I heard some talking and recognised one of the voices. It was the witch I'd been tracking for a few days. I pulled the bow from across my chest and slid an arrow into place. The witch took a step forward towards the person she was speaking to. I released my fingers and the arrow flew away.
There was a girl sat in the stream. She looked at me with curiosity, her yellow eyes shining.
"I'd be more careful around here if I was you," I told her. I strung the bow back across my chest. "So, you're Bardi?"
"Yes..." she trailed. "What about you?"
"I'm a Kitsune," I said.
She thought for a moment. She seemed to know a little of our species and was trying to recall it.
"What kind?" she asked.
"But aren't they..."
"Renowned for causing trouble, leading men to their deaths and seducing women? Yes, yes we are," I said with a playful smile.
"So, um... Thanks for helping me out there," she said.
"Not a problem. What’s your name?"
She paused for a moment, debating whether to tell me or not. "I'm Celeste."
"I'm Aaron. Hello."
"Hi," she said.
I walked towards Celeste and held out a hand to help her up. She reluctantly took it. Her legs glistened in the sun.
"So what brings you to the woods?" I asked her.
"I've been wandering around on my own for about 4 years. I like the woods, though these ones are full of bandits and witches."
"And Bardi and Kitsune."
“If you’ve been wandering, how about wandering with me?”
“And don’t worry; I’m not like others of my kind.”
“How do I know I can trust you?” she asked cautiously.
“You can’t? It’s alright if you don’t want to come with me.”
“I do, I just want to know if I can trust you.”
“I told you my name, didn’t I? A name is one of the most precious things a Kitsune has.”
I smiled at her. “You hungry?” She nodded. “Come on then.”
I turned into my fox form, my nine tails swishing gently, and started into the forest. A few second later, Celeste caught me up as a jackal. I grinned at her and started running. She easily caught up, due to her longer legs.
I heard some rabbits up ahead and instantly sped up. I burst into the little clearing and snatched up two of the smaller ones in my jaws. I ran for a bit longer before slowing down and climbing up a tree to eat the rabbits.
Celeste jogged into sight with some rabbits in her teeth. She looked up at me and carried on eating. I finished quickly and lounged on the branch. I absent-mindedly rubbed my tails together. The sparks arced between my tails.
I looked down at Celeste. She was pretty, even as a jackal. I wondered if there was anyone in her life.
With that thought in my mind, I jumped down to the ground, slowing my fall with my magic. I looked at Celeste. She looked up at me and stood. I trotted away from the scene of the crime and kept walking for a little while. I heard some screams and thought it would be interesting to watch, whatever it was that was happening.
I quickly located the source of the noise. It wasn't exactly as fun as I'd anticipated. There was a man, attacking a couple of soldiers. I sat down and watched anyway. What happened next was definitely not something I'd expected. The man turned into a bear and ran at the final soldier. Well, it wasn't fun, but it was definitely interesting.
I glanced at Celeste, who watched the bear with recognition in her eyes. Once again, I wondered if there was anyone in her life.