No black magic can't control me
And no curse can let you own me
Tetradore made it look effortless as he appeared to defy gravity itself as he landed upon the opposite branch of a new tree with trained precision. It was impressive to the human side, to witness that seamlessness, that ability to traipse through the trees like they were nothing but a makeshift pathway. She would never voice those words for the sake of sheer defiance alone, for the point that she shouldn't have been impressed by anything about him. No, he was the enemy, part of the vampire trash that brought her here. It was because of his bite that she was this creature she could barely understand. Sure it was Risque's order but it was his face she saw. This was not a game, even in spite of its pace and the way he seemed to challenge her. After all, those stakes were raised, and she was so determined to meet that challenge-for-challenge, word for word, leap-for-leap. Even if she failed tonight, she hardly would quit. That was not her way, to roll over that defeat, she would pull herself from the rubble of her life and rise. This tree would not get the best of her. Tetradore would not get the best of her. But damn it all to hell, she had to hold on first. Her claws dug into the wavering branch, lowering her body as if to hold on for dear life. It shimmied and shook which made the floor look dizzyingly close. All she had to do was follow one simple rule. Don't fall. At the very least she had survived that, for now. All she had to do was execute that flying leap jump next like she was some kind of goddamn acrobat.
Those brilliant intelligent eyes narrowed, fixed upon the very task at hand. A leap of trust. Not for the smug as fuck panther across the way, no, for her animal side, for her. To trust that she could catch herself before the fall. Trust in the strange new creature she suddenly was despite the odds that stacked impossibly against her. That jump to the next branch seemed far worse than it probably was. But not impossible as the self-proclaimed western king had shown, which resulted in that further baiting. Which was highly effective in further tossing gasoline to the fire that roared inside of her.
Yet, she could not deny that hesitation that ensnared her. Her lips twitched in a sudden blend irritation and determination before she launched and threw herself, with that trust in the feline and herself would catch her. She wasn't going to get anywhere by staring him down with ominous fervour. Words only did so much after all. If she would fall, she would with a solid effort on her part. The landing could have gone better. That she was sure of. But the most important piece of the puzzle was that she accomplished it. What she did not anticipate was that very branch being so damn unstable as a lush on a Saturday night. She should have better anticipated it. Next time she would not make that same mistake.
Eventually, it too settled, with the she-cat still on, against all odds. Even though her hind leg nearly slipped out from underneath her. That confidence returned to her with a formidable vengeance as she offered those near growled words that entered his mind intended to goad him. This little teacher-pupil thing was bullshit. If he was going to do something, he better damn well do it. Apparently, it was entirely ineffective as the impassive panther king merely stared at her, with his own vibrant emerald stare. For as pretty as his eyes were, they were cold and apathetic as stone. She wondered if there was a soul somewhere in there. How she doubted it. She drew forward, adding that pressure if he refused to do something, she would make him make his move. He needed to either fight her or flee. Fight or flight, the most basic animal interaction in the face of conflict. Although up in that tree seemed hardly the best place for that challenge.
It would seem the time for words was over. Wordlessly, the imposing, larger ebony hued feline spurred into action to descend down that tree with a fluidity. It had been one thing to climb up, but that decent seemed that much harder. A groan escaped her all at once. All of this, just to fucking go where they had once started, four paws on the sturdy ground? Really? She looked down upon him, what she could only imagine of dignified contempt. She quite liked it up here she was sure of it, the dark feline hardly wished to give up that perch so easily. After all, he abandoned it. It was now all hers. She dug her talons into the fleshy part of the wood, languidly leaving her mark like a signature that claimed it as her own. She moved to press her cheek against the bark, leaving her scent behind. Her inner panther acting out of instinct or simply was it because she hardly trusted that decent.
Cautiously, she attempted her own reluctant decent to those lower branches as if a makeshift staircase, despite how steep that decent was. One false step and she would have tumbled less than gracefully to the floor. That final branch was at least 6 feet from the floor. She hardly was sure chasing after the nefarious boogeyman was worth that very leap. But she had to get down at some point. Tetradore, with a final smug glance over his shoulder, took off like a veritable bullet deeper into that forest. It was dark, her human eyes would never be able to see through the thickness of it mainly blotting out the full moon overhead, but those eyes, despite being similar in colour to her human form could see perfectly fine. He had fled the scene as if he knew she wouldn't be able to resist. With little thought or planning, she finally leapt off that branch, not exactly doing the best job at calculating where he paws would land. It was far from Tetradore's soundless decent, but it was effective enough to the point that she landed without completely falling on her face.
Fortunately, her paws kept her from that fate of a faceplant into the dirt below. But not by much. Oof. Thud. She met the ground heavily, her paw had the unfortunate luck of being ill-placed upon a sharp twig. She groaned as she elevated it as that burst of pain and heat pulsed through her paw. Motherfucker. Ouch. She placed her paw down upon that ground, it stung to put weight on it. But the longer she dallied, the further Tetradore got. Determination, at last, seemed to win out, overruled her own pain, there was no way she was going to simply win this way. Mind over mater she thought before her body twitched in preparation before vaulting forward.
She moved with haste, doing her best to ignore that pain, she would not be bested by a veritable thorn in her paw. The more she moved, the easier it was to ignore. Had she healed it? Already? Regardless, she followed his scent, it seemed to pepper the air like a trail of breadcrumbs. He was nearby. It took a little concentration to pick out his scent from the copious of smells that assaulted her all at once. It didn't take long before she saw him, amongst the trees, his form moved like shadow, seamless and liquid. She increased her speed, in attempts to catch up with that much bigger, more powerful cat. Harley was much daintier, smaller than him, but that too had its own set of advantages. She was lithe, able to move through the trees faster, using less energy than him. Although, she needed to build on that stamina. Harley was hardly an athletic person to begin with. Tetradore, like his human form, was made of muscle and endurance it would seem.
The more she ran, leapt and navigated through the woods at an exhausting pace, the less she thought of her paw. How many fucking boulders did she need to climb? How many countless fallen trees had she vaulted her body over. Didn't the man ever tire? How long were they running for? It seemed to lose its appeal, the further out of reach he got, even though her movements had become somewhat automatic in that pursuit. That shift had drained her enough, that forced submission could only be used as a drive for so long. Hate provided a powerful punch and wear out quick. Her body despite its valiant effort was exhausted.
She huffed, wondering if chasing him was worth this effort. She was never one to give up, and she had fought that exhaustion until her lungs ached, her paw throbbed. Fuck this, this was boot camp. A frustrated sound rumbled through her as she slowed her pace, panting like she had run a marathon and she had. There was something about it that felt good though, stretching a muscle that had not yet been utilized. Maybe there was something to this. Something she would need to explore another night. But what felt so much better was water. She was thirsty. The sound of a nearby creek bubbled and babbled too loud not to notice. Just a sip was all she wanted. She veered, it would seem she found it suitable to abandon mission assassinate Tetradore for another day.
Water. Never before did it look so good, until now. Her sides heaved, drawing in that crisp air, her jaw slack. She slunk, sore, head hung low toward the creek's edge. She lapped up that water like it was the best damn thing she had ever tasted. She wanted more, she hardly cared for Tetradore skipping through the forest like he was a goddamn endurance runner any longer.
She placed her paw into that water, that coolness rushing to meet the heat of that sore spot that didn't quite heal because of how she aggravated it from running. She growled before wading further into the water as if examining how it swept through her fur. Something innate seemed to like the sensation, but damn she was too exhausted to care. Maybe she could... flop for a bit. Just a little. Her luck, Tetradore would forget all about her, or perhaps just keep running.... Forever.
She remained close to the water's edge before she eventually flopped over, by a big old, ugly gnarled tree, catching sight of silvery looking eels shimmering within the water. Were those fish? It captured her feline curiosity, but not even she could bring herself to stand once more. Resting those abused limbs, that was bliss. It felt almost peaceful, besides attempting to catch her breath. She licked the pads of her paws, the sensation felt natural to her, and vaguely disturbed her all at once. That wound hardly needed cleaning and yet she did so with her sandpaper tongue. It was weird, the tang of her own wound upon her tongue, let alone her own foot. She questioned herself mid lick before she heard movement, a rustle in the bushes. Maybe it was simply just Tetradore coming back to gloat. She hardly rose to her paws then, rather fixing that space where that movement was with an irritated glare. "You really are a sadistic bastard if you've come to gloat now." She grumbled, only emphasized with a flash of her ivory fangs and a riotous hiss in clear warning as she waited for Tetradore to emerge.
"What the hell is your deal?" She waited for him to appear from the foliage, pausing a moment. A pensive look crossed her features then. He was an odd man. Why that question rose from the recesses of her mind then.... she hardly knewand yet still she asked it still lounging comfortably from her spot."You know I have another question for you too. Why the hell did you bite me.... where you did? You could have bit me anywhere?"