You ponder it for only a short burst of time before you decide, since you’ve already gone this far, that you’re eager to get a chance to speak to this person. And so, you take off after them, you tap into the new abilities and the new body - you may appear to be a dog to others, but, you aren’t just any dog: you’re a wolf.
A wolf is bigger, stronger. Your legs pick up speed with each passing second, and your paws dig into the ground, kicking up little bits of dust that sprinkle behind you while you dash down through the grass, following after the fox.
‘What can you tell me about the djinn with them?’ you ask.
You push through the trees that the fox ran through, and end up in a small, miniature forest of sorts given how many trees there are jutting out from the ground all around you. But you move forward, moving briskly, yet cautiously since you’ve got less room to maneuver around.
Akam chortles. He’s flying beside you with ease. “Her name is Shira. She’s one of the few djinn I know personally since we’ve encountered one another numerous times over the ages with different masters. She’s… I would define her as a more morally ambiguous djinn, I suppose, but she has a kinder heart than she likes to let on. She enjoys her trickery, though.”
You ponder this, but, you ponder it on the side since your focus is trailing after the fox. The seconds tick by, and you loop around and between the trees, only to come to a stop when the trees open up to a small clearing.
You stop and look around. There are no signs of the fox, no signs of any footprints on the ground, either.
‘I’m starting to think maybe they’re aware I was following them,’ you muse to yourself and to Akam. ‘I think they don’t want to be talked to, otherwise… I don’t know, wouldn’t they have stopped so we could chat?’
Akam strokes his chin in thought. “I didn’t feel any sort of fear or apprehension from them, Master. While I may not be an empath in every sense of the word, I stand by my belief that they weren’t actively fleeing from you. Perhaps tap into your senses - you are a wolf, after all, surely you know what sort of abilities a wolf is blessed with, hmm?”
You blink a few times, letting the words soak in.
You realize that, yes, you do have one ability that a normal person, and many animals, wouldn’t possess: your heightened sense of smell. You used it earlier, yes, but now you can focus on it in full and tap into the benefit without distraction.
You close your eyes and breathe in very, very slowly.
The air is rife with different scents, naturally. You can smell the grass, the dirt beneath your paws, the wood and the leaves and even some floral flavors wafting around. The wind blows, too, and it brings with it even more smells that seem to strike you as part of nature; you can smell what you are somehow able to know to be birds in the distance, and you can smell yourself, your own scent reminding you not of a ‘wet dog,’ thankfully, but of something that just says ‘dog’ to you.
You can also smell the strange, sweetened scent of what you now know to be magic - it grabs at your nostrils and tugs at them to your right, and with them, you can smell something else mixing in, a scent that feels like it matches the woods, just with a faint, noticeable musk. That must be the fox’s scent, melded in with the magic!
‘I wonder if this is what animals smell like to one another,’ you muse, to yourself rather than asking Akam. ‘Well, minus the magic sweetness, I guess.’
It’s definitely something you’ve never thought of until this moment - but then again, you find that you’ve been having a lot of random, new thoughts and questions pop into your head since you stumbled upon an actual genie.
Still, you feel like the scents you’ve latched onto are the fox and the magic fused together. That makes the most sense to you, and, you open your eyes again. Without thinking, you start to follow that scent - you move at a quicker pace than a mere jog, but, still slow enough so that you can keep breathing in the scent. It takes you through the small clearing and back into the wooded area, weaving more toward the right, deeper into the trees, although you’ve no clue how long that’ll go on for.
You don’t remember the park being SUPER massive, but, then again, you’re looking at it from a new mind now, with new eyes and a new nose to boot - maybe it’ll be bigger. For the moment, you shelf this, and focus on that smell.
It’s strong, and it is essentially guiding you onward.
“Very good, Master,” Akam says as he flies beside you. His tone is one of earnest appreciation and kindness, and you can tell he’s smiling at you. “You picked up on the scent rather quickly. You’re definitely skilled with catching up on things in the new bodies you transform into - well done indeed.”
‘Thank you,’ you reply.
Your mind starts to race, and as your heartbeat thunders in your ears, and the scents burn at your nose, you can’t help but start thinking a lot about this fox, about this person you’ve stumbled onto and their genie.
You wonder what this person will be like - are they a male or a female? What is their genie like? Was the genie like Akam, or different beyond what Akam has said of them? Was the person like you or your polar opposite in personality? Younger or older than you? How did they stumble across a djinn, and, what sort of wish did they end up making that granted them the ability to transform the way you did? How does their wish differ from yours?
There are many different questions teeming about inside your head, and it’s more than a bit difficult to keep them from overtaking your senses.
Still, you manage to concentrate, and you keep moving through the woods - the seconds tick by and by, and soon, the scent grows increasingly stronger, filling your nose until it seems to seep into your bones, into your being.
‘I think I’m closing in,’ you muse to yourself.
You weave around a row of trees, and, after another minute, you break away from the trees at long last into an actual expanse of open land. It’s a field, a field you recognize as being part of the park, because you’ve been here before - you know this area, and the familiarity of it fills you with a sense of calmness that you didn’t have prior.
The field is pretty vast, but to the right more, it eventually leads back toward the more ‘parkish’ area, and with that, the downtown portion you were soaring around when you were still a hawk. And you know there’s a river a few yards off to the left, while anything else is just field with some dips and small hills, before it leads into another part of the big city, the northern portion.
This is important, yes, but, you soon shrug it off when you notice that the fox isn’t far from you. They’re literally a few feet away, looming on a hill, looking right down at you.
Now the choice becomes… how do you want to approach this?
You can go to them, or, you can wait for them to come to you, naturally. Or, you could attempt to communicate with them from where you are, although you don’t quite know how to manage that without asking Akam. Regardless, you’ve got options, and as silence falls besides the blowing wind, you now start to mull over what you wish to do next…
Written by Hollowpages on 20 July 2020
Wolf: The Fox and the Hound