You decide to talk to Xander; if anything, you should get his side of the story. You ask around and find that Xander is being kept in an abandoned burrow just to the north. You quickly head off there. Soon you find your tree - a large, dead tree whose color is almost black, but before you is an unexpected obstacle; two bucks stand guard, and one is Norb.
As you approach, he sees you; he jumps up and shouts in surprise, "Lulu! Uh… fancy seeing you here…" he smiles awkwardly and rubs the back of his neck. You could rat him out, telling the tribe he tried to rape you; he wouldn't get punished since, when you left, you were not a part of the tribe, but it could soil his good name. You aren’t sure how you feel yet.
You growl, “Norb... I’m here to see the vulpix. Get out of my way.”
“Wait. Can we talk?” He grabs your arm.
You reel back and hiss, “get your paws off me!”
“Uhhhh…” says the other young pikachu standing guard. He is a friend of Norb’s and sensing the tension, excuses himself to give Norb privacy, “I-I, gotta take a piss. I’ll be right back.” Then he leaves with haste.
You cut him off, whispering with seething anger, “you think I can forgive you after you tried to rape me?!”
“It wasn’t like that.”
“Then what was it like exactly? Cause it sounded like that’s what you were trying to do.”
“I-I… w-well… okay. I was trying to force myself on you. B-but not out of malice or even to please myself; I swear to Raikou. I did it to try to save you.”
“You have a funny way of saving pikachu.”
“I heard what happened, Lulu. Word spreads quickly in the tribe, you know. Vulpix captured you; if it weren’t for a fluke, you’d be vulpix chow right now. Even hearing that possibility makes me sick to my stomach. I love you, Lulu; I really do. And the thought of you being killed like that… like a common rattata… tears me apart. That’s why I did what I did.”
You scold him, “You done justifying your sick actions? I need to talk to the vulpix.” You try to push past him but he jumps in the way.
His eyes have a weary, begging look, “Lulu, please. After you left, I made peace with losing you. I even started courting other doe.” News of that sends a sudden and surprising pang of jealousy through your heart. Why should you care if your attempted rapist is courting others? But you do, and you feel a tad bit offended he moved on so quickly. “I beg you not to tell what I did. It would kill my chances. I’ve moved on from you. It was wrong what I did - I understand that now. You are a free soul, Lulu, and to chain that is a greater sin than the act. I promise to never lay another paw on you. But please don’t tell anyone… please...” Tears fill his eyes. “...please…” He lowers his head.
You feel bad for him. He was trying to save you and there’s no denying you needed saving. Plus you don’t have time to argue now. You sigh, “fine, I won’t tell on you. Will you just... move. I need to talk to the fox.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yes… of course. But I don’t know why you want to talk to him. They can hardly get a word out of him.” Norb steps out of the way.
You quickly brush by him and descend into the burrow. Inside, the den is in shambles; roots dangle from the roof, the straw floor has long decayed and melded into a brown mush, and the south wall has collapsed, sealing off a pichu nursery. Still, the den is one of the largest you’ve seen. The old den is an artifact of the past tribe. This burrow has been abandoned for decades if not longer. These kinds of dens litter the outskirts of the tribe and are the physical evidence of the tribe being much larger long ago. But this burrow is particularly large and notorious amongst pichu superstition. It is said to be haunted, and you spent many nights sneaking out to ghost hunt in this very den. Though the only thing you caught was a beating from your father the morning after.
But this time you do find a ghost; in the back, huddled in a corner, is a shell of a vulpix, shivering and curled into a ball - Xander. But Xander doesn’t look like the youthful three-tailed you met yesterday. No... his eyes are gaunt, sunken into his skull, and his fur soiled by mud and electrical burns. At the base of his muzzle, tracks of dried tears stream down and at the end of his snout, dried blood still coats the whiskers and tip. He shivers as though he had an illness and makes painful grimaces occasionally and seemingly randomly. His eyes are closed, but it is clear he is not asleep. His size makes him look almost comical stuffed into a pikachu den, even one of this size. He lays there unaware you’ve entered.
You walk up to him and whisper, "Xander?" He makes a faint, dream-like growl but does nothing else. "Xander," you say a bit louder.
He startles awake suddenly, his eyes have a mad, unfocused look in them. When his eyes focus on you, he mumbles in disbelief, “L-Lulu? W-what? Have I died?” He asks genuinely. But his darting eyes quickly confirm he is still awaiting his execution, locked in the den. You can tell he is completely paralyzed from the repeat electrocutions the bucks surely inflicted upon him. You’ve heard the bucks have a way of electrocuting enough to hurt but not kill; you can only imagine the hell they put Xander through.
“No, Xander. I’m here to help.” You tell him.
“Yes, I don’t think you killed the pichu, but you need to tell me everything that happened, truthfully.”
“You don’t think I did it? Even after what I did to you?”
“I don’t, Xander. But you need to tell me quickly; I don’t have much time.”
“It was a pidgey…”
He cuts you off, “A pidgey. I swear.”
You try to speak but he keeps cutting in babbling some form of, “it was a pidgey,” followed by some vague vow. It seems that Xander has gone insane from the torture and has probably reverted to a simple repeatable answer to interrogation. It seems you’ll need a different approach. What do you do?