Song, the orange, white, and black calico, silently stood in front of a lab table—the sole florescent light above him shedding light into the room. Donning a white lab-coat, he intently focused on the plant sample he was observing through the microscope. Turning a knob on the side, he silently growled to himself, trying to turn it into focus. From across the room, the large sliding doors silently slid open, revealing the lanky blue-jay named Rievlen. The bird quietly stared at the calico from across the room, before nervously walking to the table. “Uh… are you Song by any chance?” he gently inquired, uncomfortably fidgeting on the spot.
Closing both of his eyes in contempt, the calico softly growled and boredly glared up at the bird. “Yes, what about it?” he breathed.
“Ah… I… uh…” Rievlen stammered, only to be harshly interrupted by Song with a growl of annoyance, before resuming focusing the microscope. “I am Rievlen… I was told to come find you?” the blue-jay softly asked, rubbing the back of his head. Rievlen wasn’t sold on the idea of working with Song—not because cats are natural predators of birds—but because of the rumors surrounding the calico. People had always stated that Song wasn’t the most pleasant person to work with, and it showed.
Song instead blinked a few times, before placing both paws on the table and sighing, lowering his head. “You are Rievlen, yes?” he simply asked. The blue-jay simply nodded in affirmation. Song exhaled, his demeanor shifting as he did. “I do apologize for my attitude. I am used to people bothering me for the most mundane things while working, and I tend to not take kindly to it. Take a seat, and do tell, who told you what?” He pointed at a nearby stool, which Rievlen pulled up and sat on.
“I uh… the department head did. As for what, nothing, admittedly. I was just told to come and find you.”
Song gave Rievlen a skewed look as he tutted silent, sizing up the nervous bird. “I see. As you may know, I have recently asked the university for a grant to conduct a long-term study of the flora and fauna of a nearby forest, to see the validity of reports of a spontaneous mutation of plants and animals, and if it is truthful, to find what caused it, and if it could be useful for alchemy. As a result, we would have to identify, categorize, and analyze all the flora and fauna of the forest. The study is projected to take upwards of seven years to complete, and would involve us living in the forest for that entire time. I asked for the assistance of another, and your name came up. Once it is done however, we would be able to go anywhere and work there.”
Rievlen’s beak hung agape in shock. “We’d be living there?” he incredulously asked, raising a single eyebrow.
“Yes, unless you would like to travel at least an hour each day.”
“Aren’t you worried about that though?”
“No. We will have modern amenities, and if something were to happen, the hospital can get a helicopter to us within ten minutes. Not only that, I have been given your health report, and you have no allergies, nor diseases, so I do not see the reason for concern.”
Rievlen was stunned into silence. The fact the calico had read his file was worrying. “What about you… y’know…” he nervously glanced around the room, making sure there was nobody there before leaning in close and tentatively whispering “…you *eating* me?”
Song blankly stared at Rievlen, scowling. “I what? Eat you? What do you take me for? Some sort of ruthless predator? Yes, we naturally are predator and prey, but we will have food. It is not like we will have to forage for it, not to mention the university is paying us for this research, and will pay for our expenses. Not to mention, if I were to actually eat you for some reason, I would much rather figure out how to engulf you whole, which would require changing my DNA to allow myself to become gooey, or something similar,” he fiercely proclaimed, trying to calm the blue-jay down. It didn’t.
“Fine, but let’s say you somehow manage to. What’s saying you won’t do that to me?”
“What do you take me for? A sociopath?”
“No buts about it. I am not a sociopath. I may be a scientist, and an alchemist, but I am not a sociopath.”
“Ok. When do we start?”
“A couple of days from now. Is that permissible?”
“Yea. That’s fine.”
“Good. I am very glad to hear it. To a long, and prosperous friendship, yes?” the calico inquired, as he smiled, sticking out a paw for the blue-jay to shake.
“Yes,” the blue-jay replied, grabbing the cat’s paw and shaking it, returning the calico’s smile.