Fines Malum: Fire and Scales by foxgamer01

Ch. 18

We'd rejoined the others at the next floor, at the hallway. I looked around and I immediately noticed that this floor's different than the last two floor. This floor, unlike the last two which was a series of hallways leading to rooms and labs, this is one hallway stretching out as far as the eye can saw.

"This is going to hurt my foot," Jon said.

"We got this far with no turning back," I said.

We all then started to walked down the hallway to where Mr. Rego is. After what seems like hours of walking, we've reached the end of the hallway. At the end, there's a single door with the engraving of the corn made to kept Mason out. I tried to turned the doorknob, but it was locked.

"Let me try this," Chris said.

He walked to the door and, with a single punched, broke it down. We then walked into this room, which have racks of weapons here. Rows of M4 Customs and ammunitions on the weapon racks and, at the corners of the room, several hand grenades laid there. Across the room from us was a desk and a chair with its back against us.

"I've been waiting for you," the person sitting on the chair said.

It spun around and we're now face to face to Mr. Rego. He's a old man, well nearing his seventies, with white hair, a wrinkles face and a goatee. He have yellow eyes and is wearing a dark suit and tie.

"Mr. Rego, I presume," I said.

"Yes," Mr. Rego said. "Your plan to assassinate me has now failed."

Tim said, "What are you-"

"Don't lie to me," Mr. Rego said, stopping Tim, "The inner circle had recruited you all to kill me, so they can usurp my power. You can't trust anyone here. So, I send them on a plane that'll crash, killing them all. The only one here that I can trust with my life is Adam Incertus."

The left part of the wall behind Mr. Rego began to opened up and Mr. Incertus appeared in the room.

"Indeed I am," the anthro ocelot said.

"We never-" Tim said.

"But your plan to kill me has failed now that I got some insurance," Mr. Rego said. He pushed a button on the desk and a TV screen's brought down from the ceiling to Mr. Rego right-hand side. "Observe."

He pushed another button and the TV screen turned on and when I saw it, my eyes widen in horror and angered. It showed Margaret on the floor unconscious.

"Let her go!" I said. "She had nothing to do with this!"

"Even if I did," Mr. Rego said. "she'll still die. We've injected her with Anima, which will destroy her mind forever."

"NO!!" I shouted.

"You shouldn't have revealed your name to me," Mr. Incertus said. "I've just looked up your name and we founded your home easily. I took the opportunely to kidnapped your sister so we could have something to control you."

"But-" Jon said.

"YOU'LL BE QUIET!" Mr. Rego shouted. He then pressed another button. We then heard footsteps from behind us. We've turned around and saw eight guards entered the room behind us, aiming their M4 Custom at us. "I've been waiting for you for such a while now."

"You may have been waiting for us," Kyler said "but you haven't planned this out well enough. Look at our positions and yours. We're both in the direct fire of the guards. If they missed or overdid the shooting, you'll be killed."

"I don't fear death," Mr. Rego said.

I turned around and looked at Mr. Incertus for a second before looking at Mr. Rego, but, during that second, I saw the anthro ocelot did something odd.

'Did I just saw him rolling his eyes?' I thought.

“But before I order your executions,” Mr. Rego said, “I might as well reveal some information about Fines Malum as your reward for getting this far.

“Fines Malum is the plan to end this world as we know it and begin another. Just how the world changed to Europe when the Roman Empire falls, I’ll change this world forever when it rises.”

“You mean making a World Government by sacrificing The United States?” Ethan said.

“So you heard of the rumors being spread throughout REA?” Mr. Rego said. “But why would I cause the destruction of the United States? No, I’ll not destroy it, I’ll change it!”

“You’ll train the anthros to steals several Russians nuclear warheads,” I said, mostly to myself, “but you’re not using them to cause the world to unite and destroy the US, then you’re-

“No!” I shouted. “No, you can’t do that!”

“You’ve figured out the truth, eh,” Mr. Rego said. “I’ll not be using them to attack several nations from the US. I‘ll sell them to Arabians terrorist and I’ll let them use them, most likely to destroy several major US cities. Imagine how the citizens would react to that, terrorism’s going nuclear. They’ll demand a leader that’ll end this madness, once and for all. That’s when I’ll step in.

“I’ll nominate myself for president of the United States under the banner that I’ll make sure our citizens are safe terrorism and end it, once and for all. They’ll most likely vote for me in a landslide and I’ll become president. Finally, when I become president, the first act I’ll do is to repay those terrorist by destroying every single Middle Eastern cities with nuclear weapons.”

“What!?” Ethan said. “That’s murdering millions! Genocide! Do you believe that the people will still support you then?”

“The terrorist were willing to murder millions, so why shouldn’t we?” Mr. Rego said. “Besides, when I’m in office, I’ll change the government.”

“NO!” I shouted.

“The United States Republic will become the United States Empire,” Mr. Rego said, “with me as the sole power.”

“No way,” Tim said. “That’s impossible.”

“Did you tell that to the Romans?” Mr. Rego said. “Or the French? Or the Germans?”

“The other nations in the world can’t just stand and watch you commit those acts,” Tim said.

“They have no choice but to stand and watch,” I said.

“What do you mean Daren?” Chris said. “The United States may be the third largest populated nation in the world, but it’s rather small compare to India and China. How could they just stand and watch?”

“I think you should explain it to them,” Mr. Rego said.

“While the United States may only have about 5% of the world population,” I said, “it has the world greatest military and the largest nuclear weapons, so we can bomb the Middle East and still have enough to retaliate if the rest of the world went nuclear too. Besides, the world just can’t walk over here. There’re two things that separates us from the rest of the world and it’s between us.”

“The oceans,” Kyler said.

“Yes,” I said. “And the United States has the world most powerful navy. It’s so powerful, that even if the world unite against us and uses all of their naval power against ours, we’ll be the last one left standing.”

“That’s correct,” Mr. Rego said. “Even though they have a larger army, it’s useless if they can’t bring them here to invade.”

“So that’s your plan,” Ethan said. “Change the government and murder millions?”

“It won’t stop there,” Mr. Rego said. “With the country under my control, I’ll have the power to expel anyone I wish, and not only in the United States, but also in all of these American Continents.”

“But that’s violating the First Amendment,” Tim said.

“I did say that I’m changing the government to my own design,” Mr. Rego said, “or was that wasn’t clear enough. My United States Empire will not have that old frame anymore, but a new frame for the empire.”

“But-” Tim said.

“Silence!” Mr. Rego said. “When I’ve expel all of the people I want to expel, I’ll be annexing Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and others while forcing the rest in the American Continents to work for us. After that, then I may stop.”

“But why go that far?” Ethan said.

“It’s for the safety for our fellow citizens,” Mr. Rego said.

“WHAT!?” Ethan, Tim, and Jon said together.

“I’ve seen too many mistakes happened in the past,” Mr. Rego said. “Mistakes that I realized that could be avoided if we’ve learned from past experiences. I’ve always believe that history was to teach us things so that we don’t repeat those same mistakes. I’ve realized now that history is useless if we don’t learn from past mistakes. If history was made to prevent events from happening, what’s the point of learning it if we just repeats the same mistakes over and over again?

“No, I’ll make sure that a single mistake will never happen again. I’ll observed the people through cameras in every house, every room, every street, every park, everywhere! I’ll stop the mistakes from happening before they happen. I’ll even make choices of how they’ll live life for their safety.”

“But that’s violating our freedom,” the anthro grey fox said. “Do what you chose? Work where you chose? Marry to who you chose? We can’t do anything in that world. The only thing that we can do is live and that’s it. No freedom at all."

“In the end, we have to sacrifice our freedom for safety,” Mr. Rego said.

“But you’re an old man,” Jon said. “You can’t possibility live that long.”

“Yes I can, with this,” Mr. Rego said. He reached into his desk and pulled out a syringe with some type of yellow mixture in it. “You see, in this is Anima and DNA that’ll changed me into a very special creature, made just for me. I’ve looked far and wide for this type of DNA and it took me years to find it since they’re hidden among the citizens of this world, but it worth every second of it. It’s not yet ready, but once it is, I can live for thousands of years. Maybe more.

“While I may be cruel, I do have a little mercy. If you all surrender yourself to me, I’ll not only spare your lives, but I’ll have you all as my new inner circle, since I’ve sentence the old one to death. Since that red fox looks like the leader to me, I’ll let him decide.”

All of my friends looked at me and though they don’t say it, they’re pleading me to say no. I looked directly at Mr. Rego and his yellow eyes while thinking about what he said and what he’ll do. After about a minute, I’ve finally decide.

“No,” I said.

Mr. Rego frowned and said, “No? Don’t you want to be in the right where you’ll live?”

“As a slave to that country?” I said. “I rather be myself and be free than be a group and be safe!”

“That’s your decision then?” Mr. Rego said. “Guards, do what you should’ve done at three o’clock! Kill them!”

"Wait a minute!" Kyler said.

"Hold it," Mr. Rego said to the guards. He then turned to Kyler. "What is it? Did you want to join me in the end?"

"No," Kyler said. “You said 'three o'clock'. While it’s true that we’re in the building hiding at that time, we weren’t at the labs until seven.”

“What are you talking about?” Mr. Rego said. “Adam told me himself that there’re eight anthro intruders at three o’clock.”

Just then, Mr. Incertus laughed like a mad man.

Mr. Rego looked at him with a puzzled looked in his face. “What’s so funny?”

“You!” Mr. Incertus said to Mr. Rego. “You’ve tried to act all great and brave, even sitting there where you could be killed. But this is the truth Rego, that you’re a cold-blooded coward for not going up yourself to order the planes to go the training facility. Instead, you’ve asked me to go in your stead!”

“I’m too important to die,” Mr. Rego said.

“Not anymore,” Mr. Incertus said.

“What are you-” Mr. Rego said.

“Fines Malum has failed,” Mr. Incertus said. “The planes didn’t go to the training facility. I’ve told them to change their destination to a few wildlife preservations so that the animals will be set free.”

“WHAT!?” Mr. Rego shouted. “You traitor!”

“I was never on your side,” Mr. Incertus said. “I’ve spend five years here to discovered what you’re planning and prepared to stop it if I can.”

“Guards!” Mr. Rego said. “Kill the traitor, then those kids!”

The guards rushed pass us and, instead of aiming their M4 Customs at Mr. Incertus, they aimed it at Mr. Rego. Mr. Rego looked as if he’s about to exploded from angered now.

“What’s the meaning of this!?” Mr. Rego shouted. “I’m your boss!”

“Their loyalty’s to me, not you,” Mr. Incertus said. “I might as well tell you how I’ve crushed your Fines Malum.

“I’ve known, from working for you as a part of the inner circle, that, despite your glorious past, you’re paranoid about death, though you’ve tried to hide it. So I’ve thought about how to use that against you. That’s where those teen anthros come in.”

“What are you talking about?” Ethan said.

“This!” Mr. Incertus said.

He removed his overcoat and tossed it aside. I’ve looked at the tail that’s now revealed, and kept thinking that I’ve seen it before. That’s when it hit me. I remembered back to that fateful afternoon two days ago when I, for just a second, seen the tail of the man, who we now known as Keme, who had given us the Animam and Anthro.

‘That’s the same tail!’ I thought.

“You were the one who had given us those chocolate bars!” I said. “You were the one who had leaded us here. You’re Keme!”

“That’s absolutely correct,” Mr. Incertus said.

“No way,” Ethan said.

“Yes,” Mr. Incertus said.

"Wait a minute," Mr. Rego said. "Were you the one that set up that fire a month ago?"

"Yes, I did it," The anthro ocelot said. “It was to make sure that the group I've formed would be able to get in here. But I couldn’t do all of this alone. Come Zak!”

An orange cat, the one who had been following me until we’ve entered the REA building, had appeared and walked to Mr. Incertus side.

“That cat,” I said.

“Hey,” the cat said, “I got a name. Or have you forgotten?”

“That cat can talk!?” Chris said.

“A combination of Anima and Animam,” Mr. Incertus said, “which can make a human turned into an animal without losing its mind. Really useful for spying because who would expect a cat to be a spy? Especially a real, live cat with no machinery on it.”

“You’ve been watching us,” I said. “That’s how you know where to delivered the coats and know when to called. You’ve told him.”

“Yeah, I’ve been watching you,” the cat said. “It was easy, especially since I know where most of you lived. Mr. Incertus helps me with the long distances travel like from the park to the REA building. Really, the only one who has noticed is you, Daren.”

“How did you know where most of us lived?” Tim said. “Did we know you?”

“Know me?” the cat said. “Yes, you know me. The only ones that don’t is that wolf and coyote. I have to follow them home to know there they lived.”

“Mr. Incertus called you Zak,” the anthro wolf said. “Is that your name?”

“Yes,” the cat said. “I’m Zak Timeo.”

“What?” the anthro grey fox said. “But Mr. Timeo said that it failed. That you’ve been turned into an animal without retaining your thought.”

“He only believes that because I told him it failed,” Mr. Incertus said. “It was actually a success. I only told him that it failed so he could be more willing to help you.”

“And he died because of that,” I said. “He died helping us.”

“So,” Zak said. “It’s not like I care about him.”

“What?” Karson said. “You don’t care about him? Even when he died believing you’ve died mentally?”

“I was told to honored my father,” Zak said. “I was never told to like him.”

Karson clenched is fist in anger and when Zak saw it, he hid behind Mr. Incertus.

Mr. Incertus ignored it and said, "Now, when I got my little group ready for distraction, I've send them to the REA building and wait there until I've signal them to intruded into the labs. But I was unexpectedly distracted so I couldn't signal them to entered when I wanted them to, which was two thirty. I only got the time to tell Rego that there were intruders, when there isn't. This kept him from leaving at his appointed time. It wasn't until seven that I could tell them to entered.

"However, due to the apparent slow progression of the intruders, Rego believe that he could be able to outmaneuver them and was about to go and call the planes to go. So, I did what I felt was the only thing that could be able to kept him here. The only thing that he know that he can't outmaneuver in a hundred years. I've released test subject 201 to the labs."

"YOU WHAT!?" Mr. Rego shouted.

"You were the one that released Mason?" I said.

"So his name was Mason?" Mr. Incertus said. "Yes, I did. And it scared Mr. Rego so bad and so completely, that he demanded that I call the planes and tell them to go. But he never expected that I would changed the course and ruined his plan. The only thing I didn't expected when I've released test subject 201, that the group I've formed would be able to defeat it.

"Now," the anthro ocelot said, walking towards to the wall that he used to entered this room. He pushed a part of that wall and a part of the wall opened up again. "I must take my leave now that my work here's done."

Mr. Incetus and Zak went through the opening, but before Zak completely left, he stuck his tongue at us. Once they're at the other side, Mr. Incertus pressed something there and that part of the wall closed.

Ch. 19

“So,” Mr. Rego said weakly, “everything I’ve done for the safety of this country citizens… goes for nothing. The second time it happen. The first time is when Solid Fox stopped it.”

Mr. Rego slowly stood up from his chair.

The guards cocked their guns and said, “Stay where you are!”

“Since I’ve got nothing more to live for,” Mr. Rego said as he grabbed the syringe from the top of the desk, “I might as well kill you all!!”

Mr. Rego then applied the syringe to the side of his neck and injected it inside of him until it was empty. Mr. Rego screamed out in pained and places his hands on his desk. His body started to turn red as his hands are becoming more claw-like. As I stared at him, I realized that he’s turning red because he’s growing red scales all over his body. The guards fired their guns at Mr. Rego, but his scales are so hard, the bullets only bounce off.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said.

Mr. Rego looked at the guards and, with a savaged look, he opened his mouth and somehow shoot flames at them, killing them. He then shoved the desk to the side of the room, luckily missing the hand grenades. He falls to his hands and knees, as his body changed into a more feral look and growing in masses.

“Flames?” Karson said. “That means he’s turning into a dragon!”

“But there’s no such thing as a dragon!” Kyler said. “Is there?”

Trying to remain calm, I looked at the corner of the room and saw the hand grenades there. If Mr. Rego shoots flames at them, then this room will blow up. It may kill him, but I doubted it since his scales are hard enough to block gunshots, it may be enough to block an explosion of hand grenades. But, as I looked at them, an idea formed in my mind.

“Everyone!” I said. “Get out of here while I get a hand grenade!”

“But Daren,” Anna said, “you might get killed by the dragon!”

“Just do it!” I said. “I got a plan!”

The others went out of the room, though Kyler and Anna hesitated, while I went to the hand grenades on my left-hand side. I’ve just grabbed one when the dragon turned his attention to me. By this time, he had become more feral with all of his clothes ripped apart due to his increasing size. He also grown a tail, with a tip of it looked like an arrowhead, and two yellow horns growing from his head. But he isn’t finished with his transformation because his back has two lumps that are growing along with him increasing in sized.

He opened his mouth and began to suck in air while I stood there, petrified in fear. My life flashed through my mind, the hit I did to Mason sister, my mom death, the death of Mr. Timeo and Mason, and my sister unconscious and could die mentally any second. Is there something that would keep me fighting when I’ve lost so many times?

Then one scene came into my mind; Anna, the anthro silver vixen. Like a recording I heard Karson said, “It’s obvious, by the way you look at her and how much you try to protect her, you love her, don’t you?”

‘If I die right here, right now, Anna will also die,’ I thought. ‘There have been too many deaths and losses of the ones I’m close to. I’LL NOT HAVING ONE MORE DEATH TO SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT IN FRONT OF ME AGAIN! NOT ONE!!’

That’s when it happened again; the feeling that time has slowed down again. The dragon shoots flames at me, but they’re coming too slow to hit me. I quickly sprinted out of the room to my friends with the hand grenade in my hand. I’ve just got out of the room when it felt like time has been restored.

“Daren, you’ve-” Chris said before being interrupted by the explosion from the room. After about a second, he said, “Did that kill him?”

We then heard thumping sounds, like something big is walking. The dragon head appeared at the broken doorway, being too large to fit through. By this time, he has been completely transformed at about eight feet high and four feet wide, excluding his wings. His right eye’s closed with a bad cut through it due to the explosion while his other yellow eye held what remained of humanity.

The dragon opened his mouth, sucking in the air, but, this time, I’m readied.

I pulled out the pin from the hand grenade and said, “This is your safety! Safe to die!”

I then throw it at the dragon mouth. It went in just as he finished sucking in the air. He chokes on it for a bit before it exploded, but because his hard scales, the head didn’t get ripped apart by the explosion. He collapsed onto the floor, dead.

We walked slowly to the dragon body and, when we got close enough, I rubbed the dragon scaly head. The anthro jackal closed his left eye, which was still opened after death. I then remembered something very important.

“Margaret!” I said. “Where is she?”

My friends looked at each other with a looked of concerned in their faces. Then, one by one, they looked at me with a looked of sorrowed in their eyes.

“We didn’t see any other room in this floor,” Chris said. “I’m afraid-”

“Wait,” Kyler said. “There’s someone still alive over there.”

I quickly sprinted into the room, which was still thick in smoke. Whether if it’s my sister, changed or not, Mr. Incertus, or someone else entirely, if there’s a chance that my sister could be saved, I’ll take it. I then saw that the secret passageway that Mr. Incertus had used to entered and exited this room had been blasted opened. I ran to it and saw a short hallway with the other side open. I ran to the other side of the hallway and saw my sister, unconscious and unchanged. I run to her side and got to my knees, praying for help. I then noticed a syringe and a note by her side. I quickly grabbed the note and opened it.

It said:

I must thank you for helping me stop Fines Malum from coming to fruition. To repay you, I’ve injected your sister with Animam and Anthro to save her as much as I can. Until we meet again.

Adam Incertus

Margaret suddenly began to move violently and, from the looked of her face, she’s in terrible pained. Her transformation had begun.

She began to grow fur around her body as her ears moved upwards and become rounder, unlike me and my pointy fox ears. Her fur color’s golden yellow with many black spots shaped like rosettes. Her face pushed forward to a feline-like, face, unlike me with my foxy-like face. Her hands then turned into a hybrid of paw and hand with sharp claws, while her shoes and socks get ripped apart as her feet become more digitigrades. Finally, there’s a rip sound from her back and a long thin tail appeared.

When the transformation is done, I slightly lifted Margaret off the ground and said, "Margaret? Margaret?"

She slowly stirred from unconsciousness and made a moaning sound.

She then slowly opened her eyes and, after a bit, she said, "Daren?"

"Yes," I said. "You're free."

"I'm sorry," Margaret said. "I-"

"Don't try to talk now," I said. "I'm just glad that my elder sister's still alive."

"O-ok," she said. She looked down to her body, noticing the changes in her body. "So I'm a cat person now."

"Yeah, literally," I said. "Um, which type of cat are you?"

"Well, let's see," she said. "Am I spotted?"

"Yes," I said.

"What are the shape of the spots and do they have anything in them?" she said.

"They're rosettes shape and they don't have anything in them," I said.

"That would mean I'm a leopard," she said.

"I see," I said. We just remained in that position for a minute. "Can you get up?"

"I think so," she said.

"Just be careful with your new feet," I said.

Margaret slowly got up from the ground with me helping her. She then marvelled at her new body as I smiled. Thought I have lost most of my classmates, Mr. Timeo, and Mason to the REA failed plan and Mr. Incertus and Zak had gotten away, I'm happy that I didn't lose anymore people that are close to me.

Ch. 20

We got out of the room through the hallway, with Margaret still looking over her feline body. Walking through the destroyed room, we headed to the exit and to the dragon body. Margaret stopped looking at her new body and looked at the dead dragon with marvelled.

“Wow!” she said. “A real dragon! REA must have everything imaginable. I would love to see a dragon alive.”

‘As long as he’s not killing you in the progress,’ I thought.

I managed to get Margaret to stop looking at the dragon and continued to rejoined with the others. When Anna saw us, she smiled and hugged me in joy. Pretty soon, the others joined in, even Margaret, who hate hugs. This must be the happiest moment in my life.

But then Kyler said, “Hold it guys! Someone’s coming!”

“WHAT!?” all of us said.

“And pretty fast too,” Kyler said. “He’ll be here soon.”

We all stopped hugging and looked at the end of the hallway, waiting for this person to come. After a while, a man appeared sprinting towards here. He looked only slightly older than me, have dirty blond hair that's covering his ears, like mine was before my transformation into an anthro red fox, shining sea blue eyes, and somewhat of a narrow face. He’s wearing a dark suit that seems to be clinging tightly to his body, a dark tunic over it with a black belt with a 'A' engraved in it in gold, and has a dark overcoat that reached to his ankles.

When he reached us, he said, “So, you must be the ones.”

“What?” I said. “Who are you?”

He didn’t seem to be paying attention to what I’ve said. He’s just looking passed us. He rushed through us and observed the dragon body with curiosity and marvelled.

He then rubbed the head and said, “Oh. What a beautiful dragon. I love to see him alive.”

Losing my patience with him, I said, “That dragon was Mr. Rego and he tried to kill us.”

He then stopped looking at the dragon and looked at us with a looked of embarrassment.

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s not so often that I could see a full dragon since they hide themselves well. Heck, my best friend is a half-dragon, so he can only sprout dragon wings, a dragon tail, and has larger canines.

“Now, you guys must be the ones I’ve called a while earlier before your cell phone died.”

“What a minute,” I said. I then remembered the conversation over the cell phone when we were walking down the stairs. “You must be Fester Fuchs.”

“Yes,” Fester said, “although, that’s not my real name.”

“Wait!” Chris suddenly said. “Fester Fuchs! Of course, I should’ve realized it from the start!”

“What do you mean?” Anna said.

“Fester Fuchs,” Chris said, “is German for-”

“Solid Fox,” the man said.

“You mean you’re the Solid Fox?” Kyler said. “The one who stopped REA first attempted at controlling the US?”

“Yes, I’m a FOXWOOD agent known as Solid Fox, but please called me Red Fox or Fox,” Fox said. “As for that first attempted, they’ve overstated my achievements. I didn’t stop them alone. In fact, if it weren’t for a little help from my friends, I would’ve died. But enough talking about me, tell me what had happened?”

We’ve explained to him about the whole Fines Malum plan and Mr. Incertus work to ending it. We also explained to him about what happened above this floor, with Mason and Mr. Timeo. Finally, we explained to him about Mr. Rego turning himself into a dragon and what happened afterwards.

When we finished explaining, he said while rubbing his left forearm with his right hand, “That’s one way to save the day, just appear and everything fall apart. But I can’t believe that fight with the dragon ended so quickly. One hit and then dead like that.”

“Yeah,” Chris said. “Though, that hand grenade blown up his head from the inside so it should kill him quickly.”

“That’s odd,” Fox said. “It took us more effort to kill Douglas Atra. But, then again, he was more clear-headed, braver, and cleverer than Mr. Rego was. So it should be natural that Mr. Atra went out with a bang while Mr. Rego went out with a whimper.”

“That’s the way the world ends,” Chris said. “Not with a bang, but a whimper.”

“True,” Fox said.

“Anyways,” Ethan said, “how did you discover these underground labs?”

“You see,” Fox said, “I’ve always thought that REA have something to do with that crisis when I’ve discover that the great deal of the weapons in that base were made by REA. That suspicion only increased when I’ve discovered afterwards that Mr. Atra was one of the three founders of REA. But the commander wouldn’t allow me to search any of their buildings without more evidences.

“Then, in the morning, or rather yesterday morning, I’ve heard, from the news, that Lycan City had three thousands teenager disappeared overnight. I came immediately when I heard that REA basically own the city and hope that there are any connections between REA and this crisis. And I did. The day before, REA given out free chocolate bars called MiracleX to the teens that later disappeared. The only one that didn’t disappear was the ones that didn’t eat the chocolate bars.

“I took one of the MiracleX and tried to convinced the commander to allowed me to search the REA building in the city, but he was redundant to allow me to go without undisputable evidences. So I gave the chocolate bars to Vixen and we work together to find something, anything, which would implicate REA as the culprit. After a while, Vixen founded some type of chemical within the MiracleX and we tested it. The results were that it could awaken dormant DNA in the body.

“I had Coyote helped me find anything unusual that happened at a similar time and we’ve discovered that there was a massive amount of animals that appeared overnight and were all captured by REA in record time. Putting the two facts together, we believe that REA used the MiracleX bars to transformed the teenagers into animals and captured them for later. However farfetched the idea may be, I know, from experiences, that this world is where anything could happen, especially in Canada.

“After reporting our findings, suspicions, and a request to searched the REA building in the city, the commander finally agrees. By that time, it was 1:30AM. I entered the building through the back door, which was strangely unlocked, and searched the building from there. After a while, I founded room 101 and noticed the names on those doors in there, which I presumed are yours. I entered the one without a name and discovered a secret elevator.

“I wasn’t able to activated it from there, so I slid down the cable and managed to forced the elevator opened from the top. I entered the underground labs and went to the room next to the elevator only to discovered the controls to the elevator and a cell phone sitting on the table peacefully. I checked the cell phone, removed the voice disorder, and called you guys by hitting redial. Tell you the truth; I was shocked and worried that a group had already sneaked in.

“I was about to tell you to stop and wait for me to take over, but the call ended. I then rushed all the way over here, remembering how we were all nearly killed the last time we’ve dealt with REA, and I was afraid you all might be killed. But you’ve managed to defeat REA all by yourselves. Sure, Fines Malum was foiled once and for all by you entering here, but not anybody could defeat a werewolf or a dragon. I’m giving you a request.”

“What are you saying?” Tim said.

“This is just a request,” Fox said. “If you don’t want to accept it, that’s ok. My request is: do you want to join FOXWOOD?”

“Us?” I said. “Join FOXWOOD?”

“I’ll tell you this,” Fox said. “This lifestyle is full of dangers. It’s not going to be quiet, it’s not going to be safe, and it’s not going to be calm. I’ll tell you what it’s going to be. A trip of a lifetime!”

I thought about what he said to us. If this is one of FOXWOOD usual days, than I would be experiencing death all around me. I’ve always imagined that I would graduate, get a job, get married, have a kid, and then die, not work for Foxwood and have this day every day. But… this type of lifestyle is so exciting; I can’t just let it end when I go to bed and wake up the next morning.

“I accept,” I said.

“So do we,” everybody else said.

Ch. 21

Fox smiled and, while rubbing his left forearm with his right hand, said, “Fantastic! Now then, avanti!”

Fox walked by the dragon body and into the room while everyone here’s quieted for a moment.

Then Ethan said, “What does 'avanti' means?”

"Avanti is Italian," Chris said, "for 'onwards'."

"Go figure," I said.

Everyone laughed for a moment before Fox comes back and said, “Well?”

“Sorry,” Ethan said.

“It’s ok,” Fox said.

We followed Fox through the room and into the secret hallway. We then entered the room there Margaret was held and Fox looked at the walls.

Cocking his head, the anthro grey fox said, “It’s a dead end.”

“Really,” Fox said. “I haven’t notice.”

“What do you mean?” the anthro jackal said.

“He means that if this is a dead end,” the anthro wolf said, “where’s Mr. Incertus and Zak?”

“Good job,” Fox said without looking at Kyler.

“Thank you,” Kyler said.

He went to the wall across from us and applied his ear to it. After a minute or so, he pressed a hidden button and part of the wall opened up.

He turned to us and said, “They’ve escaped through here.”

“How did you do that?” I said.

He gave an embarrassed grinned and said, “Actually, that was a guess.”

All of us entered the secret exit to find that it’s a long stairway circling upwards. We all looked at each other and we all walked up the stairs.

During the whole walk up, Fox said, “Freedom and security. The two things that people considered important to us; the freedom to do what you want to do and say what you want to do while the safety to do things without fear of someone killing you. But the thing is what is more important to us, freedom or security?

“At first, I thought that security is more important than freedom. After all, no one wants to die in this planet. People also want justice and end all of the corruptions in all places. But there was a nagging feeling that tells me that I’m missing something. But what was it? If people get security, then they also get equality. So, what was wrong with this theory?

“But then I read two books, 1984 and Brave New World, and saw what security really is, a necessary evil. Yes, they got complete stability. Yes, no one’s worried that there’re criminals since they can be capture without fail. But they’re deprived of brilliant things. Great literatures, curiosity and imagination, and religion. They've thrown them away from their world because they're either distractions or would disturb stability. In 1984, one's monitored for 24/7 without rest and just a mere thought of doing something wrong will get one jailed, brainwashed, and returned to society to be executed at a later date. Also, in Brave New World, the clones who actually imagined are shipped out since they're considered threats to their stabilities.

"In the end, we shouldn't drown ourselves in security and stability. Those worlds depicted in those stories showed that if we do that to ourselves, then we'll have to lose the thing that makes this planet so alive; people! Stupid, brilliant people. It's like Benjamin Franklin said, 'He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.' He was right. Those people in those world may think they have freedom, they actually don't since they've given all of it for security and since they're being prosecuted by their own safety, they don't have safety too.

"It's not to say that security is all bad. There must be some security in life. If there wasn't then this world will be an insane place to live in. But I think that freedom should always be above security. After all, if freedom's below security, than I cannot do much without being observed and that's bothersome.

"Besides," Fox concluded, "isn't freedom the reason why this nation fought for its independence years ago?"

We went to the end of the staircase, which is a steel door. Fox turned the handle and opened it. We then exited the labs, perhaps never to return there again.

It's nighttime and we're in a middle of a desert. I looked around and saw the city a few miles away to the west. I'm quited surprised at how far we've traveled and now realized how tired I am. I put my hand on my head and yawned a bit. I felt a hand on right shoulder and, when I turned around, I saw Anna there.

"Are you ok?" the anthro silver vixen said.

"Yeah," I said. "I'm just tired."

"Ok," she said.

"Thank you," I said.

"No problem," she said. "Daren, I have to say that your heart's more than gold to me. It got to be made out of a diamond."

'That gives me a idea,' I thought.

I pulled out the diamond from my pocket and said to her, "If my heart's made of diamond, then here's one for you. It had always belong to you."

Anna looked absolutely stunned by my gift.

She took it from me and said, "Thank you."

"No problem," I said. "Anna, I don't care that you're a anthro vixen."

"And I don't care if you're a anthro fox," Anna said.

"Anna," I said. "I love you."

"I love you too," she said.

We then kissed at the spot. Though it's a little strange that we have muzzles now, it doesn't matter to me. What matters is that we're in love and no one on earth can changed that.

"That's a bit sweet."

We separated and looked at Fox who said that. He had a foxy grin on his face.

I said to him, "Can we have a privacy?"

"Sorry," he said. He lifted his right hand and rubbed it on the right side of his head. "I cannot resist seeing a couple of foxes in live."

I wasn't paying attention to what he just said. I was looking at his ear, which's now visible for a second while he was rubbing his hair back. Though it was dark, I could still see the ear clearly, but the ear itself is strange.

'Did I just see a long ear, like an elf?' I thought.

Fox quickly covered up his ear and went to his overcoat pocket to pulled out a cell phone. He flipped it opened, pushed a few buttons, and applied it to his hair-covered ear.

He said to it, "Hey Jackal, it's me... It's technically a mission accomplish... I'll tell you everything later... Where am I? Well, we seem to be at the eastern side of the city from about a couple of miles. Can you pick us up?... Yes, I got a few people here, so bring in two vehicles... they're new members of Fox. Look, I'll tell you everything later. By the way, how's Project Oncoming Storm going?... I see. Tell me when something change, ok?... Ok, Bye."

He then hung up, put his cell phone in his pocket, and looked at the stars. Though there wasn't much, it's still a better view than in the city. But Fox seems to be looking at the stars for something. Maybe a adventure?

"Daren?" Anna said to me.

I immediately stopped looking at Fox and said to Anna, "What is it?"

"Is something bothering you?" Anna said.

I smiled at her and said, "Yes, but that's for another time. Right now, I want to enjoy my time with you."

She smiled back and we looked up at the stars. Though it wasn't a starry night like in a forest, I still enjoy looking at them. I guess it's because it gives me a feeling of hope. Though we're anthro animals, I believe we'll be able to pull through together.

The End

Fines Malum: Fire and Scales


15 February 2013 at 21:37:00 MST

This is the final part of Fines Malum. I hope you'll enjoy this.

Fines Malum is the first "book" I've ever written.

It all started in a dream back in October 2008 and, though you won't find that scene I had in the story, the idea that a chocolate bar transforming a person into a animal when they ate it never left my mind. I tried writing it, but, due to the story being too cheesy in mine opinion then, I had thrown it away.

Then, in April 2009, one of my favorite writers on FA, Greyhound1211, posted this journal ( I thought that, if anyone who can write this story, he can. I had written down the plot, characters(most of whom made the final version), and other notes and planned to give it to him. But, due to me unable to used AIM, I was unable to send it to him. So, it was shelved again.

But, in August 2009, through talking to Blackfox1210 through email, it has clicked. I now know what to write in my story. So, through August 2009 to February 2010, I wrote the story you see now on paper first, then I had typed it from February 2010 to April 2010. Even though it had taken me two more months to posted it on DA and FA, it was worth it.

I give my thanks to Greyhound1211 for inspiring me to write this and Blackfox1210 for helping me get what I needed to complete this. I give my thanks to you two.