52 Foxes Can’t Cook
Colorful leaves rained down all around me. It looked beautiful, almost like a painting, but in the end, all of them were little, silent threats to me. It was in the midst of autumn, which meant this world had a winter too. Things would only get worse.
Even the most hopeful part of me couldn't believe I would stay alive and healthy out here in the wild once snow began to fall. There was little choice but to follow a few fixed steps in order to get me out of this mess.
First and foremost I had to find something to eat that wasn't fruits, berries and mushrooms. My fox body didn't seem to be able to handle a pure vegetarian diet, or I simply ate the wrong ones. Turning back into a human to eat and digest them wasn't an option either, as I hadn't decided on what to do about Ofris should he suddenly pop up from behind a tree.
«... I shouldn't have left them.»
「We can still go back and search for them.」
«No chance! We are going to do this!»
«So stop talking about it!»
A faint rustle forced my attention away from the vixen and onto a nearby brush. Within its thorny twigs and lush leaves a black, raven-like bird was scavenging for food. It was almost as big as me.
「You want this one?」
«It looks tasty!»
「If you say so.」
«What are you waiting for?»
「Oh yes, the magic...」 Shiro's voice had turned slightly solemn.
«What is it? You promised me!»
«So do it! It will fly away soon!»
She hesitated for a moment before finally giving in and casting the magic spell in a quiet, almost inaudible voice.
The bird busy trying to plug a dried up berry out of the scrubs when a flickering light suddenly was reflected on its shiny, black feathers.
When it realized the danger it was in, it released a panicked scream before trying to fly away, but the thorny twigs held it captive just long enough for the fireball to consume it whole. There was a short struggle, then nothing. The bird dropped dead, smoke rising from his body.
After waiting for a few moments for my meal to cool down and the worst part of the smell dragged away by the wind, I pulled the bird out from under the scrubs. It was still hot, so much in fact that I needed several tries before I could drag it to safety.
«Can I really eat this?!»
「You wanted this,」 Shiro answered weakly.
«What is with your voice?»
「I'm just a little sleepy...」
«Why would you be sleepy? You did nothing but say the name of the magic!»
I couldn't help but sigh, which sounded way too cute thanks to my tiny, fluffy body.
«You told me to trust you. So at least tell me the truth!»
«No, you don't! Every time you use my magic, you get sleepy! What's up with that?!»
She didn't answer. For minutes, I just stood there, right next to the smelly roasted bird. I waited for her to say something or at least make any kind of noise, but I soon grew impatient.
«Will you stop talking to me again? You did the same after we met those goblins! And not only then!»
«I mean it!»
「I am too weak...」
«What do you mean too weak?»
「Changing the world of mortals drains the little strength I have...」
«So why do you do those stupid quests then?!»
I waited for Shiro to answer, to finally explain what it was that made her play with me like this, but she remained silent. Maybe she slept already, maybe she just rested for a moment, or she listened and just choose to avoid my question. I couldn't even hope to guess what was going on in her head.
By now I did no longer hope for any reaction. When it was like this, I had no chance but to accept it. Shiro was like a friend living in a faraway country. As soon as she dropped the phone or disconnected from the chat, there was no way to know what she was up to, how she was feeling or at least if she was fine or not.
Discouraged, I began pulling the feathers or what remained of them out of the bird's still warm body. It was even worse than I had thought. A taste like burned hair spread in my mouth and a pungent smell painfully attacked my nose.
I felt like sneezing and puking, over and over again, but somehow I managed to prevent myself from doing so. Giving in would mean I had lost and couldn't survive without Ofris' help. It would mean I had little chance but to run after him and wag my tail. I couldn't accept that. Not yet.
«Why am I soo weak...»
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Rika: So. What now?
Rika: I can't eat it like this, right?
Rika: Damn it.
Rika: ... that would be too confinient.
Rika: Maybe it is 'cook'? 『Cook!』
Rika: Oh, that was it! Let's see...
Rika: Bird? Check. Ball-Pepper? ...
Rika: Salt, Butter, Eggs ...
Rika: I HAVE NOTHING OF THIS!
Rika: Chocolate?! WHY DOES IT WANT CHOCOLATE?
Rika: Wait- I have chocolate?!