Legend Of The Nine-tailed Fox
by Kai Chizuru
Chapter I: The Start Of The Selection
I am an immortal nine-tailed fox. I had used to be a normal regular fox with only one tail but then one day; I died protecting a child from an undead wolf. It was a fierce battle but, in the end, I was able to bite off its head but I had also suffered a fatal scratch. My soul was brought up to heaven where I somehow was allowed to stay by the side of the God of Light. I lived with the God of Light for a hundred years before I grew my second tail. After hundreds and hundreds of years, I finally grew my ninth tail which allowed me to be able to transform into three other forms: a full human transformation, a semi-human, semi-fox form where I had the body of a female human and the ears and tails of a nine-tailed fox, and my original mortal form that I had when I was still alive.
By this time, I had decided to go down to the continent and see what had changed. Then, I would relay it to the God of Light after traveling throughout the continent. Before I departed, the God of Light had named me Chizuru, which meant “A thousand wishes”; he had also told me about his religion and the twelve holy knights. During the time I was listening to the God of Light, I had thought that it would be interesting to see how the world had changed if I stayed near the Sun Knight, who was the leader of the twelve holy knights.
After listening to the God of Light, I made my way down to the earth. The sky was a beautiful shade of light blue, the sun was shining, and there was not a cloud in sight. After I landed in a nearby forest, I remembered that the God of Light had given a map of the whole continent, so I made sure no one was watching, transformed into my human form, put on some traveling clothes from my backpack, and pulled the map out. It was a magical map; it was able to tell you where you were and as well, it can also tell you the shortest route to your destination. I remembered that the Church of the God of Light was located in the Kingdom of Forgotten Sound, so I located where I was on the map which was indicated by a light blue glowing dot. Next, I located the kingdom and it seemed that I had landed quite close to one of the entrances so I did not need to ask the map for the shortest route.
I placed the map away inside my coat, just in case I got lost and departed on my way. The God of Light knows how bad my sense of direction is; even if I was only one meter away from the church, I could take one wrong turn and end up on the other side, in an execution ground. After a while of silent walking, I had reached the edge of the forest and could see the entrance. After making sure that none of my fox features were showing, I left the forest and entered the gate. The entire place was brimming with festivity; there were so many people in the streets and most were headed somewhere important, judging by the clothes that they were wearing which were of high quality. I asked the nearest merchant, “Why are there so many people here? Is there a festival?”
The merchant looked at me as if I had grown a second head before answering, “No, no, the Church of the God of Light is choosing the next generation of the Twelve Holy Knights!” The merchant turned back to his cart before continuing, “If you don’t know where to go, just follow the crowd. After all, the selection is the main event after all.”
What? I thought the Twelve Holy Knights were chosen by the God of Light! Well, that was what a child who was reading a book about the Twelve Holy Knights told me when I was the only one listening to him. Well, whatever. Since God of Light hasn’t been seen for so many years, they must have had to use their own method to select the next generation, I thought before I thanked the merchant and followed his suggestion.
It wasn’t too hard since we were headed towards one of the tallest structures. At the entrance of the church, the crowd had divided into two groups: one group, consisting of people who looked like they were wearing rags and commoner clothes had used the main entrance, mostly going inside to pray; the second group consisted of wealthy looking people, had used one of the side doors of the church. The side door had a holy knight standing on guard, checking for a piece of paper that each of the people who used the side door was able to produce. I headed through the main entrance but after I made sure no one was watching, I slipped into a side hallway and transformed into my mortal fox form.
Using my enhanced hearing that comes with being a fox, I listened for a sound that was unusual in a church. I heard excited cheering and numbers being shouted, so I decided to head towards the sounds. I passed a hallway where the cheering was the loudest, and was about to check out the cheering before I was picked up. I tried wiggling out of my ambusher’s grip but I soon realized that it was futile. After making sure that I was not going to try to struggle again, my capturer turned me around in order to get a good look at me, which also gave me the chance to decide whether bite his head off or to gorge his eyes out.
I came face to face with a handsome man who looked like he was around twenty even though his blue eyes gave off the feel of someone much older than that; he also had blonde hair that was tied into a ponytail behind his head. He wore a white knight’s outfit with the edges embroidered in gold, and wore a golden sword by his waist. Before, I could make my move, the cursed guy ran through the halls yelling that sounded like he was praising the God of Light. But, when I read his mind, I realized that he was just calling for the pope about something exciting.
After reaching a large door, he barged in without any hesitation. How rude was this guy, not even knocking before entering a room! After placing me on a desk centered in the middle of the room, he quickly closed the door. Before I could look around at my surroundings, the chair behind the desk spun around, revealing a little boy with a huge hat. From where I was, I was able to make out that the top of his clothes belonged to a priest’s robe. The mini priest opened his mouth, “Neo, what was so important that you had to see me right before the selection be-” The little boy stopped in midsentence when he finally noticed my presence. Reaching forward, he grabbed my head and stared at my forehead. Looking back between me and the man named Neo; he asked the man behind me, “Where did you find this thing?”
“I found it near the hallway where the betting was taking place, pope” Neo answered with an amused tone hidden in his voice.
“Could this be a sign from the God of Light?” The boy who was now the pope asked as he stretched and rubbed my forehead as trying to figure out if the thing on my forehead was real or not. No longer able to take any more of the stretching and rubbing, I turned my head away from his hands and jumped off the desk. I made my way to the door but Neo was blocking the door; I growled at him but he still didn’t back off.
After a while of just staring at Neo’s amused face, I turned around to face the pope and spoke, “No, I was not sent by the God of Light and my forehead is real.” The reaction that I got out of the two guys after that was hilarious. The pope had just gawked at me with his eyes as big as plates and Neo was pointing at me, shaking in shock. Then suddenly, there was knocking at the door. The pope quickly jumped up from his seat, grabbed me, and shoved me behind the desk.
Ouch! I thought, Couldn’t he have been more gentle when trying to hide me?
From where I was sitting from behind the desk, I watched the pope sit back on his chair and heard him tell the person on the other side of the door to come in. I heard the door open, and then a depressingly low voice spoke, “Neo! Why are you still in here when you should be in the testing room?”
Then, from the sound of it, I would say that the pope and Neo had sighed in relief. Then, Neo answered the newcomer, “Oh, it’s just you. I had found something interesting that I thought the pope would want to see.”
After Neo’s answer, the pope pulled me out from under the desk and placed me back on the desk. The newcomer had black eyes that held some confusion and a hint of anger, and long charcoal hair to match. He was covered from head to toe in a black robe. Deciding to just get it over with, I spoke once more, “And who might you be? I already met the pope and Neo who, judging from his clothes and the fact that he is allowed to speak in a rude manner to the pope, is the Sun Knight.” My only answer was the slight widening of the newcomer’s eyes.
I cursed in my mind, Che. At least, give a better reaction like your two friends.
The newcomer then reached forward and traced something that was on my forehead. Just what was on my forehead that everyone today just had to touch? After a long moment of the newcomer just rubbing and tracing my forehead, I shouted angrily, “Would someone at least tell what’s on my forehead? When I was living with the God of Light, we never needed to look at our reflection at all! And tell me, for the God of Light’s sake, who in the world are you?”
Stepping back with a small bow, the latest target of my anger opened his mouth to answer, “I am Chasel, the Judgment Knight. And, there is the Symbol of Light on your forehead.”
Oh… So that’s why. I remembered seeing the sign on every forehead of all of the humans who lived with the God of Light, but I didn’t think that I would have one since I was a fox. After tilting my head down in thought and swaying my tail from side to side, I had tuned out all of the noises and planned on what to do next.
I think I might stay in the Church since I don’t have any money and I don’t know how to earn money because I only stole food to survive as a fox when I was alive. Well, I better ask just in case I’m not actually welcomed in the church.
Tilting my head back up and slightly to the left, I asked, “Will I be allowed to stay in the church?”
All three of the men stopped what they were chatting about and turned their heads towards me. Chasel simply looked at the pope and Neo, while the said blond quickly yelled out that I was allowed to stay. But, the pope was just looking at me as if he was sizing me up. After trying to determine something about me, he asked, “So, how much and what do you eat?”
In response, I gave him a foxy smile, “As much as I am allowed to and I mainly eat meat but I also like other things.” Then, I realized why he was asking that question, “I can transform into many forms, one of which is fully human. I don’t think the God of Light would really mind if I show my forms. After all, I will be staying in your company until you decide to retire from your positions. Would you like to see them?”
All three of the gentlemen glanced at each other before slowly nodding their heads. “Whatever you do, do not scream or alarm the others who may be passing by the door,” I warned them before continuing on, “These are the forms that I will be showing in this order: my regular, immortal form, my full human form, and my semi-human, semi-fox form that has nine tails instead of one.”
Right after I finished, my forehead shined and a holy light engulfed me. I felt my other eight tails grow out of my body and lines tracing over my body. After the light dimmed down, there I was, still sitting on the desk, with golden fur and sliver lines highlighting my fur. My nine tails swayed from side to side as I patiently waited for the other three individuals in the room to stop rubbing their eyes. Then, when I was about to transform into the next form, there was knocking at the door. Neo and Chasel swiftly ran to stand in front of the desk to block me from being seen when the pope gave the permission for the knocker to enter after hiding me. I heard the door open as the person began to ask a question before pausing halfway. “Pope, have you seen- ah. Knight-Captain Sun, Knight-Captain Judgement, you are needed in the plazas now.”
“We will be right there.” Neo replied to the knocker and the sound of the door closing before footsteps were heard and the door actually closed shut.
The pope took me out from my hiding spot once again while he asked, “So… Looks like we should get going but, what do we do with the fox?”
The pope simply answered, “Just take it with you.”
Neo nonchalantly picked me up and placed me on top of his head while I offensively spoke up about being called an “it”, “Excuse me! I am not your average common animal! My name is Chizuru!”
The answer that I got was a simple wave of the hand as the pope returned back to his paperwork. At that, Neo bowed a little before exiting the office. As he closed the doors, he tilted his head and eyes up to meet me. “Well, it looks like I could give you a tour of the church while I go to the testing room,” he said as he begun to walk to the testing room. As Neo walked, I watched from high above on his head before I noticed that Chasel was not with us and that I was still in my immortal form. I waved one of my paws in front of Neo’s face to get his attention and I asked, “Um… Did Chasel go before us to the plaza? And, should you really be allowing me to stay in my immortal form?”
Neo blinked once, and then twice before answering, “No, I believe he has not. Lately, Chasel has been acting strange and I plan to find out why! And, to answer your last question, I am not called the Strongest Sun Knight in History for nothing! Besides, I have the protection of the God of Light so you will not be able to harm me.”
What the hell? He didn’t answer my question! I raised an eyebrow before resigning to his whims and shrinking to the size of a small dog so that I was a little less heavy and rest more easily on Neo’s head. We rounded around a corner, and there we saw Chasel standing there, just looking out the window. As Neo called out to him, I sensed someone watching but was no danger. After all, the Twelve Holy Knight should not be pushovers and Neo just told me that he is the strongest Sun Knight in history.
Neo asked as he walked up to Chasel, “Chasel! What’s up with you recently? Everyone’s been so nervous that they came to tell me that you’re in a terrible rage, and they want me to deal with it. If anyone has provoked you, why don’t you just finish them off?” Neo placed a hand on his hip as he finished.
Chasel turned towards us, his brows furrowed. He coldly said, “Then you might as well kill me, Neo!”
Neo jumped in surprise as I tilted my head to the side, confused. Behind the corner, I could also sense that our little witness was also surprised.
“What are you talking about? Why are you suddenly telling me to kill you?” Neo asked for the two of us, and maybe a third person but he doesn’t need to know that yet.
Chasel responded emotionlessly, “Didn’t you ask me who I was furious with, and even say that I might as well finish them off? I am furious with myself.”
Neo then asked understandingly, “This is about today’s case, about the criminal that’s going to be hanged?”
Chasel nodded his head with brows still furrowed deeply.
If the person has already been caught, and the situation resolved, why are you upset?” Neo asked before stopping mid-speech and asked, “Wait, don’t you always go to watch executions? You’ve told me before that since you’re the one who sentences them to death, it’s like you are the one killing them, so you should at least go watch their last moments, or something similar.”
Chasel turned his head away from us and angled his head so that his hair covers all of his face but his mouth, “I am afraid to watch the execution.”
“You think there’s a problem with the criminal’s sentence?” Neo asked dumbstruck. Upon hearing Neo’s question, I sensed that the little spy had pulled a dagger out from behind his back.
But, Chasel shook his head and replied, “That criminal deserves his sentence.” Chasel turned his head back towards us to meet our eyes before continuing, “What I am afraid to face is the victim. The husband and wife who had been killed left behind a child. The child is only a bit older than ten, most likely the same age as those children outside in the plaza at the moment, I would think?”
After he said this he turned his head took outside the window again. I sensed that Neo was a little uncomfortable with consoling people.
Chasel then said with an agonized expression, “The God of Light entrusted the Judgment knight to discipline criminals in order to protect the innocent, yet the true difficulty lies not in disciplining criminals, but rather in discerning who is guilty and who is innocent. Once the death penalty is dealt, no longer is there any leeway for backing out, so never am I willing to lightly deal the death penalty… Yet being too cautious has caused the deaths of even more people.”
Neo reassured him, “Chasel, it’s impossible for humans to never make mistakes.”
Even I, who has lived with the God of Light for so long, still make mistakes, for I was once a mortal as well.
But, before Neo could finish, Chasel spun around and shouted, obviously agitatedly, “The Judgment Knight cannot make mistakes! It was my mistake, yet someone else suffered the consequences. That husband and wife, that child… How could I make a mistake?”
I sensed that our little bystander had let go of his dagger before we all heard the clatter of a dagger falling on the ground.
Neo turned around. At the same time, he had already unsheathed the sword that had been hanging at his waist, which I deemed to be the Divine Sun Sword. From behind the corner, a child slowly emerged, with the dagger on the floor besides his feet. When the child stopped in front of us, I jumped off from Neo’s head. As I walked towards the child, I heard Chasel say to Neo to not frighten the child before a tsk sound and a sword being put away was heard. I rubbed my head against his right leg, telling him that it’s safe, that there is no need to be afraid before picking up the dagger with one of my tails and threw it to the side.
Chasel walked a couple of steps towards the child, trying to not scare the kid as he asked, “Child, what have you come here for?”
The little boy stuttered for a while before suddenly saying loudly, “I want to register for the selection for the Judgment Knight!”
“Register for the selection?” Neo asked before he shouted, “Registration ended yesterday!”
Chasel waved his hand to stop Neo from saying anymore before asking the child, “What is your name? Do you know how to use a sword?”
“Lesus Lucen.” Lesus said while he nodded his head like crazy. “I know how to use a sword!”
Neo take notice of Lesus’s appearance and said, “Black hair and black eyes, your appearance passes! But the Judgment Knight’s job is very difficult, and you have to bind the criminals onto the walls and flay them until their skin breaks. Aren’t you afraid?”
Upon seeing Lesus’s face turn pale, I jumped onto him, cushioning his fall with my tails and licked his face. I heard Chasel lectured Neo about scaring Lesus again, before asking the aforementioned boy, “Do you have your parents’ permission for entering the selection?”
To this, Lesus said that he only has his uncle. Chasel moved onto asking if his uncle knew about this. Lesus hesitated before shaking his head. I wrapped one of my tails around Lesus, stealthy entering his mind as the Symbol of Light glowed dimly before I looked through his memories, searching for the reason why he was in an off-limits area. I found out that the criminal that Neo and Chasel had been talking about, who was going to be hanged, was the one who had killed his mother and father. He came to the Church, seeking revenge against Chasel but had retracted his intent after finding out Chasel felt remorse for his mistake.
As I unraveled my tail from the boy, he stood up and gave a ninety-degree bow and loudly apologized to Chasel. At this point, I had sidestepped and waited for Chasel’s reaction. A baffled Chasel crouched down to look at the young child’s face, but it would have seemed that the child was afraid to meet his eyes. I wouldn’t blame him, for what he had previously wanted to do to Chasel.
Chasel patted the little boy’s head as he comforted, “Don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you. Tell me, why are you apologizing?”
To this, Lesus said that he was sorry, over and over again as he tried not to let any tears fall from his eyes.
All Chasel could do was to reach out and hold the child’s hand. “Let’s go. We’ll go and search for you uncle to see if he’ll be willing to let you register.”
Lesus quickly told Chasel, “Uncle is willing! He asked once before if I wanted to enter.” To this, I chuckled under my breath. It was cute since it was true that his uncle had offered to register him, but the boy must have not realized that he had meant to join the “good, warm-hearted” faction and not the “cruel cold-hearted” faction.
“No matter what, at the very least we still have to ask.”
“Okay.” Lesus cutely and obediently nodded his head.
After bidding me and Neo goodbye, Chasel led the child by his hand to find the boy’s uncle.
Neo and I watched the two leave. Neo laughed a bit, and commented, “Lesus Lucen? I think it’s time to call you Lesus Judgment instead? Isn’t that right, Fox?”
I nodded, “Yes, I agree. And tsk. Don’t call me Fox! My name is Chizuru, you stupid muscle head! Feel free to call me by my nickname, Chi. If you can remember it, that is.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… Whatever.” I growled in rely as he complained and picked me up, placing me back on his head. After making sure that I was secure, we departed on our way.
On our way to the plaza, we passed the training ground, the library, the prayer room, and the kitchen. The training ground despite its name, had no one training inside but I figured it was due to the selection of the next Holy Knights. The library, which Neo allowed me to peek inside, had more books that I could have even thought possible. I, at that moment, decided that I would soon spend most of my free time inside the library. The kitchen, as we passed by, had a delicious smell that my mouth started to water. Neo had chuckled before saying that after the test, we could go grab a bite. Along our walk, we had met some knights who greeted Neo before going into shock as they looked up at his head. I giggled at their reactions; after all, it must have been their first time seeing an animal sitting atop their leader’s head, much less a nine-tailed fox.
After a while, we had finally reached the plaza. As Neo entered in, everyone turned their heads to look at him. As custom, all of the holy knights who were inside the room had to greeted Neo. On the other hand, all of the candidates were staring at Neo or me, whispering amongst each other, or studying for, what looks like there will be, the written exam. Neo walked to the front of the plaza. He raised one of his hands up as I jumped down from his head, and that got everyone’s attention as everyone had stopped what they were doing and waited attentively for Neo’s words.
“Welcome, holy knights and candidates, to the selection of the 38th Sun Knight.” There were whistles and cheers before Neo raised his hand up again to continue, “Over the course of the selection, we will test you on your knowledge and how well you can apply them to different situations, your ability to use holy magic, and your swordsmanship. Does everyone understand?” Neo asked the mass and everyone nodded their heads rapidly, “Well then, the holy knights here will escort you to your rooms.”
Neo placed me back on top of his head and walked into the corridor. We headed to the cafeteria where I ate lots of delicious meat and Neo ate his meal consisting of… um… whatever it was. After eating, Neo practiced his swordplay in the training ground as I watched. When it became dark, Neo took me to his bedroom. When Neo had went into the bathroom after mixing some sort of mixture, I had turned into my second form, the semi-human and semi-fox form since it was easier to move around a room that was made for a human. As I was looking around the room, Neo came out of the bathroom. When he spotted me, he gave an expression of shock and was about to slice me in half before he saw my tails.
Neo sighed, “Next time, please tell me if you are going to transform. I think that took a couple of my years off.”
“Whatever,” dismissing his request as I continued to look around his bedroom. There was a book shelf filled with books of holy magic, undead monsters, and swordplay. There were also some odd notebooks containing wine recipes, skin care techniques, and many other things that I should not mention. I took out the book about the undead and flipped it open to a random page. The page that I was on had information about the Death Knight like the birth of a Death Knight. It seems that it must have the two necessities in order to give birth to a Death Knight: 1. a powerful necromancer and 2. a fresh corpse with an aura of grudge that consumes its mind and has yet to fulfill its wish. This must be very hard to accomplish since there are not many necromancers on the continent, and of course, none would be stupid enough to live in Leaf Bud city, home of the religion of the God of Light. As for the corpse, who has enough time to look for a specific type of corpse? It also seems that the Death Knight can become strong by having an obsession that cannot be accomplished, so the more impossible the obsession is to accomplish, the more powerful the Death Knight.
I wonder if anyone in this church has even seen a Death Knight, I turned around to ask Neo the question that was on my mind when I saw that he had already fallen asleep. Sighing, I decided that I would ask him tomorrow.