Wolf: The Fox and the Hound
The silence lingers through the area for a good few minutes, and you eventually decide that, since the fox hasn’t run away from you yet, maybe approaching them first is the smartest choice to make.
You casually - as casually as can be done in the body of a wolf - start to move toward the fox, and, eventually, you make it up to where they’re currently chilling at. They watch you the whole time, and when you stop, you notice at last that there is another entity there, one currently on the grass next to them.
A djinn - a female djinn, at that.
She’s… quite attractive, you note. She looks much like a human woman in terms of shape and size, minus the fact she’s currently very tiny like Akam - by choice, you know that much. What sets her apart is that she has teal-colored skin and wears an outfit much like a belly dancer, with long, flowing black hair currently tied into a ponytail. And her eyes are very, very bright, a striking purple shade, enough that they’re noticeable even when she is small.
“Aha!” she exclaims. She grows in size to that of a small child in the blink of an eye, and her arms cross. “I thought I caught the smell of another gifted by magic. And look who happens to be with them. Akam!” She grins wide. “I haven’t seen you for a century, old friend. I see you’ve found a new Master.”
Akam chortles. “Indeed I have, Shira.” He, too, has morphed into the size of a small child as he nods toward you. “My Master here has proven to be far more favorable than some I’ve had in the past.” He smiles at her. “It’s lovely to run into an old friend, Shira. You’re looking as exquisite as ever, of course.”
“As are you, Akam, as are you,” Shira says.
“Shira and I have known one another for ages,” Akam says to you. “We met, I’d say, about two thousand years ago, was it? Or around two thousand years.”
Shira scoffs. “Two thousand, yes, during a bygone era. And it’s been a solid two hundred years since we last ran into one another. I’ve stumbled onto a few of our other fond acquaintances… and a handful of unwanted djinn, regrettably.” She rolls her eyes at this, and flicks her gaze to you. “Word to the wise, my friend, if Akam expresses distaste toward a djinn, heed his words.”
You blink a few times and look at Akam. ‘…how many bad genies do you know? And… how bad are we talking about?’
“Master, the stories I could tell you…” Akam remarks, and he shakes his head. “I’d be happy to tell you about them later on, though. You’ve proven yourself to be a kind, considerate Master, and, perhaps even a friend.” He regards you with a thoughtful look. “Regardless, I don’t want to prattle on and take away from what your initial goal was, yes?”
You nod to yourself.
“My, my, Akam,” Shira says. “You seem to be keen on this one.”
Then, the focus shifts to you, and you look from Akam to Shira, the new genie, and then to the fox. The fox’s eyes are very wise in appearance as they stare back at you, yet the fox doesn’t ‘speak.’ You wonder why that is - is talking to another like talking to an actual animal, you wonder?
Shira is in front of you, eyeing you curiously.
“You stumbled upon Akam’s lamp, my dear,” she says. Her lips twitch, and there’s a glimmer in her eyes. “It seems you did indeed go through with at least one of your wishes, but, judging by the fact Akam is with you, I can tell you must’ve requested it. That isn’t something the usual Master does.”
You look at Akam. ‘Can I think-talk to her, the same way I do to you?’
Akam nods. “Focus on her, and think, yes. It is much the same way with me.”
“Ah, still learning, I see,” Shira says, and she chuckles. “Yes, my dear, merely concentrate and think your words - I shall hear them, I guarantee.”
You turn and concentrate on Shira. ‘Hello.’
She smiles. “Hello to you, my dear.”
‘Huh,’ you think. ‘I… guess it’s easier to communicate than I thought. It’s just… different, is all.’
“Being in your own head to such a degree can be quite strange,” Shira says, nodding with genuine understanding flashing across her face. “Regardless.” She beams. “I am Shira, as you’ve no doubt been told. I, too, a djinn, much like Akam here. He is one of a few fellow djinn I actually tolerate - so many of the others are a bore, or arrogant, or some other thing that irritates me. Humans can be similar, mind you, but humans are so much more fascinating to me.”
You look from her to the fox, who continues to eye you in silence.
Shira pauses and snickers. “My Master here is one that has definitely fascinated me… a great deal, in fact. But, tell me, my dear, about yourself. How did you come upon Akam?” Her eyebrow raises. “And what wish did you ask for to be able to transform into this lovely creature before me?”
You blink, then you proceed to run down everything that’s happened - starting from your discovery of the lamp. You don’t hold back anything, for you see no reason to, and Akam doesn’t interject or seem upset at all by your honesty.
When you finish explaining, Shira looks at you thoughtfully, like she’s contemplating something.
“Intriguing,” Shira says. “But, I like it! It’s not unheard of for such a generous Master to exist, mind you, yet it’s always welcome to meet one regardless. And to be the Master of Akam, a friend - I like that a lot, too.”
She nods to herself before moving to stand beside the fox. The fox’s eyes break from watching you, and for a moment, Shira and the fox look at one another, as if they are communicating telepathically, or something. You swear you see Shira’s lips move now and then, yet no words can be heard from her.
When this ends, and the fox and Shira look back toward you, Shira grins.
“My Master wishes to communicate with you,” Shira says. “She was a little leery at first, but, she was also very curious to simply watch how we interacted. And, if I may be honest…” Shira’s grin lowers slightly, and she folds her arms. “I am… a bit protective of her. I wanted to ensure you were worthy enough for her time. I feel you are, though, and so you may speak as you wish.”
‘Oh,’ you say. ‘So, this was… a test of sorts, then? To see what sort of person I was?’
Shira’s eyes sparkle. “Indeed. My Master and I have known one another for longer than you’ve had Akam, and over that time, we’ve bonded. I admit it may be odd for a djinn to care deeply for their Master, but…”
She gently puts her hand on the fox’s head, and the fox closes its - or, her, in this case, which you realize means the fox is technically a vixen - eyes.
“I am fond of her,” Shira says. “Fond and perhaps a bit too guarding of. Still. I deem you worthy of her time,” she winks at this, “and you may now proceed.”
“Speaking to her is the same as with us,” Akam says, before you can ask.
With that said, you look to the vixen, to this person that has found a genie much like yourself - your head is spinning a bit with all the different questions you thought of asking, and you admit you feel incredibly excited to be talking to someone like you in this fantastical predicament. You have to take a moment to halt all the influx of thoughts so you can actually narrow it down.
Now the question becomes… what do you say first? What do you ask first?
Written by Hollowpages on 21 July 2020
Wolf: The Fox and the Hound, II