Christmas Party: Day 5

“Lenny -“

“Yeah, I got one too. Yours any more legible than mine?”

“Probably not.” Jolene peered at her phone. “Assist. Me Cameron okay damage although. Quarter house vicinity north mile bouldering we. Endless transport satchel.”

“She and technology really don’t get along.”

“So I gather. Even mom can text better than this, though.” She peered out the front window. “I expected they’d be back before dark… And here come Roland and Jacob. Boys? Did you see Tari or Cameron when you were out trying that new pellet gun?”

“Cameron was up north in the pasture,” Roland replied, hanging up his coat. “Playing fetch with a wild fox.”

“Yeah, that was weird,” Jacob observed. “Thing had to be rabid the way it was acting before you shot it. Ran into the rock pile, though. Couldn’t bring back the carcass for the vet in town to check out -“

Lenard felt his heart skip. “You shot her?”

“What? It was rabid!” Roland yelled as Lenard ran upstairs to grab his coat. “What’s with him? We didn’t want it to bite Cameron or something.”

“Boys, where’s Cam now?” Jolene asked, tugging her own jacket on and grabbing a flashlight.

“Still up in the pasture, I guess.”

“And you just left him there by himself? Great.” She gave Lenard a glance as he came down the steps with a backpack. “What’s that for?”

“I’ll explain on the way. Let’s go.”

“Why are our relatives so wacko?” Roland asked his brother, watching them head out into the dark.

“Old age.”


“So, you think that meant that she needs her bag?”

“With the way the rest of the message was mauled it makes sense. It’s like the thing was run through a bad translation algorithm. If they really did shoot her… ‘Assist’ is probably supposed to be ‘help.’ Rearrange the last part to ‘transport endless satchel’ and I suddenly see ‘bring my bottomless bag’ as a possibility.”


“I’ll show you when we get there.”

“And where exactly are we going?”

Lenard grimaced, stopping and looking around. “Best guess from the text? A quarter-mile north of the house. We should be getting close. Any idea where the rock pile might be from here?”

“Not a clue.”

“Okay… Let’s see if I can figure this thing out.” Lenard tugged his new necklace from inside his jacket, holding it tightly in his hand. “Come on, Tari… Where are you…”

Doc, doc! It hurts when I move! So he says, then don’t move! Tari grimaced as the bad joke came to mind, huddling down in Cameron’s lap. She could feel him shivering a little as he stroked her ears; it had cooled off quite a bit since sunset. He’d been dressed for being somewhat active outside; sitting still and holding her, he was slowly losing his own body heat, something his five-year-old body didn’t hold much of in the first place.

Her ears suddenly perked at the sound of distant yelling, Jolene calling for Cam. A minute later they were close enough for him to hear, and he answered back, carefully getting to his feet with her in his arms. And then, there they were. A whine of discomfort escaped her as the pair looked her over, poking through the frozen crimson in her fur while a bright lantern-style flashlight obliterated her nightvision. She didn’t think she’d been bleeding so much, but the cold in her joints and the dizziness swimming through her head suddenly suggested otherwise.

“Tari?” Jolene asked. “Can you talk like this?”

“No,” she replied, knowing full well they’d only perceive it as a quiet growl.

“I’m guessing that’s a negative. Okay… Can you change back?”


“You just growling at us, or do you actually have a clue what we’re saying?”

She snorted, shutting her eyes. “Where’s a working translator when you need one…”

Jolene looked at Lenard. “Any idea? I’ve never heard anything quite like that out of an actual wild animal.”

“She’s definitely still herself, don’t worry about that.” Lenard knelt down in the snow, looking into her eyes as Jolene held her. “I brought the bag like you wanted… Is there something in here that can help?”

“And how’s she supposed to tell us?” Jolene asked.

“Set her down. Maybe she can sign it out somehow.”

Wonder if I still suck at pictionary… Thinking for a moment, she dipped her head down and drew a plus sign in the snow with her nose.

“What’s that?”

“An ‘X’?” Lenard asked, tilting his head. “No… A cross.”

“First aid,” Jolene realized. “She must have a kit in the bag.”

Loosening the drawstring, Lenard peeked inside. “There’s nothing in here, at all.”

“You can’t just look for it, you’ve got to… Damn it, anyway…” Limping to the bag, Tari grabbed it with her teeth and tipped it on its side. To their obvious amazement, she stuck her head through the opening and dragged the kit out into the snow.

“But… It was empty…”

“Maybe it just looks that way to us.” Jolene popped open the plastic box, looked inside, and immediately closed it. “Tari… I’m trained in both conventional first-aid as well as what you’ve got in here… You sure about using this with an audience?”

She gave a nod, lying back down on the snowy ground with her injured side up.

“Something wrong?” Lenard questioned.

“No, not at all.” Opening the kit again, Jo took out a Commonwealth medical scanner and probe. Turning the devices on with obvious ease she quickly took readings. “I’m not a complete pro at this stuff just yet, but I’m pretty sure you’re not critical. Your body temperature’s a hair low, but you’re not hypothermic… You’ve lost a little blood but the wound itself is clotted over now… Ick, might have a broken bone in that leg… Looks like the pellet is still in by your ribs, too.”

“What do we do?” Lenard asked.

“Nothing we can do out here.” Packing the kit away, Jo gently picked Tari into her arms. “We need to get her back to the house. She needs some water and a place to warm up, but it’ll be a little more than just first aid to get that pellet out and her leg set.”

“We can’t take her anywhere for that -“

“Lenny… Trust me.

“Is Auntie Tari going to be all right, mommy?”

“She’ll be fine. Tell you what - why don’t you and Uncle Lenny go downstairs for a bit? He can read you a book while you both wait.”

“Jo -” Lenard started.

“Listen. We obviously can’t take her to a normal vet. I’ve got a friend that might be able to help, but you absolutely can’t be in here while I make the call. I promise, within an hour I’ll have something more to tell you.”

Lenard nodded acceptingly, giving the little white fox a kiss on the top of her muzzle before heading out of the attic with Cameron. Jolene exhaled and poked a number into her phone.

“Good call on the invisibility when we got to the house, by the way. Dad would have thrown a conniption if - Hey, Haran, good evening. It’s Agent Wolf - Yes, of course you already knew that… Right. I need to speak with Commander Halio, it’s urgent. Really? But she doesn’t eat… Well, don’t use a public channel, but tell her it’s a medical emergency. Yes, it really is. … Commander. Sorry to disturb you at this hour, but we’ve got a medical problem here and you’re the only one who can help. Could you by chance - yes, I realize that you’re not supposed to do that, but… It’s about Tarioshi Kitanaka. She’s been hurt.”

A green haze immediately appeared in the room, resolving into a rainbow-haired human dressed in Commonwealth medical colors. “Where is she?”

“Right over here on the bed,” Jolene stated, putting her phone away.

“Well, hello there. You’ve certainly lost some weight since we saw each other last. Been working out? Pilates or Kegels?” T’bia pulled out a scanner as the vixen growled. “Don’t take that tone of voice with me, young lady. Yes, I can. Every word. They can’t because your bracelet’s got an outdated database. I didn’t expect you’d actually need to use it when you didn’t have thumbs.”

“She can actually talk when she’s like that?”

“Of course. She just can’t vocalize any sounds that remotely form any human language.” T’bia tossed the scanner on the bed and popped the latches on a large medical kit. “What happened?”

“I’m not entirely sure of the details, but I think one of my nephews took a shot at her with a brand new pellet gun he got for Christmas.”

“Precious, that’d explain the chunk of lead in her chest… Tari, this is going to sting a little. Fine, yes, it’s going to feel like you’re on fire for about six seconds before it goes completely numb. Well, it’s a combination of disinfectant, analgesic, and depilatory. Deep breath now, relax…” The little white fox whimpered as a thin orange foam coated her bloodied pelt. A quarter of a minute later T’bia wiped it off, all the fur around the entrance wound disappearing with it. “Jo? I’m a little curious how you understood her well enough to know to call me in.”

“She’s only been in native form for part of the afternoon. My son talked her into a game of fetch.”

“Aww. Hope someone got pictures. How’d you two become acquainted?”

“She’s… Uh, she’s involved with my brother, actually.”

“Seriously? Wow. Small universe. Ta-da!” T’bia held up the pellet between her fingers, grinning at the quiet bark from Tari. “Well, of course. If you could actually feel it come out, someone clearly wasn’t doing their job right. … Okay, yes, I cheated and transported it out. Ruin the magic, why don’t you? … Yeah, whatever. Bone regeneration’s going to take about ten minutes, but it’s a good diagonal break. Should hold without any weird surgery, as long as you take it easy for the next day or two. Hm? Why not just tell her yourself? … Right, one sec… Done. New translation matrix uploaded and updated.”

“That fast?” Tari asked, her voice drifting from the bracelet around her left foreleg. “Why didn’t you do that sooner?”

“Didn’t think I needed to! Your bracelet’s due for replacement pretty soon. I probably shouldn’t even be talking to you, anyway, not with that agreement you and Jay came to when -” T’bia winced. “Damn fluff making me talk before I think about what I’m saying…”

“It’s okay,” Jolene pointed out. “I already heard about it. She hasn’t clued me in on the exact detail, but it’s really none of my business.”

“The whole basis for that agreement probably doesn’t matter anymore, not really. I’d be curious to know if he still has… Well, that can wait until I actually see him again.” Tari grunted as the deep tissue regenerator hovered over her leg. “Don’t tell him about this little accident, though?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” T’bia replied.

“Thanks. Jo…” Tari lifted her head slightly, looking across the room at her. “I’m really sorry about all this.”

“It’s all right. The important thing is that both you and Cameron are okay. How’d they manage to sneak up on you?”

“They came up from behind Cam, downwind. Didn’t even hear them coming. Only reason I’m even alive is because I saw the air rifle at the last second and leapt sideways.”

“Not quite enough of a leap,” T’bia offered.

“Thank you, Doctor Obvious.”

“Be nice. I’m all done.”

“That wasn’t even five minutes, let alone ten.”

“Always overestimate so that you look like a genius. Walk around, how’s it feel?”

“Stiff,” she replied, making a small circle on the bed. Leaping down, she was human again before her feet had touched the floor. A gentle rotation of her arm elicited a grunt of discomfort. “Ugh… Really stiff.”

“Let’s have another look… Mmm… Yeah, you’ll be a hundred percent by morning. This might help.” A hypospray landed on Tari’s neck; T’bia cycled it once, a quiet puff of air hissing from inside the device. “Anti-inflammatory pain meds. Take another dose first thing when you wake up. Shouldn’t need another after that, but one more in the evening will be okay if there’s still discomfort. Setting 427 on your kit’s hypo.”

“Thank you.”

T’bia put her tools away and snapped the medical kit shut. “I’d love to stay and chat but I sort of left abruptly in the middle of supper with four heads of state, one of whom is my boss’s boss. I should probably get back.”

“It’s really good to see you again.” Tari gave her a hug. “If it’s all right, I’ll give you a call early next week, okay?”

“That’d be great. See you both later.” Giving them both a little two-finger goodbye salute, she vanished in the same green haze that had brought her to the home.

Lenard looked up from the children’s book as Jolene descended the steps into the living room. Shooting him a smile, she gave a nod toward the attic. “Come on up.”

“What’s the verdict?” he asked, following her and Cameron upstairs. “Can this contact of yours do anything?”

“I’d say… Yes, she can.”

“And did,” Tari added, waving from the top of the attic steps. “Hiyo.”

Lenard nearly flew up the steps, snapping her up into a hug. “You all right?”

“Not even a scar. A little sore, though… Gentler with that arm, please?”

“Auntie Tari? I’m sorry,” Cameron sniffled. “I shoulda gone for help right away.”

“Hey, that’s okay. I’m glad you stayed with me while I was hurt. You did a good job.”

The young boy smiled as she ruffled his hair. “Does that mean we can still play another time?”

“You bet. I need to talk to your mommy and your uncle for a little bit. I think I smell cookies in the making… Why don’t you go help?”

Jolene watched the steps as Cameron shut the attic door. “Do you think Jacob and Roland knew?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I doubt it. The little shits are still going to pay.”

“Tari,” Lenard spoke gently. “From what they said when they came home they thought they were putting down a rabid animal. If they really didn’t know it was you -“

“Then it was basically an accident. I’m still pissed off. Don’t worry - I won’t be as direct as this morning. It’s still Christmas, after all.”

“What are you going to do?”

“If I break the gun they’ll just get another one right away, thinking it was a defective one. But erase all the rifling out of that barrel? It’ll never shoot a straight line again and they won’t figure it out for a while.” Tari rubbed her forehead. “I think she gave me a little more than just an anti-inflammatory… Feeling a little dizzy all of a sudden…”

“Why don’t you lie down for a bit, then? There’s really not much else going on this evening.”

“That’s… Uh, yeah, that’s a good idea. Room’s got a pretty good spin going now… Woo.”

Lenard helped her to their air bed, pulling the quilt over her. “Get you anything?”

“No, I’ll be fine… A nap should help.”

“Okay. I’ll check on you in a little bit.”

Tari shared a brief kiss with him, giving a gentle smile as the brother and sister retreated to the steps. “Shut the lights off when you go down?”

“You bet.”

“It is done.”

“What?” Traize turned around in the old-style Japanese home, seeing her great-grandfather stepping inside. “Already? You haven’t even heard her side yet!”

“There is no need.” The silver nine-tail eased down onto a tatami floor mat, briefly acknowledging the one-tail who brought him a cup of steaming herbal tea. “Several witnesses - including yourself - have given us the same general tale. Her own actions also make her story clear. Despite your defense of her actions, the facts remain: she has ignored our laws, and she has now been appropriately punished. Should she wish to contest her sentence, she may do so at her convenience.”

“And what exactly has she been sentenced to, grandfather?”

“Death,” he spoke simply, sipping his tea.

Tari stretched as the first rays of daylight poked into the attic’s window. A twinge of pain reminded her of yesterday’s events, her plan to get even with the young hunters briefly resurfacing. It was well into the morning, though - everyone would already be up and about. Even Lenard was already gone -

Lenard was gone?

She sat up in bed, feeling gently of the spot where he would have slept. Sure enough, it was still slightly warm, but his scent was distinctly absent. In fact - all of the scents around her were strangely muted. And furthermore - why hadn’t the snoring from downstairs woken her up in the middle of the night? The whole house felt strangely quiet.

Dressing in jeans and a loose-fitting tee, she wandered downstairs to see what was going on. Dave and Amanda greeted her from the couch where they were watching TV; she shot them a smile and continued into the kitchen, finding Linda and Sarah getting lunch assembled from Christmas leftovers.

“Oh, good morning!” Linda greeted. “Len said you weren’t doing too well last night. You feeling better?”

“Much better now, thanks. Where is everyone, anyway?”

“All over the place, same as usual… Kids are downstairs playing video games. Jo and Greg went for a walk about half an hour ago. Jon cut over to the Johansen farm north of here to help them with a cow having her first calf. I think Lenard went with him?”

“Yeah, they went over together,” Sarah confirmed.

“And I believe Ron’s giving Cameron another carving lesson. It’s great to see him interested in that sort of thing. Art’s always a good skill.” Linda peered at Tari. “Are you sure you’re okay? You look a little pale.”

“I’ll be all right. Where’s this carving going on? Downstairs?”

“Door on the right at the bottom of the steps.” Sarah dropped three sandwiches on a plate. “Take them lunch if you’re going down? One for you, too. And tell the kids to come up and eat.”

“Will do.” Easing downstairs with food in hand, she gave a knock on the door and pushed it open. Inside, the muted scents of aspen and walnut wood quietly greeted her, along with two smiling faces as she presented the recycled turkey on rye.

“Welcome to my little shop of horrors,” Ron quipped, gesturing at the walls covered in carvings.

“Are these all yours?”

“Almost every one of them.”

Caricatures of gnomes, birds on small stumps, relief carvings of faces and landscape scenes, diamond willow canes and lamp bases - everything in the room had once been part of a tree and had somehow become something even more beautiful.

“One of my favorites,” he noted, as she stopped to investigate a quartet of walnut bluejays huddled together on an oak branch. “Sarah painted them in acrylics last summer. She did the mallard over there, too. They all look like they’re ready to fly away at any second, now…”

“They’re beautiful - it’s all wonderful. How long have you been doing this?”

“Since my own grandpa taught me, years and years ago. It’s a nice way to pass the time. Plus, there’s no waste - the pieces and shavings are free heat.”

“I’d say.” Tari smiled as she watched Cameron whittling at a piece of basswood. “And what are you going to make?”

“It’s a surprise!” he stated, matter-of-factly.

“Oho! Well, you can tell me… I won’t tell anyone else.”


“Really? Well, I look forward to seeing your masterpiece. Would either of you like something to drink to go with those sandwiches?”

“Could I have a glass of milk please, Auntie Tari?”

“You bet. Ron?”

“I’m good, thanks.”

Sending the rest of the ankle-biters to eat, she brought down the requested beverage and sat down with a cola to watch the expert teach the beginner how to draw out the art hidden within the wood. It was a simple start - Cameron was cutting into a rectangular block of white aspen, getting pointers occasionally on how to hold the variety of tools. Ron, on the other hand, was burning scales into a four-foot-long northern pike hewn from what looked to be birch.

“How long did that one take you?”

“Oh… I’ve been cutting at this fish on and off for about three years. A neighbor caught a monster like this ice fishing… Took a picture and turned it loose. Right here, see?”

“How’d that even fit out the hole?”

“It didn’t. They had to get a chainsaw and hack out a bigger opening.” Ron chuckled as he hung the picture back on the wall. “He’s just about done. Finish up the scales, get a nice coat of stain on him… He’s basically ready to go sit on the Kleburn’s mantle. Sarah really wanted to paint him but ol’ Richie wants pure woodgrain on his fish.”

“I wish I had the skill for it - wha?” Tari blinked as a block of basswood cut into a blocky fish pattern was pressed into her hand, along with a small carving knife. “But -“

“There’s no way to know if you have the skill or not until you try, young lady. Now, first off, take a look at the grain - your cuts need to go with it. Short, long, doesn’t matter - gotta come up all the way at the end… See, like there, you didn’t quite get it cut all the way and it tore the fibers. Think of scooping out melon balls. You have to cut through the wood even at the end so you don’t break the grain. It’s got to be smooth. Yeah, just like that. Keep going like that until it looks like a proper fish.”

Two hours and an adhesive bandage later, half of the wood was on the floor in tiny curls and a generally fishy shape had emerged from the grain. Ron nodded his approval as she started to smooth the knife grooves with sandpaper, pointing out small cuts she’d missed. A tap came at the door as she finally began applying the first coat of stain.

“Hey,” Lenard greeted, closing the shop’s door behind himself. “I remember that same first lesson. You’re doing way better than I did.”

“You think so?” Tari held up the half-stained stylized fish. “It screams of novice.”

“He means, you’ve only got one bandage,” Ron laughed. “Lenny here had three on each hand.”

“Ow. Well, I don’t feel nearly so inept, then. How’d the birthing go?”

“Not too bad. Glad I took a change of clothes. Jon had me on pulling duty.”

“Lenard the Cow Midwife. Got a place to let this dry?”

“Right over here.” Ron took the stained carving and deposited it on a wire rack. “When are you two taking off?”

“You still want to get back tonight?” Lenard asked.

“I really wanted to spend the whole day with Traize, but it’s kind of late to be getting on the road. It’ll almost be midnight by the time we roll in.”

“We could take off first thing in the morning, then. Gives you most of the evening tomorrow.”

“That’ll work. I’ll just give her a call and let her know I’ll be a little late.” Tari gave Ron a peck on the cheek. “Thank you so much for the lesson. I’m sure I’ll be back for the Carving 102 class.”

“My shop is always open and the knives are always sharp.”

On their way back up to the attic, Tari peered at the home around them. The carving lesson had proved a nice distraction, but the problem of her muted senses was once more acutely obvious as they moved through the house. Back in the safety of their room, she sat down on the bed and closed her eyes, just letting the sounds and smells of the house sink in.

“Problem?” Lenard asked, parking beside her.

“I’m not entirely sure. I think I’m having a reaction to the pain meds my attending physician gave me last night. I took them again this morning when I woke up, but I didn’t really make the connection until now.”

“Still feeling dizzy?”

“Not so much… But my sense of smell and my hearing are a little off.” She scratched behind her ear. “I don’t know, I’m probably worrying about nothing.”

“Can I ask you something?”


“Why was your bag empty before you magically pulled that kit out of it?”

“You have to blindly reach into it expecting to find what you’re looking for. Even then it’s sometimes a little stubborn and won’t give it to you right away. If it’s really not in there, it’ll give you something else completely at random.” Tari loosened the drawstring and held it open. “Try it. Think of a first aid kit, and just reach in and grab it.”

Lenard complied, surprise on his face as he pulled out the innocuous box. “Another item you could make billions on.”

“It’s a little obvious that it’s blatantly defying the laws of nature.”

Grimacing, he popped open the lid on the kit, staring at the contents. “I shouldn’t even ask about this, should I?”

“I was hoping you’d be too concerned about me last night to really take notice of that thing.”

“You’ve done a lot of weird things and have some strange toys - like the bag. This… whatever this medical gadget is, and that heater over there… They don’t strike me as kitsune in origin.”


“They’re not actually from around here, are they?”

“I really shouldn’t…” Tari pinched the bridge of her nose. “They’re here, it’s really not going to change a thing if I tell you… Okay. Forty-eight years ago I came across a Commonwealth researcher studying Earth. I, ah… I didn’t hide myself from him for nearly as long as I did to you, mainly since he figured out within the first twenty-four hours that the little native fox he’d picked up wasn’t an ordinary fox. He and his partner gave me a look at what’s out there and brought me back home nearly a year and a half later. That heater, this medical kit, and a few other widgets in this bag are alien technology they gave me when they dropped me off.”

“Ah. I really didn’t want to force it out of you like that, but… It’s kind of obvious that this device isn’t anything we could come up with quite yet.”

“And the fusion-powered heater was kosher?”

“I’d just about explained it away to myself as a real plug-in heater you were powering with magic.”

“Damn. That’ll teach me to openly admit anything.” She picked the scanner out of the box, turning it on. “This specifically is tuned for reading medical data. The probe’s not strictly necessary but it lets you get a bit more pinpoint reading. See? There’s your heart rate, blood oxygenation, pressure, and type, body temperature… Everything you’d need to know and more within seconds of checking. And then if there’s a problem, which there’s not… Let me pull last night up… Here, possible treatment options. Minor blood loss, give plenty of fluids and consider a blood volume enhancer, hypospray setting 631 for my specific blood type. Low body temperature, warm fluids and blankets, blah blah… You get the idea.”

“It have anything about your dizziness this morning?”

“Didn’t check. Actually isn’t reading a thing wrong with me right now, either… Give me the probe?” Tari made a circle over her head. “Well now… Not sure what to make of that… But no alarms, so…”

“Is it maybe confused since you’re not really human?”

“Shouldn’t matter. When I’m wearing this form, I show up completely human on all but the most finely detailed scans. Need lab-level equipment for that.” She frowned, shutting the device off. “Oh well. I’m really not feeling the dizziness anymore, so I guess there’s nothing to worry about. I’d better give Traize a call before it gets too much later.”

“All right. Tell her I said hi.”

“I’ll let you yell it yourself if she picks up. Oh, another thing… The ancient little touchscreen PDA thing I’m always carrying around?” Touching her bracelet, the projection immediately appeared in her hand. “Totally holographic.”


“Call Traize,” she spoke, putting the device to her ear. “Unlimited texts, planetwide long-distance, and free roaming.”

“Can’t beat that.”

Tari tapped her fingers together, listening for the voicemail chirp. “Hi Traize, it’s Tari. I’m going to be a little late getting back, but we’re totally still on for supper, dinner, whatever you care to call it. Oh, and Lenard says happy birthday, but only if you’re getting this after midnight. Bye.”

“Have a safe drive, honey.” Linda gave Lenard a hug, smiling as he stepped out the door.

“Bye, mom, dad. See you soon.”

“Tari, it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you. I hope we’ll see you again?”

“Couldn’t beat me off with a stick. Tell everyone else we said goodbye?”

“Will do,” Ron replied, giving her a handshake. “Take care.”

Tari nodded, stepping outside and walking down to the car. The little engine purred as Lenard backed the car out of its parking place, rolling down the long gravel driveway into the pre-dawn darkness. A yawn escaped him as he cranked the heater to high.

“You sure you’re okay to drive?”

“Yeah, I’ll wake up soon enough. Just slap me if I doze off.” He smiled, giving her a glance. “So, what do you think?”

“I think that someday I’d be thrilled to call them all in-laws. No rush.”

“None planned. Think it’s best to avoid your side of the family, other than Traize?”

“Definitely. I mean, other than her, the only one I actually know for sure is still alive is my mother… I can’t say I know how she thinks, but I’m pretty sure her first impulse upon meeting you would be to see what your liver tastes like.”

“We’ll just steer clear of the Kitanaka family reunion.”

“It’s for the best.”

11 Responses

  1. Dimensional says:

    Death, isn’t that a bit harsh? I mean, no matter what, people should always hear both sides of the story, not just jump to conclusions because the majority has the same story. There have been facts that prove the majority can be wrong.

    Now, having T’bia appear and help heal Tari is a good way of bring everybody back together. I’ll assume that if Tari really will die, then either Lenard and/or Jayden will try there best to save her. If instead it’s where she will lose her Kitsune powers, then Lenard will most likely do everything, including going to the ends of the earth and beyond, to help her get back what she lost. I’m just guessing here. But I still love reading the stories.

  2. baltakatei says:

    Sounds like the story is getting set up for a Jadyn - Kitsune confrontation. At first, I thought that the ninetail had created an epic-level illusion that made everyone think that he were another Evanson boy, letting him fire freely at Tari to serve her her punishment of death. It certainly is in the realm of possibility of ninetails, imo.

    Having to wait for stories to be written is a bit of a change for me. I am too used to having tvtropes as an analytical crutch. Keep up the stories. :3

  3. Derek says:

    I remember watching an interview with a sci-fi writer once, although I can’t remember who off the top of my head. He said that no one ever really dies in sci-fi. You can kill someone off as a tool to move the story along, and eventually bring them back in a variety of novel ways should it be necessary. I feel that’s sort of a cheap trick. Actions should have consequences, both short and long term. If you step in front of a cannon that’s about to go off, you are going to die. Someone is bound to see this happen and it’s going to affect them for the rest of their days.

    Now, given, there’s also very obvious acceptance of this “cheap trickery” in the existence of immortals in Jadyn’s universe. They step in front of the cannon, die, and wake up later with indigestion. In the meantime, someone still saw it happen. Whether or not they stuck around to see the aftermath, it’s still going to affect them in some way.

    On the other hand, death can mean a lot of things. As one example that comes to mind, in the first book of Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children saga, “The Clan of the Cave Bear,” the protagonist is driven out from her adopted Clan family temporarily - and eventually permanently - by a ‘death curse.’

    Anyway, it pleases me to no end to see guesses going on. There’s been more than once that I’ve read a comment or an email and thought, “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?”

  4. Derek says:

    Also, I’d like to thank Tsunari for a bit of reference to the Indian (as in India) version of kitsune, in that:

    “I can’t say I know how she thinks, but I’m pretty sure her first impulse upon meeting you would be to see what your liver tastes like.”

    I’m not entirely sure why, but a Family Guy episode popped up in my head when I included that.

    “The Fed will be lowering rates, get your money out of T-bills and put it all into waffles livers! Tasty waffles livers with lots of syrup!”

  5. Tsunari says:

    Actually that was reference to Korean lore and the liver is considered to be the seat of human power/energy/chi/ki/however you want to put it in Korean Lore. I.e. the fox demon eats a human liver to become more powerful.

  6. Derek says:

    Korean! My apologies, I wrote it down wrong.

  7. Tsunari says:

    It fits in with the whole vampirism thing, just take all of the humans energy at once by ripping out their liver as it were.

  8. Dimensional says:

    This just reminded me of Mark Lowry in a video I was watching of it. He mentioned something about the “center” or our bodies, how it’s different for different cultures. Like here is the Heart. “Don’t break my heart.” And somewhere else, like Korea, it’s the Liver. “Hey, you make my liver quiver.” Everything in quotes is what he said in the video. He was very hilarious

  9. Tsunari says:

    Well, there are a lot of centers to the body, the center of lifeforce, center of the mind, center of emotions/will, and so on.

  10. dash says:

    180 plus years living out side their society. Why does the nine tails even care what she is doing?

  11. Derek says:

    I’m going to get more into this eventually, but in short… Actually, I don’t know if I can do justice to it in short. :)

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