A stately white mansion contrasted brilliantly against the bright blue sky. In the large mansion, an ivory gazebo stood. Beautiful, flowery bushes surrounded the gazebo, and a soothing babbling brook could be seen near the bushes. A small table perfect for two attendees sat inside the gazebo. The breathtaking scenery made it all too easy to have a conversation dealing with romance.
In the gazebo, an Arctic shrew sat in a very small chair on top of the table, while a red fox sat in a medium-sized chair in front of the Arctic shrew. The shrew took a sip of her tiny glass of ice water and spoke.
"Oh, Nicholas honey, I am absolutely mortified that you had to experience that...frog fiasco last night! And on your first time here too!"
The red fox cleared his throat and replied, "Well, when you're last in line for the throne, you must be poised like a panther, ready to expect the unexpected."
Fru-Fru laughed, a light tinkling sound coming from the tiny shrew. "That does make a lot of sense! Does it bother you? Being the last in line for the throne?"
Nicholas thought for a moment and shrugged. "Not really. It's not as important to me as it is to other mammals. Although, if I were to become king, my butler would get promoted to the head of the castle, which would be good for him because he is in desperate need of money."
Fru-Fru smiled. "Aww, looking after your butler! Aren't you a sweetheart!"
Nicholas grinned. "That's me, a sweetheart!"
Fru-Fru suddenly gasped.
Nicholas furrowed his brows. "What?"
Fru-Fru pointed wordlessly to his tail. Seemingly out of nowhere his beautiful red bushy tail had shrunken into a small, thin, haggard, brown tail. Nicolas turned his head to look at what had Fru-Fru in shock. His eyes bugged out.
Thinking quickly, Nicholas grabbed Fru-Fru's paws gently. "It's my new shampoo. It's been horrible for my tail. I'm going to switch soon."
Fru-Fru blinked. "Ahhh. Hopefully, that gets fixed."
Nicholas nodded. "Yes, hopefully."
Suddenly Nicholas could feel his feet slowly shrinking into much smaller-sized feet. A somewhat tingling sensation sparked in his feet and slowly began trailing up his body.
Nicholas cleared his throat and began to speak with haste. "Fru-Fru, I know we just met, but I'm feeling such a...feeling that I cannot deny. Every moment with you has gone by in seconds, and it's been beautiful. I think this is love. Will you do me the honor of becoming princess of Zootopia?"
Fru-Fru nearly choked on her ice water. "Wait, really?"
Nicholas nodded, shuffling his feet under the table. "Yes."
Froufrou jumped up and squealed. "Yes! Yes! I will most definitely marry you! This is fantastic! Oh my goodness, there's so much to do! The music, flowers, dresses. We can get married at Mardi Gras! Yes! I'm going to get started right now!"
Without a moment's hesitation, Fru-Fru jumped off the table with ease and ran into the mansion.
Nicholas sighed in heavy relief. The entire time Fru-Fru had been speaking, he had been deathly afraid of the tingling sensation spreading to his face. It seems to have stayed around his torso, though it was steadily trailing upwards.
Unbeknownst to him, a small ewe had been watching Nicholas's entire interaction with Fru-Fru.
Nicholas sighed and began to think out loud. "Oh dear. What am I going to tell Dawn?"
The ewe stepped out from her place in the bushes. "What to tell her indeed."
The red fox rapidly swiveled his head to the sound of the voice. "D-Dawn! What a surprise!"
The ewe slapped her forehead. "Why did you propose to her so soon? You were supposed to wait, now it looks all kinds of suspicious! And what kind of 'romantic' speech was that? It was awful!"
"Yes, well, we can't all be smooth talkers like the real Prince Nicholas. I'm trying my best here!"
Dawn sighed and rubbed her eyes. "Yes, well, for the first time I pity Miss Fru-Fru."
The fox tilted his head. "...Why?"
"Because she will be the one marrying you, Duke. And speaking of, why did you feel the need to propose to her so early?"
Duke gulped. "Aha, that is an excellent question."
Dawn crossed her arms. "What is it?"
Duke cringed at her tone of voice. He got up from his seat and stood in front of Dawn, clearly exposing his torso and tail, which seemed more weasel-like than fox-like.
Dawn's right eye twitched.
Duke laughed nervously. "It really isn't as bad as it looks. I could go around like this, it's fine. Really, in fact—"
Dawn's icy glare stopped him in his tracks. "No. It is not fine. Not in the least."
Duke cleared his throat. "You're right. I don't know what I was thinking."
"I don't know what you were thinking either. It is most definitely not fine. It's the opposite of fine. We can't just change you back into a real fox, because we don't have the slime to do so, since our frog is gone. This is precisely the reason why I shouldn't have let you come within a foot of him!"
Duke shuffled his feet. "I-I'm sorry, Dawn, but what do you want me to do?
Dawn sighed, crossed her arms, and took in a deep breath. "Just...stay out of sight in the meantime. Don't let anyone see you like this, half-fox and half-weasel. They'll run away screaming. Just let me handle this. Everyone will be worrying about Big's precious daughter anyway."
Duke nodded. "Alright. Where do you want me to be?"
Dawn threw her hooves up in exasperation. "Anywhere! Just don't let anyone see you for goodness sake."
Dawn stormed out of the gazebo and angrily made her way to her small shop. She went straight for her office and swiftly closed the door.
Dawn sighed heavily, stressed, but slightly relieved that she was in the comfort of her own private office.
Alone, she began to ponder how to fix this mess.
The Bayou District is a huge place. How could one possibly be able to find a small creature such as this?
Dawn began to think out loud. "Of course, he is a very rare creature. There can't be many amphibians or reptiles just hanging out in the bayou."
Her eyes lit up in realization. "Reptiles! That's it!"
Dawn bolted out of her office as fast as she could, not stopping until she reached the staffroom.
Without hesitation, Dawn jerked open the door, startling the three rams that were occupying the room. Woolter fell from his seating position atop the table, Doug choked on his latte, and Jesse nearly tripped on his own hooves.
Dawn shook her head at the lack of effort going into the fixing of the serum.
Of course, they weren't doing anything. Idiots.
Jesse was the first to speak. "H-Hey, Dawn! We're just...taking a break, but we're definitely making good headway on the serum!"
The other two rams fervently nodded in agreement.
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Save it. I know you three haven't even touched the serum. But you know what, it's fine. There's been a change of plans."
The three rams looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Doug looked at Dawn. "...What happened?"
"I need you three to go hunt down Prince Nicholas. The real Prince Nicholas."
Jesse's eyebrows furrowed. "Wait, but isn't he a frog now? We can't possibly find him in that form."
Dawn nodded. "Yes, I know. That's why I need you guys to drink that serum, turn into reptiles or amphibians or whatever you call it, and go into the bayou to find him. Hopefully, you guys will turn into something small."
The three rams exchanged glances. Woolter spoke up. "Is...is there a better way to do this? I mean, what if the serum works this time? And we...become—"
"Savage," Dawn finished. She put her hooves on her hips. "I found you three goofing off in here, and now you're worried about this? You're hardly in a position to question my decisions. I expect the three of you to drink that serum and leave this store immediately. Understood?"
The rams nodded. "Yes, ma'am."
The three stared at Dawn awkwardly for a moment. Jesse spoke up. "So...are you going to leave?"
Dawn snorted. "Uh, no. The moment I leave is the moment you three do Lord knows what. So no, I will not be leaving until I watch each of you drink that serum."
Doug sighed. "Alright, I'll go first." He walked up to the serum sitting on the counter. He took a deep breath and took a quick sip. Not a minute later, he started to shrink until he reached the floor. His pale skin transformed into a light green and his body became more lean and narrow. The other two rams followed suit and quickly transformed into the same creature that Doug had changed into, although each had different shades of green.
Dawn clapped her hands. "Very good! Now you guys go drag that frog here. Got it?"
The three nodded, and quickly crawled out of the window of the staffroom, preparing themselves for the long trek to the bayou.