1. Emilia Moore (Sora’s Little Daughter!)
2. Tola (Our Very Confused Turquoise Councilwoman!)
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Emilia stretched out on her bed as the light stimulated her mind, rubbing against her mother’s soft belly. She cracked open an eye, turning as her mom groaned, still in her fox form for the first time through the entire night; she was so proud of her!
A giggle slid through her tiny body as her mom’s cold nose nuzzled against her left ear, paws pulling her in as if to tell her not to get up.
Settling in, Emilia breathed out a long stream of air, looking at the clock she’d made on Sunday to put on the wall; it was Tuesday, 6:23 A.M., which meant they still had a little bit before she needed to wake her up.
The Vulpes Realm had their own calendar system based on the colors of the rainbow, but it was more confusing than just naming them what she already knew.
Today was going to be fun; finally, it was time to decorate Rayla, Luna, and her houses. White and Tola would be helping them learn how to mold raw materials into functioning designs they could imagine and mentally picture.
There was an advanced course in infusing magic into items, but right now, they were still on the basic crafting stage, which meant they got to be creative! Plus, this gave her practice that would help her learn how to make more clothes by herself.
Life had been nothing but bliss since all the chaos had died down; her mother spent every day with her, she had friends and some fun teachers. As a bonus, her magic was becoming so much easier to control and weave.
Hot air puffed out of Emilia’s nose while remembering Loral manipulating her and telling her she wasn’t good enough to be her mother’s daughter.
Who’s bad now? I’m super talented, White and Tola tell me every day! I can make cookies now—all by myself—and we’re going to make brownies with nuts on Saturday. Ha, and I grew them all. I’m a good daughter; I make my mom sweets, and she loves them!
Time passed as she enjoyed her mother’s warmth until it finally became time to wake her mother up—this was a first—usually, she was the one being roused. “Mom, hehe, it’s time to get up! It’s 7:30; shower and breakfast time!”
“Mmgm … Is it morning already?” her mom grumbled, lifting her head for a moment and squinting at the brightening sky before her head sank back to the small pillow they shared. “Ugh. I’m still sore.”
“Ooh, hehe, you’re not healing as fast this time?” Emilia asked, getting up on all fours to move a little away and sit to look at her mom stretch like an old lady. “You okay?”
“Mmh-yeah … I was straining myself yesterday—then Kari came out of nowhere and slapped me on the head—I mean, really…”
Emilia’s smile became mischievous. “Wasn’t it you that said you were supposed to do surprise attacks, Mom—Auntie Kari was complaining about her side yesterday morning when she stopped by to collect lunch?”
“Yeah … I guess it was revenge, hehe … She got my Chakram good, though, oof, and she even found a spot with her claw—grrgh—she keeps hitting the same area. I swear it’s on purpose.”
“Next time, you’ll trick her with a decoy, right?”
“That’s the plan!” Her mother’s figure flared like fire for her human form to appear, arms reaching out to snatch her up and carry her to the showers, stroking her fur, which felt amazing. “What’s for breakfast today, huh?”
“Oh! Can we make French toast? We have everything!”
“Mmh, I haven’t had that in a long time; are we going to use the powdered sugar you made on Sunday?”
“Sounds good, and some berries—mmh, you aren’t going to trick me like yesterday and give me sour head berries?”
“Hehe, no, no, and I didn’t trick you—you just didn’t pay attention to the label!”
“I mean… you have so many different kinds of berries now.”
“Yeah, because they all have different flavors, Mom! You gotta know this stuff.”
“You’re right, heh, you’re right!”
Showering and dressed in her yellow dress that Tola had made her yesterday, Emilia helped her mom with the food before seeing her off when Kari, Aiden, and Liz arrived to have their group training. She was a big girl and could walk to Rayla and Luna’s house herself for their lessons since they were starting there!
She hummed a song Tola had taught her, looking around the bustling city; Emilia could already see Vulpes gathering in various areas to learn about farming or other magical feats that they wanted to go over.
The whole Vulpes Realm was going through a significant change as people were allowed to travel everywhere now, including some regions of the Great Tower. Certain special places were prohibited, and there were rules that Ms. Qebhet laid out, but everyone was happy, which Emilia loved to see.
She could fly to her friends’ house, but she had some time to enjoy the walk. Rayla and Luna were actually pretty good cooks since they helped bake things in the morning in their small town before her mother arrived in the Realm.
The Vulpes Realm was originally created by her great grandmother for research, learning, and a safe place for Vulpes across Existence.
She wasn’t quite sure about all the specifics since just this world seemed so big; something as big as Existence was just too vast for her to really think about at this point. Besides, she hadn’t even explored a sliver of the seven planets in the Vulpes Realm’s 1st 3-dimensional sphere.
White taught them yesterday that there were things called multiverses, or branches of initial events that occur at the beginning of a universes’ initial creation. Basically, he showed them a mirror, or the whole universe, and then shattered it into seven pieces to represent the seven parts that made up this universe.
It was more complicated since this was a Realm or a condensed 12th-dimensional sphere that had been absorbed by a 7th-dimensional universe—she wasn’t exactly sure how that worked—but currently, she was still learning about the ‘lower spheres’ of the Vulpes Realm.
Unlike Realms, which were artificially created by higher-powered beings, natural universes had a near-infinite amount of possibilities or little mirror slivers; it wasn’t really infinite, but it might as well be for most creatures who couldn’t grasp the higher concepts.
It all acted like a body; veins, blood flow, and tiny cells that had their own convoluted worlds. Emilia was still learning how to manipulate the spiritual and physical aspects of a 3rd-dimensional sphere, yet there were also far more advanced things she was studying regarding her own spirit and how it functioned since it was so important.
Things changed as you moved through Existence, but your spirit and personal powers would remain a constant, which White said meant it was the most important thing to understand.
Some of it cooked her brain, but the examples White used, like the mirror, helped give her something to relate it to. Tola said it would be like the city; at first, it was a little confusing to navigate the streets, but after a week, she’d gotten the area’s layout near her house.
She made it to her friends’ four-room residence with several minutes to spare before 8:30 A.M. The twins had a small kitchen, shower, bedroom, front room, and a guest bedroom if anyone they knew back in their town came to visit.
Emilia knocked on the door, holding her hands behind her back while shifting to the side to see groups of humans and Vulpes talking to one another, sharing their plans for the day. According to Tola, Qebhet was instructing the humans talented in magic to become teachers; she wasn’t the only one going to school.
The door swung open to one of the grinning black-furred twins, Rayla by her shorter hair. “Emi! Hey, come in; we’re getting everything ready for art class!”
“You’ve already pressed the flowers?” Emilia asked, eight tails swaying as she walked inside the hallway to follow Rayla to the front room.
“Mhm! Hehe! I’ve almost got a whole bucket.”
“I just finished mine,” Luna snickered, causing Rayla’s ears to fold back.
“No way—I was so ahead of you!”
“You thought you were!”
Smiling while jogging after the pair, Emilia giggled as the twins got competitive, Rayla refusing to lose to Luna; her younger sibling had a slight edge in wins.
“Here, let me help!”
Luna’s eyes lit up. “Oh, can you beat us, Emi? We have a whole bucket on you!”
“Heh,” she puffed up her small chest, “I’m the great Sora Moore’s daughter! I can make sugar cane and chocolate trees!”
The younger sibling put a finger to her mouth. “Isn’t it called Cacao trees?”
Rayla waved the correction off. “I like chocolate trees better. You ready, Emi—here’s your bucket!”
“Only one? Ho-ho-ho! You underestimate my power!”
“We will see, the Great Emilia, grower of plants and wavy, umm … what was it, Luna?”
“Yeah, wheat! ”Oh, we should make bread today—mmh, it tastes so fluffy and good!”
“Mhm! Mhm!” her sister nodded in agreement. “We have lots of flour.”
“Bread and butter for lunch!” Emilia cheered, causing the other two to follow. “Eh, we need vegetables and fruit, too—vegetables are the most important!”
A knock came at the door, causing them to drop what they were doing to rush to open it.
“White, Ms. Tola!” they cheered in unison.
White had a small smile on his face, right hand on his hip as his nine super long tails weaved to the right and away from Tola’s. “Morning, Girls! I heard we have bread and butter for lunch.”
Rayla nodded emphatically, practically drooling. “Mhm! I loved the taste!”
“Eh, White?” Luna asked, glancing at Emilia questioningly. “Umm, Emi said vegetables were the most important, but I’ve never heard that.”
“It totally is; my mom was taught it in school! Erm—v-vitochemicals?”
“Phytochemicals,” White said, walking in to join them in the front room. “For humans, vegetables are quite important for a healthy diet, yet for Vulpes, like us, we require many different types of spiritual nutrients that a plant-based diet doesn’t cover. In fact, an all-meat diet is more healthy for us since we can extract the lingering, more complex spiritual systems of the creatures involved.”
“Oh … b-but we can have bread?” Rayla pleaded.
“Of course we can,” White chuckled, rubbing her head as she squealed for joy. “Oh, you’ve been busy!”
Luna rushed forward to present her bucket of red paint that had been extracted from the flowers they’d gathered the day before. “Look! Rayla and I have been practicing.”
Tola bent down to examine it with a smile. “My, you two are growing at such a rapid pace. You certainly are gifted. Also…” Pulling back her silky blue bangs, she turned her gaze to White. “I can’t say I’ve ever heard Vulpes nutrition be a taught subject or brought up.”
“Indeed, it is essential,” he said, glancing toward the twin’s kitchen. “The health of your three Core aspects is affected by your diet, including a balanced natural energy intake and the grade of force a universe has to offer.”
Rayla’s eyes widened. “Are we unhealthy?”
“I heard most of the Vulpes are,” Luna whispered, bringing around her single black tail to look at it. “Someone on the street was saying apparently if Vulpes don’t have black, gray, or red fur, they’re unhealthy … like Liz.”
“Poor Liz,” Emilia whispered, mentally picturing her pinkish fur. “Will she be okay, White?”
White’s magic encircled them, spacing out the products around them to give them room. “There are very few places in Existence that have a more balanced diet in energy and natural products than here—it was personally crafted by Lady Inari’s mother, after all. You needn’t concern yourself with that, though; Lady Qebhet has taken steps to restore the Core balance to both humans and Vulpes.”
He motioned toward the items they’d gathered, mostly wood, to be converted. “Are you ready to learn how to transmute?”
* * *
Sitting in the air a short distance away from White, Tola crossed her legs and smiled while watching him instruct the three excited kits; she couldn’t have guessed this would be where she was a month ago.
Her entire life—over thirty thousand years—had been dedicated to helping the Vulpes around the world and in her District. At that time, she felt so alone, which was so discouraging when she finally made it to the Council to find such apathy.
The other Council Members were only after their own personal interests, whether it be knowledge, power, or entertainment. It was then she finally understood the solemn smile her predecessors often wore … Sora’s appearance changed all of that.
A content, soft smile moved her lips as she watched the radiant Vulpes teach the impressionable youth; White was everything she’d hoped to find in the Council, and basking in his soothing glow felt more comforting than anything she’d ever experienced.
His welcoming scent, silky spiritual beats, caring touch, and his deep, strong voice held a cotton coating that made her ears want to twitch in delight. Just hearing his laughter while responding to the girls’ fervent questions heated her skin and quickened her pulse.
He’s so sincere and patient with them … Honestly, I don’t do much in these lessons, yet … for some reason, I don’t want to go. Emilia’s pleas for me to stay … I’m only helping her with clothing … my time could be spent so much better elsewhere…
Catching his gentle yellow eyes, the thoughts melted in Tola’s mind, air locking in her lungs as she lost herself in the gradient flecks of color the light cast on them.
As if a bubble popping, she blinked as he motioned to her. “Lady Tola, would you mind demonstrating how to transmute a canvas?”
Fingers finding her a-line, pleated brown ankle-length skirt, she fidgeted with it while trying to tame the unusual thoughts and feelings. “Of course … Do you girls recall the instruction White gave you on imagining it breaking into tiny workers and moving into the shape of what you want them to go into?”
“Mhm!” Emilia nodded, tails wagging with the twins as they focused on her.
“You just need to do that while weaving your magic … See?”
“Woah,” Rayla breathed, watching the block of wood shimmer and transform into a canvas with a wooden frame. “It’s so big—you could paint a person on it!”
Emilia clapped. “Yeah! We’ll paint each other! I’ll do Rayla and Luna—they can do me—and White!”
“Eh-heh, let me guess,” he looked at Tola, making her fingers tighten against her thighs, “I’ll be painting Lady Tola, and she will be doing me?”
“See! You know what I’m thinking—you two can give it to each other! Uh, we’re doing the mental image weaving stuff?”
Tola’s skin tingled at the prospect, the sensation cascading from her Core to her lower half to end at the tip of her nine tails. Why do I feel this way whenever Emilia has him give me something … I can’t think clearly sometimes. No … How will I picture him?
Gut tightening at the prospect, Tola hadn’t felt more unsure about something in all of her life. Why am I so hesitant? I don’t understand this!
Her mental paralysis ended as White ran his hand through his hair to scratch his right ear, folding it down and giving her a smile that tugged at her heart. “Well, if that’s what you decided, but why don’t we do something a bit more structured. What do you say?”
Emilia grinned, nodding emphatically. “Oh! There was this one painting my grandpa and mom had in his house that they loved; it was of Wendy and my mom dancing at Disney World’s parade. We should do one where we’re dancing—oh, Rayla and Luna can draw me with my mom—yeah, one of them could do me, and one does my mom!”
“Dancing?” Tola asked, saliva suddenly becoming sticky at just the thought of holding hands with the man as he led her in one of the festival dances.
What occurred during the celebrations of the past caused her face to steam a little; she’d never participated, seeing as she couldn’t allow her mental state to become hazed since she had so much work to do and being held up with a child for months would only impede her, yet it was hard not to see the results over the millennia it had been practiced.
There was a pleasure in it she didn’t understand, yet for some reason, those thoughts were now coming to the surface. W-Why am I thinking about such things … Why does it feel so different than it should … Sure, it can be used for pleasure, but it was always for the festival … Breathe … Why can’t I breathe!
“Ms. Tola?” Luna muttered.
Emilia stepped forward in confusion. “Woah, Ms. Tola!”
Spirit in a wild state of disorder from the images flooding her brain, the world spiraled as, for the first time in her life, Tola utterly lost control of her magic. Platform vanishing, she fell through, tails spreading out at random, her mind in a spiral in her mental collapse.
In the next second, strong arms closed around her back, pressure changing her direction, and her lips parted, yet she was unable to speak, tails twitching as they brushed against White’s kimono and muscular legs.
A warm, understanding smile moved his yellow eyes. “Girls, I’m afraid Tola may be unwell; why don’t we let her rest for a bit?”
“Is she okay?”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“Why isn’t she talking?”
“It’s fine, Girls,” White reassured, his deep and compassionate voice triggering another quiver from her as she centered on his touch. “I’ll take her to the guest room to rest; it’s just a spiritual reflux … It can happen to anyone. Tola just needs some time to correct her spiritual flow after it was reversed.”
What happened after was a whirlwind, and all she experienced was the firm, comforting influence of White’s radiant spiritual presence washing over her like a shower, soothing her sporadic Core as he carried her to the twins’ guest room to set her in bed.
She felt paralyzed, yet the apprehension in her excited heart was softening by the second, and after setting her on the mattress, White used his silk-like magic to position her hair before moving to the door.
There was a sadness she couldn’t quite grasp in the odd, magical moment that had utterly stunned her mind, body, and spirit. “Rest up, Tola. Tonight we can talk if you like … I’m sorry.”
He shut the door, the girls looking for more answers to what a spiritual reflux was and if she’d be okay. After several seconds, liquid came to her eyes, and she didn’t know why. Silent tears freely fell as she tried to understand the turbulence running through her hot body as trembles slid from her thighs to the tips of her tails.
Why am I breaking down out of nowhere … Why did he apologize? Those sensations hidden in his aura … Why do they make me so sad, and … why do I want to hold him and let him cry?
Struggling to come to terms with what she’d experienced, Tola began to regain control over her faculties, and the truth came to the surface. I want White to stay … even after these six months end … I want to be around him. He makes me feel like everything will be alright … I lose track of time, and the way he teaches … I learn new things.
She shifted to her side, legs curling a bit while using her magic to look through the walls at the four; they were finishing up their first painting exercise. Her throat caught when White’s smile lifted to look directly at her, sensing her weave.
Why would he stay? White is here for Lady Emilia, not to comfort me … yet I allowed such an embarrassing thing to happen…
Cheeks flushing again, Tola released the magic and rolled to her back to stare up at the ceiling, nine tails fanning out to hover at the edges of her vision. I stole his attention away from Lady Emilia today … I ruined her lesson. Should I even be here?
Her ears stood on end, puffy red eyes snapping to the door as a knock sounded; she hadn’t even noticed anyone approaching, mind locked in itself.
Clearing her throat, Tola took a deep breath and refreshed her appearance with her magic to scoot to the edge of the bed, adjusting her skirt and black blouse. “Sorry, come in.”
Emilia’s unsure head poked in, followed by Luna and Rayla.
“Ms. Tola … Are you feeling better?”
“Heh, yes, Lady Emilia … I apologize for the scare.”
“It’s okay … Umm, I wanted to give you something to get better—White helped us make it … Can we come in?”
“Of course,” Tola chuckled, trying to show them a smile.
Opening the door, Rayla and Luna carefully brought in a life-sized canvas; White leaned against the doorframe as they came in and turned it around for her to see.
Tola’s belly tightened, mind and body numbing as she stared at the large piece of art.
“Erm… ta-da,” Emilia smiled. “We thought it was so cool when White just teleported over and caught you—so we wanted to—heh, as the great painters say, capture the moment! See the golden hues and your tails as you look at each other.”
Her heart throbbed, seeing White’s understanding and reassuring expression in the piece, arms supporting her back and legs while his hand slid through her hair to keep her head up; she hadn’t even recalled the last part, but now, her scalp tingled just looking at it.
White puffed out a long breath. “The girls wanted to do something to cheer you up, and this is what they came up with.”
Emilia nodded emphatically, directing her to the painting again. “Yeah, White was like a knight, swooping in and catching the damsel before she fell! He was so cool! Right, Rayla, Luna?”
“Yeah! I was scared you were hurt!” Rayla mumbled, tears coming to her eyes, and Tola felt like crying, as well.
“I… don’t know what to say. Thank you, Lady Emilia, Luna, Rayla … I’m so sorry to make you worry.”
“Nuh-uh! We’re just happy you’re okay, Ms. Tola!” Emilia grinned. “Umm, White says we should let you rest more, so … do you want us to bring you in some bread and butter?”
Feeling like an utter failure as an assistant instructor, Tola bit back her inner emotions and chuckled. “That would be amazing, Girls.”
“Yay! Let’s get started!” Rayla chimed, rushing past White to the kitchen. “I’ll get the supplies out!”
“Rayla,” Emilia cried, “we need help moving this—uh, should we put it near the wall, eh, for now, Ms. Tola?”
“That … umm, yeah, that works. Thank you so much for thinking about me and giving me this precious gift.”
“Just use your magic to move it, Emi; I’m getting supplies out!”
“Ugh … okay…”
Luna snickered, helping Emilia with her weave to lift the massive canvas that barely fit through the door and place it against the wall.
“There! Okay, we’ll make that and bring you some warm buttery bread soon!”
“I look forward to it.”
The two ran off, leaving White in the doorway to follow them out with his eyes; after a second, his soft gaze shifted to her. “Don’t blame yourself, Tola … I’ll explain everything when Sora returns to take Emilia.”
“I…” She trailed off, hand raising to her breast to feel her thumping heart; she’d never felt so vulnerable. “Thank you for supporting me, White.”
“Always. Heh, I should go before Emilia comes and chases me off for not allowing you to rest.”
“Hehe, I suppose she is like that.”
“Hmm … Again, don’t blame yourself, Tola … It’s not you.”
He shut the door, leaving a new note of confusion in Tola’s heart.
It’s not me … What does he mean by that?
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