The room was dark, sporadically brightened by a few flickering lights. Shadows danced across the floor, casting an eerie presence over the strange instruments scattered across slabs of metal. Dark splotches of blood only added to the disturbing atmosphere. A large mechanical monstrosity was positioned in the center of the cluttered chamber, and two white-clad scientists were positioned beside it, one working diligently at the controls, and another gazing at it with lack of interest. The latter glanced sidelong at the long row of cages that lined against the wall. His demonic face bent into a frightening smirk.
"Living creatures are fascinating." His gravelly voice spoke with a hint of admiration. The doctor tilted his head lazily to the side. "Wouldn't you agree?"
The scientist next to him fumbled about as he made the adjustments to his invention. He didn't speak, but answered by nodding vigorously. The doctor laughed.
"So many possibilities, I can't even be sure where to begin." The doctor didn't mind carrying out a conversation on his own, in fact, it seemed as though he preferred it.
The scientist still bent over his work could only grunt in reply, too self-conscious to speak yet yearning to be regarded by his superior. Due to that sincere desire to be acknowledged, he kept his opinions about the questionable experiment to himself. The doctor's interest in speaking with his subordinate diminished, and he wandered over to the rows of cages. Inside, dozens of terrified animals shook in fear at his approach. A deranged smile rose to the doctor's face. As he strode down the line, peering into each cage, the animals cowered as his shadow passed.
"Fear. They're all rank with fear." The doctor sneered.
Still hard at work, the scientist paused for a moment, and then hesitantly continued. As the doctor inspected the animals, his calculating glare intensified in disapproval. He was expecting more, yet he was still unsure what he truly wanted. His plan was all but set, and the last piece of that plan was imprisoned in one of these cages. Yet by the look of the frail animals, the doctor's hopeful search was in vain. Suddenly, the doctor stopped abruptly in his tracks.
"What have we here...?" The doctor crooned as he leaned toward a particular cage.
As he peered through the bars, he was almost staggered to see the composed fire flickering in the captive animal's eyes. Even as the doctor kept his stare fixed on the animal, the creature didn't back down, not vicious, but obviously not afraid. The doctor backed away for a moment as he considered. A kitsu? Strange, those fox-like animals were generally meek creatures. The doctor opened the cage with a loud clang, and in response the vulpine's ginger fur spiked and its eyes narrowed in wariness. It was not demonstrating any trace of fear, if anything its dumb animal mind was unresponsive to intimidation. As the doctor reached inside, his hand snapped back with a yelp. The scientist appeared at his side in an instant.
"What happened?" The scientist stuttered, yet there was no need for explanation. The blood that leaked from the doctor's pierced skin spoke for itself.
With a sadistic grin, the doctor tried again, this time snatching up the small animal in one hand. As he held the daring fox kit, a gleam appeared within Termix's beady red eyes.
"This is the one Noxious," the doctor exclaimed excitedly. "The one I've been waiting for."
The scientist, Noxious, scratched an ear doubtfully.
"H-h-how can you be sure Doctor? How can a kitsu...?" he trailed off softly as the doctor shot him a malicious look.
"Do not doubt my decision Noxious, this is the one."
The fox looked at each ugly human in turn, and then scoffed in a surprisingly uncharacteristic way. Noxious was so perplexed that he approached a little too close, and in one instant the fox had bitten him soundly on the nose. He jumped back with a loud screech, and the vulpine appeared to sneer. Yet such a display of emotion was impossible. Wasn't it? The doctor ignored Noxious' whimpering.
"Prepare the lab and tell Laros he has a new test subject, immediately," he demanded.
Noxious shrunk back at the harsh tone in his voice as he headed for the doors. "Yes Doctor Termix, right away."
Termix looked back at the fox, and it looked back at him with a bold smirk. He matched it, but was rather shaken by the intensity of this animal's ingenuity. Regardless, this animal would be the largest part of his dastardly plan. It was fated to be so.