At The Northern Fort / At the Northern Fort Chapter 8
That day, too, began peacefully.
For breakfast, I had the remaining jerky from yesterday, licking every corner to make it softer. To give me something this delicious, as I thought the one-eyed knight is a nice person.
I was now less wary of him because of the jerky. Also, I wasn’t so afraid anymore when I approached him now.
Still, I still got nervous when he stared at me, and still darted away when his rough hands reached out to pat my head.
Every time the one-eyed knight made a disappointed face, I also felt sorry — I’m getting good food, I can let him touch my fur a bit — but my instincts as an animal or as a spirit disallowed humans to touch me.
I understood that I wasn’t going to be hit, but a big hand slowly falling over my head was a scary sight.
“Patting is no good, huh.”
The one-eyed knight smiled bitterly.
I’m sorry, but it’s not possible yet.
I’m not a cheap woman who wags her tail at anyone. You’re mistaken if you thought that! Though I have fluffy fur that does not have a single trace of the wild, I am a noble――
“Then, see you later.”
The one-eyed knight closed the window and headed to work.
I’m still talking!
Having finished breakfast, I cautiously went out of the shed, trying to not be spotted. Now, what should I do to kill time until the sun sets?
As a baby fox, I don’t have to do work, do household chores, or study. I’m so free every day.
Should I have an adventure in the facility again?
I’ve been moving around the base quite daringly, but I don’t think people other than the one-eyed knight found me out so far. Maybe I have knack for being stealthy.
It’s clear this morning, and the temperature seems high for a wintry region. I heard the soldiers say, “It’s a hot day today.”
No, I don’t think it’s hot at all. Even though the sun is out, the snow hasn’t melted and I think the temperature is lower than that of Tokyo in the dead middle of winter.
Maybe their senses are weird because they spent so much time in this cold.
However, as a snow spirit that has resistance to the cold, I also felt that it was warm today.
This region is cool even in summer――on the mountain where Mother and I live the snow never melts――if I go further down south, I might evaporate from the heat. Even after I grow up and can move around more, I shouldn’t go down from the mountains in summer.
It was peaceful again during the daytime.
I waded through the soft snow, and greeted my friends at the stables with nose touches.
Also, these little birds flew around me and picked a fight! I had to fight back…
I thought the animals feared Mother and I because we were spirits, but I found out the unfortunate truth that the animals only feared Mother. When I become an adult and become dignified, I hope won’t be belittled by these little birds.
The incident happened when the sun started setting.
The surrounding grew darker and the air got colder in early evening. If it was me from my previous life, used to heating, I might not have been able to withstand the cold, but now I am a furry animal. I’m staying warm thanks to my natural fur.
Only feeling the cold on my wet nose and on my paws, I returned to the shed behind the barracks.
I moved around a lot today, so I’m hungry. I wonder if the one-eyed knight is still working? Or is he preparing dinner for me?
I panted my way towards him, but danger was lurking on my path.
At first, I only saw a dark silhouette. It was in a far corner in the dark, so I couldn’t discern what it was.
But from the smell that rode the wind, I found out what it was.
A stray dog?
The smell of a beast, and a rough breathing sound. Come to think of it, the silhouette is a that of a dog too.
What I thought of from the word ‘dog’ was the common dog that was leashed and walking down the streets. I almost said, “Where are you from!” like an old lady.
However, when I could see it clearly as it approached, I felt danger.
Dangerous……! I’m in danger now!
I desperately gasped for air.
“Found them! There!”
――At that moment.
The knights I just passed by came.
“The animal in the pond is that baby fox? The one that settled here recently?”
“So it was being chased by that wild dog.”
While saying that, one knight grabbed some snow, hardened it and threw it at the dog. Other knights too hurled snowballs as they approached the wild dog.
After whining a bit from getting hit by hard snowballs, the wild dog eventually gave up.
Even as it sent a frustrated gaze at me, it ran the opposite direction from the knight and jumped over the fence out of the base.
However, I had no leisure to be relieved.
My fur absorbed so much water that it’s as heavy as lead! I’m drowning, I’m drowning!
“Here, come here!”
A knight crouched down by the pond and called me over. Because I also wanted to get back on land soon, I swam there, but upon seeing the knight’s appearance, I hesitated.
Scary, shaggy bearded man…..
“Come on! You’re going to fall in!”
Even that was in a low, gruff voice, that I felt as though I was getting scolded.
This person, he’s scary!
The shout of an adult male made me flinch. My big ears twitched. I don’t want to go there.
I swam towards the shore, but turned around because the knight there was scary. I decided I’ll try somewhere else.
I swam about while spraying water everywhere, aiming for the opposite side.
However, there was also another knight there — a brutal looking knight with a buzz cut.
“Here! Climb up here!”
I think I saw a criminal like this on the tv news in my previous life……
‘This person is scary, too.’