“Right so we need more… painkillers, chocolate, rice, canned tomatoes and what?” I asked Caser, my ears perking up for an answer.
They didn’t answer immediately, instead choosing to stare at my attentive fluffy ears.
“Oi! My eyes are down here thank you very much,” I said with a giggle.
“Right, sorry! They’re just fascinating! Damn they’re huge!” they said, dragging their gaze kicking and screaming to my face, “Right, yeah. Stuff we need. Milk and an extension cable.”
“I love that the first thing you packed was your desktop as you were running from your murderous ex-roommates,” I laughed, “Alright, extension cable for your battle station!”
“You know it! Okay we can go in the morning and grab the stuff,” they said, moving over to the couch they would be sleeping on.
“I think I might just go and grab it now,” I said, walking over to my shoes and beginning to slip them on.
“Ahhhh, Kalia that’s not a good idea. You’re a cute little fox girl now, if anyone was a target for assholes and stuff it would be you. I think it’s better to play safe and go when it’s light outside,” Caser warned me.
“I’ve been going toe to toe with the city’s top heroes recently! I can take some random thugs!” I said, striking a confident pose.
They stared at me for a while, clearly unsure about how my late night shopping trip would go, “Fine, but steer clear of poorly lit areas okay? Things are a lot more dangerous for a girl at night. Especially in a shithole city like Penrith.”
“You got it!” I said with a thumbs up.
“Stay safe please, I’d come with you if I wasn’t dead on my feet. I can’t compete with your weird nocturnal sleep schedule, like how do you still have so much energy after gaming for literally an entire day?” they asked, chuckling softly.
“I’m just that good! Now you get some rest sleepy head, I’ll go out and bring home the… oooohh we should get bacon too!” I exclaimed.
“So long as it’s the yummy meat kind, not the pepper spray and kicking kind,” Caser said with a wry smile.
“I mean, I’m not opposed to bringing home some guys who look vaguely like the part,” I said with a bite of my lip.
“Oh my god, get out the door you lewd little fox! Go! Buy stuff! Be safe!” they exclaimed, throwing their hands in the air in mock outrage.
“You got it boss!” I laughed, skipping to the door.
Once I was outside, I bumbled my way down the stairs in the poor lighting of the rundown apartment block we lived in. We! I was so happy to have Caser here. It was crazy how socially deprived I had been, and how badly it had been messing with my mood. They were a good friend, better than most I had made during my university and high school days.
We’d been playing games for most of the five days since we’d met Redd in Limbo, and I hadn’t really heard anything from the tall wolf woman. We’d given her Caser’s phone number since I didn’t actually have one, at least one that was connected to a network. So far the wolf had just told us that she was, “Working on it damnit, this shit takes time, fuck off and let me work.”
We’d hashed out all the details outside the bar where there was less ears. Redd was going to investigate Ms Clark, since she was our only lead into the strange happenings around Kelly’s death. Meanwhile, I was going to keep stealing shit to pay for her, and Caser was going to experiment more with their powers, since they had realised there was more than just self healing going on. They could feel plant matter like there was more to it, like they could manipulate it somehow. It was going to be interesting to see where things would take us over the next few weeks.
As my foot landed on the ground at the bottom of the stairs, I bumped into someone. Bouncing off a wide hard chest, I gasped at took a step back up the stairs. It was blondie. I’d just walked, face to chest, into blondie. Damn that guy was just always there when I was deep in thought.
“Damn, can you get some flashing lights hung on you or something? Don’t sneak around like that!” I grumbled.
“Or you could pay attention to your surroundings,” he laughed, “What are you doing going out late at night?”
“Just buying some groceries. A friend moved in with me and suddenly I need more food with more mouths in the apartment,” I told him, trying to move around his bulk.
“Need an escort? I’ve heard it can be dangerous out there at night,” he asked, moving to allow me past.
“Far out, you’re all too worried, the lot of you! I’ll be fine,” I said with an eye roll.
“Hmmm I don’t know. I just got back from somewhere, but if you need me to come along I’m more than fine with it,” he said with concern.
“Look, I know you’re more than fine, that jawline… anyway, I’m okay on my own, really! Just go home it’s okay,” I tried to reassure him.
“My jawline? What…? What about my-” he started, confused. He was interrupted by his phone beeping wildly, and he exclaimed, “Shit! Looks like I won’t be able to come with you after all, duty calls.”
“Yeah look, have a good one, I’m going to walk this way…” I said, sidling past as he squinted at his phone. What a strange man.
The air was especially cold tonight, and I was kicking myself for letting myself forget to properly layer up. I needed at least another layer or two under my jacket, and I could have done with some leggings under my jeans. Of course, I didn’t own leggings, and the number of garments I could layer with was pretty small. I had enough clothing to get by, but I had to wash frequently and my variety was lacking.
My feet crunched eerily in the fresh snow that had been dumped on the city the past few days, but I was lucky in that it had stopped snowing early this morning. Having the snow slowly melt in my hair was annoying!
I was just about two thirds of the way to the supermarket when I head a car that was pumping angry rap music pull up behind me. I thought nothing of it at first, until I heard a door open and raucous laughter flood out into the quiet night air.
“Hey girl! You look hot as, even under all those clothes! Want to come hang with us?” I heard a guy say confidently from behind me.
I looked back and saw a guy in a baseball cap and low slung pants heading towards me, his friends jabbering away from the car as they watched.
I spend up my pace and called out, “No thanks!”
Was this really happening? I know this type of shit happens way too often, but I didn’t expect it to actually happen to me.
“Come on girl, at least let us give that pretty little tail a ride to wherever it’s going,” he said agitatedly, reaching out and grabbing my arm.
“What the fuck dude? Let go of me!” I said turning in surprise.
“Come on girl! We just want to get to know you! You look like you have an interesting uh…” he said, stopping briefly to search for a word, a lecherous grin plastered on his face, “...personality.”
The guy smelled funny, and I identified it as a mix of alcohol and body odor covered up with a bit too much deodorant. He was so much taller than me too, and had this gross ass scraggly mustache perched on his upper lip.
“Let go of me! Fuck you people must be dumb as fuck to try messing with an Emerged!” I growled.
He laughed and rolled his eyes, “I’ve seen emerged like you around, you all just turned into animal girls like those weird jap cartoons and then that’s it!”
I opened my mouth to tell him he was about to get his ass kicked, when I saw his eyes bulge as dark purple chains wrapped themselves around his neck and pulled backwards. I stumbled forward as I was pulled a bit by his breaking grip, and was about to fall over when I heard the distinctive whistling sound of something traveling at high speed. Two strong lithe arms wrapped around my waist and I found myself pulled into the air along with the speeding flier.
“Hey, sorry for the rough rescue!” I heard Nightbinder say.
She slowed a bit in her flight, and when I felt her shift me around so I was facing her I squeaked in fear. We were a very long way up, and while I’m usually good with heights, being suspended by nothing more than the organic power of my saviour’s wings was terrifying. My arms instantly went around her neck and I pressed myself close.
“H-hi Nightbinder!” I squeaked into her neck. It was a lovely neck too, the skin was so smooth and the long arch of it was achingly graceful. I wanted to kiss it.
“Oh! You know who I am then?” she asked inquisitively.
“What do you mean? We met lots of-” I started to say, then stopped myself. Oh crap! I wasn’t out as Vulptrix!
“I… how did you know?” she asked, her voice suddenly filled with a touch of fear.
“Wait, know what? And please can we land?” asked in confusion.
She set us down on a little ledge sticking out from a tall apartment block, and I was able to lean back and look at her.
“Is my disguise not good enough?” she asked with concern.
Oh, her concerned face made my heart leap into my throat, I wanted to reassure her to smooth out the lines it was etching in her face, but I had no idea what she was talking about. Wait, we both knew kelly! Maybe we’d met before? It seemed like she knew me? But who…? Oh my god.
“N-no way! You’re… Y-you’re that gorgeous girl from hot topic! L-laithe!” I stammered in surprise.
“Gorgeous? Wait, ah shit you didn’t know? Fuck! God I’m a fuckup sometimes,” she groaned.
“No you’re not! You’re amazing! You’re kind, and you understand there’s more than just beating people up and the law, whatever that even means anymore. You’re really cool!” I gushed.
“Oh… thanks Kalia,” she said, a bit taken aback by my enthusiasm.
I felt myself blush from chest to hairline as I realised what I’d just said, “Oh uh, I mean like… You’re um really good at this hero thing and thank you for saving me from the assholes down there.”
She stared down at me for a moment, a wry smile on her lips. How did I get into these situations with her constantly like this? It was ridiculous! Far out and she was so pretty too! I bit my lip to keep myself from moving forward and fulfilling my heart’s wish.
Nightbinder saw my lip bite and her eyes widened, her mouth opening in surprise, “You’re joking!? You’re not Vulp-”
Her speech was cut off when her eyes rolled up into her head and suddenly I was no longer being supported by her. There was a flurry of motion behind her and I saw her wings get sucked into her back like the cord on a vacuum cleaner. Within the space of a second she went from Nightbinder mode to regular Laithe mode.
I tried to support her, but unlike my de-winged companion right now, I did not have super strength, and I felt us begin to tip out over the edge. I stared down the eight storey drop in utter panic, what was I going to do? I tried to push her onto the ledge proper, but she had too much momentum already, and within moments we had tipped over the edge.
I had very little time, but I think beyond this moment in my life I will be forever thankful I was able to think this fast. As soon as we started to fall, I went through the mental exercise I needed to do to start a teleport. It was significantly more difficult when I was blind with panic and high on adrenaline. It wasn’t a moment too soon that I finished my activation, because suddenly we weren’t beginning an eight storey drop, we were falling onto hard pavement from a two or so foot drop.
I felt the wind get knocked out of me, and I did my best to shield Laithe from the worst of the fall. Checking to make sure she was okay, she seemed to be physically uninjured, although her nose was bleeding a little.
“Oh, come back to hang out with us after all eh?” I heard the guy who had tried to assault me call out from a ways down the street.
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Time to see what the limits of my teleporting really were. I summoned an illusion as a distraction to allow us to get away, and started figuring out the colour I would need.
Behind me, I heard the first screams as a twisted abomination of sinewy shadow, bleached bone and foul flesh hauled itself out of a pool of darkness on the ground.
“What the fuck!” screamed the attempted rapist, his voice rising several octaves as his eyes reported what they were seeing to his mind.
I didn’t bother to interact further, instead choosing to begin teleporting Laithe and I away. The distance was random at first, but I started to experiment with changes to the colours I was imagining. Yellow was forward, which meant something about it should allow me to travel further. I almost messed up really badly when I teleported us into the air thinking of a lighter yellow, but a quick emergency teleport saved us.
It ended up being saturation that facilitated greater distances. Specifically, the greyer the colour, the further I went, but it also seemed to be less accurate. I found a happy middle ground and used that to teleport my unconcious charge home. It took hours, and I was on the last stretch of my journey when I felt myself beginning to tire, my mind going fuzzy and the teleports becoming harder to activate.
I could feel both myself and Laithe beginning to shiver when I finally reached the bottom of the steps up to my apartment. As carefully as I could manage, I let Laithe down onto the concrete and I sat down in a woozy daze, trying to figure out my next action. I felt myself drift in and out of consciousness.
“Kalia!” I heard an urgent voice cry, and footsteps approached at a run, “Kalia oh my god, are you okay? Kalia!”
“I’m finnnee, ‘s just the teleportingg. So mush tellieporting,” I slurred, my mind still fuzzy, feeling like a bucket of water being sloshed around.
“Who’s this? What happened? Why did it take you so long?” the voice asked urgently, slowly resolving into Caser’s voice in my mind.
“Talck in the ‘partment,” I grumbled, “You carrie Laishe up and I follow.”
“Alright, alright, good point. Fuck you had me worried! Damn it! You’re bleeding!” they told me worriedly.
“Where?” I said, looking down at myself in confusion, I didn’t see anything.
“From your eyes!” they exclaimed.
“Oh right, that kinda makes sense,” I mumbled.
“Alright, let’s get you upright, then I’ll carry your friend. She is a friend right?” they asked suspiciously.
“It’s Nightbinder,” I mumbled again.
“Oh shit, okay!” they said in surprise, helping me to a standing position.
I watched Caser pick Laithe up in an over the shoulder carry and then begin up the stairs, and I followed close behind.
Inside my considerably warmer apartment, Caser laid Laithe on the couch and went straight to the kitchen.
“I’m going to brew up some hot cocoa for you two, it’s freezing out there and you both look really cold!” I heard them call out.
“Thank you!” I called out, moving to the couch and beginning to pile blankets onto Laithe.
She was really cold, and she hadn’t even stirred during our time teleporting home. I sat down on the couch facing her and my legs folded up underneath me.
“Here,” I heard Caser say from next to me, placing two cups of hot chocolate on the coffee table, along with a few paper towels.
“What are those for?” I asked, pointing to the paper towels.
They said nothing, pointing to my eyes and Laithe’s bleeding nose. Oh.
“Oh right, thank you,” I said with a tired smile.
“Seeing as you’re at least safe at home, do you mind if I spend the night in your bed? I’m bone tired,” they asked wearily.
“Yeah go ahead,” I nodded.
“Night Kalia,” they said quietly, turning and walking into my room.
“Thanks Caser, goodnight,” I said, trying to convey my gratitude more completely through my tone.
They turned and offered a tired warm smile at me, flashing a thumbs up before disappearing through the door.
Once they were gone, I set to cleaning myself and Laithe up, wiping the caked blood off her face and mine with the paper towels. I was significantly more gentle with her, my stroked tentative and soft. Her skin was incredibly smooth. I could barely even make out pores. Then I set to drinking my hot chocolate, watching Laithe’s unconscious form, becoming mesmerised by her beauty. Laying my increasingly heavy head on the back of the couch I smiled a sleepy smile and closed my eyes.
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Bio: You may also know me as Rosilys Inknose. I no longer post on this website, if you wish to find the continuation of my stories, or just the ones I haven't posted here, you can find me under Quietvalerie on scribblehub and Rosilys Inknose on tgstorytime.