Deep in the heart of the forest, where the trees grew tall and the sunlight never quite reached the ground, there lived a creature known as the Decapilus.
It was a fearsome beast, with ten legs that allowed it to run swiftly through the underbrush, and a long, sinuous body covered in shimmering scales that reflected the dappled light of the forest.
Legend had it that the Decapilus was once a guardian of the forest, entrusted with keeping watch over the ancient trees and the creatures that lived within them. But something had changed within the beast, and it had become twisted and malevolent, using its great strength and cunning to prey upon the other inhabitants of the forest.
The Decapilus had no natural predators, and the other creatures of the forest lived in fear of it. They whispered stories of its cruelty and its insatiable hunger, and warned their young to stay hidden and avoid the creature’s wrath.
One day, a young fox was out hunting for food when it stumbled upon the Decapilus’ lair. The beast had just finished a meal of one of the forest’s largest deer, and was lying contentedly amidst the bones and scraps of flesh.
The fox froze in terror at the sight of the Decapilus, but it was too late. The creature’s keen senses had already detected the fox’s presence, and it sprang to its feet, baring its razor-sharp teeth.
But instead of attacking, the Decapilus spoke. Its voice was low and gravelly, like the rumble of rocks in a streambed.
“Why do you fear me, little one?” it asked. “Have I ever harmed you?”
The fox was surprised at the creature’s question. “You are the Decapilus,” it said, “the terror of the forest. Everyone fears you.”
The Decapilus let out a deep, rumbling laugh. “And why do they fear me, do you think? Is it because I have hurt them, or simply because I am different?”
The fox thought about this for a moment, then shrugged. “I don’t know,” it said. “But I am afraid of you.”
The Decapilus sighed heavily. “I see,” it said. “And so you should be. For I am a creature of great power, and with that power comes great responsibility. But I have failed in my duty, and have become a monster in the eyes of those I was sworn to protect.”
The fox was confused. “But why have you become this way?” it asked. “What has changed within you?”
The Decapilus was silent for a long moment, its eyes staring off into the distance. “I do not know,” it said finally. “But I am tired of this existence, of the endless hunger and the senseless violence. I want to be something more, something better. But I cannot do it alone. Will you help me, little one?”
The fox was wary, but it could sense the Decapilus’ sincerity. “How can I help you?” it asked.
The Decapilus smiled a small, sad smile. “You can show me how to be good,” it said. “How to care for others, and to use my strength for something other than destruction. Will you do this for me, little one?”
The fox thought about this for a long moment, then nodded slowly. “I will help you,” it said. “But it will not be easy.”
And so the fox became the Decapilus’ guide and mentor, showing the beast how to care.