Yuki walked with Flare and Lunar, heading north from Pyro's village. Learning that he had a daughter with Flare was a bit of a shock to him, though it wasn't too surprising. After all, he and Flare had fallen in love with each other eighteen years ago, not long after he had promised to help protect her. Flare spoke of a journal, so he thought he'd go with her and Lunar to retrieve it, and maybe learn more about his daughter.
"I ran to a small house not too far from here," Flare said. "When I learned that I had conceived a child from you...At the time, I was afraid Cyan would have gotten upset with us. So it was there that I gave birth to Lunar, and raised her myself. I did had some help, though. It was the same area I brought a couple friends of mine before I met you."
Yuki nodded. "I see, but how did you end up..."
"Working with Shiryu?" Flare sighed and lowered her head. "My memory's a bit hazy on that. Lunar and Garou recall it better than I can. Basically, I was tracked down by...well, Garou and one other kitsune. Garou's a close friend of mine, so I let my guard down. Big mistake, I must admit."
"There was a struggle," Lunar added. "Then she was knocked unconscious with a blunt object and taken away. I was hiding in a closet...saw everything from there. After that, our village elder Aoi took me into her care."
"Right," Flare nodded slowly, and looked to Yuki. "According to Garou, Shiryu hypnotized me and made me repress my memories of everyone. It wasn't until I saw you in Pyro's village when things started to come back to me, albeit very slowly. I guess that is part of the reason I decided to capture you."
"Then what made you remember everything else?" Yuki asked. "And what happened to Garou?"
Flare started to answer, but the conversation was interrupted by a female voice screaming from the southeast. The three kitsune stopped and looked toward the source of the sound. "That voice," Yuki said. He started walking in that direction, and started running when he heard the voice call out again, "Someone, anyone, help!" He stopped when he saw Shiryu preparing to charge at a greenish-blue fennec vixen. The vixen's green dress was torn and stained with blood, and two of her six tails had bitemarks on them.
"Cyan!" Yuki exclaimed, running in between her and Shiryu.
Shiryu charged forward, with no regard to the fact Cyan was being shielded. Yuki pushed her back, his arm getting cut by her horn. He winced, glaring at Shiryu, his ears pinned back, while Flare gently picked Cyan up and carried her to safety.
Shiryu snarled at Yuki. "You have some nerve showing your face to me again. This was not even any of your business."
"When my mate's being threatened," Yuki growled. "It becomes my business."
"Oh, so she is your mate?" Shiryu smirked. "That makes things more interesting." She laughed and circled Yuki slowly, with a sinister grin on her face. "I think I will let you live for now. I have more important matters to attend to, anyway, now that you manipulated both my best servants into betraying me."
"You're basically running away because you're outnumbered, aren't you?"
"Believe what you will. I could kill you all right here and now. Flare would know my capabilities. I have a use for you and your mate, so I will spare you for now. Consider this a rare chance to enjoy your freedom. You and everyone you love will still suffer the consequences."
With the last word, Shiryu vanished in a purple flash of light. Yuki turned and ran to Flare and Cyan, kneeling down next to the injured vixen. "Cyan, I am so glad to see you," he said, hugging her gently. "I just wish it were under better circumstances."
Cyan leaned her head on Yuki's shoulder. "Yuki," she spoke softly, exhausted from her encounter with Shiryu. "Yuki...I could say the same thing. I'm sorry...I'm sorry I've been gone for so long...You must have been worried...I'm sorry."
Yuki shook his head and lightly stroked Cyan's muzzle. "No, don't apologize. It's alright. I'm just glad you're safe now."
"She was trying to get me to join her...family," Cyan explained, "She said I'd meet my sister there, but only if I proclaimed my loyalty to her. I refused, then she started to attack me. I thought I could take her on, so I let her chase me out here. Well, you see how that went."
Yuki nodded slowly, holding Cyan close to him. "We'll figure out a way to stop her," he said. "And if she knows where your sister is, we'll get that answer out of her, too."
A male voice cried out into the clearing. "Cyan!" The source of the voice was revealed to be a green furred kitsune with black-tipped tails and ears. He was wearing a black robe with green trim. "I'm sorry it took me so long. I had to talk them into letting me rescue you."
"It's alright, Minoru," Cyan replied. "Yuki helped me." Just in time, too, I might add. Though I will refrain from saying that, for your sake.
"Thank you, Yuki!" Minoru bowed his head to Yuki. "I don't know what I would have done if she got killed."
"She's my mate," Yuki said. "It's what I do. Anyway, we should get her to safety. Pyro's house isn't far from here."
"Good idea," Flare nodded. "While you two take her to Pyro's, Lunar and I will head to our village to retrieve our journals. We'll see you soon." She and Lunar started to run further into the forest.
"Alright," Yuki waved to the two before gently lifting Cyan into his arms, noticing a gash and bite mark on her leg. Shiryu's the one who will pay...No one hurts my mates and gets away with it.
He let Cyan wrap her arms around his shoulders before he and Minoru walked back to Pyro's village.
* * *
Cyan was lying on a bed in Pyro's house, her green dress switched out in favor of a red robe with a golden sash and white trim. Yuki applied some salve to Cyan's wounds, which helped to relieve the pain and to prevent infection.
"I'm glad you found her," Pyro stood next to Yuki, looking at Cyan. "So Shiryu's starting to do the dirty work herself, attempting to recruit new servants."
"She probably feels threatened now that Garou and Flare stopped working for her," Yuki said.
Minoru looked to the side, lowering his head, his fur fading to a deep blue color. "This is my fault, Cyan," he muttered. "I let this happen to you. If only I..."
Cyan shook her head. "No, Minoru," she interrupted him. "It's mine. I was the one who challenged her. I lured her out of the village."
Minoru insisted, "You wouldn't have had to! I should have protected you better. I should have..." He shook his head. "No, if it's more servants she wants, I'll go so she doesn't have to take anyone else."
"Don't you dare to even think about giving yourself up!" Pyro growled, stepping in front of Minoru and slapping him with the back of her hand. "What do you think that's going to solve? Huh?! She'd still come after us, and she'd probably use you to do it! She'd likely kill you if you refused, too!"
Cyan slowly sat up and added, "Besides, it's me she wanted. Me, specifically, and any other blue fox she can get her claws on."
Minoru rubbed the side of his face. "She'd have to settle for me, then. I can't have you working for the likes of her."
Pyro slapped Minoru again. "She's not settling for anything, because you're not going to give yourself up to her!" she snarled. "We just got Flare back with us, and I'll be damned if I let her take you, or anyone else in my family for that matter!" She struck him across the face one more time. "You got it? Now stop talking like that."
Minoru lowered his head, chastened. "Yes, Pyro," he whimpered, rubbing the side of his face again.
"Good!" Pyro clapped her hands together. "The important thing is that Cyan is safe, and Flare is herself again. Now we can concentrate on stopping Shiryu."