! Sozont #14: Another Vixen

14.  Another Vixen

The path that Sozont was taking away from Soapy Lake was heading towards Fur City, which was an odd choice of destination for a hunt.  What was he thinking?  In his mind's eye he saw the city dump, with its ready supply of rats.  Sozont did not often eat rats, which tasted like earth.  He preferred the tangy taste of mice.  But few furs played rat characters, so almost all of them were NPC's.  "Oh", thought Sozont, "that's where this is going".  But there were *some* rat fursons, and he needed to be sure, so he invoked the "player name" overlay for his visual system.  Tiny "NPC" markings appeared in his eyesight next to every insect he could see.  It seemed a little ridiculous to mark up all the bugs, but Sozont had heard of one chemist-fur whose pheno was a cockroach!
     Sozont continued along the path and came upon a group of adolescent canids.  They were all anthros; the overlay labelled them with their names.  At one point Sozont got a line-of-sight on a lizard, which had an "NPC" marking.  As Sozont was looking around, he noticed that one furson was labelled "Siren Fox".  He walked by the juveniles without making eye contact, but Siren Fox came after him.  This couldn't be anything good.
     —"Hello, Sozont the Tigri-Hippo-Strich".
     —"Greetings, Siren Fox."  Her coloring was atypical for a fox.  Most of her fur was black, with a blood red patch on her thorax.  There were thin white stripes that traced her bones, making her look like a walking skeleton.
     —"I heard that you were talking with Tardrayn-rah recently."
     —"Yes, your father stopped by to fix my VR equipment."
     A pause.  "Eaten any innocent children recently?"  Sozont had nothing to say.
     "I suppose they're extra tasty if you talk to them first."  Silence.
     "Don't you have anything to say?"
     This was not a conversation that Sozont wanted to be having.  He didn't have a leg to stand on in this argument and all he could think about was the hunger-pain in his belly.
     —"Look, I just can't talk now.  I'm really very, very hungry."  She stiffened.  That hadn't come out the way he intended.  "I need to go find some NPC's to eat before I starve to death."
     —"Perhaps I'll just tag along after you to make sure they're really non-players."
     —"The Muck Lords don't take kindly to stalking."
     —"No?  They don't like trolls much, either."
     They stared at each other for a moment, then Siren Fox started walking back toward the other canids.  She picked up a rock and threw it at him.  For some reason he decided not to flinch.  The rock hit him in the foreleg.  It hurt, but his humerus did not break.  They stared at each other again, then Siren Fox made a strange noise and returned to her pack.
     Sozont continued, sadly, towards the dump.

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-- Pyesetz the Dog