This is a collection of TG captions of anime images along with some stories inspired by the same. Some stories are one-offs and more like extended captions; others are ongoing. Images not made by Whatevr. Captions and stories written entirely by Whatevr.
Trouble. That was
the first word that came to Light's mind to describe it. It was a
weird term to use, but the appearance of that word connected back to
the night before her powers had first appeared. It felt certain that
this was it, the promised trouble itself. Light's fur stood on end
just seeing the thing form, and her fight-or-flight instincts kicked
up even harder than they already had been by the last few minutes.
The police girl must have had the same kind of reaction, as she began
firing on it as soon as it landed.
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG click click click click click
click. The normal people around
were screaming and mostly running away; one or two were standing
there in shock. The creature, or whatever it was, drew itself up and
then started charging, apparently unaffected by twelve direct hits to
the center of its body.
Light ran forward,
and around the thing. Its right foreleg was already up and ready to
slash; the police girl was standing there with the gun still in her
hand, either continuing to try to fire it or just too shocked to
move. The sword appeared in Light's hand again and she leapt with it,
clashing length-wise against its claws, catching a swipe that
would've torn the other girl in half. The force of it sent her flying
backwards through the air, just barely long enough to regain control
of her positioning and land in a kneeling position halfway into the
alley she'd just run out of. Its hook-claws grabbed her sword,
wrenching it out of her grasp, but she just unsummoned it as soon as
she realized it wasn't in her hands anymore.
other girl had finally shaken it off, just in time to jump out of the
way of the next swipe. Now Light had a clear view of the thing's
front; it did have wounds from the bullets all across its underside,
leaking a little bit of the vague black mist it seemed to be made of,
but they looked remarkably shallow. Its face was completely flat,
with glowing red eyes because of course they were, and also a mouth
that seemed to be composed entirely of gigantic teeth, with no lips
or anything to hide them. Well, at least it had
eyes, which meant it relied on sight to at least some
extent. Light gave it a blinding bright flash to look at instead of
the two of them, and then set to work on placing numerous illusory
fox-girls around for it to attack whenever it did
start seeing again.
The other girl,
sword in her hands, circled over to the thing's side while it roared,
swiping at the air in response to the flash. Light stood up slowly,
finally a little out of breath from all this running and jumping
around, not to mention the amount of light manipulation at work just
now. But she walked forward anyway, reforming the weapon in her hand
and watching for an opening.
With some visibly
hard concentration, a few floating water spikes formed from the air
again, and she charged up, slashing with her blade and causing the
spikes to stab it as they followed her motions, then dissipate and
splash across its side. The blade and spikes both made visibly deep
cuts and holes in it, the sword going all the way through the body
rather than getting stuck partway through. Of course, with pain to
guide it the creature didn't need its eyes, and swung hard at the
fox-girl with an unnatural speed. She dodged the swipe by a couple of
centimeters maybe, and that only because she was already on her way
back away from it; her flowing cape-thing wasn't so lucky and got
torn half to shreds.
Light spent a
little more concentration to make her temporary ally invisible,
allowing its next hyperspeed slash to just go through the air. It had
its uninjured side toward her now, and her breath was back; that was
enough. The white-haired girl ran at it, leapt into the air, and fell
blade-first at its shoulder, digging the weapon into its body down to
the hilt and immediately wall-hopping away toward its back to avoid
retaliation. Only after she'd landed did she start to process the
sound the thing made.
It was at once a
hiss, a loud, low guttural rattling and a high, wailing screech—a
little like hearing two or three different animals in distress all at
the same time. But there was something distinctly unnatural and wrong
about the sound that she wasn't sure she could place her finger on.
Even though it meant that monster was feeling pain, and so must be
taking damage, it was an unsettling sound, maybe enough to terrify
anyone hadn't already seen what it looked like. Hearing it
stunned her for a second, and she was grateful to have illusions to
keep it from actually taking advantage of that.
Light called back
her sword, leaving its deep hole in the thing's shoulder to spout
more black mist. The other girl had run up next to her, mostly
because that was the opposite direction from the area the monster was
attacking right now. Since it was facing away from them, she took a
moment to narrow down the illusions to just one particularly good at
dodging and then concentrate some of the sunlight above them into a
heat laser—like the ones she'd aimed at Ning the other day, but
with an intensity that would do much more than a mild sunburn. The
hulking thing made its awful noise again, when it caught that full
against its back, and whirled around before jumping up toward where
the laser was coming from, swiping up toward the source with its good
She couldn't keep
this intensity up for more than a couple of seconds, and returned
focus back to invisibility and an illusion or two. The other girl had
found a sewer drain to pull water from, and got three or four times
the little blades she'd been able to make from vapor to just start
swirling around her in a tornado of pain. But she didn't seem to know
how, or maybe be able at all, to just send them at the monster,
instead choosing (or maybe being forced) to charge right at it. Well,
she was invisible, but that many rapidly-moving parts was just
plain impossible to hide properly with Light's powers, so she went
for another flash in its eyes timed just as it landed from attacking
the air and the water-wielder came close.
Her play was to
jump right at its chest and stab it with her sword, letting all the
water blades follow suit and bury themselves all over the thing's
wide body. The sword's aim was where Light guessed a heart surely
would be, if something like this had organs like that. But of
course this didn't kill it right away, and she hadn't caught on to
how wise the backup plan of "jump away immediately" was
quite yet, so the thing was able to grab her off of itself, holding
her in one of its giant hands.
She was obviously
not going to struggle free of that, and it might have started
crushing her already. Light ran. Its mouth opened, wider than it had
for making noises earlier. It opened and opened, looking like a snake
unhinging its jaw. Halfway there, the thought occurred to her that
that thing was going to eat that girl. It was a good thing she
was already on the way to do something about it.
Another flying leap
from the ground took Light up onto the wrist of the arm holding the
other girl. Her momentum wouldn't let her land there, so she kept
going with another jump forward off of it, toward the gaping mouth.
But since her arms were free and not wrapped in giant
monster-claw-hands, she was able to lead with her blade, sticking it
right into its disgustingly way too open maw, angled up slightly.
Then Light's feet were on its upper teeth and she bounced back again,
landing on the wrist for real this time. The sword's tip was sticking
out of the upper-back of its head very briefly; then it disappeared,
just in time to be lodged firmly into the wrist just behind its hand.
Then it finally let go of its captive and staggered backwards,
spewing mist from the several holes all throughout its body.
The other girl
landed roughly, gasping for air. Light tumbled for a bit and popped
back to her feet, feeling rather winded herself. She brought her
sword back again, holding it out in front of her, standing
defensively between the big beast and the police girl, only for it to
collapse onto its back, destroying more of the road in the process.
Then it faded, just as it had appeared, turning to black mist and
then seeming to blow away down the streets in a strong wind nothing
was, way too close." Light released her sword after a
second and turned around. "Are you...okay? Anything broken?"
She was already
kneeling, and slowly stood back up. Instead of answering the
question, she stated, "You could have...run away at any time."
Her voice had returned to the steady, genuine calm it had had at
leave you to die? That..thing to run around and hurt people!?"
She wasn't even sure exactly why she thought it would do that if left
alone, but it felt so...obvious somehow. "What kind of
person lets that happen?"
you. But, it wasn't a good idea." She pulled out her pistol
again, pointing it at Light. They were just far enough apart to make
trying to smack it away or grab it a very bad idea. "I have
to...uphold the law. You know something..so I have to take you in for
questioning." Something about the way she said 'have to' here
seemed to suggest she didn't want to at this point.
Light put her hands
up. The light was different..it was almost certainly sunset. There
wasn't that much less light right now, but her usual
powered-by-the-sun-ness didn't seem enough to cure the exhaustion
from all the recent running and fighting. When the sun did go down
she'd probably be in even worse shape. "Well, I never attacked
you. Just for the record. And I'm not doing it now, either. Look, I'm
not even gonna run away. I just don't want to change back."
The girl dropped
her gun, convulsing to the ground. Light's mind had to trace back a
couple of steps to realize she'd seen some electricity arcing at her
from behind, and then noticed Ning standing just a couple of
feet back from the police-girl. A quick glance down made it clear she
was still breathing, just stunned; it probably had been about the
level of a taser, or slightly more to get past heightened fox-girl
defenses to basically everything. The small girl made a 'come on'
gesture, and Light took off running behind her, both of them fleeing
They didn't stop
until they got back to Gerald's house, and then inside. Light was
panting heavily again; the sun was mostly gone now and her tiredness
had only compounded from that panicked run. But the lights were on in
here, which was enough to help a bit. "I'm sorry I didn't get
there sooner," said Ning. "I saw it on the news, and the
helicopter footage of you fighting that huge monster, and started
running right away. But..at least I helped you get away, right?"
Light sat at the
front of the nearest chair. "Yeah, that was..thank you, but
you...really shouldn't have done that."
"What do you
"I mean—she's a policeman. Woman. You assaulted
a police-person. And she just wanted to question me."
crossed her arms. "Questioning someone doesn't involve
pointing a loaded gun at them."
"Things were a
little tense. She saw a lot of people get killed by a fox-girl the
day before. But—I mean—it was also a bad move tactically."
smaller girl didn't appear to understand, mostly just still seeming
mad about the whole gun thing, or possibly disappointed that Light
wasn't happier to have been rescued. "Look, I really appreciate
that you came to help me and that you did help me get away. I do.
It's just—we don't
want them to find out you robbed the bank, and we don't
want them to find out that we or
I am working with the person who robbed the bank. The evidence points
to someone with electricity powers, and you just showed them I know
someone with electricity powers. And on top of that she
has water powers and can use them to detect me past illusions; I
don't know if she might even be able to track us here with
what else were you gonna do?! Go down to the station where they'd
make you tell them everything? Try to run away and get shot?"
something. "Actually...wait. It wasn't loaded."
reconsider running away."
Rowan stood up
again. She'd been about to let that girl get away. Her magazine had
been spent within a few seconds of seeing the monster, and she hadn't
exactly thought to bring extras before deciding to chase down a
shadow on the rooftop. It was wrong, what she'd thought about doing.
A person doesn't become immune to the law just because they saved a
police officer. Or because the officer tried to kill them.
Her body ached, but
breathing, standing, moving her arms..all seemed to work fine.
Sensing the flow of water in her blood, it seemed like there was some
moderate to pretty bad bruising, but thankfully nothing broken and
nothing internally bleeding. That was worse. That she'd
actually done. What had she turned into for those two or three
minutes!? Shooting someone who was basically a civilian, someone
probably innocent and apparently only interested in helping out? Her
mind spun back to the day before...the crazed look in that girl's
eyes. Was that a crazy person gaining undeserved power, or the power
making her crazy?
No, no, that
couldn't be it. She was herself—was Rowan, still. It had
been...what she knew they were capable of, had seen happen to her
friends and coworkers. None of them had deserved it; there were
families missing fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. That was
all; something about the way this white-haired girl was acting had
brought her to that moment, and she'd just...snapped. It took a giant
black mist monster appearing out of nowhere to un-snap. Coming
back to work the day after that happened had been a mistake. He'd
thought he'd be able to handle it, as he had a few times before in
the past when officers he'd known had gotten killed, but this
time...it had just been too much.
The word was out
that it was safe to come here again. There were police, emergency
responders, news crews flooding in. Rowan stood still. Trying to kill
that girl was wrong, and she was lucky that it turned out to be a
decent person who wouldn't just let a cop get killed to make her
escape, no matter how little the cop acted like they cared about the
law. Somewhere in there, in the middle of the fight with the giant
creature, she'd realized all that. And then pulled an empty handgun
to encourage her to get away, planning to pretend she hadn't realized
it was empty until it was too late. It hadn't happened that way;
someone else had hit her with a taser or something. She hadn't heard
them coming, and didn't hear anything but two pairs of feet running
away while briefly lying on the ground. But it had still been her
plan: Try to apologize for doing the wrong thing once by doing it
again, in the opposite direction. Two wrongs didn't make a
right, as far as the law was concerned.
Finally, people had
arrived and started to ask her questions. One of the officers from
this precinct asking if she was hurt, and how badly. Newspeople
asking all kinds of things while being shooed away—what was that
she'd just fought, where had the other person gone, so on so forth.
Some of the other police were even asking things like that, and more.
She opted only to answer the first oquestion, explaining she was
injured and wasn't sure what would happen if she changed back in this
state, best to have it looked at right away like this. They helped
her over to some non-shattered road and into an ambulance parked at
the edge of it. Nobody was going to ask her anything much until they
were sure she wasn't going to die, which would give her more time to
think. That was what she needed the most right now.
Amory saw Blake
leaving the bathroom from a distance, on his way out of class with a
crowd of other students. An impulse told him to follow, and he
did—slowly, from a distance. It didn't seem like he noticed. He
went on to stare at some posters for a while and then leave. That
was...weird behavior if he ever saw it. The posters were—well,
first of all they'd been there forever, so there was no way he hadn't
seen them before, and secondly they were not that interesting.
Just a picture of Isaac Newton with googly eyes pasted on, or a
large-printed version of the cover of an obscure scientific book most
of the professors, much less the students had never heard of.
When he left, Amory
finally followed to where he'd just been. Was there a secret message
on the posters or something? Well, no—a quick glance told him that
they were the same old posters as before. But there must have been
something there, some reason for him to...there. A door just
across from the wall those posters were on was cracked open, just
slightly. The classroom past it was empty, but the door wasn't on the
system that usually auto-locked the classroom doors outside of
classtime, and nobody had bothered to lock it manually.
A careful search
eventually led Amory to a girly pink backpack. The conclusion that
someone had just left their backpack behind here was rebutted by the
fact that it was in a far corner of the room, rather than next to or
on top of one of the desks. Someone had to have put it here
deliberately. Blake hadn't even come in here, but he'd been
conspicuously and suspiciously nearby for a notable period of time.
So maybe this was it. What 'it' was, he still wasn't sure.
What now? Amory's
sense of decency forbade him to actually open a girl's backpack and
dig around inside, especially if he was wrong about it. The classroom
was always unlocked anyway, so if someone had left it behind, they
would be able to come looking for it here instead of having to wait
for the building's main offices to open to check the lost and found,
so he couldn't justify even picking it up.
Eventually he came
up with something. Of course, as roommates, they had each other's
numbers, to let each other know if something was going on or ask to
be let inside in case a key was left behind. So Amory got out his
phone and sent an innocent text asking what his roommate was doing
for supper. It was the opener for a conversation inviting him to join
Amory and some friends or something, if it was responded to. Instead,
a very audible came from inside of the backpack.
That was it.
Blake's phone was in here for some reason. Amory's suspicions seemed
much closer to being proven true. But maybe it was a coincidence?
Well, the buzzing had come from right near the top. He knelt over,
slightly unzipped the pocket the phone seemed to be in, and found
what he knew to be his roommate's model of phone. It didn't exactly
say "This is Blake's" on front, but one more test would
clinch it. He waited a minute or two, then sent another text saying
"actually nevermind". The phone buzzed, and showed that a
text from Amory had just arrived, the second of two unread ones.
Amory zipped the
backpack up again, and stood up. Blake's phone was in a pink backpack
in a room he'd stood next to for a while. It wasn't direct
evidence of him being one of the fox-girls and going around playing
superhero while trying to maintain a secret identity, but it was a
very hard to explain set of events. It was enough to justify asking
him directly. But that was best done back in their apartment, where
it would definitely be a private conversation. And he didn't want to
give his roommate a panic attack by taking the backpack or anything
in it; the worst thing would be if Blake suddenly decided to run off
into hiding or something like that because he thought he was
compromised. So he started on his way home for the day, and began to
try and plan what he would say to even start the bizarre
conversation they were going to have to have.
Shepherd had very nearly died. People had died around him, strangled
to death or thrown into buildings by an insane woman with
inexplicable powers. But he hadn't died; instead, he'd killed her,
and learned some strange words he also didn't understand. He had
spoken the words shortly after, during debriefing, and the results
had been surprising...frightening, even. Since then he had been
interviewed live on the news, showing off the strange power that
killing that girl had given him, and he had been half-interrogated by
his superiors and told or showed them everything he knew. But when he
walked back to the precinct the next morning, there was something new
he hadn't told anyone, and didn't intend to.
After going to bed
that night, Rowan had seemingly awoken in a lavish bedroom probably
three or four times the size of the entirety of his apartment. He
spoke the words as if by reflex, and immediately felt himself
shrinking down in the bed. He sat up, feeling his hair flow down
across his cheeks and fall to the bed before long, a big loose mass
of light blue silk. His nightgown shrank to fit the narrowing
shoulders and slimming frame as with the increasingly familiar gentle
tug downstairs, he was changed into a woman. Her chest puffed forward
not long after, a tail sprouting from her back and her ears
stretching up into tall, fuzzy triangles just as comfortable as
stretching her arms after exercise.
She looked around,
uncertain whether this was real. Dreams were normally not
so..coherent. Eventually she stood up, the normally long nightgown
trailing just to her thighs despite a considerable loss in body
height, and then the bedroom door opened, and in walked a far taller,
more beautiful woman sporting seemingly countless tails, in what
seemed like the pajama equivalent of royal robes.
she crossed her arms, smiling—maybe, more like smirking. "You
got a lucky shot in, didn't you?"
She felt uneasy around this
woman; not like she was hostile, but like she never wanted her
to be. "Who..are you?"
"Oh I am a lot of
things," she answered. "Some choose to call me a queen or a
goddess, but such titles are really still far beneath me. Suffice to
say that I am the origin of your new powers. Really, I'm glad to see
you get them; the girl I gave them to first had no imagination."
She moved strangely, instantly coming noticeably closer—not quite
into Rowan's personal space yet, but threatening to be. "You
must have noticed by now, you aren't capable of as much as she was.
Those are the rules: The killer gets but a fraction of the original's
power. But in cases like yours there's an exception. You can regain
the full extent of what she was capable of in one of two ways."
The woman nodded. "Practical, aren't we. I
like that. Well, the first way isn't even worth mentioning," she
said, counting off a finger, "it puts you at a great
disadvantage in exchange." Drawing out a second finger, she
said, "The second way lacks that disadvantage, but I can't
promise it will be easy: You have to kill another of those I have
blessed. It even comes with a bonus; you get the full extent of both
your new power and theirs if you do this."
"You want me
to...kill someone," she repeated.
the woman retorted, suddenly appearing next to her and putting an arm
over her shoulder. "You've already proven your willingness to
kill those who harm the people. It's part of your duty, isn't it?
Surely you can find another wild criminal among the multitude I have
blessed to take power from. Anyway," She pushed off, and then
leaned over so her mouth was close to one of Rowan's ears—and as
much as the smaller girl wanted to move away, she seemed to be
momentarily paralyzed, stuck in place. "What's one life next to
all those you could save with the full extent of your powers? You
must know people like yourself are already mostly water in the first
place; with as much control as you should rightly have there are very
few wounds you wouldn't be able to heal."
woman was back to being across the room from her. "Think about
it. And anyway...perhaps I should give you the warning I gave
everyone else. Trouble is coming to your world, and it's coming
soon." With that ominous statement, she disappeared, and
right away, Rowan began to wake from the dream. She appeared back in
her apartment, in the nightgown and panties her clothes had shifted
into in the dream, but thankfully was able to change everything back
to normal by speaking the phrase again.
Part of him wanted
to think that it was only a dream, that maybe whatever had happened
to people caused them to dream that way, and speak the words to
change in their sleep. But it had felt completely real, and even now
the memory of it was perfectly vivid. What exactly had she meant by
'trouble'? He told himself that he couldn't report this to his
superiors even if he wanted to; they'd just laugh it off because to
them it really would appear to just be a dream.
he try and gain the full extent of his powers? There were a lot of
criminals and lunatics who had been given those powers, and with his
own new powers, there was already talk all over the station of him
being sent out to deal with them. All he had to do was...shoot, or
slice, to kill, and later claim he had no choice. But...that was
wrong. Even those who had gained these strange powers, and were
abusing them, were people—citizens, with rights like everyone else.
He couldn't kill someone just to serve his own desires, even if those
desires involved saving lives.
Maybe it wouldn't
even matter. Just like yesterday, perhaps his hand would be forced
regardless. And if it did happen, and had the effect the woman
suggested, then he could mention the dream; there would be solid
evidence then that he'd learned something true from it.
Classes were not
cancelled on account of worldwide fox-girl epidemic. Blake found it
deeply difficult to concentrate on the math lecture when he was
thinking about what had happened over the weekend. Was trouble
coming? Had he accidentally partially mind-controlled Ning, err,
Gerald? Had he left enough of a trace somehow, despite being
extremely careful, for the police to track him down? Or worse,
track the 'bank robber' down? ...That would be bad.
There were happier
thoughts to distract him, too. The idea of patrolling around town
this afternoon between science class and suppertime was deeply
appealing, even if he probably wasn't going to run into any
criminals, since this was the real world after all. He caught
himself daydreaming of dashing around town, maybe jumping from
rooftop to rooftop where it was reasonably safe to do so, like the
chase with Ning the other day but without any stakes...It was just
too much fun to pass up. None of his homework was due until later
this week anyway, so he could just do that tonight.
On the way to
lunch, he opened the map on his phone and tried to plan out a route
to run around and building-jump on. Preferably businesses that had
nice, flat, sturdy roofs on top of them rather than people's homes.
The sudden ability to be amazing at parkour changed the normally dull
commute to the dining hall into a survey of places to wall-kick or
-run, things to jump off of or onto, and so on. He was still doing it
during lunch, enough to make the people eating across from him turn
around a couple of times to try and figure out just what he
was staring at.
He told himself to
be patient, it was only an hour , but physics class just seemed to
drag on and on. He wondered: Didn't he violate physics now? Probably
in a lot of different ways, honestly. Or, well, what did they do when
something violated known physics? Write new physics? Nobody was even
asking their teacher about this, despite the fox-girls being all over
the news, and Blake sure didn't want to be the one to do that, what
with the whole secret-identity thing. Well, they had things to learn,
and a class to pass, and maybe most of the people here were just
holding on to normality as hard as they could. Sure, back at lunch
and walking around and on the way in and out of this class there were
people talking about it, with a wide diversity of opinions
represented...but it was all hypothetical talk of something distant,
almost fictional to them.
Maybe this was just
what the human mind did when confronted with such a deep-seated
defiance of what it thought to be reality. All of this hardly felt
real even to Blake, for as tight of a grip on the reality of the
danger as he consciously kept while being Light. Well, everything
would sink in sooner or later, and it did seem better than outright,
Finally, it was
time to go play hero for a while. Blake had a better plan than just
using his apartment's bathroom this time, instead finding one of the
several single-occupant restrooms on campus, chosen carefully to be
one that didn't have a camera pointed at it, and stuffed the contents
of his pockets into his backpack before quietly speaking the phrase
to change form.
form came with unfamiliar clothes, including the same shoes as before
but short socks, blue-denim short shorts and a blank white t-shirt
instead of the dress top and jacket. Also, her backpack had shrunk in
size a bit and turned pink, which she frowned briefly at the
silliness of before shrugging and deciding it didn't matter that
After all, the next
step in the plan was for 'Blake' to walk back out of the bathroom and
to a certain never-locked classroom with no more classes scheduled
for that day and stow the backpack in an inconspicuous corner there.
It wouldn't do the whole secret identity form any good if someone
stole the backpack from her and Blake's ID and phone and so on. This
plan was thrown off slightly by the pink backpack, but it
would still be better if it was somehow discovered there than if it
was taken off of her person. 'Blake' stood out in the hallway slowly
reading some of the posters on the wall, not even opening the door to
the room, while she took care of that, and then he casually strolled
outside and finally out of camera view.
Light breathed a
sigh of relief. Finally, free to do what she'd been thinking about
all day! She took off at an invisible run right away, toward the
denser part of the city. The first thing to do was find a place with
a small enough gap between two buildings and hopefully nobody
present—easy enough, there had been a few candidates on the map on
her phone before, and a little bit of tweaking of the trick she'd
used to look inside of Gerald's house allowed her an easy 3D-image
map of the surrounding area to compare the memory of that against.
Before long, she
was there. She paused in the middle for a moment, feeling as if she
ought to be out of breath or at least a tiny bit tired..but she
wasn't. Of course, the sun was still out, so she was getting tons of
energy from the sunlight or whatever. Well, the next thing was to try
some platformer-protagonist stuff for real!
grinned wide, taking off at a run straight for the wall. A short hop
and quick rotation in the air had her running up it, and then with a
sudden sideways squat and hard push with her feet she was on the way
to the opposite wall. Doing a quick corkscrewing somersault in the
air to orient her face-up with the feet aimed at that wall came
nearly as a reflex, and in no time she was running up the other wall.
Then she did it again, and a third time, before seeing the end of the
line rushing toward her and taking one more jump off the wall, a
quick reorienting spin, she landed on top of the roof.
While conscious of her need to be quiet and not literally shouting
from the rooftops, Light couldn't resist a small giggle. That was
just as amazing as she'd imagined! The wind rushing through her hair
(and her ears and tail too) felt great! If anything, that series of
ridiculous acrobatics had her feeling more energized rather
than at all winded. Well, it was just the beginning. Looking out from
way up here, there were plenty of buildings to jump across. She'd
thought she was going to be worried about heights, or need to
be worried about heights, but the former just didn't apply at all,
and the latter...well, being able to wall-run and just being agile in
general gave her a lot of options for recovering from a botched jump.
So she went
jumping. This was as much fun as it had seemed like it would be, and
only after doing it for a few minutes did she remember she was
supposed to be looking out for criminal activity. She stopped,
kneeling over and then laying down so just the top of her head was
poking past the building's edge, looking down. Well..there were
certainly people down there. It was a little hard to tell what was
going on from this height.
Light stood back up
and brushed herself off, feeling a little silly. Of course she
couldn't see things from this height. She'd just have to pull the
light up to herself to take a look. The image in front of her just
showed some normal people milling around..nothing particularly
suspicious there. Monitoring the news would've maybe been a better
way to hear about crimes happening, but, well, it wouldn't have been
nearly as fun. She'd figure something out...
dismissed the image and moved on, jumping over a couple of other gaps
before stopping and looking down again for a second. Even from this
distance she could see a few police cars down there...of course! If
the police were doing something, she could quietly help them out,
right? That was a pretty obvious way to find out what needed to be
done...maybe getting one of those police radio listener things would
be good, too. For now, she made another image in front of herself of
the scene down there.
It looked like they
weren't up to anything particularly special; that just happened to be
a police office down there. But one of the cars was from out of town;
on the side it clearly said the name of another city. Two officers
stepped out of that car, one of which looked vaguely familiar...they
were talking with the others there. The less-familiar one had an
extra shoulder-gun-holster thing hung from one of his hands. Light
paced a bit, watching as the familiar one took off his badge and
handed it to the other one. What were they...? He said something
else, seemingly not to anyone in particular, and there was a
burst of water; it became abundantly clear why this one had been
Even with the
remote image from her powers, Light was able to see the change in
full, unlike over the TV. The officer started shrinking rapidly right
away, his hair turning light blue and flowing out across his back and
the sides of his face. His body steadily flowed inward and downward,
narrowing and slimming all over. His uniform melted into a white
vest, a short black skirt, a cape and some blue sleeves. Soon a
fairly short girl stood there instead. Her tail spilled out from her
back, her ears burst up into the hat, which immediately responded by
turning to water and moving to the left ear, attaching itself as some
kind of decorative attachment to it. Finally, the last of the water
from the explosion speaking her words had created formed into a
sheathed katana, which dropped from above her to be caught in her
slim, small hands.
It was the girl
from the news yesterday. She released the sword, and it turned to
mist (water vapor, maybe); then the officer who'd been in the car
with her offered her the badge and holster. The former seemed a
little awkward to pin to the vest, but the latter had clearly been
sized specifically for her current, smaller form, and fit perfectly
Why in the world
had they shipped this guy...girl out to Light's town, from her own
city? Surely there were plenty of things to be doing with those new
powers back there. She was scratching her head about this when one of
the other officers had a sudden, surprised expression and pointed.
With the different perspective of her image it took Light a second to
realize he was pointing up at the roof of a nearby
building—specifically, the one she was on right now. The
blue-haired girl reacted by saying something quickly and then taking
off at a run, prompting Light to drop the image and do the same.
She'd let herself get distracted, pulled too much focus from being
invisible. Of course she was back to being invisible now, and
just in case sent an image going off in some other random direction,
but she shouldn't have been so careless in the first place! After
running for a short while, Light dropped down, hanging off of the
edge of the building to get a brief aerial view and see if she still
needed to be running. That police girl was...still coming right
toward her! What was going on here?
Since she was
already partway down, Light let go of the edge and bounced off of the
walls a little bit to make a relatively gentle landing, then started
running through some of the streets and alleys, still invisible. If
she'd even seen her drop off the building, she at least wouldn't have
an easy time following this trail, right? And after that,
she took to the walls again, climbing back up to the top of the
building, and kneeling over to be a bit less visible...even though
she was invisible right now.
A quick look
around...nobody else up here right now. So she'd been followed down.
Her ears twitched, picking up a pair of shoes coming up the walls
again. Well, running didn't seem to have done much good at all. Light
sighed standing up and taking a few steps backwards, away from where
she was pretty sure her pursuer was going to land. That prediction
was correct; the other girl did a rolling flip from the building
across from this one onto that spot, and immediately popped up, water
condensing and gathering into that sheathed blade again, pointed
toward Light with its hilt in her right hand.
She seemed a little
bit out of breath. "You can't...hide from me," she said
calmly, between huffed breaths. "I can see...the water in you."
for telling me that." Light dropped her invisibility, at least
for the police-...girl? in front of her. It was pointless anyway,
right? "Is there some good reason you're following me around?"
wanted for questioning." Her breath was mostly back already; she
didn't have as much stamina as Light but still seemed able to recover
pretty quickly. "Is there some good reason you were running from
a police officer?"
"I was just
running in general, until I noticed you were behind me. What do you
The other girl
glared. "That is not how this works. Change back to your normal
appearance and come with me to the station."
Light pointedly looked around at where they were just now. "It'd
be a little hard to do things in that order. Anyway, who says this
isn't my normal appearance?"
something about the robbery two days ago. Someone with abilities
matching yours was involved in a later, related incident." Her
voice remained calm and still, almost untingend by emotion.
thing I've done recently was help catch a couple of
kidnappers. You want to arrest me for that?"
"If you won't
come with me, I can arrest you for obstructing justice. I won't ask
Light crossed her arms. They wouldn't be able to keep her very long;
she could probably escape if it came to that anyway; and she could
continue to claim not to know anything about the robbery. "But
I'll stay like this. There's no law against that."
you have shown the ability and willingness to easily kill
people." Her voice showed its first spark of emotion, and it
wasn't a good one. "That would be like walking into the precinct
with a deadly weapon in your hands."
You're also—and you're the one pointing a weapon at me."
"I have good
reason to fear for my life." The sheath turned to water
and fell off the blade, and she drew it back, moving to a ready
stance. "I won't hesitate to use this if you continue to
Light made an
exasperated expression with her hands. "I'm not resisting!"
The girl responded
to that by running up and slashing. Light saw the attack coming more
than early enough to dodge, jumping away to one side. "Whoa,
hey! There's no need to escalate this into violence!"
She stood up, the
blade right in front of her in both hands. Water appeared rushing up
from around her feet, swirling around her. "You already did! You
and other people like you. You think just because you have some kind
of powers you can do whatever you want?! That you're above the law?!"
While she spoke the water gathered up into several discrete pieces,
blade-like shapes all around her.
She wasn't exactly
listening. She charged, slicing at Light; the water-blades followed
this up, forcing her to dance around and back and sideways and under
to not get cut into pieces. One slash came after another, some of the
blades surrounding them to keep her from getting too far away. Light
was able to keep dodging, but just barely. The girl was in a rage,
yelling about lives destroyed, families going without fathers and
mothers, but it was just in the periphery of her mind, nearly all of
its focus taken up by the task of not getting cut in half or stabbed.
Eventually she was maneuvered into a corner, a position she couldn't
dodge out of, and with that sharp blade coming down at her her
reflexes had her hands come up, a shimmer of light forming into a
sword in them just in time to block the strike.
The police girl
seemed to look at the blade clashing against hers for a second or two
as if it meant something, and then suddenly jumped back, the
water-blades turning back into normal, gravity-obeying water and
splashing onto the concrete around Light. In the same motion she
transferred the hilt to one hand and the other snapped to the holster
on her side. Light jumped aside before realizing why: Finding the
roar of gunfire even louder with these ears and seeing the pistol
aimed right at where she would've been if she hadn't.
"Can we please
calm down and talk for just a second?"
a chance to come quietly." The gun was fired again, and barely
missed. Without being able to use illusions to misdirect those shots,
one of them was going to hit soon. "Then you drew a weapon on an
officer." Her voice was completely calm again all of a sudden,
but it wasn't the serene calm it had been at first; it seemed almost
cold and calculating.
Light noticed she was incidentally still holding her sword, and
disappeared it. "It's gone, stop shooting at me!"
The next jump took
her off the roof of the building. It would be much better if
she didn't have a clear shot at Light, right? If there was somebody
else she had to worry about hitting, especially? Surely she wasn't
berserk or crazy or angry enough to start firing on civilians, right?
Light made a quick few hops across the walls to land in an alley and
started running as soon as her feet hit the ground. Another shot rang
behind her, along with a sound she thought was maybe the bullet going
into the asphalt.
Light kept running,
out into one of the main streets. She made a decision to be visible
at this point; if that other girl was going to shoot her she would
have to do it in front of a whole lot of witnesses. There were
people on this sidewalk, who took notice as she ran past and around
them, over the road briefly and onto the other sidewalk. They had
probably also heard the gunshots; what were the chances anyone around
here hadn't? Light stopped in front of a store window, turning
around to look. The other girl was on the other side of the street
with her weapon still drawn. There was a car coming, and she'd
stopped to wait for it. But...
There was something
wrong with the light. She could feel it somehow, being bent
unnaturally somewhere just over the middle of the road. The car drove
past, and Light saw the other girl looking up at the same spot. It
was like a ripple in a pond, only it was in the air, and not a heat
wave. It spread and grew, turning from waves to something black
and..fuzzy, indistinct. Everything else seemed to be crawling by;
this was the same kind of slowed-down perception as seeing a person
change to their other form.
The shadow grew
into a huge shape, like a giant bear. It solidified and grew more
distinct, gaining something between feathers and scales all across a
huge body with four thick legs, each ending in long, hook-shaped
bladelike claws. Before long, the pitch-black creature fell to the
ground, landing square on its hind feet and shattering the road. Even
fully formed, it seemed to have a smoky, mist-like quality to it. It
was facing away from Light, straight toward the other girl.
Zack woke up face down on a couch, his head turned to the right,
facing the back. "Mngh..?" He pushed himself up onto his
knees and looked around., in the brief moment of confusion from
waking up somewhere unusual, before getting a sense of what had
happened. This was the library, and he'd fallen asleep again. Nora
and Mira were on the couch opposite him.
beauty~," said the witch, waving.
you wake me up?!" he jumped to his feet, blushing in
embarrassment with his ears folded down over his cheeks.
"I-I-I, thought you n-n-needed the sleep, a-after, last night,"
said the elf nervously; she was, suspiciously, blushing almost as
much as it felt like he was.
"By the way, I was saying 'sleeping beauty' as a gender-neutral
cliche, just for the record," Mira added. "Even though I do
think the haircut looks really cu—nice.
Good." She gave a thumbs up.
"Whatever. How long was I asleep?" He felt hungry; it had
to at least be lunchtime.
"Um, ab-about two or three hours, I
"You just waited around for me to wake up," he said,
crossing his arms in annoyance.
"Noooo, I got here like half an hour ago and we were just
talking," said the witch. "Quietly. 'Cause it's a library.
I figured Katherine would track us down eventually and then she
could wake you up with psychic whatsits so nobody had to get near you
to poke you."
"I'm not a bear."
"You are part wolf, though~," the witch winked. Zack
realized he'd put his hands on his hips and quickly dropped them to
his sides again. Nora was giving her a look he didn't fully
understand, but turned back toward him before he could process it.
"Somebody say my name?" Katherine walked out from behind a
nearby shelf. "What up, nerds?"
"Hi..!" Rose skittered along behind her, looking around
nervously as if she was afraid of knocking over the shelves or
something. To be fair, she was more than strong enough to do
"Zack here was just taking a little nap," said Mira, "Nora
was telling me about a book. Once I was here we agreed it'd probably
be easier to wait for you to come to us." The elf nodded in
agreement with this. "Anyway, it's like..past lunch, right? I'm
getting really hungry." Hearing that, Zack realized he was also
famished, as if breakfast hadn't even happened.
The catgirl nodded. "The Captain asked me to bring everyone else
to talk about another job, but I think there's time to eat before
Lynn asked, "So, did a crystal thing appear in your inventory?
Did you notice anything like that before?"
"I..wait. Waaiiit." Aria paused for a second, closing her
eyes, and then opened them again to a deeply frustrated expression.
"Rrrgh! I am so stupid!"
human across the table headtilted a little bit.
"I never checked! I didn't check once before now! I just
assumed it was empty to begin with and kept track of what added to it
in my head. Of course there might be some items you start out
with! Look!" She produced and half-slammed onto the table first
a small, glowing blue crystal, then a seemingly blank piece of paper,
then a metal charm shaped like an ankh with two circular parts side
by side instead of one. They were in the patio of a restaurant, and
this made for a small scene and a few stares at first. "And
there's a sword in there. Like, a normal sword, a..falchion
thing. Rrrgh." Rayna gave a calm, smiling wave to the more
persistent onlookers and they understood immediately that everything
was fine and they could go back to whatever they'd been doing before.
"Well, at least you checked it now?" Clera said.
but now is after seeing something in my dream. I have no idea
if this stuff was really always there or if it was somehow 'added'
after I saw something related to it. I'm missing what might be a
really important clue to the story!"
story?" said Rayna.
"Mine," she gestured
emphatically to herself for a second before dropping her hand. "My
character's. Whatever. I don't know for sure if what I saw was
a 'real' memory," (she gave air quotes around "real").
"Maybe someone stuck it in my head somehow, and gave me things
that matched with it along the way. Did you get item identification
For a second nobody was sure what that meant, until the fox-girl
remembered an obscure branch of her skill tree. "Um, not
"Well, if you have any points can you take it now?
See if it tells us anything useful about this stuff?"
"Sure, I guess," she shrugged. After buying it, she turned
on the HUD filter to look at the things on the table.
"Hm..non-magical," she said, pointing to the charm. "I
guess it's supposed to go on a necklace or something but there's not
anywhere to attach it except through one of the hoops. Maybe
Lynn said, "Wait, is the skill telling you
all of that, or are you..?"
"That's just stuff I would say from looking at it, except that
it's not magical. My vision just says 'Charm', nothing helpful. The
paper is 'Blank Paper' and there's some kind of magic involved but I
can't see what without a way higher level in the skill. Maybe
it's a moon-letter kind of thing?" She turned her head slightly.
"And..the crystal. Immediately I get the label 'Beacon' and that
it's magical, but nothing else. I would guess your dream is at least
telling the truth about it being able to help someone find you..."
"But it doesn't tell you how I turn it on, huh?" Aria put
the other items in her inventory and picked the crystal up to turn
over in her hand. "I'm guessing it's something really simple but
I just don't 'remember' the instructions."
"Why would you want to turn it on?" asked Clera. "You
just expressed fear that what you know about it may have been
"Not fear, just annoyance at not having evidence that I could've
had if I'd acted like I had half a brain," said Aria. "But,
if I can activate this and get whoever 'gave it to me' to show up and
talk, that'll give me loads of evidence. I have to sit around doing
no fighting for two or three days anyway, so I might as well occupy
my mind with working this stuff out instead of being bored and/or
driven insane by the slow building of my sword's hunger for blood.
This should be a fighting-free activity, after all."
Rayna looked up at something behind Aria's side of the table, so
she carefully turned around to look. "Um, hello." It was
"Hi Rast," Lynn piped up right away, "What's
"Errr, the Captain wanted me to check how you all
were. I hear those goblins did a number on ya?"
me, mostly," said Aria. "Clera burned her magic out fixing
the problem. But we're still alive and walking..sorta."
good," he nodded. "She also wanted any of you who're in
fightin' condition to meet up with her an hour from now. Long as
Rayna's one of 'em."
"Well, my arm was a little
sore earlier," said the fox-girl. "But why me
He shrugged. "The Captain don't tell us
why she wants things. We're lucky ta even know what message she's
havin' us deliver." He scratched his head, thinking. "If I
had to guess, though, maybe somethin' about your magic bein' able to
track things? Anyway, should I tell her you can come or not?"
Rayna and Lynn shared a look briefly. "Yeah, the two of us will
go," said Lynn right after. "On another subject, when's the
next time you're free, hmm?"
Aria (facing forward again, away from Rast, by now) rolled her eyes
before looking back at the crystal still in her hand, turning it over
for a moment. The first step was..probably to find some kind of magic
item shop or something. A professional identifier kind of shopkeep.
If the paper was instructions, making it readable could be
unnecessary if somebody in this town already knew exactly how to use
this beacon thing.
A little later, they were on their way. "You're just shameless,
huh? Flirting and setting up a date right in front of the rest of
us?" The fox-girl gave Lynn a small elbowing.
"Whatever. You'd just all spy on anything I tried to do
privately anyway. At least you know when I'll be busy and why without
me repeating myself."
"True, I guess."
The archer thought for a moment, and had an idea. "...Hey,
so, you can see people's classes, right?"
"Have you ever..done that with just random
people on the street we're passing by? I mean, is it only players
that have classes or everyone?"
"I guess I haven't.
Let's see..." Rayna had a quick look around with HUD-vision on
at various people on the street. "..I guess regular people do
have classes. I see some 'classless' out there, but the town guard
people have classes like 'swordsman' or 'guard'...some of those
street vendors have concerning classes like 'rogue' or
'trickster'...hmm. I wonder what the Captain's class is."
"Well, it's not hard to check. It just seems weird we haven't
before." They reached the guardhouse, and went inside.
When Rayna knocked on the Captain's door, she heard her say, "Can
you get that?" and then an unfamiliar voice say "Sure."
A girl with white hair and wolf ears opened it in a second.
While she got out of the way, the Captain waved at the two of them.
"Come in, if you can find room. You know, this office seemed too
big when I first had it built.."
She still had the vision on to see what people's classes were, among
a few other things, so the person right in front of her briefly stuck
out. After they had walked inside, Rayna's brain fully processed what
she had seen: The first row said "Zack –" and then
"Canis", but the symbol between there that normally
indicated sex was fuzzing weirdly between "M" and "F",
like it was glitched; the next line identified her as a "Knight".
The broken symbol was weird, but also the name sounded familiar...
"Hi!" Rose was here too, and three more people. Rayna and
Lynn, and Zack behind them, only found room to stand awkwardly in
between where all the chairs were and the Captain's big desk. The
chairs were occupied and the empty corner that didn't have a chair on
it had a giant white wolf sitting there instead.
She didn't wait to start introducing people. "This is Rayna and
Lynn. You two've met Rose before. The rest are Zack, Katherine, Mika,
"Umm, Mira," the third one corrected hesitantly. She was
dressed very much like a witch, which the HUD confirmed. Right,
Katherine, who Aria had met—that was it. And they were also
Rose's other friends, it would seem. Interesting..coincidence. None
of the rest of them had glitchy letters, either, so it couldn't be a
"Mira," the Captain echoed dispassionately. "I should
get to the point so you don't have to be crammed in here any longer
"Our city's supply of livestock is in danger." The fox-girl
had almost forgotten the reason she had the extra vision on in here,
and looked at the Captain with it, listening to her at the same time
Lynn said, "Wait, we..have one of those?" The Captain's
name was apparently Ezra; she was identified as a female human with
the class "Bard".
"Of course. I hope you don't think we've been importing meat
from the homeland this whole time." A bard, eh? That was...not
what she would've expected at all. "They're out in the
pastureland with the rest of the farms. Anyway, there have been some
reports from the farmers of them disappearing in large numbers. The
pens they were in are typically torn apart, and the ground typically
looks like an explosive spell was set off just under it. Those are
good signs that we're dealing with at least one giant worm."
Okay, no..bards were supposed to know a lot of lore. Just immediately
knowing what species of monster they were dealing with made perfect
sense. And that kind of knowledge would be perfect for someone
assigning monster-slaying jobs, huh. She hadn't really thought of it
that way before.
"So, you want us to kill that," said Zack. Katherine looked
distracted, but he was determined not to be.
"Right. The reason these two are here is that those worms are
notoriously difficult to find. They tend to keep a den deep
underground, through an ever-changing maze of a tunnel system. Rayna
is an illusionist; her powers allow her to track monsters. The extra
support in general won't hurt here, either. If you'll all take the
job, that is."
He tried getting Katherine's attention with a brief look, but she
didn't seem too interested. The others were nodding, at least; Rose a
bit like a bobblehead. "...Yeah. We didn't have any other plans
The fox-girl shared a brief look with Lynn only briefly before
agreeing also. "Sure, we'll take it."
"Good," Captain Ezra nodded. "The sooner you get to
work the better. We'll see a price hike for a lot of food if this
isn't dealt with quickly. Worse still, if it runs out of animals to
eat it'll come deeper into the city and start taking people."
They were on their way out after that. Zack paused, kneeling in front
of the wolf. "Look, you should just stay with the Captain for a
while," he said. It growled some displeasure at the idea. "I
don't think you'll be much help against a giant worm. We'll be back."
The wolf responded with a low bark that indicated it still didn't
like it, but would obey anyway.
Katherine was still here. She still looked just as distracted as
before. What are you doing? He tried to communicate mentally.
seemed to snap out of it and finally realize most everyone was gone.
She stood up. Looking at our new friends. Two minds at
once. Sorry. Well
stop. They're probably fine. He
caught up with them outside, with the catgirl not far behind.
Mira asked, "Sooo, what do illusions have to do with tracking
"The world is an illusion," said Rayna
in a mock 'mystic person' tone. "Or..my powers just extend
farther than they seem to."
"I liked the first answer better."
"Then believe that one. Anyway, I already tracked down a bunch
of goblins earlier, so we have proof it works."
"You two are Aria's friends, right?" said Katherine.
Rayna nodded. "She got herself hurt while we were fighting those
goblins, so she isn't in fighting shape right now. But she'll be fine
"Interesting to finally meet you," said Mira. "I, um,
hope you don't mind working with a witch."
"Why would I mind that? Do you smell or something?"
"I eat demons for power. Actually, I don't know if that affects
my breath or not."
"We already work with someone using a
demon for power. Sooo..." Rayna gave an arms-up shrug.
"Is Clera hurt too?" Rose didn't want to interrupted a
conversation that had already moved on, so she turned this question
"Not exactly. She burned out her magic and fainted a
little bit, and needs to rest."
"Ohhh." The dragon-girl didn't really know what burning out
magic meant, but burning sounded bad, and needing to rest made sense
Katherine moved back until she was next to Nora, letting Zack
continue to be in the lead. I hate to ask, but..what are we doing
The elf 'thought' toward Katherine her memory of the entire
conversation in the Captain's office.
paying attention? Don't you have a heightened attention span or
Yes, but, um, I
was looking at the minds of those two...both at once at first. Did
you know the Captain's name is Ezra?
really introduced herself. How do you know that?
Rayna can 'see'
people's names and classes..as part of illusionist powers or
minds all the time. Two more doesn't really seem like enough to
distract you. I mean, you juggle three or four knives at the same
time without any trouble.
not really why I was distracted. See, she also saw she was a Bard,
and was reasoning about how much sense it made for a Bard to be the
guard captain...thought something about knowing lore and that meaning
it made sense she would know what monster we were dealing with just
from a few signs. I thought something about that thought
was..suspicious, I don't know how to describe it, so I was actually
digging deeper and looking for the thought pathways related to it...
I can tell you
have a point. Nora meant for her
to get to it.
I'm not sure if
I should say right now. With Rose here...just don't react aloud, I'll
bring it up later or something.
I can stay
quiet. The elf looked around at
the group all chatting with each other, and Zack busy leading the way
out to the last place the worm took animals from; they probably
wouldn't notice her ever-so-surprised reaction to whatever it was
Okay. Look, I
realized what was suspicious about the thought about a Bard as I was
going. It's kind of a DND description of what a Bard is, you know, to
know lore and stuff. Inside a fantasy world, or like, midieval
Europe, you'd expect a "bard" to just be a lazy useless
person who plays music sometimes. So I traced it back and that's
exactly what the thought was about!
something like DND here?
expression out in the real world was neutral, but she mentally made
the annoyed face one makes when the other party seems to be
intentionally missing the point. Wha—no! Maybe? That's
not the point! The thought was about DND. OURS.
So you think
they're more players, from Earth.
elf looked over at the two of them briefly. And if they
are, it's likely the others in their party are, too.
It wouldn't be hard for me to get that information out of them if we
brought it up, it'd just be right there in their surface thoughts.
Or we could
just ask them as soon as Rose isn't with us,
Nora mentally deadpanned. I don't know of any reason they'd
want to hide it.
How are you
being so calm about this? It's a big deal! Two—maybe four more
people from where we're from! Who knows how many more there are?
You told me not
to react, so I'm not reacting.
catgirl sent over a mental expression like throwing one's arms up in
incoherent confusion, so Nora elaborated. It's
probably good news, but it hardly seems shocking. We already each met
three other people from Earth, so the existence of many, many more
who we haven't met seems extremely likely.
...Oh. Katherine mentally blushed a bit. You're right, I
guess. I was just, thinking of it differently. Like: In a game, the
DM would always put the party near each other and arrange things so
circumstances push them into meeting up. But this world is real,
so..there's no DM to do that, and it's a coincidence we met, which
with this many coincidences would make people from Earth weirdly
doesn't make any sense either; we would've either heard of massive
disappearances or large numbers of people remembering playing a game
that sent them here, or...something like that. Right?
Unless we were just the first, thought Nora back. That was a
bit of a chilling thought to both of them.
The first thing I did after school on Wednesday was go to Brie's
house to see her. Of course I'd checked she was actually there and
available first, so when I knocked on the door she answered it. “Hey,
so, what's up?” she said, leading the way to her living room.
“Um..yesterday something happened I think I should talk to you
about,” I said. “It's...someone else I used my power
“Uh-huh?” She said, sounding interested, and sat down.
I took a seat on the other side of the couch and she immediately
scooted over to put her arm over my shoulders.
“Well, it was..you know, the attraction thing, I'm just more
worried about this one than usual,” I said, stumbling awkwardly.
“I..I'll just tell you what it was about.” I gave a brief summary
of who Giriah had been and why I'd decided to use the power on
him..finishing with, “and...well, he turned into a succubus. Her
“Okay,” said Brie, obviously not seeing a problem with that. “So,
if she was a heroic demon before there's no reason to think she won't
be one now. I guess you're worried a succubus will actually act on
the new attraction to you more than anyone else has?”
yeah,” I said. “I—one of the first things she said was
something like, 'you can have two girlfriends if you want'. But—I
don't want that, even though she is cute and all. I told her
that, but she still kept sorta flirting with me a little, and I don't
know if that's just her personality, or like, how hard it is for a
succubus or whatever to even take no for an answer.”
“Mmh. I don't really think you have much to worry about,” said
Brie. “The way I understand it, if she offered something like that
to you and you were even able to say no it means you have some
kind of resistance to their usual powers over boys. Anyway, you could
always just be a girl for a while till she cools off.”
seem bothered by the idea of me turning into a girl either,” I
“Look, I'm not really...I mean, I guess I am worried I'll screw
something up about as much as usual, but what I'm really
worried about is, is what if she starts spreading a rumor or
something that I was dating her? I mean...even if I wasn't, just
intentionally lying to break us apart. I have a hard time
believing she wouldn't be able to convince someone else that was
happening,” I said. “I—I wouldn't really know what to do in
that situation, if you actually believed it I mean. I wouldn't know
how to prove I wasn't..so I just wanted to tell you ahead of time,
I'm not. I never will be. No matter how attractive someone else is,
it's you I'm in love with,” I said finally, and sighed. “I
don't know what else to say.”
“Awwh, Kael,” Brie smiled and
tickled the tip of one of my ears a bit. “I'd never believe
something like that about you. For one thing, you're a really bad
“Well—yeah, but if I'm trying to lie about something I sound
nervous, and I'm scared I'd sound the same kind of nervous if—” I
started, but she put a finger to my lips.
“I wasn't done,” she said, sounding mock-annoyed. “More
important than that, though, I trust you. I have a lot of good
reasons to trust you, I mean, I don't even know if you realize how
much power you gave me over, like, all of you, and even though
at first it was supposed to just be for one experiment you've never
even thought about taking that power over you back.
“Well..no, I guess not,” I shrugged.
“But even better than that, I know you love me,” she said,
wrapping her arms around me, pulling close, bringing her face nearly
up against mine. “And I love you, too.”
She punctuated that with a kiss, and I returned it as eagerly as she
gave it. It started gentle and romantic, with us both gently holding
onto each other. Slowly we both started to get more excited, pulling
ourselves closer and kissing a little harder, and before I know it I
was on my back with my head on the armrest, in the middle of what I
think is the longest and most intense kiss we've ever had. And then,
after that, Brie did something new.
I felt a tingling racing out from where her lips were touching mine,
out along my face to the rest of my head and my ears, and then down
along the rest of my body. I realized what it meant as I began to
feel my body getting smaller against hers, and became aware of hair
pooling on the armrest behind me. My tail, still wrapped around hers,
grew thicker, fluffier, softer, and also more sensitive; my ears had
done the same thing already, I knew when her hands ran across them. I
was making small “Mmh” sounds through the kiss, each one in a
slightly higher pitch, as I felt my clothes wrap closer against my
body, my hips stretching out and back while my stomach gently
flattened and curved inward.
Before I knew it I was down to Kaela-size, her voice in my throat, my
clothes completely changed to a girl's and my memories shifting over
to the female ones...but I was still, just barely, male, and my lips
were still locked against hers. She pushed herself against me a
little bit harder for a few seconds, my body seemingly frozen
mid-transformation, and then with a loud smacking sound our lips
parted and I let out a soft, high “Aaaaah~!” as I finally changed
sex, followed immediately by a gasp as I felt my breasts grow into
place all at once, squishing directly into hers—neither of us was
wearing a bra now, of course.
My hands crept up to her soft, fluffy ears; she was petting mine
already, so it was only fair. Our tails were sliding across each
other, each feeling every inch of the other's velvety fur, and with
this it was enough for us to start nuzzling each other as closely as
we'd been kissing a moment ago, letting out small, high, puppy-like
barks and yips to each other. After a while, though, we pulled our
heads apart again, our faces both bright red.
“Uh, w-wow...what was that about?” I said.
“I-I was like two
inches away from going into heat, seriously,” said Brie with a
nervous smile. “I don't think either of us are ready for that
right now so we'll just have to settle for the soft touches. We could
both be a little softer if you want though...” (She meant we could
use our werewolf forms again, like on the full moon. I didn't get
that at first.)
“Maybe..but uh, the couch is starting to hurt the back of my head.”
“To the bedroom, then!” Brie pushed herself off of me and stood
up, her tail beginning to rapidly wag as soon as it pulled free of
mine. Then she started to walk a little unsteadily off toward her
I got up to follow. “I'd have settled for swapping positions for a
while, you know...”
I stayed over for the rest of the night. We did eventually go to
sleep, still hugging each other, and the next morning we walked to
school together before finally splitting up. I wasn't exactly paying
much attention to my phone that whole time, so it wasn't until school
was almost over that I noticed a text from Giri.
It said, “Hi again Kaela! There's someone I want you to meet but
NOT use your 'special skill' on. I think they'll help put your mind
more at ease.”
I understood what the part about the special skill was but not
exactly what the rest meant. Still, it didn't sound like she was
planning anything bad, and I felt a lot better about the whole
situation with her after the night before. So I replied to see if
they wanted to meet that afternoon. Within a couple of hours I was
sitting at that restaurant full of magic people Rio took me to a
while ago, waiting to see what would happen.
Looking around, I noticed some things. Of course it was mostly
completely different customers from before, but I could clearly pick
out werewolves, kitsune, cat-people..even a couple of Rabbits
(rabbit-people, I still think that's needlessly confusing). And there
were some demons around too, with some inhuman skin colors and
various combinations of wings, horns, tails, and so on. I couldn't
help feeling amazed and a little weirded out that I had gone from an
outsider to this completely different world from the one I (really)
grew up in, to a life-long insider with new, not exactly fake
memories of growing up in it.
The door rang (it's one of those with bells that make noise every
time it opens), and I looked to see Giri walking in, thankfully much
more fully clothed than when we'd first met, and a Kitsune girl with
white hair, glasses, and white hair and fur following. I waved
lightly at them and they came over, taking two of the three free
The demon-girl frowned slightly at me. “Are you really that worried
about little old me? I mean, that look's pretty cute on you, but..”
“I'm not..I didn't actually,” I failed to start twice. “Look,
my girlfriend decided on it for reasons that didn't have to do with
you. Anyway. Hi, I'm Kaela.” I offered a hand to the other girl,
and she nodded, shaking it.
“Ren. I've heard just a little bit about you.”
My head tilted slightly. “Um..a little off-subject, but how are
your glasses staying on straight?”
“Magic. It's really not
that hard. I could prolly teach you the spell in a few minutes if
you're halfway intelligent.”
“Anyway,” Giri interrupted, “Ren here is my mana
battery. She's..well, actually male normally. Closest thing to a
boyfriend a succubus can expect to have.”
“We're awfully clever,” said the fox-girl, leaning forward onto
her elbows. “Giri drains masculinity out for her magic and then
uses a tiny bit of it to turn me back later.”
“Uh-huh.” That explained not wanting me to use my powers on her.
But she wasn't setting off any alarms, and at any rate I'm not really
sure how it would work if the person is already physically female.
“You seem skeptical. We've got a few backups in store in case she
accidentally used too much in the span of a few hours.”
“Oh, I wasn't thinking about that. Uh..out of curiosity, do you um,
enjoy being a girl?” I said.
“I might as well ask you if you enjoy being a werewolf,” she
shrugged. “The drain affects my mind too..but with it being
temporary, I don't have to deal with the worst of it. So that's nice,
“So..as I understand it, you had some part in helping Giri meet
“Uh..no, it's more like..”
“We met at her
house,” Giri said. “Basically a coincidence. But Kaela here has
some unusual powers. When I met her, she was a boy named Kael.”
“What kind of powers? You help unlock the ancestral knowledge?”
I gave a confused look. “No...I, don't actually know what that is.”
It occurred to me after saying that that this probably had something
to do with Giri not telling her “boyfriend” she had only recently
become Giri, but honestly, I'm a bad enough liar when I know
what the lie even is. I decided to just continue with the part
of the truth that was mine to tell. “Ever since my eighteenth
birthday, I have some kind of reality-altering,
“Reality altering?” Ren's eyes glowed slightly, and she looked
skeptical. “You don't look all that powerful to me. Mostly just
normal werewolf stuff there...”
“I don't know how it works exactly,” I said. “But um...here, I
can prove it exists at least.” I tapped my wrist, asking my power
to shift me from werewolf to kitsune, and let Ren and Giri aware of
the change. I felt a subtle tingling across my fur, and my memories
shifted slightly; my body pulsed with magic and some knowledge
appeared of how to use it.
Ren jumped back slightly, blinking. “Whoa! How did you..you were
definitely a werewolf a second ago! And—and wait, no you weren't?
Is this..some kind of mind magic? It can't, I would've...”
that's how it works,” I said, crossing my arms. “It just sort of
reconfigures everything. It can work on other people, but uh..usually
it changes a person from male to female, and it has a tendency to
jump out and work when I don't really want it to. Only if someone
wants something badly enough, though. And, it's touch activated. You
have no idea how many different versions of memories I have by
now.” I quietly switched back to werewolf, since I'd made the
“Amazing...I've never heard of anything like that,” said Ren. “I
mean..hm. I suppose if a power can just make people remember things
differently then it'd be very easy to keep it a secret. So you've
actually used your power on some people? Who?”
“Err, I mostly
consider that their secrets to tell, not mine,” I said, trying hard
not to look in Giri's direction. “But uh..a few people, yeah.”
“Hmph. I'm sure I can guess a few of them. Like your girlfriend,
right? And obviously yourself, if she wants you to?”
I frowned. “Look, it's really not any of your business.”
come on, I'm a kitsune. I'm good at keeping secrets!” she said.
“Don't give me a puzzle to solve and then not tell me if my answers
“..Well, it's not exactly a secret if we say it
here,” I said, waving at our general surroundings,
and specifically people with ears like mine that could probably
eavesdrop without even meaning to.
“I uh, cast a privacy spell when we sat down,” said Giri. “Seemed
like the right idea. Probably should've mentioned that earlier.”
“I think I'm going to need to know that spell,” I said. “Fine,
who do you guess? My girlfriend, fine. Not that you know who that
actually is. We met while I was messing with using my powers on
myself. We sort of switch roles back and forth.”
“Hmn...well, what about Adena?”
I paused, raising an eyebrow. “How do you know her?”
helping her keep up appearances of an alternate male life. She's
mentioned you a couple of times, actually. She's always struck me as
strangely amazed about her own powers, even though—y'know—always
had them? So I'm guessing your power made a normal human boy into
“Fine, yeah.” I nodded. “I was actually trying to
make a male friend my power wouldn't affect. I didn't understand it
as well as I do now...as soon as he started talking about how cool it
would be to have magic, it just sort of happened. I really doubt you
know anyone else I've changed, though.”
“Heheh, well, for someone who was technically not always one, she
plays the trickster role pretty well,” said Ren. “Just some
friendly advice though, try to keep out of the situation if you can.
It's bound to blow up pretty soon.”
“Yeah, I've been telling her that...”
“Don't worry too much. It's a pretty normal stage for a lot of
foxes, and she's clever and optimistic enough to come out of it
better than ever after the fallout. Eventually you learn to lie in
ways that won't blow up on you personally.”
“That isn't all that reassuring,” I said. “How much are you
lying about right now?”
“Hmn...not much.” She shrugged. “I've always preferred the
magic and knowledge route over the trickster one. Mostly I just throw
the occasional support string on others' webs of lies.”
We were interrupted by a waiter showing up and asking us for our
order. Giri offered to pay for supper, and our conversation moved out
of magic to some more mundane introductions. Ren and Giri are
actually college students, a couple of years older than me. In all
the confusion of learning about magic I almost forgot about normal
things like graduating from high school and moving on from there,
which I guess I should be thinking about pretty soon. It's all still
a little surreal; I could technically reality-warp my way into
whatever job I want, even weird magic ones, but it feels wrong
somehow. I'd miss out on really experiencing a lot of things that
way, and...sooner or later I should probably admit to myself that I
don't really have to worry about running out of time. When Adena
talked like she'd be alive for centuries I was surprised and in some
denial because the same thing basically applies to me, and probably
at least a few other people I know, even if I don't try to do
something about the general problem of death (which is still very
much on my mind).
Today Rio showed up at my locker, while I was stuffing things into my
backpack. I'd finally decided to try out the inventory spell I'd
learned and just empty the whole thing out and not ever have to come
back to it. “Hey..you learned an inventory spell?” she said.
“Um..yeah.” I looked around, suddenly worried someone else had
seen me putting more into the backpack than could ever possibly fit.
“Someone new I changed suggested I'd be able to learn spells by
just..shifting things a bit to where I already knew them, and it
works fine as far as I can tell.”
“Oh, wow. I can't
believe I didn't think of that!” she said.
“Er..sorry. I mean, I know magic's kinda your thing but..”
“No, no,” she shook her head. “Magic's not a zero sum game,
Kaela dear. It can only be better if more people enjoy the benefits,
especially good people like you. Anyway, I wouldn't have magic if not
for you, and you can turn to casting spells in self-protection
before jumping straight to reality bending. Right?”
guess I could do that,” I said. “Um, I've been using some of
Threa's spellbooks as references so I don't accidentally create new
“I have a few suggestions if you ever want to do that
intentionally,” she grinned. I was finally done filling the
backpack, so I set it down and closed my locker for probably the last
time. She seemed to take this as a sign that she should tackle-hug
me, which I returned automatically. It was a brief goodbye hug, and I
set her back down on her feet after a second or two. “See ya later,
“Bye!” I didn't find doing that weird until she was
already running off and I thought about it. Girls just...hug each
other when guys wouldn't, I guess. Even among completely platonic
I've started learning a bunch more spells this afternoon. I'm trying
to do it slowly so I get used to the ones I know at each step. I
don't want to overwhelm myself and risk getting confused, and do
something like try to cast a face-cleaning spell and throw a fireball
I wonder if I'll change someone new next week, too. It's getting to
be less of something I'm worried about and more of an exciting
curiosity, a “what's gonna happen next?” kind of thing. There's
still a lot of the list I haven't seen yet, especially after Giri
helped fill it up more.
I've had this written for a little while, but held off on it because I've had some trouble writing captions lately. I've decided to just not worry about it too much. Sometimes there'll be a bunch of captions, sometimes there'll be a bunch of story bits. That's just how it is sometimes.