Chapter 90: There is Definitely Something Strange!

Ricki definitely led me to a strange place: a cave that was filled with high leveled monsters. Seriously, what is this place? Ricki trotted forward and the monsters began to growl, while some tried to reach toward Ricki only to be repelled by the barrier of their cages. That’s right, the monsters are in cages and thank goodness. I wouldn’t want my life to end here because of these guys. They are really high leveled, so my animal talent has zero effect on them.

EEEEK! One of the monsters that looks like an ogre with zits licked his tongue when he looked at me. SCARY!

“Don’t worry, they can’t get out.”

            “Are you sure?”

            “Definitely, they have been here since last year and have yet to escape.”

            They have been here that long? Who put them here? Hold on…I recognize that Minotaur with the hooked nose and one broken horn…THAT’S THE BOSS IN THE JOAN FOREST. I bet you guys just got confused. I mentioned before that the otome game had an RPG Style of play as well that made the game popular. Well, in RPGs there are also boss battles. In one part of the game, the heroine was sent to Joan Forest (an ancient forest on the outskirts of the Academy) to retrieve an herb for healing as a test (this is in all capture target routes). In her quest, she fought this Minotaur boss and after defeating it, the herb would be revealed. The fight was pretty hard when I played it. Anyway, the boss is in a cage here for some reason…WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE IT WANTS TO EAT ME?

I scurried behind Ricki trying to avoid the gazes of the monsters. I don’t know why boss level monsters are here, but I don’t really care at the moment. I just want to go back to the dorm now.

“Let’s get out of here, Ricki.”

            “But there is something even more strange deeper in the cave.”

            “I don’t want to see!”

            Ricki began to nudge me with his nose urging me forward. This is starting to scare me. What could be so interesting that Ricki is forcing me to see? I should seriously just run.

“Here we are.”

            WHEN DID WE GET BACK HERE? Before I even knew it, I was already deeper into the cave. I was actually ready to run off, but I don’t see anything strange here.

“There’s nothing here.”

            “Just wait.”

            “Wait…?”

            What exactly am I waiting for…WHERE DID THIS WALL OF ICE COME FROM? Is it really ice? It looks cold, but ice this shiny should give off a reflection, but I see nothing. It also came out of nowhere. This is indeed strange.

Ricki stepped forward and suddenly leapt through the wall of ice…WHAT THE HECK? Is this like a magic mirror like from Alice in Wonderland? I’m kind of scared to step through, but also as curious as Hell. Ricki is in there, so it should be OK to use my plant talent. Just a small vine to wrap around my tail and attach the other end to a rock. It is better to be safe than sorry. Preparations are complete! I pat my paws on the ground a few times before I leapt into the ice wall…COLD!

This place is completely covered in snow. SO COLD! I tried to roll to get warm, but it is not helping at all. Ricki might see, but it would be best to use a little of my ice talent to get me used to the coldness. Ice talent makes one tolerable to the cold, especially in winter like conditions such as this. I activated my ice talent and the cold no longer bothered me. That’s better.

“Laveda, are you OK?”

            Ricki approached me and he doesn’t seem bothered by the cold…I wonder why.

“I’m fine, Ricki, but where are we?”

            “A strange place covered in snow. I don’t have a name for it.”

            “I see.”

            Ricki doesn’t know what this place is called and I admit that I am coming out with a blank here too. This was not in the game as far as I remember.

Ricki suddenly began to leap around the snow sending pieces of snow flying in the air.

“This place will remain open for a while, so let’s explore this strange place.”

            “Isn’t that dangerous?”

            “No need to worry. I have been here many times and have not run into anything strange.”

            “THERE’S SOMETHING STRANGE NOW!”

            There’s a white hand reaching out behind Ricki. It looks like a scene from a zombie movie. NO, NO, NO, too scary! Ricki was grabbed and lifted up. I saw him whimpering, but there was nothing I could do. I was practically frozen in fear…the fear vanished though when I realized that the hand belonged to a very pale girl. She looked like a snow spirit with her white hair and white overalls. She looked pretty cute, so my fear of her dwindled considerably.

“Fox!” the girl chirped and began to fluff up the chest hair of Ricki. Ricki began to yelp in protest, but seeing how much his fur fluffed makes me want to pet him too. The girl suddenly looked my way making me flinch.

“White fox!” she chirped and practically dropped Ricki as she tottered toward me with outstretched hands. My fear is back, so time to run! I began to run in different directions to avoid the girl’s touch, but my evasive maneuvers seemed to fuel her need to grab me. Whoa, a small bump of snow appeared in my path, but I avoided it…only to run into another small hill of snow.

“Fox, fox!” she cheered…I can definitely see that she is making the snow block my path judging by how her hands move when the snow bumps appear. She is definitely an ice user. I leaped up to avoid another hill of snow, but the snow I was about to land on grabbed me. I yelped in panic trying to get free, but it was futile. The little girl plucked me from the snow and began to hug me close to her, while rubbing her soft cold cheeks to my head.

“Fox cute! Fox soft!”

I know that my form is cute and soft, but please don’t smother me.

“Laveda, I’m coming!”

            Oh, Ricki is trying to save me…he failed miserably. The moment he tried to jump toward me, he was captured by some snow that sprouted from the ground. All I can see is his head looking at me with a tearful face. Poor Ricki.

I was suddenly held at eye level with the pale little girl. She showed me a grin and stated, “I like you. Will you be my friend?”

I tilted my head at her. Would she understand me if I said anything? I am in my fox form after all.

“Snowflake, I told you not to appear before strangers.”

Huh, who said that? I looked over my shoulder and saw a man that was just as pale as the little girl. His hair was really long and white, but he didn’t look like an old man. He looked like he was in his twenties. His robe is covered in white feathers. Is he trying to blend into the surroundings?

“Papa.”

Oh, so this guy is this girl’s father.

The little girl held me toward her father and stated, “White fox cute!”

Her father is staring at me with a puzzled look. Does he suspect something?

“Why is there a fox here?” he muttered, but then looked around and asked, “What happened to the ice user I sensed?”

Ice user? Could he be talking about me? How could he sense me using my ice talent?

“Snowflake, where are the strangers?”

“No strangers…white fox cute!”

We already established that I am a white fox that is cute.

“I understand Snowflake, but did you see anyone else here besides the white fox?”

The little girl nodded and pointed at Ricki, who looked pretty depressed in the snow mound he was trapped in. He reminds me of an abandoned puppy on the side of the road during a rainy day just like in anime.

“Gold fox cute!”

“So just foxes…how did they get in here?”    

Is he not aware of the ice wall that appeared in the cave?

“White Fox cute!”

I was being smothered again. Please stop this. Actually, the father over there, do something about your child who is clearly close to suffocating an animal.

“Snowflake, we need to return the foxes to the forest now.”

Snowflake must be the little girl’s name.

“No, I want to keep them.”

You can’t keep them (me and Ricki)!

“You can’t. The foxes aren’t meant to be in the cold. They could freeze to death.”

Very true, even though I am using my ice talent to stay warm…now that I think about it, how is Ricki staying warm in this weather? He seemed pretty fine, even before Snowflake appeared.

Huh…WHY AM I EVEN HIGHER THAN BEFORE? AH, this kid is using the snow to make herself rise up. It is almost like she is riding the waves of the ocean.

“I won’t return them!”

“Snowflake!”

Whoa, looks like this became a chase of daughter and father. The father is using the snow to glide through the air and Snowflake is doing the same. She is even doing a few flips…I feel dizzy. This chase doesn’t seem to be close to ending…where is Ricki? AGH, RICKI IS FLYING IN THE AIR! I guess the rising snow made him erupt from the mound like lava. Poor Ricki.

He’s about to crash into the snow. I know the snow looks soft, but it is not. I gave out a yelp as I controlled the snow to reach out like a tentacle and snatch Ricki from the air before he could collide into the ground. He’s safe…Snowflake’s father is looking at me with wide eyes. Did he see?

“This fox can control ice?”

He definitely saw.

Snowflake suddenly gave out a giggle as she landed on the ground. She then snatched Ricki’s dangling form from the snow I used and held him close to me as she looked at her father with a smile.

“Does that mean I can keep them, Papa?”

Please tell her “no.”

“It should be fine,” he stated to my displeasure and added, “I have never seen a fox control ice before, even in the ancient days. I wouldn’t mind training this little one to reach its peak in the ice talent.”

I would love the training, but I don’t want to stay here. I need to leave. I managed to get Ricki and I out of Snowflake’s hold making her give out a whine and ran toward the ice wall. Ricki managed to jump through, but Snowflake’s father managed to catch up to me and lift me up by the scruff. I began to whimper as I dangled in his hand.

“You seem determined to return.”

“Please don’t go fox.”

Snowflake’s father looks amused and Snowflake looks close to tears. I feel sorry for the kid, but I don’t want to stay here. Snowflake’s father suddenly winced and then I noticed that Ricki has returned and bit the ankle of the man. I took this chance to escape and Ricki soon followed. The moment we were out, I could hear Snowflake crying. I really do feel bad. Maybe I should get her a pet, if I meet her again.

“Are you OK, Laveda?”

            “I am fine, but you were right. That place is strange.”

            Ricki began to lick my head. That’s pretty gross, but I am a fox right now, so it should be fine.

“I should go back now.”

            “OK, let’s meet again tomorrow night or every night to see more strange things, Laveda.”

            Ricki ran ahead of me out of sight…he left me behind. I thought he would at least lead me out of the cave before running off. I shook my head and began to walk out.

I am going to pass the scary cages again. I really don’t want to…why are the cages empty? All the monsters that were here are gone. I only see empty cages. This can’t be good.

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