Legends of Varlaurea: The Dragon Emperor - 16 THE MISTY FOX OF THE BAMBOO FOREST 4

"HOLD! HOLD! ALL OF YOU STOP THIS COMOTION THIS INSTANT!" Emperor Lam shouted at the crowd.

"who the heck are you!" a voice come from the crowd.

"INSOLENT!!! Who just said that? You dare talk like that to the emperor! I'll have your head feed to the dogs." Seven Finger shouted, walk toward the crowd with his saber drawn. The crowd cringing when they saw a glance of him.

Lord Lin and the old taosih, quickly come before Emperor Lam and kneel down, interlocked their fingers.

"I, Lin Ling, welcome Your Imperial Majesty arrival, long live the emperor, may your reign last for ten thousand years." Lord Lin said. Seeing that the crowd quickly on their knee.

"at ease, Lord Lin. Tell me what happened? Why these people gathered here?" Emperor Lam said.

An old man from the crowd crawl forth, his face soaked with tear, said "Your Majesty, about pass midnight. That strange mist engulfed the entire town, it make people hallucinating causing panic and mass hysteria, some people howling in fear like their nightmare has come to life and haunt them, some people had been charmed by the mist, abandoned their home and family and disappeared in the night, and some people turn violent due to the hallucination. Attacking anyone they see even their own family, thinking they are monster. It is like the apocalypse."

"Even my own son trying to kill me last night, thinking I am some kind of shadow monster attacking his mother." A man from the crowd said.

"the town guards suffered the same fate. Some men either charmed by the mist and disappeared or crippled by fear. Even worst one of them turn on his comrades thinking they are wolf." Lord Lin said.

"Your Majesty, my wife had gone missing in the mist last night. How can a veil of mist can enchanted people or turn them insane?" a young man from the crowd said "this is clearly magic, and they are the only one can use magic" the man point at the old taosih knelling next to Lord Lin.

"Your Majesty, I am Wu Lee head master of the academy. This have nothing to do with us, we are innocent. One of my faculty also went missing because of this mist." Grand Taosih Wu Lee said.

"this is obviously yours magic spell or some kind of magic experiment gone wrong! Now it's wreak havoc on us normal folks. Yet, you still claimed it have nothing to do with yours, who would believe that?" a voice come from the crowd.

"not only that, what happened to the guard captain? I bet he found out somethings and get kill for it. You clearly hiding something, your murderer." Another voice said. Then the crowd stating to fire up again.

"everyone! Everyone! Calm down. I understand yours anger, I understand your pain of losing a love one, I understand you want to know your love one's fate and yours have every rights to. But in time like this anger and violent will lead to nothing but woe and regret, not answer and closure. Do not let your anger cloud your judgment, do not let it make you cause any foolish and regrettable act." Emperor Lam said "for the time being please return to your home. I am here now, as your emperor, I swear to yours all, answer shall be found, justice shall be done." Emperor Lam said.

After reassured the crowd and persuaded them to return home, Emperor Lam took no rest and run through all the evident, reports, witness testimonies and held a meeting discussing the cases with his advisors, the town officials, and those who had took part in the previous investigation. Taosih Yung quickly briefing Emperor Lam what he had known so far, and his theory.

"so what you suggesting is… this mist somehow relate with a never seen… fox?" A bearded official said. "I don't know much about magic, but… what? Are you implying that, this never seen fox created that hallucination causing mist?"

"the evident we have so far indicated that, beside in every case we found no trace indicating human mage is the perpetrator. And remember, Lord Hua." Taosih Yung turn to the bearded official "Our ancestor only migrated to Varlaurea over 400 years ago, there a many things in Varlaurea we still do not understand." Taosih Yung said

"animal using magic??? That is absurd. I think the missing Taosih Hai is our prime suspects. We should find out where he hiding and see if we can get any answer from him." Lord Hua said

"my colleague is a victim and innocent." Taosih Yung raise his voice.

"REPORT!!!" a voice come from the hallway, a Brocade Cloak Guards rush into the room and kneel down. "Your Majesty, we have found some strange tracks at the northeast outskirt area of the town." The guard said. Everyone then follow the guard to where they found the strange track, when they arrived laying in front of them, on the soft ground outskirt of the town are footprints of a large animal come from the north, after examine those footprint Hunter Tao said "Your Majesty, from the shape of the paw, I'm certain they are fox footprint. But… the size are… quadruple of a normal fox."

"fox? What kind of fox have footprint that big?" lord Hua said.

"Taosih Yung, you said the tracks found at other missing cases, all have abnormal size. Is this what you mean?" Emperor Lam asked.

"Your Grace, all the fox footprints we had found in previous cases only slightly larger than normal fox footprint, but quadruple the size of a normal fox like this, it's the first time I have seen." Taosih Yung replied. "maybe this is a difference one? Or maybe is the same animal? and by somehow it had grew larger?"

"hum… either way, we should pay the bamboo forest a visit." Emperor Lam said, his eyes staring at the bamboo tree line at the north.