Wolf: The Fox and the Hound, II
You aren’t entirely certain how to approach this subject, given the fact it’s not something you’ve ever done before. It takes you a moment to mull over how to properly speak to someone like this - it’s not the same as talking to a human on the street, after all.
But you settle on trying to treat it that way, for the sake of simplicity.
‘Hi there,’ you say, as you focus on the vixen. ‘I, uh… yeah, this is a lot for me, still, but, I couldn’t help but want to talk to you.’
The vixen regards you with a strange look as she turns her head to the side. ‘So I noticed.’
Her voice is definitely that of a woman, of someone that is definitely an adult - maybe somewhere in the late twenties or early thirties? You can’t be sure, but, it does help paint somewhat of a picture for you about her, either way.
‘I’ll be honest, I didn’t even notice you at first,’ the vixen says. Her tone holds curiosity and some mirth in it as she appraises you. ‘It wasn’t until almost when I broke from the trees that I smelled you. I was lost in the moment, but then, I caught your scent, and Shira here,’ the vixen flicks her tail toward the genie, ‘decided to inform me you were following me for several minutes.’
Shira snickers. “Of course I knew about it, my sweet. I could tell our friend here was filled with curiosity, but, I didn’t want want to interrupt your moment. You do so love the freedom of being able to run at full speed while tapping into the animal instincts you’ve been blessed with. Why spoil the fun?”
The vixen rolls her eyes.
‘I was worried you were running away FROM me,’ you admit. ‘I didn’t want to come across that way - I was honestly just… excited to meet someone that also happened to find a genie and had their wishes granted.’
‘I gathered that,’ the vixen replies. She seems to smile at you. ‘My name is Ali, by the way. What’s yours?’
You introduce yourself in response.
‘A pleasure,’ Ali says. ‘So you’ve only had your partner here for a little under a day, huh?’
You nod. ‘It hasn’t been long, yeah. But it’s been one heck of a day so far.’
Ali laughs at this. ‘Oh, yeah, I bet. I remember my first day meeting Shira.’ She turns to eye Shira. ‘It was a wild ride from start to finish, but damn was it a good one. My life hasn’t been the same since we met - and I’m honestly thankful to the core for that fact. Shira’s been a blessing.’
“Oh, stop it,” Shira says, waving a hand off. “You’re trying to flatter me, Master.”
“Liar,” Shira says, and she snickers.
‘How long have you known Shira?’ you ask Ali.
‘Three years,’ Ali replies. ‘I met Shira by freak accident, I think, when I was going for a walk in the park at nighttime. Probably the dumbest time to go walking alone for a woman, but, I was… well, I wasn’t sober, let’s put it that way.’ Her ears twitch. ‘Fortunately, fate was on my side, and I managed to find my way down a path that took me to where Shira’s lamp was resting…’
You nod, fascinated to be hearing all this.
You look at Shira next. ‘Are you a transformation djinn as well?’
Shira arcs an eyebrow. “Transformation? Ah…” Her lips curl into an impish grin. “To be honest, I see myself as more of an… open-ended djinn, or I try to be depending on the Master I happen upon. But to answer your question, my dear, when I met my Master here, I was, yes.”
‘You… wait, what?’ you ask.
“To only grant ‘transformative’ wishes doesn’t only refer to changing from the form of a human to the form of an animal,” Akam answers. He shrugs as you look at him. “Some djinn will take that term and utilize it in the broadest of senses, depending on their preferences and on how their Master words the wishes they ask for. But, me, I am a djinn that loves nature and the wilderness, and I am deeply fond of all animals and insects of the world. That is why my focus is specific to just that realm, Master.”
‘Oh… I guess that makes sense,’ you reply.
Ali giggles. ‘Don’t feel too bad if it doesn’t. It took me a good two years to fully grasp the extent of Shira’s preferences. The stinker.’
Shira beamed. “Magical stinker, at least, my Master.”
Ali rolls her eyes once more.
“But, to answer your question,” Shira says as she regards you. “I am fond of nearly any form of transformation - whether it be taken in the physical sense or not. What it comes down to for me is my taste. If a Master strikes me as someone that is rude, petty, or lacking common sense, I’ll usually mess with them by finding loopholes in their wishes.” She beams wide. “Nothing TOO harmful, mind you. I tend to try to teach those sorts a lesson is all.”
‘I see now,’ you reply.
One thing is for sure: you are glad you had the common sense to be decent when you stumbled onto Akam. Who is to say what would’ve happened to you had you been rude or dismissive of the genie? You don’t want to consider that outcome, so, you let that thought slip off you, since you made the right decision and now you are far more appreciative of this fact.
‘So you’ve only gotten two of your wishes granted, huh?’ Ali asks.
‘Yeah,’ you reply. ‘The first was to be able to turn into any animal, painlessly, and to be in control over myself when I did. I didn’t want to be like the old werewolf stories where the person lost control, you know?’
Ali nods and grins again. ‘Smart move.’
‘And my second was to allow Akam to join me,’ you say. ‘I phrased it so that he was able to be my guide for as long as he wanted to be, unless I really needed his help for something. Otherwise, I gave him the freedom to choose.’
“Ohoho!” Shira says. “Now THAT is quite telling of the sort of person you are, my friend. Not many care enough about us djinn to extend that offer.”
‘Interesting…’ Ali remarks. She eyes you with a strange glimmer in her eyes for a moment before nodding. ‘You’re definitely deserving of a djinn, I think. Anyone can wish for things that’ll make their lives better without putting any consideration toward a genie - but, it’s nice to see someone that’s above that kind of thinking.’
You nod, then curiosity grabs at you. ‘What wishes did you make?’
Ali remains silent for a moment as she seems to mull this over. You’re not sure why, but you don’t get an immediate sense she’s going to lie to you about it, at least not right now. Even then, though, you’re rather intrigued about her sudden relapse into silence.
‘I could tell you,’ Ali replies. ‘But, why don’t we make this fun?’
You blink. ‘Fun?’
‘A little game,’ Ali says. ‘If you can beat me in a challenge, then I’ll tell you what you want to know. If you lose, then you can keep trying, unless you want to give up. I don’t want to stand around like this all day, is all, and don’t you want to test the limits of your new wolf body?’
She grins at you. You’re a little startled by the proposition, but…
‘What do you say?’ Ali asks. ‘Do you accept?’
Written by Hollowpages on 22 July 2020
Wolf: The Vulpine Challenge