Art by, Artem1s
Danger Level: Medium
Likes: Its notail, Cuddling, Licking things
Attack Method: Mallons prefer not to fight, instead running away from conflict whenever possible. If cornered, however, they will slash enemies with their claws until they have an opening to flee.
Mallons are large rodent-like creatures with long ears and thick, greasy fur that comes in every shade between cream and deep brown. They have a row of frills on their backs and a cluster of frills at the base of their ears, as well as long tails that end in a fan formed of frills of the same type. Mallons are incredibly fast, able to run at high speeds, and have sharp claws on all four of their paws.
Mallons are capture creatures bred to prepare young Q-uarantine class notails for their roles as first responders to infectious diseases. Because of their size and speed, they can easily be used as mounts, and will often hunt for their owner if it sees them having trouble feeding themself. Mallons are also very affectionate towards the notail they are given to take care of, often nuzzling their faces and curling up around them at night. This is a bad thing; a mallon that lives in the wild is incredibly dangerous.
They start off relatively clean, but over the course of their lives, a mallon will pick up many diseases and become highly infectious carriers; they almost never become ill themselves, but mallons can very easily sicken everything around them. Their problem is that they not only carry the disease, but actively amplify it, and as a result even notails with too much exposure to them can become very ill. Q-uarantine class notails, being hardier than most other classes, generally have better chances, but it is still possible for a child to become infected by its mallon and end up dying.
That, however, isn’t the biggest threat they pose. A mallon allowed to roam free will sicken everything around it until there is nothing left, making hunting very difficult for its child owner. Most mallon related notail child deaths are of starvation rather than infection itself. Because mallons don’t reach their full potential as disease factories until they are sent to the forest with their owner, this isn’t readily apparent before then. It takes several months of living in the wild for them to become dangerous, and since this part of their biology is typically left out of pamphlets discussing them, the Q-uarantine notail is generally left to figure out the source of the death and decay for themselves.
Once they realize a mallon’s true danger, there are a number of ways the Q-uarantine class can proceed. Almost all end up killing their mallon, and as such, they are very rarely seen outside the forest. Some will kill their own quickly and then proceed to hunt down other mallons, both those with living owners and those with dead ones. Others will hunt down and kill other mallons in the hope that, if all others are dead, they’ll be able to keep their own, before eventually realizing that getting rid of it is the best option. Still others will try abandoning it while leaving it alive, but mallons are excellent trackers and will almost always find their owner, forcing them to deal with the problem instead of leaving it behind.
This experience thrusts young Q-uarantine classes into a situation where they are required to learn that they must not let sentimentality get in the way of containing an infection, even if it’s something as close to them as their previously helpful capture creature, if they don’t want to die. Realizing the mallon is the source of the infections at all helps them develop skills in identifying asymptomatic carriers, as well as forcing them to deal with the potentially disastrous consequences of not dealing with the infection as soon as possible. A side benefit to the mallon’s cuddling and infection saliva and fur is, if the Q-uarantine class does not become infected themself, their immune system will receive a boost from so much exposure to so many diseases.
Smores: Smores mallons, or sometimes just smores for short, are mallons bred to have been born without the organ that causes them to be so highly infectious. Smores mallons are never given as capture creatures, only sold as pets, and are quite popular because of how affectionate they are and how quickly they can form a tight bond with their owners.
Walking Plague: When a mallon picks up a disease, the microbes are taken to a special organ in its body and integrated into its microbiome. From there, the disease is free to reproduce happily and is secreted through the mallon’s skin and saliva, leaving it protected but dramatically increasing the likelihood of infection for anything around it. Because the mallon’s special organ actively encourages the growth of the disease, this effect is amplified far beyond that of, say, an average notail.
• In the past, an average wild mallon was about as infectious as any ordinary notail, but when they were selected for use as capture creatures, they were bred to be much, much more dangerous.
• It’s possible to remove a mallon’s infected organ, causing it to no longer be a carrier for disease. The recommended procedure for people seeking to do such is to shave off all of its fur and frills, take it to be operated on, and then disinfect it once more after the surgery. The frills and fur will usually grow back with time.