AUTHOR'S NOTE "The Fox" is a short story set about two years after the end of HUNTRESS. You may read "The Fox" without reading HUNTRESS if you like, but it will make more sense if you've read the novel first. The world of HUNTRESS is inspired, in many aspects, by Chinese and Japanese traditions. The magic that Taisin practices is based on Taoism and qigong; the archery that Kaede learns is based on kyudo. I also intended to include magical creatures from Asian cultures in the novel, but during the writing process I realized there simply wasn’t room to go into detail about them. One chapter that I wrote but ultimately discarded involved Kaede encountering a fox spirit, which is a supernatural being known in Chinese folktales as huli jing, and in Japanese stories as kitsune. The fox spirit is a shapeshifter, and in many tales it transforms into a beautiful woman who can trick or seduce a human victim. After I finished HUNTRESS, I found that I missed the characters terribly—something that I think a lot of authors experience when they connect deeply with their fictional creations! And I kept remembering the abandoned chapter about the fox spirit. When I was invited to submit a story to the online edition of Subterranean magazine for their special young adult issue, I knew instantly that I wanted to turn that chapter into a short story about Kaede. “The Fox” is that story, and it was originally published online in April 2011. The story was published in print by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the paperback edition of HUNTRESS in 2012. I commissioned the art for the cover in 2014; it is by Claudia Aguirre. The story is about 4,000 words in one part. I hope you enjoy "The Fox."