Sensei - Teacher
Amaterasu - Japanese Sun Goddess
Kannon - Goddess of Mercy
"What-?" Sonic was knocked backwards by an explosion of smoke, getting thrown onto his back. He immediately tried to raise himself onto his elbows to see what was going on, but then his eyes widened in shock.
"No!" he gasped hoarsely. In front of him floated a kitsune – the 'kid' he had so unknowingly saved was no kid at all, but a fox demon from the spirit world. Sonic felt his blood run cold. Horrible stories were told of kitsune and what they could do on a whim to mortals. Alien and not from this world, they had no feelings one would be able to understand – except for terrible, bloodthirsty revenge when they had been angered.
I have been so incredibly stupid,shot through his head. Those three weren't trying to hurt a kid but probably about to get rid of the demon terrorizing their village.
Sonic was frozen to the spot for one, two heartbeats, his fight or flight instincts momentarily overwhelmed by the fear of the supernatural. The kitsune cocked his head, blinking two large, soulless blue eyes. His fur gleamed golden as the two tails, birthmark of his kind, swished in the air behind him. He hovered just two feet away from Sonic, regarding the hedgehog with what could almost have been construed as curiosity had this creature but been a living being. The blue-furred samurai knew he was dead. No doubt the kitsune would wreak his magical fury in a moment upon him, his treacherous ankle still hindering him from escape and this would finally be his end – alone, dirt-stained and forgotten on a forest floor all because he had made such a fatal error in judgement. Years ago, when he had been a lot younger, his sensei had told him that one day, his rashness and idiot impulsivity would bring his death, but Sonic had never believed him - until now. The hedgehog swallowed bravely, pulling together his courage as he prepared to face his death with the honour and dignity as would befit his class. He stared hard at the fox spirit, his voice calm and collected.
"Unleash your fury, kitsune. I am rea-."
The squeal and tackle-hug that came next took him very much by surprise, of course.
"Wha-?" Sonic managed but gasped as his slender midriff was squeezed by two thin furry arms, driving the breath from his lungs as the weight seemed to settle on top of him. The hedgehog now was flailing wildly underneath his attacker, effectively cancelling any attempts at samurai-like dignity forever.
"I thought I was done for!"
"Help! Get OFF!"
"No one EVER helped me, not never!"
"Amaterasu! Kannon! Merciful Buddha! Any of you! HELP!"
"Can you take me home with you?"
"RAPE! …wait, what?"
There was a certain moment of silence. Sonic blinked as his brain tried to compute the conflicting audio information in relation to expectations. For the first time since the fox spirit had started attacking him, the hedgehog calmed down enough to properly behold the creature on top of him.
"Can we be best friends forever?" The fox now sounded vaguely hopeful.
"Huh?" Sonic replied intelligibly. "What did you say?"
"Whether we can be friends now," the kitsune repeated happily, twin tails now wagging in a disturbing manner. "I mean, 'cause you saved me 'n all!"
"…you're not going to unleash your magical fury on me?" Sonic frowned. The smaller kit was still straddling his chest and this encounter wasn't really playing out as expected.
"Uhm. Should I?" The kitsune looked puzzled.
"No!" Sonic hastily assured, then tentatively tried to sit up, which the spirit let him, sliding effortlessly into his lap. The hedgehog felt a bit out of sorts, as if they were trying to perform a Shakespeare play and someone had substituted his script with a Monty Python quotes collage.
"Uh, look…" he began, then stopped. Look what? He tried to focus on the things the fox spirit had said. "So you…want to be my friend?" he asked.
"Yeah – if, if that's alright with you, I mean," the kitsune replied quickly, nervous fingertips poking together bashfully. "I know people always run away screaming from me usually but I thought that was because you know maybe I smelled bad and so I took a bath this morning but I didn't have soap and-"
Sonic at that point clamped a hand across the other's mouth simply to get a word in.
"Woah, hold it. Look, no offence, but you're…" he wasn't sure how to word that sentence. Technically, he wasn't sure what the other was. He certainly wasn't behaving like the malicious kitsune he had heard of and as far as he knew, the old stories had never mentioned glomping as a form of magical attack, either. In fact, this spirit fox so far had behaved much more friendly towards him than the three fellow mortals he had encountered earlier….finally making up his mind, the hedgehog visibly relaxed.
"Yeah, sure. We can be friends." He smiled.
"Awesome! So, can I come with you?"
The fox blinked again. "Come with you," he insisted. "We can travel the world together and save princesses!"
"Travel the world. And save princesses." Sonic repeated the words, wondered whether they would make more sense if arranged in a different order, and then decided that they didn't. "You know, actually, I'm just trying to get by," he said, hoping he wasn't causing another mystical misunderstanding here. "Not many princesses in my line of work."
"But…you're a samurai! Everyone knows you ride on your noble steed, and fight heroically in wars, and slay wicked demons, and serve your Lord with everlasting loyalty, and are so cool while doing it!"
There was a pause. Sonic tilted his head.
"…you haven't by any chance been reading those newfangled manga-things, have you?"
"Mayyybe….?" The little kitsune replied with a bit of a shifty look. "I sometimes disguise myself as a kid and sneak into the village when the travelling book salesmen are there. That was when they caught me, actually. Thank heavens you were there!"
"Yeah. Right," Sonic nodded, at last taking the little guy of his lap and placing him on his own two feet on the floor. The fact that the kit immediately started to float afterwards made that last action a little bit superfluous, but the hedgehog at least could get up. "You know, not everything you've read is necessarily true in real life. I don't, for example, own a horse. Dated one, once, but…"
"That's okay. I like walking anyway. Floating." The fox spirit still smiled.
"I don't fight in wars, either. Firmly believe in surviving, see."
"…okay. Well, I'm sure there's other things that-"
"And if I was to 'slay wicked demons', that would put me at a bit of an impasse with you," Sonic pointed out, by now actually starting to find the whole thing slightly amusing. Even as strange as he was, the hedgehog had to admit that the two-tail actually was rather cute…
"Oh." The young kitsune frowned for a bit as if it had only just occurred to him that a demon slayer might be difficult to have for a best friend if you were not exactly mortal. Then his face quickly lit up again.
"Not a problem! Because I'm not wicked, see? At least I don't think I am," he added with a bit of a thoughtful look. "I mean, I don't actually know what 'wicked' means, but I'm sure I'm something else…"
"Yeah, I'm sure people would agree on that one," Sonic had difficulty not to laugh, to the confusion of the small spirit. This was turning out to be the strangest day. He hadn't thought he'd feel this light-hearted with another person again…
"Oooooh!" the kitsune snipped his fingers. "I know! I know! Even if you're not riding or fighting or slaying, you still serve your Lord, right? That's what a samurai does!"
And then there was the memory once more, cold and empty and torn.
"…no." Sonic's tone sounded the same as before, but to the fox spirit of nature it seemed as if those eyes which up until now had resembled fresh spring leaves in their colour had suddenly become the dark fir needles of winter. The chill in the hedgehog's gaze made him shudder.
"I don't even do that. I'm a rônin. My lord is...gone."
"…" The young kit was obviously at a loss to reply here. Sonic snorted without humour.
"And now listen to me sounding completely pathetic, too. So much for that last point on your list, 'looking cool', huh?"
"…I think it's okay to be sad sometimes. I've read that kitsune are not supposed to be sad either, but I usually am," the little spirit said while actually looking so serious about it that if Sonic had been a girl, he probably would have melted and/or buried the sprite in a Momma Bear hug at this point. As it was, the blue hedgehog samurai mostly was already fighting a losing battle against his feelings at the moment anyway. He sighed.
"Now why would you be usually sad?"
"Nobody wants to play with me. The kids from the village hate me and whenever I meet another kitsune, they're old and only interested in hugging grown-up people."
"…oh." Sonic had heard of the legends concerning kitsune usually adopting the guise of a pretty female mortal and then proceeding to suck the money/life force out of some unfortunate guy who fell for them (or just marrying him, but some people argued there was no difference to the former), and therefore the hedgehog could guess that it probably wasn't so much 'hugging' the fox spirits were interested in, but…well.
"I guess that sucks, huh?" he offered as comfort a bit awkwardly, the traditional education of a samurai warrior never having included basic fox psychology for some reason.
"Yeah. Plus, almost all of them are girls. I don't think there's many boys like me."
So you're actually male? Sonic would almost have asked, but didn't. He hadn't been too sure up until now, but had the distinct impression that a 'kitsune fury' could still be on the cards if the little guy was rubbed the wrong way.
That, or 'kitsune hissy fit', but neither of them would be too pleasant.
"Say, what's actually your name?" the fox spectre piped up, looking curious. "I bet it's something cool and noble, like Amidamaru, the Devil Who Slayed Hundreds, or Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Brother of the Emperor, or Miyamoto Musashi, finest swordsman in the entire country or-!"
"Sonic. It's Sonic."
"- oh. No title?"
The spirit frowned. "…that sounds weird."
"Hey! Did I make fun of your name?" the blue-furred rônin bristled, immediately going into defensive mode. He liked his name, thankyouverymuch.
"No. Because I don't have one," the fox pointed out diligently. "Unless you count 'Get him!', I suppose…."
Sonic heaved a very deep sigh, wondering whether there actually was some sort of schooling orphans and waifs went through to achieve the most massive pity effect or something.
"Tell ya what, how about I give you a name?" the hedgehog suggested, scratching the side of his head as he looked at the other curiously. As predicted, the little spirit immediately exploded with enthusiastic smoke.
"A name? Like, you know a…people name?" he asked, uttering the words with awe as soon as he'd returned to his corporeal floating form again. Sonic was still busy coughing, but nodded.
"Uh, yeah. If you like."
"Yes! Yesyesyes!" the kit agreed hastily. "I could be called…Kyûbi no Yoko, the mighty Ninetail able to unleash tsunami or crush mountains, or, or, Kirin, the magical creature that can found or overthrow kingdoms, or Kusanagi, the legendary sword given to the emperor by the sun goddess, or-!"
"Actually, I was thinking to call you 'Tails'."
"It's that or Pikachu, the hyperactive mouse."
"But that doesn't sound fear-inspiring at all!" the fox protested. Sonic raised an eye ridge.
"And considering you were lonely all your life and just almost got exorcised by villagers you had obviously been scaring the hell out of, you'd want to have a name like that…why?"
"…oh." The spirit blinked. "That makes sense, I suppose."
"It does," Sonic agreed. "And besides, a name shouldn't be a boast, but the essence of what you are."
"Oooh, I see," the little one nodded. "So, your name means…" he frowned. "…that you're really loud?"
"No! I am really fast!" the blue hedgehog corrected, just a little bit peeved. "You know, if you keep that up, I'm gonna change your name into 'Fuzzbrain' instead."
"Don't you dare!" the fox immediately flinched. He shook himself, appendages bunched up. "After all, what kind of samurai would want a travelling companion called Fuzzbrain anyway…?"
Wait, what? "You want to travel with me?"
"Sure! I mean, we're friends now and I've never been happy here anyway…"
"And what makes you think I'd take you along?" Sonic asked, a little bit confused. It wasn't that he didn't like the kit, but he'd actually gotten used to his lone wandering life and he wasn't sure whether having a kitsune for company was really the wisest choice…to his surprise, though, the two-tail then actually looked a little bit smug.
"What makes you think you could stop me?" He grinned. "I am a shapeshifter. If I wanted to, I could assume any guise I'd like and follow you anyway and you'd never know it was me 'cause I'd look different every day. See?"
Sonic's eyes grew wide as with another puff of smoke, the little fox suddenly had vanished…and he was staring straight into his own eyes, a perfect replica of himself staring right back at him where the spirit had just been. "How's it feel to look at yourself without a mirror?" his own voice asked.
Sonic pursed his lips. "Actually, not to bad, I think I'm pretty hot…except for the two tails, of course. That looks really freaky."
"What?" With a shocked explosion, the little fox turned around, and then already collapsed into his former self. "No! That's not fair! That always happens!" he complained.
Sonic couldn't help a grin.
"Fine, then. I'll take you along, if only because you probably would get yourself killed if I didn't. But no more transforming into me, alright?"
"Thank you!" the spectre lit up like a fireworks display at Sonic's words and immediately threw himself at the hedgehog in a hug. "And maybe we can work some more on my name, too…?"
"Nah, I think I like it. But we could always change it to another language. In the ancient tongue, "Tails" means "Shippô", so if you like that better-"
"I think that name is already taken," the kitsune pointed out carefully, before shaking his head. "I'll give it some more time. After all, it does sound like we belong together, at least…"
Sonic wondered why he suddenly felt as if the sun had come out again, but was then surprised as a little hand sneaked into his own.
"Ready to go?" Tails asked.
Sonic nodded and smiled. "Wherever the wind takes us."
Hi there! Well, after three chapters the end of the prologue has been reached and I hope you liked! As for Sonic's backstory, the extent of Tails' powers and the actual plot of the story, I'm afraid you might have to wait until I actually get started, but shouldn't be too long...'Life could have been so different' is entering its final stage and after that, I've got a new free slot. :P If you read, please review? As for traveling, just returned from Monaco and apart from the awesome snorkeling to be done there, I think I'm pretty sure I *might* have seen a quick blue streak zipping by on the formula one racetrack as I walked past...:P