There was a careful balance you had to maintain, Cecil thought to himself as he whiled his way home, if you wanted to lead a mixed pack. It was easy to have just wolves, or just horses, or just cougars, but if you wanted some of each, you had to be a lot more careful. And if you did what he was doing, well, it was a whole different ballgame.
He whistled a subtle tune as he crept back into his claimed territory, a necessary inconvenience when you played ball with a pack like his.
And why was that, inquired his partial, internal devil's advocate.
Because my pack isn't just predators. That's why. It's easy to just have upper level predators who might complete for food, but it's hard when you induct what might be considered food into your pack alongside your upper level predators.
Huh, that does seem like a conflict of interest. I don't pity your struggle, his devil sighed. So what's the point?
The point, well, is everything. It's why they call me Noah. I'm not just assembling them in ranks of two, I'm keeping them in a peaceful coexistence, and more: a mutually beneficial coexistence. The hound has a better life because he treats the fox like family.
The devil let out a low whistle, all inside Cecil's head. If you tried preaching that, they'd think you're even more crazy than they already do.
That's why I preach by living it. Some things can't be taught, they just have to be figured out for themselves.
But you had a teacher.
Sure, Leans-Into-The-Wind tried, but he wanted me to do it without the drugs. I'll admit, with the drugs it's a lot easier, though it looks a lot more like coercion it isn't coercion. I don't know how to put it into words, but I can feel the balance, the tip of the scales; where the line between fear and love lies. You can't cross that line, with or without the drugs. Without the drugs, they'll turn on you, and with the drugs, they'll turn on each other. It's not enough that they obey me, they have to love me, to take my plan into their own hearts, to make my way of life their way of life.
Sounds like you're giving the animals too much credit for inherent intelligence.
You think so? I think you're giving humans too much credit for inherent intelligence.
His devil didn't have anything to say about that for a long time, and before he could speak up again, Cecil was home.