A Conversation with a Vixen II
After giving it some thought and weighing how you feel, you decide that you would like to hear more from the talking vixen. There’s a lot you don’t know, and you want to take full advantage of her being a ‘guide’ for this bizarre realm, or whatever it really is.
“Could I get back inside that room?” you ask, pointing up. “When I put this costume on, the floor shattered… but now, it’s whole again. Does that mean I can break it, or…?”
The vixen chuckles. “You are welcome to try, my dear. You do indeed possess enhanced strength and durability thanks to the costume you chose, more than you likely know to think of. However, while you could likely break through the floor, the door sealed itself shut the moment your transformation was complete. It won’t open for you.”
You peer back up toward the floating glass room. “Why is it still there, though? And…” You furrow your furred brow. “HOW is it there, just… floating in the middle of the air?”
“Magic, perhaps?” the vixen offers with a shrug. “Advanced technology? Forces beyond your mortal comprehension? Because of reasons?” She snickers. “I cannot say, not truly, as even I don’t have all the answers, my friend. At the very least, you can think of it as a landmark to use so you don’t get lost should you choose to explore the full breadth of this area. And trust me, I advise that. There’s much to see, to hear, to smell.”
You glance about. “How big is this, erm, place?”
“More than big enough to keep one’s interest,” the vixen replies.
“…okay,” you say. “What is there to do, then?”
The vixen’s tail says to and fro. “Mm, well, that is up to you and where you go. I will say… this place feeds off those that enter it – every region is a separate biome, and within each biome, there are many, many things to experience, because every biome is a world all its own. In a way, where you go will change a little depending on what you desire and what you want.” She pauses to grin. “The more individuals within a given area, the more things may change… or they may not change at all. It varies, I’m afraid.”
“I don’t… I don’t understand,” you say.
“If you set out and desire adventure or exploration, you will find it,” the vixen says, and she swirls a paw in a circle. “If you desire action, or mystery, or leisure, then you will find those, too. What you,” she points at your chest, “want deep down will be reflected by the environment you enter. Think of this place as a living thing that will alter itself freely based on what you want or what you yearn for in your mind, my friend. It’s an entity that will mold itself to suit what whims it senses from beings like you. The thing is, how much changes or not varies, because nothing is ever set in stone here. It’s a fickle entity.”
You stare at the vixen as you try to wrap your head around this. “So… all of this is… it looks like this because of me? Does that mean you’re, what, a fabrication, then?”
“Oh ho, no, no, my friend, that’s not quite correct,” the vixen replies. She grins wider. “I am very much a real being, like you. As far as whether the realm itself is borne from you or not? Yes and no.” She shakes her head. “In general, the landscapes you see have always been the way they are – this has always been a lush grassland, over there has always been a mountain range, and so on. But, your presence will influence parts of it.”
Clarity begins to dawn on you while her words sink in. “Oh… I think I understand.”
“How the environment changes, once more, will vary,” the vixen says. “It will vary on what you yourself feel and choose, and it will vary further depending on those like you that happen to be around. That means something small could occur, like day turning to night, or the weather changing to reflect a mood, or, it could be something… larger.”
“How many others like me are there?” you ask. “I didn’t see anyone but you.”
The vixen hums to herself again. “There are many others. Male, female, both, neither,” she gives a shrug, “they come through doors like the one you did exactly, or through other doors in other rooms scattered all about, because this place stretches on in all directions for a great length.” She smiles. “Some of them are close to where we stand, others are farther off by hours or even days, and others still have left this realm, either permanently or for whatever time limit they’ve set for themselves. As before… it varies.”
You’re startled to hear all this, but, excited at the same time.
“Should you go exploring, you may encounter others,” the vixen adds. “However, be aware that it won’t always be as simple as our interaction. Some humans find their way here to escape from their lives, and they prefer to be left alone. In those cases, this world accommodates them, and thus, they won’t be found unless they want to be. And it also depends on what you want, too – you need to want to find them, and vice versa.”
You nod slowly. “That’s a lot to take in, but I think I get it.” You mull this over for a beat before something occurs to you. “If some people don’t want to be found, and some are alright with it, that’s cool and all. But, that sign mentioned dying…” You glance around again. “Does that mean there’s dangerous people here, too, or, am I being paranoid?”
The vixen giggles. “Mm, no, you’re not paranoid, but, the answer is a difficult one.”
“What do you mean?” you ask.
“Time is a strange construct within this realm,” the vixen replies. She flicks her tail to and fro. “It moves however it wishes, both depending on what you humans want, and depending on what the world itself wants. That is to say, dear, that you will lose track of time if you’re not careful. An hour may end up feeling like a month, and so on.”
She holds your stare, her expression turning serious for once. “Now, in general, no creature you find will mean you harm. There are others like me that are not chosen to be guides – we exist and do as we please, yet we’re not your enemy unless you choose to make one of us. But,” she shakes her head, “some humans, when given the same boons you’ve been given, may feel differently. They may lose themselves to the creature they become, with no interest in changing back or changing their forms. Ever.”
You feel a lump form in your throat. “So they could be… hostile.”
“Yes,” the vixen says. “Fortunately, those sorts are rarer around here. Most humans I have met or heard of tend to prefer using this as a pleasant experience, or they’re drawn to the mystery of the realm and the inner workings of these costumes. Just be careful and be smart when going somewhere, and you ought to be fine, my friend.”
The large vixen finally stands up from her sitting position. She yawns.
“On that note,” the vixen says, “I suggest you experiment a bit with your body. You’re a griffin now, after all – a creature of legends and myths. You have the power of a lion and an eagle merged together within you, dear, so you ought to embrace it. Live a little, as it were, and learn while you go. That’s merely my advice, of course, it’s up to you.”
“What are you going to do?” you ask.
“My domain is actually in the misty forest,” the vixen says. “I’ll be around should you need the guidance or if you want to speak more, but, you can do without me as well.” She flashes a kind smile. “You may follow me if you want. My abode is within the forest, and should you get lost… well, you’ll find me. Think it, and things will work, I promise.”
With that, she darts off toward the forest area before you can even think of what to say, and in no time, she’s vanished into the mist. You stare after her in silence, blinking slow.
You now get to mull over what to do with yourself next. You can take the vixen on her offer and follow her, or, you could go into the forest for yourself. You also have other areas you can explore, too – the mountains, the hills, the marshland. Ultimately, it’s your choice, so now the question becomes: what do you feel like doing deep down?
Written by Hollowpage on 10 June 2021
Following the Fox