Light snores echoed through the room. Ofris slept right next to me, on the sole bed he owned, but I still couldn't force myself to lie down next to him and pretend it was the most normal thing in the world.
Sure, I could use this chance to escape, but where would I go? Search for Shiro? After all he had told me? I couldn't even think of that.
It wasn't like I could reach her anyway. Not only was it impossible for me to find her in those large forests or wherever she had decided to take refuge in, I couldn't use my human form either as it would only invite trouble.
I was not yet ready to be a celebrity, especially not one people would seek out for in order to get blessings or expect to perform breathtaking miracles. After finding out that I was not only the sole living foxkin, a saint, a magician who can use chant-less magic and the daughter of a goddess, they would ask for more than just a few healings.
Maybe even my life was in danger now. With the king deciding for me to be the fiancee of his son and heir, it was obvious that there would be groups that believed this was their chance to make them rich. They would ransom me, for money or influence, or simply kill me to weaken the throne. I could even end up as a slave or worse, should I run into the wrong men.
Staying a fox wasn't exactly a good alternative either. In the town, I could act like a somewhat unusual pet, but out there in the wild, I could be mistaken for a small but soft fur able to keep you warm in the cold or a convenient and easy to catch meal. I would end with arrows or magic sent my way.
Sure, I could still try to search for Sahria's and maybe even Miriam's help, but I didn't think that would change much. They would demand to know the whole story before they took a single step. Even if I managed to persuade them, Sahria still had her job and Miriam, honestly speaking, was far too weak.
In the end, the sole hope I had to get free was by Shiro's help. If she helped me get those last few levels, I would be able to transform into everything and everyone. I could become a mere beastkin, changing only my hair color and maybe my face, or a human, maybe even an elf. Everything was better than the body she had given me. At least that was what I tried to convince myself of.
Running away was no option, asking the girls for help would be fruitless and staying with Ofris wouldn't change a thing.
«What should I do?»
The sole answer to this question of mine was just another of Ofris' faint snores. He was sleeping deeply, without even realizing I was questioning my everything right now and sure about me still being there when he opens his eyes.
There was one painful thought that attacked me over and over again ever since Ofris had told me about Shiro's confession: she deserved it. She had given me a new life, risking her whole existence in the process. And all she wished for in return was to stay alive herself.
Shivers went over my skin whenever I thought about making her dream come true and give her a real body, but in the end, it was probably still a low price compared to escaping certain death and saving her at the same time.
But how else could I help her? By leaving her be with that summoned body? That wasn't even an option as I didn't even know what would happen to her if I ran out of mana completely. Sure, Ofris had said she was in no danger at all, but could I trust him in this? He hated her, after all!
No, I had to find her. There was no other option but to find her and make her talk. And even if I couldn't go by myself, I still had other ways to find her!
After encouraging me a little more, I ran towards the door, as far away from Ofris as possible, and began barking. I turned back to my human form.
『Summon: Spirit Fox!』
Just like that, a majestic fox appeared right next to me. It was easily my own size, had a shining red-brownish fur, a long tail and eyes the color of the summer sky. I could only stare at it in awe, at least for a few seconds, which was just enough time for the fox to realize where it was.
"Find Shiro," I demanded. "You know her, don't you?! She is my mother! Make her return!"
The fox barked once, as if confirming its given task, to then turn around and... scratch at the door.
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Suriki: Good evening, gentlemen. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.
Roy: A fox?!
Karl: A large fox...
Suriki: There is no need to be on guard, I assure you, but may I trouble you for a moment?
Roy: What... what is it?
Suriki: My queen has tasked me with finding her mother, the Goddess Shiro.
Suriki: Yes, kind Sir. She has white hair, two beautiful fox ears and a both delicate and noble looking tail. Do you by any chance have seen her?
Roy: White hair...
Suriki: It is white like the snow, silver like the moon and pure like the first flowers of spring.
Karl: You mean the white-haired Demon?!
Karl: She lures in monsters, burns them alive and dances on their smoldering corpses! People said her laughs echo through the night, driving anybody crazy who dares to listen for them too long! She has taken Urak Forest as her realm, stealing the souls of every living coming to close!
Suriki: That's her, that's her! Do you mind to tell me where that forest is, kind Sir? I want to find her as soon as possible!
Roy: You- you are accompanied to the demon?!
Suriki: You are mistaken, Sir. Her Holiness is a goddess! You are not doing her justice by calling her demon!
Roy: A goddess...
Suriki: I implore you to show me the way, gentlemen! My queen wishes to see her mother as soon as possible!
Roy: There- there are two of them!
Karl: To- two of them!?
Suriki: Please come back! I need to know the way to that forest!
Suriki: Please stop!
Roy: LEAVE ME ALONE! LEAVE ME ALONE!!
Karl: SHE WILL KILL US ALL! SHE WILL BURN US ALIVE!
Suriki: ... what is wrong with them?