Chapter 2: Sekai
Opening his eyes, Tails looked around and found himself in the comforts of a bedroom and cozily tucked into bed. "That sure was some dream," he yawned.
The door opened and a brown-furred female fox entered wearing a pale yellow dress. "Oh, good, you're awake." She approached Tails's bedside and gently rubbed his head. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine," Tails replied as he stretched.
"But I'm sure you are hungry," she chuckled. "You were unconscious all yesterday when we found you."
"Oh, now that you mention it," said Tails as his belly grumbled. "I am feeling hungry."
"I've just about got some pancakes made so when you are ready you can come in and have some," she told him getting up to leave him to rest some more.
"Thanks, that sounds good," answered Tails shutting his eyes to rest some more, but his eyes shot open again and he rushed through the door. "Wait a minute! That wasn't a dream?"
"You shouldn't push yourself too much," she told him in a kindly tone and offered him a seat at the table.
"Can you tell me what happened?" asked Tails taking a seat. "And who are you and where exactly am I?"
"We found you while we were picking berries in the forest," she explained. "We suddenly heard a crash and saw a strange machine. It looked pretty badly damaged, but there was nobody inside. Then we saw you falling from the sky. We were able to catch you before you hit the ground, but you were unconscious so we brought you back here and you were sleeping until now."
"Then I guess I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you," he pointed out. "Thanks."
"Think nothing of it," she told him. "I was surprised to see we have a new resident kitsune. We get very few newcomers these days."
"A new resident kitsune?" asked Tails. "What's a kitsune? I'm a fox and I didn't exactly come here to be a resident."
"Well, a kitsune is a fox, but around here we call foxes who possess more than one tail a kitsune," she explained. "I only have one tail, but I see you have two."
"I was born with two," he explained. "But I've never known any other foxes to have more than one."
"Only some foxes ever get split tails and become kitsunes," she continued to say. "There might not be any who know about kitsune arts outside our world here."
"And where is here?" asked Tails.
"The land created by the Great Kitsune," she told him. "This is Sekai." Walking into the kitchen she called back to Tails. "Pancakes are ready!" She brought in a stack of five in one hand and a plate with butter and container of maple syrup in the other. "I hope you like them."
"They smell delicious," drooled Tails. "Thank you Miss, uh, I don't think we've actually introduced ourselves yet. My name is Tails."
"What a lovely name," she said smiling. "My name is Lilly. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too," Tails said buttering his pancakes and then pouring a generous amount of syrup on them. He then cut a piece off and tasted them. His eyes lit up from the flavor. There were even blueberries baked into them added to the flavor. "These are really delicious!"
"Glad you like them," she said with a smile. "Better eat your fill now before they are all gone."
"What do you mean?" asked Tails.
"My son should be back soon from gathering firewood," she explained. "He's got quite the healthy appetite."
"I'm home!" came a voice as the door burst open and in rushed a kitsune around the same height as Tails with red fur. He was a fair deal more muscular than him carrying a large pile of wood in each hand. The hair on his head looked just as wild as a flame and like Tails he had two tails. "Oh, you've started serving out breakfast. Great! I'm starved!" Putting down the wood he took a seat beside Tails and waited eagerly for his serving. Lilly brought in a stack that was twice that of Tails's and even more and syrup. Watching him, Tails saw him spread a large amount of butter between each pancake and drowned the stack in syrup before cutting the stack in half twice then stabbing several slices with a fork and stuffing them in his maw. He chewed and swallowed it up with great speed before getting some more. In seconds he had made a huge dent in his breakfast compared to the few pieces Tails had eaten. Returning his focus to his own breakfast, Tails resumed eating, but he hadn't eaten half of his stack before the red fox finished his and asked for another helping.
"See what I mean," Lilly said with a smile to Tails.
Breakfast ended with Tails eating eight pancakes to the other kitsune's twenty seven. He rubbed his gut and belched with satisfaction. "Not bad," he commented. "Usually when we have guests they don't get seconds."
"Don't be rude to our guest," lectured Lilly tugging his ear.
"Ow! Ow! Ow!" he groaned. "Ok, I'm sorry." She let go of his ear. "Uh, my name is Nova."
"Hi, Nova. My name is Tails."
"So was that your flying machine?" asked Nova.
"Yeah," replied Tails. "It's a plane called the Tornado. You've never seen a plane before?"
"We don't have technology like that around here," he explained. "There is a barrier around all of Sekai and it seems to interfere with anything outside of it that is electronic so whenever flying machines or boats pass by they crash."
"I actually came here to investigate that," commented Tails. "I never imagined I'd find all this and now I've got a million more questions."
"I've got some questions too," replied Nova. "Like can I get a ride in your flying machine... if you can get it working again?"
"If there is no technology here I might not be able to," admitted Tails, but the weight of his words hit him after he said that. "How am I going to get home?!?"
Rushing outside, Tails looked around for his plane. Nova followed him outside and pointed him to the back of the house. He found his plane and his jaw dropped to see it was in worse shape than he imagined. The wings were detached and one was badly bent. It was missing one of the wheels and half of the propeller blades were broken. There was also several bad dents to the body. "This is terrible and I can only imagine the internal damage. I might not be able to fix this if I can't get replacement parts."
"Well, there might be a way," commented Nova. "There are other other flying machines and boats that end up crashing when they get too close to Sekai. You might be able to find spare parts there and I'm sure I can help you out too. But is there really a need to rush? You just got here after all and so far all you've seen is the inside of our little home."
"Well, I have been on a bit of a vacation and I would like to look around and learn more about this place," agreed Tails. Spinning his tails, Tails lifted off the ground to get a better view of the area around them. He stared in awe seeing how large the land he was on was and in the center of it all was a huge castle with a great city surrounding it. He could also spot the tops of several other structures spread out in all directions.
"Incredible," said Nova.
"Yeah, this place really does look incredible," stated Tails. "Sonic would really love to see this place."
"Not that," replied Nova. "You are! I've never seen a kitsune art that allows one to fly."
"You mean this?" asked Tails. "It's something I've been able to always do. I never understood how I could lift off the ground by spinning my tails, but I guess magic would sort of explain it."
"Of course," replied Nova. "Wanna see what I can do?"
"Sure," answered Tails curiously. He landed on the ground and watched Nova as one of his tails began to glow red.
"Just stay where you are," he warned. "Don't want you to get hurt." Holding out the palm of his hand for Tails to see, flames began to rise up out of his tail and accumulate in his hand. Once he had enough, he compressed it in his hands, shaping it into a sphere.
"You made fire... and you can mold it?" asked Tails amazed.
"Yeah," chuckled Nova. "It doesn't burn me, but it can burn anything that regular fire can."
"I wish I could do something like that," admitted Tails. "All I can do is spin my tails like a copter."
"Well, surely you can do more than that," commented Nova. "You do have two tails after all."
"So I can do more magic depending on the number of tails I have?" asked Tails curiously as he brushed them. "In this case, two."
"Yeah," answered Nova. "And the more tails you get the more Kitsune Arts you can do all the way up to nine, but very few kitsunes ever gain that many tails."
"Did the Great Kitsune have nine tails?" asked Tails curiously.
"He was the last one to ever get nine tails," he explained. "Most never get more than six, but one of these days I'm sure I'll get all nine. That's practically every kitsune's dream."
"I've never known any of this before," said Tails. "What else can you tell me about it?"
"I'm afraid I am not much of a teacher," Nova admitted. "If you want to learn, it'd be best to come with me to the Kitsune Academy. That's where everyone goes to train and learn. Unfortunately, the weekend just started so we can't go until the day after tomorrow."
"That's fine," replied Tails. "I can use the time to try and get the Tornado working again."
"I'll give you a hand with that too," replied Nova. "I've always wondered what it'd be like to fly. But before that, how about we have a match?"
"A match?" asked Tails. "You mean a fight?"
"Kind of," explained Nova. "More like sparring so we can practice using Kitsune Arts. This way you can figure out what Kitsune Art your second tail can use and I will be able to show you mine."
"If you think it'll help," replied Tails. "Let's give it a try."
"Then follow me," he replied. "I've have a clearing in the forest I use for training and matches. Uh, just don't mention it around my mom. She doesn't like me using my fire magic unsupervised and all because I accidentally set fire to the bathtub that one time." Tails looked like he wanted to inquire more about the incident, but Nova stopped him. "Don't ask."
They walked a short distance into the forest before coming to an area cleared of trees and grass. Walking onto it, Tails noticed there were scorch marks all over the dirty and lots of ash mixed into it as well. "I practice here a lot," Nova commented. "I even cleared the area myself so I wouldn't accidentally set fire to the forest. So, ready to begin?"
"Uh, I guess, but how am I supposed to use a Kitsune Art if I don't even know what it is?" asked Tails.
"It is kind of hard to explain," said Nova. "You just know how to do it just like how you use your tails to fly. The problem is doing it the first time, but once you discover it, it'll be easier. Having a sparring match might be just what you need to help you figure that out."
"Makes sense," agreed Tails. "Ok! Then come at me with everything you've got!"
"Uh, are you sure?" questioned Nova. "Your flying is cool, but it won't have much in fighting and you don't look all that strong physically."
"My friend Sonic doesn't seem much at first, but we've been on countless adventures before and he always comes out on top no matter who or what he has to fight. This time it's my adventure and this is my chance I can prove to myself that I can do that same. So don't hold back!"
"A gutsy remark," stated Nova with a smirk. "Have it your way, but you better not regret it!" His tail glowed red once again and fire gathered in his hand. He molded it into a fireball again, this one much larger than the previous one. Gripping it in his hand, he chucked it at Tails. Spinning his tails, Tails took to the air to avoid the attack.
"That was close," panted Tails feeling the heat from the attack.
"You are pretty quick," admitted Nova. "But just being fast never won a fight!" Creating more fireballs, Nova pelted them at Tails who flew to avoid them.
"I think Sonic would have to disagree with you there," countered Tails. He then dropped to the ground behind Nova and struck him with all his strength. "He saved the day countless times thanks to his speed."
"Maybe, but the same doesn't look like it can be said about you," Nova retorted, unflinching from Tails's attack. "That punch barely hurt, but you're not supposed to be fighting me like that." Grabbing Tails by his arms, he flung him into the air and tossed a fireball right after him. Quickly, Tails dodged out of the way, the heat singing his fur as it narrowly missed.
"We're going to get nowhere at this rate," commented Nova. "Time to show you my second Kitsune Art." Hearing this, Tails kept his distance and watched. Nova began to create another fireball, albeit a much smaller one. Getting into a throwing stance, he threw it up into the air, though it missed Tails without even going near him and kept going up higher. Tails watched the fireball for a moment, but then turned back to Nova and watched as his other tail began to glow and soon his entire body was as well as it transformed into flames. The flames then made their way up in the air towards the still airborne fireball Nova had thrown earlier. Once all the flames gathered there, Nova reformed and dropped down on top of Tails restraining him as he forced him to the ground. Tails cried in pain as he collided with the ground. "You told me not to hold back," mentioned Nova getting off of him. "My second tail allows me to transform my body into flames and then I can move my body to any source of fire. It's a great way to travel fast and has its uses in battle as you just saw. So, tell me. Can you still fight?"
"Not done yet," groaned Tails struggling to get up. "I am not ready to quit. I feel like I'm close, close to something." As he spoke his tail started to glow momentarily then fade repeatedly. The wind around them began to pick up.
"You're right," said Nova noticing Tails's tail. "Just need to keep pushing you a little more."
"Then get to shoving," ordered Tails taking off into the air once more. "Try that attack on me again and this time I'll beat it!"
"You can try, but it won't be the same as last time," he warned as he tossed several flames all around Tails. "The more sources of fire I have, the more places I can go to. Still think you can beat it?" Turning into flames once more, Nova moved to the flame nearest to him then quickly jumped from one to another, his speed while traveling quick making it hard for Tails to keep track of. As the flames passed by Tails, Nova reformed and attacked Tails before slipping away as flames once again. When Tails turned to strike back, Nova quickly moved around to attack him from behind.
"This is getting me nowhere," thought Tails barely able remain airborne with the constant attacks and his body aching all over. "I can't defend myself let alone attack him like this. What would Sonic do?" Pondering this, an idea came to him. Propelling himself straight up, Tails looked down and spotted Nova's flames going after him. As he began to reform, Tails stopped ascending and dropped down to meet him, quickly rolling up into a ball and spinning, imitating Sonic's spin attack.
"What in the world?" cried Nova as he saw the orange ball drop down on him. When they collided, Tails stomped Nova, pushing him towards the ground. Rolling forward, Tails's tail glowed brightly as the wind gathered and swirled around his tails. As he rolled, he swung his tail sending blast of wind down at Nova accelerating his fall. He smashed into the ground creating a crater in the middle of his battlefield.
"Nova!" cried Tails flying down towards him. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean for that to happen. It just sort of did and I hope I didn't hurt you too bad."
"That was awesome!" exclaimed Nova sitting up. "Ow! And painful too, but you did it! You figured out how to use your second Kitsune Art. Can you do it again?"
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "It just happened so fast."
"Just focus on the feeling you had when you did it," he explained.
"Ok, let me try," said Tails. He focused on that feeling and he could feel the wind gather around his tails like before. "Hey! It's working!" Swinging his tails, he sent a blast of wind skyward. "I can do it!" Tails attempted it again and again, each attempt easier than the last as he grew used to it."
"Careful," warned Nova. "That's a good way to wear yourself out."
"I do feel a bit tired," he began to say before he collapsed to the ground. "Why can't I move?"
"Looks like you overexerted yourself," he explained. "Kitsune Arts can use up a lot of energy especially if you have just learned it."
"You could have told me this sooner," pointed out Tails managing to just lift his head up to look up at Nova.
"I told you that I'm not a very good teacher," he reminded Tails. "But I know just the thing to help you feel better. Mom should have lunch ready soon." Lifting Tails up he started running back towards home with him held like a log wrapped around his arm and held on his shoulder. "Let's go eat!"
"Careful!" cried Tails helpless as a ragdoll.
"Comfy, dear?" asked Lily as she tucked Tails into bed for the night.
"Yes, Miss," replied Tails. "And thanks again for all you've done, but shouldn't Nova get to sleep in his own bed?"
"You're our guest," she explained. "And we want you to feel welcomed. Besides, Nova knows how I feel about him needlessly fighting like that."
"I said I was sorry," he mentioned. "Did you have to limit me to three helpings a meal?"
"And no dessert either," she added. "Now how about a little story before bed?"
"Mom, you haven't told me a bedtime story since I was five," said Nova.
"It's for Tails," she explained. "I figured I could read an entry in the Great Kitsune's Journal."
"The Great Kitsune had a journal?" asked Tails. "And why do you have it?"
"It was written by him," she explained. "Many of the entries have been put together into a book and there is hardly a kitsune in all of Sekai that doesn't own a copy. So would you like to hear it?"
"If you refuse, she's just going to tell you it anyway," commented Nova.
Lily looked down on him and retorted, "I hope you are in the mood for cold cereal and milk tomorrow."
"No!" cried Nova flailing about at the thought of it.
"Uh, I'd like to hear it," chimed in Tails.
Sitting at his bedside, Lilly opened the book and began to read.
Peace has finally returned to the world thanks to the efforts of brave warriors like myself. Those from the shadows were sealed away and now the world can recover from the plague that they have for so long inflicted upon us all. It is a joyous moment for all, but at the same time I feel that a piece of me is now gone as well. I have dedicated my life to fighting and yet now I have no foe to turn my anger towards. For days I wandered around and then I happened upon a village I had helped to liberate some years ago. There I met a female three-tailed kitsune and as our eyes locked I couldn't help but feel drawn to her and she seemed just as fixated on me. Taking a walk together, I learned that she had seen me back when I helped save her village, but left before we ever had a chance to meet. She wanted the chance she never had before to thank me and I accepted. Under her care I was able to find peace of mind for the first time in my life. For the first time since I can remember, I felt happy. Before long we were married and the start of a new life for the two of us had begun.