“Dale, I don’t believe that. Rudi was playing hide and seek with me. She wouldn’t gotten far, at least not far enough to be captured by humans without the chaperones hearing.”
Dale seems flustered a bit, “N-no. I’m sure…”
“Dale, listen. I need to know what really happened. Jet was my nephew and Rudi was my friend. Plus it’s my ass on the line if I don’t figure out what went down. So please, just tell me the truth…”
Dale pauses for a few seconds then huffs, “fine. But not here.” He takes you to an even more secluded place. He turns around and starts whispering, “okay, you’re right. Rudi wasn’t captured by humans. Honestly, she’s just like the others; no scent trail, no one saw, no evidence. But Rudi was Baxter’s last pup; the others all died too. So we didn’t want to break his heart.”
“Sounds more like you were trying to cover your ass,” you retort.
“Think what you want, Lulu. But it’s hell out there; you should know that now,” then he calls you while pointing in your face, “vulpix dinner. We did what’s best for the tribe.”
“What’s best? Is hiding the truth what’s best? How many other pichu deaths are lies too?”
“You’re damned straight, hiding the truth is what’s best. Fucking hell, Lulu, if you knew half the predators we keep at bay... If the tribe knew, they’d all go into a panic and refuse to let the pups go anywhere, and what good would that be?”
“Whatever, Dale. Just tell me if you know anything useful.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about this for years. If it isn’t a vulpix, it has to be patient, really patient. It must only strike when it absolutely knows when the pichu’s last location won’t be noticed. And to have that knowledge, it must spend most of its time sitting, watching, waiting for that perfect moment. It may even know more about us than we do ourselves. It gives me chills to think about. Don’t you feel it? When you’re at the watering hole? Like something is watching you, your every move. I do at least.
“But if we’re being honest, a vulpix fits that description too. They are great at hiding, stalking, and waiting. So that seems the most probable to me. But I could be wrong, and I hope, not just for your sake, Lulu.”
You ask him, “anything else you can tell me?”
“That is all I know, by Raikou.”
“Okay, then. I must get going…” you turn to walk away.
“One more thing, Lulu,” he says. “Please don’t tell anyone about what happened to Rudi. If not for me, then for Baxter. Baxter is getting up in age and I think the news might break his heart; I don’t think he would survive it. The poor chu has gone through so much in his short life; let him think that his last daughter is living the life of luxury in the lap of a good human. It is all he has left.”
You sigh and say, “fine, Dale.” Then walk away. You look around; the sun is late in the sky, but there may still be time to ask around a bit more.
What do you do?