Kitsune Academy of Magic, established in Edo period, and located directly in the middle of the urban metropolis of Kyoto, Japan. Little magic is used to conceal the exterior, as it was designed to fit in with it’s surroundings, resembling any other school to the passing muggle. All the charms used to protect the students of Kitsune Academy had been woven into the stone walls that surround the grounds, preventing muggles from entering or see the unusual activities that happen inside. Each of the four entrances had a guardian fox statute, ordered to guard the entrances from danger. They say that the statues come to life, but Alexis had yet to see that happen, only a passing ‘morning’ could be heard when she walked past one.
After archery practice, Alexis didn’t head directly to one of the four gates, instead she pulled herself towards the centre of the school grounds where a small forest grove grew. There was someone she wanted to talk to, that could possibly help her with the dream. The grove was home to a fox spirit, the same fox spirit which their school emblem was based after, as well as the same spirit that was said to have founded the school in the first place. Students still left behind small offerings along the tori gate to ask the spirit for help, but few ventured deep into the grove where it’s home, the shine was located.
The fox spirit wasn’t known to be a real open spirit, preferring to stay hidden and play pranks on a number of students and teachers alike. Yet, for Alexis it seemed to come out of it’s shell. The spirit had often given the teenager advice on pervious dreams, though none had felt so real or vibrant as the one with the old man. Alexis hoped it would have an answer for her.
Passing under the tori gate, it didn’t take long for the trees to snuff out all outside sounds of the city, leaving behind a soft rustling of the leaves in the trees, birds singing, and insects humming. It always fascinated Alexis how the woods could do that, make her forget about the outside world, that she was even in the middle of a massive city. In the grove, she felt as if she were out in the true wilderness, a real forest. At the shrine, the Fox spirit was bent over a pool of water, gazing at it’s reflection. Disguised as an elderly shrine maiden with white hair, it looked up at Alexis as she paused and knelt on the other side of the pool.
“Did you run all the way from the Archery range?” it asked, the voice calm and relaxing, a twinkle in it’s eye.
“Maybe.” She gasped. “Sorry, but… I wanted to talk to you right away.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” The fox spirit replied, looking up. It’s face was wrinkled but was had a smile and immediately calmed Alexi’s nerves.
“I know, but I have to make sure to catch the next bus home. I won’t be back here until the next semester, and I don’t think I can wait that long.”
“Alright child. What is it you wish to reveal to me? Another dream perhaps?”
Alexis sighed. “Of course it’s another dream. You’re the only one who seems to understand what these dreams mean.”
“Such reliance you put one me.” The Fox spirit chuckled. “It makes me wonder what you would do if I was not around.”
“Don’t say that! The school’s energies come from your being. You’ve given shelter to many over the years, wisdom as well as laughs. I don’t think this place could survive without you.”
“Such praise. It’s nice to hear that I’m still valued.” The Fox spirit laughed again. “Alright. Your dream.”
“It’s an ongoing dream,” Alexis started, taking a large breath, “It began a few weeks ago. There was a man, elderly, frail looking but not as if death was stalking him… more like his body had been ill but was on the mend. He was in his bed, a large bed, one from the west, it had four beams at each corner, with drapes hanging around it. Anyways, this old man is talking to someone else, I never get to see the other person’s face, but I know it’s a man too. For the first week or so, that’s all I see. These two talking in this bedroom. Then this past week, things began to change.” Alexis paused, “The old man gets angry, he gets out of his bed and starts shouting at the other man, a younger one. It’s obviously he’s disappointed or upset at him. The old man must have overdid it as he suddenly begins to collapse, and the young one offers him a drink.”
Alexis stopped, she was arriving at the scene that had tormented her for days. The same scene that had been blocking her focus at archery practice.
“Go on,” the Fox spirit urged.
“The man drinks it and… goes white. Death is upon him. He reaches for a wand, but the young one steps in and takes it away. The young man just stands there… watching as the old man dies, in severe pain too! It’s this last part that keeps replying every night, it’s getting to the point where it’s affecting my concentration while awake. I see this man die in my dreams, why?” Her voice cracked on the cry, she had been over this dream a dozen times already, trying to figure out what it was she was supposed to do with it, or learn from it, but she couldn’t figure it out. She looked up at the Fox Spirit, at the old woman, agony on her face. A plea to make it stop.
“There are no names mentioned in this dream?” The Fox spirit asked.
“Do you understand their words?”
“Yes… a bit. I mean when I’m in the dream I feel that I understand, but I don’t remember what exactly they talk about when I wake up.”
“But you’ve already concluded the man was upset, and disappointed at the younger man?”
“Well… yeah, but that is by their actions.”
“You do not see the face of the second man, only the old one?”
“Yes.” Alexis nodded her head, waiting patiently for the advice she longed to hear. The old woman peered once more into the clear water, tapping a finger on the surface to make a series of ripples that spread out from edge to edge.
“Be wary of the young man in your dreams. He is not your friend.” The Fox spirit concluded. “The dream is out of context for you, but you will learn the significance later. For now, head the warning. You life, is about to change and you must be strong.”
“Change?” Alexis asked, puzzled. She knew the Fox Spirit liked to talk in riddles, or take the long way around in explaining things, but this did not help her. “Is that all?”
“I’m afraid so. Do not be afraid of your future. Your dream has shown you the true identity of the young man who’s face is hidden. He may very well be someone you meet in the future. Death surrounds him, and he does anything to get what he wants. He is dangerous, and a threat to you.”
“To me?” Alexis questioned again, her head dropped down and she gazed for a moment into the pool of crystal clear water. Her reflection stared back at her, which wasn’t a pretty sight given her hasty departure from the change rooms. “My future-” Alexis broke off her question, the fox spirit had disappeared, leaving her completely alone in the woods.
With a sigh, she stood up, dusted the dirt off and made her way out of the wooded sanctuary. Back in the real world, Alexis could see the sun already setting in the distance. Glancing down at her watch, she gave a yell. Her bus left in less than five minutes! Shuffling her bag and bow on her shoulder, the dark-haired teenager ran once more across the grounds.