56 Army of Fluff
My mind was in a chaos. Half of me wanted to flee, to run away from Ofris, but I just couldn't. My body was able to, I had rested plenty and there were no wounds or ailments weighing me down, but I still stood there, unable to make as much as a single step back.
I had to know how he was doing, how he was feeling and if he is healthy or not. It was easy to catch a cold in this weather!
«Just a single glance...»
Nobody would believe me if I said I wasn't worried for him, not even myself. Ofris had always been stronger than me and I didn't believe killing hundreds of slime had really changed that. But as a man, he was... too gentle. He was just too gentle for this world or any other.
He let me, a total stranger, live with him just because he knew I was homeless. He had protected me and provided me with food and warmth, even though I could very well have tricked him all of this time! Why would there be such an honest-to-a-fault man?! It made no sense, especially in a world flooded with monsters, thieves and good-for-nothings!
«It is as if he has adopted me...»
It was probably exactly that. He had never seen me as a woman, despite my, or rather Shiro's attempts of making us a thing. It was me who had forced myself onto him, with hugs, kisses and... 'that'. I still did not remember what had happened that night and neither did Shiro if she had really told me the truth, but there was little to guess about what had happened.
I had woken up next to him, our naked skins touching, after me using a far too strong seduction magic on him. Of course something had happened. How could nothing have happened?! I had turned him into a brainless bull!
Him being here meant one thing: he wasn't angry with me. He was willing to forgive me, after all I had done to him.
I made a first step forward, towards the pond I had frequented each day ever since I had found it hidden in between the ocean of orange, yellow and red leaves. He should be there. There was no reason for him to hide in a bush nearby. I would only look at him and then... I didn't know.
He was important to me, far more important than a friend. But I didn't see him as a man, nor could I see me being at his side, as lovers or even husband or wife. If anything, it felt as if I was a family member instead. A daughter maybe, though one that didn't have his eyes, his lips, his hair or his... anything else.
«If he wasn't there that day, who knows what would have happened...»
It was clear what would have happened. I would have been treated like a slave or worse being found by goblins who didn't even care about what exactly I was. Nobody would even have guessed I could be a fox instead, and nobody would believe me if I told them so. When it was the goddess that had given me a new body, it was him who gave me a new life.
«It is fine... it was just one accident... nothing bad has happened... I would feel sick by now, wouldn't I? There is no way something bad happened!»
I shook off the vivid pictures that tried to daze me and continued walking. It wasn't much further, only two bushes at most. I could already make out shimmer of sunlight reflecting on the water surface between the leaves in front of me.
«Wait... isn't that metal?!»
A new image appeared before my inner eye. It didn't show me kissing or making love to Ofris nor did it show him patting my head or cooking my next meal. Instead of all of that, I was forced to see him being stabbed by a monster, impaled by a spear or blown apart by a fire magic. A cold shiver went over my skin.
«It can't be! It can't be!»
I jumped into the remaining wall of greenery, not even investing the few seconds it would have taken to walk around it. There were thorns burying themselves into my skins and twigs trying to cage me, but I was just forcing my way through. With each movement of my tiny legs, each of my panicked yelps, I discovered more and more of the men lying on the ground.
It was him, I knew it was. Nobody else would have that hair, nobody else would wear that old armor, that mantle and sword.
«He isn't moving! HE ISN'T MOVING!»
I ran around the pond, my steps faster than they ever had been, and hurled myself to the place right in front of his face.
«It can't be! Noo! Ofris!»
He wasn't reacting to the noise, neither did he react to my yelps. There was nothing coming from him aside a small, almost invisible movement. His chest was still rising and falling, slowly but surely.
«He is- sleeping?! Why here?! Why here of all places?!»
I jumped onto his chest, trying to wake him up, but there was nothing but a grunt slipping his lips.
"This isn't the time to be sleeping!"
Only now did I realize how cold he was. It wasn't just his armor, his face, too, felt as icy as the moss under his far larger body.
«Does he want to die?! Why would he- why?!»
It didn't matter. Who cared about why he was here? He was in danger! I couldn't just leave him like that!
I immediately began barking. Three times, just like transformation magic demanded. A thick white mist was surrounding my body, slowly hiding the pale man below my paws behind a wall of white and grey. When it finally dispersed, an icy wind greeted me.
"Co- cold! Is he stupid?! Ofris!"
Even my human voice didn't get an answer out of his almost motionless body. He was too weakened, as if he had run for days without a break.
«He wouldn't do that, would he?! He isn't stupid! He isn't so stupid!»
I knew he was. At least this time Ofris had been stupid. It was only because of me and my stupidity. No, I was more than just stupid! I was a retard!
«Damn it! Damn it all!»
I hurriedly pulled out the Priestess' Robe out of the itembox and spread it over Ofris body. It wasn't hiding his whole body, his armor was making him far too big, but it was a start. I could work with this. I would somehow warm him up and save him!
A large list of possible magic spells appeared in front of my eyes.
Foxfire; Fiery Balett
Foxy Care; Foxy Lick
Confuse; Kindle; Radiance; Transformation; Heat; Chill; Summon Water; Clean
Craft; Repair; Examine; Merge
Fox; Spirit Fox; Fluffy Fox』
A new window appeared in front of the bigger one. It described one of the magic spells, one of two that appeared to be slightly useful in this situation.
『Heat: Heats up the area under the palms of your hands. Open or close your hands to change the intensity. Chant 「Heat」 again or form fists to cancel the effect.
Mana cost: 1-10 per minute, depending on intensity and area covered.』
"That will do!"
I kneeled down next to his body, spread out my arms and chanted the magic. My palms began glowing like a piece of metal ready to be formed into a sword. I felt them heat up as I opened them a little further and felt them cool down a little when I closed them.
It took me about a minute or two to figure out how to handle the effect, but after that, it was more or less a reliable tool. That didn't change a single thing about it taking ages, though. I couldn't possibly increase the intensity without risking to hurt Ofris nor could I place my hand directly onto him, as I couldn't even guess what that would cause.
In the end, I just sat there, trying to keep my hands hovering in the air, while I slowly heating up his body. Ofris was fast asleep, he didn't react to anything of this. It was only when I was finished or rather believed I had warmed him up enough for now, that there was a slight movement coming from him.
«Is he awake? No, doesn't look like it...»
Now that his face had gained a better color, I only had to keep him warm. I probably had the best magic there was for this job.
『Fluffy Fox!』 I chanted.
Nothing happened. I didn't feel my mana drained nor had anything appeared.
『Summon: Fluffy Fox!』
This time it worked. White mist spread in front of me, formed into a big ball and
«It's me?! No, no! I don't have that much fur!»
On the other side of Ofris, a small fox had appeared. It looked exactly like my fox form, though its fur was far longer, making it look like one of those shaggy dog breeds that wouldn't survive in the wild for more than weeks. I somehow felt ashamed seeing this copy of mine.
"Screw this!" I cursed. 『Summon: Fluffy Fox!』『Summon: Fluffy Fox!』『Summon: Fluffy-』
One after another, legged balls of hair and fur appeared around me. Most of them looked exactly identical to each other, others had white or grey spots in their red-brownish fur. Then there were even some that had white fur like a polar fox, making them look like giant living balls of cotton.
I didn't care about what they looked like. As long as they were warm and fluffy, even rats would be fine!
Using both hands and simple commands, I directed the army of fluff to surround Ofris from all sides. Some of them sat down on his exposed legs, shielding them from the cold, others took care about his arms. I, myself, decided to take the most important spot.
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Fluffy Fox: How long is she planning to make us sit like this?
Furry Fox: It only has been an hour. Don't complain.
Sir Fluffels: It is our honor and duty to help our queen should she meet any unpleasantries!
Fluffy Fox: But it is boring!
Sir Fluffels: Silence, fool! Don't you dare to disturb her sleep!
Madame Plush: Doesn't she look happy?
Fluffy Fox: She does...
Sahria: ... just what am I watching?
Madame Plush: ...
Furry Fox: ...
Fluffy Fox: ...
Sir Fluffels: Ehem... Kon! Kon! Konkonkon!
Fluffy Fox: Ye- yes! Kon! Konkon! Kon! We totally are foxes! Kon! Kon! Kon!