Two fox youkai stand on a hill, looking into the distance. Both are closely on the bestial side of foxes, being little more than larger, anthropomorphic versions with clothes, and both are male. One is well-built and alert, and has a thin, long sword in his belt, with bright orange fur He wears a simple green vest and blue, baggy pants. The other is old, his eyes closed with a mischievous smile. He holds a single long plant stalk with a fuzzy cattail on the end. He stands straight, but somehow manages to look as if he is bent over, with gray, slightly silvered fur. He wears a green vest that covers his shoulder and back, but leaves the chest open, and the bottom part to a green kimono.
"Ken?" Speaks the old one, taking a sip out of a teacup he holds in his hand. His eyes do not open, nor does he turn to face his friend.
"Yeah?" The warrior, on the other hand, turns his head to look straight at the elder, searching his always-neutral face for clues.
"Do I look old?"
Ken hesitates. He's not terribly used to thinking; most of his problems can be solved by hitting them hard enough. Of course, this is why he comes to see the elder; he needs to think sometimes.
"Well… You're certainly not vain…" He replies, uncertainly.
The old one chuckles. "Oh, I'm very vain."
"What? But look at you, your fur is getting silvery, you've got a scar over one eye, you're carrying a cattail, you're a little stooped over, y-"
"Exactly. It's very difficult to properly look elderly."
Ken's brow furrows in consternation. "I don't understand."
The old one grins. "We elders put great stock in looking the way we should. When you're young, you want to look young. When you're old, you want to be a paragon of wisdom, to be respected. And to get away with things because you're old. And so, I am indeed quite vain. I could look young if I wanted. It would be less effort."
Ken stares at the distance for a bit, the effort of thinking clear on his face. Finally, his brain decides it didn't sign up for this.
"But that doesn't make any sense!" He nearly wails.
The elder gently touches him with the cattail. It's been commonly accepted that doing this has all the force of a lecture without the waste of time that so perturbs young people. They listen better, and the lecturer saves her or his voice. Better for all sides.
"Maybe." Says the old one, as he takes another sip.
Ken groans. He dreads the word "maybe". His old friend has more or less mastered use of the word.
"Your purpose in life is just to torment me, isn't it?"
Sip "Of course not."
"There are plenty of other young people besides you. What do you think I do in my spare time?" Sip
Ken sighs. "I don't know, flirt with girls maybe?" He says sarcastically.
"Yes, actually. I used to get around quite a lot, still do." Sip
Ken's eyes widen. "I'm sorry, that's disgusting."
"You think so? Have you ever seen a picture of me when I was concerned with looking young?" Sip "Used to have vixens chasing me."
The elder hands him a picture. A fox with slightly paled fur with a quarterstaff and turquoise eyes gazes back. Lean and lithe, a definite fighter.
"And that's you? Who took the picture?" Asks Ken.
Sip "A pretty young vixen wanted it. I simply asked if I could have a copy."
"Look, Chitazura… Chitazura? Hello? Ah, where'd he go now…"
The old fox, although dropped, lands lightly on one paw. He holds his cattail stalk like a rapier as he looks around. (Curiously, his eyes stay closed, continually the delicate curves of a fox)
"It's considered rude to enter the home of one you don't know. If you were forced in, though, it's the fault of the owner."
He hears a giggle, and a female voice replies. "I'm well aware of your traditions. But Gensokyo's currently running a bit low as far as traditional fox youkai are concerned, so you're perfect. Have a nice trip~"
Another gap opens, and the old one falls yet again…
Wind Forest, Mangetsu
Ken runs haphazard back to the village square, and bursts into the leader's home.
"Chitazura's disappeared! I can't sense him anywhere!"
There is a silence. It is the kind acquired when something important is interrupted by another important thing. That is, all minds concerned come screeching to a halt and try to figure out what they should be doing.
Finally, an old fox with silver fur and a big stick speaks. "Then find someone who can find him. He is far from helpless, after all. We will leave this to you."
Ken nods, happy to not have to do the thinking himself, and runs off to punch his way to the first place he comes up with.
Gensokyo, Human Village
Though dropped out of a gap, and falling many feet, Chitazura once again lands lightly, even gracefully, on one paw. Unfortunately, he does so in the center of the village. At first, there is a scare, and then an authoritative blue figure walks towards him.
"I'm Keine Kamishirasawa, and I protect this village. Who are you and where did you come from?"
Chitazura smiles kindly, and bows. "My deepest apologies for dropping in, miss Kamishirasawa. I didn't have much choice in the matter. My name is Chitazura, an old fox youkai." He holds his cattail gently in both hands, letting it bob up and down in the wind over one shoulder.
Keine seems to relax slightly, and turns a bit to address the village. "It's alright; he was spirited here against his will. I'll escort him out." With that, she wastes no time in taking the fox's hand (He switches the cattail to his tail, which manages to hold it) and takes one step before hesitating.
"Are you able to walk well enough?"
Chitazura grins. "My speed is well enough equal and beyond."
Keine takes only a few seconds to decipher this. "Good, then." Despite this, she takes a normal walking pace out of the village.
Chitazura looks around, (Yes, even though his eyes are still closed.) memorizing his surroundings. It strikes him as particularly lush, cared-for. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad thing after all. He could do with looking young again, perhaps…
…Ah my, that's quite a shrine…