Friday, December 30, 2016

Midas Journal 19

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Entry: May 8

This morning I went to answer a knock on the door and found Brie standing there. “Uh, hi,” she said, with a small wave. “I'm here ' know...”
“Oh, uh, right.” I had actually forgotten about turning her back until just then. “Come on in.” I got out of the way and we went to the living room.

“Before I do this, are you..aware of anything being different this past week? I mean besides the obvious stuff, and uh, anything from us dating.”
“Umm..” Brie thought for a minute. “I feel a little more hyper and impulsive, I, some stuff I think I'd usually hesitate or think more about I just do. Like jumping to kiss you right after I changed. But I mean, it's kind of a small attitude change more than anything else. I feel like I always could've been that way as a guy...”
I wasn't sure whether her expression was uncertain or just worried I wouldn't believe her. I wasn't sure what to say so I just nodded. “Well..are you ready?”
“Yeah, sure.”

I thought it would be hard to make my power do what I wanted it to. It always fights so hard against stopping or reversing a change, and the only time I can think of that I got it to turn someone back was with Carla right after, when I didn't even believe it had happened in the first place. But as soon as I gently touched Brie's shoulder, asking it to turn her entirely back into Brian, she started growing and shifting around rapidly, and within seconds she'd turned back into him.
He was frowning, and I felt a strange kind of sadness myself. “Uh, do you feel?” I said after a few seconds.
“Pretty normal, I guess,” he said, crossing his arms. “Thinkin' about this last week...I can't remember anything I did or thought that doesn't seem pretty normal for me, I mean, if I try to think of what I'd do as a girl. Definitely no huge brainwashing or anything.”

“O-okay, that's good...” I said.
“You don't sound too convinced.”
“Well, I mean...I guess I should be. I'm a little worried I took too much control and made it work different from how the accidents did. But I can't exactly...make an accident happen. That's—this feels like the best we could do with it.”
He tilted his head slightly. “I have another idea, actually. Now that I know what it's like..I wonder if you'd understand better if you could have it happen to you.”
“But I've tried turning myself into a girl before,” I said. “It just—”

“It's different, right?” he said, coming a step closer. “It doesn't feel the same way as I did when you changed me. But, you said you could give people powers if you wanted to, right?”
“I mean, I have, not really on purpose..”
“So what if you gave me a power like yours, but it only works on you?”
“Uh..well, you think that would work?”
“Well, I don't see why we couldn't try.'d have to really trust me if you want to do that. I mean, we're worried about brainwashing in the first place here, and if you give that kind of power to someone you're practically giving them control over you.”

I thought about it for what felt like a long time, at first looking at the floor and then turning my head up to look at Brian, specifically his face. I was looking in his eyes, and I found myself seeing Brie again...I don't really know how to describe what went on in my head. I thought about what had happened the past week, everything we'd said to each other...Eventually I said, “I'm..I'm willing to risk it. Let's see if this works...”

I tried to make my power turn him back into Brie, with the power to turn back into himself and with the power to do the same thing as my power did to others, to me. It was a lot to concentrate on as I carefully reached out a hand and put it on his shoulder, and as soon as it started I could feel a kind of push back against what I was trying to do. I had to keep my hand there as he shrank back down, a little slower than the first time, to keep it doing what I wanted. But eventually I was able to pull my arm back and Brie was standing there again, and as far as I could tell it had worked.

“Um..did it work?” I said.
She giggled slightly. “I think so, I feel like I know how to do some stuff I couldn't before. Before I do, though, c'mere..” She grabbed me and shoved me over onto the couch, landing on top of me with a kiss. I was confused at first but started returning it after a second; it felt like it lasted as long as some of the first few.
“W-what was that about?” I said when it was over and we were both panting a little bit.
“I dunno how to explain it. I felt...weird not being able to kiss you...I didn't like it,” she said.
“Yeah..I think I felt the same way,” I said after a second.

We separated to different sides of the couch and she sighed a little. “Well, apparently I have to be a guy for it to work, so here goes.” She closed her eyes and shifted back into Brian again, just as quickly as before. “Phew. Are you ready to try this?”
“As much as I'll ever be, I guess.”
“Okay.” He reached over and poked me on the forehead, then leaned back over to his side of the couch.

As soon as his skin touched mine, I felt something. It was...I want to say it was warm, but a comfortable kind of warmth, not like being outside in the summer. It spread out from the spot on my forehead along my face and scalp and down through the rest of me. As soon as that had happened I started actually transforming.

Before today, I knew of two ways that having my body change can feel. When I turned myself into Kayla, it was that sense of my body tightening and loosening itself into the right shape, which didn't hurt but at least felt uncomfortable and awkward at best. When Threa used a spell to do it it felt like something outside of me pushing and pulling at my body, which was even worse. This was...different.

I first felt a little bit of pressure on my shoulders, and then across the side of my body. I started to shrink, shorter and slimmer, but it felt...nice. It felt like my body was just responding to some sort of gentle massage. My hair grew out all at once, making a few locks fall across my face, covering the sides and falling so far down in the back that it pooled on the couch. I felt the bits of pressure against my face, arms, legs and hands and when I looked I could see my limbs reshaping, and guessed my face was doing the same.

My shirt and pants combined and spread out into a gray-and-white dress, and I felt my underwear shift into panties and a bra just appear around my chest. The feeling of a gentle pressure across my body started pushing a little harder, but instead of starting to hurt it felt even better than before. I realized I was making small “Aah—aah—aah” sounds one after another, in a steadily rising voice, just as a gentle tugging between my legs signaled an imminent change of sex.

The pressure eased off as my body settled into a feminine shape again: Slim arms and legs, small fingers, the curves of wide hips and a slender stomach. I felt somehow more aware of it all than usual, and instead of feeling unnatural and wrong it felt more like my body was returning to the way it should be from a different shape.

The next thing I felt was the push out from the base of my spine of something growing there, and the upward stretch of my ears along with the sensation of growing fur brushing against my hair. I made another small, confused “Aah—mf?” in a completely female voice and turned around to see a thick black-furred wolf tail growing out. Somehow the first thought I had about it was Oh, it's my tail. Mine? I felt even more confused for a second and then felt as if I remembered something.

Heat filled up my cheeks at the sudden interjection of a pleasant feeling between my legs, and the realization I was a girl now. the same time I found a contradictory thought coming to me, something like 'why shouldn't I be a girl?' I could remember sitting here on the couch with Brian as a girl...right?

I finally caught on to the fact that I was gaining memories of a life in the new body, the same way everyone I'd changed before normally would. I felt something like fingers gently tracing along my chest and made another soft “Mmf!”, my face getting hotter at how sensitive it was. I could feel it starting to push itself outward, as if enjoying the gentle touches along the skin and wanting more skin to feel them with. At the same time I remembered answering the door this morning as a girl...a werewolf girl. I felt like I'd woken up this way, and put on the feminine underwear and pretty dress over it. I could remember being a girl yesterday, and the day before that too.

I felt my chest filling the bra I had and then continuing to grow, forcing it to stretch out into a larger size. I was..I had been a girl the past week, no, the past month? New memories filled in faster the farther back they went, and pretty soon I was aware of having been in this body for the past year. They stretched even farther back and my body felt even more natural as I remembered growing up as a girl, as a werewolf and a girl, with werewolf parents of course. Before I knew it there was an entire life's worth of memories of being...Kaela.

I felt my chest finally stop straining against the bra, and realized I was panting heavily, my face still hot and the aftershocks of the pleasant feeling in my private parts still going off. I looked over at Brian, one of my ears drooping slightly in confusion but my tail starting to wag vigorously; I felt even more attracted to him than I ever remembered feeling as Kayla. It's weird, my name now is pronounced the same but I feel like a completely different person for just one letter's difference.

I started to giggle a little bit, and he chuckled back, which set me off into uncontrollable laughter. I stood up and danced around, playing with my dress's skirt and laughing a high, girly laugh for a good, long minute before falling back over onto the couch.

The fit finally died down, and I managed to take a deep breath and calm myself, looking back over at him again. “,” I said. “This is uh...I don't even know how to.”
“I know, right?” he said, grinning. “It feels amazing.”
Before I thought about anything else I half-dove over the couch and tackled Brian into a deep kiss. It was my first kiss as a girl, and he made it feel as good as I think is possible. When it was over we gave each other an inch or two of space and caught our breath. He said, “I uh, I hope you don't mind the werewolf thing. That happened because, well...”
“You know if a werewolf marries a human and they're, together, the human turns into a werewolf,” I finished for him. The knowledge was as natural to remember as anything I'd learned as Kael. “And that hurts. So you thought it'd be easier if I was one to begin with.”
“I don't mind. This is kinda cool. I—ever since getting this weird power I've felt like an outsider to all this magic stuff and everyone had to keep explaining things to me. Now it's just..I know. It's nice.”

“U-um, also I might have had a stray thought that it'd be nice to pet you a little bit,” he said, blushing a little.
“Oh? Well, try it, I don't know what that's like either,” I said.
“Okay.” Since we were still hugging, he reached one of his arms up from the middle of my back to where my ears were and gently rubbed on the base of them.
It felt..nice. I don't really know how to explain how it felt; it felt physically good but not in a sexual way. I don't think humans who aren't werewolves or kitsune or whatever have a part in their brain that can process the exact kind of way it feels. I made a kind of closed-mouth, muffled-bark “Mrf” noise and pulled myself closer against him again, which he accurately took as a sign to keep going, gently running his fingers up and down my ears.
“Man, you're really soft,” he said. “Was I this soft?”
“Mmf...I think so,” I said. “Girly shampoo pro'lly does it to fur if it's always out...”
“No way, shampoo can't make fur feel this nice. It has to be natural.”

We didn't talk for a few minutes, until he finally said. “Hey, what do you think of what your power does now?”
“Well, really does seem to make people I change attracted to me...” I said slowly. “I mean, it had that effect for me to you. But I think, we were already...I mean, it's not really strong enough to mess someone up. Everything else that isn't the 'wish granting' just seems like...helpful adjusting, making it easier to be the new person somehow.”
“So you finally believe you're not a monster?” he said.
I paused for a second at that, pulling away slightly with wide eyes. I'd never said anything about being a monster: not to him, not really to anyone, not even in these journals. But...he was right. That was how I'd felt this whole time, what I'd been so worried about. I didn't want to be a monster by accident, or let myself turn into one. But...I really haven't. All I've been doing this whole time is, by accident or on purpose, helping people out.

I pulled myself closer to him again and just said “Yes.” I knew it was more complex than that, and I had a lot more to sort out, but that was enough for now. Just being in his arms made things feel pretty good.

I haven't actually turned back or anything yet. While Brian was here—basically all day, really—the subject didn't even come up. I think I kinda want to enjoy this whole new perspective for a while. I can tell—I can feel somehow that my powers still work the exact same way as before, but I'm a girl now, the same as anyone new I changed would be. I'm bound to run into someone else who wants something badly enough for my power to want to change them, pretty soon I'd bet. But maybe I could do things a little differently this time? At least get a chance to let them know what'll happen before it does, maybe even a chance to decide against it.

Although, it has just occurred to me..I don't know what the memory shifting did with everyone else I've changed or gotten to know over the past few weeks. Do they just remember me as I am now, or have a bunch of dual memories floating around and no idea why? I'll have to call someone and check on that first thing in the morning; if it's messed up we can probably fix it. I'm determined not to worry too much about it tonight. After all, I just got over worrying about one thing, so it's way too soon to start on another.

A/N: This story isn't over, but this part is a pretty landmark point in the plot that's been running for a while. I'm happy to be mostly leaving what's been the major conflict of the story for a while behind and taking a bit of a different trajectory with things.

As always, hoping to see some comments. Been very quiet lately and I never know how to tell whether that's a mark of disapproval or not.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Midas Journal 18

This marks the 200th POST ON THIS BLOG! Wow! I mean, sure, some of the earlier posts are just notifications of things, stuff I'm not especially proud of, or whatever, but it's still a pretty neat milestone to reach.

If you're curious, the number of actual captions is 135, and the number of stories and story parts together is 70 if you count each "trio" of Changing Island pieces as a single "part", so I guess technically 200 total things was already broken before this? And that's not even counting what's on the adventure site.

Entry: May 5

It's good to know you're still there, Kayla.

I was busy Monday night, and even though I started writing this last night I was too tired to finish it and now I have even more to talk about so I might as well just lump it all together here. All I did with the old part was add this and I think I fixed the tenses and all the parts that said 'last night' to say 'Monday night' instead.

So the date went really well. I took Brie out to a steakhouse because she said something about wanting meat and their steaks are supposed to be some of the best in the state, especially for a more or less normal price. We hugged as soon as we saw each other and almost as soon as we were on the way there we just started talking.

It had occurred to me that morning that I didn't really know that much about her. It made me worried that I was maybe just physically attracted to her, and the same thing going the other way, and that made me want to get to know her better, so it started with me just asking questions and her answering. Eventually she asked my why I was asking so many questions and I said what I just wrote above, she laughed and asked me some questions of her own. From there it just felt like we were talking the entire time, even between mouthfuls of food, and even though my throat at least was getting sore we weren't really ready to stop when I got her to her house.

I gently picked her up and we kissed again, I think this one was longer than any of the ones on Saturday. When we finally pulled back we didn't let go of each other, and I could see her tail swishing back and forth out of the corner of my eyes as we both caught our breath for a moment of silence. Eventually she said, “Hey...come inside?”
I wanted to say yes right away, but my mind woke up in time to remind me we were supposed to be taking things slow. The resulting panic and confusion just came out as a useless“Uh..”
“We don't have to do anything naughty,” she said with a grin, “I just..wanna stay with you a little longer.”
I started arguing with myself over whether that meant it would be okay to come in with her or actually just made the risk of doing something we didn't really want to even worse. While my mind was busy doing that my body just nodded and said, “Okay.”

Well, we didn't do anything bad anyway. We went to the couch and she snuggled up next to me and we kept talking, quietly staying close to each other like that and occasionally surprising each other with more kisses. These were less..intense than the first few, though, I think we both knew we needed to hold back a little bit. Besides, both of us were tired and increasingly at risk of just falling asleep there on the couch with her halfway curled around me.

Eventually Brie yawned very loudly and stretched her arms, which woke me out of about a half-sleep. “I think we should probably get to bed, you in the morning and stuff.”
“Oh..yeah,” I said, “See you tomorrow?”
“Too late,” she said, and after seeing my confusion she pointed at the TV clock. “It's already tomorrow.” It was blinking something like 2 or 3 AM.
“Oh. Well, see you this afternoon then?”
“Sure, heehee.” I helped her up and ran a hand across her ears in a way she'd taught me to at some point since sitting on the couch and after sharing another small kiss I went home.

I can't remember what we talked about, I mean, I can remember some general subjects but the exact words are just...way too many to even recall half of them. What I remember better is the emotion of that night. I felt like I was making a new best friend, like this was someone I've wished I could meet my whole life. I never really made a wish like that, I've always been pretty happy with the friends I already had, so even that's maybe not the best way to put it. I felt happy being around her, even not counting the physical attraction of her being simultaneously the most gorgeous and cutest girl I've ever seen. Maybe this is what people are talking about when they talk about people in new relationships being infatuated with each other, I dunno. I just know that for now, I really like it.

We did a little less talking and more just being together yesterday afternoon, which was nice too. I admit I don't like the idea of constantly fighting against the pressure to, well, be with her, which I think just the kissing and staying close Monday night might have satiated for now at least. We were at my house watching TV and playing games for a while, and since we'd stayed up so late the night before we did accidentally nap for a half hour or so before deciding to go our separate ways a little earlier to take care of important stuff like homework and in my case writing this, I guess.

I more or less wrote all that last night in hopes of getting my thoughts together for when Adena asked me about how the date went, since she was too busy getting ready for her own weird date to ask me about it yesterday. I knew once she got around to asking she'd want to know a lot of details and ask a bunch of specific questions, and the problem was that I didn't really know what I would answer to some of them. I mean, what I wrote up there is basically what happened, and I tried, but I don't know if I can even put all of how feel about her into words. It's like trying to make a fire hydrant go through a straw.

So today of course she didn't even bring it up. She walked up at lunch with a bright smile on her face and she opened with “I did it! I totally did it!” before I could even say anything.
“So what did you do exactly?”
“I—” she paused, look around for a fraction of a second before leaning forward and saying more quietly, “I managed to get through the whole date, man. I drove her home, we kissed. It was so hard to stay male at first, but by the time we were sitting at the restaurant I only had to excuse myself to go back and forth like three times, and...oh man. Rhia's awesome, too. She has all kinds of hilarious stories of terrible dates with other guys and crazy stuff they did to try and impress her and stuff.”
“ you actually, really like her?” I said.
“...Yeah, I guess I do. I mean, like, I don't feel attracted to her right now but when I'm a guy it feels like I'm in love,” she said.
“So—” I started, but she interrupted me.

“You didn't even hear the best part yet! When we got to her place, we got out of the car and I put my arms around her and we kissed!”
“I think you mentioned that already.”
“Yeah, but you know what happened when that happened?” she said excitedly
“Another tail grew! Just, right there, all at once. I was almost to where I couldn't stay a guy for another second and suddenly it felt like I could hold that form as long as I wanted to. I even managed to keep her from noticing a new tail growing even though hers was kinda curled around my first one at the time,” she said with a slight blush.

“Okay, actually like her.”
“I said I did already!”
“And..” I wasn't entirely sure how this hadn't occurred to her. “You might call what you have the start of a relationship.”
“I dunno, we didn't say anything about a second date last night but maybe?”
“A relationship based on you pretending to be a guy and lying to her about that,” I said finally.
“Oh, you're worried about a little thing like that?” she said, cocking her head to the side slightly.
“Why are you not worried about it?”
“You know how this kinda thing goes,” she said, “there's a whole comedy of errors thing where I have to put in more and more work to keep up the charade, and eventually everything collapses on top of itself and it's really entertaining to watch.”
“I don't think that's a very...entertaining thing to be in the middle of,” I pointed out. “I mean, I think she's gonna be pretty mad about that...I probably would be.”

“Ehh, she'll probably forgive me. I mean, she will if our relationship isn't really based on a lie at that point. I'm showing off my real personality even if I have to fudge my background a bit, and if that's not good enough to keep us together after the whole thing collapses then I don't think it was gonna work out anyway. Either way, we both wind up with a funny story to tell our grandchildren.”
“I have no idea how you can be so casual about this,” I said. “It doesn't feel like a disaster just waiting to fall on your head?”
“Of course it does. That's the best kind of disaster,” she said with a grin.
I crossed my arms. “You realize I have to lie about this too. I mean, if she asks me about it or if someone else sees you with her and wants to know if I know you..”
“Well, it's not like you're best friends or anything, all you have to do is say you don't know anything in the very rare event someone even asks. You need some practice deceiving people anyway, you're way too honest for your own good. Anyway, we can always just say I used some kitsune curse to keep you from talking if anyone's mad at you afterward.”

I put a hand on my forehead, starting to feel like I was going to get a headache. “So you're just planning to tell a bunch of lies and then maybe lie some more when you have to tell the truth.”
“Pretty much. When a bunch of lies have been exposed is the best time to get away with a new lie anyway, you know, because everyone figures you've got nothing left to lose.”
“I have to ask if this know, stuff you would've done before turning into a kitsune girl or not,” I said. “If you somehow had the power without a bunch of memories of being raised as one, I mean.”
She shrugged. “I dunno, maybe? I don't think I'd be as aware of it, which I do have the new memories to thank for, but it totally sounds like something I'd stumble into if you'd just handed me this powerset and no new knowledge.”

This was around when we ran out of time for lunch and had to go back out to classes. I didn't see her for the rest of the day but I guess this is just one more secret I have to keep in this weird journal thing for now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dream Job

I'm trying to set myself a rule where I "don't ever post two things without images in a row", meaning a story or story part with no images should only ever come after a caption or a story/story part with an image. Don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up, but it's worth a try anyway.

This caption is tenuously related to Arctic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The "Best" RPG Ever-28

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Even in a world with such diverse-looking people, a part-dragon was apparently enough of a rarity to stick out in a crowd. When Mika landed her broom randomly in a shopping district of the city and started asking whether people had seen a girl with scales and horns she was pointed along Rose's track almost at once, and it didn't take very long before she was back in the familiar walls of the Broken Dragon Inn.

The dragon-girl was busy renting a room for herself, so Mika waited until that was done before trying to get into her natural line of sight and wave at her. Rose noticed it and bounded over right away. "Hi Mika!"
"Hey, what's this I hear about you going around with other girls?" said the witch with a fake-pout.
"Uh..w-well..." Rose tapped her index fingers' claws together, not at all sure how to take the question.
"Heehee, I'm just kidding with you! But you did kinda run off from the guardhouse after the captain was through with ya."

"Oh! Haha? Um..I didn't want to bug you guys anymore is all. And the captain lady said to explore the town some, and I was getting really hungry even though you guys shared some of your ration stuff on the way here so I wanted to go find somewhere with a lot of meat to eat for like an actual lunch, and.."
"Well, it didn't bother the others, but I thought it'd be nice to chat with you a little before you left," said the witch with a shrug. "To be fair I sorta distracted them as soon as we were outta there anyway. So you're staying in town tonight?" She subtly led the way over to an unoccupied table while the dragon-girl talked.
"Oh, yeah! It's, well I met some new friends I guess you heard about and they offered to have supper together and it's kinda late in the day so I thought getting an early start tomorrow morning back to my forest might be better."
"Good, good," Mika nodded. "People in town treating you well?" She hopped onto a chair and gestured at the opposite one.

Rose completely missed the offer to sit and leaned over with her elbows on the table instead. "Yeah, everyone's really nice! I thought a lot more people would be scared of me or something but the worst I got was a few people staring at me a little bit."
"Trust me, I know what that's like. You bought some new clothes?"
"Uh-huh!" She nodded. "They really liked my plants so I had a lot left over after I ate, and I didn't actually have a lot of outfits left and stuff."
"Well, you look good in that one. It's very you, too. Breezy and flowery."
The dragon-girl blushed and laughed nervously. "Eheheh." She finally leaned back and half-fell onto the chair behind her, and then looked around the inn for a moment as if trying to think of something to say.

"Uh, you think I'm, dumb?" she said. "Like, uhh...when I say it that way it sounds like you've been insulting me or something but I don't mean that, I just, asking for an honest opinion?"
"Hmm.." Mika thought about what she'd seen of Rose so far. "...No, I don't think so. It does seem like you have some trouble expressing yourself though, probably just from not being around other people a lot. I guess if someone's not paying attention they might not be able to tell the difference, though."
"You think...the others can't tell?" she said.
"You mean Zack, Kath, and Nora?"
"Mhm," she nodded, "I'm not sure they like me much.."

"Well, Katherine still doesn't trust you because she can't read your mind, which is a really dumb reason; Nora I think likes you fine but she's just the quiet type most of the time. Zack...well, that's just Zack. Her default expression is a sour frown."
"Don't you mean 'his'?" said Rose with a slight headtilt.
Mika shrugged. "Not unless she's around to be bugged by it. I call people what I see them to be."

The library was a little like an Earth one, and a little...not. It was one story with a very high ceiling and the bookshelves were absurdly tall on average; there were big reading areas strewn about at random and a large area devoted to spellbooks including some sort of testing ranges and a clearly marked restricted section with the sort of armed guards one might expect a president (or maybe in this world a king) to have. Eventually Zack gave up on running into Nora at random in this maze and instead followed her scent from the entrance to a reading area with some very comfortable-looking chairs, one of which was behind a table with a stack of books taller than he was on it.

The elf was sitting hunched over with her legs crossed over an open book, looking both very much in her element and completely lost to the outside world. Not wanting to bug her, the knight sat down at the next chair over and leaned over a bit in an effort to see what the current book was on. He could get through about a paragraph before she turned the page; it looked like this book was a collection of myths or fables, and it was nearing its end.

Before long Nora closed the book and leaned forward to exchange it with another one, only to jump back into her chair when one of Zack's ears twitched slightly in the corner of her eye. "Oh! H-hi Zack, when did you get there?"
"Just a minute ago. Is Katherine here?" He hadn't smelled her, but that was too strange of a phrase to utter.
"She ran off j-just before we got here, I'm not really sure why. Um, w-where's the wolf?"
"I asked him to stay outside, I'm not really sure they'd appreciate a wild animal in here." He looked pointedly at the stacks of books. "You, uh..finding some stuff out?"
"Yeah, um.."

Nora thought for a moment, and began a summary of what she'd learned: "There are some history books here covering this city itself and the n-nation that owns it, but mostly I could only find a lot of myths and legends. It s-seems like the pantheon of deities stays consistent, and there is a lot of agreement on how some of the races got created. This 'frontier' is s-supposedly the site of a big war the gods had, but no two st-stories agree what the war was about or who started it. It l-left it full of monsters because of it, though, so they're supposed to have c-created the other lands for people to live in afterward."
"Hmm. So why are people coming back out here then?"
"Well, th-this city started as an outpost intended to warn of incoming m-monster attacks, but then they got the idea to use this as a p-place to fight the monsters, to keep the mother country safer. S-so, people who want to be heroes and fight monsters have to come out here because there are hardly any back there to even f-fight. B-besides that, outcasts and criminals and other people who want to st-start a new life for whatever reason come out here because it's r-remote. It's im-implied the story is similar for other frontier cities."

Since it didn't seem like he had any questions to that, she said, "D-did you, um, find the armor you were looking for?"
"Yeah. It looks pretty nice," he said, nodding, and pulled out the Gem of Brightness. "They used something with this gem thing to make it fit me personally, so it's fairly comfortable too. I mean, as much as a bunch of metal can be anyway. Where'd you learn to read so fast?"
"Uh, i-it's just speedreading. More like...skimming than anything else, I missed a lot of the details probably. B-but there's too much here to go through it all in an a-afternoon. I g-guess you just get better at it if you read a lot though, and w-with my condition reading was always safer than, um, going outside..."
"You didn't have any video games?" he asked, a little curious.
"W-well, sometimes. I j-just got used to reading books early on, and it appealed to me a lot more I guess. M-motion controls were obviously a b-bad idea, so I had to sk-skip out on those consoles either way..."
"That makes sense, I guess. Not every game used the motion controls, though."

He looked up and around at the library for a few seconds, taking in the vast number of books. "You said you learned something about how the races were created?"
"Y-yeah," Nora nodded. "The myths s-seem less confident about humans, but elves were humans b-blessed by, some god or other, they're not consistent on which one...there's nothing that says where dr-dragons came from but they're supposed to be intelligent and have enough magic to take on human form if they w-want, s-so Draconians like Rose are the offspring of a d-dragon and some other race. The ancestors of b-beastfolk like you and Katherine were actually animals with a lot of m-magic, either naturally or from a god's blessing, who used the magic to personify themselves after meeting humans and e-elves."
Nora nodded. "I-it's a technical term for a specific kind of sp-spell that turns an animal into a mostly-human-looking person. B-but it's illegal to cast that spell."

Zack looked like he was thinking. "You know, some RPGs can have really good stories to them. If we ever get out of this maybe I can show you a few of my favorites."
The weaver nodded, "Th-that'd be nice." She didn't really believe in it as a possibility, but didn't want to upset him by suggesting that. Anyway, he'd used the word 'if', which didn't sound too optimistic to begin with.

Tsaron was an old-looking elf, which seemed like an accomplishment in and of itself. He had a bald-topped head with partially-gray hair circling the sides and back, didn't look particularly wrinkled but had a few scars and what might best be described as weathering. Or at least, this was what the person who answered the door looked like, whether it was the owner or not.

He looked at the two visitors for a moment, and said, "Well, how can I help you two?"
Katherine started, "Is this—?" and Aria said "We're looking for—" at the same time. They looked at each other for a second, and then the catgirl said "Are you—?" while the shifter began to say "Do you know if—?" Katherine glared at the other girl, realizing the first time had been an accident, but now she was doing it on purpose; Aria confirmed this suspicion with a poorly-suppressed giggle.
"I think the answer to all of those is 'yes'," he said. Then, looking at the psion, "I know pretty well why you're interested in meditation...a bit strange you aren't rather familiar with it already."
"Well, I am, but a refresher course couldn't hurt," she said with a shrug.
"What about you?" he asked of Aria.
"I have a demon sword that's giving me bad dreams and generally trying to make me insane. Being able to shut out its voice sometimes would be nice."

"Mm-hm.." The elf nodded. "Well, I wasn't doing much this afternoon anyway. Come on in." He lead the way through an average-looking kitchen (a strange choice for the front door to open to, thought Katherine) and a small hallway to a room with a red rug covering the floor.
"Well, this is my meditation room." Besides the rug the interior of the room was empty, but the walls were another story. On every square inch seemed to hang a different kind of weapon: Swords, daggers, spears, staves...there were a few unusual-looking pointy, sharp, or blunt things that neither visitor could quite identify. Some seemed to be plain if well-crafted and cared-for pieces, while others had precious gems decorating them or glowed faintly with some sort of magic.
"You like it?" said Tsaron, after giving the shifter and catgirl a moment to stare around at them. "I more or less put it together myself. You two are adventurers, right?"
"Yeah," said Katherine.
"I used to be one myself a long time ago," he nodded. "My party had a...disagreement and we parted ways."

"Let's get started, shall we? Go on and take a seat anywhere," said the elf with a small gesture at the floor. Both of the girls sat cross-legged facing the same way, and Tsaron sat down opposite them. "All you really need to do to get started is take a deep breath," he said.
The idea of meditating had always seemed dumb to Katherine on Earth, so she'd never actually tried it before. But somehow...just taking a deep breath and deciding to try and meditate made it come naturally. Aria had more trouble; after a few minutes of having her eyes scrunched closed she opened them again, making a face. "Ugh, it's not working.."

"Well, closing your eyes isn't always the best choice. After all, it amplifies your attention to sounds, smells, and touch, all of which can be awful distractions." He pointed to a jeweled sword on the wall. "Sometimes I find it's best to keep my eyes open and pick something right in front of me to focus my attention on. It's actually easier if it has interesting features rather than being just a blank wall, which was part of my reason for decorating this room this way."
"So what was the other part?" asked Aria.
"Well," he shrugged, "I had this big collection collecting dust, least this way folks can appreciate the look of them."

Rayna looked through the collection of outfits in her arms, the ones Dr. Kellen had picked out for herself so far. "Hmm."
"You sure this is okay? It's all dresses and stuff."
"Is it?" She took a closer look at them. "...I suppose so. I was only picking out what looked comfortable. Is there something wrong with that?"
"Not really, I guess. Just a little surprising. Lynn didn't want anything frilly like this. Although...I did think you might be a little motivated by not wanting to have upskirt shots happen every time you fly up in the air."
Clera blushed slightly, but said, "Hmn...the shorts will take care of that." She started over to where a bunch of various-colored bike shorts were being sold.

"So..I'm surprised this didn't come up on the way here, but what kind of class did you pick? I know it's some type of healer, but.."
" object called it 'Empath'. I don't actually heal others, I take on their wounds and then heal myself."
"That seems..unnecessarily painful."
Dr. Kellen shrugged. "I get the impression it has greater capacity to save lives at the price of a higher risk to the user."

After a moment of picking out shorts that seemed like they would fit, Clera said, "So what did you do for a living? Before this, I mean?"
"Oh, uh, Lynn and me are let's players. We, uh, record ourselves playing a game and talking about it, and put it up on the internet for people to watch. Actually, we were gonna do that with this game too. Woo, mysterious CD arrives in the mail, you know?" Dr. Kellen just nodded.
She sighed. "I guess it sounds kinda silly to someone whose occupation is actually saving lives."
"No one should shame themselves for any occupation. If people are willing to pay for what you do then there is value in it," said the doctor. "It is a kind of comedy show, right?"
"Yeah. I mean, we tried to stand out by being more analytical about the games we were playing, but there was a lot of snark and making fun of dumb stuff in the game, too."
"For people going through hard have no idea how important it is to have something to laugh at."

The winged girl looked over the collection of clothes again. "I think this will do. Are you certain we have enough?"
"Yeah, this is barely a dent in the pay we got for the bird," she nodded.
"Then I suppose we should go back to meet with the dragon again."
"I bet you never thought you'd say that sentence."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sweet Chocolate

Something simple for the winter months.

Believe what you want on whether it had a similar effect on everyone, and whether the effect was temporary or not.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Apprenticeship (Ancient History!)

Well, this one requires some explanation.

This is a very old story of mine, I think the very second or third one I wrote? It predates Midas Journal for sure; based on the timestamp of the document I copied it from, it is eight years old. It follows on from the events of Explanations, and I could've sworn I had posted it way back when. But it turns out I didn't. I'm presenting it here for completeness' sake, even though it's nowhere near up to the standard of writing I have these days.

I'm also using posting this as an excuse to announce in a non-comment location the fact that ongoing stories now have navigational links up at the top for convenience of reading, and also that I've added a Tables of Contents page with links to and brief descriptions of every piece of each ongoing story as well as all of the one-off stories, and also for navigational convenience. There is also a link to said page on the lower right area of the sidebar.

Hope to write something new soon!

Another day, another…what? Someone had messed around with what she’d tried to do for those two boys earlier, not that it was that bad; after all, they seemed a lot happier now after seeing them at school today. Apparently she was no matchmaker. Just a strange orphan girl with pink hair.
Speaking of which…

Lyra let go of the spell she’d been maintaining all day that made her hair look brown. It wasn’t like she could afford any actual dye, so instead she had to split concentration between her studies and keeping her hair brown. Naturally, both suffered occasionally, but thus far the slips hadn’t been too noticeable and she was able to keep it high enough for nobody to ask for her parents.

…Wait a minute. If there was someone else able to mess with her magic, didn’t that mean she wasn’t the only witch around? Well sure, it seemed impossible that in the whole world she would be the only one with strange powers, but this meant there was or had been someone actually nearby with at least as much power as she had, something necessary to reverse changes.
It was on this train of thought, walking down the sidewalk and staring at empty space, that she nearly ran into someone. She immediately jumped back, trying to apologize and hide from the man at the same time. He was at least three feet taller than she was, and wearing a top hat that probably increased that estimate.
“Sorry, sorry, wasn’t looking where I was going, really, I—”
“Hold up a minute, will you?”
“Hmm?” She looked up at him, taking another step backwards in an attempt to make that easier. He seemed to be examining her similarly, his hat twitching like it was a part of his body.
“…You seem to have been trying to help,” he said, apparently concluding something. “But you should really learn to control your magic properly. Changing magicless people improperly can cause them to develop resistances, which aren’t always good.”

“Eep…” She stepped back, and attempted to stutter a question. Did he say magic?
He nodded. “Perhaps we should speak in a more private location.”
“Er, well I…I mean I don’t…” He interrupted her, pushing her chin up toward him, a gesture which at the same time effectively closed her mouth.
“Just follow me, alright?” She nodded, still trying to work out what was going on.

He led her down the sidewalk, through a few turns, never across the street, and into an alley, and then continued walking toward a wall that was a dead end. She followed him, and then he walked through the wall. She jumped a bit at this, and then timidly pushed a hand at the wall, and finding it wasn’t solid, followed into a small living-room type area. The tall man was sitting on a chair, and indicated an opposite one.
“Er…” She sat down.
“Hmm, well, you obviously are aware of your magic, and magic in general doesn’t escape you as a concept,” he said, taking off his hat to show a pair of wolf ears and laying it on a table, and, without pausing, continuing, “What you obviously need is some kind of training. Do your guardians know you have this kind of power?”
“Er, well, no, I kind of, don’t have any…” She said, looking down and then instantly back up again at him. “…Sir.”

He chuckled slightly. “You may call me Wolf,” he said. “Have you been able to find any books of any kind on the subject?”
“Well, no…I’ve just had to experiment with what I can and can’t do…I mean…”
“Is that why you have pink hair?”
“Um, well…that’s different, y’see…I was, kind of born male, but, in elementary school one day I think I was mad at someone or something, and well, that was how I discovered my magic. I was kind of…my hair was pink, and I don’t know how to make it stay normal or how to change back…”
“Hm. Do you [i]want[/i] to be male again?” he asked.
“Er, well, no. I’m kind of very used to being a girl now,” she said, “a-and besides…um…”
“Boys scare me to death.”

“Ah,” he said, “that would be the reason why you didn’t ask permission before changing Tran, even indirectly.”
“Uh, yeah…sorry about that, I think…I really messed up, didn’t I?” She put her head down again.
“Cheer up, it’s just a lack of experience. But from now on you should really avoid that kind of mental changes. It’s a terrible infringement of ethics.”
“Um, I-I understand,” she said. “But uh…How do you…I mean…?”
“I’m just old, and know a lot of things,” he said. “Now, for improving your abilities, perhaps you could find someone to take you as an apprentice?”

“Um…well, I guess I could, but I mean…I don’t know anyone with, er…”
“…Not counting me,” he said. He paused, getting a pensive look for a moment. “Come to think of it, I don’t have an apprentice. Then again, I’m not sure if you’d want someone inexperienced with being a master. Considering I haven’t had an apprentice since…hm…ever.”
“I-I don’t mind too much, sir, I…but…don’t’ you…aren’t you kind of busy?”
“Nothing you couldn’t help with, I think. You already know how to change people’s forms, I could just teach you how to do it correctly. Among other things you have potential for.”
“Uh…why do you…I mean, not to sound disrespectful but why do you…change people?”

He shrugged, and then began an explanation. “I generally tend to come upon people who want to be the other gender, and will usually help them out as a kind of hobby or charity, whatever you want to call it. I can't change my own, and neither can anyone else, and would very much like to try it, honestly. I also will try to reverse disastrous effects of the misuse of that kind of magic, and chastise the persons responsible for such misuse.”
“Huh? Why can’t you change your own gender?” she asked, curious.
“My body absorbs such attempts of any sort externally, taking the energy and adding it to my own. It’s a magical trait of my race, you see.”
“But, if that’s a part of your magic..isn’t it possible to lend other people your magic? What if you lent the immunity to someone else and then tried to change?”
“Hmm, you’re very bright,” he said, standing, “I’ve never thought of that in over four thousand years. Only, because that immunity is buried under all of my other magic someone would have to bear that too, and it would have to be that person who changed me and not myself for the same reason.”

He paused, looking at her. She stood up also. “You don’t mean…I’d..?” she said. “How would I handle all of that?”
“Well, being already a magic-user, your body should be able to handle the weight for at least a couple of minutes. And if it is unable to handle it, it’ll just throw the magic back at me and I’ll have to find someone else or wait until you are strong enough to try it,” he said. “And besides, it’d be a good first lesson as my apprentice to see what you can handle and show you what kind of fatigue real power can take if you’re not practiced enough.”
“As your…really?” She said, smiling slightly as he nodded.

“Now then. Are you ready?”
“Um, I guess so.”
He moved his hands in a slight gesture, and spoke, “Nonkalos lebram!” before grabbing her right hand with his and pushing the energy through it. The sheer amount of it was enough to make her dizzy, and it was enough that a relatively small amount of it siphoned off as light while it transferred. She stood there for a moment after he had let go, dazed, and finally shook it off. “Er…ready?” she said weakly, bending slightly under the magic’s weight. He nodded.

Lyra concentrated the part of the magic that reversed gender on Wolf, understanding somehow that he only wanted that to occur and traits could be specified later. He changed at about a medium speed. His hair grew longer, but only slightly, and his face shifted a bit. His body shrank about a foot in height, which was still very tall for a woman, and his clothing only shrank to fit. Anatomically only small changes occurred, until his chest rose just enough to be seen through the shirt, and the magic quit, indicating it was done. Lyra immediately let go of her hold on the borrowed magic, causing it to fall out of her and immediately go back into Wolf.

After a moment of looking down at herself the woman looked back at Lyra. “Well, looks like it worked,” she said, smiling, in an alto tone.
“Ugh…um…yeah…” said Lyra, exhausted. “Is that going to be necessary every time you..?”
“Nah, don’t be silly,” she said, “Now that my body has been made to a feminine form, it should be capable of switching between the two just like any other change I can make to myself. The form simply had to be broken.”
“Say, shouldn’t you have some different name as a girl?” said Lyra, straightening a bit though she was still very tired. “Like adding an e to the end of your usual name?”
“Hmm, you’re right. Although that seems unnecessary and undistinguished from male…eh, it’ll work,” she said. “Wolfe it is. Hmm, I’ll show you to the guest bedroom, you need some sleep. The real training starts tomorrow, Lyra!”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fox's Panties

A genuine caption at last. The long-awaited(?) intersection of captions titled "Fox's {noun}" and those titled "{adjective} Panties".