A/N: All I've got to say is sorry for the long wait!
He has no idea where he is, absolutely no idea.
Kurt had been running for what felt like hours, but probably only tallied up to thirty minutes until all four of his paws began to ache at the heel and his previous injuries began to swell in pain, then slowed down into a trot. He's sure he passed the same set of trees and boulders twice by the scent, but he can't be sure because of the odor from short spurt of rain a twenty minutes ago.
On top of being utterly lost, he's famished. His last meal was the meager piece of bread he picked at for dinner. He was now regretting his defiant departure from Mrs. Anderson and her son. He knows it's too early to complain about hunger, but he would've eaten more if he'd seen what his current circumstances were but this wasn't planned. This escape from the Andersons' household was an unexpected window of opportunity Kurt had to taken advantage of. The guard who stood post at his door had struck up a conversation with a housemaid after leading Kurt to the castle's latrine.
Kurt wondered what would happen to that guard now. He sincerely hoped it wasn't going to cause anything beyond getting fired because he'd been nothing but genuinely kind to him. His thoughts didn't resonate much on the topic though, he knew he had to do it — for his father, the man who is everything in his life. He'd just reach the wall and find out his next plan of action. It couldn't be too far now, he'd been traveling well past the morning and into the afternoon.
If these rich folk have anything to give, it's at least a short distance to the exit as a result of their impatience. Kurt breathed heavily, bringing his snout up in the air to smell any man made structures in the distance.
Only pine needles and rain. If he didn't reach the wall by sundown, camping overnight within the boundaries was a sure way to get captured. And what would they do to him then? What would happen to Burt?
Kurt lugged himself forward at a slow pace, exhaustion taking effect from the indefinite amount of time. He hadn't slept the night he left dinner. Determination still lit at his core despite the pain pulsing into the side of his leg, making him refuse to stop. Just a little longer, a little further, a little closer.
The burst of inspiration soon died when his paw caught underneath the root of a tree and he stumbled, submitting to the will of mother nature and curling up at the base of the large banyan that took him into it's abode.
With the new turn of events, Kurt accepted a two minute break. His eyelids dragged down as he curled further in until the tip of his tail brushed against his snout, the perfect breeze lulled him into an unplanned nap.
When he awoke, it was dark. Whether or not the two minute break was fifteen minutes or hours, Kurt could not say, but either way he had overslept. Scuttering onto all fours once again, and shaking off the stiffness in his spine, he began his journey once again.
His father was furious.
After pouring out a series of expletives at Pip the incompetent man that had the responsibility of watching Kurt, the poor guard was dragged off — out of Elite territory if he was lucky. Somehow Blaine knew that wasn't the case.
A search team composed of Elite guardsmen was sent out mere minutes preceding the discovery of Kurt's absence. It was unsatisfactory to Mr. Anderson that nobody had turned up when the first five hours had passed, Odon's Lands was a considerably small portion if one were trying to find someone.
"I am torn about whether or not we should reveal the news of Kurt's escape to the Fosters." Mr. Anderson openly spoke surrounded by his high ranking guards and Blaine.
"Andersons are men of our word and this mishap could make Aaron think we don't value his concerns... It is only right that an Anderson take matters into his own hands to undo this." Blaine restrained himself from rolling his eyes about his father's obsession for glory. Next up, his father would surely place himself in gold armor and gallop back with the poor albino wrapped tightly in ropes on horseback.
"I would gladly lead my guards into the forefront of this search party Blaine, but my weekly gathering with the Elite board is tonight and I don't want to cause any hint of suspicion. The boy will be back by sunrise and then I will reveal our fault to the Fosters... with much detail about your courageous part in the capture."
Steeling himself, Blaine straightened at the sudden turn of events.
"I know you are a capable hunter and you know our property well, granted you're a novice of mounted archery, but we don't want the escapee injured anyways. You've tracked dozens of boars, deers... rabbits even. A manhunt is no different, except you might have to turn a few more stones as far as hiding places go. If there are any problems, Donston will be at your side... But I expect that you will only use him if it is absolutely crucial."
Another task that held weight in his family? This was getting even more unbelievable. His father was counting on him to restore one of the most valuable assets his family had retrieved. He would be crazy not to question the sudden onslaught of responsibility his father decided he was capable of withholding.
"And you want me... to find him?"
"Well, yes. Obviously, Cooper isn't present to complete the task"
He shouldn't have asked. Always second best, at best.
"I'll talk to Donston."
"Remember, you are upholding our name, not yours." His father reminded him before as he shutting him out of his office.
I remember more than any other Elite. Blaine huffed, a day has never passed in which he didn't hear something related to the importance of honor from his father. Blaine had his own motto about the whole situation, but it was no doubt unfavorable to his father's superior mind. His disbelief in his father's ideals didn't help to alleviate the weight of responsibility though, Blaine still had this unquenchable urge to please his father, whether he liked it or not he'd find this boy just to see his father's repressed content.
Blaine met Donston outside of the office, and kept his orders simple, "Gather a good team of trackers and meet me at the stables."
Donston nodded once and exited down the house's stairwell.
Blaine returned to his bedroom and waved off his handmaid for a bit of privacy to get prepared. It was true, Blaine had a few sets of custom armor, most as gifts. Although they were absolutely gorgeous to admire in all of their magnificent craftsmanship and precious embedded jewels they were incredibly impractical. Armor for shifters only posed as an inconvenience while transforming. From the single incident at the Foster's dining room, four Elites lost their specially crafted armor suits. Kurt's shift just wasn't expected. The armor is all show, a symbol of wealth and stature to set them apart from common folk, but when it comes to actually executing their duty it was more of a know you're in real trouble when an Elite guards show up with a minimum of boiled leather.
Blaine refused to believe Kurt posed as any lethal threat, but he was capable of transforming himself and thus he chose a basic chainmail tunic and boiled leather chestplate. The only thing that really separated low class and high class armor was the fine stitching and spacing between leather pallets and the embroidered paw prints on the shoulder pieces and full moon at the center near his heart.
It felt silly suiting up for a hunt against an omega boy who he didn't doubt had little to no formal combat training, but he knew his father wouldn't have it any other way. An Anderson had more integrity than to go running off into the forest in houseware garb. His thoughts were proven right when he arrived at the stable to find a gangly boy next Donston and the trackers. It was relayed he was Giso, a painter his father insisted document his "heroic victory".
Blaine nearly ordered Donston to grab the painter by his neckline and dump him into the castle's fountain, but it wasn't the poor guy's fault. Where did his father even find a professional painter on hand at this time of day!?
If Blaine didn't know any better, he'd say his father orchestrated this entire fiasco. With the painter, Giso, pushed aside, Blaine heaved himself up to mount his horse.
Donston took the liberty of obtaining some crucial tools for Blaine — a dagger, a rope, and a short sword, the last of which he'd hope he'd never have to use.
To an ordinary citizen a tracker would be a man with a pack of specially trained greyhounds, but in the Elite's case, it was actual men who had mastered the ability to stay in human form whilst using their keen sense of smell for unusually long periods of time.
Donston had already taken these tracking men for a short trip to Kurt's room to get an idea of the scent they were looking for. The Elite trackers were three burly brutes of men, who might as well have been in wolf form with their ridiculously unshaven faces and hair.
The whole team took off on horse originally, the three trackers in agreement that Kurt's scent lead out the back of the castle. Blaine assumed this routine had already been done by the original search party, he found it odd that they hadn't yet returned with the boy and genuinely worried for their wellbeing. As a precaution even the trackers decided to leave fully armed this time.
Odon's Lands or the Elites' Property, was massive for any family to own, but as a searching ground it should've been convenient to find a missing prisoner. To give the missing search party credit though, the vegetation was overwhelming and the rain and the massive forest muddled with the tracker's noses. They had to turn around quite a few times when they'd found a scent ended nowhere.
An especially strong clue came at the foot of a banyan tree wrapped with vines, there was an obvious depression in the mud and grass from a figure laying down. The trackers were positive the scent was from the boy who was sleeping upstairs.
But why would he lay down here, at small distance from the castle? Sure he might be weak from the injuries he sustained beforehand, but there was no signs of any fresh wounds. He was probably lost.
From that point on there wasn't much difficulty finding a trail. Kurt got sloppy, indentations were trodden into the ground.
He found it.
The wall, a grey structure that seemed to reach at least fifty feet towards the sky with a watch tower Kurt would predict was sixty yards in the distance. He dared not to step out from the woods, until he devised a plan about how he'd scale the large obstacle and remain unseen.
The vines that reached to the top of the wall seemed strong, but Kurt feared they'd snap even with his light weight, but it was worth a try. Kurt strained his eyes, trying to make out anybody within the distant tower, but he didn't even see any source of light or fire for warmth. Even if it was occupied, the cover of night seemed to be sufficient to him. He melted down slowly back into his natural form and approached the wall after sneaking from the cover of the large oak tree he hid behind, staying low, but keeping a fast pace until he reached the wall. He took a firm grasp onto the vines to feel their strength. They were really thick and seemed firmly embedded, but it was still very possible that they could give way if he put all his weight on it. He decided to test this theory while still close to the ground, but even while pulling himself up he felt one of the roots snap. It was too dangerous to risk, he couldn't escape if he got a major injury, he'd have to approach the tower.
Just as he reached the edge of the forest once again, he heard scuffling, then a horse snorting.
Kurt panicked and rushed towards the nearest nook. He found a brush hugging a pine tree and quickly squeezed inside, earning a large scratch across his forearm, he tried desperately to keep the bleeding to a minimum by pressing his hand over it.
It was over, he knew he'd be found — the scent of blood was a dead giveaway.
Soon a series of galloping horses was heard and eventually the voices of men, not loud enough to make out their conversation.
Peeking through the brush, he saw four men trotting in a circle before the forest ended at the very spot he'd been pressed up against a tree before he approached the wall.
Kurt was surprised to recognize Blaine mounted, in entirely new type of clothing. Two of the armored men galloped to the wall's base, but shook their heads towards Blaine.
He had to think fast before they discovered his new route. He released the pressure on his nasty scratch, purposely wiping across it to collect as much blood as possible. He painted the blood onto the bark of the pine tree next to him.
Kurt then scattered down a random path, careful to stay out of sight and leave no tracks, and climbed up a particularly large tree that he believed could cover him even if someone happened to glance up.
The problem was, whilst climbing said tree he was completely exposed.
And that was it.
He heard a shout in the distance and soon the entourage was moving at full speed straight towards him.
Kurt was already more than half way up the tree, and decided to complete the climb and hopefully gain some advantage there as opposed to running on feet. He swung himself onto a large branch and shuffled forward, hopeful he could make it to another tree's branch.
"HALT!" A burly man's voice demanded. Kurt looked down to see four men, followed by Blaine and a scrawny unarmed citizen.
At a closer vantage point, despite his heavy breathing, scratched arm, and complete fear, he couldn't help but to admire Blaine's masculine leather armor. He laughed softly with his cheek pressed against the bark of the tree.
"What are you laughing at boy!? You're the one caught stark naked in a tree!" Another man's tenor shook with rage, "We're going to beat the living shit out of you when you get down!"
Kurt peered down and saw one of the men reaching for his arrow with his bow in hand.
"Alive Hugues." Blaine stressed, swinging himself off his horse and looking up. "The game's over Kurt. Get out of that tree."
Blaine spoke as if he was chastening a child who had been caught right handed. It rubbed him the wrong way. He wasn't going to make this easy.
Kurt dragged himself forward until he reached the branch of another tree.
"Kurt..." Blaine took a step back to get the escapee back into his view. He was silent for a moment when he caught view of the albino's full nakedness.
Kurt grabbed onto the other branch and moved forward. He was satisfied to hear Blaine's tone pitch higher when he discovered what he was doing, "Kurt! Don't hurt yourself, get down, you'll fall!"
"I'd rather die than get caught by you assholes."
"Don't make any drastic decisions, climb down!"
Kurt successfully managed to switch trees and shuffled to make a third switch. This one with a larger gap in between. He strained his hands trying to get a hold on the next branch.
"You're going to kill yourself." Blaine muttered, moving forward and beginning to climb the tree Kurt was attempting to get on.
"I'm going to jump." Kurt threatened as a last resort, "If you grab me, I'll jump head first!"
Blaine didn't know whether to take him seriously or not, but taking a second to look at Kurt, he saw desperation there. I mean the boy was shuffling naked at a dangerous height, he refused to give up.
Blaine sighed relenting, "What do you want?"
"Let me go." Kurt immediately responded.
Blaine frowned, "I can't do that."
"Then I'm jumping." Kurt promised, releasing one of his hands.
"I'll send a message to your father." Blaine was quick to make a vow.
"I don't know if you're telling the truth."
"I'll take you to him myself... but you can't stay. On my name."
Kurt thought for a minute. It was the only chance he had, he began crawling down then.
Once he reached the base of the tree, Blaine met him there with rope and tied his wrists, "Much safer down here." Blaine looked at the cut on his arm then back at him in what he thought showed sincere concern.
A blanket was thrown over him then, but he had to share a horse with whom he learned was Blaine's guard, Donston.
"When are we going to see him?" Kurt spoke softly, as they began moving at a steadily back towards the Andersons' mansion.
Blaine paused on his horse, turning his head to show Kurt his serious expression, "I lied."