A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Thirty-Seven: The First Domino Falls


1.Sora Moore (Our Null-Void Vulpes Founder!)


Eyia easily overcame her opponent and desired the Training Room to replicate the dimensional sphere of her childhood—the island—and as we saw, it was far more than we first thought when Sora entered it in Eyia’s dreams.  Going through the final challenge of passing through the dimensional boundaries within it, she reached the end, only for the Founder Magic to crumble.

Now, we get back to Sora as she returns to the Council Chamber with a leashed Mofupsi, victorious!  What awaits her, though?

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Sora’s gut tightened as Mofupsi teleported Eyia, Kari, and her to the Council Chamber; Bethel, the Orange Seat, stood nearby with the other five Vulpes leadership, including those that were stripped of their powers.

An odd shiver ran down Sora’s spine that transferred to her inner ring; an unfamiliar source of creation was radiating through her.  Who is that … Nephesh?!

It was a different signature than what she sensed as a Vulpes Founder but the connection soon linked from her developing spiritual awareness—Nephesh’s energy had somehow found a foothold in one of the most potent and well-guarded artifacts in the Vulpes Realm.

The massive bubble of pure, colorless magic hovering above the platform’s center was cracked, and dozens of black swirling masses of liquid floated within, splitting to form more as they watched.

Phebe, Hallaway, Tola, Ella, Bethel, and Mofupsi stood in stunned silence as they processed the information; Sora’s new servant had only just noticed the change with the rest of the council when her hairpin began to fracture—they were losing all authoritative control, which meant all the benefits they shared, including their longevity, would soon disappear.

In disbelief, Sora’s gaze followed the fourth ring surrounding the ball as it fell to the white, liquid-like table’s surface to join the others.  The sharp clatter it made caused the Vulpes to wince—her grandmother’s pure Vulpes Magic was being corrupted.

“What is happening?”  Ella muttered, struggling to get the words out as her long violet tails stiffened while looking at the cracked City Core.  “The Core is our link to … to everything.”

Tola’s blue irises shot to Niomie in a heartbeat.  “You!  Are you so envious and bitter that you’d damn us all if you cannot be in control?!”

Another globe circling the sphere dimmed and fell to the table, shattering into black shards—Sora could feel the twisting nature of Nephesh’s manipulations, and they utterly confused her—he was injecting some foreign energy into the matrix.

“I did no such thing!”  Niomie hissed, arms folded crossly under her bosom.  “No, this is what I warned you of!  Also … What has happened to Sora?  No, this is not the time!”

Bethel’s orange irises darted to Phebe and Hallaway; both the green and red-furred Vulpes were ashen-faced while witnessing the beginnings of their deaths.  “Warned us?  Of what, Loral … Sora?  Whatever is happening to the City Core, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever sensed.”

The others glanced her way, noticing her shocking transformation, yet seemed to realize it wasn’t the time.

Phebe’s voice held panic, trembling fingers pressing her claws against the table.  “What should we do?  Niomie, what should we do—I don’t want to die!”

Hallaway’s vision fell to the table as she slumped into her chair.  “Do we really deserve to live, Phebe?  Perhaps this is justice.”

“For the entire Realm?”  Tola growled.  “Again with the selfishness!”

Niomie rolled her eyes.  “Get off your high seat, Tola; you are as much to blame as everyone else.”

A bright blue aura illuminated Tola’s body as she glared at the indigo-furred Vulpes.  “Me?”

“Who else?”  Niomie chided.  “What did I tell you all?”  she asked, directing an accusatory leer around the council.  “Trusting Loral was a mistake—none of this would have happened had not you listened to her sweet words—look!”

The woman held up her wrist, showing the cracking indigo gem and dimming metal.  “Are you happy about these results, Sora?  You’ve doomed us all, and it was me you scoffed at!”

Only passively listening to their bickering and panic, Sora’s lips pulled in—there was a tenseness in her breast, but it wasn’t from this event.  She wasn’t concerned about the confused and nervous looks the other Council Members gave them; no, Eyia drew her focus, and Kari seemed to notice it, too.

The Valkyrie’s determined and lax posture had tightened, eyes growing in shock as air caught in her throat—vision bugging out, she shook her head.  “No … No, Sister, I did not mean … This was not my intent…”  she whispered.

“Eyia?”  Sora asked as the girl took a step back, and a lump dropped down her throat; uncharacteristic of the stalwart and confident warrior she knew, Eyia’s hands pressed against her breast in trepidation.  “Eh … what’s going on?”

Her actions had drawn the gaze of the others, but it was the arrival of Loral that stole the stage.  “How … naive I was.”

The indigo-furred Vulpes appeared atop the table to stare up at the globe before turning to Eyia.  “To think we would have a mole buried so deep?”

Eyia’s blonde braid shook as everyone centered on her.  “No … Sister, I did not…”

Kari snorted, causing Eyia’s shaky eyes to slowly move to the girl.  “Really … Is that how we’re playing it?”

“What’s going on, Eyia?”  Sora softly asked, brushing back her flaming white locks to rub her neck.  “What didn’t you mean to do?”

“Hold up,” Kari snarled, turning her cold amber eyes from Eyia to Loral.  “C’mon, Sora.  Eyia, making a move against you?  Ha!  Yeah, she hates my guts, but she’s not going to turn on you now after putting up with me for this long … What are you trying to play, Loral?”

Sora’s eyebrow creased, but a smile brightened her lips, and she hopped over to throw an arm around Eyia’s tight back.  “You’re totally right!  What are you on about?”

Eyia seemed to lose all thought while staring at Kari; Sora wanted to laugh at the expression of shock on the girl’s face.  Nice, Kari!  Defending Eyia when she thinks you’d jump the moment you smelled weakness is big!

Mofupsi relaxed; Sora knew she’d already accepted death long ago and if this was her time, then so be it.  “In the end, it matters little to me.  I have a new master, and I will follow my orders, which I have not received.”

“A wha…”  Niomie’s question was cut off by Loral’s darkening tone.

“Believe what you will, Sora, but all I see are untold years that were wasted because of your friend’s actions.”

“What?”  Kari shot back.  “We went to battle it out.  Did she win?”

Mofupsi folded her hands in front of her, regaining complete serenity.  “There was a time their combat was set to private where I could not see, and the fight I had with Sora did draw my full focus after a time—in the end, what I saw was Eyia standing and Milika unconscious.  Therefore, I conclude she won.”

“Private?”  Phebe muttered, shifting to stare at Niomie.  “Is there such a place that would prevent us from observing as the overseers?”

Niomie hummed, happy to be in the limelight again.  “Indeed … You spoke of a new master, Mofupsi?”

“Shut up,” Loral stated, and the sudden heat in her voice left all the Vulpes silent.  Her vision returned to Eyia, still processing the fact Kari came to her defense.  “Will you tell them what you did, or should I?  Time is of little value as it stands, in any case, at this point.”

“Stop!”  Sora snapped, rising into the air to level a hard stare at the Vulpes, including Loral; not one woman shifted their gaze as her flaming aura encircled her frame.  “All I hear is people panicking and throwing around accusations.  Let’s calm down, and talk about what is happening.”

The rising annoyance in Sora’s chest melted when catching Eyia’s deep blue eyes slowly fell to the floor; all confidence was lost.  Sora’s bewildered heart went out to her friend as she radiated a feeling of failure.  “I … am to blame, Sister.  My selfish actions have caused this crisis.”

Kari’s puffy black tail swished to the left, making her skirt flutter.  “Okay?”

Eyia shivered, looking up at the City Core.  “I … requested the Training Room to replicate the island I grew up on … which it did.”

Sora’s mind snapped back to Mofupsi’s explanation and the showcase of the thing every Vulpes in her district wished to get to—a semblance of freedom.  “The one I went to in your dream?”

Loral stepped in, a harsh tone drawing everyone’s eye.  “It is not so simple, Sora.  What these inexperienced Vulpes failed to notice was that the amount of power needed to perform the task she put into motion was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed, and given my preoccupation, preparing the Realm Core for the next phase, I couldn’t curb the flow soon enough.”

The woman’s jaw tightened while glaring at Eyia, making the Valkyrie’s hands press tighter into her breast.  “Defenses depleted, Nephesh was allowed unprecedented access to sink his claws into the very thing that could lead him to the Realm Core—which would have been fine—there are protocols in place to stop such interactions, yet whatever force that girl next to you had the City Core create … I cannot even begin to describe it.”

Sora hummed, feeling panic in Eyia that she’d never sensed before—it was like everything the girl stood for was collapsing around her, and in the blink of an eye.  Time was running out, and she knew it, but everything could wait for this.

Turning to face her, Sora put both hands on her shoulders, giving her a testing smile.  “Eyia, did you conspire with Nephesh to cause this great calamity?”

Eyia’s hurting sapphire irises teared up a little while rising to hers, yet before she could respond, Sora answered for her.  “Of course not!  You’re my friend, and all you wanted was to see your island.  How could you have known this would happen?”

“No … Sister, I should have been more vigilant … I should have been stronger…”  The Valkyrie’s voice cracked as she pulled away and shook her head.  “No … No, how can I even call you Sister after showing such wanton disregard during our quest to revive your family…”

Sora tilted her head, three tails flicking to the side as she shook her head.  “Are you kidding me, Eyia?  Geez, chill!  We all make mistakes; yes, even you!”

Jumping forward, she hugged her friend again; something new came to her attention when connecting to Eyia—she had a very similar aroma to the force Nephesh was manipulating.  “Now, I don’t want to hear anymore blame throwing!  We need solutions.”

Isn’t this a mystery?  Eyia creates her island, which I went to in a dream, and by the smell … It’s like everything around us is water, and she’s oil.  Why didn’t I see this before?  She’s so … different from everything, but maybe it’s my dad’s unique ability.

Loral released a low, frustrated sigh while running a hand through her hair.  “Sora … I am the most experienced person here—I can no longer sense your Aunt’s Intelligent Construct within you, nor Kari’s mother within her.”

Alva’s gone?  Sora sucked on her inner cheeks.  She didn’t say anything about her mother vanishing, and that’s a super big deal … I’ll need to ask her about that.

Gesturing to the Core, Loral lifted an eyebrow.  “I am not familiar with this incredibly potent source that Nephesh has been able to grasp in a manner—I couldn’t even hope to comprehend.  It converts the magical threads that bind the City Core to the Realm Core, including the defensive weaves meant to stop it.

“If your grandmother’s magic is not versed enough in countering this power—weaves of magic so unfathomably beyond what I could ever comprehend—what can possibly be done?!  Do you see why I say we have no option?  None.”

A small smile lifted Kari’s amber eyes; she’d only been focused on Eyia and her.  “You’re not panicking?  So, I assume you have a plan.  What’s up?”

Sora floated back and crossed her legs while sitting in the air to stare at the corrupting City Core.  It would be nice to have a starting place … It looks good … like a rare piece of meat.

Her tails shifted the opposite way, examining the expanding force currently isolated in the cracking bubble.  “Ever since I opened up my father’s side, I’ve had this feeling.  Hmm … Eyia, can you tell me your opinion on this energy Nephesh is using?”

Closing her eyes, Eyia trembled a little and shook her head.  “Everything—Everything—is falling apart … All because of my weakness.  I am sorry, Sora … On my Father’s honor … I wish I could tell you—I … can’t,” she cried, drawing blood from her lip.

Man, something really isn’t right with her … She needs some attention after this.

“Hey … Eyia,” Sora paused for a second and hovered over to embrace her again, keeping her flaming aura in check, “if you’re not going to call me sister anymore because of something stupid like this, then I’ll start doing it now!”

A strong quake ran down Eyia’s frame as Sora brushed back her tears and lifted her chin.  “Sister, if you can’t tell me, then you can’t tell me … That’s okay—even sisters have their secrets—Kari certainly has her’s,” she snickered, glancing back at the wolf.

“Like what?”  Kari challenged.  “Give me one example of anything you think I’m hiding—you can’t!”

Oh, I like this new Kari!  She’s becoming so strong!  I’m actually changing a lot, too … I feel so much better.

Niomie hissed, watching several more fractures appear in her bracelet’s gem; it was reflected in the other council members’ items.  “Why are we listening to this nonsense when the seven of us are dying?!  What must I do for anyone here to have a brain?!”

“Have one in the first place,” Kari returned.

Sora shook her head, chuckling a bit; although, everyone but Mofupsi appeared to be on the fake Loral’s side for once, including Tola.

The blue-furred Vulpes cleared her throat, hands twisting against her stomach.  “Sora, do you have a plan?”

Mofupsi’s stomach shook with laughter.  “I see!  Is that what you are planning to do, Master?  Are you sure you are skilled enough?”

“Huh … Who can say?”  Sora put her hands on her hip, releasing a stream of hot air before winking at Eyia and turning a confident grin around to face them all.  “It’s just lucky for you … I actually find this energy somewhat appealing.”

“Meaning?”  Loral slowly asked.  “We have only three minutes before it makes it to the Realm Core.”

Rising into the air, Sora’s white flaming cloak radiated around her body, and she held up her hand, extending one of her copy chakrams.  “More than enough time—you see, I know this thing within the City Core is actually not a part of this world—or something like that,” she shrugged.

Eyia’s body locked up in surprise.  “Sora … What is this consuming force you are generating?”

“My father’s side,” she casually replied, shooting her chakram into the globe.

Sora tuned out the others; she’d mostly been doing it already, considering the other Vulpes were more or less freaking out about their mortality.

I can just make them immortal after figuring out a way forward … Still, what’s going on with Eyia?  Why is she so attached to an island that was basically a living Hell?  No, focus, focus!  I’m going to need everything I’ve got for this…

She was connected to her ring, and the space inside the sphere was immense; in fact, she couldn’t follow anything but a small portion.  It wasn’t a universe inside but something far more significant, holding more secrets than she could count.

It only took her seconds to locate the corruption, and it took notice—she grinned as it flipped around in a panic; she was a threat that Nephesh recognized.

Sora took a deep breath and expanded her second chakram from around her wrist and the third resting on her left ankle; three copies were her current max.  She sent the blazing rings in to pursue the unwelcomed energy, yet in the next moment, they were destroyed.

Eyes opening, Sora hovered closer; the others were talking, but she was too focused on the battle ahead of her.  It stopped its advance to deal with me … I’m a threat that can be neutralized in an instant?  No, there’s something I’m missing.

It was like a puzzle scattered across her mind as she tried to connect the dots and find the answer she knew was within reach; even if she was no match for the flood of pure alien power sweeping through the City Core’s nexus, it halted everything to deal with her chakram.

I’m nobody.  I couldn’t even get a taste of it with how overwhelmed I was by its crushing tide … Why do you fear me, Nephesh?  I’m not even in the same dimension as you yet … Ah, I’m still somewhat compatible with Vulpes Founder Magic, which means…

Sora’s dancing, flame-like hair fanned out as her actual chakram body vanished, expanding out of embers in front of her outstretched fingers to her full size—she rivaled a king-sized bed.

Loral shrank away with the others, yet Kari kept to her cross-armed, lax posture while studying her.

“What … are you doing?”  Niomie screamed.  “Y-You’re destroying the Tower!”

Eyia’s wet eyes grew.  “Sis—Sora … When did you obtain this power?”

Sora’s tails playfully flicked to the left as she shifted her hips to grin at her two friends.  “How about we all share stories once this is done—but first, I need to make sure my aunts and grandma come back, and it’s something only I can do!  You gonna be my cheerleaders?”

Kari snorted, rolling her eyes.  “You gave me a skirt, but don’t expect me to throw up some pom-poms … Good luck!”  she smirked, giving her a thumbs up.  “I’ll be here to tell you you’re a badass when you get back—if you get back.”

“See!”  Sora pointed her free hand at the snickering Fenris Wolf.  “You totally have some things you’re hiding from me with that kind of attitude!  I’m gonna get the details, Sister!”

Eyia’s eyes were spinning.  “Sister … A Fenris Wolf … Am I…”

“My Sister, yup,” Sora instantly replied.  “You and Kari are both my sisters, so I pray to my mom you two can get along!  Gah, my troublesome sisters,” Sora laughed, feeling better than she had in years; she always wanted sisters.  “Now, I’m going in!”

Time slowed as Sora released her physical form, and it collapsed into Null-Void to circle her illuminating chakram; she wasn’t just her father, and Nephesh sensed it—she had another option.  In fact, if she was right, there was no reason to be scared of going against a 3rd Generation Tanuki Founder in a Realm entirely comprised of 1st Generation Vulpes Founder magic—she was invincible.

Consuming the very air and ethereal forces permeating Existence around her, Sora fed upon her grandmother’s energy, leaving a trail of nothingness in her wake as she launched toward the sphere.

The rhythm she generated released a sound that not even her grandmother’s magic could correctly translate as she spoke; no one could understand her.  “I hope I don’t get fat!”

Entering the cracked bubble, Sora instantly felt a wealth of unimaginable power coursing through every fiber of her metallic body—she was growing, running from Nephesh as he turned his whole attention to her—it was a race, who could consume who.

Unfortunately for the Tanuki, she was naturally attuned to the forces within this Realm; Sora pulled the transdimensional weaves into her chakram like a black hole, generating a rotational vacuum that even affected Nephesh’s pathing, and the more she converted, the greater she was protected from this alternate source of energy.

He was forced to try and contend with the dense grouping of Founder Magic being broken apart into its raw state, which was like a person trying to ride the thermal wave of a supernova—she could collect it around herself in an offensive bubble to smash through anything he sent her way within the magical sphere, and it was only growing.

Sora didn’t understand the laws of Existence—not even a little; all she knew was that she was splitting everything apart, pulling it into a tighter and tighter ball around herself.  Eventually, she’d need to release all that energy because she certainly couldn’t absorb even the tiniest fraction of it, given her weight class, yet that was perfectly fine because she had a target.

Dimension after dimension within the City Core, Sora bypassed time and space by being in the epicenter of something so grand she couldn’t hope to understand what she was actually doing; there would be a very drastic reckoning when she completed her task, yet it was the only way.

She wasn’t a surgical needle—she was a literal quasar that could be seen as the judgment hand of her grandmother’s fury.

Sora reformed everything within the City Core, wrapping herself in the most extensive cloak of Null-Void she could handle, given the infinitesimal amount her limited form could absorb to block any possible chance of Nephesh zeroing in on her exact location.

When this was over, there wouldn’t be a City Core for Nephesh to use as a bridge because she was converting all of it into the most oversized molotov cocktail she could harness, and the Tanuki provided her with the perfect runway.

Blast after blast, Nephesh funneled every ounce of the power Eyia’s island creation had given him, fashioning it into a spear as a last-ditch effort to penetrate the nexus of raw Vulpes Founder magic; it pushed through the hyper-dense nebula, missing her by what she considered miles.

“Not even close!”  Sora laughed at the pitiful attempt; he couldn’t sense her in Null-Void—she doubted he even knew what it was.

Victory soared through every tiny rotational spin the micro rings that comprised her chakram made.  She raced down the spatial rip Nephesh dug to the center point—exiting whatever dimensional gateway the Tanuki made to fracture space.

Sora appeared inside the sea of Vulpes spirits used to keep the Founders caged, precisely over the point of the mountain of negative emotion.

“Game over!”

Still the size of a king-sized bed, wrapped in the purest form of Vulpes energy, the super dense field of negative emotion melted before Sora as she burrowed through the black crag that had taken over seven hundred thousand years to craft, and what was even more surprising was the moment she struck the bottom, passing into the layer below.

In that instant, the infinite mass she’d generated was stripped to nothingness, and she sat bare, trapped in place by a fathomless depth of chaos—her aunt by her side.

Retaking her human form, Sora’s eyes widened upon seeing the flowing white tails beside her.  “A-Aunt Inari?”

Her aunt was radiating a divine force that would have put the fear of God in anything standing against them.  “You did well, Sora … Until the City Core was broken, I couldn’t enter; your mother is watching and is so proud.”

“M-My mom?”  Sora whispered, feeling suddenly dizzy and exhausted.  “I … What now?”

“Now…”  Inari turned, holding out her hand.

The enigma she’d struck in front of her took shape as Inari filled her with an enabling power to see—it felt like she was being pulled through a tiny tube the length of a universe, stretched to atoms, and with no concept of time, Nephesh’s smiling face appeared before them.

His tone was no different than when she’d heard it from Niomie’s memories as the male Tanuki waved his hand in a dismissive gesture; Nephesh’s buttery tone had a hint of sarcasm in it as he addressed them.  “An … unusual niece you have, Inari.  Heh, much seems to have changed since I’ve been preparing for my father’s return—I’m afraid you’re too late.”

Inari returned the smirk, the atmosphere around them humming with power as designs flowed off her aunt’s tails.  “On the contrary, Nephesh, things are progressing just as Mia and I planned.”

Nephesh laughed, pointing at the ceiling.  “Including Sköll breaking into the Realm?  How long do you think your mother’s failing protections will keep this city safe because he does not seem to be playing around.”

Sora’s mind froze at the news.  “Sköll … Aunt Inari!  What about Kari?!”

“Mmh, is that his objective?”  Nephesh mused.  “Oh, how Fenrir would cry at the state of his family—I’m happy I missed this little development.  It’s sad, really.”

“The talker, as always,” Inari sighed, her tone softening.  “Kari will be fine, Sora … I’ve tried to correct the mistakes in my initial plans since my construct returned.”

Nephesh’s vision narrowed.  “Mundilfari?  Hmm … A dangerous game you’re playing, Inari.  What of Gloria?”

“Oh?”  Inari smirked, head tilting a little as Sora tried to follow the conversation.  “Is he here?  Well, considering his daughter was eaten by Sköll, it does make for a rather interesting meeting … Of course, heh, I’d never reveal such information to a Primordial.  Although … ugh, Hati … On the bright side, Gloria’s less likely to intervene if it looks to be in Founder favor.”

Her aunt’s vision narrowed upon looking into the sky.  “Always the unexpected … Now it looks like a trap.  In any case, if he dies, it is of no concern to me; he served his purpose.”

Sora was having a challenging time following as three fevered forces collided above—she wasn’t sure how the planet would handle the raw energy flowing even to this shielded area, yet what she did recognize was one of the forces—the same one that showed up when they were captured by the human monster hunters.

Nephesh was all smiles.  “As cold and calculating as ever … It was that kind of ruthless planning that killed my father, but now … He’s going to return, and there will be a reckoning!”

“He-he-he,” Inari snapped her fingers, creating two spheres of light spiritual life force around her.  “I’m here for a purpose, Nephesh … Yes, you’ll get your father back … And I, my sisters and mother.”

The man’s long puffy tail swayed to the side, wrapping around his front.  “Really?  That’s cute, Inari, but aren’t you too old for fables?  No, heh, by all means, you’re welcome to try, but … I am sure—positive, in fact, without a shadow of a doubt—you are vastly overestimating your abilities here!”

He shook his head and doubled over, continuing to laugh.  “No, my dear, the requirements needed for this kind of revival … I’ve worked my entire life for this, you inadequate, sterile whore of an animal—much like you, in destroying my family.  Funny, really.  You brought death to mine, and yet your family will be used to bring them back!”

“My thoughts exactly,” Inari mused, tails flicking with agitation.  “Poetic, as much as it makes me want to vomit just speaking to you.  We work our own angles, seeing as fighting here is not conducive to either of our goals … Who will finish first?”A lump dropped down Sora’s throat; at this point, she was thoroughly out of her league and an observer.  Please, Aunt Inari, Mom … I’ve done everything I can!  Please, bring our family together!  Give me and my daughter a family!

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A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Thirty-Six: I Am A Stone
A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Thirty-Eight: Atonement