Zephyr World Zoo

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Chapter XIX

Richard Zerda

Rick was mid-chase when he saw the sign from the guard assigned to their exhibit. He hadn’t even realized that Luna had already finished her routine a while ago.

Time flied when you’re having fun, even in a horrible place like this. He was grateful to his sister for doing that for him.

But now, he let out a small huff, and shot a terrified look over to Robin before moving into position near the glass, where he would be easily seen by the guests. Then he started his routine, executing the moves that Marcus had instructed him to.

Richard ran forward, doing leaps and flips, and walking a few steps on his hind legs. He yipped playfully – though any other Fennec would have been able to tell right away how fake it was – and wagged his fluffy tail, wiggling his large ears.

It wasn’t a particularly difficult routine, all things considered. Nothing too complicated, focusing mainly on the cuteness of his tiny Other form, rather than a lot of skill, like Luna’s. Both he and Robin had done much more difficult tricks trying to outdo one another when they were younger, and had had fun doing it, too.

The young man had refused to look at his sister the entire time he was performing. He knew that one glance at the expression on her face, and he would have surely messed up the routine, and then they would both be in trouble. He couldn’t have that, not when it was completely preventable for them. But now that it was over, he kind of had to, slowly making his way over to his sister, and sitting down beside her. He needed a short break before going back out there.

‘Please don’t think less of me for this,’ he said, not looking at her, his ears drooping. ‘I know it’s not becoming of our Others to use them like this...’ He trailed off, not knowing quite how to finish.

Robin merely look at him before giving a dismissive flick of her tail. ’Don’t worry about it. I’m more interested in how everything works here. So how do they keep the birds from flying off? They don’t have anything visible. Their wings aren’t clipped. Subdermal chips of some kind? Because the simplest escape to me seems like you’d just need to put yourself between the guards and the bird during the morning walk. The bird Changes, and we keep the guards from getting them ‘til they’re gone. Then it’s just a matter of them getting help for the rest of us.’

Her bright eyes met his. ‘I cannot be the first to have thought of that. So how do they prevent it?’

Richard sighed. Of course, she was still trying to plan an escape, even though he had already told her it was impossible. But she might as well find out now. She would find out for herself soon enough.

‘There’s a chip,’ Richard replied, pretending to scratch at his neck, but in actuality, was pointing out where it was located. ‘You’ll likely get yours today or tomorrow. It hurts when they activate it. So badly you can’t move. You just drop.’

Robin yawned. ’Okay, so either toxin, electrical, or maybe mechanical. Either way, probably something that can be removed or disabled. EMP or a good electrical shock might do it,′ his sister mused.

‘Maybe, but where would we get something that could do that?’ Richard asked, tilting his head to the side. He shot a glance at the guard, who was watching them intently. The boy slowly got to his feet, stretching. He’d rested long enough. He had to continue entertaining the zoo’s visitors, so they didn’t get in trouble for it later.

Robin just chittered at him. ‘All around. This place is full of electronics. The trick is figuring what cords will short out the chip, which would kill us, and which are too weak to do diddly,’ she replied, getting up and following him.

The place where he usually worked was just dirt, clear of any plants from the months of trampling it down into nothing. Thankfully, though, Robin didn’t just sit and watch him this time, she again jumped right in, helping him to pass the time until closing by playfully mimicking and outdoing his tricks, tackling and chasing him around the exhibit.

Truly, he hoped that the guards wouldn’t do anything to break his sister, like they had broken him.

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