Stomach filled with dread, Sora watched Eric, ready to dash in any direction. Her lungs pumping frantically as her limbs burned and sweat gathered across her skin. I’ve used so much energy in that last attempt! Her anxiety built as Eric continued to glare at her. What’s he waiting for?
She took a step back as Eric reversed his transformation to his human state. He had a grimace in place as he glanced over at Kari. “I lost my temper for a moment.” He dryly stated while glancing over his sister’s unmoving body. “Aiden, go check and see if she’s alright.”
Aiden lurched from his sitting position and started tossing bricks off Kari the moment he fell to his knees.
Devin whistled. “I haven’t seen you like that since you killed your father.”
Eric didn’t respond as he worked around his jaw, vision still trained on his sister. Kari’s clothes had rematerialized, but there were several slashes across the fabric. Gashes evident across her visible back, but they were beginning to knit back together.
Taking in a deep breath, Eric let it out. “That little tag-team was getting on my nerves.” His eyes flicked back to Sora. “What to do with the disruptive Vulpes? You can provide an excellent amount of energy once fully recovered as I’ve seen just a portion of what you can store; yet, are you worth the trouble?”
Sora’s vision shifted to her father for a moment, making sure he was alive. He’s unconscious again; his heart’s still beating, and he’s breathing—cut up pretty bad though. Two werewolves were standing over him, ready for any order Eric gave. She did a quick scan and realized Mary and Wendy were gone; she couldn’t smell them nearby either. At least Mary was able to get Wendy away; I should be thankful Eric hasn’t noticed … am I actually going to be eaten alive?
Swallowing as a nervous jitter flipped around her stomach, she returned her gaze to Eric as his lips pursed, making a brooding expression. The wind had picked up, and the moon had risen further into the sky. I hate this wait! Either I run, or I fight, and obviously, I can’t fight. He can see through my illusions to some extent, and my charms are probably useless like they were with Kari. Lightning works but requires too much energy. Fire’s only a deterrent and light … light. Light could work! I just need to make it to the river.
Eric scowled. “No, you’re too troublesome to keep alive. Your weak energy will…” He cut off with astonishment as Sora flicked her tail around, closing her eyes and a flare burst from her tail. As soon as it faded, she created an illusion of herself, father slung over her shoulders and running into the broken building; she tried her best to influence the werewolves minds that her scent was with her illusion. Her energy flooded out of her as she rushed to her father.
She pulled him over her back and leaped for the nearest rooftop as the pack hesitated with confusion. Landing with a grunt, she wobbled as her vision hazed, side crying out with pain. No! You can do this! Biting her lip, she felt blood dripping down her chin as her ears pricked. She heard the air shift and werewolves land behind her on the building. Sending another flash from her tail, she jumped down to the street below. I’ll only last a few more times, and they’re going to start relying on their other scents; I need to get to the river!
Sending two more illusions and light flares with mental manipulations, she managed to confuse them enough to make it behind the building to Indian Creek waterway. Eric appeared right in front of her, the river behind him.
She panted heavily as Eric blurred in her eyes, she wobbled unsteadily as her illusions broke and she collapsed under her father’s weight. Shifting herself to get out from under him, she sat against the ground, panting shallowly. Eric’s pack circled her again, blocking her escape to the waterway; there was a line of trees before some docks in a small field. I was so close! Why aren’t the police or anyone here? This is Miami Beach!
Eric didn’t look happy. “You know—I’m honestly impressed. I never imagined a single-tailed Vulpes could cause so much chaos.”
Devin chuckled as he walked beside him. “Did you see how she manipulated their senses? They were following a fake trail.”
“I did,” Eric lowly replied. “You are one odd Vulpes.” He started walking forward with a disgusted twist to his nose and lips. “I should have done this from the start.”
Sora struggled to her feet and tried moving to the right. Just keep moving, just stay—get him away from dad. She yelped as he neared and struck her across the face, sending her toppling across the ground.
Sora’s senses warned her, but she couldn’t move. A crushing force slammed against her right leg, a loud crack burning her ears. The pain came after she looked down, focus frozen at her broken leg. Curling as best she could, she whimpered, while clutching at her leg, tears cascading down her cheeks. Eric’s hand closed around her tail, lifting her by it; pain shot up her spine as he swung her back and forth.
Eric’s voice cut through her cries. “Honestly—you were so much trouble!”
Hair obscuring her vision, Sora felt gravity shift, and her body crashed into the sidewalk, skidding across it. She felt bruises, cuts, and burns across her body with the throbbing pain at her broken leg and tail. Vision blurred with tears, she couldn’t see what happened next but could hear it with chilling clarity.
Her father’s yell pierced the air, and she heard a grunt as something thrashed over the ground. Fighting past the pain, she cleared her eyes and found her father’s legs over Eric’s chest, holding his left hand in an armbar. Strain evident on her dad’s red face, he pulled back and thrusting up with his pelvis as hard as he could.
Eric looked utterly vexed. “Has everyone lost their minds!” He roared and with a sharp jerk, sent her father flying across the ground, skidding across the grass face first. Getting to his feet, Eric made his way over to her father.
“No,” Sora choked, “No—you wan—wanted me. You wanted to—eat me—right? Just leave my dad alone!”
Eric slowed, and looked back at her, a wicked grin splitting his lips. Horrified, Sora watched her father desperately get back to his feet and charge toward Eric. “No! Dad—don’t!” Sora cried. It was too late, without glancing in her father’s direction, Eric thrust his blood-soaked arm down and through her father’s stomach. Sora screamed and only saw her father’s face as it turned to her, smiling apologetically.
Every cell of Sora’s body tingled numbly, and she felt something slide in place, a piece of her shift. Power filled her body, her pain fading. Her body rising higher and higher, the painted image of her father bleeding across her vision. The entire area lit with pure radiance as fire embraced her, engulfing her in warmth, but it couldn’t fill the cavity in her chest.
Eric’s overwhelmed voice carried along the warm wind with clarity as he stepped back. “Nine tails of fire—flame consumed irises—and three ink black whiskers on each side of your cheeks … you are the daughter of Mia!”
Burning filled her cold heart, and she felt exponential power expanding, her focus on Eric. She wanted him dead, wanted him gone, and suddenly, all the endless energy was ripped away. Bewildered, she found herself dropping back down to the ground and a brilliant pillar of fire rising into the sky, disappearing into the clouds. Perplexed and in shock, Sora trembled numbly and stared down at the concrete. “Why—I had the power?”
Her head snapped up as Eric laughed hysterically. “I understand! Nine days and the potential that’s hidden inside. You have Mia’s blood, but your body isn’t strong enough to handle the power.” Turning to one of his pack members he asked, “What time is it?”
Sora instantly knew what he meant. “Twelve-o-one … my birthday’s over.”
Eric chuckled. “Thank you for confirming it, Mia’s kin. Your nine-day transformation is over, and all that innate power has burrowed within you. Probably because your body could no longer keep you safe from your energy, but that’s fantastic!”
Slowly walking toward Sora, Eric spoke with exhilarated delight. “Consuming Mia’s blood and tapping into that hidden power with my mother’s blood … I’ll become a true wolf Founder. I’ll be Fenrir incarnate!”
Sora felt empty, but then she heard the faintest of heartbeats. Her eyes darted from the advancing Eric to her father. He’s still alive! Tremors churned her stomach. No … I can’t go through your death again … I’m about to die myself … I didn’t even apologize…
“Is this really my destiny—to be eaten?” Sora whispered in despair as Eric bolted into a sprint, lips peeled back with eagerness as he transformed into a werewolf. Swallowing, Sora closed her eyes with a tremor shooting through her body.