A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Thirteen: Loral’s Warpath


1. Sora Moore (Our Vulpes Founder with a new daughter to protect)

2. Loral at the end (the mysterious councilwoman of the past)

Recap: Sora incited sedition among the council members, turning the younger members against the Phebe, Niomie, and Hallaway, with Tola leading the charge; they seal their powers after discovering how much corruption is among them.

Hallaway is solemn, Phebe kind of scared, and Niomie furious.  Hallaway takes them to the huge city-like library to look up what might be happening with Loral, and everyone cracks open a book to get going on figuring out answers!

Well, except … Tola turned out to be the one hiding Loral within her Core, taking her to a new body to be resurrected in the flesh.  This … could be bad, but Tola is owning up to it all … It better to ask for forgiveness than ask permission … as they say.

I want to thank my patrons for continuing to support me:

Rusty Lewis, Eodon, Drinko, Luke Dowicz, Boris, Harukain, Nodlehs, Xal, and my other Patrons!

Sora flipped through the short book with Emilia; much of it was a recap to her.  It did talk about learning how to direct one’s magic within their Core to utilize it, but she’d figured out how to do that what seemed ages ago.  Emilia, on the other hand, was utterly confused about the method it was instructing.

Looking back on her aunt’s training when she was stuck inside that organization’s base, Sora began to understand just how swiftly Inari had accelerated her journey.  Almost everything she’d come to appreciate about herself came from stabilizing her magic utilization through the Outer Body Technique.

The lessons she’d spent with her aunt had helped to shape her to think more about the complicated issues surrounding her, and she could feel her grasp on things becoming clearer by the day.  However, with that higher clarity came the realization that she really didn’t know anything.

Her focus drifted over to Kari, sitting across from her and reading a book that actually seemed to have the wolf girl enthralled.  The tragedies and events they’d been through within the past few weeks made her heart ache.  She had no clue how terrible the Fenris Wolf’s past had been, and the cries for help she was sending out.

There was so much pain around her that she was blind to, and now that she knew about it—that was it.  Sora couldn’t really do anything about it, and in some cases, thought she made things worse.  Everything was telling her that the world was too complicated for her to tackle its problems; she had enough problems with herself, and now she had a daughter.

Hallaway sat further away, vision scanning between dozens upon dozens of books that she was calling and then sending back after seemingly not getting what she wanted.

Sora shifted to smile at her daughter; she really could see the resemblance to herself when looking in a mirror.  Emilia was the more mature version of what she could have looked like if she wasn’t a Founder, mixed with a few differences in facial features, but mostly a spitting image of herself.

“What … I’m trying to figure it out,” Emilia mumbled, cheeks darkening as her ears pulled back.

“Oh, I know!”  Sora giggled.  “Just close your eyes and try to block out the world; you’ll feel a force pointing you in the right direction.  Just find a way to follow it.”

“O-Okay…”  She mumbled, looking adorable with her laid back ears and concentrated expression.

She followed the instruction while Sora gently used her magic to tug at her Intelligence, giving her a guiding compass to discover her own route to her Core.  The book detailed many other self-discovery methods, but having a tutor that could act as a guide was the preferred method to save time.

The memory of Emilia’s birth surfaced within her mind; her aunt likely had used her as a medium to craft her daughter’s Intelligence and mold her body for a variety of different reasons, but Sora couldn’t help but wonder if it was mainly to get her to stop concerning herself with everyone else’s problems.  Yet, at the same time, there was a nagging conflict that butted against that line of thought.

Inari wanted her to discover a secret about their family hidden within this Realm, and it seemed very important to her.  This Realm was integrally connected with a leadership that had a host of internal problems; worse, she’d been forced to be a wedge between those two factions.

Between the enemies at the gate, the mystery within the Realm, giving her daughter the much-needed attention she deserved, this crazy Loral Vulpes that had returned from the dead, and handling the fallout of Niomie’s reveal, she felt utterly stretched thin.

Loral’s escape was solely due to their presence, but a part of that blame could be thrown on Niomie’s incompetence for not even warning them of the possibility.  None of them could have predicted that a crazy dead Vulpes from the past would use them to resurrect herself, nor believe anything the Council even said.

The thing that kept nagging her brain was that there was a threat on the loose, which could hurt someone.  All she wanted to do was get their enemies off their backs, her group back to a somewhat normal life, and figure out what to do about her insane family drama.  However, to do that, they needed a stable place, and while the Vulpes Realm appeared to be that when they first arrived, not so much now.

She could see the smallest surface of Aiden’s crippling dilemma after Loral’s escape.  Just by her being here, things ended up happening that were out of her control, and it made her want to give the sad little bird a hug; in fact, she wanted a hug.

Reaching around her daughter’s back, she leaned in to embrace her.

“… Huh … Mom?  Uh … okay, no … umm, are you okay?”  Emilia mumbled, eyes snapping open before returning the hug.

“… Now I am!”  She laughed, squeezing her harder while snuggling closer.  “Back to training.”

“… You’re the one that broke my concentration,” Emilia groaned with a light pout.  “I thought I was feeling something for a second.”

“Keep up the good work!”  Sora encouraged, pulling back to give her space to work and resuming the magical prompts.

Wow … I’m acting like auntie was … was this how she felt when she first saw me?  So many problems just popped into her life, probably dashing all sorts of plans she had, but she was all hugs and help.


Sora began to reflect on all of her aunt’s actions after meeting her; perhaps she could find answers there.  Her own eyes closed, entering the trance-like state while continuing to help her daughter’s progression.  She brought up the mental record of the event, watching each action her aunt took.

First, she thought I was my mom … then, all the possibilities of mom’s experiments flashed through her mind, and she tried coming up with an answer for my existence … when she says, what has my sister done.  Her first instinct was to investigate … which would be just like my cautious aunt, and to accomplish that, she had to save me from Diane’s wards.

The Herald of Sakura also drew her notice, expanding the web of creatures surrounding me … with everything she was able to gain from analyzing my entire soul.  So, I must be real if so many powerful figures surrounded me, which meant proceed with caution.  Return to her Sanctuary where everything would be on her terms; go to a safe place.

I need a safe place … well, this Realm is sort of a safe place, actually.  I have more authority here than anyone … except maybe Loral, which means she’s my real threat here, not anyone else.

Sora cupped her chin while glaring at the undead Vulpes girl that she’d extracted from her daughter’s memory.

Based on the Vulpes’ interactions … she has a goal, and it’s not merely immortality.  I mean, the act of gaining immortality isn’t really that bad; it’s no different than any weapon, only thought of as terrible in the wrong hands, which meant Niomie felt it would be terrible if that occurred.  She wasn’t a Council Member … she’s actually the usurper of that previous order, and every record related to that time is either blocked or erased … Niomie could be the cause of that in the first place.

I need to learn more about the threats, which is what auntie did next in my case.

Her vision shifted to the left as her inner world changed, showing the image of Inari, Gloria, and the revealed image she had of the Herald of Sakura; she knew those powerful creatures could recognize her small ripples within the Magical Plane upon forming the threads, and even did her best to shield the process if nothing else but to practice.

The lovely image of each creature in the shape of a woman returned as she walked around the three; she didn’t trust the other shadow creature to try and form its visage.

She discovered that the magic had Fae roots and went right to the source … Gloria.

Not having any other name to call the shadow creature, she reverted back to her aunt’s description.

Whelp noticed my entrance into the Spiritual Plane and went to investigate, saying I’m something that doesn’t belong.  It might be connected to the Primordials; it at least respects the Herald of Sakura … maybe fears would be a better word.

The entire show took place in Inari’s Sanctuary, where she’s the most powerful and was able to control things.  She was bold and didn’t shy away from even Gloria, but she knew her opponents inside and out when she confronted them.  Being allowed to observe wasn’t an accident; she knew I’d need to reflect on it later … probably many times.  Wait…

Sora’s eyes widened with realization as the events played out in her Core.

Gloria knows who my father is … that was the big secret.  Gloria hates Primordials with a passion, which Inari was scared about, but it turned out to be … my dad’s not a Primordial … he’s something else that Gloria found amusing.  It changed a lot of things for her.  The Herald knew, too, which is what aunt Inari was pushing for after Nilly showed up.

No … I’m getting sidetracked … if I’m going to understand how I should go forward … I need to learn more about my opponents.  I’m dealing with people that have an agenda; I may have protection because of my family, but that doesn’t extend to everyone I care about, which means I need to be stronger.

Sora exited her Core; opening her eyes, she caught Kari and the others giving her a quick look, probably realizing she’d entered the Outer Body Technique.  Emilia was still struggling to find her way into her Core, but it had taken her the better part of eight hours to first get it; a grimace tightened Sora’s lips as Loral’s comment surfaced, telling Emilia she wasn’t as talented as her.

We’ll see about that one.

Pondering on how to go about discovering more about Loral, Tola appeared between them from a soft blue pulse of light; Jin, Eyia, and Kari focused on her for a moment, then returned to their books.  Emilia seemed too zoned in to even notice the blue-haired Vulpes.

Sora waved, giving her a small smile, but paused upon seeing the sad look on the woman’s face.  “Is something wrong?”

Tola released a low sigh, walking forward to sit in a chair that appeared out of nowhere to Sora’s left, between Kari and her, facing Jin and Eyia.  “I have a confession to make, Sora.”

She sat a little straighter, eyebrows furrowing as the other girls lowered their books.

“Ooh, a confession?”  Jin asked, snapping the book shut before leaning forward to look at her.  “Some dirty little secret you’ve been keeping from us?”

The others didn’t comment, just waiting for her to continue; Hallaway swallowed a lump in her throat, hands tightening in her lap.  She apparently had some idea of what it might be.

“Okay?”  Sora mumbled, following Tola with her eyes as she moved across the room.

Emilia’s ears twitched, catching her attention.  “… It’s so hard to concentrate!”  She growled, giving her a glare.  “Your tails keep brushing up against mine … and when you twist and turn … it’s just so distracting, Mom.  Are you doing it on purpose?”

Sora chuckled, twisting her tails around two of Emilia’s.  “Oh, I’m totally doing it on purpose!”  She winked, leaning in to kiss her cheek; it felt good acting more like a mother, and she had a hard time believing her own would miss spending time with her.

A low rumble shook Emilia’s body as she folded her arms, looking away with a slight blush.  “… How am I supposed to figure it out if you keep … I can’t feel anything…”

“Take a break,” Sora urged.  “Just relax a bit, and we’ll try again in a bit.”

“I want to learn it, though…”

Sora rested her head against her shoulder.  “I know, I know … I’m not the best teacher; aunt Inari worked with me for eight hours to get me inside my own Core.  It’ll take some time.”

“Eight hours … then it’ll take me years,” Emilia cried out, scratching her left ear with agitation.

“We’ll get it; just relax a bit!”  Sora encouraged.  “Now, umm … what’s up, Tola?”

“Yes, what is this confession, Tola?”  Jin asked, carrying over a chair to give her sparkling eyes; she apparently really wanted something interesting to happen.

Taking a deep breath, Tola held her hands in her lap and said, “I gave Loral a new body.”

“No…”  Hallaway groaned, nine tails wrapping around each other as if trying to constrict the life out of them.  “No, Tola … why…”

“Oooh.  Spicy!”  Jin grinned.

Githa tossed her book onto her belly, head shifting against the armrest before stretching out her body; her thin, muscular belly popped out as her shirt slid up her back.  Releasing a low yawn, she rubbed her cheek.  “Figured somethin’ like this would happen.  It’s really whatever.”

“Whatever?”  Hallaway’s face had turned ashen.  “Did you not … she caused billions upon billions of Vulpes and humans to slaughter each other  …then turn on themselves, in an instant, and all because Niomie stopped her plan!”

“I’m not so convinced,” Tola calmly replied, light blue irises showing disdain for the Green Seat.

“Yeah, I figured there was way more to the story,” Jin grinned.

Kari didn’t seem that thrilled, narrow amber eyes digging into the blue-furred Vulpes.  “You said no lies … you were after the truth with Sora, yet you deceived us into breaking her out … how and why?”

“Valid points,” Tola nodded.

Sora was more annoyed with herself for not even considering the possibility.  She had a long way to go before emulating her aunt, but she had to remind herself to be patient, just as she was emploring her daughter to be; to be honest, she didn’t entirely feel the woman was in the wrong.  This wasn’t her Realm or fight, and she had more pressing things to be concerned about.  

“Okay, Tola, I’m listening.”

Tola took one last look at each of them that were present.  Eyia was coldly analyzing the Council Member, Jin eagerly waiting for the reveal, Githa actually somewhat bored by the news, Hallaway scared, and Emilia seemingly not even listening.

“Loral spoke to my mind during the meeting … at first, I was resistant, but after she urged me to push for more answers from … who I thought was Loral, it became clearer.”

Hallaway’s hands were knitted together.  “What became clearer?”

Tola’s cold glare settled on her colleague.  “The council is utterly incompetent at performing the Seats we fill.”

“Now there’s a hot take,” Jin laughed, slapping her knee.  “You’re lumping yourself into that category?”

“Of course,” Tola sighed, still keeping her frigid eyes on the fidgeting green-haired Vulpes.  “I allowed Loral to crawl into my body and temporarily share my form for one reason … this Realm needs healing, and you three haven’t been able to accomplish that feat in over seven-hundred thousand years.  What … have you accomplished for this Realm in that time?”


Sora was a little surprised at the frosty malice in Tola’s voice, and Hallaway lowered her head, ears falling back to show a bit of shame.

She didn’t answer, so the Blue Seat continued, closing her eyes for a moment; she took a slow breath to calm herself before turning her sad gaze back to Sora.  “Sora, I do trust you, and it goes without saying that I fear and revere your aunt.

“However, I had taken an oath to the Vulpes and humans of this Realm when I became the Blue Seat on the Council.  I have taken my position very seriously within my life, and what I discover is that I was never supposed to fill this seat … I never had the credentials, nor the proper guidance to realize its purpose … because Niomie stripped this Realm of that leadership.”

“… She had to,” Hallaway whispered, but Sora could hear an edge of doubt in her voice.

Tola shook her head.  “It matters little either way.  In the end, you three are children with no guiding path for our Realm.  I first started to understand that after meeting Inari’s Intelligent Construct, and it has been repeated over and over … one wrong thing occurs, and Niomie falls apart … she is not a leader.  She never could be one … proven by over seven hundred thousand years of effort.”

Hallaway flinched as she kept driving home how much time they had to learn this Realm’s operation, and Sora couldn’t blame her.  It was somewhat unbelievable that Niomie would reveal that bit of information, but she wasn’t thinking properly; it was arguable if she had been thinking at all.  Jin and Githa looked as if they could go for some popcorn as they watched the blue Vulpes rant.

“What have you done?”  Tola repeated, lips tightening for a moment.  “Craft a society that is at peace … yet has no will of their own.  Did that magical genetic weave originate before your rise to power?  According to you, Hallaway, it did.

“Very well, how did you resolve such an issue … you didn’t.  I see now that this artificial lifestyle was not a hopeless curse that I spent over ten-thousand years learning how to unravel, but Niomie and you embraced it … you tasted power and couldn’t let it go.  I am proof of that,” she stated before Hallaway could respond.

“Instead of bringing in Vulpes to your cause, you kept the other Council Members in the dark … using the combined authority by placing yourselves forever within the seniority position while making sure that we couldn’t live long enough to outstrip your own gained power.  Have you killed past Council Members … Niomie did, for sure, but what about you?”


“I thought as much,” Tola’s nose twitched, but her voice was even.  “No, I cannot trust anyone on this false Council to bring this Realm back to where it should be … not even you, Sora.  You … may have the authority of this Realm, but you do not understand it, nor will you stay to be able to fulfill its restoration … I would not expect it from you, in any case.  I only had one option, to begin with … the Vulpes that has the knowledge and power to do what I cannot … heal and protect this Realm.”

Jin and Githa started to clap.

“Wow, quite the speech!”  Jin cheered.

Githa snickered.  “Eh … I’m more of the let them handle themselves type of cat … well, unless Nilly says otherwise, but every Realm does their own thing.”

Eyia nodded.  “I sympathize with your plight, Tola.  However, might this action have been made in haste?”

“Good point, good point,” Jin hummed, pointing at Eyia.

Tola’s fingers linked together.  “I am aware that Loral may have played me for a fool … such as Niomie, Phebe, and Hallaway have for my entire life.  I will first be utterly transparent with each of you … these are the events that occurred when I gave Loral a body.”

Sora had been wondering how she managed to go through with the transfer; each of them leaned closer to watch the events unfold as Tola explained born bodies without Intelligence, and another reason she was repulsed by the three eldest Council Members’ actions.

Loral’s words hung in the air, drawing Emilia’s notice, and she pressed against Sora for comfort.  Once it finished, Sora leaned back, pondering on the exchange.

She has a purpose … something only she could accomplish, and if she died, then no one could see its completion.  To her, the death of every creature on seven planets was worth the price for her resurrection.  Would this Library have something that can point us in the right direction?

Jin sat back, crossing her legs and rubbing her chin.  “I mean … she’s not wrong.  Immorality isn’t really a sin … it sounds like what we need to do is ask Niomie why she thought it would be bad.”

Eyia stretched out her arms across her chest.  “Answers from another source would help.  Perhaps this Library would offer supports, as well.”

A low hum split Githa’s lips, staring at Hallaway with her large eyes.  “Ah, but what has you so agitated?  Have doubts about your glorious leader?”

Everyone’s gaze shifted to the Vulpes; her green eyes were fixated on her lap.  “I have … questioned Niomie in the past,” she mumbled, gaze shifting to Tola’s feet.  “There are points of the story that haven’t added up, but I tried to push forward … in the hopes we were doing what was right.”

“For seven-hundred thousand years?”  Jin poked with a grin.

“No … not the entire time,” Hallaway replied, releasing a tired sigh.  “Phebe has used the time to play and experiment … Niomie spends her time studying and tinkering with random projects while I’ve mainly handled the administrative tasks of helping each new Council Member.  I’ve long had a feeling there was something more hidden within that cataclysmic event.”

“Yet, you’ve done nothing,” Tola replied without a hint of humor, “or are you saying there is more to be told?”

“Ahem,” Sora cleared her throat.  “Hallaway … just to be sure, Loral was the eldest of the Council before everything fell apart.  Right?”

“Yes … everyone looked up to her.  We were very young, but it was so peaceful … there were always talks of new research and magic being crafted.  Library’s like this were for all … but Niomie thought such freedom of thought could be harmful.  If one is able to have an opposing opinion or has the possibility to offend … it was better we guided them down a less … combative path.”

“Now, doesn’t that sound nightmarish?”  Githa grinned.  “Force the stupid masses to do what’s best for them, and they won’t even know it’s happening!  Dispense with the chaos and conform … are you sure that genetic ward spell was on this planet when you got here?”

“… As far as I’m aware,” Hallaway mumbled, looking conflicted.

Eyia shook her head.  “I cannot believe such a ward could be crafted by someone so inept and at such a young age.”

“Eh, yeah,” Jin hummed.  “I mean, fair point, Eyia.  Then, who did it, and why?”

Kari had been folding her arms while listening to the whole conversation, but it seemed she was ready to jump in.  “The Vulpes have problems with their spiritual force … it’s too weak, which causes their deaths, and then that spirit is sent to this big Spirit Pit.  Yet, there is a force within the earth that is strengthening them to keep the population alive.  That has to be a magical weave, not a natural force, but it could be utilizing that Spirit Pit for that.”

“True,” Jin mumbled, crossing her legs the opposite way.  “Where is that coming from, Hallaway?”

“… I don’t know … I don’t, Tola,” she pleaded.  “Much of this Realm is locked to even us because we don’t know how to access it.”

Tola shook her head.  “Which is why Loral is the only answer we have, and by freeing her, I hope we may have gained a potential ally.  It was the best option I could see after so much deception, and she already had access to the Realm Core through Sora and Emilia.”

“W-What?”  Hallaway’s gaze became vacant as she pulled back into her seat, muscles tense.  “She … if she … that could … she could ruin everything.”

“Ruin what?”  Githa asked, eyes narrowing.

“Everything!  That’s exactly what Niomie said she was … that was what she was attempting to get to … when…”

Sora sighed.

Figures … she’s so far ahead of us that it’s not even worth trying to stop her.  She needed a body for some … no, maybe she needs a body and access to the Core?  She could have granted herself permission through that … I think I’ve had it.

Figuring she could tap into the Realm’s power itself, no different than the City Core, Sora reached out with her magic and was met by Loral’s sinister energy in the aether.

“Hoh … has anyone told you how talented you actually are?  I’m a bit jealous, to be honest.”

Another low sigh puffed through her disembodied lips as her consciousness floated in the void between space in the Realm, ensnared by Loral.  Wonderful … I’m a bit sick of this cat and mouse everyone’s playing.  I really have my own problems to deal with, so if you could just talk with me for a second, then…

“Of course, my young Founder!”  Loral chuckled with a dark tone.  “The games that are playing around you must be vexing.  Let’s keep this short and simple.”


“You are looking for answers.  I’m seeking a resolution because I have the answers.  However, you cannot accept the solution I am working toward … at this time.  Therefore, my answer is simple … follow the map I left, starting with the Indigo Seal.  What you find at the end of that path will be both horror and elation you cannot comprehend.  I will see you at the end of that journey.”

The lush feminine voice faded as Sora was practically flung back as her magic was reversed, colliding with her body and sending both Emilia and her tumbling backward with the chair.  A yip followed, and everyone jumped to their feet as her daughter ended up on top of her, threatening to smother her with her tense stomach.



Eyia and Kari called out in alarm, rushing to her side.

Jin only lifted a confused eyebrow.  “Did you just … attack yourself?  Mess up the magic?”

Githa was at the spot the chair had been, sniffing the air suspiciously, and Sora knew the cat could have stopped their fall with a bit of annoyance.  “Is this … oh, a counterspell?!  Not a bad one, too … no, that’s pretty good!”

Emilia yelped again as Sora lifted her up by her daughter’s belly to get the girl off her face, and she scrambled to her feet.  “… Nope, I’m good,” she mumbled, feeling a bit miffed Loral had sent her packing without effort.  “I had a lovely chat with Loral.”

“What’d she say?”  Kari asked, helping her up.

Sora adjusted her hair, cheeks a bit red.  “Basically … screw off until you connect all the dots.”

“Rude,” Eyia stated.

Jin was laughing, though, “Funny!”

“Oh, dots … I like dots!”  Githa stated, head tilting, “There’s this red human dot that’s made of light … pretty interesting stuff, really.  She gave you a clue, though!  Right?”  She asked with a wider than was natural toothy grin.

“Yes,” Sora mumbled, holding up her hand while demanding the item be teleported to it; an indigo bracelet that seemed crafted out of a massive jewel appeared in her palm, yanking it from Niomie without much remorse, and upon a desire, a huge purple book the size of a car floated up from below their balcony, shocking everyone.

A lump dropped down Sora’s throat upon seeing it.  “That’s the instruction manual?”

* * *

Loral left Tola with the usual cryptic answer, teleporting outside of a small village where laughter and music could be heard inside.  Her long gray tails circled around her naked form, and they soon dyed a purple hue as she called for her bracelet, ripping it from Niomie’s wrist.

She smiled down at the glowing gem accessory that was infused with more power and elegance than any of the failed Vulpes could detect.  Loral only needed to reclaim her ownership over it, and now it was linked to her, and there was no reason to hold onto it.

The bracelet vanished, returning to Niomie, who would be more confused than anything, which made her body quiver with laughter.

She took a moment to breathe in the high mountain air, fingers running up her physical form; it was colder in this environment than the place this body had been.  It had been so long since Loral could feel the sensation of touch, and she itched for a consort, but there was a future yet to build.

Her real opposition needed to be purged, but that would take time, and the influence that she’d spread had been more than thorough over the eons.  She wasn’t ready to face her yet, but she would be, and no amounts of preparation would save her.  Everything was nearing its apex, and the timing of Sora’s arrival was mythical.

If only they knew the reason for the Vulpes born without Intelligences.  So much had been lost, and great Vulpes perished, but she would fulfill her duty, and the result would be just as sweet.

Opening the door, Loral stepped into the building, filled with three dozen Vulpes with a young, two-tailed Huli Jing at its center.  A Báihǔ guardian by her side with every one of the small villagers dancing around her for entertainment.

Everyone froze as she entered, and the two foreigners froze; they knew by her nine-tails that she was more than a match for them, even if they couldn’t sense her internal strength.  However, her focus was on the villagers, and a wicked smile lit her lips as she spoke.

“The time is now … the unveiling of the fifth chapter calls for sacrifice … and victory.”

The two known as Fen and Jian backed up to the wall as the villagers’ eyes began to glow with an inner light.  “How … have you returned?”  They spoke in unison.

Luckily, or perhaps in a stroke of fated brilliance, Tola had stripped her people of the curse through very meticulous effort; she would have made a good young councilwoman given more time and experience.

“It’s body after body,” she pointed at each, stripping away their lives to be tucked away in the Soul Well, “I will lay you down … everything has been sacrificial.”

“It is too late,” they started to cackle, “I will rise!  Reborn!”

“Oh … yes, you will,” Loral mused, “but this is only the beginning of my craftwork … everything that I had was burned … the things I had to do when that black snow fell.  The merciless … murderous, ravaging savagery that I had to employ … such a stupid girl.  I drained the lifeblood of those worlds, saving it for just this day, and the flood will be upon us soon.”

“No!”  They shouted with a thunderous roar that shook the establishment, but they were trapped in her web, slowly being drained and dropping one by one as the tiger and fox cowered in the back.

“Have you recalled it yet?  The summoning of an apocalypse that even you cannot escape … welcome to the famine … averaging at least a body a second; you can feel it now, can’t you?  Those embedded, threaded memories of disaster must be returning.”

“I have already succeeded!  You cannot stop what is to come!”

Loral couldn’t help but laugh at the statement.  “… After testing the blessed immortal, this is a cordial invite to fight and perish at the hands of a quintessence more fearsome than you could possibly imagine, and my last breath, you will never forget.  Your neck is already under my heel, yet you say you have won?  The battle has been sealed long ago.”

The remaining villagers dropped to the ground, dead, and Loral turned her gaze to the man and woman before glancing down at her naked form.  “Oh, hehe … my, where is my decency?”

Formal councilwoman robes surrounded her body, and she held out her left hand.  “Fen, I require your services.”

“… I’m … guessing I can’t say no…”  Fen mumbled, eyeing her suspiciously before glancing down at the villagers.  “Aren’t you supposed to be … their leader … yet … what was that?”

Loral bypassed the question.  “I need you for very simple reasons, Fen,” she gave them a charming smile.  “You won’t ask questions, and you won’t oppose anything I ask you to do because you want immortality … I can deliver that to you.”

Fen’s ears and tails stiffened.

Jian cleared his throat, mumbling, “Careful, Fen…”

Just as Loral expected, however, Fen instantly dropped to her knees and bowed her head, voice chipper.  “What must I do, Master?”

A loud sigh left Jian’s throat before glaring at her.  “You can grant her immortality?”

“Oh, no, silly boy, not me, but … she will gain it at the end of her task … and you will be healed.”

Fen’s body jerked up.  “W-What?  You … what do you mean … how?”

“What did I say … hmm?”

Fen’s head lowered again with her whole body.  “Y-Yes, Master!  No questions … whatever you want!”

“Wonderful!  Well, now, we’re on a clock; so, keep up.  We are purging this entire village,” she growled, vision darkening.

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A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Twelve: Prison Break
A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Fourteen: We Carry On