A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Twenty-Eight: Isolation

Note:  Well, I’m back!  Thanks for allowing me to take my first break in almost three years.  I had a blast with my family and actually got to play some D2 Resurrected with my brother and cousin.  I’m happy with the new chapter I’ve written … really proud of it actually.  I loved how it concluded.  Hope you enjoy this fun reveal chapter for some pokefan favorite characters!


1.Sora Moore (The Fox Fiend!)


Sora’s stunned that Kari actually asked for forgiveness.  She finds Eyia as Fenris Wolf hating as usual, considering her past, and the Valkyrie is concerned about Sora’s safety, considering her opponent.

We went to Kari and watched what happens when she comes terms with her Fenris side … freeing all the enslaved men by virtue of beating every Vulpes by her very aura.  Sora was impressed!  Eyia … not so much; let’s hope she doesn’t snap because our Wolf Girl is doing so good now!

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

Brian, Lars Sprenger, Lu, Bob, John J Riggan, Denny Richter, Noverclocker, Jacob Hipes, Error25, and my other Patrons!

Sora spun in a slow circle as Mofupsi teleported them to the 1st Level, allowing the Councilwoman to move them without resistance.

They appeared inside a glamorous hall with gold, onyx, and extravagant designs engraved into the polished granite pillars and ceiling; blue flames burned in huge brackets, releasing a chilling aura that cooled the large walking area.  Eyia’s glowing blue irises turned to the opening in the wall to their right that displayed a colossal stadium—no crowd could be seen from their angle.

Kari stepped to the side, still in her massive Fenris Form as she studied the distant stands across from them.  “How many Vulpes actually live here?”

“Irrelevant,” Eyia stated; her frigid aura grazed against Sora’s skin, causing goosebumps to break out across her skin.  “Send me to the arena and whoever will be my opponent—I am done with this weak excuse of a contest.”

“Eyia…”  Sora whispered in concern.

The Valkyrie closed her eyes, fingers tightening into a fist as she took a deep breath.  “I apologize, Sister, but … I am neither impressed nor amused by what we have been forced to tolerate.  All of this … formality business has done is waste our time.”  Opening her icy spheres, she stared at Mofupsi.  “If we require negative emotion, then broadcast this across your entire district.”

The yellow-haired Vulpes hummed, arms crossed as she studied Eyia.  “I am confused.”  Her irises darted to Sora and Kari.  “I am positive you will be able to prevail against nine-tailed Vulpes that are just learning how to utilize their magic—however, doing so would instantly put Sora against me, and the two of you against much stronger opponents.  I thought you would enjoy a stage to advance a little further before that time.”

Eyia’s jaw locked.  “It is true … however, I have faith in my sister and her aunt—you will see defeat.”

Sora knew she wasn’t thinking properly after seeing Kari.  Of course, the thought of her accelerating things in the hopes Kari would die in the final challenge did cross her mind.

Kari absently took in their surroundings, looking anywhere but at Eyia.  “I can handle whatever—if she wants to solo a bunch of bumbling foxes, then be my guest.”

“Hmm…”  Sora sucked on her lower lip as everyone turned to look at her; Eyia certainly did have a lot of faith in her, but Sora had to believe her aunt would unlock her father’s side to give her the strength needed to compete.  “I do need to meditate,” she admitted, deciding to try and contact her aunt and speak privately to Kari.

She gave Eyia a bright smile and moved over to hug her; the icy aura caused her to wince, but the action melted the Valkyrie’s frigid attitude.  “I have trust in you, too, Eyia!  I’m sure you’ll steal the show again and keep every eye on you.  Thanks for offering to give us time,” purposefully using the plural to indicate she appreciated what Eyia was doing for Kari, too, even if it wasn’t her intention.

“Yeah…”  Eyia returned the hug, somewhat put-off by her addition of Kari in that statement.  “It will be swift.”

Sora brushed back her bangs while stepping back.  “No doubts here!  And Mofupsi…”

“Hmm?”  The woman’s head tilted slightly.

“I’m going to win—and when I do, without killing you, will you recognize my authority since this is a society based on strength … right?”

Mofupsi giggled, pulling out some kind of black pipe that she channeled her magic through; sucking in at the tip, she released bright blue flames from her lips as her eyes flashed the same color—Sora could feel an unfamiliar magical pulse and her irises returned to their yellow tint.  The Vulpes’s nine tails curving to hide her lips as she appraised her from between their weaves.  “If you manage to subdue me, then I will become your servant.”

“Huh?”  Sora’s ears pulled back.  “W-What do you mean by that—how did that even come up?”

“Oh?  Your friend is growing impatient,” she whispered in a mysterious way.  “Go ahead and do whatever it is you wish to do—Milia will start the trial without me.”   Waving her hand, Eyia was teleported away, causing both Kari and Sora to lift their eyebrows in surprise, it was hard to believe she could overcome Eyia’s defenses so easily, even with consent.  “Sora, do you have a moment to talk?”

Sora’s brow pulled together, glancing to the open window; a young woman’s voice began to speak to the onlookers above.  “I’m … a little confused.  You want to talk to me?”

Mofupsi’s eyes dulled as she put the pipe to her lips, irises flashing blue again while drifting to the edge.  Pulling her free arm under her ample breasts, she spoke in a tone that Sora had trouble recognizing from the woman’s veiling emotional state—something was up, and each of her interactions around the Council Woman seemed to paint a different picture.  “I only wish to take a few minutes of your time.”

Is she drugged?

Sora sniffed the air, but the smoke was something spiritual and didn’t register as a scent.

Does she actually want to talk to me … like, for real talk?  She’s thousands of years old and I’m only sixteen.  What in the world could she want … Advice?

The woman’s sudden change in demeanor utterly threw her off, but she didn’t really feel like shutting her down; in fact, she was curious about the direction she’d go with this and had a suspicion it had something to do with why she’d advanced them a few levels on the spur of a moment.

Turning to her friend, Sora licked her lips before asking, “Kari?”

Shrugging her massive shoulders, the Fenris Wolf grunted.  “Whatever, but umm … could I get some clothes?”

A small smirk lifted her lips, remembering how the Vulpes in the last match had incinerated her outfit, leaving the black-haired wolf-girl butt-naked.  No wonder she hasn’t changed back!

Snickering while examining the fidgeting wolf, Sora tapped her chin.  “You have kind of changed sizes—I might need to resize you…”

“I have not,” Kari growled, narrow amber eyes giving her a dirty look.  “My original body, sure, but…”

“Original—human Kari is the original Kari to me,” Sora hummed with a mischievous tone.  “It would only take a second.”


“He-he-he!  Okay!  Okay!” she wheezed.  “How about a Sunday dress?  A nice belt, maybe some earrings … Can I make lipstick?”

Kari rolled her eyes.  “Anything’s fine.”

“Aww, no fun,” Sora chuckled, glancing back at Mofupsi.  “Do you have any random cloth or something I could have to make something?”

“By all means.”  Mofupsi waved her free hand for dozens of extravagant outfits to fall out of the sky in a pile.  “I rarely wear the old Councilwoman attire, in any case.  It feels wrong.”

“Mhm…”  Sora absently replied, trying to mentally picture some of the outfits Kari would look good in; she’d transform into her Fenris Form to fight, so it really didn’t matter what type it was, and so cuteness was the key.  “Okay, I’ve got it!  C’mon, transform back so I can weave it around you.”

“Really, Sora?”  Kari gave her a dull look.

She absently waved her hand.  “Nothing I haven’t seen before—don’t be so embarrassed!”

Kari released a sad sigh while closing her eyes.  “Did you really just say that … fine.”

Sora wove her magic around the pile on the ground with Mofupsi watching.  Kari was looking away with a hand on her hip, her absurdly thick, long black hair covering her front.  A smile brightened Sora’s cheeks as she crafted black undergarments, a grayish-brown skirt, a white u-neck shirt, and an open overcoat to match her bottoms.  The gray 4-inch heels were an added touch since she’d never seen the wolf in the shoes.

Adorable!”  Sora chimed.  “You really should wear girly clothes more … Do you have any idea how many boys found you attractive at school?”

A hiss passed through Kari’s teeth as she brushed the skirt from side to side while lifting a leg to look at the heels; she almost tripped, trying to balance.  “I-I’ve never worn these—these things … Why do human women use these horrible things?”

“It’s all about the butt, and with that tail … I’m tellin’ you!”

“Meh … it’ll work,” Kari mumbled, attempting to walk a few awkward steps while pulling back her hair.  “Go do your … whatever.  I’ll be here—learning to use these human death devices … How many humans die from these things a year?”

Sora glanced up at the ceiling.  “Good question.  I’ve never actually thought about that.  Huh.”  She heard the young woman’s voice commentating to start the special trial, making it clear that everyone in the Yellow District would witness the fight.  “You ready, Mofupsi?”

Mofupsi withdrew the pipe from her lips; she’d been passively listening without expression.  “We will return shortly, I expect.”

Eyes widening, Sora held up her hand.  “Oh!  One last thing!”

Darting left, she jumped on a stunned Fenris Wolf; she had to help Kari as she stumbled to the left with a bark of surprise.  “H-Hey!  I don’t know how to … what are you doing?!”

“He-he-he!”  Sora squeezed her back and pulled away with a wink.  “I just wanted to give you a hug!  Later!”  Mofupsi promptly teleported them out, leaving a flustered Fenris Wolf to pick up her scattered brain.

A little curious as to why the Yellow Council Member was trying to make the slave-bet and speak one-on-one, Sora folded her hands behind her back as she looked around at the top floor of the coliseum; they were at least ten massive floors above ground.  Above them was a magical shell that only allowed enough heat to keep the area temperate while providing enough wind to be perfect.

“Should we walk?”  Sora asked, following the Vulpes to the edge to look down.  “Oh, we’re just going to be standing here and looking down, huh?  Cool.  Cool.  Hmm…”

Mofupsi didn’t respond, continuing to puff on her pipe while likely compiling her thoughts.  Extending her perception, Sora could see a hundred Vulpes sitting across the stadium; all of them were fixated on the ring where ten Vulpes hovered around Eyia.

The Valkyrie was annoyed, waiting for the announcer to stop talking and setting things up for the audience—she doubted something like this had ever been publicly broadcast to the lower levels.

After several seconds, Sora leaned against the stone rail guard to stare at the emotionless woman, occasionally drawing from her pipe.  “Mofupsi…”

“Hmm?”  Her passive gaze shifted to her; everything about her smiling, cheery atmosphere had evaporated to be filled with this lifeless stare.

“Are you okay?”

“Okay?  Hmm … everything’s going pretty good, I suppose,” she whispered, flashing blue irises returning to the stage below as Eyia made her speech about how weak the Vulpes were and how useless their desire was to climb to such pitiful ranks.  “Everything’s fine.”

“Umm, uh-huh,” Sora’s lips pulled in as she folded her arms.  “You’re not sounding all that convincing.  What’s going on?  You’ve been all over the place, and—no, why did you even come down to be a part of all this?” she asked, realizing the Vulpes was supposed to be chilling behind the scenes until the final test.

“Why am I here?  That really is the question,” Mofupsi mumbled, pulling back her blonde locks with a short chuckle.  “Why did I even come here?  I don’t even want to make small talk—yet I go to those silly council meetings.  I sit alone, listen to random orders from those stronger than me and come back … to be alone in this isolated tower.”

Sudden waves of loneliness escaped the woman’s impenetrable Core in torrents, causing the air in Sora’s lungs to freeze.  Mofupsi breathed out a sad sigh, shaking her head.  “I’ve been lying to myself for over five thousand years—lying to everyone, but they all believe me when I say ‘everything’s fine’ when it’s not.”

Sora cleared her throat, fingers tightening around her wrist.  “Umm, I don’t know what’s going on, but it’ll be alright.”  She paused, fidgeting with her nails.  “Do you want to talk about it?”

Mofupsi’s yellow eyes returned as she leveled a stern glare at her.  “Don’t tell me that it’s alright—you don’t know what it feels like … how I feel.  You don’t know what it’s like to be me.”

She didn’t know how to respond, vision falling to the ground as the woman released a weak chuckle between puffs of her pipe.  Sora stayed silent; it soon became clear the woman just wanted to release what she’d bottled up longer than she could imagine.

“That’s the first time I’ve said that … spoken to someone like this.  Why do I feel like such a mess … like I’m being tested, and if I wake up in the morning, I guess I passed?  To wonder if this life is going to continue on forever … because I don’t want to feel like this forever,” she pulled in her lips, closing her eyes and leaning her head back to face the heavens.

“Everything’s the same … imagine yourself growing up,” she smiled, “surrounded by death as a constant—to struggle every moment to live in the chaos, yet every time you grow, stability and a life of mediocrity inches ever closer.  It wasn’t until I reached the top that I realized a life of purpose was the sacrifice for ultimate strength inside my little world.”

She slowly hovered up to stare across the buildings of the Yellow District, with Sora hesitantly following, analyzing what the woman was trying to convey.  “I’ve lived the same life endlessly—and no one can offer me anything.  I’m too weak to fight the other council members, I’m too strong for anyone in the Yellow District—for thousands of years, and I can’t learn anything else from reading the same books for the ten-thousandth time, and unlike the other members, I’m not allowed to leave my area.”

Mofupsi turned a solemn look to her, arm tightening against her body.  “It took your appearance for me to realize how utterly stupid I’d been … locked in my little cage … I’m an idiot … a hopeless fool that let such an incompetent Vulpes lead me by the nose, and only now do I understand why I’ve spent so many years screaming in my own head at my hollow heart.”

Sora’s lower lip tucked under, eyebrows pulling together in concern as the blonde Vulpes hugged her shaking body, laughing at herself.  “The only thing that even slightly helped was the strange sexual games Keizer came up with, but your little friend clipped that fix—leaving me with this magical concoction I learned in a book to just feel a little happy,” she mumbled, holding up her pipe.  “Why do I want to make the slave bet?”

“For something new,” Sora whispered.  Her heart went out to the isolated Vulpes; she had no idea what was under the perfect mask Mofupsi crafted around her heart.  “And if I lose … you have me to fill that void.”

“Hm-hm-hm-hmm,” her chest shook with laughter, “yes, Sora, I want to end this endless cycle, and you’re the first lifeline that has entered my life.  Honestly, I couldn’t care less about anyone else—it takes enough effort just to care for myself and look into a mirror.  See?”

Sora’s hands tightened around her arms as Mofupsi transported them to what appeared to be her luxurious room, where hundreds of mirrors hung along the walls, all shattered.  “How can looking into a shattered mirror help … It’s so odd,” she mused.

The place was a mess, and it looked like the woman slept in a corner, on sheets and blankets that she could wrap herself in as some kind of shield.  Damage was evident across the room, with claw marks everywhere across the walls.

Spinning in a slow circle, Mofupsi pointed at the x-marks and single lines.  “Every x was a day I felt something new … for three thousand years … only twenty-three, heh, and most of them were emotions felt from interacting with the council or with Keizer … imagine that.  A thousand years of emotional struggle … triumph, and failure to be reduced to … this mess.”

Her golden eyes were practically spinning as the crippling depression inside of her pressed in on Sora like a vice; thousands of years worth of emotional weight proved too powerful for her spiritual shields, causing her to shiver as the chill sank into her breast.

Mofupsi turned to give her a genuine smile that was probably her first in ages.  “So … win or lose, one of us will become slaves, and I’ll be free.  Do you accept the proposal?  I’ve been somewhat fascinated by this slave concept from a manuscript within my library—so little excites me anymore—I couldn’t help but be a part of this new addition to the festival.”

Sora didn’t respond at first, trying to combat the needle-like depression, but soon realized she was simply experiencing the excess amount; most of it was being drawn in by the negative emotion crystal—she couldn’t fathom the depths of this woman’s lonely and lifeless existence—it must not feel like living at all.

Swallowing the saliva that had gathered in her mouth, Sora cleared her throat.  “I-I’m still trying to process all of that … you don’t have to go the slave route … No, maybe you do,” she mumbled, realizing she’d had the fantasy for thousands of years, and it was likely one of the few things left that kept her somewhat sane.


Intaking a deep breath, she released it in a slow stream before adding a smile.  “Heh—would you be willing to wear a collar?”

Mofupsi blinked, head tilting to the side.  “Collar?”

“Uh … nevermind, it’s a joke!”  She laughed, but Mofupsi wouldn’t let it pass.

“You brought it up for a reason,” she smirked.  “I have no issues with it—whatever it is, your question has me intrigued.”

“Eh, heh, a strap of leather or something that—well, you put it around your ‘ahem’ pet’s throat,” she blushed, scratching her neck as it itched, “to show ownership.”

Mofupsi glanced toward a cracked mirror with an amused smile.  Pulling back her blonde locks to expose her slender neck, she hummed.  “A collar to show ownership of a pet?”  Puffing on her pipe, she giggled.  “I like the idea … It’s something new.”  Her flashing blue irises slid to her, long tails hiding part of her body.  “Of course, if I should win, you would become my pet—which is something like the younger girls do to the human males.  Yes?”

“Eh … kind of … not really,” Sora said, recalling how the men were treated.  “I’ll … teach you.”

“Wonderful!”  She clapped her hands, and the wave of depression started to evaporate to be replaced by a glimmer of hope.


“Mhm?”  she asked, glancing at the mirror again to study her complexion.

“You’re going to try to beat me?”

“Of course,” her lips curved mischievously.  “I’m so looking forward to seeing how you can bridge the gap between us—I cannot see you trying without the confidence to accomplish it.  I will be trying my hardest … It is the only way I can be certain about the adaptability and growth of Founders.”

She adjusted her robe a little while moving to look her in the eyes.  “I worked tirelessly to reach my strength … two thousand years of throwing everything I was into study, practice, and death to sit upon my throne of skulls—powerless to defeat one foe … myself.”

Sora wasn’t sure of the woman at first; she seemed like a battle-hungry overlord over the evilest part of this Vulpes society, yet in the end, she was just as caged as everyone else, and Niomie was once again pulling her strings.

“Mofupsi,” Sora held out a hand, to which the woman returned a quizzical look, hesitantly following her lead, “I promise you when I beat you, you won’t feel alone anymore … Oh, and the first thing we do is hug—and I get to brush your tails with my daughter!”

“Brush … my tails?”  Mofupsi asked, pulling around the fluffy blonde appendages.  “I can’t say I’ve had anyone offer to brush my tails before, but … heh, that sounds wonderful.  Another new experience.”

“Yup!  We’ll go over clothes, give you a make-over, and … well, Eyia will hug you, but Kari … probably not.  Emilia will LOVE you, just … just don’t teach her any scary spells or anything—I’m starting her slow … what?”

A small tear fell down Mofupsi’s soft expression.  “I … just need to mark another x on the wall,” she chuckled.  “Now, I will prepare for our match.  Your friend has already frozen every Vulpes in space-time after shaving their tails and hair—quite vicious tactics, exposing their tails to apply binding locks to their spiritual production and stabilization networks.  Don’t disappoint me!”

She couldn’t respond in time as the blonde Vulpes waved and teleported her back to Kari.  Unfortunately, the girl was currently sitting cross-legged, inside her own Core, to speak to her mother.

Folding her legs across from her, Sora brushed back her bangs with wholesome feelings blooming in her chest—in a way, she saw a little of Kari in the youngest Vulpes councilwoman.  “Everything will be alright—everything, once my grandmother and aunts are back.”

Eyia was drawing gasps and mumbles from the Vulpes announcer, but there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that the Asgardian warrior would win without trouble; she was onto bigger things, though.

It all led here, and without everything her aunt had done for her, Sora knew she would have failed.  Now, one last task awaited her, and even if it should have felt impossible to beat the Vulpes over three-hundred and seventy-five times her age, she wasn’t worried.

Closing her eyes, she slipped into the Outer Body Technique.  Standing inside the glowing platform that was her Core, she created two seats and took the nearest to wait for her aunt.

It wasn’t long until the gorgeous Vulpes appeared upon the comfortable cushions out of thin air.  “My, aren’t you learning quickly!”  she chimed.

“Heh, I had a good teacher—wow, that’s generic!”

Her aunt’s smile turned inward.  “Generic it may sound … Yet the emotion expressed is heartwarming beyond words.  I have prepared you in every way possible, my darling little niece … Are you ready to do this without me because the moment I unlock this part of you, I must return to your aunt so that she may prepare for what is to come.”

Sora brushed back her copper hair, releasing a low groan.  “I don’t want you to go … but I get it.  Just … will things work out with resurrecting grandma and … and everyone?”

Inari slowly shook her head.  “Hopefully … yet not likely.  Whenever dealing with so many colossal forces, there is always the chance of one thing spiraling all plans out of control, but I have tried diligently to make this happen … It all depends on how your aunt responds once I unite with her, bringing everything I’ve done and learned.”

“Mmh,” Sora’s gaze fell to the floor, thinking about the little snake goddess they’d helped to emotionally recover.  “Didn’t Qebhet give her a lot of information when you sent her to find my aunt?”

“A good amount, but much has changed from what we learned after … Nilly, and especially all Loral revealed.  I knew a little about a tiny piece of Tsukuyomi’s essence being brought here by Nephesh but not his purpose—it should have been impossible after what I did to him, yet … my mother was known to scoff at the impossible, and such is the magic she left.”

“Okay … And Mofupsi with the whole servant stuff?”

Her aunt chortled.  “The Vulpes is quite young.”

“To you, everyone’s young,” Sora mumbled.

“True,” Inari smirked, leaning a little to the left of her chair.  “Her natural growth through talent and raw practice was accelerated by her environment, yet she only has what would have been seen as the bare minimum of education in this Realm’s distant past … Niomie made sure none of the Vulpes could hope to catch up to her out of fear.  She will be happy with you and will, in a way, be my replacement—for a time.  She will be your first follower…”

She created an image of her Kitsune.  “You see, the problem will come the moment Mofupsi relinquishes her power as a member of the Council to follow you—she will age and die within a week without its regenerative properties; it was designed with the purpose of not granting immortality since that was a test my mother left for the Vulpes to discover.  If they desired life eternal, they would need to learn the cost of such magic before performing it.”

“But … I have to do that for Mofupsi if she’s going to live?”

Inari shook her head, turning the Kitsune around for her to transform into the yellow-furred Vulpes; her hair slowly faded from yellow to a rugged red.  “She is a Nogitsune by birth, and I suspect she enjoys being blonde, which you can accommodate, if you like—your Aunt Nari would approve.  My Kitsune tend to enjoy the white symbol they represent, but any color will do.  You just need to provide a similar effect as the charm she’s bound to.”

Sora scratched her temple.  “Am I strong enough?  That seems pretty advanced.”

“He-he-he, no, Sora, it is not difficult for us.  You see, the issue Vulpes like Hikaru have with developing these types of weaves is simple—True Vulpes Magic, which is why he steals the gifts I grant his former brothers and sisters, transferring them to others or himself while tampering with the weave—he’s grown quite addicted to the debauchery the ritual creates within the handler.”

She rose, motioning for Sora to do the same.  Directing her attention to Mofupsi’s tails, she folded her hands behind her back.  “Now, can you tell me which was her first tail?”

“No,” Sora flatly stated.  “They all look the same.”

 “It’s in their flow of spiritual energy.  Focus, and you’ll find the number of each is indicated in how quickly the force is moving.”

Leaning left and right as she dodged the weaving tails, Sora discovered what her aunt was trying to show her.  “Oh … this one,” she smiled, reaching out to gently stroke the soft fur; the illusion didn’t react, which was disappointing, but she suspected Inari made it that way to not distract her.

“Good.  You have phenomenal power, Sora, and what you are lacking is the knowledge on how to utilize it; make no mistake, you will need to overpower Mofupsi, not out-skill her.  In addition, you can do something I cannot … grant your father’s powers to your followers.”

“What?!  You’re joking.”  Sora smiled.  “You mean, she can become even stronger than me when I empower her because … well, because I’m empowered?”

“Yes.  Although how that power will manifest is utterly beyond me at this point—It’s so unusual and potent that it leaves me speechless.  However, I suspect the base element is very similar to your mother’s specialty … fire … energy that radiates an unbelievable amount of accelerating force.  I have no idea how these two genetic powers will fuse, but you will temporarily receive the force required to subdue Mofupsi.  Act quickly when you transcend.”

Sora’s mind flashed back to the last day of her Vulpes transformation.  “I see … like when I gained all nine of my tails before it was locked away?”

“Precisely.  Now, let’s move back to creating your first follower … seed the desire into her first tail to empower her with your own little genetic powers and to slow her aging to a near standstill.”

Weaving the magic with her desire, Sora was a bit stunned as the test was completed.  “Eh … if I did that, I’d be down for like a week!  It would completely drain my energy.”

“As you are, yes,” her aunt winked.

“Ah … okay, yeah, I’ll be stronger.”

“Which will?”  her aunt asked with a wry grin.

“Which will … Ugh, drain me hard still because I’m not just doing it with my Vulpes side but my dad’s, too.”

“Mhm!  Still, it shouldn’t be nearly as bad as before, and you can mitigate the use of your own magic through the Realm Core.”  Inari’s face softened.  “It will also save another lost little fox, my little overly-caring niece—when you leave this Realm, you must say goodbye to a few of the friends you’ve made.”

“Wait!  What?  Who?”  Sora asked, mind flashing between everyone she’d brought with her.  “Not Kari, Wendy, Eyia, or … is it Jin … it couldn’t be … please, don’t tell me it’s Emilia!  I haven’t even had the chance to be a mother!”  she asked in a panic.

“No, of course, it’s not Emilia.  Still … you gain some and lose others, Sora, and such is the life we live … you will not see them again.  Your life is too long and theirs short—make peace with that fact and that not everyone wishes for immortality.  Life—and death are very different adventures.”

Sora scratched her arm while dropping into her chair.  “I … guess I haven’t really had the chance to even spend much time with anyone.”  She bent over to rest her elbows on her knees, her copper hair veiling her face.  “I wanted to spend more time with some of them … sacrifices, I suppose,” she whispered, “and I guess I’ll have others to learn about, too.”

A loud groan rumbled in her throat as she sat back, combing her locks to the side while flicking her tails in annoyance.  “It feels like years since we were kidnapped from Miami by that shady organization … my life’s such a mess.”

“It really has been,” Inari mused, smoothly retaking her seat.

“Huh…”  She stretched her arms out.  “You know, even if it’s been bad … so much good has come from it, too … Just look at Kari!  She’s healing, and I can feel it—we’re becoming closer friends every day.”

Guilt suddenly tainted her heart as she leaned against the chair’s arm, tucking her legs under.  “I have been pretty distant to Wendy … I bet she’s been feeling kind of abandoned by me, too—playing second fiddle to Kari and Emilia.”

Her aunt gave her an understanding look.  “Before judging yourself harshly, talk to her about it.  Now, I must prepare myself, Sora—you have learned everything you need from me, and now, Mofupsi can become your temporary tutor to help advance you to her own league.  Listen to her because she will have helpful advice, and so will Eyia, Jin, Kari, and Wendy.  You are blazing the trail for your daughter to follow—be a light to her.”

Inari’s lips brightened while getting to her feet and holding out her arms.  “One last hug?”

Sora’s heart burned as she jumped up and ran into her aunt’s soft yet strong arms.  “I love you … Thank you—I know it kind of hurts you and my mom, probably, but … but you really have been the mother I’ve always wished I had.”

The woman that had guided her through the roughest parts of her life stroked her hair, fingers sliding through her locks.  “It does hurt, Sora … and to me, feels somewhat unfair for your mother’s situation, yet I understand, and so does she.  I love you more than life itself … And I can say that without hesitation, my lovely niece.  Now, be the beautiful, amazing, little Vulpes you are, and touch fate with your caring hands.”

Mixed feelings filled Sora’s breast as her aunt vanished in her arms, and she stood there for a minute, wearing a sad smile.  “… Thank you, Aunt Inari.”

Steeling her heart, she prepared herself to face Mofupsi, and thereby, change her fate for the better—she’d make sure of it.

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10 Chapters ahead in A Tail’s Misfortune.

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A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Twenty-Seven: Acceptance
A Tail’s Misfortune — V4 – Chapter Twenty-Nine: Dad Brings The Heat