. And when the male, Daniel, grinned at the camera, I knew for sure then that it was them and slammed my fist against the table. Everyone jumped. 

"Follow those three, find out which train they get on." 

They switched to the cameras in the train station, and a few moments later, we found they were heading to Florence. They'd reach there in two hours. 

I called the squad team again. "Get to Florence now. There's a train station off E35 highway, on Bassi road. Get the team there on full alert and around the station." 

I spent the entire two hours looking around my rooms, the secret room in my office was empty, like I knew it would be, and I caught Easton's smell in my room. My throat tightened and I pulled the feather from my pocket, running my fingers over it even if it felt like a betrayal to Easton. I should've been there for him, told him things, explained things to him. Now he didn't know what he walked into, and what would happen. 

I got a call at six. "What?" I snapped. "This better be good or I'm one step away from firing you."

The person coughed and didn't delay the inevitable. "We have a problem."

I was in the surveillance room in seconds, and didn't bother taking the elevator, flying to the first floor instead. 

"The people are demanding to be let out, and the soldiers had some...time issues getting to the station in time." 

The ones already stationed in Florence there certainly didn't. Their only issues were that they'd gone soft and didn't do their job right. 

"I want every member in that team fired." 

At the train station in Florence, it took longer to find them since they switched disguises again. These ones were good enough we had to replay the footage before we caught which people were them. I felt my jaw open when I figured it out. This time, he was daring, and my blood boiled. She was in a tight black dress that reached her mid thigh, and stiletto heels that made her taller. She wore a black wig, the hair mussed and her makeup was dramatic. He wore a blond wig and my blood boiled further at the possessive arm around her waist, like he owned her, like she was his property. I slammed my fist against the table again. 

"Find where they're headed."

They travelled downtown to a motel, in the middle of a celebration. Which meant they weren't staying there. Moments later, Daniel left the motel and when he got back, it was with masks in his hand. My stomach lurched, and he grinned at the camera again. This was the slap to the face. Minutes later, Cerise and Daniel walked out of the motel and disappeared in the crowd. They went to the Boboli Gardens, and we lost sight of them there. 

"Find out when they get back to the motel and get soldiers there already! I want to find out where they go after the motel."

One of them spoke up. "The general in charge of that sector refuses to use his soldiers for this 'mindless chase' and wants verification from the Commander to let our soldiers in the city."

Dammit, like hell I was letting the Commander now about this. 

"Keep your eyes on that motel then," I growled. "And call me when all three leave the building."

I left the room and walked out the building before launching into the sky. By now, the sun had set, casting the sky in colors of red, orange and dark pink. I would've found it beautiful if I wasn't so furious and worried. 

I flew hard and fast, my surroundings a blur and the night sky a blanket around me. I didn't stop until I had to, but even then, by the time I got to Florence and the motel, I didn't find them. After the owner tried to kick me out and I couldn't get him to shut up since I left my badge at the base, I got a call. 

"Found them yet?" I growled. 

"They're heading to Venice."

Even though my wings were burning from flying for hours, I was in the sky the moment I hung up. I would find him, and even if it was for reasons I shouldn't have, I would always find her too.

A/N

I hope you enjoyed the double update! I feel like in certain parts in this chapter , I've painted Everard as a possessive jerk, especially when describing how he sees her outfits, but it's more of anger at Daniel because unlike Cerise, he knew what's wrong with Easton. 

Please vote and comment! And this is the end of 'I Am No Prey', thank you so much for reading! Book 2 is Huntress and Hunted, and a chapter will be out today. 

Summary of Huntress and Hunted: 

Cerise has escaped the military base in Italy with Daniel, and Easton, even if something tells her that she made a mistake. That Everard had his reasons for doing what he did. But how can they matter anyway? To make things worse, France has launched itself into war with Italy, Drakhenae against human, and the one thing either of them needs to win is her. The one thing that can break the tie between the two races. Cerise and Daniel go to France, to stop things there before things get out of hand, even if they're heading into the den of the beast. Things only go even more haywire when the Commander starts searching for her, razing entire cities to find the one thing he needs to win the war and end humans once and for all. 

Everard never cared that everyone pegged him to be the villain. Never cared that he served the Commander, a tyrant, so long as it meant he could save his brother. When he found Cerise, someone with powers and abilities that could save his brother, he thought he found a solution to all his problems. He didn't. He found his unraveling.