“Hey, you ok?”
The old fox barely looked up, made a quick nod and continued licking the blood from the wound on his flank.
“I mean, seriously, what were you thinking? That wolf is almost three times bigger than you.”
The fox got up and started to walk away, quietly grunting between clenched teeth with every painful step.
“Oh no you don’t.”
With a swift flapping of wings, the wise owl landed right in front of the fox.
“I’m alright, no need to play momma hen on me, ok?”
“Dude, you can barely stay on your feet, you need to rest and let your body heal. That was an awful beating you took back there.”
“I told you I’m ok. Just leave me alone.”
“Why do you want to fight that wolf? There’s no way you can beat him. Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
“Of course I’m not!”
“Then why do you keep fighting when you know you’re no match for him?”
“Because I have to! I am the guardian of this forest, it’s my fault he’s here.”
“–Ok bonehead, here’s the thing. One, you may have taken it upon yourself to guard this forest, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight single-hand every threat that manages to get past your charms and tricks.”
“Shut up, I’m not finished. Two, you’re neither invincible nor infallible, you make mistakes like everyone else. It’s not your personal fault when things go wrong. This is OUR forest too. In case you have forgotten we all live here, and we’re all ready to defend it too when we have to.”
“But I am supposed to keep this forest safe.”
“And you’ve done a great job, but you can’t protect it against everything, and you don’t have to do it all by yourself.”
“I just need to get stronger than him.”
“Oh yes, of course, and I just have to shed my feathers for scales and start breathing fire.”
“It’s not funny.”
“It wasn’t supposed to be. You’re not a wild wolf, you’re a fox. Your strength will never be greater than his. Your intelligence, on the other hand…”
The fox stared in silence, until sudden realization made him break into a hard, if painful, laughter.
“Of course, why fight him on his own terms when I can trick him?”
The old eyes were suddenly alight with plans and ideas.
“Yes! I think I know how to make him leave our forest all by himself. The first thing I need to do is…”
“The first thing you need to do is rest and let your wounds heal. You can’t help anyone without helping yourself first.”
“Fair enough.” He said with a smile. “–But as soon as I’m better…”
“You will come up with a wonderfully creative and dashingly clever plan to get rid of the wolf, I have no doubt.”
“Oh yes I will, you just wait and see.”
“Just don’t forget something when you hatch your masterful strategy.”
“You don’t have to do it solo.”