B4 — 40. The Journey Forward

POV

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

Recap

We met the one pulling the strings behind the scene; Anansi, or at least his physical form.  A creature presumably of an area outside of their Existence, Amy, Sora’s grandmother, seemed to know him.  Nilly did her best to save the day, but she wasn’t strong enough, and it seemed the creature had some means to suppress Frankenstein’s method of bringing Nilly’s fragmented pieces together to regain her strength.

In the end, we got to see a rather imperial First Generation Founder of the Vulpes as she ‘allowed’ herself to be taken by the fiend.  For the first time since we’ve met Inari, the goddess seemed at a loss, frustrated, and powerless.  Now, we need to find out what to do to move forward.  Let’s go!

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Sora blinked as Aiden dropped a bombshell on her; everyone had a similar response, except for her aunt Inari.

The white-furred Vulpes cupped her cheek, orange irises sliding to the left to stare at the empty space.  “Hmm … Are you positive, Aiden?  Making such a bold promise could cause consequences that will be challenging for you in the future.”

Emilia’s big ears tilted left and right while hugging Nari’s small, sleeping form against her chest.  “Why?  Can’t Mom just tell him he doesn’t have to do the promise thing?”

Pulling around her flaming hair, Sora floated up to sit in the air, crossing her legs to study Aiden’s determined expression.  “I don’t think that’s what she’s getting at, Emi.”

Kari growled, and Aiden shifted to look at her as the wolf-girl closed the distance, folding her arms.  “Why would you after everything Eric put you through?  You didn’t think he’d change like that, and a promise is very different to you.”

Sora could feel the concern in her new friend’s voice, which showed growth in her eyes.  Wendy was about to jump in on Kari’s tail to defend Sora but paused as she continued.

Kari turned a small smile to her, left eye narrowing a tad.  “Not that I’m saying you’ll turn out like Eric—I’m just saying, look where Eric’s choker got him.”

“Yeah,” Wendy muttered, hands tightening at her front and pressing down on her pleated knee-length skirt.  “I can’t see Sora ever being like that guy!  If anything, I think Sora’s too caring … Think about yourself sometimes,” she huffed, leveling a glare at her.

Eyia’s lips tightened, seeming to pose a different opinion, yet she chose to keep it to herself given her current fragile mental state.  Sora would have pursued it had not everyone else kept piling into the conversation.

Mary and Nathan gave each other concerned looks before settling on the adamant Firebird.

The former Police lieutenant sighed, running his hand through his hair.  “Yo, Aiden, I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life, but doesn’t that mean you’re kind of tying yourself to Sora again?  Didn’t we talk about you spreading your wings and doing this your way?”

“He’s right,” Mary nodded, one arm under her bust while her other gripped her left shoulder.  “I know it feels like you’re making your own decision right now by pledging yourself to bring Sora’s family together, but in reality, you’re falling into the same cycle as before.”

Aiden took a deep breath before forcing it out, grasping the back of his head with both hands.  “Gah, I mean, all I want is to correct my mistakes … My whole life has been nothing but mistakes.  How can I do that if I don’t tackle them one at a time?”

Sora chuckled, pulling his brown eyes.  “I know you want to help me, Aiden,” she said, glancing around at every ally she’d gained from being tethered to Eric’s desires, “but look at what I now have because of that … I have a cute daughter.”

“I’m cute?”  Emilia asked, big eyes widening further as her eight tails wagged back and forth; you couldn’t tell who was the niece or aunt by Nari’s adorably small and young body held against her chest.  “I can’t wait to get to know everyone in our family!”

Continuing on, Sora gestured to each person around the circle, bypassing Jian and Fen.  “My aunts are alive again—my grandma’s alive.  Kari and I would have never met, and look at us now.  Wendy’s gotten away from her abusive mother.”

Wendy nodded, eyes sparkling with excitement.  “Yeah, and apparently, I’m going to get some kind of powers or stuff, too!”

“Mhm!”  Sora grinned.  “I have Eyia, my self-appointed sister,” she leveled a disapproving glare at the disparaging Valkyrie, her pained blue eyes on the floor, “that’s always too hard on herself!  Geez, you’re not perfect, Eyia, and how could I not forgive whatever you’ve done after how many times you’ve saved me?”

Eyia shivered, which was a first for Sora, considering it was usually the hyper-confident girl that made everyone feel the chill.  “I have caused a vulnerability that would have me executed on Asgard … I was careless and weak.”

This time, Sora called her main chakram to close around the tail-end of her long flaming hair to form it into a low ponytail.  Creating a copy to hover above Eyia, she curved the pressure of her Null-Void to mold the girl’s wild blonde locks to flow backward and closed the replica around the ends of her brushed out hair in an identical fashion to her own.

Everyone watched with a wry smile but Eyia herself, worried eyes looking up at her.  “Another gift, Si—I cannot accept such…”

“Nonsense!”  Sora scolded, cutting her off; she didn’t miss the skipping of her usual sister ending.  “A gift is meant to be received without the expectation of reward.  Right?  I don’t care what you did, Sister,” she added, putting emphasis on the words.  “All I care about is that you’re alive and well.”

She winked, directing Eyia’s focus to Kari.  “If I really felt like you needed to atone, or whatever, I’d tell you your punishment was to be nicer to Kari, but I’m not that cruel,” she laughed, catching Eyia’s face draining of color and Kari’s wry smirk.  “I can’t make you like someone.”

“Right?”  Kari mused, shifting her hips in the opposite direction.  “I’m cool with her hating me—not like I hate her, but who do you think you’re talking to … I hate just about every Fenris Wolf myself!  At least we got that in common.”

Eyia hesitantly reached back to pull around her bound hair; Jin seemed lost in her own thoughts, still focused on the spot Anansi had stood.

“I … am uncertain about many things … Sister,” she finally muttered, wearing a conflicted smile while looking at the small chakram binding her locks in place.  “I ask for patience as I sort them out.”

Aidan followed the conversations, a slight frown on his lips.  “I know a lot of good has come from this, but…”

Sora tapped the Null-Void red fabric of the dress covering her long legs.  “Mhm, I know, Aiden … There’ve been a lot of terrible things that have happened to us—to so many people to get here, but it hasn’t all been bad.  I think you need to focus on more of the positive parts—heh, kind of like Thanksgiving—count your many blessings.”

A toothy grin parted her lips.  “Look at the bright side; without all of the bad, you wouldn’t have met this stunning fox girl!”

Aiden chucked with most of the others.

“I can never tell when you’re joking or not sometimes,” Aiden sighed.

“Aren’t I amazing?”  Sora asked, feeling more confident than ever after awakening her father’s side.  “In any case, I release you from that promise.”

Inari hummed, hands wrapped in her sleeves while stepping forward.  “It’s not so simple.  The person holding the key to a Son of Homa’s word is only half of the equation.”

Her soft smile shifted to the boy.  “Your ancestor was really quite troublesome, Aiden.  You hold the power to give someone a key to the chest within your heart; the promise you locked inside that box will persist even after death, and yes, Homa’s powers are still affecting the scope of our Existence, only in much less predictable methods than normal since we learned it changes upon their end.”

A nervous lump dropped down Aiden’s throat.  “What do I need to do?”

Inari gestured to Sora.  “You gave Sora the key, and she can give it back, but it is you that must unseal the promise by opening the box.  In short, you must do something that no son or daughter of Homa has been able to accomplish—live without being bound to a master.  I cannot say what abilities you will develop by keeping your powers to yourself, but I have my suspicions.”

The ancient fox’s eyes creased mysteriously.  “In fact, I suspect your goals have already been met by this very conversation.  You affect more than you know.”

Jin suddenly perked up, a dubious grin splitting her lips.  “All of this business aside, and speaking about chokers—he-he-he, what’s the deal with that Mofupsi chick, huh?  Got yourself a little pet fox now, Sora?  And here I was wondering when you’d stop bringing home strays!”

Sora tried to ignore the comment; that her mind went to chokers when going through Aiden’s inner struggle told Sora the Dragon’s thoughts were on very different subjects from everyone else.  Although, Fen, Jian, Ashley, and Loral appeared to be in their own little worlds, as well.

Honestly, she still wasn’t sure how to deal with the broken former councilwoman.  “They’re right, Aiden.  I don’t think you really need to make that promise.  If you want to help me get my family back together, then do it without trying to manipulate fate or whatever—do it by being my friend and supporting me.”

A light blush darkened Aiden’s cheeks as he rubbed the side of his neck, chuckling softly.  “Well, I guess you’ve grown a lot since I first met you … Maybe I do need to take responsibility another way.  Hmm … thanks, Sora.  Yeah, okay, I’ll think about it and get back to you.”

Leaning forward while turning her attention to Jin, Sora groaned.  “Now … What should I do with Mofupsi?  Aunt Inari, won’t all of the former council shrivel up like old ladies and die?”

 Loral laughed at the comment.  “What a way to phrase it … Yes, now that the City Core has been destroyed, a great many problems will start occurring.  Mainly, every one from the districts are now free to roam.  Additionally, the supportive magic helping the Vulpes around the world to survive has collapsed—most are in the process of dying as we speak.”

Sora’s rings chilled, vision darting to the ceiling.  “Wait … You’re saying billions of Vulpes are dying right now because…”

Inari lifted a reassuring hand.  “You remember Qebhet, Sora?”

Mary’s eyes lit up.  “Qebhet!  That little—heh, well, not so little snake goddess … Umm, Inari…”  The woman’s face twisted with horror.

“Zeri is fine,” Inari soothed.  “The little Vulpes boy is safe in the Tower; I transported him there when I discovered things would escalate.  As to the dying Vulpes, Qebhet is purifying and restoring their spirits to acceptable health while denying any attempts Bathin made to enter with the Fenris Brothers.”

The woman put a hand on her breast, breathing a sigh of relief.  “Thank you, Inari—I hate to think of what those unstable fox ladies would have done to that innocent boy.  Right, what about the council?”

Ashley cleared her throat; her focus had been entirely focused on the two resting Vulpes.  “What about your sisters, Inari?  How is this change going to affect them, and how will they interact with Sora?  I can’t see them being like you from what I saw.”

Mary hissed, following the former reporter’s gaze.  “Mmh, yes, I’ve been so focused on all the other issues I haven’t even considered their mental state.  How will they take the current events; their minds are still back in a time of peace—before that great war, right?”

Sora and Emilia listened intently as Inari’s expression pacified, orange eyes slowly shifting to examine her two sleeping sisters.  “Nari and Seiōbo are going to have a very rough time adapting; both of them will be able to pull from Existence memories unique to them that only they can access … Consider it like encrypted information embedded into the fabric of reality.  It will confuse and agitate them.”

“Can I do that too?”  Sora asked, watching her daughter’s arms tightened around Nari’s stomach; she didn’t want to let go of what appeared to her as the nearest Vulpes to her own age, even if Sora was far closer.

Her aunt shook her head.  “Nari and Seiōbo grew up in a very different world and had access to methods of training you are not.  It was common for us to learn things from other Founders; we studied and honed our magic in many ways that can’t be replicated today—we were purer and more united in those days.”

Ashley’s sad eyes lingered on the two resurrected women.  “So … they won’t experience the same life you did, which will make them feel disconnected to Mia and you.”

Inari moved over to brush back the black bangs of her younger sister, rubbing the side of her left ear.  “I need to leave them in your care, Sora.”

Sora’s eyes widened.  “Huh?  What do you mean?”

“No, Mom!”  Emilia squealed with excitement.  “That’s amazing!  We’ll get to learn more about Aunt Nari and Seiōbo!”

Inari’s lips tightened.  “Their Intelligence, spirit, and body are still in flux from the connection, and Sora, you are the purifying force—or I should say, Gloria’s power within you is the purifying force that is helping to stabilize them.”

A wry smile lifted her cheeks; it didn’t touch her eyes, though.  “To be honest, heh, they’re not going to be all that helpful in the short term and might even cause problems.  They may be older than all of you—well, most of you,” she whispered, vision shifting to Jin and Eyia.

“They have a very divergent mind state.  Our mother’s capture by a Third Generation Tanuki, Tsukuyomi’s actions against her, and his children’s manipulations that killed them are going to be … quite challenging for them to swallow,” Inari’s tails gave a short shiver.  “It was hard for me at the time, and I can only imagine how they will feel, having played with the girls and boys that killed them only days ago in their minds.”

Nathan sucked in air through his teeth.  “Yeah—Yeah, I can see that.  So … Does that mean you’ll be leaving Sora again?”

Inari turned to face her, and this time, a genuine smirk lifted her features.  “He-he, Nathan, you’ll be on your own path soon enough, and my niece has grown powerful enough to stand on her own.”

Sora brought her leg back around to straighten as her aunt floated up to embrace her; the woman’s soft breasts pressed against hers, and she felt the warmth radiating from Inari’s body as an internal voice whispered to her Core—time slowed while Inari quickened them, and in the next moment, they were back in her sanctuary.

Blinking, Sora’s eyes snapped to the various pillows and unusual bobbles that decorated the walls and small, ornate tables.  “Umm … Okay, spirit me away, why don’t you,” she giggled.

Inari motioned for her to sit.  “A necessary action … If I didn’t bring you here, I wouldn’t have the control nor time to tell you what I wanted.”

All response vanished in Sora’s mind as a red-furred nine-tailed Vulpes appeared out of flames beside her aunt.  “I … Mom?”  she muttered, ears falling back in stunned realization; the words came naturally to her lips.

Her mother’s freckled cheeks lifted with an embarrassed smile as she wrapped her tails around to press against her front.  “Hello, honey, umm … I’m sorry—I asked your aunt to do this for me … It’s the only way I can spend at least a bit of time with you.”

“Mia,” Inari snickered, leaning over to nudge her side, “what are you doing?  Hug your daughter already, and stop being so stand-offish; she forgave you!”

Tears came to Sora’s eyes as she stood frozen in place; her aunt’s words resonated in her breast.  “I did,” she whispered in disbelief.  Goosebumps cascaded down her arms, three flaming tails easing as the warmth she felt for her mother vibrated around the inner segment of her chakram.  “Mom … I love you.”

“Oh, Sora,” Mia’s eyes grew with emotion, liquid falling down her cheeks as she stepped forward and wrapped her in her arms; her nine tails wrapped around Sora’s body to press against her chakram.  “I can’t wait to be with Emilia, Nari, Seiōbo, and you—to meet Wendy, Eyia, and Kari … to be a part of your life.”

Sora squeezed her mother’s back, heart practically on fire after finally having the opportunity to embrace her mom—all the gashes Kari’s girls made over the years about her being an orphan fizzled away; she had a mother, and she loved her with every fiber of her being.

Inari lifted the pillows off the ground to section them around the raised dais, gesturing for them to join her in a short triangle.  “The reason I must leave you, Sora, is that I must prepare in whatever manner I can—gather whoever I can to prepare for the war that is to come.  You will be a part of that fateful conflict and bring together your own unique party.”

Finding her mother’s hand and wrapping her three tails around her mother’s nine, Sora moved to the platform to join her aunt; she chuckled as Mia gave her sister’s mischievous eyes a light glare while lifting the free cushions to be closer together so the two of them could sit together.

Sora giggled, knowing Inari did it on purpose.  “So, we’ll be going down different paths but ending up at the same destination?”

“Precisely,” her aunt said, fingers resting smoothly in her lap.  “Your mother has been keeping a tiny pocket within the fabric of Existence from collapsing while you grew; it allowed her to accomplish her vow and watch you develop into the lovely woman you are becoming.”

“Woman?”  Sora mused.  “I’m still only sixteen.”

“Mmh,” Mia squeezed her hand, pride in her eyes, “while in body, yes, but in mind and experience, you are developing at a much faster rate.  You’ve had to out of necessity, which could be seen as a failure on my part as your mother, yet is also a testament to your power of will.”

Sliding her free hand through her hair, Sora chuckled; she didn’t even have to protect her mother and aunt from her Null-Void, which helped her focus on the moment.  “I guess.  I can’t see myself ever going back to how I was before … There’s so much that happened, and so many people rely on me now.  So … Where are we going to go?  Can I see you again, Mom?  Emilia would faint if she got the chance to hug you.” 

Laughter shook her mother’s chest.  “Yes, she seems like a very emotional child; it’s going to make her magical development a bit challenging in some areas while easier in others.”

Her emerald irises darted to her sister.  “Inari is going to help me fulfill my promises—they were made to have you and provide enough protection to keep most eyes away from you.”

Sora smirked.  “A lot of help they were.”

“Eh-heh, yes,” Mia muttered, lightly scratching her temple, “well, Aiden certainly was a surprise to everyone.  However, that doesn’t change my vow or the aid that was provided in the background.  Tell Emilia to be patient; just as you had issues when meeting your aunt, if I were to meet your daughter now, there would be complications.”

Eyebrows furrowing, Sora’s gaze drifted to her aunt.  “But … You’ve been around Emilia?”

“Mmh,” Inari nodded, “I have, yet it was my magic that guided her Intelligence’s evolution through your lingering metamorphosis.  Therefore, my presence is an exception.”

“Stupid rules,” Sora sighed, knowing her daughter would likely cry at the news but deserved to know the conditions of seeing her grandma.  “Do you know when we’ll be able to meet again?”

Her mother and aunt shook their heads.

“Unfortunately,” Mia whispered, eyes hardening, “there are very concerning prospects your aunt and I must deal with.  Considering the unknowns we’re facing … There is a possibility that your grandmother could oppose us—against her will … Tsukuyomi, as well, which poses many challenges we must plan for.”

A knot formed in Sora’s gut, twitch vibrating through her rings upon remembering the look her grandmother gave Anansi.  Mia’s hand tightened around her fingers as a quiver ran through her spine and tails, pressing into her mother’s.  “Just thinking about how she reacted to him—it was even more frightening than The Herald of Sakura’s presence.”

It felt like her mind was dipped into silence as the menacing presence of The Herald returned, and the woman stepped out of a crack in space, wearing an amused smile.  “I was mentioned?  Ah, Mia, Inari, so it is time for our little power trio to collude?  How exciting!”

Sora’s focus slowly slid to the smiling blonde, holding her parasol in front of her with both hands.  “Power … trio?”

The blonde’s head tilted with her mouth, eyes creasing a little.  “Your mother and aunt need help to break into the 13th Dimension, dear.  I’ve been contracted to aid their little spat; I actually did it at a discount, if you believe it!”  she giggled, a paper fan appearing in her left hand as it left the umbrella to spread the object to hide her lips.  “Sakura has her own issues with their opposition.”

A sad laugh passed through her mother’s frame.  “Our mother would be shocked to find us working together.”

The Herald’s monstrous, mysterious smiling eyes centered on her mother.  “You might be shocked … Congratulations, by the way!”  she chimed, snapping the fan to give them a toothy grin.  “I am looking forward to conversing with your mother again; she has quite the devious mind, the cunning fox!  Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Sora was a bit confused as the woman’s fan vanished, and she brought her parasol up to open it indoors, resting it against her shoulder with a thoughtful expression.  It was the next muse that struck Sora’s mind.  “It makes sense why you’d compare us; after all, this presence I carry stems from your grandmother’s cancerous plague that she unleashed against the Primordials—I was their answer to the epidemic.”

Inari released a long sigh, weary gaze on the terrifying figure as her powerful runes illuminated around the room and across her body.  “Sora, allow me to introduce you to our new partner in crime … Pandora.”

The evil presence Pandora exuded multiplied, fissures in the spiritual plane cracking open to show devilish eyes, but her aunt and mother’s radiating power, mixed with her Null-Void cloak, helped to mitigate the effects as the woman laughed.  “Don’t get too bold, my lovelies,” her eyes narrowed with delight, “the slightest nudge could open the box, and I can’t control what your mother’s little creations will do.”

“Grandma … created those?”  Sora asked, finding it difficult to breathe; she couldn’t see what the numberless eyes of various sizes were connected to, yet whatever it was far exceeded the nightmare they used to bring back her family.

“It was a desperate time,” Mia whispered.  “Including Nilly’s final sacrifice that fractured her essence across all of Existence.”

Pandora lifted an eyebrow.  “Tragically, I wasn’t crafted at the time, and anything before that is blackness to me.  Now, heh, don’t mind me; go about your farewells while I bask in Inari’s marvelous interior design,” she said, shattering like intangible glass before them.

Sora could still feel her presence in the courtyard, but the gaps in reality slowly started to close as the eyes grew sleepy and eased shut.  Once they were gone, relief radiated from her chakram.  “So … You three are going on your own journey?”

“Of sorts,” Inari said, a smile returning while staring around at the magic being invoked to protect her.  “The Herald—well, Sakura, her master, is a neutral party and has been since the middle of the Great War, since breaking away from the Primordials.  She can be swayed to either side, depending on the situation, and it so happens our goals align at this point.”

Mia leaned over to hug her again.  “Your Aunt Seiōbo and even Nari are far stronger than all of you, but they’ll realize they need to be close to you, Sora.  Inari has left them an instruction manual, of sorts … Not that either of them will fully read it,” she sighed.

“They will do their own things, but there are ways to get them to help you; we will be protecting them from their past enemies.  Be patient with your aunts—they’ve had a rough revival.”

Sora’s cheeks puffed up as she expelled a heavy stream of air.  “That’s what Aunt Inari said … Eh, heh, I just have to ask … How bad of an influence will they be on Emilia?”  she groaned.

Inari gave a light, unhelpful shrug.  “We can’t … be sure, if we are being honest.  Their turbulent mental and emotional state is chaos itself.”

Her mother pulled back to look into her eyes, showing hope.  “For Emilia, watch out for your Aunt Nari; she’s in a time of her life where she was getting the most fun out of pulling pranks … pranks that were harmless to the crowd we grew up around but those around you … Mmh…”

“An example?”  Sora pressed, lips tightening.  “I can handle some fun—I’d likely join in, but how bad are we talking?”

Inari combed back her hair.  “Mmh-hmm-hmm … Turning people into plants, giving artificial life to inanimate objects that could eat you, transporting you to a pocket dimension of her design … She was a wildcard, expressing herself in unusual ways.”

“Wonderful,” Sora sighed.  “Well, I guess Emilia will get to learn how to reverse her tricks, which will help us—I suppose.  What about Aunt Seiōbo?”

Her mother shivered.  “Gah, just remembering that mean phase of hers makes me angry.  Seiōbo is at a point where she was trying to be different than us—colder, and … Yeah, she’ll mostly keep to herself, I think, but it’s really just an act, hiding her insecurities toward Inari and the other Second Generation Founders.”

Inari popped her tongue, displaying a hint of agitation.  “She’ll want your attention while pretending she doesn’t—then she’ll get angry you didn’t show it to her.  Feel out the situation; Seiōbo can only handle isolation for so long before she needs to attach herself to someone or something.”

“Noted,” Sora replied, putting steel in her gut; a smile illuminated her face.  “So, you send us back to the Tower, and we figure out what we’re all going to do from there?”

Mia’s arms pulled her in again, almost collapsing her Null-Void body by the sheer strength she exerted; it was a good thing Sora didn’t have to breathe.  “I will bring Jin here once I return you—a lot is going on behind the scenes you’re not aware of involving the Dragon.  Things will become clearer as you talk things over.”

“As for me,” Inari cracked her neck, long hair tilting left and right.  “I’m going to confront the Fenris Brothers to chase them off while your mother speaks with Jin.  Here…”

Sora watched her aunt unfold her fingers to produce a pulsing orb of intense power—Gong-Gong’s bead.  “My eyes are opening now, regarding Yìnglóng … I see why Nüwa was so patient with me, as well.  Amends will need to be made.”

Mia nodded, using magic to make it float beside them.  “Without a doubt, the Dragon Mother already knows, but we need to follow their customs … It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Nüwa.”

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Her aunt rose to her feet, the atmosphere brightening with her charged presence increasing for battle, but her mother’s call made her pause before leaving, “Inari … Thank you for giving me this time; I know it hasn’t been easy on you.”

A playful smirk lifted her sister’s lips.  “What is family for?”  Inari vanished in a pulse of light, leaving Sora with her mother; The Herald’s presence disappeared at the same time, likely changing locations to observe the fight in person.  

Sora looked into her mother’s loving eyes.  “Any final advice, Mom?”  she weakly asked.

“One,” her mother whispered, clasping her hands.  “Never forget that you can always find a measure of joy for laughter when things become challenging.  The grateful moments we share with those we love helps hope bud in our hearts and keep us on the proper path.  Smile, and be a light of fun and willpower for your struggling aunts; they’ll need both Emilia and you.”

“Of course,” Sora said, holding back her tears as they gave each other their parting embrace.  “Until we meet again.”

“Mmh … Until we meet again, my beautiful daughter … Be safe, and make wise decisions.”

Sora blinked, and she had returned to the physical plane; Jin seemed to have had her conversation with her mother already because she too looked a bit flustered.  Hair flaring a light red color before returning to black, the girl’s sudden agitated aura was replaced by a somewhat sad expression, and she plopped down on her butt, deep in thought.

Eyia, Kari, and Aiden noticed the Dragon’s split-second outburst, but everyone else was centered on their own troubles.  Fen and Jian had been paralyzed the entire time, seemingly stuck in some kind of mental loop they were fixated on.

All of that changed when Loral took the stage, and Sora noticed a sharp change in the battle threatening to spill into their dimension; her aunt had entered the frenzy, putting both brothers on the defensive.

“Ahem,” Loral clasped her hands against her stomach, “I’ll transport you back to the Tower; there are many things to discuss and prepare.  Be prepared; the Vulpes Council is not in the best frame of mind, given what has happened.”

Shaking out her muscles and flexing the tiny segmented parts that made up her chakram, Sora cleared her mind; it was time to make due on her promises.  Emilia as her proxy, she’d made her mind up with what to do about each member of the council.  “Let’s go.”


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