Webnovel

1 Prologue

As a soft light breaks across the horizon, the city of Craydon's liveliness greets the morning sun as vendors and markets have been open long before its arrival. They've been preparing and hawking their goods as cadets and military personnel finish their morning practice and graveyard shifts. The days has just began and these morning patrons are already tired and starved. Following the most basic instincts, young cadets follow the enticing smells and merchant calls like a siren song.

Older officers smile as they reminisce to themselves and watch the new recruits come in like tides before continuing on their path. Slowly but surely, civilians of nearby business and offices also mix in with the militant crowd as their shifts end, and they all appear to be waiting. Then like clockwork, the hums and roars of vehicle sound off unanimously as the public hour of transportation begins. Soon the roads are alive with a variety of automotives all coming and going.

This is the morning life of Craydon, the minor city of trade and one of the empire's outer military base.

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Hiss, a low sizzling sound echoes out in quiet colonial home before being followed by mercilessly crackles and pops. A savory aroma invades the air, and the slight scraping sounds of a pan rhythmically chimes. The languid figure on the couch blearily glances towards the kitchen to see a shape swaying back and forth over the stove.

A soft and low pitch groan is lost in the noise as the once sleepy person stretches and arches their body like a spoiled and content cat. Rising up, they do a quick shake of their head and the two stiff fluffy ears rise up clearly listening to everything happening. A large red fox tail unfurls from around the waist and balances the sleepy person as they trudge to the kitchen.

"Good Morning, Poppy." A soft and reassuring voice familiarly greets the bleary-eyed fox.

"Momma," Poppy response in a soft milky voice unbefitting of her age.

Poppy haphazardly learns towards the older woman cooking with rapt attention and takes in a deep breath savoring the fragrant taste of toasting herbs and roasting coffee. The air vibrates with warmth and comfort that Poppy can't help but smile. Her mother's soft black wavy hair bounces as she sways in place with her long prehensile tail grounding her in place. Ah, how she yearned to look like her mother, a devil's descendant, instead of a fox.

Poppy deep down envied her mother's appearance, who had skin as deep and poreless as red clay. In her short wavy hair, two thick smokey grey rams horn peer out of the top of head and gently curvy to the sides of her head framing her face. Her mother's height and build matched those of the human race while her kitsune/ fox race was more on the petite and lither than them. The only thing about herself that Poppy loves are the eyes that her grandmother cherished and called precious like sapphires and emeralds.

Poppy truly wished to be elegant yet dangerous like her mother instead she is summed up into small and fluffy. She is even worse than a proper kitsune, who can be anthropomorphic foxes or shape shift into other races. Ever since she was a child, Poppy has been stuck in this halfway state of human and fox; she is truly an kemonomimi lover's dream. Poppy's mind continues to degrade herself in a vicious spiral as she spaces out from reality.

Something touches and curls around Poppy's tail causing Poppy to instinctively distance herself and return to the present. She notices her mother is gazing at her with cautious and worried eyes. Poppy physically shakes her head to mentally drive away those negative thoughts and returns to her mother's side intertwining their tails together in a show of love and trust.

"I am okay, momma. I'll do the dishes as you cook.". Poppy comforts her mother while subtly saying she doesn't want to talk about it.

Time passes and the warm atmosphere soon return. Poppy can feel it in the vibration clinging in the air and through the loving and caring emotions carried in her mother's tail to her. Everything is going to okay; it seemed like these words cooed from her mother's soul and into her heart. Poppy's hands slightly trembled as she washed the dishes and her eyes misted over from her mother's unyielding love.

For now even if it's just the two of them, the quiet house seems to be singing with the familial love they have for each other.

With a sigh and a smile gracing her face, Poppy's heart is content and her soul is satisfied. She glances around and notices the time. The rest of her family will be arriving soon, and she quickly sets out to prepare the table for breakfast. The grandfather clock chimes seven times and like a cog within the clock, the family car pulls into the drive way.

"Good Morning." "Welcome back."

Poppy and her mother call out at the same time when her father, a burly blonde military man, opened the door. Tailing behind are two familiar figures, she didn't expect to see this weekend.

"Juniper! Gwendal!" Poppy cheer out in excitement to her two brothers she hasn't seen for a little over half a month.

Gwendal is almost a carbon copy of his mother with some minor difference hinting from his biological father's side. While Juniper in his human form mimics Poppy, they both have thick auburn hair, snowy white skin, and last the ever strong Le genetic heterochromia blue and green eyes.

Smiling, Poppy makes her way to the door while her father and Juniper nod in acknowledgement and head to their rooms to change out of their uniforms. Gwendal sets his stuff to the side and opens his arms knowingly. The two siblings reunite and tease for the others lameness.

Even though Juniper and her are blood siblings, she and Gwendal are also very closed due to the small 16 month age gap between them and the bond they created growing up together since Poppy was five.

The once quiet house becomes lively and full with everyone home. The family gathers around the table enjoying the breakfast cooked love while catching up on their time apart. Her stoic father, Boaz, smiles at his adult children causing a commotion while lovingly holding his wife, Lolly, close. Her protective older brother lowers himself to playfully fight on his younger siblings level.

This is her home in Craydon city near the outskirts of the empire. Together with her blended family expecting nothing of each other but giving never ending love, support, and understanding.

"Together in the future; let's continue as we are." Poppy engraves a wish deep in her soul and engrains the happiness she feels into her memory.

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