Welcome to Part 2 of the Vexey arc, not to be confused with her previous appearance in Drabble 6. (That won't be the only time she appears outside of her arc either.) Check out her cool new ref sheet on DeviantArt or the BtBW character page on TV Tropes to get in the right mood.
In this part, more pies, lies, and a surprise!
Drabble 11: Strife of Pie
The Mild Manor
8: 13 AM
"Now this is more like it."
An immensely satisfied Vexey Wilde leaned back in her chair, at her desk, in her office, reveling in the fact that all of these things were, in fact, hers now. The former reds and blacks of the Mild Manor were slowly being replaced by greys and purples, and the main office was naturally the first room to be completely redecorated to the new boss's liking. The knick knacks on the desk had been cleared away, the walls had been repainted, the dartboard had been repopulated with pictures of her father and brother, the perpetually smiling fish in the tank had been given hooks to turn them into perpetually scowling fish instead, and even the giant face of Count Reynard that had been formerly plastered into the carpet was now one of a smirking Vexey.
As far as the gothic grey fox could tell, the takeover was going pretty smoothly, but she rarely trusted her own judgement on these things anymore. "Progress report," she ordered.
Up and Down stood at attention immediately. "Well...the renovations are about 30% done," Up said. "And they have so far cost us roughly $10,000." Vexey glared at him. "Which is entirely within our budget, of course."
"We've also been sure to spread the word about the changes through the rest of the organization," Down added. "There has been shockingly little resistance." She glared at him too. "Because you are such a natural-born leader, of course."
"Of course," she agreed, smiling in contentment. "Now, what to do next? I was thinking of maybe hiring an artist to paint a portrait of me to replace that ugly one in the main hall."
"If we could offer some advice?" Up started. "You did say that was one of the duties of your Royal Attendants."
"Alright. Proceed," Vexey relented.
"It's just that...maybe you should take your focus off of redecorating for now and instead work on consolidating your power."
"You said there was no resistance."
"I said there was little resistance," Down clarified. "And that could, hypothetically, be because you've only been in power for about a week now. Most of the organization is still running according to your father's protocols, and despite his flaws, those protocols have been highly efficient."
"So what are you saying?" she asked defensively. "That the only reason I haven't been overthrown yet is because nothing's really changed?"
"Things have changed!" Up said hastily. "Like the walls...and the carpeting…"
"But perhaps it's time you made some bigger moves," Down suggested. "Something that you can really call your own. Like bringing in a new business or two to Foxden and expanding the empire."
"We tried that already," she reminded him. "The best prospect I found was that dumb bakery and the owner turned me down."
"Yes, but that was using your father's style." Up smirked, adjusting his shades. "Why don't you try again, using your own style?"
"Because…" She frowned, looking off to the side. "Because I don't know what my own style is yet."
"Then maybe it's time to find out."
Vexey pulled out an old file, one her father had created on the bakery in question before she had ever gotten around to visiting it. She opened it up, staring down into the face of its plump, jolly owner. She smiled slowly as she reviewed the information again. "Yes...maybe it is."
Gideon Grey's Real Good Baked Stuff
9: 15 AM
The bakery was strangely empty this morning as Gideon opened up, having not received a single customer so far. But that was just fine with him. As much as he enjoyed sharing his baked goods with the local long-eared folk, he could appreciate the occasional slow day to just sit back and smell the roses.
Or the pies. The pies were better.
Gideon was about to give into temptation and pull one out for himself when it suddenly occurred to him why there was so little activity. He heard a vague commotion going on outside and poked his head through the double doors curiously. He regretted that decision immediately.
Protestors. A whole crowd of bunny protestors assembled in front of his shop, marching around in circles. Gideon sighed sadly. "Oh, not this again…"
He thought back to that strange vixen he had met just a week ago, almost subconsciously. He still didn't agree with her pronouncements that the community didn't accept him, but there were always exceptions.
"Fox Away, go away!"
"No more macing our neighbors!"
"How would you like getting tased? Huh? HUH?!"
Gideon blinked in surprise. These protestors weren't trying to drive him out. They were actually supporting him, taking a stand against the local Fox Away brand for his sake. Aw shucks, fellas. You're gonna make me tear up here.
The heartwarming moment didn't last. The bunnies' impassioned cries soon turned into pained ones as they started getting pelted by stones from a second group of bunnies. Counter-protestors.
"We don't like foxes and thus like Fox Away!"
"We have problems with your opinions!"
"We're not being paid to do this!"
Gideon was pretty sure he recognized the "I hate foxes!" shirt one of them was wearing.
"Hey now, that's enough of that!" he called out, rushing forward without thinking. Several stones were thrown towards him as well, but they all bounced harmlessly off of his belly.
"Oh no! He's immune to petty bullying!"
"What do we do?!"
"Follow the script!"
The counter-protestors screamed and scurried away in seperate directions. Gideon didn't go after them, not that he had the agility to anyway. Instead, he focused his talents where they really mattered: on helping the injured. Most of their injuries amounted to minor bruises and a few bleeding head wounds, nothing a little first-aid and generous amounts of pie couldn't heal. "Alright, fellas, step on inside and let's get y'all fixed up," the baker said, ushering them into the building. The fact that not one of these bunnies accused him of trying to extort business out of them was proof enough that they really were on his side.
One of those bunnies stayed behind though, and he stuck out more than the others. Bunnyburrow had a massive population that literally grew by the second, but Gideon had still memorized most of the local faces. This was not one of them. In fact, he didn't look like he came from around here at all. He was a chocolate-covered rabbit dressed in a fancy button-up shirt and suspenders, even wearing a carrot-shaped bowtie. He had a very "official" look to him, but if he were a local official, Gideon would've recognized him. "Thank you for your help, sir!" he said energetically, actually saluting him.
"Nothing to it. Just doing my civic duty and all. Are you new to the area? No offense, but I don't believe I've seen you around before."
He laughed sheepishly, as if he'd just remembered leaving his wallet in the car. "Ah, no, I imagine you wouldn't have." He recovered quickly, smiling widely and extending his paw. "Sunny Lapinson. Assistant Mayor of Zootopia. Pleasure to meet you."
In his surprise, Gideon hesitated to accept the paw, but quickly realized he was being rude and shook it. "Well I'll be! Now, what is someone like you doing all the way out here?"
"Get me one of those delicious cherry pies and I'll tell you," Sunny replied, grinning.
Soon, the entire group was inside the bakery, applying bandages and scarfing down desserts in equal measure. Naturally, Gideon didn't charge them for any of it because he himself was a big cinnamon bun.
"This is actually something Mayor Manchas and I have been discussing for a while," Sunny said, wiping his mouth with a handkerchief. "With a rabbit as assistant mayor, we wanted to do more outreach into the Bunnyburrow community. And not just the bunnies in it, either. Prejudice against foxes is particularly bad out here, to the point of driving many of you to move into Foxden. Thanks for refraining from that, by the way."
"You're welcome," Gideon replied. "Though there have been attempts to persuade me. From both sides."
"Of course, of course," Sunny said, nodding quickly. "Anyway, I wasn't about to turn down this project, especially not when it gives me the opportunity to meet the Hopps family." He giggled. "Sorry...Judy is kind of my hero."
Gideon smiled. "She's kind of a hero to a lot of folks. Including myself if I'm going to be completely honest. I've definitely seen more bunnies in cop outfits now than I did back in the day, that's for sure."
"Right?! It's awesome!" Sunny seemed to remember that he was supposed to be a professional and toned down the fanboying. "Ahem. I mean, yes, it's good to see progress being made on that front. Unfortunately, her partner isn't as well-respected, and the Fox Away brand is still going strong."
"Not sure you can do much about that," Gideon admitted. "It's been around as long as I can remember. I don't even know where the stuff comes from."
"No one does!" Sunny said, so exasperated he actually put his pie down. "You can find it everywhere, but ask where they get their supplies from and they just shrug at you! I even caught one of the dropoffs, but that rabbit just led me to another rabbit, who led me to another rabbit, who led me to another rabbit…"
Seven more rabbits later...
"It's just a mess! A big, messy mess! And that's the problem! They think so little of buying this stuff that they don't even care where it comes from!" Sunny panted and took a drink of water, going on for longer than he expected. "Sorry...got kinda rambly there. My mouth moves as fast as my feet sometimes."
"That's quite alright. I'm just glad you guys are all okay." Several bunnies covered in more pie than bandaging shot him thumbs-ups in return. "And I appreciate all that you're doin' for me, but I don't want you putting yourselves in danger for my sake either."
"If anything is dangerous, it's you giving us all of this food for free. Are you sure you don't want me to reimburse you? I can easily fit this into my budget."
"I'll hear nothing of it," Gideon said firmly. "It's the least I can do when you're out there taking rocks to the face just to help me out. Try not to make a habit of it though."
Sunny laughed, finally going back to his pie. "Alright, fair enough."
"Well, weeeeeeell, so the vulpine menace is still in town! We gots some real strong wawds ta say about that!"
There were some things that could try the patience of even Gideon Grey. One of them was a certain fat rabbit in a certain shirt who was once again entering his bakery along with his posse. "Sir, it has been a very long morning and these rabbits need medical treatment, so could you please mosey along now?"
"Now, ah don't think so!" the rabbit slurred, taking a swig from his ambiguously alcoholic beverage. "We've got a point ta make and we're gonna make it!"
Gideon ran a paw down his face, struggling to remain courteous. "Sir, I believe you have all made your point quite sufficiently. Both this morning and last week."
"Wait, you know this guy?" Sunny asked curiously.
"Sorta. This fox gal, Vexey, tried to use him to get me to relocate to Foxden. It wasn't a very good performance, but I didn't wanna be rude, so I didn't say that…"
The invading bunnies gasped.
"He's onto us!"
"How did he figure it out?!"
"Follow the script!"
"This isn't in the script!"
Blocking out Gideon, Sunny, and everyone else, the bunnies all formed a huddle right there in the middle of the bakery, loudly whispering about what to do next. Half of their captive audience watched with mild amusement, while the other half just kept eating.
Two uncomfortable minutes later, they seemed to have come to a consensus and broke apart again, all giving forced smiles. "Hi," the lead bunny said.
"Hi…" Gideon said back.
Another minute passed.
"PIE!" he shouted, chucking a butter-pecan directly into Gideon's face.
Now it was the bunnies on Gideon's side who gasped as the fox slowly wiped it off. "Now, that was very uncalled for, but I'm gonna be the bigger mammal here, in more ways than one, and turn the other-"
The instigator took a strawberry pie to the face.
"Oh, is that what you wanted?" Sunny asked, wiping the remnants of the improvised weapon from his paws. "Sorry, Mayor Manchas tends to be a bit more decisive, if you catch my drift."
Gideon didn't have time to complain, because the bakery erupted into a warzone immediately after.
Being the largest target, Gideon was struck by several more pies before Sunny took further decisive action, kicking over his table as cover and pulling the fox behind it. The rest of the patrons took the cue to do the same, returning fire. "This is gonna take forever to clean up!" Gideon wailed, watching the fruity projectiles soar overhead.
"Not as long as it takes to clean up crime, and we all have to do our part!" Sunny said, as if it were a campaign slogan. His fellows paused to clap before continuing the assault.
With the tables literally turned on the attackers, the flow of flying pies reversed and they found themselves under heavy fire. "Retreat! Again!" ordered the leader as they bolted out of there.
When the crust settled, the bakery and its denizens were covered in about two dozen different flavors. Gideon sighed in dismay and dropped to his knees at the sorry state of his establishment. "Well...guess I'll go grab the mop and bucket."
He started to get back up when a gentle paw stopped him. "I believe we have found another way to reimburse you," Sunny said, smiling at him. The other bunnies had already found the cleaning supplies and were currently passing them around.
This time, Gideon really did tear up. "Thanks, guys…"
The Mild Manor
9: 46 AM
"I'm sorry...did you just say you lost a pie fight?"
Vexey leaned back in her chair with her feet on the desk, frowning as she held the phone to her ear. "Yes, I know that wasn't in the script, I wrote the script! Why did you start a pie fight?!"
"Of course...him." She glanced down with frustration at the fat fox's file again. "I don't care if he was being annoying, you were supposed to intimidate him, not-!"
Wait...chewing out minions over the phone...isn't that something Dad would do?
Vexey instantly calmed down. "Alright, it's fine. Just go wash off. I'll have a new job for you eventually maybe."
She hung up, resisting the urge to throw the phone against the wall. That would probably break it and she really didn't want to ask her father for a new one. "Okay, guys, I don't think this is working out so far. I tried a more direct approach this time, but he shut me down again. And it still feels like I'm just ripping off of Dad, which kinda pisses me off. Any ideas?"
"Maybe you should ditch the bunny thugs entirely," Down suggested. "They're kind of awful at everything."
"Well yeah, but who else am I going to get to do things for me out in Bunnyburrow? It's too suspicious using the fox thugs, even I can tell that much."
"Not necessarily," Up chimed in. "Not if you use the right fox thugs."
"Though we would prefer a different term," Down added.
"Like Royal Attendants. I was okay with that."
Vexey tilted her head, fixing them with a suspicious gaze. "You two are going to do something about this? By yourselves?"
"Oh no, it's not like that," Up insisted. "We just want to give you an idea of what your style could be."
"Think of us as inspiration."
"But technically speaking, it's inspired by you."
"So it's really your idea."
The suspicion faded quickly. "That makes sense. Thanks." She let out a relieved sigh. "Alright, you can stop now." Up and Down removed their paws from her feet and let her put them back on the floor. "Now tell me your plan."
They came up on either side of her and whispered into the vixen's ears. "Like it?" they asked in unison.
Vexey grinned. "Yes, that sounds amazing and I'm all for it! Go make your Queen proud!"
"Yes, Lady Reynard." They smiled at her, then each other, then exited the room.
Gideon Grey's Real Good Baked Stuff
10: 31 AM
The Sunny bunnies were still hard at work cleaning up discarded pastry when the Bunnyburrow police arrived on the scene. Disproportionate to the ever-growing size of the population, said police force consisted of roughly two dozen mammals total. None of which, for a long time, were bunnies, which was partially why. The other reason was that nothing happened in Bunnyburrow outside of the occasional crop or tool theft.
This community took its agriculture seriously.
So it was no surprise that a grand total of one officer actually showed up to investigate an incident that had more or less already passed. But at least it was an officer that Gideon knew personally. "Travis! Good to see ya again."
"That's Deputy Travis," the polecat corrected, writing down a few details onto a notepad. Much like Gideon, the former stooge's days of bullying were over, though he still got a bit of a sadistic thrill from doling out justice where needed. He honestly wasn't totally equipped to being a police officer, and not just because of his former mockery for the profession, but they were just short enough on able paws to pass him through. "So, uh, tell me about the incident or whatever."
"Well, it's like I said," Gideon began. "A bunch of bunnies who didn't like me came in here and tried to threaten me into moving out. I said no, rather politely under the circumstances if I do say so myself, then one of them threw a pie at my face and...well…" He gestured to the mess all around them.
"I see…" Travis had been writing that entire time, which gave Gideon some doubt on just how much of the story he had actually gotten. But it would be improper to say so aloud. "Did you recognize any of them?"
"Sorta," Gideon admitted, scratching his noggin. "But only because one of them was here a week ago, also trying to get me to move. I didn't catch any of their names."
This piqued the polecat's interest as he glanced up from his notebook. "So do you think this, ah, attack, was related to that?"
"Probably. Around the same time, there was this vixen named Vexey who really wanted me to move to Foxden. She was kinda bad at it, but I gotta give her an A for effort."
Travis too was "kinda bad" at his job, since this was the point where he stopped writing things down. "So you think a fox was behind this? Not exactly helping your public image, Gideon."
"You can say that again," Sunny remarked, stepping forward and forcibly shaking the officer's paw. "Sunny Lapinson, Assistant Mayor of Zootopia. Nice to meet ya. Anyway, when are you going to bag the bitch? Speaking scientifically here."
"Yeah, that's not really how it works," Travis drawled. "Fact of tha matter is, we've got nothing but your word on all of this. If you could describe the perpetrators, we can try to bring them in, but in a town as big as Bunnyburrow…"
"They're probably all long gone by now," Gideon finished.
"To be fair, they didn't seem like the brightest bulbs in the garden," Sunny said. "If we could find even one of them, I bet we'd get a confession faster than I could say 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'!" He paused. "Which is fast!"
"Well, good luck with that," said Travis, apparently forgetting that was supposed to be his job. "I think I'm gonna just buy a few pastries for the office and head on back with my, er, report. Got any donuts?"
Gideon brighted, forgetting that himself. "Sure! We got glazed, frosted, jelly-"
His phone went off. "Oh, pardon me! Could be about that new oven I ordered." The fox put it to his ear with a winning smile that the recipient couldn't even see. "Gideon Grey's Real Good Baked Stuff! Gideon Grey speaking! How may I help you?"
"Help me? Or help yourself?"
Gideon stared blankly, getting deja vu. "Help...you? Wait, is this Vexey?" Both Sunny and Travis looked towards him.
"N-No! Don't be ridiculous, fat guy! I'd never...wait, shit, forgot the modulator."
After a few more seconds, the mysterious unknown caller spoke again. "That's better. Now, listen carefully, Gideon Grey, for more lives than your own depend on your response."
"You have stubbornly turned down friendly suggestions from interested parties who would like you to relocate your business to Foxden. Not cool. So in order to properly motivate you, stronger measures have been taken."
Gideon swallowed nervously. He was a bit unnerved now, if only because this girl was putting way too much effort into just trying to get him to move his bakery. "What kind of measures?"
The voice laughed menacingly, though perhaps a little too hard. "Just the incentive of your business partners, Bonnie and Stu Hopps. For they have been relocated already!"
With their sensitive hearing, Sunny and a few other rabbits gasped, while Travis was left wondering what all the hubbub was about.
"That means I kidnapped them, FYI. Sorry if it wasn't clear. Still new at this."
To the surprise of everyone in the room, Gideon actually snarled in anger. "Now you have gone too far, missy! I was nice enough to ignore all of this before, but I'm not going to stand for this!"
"No, you won't. You are going to move into your new home posthaste, or else Bonnie and Stu will become stew! Eh, that one was kinda lame. You have one week! Be there or be spherical, fat guy!"
As she hung up, Deputy Travis finally pieced enough of the call together to make a conclusion. "So, uh, I guess that's one mystery solved."
"Sunny…" Gideon said slowly. "I need a pie."
"Um...sure," the assistant mayor agreed, passing him a new cherry pie that was actually still intact.
"Thanks." Gideon sat himself down and promptly began to comfort eat while sighing to himself.
Sunny wisely stepped in before he went through what was left of his stock. "What are you going to do?"
"The one thin I ca do," Gideon replied, his mouth stuffed full. "I goin ta Fodden."
Thankfully, the rabbit's ears were good enough that he could translate. "You can't just give in to her demands!"
"I haf to. I canth let her hur anyone over thith. Ith jus a bakery. Liveth are moa importa."
Travis stifled a laugh. "I'm sorry, but I can't take this seriously. He is right though, Sunny. We can't risk the Hopps folks over a bakery."
"So the police are just giving up on this too?!" Sunny asked, in complete disbelief. His bunny supporters quickly rallied behind him.
"H-Hey, don't gang up on me!" Travis said defensively. "I thought maybe you were being harassed by some business rival, but this is the Foxden Mob we're talking about! Even if we got our entire police force together, they would outnumber us three to one! Yeah, the Hopps chick did some impressive stuff over in Zootopia and we're all real grateful for it, but that doesn't mean we can suddenly do the impossible!"
Sunny scowled at him. "Oh really? Maybe I should call up the sheriff and get his opinion on the matter."
Travis flinched. "Aw, come on, you don't gotta do that."
He kept glaring with surprising intensity.
"Okay, fine! I'll report back and see what I can do about getting a posse together. But this is gonna be one hell of a rescue operation, so don't expect much support!" Travis left the bakery, muttering to himself. "Why did I ever sign up for this job? Dang bunny made it look so easy…"
Gideon put his pie down as he sat back up. "Now hold on here! I never asked for a rescue mission!"
"Nor were you going to," Sunny replied. "That's why I did it for you."
"Hey, what did I tell you? We're here for you, Gideon." The other bunnies cheered in support. "And from what I can tell, you've been quite the sparkling influence on this community. We're not just gonna let Foxden take you away from us without a fight, like it or not."
Gideon looked like he badly wanted to protest, but the wheels had already been set in motion and he could plainly see that it was too late to stop them. "Ugh...I'm gonna feel awful if something happens to the Hopps' because of this, you know that, right?"
"Then I guess we'll just have to make sure nothing happens," he joked. "But seriously, this is just the police doing their job. It's not your fault that Vexey lady was dumb enough to threaten you within earshot of the deputy! We'll go along, but just to watch, okay?"
"Here, here!" the bunnies cheered.
Just to watch. Yeah, I can where this is going a mile away. "Here, here…" Gideon said wearily.
Time to suddenly raise the stakes on what used to be just a cute little collection of oneshots! Just because Vexey is a comic-relief villain, that doesn't mean she can't do genuinely scary things. That's one trait she actually did inherit from Dad.
You know what's weird? The movie makes it clear that "there's never been a bunny cop, ever" before Judy, and yet that raises the question of what Bunnyburrow's own police force is made up of. Hence the idea of it being a fairly slow-going and largely unnecessary job mostly populated by everyone who ISN'T a bunny. It gave us an excuse to use Travis for something, so why not?
Just as a reminder, since I know it's been a while, assistant mayor Sunny Lapinson is owned by Lucky the Meowth. This arc was actually the main reason the character was created, with his first appearance in Chapter 18 more of a convenient cameo. (We originally wanted Emmit Otterton as assistant mayor, but he wouldn't have exactly worked here.) The more you know.