A Tail’s Misfortune — Chapter Fifty: Cause And Effect

POV Change:  Mary’s POV (Psychiatrist; Counselled Sora for a year)

Recap:  Sora is being attacked by the spiritual worm.  Emilia is having teenage issues and fainted after seeing her mother dying.  Mary now takes the stage.

Note:At least the next four chapters will be from Sora’s POV as events move onto where things have been leading.  =))  Man I brew a slow chili with writing xD

Mary hummed darkly as she listened to Emilia’s recount.  Mimi sounds like she’s dying?  If Sora’s having a hard time, then it’s likely something more than physical…

She blinked as Emilia took off into a sprint; faster than any Olympic runner, she bolted up the stairs and into the building.  “Wha … crap.”

Alice hesitantly followed Mary as she ran after the girl, but they were hampered by a few pedestrians that obliviously walked into her path; darting around them, she made her way up the stairs and through the open doors.

There were a few Vulpes that watched her with confused expressions, but she paid them little mind.  Making it into the building, Mary was relieved to see Alice keeping pace.

“What’s happening?  Why’d she run off?”

“Something must have gone wrong,” Mary replied.  She slowed as she made it inside the empty entrance hall, glancing around the interior.  “Shoot … where’d she go? Should we go left, right, straight … this is a massive building.”  She growled, scratching the back of her scalp, fingers sliding through her curly brown hair.

Alice forced a lump down her throat before clearing her voice.  “I—give me a second.” Her ears twitched as she listened, searching for signs of movement or sounds.  “Head Supervisor Mimi—I can hear her crying … with Lady Gurakuqi,” she mumbled with fear.


“Umm—the second floor, a few rooms to our right—I think.”

Mary lightly bit her lower lip, eyes scanning the ceiling as if she could look through it.  “Dammit,” she muttered. “Why’s everything have to go south? I don’t know the layout of the building, do you?”  She asked, turning to the frightened Vulpes.

Alice jerkily moved forward.  “I—I think I know.”

Mary followed the woman as she turned right at the next junction, jogging toward the end of the hallway, there was a staircase leading up to the right, curving around to continue to the second floor.  Taking the left path instead of the straight, they saw the lower half of Emilia’s body collapsed in a doorway halfway down the corridor; her eight long copper-furred tails were lying in a tangled heap, limp.

“Emilia!”  Mary called out, picking up her pace.

Reaching the girl, Mary bent down beside her, eyes doing a quick sweep of the room; she caught Mimi, Gurakuqi, and Sora’s conditions with a glance before turning her attention back to Emilia, checking her pulse.

She pushed a puff of air through her teeth as she felt the child’s warm skin, blood pumping through her veins, and on closer inspection, she was breathing.  She must have fainted … or it could be something magical.

Knowing the girl was at least in a stable condition, Mary turned her attention to the other three in the room, saying, “Alice, stay with Emilia.”

Mary almost tripped while attempting to get up; her body was tingling.  She recognized the effects of her panic quickly, taking a few deep breaths to calm her own racing heart.  “Mimi,” she cleared her throat, “Mimi! What’s going on?”

She watched Sora hug herself at the foot of the bed, moaning as if in pain while tucked into a tight ball.  Both Gurakuqi and Mimi appeared to be in shock as they watched Sora, and upon further study, Mary noticed blood running down their faces and chests, gashes across both as they hugged each other protectively.

Stumbling her way toward the two, she shook Gurakuqi’s shoulder, avoiding the long cut that had ripped through her dress front to expose part of her chest.  “Hey, what’s happening? What can we do?”

A quake ran down the woman’s body as her blue eyes darted to her, head seemingly unable to move.  “Y-you … I remember you … were with—with Sora…”

“Yes, my name is Mary.  Now, please, tell me, what happened?”

“Sora—she was—was healing L-Lady—Mimi—collapsed—hurt us when—when we tried to help.”

Mary’s jaw locked as the Vulpes stumbled over her words, eyes darting toward the girl she’d worked with for nearly a year.  Sora’s face was twisted with pain and horror as she trembled, trying as hard as possible to curl into the tightest ball she could muster.

What in the hell happened?  If she lashes out at anyone trying to help, is she still dangerous?  Should we run? Is she having a seizure? Healing … it has something to do with trying to heal Mimi.

Her focus shot to the traumatized woman, likely still locked in the moment Sora attacked them.

This must have been caused by magic; if that’s the case, then should I run and get Eyia and Jin?  Githa? What other options do I have? Wait … Inari’s with her … there’s no way … she should have already calculated this or foreseen it.  If that’s the case, then she’s not in any lasting danger. If only I knew what was going on!

She puffed a few breaths in and out to calm her body as she began to shake from the adrenaline; Mary stumbled back against the wall, eyes closed while holding her hand against her pumping chest.

Calm down … calm … I need to take charge.

Eyes opening, Mary forced down the saliva that had gathered in her mouth.  “Okay … Alice, help me get Mimi and Gurakuqi off the bed. We’ll guide them to the wall and out of reach if Sora starts thrashing again.”

“O-okay…”  Alice said, hesitantly moving as instructed, likely used to following people’s orders.

Mary slid her hand behind Gurakuqi’s back, whispering, “Hey, hey,” trying to get her attention.  The Vulpes’ head slowly turned toward her, and Mary gently tugged at Mimi’s arms a few times before she shakily let go of Gurakuqi.

“We’re going to move against the wall, okay?  Everything will be alright … just follow me…” She paused, Sora’s whimpers increased, causing both Vulpes to stiffen, their vision locking back on the girl.

“It’s okay—just follow me,” Mary whispered soothingly, applying a little bit of guiding force to help direct Gurakuqi up.  She had to support the woman, arms pulling up on her right armpit to help stabilize her. “Alice—the other arm … watch out for the cuts.”

They both guided Gurakuqi to the wall, Mary having to take special care to not trip on or bend the woman’s tails as they helped her to lean against the wall.

She began to mumble.  “S-Sora … w-what happened—she—she went—went wild … like the animals…”

Mary pulled the woman’s gray hair out of her face; there were patches of blood, causing clumps to stick together.  “It will be okay; just rest, okay? We’re going to lay you down … there we go.”

Glancing around for something to prop her feet up, Mary spotted the closet.  “Alice, go in there and grab some clothes; we need to elevate her feet.”

Alice shakily ran to the door, opening it before rushing out with a handful of clothes; Mary took the pile before ordering her to grab more.  Bunching a few of the thick dresses up, she gently brought her feet up, put one under her head, and covered her body with a layer of the fabrics to warm her.

After Alice dumped a few more piles of dresses beside Mary, she said, “We’re going to help Mimi, now.”

Gurakuqi began to stir, body still shaking as she looked at her.  “M-Mimi … she…”

“Shh,” Mary soothed, tucking the dresses around her.  “Just stay here… we’ll help Mimi, but you need to stay here.”

Once she got a jerky nod from the woman, they moved to Mimi, repeating the process.

“What’s happening to them?”  Alice whispered with concern, ears lying flat against her head.  “Is it magic?”

Mary shook her head, brushing back her bangs to secure them behind her ears.  “I don’t think so. I think they’re just in shock.”

“Shock … what’s that?”

They both slowly supported Mimi to sit against the side of the bed before moving a few feet to Gurakuqi’s left, helping her lie down.

“It’s just what happens when there’s a sudden drop in blood flow.  They’re cut, but it doesn’t look deadly … still, we’ll need to dress them when we can get a handle on the situation.”

“S-Sora—hurt them?”

Her lips pursed as she glanced back at the crying teenager, fur bristling along her tails and ears lying flat against her head as she quaked; she noticed blood running down her sides where her claws had ripped at her own flesh.

Turning back to Mimi to put a dress under her head, Mimi shook her head.  “Sora was trying to help—but something happened that’s causing her a lot of pain.  Right now, all we can do is help keep everyone safe until things calm down. Once we get everyone settled in, I might need you to run back and grab the others … I’m just not equipped to handle something like this.”

Alice fell silent, following Mary’s orders while they got Mimi, Gurakuqi, and Emilia comfortable.  Every so often, Sora would thrash, making Alice flinch and shrink back; Sora’s sharp fingernails and toenails ripped at the bed and wood, creating the sound of flaking wood and ripping fabric.

However, once they’d moved to Emilia, Sora began to settle down; her breathing became more even, and after a moment, she opened her eyes; her body still quivered a little, but she managed to look around.

“M-Mary?  W-what’s—happening … Emilia … no…”

“She’s fine,” Mary quickly replied, straightening out the girl’s eight tails before moving to comfort Sora.  “She just fainted … can you tell me what happened?”

Sora tensed, eyes squeezing shut as she pressed her hands against her chest.  “I—I…”

“It’s fine—take your time.  Do you need anything? Should I get the others?”

Sora quickly shook her head.  “N-no … no, I just—I need a bit of time.”

“Sure—okay,” Mary took a deep breath while moving back to wrap Emilia in the dresses.  “Take your time. We should get a blanket around you, though, and what about your cuts?”

Sora hesitated for a moment before pulling one of the ripped blankets around herself, clutching it tightly against her body.  She studied the three women on the floor, Gurakuqi and Mimi still recovering.

“I—did that to them?  They’re not…” She asked, sniffling as tears began dripping down her cheeks again.

“No, dear, no, they’re alive.  We’ll get to that in a bit,” Mary whispered, “but first, we need everyone to calm down.  Alice, could you sit by Mimi and Gurakuqi—make sure they’re comfortable?”

The Vulpes nodded, swallowing a hard lump as she glanced back at Sora before her eyes fell to the two women.

“Good,” Mary sighed, running her hands through her hair before sitting on the side of the bed.  She smiled over at Sora, showing compassion. “Tell me what happened when you’re ready.”

It took Sora another few minutes before talking, and Mary let her explain without interruption.  After several broken attempts to clarify the incident, she grasped the situation; within that time, both Mimi and Gurakuqi had recovered enough to drift into sleep after their bodies came off their emotional high.

She was getting a little worried about their wounds but knew the best option was to stabilize Sora so she could heal them.

Mary took a deep breath, rubbing the back of her left forearm.  “Okay, Sora … I understand. Is it possible—if you feel up to it … could you heal their physical wounds.  I think it would be best to let them rest, though.”

Sora looked down at herself with a shocked expression.  “I—I hurt myself, too…” Closing her eyes, she took a few more calming breaths before a blow glow surrounded herself; the wounds quickly closed.

Mary helped her to the floor, having to catch her under the arms as her legs collapsed.  Alice backed up further, pressing against the wall as they drew near. Mary’s lips became a line as she saw the hurt on Sora’s face, but knew the Vulpes couldn’t help herself.  A light blue light enveloped them as she positioned her tails over the women, healing their wounds.

Sora hesitantly moved back toward Emilia, clearly conflicted if she should even be around her daughter.

“It’s okay,” Mary whispered, supporting her to Emilia’s side.  Sitting down, she tucked her lip under sniffing a little while trying to hold back tears.  “Take your time; just relax. I just need to think for a moment…”

Inari told her this would teach her a valuable lesson?  Sora’s basically a rape victim! Why would Inari tell her that this is a valuable lesson?  I’m missing something … it’s not like she wanted this to happen. She was dreading this moment … what’s the connection, though?

Sora lashed out because of the worm, burrowing through her spirit, sucking out her energy.  She attacked Mimi and Gurakuqi when they tried to help, traumatizing them in the process … I doubt either of them have ever really seen violence or been harmed by another in this society.

She nervously rubbed the side of her shoe against her ankle.  Inari knew this would likely happen … Emilia watched her mother writhe on the bed as if dying … crying, and screaming.  Think! Why would that make Emilia faint instead of trying to help? She idolizes Sora … I mean, by all intents and purposes, they’re basically mother and daughter.

Emilia is a lot younger than she appears and very inexperienced; it’s obvious she wants to spend time with her mom.  She was trying to hide her annoyance and anger when coming over here. Maybe she even feels like her mom’s blowing her off to some extent, always rushing off to help everyone else; that would be normal adolescent behavior, but since she idolizes her mom, she’d blame herself instead of Sora.

Of course!  Emilia doesn’t know anything about Sora’s past; all she knows is the powerful Vulpes Founder that everyone looks up to and wants her help.  Sora’s like a god to the girl, but she just ran in, and her entire foundation was ripped apart. Why would Inari let that happen in such a way?

This circumstance sets in motion a ton of negative events.  Mimi, Gurakuqi, Emilia, Sora, even Alice … they’re all traumatized.  Sora said Inari didn’t like it, though … she wouldn’t … ah … Inari is letting the consequences of Sora’s behaviors manifest.  Inari wouldn’t expose herself like this … wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

We don’t really know Mimi … we’ve only met her once, and Sora decided to risk her life for her, damn the consequences … this gives Sora an understanding that she really didn’t think things through.  She prioritized the possibility of saving a stranger over everything else, including her daughter, that she might not have seen again.

This is on her, and the pain it caused … the rifts it created.  There’s something more … so much more, but I need to know what Inari has tried to teach Sora.  I feel like if we just gave her words more credence, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. There’s a pattern she gave us … warnings, things to put our focus into, but we’ve brushed them aside.

Of course, she knew we would, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t bluntly tell us what we should and shouldn’t do.  We aren’t being watchful … I’m not helping guide Sora through this mess like I should…

“Sora … how are you doing right now?  Do you still have the feeling?”

“Yeah … I do … my aunt—she says it won’t go away … not for a while.”  Tears began to fall down her cheeks again. “I think—I think she’s mad at me, but—but she won’t say it.  She’s not saying much…”

Mary inched closer, smiling reassuringly.  “Your aunt loves you more than anything; she’s just concerned.  She’s not mad at you … just the decision. Can I—hug you? I know you might not want to be touched, but…”

She trailed off as Sora lurched back, arms wrapped around her in a death grip.  Mary gasped, shoulders being pressed against the side of the bed, while Sora crushed her.  “Looser—Sora—please…”

“I’m sorry,” Sora bawled, “I’m so sorry…”

Mary coughed a little as Sora eased up a little, but didn’t let go.  “It’s okay—just let it out … let it out.” She soothed, hugging her back.

Sora cried and shook for several minutes in her arms; she sent Alice downstairs to redirect anyone that might want to come up.  Eventually, Sora pulled back, looking down at her daughter. “W-why is—is she okay?”

“She’s still fine, just like I told you before.  She just fainted … I think seeing you in so much pain really shook her.  She thinks you’re invincible, and I think she thought she was losing you.”

“No…”  Sora muttered, shaking hands trying to tuck some of the dresses further under her daughter.  “I didn’t—I didn’t want this—not like this—I just wanted to help…” She mumbled, stroking Emilia’s hair.

Mary bit her lower lip before tucking her legs in a bit.  “Take it slow—but I think we need to examine what your aunt told you.  Could you explain to me what she taught you after the lecture?”

Sora took a bit of time to recall everything, bouncing back and forth between events as they came back to her, or she tried searching her memory using The Outer Body Technique; it was slow and fragmented, and she couldn’t enter the state for very long.  Inari was silent the entire time.

Once she’d explained everything, Mary sat back against the bed, legs pressed together against the floor as she thought.

Inari helped Sora heal Kari and somehow forge a relationship with her … it’s hard to even imagine how she directed that, but it worked.  Sora’s concerned about what Wendy and Eyia will do … I’m not that worried about Wendy, but Eyia would be an issue from what I understand.

Wendy won’t do anything to hurt her relationship with Sora.  At least, not without a massive emotional conflict that makes her blurt something out without thinking.  That’s something to consider in the future.

The Adam and Eve story and the examination of the Indians, English, and Spanish is an interesting one … there’s a lot to unpack there.  Good things can come out of terrible circumstances … no one is free of blood on their hands … and the standard life is more complicated than what our finite minds can comprehend, or our ego tends to dictate.

Sora’s been struggling with the effect she can have on the people here … oh, no … what was it that Inari said during the lecture … changing the structure of a system…

Certain phrases and examinations bubbled up in her mind, flowing back in a steady stream.

Be watchful … it’s important to get your ideas right because people die if they are not … the phoenix and the shadow … you can’t say no without aggression … enabling is a crutch that is addictive … I can give you encouragement and give you a mental understanding … you must lift the weights and run the track.

The heroic story is to voluntarily confront the unknown when it manifests itself and to gather something of value as a consequence and share that with the community … there’s tragedy and suffering in that that is inescapable … adopt responsibility for yourself and your community to combat it … masters of emergent chaos.

We are the snakes … chaos is like cancer … order is where something functions in the manner by which you intend … chaos will always exist but how you confront it makes the difference … our chaos is a saving grace.

There are steps … clean your own room before helping someone else clean theirs … master your own chaos before moving to master the world’s … Sora lets order constrict her too much … she must access more of her shadow…

The largest piece of the puzzle came flooding back into Mary’s mind, causing her to whisper it aloud.

“Some behaviors are not conducive to the potential you wish to bring about, Sora; it’s unbelievably complicated, and you must know how to navigate these situations … it will never happen exactly like you predict at the start … that being said, you must stand up and take charge in the potential future you wish to create, which you must identify, and soon.”

Sora looked over at her with a furrowed brow, rubbing at her red eyes and nose.  “What? Isn’t that … my aunt said that.”

Mary swallowed, looking down at her lap, fingers trembling.  “Oh, no … we’ve made so many mistakes. Everything links together … going out was a mistake … so many mistakes.”

“Saving Mimi … that was a mistake?”  Sora whispered.

She shook her head.  “I’m not saying it was … that was a sacrifice … choose your sacrifice … save a life, traumatize five … everything has consequences.  Our actions caused Mimi’s condition in the first place. It’s cause and effect. The weight of the results makes us watchful of the next incident.

“We were seen … why didn’t I think about it … my mistake; I should have known … I didn’t even consider it … the town … the new guest … they know about Emilia.  They know there’s an eight-tails here that doesn’t belong.”


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A Tail’s Misfortune — Chapter Forty-Nine: Shattered Image
A Tail's Misfortune — Chapter Fifty-One: Shadow