Day 30

“Children, take these as well,” urged the Elder. The kids jumped, not knowing that the older kitsune was going to be sending them off as well. The man stretched out his wizened yet strong fingers, letting five brilliant green gems fall onto Alastair’s palm. “These are last precautions. Use them sparingly.”

“Really, Elder? That must have taken a lot out of you!” Tipper gasped. He threw an arm around the older kitsune, but the Elder swatted him away.

“Hush, you. I’m not in the grave yet.” The Elder saw the children’s confused expressions. “Oh, I apologize. I forget that you are not native to our village. What I’ve made for you are Flash Stones. You squish them betwix your fingers, and you temporarily have the power of a kitsune. Depending on your affinity, you could release a fire blast either three to twenty times.”

“Squish?!” Yelped Lila.

“A fire blast?!” Squealed Gabbie.

“But these are stones. How can we squish them?” Zane logically said.

“See here?” The Elder bent over Alastair and picked up one perfectly cut stone. It could have been a gleaming emerald just fashioned and labored over by a renowned jeweler. The children had been here long enough to understand that what was normal at home, was not here and vice versa. But still. This was clearly a stone. Stone were hard. When the Elder pinched the gem, it bent inwards likes a gelatin gummy. The kids’ eyes nearly bulged from their heads. “Be careful to store them in a hard case.” He returned the gem to Alastair, who promptly dropped one into the waiting hands to his comrades. He put his gem wrapped in a cloth that he then stored into his food pouch. “Yes, dear. A fire blast.” The Elder confirmed when he saw that Gabbie was still waiting for affirmation about the wild power they could wield. “Again, these are to protect you from anything dangerous. Be smart and do not show off.” He was staring not at the children, but at Tipper. Tipper grew red and turned away.

“I think it’s time to go. Don’t you think, guys?” Tipper huffed. “Gotta get you back to Earth safe and sound.”

“Be safe. Be cautious. The Queen will take care you.” The Elder bowed.

“Goodbye!” The children called happily. There was a small gathering of bustling kitsune who had either spoke with the children or were just curious. Kimber wiggled her fingers at Zane. The young boy turned red and moved away, embarrassed. Won and Lerol stood side by side, beaming at the children like they were already parents themselves. Alastair felt strange. He hardly knew any of these people. They had been in the Kitsune Village for just two days and a half. He found that he didn’t want to leave. That he wanted to get to know them more. But that meant giving up on his parents and the friends he swore to protect, and there was no way he would jeopardize that.

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