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Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 08:01 am
The fun continues with an appearance by Nick Wilde.

Exorcist Blues (Wilde Spirit Remix)

Summary: In a Zootopia where animals and spirits dwell side by side, some animals turn into guardian spirits. Some go dark. Some types of animals go darker than others.

Judy Hopps should know, since she wants to be the first exorcist in a long line of rabbit mediums.

Or: A Zootopia remix in which Judy Hopps is an exorcist that specialises in hunting dark spirits.

Spoilers: Entire movie, since this is a remix
Rating: T
Genre: Gen
Warnings for: Supernatural elements, mythical beings and vague references to the Chinese Taoist religious system. Implied off-screen character death
Disclaimer: Not mine as I'm not smart enough to think of the collars storyline.

Zootopia was great and amazing and everything Judy had hoped for... with the minor exception of her job.

Her first day, the Chief Exorcist at ZED had dropped a thick folder in front of her and said, "Hopps, house calls."

One useful thing from her time at the Academy was that Judy got used to looking up at and holding her ground with much larger animals than those from the Triburrows. Considering the number of elephant exorcists a cape buffalo was considered on the smaller side. "Sir?"


"Chief Bogo!" Judy slid off the chair and hurried up to the Chief, even if it put a greater height difference between them. The trick to talking to larger mammals was not the height, but the stance. She kept her ears up, back straight and put all the confidence she could muster in her voice. "I heard you talking about the 13 missing guardian spirits. You may have forgotten, but I was top of my class and my best scores were in tracking - "

"I didn't forget. I just don't care," the Chief shot back.

"So you know I could go to the scene and track who has been taking them away."

The Chief huffed. "Fine. We follow your reasoning. You use your delicate rabbit senses and follow the trail to whatever spirit that is capable of taking down tiger and bear guardian spirits. Then what? You'll ask the spirit nicely to stop?"

"I've fought large animals both living and dead during my Academy training. I - "

"Just because you succeeded in Academy doesn't mean you will succeed in the field. In the Academy, if you weren't able to win your fights you could just try again. If you fail on the field, you're dead. House calls won't complete themselves Hopps. I expect you to visit 50 households before noon. Dismissed."

"But Sir- !"

"I said dismissed!' He'd slammed the door of the briefing room as he left.

Which was why Judy found herself in front of a closed door with a list of addresses and the spirits that should be dwelling there in hand. She reached for the doorbell.

Then Judy lowered her hand. She'd successfully tracked down an elusive nine-tailed fox spirit when she was nine. She could sense the spirit she was looking for in the house, and that it was a panda ancestor just chewing on some leaves at the moment. She still had to check the permits were valid and were for the right spirit, but that was grunt work.

"I won't make 50 house calls by noon," she told herself. "I'll make 100."

She rang the doorbell and as soon as it opened she said, "Judy Hopps, Exorcist, how are you, I'm here to check on your permit for your guardian spirit today please present your permit photo side up."

By noon Judy had checked off the 100th household on her list. She was browsing lunch options at a grocery store when she saw the flicker of multiple fox tails.

Judy wasn't a curious kit anymore, but she'd revised the books on Zootopia's spirit permit laws when she'd prepped for her house calls today. According to these the older the spirit the smaller the radius it was allowed to roam, and these spirits would be tagged as guardians to a specific house or person. Spirits more than 100 years old were generally encouraged to reincarnate, seeing that reincarnation was the next natural part of the cycle, and that there'd be new spirits to act as guardians for their family. How had this spirit managed to linger in Zootopia for so long without being encouraged to move on? As an exorcist, Judy had to find out.

She went to the place she'd last seen the fox tails, caught the aura imprint and followed the spirit. The fox spirit wasn't moving in any great hurry, and Judy soon found herself staring at its back. Even while keeping a few souls between her and the departed soul she was tracking, she was able to count the number of tails. A simple two, but that was still 50 years, older than the average spirit in Zootopia.

The spirit wasn't alone. He was with another fox a lot smaller in size, probably his kit from the way the smaller fox's hand was curled tightly in the fox spirit's paw and how the smaller fox kept looking around him with wide eyes. This felt like the situation with Gideon Gray all over again, except there were no fair tickets to steal. Was the fox spirit just an ancestor keeping an eye on his grandson? In his formal suit, the fox spirit seemed... almost respectable. The colours were also reversed - the fox spirit was red like Gideon, while the fox kit was cream.

Judy followed the pair all the way to an ice cream shop. Surprisingly, it wasn't the kit who lingered, but the older fox spirit. The kit looked at his ancestor, seemed to come to a decision, and headed into the shop.

Judy ducked inside before the door shut and found herself surrounded by large animals again. It was an ice cream shop mainly for elephants, with quite a few already trunk deep in their ice creams. Elephants too were behind the counter serving ice cream.

The pair was talking to an elephant at the cashier's. "One jumbo pop for my granddad," said the fox kit. There was something strange about his voice - it sounded like it was breaking from the way it wavered between the high voice of a young kit and something deeper. "It's his death anniversary."

When the elephant kept his arms crossed and didn't seem to be reaching for the jumbo pop, the kit continued. "It's a really special occasion. He's grown his second tail!"

As prompted the fox ancestor showed his two fluffy tails. The elephant's gaze flickered to it, proving he could see the spirit. The ancestor, knowing he was looking, gave him a smile and an explanation. "You might not know that foxes only grow in their tails every 50 years. It's a big thing."

"Our food isn't for dead people. Scram."

Judy waited for the fox to ignore the elephant and swipe what he believed to be his.

"Alright. Let's go Junior and not bother these people anymore."

Judy looked at them and remembered how her mother's medium tent was always outside the fair even though the organisers asked her to come back year after year. How the older folk would complain that spirits messed with the crops and still buy Hopps produce. Today was just another example of that nasty business.

Her feet caught up with her thoughts faster than the rest of her did, and she found herself going up to the counter. The fox ancestor stopped short when he spotted her, but she went right past him.

"Excuse me!" she said to the elephant. This was like to Chief Bogo, only this time she made sure her voice carried for other reasons. "You said you don't serve food to dead people?"

"That's what I said. Are those rabbit ears of yours just for show?"

"Do you mind explaining to your customers why that spirit has his trunk in your ice cream right now?"

At least one customer spat out his ice cream. The spirit in question tugged its trunk out of the tub it had been snacking on. It didn't actually need it - it wasn't corporeal enough to even make any ice cream drip on the floor. The elephant sighed. "I've got a permit for my brother."

Judy considered asking for it but that wasn't the point here. "Even if you do, having spirits handle food that is subsequently served to customers is still a Health Code violation. One that might shut down your business." She made sure to smile here, remind people that she was still a friendly bunny and that there was some leeway. "But I'm sure a call to the health inspectors wouldn't be necessary, if you let this nice kit buy his ancestor a - " She turned to the foxes. "What was it again?"

"A jumbo pop," said the ancestor, and his smile at this unexpected kindness made Judy want to see this through.

She turned to the elephant and repeated. "A jumbo pop."

The elephant sighed again but he stated a price. The fox kit was reaching for his pocket when the ancestor asked, "Kit, do you have your wallet?"

The kit's paw came out empty, and he started frantically patting his pockets

"He'd forget his own head if it wasn't attached to him," the spirit sighed. "You know how it is with kits. Don't worry, it's all good." He dropped a kiss on top of his kit's head.

Judy's heart melted. She had the money to spare, and it was easy enough for her to hop up and slap a twenty on the counter. "Keep the change," she said, the exhilaration of doing good enough to make her overlook what the elephant had done.

One jumbo pop later, she and the foxes were walking out of the shop together as the fox spirit gave his effusive thanks. In the midst of it the spirit offered his hand to shake. "I can't thank you enough Exorcist - " He mistook her hesitation in taking his hand. "Oh I should have asked - "

"No, it's fine." Judy made sure to adjust her grip for the handshake as she would for a hug with Great-Uncle Albert. "Judy Hopps."

A thoughtful look crossed the spirit's face, soon replaced by a smile as he introduced himself as, "Nick Wilde." To his kit, he said, "Could you keep carrying that for me? I'm afraid my grip on physical things is still touch and go."

The kit grunted under the weight of the popsicle that dwarved even his ancestor, but he still gamely carried the oversized popsicle as they waved their goodbyes to Judy.

Judy might have forgotten all about them. But rabbits didn't forget an aura that they'd sensed before. When she caught their aura again, she hadn't intended to also catch sight of the scheming activities of the fox spirt and his "kit". Once she did however, she followed them through every bit of their popsicle making process until the fox spirit waved the white fennec fox off.

"That was some glamour you did on his voice."

There was no hint of remorse or surprise in the lazy smile Nick Wilde gave Judy as he turned around. "People hear what they want to hear. They expect a sweet young voice to come out of a tiny fox and I give them what they want."

"Do they also want melted down jumbo pops and red wood popsicle sticks?"

"You'll be surprised." Wilde had loosened his tie since the morning and the way he now shoved his paws into his suit pocket made me look like a slouching layabout. "You got what you wanted this morning too." Thinking he got the last word, he floated off.

How dare he - ! Judy hurried after him until she could keep pace. "You tricked me!"

The spirit kept floating down the sidewalk. "It's called a hustle, sweetheart. You wanted to do a good deed and they just so happened to run out of little old ladies crossing the road, so you did a good deed for me and I turned that to my advantage."

"So you could turn right around and trick other people too?"

"Look you come from," he sniffed and she could feel him reading her aura. "A place with bountiful harvests and lots of spirits so I'm going with somewhere in the Triburrows. You hear talk about how Zootopia is where anyone can be anything and everyone truly understands the circle of life. But then you come and find it's every bit as broken as the reincarnation cycle is. You can only be what you already are. Sly fox, dumb bunny. Trickster, stick in the mud." At this point he glanced down and grinned. "Literally, in this case."

Judy was about to ask what he meant when she felt her foot squelch into something. Wilde had led her right into wet cement.

Wilde, still floating in midair, wiggled a clean foot at her and left without a sign as fox spirits always did.

Judy knew her current lackluster mood was not suitable for house calls.

She couldn't help it. She kept wondering if her first day was just typical of the way things would be in Zootopia. It didn't help that her work seemed to make the world seem as broken as what the fox spirit had claimed. People made excuses, or lied, or got angry. Judy found she actually preferred those who refused to answer the door.

This reaction was new. As soon as Judy opened the door of the florist shop, the owner grabbed her by the shoulders. "Why are you only here now?"

Startled, Judy fumbled her usual spiel. "I'm here to check on your guardian spirit - "

"We'll deal with that later. The thief that hurt my guardian is getting away!"

Judy glanced at the trail that hadn't even had time to dissipate and realised it belonged to the weasel that had shouldered past her barely a moment ago. She really was the first exorcist on the scene.

"On it sir! I'll get back what he stole!"

The pursuit was still Judy's favourite part of being an exorcist. There was a thrill in catching up to those up to no good. Judy found the thief slinking in what little shadows there were at this time of day, hunched over a bag that had to be the stolen goods.

When the weasel saw Judy's sword slung behind her, he broke into a run. The living usually weren't the ones that ran from exorcists. Judy's curiosity was piqued even more when the weasel ran straight onto a ley line. He intended to boost his spiritual powers to help him escape.

The weasel obviously didn't consider that ley lines helped anyone that used them. As Judy dashed after him, she felt her powers expand to their new range. She had to admit the weasel was good - she had to strain to her new max to make out the weasel zig-zagging in an attempt to boost its obscuring glamour. Unfortunately for the weasel, it would take a fully powered shield to prevent Judy from seeing him.

She kept on the weasel's trail even as she felt other exorcists join her in the chase. Her choice was proven right when the rhino lunged for the weasel, only to find he had grabbed an imprint from five minutes ago.

Judy leapt over the rhino. "I'm on it!" Caught up in the thrill of the pursuit she let out a whoop.

The weasel doubled his speed. Judy thought back to the map of ley lines she had studied at the Academy. This particular line ran along 4th Avenue, which meant it ran through...

The weasel burrowed its way past the tiny entrance of the rodent graveyard.

If this was where the ley went, Judy would follow it through. She dived through the narrow gate, felt the prickle of a threshold and tried to recall if Academy training had mentioned any dangers in bursting into a rodent graveyard uninvited.

Then she was through without a scratch and she could turn her focus back to the weasel.

Muttering in disgust as he tossed off his glamour, the weasel switched to physical distraction. He kicked at a tombstone as he ran, sending a whole wave of them toppling over.

Unclaimed spirits rose from their graves and dashed about shrieking. They weren't old enough to cause any damage, but it made Judy feel as if they were running over her currently non-existent grave every time one of them passed through her feet. She stepped carefully, righting tombstones as she went along.

A sustained scream drew Judy's attention. A fallen angel headstone was leaning against a mausoleum such that the roof was starting to list. Any further and the roof would topple right off.

Dashing forward, Judy caught the root just before its slide exposure its inhabitants to the sun. Good thing she had - the anxious aura she felt told her the mausoleum contained vampires long before she spotted the fangs on the arctic shrew peering up at her through the tiny gap in the roof. Her tomb had been open because she had been getting her nails done.

"Love your hair," Judy couldn't help commenting, because it was really nice and not something all mammals could grow out.

"Thanks!" the shrew chirped back, before the groan of the roof made them both wince. Judy eased the roof back to block the sunlight fully, then had to juggle the angel tombstone so it didn't knock the roof off again. A thought came to mind as she hefted the angel and considered the weasel heading towards the other exit of the cemetery.

If Judy cut off the weasel's escape route by way of an avenging angel tombstone, that was because it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

"The last I checked, exorcists dealt with departed mammals, not those still living. A grand case such as the theft of a bag of mouldy onions is for the police. Or are you considering a career change after the house calls?"

"Actually those are bulbs of the Datura stramonium, which is used as painkillers and to relieve asthma. I know this because my father is a healer - "

"Hopps! Did you or did you not chase down a weasel while on duty?"

"To be fair, I was told he'd injured a spirit."

"That meant he was armed and dangerous. That would have been even more reason for you to wait for the proper people to do their job. Instead, you pursued him so closely he ran into a crowd of more spirits he could have harmed. You put both them and yourself at great risk"

Judy bristled and pretended that the faint scars on her cheek didn't hurt on full moon nights. "I could have taken care of it. Sir, I want to do more - "

"I thought I made my opinion on that clear. It's not about how badly you want something, it's about what you're capable of. As exorcists we balance on the line between life and death. If you continue acting as rashly as you have today you could go tripping right over that line and die. This isn't the Academy where you can just try again. There are consequences - "

The office door was abruptly opened. Judy felt the bright warm aura before she saw the tiny otter in the middle of the nimbus, clutching a photo of her family. "Chief Bogo, have you found my Emmett yet?"

Judy half expected the Chief to chew out the otter on the threshold as well, but he as surprisingly gentle when he told her, "Mrs Otterton, didn't I tell you to wait for news?'

"But it's been two weeks! Oh it almost feels like losing him all over again, we were so torn up when he died. He didn't want to move on until the children had grown up. I don't believe he would have just left us like that -"

"I understand, but all our exorcists are very busy."

"Please, there's got to be somebody to find my Emmett!"

The photo decided Judy, and she clambered off the chair to approach Mrs Otterton. "I will find him," she declared.

Mrs Otterton's eyes filled with tears and she gave her profuse thanks as she hugged Judy. Judy hugged her right back, even as it made Chief Bogo growl in frustration. "Oh please take these," Mrs Otterton said, pulling back to hand Judy the photo and a talisman. "This is what my Emmett looks like, and the talisman used to hang around his ashes. Please bring him back to me and my babies."

"Could you wait a moment Mrs Otterton?" Judy had to jump back as Chief Bogo closed the door - while talking to Mrs Otterton on the threshold of the office, she'd put herself in the way of the door's swing. The way Chief Bogo glared at her made Judy think of those at the Academy who had been sore at losing fights to her.

"You're. Fired," he ground out.

"What? Why?"

"Insubordination!" Chief Bogo snapped back, an emphatic hoof tip in Judy's face. "Now, I'm going to open the door and you're going to tell Mrs Otterton that you're unfit even for house calls and you will not be tracking her husband."

Before Judy could retort, Chief Bogo had opened the door. Mrs Otterton had been joined by Assistant Mayor Bellwether on the threshold.

The sheep beamed at the both of them. "I heard Exorcist Hopps will be tracking down Mr Otterton!" Without even acknowledging Chief Bogo's shocked splutters, she continued, "The Mammal Inclusion Initiative is really starting to pay off, Mayor Lionheart is going to be so jazzed!" Bellwether nodded at the lioness ancestor hovering by her shoulder.

"He already knows," said the ancestor.

Bellwether beckoned to Judy, then pumped her hand once Judy was within reach. I'm so glad you're doing this. If you need help, you'll always have a friend at City Hall. Us little folk have to look out for each other.'

"Yes, yes we do," Judy agreed.

"I'll leave you to it then. Mrs Otterton, is there any way I can help too in your moment of need - "

The door swung shut again. Chief Bogo looked like he very much wanted to ram down the door. "So now you've got the Mayor on this too. How will I know you won't over-promise and under-deliver?"

"Sir, I will find Mr Otterton."

"You have 48 hours Hopps. You strike out, you resign."

Judy hadn't come this far to give up. "Deal."

Part 1 |...| Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5 || Part 6


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