The enemy of my enemy… doesn’t know it yet.
“Okay, so we need to get through that back fence without being seen,” I explained to Lou, “Any ideas?”
“Why don’t we just go inside and ask those nice people?”
“Because I don’t want to be eating kibble for the rest of my life.”
“It will only take a second. ”
“Lou, get back here,” I dove after him, not noticing that my tail had snagged the bush until it was too late.
SO to make a long story short, I fell back with Lou in my arms.I yelped so loud that a deaf woman three Regions over could hear me.Lou’s broken Jinmenju were sent flying over the fence, with a cheerful, “Weeeeeeee!”
For once, a knock to the head didn’t knock me out. It still hurt…
“(What hit me?),” Fia came back to her senses, “(Hey, Eggs!)”
“(Sorry, about that fluffy Ducky!),” the egg-shaped stones said together.
“(Wow talking eggs!),” Fia was about to rant again.
“(Hey, Dad, watch this.),” I nudged.
“(That’s so amazing, how do you do that without being hatched yet, are you like Psychic Yokai, Of course you’d have to be psychic so that you can talk to me without being hatched yet, but then how do you put that face on the outside here, are there more of you than one, two, three of you, how long until you guys hatch, ooh ooh ooh and you look like you’re about to hatch right now!)”
“(Could you follow all that, Dad?)”
“O-kay…,” Brandy scratched his head, “so how did these Jinmenju get here?”
“(We flew!),” they shouted together, I translated. Brandy didn’t say a word.
“(Aren’t there supposed to be seven to every set of Jinmenju ?),” I asked, Brandy nodded, “(Where’s your other four?)”
“(They’re…),” the half set of Jinmenju began looking at one another, “(wait, where’s Sue?)”
“(Where is he?),” Leo growled, and crashed through the door of the stall. Yes, I mean ‘through’. You’d think that a cannon was shot to make that hole in the wooden door.
“(Tarsa! Where are you!),” Leo barked and scoured the area searching for him, “(Show yourself!)”
“(Yippie, another Puppy!),” two of the Jinmenjus cheered, but one of them screamed, “(He’s gonna kill us! Eek, you’re right! Run!)”
“(Hey, we got more players.),” Fia, thinking that it was part of that stupid game, ran off somewhere.
“Tar, Crack, Shelly,” a kid ran to the fence closest to the Jinmenju.
“Oh, you’re Louis, Right?”
“Yes, I’m Lou,” he nodded, “why are you scaring my Otõtos?”
“(Where! Where! Where!),” Leo kept sniffing the area.
“(Don’t you think that you’re going a little bit overboard?),” I asked when he started sniffing near us.
“(I know that scent anywhere. Tarsa’s here Somewhere!)”
“What’s going on,” Brandy asked out loud.
“(Leo says that he smells Tarsa!)”
“But that’s not possible,” Brandy said, “Tarsa’s locked up tight and even if he isn’t he was close to death.”
“(Tarsa, I’m going to kill you for taking my Aniki away!),” Leo howled, but couldn’t find him anywhere, “(He’s so close that I can almost taste him.)”
“What’s going on out here,” Karen poked her head out of the stalls with Ms. Kay and slowly joined the rest of us outside, “Leo could you calm down?”
“(No, I can’t.),” Leo sniffed closer to the Jinmenju, “(You! You smell like…)”
“(Ah, don’t eat us!),” they cried.
“There’s nothing here to worry about,” Ms. Kay pet him.
“(But you’re not Tarsa…),” he whined, “(Why do you…?)”
“Lunch is ready,” Mom shouted from the back door, “Oh, we have more guests. Would you all like to join us?”
“Yes, please,” Lou said, “I’m starving!”
“We all could use a meal and you can come out of hiding now,” Ms. Kay smiled at the bush, “I know that you’re there, Tyrone.”
“Ehehehe,” Tyrone stood up from the bushes, “Well, I guess I’m out of luck.”
“(Aniki?),” Leo was about to cry, “(Aniki!!!)”
“Tyrone,” Karen screeched, running to the fence, “Where were you? Do you have any idea what your disappearing act has caused?”
“I- I just was,” Tyrone looked scared, he sat down and covered his head, “I don’t remember…”
“You don’t remember! How can you not remember!”
“Well then maybe some of Cathy’s home cooked meals will help you to remember,” Ms. Kay said, “but first you and Leo can catch up.”
Ms. Kay opened the fence so that Leo and Tyrone could have one of those reunion moments.
“(Aniki, How could I not notice your sent?),” Leo happily licked away at Tyrone, “(I thought I’d never see you again. Aniki…)”
“It’s okay Leo. I’m fine,” Tyrone laughed, “You can stop now.”
Leo stopped whimpering as much as Tyrone rubbed down his neck.
“Leo, I’m so glad that you’re safe.”
“(I am too Aniki!)”
“Have you been eating right? Was Karen mean to you at all?”
“For your information,” Karen tapped her foot in irritation, “I took care of him just fine while you were out playing runaway.”
“Hey, I told you that I-ahh,” Tyrone yelled, but then flinched as Karen formed a fist.
“God, I’m glad you’re back,” Karen surprisingly hugged him instead of hit him.
Brandy picked me up and started to carry me inside, “Come on, I promised you a meal.” Just as Brandy removed them from my line of sight.
Meanwhile in town…
The waitress brought Officer Mara’s little sister, Jamie, her coffee and an apple cider for myself.
“I can’t believe I’m having coffee with you,” Jamie quietly cheered to herself,
“Seriously, it’s no big deal.”
“No big deal? This is a huge deal for me,” Jamie yelled, the rest of the restaurant was starting to looking at us.
“Could you try not to draw attention?”
“I love this coffee,” Jamie shouted, everyone else got back to their own business after that. A few of them smiled about Jamie’s comments, but pretty much ignored us afterward.
“Works every time,” Jamie winked, “Seriously though, thank you for agreeing to have a drink with me.”
“(Can I try some of that?),” Sue was eyeing enviously at my apple cider.
“You want some,” I asked the single Jinmenju. Without a second thought, I let it take as sip or two.
“Is that even healthy for it?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I sighed, honestly It didn’t matter to me, “So what did you want to talk to me about.”
“Right, I was hoping to avoid talking about this for a little longer,” Jamie took a sip of her coffee, “You remember Tarsa?”
“The Plant Yokai loving egomaniac that tried to make me murder for him so that he could achieve godhood or whatever?”
“So you do remember.”
“Considering that it wasn’t that long ago, duh.”
“And here I was going crazy,” Jamie took a soothing drink of coffee, “no one else can recall anything about him.”
“You don’t say…,” I looked down at Sue.
“Seriously, I tried everybody,” she said, “First my sister, then his doctors. I think that Tarsa might be using some of his Voodoo magic to make people forget him.”
“Don’t be silly, there’s no such thing as magic,” I faked a laugh. Being born a Kitsune, I knew better. Besides that, Tarsa was sitting in my lap or at most, a seventh of him was.
“Well, real magic or not,” Jamie sighed, “Just be careful. Out of everyone, you needed to be warned the most.”
“I’m not afraid of Tarsa,” I grinned a little, “If he tries to mess with me I’ll show him who’s boss.”
“(Jade’s the boss!),” Sue hopped a second. I think that Louis is rubbing off on it.
“Yes, but he might not go after you directly,” Jamie explained, “He might go after the people you care about like Louie or even your Mother.”
“That woman is not my mother,” I snapped at Jamie. At that, the entire shop became a graveyard. Sure, now they noticed us.
“Not your mother?”
“…What I mean is…,” I tried to calm down, “we don’t see eye to eye.”
“Still… she is your mother,” Jamie tried to comfort me, “Trust me. You’ll miss her if she ever… you know.”
…I wouldn’t miss her, even if I threw a rock in the opposite direction…
“I shouldn’t have said that,” I sighed, even my apple cider couldn’t taste good if I tried it now, “Just forget about it okay.”
I picked up my things and Sue. I couldn’t stand staying here to explain the whole story again, “Thanks for the drink.”
“Wait,” Jamie grabbed my shoulder, “Just be careful okay.”
“I’ll be fine. I’m not a helpless little kit anymore.”
“What is taking so long,” Blair’s partner complained to the pilot, “We have to be over the drop zone by now… It’s been hours.”
“Have patience, it hasn’t been that long.”
“(Yo mister tight-britches, I know you can hear me.),” Blair said quietly, “(I know my partner’s real bad about judging time, But we have been on this here plane for days. Why is that?)”
“(It’s nothing, my friend just got in trouble with the higher-ups is all.),” Judiel whispered to himself in the seat next to her.
“(If he was caught, why are we still 15,000 ft. in the air?)”
“(The higher ups are hearing my friend’s case and as such, have not decided on whether your presence is needed or not.),” Judiel sighed, “(As it turns out this area you’re ‘going’ to is seriously messing with the balance of life and death somehow. More people are dying than there should be and many people who were supposed to be dead didn’t make it to the other side. They just caught one Yokai soul who’s not even supposed to exist connected with this human’s soul.)”
“(Real messed up place this Golnar huh?),” the Salamander nodded to herself, “(Wait, Why is it ya’re telling me all this now? I thought ya ain’t allowed to tell us anything.)”
“(Because whatever they decide, I fear that this might be the last time that I get to see you, Blair.)”
“(Gee, I didn’t know that you…)”
“(And boy what a load off my back that will be! Let me tell ya!),” Judiel laughed, “(taking care of you has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Day in and day out nothing, but constant protection.)”
“(Is that so…),” Blair started growling.
“(Yeah, I can’t go five minutes without having to swoop down and tie your shoes so you wouldn’t trip up.)”
“(Well, if that’s how you really feel then, Leave! Go on! GET! I never want to see your reptilian faces again!),” Blare yelled, Judiel vanished from her sight, “(Good riddance…)”
Judiel didn’t leave exactly…. He just moved outside onto the right wing of the plane.
“(You did the right thing.),” Naarai patted his friend on the back.
“(Shut up!),” Judiel sniffled, “(This better be worth it, Naarai)”
“(I didn’t say to make her that mad.)”
“(Just get her through this blasted barrier so that she can help.)”
“(For what it’s worth, she’s a great charge… and I’m sorry for asking you to do this.)”
“(It’s not your fault that Golnar is messed up.)”
“(Higher ups say that it’s going to be another day before the plane is able to break through the barrier…),” Naarai crossed his arms and sat down Indian style, “(but it’s going to be out of gas.)”
“(That won't be a problem. She wasn’t planning on landing with the plane anyways.),” Judiel chuckled a little, “(that’s just the kind of girl she is.)”