Here is the 68th installment. Hope you enjoy.
Notes now live at the end of the chapter, so here is the obligatory, on with the show.
Sadly, I do not own and thus can claim no rights to Zootopia or its characters. They belong to Disney.
As an FYI, so you don't think this has been abandoned. It has NOT been abandoned, Muse just hit me with a big project that I need to push out first. Once that is done, it'll post and then I'll be back to this and my other story, WildeCards_SavageTerritory. There is more written for both, but it's rough, and I need to get back into the swing of it. Also, since this is posting after the 1st. Happy New Year.
Waiting Room - Hop General Emergency - City-State of Von
Domi and Jen entered the waiting room as the second, larger, transport landed outside. Quickly making their way to the door, they met Mike and Nick leading the pack as they exited the transport. Nick's tail lashing in agitation, ears back flat to his head, and Mike in no better shape with his tail trying to curl between his legs. Nick locked on Domi and Jen and marched towards them. "Where are they? Are they okay? Are the kits okay?"
Domi motioned for them to follow. "Don't know yet. They tested the sample of food and confirmed it was just Ergot, but the interaction of the Ergot with some of the other spices in the food created some other toxins. They're being treated. As soon as they are out of danger, you'll be let in to see them."
Mike whined, his tail curled up fully between his legs. "Please tell me they're going to be okay."
Domi smiled weakly. "I cannot promise you anything, but they are in one of the best places on the planet to be treated and ensure your young are born healthy and without issues. The doctor said that the fact that you have been dosing with Nighthowler is a good thing."
Nick nodded with a grunt, his tail and ears relaxing, if only slightly. Turning on Delgato. "Okay, Del. I get that Domi is from here, and given that every mammal I have seen from here has been a hybrid of some kind, and knowing the data about Von, I get that this is the best place for us to be. However…" Pointing a claw at the lion. "That does not explain why you know about Von, and have apparently been here before. So spill."
Delgato rolled his eyes and shrugged. "Not much to tell. I'm not the only Inter in my family. I've got a cousin, sister, and younger brother who are inters. Carl married a hyena, only, it turned out that she was a hyena/wolf hybrid. You'd never know it though, unless you got a really, really, close look at her tail. Anna took after her mom. My sister Cali married one of Anna's brothers, and cousin Harvi did as well. Yeah, I'm not the only gay lion in the family either. With that, they all moved here. Invited Jeff and I to as well. We visited, but Jeff and I have lives in Zootopia that my siblings and cousin didn't.
So… I know about Von. I know it is a city-state made up almost entirely of inters and hybrids. You, however, seem to know a lot more than we do. I knew the city was advanced, but Zootopia is advanced. So you tell me, Nick. How is it that you know about this city."
Nick glared at Maria. "You want to field this one?"
Maria shook her head with a Nick level smirk. "Nope. This is all you."
Frowning with a sigh, Nick looked over everyone there, his vision settling on Jen. "You're going to find out in the next few months anyway. So let me try and summarize the true history of the world. You see, over the past month or so, Judy and I have been working with your family historians, the Nightwolves," Flicking a paw in the direction of the Nighwolf guards. "...and several other families from multiple species. All of whom have provided data and documentation about the distant past. Added to that data is information from the Cheth, Helketta, and a few other such ancient organizations. It has all been collated, verified, and laid out into a proper, true, verified history of the world, and it changes a few things.
It has been confirmed that the Hop rabbits have had relations with other species, specifically predators, for thousands of years, from the very earliest days of the clan in fact. Hop, like the name on this Hospital, and there is a reason for that. You were Hop before a clerical error about 250 years ago changed it to Hopps."
Jan nodded. "I knew about the change from Hop to Hopps."
Nick nodded. "Good. Anyway, in ancient times, just as the Hop clan was establishing itself, not even a full generation in, the Hop rabbits took in a fox. After a few years, that fox ended up marrying one of the Hop rabbits. More than that, they had welcomed more foxes into the burrow. It is why you raise chickens. It is why you dig your burrows so much larger than any other family in Bunnyburrow. Because you started doing that to accommodate the foxes and smaller cats like lynx that started to share your burrow. It is why you are all, as a family, able to easily eat meat, and why it makes you stronger.
Not only that, but the Hop rabbits formed a pact with the original Wolford pack, the very pack that Mike is the Designate of." Pointing to Mike. "That's why a wolf can walk through the main areas of a Hopps burrow and not have to duck. They formed other pacts as well. It was what established the Hop, turned Hopps clan, into the powerhouse it is. This state lasted for at least five hundred years, until a weasel conspired with some of the Hop rabbits that believed the clan tainted by the predator blood, and felt that you needed to return to a pure state."
Jan groaned. "I can already see where this is going."
Nick nodded with a chuckle. "Yeah. It took a few years, but they managed to drive a wedge into the clan, those that welcomed their diversity, and those that rejected it. That clan of foxes was known as Wilde. I am a descendant of those foxes. When they were driven out of the burrow, along with their mates, kits, and those that supported them, they had some get separated from the main group. I do not know exactly why, the records are not clear on anything other than it happened. My family is part of those that got separated.
Information gathered from the Cheth, Helketta, and other such groups tells the rest of the story. The main group found a secluded, deep, protected valley. One they could easily defend, with more than enough space to grow, to farm, and still have lots of room for their homes. That settlement became the city we now stand in. The city of Von. A fabled place where the rejects of the world could live in peace. Where inters the world over can seek shelter and a home. As they remained secluded, only sending scouts, who are now known as agents, out into the world.
Those agents recruit inters, protect hybrids, and spirit them back to Von when needed. You get the idea. They also welcomed visionaries. Many question what happened to many of the great minds of the time when the Conifur reformation happened. Most assume they were killed, tortured, etc… by the Conifur inquisitors. Their rejection of knowledge not approved by the Conifur teachings drove many intellectuals into hiding. That hiding was here in Von, where they were not only welcomed, but encouraged.
According to the writings and histories Judy and I have access to, Von had electricity at least five centuries before the rest of the world. They had figured out a version of the climate control that Zootopia uses three hundred years before the original city planners even thought of the idea, let alone tried to make it happen. It was in fact Von who slipped the technology, in a less advanced form than they were using at the time, to Zootopia."
Domi frowned. "Nick. There is no way you can know all that."
Nick gave a very evil grin. "Oh, there are very easy ways for me to know all that, and more. There is one gap in what Judy and I know, and I suspect that is something that is deliberate." Turning to face Maria. "We just figured that, being as old as the records were, that the section in question got damaged and was transferred to other books, or simply lost. Only, now I am quite certain it was deliberately, and recently, removed."
Maria looked decidedly uncomfortable, looking nervously down at the fox. "I don't know what you are talking about."
"Maria." Nick's voice got decidedly frosty. "What are you hiding? What is the prophecy? There is reference to it, but all the actual detail on it was in the missing section. The who, the what, what is supposed to happen, etc… All missing, and I suspect stashed somewhere by you."
Del frowned. "Uhm… Why would she have access to any such thing?"
Nick crossed his arms. "Maria?"
Glaring at Nick, Maria huffed, crossing her arms and looking away for a moment. "Fine! You've both reached the level of Master at this point and it would be petty for me to ignore that. So I guess you deserve to know." Pulling out her phone, she clearly sent a file to Nick, who's phone pinged. "There. That's the missing pages. You know that knowing prophecy does not help, as they are vague and all but useless, save for providing hope to those that need it or are unfamiliar with how prophecy works."
Nick frowned even deeper. "Fine, I will read it with Judy later. I know she'll know it if I know it, but we like to learn things together."
Turning to Domi. "Anything to add?"
Domi shook her head. "Not really. You pretty much nailed it. Being descendants of the original Hop and Wilde pairing, the city leaders are going to want to meet with you."
That clearly took Nick by surprise. "Say what now?"
Doctor Fangmeyer stepped out of the treatment area, and flinched in surprise at the mammals in the waiting room. He noticed the three fathers and smiled. "Two wolves, and a fox." Chuckling, he stepped over to Nick, Mike, and Ed. "I assume you are Nick WildeHopps?"
"I am, Judy HoppsWilde is my mate. This is Mike WolfordFangmeyer, mate of Lizz WolfordFangmeyer, and this is his brother, Edward Wolford, mate of Elli Wolford. I assume you are our mate's physician?"
Doctor Fangmeyer nodded with a smile. "I am. First, to assuage everyone's concerns. All three ladies are going to be fine, thanks in no small part to you and your mates decision to dose with NightHowler, and other things if the tests say anything at all, as well as your friends Mike and Lizz. Elli is also fine, due to the fact that she is a water deer and is actually immune to the effects of Ergot, which is what they were poisoned with. It was a near thing, but they are all going to be fine, your mates, and your young. Though, the Ergot did induce labor, so they are now being transferred to the maternity ward. I came to lead you there."
Clear relief washed over all three males, then Mike tensed up. "Wait… What do you mean we've been dosed with NightHowler? The only time I have ever had it was during training."
Nick looked away. "Judy and I were going to talk to you guys. We're training you, remember. Part of that is resistance to various things, NightHowler and a few other things being big on the list. It hasn't been much, but just about every meal you have had since we met you in Therus has been laced, including that one."
Mike growled. "And you didn't tell us?"
Nick shrugged. "We had control, and it is part of your training. Learning to recognize things like that. I'm assuming that either Elli or Judy are the ones that noticed the taste of the Ergot?"
Domi nodded as she stepped forward. "It was Judy that recognized it and prevented Lizz from eating more."
Doctor Fangmeyer nodded with a warm smile. "She is one very smart rabbit, and I look forward to learning how she knew what Ergot tastes like, and how you knew she would know."
Nick laughed. "Long, short story, for another time. Suffice it to say, Judy and I are trained far beyond our ZPD training. Now, Doctor. Didn't catch your name. You were going to lead us to our mates, before they actually gave birth?"
"That I am." Turning with a grin and motioning the group to follow him down a side hallway. "I'm Doctor Richard Fangmeyer. I'm actually a distant cousin of your mate, Michael. It seems the Fangmeyer tigers have a thing for wolves. My father was one of her great-uncles. I also expect that the Von Wolford pack leaders will want to meet with you once they know you are in the city."
Mike laughed. "Wait. You mean you are one of Uncle Fredrick's kids?"
Richard laughed. "That I am. We don't stay in touch with much of the family, though I suspect Dad reached out to Lizz's mom after seeing the wedding photos. I was very happy for you guys, and impressed with what I read about the service."
Nick glanced back. "Ed, you have the video on your phone, right?" Seeing the nod. "Once we get to our mates, you should show the doc."
Ed smiled. "I'll do that."
A short walk to the other side of the hospital brought them into the maternity ward. They could hear their mates' voices asking where they were. Nick, followed by Mike and Ed, rushed forward to the source of the voices, wrapping their mates in fearful but relieved hugs."
Judy grinned, tears in her eyes. "Well, Slick. I guess we won't have to worry about me being induced next week." Groaning as another contraction hit her. "Seems it's going to happen right now."
Elli, after sharing a kiss with Ed, turned to lead him out of the room. "Come on, love. We should wait outside with the rest."
Mike was quickly looking Lizz over, sniffing all over, until she grabbed him and dragged him into a kiss. "Mike. I'm fine. The cubs are fine. Just got induced a bit earlier than expected. That's all."
Mike smiled weakly, tears flowing from his eyes and wetting his fur. "You were poisoned. If it wasn't for Judy and Nick apparently dosing us with NightHowler, it might have been far worse. I don't understand how that works, but I'm not going to complain, even if I am also not happy about them not telling us."
Judy sighed. "We planned on discussing it with you both. Nick and I had already agreed to take you on and train you. Part of that training is substance identification and resistance. We did tell you that we were going to do such things, we just failed to mention that it had already started."
Lizz groaned through a contraction, then looked over to the other two mammals. "Well, at least try to be a bit more up front with the training."
Nick chuckled. "You're being trained by a pair of master ranked assassin clan members. Not telling you that you are being trained is kinda part of the training."
Maria stepped into the room. "So, it seems you are both almost fully dilated. Meaning it'll be soon. As for training, they are right, and I recognize them both as Masters. At this point they have proven beyond question to have qualified. The question I have for them is, now what?"
Nick shrugged. "You'll open the dojo. We'll teach there off and on. We'll start teaching ZPD advanced courses. As for the rest. Judy and I have compiled everything into a single data set. We haven't decided what to call it all, but we are walking away from the names and the poison those names carry. It will not be our names either. We will know what to call it when we get to the point of needing to know."
Maria nodded. "Which is why you are both Master in my eyes. Focus on each other and having your kits. Jarvis, the NightWolves, and I, will make sure you are safe."
Nick gave a sharp nod. "Thank you."
Maria left the room, Doctor Fangmeyer, Jen, Domi, and a very large red fox entered the room. "Nick, Judy, Lizz, Mike. You know Domi. Mike, Lizz, this is Judy's sister, Jen, and this is doctor Anderton. He will be overseeing the birth of your young."
Doctor Anderton smiled and nodded. "Hello. I'm just going to give you ladies a quick check, and if you are where I think you are, we'll get you moved into the delivery rooms."
Judy nodded. "Doctor. Is it possible to put us in the same room? We're basically family, and should be there for each other."
Doctor Anderton nodded happily. "Of course." Poking his head out the door. "Nurse, have the larger mammal room prepped, we will be using that with both." A muffled reply was heard. He then commenced to examine Lizz first, then Judy, having Jen assist as he was almost as tall as Mike. Once satisfied. "Excellent. Your young should be along shortly. Everything is looking good, their heartbeats are strong and seem none the worse for wear for the situation that brought you here in such a hurry. Quite the entrance you all made, I must say. Although, given what Rich has told me, it was warranted. I'll go make sure that everything is ready and we'll have you transferred in a few moments."
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If you enjoy this, and you are not also reading my original Log Entries series over on my Blog. Why aren't you? (takes a Nick-esk pose of hurt) Also. I am now posting them on AO3, so you have even less excuse. It's free, ORIGINAL fiction. "An original story told through the log entries of the pilot and captain of an experimental star ship."
You should really be checking out my bestest bud, Bear678, and his story What Foxes May Come.
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