One could be forgiven for thinking that the dwelling of the TF Research Duo and best friends, Oliver and Lucy, was only that. But it also holds a vast and ever-expanding collection of various transformation artifacts known simply as ``The Archive''. I don't really understand why people don't realize this, it's not like it's a secret. If fact, people are welcome to explore The Archive, so long as they ask nicely and are supervised by either Oliver or Lucy. Unpredictable things can happen if some of those things aren't used properly.
But I digress.
Lucy was working with some of the artifacts, tinkering with this and that. Eventually, there was the sound of a garage door opening and Oliver drove in with his truck. Lucy stopped her work and went over to greet him.
``Hey Oliver, how was the expedition?'' she asked.
``Eh, turned out to be a bit of a bust,'' said Oliver as the garage door shut again, ``I wasn't able to find any leads. Not even any abnormalities. Still,'' he went on, trying to keep a straight face, ``these things do happen, I guess.''
Lucy could tell that her friend was disappointed. ``Say, Oliver, why don't you check out the logs?'' she said and she presented a large binder.
Oliver shrugged and took a look. ``But this isn't right,'' he observed, ``it says the amulets are...'' He trailed off and looked at Lucy. A smile crept onto his face.
Lucy nodded. ``Would you like to test it?''
``Yes, of course!'' The pair made their way between two rows of shelves. Neither noticed the movement from beneath a tarpaulin in the truck bed. A fox with bunny ears popped his head out.
Tod had had is bunny ears for a couple of days now. His life didn't change too drastically although he still wasn't quite used to how long his ears now were. His hearing was also amplified somewhat, just enough to pick up on something from a further distance. Often, it was suppressed giggles. This didn't bother Tod, in fact, he'd sometimes look back and smile a sly fox smile.
Today, something else caught Tod's attention. It was rumble accompanied by a steady hum. It sounded somewhat familiar but he couldn't quite place it. It made him curious. None of his friends were around so he decided to investigate himself and took off in the direction of the sounds.
As he went along, the sounds seemed to vanish just as quickly as they came. He paused, just for a moment then continued on his way.
After some distance, he spotted a robust machine with four wheels. It looked other machines he had seen before but it was bigger, longer and bulkier and it looked like the top-half of the back-end had been taken off. It was a truck, of course but Tod didn't know what to call it. He wondered if this looming, still thing had anything to do with sounds he heard.
Cautiously, he looked it all over; he jumped up onto the rear bumper and jumped again with intent of landing on top of the lower back-end. He didn't realize until too late that it was ``hollow'' and landed in the bed of the truck with a thud. Tod wasn't hurt, he picked himself up and shook himself, his ears flapping as he did so. He was grateful that no one saw him land so ungracefully.
Suddenly, his ears perked up. He could hear someone grumbling and it seemed to be getting closer and closer. He wasn't sure what to do, he didn't want to get caught and if he jumped out now, he most certainly would be. There was a tarpaulin in the truck bed and he quickly dashed beneath it.
The voice wasn't audible until it was right on top of Tod. ``I can't believe it; not even a trace!'' The truck door opened and closed and the vehicle itself started up. Tod's heart sank as he felt the truck begin to move. He didn't dare come out from beneath the tarpaulin now in case whoever-was-driving saw him. Even if he jumped out, he could hurt himself.
As the truck lumbered along, it made the same rumble and hum that Tod heard before. ``At least I know what that sound is now,'' he thought.
Finally, after what seemed like a long time, the truck came to a halt and its engine stopped. Tod was tempted to jump out again when he heard a pair of voices. Once they sounded far enough away, he finally came out from under the tarpaulin.
He jumped down and took it all in. Several rows of shelves carrying sorts of things stood before him. It was rather intimidating; he wanted to get out. He looked behind the truck only to find a mis-matched wall made of metal. He pawed at it but it only made a rattling noise.
He looked back to the rows of shelves. ``There's got to be another way out of here,'' he thought. He took a deep breath and set out into The Archive. He looked down an aisle. Two figures stood at the end with their backs to him. One was a wolf, another was a dog... on two legs? He didn't want them to know he was there and quickly moved along. It was then he smelled something. His bunny ears twitched.
``Did you just hear something?'' asked Oliver.
``What sort of something?'' ventured Lucy.
``It sounded like the garage door was rattling.''
``It's probably nothing. I wouldn't worry about it.''
``If you say so,'' Oliver concurred, though he made a mental note be on his guard. ``Anyway,'' he continued, ``what did you make this time?''
``Well, I was testing to see what would happen if multiple amulets and gems were used at the same time,'' Lucy explained.
``So I tried using them on some carrots. Some changed colors slightly but most didn't seem to have any effect. However, I am curious about what will happen if someone eats them.''
The scent lead Tod down another aisle. The shelves on either side had strange looking stones on them. They did peak Tod's interest but he tried to focus on where the scent was coming from.
It came as a surprise when he found it. ``Carrots?'' There in front of him was a plate full of carrots. He looked up at his ears and gave an amused chuckle. He turned his attention back to the plate of vegetables. ``One carrot can't hurt, can it?'' he thought.
He couldn't quite tell but it looked like some of the carrots had slightly different hues. He didn't think much of it; he dragged the one closest to him off the plate and took a bite. A faint warmth radiated from his ears but he didn't really notice and continued eating.
As he went to take another bite, he only bit air. ``How did I miss that?'' he thought. He glanced down and saw that his muzzle was much shorter than before. His teeth had reshaped to better suit an herbivore and his front-most teeth grew larger into buck teeth. He rubbed his new muzzle with one of his forelegs. He wasn't sure what else to do. As he did, he sat on his haunches. Much to his surprise, he realized that his back was reshaping too, allowing him to sit up-right more easily. His legs shifted and he shrunk in size. Surprisingly, his tail didn't change much; it only shrunk in scale to better suit his new, smaller body.
And there he was; a newly transformed bunny with a fox tail. Tod was very confused as he looked over his new form. ``At least my tail's still the same,'' he thought. He looked back at the carrot laying on the floor. He was sure that was what did this to him and dared not touch it again. He knew that bunnies were known for jumping and tried to jump up to reach the other carrots. If one could mostly turn him into a bunny, maybe another could turn him back.
Try as he might, he couldn't quite jump high enough to reach the top of the bench. So he gave it up and thought about what to do next. Having bunny ears was alright enough but he was anxious to be a fox again. He turned his attention to the shelves. ``I wonder...'' he said out loud and hopped down one of the aisles.
``Why carrots, anyway?'' asked Oliver.
``Well, you know,'' Lucy spluttered, ``there's that urban legend that their good for your eyes... so I thought... uh...''
``They were the only thing left in the fridge, weren't they?''
The pair chuckled away but stopped when they reached the work bench. ``Lucy, I thought you said that no one ate the carrots yet.''
``Yes, that's right.''
``So what's that?'' asked Oliver. He went over and inspected a partially eaten carrot on the floor.
``I... don't know,'' answered Lucy, ``They were all on the plate when I left them.''
Oliver noticed a small cluster of hair next to the carrot. He picked it up and examined it carefully. ``Hm... Lucy, could you give me the logs, please?'' Lucy gave him the binder and Oliver followed it down one of the near-by aisles.
He picked up what looked like a remote with a bulbous spoon at the end. He put the hair in the spoon and zapped himself with the device. Almost at once, Oliver was turning into a fox. ``Aha!'' he exclaimed and turned himself back before his head had a chance to transform. ``You know what this means Lucy... we have a fox in The Archive!'' he exclaimed dramatically.
``Probably a former fox at this point,'' Lucy corrected.
``A former fox in The Archive...! Nope, doesn't have as good of a ring.''
``This is true.''