Day 23

I just…” The Kitsune paced and avoided the children’s observations. “I just thought that I’d be part of something more than a sidekick gig. That my prophecy was for me to be on the sidelines.”

“The way you used your fire was more cool than any sidekick’s bag of tricks I’ve seen!” Gabbie said. She smiled big at Tipper.

“And you did get us to the village in one piece like you promised, so I guess you’re dependable,” Zane added.

“And your information about Soielle is more valuable for us than some prophecy,” said Alastair.

“AND! Your eyes are pretty,” Lila chirped.

Tipper blinked and grinned. He set his hands on his hips in triumph. “Guess I have to help them now, Perceval. Can’t let these pretty eyes go to waste, now can I?”

“Surely not, old friend.”

They planned on leaving in two days. Alastair knew that the Elder suggested the time delay in order to teach the children more about Soielle and prepare them for their journey, but he felt as though every second was one wasted in returning home and saving his parents from the worry of losing their children. He vaguely listened as the Elder outlined what he wanted to do in those two days to improve the children’s chances of survival and eventual return. After he finished and patted each child on the head, he called for Kimber alert the head butler to arrange rooms for their guests.

Sure enough, a butler with jet black hair pulled back at his nape, black fur for his feet and ears, and ebony irises that masked his slit pupil, elegantly approach the children to secure their new chambers.

“My name is Won,” said the butler in a soft, smooth voice. He wore a black suit that had a different cut than the other kitsune’s tunics. “It is a pleasure to assist the Elder’s guests.” The butler took the children up one flight of stairs and to the left. “It was lovely to see Master Tipper in residence today. It has been far too long.”

“What do you mean by that, Won?” Gabbie trilled.

“Oh, you aren’t familiar. I apologize. You see, Master Tipper is the Elder’s great, great, great grandson.”

“So, Tipper is like a prince?” Lila cried. She never really got over the love of princes and princesses, even after she was bullied in school for carrying around her book of fairy tales.

“No, I’m not. We don’t follow lineage successions around here. You have to earn your right to look after the kitsunes rather than be born into it,” Tipper said. Perceval snickered.

“I still think that you’d be a fine prince, Master Tipper,” Won said.

“I told you not to call me master.”

“My apologies, Master Tipper.”

Won took Zane and Alastair to one room and the girls to another. He instructed them to use the clothing he chose from the chests at the end of their beds and to pull the velvet rope at their doors if they were ever in need of assistance. He then sadly said, “The Elder is too kind and always declines any aid unless it is to help others. I’ve only heard the alarm from the velvet pulley five times, and never once was it to assist him.”

“I promise to pull the crap out,” Ginger growled.

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