Day 20

“Human?!” Tipper cried.

“Precisely. And in being human beings, I can only come to one conclusion. These five lovely children are from Earth. There is no getting around this very apparent fact.” The Elder gave Tipper an exhausted expression. He was clearly in bewilderment as well, and yet he was able to reign in his confusion by channeling the emotion into polite hospitality. “Would you like something else to eat?”

“Not before I know what the heck is going on.” Ginger stood up. Her face had clouded red and her eyes, so similar to Gabbie’s, were dark with anger. “We just want to know where this place is.” She crossed her arms. “Wait, no. I don’t really care about that. I just want to know how to get home. WE came all this way here to find out, and it looks like you know what to do.”

“Little one, if only it were that easy.” Perceval padded up to the irate girl. She flinched, backed up, and fell on her rump onto the couch. Perceval stopped, a little hurt from Ginger’s reaction. He licked his chops as a nervous tick. “You see, fifty years ago, the great forces of Soielle banished the involvement of humans in this world. All humans. Each and every one was forced out and back to their homeland of Earth.”

“That is why you don’t know a human when you see one, Tipper,” Perceval added.

“I’m assuming that you all age differently here, don’t you,” Zane ventured after witnessing Tipper’s sullen reaction to his age mentioned once again.

“Good observation.” The Elder steepled his hands. “If I recall correctly, thirty-years-old is as close as sixteen-years-old to a human. I am, err, very old in comparison.” The old man chuckled. “That is the way of the Kitsune clan.”

“Kitsune. That sounds familiar. I heard Tipper talk about before.” Gabbie rubbed her chin like she was a miniature detective. “Kitsune as in the same trickster foxes from Japan?”

“We’re nothing like that!” Tipper growled at the same time Perceval said, “Yes, very much like that!” The two foxes stared at each other with narrowed eyes.

“Yes, the people of Earth did call us kitsunes. When we temporarily traveled over to their world, our bodies changed from what you look like to the smaller form of an Earth fox. We never took travel lightly for our bodies would never change back once returning to Soielle.”

“I went to Earth one hundred years ago. I turned into this immediately. It takes some getting used to, but I think I like this form the best in the end,” Perceval said when he saw Lila’s sad face.

“The name, Kitsune, ultimately stuck. Before we were called this, we called ourselves Uiro,” the Elder said.

“We’re missing the point. If they are here, that must mean that there’s been a Right. That’s not good, right?” Tipper asked.

“And don’t forget about getting us home,” Ginger reminded the group.

“Ah, yes. Difficult questions indeed.”

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