Book one, The Lupine Prince. The “Together with Silver” trilogy.
“Wake up!” Va’il woke to the sharp pain of his mother’s fangs sinking into his bushy tail. The conversation they just had never registered in the half-asleep child’s mind, and so he had no conscious recollection of refusing to wake up.
“Ow! Why did you do that? Can’t you wake me normally?”
“Then you shouldn’t refuse to get up. Now that you’re fully awake, get ready for school. The teacher will throw a fit if you’re late today.” With that, Mai’ou walked out of the room. Her long, thin tail trailed behind her.
Standing on the messy bed in a small room was a boy of seven years old. At first glance he almost appeared human, but that illusion dropped upon seeing his ears, tail, and claws. He was half-lupus, half-human. He had a very long and extremely bushy tail. His furry ears were those of a wolf, at the side of his head where human ears normally are. He had a few fangs hidden in his mouth. His eyes were human in appearance, but silver in color. His hair was also silver, as was the hair that covered his tail. His skin was white, but not pale. In his hands were claws that were unlike those in wolves or cats. They were lupus claws, which could extend and retract at will.
Being a young child, he was always running in the sun, so he was never as pale as he could have been, nor was he ever as tan as other children. But all these traits largely went unnoticed by the young child whose mind was filled with thoughts of fun and play. Right now, they were concerned with the scolding Va’il had just received, and the throbbing pain in his tail. Mai’ou was a lupus, and she was quite proud of the power of her bite, or so it seemed to Va’il. He picked at the fur on his tail, to see if his skin had been broken. It wasn’t; the area was only bruised.
Satisfied, he jumped off the bed and ran to a nearby closet. He flung off what he was wearing, and put on clothes that might have been clean. They smelled fine, so he put on grey trousers, a blue tunic, a cloth belt, and cloth boots. He walked out of his room and then downstairs into the kitchen. He sat at a wooden table as his mother put out fishes, soup, and rice. He ate quietly and quickly, and was finished by the time Mai’ou sat down.
“Ready then? Off to school,” she said.
“Okay.” He got up quietly and picked up a satchel by the front door. While putting it around his shoulder, he opened the door and walked outside.
“And don’t forget to bring back your work this time!” Mai’ou said. She was gruff in her words and actions, but Mai’ou was still far more lenient than she tried to be. She sighed as she rested her head on her hand. Being a normal lupus, she had large, brown, frizzy hair. More of her teeth were fangs, and her lips were somewhat thin. Her eyes were golden and more angled than Va’il’s. She also had long, wolfish ears at the side of her head. They were mostly brown, and the tips were black. She also had black spots here and there in her hair, making it look somewhat like fur. She had a long brown tail that appeared thinner than Va’il’s. Her son was vastly different, so she couldn’t help but be harsh yet caring.
Outside it was bright, and there was a fresh smell in the air. Va’il ran through the various cobblestone paths between the houses until he reached a wide road. He stopped in an alley and peeked around the corner to see who was on the road. The path to the school gradually went up a low hill, and Va’il was at the midpoint of the hill. Below him, he saw about twenty other children making their way up. Higher, he saw a few groups talking amongst themselves as they walked. He looked around until he spotted, higher on the hill, one in particular. As one of them turned their head to talk, he confirmed the identity. They were a couple hundred meters ahead, but Va’il’s vision was extremely good. They were his friends.
He lowered his stance and started running to catch up. He bumped into a couple children along the way. They glared at him indignantly, but he paid no attention to those he offended. They didn’t care once they noticed the big silver tail. It had become an event no longer worth getting worked up over. After a few meters, he tripped on a rock and fell on his hands, but he didn’t stop running. He ran on all fours while his bag jumped every time it hit the ground. When he was in range, he leapt onto an unsuspecting friend.
“Gehhh, off! Off! Hhhee.” Pete, a rotund swine, was soon wheezing and struggling with an unwelcome attachment to his back. As a swine, he looked like an upright pig, and had the girth one would expect of an enjoyer of fine foods.
“Aw Pete, just one bite today, please?” Va’il eyed the pig ear in front of him that, until a moment ago, was flapping lazily in the wind. Upon hearing the plea, Pete had made his best effort to pull his ears closer to his head.
“You, you don’t want to eat this ear, it’s full of wax,” Pete said.
“Morning Va’il,” said the lupus walking next to Pete. It was Kelin, a lupus with red hair and fur. He had experienced this sequence of events far too often as well. “And Pete, just how many times do we have to hear you cower before you stop to realize Va’il won’t bite you?”
“But, I can’t help it. It’s in my instincts to be afraid of the lupus. Even you… don’t think I forgot about what you did to my tail,” Pete said, murmuring the last bit. He seemed to forget that anything was latched to his back as he kept walking up the hill. Va’il, sensing his moral victory, climbed higher on the swine’s back, and made himself comfortable as a passenger.
“Oh please, you pigs just remember everything. I keep telling you, we were pups at the time. I cannot be responsible for every little thing I may have gnawed on when teething.” Kelin sighed once, and then pulled out a book to read along the way to school. “Besides, it’s our parents’ fault for letting us play together. Amazing how we are still together, right Va’il?”
“Right! Kelin, how many times have you talked about Pete behind his back? Just the talk of barbecue is salivating!” Va’il and Kelin gave malicious, toothy grins to each other and awaited Pete’s reaction.
“Mhm, barbecue. Hungry.” Barbecue was a trigger word for Pete. Upon hearing it, the threats fell upon deaf ears. Va’il shrugged it off, and then noticed that it was just Pete, Kelin, and himself.
“Where is Zeick?” Va’il felt Pete’s shoulders droop when he heard the name.
“He’s avoiding. Doesn’t have the courage,” Kelin mumbled.
“Why?” Va’il asked.
“You. Same issue, being a half and all. Sorry.” Kelin spoke in a matter-of-fact manner, but he never stopped reading the book. He turned a page.
“Oh, again, another,” Va’il said. He sighed.
“Sorry Va’il, you know his family and friends are just like everyone else. He still has to deal with everything that comes up from everyone else. And well…” Pete tried to be consoling, but he didn’t have the words he was looking for.
Va’il had understood enough. Prejudices were held by everyone against every species for one reason or another, but most still had no actual qualms. Daily association with another species was fine for almost everyone. But still, the thought of a half was beyond acceptable.