THE RISE OF A SLAVE GIRL - Season 1 Episode 69
“Oi… Lydia…” I asked stiffly.
“Yeah?” Lydia said, her face still pouty.
“Did you happen to see a ghost over there?” I pointed straight at the spirit of the foxgirl.
Lydia spun around, but then spun right back and gave me an angry growl. “M-master… you shouldn’t lie and tease me like that, you know I’m still sensitive about ghosts! If you trick me into leaving and then buy the cowgirl, I might cry…”
“She’s actually a wolfgirl…” I coughed with a blush.
Lydia was growing very willful these last few days, wasn’t she? No, that wasn’t the important part. There was a ghost fox girl who now floated up to Lydia, hovering right next to her head. She pursed her lips like she was going to kiss Lydia, leaning forward towards her ear, and then she blew softly.
“Ahhhh!” Lydia’s tail shot straight out as her entire body shivered. “Actually, on second thought, I’ll wait outside…”
She turned and suddenly fled the tent. Figuro, who didn’t understand what was going on, only smiled and laughed.
“She’s grown very lively, I see.”
“Buy me…” the foxgirl whispered in my ear.
“Shh… you’re dead!”
“Then resurrect me!” She sniffed. “Hire a priest! Don’t act like you can’t!”
“Umm… sir?” Figuro was starting to notice me whispering to myself with a frown.
“Ah… sorry. Actually, my thoughts are on something else. A curiosity of mine. I saw the funeral procession outside.” I said, grimacing. “That’s the foxgirl, right?”
Figuro’s expression turned somber. “Yes… it’s a shame with her. I had hoped to sell her to one of the churches, but she was too sick and no one wanted to take her on as a responsibility.”
“Isn’t resurrection possible? You have a priest on your payroll.”
“If I fixed her, it’d cost more than she is worth. Although the priest travels with me and does the identifications I need, I don’t own him. He collects profit for the church, and resurrections are especially pricey. You see, she would come back just as sick as before.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“Her illness wasn’t something contracted. It’s not a disease in the traditional sense. Her illness is tied to who and what she was.”
“What? You said… a nine-tailed fox? A foxkin variant?”
“Foxkin variants aren’t actually that odd. One in fifty foxes have two tails, one in a thousand can have three. A three-tailed fox is about the limit though.”
“The limit for what?”
“For when it starts affecting their health.”
As we spoke about her, the ghost lowered her head and put on a demure expression. Clearly, this topic was one that made her upset.
“You see… only one tail exists in this world. The other tails exist in the spiritual world. This makes foxes kindred to spirits. Three-tailed foxes are considered very powerful mediums and are often employed by priests. However, they’re also outcasts. Animalkin have a sensitivity to spirits, and foxes with extra spirit tails are considered close to spirits. It unnerves animalkin, and they instinctively don’t like them.
“Some believe that foxkin with many tails attract spirits, and with them misfortune and curses. To add fuel to that prejudice, more than three fox-tails starts to damage their health. Each additional tail is another tie to the spiritual world. It’s a tie to death. You could call a seven-tailed fox a being as close to death as possible.
“But she’s a nine-tails!” I pointed out.
“Yes… and her kind will only live a sickly life until death. A six-tail could theoretically live a full life. However, it would be one full of illness. Ten-tails die upon their coming-of-age. A nine-tail like her was always bound to die quickly. Even their own kind won’t look at them. The reason she was in that cage is that only the elderly animalkin who are close to death themselves could stand to look at a living embodiment of death to their culture. If you bring her back, she’ll only die again. She is the rarest variant… and also the most useless.”
I felt a bit of bitterness and depression from his story. Her life must have been a long and sad one. How she had lived as long as she had was anyone’s guess. It must have come from sheer will. One could easily see that death was a release for her. One could see that… if they weren’t too busy looking at her ghost as she tugged on their arm.
“So… resurrect me already!” She demanded, stubbornly putting her arms on her hips.