A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Three: Tension

POV: Sora (our Vulpes Founder)

Recap:  We had some nice Mother/Daughter time with Sora and Emilia while getting to learn a bit about what awaits our protagonists in the Vulpes Capital.  We teleported in all the Vulpes Kari and Sora wanted to bring along, and have made it to the capital of the Vulpes world!

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

Matthew Bakewell, Oyebonjo Isaac, Brimils, DogeDoge, Astrapor, Austin Reff, Claus Jorgensen, and my other Patrons!

Sora had to blink a few times as the environment blurred together, and she stumbled to her left, bumping into Emilia.  Her mouth dropped open, and she spun in a circle, studying the incredible scenery that came into focus.

They were standing on a circular glass platform, bright sparkles dancing across its milky surface.  The disk was floating in orbit around the planet, and to their left was the enormous sun-like object that heated the solar system.

The white clouds, blue water, and mixed browns and greens of the landscape were breathtaking.  The rough, mountainous surface of individual landmasses caught her attention, showing purples, blues, and oranges that gave a mysterious gleam along the regions.

Above loomed the moon, but her attention was snatched by the colorful orbs of the small planetary objects rotating around the globe, representing each council member; the sheer volume was shocking.

A massive bubble of pure energy hovered above the platform’s center with several bright rings and balls cycling in parallel.  The white table below it was like the liquid stone they’d seen in the palace, and seven extravagant thrones surrounded it.

“Unbelievable,” Mary mumbled as everyone silently took in the sights.

Sora’s attention snapped to Emelia, her daughter latching onto her arm in panic while staring down at the planet.  “M-Mom!  W-where are we?  What is that?”

Tola simply observed their reactions with slight curiosity.

“Calm down, we’re fine,” she assured.  “This is … umm, wait…”

Five statues, twenty times larger than a human, surrounded the platform, catching her eye.  Aunt Inari … Mom?

Clearing her throat while doing her best to stay calm, Sora asked, “Tola, are we in space?”

The blue-furred Vulpes blinked.  “Space?  No,” she said with a furrowed brow.  “This is an observational field for us to direct our attention to specific areas if needed during the session.  It can be changed quite easily; although, there are restrictions in place long before I was born.  We cannot go into specific areas of the Capital or planet from here.”

Once everyone had regained their bearings, they turned to a particular sculpture, scanning the Vulpes’ refined features; it was a masterpiece.

“Inari,” Nathan whispered.  “Wait, what does that mean?  Was Inari here before?  I thought she hadn’t been here.”

Tola folded her hands behind her back, tails coming together with her lips as her blue irises took in the colossal statuary around them.  “Indeed, it does bear a strong resemblance to the Vulpes Founder, after meeting her.  I long suspected these might represent the Founders of our Realm, but I couldn’t have guessed the Founders of our species.  These figures were never explained to me, and until I met her myself, this was one of the mysteries I hadn’t solved.”

She gave an amused hum.  “It did keep me up more than a few nights within my life.  If seven Vulpes are needed to functionally operate this Realm, why only five statues within the Council Chamber?  I have long debated the topic with the youngest of The Council, Mofupsi, over the Yellow Seat.”

“Mofupsi?”  Wendy snickered.  “Sounds like a pet name.”


Sora wasn’t paying much attention to the two as she looked between the almost life-like statuary.  Internally, a name came to each one she settled on.

“Mom, are these our…”

“Yeah,” Sora whispered.

She pointed at the figure to the left of Inari, showing a beyond gorgeous Vulpes with a knowing, almost motherly expression in her sharp yellow eyes.  Her soft pink fur was shadowed with black, and her curved form would have made any man fall on their face.

“That’s my grandmother … your great-grandma.”

Without question, she was just as attractive as Gloria and wore an intricately designed Kimono, probably long predating the fashion in Japan.  If not for the three flowery gem-like ornaments kept her in an artful bun, her flowing locks would have fallen past her feet.  She was at least four inches taller than Inari.

Ashley swallowed.  “Wow … she’s perfect.”

“She died,” Sora whispered.


Tola’s ears stiffened, focus snapping to her.  “The First Generation Vulpes—is dead?”

Sora’s ears drooped a little while staring at the loving image of her grandma.  “Tsukuyomi, the First Generation Founder of the Tanuki, plotted her murder.  My Aunt got revenge on everyone involved.”

“Which Aunt?”  Tola pressed, tails swishing to the side.  “I have only met your Aunt Inari, but the others?”

“No, everyone, but my Aunt Inari and mother are gone.”  She rubbed Emilia’s hand as her ears dropped back, and a tear ran down her cheek.

“I see…”  Tola whispered, taking the news worse than she’d thought.

Githa purred while in her human form, looking up at the figure.  “Nilly calls her Foxy-fox,” she giggled.  “Some humans like calling her Amaterasu, though, the silly name!”

“Amaterasu … the Japanese Deity,” Mary mused.

“Nilly really liked her, and they had lots of fun!  Although, there were a few times they fought, and Nilly really, really didn’t like her for a bit … confusing ghosty stuff.  She curses stupid illusions in her sleep; it’s so funny!  That’s all in the past, though,” she noted dismissively.

The Nekomata’s focus snapped to the statue of Mia to her left; it appeared to be going in order of birth, from left to right, but Sora spoke up before she could add anything else.

“And that’s your grandma, Mia … my mom.”

Emilia’s shoulder pressing against her threw Sora off balance.  “She looks kind of—scary,” she mumbled, fingers tightening around Sora’s arm.

“Super scary!”  Githa chuckled with a gleam in her feline eyes.  “Biggest temper of the Vulpes Sisters, although, Seiōbo could snap really fast!”

“Wait, you’ve met my aunts?”  Sora asked, giving the cat a raised eyebrow.

“No!  I’m not that old,” she huffed, playing with her gray hair.  “I just hear things from others, and Nilly talks a lot in her sleep,” she groaned.  “I hate some stuff she shouts, bah … so annoying.”

I guess Githa is in a lot of circles.  Nilly’s lived … a long time.  I doubt she could ever explain her life; Inari basically said that about herself.  What would haunt Nilly’s nightmares?  If anything, that’s scary.

Mary folded her arms while moving between the figures.  “Still, it’s interesting to learn the tail colors of each Vulpes Founder.  Inari, white…”

She paused while pointing at a black-furred Vulpes, showing the most modest curves of the five.  The other four were much more forward with their emotions, making the eye skip over the woman.  “Which of your Aunts is this?”

“My Aunt Seiōbo,” Sora replied, noting her shy demeanor.  This must have been crafted forever ago … millions upon millions of years, which means, these are the really young versions of my Aunts.  “She was murdered by Tsukuyomi, too … he was responsible for more than half my family’s … yeah,” she mumbled.

 “I’m so sorry,” Ashley whispered, moving over to rub her back comfortingly.  “No one should lose their families.”

“Yeah,” Mary agreed, and Nathan glared down at the planet.

“Life sucks,” Kari grumbled, folding her arms while nibbling on the inside of her cheek.

Emilia glanced between them, expression becoming worrisome.  “Umm, what about her, Mom?  She’s really pretty, and I’ve never seen a blonde-furred Vulpes back in the town … I mean, not that I’ve met many Vulpes,” she forced a chuckle.

Sora smiled at her daughter, knowing the new information really did hurt her, but she hated seeing her depressed.  She turned her focus to the most carefree and fun Vulpes among the collection.  “My Aunt Nari,” she giggled.  “Inari said she was the prettiest of her sisters, and I can see why.”

“She looks like she’d be a lot of fun,” Emilia longingly sighed.  “Did Aunt Inari say anything else about her?”

“Well,” Sora’s cheeks bunched to the side, “she did say Aunt Nari was a bit of a player … she did like to have a, umm—good time.”

“Like playing games?”  Emilia pressed with bright eyes.  “I want to learn how to play games.  I heard Josie talking about this fun story game, and she even invited me to play!”

“Oh, is that right?”  Sora chuckled.  “Yeah … I guess—Aunt Nari played some games.  Eh,” she noticed a few of the humans giving her smirks while she floundered around the topic.  What am I supposed to say?  Emilia doesn’t know squat about this kind of stuff … she didn’t even know why she should sit with her legs shut for Inari’s sake!  Huh, I should use that more often.

Emilia looked up at Nari, expression turning regretful.  “I really want to meet everyone in our family … just to know them a bit.  When do you think I can spend time with Aunt Inari again, or meet Grandma?”

The question hit Sora harder than she expected.  “I, umm—don’t know, Emi.  Soon, I hope.”

Her daughter’s ears stood on end.  “Emi?”

“It’s a nickname,” Sora forced a smile.  “Do you not like it?”

“No, I love it!”  She squealed.  “Emi … as in—it’s short for Emilia?”


“Emi…”  She whispered again, licking her lips.  “I have a nickname!”

Wendy, Mary, Ashley, Jin, and Nathan chuckled.

Kari gave her a wink.  “It’s a cute nickname.”

Eyia seemed utterly confused.  “What is the purpose of these nicknames?”

Jin popped her tongue, shoving Eyia off-balance.  “You’re clueless.”

“I really do not understand why Emilia needs to be shortened; it is a beautiful name.”

“That’s not the point,” Jin huffed, rolling her eyes and beginning an explanation on the topic.

Emilia blushed a little while giving Kari a nervous smile.  “Y-You can call me Emi, too, right?”

“Eh, sure,” Kari replied.  “If that’s what you want.”

“Yeah!”  Emilia cheered.  “Oh, and, umm—what about—do you have a nickname?”  She asked with wide-eyed hope.

“Oof,” Kari hummed, scratching her temple.  “Mmh, well, Kari’s kind of already a nickname.”

“Wait,” Sora’s lips curved into a smile.  “So, Kari isn’t your full name?”

“What is it?”  Emilia eagerly asked, almost bouncing on her toes.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Jin laughed, pausing her conversation with Eyia to jump into the fray.  “Don’t tell me; your name means pure in Swedish and German … Katharine?”

“What’s wrong with that?”  Kari mumbled, a blush touching her cheeks.

Wendy couldn’t help a smirk.  “Katharine, as in—Karin?”

“No one’s ever called me Karin,” Kari shot back.  “Jenny just thought … nevermind.”

“No, I like your full name,” Emilia replied with an innocent smile.  “I like Kari, too!  So, everyone calls you by your nickname?  So, umm—should I call you Katharine, then?”

“No, no, no,” Kari protested.  “It’s something my Mom started when I was little … I like Kari better than Katharine.  Gah, can we move on to something else?”  She grumbled.

Sora gave Emilia a wink, whispering, “She doesn’t like the limelight.”

“Nothing to do with that,” she growled.  “Get back to your family stuff, jeez, at least that’s interesting.”

“Like you aren’t?”  Sora teased.

“I didn’t say that, either!”

“Right, right,” Sora waved dismissively.

Mary chuckled before trying to move on.  “Okay, so, Nari is a golden-furred Vulpes, cool,” she mused before gazing at the First Generation Founder again.  “And the first Vulpes has blonde hair, too?  I guess your Aunt Nari took after her mother.”

Jin snorted.  “Nope, it’s pink with black highlights for me.”

“Huh?”  Nathan smirked.  “You’re all playin’ with me, right?  It’s purple.”

“Purple?”  Sora asked.  “No, Jin’s right.”

“I’m with Sora—and the Dragon,” Kari mumbled, giving Jin a lifted eyebrow.

Emilia gave her great-grandma’s statue an inquisitive stare.  “Umm—isn’t it pink with black?”

Eyia hummed.  “It appears to be some form of illusion, but … that is odd.  For me, the color is brown?  It could be … no, that is not possible if Jin is included.”

“Wait, are you thinking,” Jin paused, her broad smile falling into a light brood.  “Yeah, that is a strange connection, Eyia.  The First Generation are more thought than physical form.  If Nilly stood in front of us, we’d see her entirely differently, but for four of us to be on the same wavelength … huh.”

“Mhm, mhm, Dragons know their stuff!”  Githa nodded.  Her head tilted to give the piece a thoughtful hum.  “Pink with black highlights … what an unusual phenomenon.”

Eyia and Jin mumbled to one another about the oddity for a moment before breaking away.  “Well, in any case,” Jin grimaced, giving the sculpture a sigh.  “Recently, I’ve noticed some bias passed down through my blood link.  It’s not as reliable as I once thought.”

Githa’s already wide eyes opened further.  “Ooh, I get it, I get it!  Nilly said it; she’s so smart!  You are a strange Dragon!”

“Thanks?”  She muttered, flipping her black hair back.  “Anyways, when are the guests of honor going to show up … and where are our chairs?”

Tola had remained quiet while listening to the conversation, analyzing each of their responses as if every note brought a critical piece to a grand puzzle.  “I can make them at any time.  Simple seats will do, correct, or would you prefer more grand thrones?”

“Yeah,” Jin mumbled, “I fell for a trick like that once before with Parvati … she’s such a Vampire.  I’m not going to fall for something like that again.  Comfy, whatever is comfy; I don’t care what it looks like.”

Everyone gave her a look, and Ashley cleared her throat.  “Parvati, as in, the Indian goddess of fertility?”

“Bah, I don’t wanna talk about it,” Jin mumbled as puffy wooden armchairs appeared around the blue seat in front of them.

Man, I still don’t know really anything about Jin; I bet Eyia doesn’t even know that much either.

She caught Aiden’s eye as he passively stared down at the planet, eyes seemingly distant.  He needs a good place to rest his mind.  He’s just been dragged along with us … no wonder he feels so out of place.

Taking her seat beside Tola’s blue throne, reflecting the other councilwomen’s places, Sora held onto Emilia’s hand, and her daughter took the seat next to her.  “Umm, Tola, before we meet the others, could you tell us all of your sisters’ names again?  I think you skipped the ones that are younger than you.”

“Ah, of course,” Tola replied, folding her hands in her lap while focusing on each throne.  “Loral, Indigo, Phebe, Red, Hallaway for Green, Blue would be me, Ella holds the Violet Seat, Bethel, Orange, and Mofupsi for Yellow.”

“What about rules of conduct?”  Ashley nervously asked.  “For press or reporters, well, umm—in a City Council meeting, usually the Mayor or the person holding the most authority is the only person allowed to speak unless someone is called upon.”

“Oh,” Tola chuckled softly.  “I didn’t even consider that you wouldn’t understand the layout, my apologies … it is roughly the same rules throughout all of our society.  Loral will be the one to address us.”

Sora’s lips tilted, catching sight of the councilwoman’s tight hands.  She’s tense … I should be prepared for the worst.  She could still sense the mask she’d woven around Emilia, and she extended the Core shielding to the humans.  Time to make ourselves known.

She gave Tola an encouraging smile.  “Okay, we’ll stay quiet until called upon; I think we’re ready.  Right?”  Everyone but Githa, Jin, and Eyia took a calming breath before nodding, and Kari gave her a look, lips tightening.  “Alright, then—let’s get this over with.”

Tola frowned, eyes closing before opening again.  The first one to arrive was Loral, the indigo-furred Vulpes and eldest; a cold aura expelled from her presence.  She was pretty but appeared a little frail and slightly malnourished.  Her cool eyes swept the room, but stopped on Sora, slid to Emilia, and returned to Tola.

The Yellow-furred councilwoman arrived next.  She was thinner than Tola but had more sharp features.  Mofupsi gave off a more feral aura than the soothing atmosphere that surrounded the blue councilwoman.  The Vulpes’ fur was nowhere near the elegant beauty or silky flow of the yellow-furred statue of Nari behind her.

Mofupsi took one look at the blue-furred Vulpes’ side of the table and shot to her feet.  “Tola!  What in…”

Her jaws snapped shut as Loral lifted her hand in protest, low voice calm and chilling, yet cutting past the yellow councilwoman’s cry.   “Mofupsi, wait for the council in its entirety.”

Tola’s fingers tightened.

Sora swallowed, doing her best to keep a light smile on her lips, but there was obviously going to be an upset.

The remaining members appeared in their seats one after the other, each seeming to be aware of Loral’s statement, and Sora connected the evolving situation with what Tola had stated.  As the eldest, Loral would act as the directing party, or a sort of chairman, similar to some of the companies her father had advised.

She took note of each Vulpes that arrived.  They each had a similar gem-like accessory that gave them their authority over the Realm.

Phebe came next, showing off her generous curves with a rather revealing red dress with gold-threaded stitching.  Githa and her auras seemed particularly in sync, if not a little calmer than the Nekomata, but that was saying something.

Her crimson irises locked on Kari and Aiden before moving to Emilia and Sora.  Her scowl tainted her lovely features that would probably even outshine Tola had she smiled.  An intricate red necklace sat between her large breasts.

The Violet Seat was filled by a Vulpes with a skeptical expression, eyes darting between everyone present as she tried to reconcile with the strange meeting, and it appeared that she might need to sleep with the slight bags under her eyes.

Ella was pretty, but in an almost cute manner with her small, slender build, she could have been twelve by her appearance, and an amethyst cartilage earring was on her left ear.  She sucked on her lower lip with a weak hum, her purple tails more than triple her height swaying back and forth.

Hallaway’s entrance was much more relaxing than the others, giving everyone present a pleasant smile.  The third oldest Vulpes in the Realm appeared rather happy at the interruption in the daily schedule, and she gave Loral her attention.

The Green Vulpes’ center tail had a hoop around the middle, creating a slight crease in the puffy fur as her nine tails fanned out like a peacock.  Her aura drew attention, giving her more presence in the room than the others.

Bethel folded her arms, settling into her orange themed seat while giving everyone an expectant look; she clearly wanted to say a lot but refrained from breaking the oppressive silence as the last to arrive.

Most of the council seemed rather upset with Tola, but not a word was spoken, and Sora noted that only Loral had an almost sickly appearance, but she had to remind herself that the Vulpes was the oldest out of the bunch, yet Phebe, the second eldest, was as thick as a fit women could get.

Loral cleared her throat.  “I have lived a very long time, Tola, and never has a non-council member been in this holy chamber.”

The other members gave each other meaningful looks.

“That being said,” her emotionless indigo irises slid to Sora, “I understand this is an—unprecedented event.”  She paused, a lump dropping down her throat, which was the only sign of emotion the Vulpes showed.  “A Vulpes Founder has found her way into the realm … perhaps—even two,” she mumbled, giving Emilia’s nervous fidgets a quick note.

“It goes without saying, the disturbance you felt in Mimi’s district was this, and bringing us together this swiftly after the event is appropriate.  Although,” her eyes narrowed slightly, “a warning would have been appreciated.  Explain yourself.”

Mixed signals much?  Yes, you did a great job, but explain yourself like you’re on trial!

Sora’s focus darted to Tola as she gracefully nodded, held up her hand, and created a similar globe that she’d seen her aunt do to share Ashley and Brandon’s memories.

Wait, wait, wait … there is some pretty sensitive stuff talked about if she just gives them everything!  I can’t really interfere, though … crap!  I guess I just need to trust her…

She could tell Ashley, Jin, and Eyia were concerned about the possible leaks, but Githa seemed utterly fine with it.  The Nekomata’s two tails were weaving back and forth as she playfully shifted in her seat.  Her wide feline eyes darted between the members with a bright smile.

The globe floated from Tola’s hand to the center of the table, split into six, and transferred to each member.  Each Vulpes grasped the light as it neared, sitting back to brood on the data.

Emilia’s nervous twitches made her want to shift in her seat, but she refrained.

After several seconds, they seemed to have analyzed the memories, and Phebe didn’t look happy with Tola.

Loral nodded.  “Some—troubling bits of information, indeed.  To start, I’ll address the obvious.  Phebe,” she turned to the red councilwoman, “you’ll need to appoint a new Guardian, and after this meeting, we will investigate the origins of this spell that caused the death of Guardian Miyabe.”

“You can’t think I created such a thing,” Phebe’s lush voice protested with a sharp sniff.

“Mmh,” Loral’s eyes narrowed.  “That is why we will investigate.  We must make sure the other Guardians are not carrying such dangerous magic inside of them.”

Githa snickered.  “I could tell you who did it right now?”  She licked her lips, broad, toothy grin staring right at Loral.  “I can taste the root in the air; thank you for the meal, by the way,” she said, secretive eyes sliding across the members present.

Loral folded her hands across the table, features hardening slightly.  “I appreciate your efforts in avoiding such a calamitous event, Githa; however, we will perform our own internal investigation.  Also, as for the rules of this council, would you please remain silent unless spoken to?”

“Fine, fine!”  Her smile turned sinister, “Besides, it’s funner this way.”

She’s not going to tell us who did it, is she?  Freakin’ Nekomata Faction.  At least it’s not dangerous to me … yet.  Well, according to Githa’s analysis of the situation.

Phebe glared at Githa, who grinned back at her in utter innocence.

“We will now move to discuss the topics brought up in Tola’s recount, postponing the inquiry until after this meeting has adjourned.”

Loral turned her focus to Sora.  “There are a great many threats that appear to be pursuing you, Lady Sora, and a certain energy that can be seen as—troubling, among you,” she stated, glancing between Aiden, Jin, Eyia, and Emilia.

“I’ll begin with the threats that pose a danger to you and this entire Realm.”

Shoot … that stare.

“Sköll would be the most dangerous threat, by far.  I have heard of the Second Generation Founder from past administrations.”

Tola, Ella, Bethel, and Mofupsi gave Loral a questioning look, obviously unclear about the topic themselves, but the three eldest seemed in the loop.

“I cannot say if our Realm would survive if one of Fenris’ sons attacked us … I fear Sköll could swallow this Realm whole.”

Jin, Kari, and Githa snorted.

“Oh?”  Loral’s vision narrowed.  “You have a different opinion?”

Kari smirked.  “Look, if my uncle could eat this Realm, then he would have already.  There’s something more powerful stopping him.”

“Indeed,” Eyia stated.  “My people have long had a history with Fenris Wolves.”  She gave Kari a cool glare.  “They have swallowed entire Realms much larger than this without issue.  The fact that they have not, means they are bound by something, most likely creatures that pose a threat to them.”

“A threat to a Second Generation Founder?”  Loral asked, vision darting back to Sora.  “Such as Inari?”

“Among others,” Jin chuckled.  “How many should we list?  Let’s see, Nilly, The First Generation Founder of the Cats, Mia, Sora’s mother, and Inari … do I really need to explain the statues of the Founders standing around us, then there’s the Herald of Sakura, probably watching us right now, in fact.”

“Impossible!”  Bethel scoffed.  “This room is sealed…”

“Not quite for someone of that level,” Hallaway’s sweet voice cut in.

“Wait.  What?”  Volet and Mofupsi mumbled, shooting a questioning stare at the Green Seat.

“Order,” Loral softly stated, closing everyone’s mouths.  She sighed, giving Hallaway a sharp look; the green-furred Vulpes returned the stare with a short shrug and a giggle.  “I do not know much about The Herald of Sakura, but there are references to such a creature.  How is it connected to you?”

Sora cleared her throat.  “The Herald of Sakura is—kind of an information broker—like, a crazy, powerful one, I think.  Umm,” the others gave her their undivided attention as she tried to come up with a way to explain the creature in the shape of a woman.  “The Primordials created her, but kind of backstabbed them—from what I understand, but not really?

“The War … well, that’s what the Founders call it—when they fought the Primordials—it’s kind of confusing.  Everyone kind of knows everyone in that scene, and has an opinion on them, but that happened way before my time, and I’m rambling,” she chuckled.

“Uh—The Herald of Sakura,” she smacked her lips, noting Jin and Githa’s amused expressions, “She’s invested in me, for some reason that I don’t know, and has interfered before to keep me from being hurt … I think.”

“You think,” Loral repeated with a soft sigh.  “What about Nilly?”

“Oh, oh!”  Githa’s hand shot into the air.  “Pick me!”

“Go ahead,” she tiredly replied.

Sora’s brow came together as she studied the indigo-furred Vulpes.  Is she actually getting tired from just sitting in the meeting?  Is she unwell or just too old?  I’ve never met a Vulpes that was reaching the end of their life, and maybe this is what it looks like.

“Nilly made a deal with Mia to protect Sora!  That’s why I’m here,” she grinned.

“I see … well, this is a complicated matter, then,” she grumbled.

“Not really,” Githa shrugged.

Loral didn’t respond, focus moving to Emilia with a thoughtful expression.  After a moment, she asked, “I suppose none of the other threats mentioned are worth bringing up if Sköll is not an issue and this Herald of Sakura, watching us as we speak … no, we will move to the next phase.  Each of The Council will ask their own questions.  As is custom, we will move down in order of authority.  Phebe.”

Phebe straightened in her seat, adjusting her dress.  “You’re a Vulpes Founder, correct, Lady Sora?”

“Yes,” Sora replied.

Loral leaned forward.  “To clarify, how old are you?”

Phebe gave her a dirty look but returned her focus to Sora.


“Daughter of Mia?”  Phebe asked, vision shifting to the copper-furred Vulpes statue.

Sora followed her gaze.  “Mhm.  Mia’s my mom.”

“Then,” Phebe licked her lips, “you know how to work with Vulpes Runic Magic?”

The image of Miyabe’s crude red Runic Magic came to mind.  “Not really,” Sora slowly mumbled.

“But you’re a Founder?”

“She’s sixteen,” Kari huffed.  “Not like I know how to use a lot of my Fenris abilities, either.”

Sora forced a chuckle.  “Well, I learned at the Red Gate that Vulpes Magic reacts to me with just my desires, even if I don’t understand what they say, and I saw tons of crazy powerful stuff at my Aunt’s Sanctuary.”

“Aunt’s Sanctuary,” Loral repeated.  “You’re talking about Inari?”

“Mhm.  She taught me a few things, and I’m sure I’ll slowly figure it all out in time … I mean, I have forever.”

Her arms tightened around her stomach as The Council’s eyes narrowed to daggers.  Did I say something bad?  Noticing Loral’s haggard appearance, she restrained a wince.  Oof … yeah, I kind of forget not everyone has immortality, and that can be a soft spot for a lot of Vulpes.

Loral cleared her throat.  “We’ll continue to Hallaway’s segment.”

“I barely had any time; you took most of it,” Phebe growled, but sat back, nose twisting when Loral gave her a look.

Hallaway smiled at Sora.  “Lady Sora, first let me thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.  I know this must be tedious for you.”

“No, it’s fine,” Sora protested.  “I’m happy to help clear anything up.”

“Wonderful!  Your friend mentioned these statues.  I was wondering if you might dispel any doubt that we’ve long had with the structures.  Could you identify each of your family members?”

“Umm, sure,” Sora mumbled, noticing Loral’s neutral eyes on the green-furred Vulpes.  “It goes in order of age from left to right.  My Grandma, Aunt Inari, Aunt Seiōbo, Aunt Nari, and my mom.”

“Fascinating,” she hummed, vision following her finger as each name was called.  “Then, does that mean your family was the original creators of this Realm?”

“It seems so,” Sora chuckled.  “It was a super long time ago, though.”

“I bet,” Hallaway mused.  “Is there any real danger to us, from your honest opinion?”

Sora shook her head, feeling a little uncomfortable that Loral’s indigo irises hadn’t left her daughter, and Emilia’s fingers kept tightening around her hand as she squirmed.  “I don’t really know.  My Aunt would have warned us to leave and prepared a way for us to go if she didn’t think we’d be safe or if we couldn’t handle it.  She also knows I don’t want to hurt anyone here, so I don’t think you’re in danger.”

“It sounds like Lady Inari is quite attached to you.”

“I—suppose?”  What is that, a kidnap flag?  What do you want me to say?

“Ah, my apologies,” she giggled.  “I didn’t mean to make you all on edge.  You each haven’t introduced yourself; please, tell us who each of you is,” she warmly invited.

Sora took a deep breath, brushing back her long copper hair with her free hand.  “Well, okay, umm—I’m Sora, and I guess you each know enough about me, but this is my daughter, Emilia.”

“Hi,” Emilia nervously waved.  “I—umm, I like playing games and eating tasty food.  Ashley makes really good breakfast…”

“Daughter?”  Hallaway asked, confused eyes falling to the side as she thought.  “Did you not say you were sixteen years old?  Now, I thought that was strange seeing as you have two tails, but you are a Founder, after all, but this is—bewildering.  No offense, Lady Emilia, but you have eight tails while Lady Sora has two.”

Everyone grew tenser as the green-furred Vulpes explained the difficulty she had in understanding the introduction.

“It’s just a bit complicated but true,” Sora chuckled.

Loral hummed softly, finally breaking away from Emilia to address the Green Seat.  “That isn’t the only baffling thing about Lady Emilia.  There is quite a strange energy cycling around her … and I have noticed the spiritual shield you’ve been employing, Lady Sora.  Could you explain?”

The other council members weren’t the only unsettled party, Eyia and Jin’s eyes narrowed as they observed Loral’s expectant smile.

“I—don’t see why that’s important,” Sora slowly stated.  “She’s my daughter, that’s that.”

“Hmm, but we’d feel much better if we understood what we’re sensing,” Loral pressed.  “If you could just lower that shield for a moment…”

Sora’s protective instincts flared as she fed more energy into the spiritual shells.  “No one is going to invade or look in anyone’s Core.”

The moment she finished, the infinite magical force surrounding them somehow grew larger as if dormant until now, interacting with the energy she was expelling to enhance her desire, and a spell instantly formed, exploding outward.

Everyone shot to their feet in panic as the force rippled through everything, and suddenly, all of Sora’s senses died.  She looked around, feeling utterly blind.  I can’t sense any spiritual energy … nothing, elemental energy … everything’s gone.

“What—have you done?”  Loral whispered, face ashen as she looked down at her own shaking hand.  “We can’t … if this…”  She couldn’t finish her statement, body trembling while struggling to keep herself from collapsing.

“Huh?”  Ashley, Mary, Nathan, and Wendy were left in the dark, looking around in alarm.

“I can’t sense anything,” Tola mumbled.

“Did she cut us off from—from the Realm?”  Phebe gasped, giving her a terrified look.

Jin flexed her fingers while staring down at her hand, Githa, and Eyia doing the same before the three began laughing.

“What?”  Loral demanded, but soon seemed to catch on, lips tightening.  She stared down at the table, white hands pressing against the smooth surface.  “This is in response to her desire.”

“Right?”  Jin chuckled.

Eyia returned to her seat, giving Sora an approving smile.  “My sister was not happy with the direction you were pushing the conversation, and as a member of the Founder lineage that constructed this Realm, genetically holding the key, allowed her to take authoritative control over the system it was designed with.”

“In short,” Githa giggled, “a magical field has been constructed using Founder Magic far outside any of our ability to counter, blocking all sensing abilities.  With the inability to even observe the flow of spiritual energy…”

“No one can look at anyone’s Core,” Loral finished, working around her jaw.

Each council member gave Sora a wary look, and she finally understood what that meant.  I basically have the power of my family here … if I use my magic, then it can activate what my family preset forever ago.  If I want an invincible shield around us…

She glanced to her right as a translucent bubble surrounded them before fading with a desire.  “I’m in control over the entire Realm,” she mumbled.The Council’s jaws locked, and Sora couldn’t blame them; she’d just robbed them of all authority by birthright.  Well … on the plus, we’re not in danger.  Con, we’re an invading force that just took over the entire universe.  Ugh … how do I fix this?


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A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Two: Partners For The Truth
A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Four: Mysterious Events