The foxes have a hard time getting their first meal of the season.
|Linxie Bloodtail, a celebrated warrior fox kin, could feel the excitement rushing through her veins, her heart beating wildly as though she was already running. It was a new Spring, and that meant it was a new hunting season. She sat in the kitchen at the dining table, diligently sharpening her spear. Her girlfriend Nerr, a rather timid fox kin, sat next to her, peacefully watching. Nerr could never bring herself to hunt, but she was proud to have someone in her life that was so talented and could bring home food for the both of them.
“It’s almost time,” Linxie said with a grin, her tail twitching with excitement. She finally stood up and gave a few stabs into the air.
“I know you’ll do perfectly,” Nerr said, “I’ll bet you win the competition again this year.”
“Well, there are plenty of other hunters to compete with… but I bet you’re right.”
A horn sounded outside, and Linxie nodded her head. “I’ll be back with a prize for you.” She rushed out the door to meet the rest of the hunting group, who were gathering at the top of a hill, all of them holding their favored weapons. The elder of the village held the horn in his hand, waiting impatiently for the rest of the kin to show up. Finally, they were all together. There was a new set of fox kin ready for the fight, looking younger and younger each year that Linxie was a part of the hunt. She realized she was getting older, and dreaded the day that she couldn’t join the hunt anymore.
She was going to make her time worth it.
“Welcome to the Great Hunt!” the elder boomed. The crowd cheered, raising their weapons into the sky. “As always, the one who brings home the most meat wins. You’re all on your own. Working together will get you disqualified. And above all, be careful. Don’t kill any other kin, no matter how hostile they become. We don’t want a war on our hands.”
With that, the elder sounded the horn, and the fox kin went running into the forest. Linxie quickly overtook several of them, sprinting around the trees as though she were water. Every year she became more and more familiar with the territory, making it easier for her to get ahead of most of the pack. However, there were several fox kin that were just as talented as her, and she knew she would have to work hard to beat them to the good prey.
Linxie stopped when she couldn’t hear the pounding footsteps of the others. She sniffed the air. It was filled with the scent of animals and earth. Her breath quickened, and her skin heated up. Her tail twitched as she lowered herself to the ground, crawling her way through the grass. She moved steadily, avoiding the sticks and dead leaves from the fall.
Standing not thirty feet away was a handsome buck drinking water from the river. Linxie smiled and gripped onto her spear tightly. She silently stood up and aimed for the deer.
Suddenly, three tiger kin cubs showed up, jumping all around the deer and startling it. It ran off quickly into the trees, and Linxie huffed as they all laughed. Then, they turned to her and shouted, “None of you fox kin are getting your kills this year!” and ran off.
“What the hell was that?” she asked. She prowled further into the forest, knowing the deer didn’t get very far. However, when she reached her prey, the tiger kin did the exact same thing as before. She took a swing at them with the backside of her spear just to scare them off, but they were giggling as they ran.
After several attempts, she went back home, frustrated and disappointed. She wasn’t the only one that came back that way, either. Most of the hunters were just milling about, not sure what to do. After all, they couldn’t hurt small cubs who were playing a dirty prank on them. Nerr came running up to Linxie. “The hunt’s been ruined!” she said, “And we’ve got no meat for supper tonight!”
“I won’t let this stand!” Linxie said, fire in her eyes. She gathered up the hunters. “Look, we may have to stall the competition, but we can’t go the season without meat! We’re going to have to work together. So I have a plan.”
Plan in tow, the fox kin charged into the woods. Linxie was at the head of the pack, but slowed down as she heard their footsteps disappear once again. Suddenly, two large Tiger Kin hopped down from the trees and stood in her way. She straightened up.
“You’re not getting your hunt this year,” one said, “So why don’t you just go back home?”
Linxie cracked her neck. “I’ve dealt with bigger prey than you. You think you can send babies out to do your job? Well, each one of them is getting picked off as we speak.”
“What?” the tiger roared, slamming her into the tree. She took the hit hard. Still, she smiled.
“I knew you were trying to keep the good meat for yourselves. You’ll never make that mistake again after your babies are delivered back to you.”
The forest was silent. The tiger’s eyes rolled back into his head, and his mouth opened to make a hideous howl. “My children! How could you?” He looked back down at her. “I’ll kill you!”
“Oh no you won’t.” she said, and at that moment several fox kin jumped out into the area from short holes they had made, laughing as they danced and dodged around the tigers’ attacks. They brought out their weapons “Get out of here while you have your hides attached.” Linxie growled. The two tigers ran.
After a few minutes, Linxie asked, “Did you gather up at the children?”
“We did. And they’re safe back at their village.”
“I don’t think the tigers will do much to us after we scared them like that.”
“They’ll just be grateful to have their children back.”
“To the hunt then!”
The foxes cheered and dispersed out into the forest, leaving Linxie alone to get back into her hunting position. She was sure to catch that deer now.