"We gotta move," Derek said as he and Adam started ushering the others farther into the woods.
Chloe's ears were ringing when she came to, and she was so disoriented she could only groan in pain as it throbbed through her skull when she tried to sit up. A firm hand landed on her shoulder, and that nearly had her out of her skin she jumped so bad, the pain doubled.
"You need to stay still," the relief flooded Chloe almost as quickly as the panic when she heard Tori's voice attached to the hand. "You hit your head way hard."
"What happened?" Chloe asked weakly.
"You and Simon pretty much fell off a cliff," Tori answered. Chloe alarmed, looked around to find Simon perched against a fallen log. Scraped up, as well as both his right arm, and his ankle wrapped in what looked like scraps of the button shirt Adam had been wearing.
"Calling it a 'cliff' might be exaggerating," Adam said as he and Derek came into view. "More of a very steep incline."
"Kinda felt like a cliff," Simon retorted, he sounded as rough as Chloe felt herself. Derek knelt down beside her and reached out to check her over gently.
"I'm ok," she said.
"The heck you are," Tori snapped. "Probably got a concussion, and he's lucky if his ankle isn't completely broken."
"What about those guys?" Chloe held onto Derek's hand tightly as he helped her to stand, then clung to his whole arm when she threatened to topple over again.
"Still up there," Derek replied. "Simon can you stand?"
"Looking for another way down here," Adam held a hand out for Simon to boost him up, what was left of Simon's backpack in the other. "It won't take them long to find it either, I picked up as much as I could . . . Your kit is still in the side pocket though."
"Thanks," Simon took his mangled backpack, Chloe got an image of Simon going over the edge of a drop off, and his backpack catching on branches, and being torn away from him on the way down. She looked up to see where they'd fallen from, the memory started to come back. Chloe had tripped, and Simon had tried to catch her, but lost his own footing.
Adam was right, seeing it from this angle, it wasn't exactly a cliff, but more of a very steep hill that looked like it had slid in places, and went along as far as she could see from their vantage point.
"How are we going to get out?" Tori asked. "These two can't exactly climb, and we obviously want to avoid the direction those goons are going to come from."
"If it's the fastest way, they'll be coming from back that way," Derek pointed behind and to the right of himself. "If we keep going this way-" he started to gesture.
"No," Adam interrupted him. "That leads to the falls, it will be more difficult terrain which would slow them down, but it wouldn't be doing the injured any favors." They all looked at him.
"Falls?" Derek questioned.
"Crescent Falls," Adam continued to explain. "The formation starts going that way, we'd be approaching it from basically the back end, but we could probably have a real shot at losing them permanently, if you catch my meaning . . . Not that I should be promoting such an idea as a responsible adult."
"I'd be game for that," Tori said. They all looked at her. "What, it's a good idea."
"We don't exactly want to kill people Tori," Chloe despite of, or rather because of what's happened really didn't want to visit that option unless absolutely necessary.
"It's them or us," was Tori's response, and she shrugged when Chloe gave her another look.
"Right," Adam nodded in understanding. "Well, if we follow this hill farther north it'll even out eventually, but it's up to you." He looked at the four of them
"Along the hill?" Derek asked. Chloe and Simon agreed, and while Tori still preferred the idea for leading their followers into the falls, they did decide north was the best option given their condition.
It was actually a good thing they were following the hill, even though easier footing for them meant easier footing for their followers. It was still the dead of night out in the woods, and that meant it was pitch black, and they had to rely on Derek and Adam both to guide them.
As Adam said, the hill became less and less inclined, but the brush also began to thicken.
"There should be a deer trail ahead to the left," he supplied.
"You sure know an awful lot about these woods," Tori suddenly commented. "Like, too much."
"This is your pack's territory," Derek said, and it wasn't a question.
"I was sure you picked up the scent a while ago," Adam didn't deny it. "I didn't want to say anything, but maybe it would have been less conspicuous to mention it?"
"That you were leading us to your buddies instead of the guys following us?" Tori's electricity started to sizzle at her fingers.
"I'd actually prefer to not get them involved," Adam didn't even flinch at her display of power. "Honestly, I was going to tag along with you guys to Milburn like we agreed, and avoid home all together."
"You probably could have mentioned it earlier, but we'd probably have thought you were trying to trick us." Derek said as he picked out the trail that Adam indicated. "I figured when you mentioned the distance to Milburn you were local enough."
"And you trusted me anyway?" The sarcasm was light in Adam's tone. "Well I am flattered." There was a heavy silence for a beat.
"I should fry your ass," Tori said as her power dispersed.
"I appreciate your decision not to though," Adam replied wryly. He was about to continue onto say something else when, suddenly everyone was slammed by a knock-back spell.
"Quickly," one of the pursuers barked orders. "Get them secured, before they cause anymore trouble."
"Oh look," one of the others mentioned as they complied. "The performer from the coffee shop." There was the sound of a boot connecting with flesh, and a grunt of pain as he kicked Adam. "Tip for the show."
"Always nice to meet a fan," Adam rasped. The sound of boot hitting flesh again, and the subtle crack of a rib. Adam cried out in pain again.
"He's not important," the lead man said. "Just kill him."
"What you want to bet this joker is that wolf from the other night," the guy continued. "You are, aren't ya . . . I'm still nursing a wicked headache because of you, I should pay you back for that too."
"I doubt he meant 'bore me to death' when he said that," Adam wheezed, he received another kick for that comment. The guy drew a gun.
"I'm going to enjoy this," the guy exclaimed. "Too bad you stuck your nose where it didn't belong."
"Sticking my nose where it doesn't belong is what I'm good at," Adam gave a lopsided shrug. "And I could tell you fellas the same thing, but it's a little late."
"You're right it is," the guy with the gun began pulling the hammer back.
"No, I mean," Adam said. "Cuz my sister is here."