The average running speed of an adult fox is that of around 65 km/h. Obviously, it can and will vary depending on the animal size, weight, and muscular disposition, but you get the point. One could also assume that this animal could even break this limit speed if it is, let's say, in a limit situation, like a run-or-die chase.
However, a sparrow top flying speed is about 46 km/h, and so the small bird should be in a clear disvantage if it tried to have a race against the fox.
So... if that's the case...
"W-WAIT FOR ME! WAIT FOR ME YOU STUPID BIRD! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME BEHIND LIKE THIS!"
Why can't she follow his pace?
"I-I SWEAR I'LL RIP YOUR FEATHERS OFF ONE BY ONE AS SOON AS-!"
Maybe, since she has two slender human legs and she's not the most athletic person around, she doesn't reach that average speed I mentioned before. Or is it that the bird is actually way faster than what one could expect?
Anyway, the fact is that she's doing her best to run as fast as she can, but her partner is way, way ahead of her, and he doesn't even look that tired. Not that she knows how a tired sparrow looks, though.
But why is she running, to begin with?
Is she running away from something or someone? She does look a bit desperate, and there's definitely not a smile on her face. Her usually disheveled blonde hair looks even more of a mess, her lips are dry, there's sweat all over her skin and her eyes- I mean, her only eye wanders all around the alley looking for an alternative escape route.
"Mattier! Help me here, you bastard!"
And the bird suddendly turns on a corner twenty meters ahead of her. Chirping soundly as if he is making fun of her.
"WHY DO YOU-?!"
She turned on the same corner, with the whole intention of grabbing that little bag of feathers and break his neck, but found herself on a dead end.
But the small sparrow was right there! Waiting atop a trash can and of course she didn't even doubt opening the can and jumping inside!
"Come on, Mattier! Come in!"
But he doesn't. The bird... the bird salutes her and flies away...
She hid properly, covering herself with the lid of the can, just leaving enough space to peek outside. She saw Mattier turning the corner again at max speed... and seconds after, he saw a really large group of men running behind him. Those looked like dangerous men. Some of them were even carrying clubs and poles. Some looked like regular humans, others had horns, others had weird ears... one had scales!
"Uh... that was a bad move, huh..."
And she closes the lid, hugging her own knees inside the can.
"And it stinks in here... there are remains of fruit, meat, plastic bags and my butt is wet with something I really doubt is just clean water. I should never had come to this town! Ah... so-so-something is crawling on my tail! Please be not fleas again, damn it..."
Around thirty minutes passed.
Something hits the lid, so she lifts it and looks outside... and there is the little bird. Looking as dirty as her, but way less boomed.
"Ma-Mattier! You lost them all?"
"That's my partner! I didn't doubt you even for a second!"
But she did.
"Ah... Mattier... I must apologize. That was a hell of a bad idea. To be fair, I couldn't have expected all of them to be part of the same guild. And hell if I could have known there are only two guilds in this town and they are in a never-ending cold war"
"How long has it been since we came here, again?"
"Yeah, two days. Damn it, just two days and I already made half of the town hate me! That has to be a new personal record!"
"Hm... yes... that time..."
"You mean that time with the mice guys? That wasn't my fault at all!"
"H-how would I have known they hated foxes..."
Says our fox-tailed heroin as she jumps outside the can.
She looks terrible, dirty way beyond what a normal hotel could accept for a guest to come in. She takes off her brown hat, revealing all of that blonde hair she hasn't combed in her whole life. And so, to complement that -now stinky- cute hairy tail of a fox, she carries on her head... just regular human ears.
The girl claps his clothes all around so the most dirty falls off her jacket and pants, and when she begins doing the same with her tail-
The little bird jumps back.
"It doesn't stink that much! Besides, it was your fault! You picked the hiding place!"
When she considers she's 'clean enough' she puts on the hat again takes out her phone from her pocket. She frowns... and she puts it away, looking at the sparrow.
"I don't know, Mattier. We might be safe for now, but those guys are not going to forget about us that quickly. And I doubt just giving them their stuff back is going to solve anything. Did you see how they threw those spears? They were aiming at my tail!"
"Legs? Yes, that could be too. And now it's getting late... I seriously hope they don't throw me out of the hotel because of how bad I look"
. . .
"B-but my face is clean! A-and my clothes ain't that much stained and- yes, my tail stinks but I can solve that with a simple bath and-!"
"Miss, please let me finish. We are the only hotel in the neutral zone of the town, and as such we cannot allow ourselves to host a-"
"We cannot allow ourselves to host a person who threatened against any of the two guilds rulling the town. Be it the Winders or the Stompers, our pact is that of-"
She slammed both her hands on the table!
"YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME! They snitched?!"
"AND I ALREADY PAID!"
Her eyes s- her only eye, the left one, is on fire! And the small, thin marks on her cheeks look like they could snap off at any moment! Her tail waves violently from side to side! The fox is angry!
"I-it says here on the directives that-"
"And who the crap reads the directives and rules, eh?! Of course I don't!"
"M-miss, that's not out-!"
"Is it more money that you want?! Because I have it! How much? Two gold coins?! Three gold coins?! I offer you up to four gold coins!"
"F-F-FOUR GOLD C- N-No! E-even so, that's not up to me to-!"
The only reasoning being in the whole hotel hall, Mattier, flew and stood up firmly between the scared-to-death bald receptionist and the crazy fox that was about to eat him!
"Chirp! Chirp, chirp, chirp!"
"G-guh... ah, damn it... you might be right..."
Why does she look so shy out of the blue? Why is she backing up, avoiding the man's sight? Why is she blushing?!
"So... ah... I-I leave..."
They leave the hotel and now they are back on the streets. The fox breathes deeply... and releases. And again, and again... and again...
"Ah~ I need to control myself a tad better"
"I know, I know. I'm usually way more tranquil, cold, relaxed... but whenever I feel scammed like that, or insulted...! They practically stole me, you know?! I had paid for a full week! I wouldn't have expected that..."
"And... those were the Stompers, right? The ones I angered, I mean... If we came here running away from them from the east, then the Winders must rule the west side of the town"
There's close to zero people outside. In front of the big hotel there's a small round plaza with a fountain. Some shops, restaurants, an abandoned house, a bar or two and many parked cars. The town must be somewhat safe if they don't mind their vehicles sleeping outside. The only person to be seen is an old deer lady sweeping the front of her modest restaurant. And it's already night...
"Ah... I want to take a shower..."
"I know... but I don't really want to become friends with those weirdos either. I don't even know who are the good and bad guys here. I might end up siding with some poor folks that don't even have running hot water. Can you imagine that? I'm not taking a cold shower on winter; not again, Mattier"
"Impossible. I don't have the means nor I'm skilled enough to spy on the Winders and determine if they are worthy of joining them or not. I would get beaten up before I could learn their leader's name!"
"Are you even listening to your own words, Mattier? I had to run away from those men before because I CANNOT defend myself! I'm not a fighter, and you know it, I'm just an aimless traveler looking for fun things to do! Trying to make them solve their differences? Not my problem, not at all!"
"Well, then you should be the one knocking on those violent apes' doors and tell them to-!"
The sparrow makes a silent noise, and the fox shuts up right away. Then she looks to her side, to the other side of the street and notices the old lady is staring at her with a strange look. Not to be surprised, honestly. She does look a bit on the crazy side, talking with a bird and all that. Hopefully, she'll know how not to look for any more problems.
"... What? Do I owe you something, horned woman?"
She just doesn't learn.
These are the moments when the sparrow regrets having such an airhead as a companion.
No, that's wrong.
If one were to be completely fair, one should make clear that this fox girl is everything but an airhead. She's really smart! Quick on maths, agile on logic, has a good memory... if only she had a bit more sense of danger and wasn't so easily blinded by her own interests...
Well, that and her horrible manners and stupidly big ego.
But she's not a bad person, really! Even if she scams other people and takes full advantage of...
Ah... it might look like I'm trying too hard to convince you she's not a completely despicable person. You know what? Watch and decide for yourself.
"No, you don't owe me anything, vixen"
The old lady speaks in a gentle tone, but her choice of words is a bit...
"Hm... yes, I might be wrong..."
The deer woman has long hair and her whole face is just a single wrinkle, and even her clothes look like those of a classic old lady. And she gets closer, grabbing her chin and looking at our fox up and down.
But what does she see?
A short teen with a beautiful yellow hair that's sadly so mistreated, the brown hat, the noticeble white bandages covering 1/4 of the girl's face all over her right eye, the thin marks on her cheeks, the maybe-too-big jacket, the maybe-too-big pants that are fit on the end by her heavy boots, and that maybe-too-small backpack... and also the sparrow, the sparrow has a VERY small backpag that heavens know what might contain inside. Then the fluffy yet now dirty tail...
Yes, if the fox girl weren't so careless about her appearence, she would be a real cutie.
"You do have a vixen's tail. But up there... you have no vixen's ears"
That's a sensible matter.
"Th-that's genetics, okay? I'm already too self-conscious about it for an old hag to- and stop calling me vixen! It sounds horrible!"
"Hehehe, I'm sorry, youngling"
"What were you looking at, anyway? Just internally making fun of an earless fox?"
"No, no. But I couldn't help myself from listening to your conversation with this cute little bird"
Why does the sparrow puffs up so happily at those words? Well, probably because he never receives any kind compliments coming from the fox.
"So you use those long ears of yours to eavesdrop?"
"And you admit it?!"
"I understand that you are not from this town and because of that you don't know how to properly live a tranquil life here, fox girl. And I know that because I was also a traveler many, many years ago"
"Many, many years..."
"And I also had my good share of bloody battles against both the Winders and the Stompers"
"And even after all those decades, I still have my house and my shop, because those vandals learned I'm not a deer you can mess with!"
"So your point is...?"
"Teach them a lessson! They are just a bunch of armed cowards that nowdays can't even speak to me withtout getting all worked up! Cowards! Cowards!! I only needed this same broom and a shovel to-"
They can only watch as the deer goes on a rampage about how much she hates those guilds. They, very quietly and slowly, and step away from her...
"Mattier... I think this hag is even crazier than I am..."
"No, I don't get her intentions yet..."
"Ah... those animals... anyway, one-eyed fox..."
"Does that bother you too?"
"Anyone would get mad if you used their defects as if they were names for them!"
"But you haven't told me your name yet, so-"
"Laeyd! Alright?! I'm Laeyd, the little one is Mattier!"
"Good, good. Laeyd it is, then. And your last name?"
The old deer tilts her head to a side.
"How could your last name be a sensible topic?"
"That's also a sensible topic"
"You don't like your parents?"
"Could you please stop stepping on mines?!"
"Ah- hahaha~ I'm sorry, Laeyd. I just love beating around the bush, don't mind me. My name is Urdizina, and I'm nothing but a humble worker. Come with me, I have an empty room for you to sleep the night"
"I told you, didn't I? I know your situation, and it makes me come up with some really old memories. Come, come, don't be shy"
The fox and the sparrow looked at each other, and the one that stepped ahead and went right behind the deer lady walking back to her house was Mattier.
Laeyd lets out a small sigh...
"You were so easily bought with some nice words, Mattier...?"
"Come with us, young Laeyd! I'll get ready a nice, hot bath for you!"
"A-a hot bath?!"
Finally, a bright smile takes over her face and she skips behind the deer lady.
See? A despicable person wouldn't be able to smile like that!
Who am I trying to deceive, she's terrible.
I'll tell you what comes after some other time.
Thank you for reading!