Chapter 2: New Arrivals
10 years later
An attractive, but weary-looking, gray bunny opened the door to her compact little bungalow. She laid her back on said door to rest for a spell and sighed in fatigue. She stretched her arms and let out a huge yawn while she got up and walked over to her dresser. As she took out her night's worth of tips from her white apron, she spoke to herself.
"Well, Miss Judy, rough night for tips but every little penny counts."
She dropped the money in her drawer, where her large collection of saved cash was stashed. A photograph of an older male bunny in a soldier outfit smiled at her from atop her dresser. She smiled wistfully at it and said, "Don't you worry Daddy. We'll be there soon."
She hung up her apron and staggered to her bed, collapsing in exhaustion. Not a minute later, her shrill alarm screamed from her small coffee table near her bed. Her foot swiftly put an end to it and she begrudgingly got off her bed. After quickly showering and getting into her yellow work dress, she pulled off a green coat from the hanger rack and threw it on. With newfound energy, she burst out of her home with determination and ran to the bus stop. As the trolley was still in motion, she jumped onto the bus and grabbed onto the pole, laughing in exhilaration. Judy spent the duration of her ride enthusiastically reading her cookery magazine.
Eventually, the ride came to a stop. Judy hopped off the bus and straightened her coat as she prepared to walk the musical streets of New Orleans. A line of mammals dancing down the street interrupted her walk as they pulled her into their dance. She stiffened as a bear took her by the paws and twirled her around. Struggling to get out of his grip, Judy managed to free herself from the dancing line of mammals, briskly walking for the remainder of her journey.
Finally making it into her second job, Jumbeaux's Café, she clocked in and got right to work, grabbing orders and serving them tout suite. Being the expert she was, it was almost mesmerizing to watch her deliver orders at a smooth and quick pace. It was a dance she enjoyed, well-rehearsed from years of practice. Many customers requested Judy's trademark beignets, and she happily complied, dancing to the music in the café as she poured honey on the fluffy desserts and powdered them. Even the sternest of mammals would feel pure joy at the delicious taste of those beignets. As Judy walked to and fro, she chatted with the many usual customers about the gossip circling their friendly town.
"Hey, Judy! Heard about that new prince coming to town?"
"Yes I did, I'm sure everyone's heard of him by now! He has everyone in a tizzy, making preparations for his arrival and such."
"And for good reason too! From what I hear he's very handsome. I can't wait to meet him!"
Another customer piped up, "Oh my goodness, same here!"
Judy shook her head and chuckled as the regulars chattered on about the prince's arrival.
Meanwhile, a ways past the café, a large ship anchored at the docks of New Orleans and crowds of citizens and reporters prepared to flock to the passengers of the ship. As the doors of the ship opened, a young, suave-looking fox sauntered out with his butler trailing behind him, carrying luggage on his back. A loud cheer came up from the crowd as the fox grinned at the crowd, grabbing his ukulele and dancing down the steps of the ship.
A trio of vixens swooned as he joined them, playing his ukulele and winking. His eyes wandered over to the streets and his expression brightened as he saw a dancing line of mammals playing music and parading down the street. He danced towards them, raising an eyebrow roguishly at the vixens, silently luring them with his charms. They all rushed after him, tripping on each other in the process. The fox's butler, a scrawny weasel, hurried to catch up with him until finally collapsing under the weight of the luggage, as he fell down the stairs of the ship.
The fox prince managed to lose the vixens as he followed the music and continued to dance down the street. As he paraded down, he saw a small, tan-colored restaurant called Jumbeaux's Café. A lovely gray bunny waitress cleaning the tables outside caught his eye as he passed by. He danced over to her, winking flirtatiously as he played his ukulele. The bunny, however, was immune to his charms, rolling her eyes and scoffing at him. He grinned and shrugged, continuing his dance down the street.
The bunny finished cleaning and grabbed her pot of coffee, on her way to the kitchen counter where the latest order was waiting.
"Another coffee here Jude!"
She twirled around to her customer, "Coming right up!" She poured the coffee in his mug and continued walking until a voice rang out from the sounds of pots and pans and cheerful banter.
"Hey, Judy!" A slender black sheep, clad in purple, called her from a table full of mammals.
Another mammal chimed in, "Hey girl!"
Sharla gestured to the rest of the mammals, "We're all going dancing tonight! Care to join us?"
"Yeah, come on Judy. Live a little!"
"Come on Judy!"
"You can dance with me!"
"It's Mardi Gras!"
Judy shook her head and spoke as she delivered food to different customers, "You know I have two left feet. Besides I'm" —she handed a kit some napkins— "I'm going to work a double shift tonight. Here are your hotcakes! You know so I can—"
"So you can save for your restaurant. I know, I know. Girl! All you ever do is work!"
The cook shouted from the counter, "Order up!"
Judy shrugged apologetically, "Maybe next time."
As she walked towards the counter, she could hear a doe whispering, "I told y'all she wouldn't come."
Judy's ears drooped a bit at this. Maybe I should've said yes. Then I cou—
"You still talkin' about that dang restaurant?"
The cook, a small, tan-colored fennec fox interrupted her internal thoughts.
Judy responded nonchalantly, "Finnick, your eggs are burning."
He quickly took out the eggs and threw them haphazardly on the plate. "You ain't never gonna get enough for the down payment!"
"I'm getting close!"
"Yeah? How close?"
Judy dodged his question, refusing to disclose such personal information, "Where are my flapjacks?"
Finnick roared with laughter. "You've got as much chance of getting that restaurant as I do makin' it into the ZBA!" He mimed shooting a basketball into a hoop. Judy walked away with another plate, shaking her head at the cook. She turned her head as a small-sounding doorbell chimed. The tiny door reserved for smaller mammals opened and in came a small male Arctic shrew. He strolled to the side specially designed for smaller mammals.
She grinned, "Morning Mr. Big."
The shrew grinned back, "Good morning Judy!"
"Congratulations on being voted king of Mardi Gras parade!"
The shrew nodded, "Caught me completely by surprise, for the fifth year in a row!" He rubbed his hands together, "Now how about I celebrate with—"
"Beignets?" said Judy as she set the beignets on a platter in front of him, "Got a fresh batch just waiting for you!"
"Well, keep them coming until I pass out!"
The same doorbell chimed again, and a female Arctic shrew burst in. She rushed over to hug Judy’s ankles. “Oh, Judy! Judy, Judy, Judy, did you hear the news?”
Fru-Fru rushed over to her father and sat at his table, "Tell her! Oh, tell her Daddy!"
Mr. Big turned his newspaper over to the front page so Judy could see the picture of a grinning fox, "Oh yes, Prince Nicholas—"
Fru-Fru plucked the newspaper from her father's grasp and squealed, "Prince Nicholas of Zootopia is coming to New Orleans! Oh my goodness is he foxy or what! Tell her what you did Big Daddy, tell her!"
Mr. Big smiled calmly, "Well, I invited—"
"Daddy invited the prince to our masquerade ball tonight! Tell her what else you did Big Daddy."
Mr. Big looked hesitantly at his daughter, knowing she would interrupt yet again.
Fru-Fru made a go-ahead motion with her paws, "Go on."
He raised his eyebrows slightly as he said cautiously, "And he's staying—"
"And he's staying—"
He stuffed a beignet in Fru-Fru's mouth before she managed to interrupt him again, "And he's staying in my house as my personal guest."
"Mmm-hmm!" Fru-Fru chewed her beignet with some difficulty as she nodded.
Judy bit her lip to refrain from laughing at the scene that had just played out. She piled up another tiny plate with beignets and said, "Oh Fru that's swell! A little word of advice, my mama always said 'The quickest way to a male's heart, is through his stomach.'" She set the plate down in front of Mr. Big as he chuckled.
Fru's eyes widened at this piece of news, "THAT’S IT!" She dashed out of the table, leaving the chair spinning.
"You're a genius, Judy! I'm going to need about five hundred of your mammal-catching beignets for my ball tonight." Fru went over to her father and fished out his wallet, "Excuse me, Daddy."
She motioned for Judy to bend down and put a bundle of hard cash into her open paws. Judy gaped at the amount she gave her.
"Will that about cover it?"
"Th-This should cover it just fine Fru. This is it! I'm getting my restaurant!"
Finnick, who had been eavesdropping the whole time, now stood slack-jawed, unable to believe what had just transpired. The pancake on his spatula fell to the floor with a splat.
Fru-Fru pushed her father towards the door, telling him that it was time to fix up the mansion to prepare for the prince's arrival. The door closed with a slam as the doorbell jingled a bit. Several diners had looked up from their meals at the dizzying exit of the Bigs. One diner, in particular, took an unusual interest in the scene that had just played out.
A small, white ewe sat in a dim corner at the back of the restaurant. She made a "hmm" sound as she peered over her menu at the door that had just slammed. She smirked and put her menu down, casually strolling out of the restaurant. In direct hit of the sunlight, she walked, smiling and waving at different mammals that she passed by. She had such a friendly exterior, that no one would have guessed she was secretly harboring bitter feelings towards anyone. They would be wrong.
Dawn Bellwether hated predators. She absolutely despised them. The way they were so strong, overpowering, how they commanded attention in every room. It was nauseating. Mammals couldn't see them for what they really were. Savages. She shook her head slightly as she walked, trying to clear her mind. No, she had a plan. A plan that thanks to news of this foxy prince, would be put in motion. Again.
She arrived at a small building called "Bellwether's Emporium." She opened the door and walked in, the painfully loud hinges announcing her presence. The few mammals shopping waved at her as she passed by. She waved back but never stopped, booking it to her tiny office. Dawn clicked on the button controlling the PA system and spoke, "Attention employees! Please file in to the staffroom for an emergency meeting. No exceptions, you must all attend." Her voice echoed throughout the small building and she smirked. She had always liked the echo, it made her feel powerful. She walked into the staffroom, and her feeling of power dissipated. Three employees were waiting for her. Only three. Sheep.
Well, she thought, no one wants to work for a tiny ewe. Let's see if they still feel the same way after our little plan comes through.
She looked around the room and clasped her hands together, "So! I'm assuming we all know why we're gathered here today."
Woolter and Jesse, two of her employees, stared dumbly at her, as Doug, her third employee nodded seriously.
She sighed and her shoulders drooped. Walking over to the front of the room, she swiveled the mobile whiteboard to the back of it, displaying a complex-looking "battle plan". She looked to the board and said, "This is why. We are here to finally put our plan into action!"
"Ay, not again."
Dawn whirled around to the sound of the voice, "Jesse? What was that?"
Jesse rubbed his face with his hooves and sighed in annoyance. "It's the same old thing every time. You want us to carry out this plan, but retract because it isn't the right time."
Woolter spoke up, "Yeah, why should this time be any different?"
Dawn nodded. "Yes, I agree, I have done this quite a bit. However, I have perfectly good reasons for that, starting with the fact that some of the times I 'retracted' from the plan, was because you three had not worked out all the kinks in the serum. Am I right?"
The three rams seemed to shrink slightly under her hard gaze, as her voice had gotten more venomous as she spoke. They nodded.
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Anyway, the fact is that right at this moment, the Prince of Zootopia is making his way through the streets of New Orleans."
"Yet another reason to postpone our plan."
She narrowed her eyes at Jesse. "Actually, it is quite the contrary. The prince is a fox, as we know, and an important one at that."
He shrugged, "So?"
"We canuse him."
Woolter's eyes widened, "Surely you don't mean..."
Dawn smiled. "Yes, yes I do. You're catching on! Finally!"
Doug decided to join in here, "Wouldn't that, you know, not work? You said yourself, he's an important mammal. Wouldn't that just hinder the plan?"
She shook her head and tsked, "Doug, Doug, Doug. All of you for that matter. Do you guys not understand? He is an important mammal. A predator. If he, who is an important predator—a fox no less— if he can go savage, any pred could. Predators will be looked down upon and treated differently on the whole. Seen for the savages they are."
All three ram's eyes widened in realization.
"That makes a lot of sense."
"That's very smart."
Dawn relished the praise. "Yes, yes I know. We need to test the serum on some predators though. Just to make sure it will work correctly for the main event."
Doug nodded, "Alright. The boys and I are going to go make sure the serum is up to par. Finishing touches and all that."
"You do that." Dawn clapped her hands smartly, "You all are dismissed! Bye you guys, have fun!"
Doug rolled his eyes as the three left the staffroom. Sometimes, he liked the venomous, callous side of her much better than her overly peppy persona.
Dawn stayed behind in the staffroom for a spell, to think to herself. She grinned maliciously.
Finally, she thought, those preds will get what's coming to them.