Legends of Varlaurea: The Dragon Emperor - 21 THE MISTY FOX OF THE BAMBOO FOREST 9

Dawn come at the next day, Emperor Lam set out to the bamboo forest again, and this time he going with full force of 300 Lizardmens and 200 Brocade Cloak Guards, Hunter Tao accompany them like before. They started at the white fox den, but after 2 or 3 hours of stakeout with no sign or any activity of the beast. They concluded that the white fox had abandoned this den, then they venture forth through 2 other tunnel way. One tunnel lead into a stream in the forest, after an hour surveying the surrounding area without finding anything, they return and exploring the second tunnel. The second tunnel burrow deeper in the forest and resurface near rocky mountain. When they emerged from the tunnel, Hunter Tao found trace of fox activity in the surrounding area. They follow those traces for over an hour, the hunt team came up to the base of a rocky mountain. The mountain sprung above from the tree line like a gigantic termite hill on a vast grassland made of bamboo trees. After a round of survey the base of the mountain and they found giant footprints near a limestone cave entrance where the water stream came from. So while there are still plenty of daylight Emperor Lam decided to explore the cave while the rest of his force set up a base camp. Follow Emperor Lam is Seven Finger, Hunter Tao, and 2 other Brocade Cloak Guard. Inside the cave is very large and tall enough for Seven Finger be able to stand upright. The cave ceiling is hung full of stalactites with various sizes and peculiar shapes, some are very large and reached to its stalagmite bellow and formed a stone columns, while some are small, still forming, still dripping water, they are look so thin and so fragile making an impression that they may break off if you just breathe on them. They keep venture forth into the cave, while crawling through a narrow section, Emperor Lam signal the rest to stop and listen. After a minute of silent, they can hear fain sounds echo from deep within the cave, the sounds of claw scratching on stone like when a dog running on stone tiles floor. As they go deeper, the cave wider again and lead to a large chamber, they estimate it was 40 to 50 lias in diameter. There is no sign of the white fox in the chamber, at the middle of the chamber lied a large stone mount with a flat top cover in thick layer of green moss, daylight reached inside the cave chamber through an open round hole about 2 or 3 lias in diameter on the ceiling, enough for them to see around without need of touch, at the end of the chamber is another cave tunnel.

On a large, flat top boulder, left of the center mount, something caught Emperor Lam eyes, a red fox standing there staring at them for several minutes then run off. Emperor Lam curiously head toward where the fox were, as they climbing through the slippery mossy boulders, they saw 4 mummified corpse lie on the moss, one of the 4 corpses Emperor Lam can recognized base on the clothes the corpse is wearing, that corpse is the ill-fated Taosih Yung. When Emperor Lam reached the flat top boulder, before his eyes lie the leathery pod they had found previously in the white fox den, but the pod is significantly bigger than the last time he saw it, not only that he can feel a fain qigun aura radiating from the pod. "it have magic?" "what on earth is it?" " is it have anything to do with the beast?" Emperor Lam wondering and step closer to the pod with sword in one hand and the other hand reach out to the pod. But before he can touch it, Emperor Lam felt another qigun aura rushing toward them from the end of the chamber. And not for long, the white fox is standing at the cave tunnel at the end of the chamber, baring its fangs threateningly, staring at them.

This time the white fox not even bother to create the mist veil to conceal itself, the beast charging through the slippery boulders toward Emperor Lam ferociously. Emperor Lam swiftly leap to center mount, moment before the white fox gigantic paws crushing down on the spot where he was. The beast standing between them and the leathery pod, staring them with a piecing gaze, those eyes seemingly glowing red and fill with fury, its head lowered, fur puffed up, baring fangs growling. Hunter Tao unleased his arrow, though the arrow hit but it only piss the fox off. The beast turn its gaze toward Hunter Tao, its eyes turn white and seconds late the hunter screaming in fear, like there some invisible horror in front of him. With a strange roar echoing the cave chamber, Seven Finger lunge forth, saber in hand and aiming at the fox neck. The fox turn around swiping is paws at the bald lizardmen, force Seven Finger to recede to avoid those giant paws. The 2 Brocade Cloak Guards quickly closed distain, and swing behind the beast, make it have to turn it head to watch out for them. Snatch the moment the fox distracted, Emperor Lam sunk his blade deep in the fox's shoulder then leap out of its attack ranger. Red blood pouring out from the wounds soaked the white fur on its leg, outnumber and surrounded, yet the fox still stand where it are, it is seem the beast is defending that leathery pod. "Why?" Emperor Lam wonder, then a small bulge swell up on the pod surface, and move slightly before disappeared, there are something inside the pod, "Is it the fox's offspring? If so it must not be born." Emperor Lam think. When he saw the fox was distracted by the 2 Brocade Cloak Guard again, Emperor Lam leap forward, his sword's tip aim at the pod, when his sword only liamis (1 liami = 1 milimeter) from the leather pod, the fox charge at him and ram its head at Emperor Lam knocked him aside, then it pounce at him, as it about to bite Emperor Lam head off, Seven Finger jump on its back swinging his saber on its flesh. Pianfully, the beast shaking it body violently and shook Seven Finger down. It turn to the bald lizardmen ready to pay back for the stab wound on it back, at that moment Emperor Lam got back on his feet and breathe fire at the beast's face. Badly burned, excruciating pain and with its fur on fire the fox trying to escape through the cave tunnel it came from. But before it could reach the tunnel, a giant boulder flung at the fox by Emperor Lam telekinesis and crush it rear leg and pinned it on the ground, Emperor Lam quickly came near and keep breathe fire at it, the white fox let out gruesome howls of pain, echoing the cave as the fire swallowing its body and searing its flesh, after a few minute the beast are nothing but a smoking charred corpse, reek with awful burned flesh smell.

"Your Majesty, you need to see this." Seven Finger called

Emperor Lam climb his way back to the flat top boulder where everybody are gathering around that strange pod. Before his eyes, there is a small tear on the pod and a transparent liquid is leaking out of the pod, then the thing inside the pod move violently again making the small tear become wider. The transparent liquid inside the pod oozing out with a fishy smell, and the pod partially deflated and a minute later a creature emerge from it. The creature cover in fluid, fumble it way out of the pod, it look like a fully formed kit with a size of a small dog, white fur, its eye have not open yet and it have what seem to be a tail branched into three separated tails. After few second out of the pod, the kit let out a soft moan, calling for its mother. Hunter Tao curiously touch the creature, and right and the moment his finger touch the kit's noses, the hunter convulsing continuously, and unable to retract his hand, his eyes roll up and mouth foaming. A Brocade Cloak Guard trying to help the hunter but suffered the same fate when he touch Hunter Tao. With his magic ability Emperor Lam can sense qigun are being drain from the 2 men to the kit, and in a few minutes they will die. With a quick stab Emperor Lam's blade pieced through the kit chest, kill it instantly and free the men. After that they gather bamboo and burn all the remains of the kit, the leathery pod and the white fox to ashes in the cave and return to Bai Ni.