Something of an awkward silence took a hold of the room. Lone felt nervous. He had truly acted disgracefully towards these two children. It sickened him. He could blame the fact that he had entered a new world and was on edge, but Lone knew he'd be lying to himself.
The torture he put these two children through seriously haunted Lone ever since his encounter with Clicker and his later realisation of how mistaken his attitude had been. It was wrong, and he needed to make amends.
Lone stood up and slowly walked towards Lossa, Trella and Tiera. The two children averted their eyes. Trella, in particular, seemed frightened and his body shook like a leaf while he clenched his fists and grit his teeth.
Lossa looked slightly angered by the kids' behaviour. "Is this really the attitude a nine-tails deserves?! Apologise to Lone-ro immediately!"
Both Tiera and Trella's fox ears flopped down and complex expressions crossed their faces. Tiera was opening her mouth to do as she was told before getting interrupted by Lone.
"It's fine. They have every right to be scared of me," Lone said while raising his hand to stop any protests from Lossa. "What I did was cruel, and no child deserved such treatment."
Lone looked at the trembling Trella and Tiera and a caring smile spread across his face. He lowered his body and got on one knee so he was now at eye level with the children. "I know that no words can make up for my actions, but can you both please forgive me? If it's within my power, I'll do my best to fulfil any one wish you might have."
Lossa's jaw almost hit the floor. 'An-Anything?!'
The wily old fox immediately sent a telepathic message to Trella and Tierra. "Trella, as the future Patriarch, you need a strong guard to guarantee your safety until you're strong enough to defend the clan yourself. Ask Lone to fill this role. One-hundred years should suffice. Tiera, you ask him to use his unique healing abilities to reverse the negative effects of our awakenings on all of our members that have already, or will, awaken for at least one-hundred years."
The two twins looked shaken, but they both nodded slowly and Tiera began to speak. "Em, well, um, Mr Lone-ro, um, c-can you- um, er, what was I supposed to ask for again?" Tiera fumbled over her words out of terror and looked like she was about to cry while she looked at Lossa and asked this.
Lone frowned at this. The poor children were not only scared of him but apparently, they had been asked to request certain things from him using his apology favours as tools?
"Lossa," Lone called with anger quite clear in his voice.
'Stupid girl! Now she's ruined our chance to gain so much for so little... ' The beautiful Foxkin beamed a smile and replied to Lone. "Yes, Lone? Is something wrong?"
"Please leave us. I'd like to talk to the children alone, if that's not an issue," Lone's voice clearly stated that he would be talking to Trella and Tiera alone, regardless of Lossa's opinion.
Were it any other person saying this to the esteemed Elder of the Crimson Foxkin Clan, they might have been killed on the spot, or at the very least, given a beating. However, Lone's status was very special. He was a Golden Foxkin, not to mention the fact that he had awakened seven times, had nine tails and held the secret to preventing the ageing effects that crippled all beastkin after awakening.
"I'm sorry Lone-ro, but I'd like to be present while they decide on their wishes. These two are still cubs, and I would hate it if they wasted such a marvellous opportunity," Lossa tried to persuade. She still wanted to milk this chance for everything that it was worth. It was such a mindset that had kept the Crismon Foxkin Clan as the strongest Foxkin clan for centuries and as one of the few main members of the beastkin Alliance.
Lone's eyes turned cold. "I wasn't asking. Eolande, escort the Elder outside while I talk to Trella and Tiera. Also, please tell the guests waiting there that I won't be much longer."
Eolande's eyebrows rose. Lone was using her as a henchman now? Eolande chuckled lightly at this. "Of course, Husband."
Lossa's eyes violently trembled at this. ''Husband?' A Foxkin is married to a... I don't even know what she is... a Pixie sub-species?'
"Well, shall we go outside to meet the two Elves patiently waiting for us, Lossa? Please don't make me forcefully eject you. Husband tends to stick to his words, as stupid as they can get, so please," Eolande said with a playful grin on her charming face.
"Very well. I hope you weren't offended by what I said, Lone-ro. I'll wait outside until you are ready to hear about the Foxkin awakenings and other various things you might be curious about," Lossa calmly said with a bow.
Naturally, while being unable to see through Eolande's illusions, Lossa was also able to sense that Eolande's power didn't end at merely H-Rank. Her intuition told her that it would be best to drop the matter and simply do as Lone asked instead of worsening the situation. Her millennium of experience had taught her when to advance and when to retreat.
Lone nodded and the anger in his expression faded. He detested Lossa trying to take advantage of the rare moment of kindness he was showing to Trella and Tiera, but he was more than willing to forget it since Lossa was okay with leaving on his request even though she was stronger than him and held the title of the Elder of the Crimson Foxkin Clan.
After Lossa and Eolande had left, Lone looked at the nervous Foxkin children and smiled. His smile looked soothing and tender. Lone seemed like a teacher who was looking at his students whom he'd taught for several years and they had finally reaching fulfilled their dreams. Sophie had never seen Lone smile like that before and it sent her heart into a frenzy.
"Don't worry about going against Lossa. Please, ask me for anything you truly desire. If I can do it, I will. I'll talk to Lossa to make sure you don't get in trouble," Lone said with a gentle tone.
Trella looked hesitant and unsure if Lone's words were a trap of some sort. It had to be known that he had been tested all throughout his entire life. Even if he was a bit wild and foul-mouthed at times, he was still the future figurehead of the Crimson Foxkin Clan, so he had been taught to take everything with a few buckets of salt.
"I... um... er, well, Mr Lone-ro, wi-will you... um really g-give us anything?" Tiera mumbled bravely as she fought off her fears.
"Tiera! Don't fall for his sweet words! You remember what he did to me back in Milindo?! We can't trust him!" Trella roared before he stood in front of Tiera and threw his arms out, almost as if to protect her from Lone. "What do you really want, nine-tails?!"
"Brother! Stop it! W-What if he ca-can heal mother and father?!" Tiera shouted back.
Swivelling his head around to glare at Tiera, Trella retorted, "There's no way he can! Even the Dryads of Mount Kakrim can't heal them, and Lord Elksworth is only able to postpone their disease, so how could this monster ever heal them?!"
Apparently, Trella's anger had overcome his fear and he was now trying his best to simply protect his family, even at the cost of his own life. It was a foolish idea, but an endearing one, or so Lone thought.
'I really did go too far back then... for even a child to be so against anything I do... ' Lone was unsure of what to do in this situation.
He could almost certainly heal the twins' parents regardless of what they were afflicted with by recreating their bodies piece by piece like he had done with Breena, but he wasn't sure how to convince Trella of this.
"Please trust my Master. He is more than capable of doing what Tiera asked of him," Breena claimed as she walked up to Lone and stood at his side.
Trella looked at the masked Breena and scoffed. "Even if you're a three tails, who are you to tell me to believe this freak?! How can I entrust my parent's lives to someone like him?!" Hate was seething from almost every pore on Trella's body and it was clouding his vision and judgement.
"Trella," Breena said with some emotion laced in her voice. She slowly pulled down the mask of her assassin outfit to reveal her gorgeous and youthful face. "Even if I've forgotten most of my time in the clan, I could never lose my memories of the moments we spent together as cublings. Was I the only one who remembered?"
"... Bree-Bree?" Tiera said with an uncertain and shaky voice.
Breena slowly nodded her head. "It's me. I've returned." A dazzling smile found its way onto Breena lips and all of the negative emotions rolling off of Trella instantly dissipated. His arms flopped to his side and he was left dumbstruck. Breena Redtail, the fourth in line to the clan's leadership, had returned.
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