"Let your learning lead to action." - Jim Rohn
The three police chiefs stepped forward, and as Judy stared up at them, sitting silently in the back of the ambulance compartment, she felt very, very small.
Nick's reassuring presence could only do so much when she was face-to-face with three powerful, high-ranking officers, after all. She recalled all too well just how strenuous the city-council meeting had been, several months back, watching as the twelve district chiefs debated over her and Nick's place on the ZPD, and whether or not they should be allowed to keep it. If it hadn't been for Bogo's hard-as-iron fortitude in the wake of such judgement, their careers may very well have been terminated. Judy had always believed in making the world a better place, and what it meant to her and her impact on the world, but the thought of losing such a gateway to that goal - her job as a police officer - was a disconcerting one, especially given the fact that such a termination would not have been on her own terms - Being fired was a whole different level than quitting with dignity.
For a while, she thought her and Nick to be in the clear, here at the academy, far away from the ire of the other district chiefs, but now, one of her biggest fears had come back to haunt her, and this time, she worried that there would be no shred of hope to cling to - Not after everything that had happened at the academy, even in spite of all their efforts to minimize damage and control the situation. She feared that her superiors would not see it that way, and her stomach dropped as she heard one of them speak out.
"What happened?" Chief Bogo's deep voice filled her ears. His tone was flat, with a mixed hint of curiosity and irritation laden behind his words.
Judy looked up at him, staring over his stony, unforgiving expression. His face was as stoic and emotionless as the overcast sky above. She felt another squeeze of reassurance on her shoulder from Nick's paw, urging her to explain. She briefly locked eyes with him before looking back to Chief Bogo. The bunny sighed, and then told her tale.
"Sir... We did everything we could. Nick and I woke up this morning to the sound of screams and roars. Our room had been barricaded shut. We forced out way out and found the academy in ruins. Eventually, we encountered Major Friedkin, and armed ourselves with tranquilizers to put a stop to the savage recruits, but... There was a lot of damage. We couldn't stop them all. We quickly found out that it was Eugene who had orchestrated the whole thing, and we tracked him down and stopped him before he could-"
"Stopped him, you say?" Chief Latran interrupted, his teeth grinding in frustration. "Stopped the spy after he had already accomplished what he had set out do to?"
Judy shook her head, growing anxious. "N-No, sir, we-"
"I've had it up to my scruff with you two troublemakers!" Latran growled, raising his paws in exasperation. "How could you let this happen?"
The rabbit didn't bother responding. Instead, she just hung her head in shame.
"This was on your watch!" The coyote continued angrily. "Your supervision! You allowed an armed assailant to turn two dozen of your recruits into feral beasts!"
"Jesse, that's enough." Chief Bogo ordered, his voice surprisingly soft, but terrifyingly firm. "You've made your point."
He then turned to Nick and Judy, his expression more sympathetic than before.
"Officers Hopps and Wilde did everything they could in the situation they were in. They can't be blamed for this."
"Indeed." Chief Myreme, the giant anteater from Precinct Four, in the Rainforest-District, added with a grave tone to his words.
The anteater's voice was smooth and cultured; easy on the ears, and seductive in tone. For as soothing as it was to listen to, it failed to distract from the worth of his words;
"My friends, the situation is dire, yes, but given the circumstances, it could have been far worse. I'd say these two officers acted accordingly to what transpired here."
Chief Bogo and Myreme were both standing up for Judy and Nick. That fact made the rabbit's heart warm with appreciation, but unfortunately, Latran wasn't done yet.
"You can't be serious." He snarled. "Don't you see? They had every opportunity to capture the spy during their time as instructors at the academy, and they wait until his good work is already done before they even bother finding out his identity! You call that acting accordingly? I'd call that willful negligence!"
"Don't be so pretentious." The water-buffalo exclaimed. "We need to focus on finding out who's responsible, rather than pointing fingers."
"He's right, you know." Chief Myreme added, sparing a wary glance at the nearby news vans. "The public will be afraid, and we will need answers to quell their fears."
Latran scoffed. "And who would hold the weight of responsibility for this, then, huh?" He demanded to know.
"Al Catpone." Nick spoke out for the first time, earning the attention of all the other mammals in the vicinity. "It had to have been him."
At the notion of his criminal counterpart's name, Chief Myreme trained his dark green eyes on Nick, narrowing them in thought. "And what makes you so sure?"
The fox cleared his throat. "Well, this attack was highly coordinated. It took time to plan out, resources to execute, and money to fund. And besides, we found out from Major Friedkin the other day that Night-Howlers are making a comeback, right? That's what the spy used on the recruits, to turn them savage, though I've never seen it in a gas form before. Catpone's got the biggest illegal drug empire in the city of Zootopia! If anyone could have provided the Night-Howlers to make this plan possible, it's him."
"What sort of moron would paint a target on his back like that?" Latran spat. "Al Catpone is a crime-lord, and crime-lords don't do high-profile attacks like this."
Nick nodded in agreement, but raised his paw pointedly to counter the coyote's claim, and went on;
"They did it before, and got away with it at Precinct One, remember? The evidence archive was destroyed when that vampire bat Iluka hired shimmied in through the air-ducts and torched the place. Why wouldn't they think they could get away with a similar trick here at the academy, all the way out in the middle of nowhere? They wouldn't do this kind of stuff on a day-to-day basis, though, of course - Only when they feel threatened, or want to send a message. And something tells me that's what they were here for."
"Eugene mentioned something about sending a message!" Judy added. "Something... Something about showing the public that the ZPD can't be relied on."
She swallowed, reminiscing to what that mole had told her during their tussle. The bunny couldn't help but notice a camera crew setting up shop close by.
"Well, it seems to me that your spy accomplished his little power-play." Chief Latran said. "Once word a' this reaches the public, they'll be on our hides for weeks."
Nick sighed bitterly. "As the former assistant mayor once said; Fear always works." He grumbled.
"Not always." Judy claimed. "Fear doesn't work if you have hope."
Her and Nick locked eyes for another brief moment, letting that statement sink in, that was, before Chief Myreme interjected with a new question.
"But what's the end goal?" The anteater inquired, stroking at his chin. "Why do all of this in the first place?"
To that, even Nick, with all his wit and eloquence, was without an answer. Thankfully, Bogo had it covered. "It doesn't matter." He stated calmly, breaking the previous silence. "We'll find that out soon, once we interrogate the spy back at HQ. For now, we need to focus on doing our jobs, and bringing the mastermind behind this attack to justice."
"Catpone, you mean?" Latran asked. "We can't just go after him outright, can we? If we find out that he isn't responsible, we'll be the laughingstock of the city!"
Bogo snorted through his nostrils. "Not yet we can't - Not without the evidence we need to warrant him. We'll learn all that we can from the spy through questioning."
"Then I think it's safe to say we have the extra time to focus our attention on other matters." The coyote crooned, glaring at Nick and Judy with those last two words.
"What, you would want to have my officers punished for doing their jobs?" Bogo asked, his words radiating with authority.
"I'd want to have them punished for not doing their jobs sooner!" Latran growled back, planting his paws on the sides of his bullet-vest.
"We've been watching out for the spy for weeks, and my officers finally took him down!" The water-buffalo stated, pumping a closed first in determination.
"At what cost?!" Chief Latran shouted, throwing his arms toward the academy, gesturing towards the ambulances full of wounded recruits.
"Don't try to pin this on my officers! They did everything they could to minimize damage, and they will be here to aid in the investigation!"
"Too little too late! They should have put a stop to this before it happened! And now you're seriously suggesting that these two go out on another case?"
"If Chief Urzo were here, he would back me on this." Bogo thundered. Sadly, the grizzly bear in question was too far away, back in the Woodlands, to be of any service.
"Well, if Chief Condy were here, he would back me on this!" Latran spat back, jabbing his finger to the ground as if he were pointing to the Nocturnal-District.
Nick remembered the star-nosed mole chief that Latran was referring to, and how he had sided with the coyote's assessment at the city-council meeting that he and Judy were too dangerous to be kept on the force. Thankfully, he was all the way back at Precinct Six, down in the Nocturnal-District, and wasn't here to side with Chief Latran.
Judy, meanwhile, was busy resisting the urge to clamp her ears shut. She hated seeing these high-ranking officers squabbling over her and Nick like this. Back when she was a kit, she never would have imagined her dream of becoming a police officer to make the world a better place to be accompanied by so much bureaucratic bickering.
Just as Judy was about shout out for her two superiors to calm down, Chief Myreme stepped forward, red beret-cap gingerly wrung between his claws, and declared;
"If we're going to put Catpone in his place, then we'll need the help of the same mammals that put down Shahaz and Iluka, two of his most powerful associates. We'll need the help of officers Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps. They know how these mammals act better than anyone else. With them, I promise that we will bring that jaguar to justice."
Chief Latran lowered his head, glaring at the ant-eater with bared teeth. He scoffed aloud, turning his gaze away and to the ground, growling hard. For the first time since meeting him, Nick could see the turmoil bubbling in his being, and he knew what it meant: The envy for Chief Bogo, the grudge against himself and Judy, and the heated pride that formed tall barriers around his mind. The coyote was struggling to keep it all in. For once in his life, he wanted to feel as though he were in control of the situation more than those around him. Even as a chief of police, he had colleagues of equal rank that had more will to act and power over the city, and Nick could tell he hated that.
But Nick could also tell that he didn't truly despise he and Judy. Latran's constant push for power stemmed from a far deeper insecurity. In truth, Nick could relate: He never did forget that dark night when those bullies had tormented him with that muzzle. It was in that moment that Nick had came to realize the truth about the city and its populace. That sometimes, the ability to feel in control, even if it was momentary, completely outweighed the thought of anything else. It was just a harsh truth that came along with being a predator. You had to take advantage of every little drop of social dominance that you could attain. This must have been Chief Latran's true philosophy, and the mentality behind everything that he had pushed against Bogo, Nick, and Judy for all of this time. As a fellow predator, the fox could understand this mentality all too well.
For the first time, Nick truly empathized with Latran, and decided to speak to him not as a subordinate, but as an equal.
"Jesse, we need to do this. If we don't stop Catpone, more mammals are going to get hurt. Hopps and I will take him down, I promise you."
The coyote raised his head and locked eyes with the fox. This time, there was no animosity between them. Only a beaten down sense of hope.
"Fine. Go, then." He muttered at last. "Work with Bogo and Roberto. Give that jaguar the retribution he deserves."
Nick nodded his head in agreement, realizing that no more words needed to be spoke on that matter, for it was finally settled.
"So... What do we do now?" Judy asked, breaking the previous silence.
Chief Bogo stepped forward. His towering form loomed over Judy, and his expression was firm and determined. His coming words were just as formidable;
"It's like Chief Latran said: To stop Catpone, we'll need be needing the assistance of Chief Myreme."
The water-buffalo gestured to the anteater standing calmly beside him, all the while continuing his explanation;
"His department has the most knowhow of the Rainforest-District, and of Catpone's operations there."
"This is true." Chief Myreme confirmed as he fixed his cap back atop his head. "My officers and I have been tracking the Rainforest-Outfit for years."
"And that means a visit to Precinct Four, is in order." Bogo finalized. "However, this does not mean that Precinct One will sit this one out."
"What do you mean by that?" The rabbit officer asked, causing her superior's stern gaze to soften with sympathy.
"An attack on the academy is an attack on us all. While you two work with Chief Myreme to directly hunt down Catpone and his mob, I will be personally forwarding your efforts from Savannah-Central, helping to supply whatever extra intelligence and materials are needed to bring the mammals who did this to justice once and for all."
"So you're going to be straight-up working with us?" Nick interjected. "Wow... That's a first."
"Nonsense. This isn't a first." Bogo countered. "I helped you capture Ratsputin."
"Yeah, from your office." The fox retorted.
Myreme shrugged. "We will be needing all of the help we can get." He added. "If Chief Bogo wishes to assist, then we should not deny him of his desire."
Nearby, Chief Latran raised his gaze and stood up a bit straighter. "Precinct Three will provide support, as well."
"You will?" Nick asked, finding it almost hard to believe that Jesse was jumping on the bandwagon like this, too.
The coyote nodded, his usually harsh countenance appearing much more subdued than before. "Thelonious is right. We're all in this fight together." He said firmly.
"We are." Bogo repeated before turning to the coyote. "What are you planning, Jesse?" He questioned.
Chief Latran tightened his jaw in anticipation before replying;
"I'll be sure to up the crackdown on the flow of smuggled goods from the Rainforest-District to Sahara-Square, takin' a bite out of Catpone's illegal finances."
Chief Myreme spread his paws welcomingly as he added;
"Yes, upping the ante on the mob's smuggling circuit will be of great help to the investigation. Likewise, I will be sure to show officers Hopps and Wilde everything that Precinct Four has in regards to the Rainforest-Outfit and its track-record, and will provide a stable work environment for them to operate from while in the Rainforest-District."
Bogo snorted strongly through his nostrils, looking determined with the outcome of this conversation. He stared down at his two prized officers.
"And I will be sure to forward pry as much info as I can out of that spy's head, and see if it's enough to create a warrant. My officers will help. Before any of that, however, you two will need to acquire some additional Intel about Catpone and his work, and I think I know just the right place to start."
"And just what are you gettin' at, Thelonious?" Chief Latran inquired with one eyebrow raised skeptically. The water-buffalo clarified;
"I've been considering this for some time, but before, the need hadn't arisen. Now, though, is the ideal opportunity to not only glean some new information from a potential lead source, but to also allow officers Hopps and Wilde to familiarize themselves with their next target before they begin investigating. This stacks up perfectly."
Chief Bogo then locked eyes with Nick and Judy as he concluded his explanation;
"To learn more about Catpone and his mob, you two should visit Zootopia Country Prison, and interview one of his fellow crime-lords: Iluka Rombahe."
That statement sunk in for a few short seconds of silent realization, that was, before the rabbit officer let out a groan of discontent.
"Oh, no, not him." Judy complained, gripping at her ears in frustration as they drooped down against the sides of her head.
Nick snapped his gaze to the three chiefs standing before him. "That devil is crazy with a capital C." He grumbled. "Are you sure interviewing him is a good idea?"
Chief Bogo crossed his arms against his chest as he replied;
"He was brought into custody no more than four months ago, thanks to you two, and has yet to be interrogated about his connections to the Rainforest-Outfit."
"Sí, sí, it is the perfect opportunity!" Chief Myreme exclaimed excitedly. "You must seize this chance while it lasts!"
It was hard to argue with logic like that. Judy sighed before sparing a glance at Nick, who simply shrugged his shoulders. The bunny then straightened out her backbone.
"Alright. We'll do it. Nick and I will bring whoever did this to justice, and we'll start by learning all we can from Iluka. Now let's get going - There's no time like the present."
7:20 A.M ; Zootopia Country Prison...
Located forty miles east outside the city boundaries, the Zootopia County Prison (or "the Zoo", as most police officers and inmates referred to it) was a modern day fortress.
Thick concrete walls towered six stories high, a small of army of multi-sized guards constantly patrolled the compound, and there seemed enough chain-link fences topped with barbed wire to encircle the circumference of Sahara-Square several times over. It was located smack-dab in the middle of hill and forest country, with harsh wilds on all sides.
Nick stared up at the topmost guard tower, watching as the ever rising sun spread its reach past the thinning overcast, and beamed down rays of sunshine across the yard, dappling it with pools of light that drove away the shadows. It was a pretty sight to be paired with such a formidable environment. He pushed his shades down over his eyes.
"Hard to believe that anyone's actually managed to escape from this place before, huh?" Was all he asked Judy as they approached the metal gates.
The bunny swallowed. "Yeah. I'm almost tempted to say impossible." She muttered, taking note of the armed guards that beckoned them in. "And yet it's happened before."
"Well, it's like they say - Nothing's impossible so long as you have hope, grit, and a small army of moles to dig you out." Nick quipped. "That's how Iluka did it, right?"
Judy nodded her head. "With the help of a crooked cop, too." She added. "Went all the way through the academy just to get stationed here, and assist in the escape."
An astonished whistle escaped the fox's lips. "Talk about loyalty. And to think that only you and Clawhauser showed up for my birthday party last year."
As Nick recalled, Iluka wasn't the only infamous mammal to have managed to break out of this prison before. None other than Ex-Mayor Dawn Bellwether had managed to do the same, with the help of her old buddy Ratsputin, that was, before Ratsputin turned on her and had her killed for blabbing to the police about his desire to acquire the documents of their unused shock-collar design for his nefarious political blackmailing scheme at city-hall... Allegedly. Just about everything about Ratsputin had been alleged. Nonetheless, even despite the previous extravagant escapes, the guards on duty at the prison seemed nothing but capable in their efforts.
Once the two officers reached the receptions desk, they were both subjected to a thorough pat-down and identifications check, even despite several of the guards giggling with glee at the notion of Zootopia's two most famous police officers gracing their humble corrections facility. The warden gave them a pair of key-cards that would allow them to open locked doors throughout the compound, but otherwise left them to their task of finding Iluka, whose cell they had found out to be located in the deepest part of the prison. Together, Nick and Judy set out down the hallowed concrete halls of the "Large Mammals" cell-block, intent on venturing deeper into the Zoo, and completing their mission.
It wasn't long before they encountered their first inmate, this one being a familiar lion.
As they passed over a cell to their left, Nick had to stop and do a double-take as his eyes set themselves across the face of none other than Ex-Mayor Leodore Lionheart, resting calmly on a bench in his cell with a copy of Fancy Cat propped up in his paws. The lion's mane was thick, and a bit shaggy from his time in prison over the years, but he otherwise looked identical to the same politician that had sworn Judy into the force all those years ago, save the bright-orange prisoner's jumpsuit around his bulky frame.
The lion quickly caught sight of them. "Oh, hey! It's you two!" He guffawed before dropping a heavy wink. "Been a while."
Nick chuckled. It seemed that Lionheart still had that same aura of charisma, even when locked up in prison. That wasn't to say he liked the guy, though; far from it.
"Indeed it has. Talk about a blast from the past." The fox replied, feigning interest. "Honestly, I had a feeling we'd run into you on our little detour here."
"Of course you did! I'm so glad to see some familiar faces. Lately, the only thing I've had to look forward to is the monthly addition..."
He trailed off, lightly shaking his copy of Fancy Cat's latest issue with his paw before continuing;
"But at least the articles on self-grooming are still as helpful as always. And hey, I only have a few more years left until I get out, too!"
"Really? And how many more years would that be, exactly?" Judy asked nervously, though if Lionheart picked up on the bunny's apprehension, he didn't show it.
"Oh, about four more years... Or was it fourteen? Hmm. I can't remember." The lion tapped his chin thoughtfully before growing a new grin. "Let's go with four!"
Nick snorted. "Sure thing, buddy. Sure thing. Anyways, Hopps and I have to get going. Enjoy the rest of your stay!"
With a nonchalant salute, the fox then set out down the cell-block. Judy waved goodbye to the former mayor before rejoining in her husband's stride.
From behind, Lionheart chuckled heartily. He then called out;
"So long! Oh, and feel free to tear down any of Mayor Lyncoln's campaign signs, if you see them! Ha!"
Judy rolled her eyes. "Politicians." She grumbled once she was sure they were out of Lionheart's range of hearing.
"Tell me about it." Nick added sarcastically, causing both mammals to laugh good-naturedly.
The two of them continued down the cell-block before encountering a door. Using the plastic badges that the warden had given them, they swiped their cards on an adjacent keypad, causing the metal door to shift open, and allowing them to promptly enter into another hallway. This one was a fair bit smaller than the previous one, built for medium to large-sized mammals, as opposed to the previous wing, which was large to extra-large. Nick and Judy paced down the new hall, occasionally sparing glances at cells to their left and right. On one such occasion, staring into a cell on his right, Nick unintentionally caught sight of two mammals that he never thought he would see again.
Picking at his pointy black nails as he sat on the surface of his bed with a bored look on his face, a short, stout common raccoon shared a cell with a thick, portly old badger, who was busy folding up the flimsy sheets on his prison-issued bed. Both mammals were dressed in orange prison jumpsuits, with black numbers stitched onto their chests, identifying them to the guards. Nick himself, however, didn't need a name-tag to be able to identify these two former mobsters. The two of them had, after all, jumped him and Judy down in the Nocturnal-District when they were first investigating the mysterious murder of that investigative reporter that was later tied to the Nocturnal-Mob.
As Nick recalled, the badger, Russ, whose full name was Russel Muntelso, had choked him unconscious before dragging him back to Castle Fangpyre along with a knocked-out Judy, and the raccoon, Sprock, whose real name he had since realized to be Gary Sprockson, had cut their radios, and had even stolen Nick's favorite pair of shades.
And that, if anything, was a crime not worth forgiving and forgetting.
When Nick had personally taken the time to read over and update the profile of Vladzotz - among the other crime-lords - not too long after the whole incident down in the Nocturnal-District, he had also done some extra research on the two titular former mobsters. Apparently, Sprock the raccoon had been Vladzotz's second-in-command, and dealt with the more social side of the Nocturnal-Mob's enterprises, such as negotiations, meetings, and extortion. Likewise, Russ the badger had managed the more business-oriented aspect of operations, such as paperwork and banking. Clearly, that wasn't enough to save them from getting captured by the ZPD after their HQ burned to the ground.
The boss bat himself was still out there, though, building his nefarious criminal empire. Nick could only hope that one day, he'd be sitting in one of these cells, as well.
But now, the present demanded his attention - There would be time for hopeful daydreaming later.
As Nick and Judy passed by the cell, the two mammals within it both took notice of their presence, with the raccoon leaping to his feet, eyes wide with realization.
"Look who it is, Russ!" Sprock suddenly called out, jumping up and clinging to the bars with his paws and feet. "I remember these two from the Nocturnal-District!"
"I doubt they remember us, though." The badger muttered dejectedly in a deep, smoky voice.
With a shock, Nick realized that that was the first time he had ever heard Russ the badger speak.
Unfortunately, the moment was immediately overshadowed by Sprock's annoying voice;
"What? Naw! We were the real deal! The O-G dream-team! Of course they remember us!" He insisted, glancing at Nick and Judy with gleaming, hopeful eyes.
The fox shrugged. "Sorry, I only remember things I consider important." He taunted. "You look great in orange, though! Hang in there."
Demonstrating a mock salute to the two imprisoned former mobsters, Nick shuffled out of view, pulling Judy away from the cell as Sprock's voice called out from behind;
"You lousy, stinkin' fox! You get back here! Come on! I ain't done wit' you yet, Nicky boy! I'll get my revenge, do ya hear? I'll get it one day! You'll see!"
"Quiet down already." The deep voice of Russ the badger requested. "You're making a scene."
"Makin' a scene? I'll show you a scene, ya lazy ingrate!"
A conglomeration of rattling bars and scuffling noises ensued. Nick couldn't help but chuckle. Those two were just too comical for their own good.
Soon, the fox's sense of humor quelled, and he was left walking alongside Judy down the cell-block. Many of the cells were empty, though a few housed a number of mammals that neither of them recognized. There was a vicious looking wolverine pacing around in circles in one cell, and a portly skunk laughing madly in another as he bounced up and down on his mattress. Still, Nick and Judy both had a feeling that they'd be running into some more familiar faces from the past throughout their journey into the prison.
After another few yards down the cell-block, Nick and Judy reared around a corner, and came to sight with another long hallway of barred rooms. The first cell to their right stood out in stark contrast to all of the previous ones, as each of the blank concrete walls within it was decorated with dozens upon dozens of chalky white lines, like scratch marks. Unfortunately, Nick and Judy already knew whose cell this belonged to: Squatting down in one of the corners of the cell, doodling lines into the floor with one of his own scales, was the pangolin crime-lord of Sahara-Square, Shahaz the Stinger. His armadillo-like body was hunched over, causing the spines on his back to bristle outward like a cactus from his home district. The pangolin's prison jumpsuit was torn to ribbons and strewn about the room, with only the trousers still intact, though still shredded around the ankles. The colorful tattoos engraved into Shahaz's many scales appeared much duller and faded than last he had been seen, likely because he hadn't been able to consistently maintain them himself. As Nick and Judy took the time to stop in front of his cell, the pangolin looked up from his ominous art project and smiled as though they were old buds.
"Well hello there, officers! We meet again." He greeted in that flaky, coarse voice of his. "And here, of all places."
A wet slurping noise filled the ears of every mammal in the vicinity as Shahaz's long pink tongue shot out of his mouth before wiping at his muzzle like a worm stuck out of dirt. The fleshy appendage snaked around the edges of his thin lips before slipping back into his mouth with another disgusting gurgle, and he then laughed without humor.
"Don't worry, though, I've been keeping busy." He claimed, gesturing to the walls. "Plenty of canvas to practice what I'm going to do to your bodies once I walk free again."
To emphasize his point, Shahaz then scratched another white line into the concrete floor with one of the scales on his wrist.
Nick remembered how he had gotten into an argument with Chief Bogo about the necessity of muzzling a toothless mammal like Shahaz, and how he had stood up for him. Clearly, the fox's act of altruism toward the pangolin wasn't enough to prevent him from holding a grudge over getting captured and imprisoned in the first place. Unimpressed, Nick pushed down his shades before taking a momentary glance around the walls of the cell before him.
The concrete walls of the pangolin's cell were scratched up so badly that it looked as though a whirlwind of blades had touched down in the middle of it. Yet still, Nick knew the true source to have been Shahaz's razor sharp scales, which he must've used to mark up the wall as though it were his territory. At the thought of the pangolin's deadly scales, the fox spared a brief glance over toward his mate's paw, all the while wondering if that scar that she had gotten on her palm from Shahaz was still ailing her like it used to.
Probably not, but he was considerate like that.
Shahaz must have noticed Nick's brief gesture of concern toward Judy, for he chuckled dryly and nodded in the rabbit's direction.
"That paw of yours still stinging, bunny?" He mocked. "I hope so."
"Nope, sorry." Judy replied back almost instantaneously, thrusting her scarred paw out for Shahaz to see. "Guess you're not as sharp as you thought."
The pangolin blinked, momentarily taken aback by the rabbit's suddenly display of bravado. He then laughed once more, though this time, his chortles were genuine.
"It seems you're even hardier than I first imagined." He muttered. "You've become quite the thorn, after all. Congratulations."
Judy furrowed her brow as flashing memories of her past fight with the pangolin returned to her mind. She remembered how he had called her a thorn in his side, that was, before claiming he had some thorns of his own, and was just about to turn her into bunny-flavored mince-meat when another police officer jumped in and saved her life, even if she left the scene with a few extra scratches. And now Shahaz was here, repeating that same phrase again in a similar fashion, though with a undertone of respect to his words.
The bunny wasn't sure if she was supposed to take it as a compliment or an insult.
Nick saved her the trouble of replying. "Sure, whatever, pal." He interjected before waving off the pangolin with one of his paws. "Have fun with your doodles."
Shahaz simply smiled. "Yes, I'm sure you didn't come all this way just to see me again. Run along, then, officers. I'll be here... Waiting."
At that, the vulpine and lapin turned their backs on Shahaz before continuing down the length of the hallway they had started upon. From the behind of her, Judy's sensitive ears continued to hone in on the scratching noises of the pangolin's scales before they at last faded out of reach even for her. She sighed, glad that that creature was locked up.
For about ten more seconds of uneventful walking, the two officers paced down the cell-block before finally reaching another corner. Down a few yards and to the left, they then noticed another familiar face from between the iron bars of his cell. Jack Savage lay lounging on his bed, long feet kicked up onto the rim as he read over a thick book resting in his lap. His pristine white fur looked as clean as ever, and his orange prison jumpsuit didn't have even a single wrinkle to be seen. Even in an inmate's garb, it was clear that Jack couldn't bear being seen as anything less than professionally presentable. Nick himself recalled the male rabbit's nefarious financial and white-collar schemes in the city's Downtown district all too well, and how he had also worked with Vladzotz, Shahaz, and Ratsputin to create a shell-company with the purpose of laundering money from their illegal businesses, but his attack on Judy was what he remembered him most for; trying to coerce her undercover identity into being his last-ditch act of fun before he fled the city to escape his crimes. Thankfully, the ZPD has managed to intervene before Jack had gotten away with any of his felonies, and it was in no small part due to Judy's continued strength and fortitude even the face of exploitative and manipulative mammals such as him. The fox was proud of her for her determination and ambition.
The last time Nick had seen Jack was in the ZPD's jailhouse. The fox thought he looked better in an actual prison cell, complete with the tangerine getup. It suited him well.
The male rabbit glanced up from his novel and locked eyes with Nick and Judy as they passed by. The fox narrowed his eyes in distrust, but otherwise didn't bother to initiate any form of conversation, unlike the last two detours. Judy continued to walk by his side, though spared a brief glance back over her shoulder, and took note of Jack throwing down his book before rushing over to the edge of his cell in curiosity, no doubt having trouble believing his own two eyes. Judy returned her gaze to the front, ignoring him.
He passed without a second thought. Nick and Judy weren't there to see him, after all: The true objective of their trip to the prison was locked up at the end of this hall.
It seemed that the jailers decided to fit all of Nick and Judy's least favorite mammals into the same cell-block. Maybe it was just because each of them were dangerous in their own right, or maybe it was just because they were all affiliated at one point, one way or another. Whatever the case, seeing all of these familiar faces again was definitely an interesting experience. Staring at one of the empty cells to his right, Nick could only wonder what life would be like if Ratsputin were still alive, sitting in one of those cells, dressed up like a citrus fruit and being forced to cut his ridiculous hair because of prison protocol. The thought of such a scene was almost amusing. He chuckled to himself.
"What's so funny?" Judy found herself asking.
"Oh, nothing much." The fox replied with a slight shrug. "Just daydreaming about rats."
Judy's large ears suddenly perked up as she reared around another corner and stared into the interior of yet another cell.
"Speaking of rats." She muttered with distaste.
As Nick followed suit, he too caught sight of the source of Judy's disdain. Inside the cell to his left, a pair of middle-aged rats were lounging on a bunk-bed, one for each bunk. On the bottom bed, one wiry rat sat playing with a rubber ball; bouncing it off of the nearby concrete cell wall every few seconds. Up above on the second bed, the other rat lounged with his feet kicked up into the air, twiddling with a Rubix Cube clutched in his bony fingers. This second rat was practically undistinguishable from the other save for the greasy handlebar mustache that sprouted from his upper lip, and his tail, which was nothing more than a fleshy stump, likely the unfortunate casualty of an accident. The matching prisoner's garb didn't exactly help make them any less interchangeable.
Both of the cops recognized these two rats: Rytsar, the one with the ball, and Dmitri, the one with the Rubix Cube - The eccentric sons of Ratsputin himself.
The former of the two rats quickly caught sight of the mammals standing outside his cell. He sat up in his bunk with a cruel grin.
"Ah, greetings, officers! It's been too long." Rytsar mused with an undertone of venom to his words. As the fox recalled, he was the more rude of the two brothers.
"You two?" Nick asked. "Never thought we'd cross paths again. What are ya in for?"
Rytsar sighed and wiped at his muzzle as though he were tired. He jumped down from his bed and begun to slowly approach the bars.
"Conspiracy against the city government, withholding information from law enforcement, criminal association, blah, blah, blah." He mumbled, lazily rolling his wrist.
"I told you that we shouldn't have helped father!" Dmitri hissed in interjection, leaning out from the edge of his bunk. "But did you listen to me? No!"
Rytsar turned tail and raised his paw into the air as if he were about to chuck his rubber ball at his brother.
"Don't you even get me started!" He spat. "You said we'd be safe from the law if we told these two dolts everything we knew about the shock-collars!"
Dmitri threw his paws into the air in exasperation. "I didn't anticipate that the ZPD would bust down our doors as soon as they left! I thought we'd be in the clear!"
"Your foresight is as short as your stump of a tail!" Rytsar growled, to which his brother gasped.
"You take that back!" He demanded.
"And your handlebar mustache is ugly!"
Dmitri then threw his Rubix Cube at Rytsar, and Rytsar through his ball at Dmitri. Both objects bounced off of their target's foreheads. Then they started arguing loudly.
Judy pursed her lips. She recalled how the rat brothers had given her and Nick a tour of their newspaper workshop, and how they had been the first to tell them about the mysterious shock-collar documents that their father, Ratsputin, had intended on using to blackmail the city government. Apparently, Dmitri and Rytsar had been in on their father's nefarious scheme, and now here they were, sitting in prison because of it. The rat brothers still had that same creepily intelligent demeanor to them, much like their father, but still less cold and calculating. They bantering dynamic hadn't seemed to change much, either. They were like two opposite magnet ends - Similar, yet opposing.
It seemed odd for the two rats to be in this particular section of the prison, as it was better suited for mammals larger than them, but Judy supposed that they were still sizable enough not to be able to fit through the bars. Such a thought reminded her of another mammal that had managed to actually escape from this prison before: Iluka Rombahe himself, who they were there to see personally. Reminded of her mission, she tugged on Nick's paw, pulling him away, though the fox seemed entranced by the rat brother's argument. Nick shook his head before pacing off with his partner. Dmitri and Rytsar continued their verbal debate until Nick and Judy could hear them no more.
Eventually ridding his head of all intrusive thoughts, the fox focused on the present, and steeled himself for what was to come.
The two officers continued down the cell-block all the way to the final row of cells at the hallway's very end, where their final destination lie waiting.
Together, they stopped and admired the sight of Iluka Rombahe's new home.
For starters, the cell itself was much nicer than anything they had previously witnessed. The walls of the cell were draped with several large red curtains, and the floor even had a few fuzzy carpets coating the usually drab gray concrete. A rounded wooden table had been set up in the corner, displaying a few small coins and other dusty knick-knacks in a box made from the same material as the table. On that same table, a small picture lay tucked within a glassless frame. With a shock, Judy realized that it was the exact same picture that she had given Iluka when she and Nick had visited him in the hospital not too long after the incident in the Painted Labyrinth. The picture displayed the ancient sword Elkscalibur, cleaned and polished in the same museum that Iluka and his mobsters had just previously robbed. That relic was the source of Iluka's entire motivation for enacting his villainous plot in the Deciduous-District, and even despite all of his evil deeds, Judy had gone out of her way to make sure that he knew his efforts were cherished.
As Nick had said, at the time, it was the very least that he deserved. Upon seeing that same photo framed and idolized after all this time, Judy couldn't help but smile.
Meanwhile, the fox himself was busy staring around at the peculiar decor of this final cell. "Huh. Never seen a nice prison cell, before." He muttered.
"I know right?" A voice cackled. "The museum foundation made some special arrangements on my behalf. Freedom may be a bit shy, but at least I can live comfortably."
Nick and Judy recognized the dulcet tone, and the thick Outbacker accent behind those words. The source of the voice then emerged from behind one of the red curtains.
As he approached the bars of the cell, both Nick and Judy could see that Iluka Rombahe had changed quite a lot since the last time they had met. The tasmanian-devil's stocky frame seemed slightly less muscular than before, which wasn't very surprising, given that prison didn't exactly have a lot of extracurricular activities. But still, even past the weight loss, Iluka's body was thick and burly, and he carried himself with as much confidence as ever. Nick couldn't help but notice that all of the wooden beads he had once proudly displayed in the fur on his head were all missing; likely confiscated by the guards. The devil's fiery orange eyes still flickered with that wild sense of determination, but it seemed far more subdued than before, as if being locked up had dampened his spirits. Iluka's toothy smile was wide and bristling with arrogance - That much hadn't changed.
Gone were his marsupial-tribe pelts and beige safari-suit, instead replaced with a bright-orange prisoner's jumpsuit, just like the others. On it, the numbers 627 were etched in dark black thread, standing out amongst the orange backdrop. Iluka shuffled up as close to the iron bars as he could, all the while audibly clearing out his throat in preparation.
"Oi, Ramic!" The tasmanian-devil finally called out, rapping on the bars of his cell with his knuckles. "We have guests! Show some hospitality!"
A grunt of acknowledgement echoed from the right of the two officers. In the cell directly beside Iluka's, which neither of them had noticed before, another prisoner stepped into the light of the cell-block. He was a six-foot tall kangaroo with a harsh, angular face, and thick muscles bulging against the orange fabric of his prison jumpsuit. He wore no shirt, instead favoring only the lower-half of his attire, which subsequently exposed all of the old battle scars cut into the light brown fur on the kangaroo's muscular chest. His cell was quite a bit larger than Iluka's, but Nick and Judy could tell that the kangaroo's imposing stature must have just barely fit the requirements for this cell-block's sizing.
"Wilde." Ramic muttered bitterly, glaring at Nick with intense brown eyes.
The fox let out a nervous chuckle. He noticed that Ramic's cell was a lot more bland compared to Iluka's, with the only articles of entertainment being a few dumbbells. But unlike Iluka himself, the kangaroo seemed to have only gotten beefier since being locked up in this prison. That fact definitely didn't make him any less intimidating to talk to.
"Hey there, old buddy." Nick started carefully. "How's prison life treating-"
His words were cut short when Ramic suddenly banged his shoulder on the iron bars separating the two of them, causing them to rattle metallically from the force of his body.
Nick simply swallowed down his desire to reply. He had a feeling that Ramic likely hadn't forgiven him for getting him tossed into prison like this. As Nick recalled, the last time they had crossed paths was down in the Painted Labyrinth, just after the ancient tomb that the marsupial mob had been looking for had crumbled into bits. The fox remembered Ramic arguing with Iluka before noticing he and Judy sitting just a few yards away. Iluka had ran off after that, leaving Ramic to fend for himself. Judy had put a dart in the kangaroo's chest with about as much effort as pointing a remote at a television screen, and the last thing that Nick had noticed before Ramic hit the ground was his bewildered, shocked expression. Clearly, he hadn't been expecting Nick and Judy to make a comeback so quickly, far less put a dart in his chest. Earlier on, he had spared them both before abandoning them in the depths of the Painted Labyrinth, defying Iluka's personal orders. He was probably regretting showing mercy, by now, judging by his previous reaction.
"Don't you old buddy me, you dipstick!" Ramic growled, shaking the metal bars with anger. "You didn't even come to my trial!"
"Ramic! Easy on, easy on!" Iluka interjected, pleading with his former second-in-command to calm down. "That's not how you're supposed to treat your guests!"
"Guests?!" The kangaroo snarled loudly. "These two drongos ruined our entire operation in the Deciduous-District! Got us thrown in here in the first place!"
"Well, maybe none of that would have happened if you had just killed them like I asked you to!" Iluka spat back, a sizable amount of contempt lacing his words.
"And here we go again, always bringin' that up!" Ramic complained, throwing his paws into the air. "Can't you just find a new hobby?"
"Hey, calm down, you two!" Judy ordered. "That's enough! We didn't come here to watch you argue like kits."
The kangaroo growled beneath his breath before crossing his arms and turning his back to the officers. Other than that, he remained silent. On the other side of the wall, Iluka simply took in heaving breaths of air as he attempted to relax. Judy recalled how Iluka must have had some major anger issues, remembering how he had torn up that one old parchment in that Beaverdam warehouse, blamed his minions for his own failings down in the Painted Labyrinth, and now, took out his anger on his former ally. Thankfully, though, he seemed to have gotten better at calming himself down from his tirades, at least: She noticed that the devil's ears and lips had flushed red with blood, but were already beginning to dilute back to their normal pink color. After a few more seconds, Iluka's temper had fully subsided, and he now seemed completely back to normal.
Judy could only hope that he wouldn't lose it again. Sighing, Iluka then faced down the two officers. This time, though, his true self was exposed for all to see - His previous mask of charm and charisma was gone, replaced only by a weary sense of boredom. He almost looked depressed. Losing all of his rage must have drained him of his energy.
"What is it that you two want?" He asked slowly, his tone a mixture of irritation and sorrow. "Haven't you already done enough damage to my diminishing ego?"
Judy nodded her head, ready to get straight to the point. "We're just here to ask you some questions about Al Catpone and his line of work."
Upon registering the rabbit's last few words, Iluka's interests seemed to pique, with his slouching shoulders realigning themselves, and his eyes widening with curiosity.
"Catpone, aye? I reckoned that this was about that flower-picking feline and his ilk." The tasmanian-devil muttered.
"You did?" Judy asked, blinking in apprehension.
"How could I not?" Iluka retorted. "I had a feeling that he'd do something brash sooner or later, and that you blue-heelers would be lookin' for some more info on 'im."
"Wouldn't have guessed they'd send you, though." Ramic spat, stepping out from the shadows again and glaring down at the two officers standing before him.
"Happy to make the occasion." Nick quipped, clearing his throat soon after as he tried to ignore the kangaroo's withering glare.
Judy nodded. "That's right. We were told by three different police chiefs that the best first step for bringing down Catpone would be to interview you, Iluka."
"Uh-huh." The fox added. "Officer Hopps and I figured you crime-lords were pretty tight-knit. Is there anything you can tell us about Catpone, or what he does?"
Shifting his weight, the former crime-lord of Outback-Island straightened out his spine with an iota of pride. Nick could almost sense his growing intrigue.
"Hrm... Never imagined this." Iluka stated with a growing smile. "The ZPD's finest cart themselves all the way out here just to try and glean some dirt from trash like me."
Although he had insulted himself, the devil said it with such renewed confidence that Judy had to remind herself that he was being sardonic. He then continued;
"And here they think that they deserve it after all they did to us back in the Woodlands. Isn't that ironic, Ramic?"
"I hate you." The kangaroo replied flatly.
"It is ironic." Iluka concluded, ignoring his second-in-command's last comment. "I don't think that they deserve to know anything! I'll just keep my mouth right shut."
"First time for everything." Ramic grumbled.
"Mr. Rombahe, please, we need this information to continue the investigation!" Judy pleaded. "And if we don't get it from you, we'll get it from someone else."
"Yep, and then we'll have to give that lucky mammal a reduced sentence." Nick added. "A shame. Could've been you, but alas, if we really have to-"
"No no, wait! Wait!" The tasmanian-devil exclaimed hastily, practically throwing himself onto the iron bars of his cell door. "What's this about a reduced sentence?"
Judy made herself a mental note to thank Nick for his quick thinking, later on. That was the perfect amount of motivation that Iluka needed to cooperate, and Nick had reeled him in like a fish on a hook. Although they couldn't promise anything just yet, Judy had to admit that if the investigation continued smoothly, that they might be able to offer some rewards to Iluka for his compliance, however small. And besides, if it meant getting this literal devil to talk, then Judy couldn't complain. She smiled and then explained;
"That's right! If you tell us everything we need to know, then we'll be sure to tell the warden about your hospitality, in return. It might help get you some extra rewards!"
She omitted the fact that they couldn't promise anything, but it seemed enough for Iluka.
He put on his trademark charming grin before reaching out from between the bars of his cell with one of his muscular arms, causing Judy to back away with wariness.
"I'm sure we can reach an accord, then!" He claimed.
Ramic scoffed. "So what, you're just gonna throw Catpone under the bus now? I thought you an' him were associates." He said.
"We are!" Iluka retorted. "But if he gets himself caught just because a' me divulgin' a wee bit of dirt, then he deserves to be in here with us!"
The devil continued his explanation to Ramic, but kept his face turned towards Judy with a menacing smile;
"And don't worry, Ramic; Catpone and I are associates. We know eachother! And that's why I'm certain these two blue-heelers are gonna die goin' up against him. I've known Catpone for years, and he's not the kind of mammal to let a soft-heart get in the way of his work, unlike you. He won't let pettiness drive him. He'll kill these coppers dead."
A brief moment of tense silence settled upon the cell-block, interrupted only by Iluka and Ramic as they chuckled amongst themselves, having finally reached an agreement.
"I see." Ramic said with a cruel grin. "Then by all means, tell them everything."
"We're right here, you know." Nick interjected, breaking the ice at last. He was clearly unimpressed with the marsupial's attempts at compromise.
"Yeah, yeah." Iluka muttered. "Don't you concern yourself with that, dear officers. I'm sure you'll do fine!"
"As opposed to everything you literally just said to him?" Nick grumbled, pointing a finger at Ramic.
The tasmanian-devil shrugged. "Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not doin' this just because I think you'll die along the way."
"It doesn't." The fox grumbled.
"I'm not even doin' this just because I'll get a reduced sentence!" The devil went on, ignoring Nick's last statement.
Iluka then turned his back to the officers before pacing over to the nearby wooden table in the corner of his cell. He plucked up the framed photo of Elkscalibur and sighed.
"I suppose I owe you two..." He murmured, staring longingly at the picture. "Because of you, our work in the Woodlands wasn't entirely in vain."
The tasmanian-devil then turned towards Nick and Judy, his tawny eyes shining a tiny bit brighter than before.
"Consider this a favor - A one-time favor - In return for your generosity." He finalized before placing the item back on the table and approaching the bars of his cell.
"Thank you, Iluka." Judy replied, raising her carrot-shaped pen and yellow notepad, ready to write down his response. "This will be well worth your time."
"Ace then, lads!" The devil claimed with renewed zest, clasping his meaty paws together with a hearty clap. "So, what is it you need to know about Al Catpone?"
I hope that you all had a Happy New Year, and made it into 2019 in one piece! We've got a lot to look forward to this year, with the final few chapters of WIF (of which I'll be sure to make the best ones yet), and I'm sure new opportunities will be abound for us all in this new year. I also hope you enjoyed this latest chapter update! It certainly had a lot to it, eh? You can expect the next one to arrive here quite soon, as vast portions of it are already written, and for it to start things off immediately with Nick and Judy's conversation with Iluka, plus some other scenes, too, such as their trip to the Rainforest-District (expect plenty of visuals, with that one), the interrogation of the spy from the academy, and a new scene from the villain's perspective, as well. Oh, and remember how in chapter 103, Al mentioned that he was performing a "test" of sorts at the academy with both the savage and apex drugs? You'll see what he meant in regards to that, too. Speaking of villains, it's kinda neat seeing some of them again in this chapter, huh?
I figured it would be fun to have some brief call-backs to some of the old villains that the story has experienced, along with Lionheart, too. That was a fun scene to write up, especially with Iluka and Ramic, near the end. What did you all think of it? I'd love to know your thoughts on this chapter in the form of a review! Gotta love those.
That being said, while on the topic of villains, I would like to briefly run down something with you all, if only to get it off my mind: Villain motivations. I've been thinking a lot about motivations, as of late, especially for villains. All the best villains out there have something to work towards, after all. So that got me thinking: What have the antagonistic characters in 'When Instinct Falls' got to show for themselves, on this topic? Well, if you don't mind me explaining...
Vladzotz is motivated by vengeance - Classic vengeance. Wrath fueled by grief, which he aimed at the ZPD and our one and only Nick Wilde for costing him so much. Though now, he seems to have his priorities straightened out, thanks to his Lucy reminding him that loss and grief only lasts as long as you let it. Still, he is a formidable villain, and the first (and arguably biggest) antagonist that Nick and Judy face in this story, and it's been fun to see him develop as a character throughout the story, even if he is still evil.
Jack Savage was a desperate individual being manipulated by other villains - Caught under the thumbs of Zootopia's most powerful mob-bosses, and also influenced by the coercion of Ratsputin. Jack wanted respect and power, which he hoped to gain through his criminal ties, but sadly, was overconfident and spoiled, and subsequently thought that he could get away with anything, which ultimately led to his downfall. Very much like the Wolf of Wall Street.
Shahaz the Stinger, well, didn't have much to go for him aside from greed. He was basically designed to be a "Big Bad Wannabe" type character, getting lots of hype and build-up in the fourth arc for his arrival, but ultimately subverting expectations when revealed to be less formidable than first thought, not to mention getting shown up by Vladzotz's return.
Ratsputin was the representation of Nick and Judy's failures and flaws, and the epitome of the negative repercussions for their mistakes. He was intelligent, but marred by bitterness and cruelty, seeking to kick down others in his pursuit of power to compensate for his own lack of fulfillment: He wanted to be the first rat news anchor, but unlike Judy, his dream was never realized, so he took out his anger on others. He desired to show the world just how powerful a little rat could be by getting his paws on the Shock-Collar documentations, and using them to blackmail city-hall into doing his bidding. Ratsputin had the ultimate Napoleon-Complex.
Iluka Rombahe sought to prove himself to both others, and himself, by using his skills to do what no other mammal had done before. He would accomplish his goals by any means necessary, even if it proved him to be hypocritical and unapologetically ironic. He wasn't outwardly cruel, or manipulative, and had a true passion for his work, but it was overshadowed by his ambition, anger, and hubris, which was what eventually caused him to (quite literally) fall.
Al Catpone seeks a better world for predators, but wants it through extremist measures. His own negative experiences with the world have tainted his view of it, and he seeks drastic measures for his goals. He thinks that he has the solution to all of the city's problems, and wants to enact these solutions for his own benefit. He also seeks money and power through his efforts. Past it all, though, he wants to allow his son to have a life better than that of his own.
And as for Lucy Sang, well, despite not technically being a major villain, I'll break her down as well. On the surface, she appears to be a flirty femme-fatale, and a professional thief-for-hire seeking as much money and power as she can get, which is all true, but deeper down she is burdened with insecurity and loneliness. She wants to take her anger out on the world by robbing it blind (and drinking it dry along the way) and inciting chaos for her own amusement. Yet beyond that, she takes refuge and solace in Vladzotz because he doesn't see her as another tool to be exploited, and loves her for what she is, making her feel complete. And so, she works with him not just as his clever partner-in-crime, but as his beloved mate as well, all the while continuing her own freelance jobs.
That's pretty much it. Why did I list all of that out? Well, I guess I just felt it needed to be said. Besides, in a story as long as this, even I'm starting to forget about certain topics, so there's nothing wrong with a refresher. Also, it is kind of neat to break down the personalities and motivations of all these baddies.
So, what do you think of them? Which villains are your favorite, and why? I'd love to know, so feel free to add that answer in, if you drop a review. :)
'Till next time...