Day 33

“I am most certainly not!” Tipper balled his hands into fists and walked straight into the turning blue mist. One moment he was solid, his face terribly pale and his ears perked completely straight, and the next the fog swallowed him whole, leaving not a sight of him.

“He should have waited for us.” Perceval headed to the front. “This is his first mite leaving the Kitsune Wood. He’s never been in there before.”

“But he always sounded like he’d been everywhere on Soielle,” said Lila in disbelief.

“That’s what big talk does. And that’s all it does. Makes one sound knowledgeable and confident. In the end, he’s just as scared as you five.”

“So when the Elder told him to go wit us,” Alastair pointed out, “He was actually scared to go? Not just embarrassed to be with us?”

“Don’t tell him I told you this,” Perceval said with a humorous gleam to his eye, “but yes. You’re right.”

“The we have to go in, too!” Gabbie gasped. “He must be horrified in that dreadful blue fog!” The red headed girl popped into the Blood Clot Forest without a second thought.

“Gabbie!” Yelped Alastair. He followed her until he too was eaten up by blue fog.

“Ah, the impulsiveness of youth,” Perceval said dreamily. “You three, are you ready? We can’t lose the others on the very first leg of our field trip, can we?”

“Someone has to save their sorry rear ends.” Ginger closed her eyes and hurdled into the forest. Zane calmly followed suit, more interested in the anatomy of the trees that he muttered he should sketch.

“Perceval, do you miss being a full grown Kitsune?” Lila asked. She observed to swirling wisps of blue fog as thick as watching behind one’s own eyelids. As vast and as mysterious as questioning what there was before the circumstances of birth. The fox creature looked at Lila, his four eyes wide. He was not expecting Lila to wait until they were alone to ask.

“I guess I do at times. I miss having hands. I miss giving hugs. Having fours eyes isn’t easy when you first get them. And these teeth? Sometimes I accidentally bite by lips, and that hurts.” He swished his tail uncomfortably. “It has been a long time, though. I got used to being small. I can sneak into places without anyone noticing. I can hear so much better than when I was bigger.”

“I’m sorry.” Lila the remnants of a purple vines on the ground. A creature had nibbled on the fibrous vegetation, leaving gnawed portions as pockmarks along the vine’s networking. “I miss my parents. I miss my friends. I miss my great grandpa.” Her eyes were remained dry as if she had already cried herself dry long ago. Perceval did not know why she was telling him all of this. Why not her brother? He swiveled his ears and caught faint conversations in front of him. Maybe, just maybe Lila did not want Alastair to worry. “I wonder how everyone is doing back home. We’ve been gone for three days. Will the teachers save our homework? I really wanted to do the Ancient Egyptian video.”

“I don’t know about homework or teachers. I just know that you’re here with us now, and since you are, I’ll personally make sure that you’re safely returned to your parents and video.” Perceval brushed his furry body up against Lila’s leg like a house cat. Her lower lip trembled. She did not cry. Lila stroked Perceval’s back, and he let her.

“I’m better now.” Lila and Perceval caught up with the group, standing next to one another like they were both sharing a secret.

“It’s not so bad in here,” Zane said in a way of greeting. He held up his hands and twirled in a circle. “You can see past the fog after a while.”

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