Misadventures Incorporated

by

Spicy Space Squid

Chapter 32 - The Secret Lives of Llystletein Foxes VI

Advertisement
Remove

Chapter 32 - The Secret Lives of Llystletein Foxes VI

Sylvia pushed her legs forward and raised her rear, stretching like a cat as she blinked awake. The Llystletein woodfox opened her mouth in a wide yawn and inched away from the window with her tail lightly waving back and forth. She had enjoyed basking in the afternoon sun, but she had to escape its grasp. Its gentle warmth was sure to lure her back into the land of dreams if she stayed in it any longer.

“Is Claire back yet?” she asked, her eyes blinking rapidly.

Frowning at the distinct lack of an answer, she raised her head and looked around the sunroom. It’s other occupant was curled up atop a rocking chair, his tail tucked underneath his puffy greying face and his eyes tightly shut. His chest slowly rose and sank as he slept, a light snore accompanying each breath.

“He’s still asleep?” she whispered. “Well, it is nice and warm. I guess I can’t really blame him.”

She walked up to him, but didn’t dare disturb his slumber.

“It took me a really really long time to convince him to listen. If he wakes up in a bad mood, then I’ll have worked my butt off for nothing,” she whispered. “I don’t get it. It’s not like going with my idea hurts him at all. He just has to sit around a little more than usual. She’s the only one kinda getting the short end of the stick.”

Sylvia started grooming herself after glancing at the messy state of the other fox’s fur. She was going to have to look clean and presentable if she wanted to deal with a torch.

“Why does Grant always have a winter coat, anyway? Is he just so old that he can’t tell what time of year it is anymore?”

Once clean, she waved a paw in front of his face to make sure he was really asleep and not just trying to fool her, then stretched one last time and left the sunroom.

“Maybe Claire will be back by the time I find something to eat.”

Nodding to herself, convinced and satisfied, Sylvia crawled out the front door and climbed the tree’s exterior. She sang a note as she hopped to the far end of its lowest branch.. The musical inscription given form by her voice was glued to her snout and raised alongside it.

As a halfbreed, Sylvia lacked the keen sense of smell that all the other foxes had, but the enchantment her father had taught her more than made up the difference. The vixen’s nose was able to pinpoint a small nest in a nearby brush. Leaping to it, she bore her fangs and growled to chase the mother away before consuming the delicious eggs left behind.

It was an enjoyable meal, but not quite satisfying enough, so she chased down the mouse she had heard along the way. The tiny rodent was a fast runner and it knew how to use the undergrowth to its advantage, but it was no match for the veteran hunter. A single northeasterly pounce was all she needed to stop it in its tracks.

“That should keep me full for the next few hours.” She spoke to herself in a singsongy tone as she pressed her paws down on the mouse’s back and finished it. “But Claire’s still not back. I wonder where she went… Maybe she’s lost.”

Swallowing her prey whole, the fox returned to the treehouse, placed her nose on the ground, and started sniffing. Her previous rune had already expired, but she didn’t bother recasting the spell. The enchantment was no longer necessary. Though she didn’t excel at tracking, she could still follow a fresh scent without any extra help.

“I wonder why she won’t tell me what she is… Maybe one of her parents is a dark god or something.”

Chuckling at the outlandish idea, Sylvia decided it was time to gather all her clues and deduce her newest acquaintance’s identity.

“I doubt she’d be angry enough to attack me, even if I brought it up again.”

The bizarre crocodile-like not-deer’s outline was mostly humanoid. She had exactly two arms, two legs, and no extra appendages. That was something Sylvia could say for certain—the trickster had snuck a quick peek under Claire’s dress while she was asleep.

“She has to have some sort of beast blood in her… but what kind? Maybe I should just ask Alfred. He’d probably know. He’s good at knowing things.”

One of Claire’s most striking features was her rare colouring. Her ears were covered in a short coat of fur with a blueish white hue indistinguishable from that of her thick, messy, shoulder length hair. Birds aside, none of the creatures Sylvia knew were coloured the exact same way. They were either more white or more blue.

Her ears should have served as another obvious hint, but their shape made them difficult to identify. They were triangular and long, with a wide base that gradually thinned out to a sharp tip. They most closely resembled the ears on the horse people that she had seen earlier in the day, but they weren’t exactly comparable. The centaurs’ ears had only been two to three inches long. Claire’s were more than three times that.

“I know she can’t be a borrok, but rabbits and deer are the only other things with ears that big and silly, and she said she’s not either. Did she lie? Oh, what if she’s a cat?” The fox stopped for a moment to consider the possibility. “No, that can’t be right. It’d explain the eyes, but she didn’t have any claws or whiskers and her ears aren't the right shape… I don’t get it.”

Setting Claire’s mammalian half aside for the time being, Sylvia moved on to considering the traits that the blue-maned halfbreed had inherited from her other parent. One thing was for sure. She had small scaly patches all over her body. They were on her arms, her legs, and even her neck. Most of the individual scales were rather small, with the largest four featured on her face. Two large triangles decorated both her cheeks, each extending all the way to her neck.

“They were really smooth, kind of like a fish’s, but she can’t be a fish since she can’t swim. She can’t be a crocodile either. Maybe she’s a snake? No, that can’t be right. Snakes don’t have legs.”

Sylvia continued to speak out loud as she climbed up the side of a steep hill. Her snout was no longer near the ground. The fox could tell that Claire was just on the other side of the mound; she could hear her stomping her way through the undergrowth.

“Maybe she’s a lizard.”

She began picking up on the scent of blood as she got closer to the summit. That wasn’t too strange, in and of itself, but there seemed to be a lot of it.

“She’s gotta be at least half lizard.”

Humming a victorious theme, the half elf smiled as she crested the hill. Being rather familiar with the area, she knew what to expect: a lightly forested, humble valley centered around a long winding stream.

But that was not what she saw.

She was greeted instead by a painting made of viscera. Blood, guts, and grey matter desecrated the landscape, transforming it into a scene straight out of hell. Dead frogs were everywhere. Some were suspended from trees, impaled on their branches. Others were dead in the water, their countless corpses serving as a dam that blocked the river’s flow. A third group had died with foam in their mouths and soarspore seeds flooding their eye sockets, while a fourth floated around in the marsh above. And in the middle of it all was Claire.

“Wow, what a mess. She’s been really busy,” said the fox, as she stepped over a dead frog’s tongue. “Thank goodness the dungeon cleans itself.”

The rogue was in the midst of engaging a pair of large multi-headed anurans. Her robe was tattered and covered in blood, and one of her ears was half missing. The frog with more heads was keeping her occupied. Its five vertically stacked faces lashed out with their tongues at regular intervals while its four-skulled partner moved to a vantage point.

Their coordinated efforts came to fruition in the form of a loud crunch. Claire’s left arm was shattered by the four-header. It fell to her side, broken, limp, and unmoving.

“Ouch… that isn’t good,” muttered Sylvia.

The fox thought the injury rather severe, but an annoyed scowl aside, the other halfbreed appeared mostly unaffected. She continued to fight, dancing between the frogs’ tongues as she whacked at them with her weapon. Repeating the strategy for a minute or two, she eventually defeated one with a spinning sweep and the other with a heavy smash.

“Okay, Sylvia, you know the drill. Act cute, get her wrapped around your paws, and she’ll do anything you want,” she whispered to herself, before raising her voice. “Claire!” The vixen stuck her head out of the bush she was hiding in and shouted. “I’m done checking on Grant and napping. Are you ready to go?”

After raising her ears up high and checking her surroundings, the blue-maned humanoid holstered her large bony weapon and walked over.

“Not yet. I want some of their antlers,” she said, as her arm cracked back into place, all on its own.

“I can’t believe that didn’t make you cry. I would’ve bawled for days!” said Sylvia, looking between the other girl’s face and freshly repaired limb. “Wait, what happened to Grant’s stuff? Didn’t you borrow a hammer and a shovel or something?”

“Nothing.” Claire averted her gaze.

“Oh no, don’t tell me you broke them.” Sylvia’s head plopped forward. “Grant’ll be so mad!”

“I don’t know where the hammer went.” The moose-lizard silently began walking over to the riverbank and retrieved a deformed tool. “I threw it at something and it disappeared.”

“Nevermind the hammer, what the heck did you do to the shovel!? Its blade is so bent out of shape that it’s starting to look like a hoe!”

“I tried digging.”

“Shovels don’t just bend out of shape if you dig with them. You had to have done something wrong. Were you trying to use it to break a rock?” Sylvia tilted her head.

“Not exactly,” Claire frowned, as she directed her gaze towards her latest kill. “I tried digging through some of the frogs’ skulls.”

“Ummm…you what? I don’t really think that counts as digging, and it doesn’t really sound like it’d work...”

“Well, it worked the first time,” she said, pointing towards a dead frogpole with a gory hole in its head.

Sylvia stared at the corpse for a few seconds before deciding not to acknowledge it or the ridiculous claim that came with its current state.

“So ummm... anyway, I think I figured out what you are!”

“Not this again,” Claire sighed as she moved to a relatively intact frog. “I told you to stop guessing.”

“Aww… but I think I finally got it this time. Or at least half of it.”

“I don’t care,” said Claire, grunting as she tore one of the frog’s antlers off its skull.

“Well, how about this then? You let me guess, and if I get it wrong, I’ll tell you how to get a really neat class.”

The bluescale’s ears twitched. “What class?”

“Force mage.”

“Force mage?” Claire frowned for a moment, furrowing her brows before sighing and lifting her face. “Fine.”

“Yes!” Sylvia bounced around on all fours as she giggled excitedly. “Alright, so I spent the whole trip thinking about it, so I’m pretty sure I know exactly what one of your halves is!”

“Out with it already.”

“One of your parents was a lizardman!”

“Nope.”

“What!? You’re not? But how? You’ve got two legs, scales on your neck and slits for eyes!” Sylvia pointed a paw at each part of the other girl’s body as she listed them. “There’s no way you’re not half lizard!”

“I’m not,” said Claire, flatly. “So? How do I become a force mage?”

“Wait, wait! How do I know you’re not just lying? Are you sure you’re really not a lizard?”

“I’m sure.” Claire set down the antler she was peeling, continuing right before Sylvia started to speak up. “My mother… my mother was a lamia.” She raised a hand to her face, brushing the back of her fingers against the scales on her cheeks.

“Huh? Wait, that can’t be right, you have legs!”

“Yes, because my father had four. If you take a thing with four legs and put it together with something with no legs, you get something with two legs, duh.”

“No, no, no, that doesn’t make any sense! You’re supposed to take after one of your parents or the other! I would have three legs and an arm, if it worked like that!”

“It makes sense to me.”

“Well it really shouldn’t!”

“Not my problem,” said Claire, as she picked up and started dehorning another frog. “So? How do I become a force mage?”

“Oh, right. Well ermmm, I hope this doesn’t really make you too mad, but it’s actually really simple. All you have to do is touch the second hexstone.”

“That’s it?”

“Yup!”

“So I would have found out, even if you didn’t tell me?”

“Well… ummm… yeah.”

“Have I ever mentioned how much you irritate me?” Claire closed her eyes and lowered her face, pinching the bridge of her nose as she grumbled.

“Not my problem,” parroted Sylvia, with a chuckle. “Why don’t you like talking about what you are anyway?”

“I don’t like talking about myself.” Claire frowned. “Too many people know too much already.”

“Well there’s a point now! I barely know anything about you, and I’m still really curious about what your dad is!”

“Maybe I’d be more inclined to talk if you stopped trying to trick me.”

“I ummm… I’ll try!”

“Sure.”

“I really will!”

Rolling her eyes, Claire turned away from Sylvia and got back to work. She had things to do, and dealing with a prying fox was nowhere near the top of her list.

Advertisement

About the author

Spicy Space Squid

Bio: Surprisingly tangy and delicious.

Achievements
Comments(23)
Log in to comment
Log In

Log in to comment
Log In