Saturday, February 4, 2017

Midas Journal 20

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I'd like to make a small note that I've added "liked it" and "didn't like it" reaction buttons to the posts on this website type place as yet another of my continual efforts to feed my desire to see feedback both positive and negative from anyone reading my stuff.

Entry: May 9

I didn't really mention last night how my own set of new memories dealt with everyone who was changed. It's not a big deal, really, they boil down to meeting each of them as a girl in the first place. But I didn't really know how or how much their memories had changed, so I was going to call someone to ask them about it. Just when I was getting my phone out to call, though, someone else knocked on the door.

It was Lue. “Hey, wanna go out shopping?” she said, chipper as ever.
“Um..maybe? Could we talk inside for a minute?”
“Mmm...yeah, okay,” she said with a nod. I led her into the living room. “Soo, what about?”
“I'm not exactly sure which question to ask,” I said. “Uhhh, do you...are you aware of anything, different, happening yesterday?”
“Hmn.” She put a finger to her lip like she was thinking. “I didn't eat breakfast yesterday, I think it was maybe a little cloudier than usual...also Brian turned you into a girl, right?” she added the last part with a wide grin.

“You knew that was what I was asking about,” I said, slightly annoyed. “What exactly do you remember or know about that?”
“Well, I know what all actually happened: I have my whole old life, you changing me and having the new life with a bunch of new memories stuck in, and yesterday morning I had another big injection right about when I was thinking about having breakfast, and then sort of forgot about it until lunchtime. And then on top of all of that, as soon as I got through remembering the new version with you as 'Kaela' I got a very firm impression that Brian did that by using a power like yours that only works on you.” She took a small step closer and reached a hand up on top of my head to ruffle my hair a bit. “He did a really good job, too, you're even cuter than ever before!”
“Oh, u-uh, thanks?” I said, not entirely sure how to respond to the physical contact. My tail started wagging on its own. “It's, I feel a lot more comfortable being called cute now I guess.”
“That's good, 'cause I'm not gonna stop any time soon. In fact...” She gave a toothy smile, showing off some long, sharp canines, and her ears stretched out into wolf ears, along with a tail pushing its way out of her back, all of the fur the same light brown as her hair. “Can we sit down for a minute? I have a proposal for you.”

“Sure, I guess,” I said, and allowed her to lead me onto my couch. I was a little wary of nearly any new idea Lue had, but it probably wouldn't hurt to at least hear her out.
“Well, I'm sure you know that I'm the alpha sort,” she said. “I was an alpha in my old life and I'm pretty much primed to be the same in this one. That hardly means much of anything if I don't have a pack, though. And, since you're officially a werewolf now...”
“You want me to join your pack,” I said, my ears drooping a bit. To my new set of memories, the notion of joining someone's pack means having to fight them. The would-be pack joiner fights the would-be alpha so each can decide whether the other is strong enough to be worthy of the new relationship, and the alpha uses the results to decide what position to give them.

It's a traditional kind of notion and a lot of modern werewolves don't really join packs at all because they aren't the fighting type; I was getting ready to say that I was in that category but Lue interrupted me. “Yep! But I don't wanna do it the old-fashioned way. We don't live in a world where strength in battle is the most important thing, and we haven't for years.” She leaned back on her own arms, crossed behind her. “Frankly I gave up the idea of challenging joiners to my pack decades ago, and just invited people I already liked. But now that I'm young again I have to be a little more careful than that, so I got a much better idea.”
“Uh-huh...” I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like this idea.
She leaned forward again, coming closer to me than before. “I don't want anyone in my pack who doesn't trust me or at least like me a little bit...and it's good if I like them, too. But you can hardly trust what someone says or even does to not be deceptive.”
“Um...yeah...” By now she was leaning almost uncomfortably close to me. I pushed myself back against the armrest instinctively.
“But werewolves are animals deep down, you know. Our instincts are strong, and our minds tell them an awful lot about our own opinions.” Her face was less than an inch from mine. “So if you can access someone's instincts, they can be so much more honest about who we really trust.”

Just when I was ready to slide out to the side onto the floor, she grabbed me into a hug and moved her head over my shoulder, giggling slightly. I cautiously returned the hug, which felt a lot less awkward than our position a few seconds earlier. “See?” She said from next to me. “You'd never let me get this close without trying to push me off or get away if we weren't friends, right?”
“Y-yeah, I guess so,” I said, feeling relieved. The whole lead-in to that hug had seemed like she was going to do something more extreme somehow.
“So,” she said, pulling herself back enough to put her face in front of mine but not releasing the hug, “my test for joining my pack is simple. We pet each other.”
“Um..we what?” Whatever relief I'd felt slunk back.
“You know, a little scratching behind the ears, fur tickling? No big deal, just long enough to see what kind of a reaction you have.”

Lue put her hands on the armrest and pushed herself back a little more, smiling down at me. “So, what do you say, Kaela? You want to try and join my pack?”
I blinked a couple of times, surprised. Here I'd been expecting her to start the 'petting' with or without my permission or say or do something to bully me into it. Well, sure, she'd probably pout or cry or something if I told her no, but it awful lot like she was really asking me if I wanted to. And she wasn't being impatient about getting an answer, allowing me time to process that surprise without saying anything or getting any closer. I thought, well, she's my friend after all, and this isn't exactly going to hurt. If she was able to show restraint in asking she'd probably keep this 'test' as short as possible, too. And...I wouldn't really mind being in Lue's pack. It probably doesn't mean a whole lot more than just staying friends as usual and she could feel good about 'having a pack' or whatever.

Eventually I brought myself around to the idea. I slowly nodded and said, “Okay. Just...keep it short.”
“Sure, sure,” she said, nodding back. “Hold still.”
First she leaned forward into the hug, and then she pulled me back a bit so we were both more upright on the couch. Next she reached her hands up above my head and behind where I could see. I had to bite back a reflex to duck back when she did that, but soon after I felt her hands on my ears, gently scratching behind them and rubbing their fur.

It felt..good, in a very similar way to how Brian's hands had felt. But it was different somehow, maybe just because her hands were smaller and had a different texture. I felt calmer after a few seconds and relaxed even though I didn't know I'd been tensed up before. “U-um..” I tried to say something, but it was harder than usual to form words; instead I just leaned forward a little bit.
“Mm.” Lue smiled back at me and used one of her arms to gently pull me closer.
I could feel my tail swishing back and forth across the seat of the couch behind me, and I slowly wrapped my arms around her in a light hug and then pulled them tighter. Then something touched me near the base of my tail and I jumped a bit, half-letting go of her. When Lue pulled me close again with her arms and the thing that had touched my tail slid across it toward the back, I realized that it was actually her tail. “Mn—mrf?” I tried to ask something but found my attempt to talk coming out as something of a soft bark. Lue just started scratching my ears again, and continued wrapping her tail around mine.

I think it's hard to overstate how sensitive my tail actually is; I think it's because it comes right out of the spine, so having something rub across that is like being tickled right near the middle of the back, but it's even more since the whole thing is covered in fur. The point is that once Lue's tail was doing that and her hands were still rubbing my ears I had a very hard time concentrating on anything except for those two feelings for a good several seconds, and the thing that finally brought me partially back to awareness was the feeling of her cheek rubbing against my nose...or, well, actually my nose rubbing against her cheek.

I made a soft “eep” sound and instantly tried to push myself off of her with both hands on her shoulders. Lue let me fall backwards and land on the armrest, and giggled softly while I sat back up. My face was burning. “W-what the heck was that?!” I said, snapped entirely back to reality by now.
“It's like I said, Kaela,” she gave an open-mouthed grin which showed off some very sharp teeth. “We're animals deep down. Anyway, that's enough to put you through I think,” she said with a small nod.
“ did I pass?” I said.

“Heehee, of course,” she said. “You've always been so hopelessly honest about everything, even before being a werewolf, there really wasn't any doubt in the first place.”
“Wh—you mean that whole—that—was pointless?!”
“Of course not,” she said. “It's embarrassing, right? So it's not fair if I only do it to people I'm not totally sure about already, I have to do it for anyone joining the pack. Anyway, you get a turn too.”
My head turned slightly sideways. “A turn at what?”
“Petting me, of course!” she said. “I did say we pet each other, right?” I remembered now with a slight shock that she had said that.

“Err—I—you, don't really have to,” I stuttered.
“Shh, no complaining. If you wanna be in my pack I've gotta know you know you can trust me, too.” She leaned closer to me again. “Anyway, you'll set a really bad example as the first person to join the pack if you don't do the first thing the alpha asks of afterward, right?”
“Ugh, fine...” I couldn't believe I was doing this, which probably showed on my face.
“Just 'till you get a meaningful reaction out of my animal side, yeah?”

I carefully reached around her head to where her ears were and went to rub behind them a bit. Her fur was a different texture from my own or even Brie's. It wasn't scratchy or unpleasant to touch but it was decidedly rough. Once I started to feel it I couldn't help running my hands along the rest of her ears to feel more of the interesting texture. I picked up the sound of Lue's tail whapping against the side of the couch just before she suddenly grabbed me in a tight hug, her ridiculously strong arms nearly choking me for a second before she loosened them a bit. Then I kept going.
“Mn-mrf! Y-you're, getting there,” she muttered into my ear. “Need..little more...rf! T-tail, maybe?” It was strange hearing her have trouble talking, but I remembered what had just happened to me a moment ago. I then understood what she was trying to say and reluctantly brought my tail around toward her back. I gently touched the base of her tail with the tip of mine, drawing a sharp bark from her that made me jump again. She was still holding on to me, so I couldn't jump back, but I jerked around a bit.
Lue's arms loosened; I'd stopped petting her ears for a second. “—again,” she said. I started rubbing my hands along her ears again and her grip tightened. Then I gently lay my tail across hers. She shivered slightly but only made a soft “Mmm” this time. So I let it run gently up and down hers for a bit. It was a similar feeling to her tail running across mine, and strangely addictive. I could feel my tail starting to wrap around hers instinctively to touch more of it as they both moved, and when Lue barked again even that didn't shake me out of it.

She made a sound like “Mm—ma—aah—aaaah” and though I couldn't see her face I got the strange sense that her mouth was slowly being opened against her will. And then that was confirmed as I felt a cold tongue running itself up my cheek.
“Ack!” I pushed off of her as hard as I could but she licked me another two or three times before loosening her grip enough for me to get away. It felt like a big, long dog tongue rather than a human one, which was especially jarring. This time I fell over backwards and upside-down beside the couch, and had to let my legs down to the floor before I could work on getting up. “Ugh—gross—are you just messing with me with all this?!” I said, starting to go toward the kitchen to get a paper towel or wash my face or something.
“Eheh, no, sorry..” I paused, seeing her face was bright red and actually looked worried. “I, uh, I was trying really hard not to have that extreme a reaction,” she said. “I guess since it happened anyway you know how I really feel about you, huh?” Her expression turned to a nervous grin.
“You think I taste good?” I said, going the rest of the way and starting the sink.

“No, silly!” She got up and followed me. “You know what it means when a dog licks someone, right? Don't you have werewolf memories now or something?”
“Y-yeah, but none of anyone ever licking anyone else,” I said.
“W-well, that's because obviously it's not socially acceptable for humans! S-so, for a werewolf's animal side to override that, y'know...”
“I get it, I get it.” Once my face was clean, I looked at her. “Just don't do it again, okay?”
“Well, of course not. We're done with the pack test now,” she nodded. “Of course, there's no reason we couldn't ever pet each other again...”

“Nope, nope.” I shook my head violently. “I'm pretty sure I'm in love with someone else at this point.”
“Aww, it's not anything like that,” she said. “I just like the way it feels. Anyway, I'm thinking of making you my beta.”
“R-really? That high?” I think it should be clear to anyone I'm not a very dominant person.
“Sure. You're one of my best friends, I wouldn't even have a new gig like this if it weren't for you...aaand, more importantly, you've got a nice, sane perspective on things. I have all kinds of crazy ideas and it'd be nice to have someone around to say which ones are too crazy. I think you're the only person I can trust to handle recruiting on your own, too.”

“You want me to get people to join your pack?” I said, leaning against the counter.
Our pack. If you're serious about joining you gotta own it. Anyway, I'm not saying to go out of your way to find people, buuuut if there's a werewolf you know and think would make a good addition then you have the right to test them yourself instead of having to bring them to me.” She bared her teeth in a grin again. “All last week I was tempted to pitch this idea to Brie, you know, but I thought something like this might happen and then maybe you'd like the opportunity to invite her—or him, whichever.”
“Well, that's...considerate of you, I guess.” I had to push off a mental image of her petting Brie. “Um..I guess if that's taken care of we can go somewhere like you wanted?”

“Hmm.” Lue leaned back a bit and stared through the doorway to the living room. “Actually, this is a pretty nice place you have here. Maybe we could just hang out here for a while instead?” I hesitated to answer for a second and she added, “No unsolicited petting, I promise.”
“Oh. Okay, sure then.”

I found out today that Lue has never played a video game before. Apparently she'd never touched one in her old life (as a person who grew up before they existed, I guess), and growing up her new life had hardly seen them, either. So probably she spotted what I had and decided she wanted to try it today for whatever reason. It turns out that never touching one before made her very bad at it, but we still had a lot of fun together anyway.

I guess this means I have a pack now, which feels nice somehow even though it's a little weird; I mean it's not the kind of thing I would've seen myself saying two weeks ago—or, like, the day before yesterday for that matter. At least I have some idea of how people's memories were shifted by my becoming Kaela now, which is probably good going into next week. I feel like I should at least go through a couple of normal school days like this, and anyway it's basically up to Brian when I change back as far as I can tell.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Dancer

It feels like I've had writer's block for forever, but I had a sudden flash of inspiration yesterday and wrote this whole thing in one shot. Very simple, but I think that may be to its credit.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Midas Journal 19

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.