Kyanite - DragonAnon TF story

Mar 10th, 2018
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  1. Table of contents:
  3. Chapter one - Horns - Line [15]
  4. Chapter two - Transformation - Line [252]
  5. Chapter three - Dragon? - Line [818]
  6. Chapter four - Marcus - Line [942]
  7. Chapter five - Lake - Line [1334]
  8. Chapter six - Rosie - Line [1985]
  9. Chapter seven - Dreams of Fire - Line [2216]
  10. Chapter Eight - Awakened - Line [2434]
  11. Chapter Nine - Fire breather - Line [2725]
  12. Chapter Ten - [unfinished] - Line [3174]
  15. >Be Anon.
  16. “Well shit.”
  17. >The morning had started out perfectly fine, until you’d looked in the mirror.
  18. >Which, being the first thing you did, firmly reinstated that today was going to be a disaster.
  19. >Where did it all go wrong?
  20. “Probably when I first moved out here, or maybe earlier. Possibly around the time I was first conceived.”
  21. >You answered your thoughts in the well established depressing manner you normally did. Only this time, you didn’t do it because you were just generally regretting being alive.
  22. >Today, looking in the mirror, you found you had little tiny horns growing out of your head.
  23. >Only, by tiny, you actually meant ‘Just big enough to be noticeable and completely terrifying.’
  24. >They were white and looked really neat, if you were trying to fit in with either edgy cosplayers or a really sick metal band that was dedicated to their craft and made pacts with actual demons.
  25. >Only problem was you hadn’t been doing either of those things.
  26. >The problem was that you’d woken up this morning, with fucking horns.
  27. >Like, what the fuck dude?
  28. >It wasn’t a prank, or a joke. You’d felt them, and assured yourself they were actually properly attached to your skull.
  29. >Perhaps the Skeleton inside you was finally trying to break free.
  30. >Or maybe-
  31. >No, scratch that, you didn’t have an actual explanation.
  33. >Except perhaps, the weird circumstances surrounding last night.
  34. >What the fuck had even happened? You’d been shitposting online, just like usual.
  35. >Then, some chucklefuck had posted something that made you madder than you’d ever been, so you’d stood up to go stand on your balcony and take a breath.
  36. >And then… There was some weird thing happening with the sky.
  37. >Like an Aurora Borealis.
  38. >But in this part of the country? At this time of year? Localized entirely five miles from your home?
  39. >At least you’d seen it. You would have hated to have missed something so spectacular.
  40. >At least until it all coalesced into a single mass of light, that spread outwards like some atomic bomb going off.
  41. >The most horrifying thing was the silence. There wasn’t any sound at all.
  42. >It was just that light, and then some sort of weird pain in your… Everything.
  43. >And then you’d woken up several hours later, feeling mostly normal until you’d looked in the mirror.
  44. >Actually, the weirdest thing was that you’d woken up, completely fine, in your bed. As if it had all been a dream and, you hadn’t felt your body collapsing to the floor.
  45. >All though you were oddly curled up and surrounded with pillows. You usually kicked them off the bed and laid out.
  46. >But that little oddity didn’t even register compared to the big honking problems sticking out of your messy hair.
  48. >You coughed, your lungs searing with pain.
  49. >That wasn’t the fault of the light or whatever had happened. Your lungs were just bad.
  50. >You had medical records to prove it.
  51. >The coughing broke you out of your stupor, and you went to the kitchen to grab a drink of water.
  52. >The cold, fresh water from the tap tasted pretty nice. Benefits of living out in the country near fresh water reservoirs, you supposed.
  53. >In fact, your lungs had been the entire reason you’d moved out here.
  54. >Some birth defect made you especially bad at handling smog and smoke and general air pollution, so you’d moved away from the city.
  55. >All the way out to… This.
  57. >You looked out the kitchen window, a gentle view of small town streets and lots of greenery met the eye.
  58. >The lakeside town of Sienna Lake wasn’t that bad, you supposed.
  59. >It didn’t have any of the tall buildings, or businesses, or infrastructure, or… Anything really.
  60. >At least the nearby mountains and rivers made for great hiking trails and views.
  61. >Not that you ever went hiking. Or really appreciated nature in general.
  62. >And who names a town after the lake that’s right beside it, anyway? If it were up to you, the founders of this city would have been shot for lack of creativity.
  64. >You finish your water, and draw your blinds. It was too bright out right now anyway.
  65. >Not to mention you didn’t want anyone from the street looking in at some freak with horns.
  66. >You went back to your bedroom, and checked your phone.
  67. >That’s strange, three missed calls, from work?
  68. >Oh shit, you didn’t miss a shift, did you?
  69. >No, you couldn’t have, you had yesterday and today off.
  70. >You checked your messages.
  71. >”Hey Anon~! “It’s your manager, Stacey of Jimmy John Bob Robson’s pizza, calling in to say that your friend Marcus called in sick today, and we were wondering if you could cover his shift! Thanks~!”
  72. >The sickly sweet singsong of your overly friendly boss hurt your ears.
  73. >Did she really need to repeat the whole name? You knew where you worked.
  74. >Also, that bitch knew you didn’t work on weekends.
  75. >And if you were working Mark’s shift, who was gonna cover yours? Nobody, you’d have to just work extra hours and cover it all.
  76. >Fuck off with that shit Stacey.
  77. >You almost called her back just to tell her to fuck off, when you realized something.
  78. >Marcus was a gamer buddy of yours, although the dude seemed a little weird sometimes.
  79. >It was a bit of a long shot, but if he was up gaming last night, maybe he’d seen that weird flash thing?
  80. >Maybe he was growing horns or antlers or some shit too! The dude may be weird, but he was at least reliable. And if you had someone reliable to talk to about this, maybe you could get steps towards getting help.
  81. >You weren’t sure you could afford to bring this to a doctor. Damned healthcare was so expensive these days, and your insurance didn’t cover bizzare head growths.
  83. >You found yourself dialing Marcus without thinking about what you were even gonna say to him.
  84. >Fuck, you forgot about social anxiety, your old comrade.
  85. >”Hello, Anon? What’s up?”
  86. “U-Uh. The roof…”
  87. >Jesus fuck why couldn’t you be a normal person your parents could be proud of.
  88. >”Ha ha- Uh, that’s a vintage joke Anon. Classic. Anyway, what’s up? Oh- Did Stacey call you about taking my shift?”
  89. “Y-yeah.”
  90. >”Of course she did, I told her it was a maybe, damn it. Whatever, it’s all sorted now, my sister just had a- Uh, personal emergency. I’ll talk to ya on thursday, Anon. Still on for game night I hope.”
  91. “Uh- Maybe not.”
  92. >Shit, if it was just his sister doing girl things or whatever, then telling him you were growing horns would just be fucking weird. Not to mention, could you even tell anyone about this anyway?
  93. >”Something come up, Anon?”
  94. “Just a- My own emergency? Nevermind. I’ll figure it out.”
  96. >You hung up the phone without so much as a goodbye.
  97. >Somehow you felt that actually went better than usual, and that spoke volumes about how inept you were as a person.
  99. >You stood up, staring yourself down in the mirror once more.
  100. >You were still Anon. Just with little horns. Maybe they’d go away? Maybe nobody would notice?
  101. >Maybe it was just a temporary thing, or maybe you were drugged?
  102. >You didn’t know how drugs worked. Maybe someone had injected you with a whole entire weed.
  103. >Maybe you were dying on the floor right this second, and this was your brain flashing out it’s last thoughts.
  104. >Or maybe you were just living a lie, and demons and shit were real-
  105. >Begone, thoughts.
  106. >None of this was helpful.
  107. >You had to consider you situation in full, and determine what your next step should be.
  108. >You read that in a wilderness and emergency survival guide somewhere.
  109. >This wasn’t the wilderness, but to you it certainly was an emergency.
  111. “Okay Anon, think. Don’t think about how this happened, think about what you’re going to do about it.”
  112. >Well you couldn’t go outside.
  113. >And you couldn’t live inside for the rest of your life, either. You still had to go to the store, get food, and also do your job at the pizza place, and-
  114. >Oh shit, food!
  115. >Your stomach grumbled, as if on cue.
  116. >You didn’t even get around to eating dinner last night, and now that you were thinking about it, you were a little bit famished.
  117. >You didn’t even have to check to know that there wasn’t anything to eat in your house. You’d been delaying a trip to grab stuff for weeks now, surviving off pizza and frozen dinners.
  118. >Somethings from your childhood never changed, your diet was one of them.
  119. >Neither of your parents had been particularly inspiring cooks, so you’d never really learned how to do real food that didn’t require a microwave.
  120. >/ck/ would be embarrassed on your behalf, if you didn’t hate yourself enough already.
  122. >So what were you going to do?
  123. >You couldn’t go outside, what if someone saw you-
  124. >You thought of those stories where people always worried about their alien friend or fantasy whatever the fuck being taken away by the government and dissected.
  125. >That wouldn’t happen to you.
  126. >R-Right?
  127. >No way, you just had little sharp horn nubs. You weren’t anything exciting or crazy, just a freak.
  129. >Your phone buzzed.
  130. >It was Marcus again.
  131. >[Hey Anon. If you’re having a emergency similar to my sister, I recommend wearing a hat.]
  133. >Your heart skipped a beat.
  134. >Did this mean what you thought it meant?
  135. >You really WEREN’T alone in this whole strange thing?
  136. >You started to text him back right away.
  137. [What’s your sister’s emergency?]
  138. >He texted back.
  139. >[What’s yours?]
  140. >Shit, back to square one. Did you tell him or not?
  141. >If his sister was going through the same thing, surely he’d be willing to help.
  142. >If she wasn’t-
  143. >Hold on, what would the odds be that she’d need a hat for a personal emergency bad enough her brother called into work beforehand?
  144. >It had to be the same thing, right?
  145. >What kind of person was his Sister? Last you met her she was a sort of… Average person. The type of girl you think you might have had a chance of getting with if you weren’t an autistic sperg who spills spaghetti every time he even looks at a female.
  147. >That didn’t really help you.
  148. >Fuck, what if her emergency was just some really bad acne or something? What if Marc was just suggesting a similar solution through sheer coincidence?
  149. >There had to be some way of asking-
  150. [Did your sister stay up late last night?]
  151. >[Yes, did you?]
  152. [Yeah. Did your sister see anything weird?]
  153. >[This conversation is taking a while, so I’m just gonna cut to the chase- Do you have horse ears this morning, Anon?]
  154. >W h a t
  155. >You feel like you missed something somewhere.
  156. >Horse ears?
  157. >That was so left field that… Actually, you didn’t know how sports worked. But you assumed left field meant it was the wrong side.
  158. >Because it wasn’t right field, or something.
  159. >You carefully considered your response to this emotionally charged and important conversation-
  160. [Horse ears? Dude wtf?]
  162. [BUT]
  163. [I did wake up with something different today]
  164. >[Horse… Tail?]
  165. [I woke up with something attached to my head, but it wasn’t ears.]
  166. >[Shit. I knew it. This is something big. I’ll come stop by as soon as I can. MY sister still needs help.]
  168. [I woke up kinda… Horny]
  169. [FUCK, I mean I grew horns!]
  170. [Hello?]
  171. [Please respond]
  172. >Marcus didn’t respond afterwards.
  173. >You really screwed the pooch on that one Anon.
  174. >Oh well, basic lack of social skills aside, at least Marcus has given you some sound advice.
  175. >Wear a damn hat. It was honestly so simple.
  176. >You went out to the the store, wearing a toque of sorts. It was kind of the wrong weather for it, but you looked scruffy enough to be homeless, so a toque wasn’t out of the ordinary for you.
  177. >The trip to the store was relatively simple.
  178. >You just grabbed a couple things you needed here and there, some more frozen dinners, milk, pancake mix, eggs…
  179. >You found yourself putting the eggs back. Something about them was unappealing today.
  180. >You also found yourself strangely drawn to fish themed food.
  181. >Besides that, it was a completely normal shopping trip.
  182. >Fortunately, they’d put in one of those self-checkout machine things here so you didn’t even have to risk interacting with anyone.
  183. >N-Not that you were incapable of something as basic as groceries.
  184. >If your anxiety was that bad, you wouldn’t be able to do your job properly.
  186. >On the way back home, the day was calm and quiet.
  187. >It felt warm, and you almost wanted to just go off on one of those hikes and lay in the sun for a while.
  188. >You would have found that strange, but you were distracted by what happened next.
  189. >As luck would have it, you found yourself passing by a jewelry store of sorts. They sold pretty gems, polished rocks, little knick knacks.
  190. >It was supposed to be a heritage store for the roots of the city as a mining town.
  191. >You had never gone in there before, but today, your eye was caught by one of the little decorations in the window front.
  193. >You headed in, unsure entirely of what you were doing. Your hands were still full of groceries, so you put down some of your bags, unusually drawn to a particular blue gem.
  194. >”Ah, keen eye sir! That’s a rare gem right there. Not many around here like it.” The shopkeep said, noting your interest.
  195. “No it’s not. It’s just a quartz, one of the most common minerals around.”
  196. >You surprised yourself, not having thought you knew anything about rocks or minerals.
  197. “I will take it the Kyanite behind it though. It looks- Uh, Pretty.”
  198. >Wait what
  199. >Even as your tongue stumbled over itself, trying to make sense of what you had just said, your hands seemed to almost move by themselves.
  200. >They picked up another blue gemstone, a hidden jewel among the other rocks.
  201. >Not-
  202. >What-
  203. >What even is a Kyanite.
  205. >You stood there for a second, your eyes glazing over.
  206. >Oh, the nametag was right there, you must have… Subconsciously read it.
  207. >Well, too late to put it back.
  208. >You placed it on the counter.
  209. >The shopkeeper looked delighted either way.
  210. >”So, are you a mineral enthusiast then?”
  211. “Uh- today I am. I guess.”
  212. >The clerk nodded, accepting your non-explanation.
  213. >You didn’t really have any explanation yourself.
  214. >It was like there was some deep desire within yourself that was telling you that- You needed this gemstone, for whatever reason.
  215. >After a nod to the clerk, you left.
  216. >You still didn’t even know why you had walked in there.
  217. >Let alone why you had walked out with an admittedly appealing looking gem.
  219. >Maybe some late lunch would help this day make some more sense.
  220. >It was about one in the afternoon by now, and it wasn’t long before you were cooped up back in your home, wondering if you were for sure not dreaming or hallucinating.
  221. >Cooking a simple breakfast of microwaved beer-battered fish sticks, you found yourself in a daze of sorts, as you just let time pass you by, trying to figure out what to do next.
  222. >Maybe you could just wear hats for the rest of your life? That wouldn’t be too bad.
  223. >Or you could talk to some of the farm owners around here, and find out what people do for sheep when their horns are too long!
  224. >You could grind them off or something, right? It’d probably be really uncomfortable or jarring, but you could use a sandpapery thing or something…
  225. >This was a lot of “or somethings.”
  226. >But nonetheless, you were beginning to feel a little bit of hope once more.
  228. >Or you were, until you sat down on a chair to eat your fish, and found yourself yelping in surprise.
  229. >What had you sat on!?
  230. >That didn’t feel right at all!
  231. >You turned around to look at your chair, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
  232. >It had felt like something sort of squishy, like sitting on an innocent puppy.
  233. >But it had also tugged on the back of your butt, almost like something outside of it but still part of you-
  234. “Oh god. Don’t tell me. I’ve gone and grown something else. Please don’t tell me it’s butt horns.”
  235. >You reached your hands to your back, trying to feel your butt.
  236. >
  237. >
  238. >Well, your butt was there.
  239. >But there was something new there as well.
  240. >You tugged at your pants, and felt something with a little weight to it slip out just at the base of your spine.
  241. >It felt- Sort of scaly, and tapered to a point.
  242. >There were also little spikes heading up it, that seemed to-
  243. >You gulped, nervously.
  244. >It seemed to follow the path of your spine and merge with your flesh exactly where… A tail would be.
  245. >You turned around slowly, getting a look at it.
  246. >T-That’s a tail alright.
  247. >That doesn’t belong there.
  248. >
  249. >
  250. >404 error, brain not found.
  252. -=-=-=-=-=-=-===-===-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  254. >Still be Anon, though you wish you weren’t.
  255. >You’ve calmed down a lot-
  256. “NO I HAVEN’T”
  257. >You’ve calmed down a very miniscule amount-
  259. >You’ve gotten way less calm.
  261. >You’re looking in the bathroom mirror, checking out your own ass.
  262. >Or at least that’s what it looks like you’re doing.
  263. >Your own ass wasn’t very impressive.
  264. >What you were looking at today was the thing that had seemingly affixed itself to your ass.
  265. >It was a goddamned Lizard tail.
  266. >Horns and a Lizard tail? What the hell kind of joke was this?
  267. >Just what was happening to you?
  268. >The horns were one thing, you could’ve been fine wearing a hat.
  269. >But now-
  270. >You couldn’t even sit down properly!
  271. >This was bullshit!
  272. >How were you supposed to drive your car?
  273. >Or play your games?
  274. >Or go to the bathroom?
  275. >This had gone from cruel prank to nightmare.
  276. >How had you not even noticed a tail?
  277. >It had feeling, you could poke it and feel the sensation of touch through it.
  278. >You could only hope that hadn’t been there since the time you visited the mineral shop, or the clerk might have seen some huge bulge in the back of your pants and assumed you crapped yourself or something.
  280. >At least it looked kind of cool. Bright blue scales with a soft whitish grey underneath it, where the flesh was a bit squishier.
  281. >The scales grew smaller and then appeared to meld with your flesh right where the small of your back met with the alien appendage.
  282. >It was around a foot long right now, but you worried it might grow out even more.
  283. >Infact, you weren’t entirely sure it hadn’t already grown an inch or so since you first discovered it.
  284. >You watched it intently, determined to find out exactly how screwed you were.
  285. >...
  286. >It wasn’t going anywhere.
  287. >Well that was good, at least it wasn’t-
  288. >No, hold on! It still wasn’t good!
  289. >Lizard tails grew back when you chopped them off! That’s like, one of the few things you remembered learning as a child!
  290. >You started breathing slowly and firmly.
  291. >If you started panicking now, you’d have no chance of figuring things out from here.
  293. >Whatever was happening to you, you were changing. And you didn’t know into what.
  294. >And you didn’t know when it would stop.
  295. >Your lungs twitched with a twinge of pain, and you started coughing again. Damned medical issues, didn’t they know you were busy having an existential crisis?
  296. >You headed to the kitchen and got another glass of water.
  297. >Your coughing turned into a fit, and you found yourself doubled over on the floor, gasping for air as it finished.
  298. >A bad taste was left in your mouth. Sort of like smoke or ash. The water washed it away easily enough though.
  299. >You were used to it. This kind of violent coughing fit had followed you since about your late teenage years.
  300. >You went back to the mirror, greeted by piercing warm yellow eyes-
  301. >And dropped your cup.
  302. >You almost expected to hear it shatter, but it landed with a thud on your foot and rolled away harmlessly, spilling half a glass of water on the floor.
  303. >You looked back up at the reflection, afraid of what you might see.
  304. >The yellow you had seen was gone, your eyes were back to their normal shade of boring and mundane and natural human colors.
  306. >On the other hand, you were certain your tail was a few inches longer now, for sure this time.
  307. >Also slightly longer, was those little horn nubs you’d had before.
  308. >Now they were at least two inches long, and starting to curve.
  309. >You ran to your closest to bring out that old toolbox you never use, and rummaged through it, searching for a measuring tape.
  310. >Quickly spooling it out, you determined your tail to be one foot and four inches long.
  311. >It flicked away from the tape, and you cringed.
  312. >Oh god, that felt so weird.
  313. >Like muscles you didn’t know you had were suddenly pulling in your lower back, but it was lower than your back extended.
  314. >You tried stretching them again, and with limited success managed to flick the tail upwards.
  315. >Nope, still felt incredibly strange.
  316. >You elected not to do it again.
  317. >Or at least not on purpose.
  318. >For now, your tail seemed to have it’s own plans, idly sweeping back and forth every now and again.
  319. “Stop that!”
  320. >You attempted to hold it in place.
  321. >Hrk- Holding it in place was worse, as it made you constantly aware of the sensation of touch distinctly where it shouldn’t be.
  323. >You decided to try and ignore your-
  324. >No, don’t think of it as yours.
  325. >You ignored THE TAIL, for now.
  326. >Looking back at the mirror-
  327. >FUCK
  329. >You blinked rapidly, your eyes returning to normal.
  330. “Are you changing or not? Make up your fucking mind!”
  331. >You yelled at your own reflection, maybe a little too loudly and harshly.
  332. >Your throat felt sore-
  333. >The coughing started again, worse than before.
  334. >You leaned your hands on the counter.
  335. >The sound of hoarse choking filled the room.
  336. >Suddenly you found yourself breathless.
  337. >You’d been through this all before, you just had to settle down and get water.
  338. >Or if it got serious, there was a bottle of prescribed medicine-
  339. >You found yourself falling to your knees, still coughing.
  340. >O-okay, this was getting serious-
  341. >Oh god, this was how you died, wasn’t it?
  342. >Weeks later, when the neighbors complained about the smell, they’d find a weird dehydrated skinny guy with horns and a tail and think that the devil himself died here.
  343. >...
  344. >Would someone somewhere celebrate your death? Were there any friends that would remember to hold a funeral for you?
  345. >Maybe Marcus would pour out a bottle of scotch or something in your memory-
  346. >Holy shit this was still going! You were kidding about dying, it was a joke! Someone please help-
  347. >Your body began arching as you kept choking on your own lungs, the pain searing through them like a lit firework going off throughout your entire body.
  348. >Y-You couldn’t die like this! This was bullshit! You were-
  349. >You were scared.
  351. >A foul taste filled your lungs and throat
  352. >You felt your head hit the floor, as your body stopped being able to force out air, simply spasming instead.
  353. >hghhg
  354. >aiwj
  355. >adbjbhjn8444
  357. >Your mind blanked out briefly, as your limbs started thrashing.
  358. >And then suddenly, you felt something dislodge itself from your throat.
  359. >It wasn’t like a physical object or something, but you felt something pass out of you.
  360. Something warm. Hot even.
  362. >Next thing you knew, your eyes were open, and you were staring straight ahead.
  363. >The floor was on fire.
  364. >Huh. Different.
  365. >For the moment, you were more concerned with breathing and hyperventilating, as you clawed the oxygen back into your lungs-
  366. >That was strange.
  367. >It felt different.
  368. >It tasted different?
  369. >The air- It didn’t feel like breathing in usually did.
  370. >There was no tightness in your chest, or the constant dull reminder of pain that you had been taking meds all your life to forget about.
  371. >Instead, it was just-
  372. >Inhale.
  373. >Exhale.
  374. >Sweet fresh smells.
  376. >What the fuck
  377. >Did your lungs just fix themselves?
  378. >Whatever had just happened, you were glad it did-
  379. >Well no, not really. Your linoleum floor and your bath mat was still on fire.
  380. >And collapsing in pain wasn’t exactly fun.
  381. >But the latter part wasn’t new to you.
  383. >The fire however, was a growing problem.
  384. >As the air returned to your bloodstream, and as your brain remembered how do think, you managed to sputter out some words.
  385. “Shit. That towel was 12 dollars.”
  386. >You found your way to your feet, and swiped another towel off the counter, planning on using it to snuff out the flames.
  387. >Pressing it against the burning floor and walls, you were able to extinguish the tall blue flames-
  388. >Uh
  389. >Yep, those flames were blue. Your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.
  390. >Screw it, it wasn’t any weirder than anything else that was happening today.
  392. >You waved your hand, clearing away the really really strange scented smoke.
  393. >It smelled like a flavor of gatorade or something. Glacier cherry or Blue blast or whatever the kids were drinking now a days.
  394. >It didn’t taste or feel like regular smoke for sure. It didn’t burn your eyes or irritate your throat.
  395. >It felt more… Clean.
  396. >You placed a hand on the counter, leaning against it, trying hard not to think of everything that was happening.
  397. >But also knowing that you had to think about it, because otherwise you would probably have a mental breakdown or something.
  399. >You took a deep breath.
  400. >...
  401. >Wow, breathing was dope! Why didn’t anybody tell you having good lungs was the tightest shit?
  402. >You stood there, breathing some more, appreciating your seemingly magical recovery from your lifelong condition.
  403. “Wait, that’s it-”
  404. >It had to be, right?
  405. >Whatever was happening to you-
  406. >Whatever was going to keep happening-
  407. “This has gotta be some supernatural thing. This is some sort of… Magical- Voodoo- Whatever.”
  408. >You had already spent the morning racking your brain for scientific explanations.
  409. >And you know what the great detective said.
  410. ”If you deduct all the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the explanation.”
  411. >You were pretty sure that was roughly the right quote.
  412. >So far you were pretty sure you were neither drugged, dreaming, scientifically altered by nanomachines, or anything reasonable.
  413. >So instead you must be…
  414. >Cursed? Hexed?
  415. >Wait, shit. You’d forgotten ‘In a coma and imagining all of this.’
  416. >You’d keep that on the list of possible explanations for now.
  417. >Thinking about it reasonably, this had to be because of that light you saw last night, right?
  418. >There wasn’t anything else interesting enough to have been the cause of- Whatever this was.
  420. >You folded up a slightly singed towel around your arm, unsure where to put it.
  421. >It felt pleasantly warm, like it had just been in the dryer.
  422. >It was a little weird, but your arm felt warm both inside and out.
  423. >Where did that fire even come from?
  424. >You looked at the floor, trying to identify the origin of the scorch marks.
  425. >Although instead of scorch marks, the floor just looked- Cleaner.
  426. >You guessed all the dust was just flashed away in the cleansing flame.
  427. >It looked like there was a jet of flame, in a sort of cone shaped pattern, originating from… Where your head was laying.
  428. >You didn’t-
  429. >You had so many questions.
  430. >For one, since when did you breathe fire-
  431. >Well, actually, that was clearly since about one minute ago.
  432. >One question down, eight million more to go.
  433. >That was really you, right?
  434. >Again, you didn’t have any other explanations.
  435. >And even when you were choking half to death, you had still been conscious enough to feel something burst out of you.
  436. >You wondered whether or not you could do it again.
  437. >Looking around your innocent bathroom, you realized it’d be better to find out somewhere that wasn’t indoors.
  439. >But how were you going to do that? You still had those pesky horns. And that tail-
  440. >Which had probably grown another mile while you were looking away.
  441. >You were almost afraid to measure it.
  442. >You unwrapped your toweled arm, relieved to find it hadn’t turned into a tentacle or something while you were looking away, and held your tail still, measuring it awkwardly while turning half your body around to look at it.
  443. >Sure enough, it had gained an extra inch.
  444. >At this rate, it would consume the universe in several billion years.
  445. >But for now, you were just-
  446. >Well, it wasn’t like you were happy about it.
  447. >But you weren’t really able to do anything about it, were you?
  448. >You could try chopping it off-
  449. >But it was a body part. You were willing to bet that would be painful as fuck, and you didn’t exactly have surgical precision, nor the tools to even do that to begin with.
  450. >You probably had an old woodsman’s hatchet in your closet somewhere.
  451. >Or a bread knife.
  452. >Both of those were a little undesirable for an ametur amputee in training.
  453. >And it’s not like you were trapped under a boulder or anything, so you didn’t have the excuse that’d you die if you didn’t do it.
  455. >Heck, even now that you’d calmed down slightly and gotten a breath of the freshest air you’d ever tasted, you were looking at things in a different light.
  456. >Maybe this whole thing wasn’t so bad after all?
  457. >Sure you had horns and a tail.
  458. >But at least you hadn’t died.
  459. >And your lungs were… Seemingly fixed.
  460. >That wasn’t something that was physically supposed to happen.
  461. >Honestly, this whole thing had been a net gain for you.
  462. >You looked back up into the mirror with a wide beaming smile.
  463. >FUCK
  464. >There they were again, the yellow, radiant eyes of some other being.
  465. >They were gone in an instant.
  466. >But you felt your heartbeat quicken.
  467. >You felt-
  468. >Well, what you felt was confusing.
  469. >You felt GOOD
  470. >And happy? Alert? Alive?
  471. >Those were the wrong emotions!
  472. >It was like an adrenaline rush surged through you every time you looked in the mirror and saw some stranger’s eyes.
  473. >It was absolutely the weirdest feeling in the world for you. It’s not like your eyes were interesting or cool or special or anything.
  474. >But they were yours!
  475. >The tail and horns, that was just adding on to the base model of Anon.
  476. >Adding something new was something you could probably live with.
  477. >But changing something entirely?
  478. >You had to draw the line somewhere, right?
  479. >Or at least, you hoped there was a line drawn somewhere.
  480. >What if you just kept on changing and changing and turning into something so entirely different that you weren’t even you anymore?
  481. >Would you still have your memories? Control over your body?
  482. >Your consciousness? Your life?
  483. >What if these were your last moments alive before you were taken over by a complete stranger?
  484. >What would they do with your body and life?
  485. >Why would they pick a shitty one like yours? There were so many better ones to choose from!
  486. .
  487. >No.
  488. >You’d refuse them.
  489. >No matter how your body changed.
  490. >No matter how you looked.
  491. >Your mind was your own. You refused to give it over.
  492. >You met your reflection with a big fat grin of determination.
  494. >Toothy fangs smiled back at you.
  495. >Holy shit another new thing.
  496. >Unlike the eyes, these didn’t want to go away.
  497. >you gnashed your teeth experimentally.
  498. >YEP, those were huge chompers. Your canines had grown.
  499. >So had all your teeth actually. It was a little disconcerting that your mouth didn’t really feel all that different.
  500. >At least until you closed it, and started running your tongue around it all.
  501. >But it wasn’t because your teeth felt too big for your jaw or anything.
  502. >It was because your tongue had changed too.
  503. >You stuck it out, noticing it had become pinker, thinner, and longer.
  504. >And possibly more dextrous, you noted, twirling it about your mouth.
  506. >Were you enjoying this? You weren’t reacting with fear anymore.
  507. >Now it was more like, curiosity.
  508. >What would change next?
  509. >How weird would you get?
  510. >No matter what happened, you were certain you’d be completely ready for it.
  512. >The glowing eyes returned.
  513. >You stared back at them, not daring to blink.
  514. >They were only partially dilated in the dim light of your bathroom, but you could tell they were slitted, like cat eyes.
  515. >They looked predatory, fierce. Full of passion.
  516. >They were challenging you.
  517. >And you were challenging them right back.
  518. >Go ahead.
  519. >"You can blink first," you told them.
  521. >You never got the chance to find out who would win the staring contest between you and your reflection, because at that moment you remembered something.
  522. “My groceries are still all sitting in the kitchen, thawing and going bad, aren’t they?”
  523. >You weren’t sure who you were asking, since you knew the answer.
  524. >Maybe it was some sort of attempt to keep the idea of separation of the yellow eyed horned monster in the mirror going.
  525. >That wasn’t you.
  526. >YOU were YOU.
  527. >But the imposter in the mirror was still something you knew you had to face.
  528. >It wasn’t a figment of your imagination.
  529. >It wasn’t a rival you could stare down or make go away.
  530. >It was… Something else.
  531. >A successor.
  533. >As soon as that poisonous word was in our mind, you couldn’t get it out.
  534. >You were being replaced?
  535. >Was the monster in the mirror better than you? Or were you better than it?
  536. >As you returned to the kitchen, tail swishing much to your annoyance, to put away your frozen goods, you couldn’t help but get lost in thought.
  537. >What were you becoming anyway?
  538. >Something with a lizard tail.
  539. >Cow horns.
  540. >Yellow eyes.
  541. >Breathed fire that one time.
  542. >Honestly, you really felt like the answer was staring you in the face.
  543. >But the only thing staring you in the face right now was the thawing box of instant macaroni.
  544. >That and the sky blue Kyanite gemstone, which had come with a long string for wearing as a necklace of sorts.
  545. >Looking at it only brought a feeling of concern.
  546. >You still didn’t even know what a Kyanite was.
  547. >Or did you?
  548. >Maybe it was one of those subconscious memories people get sometimes.
  549. >Like when they know the lines to songs they swear they haven’t listened to, but sing along with every word.
  550. >Somewhere in your past, maybe you stumbled across the word in a science textbook, or your long vegetative-state like sessions of browsing the depths of the internet.
  552. >You found yourself suddenly putting on the Kyanite necklace, as if in a trance.
  553. >You then forcibly took it off, and put it back down on the counter.
  554. “No.”
  555. >You said you were going to remain vigilant to be yourself, and you were going to follow through with that.
  556. >Anon didn’t wear rocks. He wore baggy shirts and sometimes a sporty suitjacket with a tie.
  557. >Although you hadn’t worn that since you moved away from the city. Perhaps you should dispose of it some day.
  559. >But regardless, you did know you didn’t wear rocks.
  560. >You didn’t know why you were suddenly drawn to a weird blue rock that happened to be the same colour as the tail you grew minutes later…
  561. >Or rather, you did have some guesses, but didn’t want to think about them right now.
  562. >Something clicked in your mind, and you turned around to plop your tail down on the table beside the rock.
  563. >It wasn’t the exact same colour, but it was close enough to make you suspicious.
  564. >Maybe the rock was cursed? Maybe IT caused all of this!
  565. >You’d have to travel to the nearest volcano, and unforge it in the fires it was born in-
  566. >Actually no, that was getting way too dramatic.
  567. >You also couldn’t afford that plane ticket.
  568. >Being serious for a moment, you could probably just smash it or bury it or throw it away or something.
  569. >You stepped forward, cringing as you felt every inch of your tail slide down off the table and plap harmlessly against the back of your legs.
  570. >You swore up and down you’d never be used to that.
  572. >You finished putting away your groceries, wondering what to do next.
  573. >You’d probably have to call in to work tomorrow if you kept getting weirder and weirder.
  574. >Heck, you already had horns and a tail, you should probably call in now!
  575. >But, would you be calling in sick? Or quitting?
  576. >At least if you never showed up or answered your phone again, you might get a severance pay for being fired, right?
  577. >You didn’t really know. All your previous jobs had been left amicably, usually for medical reasons.
  578. >Speaking of-
  579. >You inhaled again.
  581. >You could smell the damp cardboard smells of lightly thawed frozen dinners. You could smell the aroma of pork from last night’s hotdogs you’d boiled in the microwave.
  582. >The still lingering scent of gatorade from the bathroom fire followed you. It smelled fruity.
  583. >It wasn’t like you couldn’t smell these things before.
  584. >But now you could inhale deeply, and without consequences. No chest pain, no sore throat. No coughing fit.
  585. >No more late night pain medication, or hospital visits, or coughing up blood that one time-
  586. >If you had to describe the feelings you got from all of this. This entire mess.
  587. >It had to be confliction.
  588. >Before it was annoyance at your life being ruined.
  589. >But now with your chest and lungs fixed, were you not technically improved? Was your monstrous successor not delivering upon you a better body than the one you had offered them to start with?
  590. >You winced at your defeatist words. This body was going to remain yours. No one else's, regardless of how weird it ended up.
  592. >You stood in the kitchen, feeling a little antsy.
  593. >Standing there idly with nothing coming to mind about what to do.
  594. >at times like this, you usually sat down at your computer and wasted away the entire day.
  595. >But you didn’t really feel like doing that right now.
  596. >For one, you’d have to figure out how to sit on a tail comfortably.
  597. >For two- you still felt jittery with a kind of nervous excitement.
  598. >There was a weird sort of heat in your body. You could feel it distinctly in your stomach at the moment.
  599. >But maybe it was just nerves getting the better of you.
  600. >At this moment, you wanted nothing more than to return to the bathroom and stare back into the mirror, awaiting whatever new things may come.
  601. >It sounded weird, but you almost wanted everything to just hurry up and get it over with so you could know what you were dealing with.
  602. >On the other hand, you still weren’t sure you wanted to look in the mirror and find out your nose had turned purple or something.
  603. >Or that you’d grown additional eyes somewhere on your body.
  604. >Wow, one of those examples was way more extreme than the other. A purple nose would be legendarily more easy to handle.
  606. >You chuckled to yourself as you picked up the Kyanite stone once more, this time purposefully.
  607. >You weren’t sure of how exactly you wanted to dispose of it, but you did spend more on it than you did on your favorite towel. It couldn’t hurt to put up as a decoration or something in your room, right? After all, it’s not like the stone was properly cursed.
  608. >It was all the fault of that damn light.
  609. >You wondered idly if anything in the news had turned up about it yet.
  610. >If you had been in the city still, there would’ve already been hundreds of articles, but out here in the country you would be lucky if someone didn’t just wave it off as another UFO sighting.
  612. >Heading through your living room and it’s oft’ used computer desk, you enter your bedroom.
  613. >It smells… Kinda bad.
  614. >Lots of sweat and man musk.
  615. >You probably needed to do your laundry soon.
  616. >You could swear it didn’t usually smell this strong though.
  617. >You sniffed again
  618. >The smell of gatorade flavoured fire still clung to you like mozzarella clings to the lid of a pizza box.
  619. >
  620. >Maybe you’d been spending too much time at work.
  621. >You placed the shiny blue rock on your bedside table, before sitting down on your bed and just staring at it for a while.
  622. >That weird heated feeling was still in your body, but it seemed to be focused around your upper back now.
  623. >You’d heard of stress causing sickness, maybe you were getting a fever.
  625. >Your tail perked out away from you, laying across the bed.
  626. >Hey, that wasn’t so uncomfortable!
  627. >You could get used to that feeling, with the soft quilt lightly tickling the underside of your tail.
  628. >Although, you didn’t quite remember your bed being so small. Surely your little tail shouldn’t be touching up against both of your pillows. Unless of course-
  629. >You turned around to look at it-
  630. >Hey now.
  631. >Who said you could grow another foot long.
  632. >Because you certainly hadn’t given your tail permission to do that.
  633. >But here you were, feeling and seeing your now long tail swish back and forth across the blanketed bed.
  634. >It had grown thicker too. A lot thicker. It must look pretty silly attached to a human behind.
  635. >You rubbed a hand down it, tracing it back to your butt where your pants were being slightly pushed down now.
  636. >Nghhh
  637. >It felt the oddest kind of nice-
  638. >Uh oh.
  639. >You kept moving your hand back, finding only the feeling of sleek and soft scales.
  640. >But you had already exceeded the place where your butt met tail-
  642. >You quickly undid your belt and dropped your pants.
  643. “Fuck- I thought I had more time…”
  644. >The melding of skin to scales had spread, the back half of your rump having already been consumed.
  645. >Just a few more inches and-
  646. >Well, you didn’t know what lizard genitals looked like, but you feared you’d quickly find out.
  647. >Already, your testes were feeling a little warm-
  648. >Actually, now that you thought about it, your whole body was starting to feel warm, both inside and out. Just like before, like there was some sort of heat building up inside you-
  649. >Oh shit.
  650. >Just as soon as you became aware of the feeling of heat once more, it dawned on you what was happening.
  651. >You hadn’t been slowly changing this whole time.
  652. >You’d been changing at the same pace the whole time, actually.
  653. >It was just all on the inside.
  655. >Thinking back, it should’ve been obvious.
  656. >Your lungs- The horns poking OUT of your head.
  657. >The tail- Actually no, that one threw you for a bit of a loop. You guessed it didn’t really have anywhere else to go.
  658. >And you had been feeling little bits of strangeness and queasiness inside your body throughout the whole day, they were just small enough you wrote them off as little jitters of nervousness.
  659. >But now
  660. >Well when all the internal pressure has built up and there’s nowhere left for the monster inside to go.
  661. >It comes out.
  663. >You sat there, waiting for the inevitable.
  664. >Some sort of pop as whatever was coming out finally broke free, and all that was left of anon was the memories of those who had been kind enough to remember him.
  665. >it didn’t come.
  666. >Your scales kept spreading, you could almost see the progress physically now, there was always more whenever you looked back.
  667. >when you lifted your hands to your head, you could feel that the horns had moved back.
  668. >Or had your face moved forward? It was strange, but it almost felt like your head was being stretched, but at such an infinitesimally slow pace that it didn’t hurt or really feel that jarring to you.
  669. >It was just, everytime you checked your body, there was something different about it.
  670. >And the heat.
  671. >It never went away.
  672. >It was in your chest, it was in your lungs, it was in your stomach, it was in your arms, it was in your brain.
  673. >You felt it permeating through you.
  674. >And yet you still felt that the end was still out of sight.
  676. >Your scaly butt had reached your groin, and you let out a whimper as your testicles and penis began to shrink.
  677. >You grabbed at them, trying to hold them in place, but the furious heat that was ravaging your body from the inside out flared violently within them, and you barely even realized it before you had let go, the sensation getting almost painful.
  678. >Painful, but poignantly blissful too. It felt good, but the kind of good that wasn’t meant for mortals to handle.
  679. >Your heart sunk as a slit formed, and they slid straight into it, disappearing with only a lingering feeling of arousal from the heated sensation.
  680. “Uh… Come back?”
  681. >You begged hopelessly, the slow and gradual but unstoppable change consuming your late night partner.
  682. >Maybe it was just a hiding place? Maybe your member would come out again when it was safe?
  683. >Did you risk feeling around?
  684. >You brought your hands towards it, terrified of what you might find.
  685. >Somewhere along the way, you hadn’t even considered that your entire sense of gender and masculinity would be at risk.
  686. >But as you pressed your fingers against what you quickly learned was a new bodily opening, that only went deeper, your heart sank into the depths with your fingers.
  687. >You’d be a liar if you said you hadn’t thought about being a girl before.
  688. >B-But that was years ago!
  689. >This was now!
  690. >Why was this happening now?
  691. >You pressed a finger against it, experimentally. Just planning on giving it a tug to see.
  692. >J-Just to take a little look, you gave yourself an excuse.
  693. >The slightest touch left you with widened eyes, and a grimace.
  694. >You weren’t expecting it to feel like that.
  695. >It was… Sensitive. More so than you expected.
  696. >But also firm, a little bit tight.
  697. >You let out a guilty moan as you pressed just a little bit deeper, a wellspring of pleasure and sensitivity being the only things you could find within your transformed nether regions.
  698. “What am I doing? I can’t be doing this!”
  699. >You told yourself.
  700. >It’s not like anyone was around to stop you though.
  702. >Except yourself!
  703. >What happened to that steely eyed will power you had promised yourself would never back down!
  704. >Sure that was mostly about mental changes, but-
  705. >But just because-
  706. >You weren’t sure you could even come up with an adequate excuse.
  707. >Deep down, you knew you sort of wanted to at least give this new equipment a try.
  708. >And it wasn’t like you were doing anything else at the moment.
  709. >Just waiting for the monster inside to hurry up and break out already.
  710. >She sure was taking her sweet time.
  711. >You’d already been laying on your bed for at least ten minutes or so, watching your body slowly shift and change in a mix of fascination and horror.
  713. >You continued touching yourself, exploring.
  714. >This was so wrong.
  715. >It didn’t feel bad.
  716. >It wasn’t a penis.
  717. >You’d never even handled a vagina before.
  718. >Anon the human was a virgin!
  719. >How was he supposed to deal with having his/her own womanly parts to…Mishandle!
  720. >Weren’t there like, yeast infections and other terrifying things to worry about!
  722. >You moaned a little bit more.
  723. >It wasn’t fair.
  724. >It felt nice.
  725. >You stopped prodding, a little ashamed you were enjoying this so much, but also curious.
  726. >You gave another experimental moan.
  727. “Unhh?”
  728. >That sounded… Off.
  729. “Hellooooh no it’s really happening oh god make it stop.”
  730. >Your voice had pitched up by an octave or so. It soudned…
  731. >It was hard to explain. Definitely feminine, but not to the degree you might have worried about if you had even considered the possibility this might happen.
  732. >It didn’t sound bad or anything- But just like when you had first stared into the eyes of the beast, it just wasn’t-
  733. >It wasn’t you anymore.
  734. >It was a straight up change, something you’d have to stare in the face to even start to accept.
  735. >The shock of it was enough to discourage you from your masturbation.
  737. >You wondered whether or not your eyes had permanently become yellow already.
  738. >Maybe when this was all over you could get some contact lenses?
  739. >Yellow wasn’t that bad a colour, was it?
  740. >You shook your head, twisting your neck-
  741. >And feeling weird once more, as you bent and rotated your head around.
  742. >What was wrong with your neck?
  743. >The everpresent warmth of change was radiating through it, but you couldn’t exactly bend your neck to look at your own neck. It was physically impossible.
  744. >Maybe you should have done this in front of the mirror.
  745. >You pushed your hands down on the bed to stand up-
  746. >And immediately wished you hadn’t.
  747. >Because you were now laying on the ground, your legs uncooperative.
  748. “Damn it, an entire day of turning into a lizard person, only to turn into a paraplegic at the last moment.”
  749. >You grimaced, but tired sarcasm aside, what was wrong with your legs?
  750. >You looked down.
  751. >Your tail was wrapped up with and tangled around them, but you could see your legs just fine.
  752. >They were… Broken?
  753. >No, they still felt fine, don’t be an idiot Anon.
  754. >You knew enough about animals to know that they weren’t bipedal.
  755. >Which meant that you were… Whatever the opposite of that was.
  756. >Quadrupedal? Yeah, that was the one.
  757. >Wait no, your legs still looked strong and dependable, surely you could still walk upright on them?
  758. >Honestly, whatever workout program the monster within you was on, you wanted in on it.
  759. >Because your thighs were getting thicker by the minute, and they already looked like they could crush a watermelon with ease.
  760. >You reached up to pull yourself back on the bed, and winced as your hand sent back all kinds of wrong signals to your brain. The heat of change flared angrily, almost like it was resisting the stimuli you were giving it.
  761. >You looked at it-
  762. >NOPE
  763. >You looked away, it wasn’t done…
  765. >Your pinkie was in the process of merging with your ring finger, giving you-
  766. >Wait a second
  767. >Were you getting to keep your opposable thumb?
  768. >You looked back at your hand, which was starting to look more like a claw as your fingers gained sharp endings where the nails had once been.
  769. >The hand was thickening out, and beginning to resemble something more akin to a paw or bird handfoot whatever you call ‘em.
  770. But sure enough, you found your thumb had an incredible staying power, seeming to thicken out enough that it looked like it could support your weight, but also still twist and bend reliably. Maybe bend even further, as you twisted it backwards away from the other fingers experimentally.
  771. >The brunt of your palm was changing to be flatter as well.
  772. >It wasn’t a subtle change, but somehow you felt your hands or claws or whatever you’d call em from now on weren’t through with grabbing things and using them to make rude gestures just yet.
  774. >You reached up with them to try and feel your horns, which you were surprised to find had not only grown monstrously huge, like a full foot long each, but had a delicate S curve to each of them, as they curved first away from each other, and then back upwards.
  775. >Feeling the top of your head was surreal, as all your hair had… Been replaced with short and longish… Things? Were they scales? Were they spikes? They were soft and flexible enough that it was hard to tell, but they were swept back starting from your forehead and ending somewhere around the back of your neck, parting outwards.
  777. >Honestly.
  778. >Aside from the uncertainty with being able to walk upright, and whatever the fuck was going on with your neck, which still felt weird whenever you twisted it.
  779. >This was going way better than expected.
  780. >Well, in fairness, you were expecting to die, and your life to end.
  781. >And maybe mental changes were still on the way.
  782. >Maybe the brain died last?
  783. >At least you wouldn’t die cold and alone, coughing to death on a cold bathroom floor.
  784. >Wait shit, cold and alone in your bedroom wasn’t much better.
  785. >Er-
  786. >Well, there was the monster inside. You weren’t exactly alone.
  787. >And there was that god damned warmth that wouldn’t go away. You weren’t exactly cold.
  788. >And if you were wrong on two counts, maybe you wouldn’t die, either?
  789. >What would you be, after all this was said and done?
  791. >From your back, an extremely uncomfortable amount of heat began to build up. So much so, that you found yourself rolling and trying to turn your back away from the bed, for fear you’d ignite it somehow through magical internal body heat.
  792. >Suddenly, you swore you felt your skin tear as the first truly painful part of the transformation began.
  793. “AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!”
  794. >Your slightly-higher-than-usual-but-still-low-and-sultry voice cried out, as your back felt like it suddenly erupted into flames.
  795. >You opened your eyes, and-
  796. >Oh shit, your back was properly on fire!
  797. >A great burst of blue flame was escalating out of your body, splitting into two as it curved away from you.
  798. >The pain faded to numbness, but the flames persisted, immediately making you worry that your nervous system had simply stopped functioning at last. But hey, if you removed your central nervous system right now, there were a lot of possible benefits you could be looking at.
  799. >Like not having to think about how much fire was filling the room, as the two curves of fire suddenly pulled down with a mighty slam.
  800. >You closed your eyes, the lids not concealing the flash of light as you felt the entirety of the warmth of flame wash over you and your room.
  801. >Well, if your house burned down, at least you wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent.
  803. >The realization that you weren’t feeling any pain from burning alive allowed you to open your eyes, and glance around.
  804. >The room was surprisingly fine, and not on fire.
  805. >turning your entire neck around-
  806. >Oh god your neck was turning too far you had turned into an owl at the last second hadn’t you-
  807. >OH
  808. >No you hadn’t.
  809. >It was at this moment, that you, Anon, came to realize something you should have realized literal hours ago.
  810. >When staring at your own spiked and scaled back with an elongated, reptilian-like neck.
  811. >staring down at the long, lizard like tail, which had gained a sharp spiked end of some sort of hardened material.
  812. >It flicked back at you, directing your attention to the main attraction.
  814. >Your heart sank as you stared at them, because you immediately knew you’d never bring them to their full potential, as someone who was afraid of flying and heights.
  816. >A long, beautiful pair of dragon wings, a top your mostly finished draconic body.
  818. ----==----==----==----==----==----==----
  820. >Be anon.
  821. >Or were you? Did you still classify as being Anon? You certainly still felt like yourself, somehow.
  822. >But you knew you were different.
  823. >You knew it every time you tried to move, and felt something where it shouldn’t be, or bumped something closer than you thought it was.
  824. >Because you were huge now!
  825. >Well, not bigger than a house kind of huge-
  826. >But bigger than you had been before! You had absolutely not been expecting this when you had woken up.
  827. “Dragon.”
  828. >You rolled the word off your longer tongue,trying to embrace how it sounded.
  829. >It was a word of fantasy, exotic. It carried with it imagery of flames, destruction, power-
  830. >It didn’t feel like a word you would use to describe the meek and sickly Anon you had always been.
  832. “Human?”
  833. >The word sounded about how it always did.
  834. >Which isn’t to say your voice didn’t sound different now, it was certainly going to take some getting used to that slightly- Off sort of tone and pitch.
  835. >But the word human, still carried with it all the usual connotations and connections you had always felt with it.
  836. >You were always a firm believer that humans were capable of good, but in practice were generally pretty shitty.
  837. >There were charities, random acts of kindness, and certainly hospitals.
  838. >People dedicated to helping other humans and animals.
  839. >But there were people dedicated to greed and apathy as well. You’d have to be an idiot not to recognize that.
  840. >But over your lifetime, you had been generally okay with calling yourself a human.
  842. >You stood on all fours, carrying yourself gingerly on unfamiliar appendages towards the bathroom mirror.
  843. >Walking wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t like you hadn’t crawled on all fours at some point in your life. It wasn’t as impossible as you may have worried it would be.
  844. >Your hind legs were the weirdest, because you were still walking on your feet, rather than your knees like a human crawling in this position would be.
  845. >Those legs curled up so neatly.
  846. >You experimented with them, crouching as low as you could.
  847. >Your doors were still barely wide enough for you to squeeze through, but it didn’t look like going through them vertically would be an issue so long as you stayed on all fours. You knew your doorways were at least seven feet tall, and standing up to your full height, you saw yourself coming at least a couple feet short of them.
  848. >You reared up onto your hind legs, expecting yourself to be shaky but instead finding your pose firm and steady.
  849. >Your eye line was level with the doorway top, making you at least seven feet tall like this.
  850. >You attempted to crouch through the door, but found your horns scraping and clicking on the top.
  851. >You heard a crunch before you backed up, and found two indented scraping marks on the arch of the door.
  852. “Wow, really?”
  853. >You hadn’t even been walking very forcefully, or so you thought.
  854. >Was your body just dangerously dense or strong?
  856. >Being twice as careful as before, it took you awhile before you arrived at your bathroom at last.
  857. >You pushed open the door, expecting to still see the burnt towels and floor.
  858. >Instead, you noticed that they looked the same, and were sort of… Undamaged?
  859. >The jet of flame from your throat had obviously happened, you could still smell the Gatorade and still see the streak where the dust on the sort of grimy floor had been obliterated.
  860. >But the bath mat and towel had clearly been on fire and used to snuff out a fire respectively.
  861. >And neither of them looked burned.
  862. >You supposed you hadn’t exactly investigated them, you just knew the towel had been warm.
  863. >Another mystery for later, you had to finally get a look at yourself.
  864. >Closing your eyes, you turned your head towards the mirror, and inhaled deeply.
  865. >Then opened them.
  867. >Y e l l o w
  868. >Staring back at you were those yellow eyes, now curious and non-threatening.
  869. >And a whole lot of blue.
  870. >Like really, wow you were blue! Blue head, blue chest, blue wings, blue head… fin… things!
  871. >Your softer parts appeared to be a lighter blue, with your horns being the palest blue of all.
  872. >There was purple too! As you turned your head, you noticed you had purpley coloured spikes that trailed down the back of your neck.
  873. >Your tail, now much longer than the last time you’d been in this room, flicked up into view at your command.
  874. >There were similar purpley spikes running all down the back of it, with a bright blue membrane connecting all of them.
  875. >It took some effort, but you found you were able to fold them all down.
  876. >There was some sort of spade shaped thing at the very tip of your tail, though you couldn’t imagine why.
  877. >Actually, you couldn’t figure out why you had fins at all.
  878. >Not the tail fins, nor the head fins-
  879. >Realistically, you still didn’t have a single clue why any of this was staring back at you from the mirror.
  880. >Strange Light flash should not equal dragon.
  881. >Yet here you were, still without answers.
  883. >You found yourself spreading out your wings, extending them as far as they could go.
  884. >These wings were honestly weirder than the tail for you.
  885. >You still had arms and legs.
  886. >Your legs were slightly differently functioning than you remembered, what with the joints all in different places and having weird sort of… Paws now.
  887. >Your tail was just an extension of your spine, albeit a very bizarre one.
  888. >The fins and spines were extra, but you could easily ignore them. They seemed to want to move on their own anyway.
  889. >But the wings?
  890. >That was a whole new appendage.
  891. >You could move them without moving anything else. They had their own bones and muscles.
  892. >Your skeleton was probably really impressive.
  893. >Hell, your entire body was already really impressive.
  894. >You looked slim in all the right places, and your thighs, though thicker than you might like, concealed powerful muscles, possibly for jumping into the air for take off.
  895. >Which wasn’t something you planned on doing anytime soon.
  896. >Especially since you were afraid of breaking something just by walking.
  897. >Staring at the mirror, you found yourself contemplating whether or not this was a good thing or a bad thing.
  898. >Being Anon had been decidedly neutral.
  899. >There were negatives and positives on a list too extensive to think about.
  900. >But being this Dragon-
  901. >She didn’t have a name.
  902. >Was she still Anon?
  903. >Were you still Anon? Or had you unknowingly already become that monster inside?
  904. >You were certainly physically monstrous by every definition of the word, but you didn’t feel like terrorizing villages or eating livestock or kidnapping princesses.
  905. >What if there never was a monster? What if this whole time it was only ever you?
  906. >You gazed into her yellow eyes.
  907. >Your yellow eyes, you realized.
  908. >Your wings, your blue scales, your tail.
  909. >It was just... you?
  910. “Well that’s silly. Who would give me the body of a dragon? That’s downright irresponsible.”
  911. >No, there had to be more.
  912. >You’d changed physically, but surely there’d be some mental changes on the horizon.
  913. >There was one easy way to tell.
  914. >If you ever felt like flying, you wouldn’t be you anymore.
  916. >As a human, you had exactly one experience with flight.
  917. >You still remembered the lurch in your stomach, your voice screaming as you clung to the nearest whatever for some hope of survival.
  918. >To put it simply, you’d crashed.
  919. >Not a single person was killed, but you gained something that day.
  920. >An instinctual fear of heights and aircraft that you were certain you’d never shake.
  921. >So now, by cruel irony and fortune, you were in the body of a creature most known for flying.
  922. >You’d chalk that up as a negative on your list of pros and cons to being a dragon.
  923. >Actually, it wasn’t a hard list to make.
  924. >Pros: You looked cool, felt cool, and could breathe.
  925. >Cons:
  926. >Your life as a human was over.
  927. >You probably would get dissected for the sake of science for sure now.
  928. >You had wings and everyone would expect you to fly.
  929. >Your understanding of the world is wrong, and somehow through divine or magical means, this was allowed to happen in your mundane world.
  930. >You couldn’t fit into your car.
  931. >None of your clothes fit anymore.
  933. >You took a deep long sigh.
  934. >Then another, just enjoying the way the air felt when it wasn’t irritating.
  935. >It was like sticking your head into the filtered cold air of the fridges in a grocery store. It was fresh and easy and you were embarrassed that you enjoyed it this much.
  936. “You know what…”
  937. >You started talking to yourself once more.
  938. “Being able to breathe far outweighs everything else right now. I think… I don’t mind this.”
  939. >Your draconic voice voiced your thoughts for you admirably.
  940. >Another Pro: Your voice sounded pretty damned cool as well. Sexy even.
  942. >Just then, there was a knock on your door, and your heart stopped.
  943. >Who could it be?
  944. >Should you answer it?
  945. >COULD you answer it? Did your claws even possess the dexterity to open door handles and locks?
  946. >Okay, just breathe Anon. Think- Who in the world would ever visit you?
  947. >The only people who knew where you lived were your landlord, your co-workers, and your doctor.
  948. >You rarely saw your landlord, and your rent was handled automatically by the banks, so it wouldn’t be him.
  949. >Your doctor wasn’t scheduled to visit for another month, barring emergencies.
  950. >Which considering your lungs were suddenly fixed as though by actual magic, you guessed the next time you’d see him could be a very long while.
  951. >So that left co-workers.
  952. >Stacey? No, she was a workaholic who never seemed to leave the building.
  953. >There was that one guy, Neil, but wasn’t he on vacation?
  954. >What about the Assistant manager, who was-
  955. >Oh! It must be Marcus! Hooray!
  956. >Oh god! It was Marcus! He couldn’t see you like this!
  957. >You’d already foolishly told him about the horns, but you weren’t ready to trust him with the knowledge that you were a full fledged fantasy creature commonly associated with the middle ages!
  958. >You were having enough trouble wrapping your own head around it, you didn’t need to worry about trying to explain it all to other people!
  960. >Well, he was pretty much your only friend around here.
  961. >And you did need… Help.
  962. >But- What if he told people.
  963. >His family? Or the police?
  964. >What if he rounded up an angry mob to chase you out of town!?
  966. >Okay, hold on there Anon, you’re maybe getting too worked up about this. That didn’t happen in this day and age.
  967. >For one thing, pitchforks and torches are hard to come by.
  968. >For another, people could be pretty lazy. You didn’t expect they’d run you out of town so much as angrily yell and hope you walked out on your own.
  969. >Shaking away visions of angry mobs, you gingerly stepped out of the bathroom, your four legs making dull thuds and your tail dragging behind.
  970. >You made it to the door, where you carefully peered out the pinhole viewer thing with one giant yellow eye.
  971. >A tall lanky dark haired fellow was standing there, looking down, distracted, and a little nervous. His facial hair was unsahven, and if you had to describe him in a word, it would be Hipster.
  972. >He somehow pulled off the plaid lumberjack shirt look, but the only way he could look more with the times was if he had a cup of starbucks in his hand and a manbun.
  973. >He claimed to have grown up out here in the country, but gone to school in the city as well, leading to his... "Stylistic choices."
  974. >He kept glancing behind him, as if expecting to find something on the quiet neighborhood streets. He knocked again, the loud noise jarring and disruptive.
  975. >It was Marcus alright.
  976. >You’d have to open it eventually, right?
  977. >Could you just pretend you weren’t home?
  978. “I’m not home!”
  979. >
  980. >
  981. >Anon, you’re an idiot.
  983. >”Are you okay, Anon? I know what you’re probably going through. I just want to help if I can!”
  984. >His voice sounded genuinely concerned.
  985. >You waited a second or two, trying to decide how best to respond.
  986. “I’m… I really don’t think- Coming in might be a bad idea.”
  987. >”Anon, I’ve already come all this way and- I don’t know if I’m ready to go home yet. Things are weird there.”
  988. >Honestly, as much as you didn’t want Marcus to come in, you did know that you didn’t really have a plan beyond eating whatever was in your fridge and then hoping for the best.
  989. >The pit in your stomach told you that this was a bad idea.
  990. >How would he react?
  991. >What if revealing yourself was a mistake?
  992. “Uh, would you believe I’m not properly dressed?”
  993. >It was true. Your transformation had embiggened you, stretching and tearing your clothes until they had simply fallen off in tatters.
  994. >You liked that outfit, damn it.
  995. >”Oh- Uh- Are you physically able to do that? If it’s like what’s going on with my sister, I think getting on clothes might be a little hard for you anyway.”
  996. >The more he mentioned his sister, the more curious you grew.
  997. >Did she turn into a dragon too?
  998. >No, he’d mentioned Horse ears in his texts earlier.
  999. >So what was she?
  1000. >If he was uncomfortable with what she had become, there was no telling how he’d react with you.
  1001. >But still, Marcus was a dependable guy, and it’d be wrong to turn him away when he was offering help like this.
  1002. >He already knew you were different.
  1003. >Your claws lingered, reaching towards the lock on the door.
  1004. >Why was this such a hard decision?
  1005. >Damn it, you needed help. There was no way you could handle all of this on your own, it was overwhelming!
  1007. >Your claws flicked the lock open, and you took a step back, steeling yourself for whatever reaction you may receive.
  1008. >Marcus opened the unlocked door, and pushed it open gently.
  1009. >Your breath caught in your throat, and evidently so did his.
  1010. >His eyes widened unreasonably, as he stared at your large, clawed toes. You weren’t sure why he was looking as if expecting you to be two feet tall, but you watched with both anxiety and amusement as his gaze trailed upwards, taking in your large draconic presence that took up almost the entire hallway.
  1011. >”Uh.”
  1012. >You stared back at him, unsure of what to say or even what emotion you were portraying right now.
  1013. >”Did you eat Anon?”
  1014. >You found yourself chuckling, breaking the silence.
  1015. “No Marcus. It’s me.”
  1016. >He gulped, apparently not as amused as you.
  1017. >”I-”
  1018. >His feeble attempt at conversation trailed off, as he stared off into space somewhere fifty feet behind you.
  1019. “What were you expecting? You said your sister transformed too, right?”
  1020. >Your curiosity got the better of you and you took a step forward, excited for both answers and the chance to hear more.
  1021. >”Uh-”
  1022. >Marcus took a step back.
  1023. >Your heart sank a little as his expression of morbid dread said it all.
  1024. >He wasn't seeing Anon anymore.
  1025. >You really were a dragon.
  1026. >Maybe you really were a monster, too.
  1028. “I-I’m not gonna hurt you.”
  1029. >You attempted to reassure him.
  1030. >”Uh- Right, yeah, no. I… You’re just a little imposing, is all.”
  1031. >You stepped back, trying to give the dude some space.
  1032. “Did you wanna come in? So that anyone looking in from the street doesn’t see a big scary dragon?”
  1033. >”Uh- Yeah, I can come in, I guess.”
  1034. >He said, standing completely still.
  1035. >You were wondering if he was just too afraid to move until you realized your body was blocking the entire doorway. He’d have to climb over you if he wanted in, and that was entirely uncomfortable.
  1036. >Taking a step back, you watched in relief as Marcus began to tiptoe forwards, into your home.
  1037. >You backed up further, trying to turn around in your hallway and head back to the living room.
  1038. >You momentarily panicked, as your body got stuck mid turn.
  1039. “Uh- Help.”
  1040. >Marcus didn’t exactly seem eager to step forward into your home, but he did try and direct you towards freedom.
  1041. >”Oh, you just gotta- No, go left- Other left, Anon.”
  1042. >It took a bit of wiggling, but you managed to rear up and spin around, twisting just enough that you could continue moving right along.
  1043. >You carried on into your living room, awkwardly sitting down beside your couch, worrying that you would break it if you sat directly on it.
  1044. >Marcus followed, keeping his distance and leaning up against a wall.
  1045. >”Sorry, this is all kind of still new to me- I mean, my sister changed too, like I said, but- She wasn’t quite so… Large.”
  1046. “Yeah, so you were saying- Your sister? What happened?”
  1047. >”Oh that- I uh- Well it was fine at first… She just had the little ears- Soft and fuzzy and sort of cherry red.”
  1048. >Something about that seemed off.
  1049. >”And then she started changing more and more- And she got progressively less panicky, more curious as to what each change was going to bring.”
  1050. >You remembered a similar thing happening to you, but you liked to think it was more grim acceptance than curiosity.
  1051. >”So I started panicking, and she started actually getting calmer and trying to say that everything was going to be okay, because she knew exactly what she was turning into.”
  1052. “She did?”
  1053. >”Well, the ears and tail gave it away a little, but it wasn’t until she got hooves that she was certain.”
  1054. “A horse?”
  1055. >”A pony. Like in that kids cartoon she always watched every saturday.”
  1056. >Pony?
  1057. >Cartoon pony?
  1058. “Like, My little pony? Cartoon Pony?”
  1059. >”She even had the little cuteness symbol or whatever on her butt after a while, which is pretty much when I decided I couldn’t handle the situation and kind of… Left.”
  1060. >He closed his eyes and sighed.
  1061. >You let him take a moment to breathe, but when he opened his eyes again, he was hesistant to look at you.
  1062. >”And here I thought things couldn’t get wierder, but you’re a dragon. I was expecting like, a unicorn after the comment about horns man, why you gotta throw me off like that?
  1064. “You thought I was going to be a unicorn?”
  1065. >He just nodded.
  1066. >This was…
  1067. >Well, to be quite frank.
  1072. >Okay, suspension of disbelief aside.
  1073. >Why ponies?
  1074. >Why weren’t you a pony?
  1075. >You were already a weird enough dude, so admitting you’d watched a cartoon about colourful ponies almost religiously wasn’t a big deal for you.
  1076. >Or at least it hadn’t been, until you’d moved out here, and forgotten all about it.
  1077. >You couldn’t remember where you’d stopped watching.
  1079. >But now Marcus here was telling you his sister had become an honest to goodness pony. Cutie Mark and all?
  1080. >That was raising a few flags in your mind.
  1081. >This wasn’t just crazy.
  1082. >It was nonsensical.
  1083. >This had to be a dream.
  1084. >Or your lungs had finally given out, and you were trapped on life support in a deep comatose state.
  1085. >There was no way this was real.
  1086. >You’d have to see it for yourself.
  1087. >Whatever was happening, there had to be some explanation, right?
  1088. >Or maybe you were a victim of random chance, and this really was all just bullshit.
  1089. >Maybe you had fallen under one of those string theory parallel universe scenarios where things just happened for no good reason because they could?
  1090. >In an infinite number of universes, maybe this was the one where the higher powers that be said “fuck it this is boring, let’s see what happens if we make this guy a dragon.”
  1091. >A cruel cosmic joke?
  1093. >”Anon, you alright there? You look like you’re spacing out- Or really angry, it’s hard to tell.”
  1094. >Marcus derailed your train of thought.
  1095. >He was still here.
  1096. >You were still a dragon.
  1097. >Somehow, this was still happening.
  1098. “This is… All pretty insane.”
  1099. >”Dude, you’re telling me?”
  1100. “How does… How does something like this happen? It’s clearly impossible?”
  1101. >”My sister said she saw a flash of light- And then-”
  1102. “Yeah, I saw that shit too. I don’t care. HOW, did this happen?”
  1103. >Marcus shrugged.
  1104. >”Magic?”
  1105. >Fucking magic, how does it work?
  1106. “Okay, well, what do we do now?”
  1107. >”What do you mean?”
  1108. “I mean, obviously this happened, maybe there’s no changing that, but- What do we do now? I’m a dragon. I obviously can’t go back to work- I can’t fit any of my clothes, my life as I knew it is kind of… Over.”
  1109. >”Well thats… I mean I-”
  1110. >He stammered a bit.
  1111. >”Well-
  1113. “I can’t pay rent- I’m gonna get evicted! I don’t wanna lose all my stuff! I put effort into making this place my home! The wall posters, the calendar I haven’t changed since I moved in, the-”
  1114. >You looked around the room, trying to identify your other possessions.
  1115. “Uh, my bed? My dresser, my- Oh, that framed photo with my grandmother! All of… Everything!”
  1116. >You huffed angrily, scornful of the legal systems that would deprive you of all your worldly possessions.
  1117. >He walked over cautiously, and placed an arm around your neck.
  1118. >You weren’t sure what he was trying to do, until he raised his other arm, pulling you into a hug.
  1119. >”Hey dude. I know shit is crazy, but there’s gotta be a way to get through this, right? Like, you don’t want to lose your stuff? I have an empty basement. I could move your stuff in there. And who knows, maybe there’s a way to reverse this, right? Like, we just have to- Hey, we could start by going to the scene of the crime, wherever that light came from. Maybe there’s some residual magic, maybe we could find some way to… Reverse the polarity and change you back?”
  1120. “That’s uh- That’s probably not how magic works.”
  1121. >”Well, definitely not with that attitude, man.”
  1122. >You smiled a little.
  1123. >Marcus released you from the hug just as cautiously as he had started it.
  1124. >”So, what’s it like, being… Like this?”
  1125. >He gestured at your everything.
  1126. “It’s- Different. Haven’t really had much time to decide if I like it or not. The fact that my lungs work is certainly an improvement.”
  1127. >”Wait, they do? Shit dude, congratulations. That’s really good news. I was gonna ask, but- There’s- Well there’s a lot different about you. I’m not sure where to start.”
  1128. “Well- I lost my penis.”
  1129. >”What!?”
  1130. “What?”
  1131. >”You’re a female dragon?”
  1132. “Y-yeah. I was hoping my voice would give it away. Not to mention the curves. Specifically so we could avoid... This conversation.”
  1133. >”Yeah but- I thought it was just an extra dragony voice. And I don’t know anything about Dragon beauty standards, so… So... You’re a girl now, Anon?”
  1134. “I think the whole dragon thing is the more pressing matter, honestly.”
  1135. >”You’ve lost your manhood and you’re not concerned?”
  1136. “I lost my humanity in general, buddy.”
  1138. >”Right. Sorry.”
  1139. >The conversation lapsed into silence.
  1140. >You flapped your wings awkwardly.
  1141. >Even now, they still felt alien and intrusive.
  1142. >”So, do you mind if I touch you?”
  1143. >The question came out of the blue.
  1144. >You tilted your head, confused.
  1145. “What do you mean by touch?”
  1146. >”I just mean like- Get a closer look. It’s not every day someone gets to see a dragon. I’m just curious.”
  1147. >Maybe he was overcoming his initial shock.
  1148. >Maybe he was starting to see you as Anon again?
  1149. >How could you turn him down?
  1150. >although it was a strange request.
  1152. >You nodded, albeit apprehensively.
  1153. >Marcus came a little closer than he had been before, and gently ran his fingers down your scaly exterior.
  1154. >It tickled ever so slightly.
  1155. >"Wow, these are weird. Your scales are a little... Softer than expected. Not like they aren't solid, but they have some give to them..."
  1156. >Then he ran his hand down your neck spines.
  1157. >They were more stiff to his touch than to yours, seeming to resist the pressure.
  1158. >You felt them bounce back up as his hand left, leaving you feeling confused. You didn’t have a previous body part to compare it to, but it was like if you took a school ruler, held it in your teeth, and then bent it and let it bounce up and down in place. It was rigid yet flexible and it felt really jarring.
  1159. >Also, having teeth in the back of your neck was the wrong metaphor. You wished you could that imagery back and spare yourself from that nightmare fuel.
  1160. >All these new feelings needed to go and stay gone. You swore you’d never get used to them.
  1161. >But then Marcus touched your wings.
  1162. >You immediately didn’t like it.
  1163. >They weren’t sensitive or delicate by any means, in fact the membrane between the joints and phalanges was quite stretchy and durable, you could tell, especially as Marcus poked at it just a little bit harder than he probably should be doing.
  1164. “Hey, I said you could touch, not maim.”
  1165. >He retreated his hand with a guilty look, before going back to manhandling your draconic limbs.
  1166. >In fact, he seemed extra fascinated with your wings, pulling them out to their full extension as you tried your best not to cringe.
  1167. >Then he pushed up and down, trying to see if it would flap, and you nearly snapped your jaws at him, the feeling of never before used muscles making you feel squeamish as you flattened your wings to your back and refused to move them any further.
  1169. “O-okay. That’s enough of that. This is super uncomfortable.”
  1170. >”Oh. Sorry Anon.”
  1171. >He stepped back once more, a little embarrassed.
  1172. >”So, do you think you could actually fly?”
  1173. “I don’t think I want to find out.”
  1174. >”Do you think you could breathe fire?”
  1175. >At this point it was clear his curiosity had surpassed his fear.
  1176. >He was seeming like his normal self once more.
  1177. >You privately were glad you were distracting him from the issues at hand, such as his sister.
  1178. "Yeah, totally. Not in the house though. Not after last time..."
  1179. >You trailed off.
  1180. >Maybe he was distracting you as well. You’d probably have spiraled down into depression if he hadn’t have been here. You honestly had no idea what you were going to do after he left.
  1181. >What if he didn’t leave? What if he just lived with you?
  1182. >That was silly, he had his own home and family to worry about.
  1183. >What if you went and lived with him?
  1184. >
  1185. >Wait, could you do that?
  1186. >He said he had an empty basement, maybe there was room for a dragon’s den in there?
  1187. >As much as it pained you to think about, you knew you couldn’t stay here
  1189. >You looked down to the floor.
  1190. >You liked your little home.
  1191. >You liked all the things in it, and the way the shower made sense and didn’t only have two settings of heat like you were used to: Lava and glacier water.
  1192. >You liked your posters, and your slim collection of plates.
  1193. >You loved the fact that all the thumbtack holes had been already made, waiting for you to hang a calendar with them and forget to change it for months on end.
  1194. >You liked that the living room had been the perfect size, and had that little alcove that fit your computer desk just right.
  1196. >You didn’t want to leave it.
  1197. >But you didn’t want to be a dragon either, and you didn’t get a say in that one.
  1199. >”Hello, Anon? You’re spacing out again. Is that a stoic dragon thing, or are you just thinking?”
  1200. “Definitely thinking Marcus.”
  1201. >”Penny for your thoughts?”
  1202. “I’ve got a number of problems, Marcus. And I think I can start to solve them, but I need to ask you a really big favor.”
  1203. >”Anything, Bro. What can I do?”
  1204. “Well, as you can see, this place is just a little bit small for me now.”
  1205. >You stood up, taking up more room than your couch quite easily.
  1206. >”Yeah?”
  1207. “And you offered to take in my stuff in your basement, right?”
  1208. >”Yeah…”
  1209. >His voice lowered, his eyes widening as he seemed to grasp where you were going with this.
  1210. “Do you think there might be space for a little old dragon there too?”
  1212. >You put on your most charming and sympathy inspiring tone of voice. It sounded pretty convincing from your point of view. You were clearly a smooth seductress, winning him over with your feminine wiles-
  1213. >”There is not.”
  1214. >He replied matter of factly.
  1215. >Welp.
  1216. >It looks like you were doomed.
  1217. >You’d be trapped here, until the landlord came to give you an eviction notice.
  1218. >Maybe you could eat them, and survive the winter, hibernating in the man-cave that was once your home like a bear.
  1219. >”However, just because there isn’t room at my house, doesn’t mean I can’t think of a place where a dragon might fit.”
  1220. >Your expression brightened.
  1221. “Wait, you actually have an idea of somewhere I can go?”
  1222. >You could feel a genuine smile breaking out through your long dragon face.
  1223. >You hoped it was unnerving and creepy for Marcus, in retaliation for keeping you in dramatic suspense like that.
  1224. >”Yeah, it’s a bit of a long shot, like it was fine last I checked, but things could have changed... But there is one place that I think might just be big enough for you to walk or fly around.”
  1225. >You lightly scrunched up your face at the mention of flying.
  1226. “And secluded? Is it far from the town?”
  1227. >He gave it some thought before nodding.
  1228. >”Yeah, it’s sort of hidden away.”
  1229. “Okay, this is a structure, right? Like, you’re not sending me out to try and survive in the wilderness?”
  1230. >”It’s… A barn.”
  1231. “A barn.”
  1232. >You repeated.
  1233. >Barns were usually full of animals and people who worked there, weren’t they?”
  1234. >”The old Sienna lake heritage barn. That one they were planning on turning into a museum but never got the money for.”
  1235. “That- Is it abandoned?”
  1236. >”They still send a guy to do maintenance every three weeks, but I don’t think anyone else cares.”
  1238. >Well shit.
  1239. >If this worked, you’d have a place to stay!
  1240. >It wasn’t exactly luxury, but compared to your now cramped apartment,
  1241. >There was only one problem.
  1242. “Okay, how do we get me there?”
  1243. >”Well, there’s always the option of walking. A little exercise never hurt.”
  1244. >”You want me to walk across town in the middle of the day?”
  1245. >”I never said you needed to leave now- But no, it’s a joke Anon. This is the countryside. People drive out here, everything else takes too long.”
  1246. “Do you have a Dragon sized car?”
  1247. >”Uh. Good question. It might work if you were just a teeny pony like... My sister but you are clearly not gonna fit in my truck.”
  1248. “Do we have any alternative means of transportation? Could we like, rent a flatbed or moving truck?”
  1249. >”Well, it sounds like you aren’t paying this month’s rent, so… I think you can afford it, yeah.”
  1250. >Oh.
  1251. >You didn’t really think of that.
  1252. >You didn’t want to spend your hard earned cash either.
  1253. >Even if you couldn’t spend it.
  1254. >”How much do you weigh, are you going to exceed their several ton weight limit?”
  1255. “Uh- You know what they say about asking a lady her weight.”
  1256. >”That’s age, Anon.”
  1257. “Well, I don’t know how heavy I am now, haven’t exactly had a chance to weigh myself, but I feel pretty dense.”
  1258. >”Maybe you’ll look heavier than you are? Maybe you have hollow bones like a bird?”
  1259. >You pinched your wings experimentally.
  1260. >They seemed very solid to you.
  1261. >You shrugged.
  1262. “Doesn’t seem like it.”
  1263. >”Well, maybe the back of my truck could support you. You could sit in the back like a dog going for a ride! It’s at least worth a try, and if it doesn’t work then we’ll just have to wait a couple hours while I rent out a fancier truck.”
  1264. “That’s… Not going to work. You realize I don’t want to be seen like this, right? Because somebody will call the cops, or panic, and somehow, some way, someone will realize there’s an impossible fantasy creature in this city, and send in secret government science teams or something to dissect and study us or something.”
  1265. >”Anon, that only happens in movies. This is a small country town-”
  1266. “People turning into fantasy creatures only happens in movies, Marcus. I don’t want to risk it.”
  1267. >”...”
  1268. >”Okay, we’ll cover you with a tarp or something then, happy?”
  1269. “Sure. What’s the worst that could happen?”
  1270. >You deadpanned, but you couldn’t really think of any better plans that didn’t involve waiting around until nightfall.
  1271. >That was hours from now, what if something crazier happened?
  1272. >What if your transformation wasn’t even fully finished?
  1273. >You were still Anon, for now. But what if you weren’t later?
  1274. >You didn’t want that to happen.
  1275. >But if it did, you didn’t want to just be waiting around in your home.
  1276. >What if you truly became a monster?
  1277. >What if you actually did eat your landlord?
  1278. >It was probably better that you were isolated. Maybe even quarantined.
  1279. >Maybe you should ask Marcus not to check up on you once you were settled in.
  1281. >All your idle intrusive thoughts worried you, but you couldn’t help but have them.
  1282. >You took the time to breathe, finding it just as satisfying as ever.
  1283. >Just take it one step at a time Anon.
  1284. >One… ‘Weird claw/paw foot shaped thing’ step at a time.
  1286. >Minutes later, you found yourself handing over your keys to your car, so that Marcus could pull out of your garage, and then back in with his truck, close the garage door, and then pull back out with you in the back, successfully covered.
  1287. >It was a simple plan, but it took way longer than expected, and climbing into the back of a truck was hard enough as it was without the damn thing shaking every time you moved.
  1288. >To your surprise, the truck seemed to be holding you just fine, the tires not popping or anything dramatic like that.
  1289. >”Alright, anything you want to take with you from home? I’ll come back and get your stuff later, for the basement or your new rural residence, assuming that all works out. But was there anything you wanted immediately?”
  1290. “Phone, wallet, keys- Just the valuables.”
  1291. >Marcus nodded, leaving you alone in the garage, the blue plastic tarp that would be concealing your form waiting in the corner of the truck’s back area.
  1292. >It wasn’t spacious, but you unwillingly curled yourself up to fit.
  1293. >Your hard scales made the rough floor not quite as uncomfortable as expected.
  1294. >Marcus came back, displaying his findings.
  1295. >”Okay, phone, power cables for said phone, wallet, keys, and this valuable looking gem doohickey that was on your bedside table.”
  1297. >Oh no.
  1298. >The Kyanite crystal.
  1299. >It had come back to haunt you.
  1300. >You weren’t even sure why you had bought it.
  1301. >Why you still had it.
  1302. >Or why you couldn’t find the words to protest as Marcus put it in the glovebox with your other stuff.
  1303. >It was coming along with you, the only evidence that you could point to and say you weren’t entirely yourself.
  1304. >Mentally that was.
  1305. >Physically, you already considered yourself a lost cause.
  1306. >But your mind was still your own! Wasn’t it?
  1307. >That gem was the only thing that said otherwise.
  1308. >There was no reason for you to have ever even gone into a gemstore, let alone know specific names of rocks.
  1310. >Marcus came back, climbing over you awkwardly to tuck the blue tarp over your body and leave you in a world of bright blue.
  1311. >Hey, at least you matched.
  1312. >Whatever was waiting for you on the other side…
  1313. >You didn’t think you were ready for it.
  1314. >Your life as a whole wasn’t going to go back to being normal.
  1315. >Your years of living in one place were being uprooted entirely without warning.
  1316. >You felt-
  1317. >Fear.
  1318. >You didn’t know what was going to come next.
  1319. >You couldn’t quite drive it into your thick skull, but this really was happening, crazy as it all was.
  1320. >Your life had inexplicably been changed in a manner that shouldn’t have been possible.
  1321. >You were never particularly good at making plans, but at least in the past you’d always known somewhat what to do.
  1322. >But now you were alone on the longest ride of your life with your thoughts and your new body.
  1323. >And then the rest of your life too, immediately after.
  1324. >This was one ride you couldn’t get off.
  1325. >You didn’t even know if there was a steering wheel.
  1326. >Only fear and uncertainty.
  1328. =---=---=---=---=---=---=---=---=---=
  1329. >Anon the human was scared.
  1330. >He shouldn’t worry: You would protect him
  1331. >No matter what happened.
  1332. =---=---=---=---=---=---=---=---=---=
  1334. >Be Anon once more some time later.
  1335. >Despite all your rage, you were still just a rat in a cage.
  1336. >Or a dragon under a tarp, in this case.
  1337. >Hiding in the back of a truck, that felt like it might be going a little too slowly for your liking.
  1338. >You hoped you didn’t get car sick as a dragon.
  1339. >You hadn’t as a human, but hey, you had totally different lungs now!
  1340. >Totally different other organs too, probably.
  1341. >Hey, what if you were allergic to things you weren’t before? What if you now had a peanut allergy? Or other genetic diseases?
  1342. >What were your genetics even like? Did you even have a family tree anymore? Did you have the same blood, but with heavy mutations or something?
  1343. >Or were you a totally new species?
  1344. >What if your body contained digestive bacteria from another realm of existence? Could it threaten the world’s ecosystem?
  1345. >Honestly, the implications of having totally different physiology were mind boggling to think about.
  1346. >But-
  1347. >You didn’t really have anything else to do!
  1348. >This was taking forever.
  1349. >It was so boring!
  1350. >You’d been going for at least ten minutes already, your thoughts going over your whole situation, and-
  1351. >You didn’t really want to keep thinking about how confusing and impossible this was.
  1352. >You’d already been doing that before the ride.
  1353. >You were still doing that, but trying to do it in smaller doses.
  1354. >Literally, what were you going to do after this?
  1355. >You’d never been one for having life goals.
  1356. >Move out to the country…
  1357. >Eat a lot of peaches…
  1358. >Shitpost and play games.
  1359. >Maybe have kids with someone someday?
  1360. >Hmm.
  1361. >You hadn’t really thought about it before, but-
  1363. >While your illness hadn’t been exactly terminal, it had placed a bit of an obstacle on your life, hopes, and dreams.
  1364. >It was now gone.
  1365. >You could breathe a very literal sigh of relief.
  1366. >So what came next?
  1367. >Not from a view of uncertainty or fear, but from a hopeful glance at the future?
  1368. >You’d thought this ride was going to be gloomy.
  1369. >But now you seemed to be in that weird emotional place where you were too stressed to do anything else but laugh.
  1370. >You could make a bucket list!
  1371. >Now that as far as you could tell, you were medically clear to live life to its fullest.
  1372. >You could do all those cool things active and healthy people did-
  1373. >Wait no.
  1374. >Still a dragon.
  1375. >Maybe you could- Just find a way to do them anyway?
  1376. >What did people put on bucket lists again?
  1377. >Drive a fancy car?
  1378. >It’d be too small for you, probably.
  1379. >Meet their favorite celebrity?
  1380. >She’s a fictional anime girl, Anon.
  1381. >Go Skydiving-
  1382. >Sweet baby jesus you didn’t want to consider that one.
  1383. >Lose your virginity?
  1384. >Uh
  1385. >If you could find someone who was really into dragons.
  1386. >Or found someone else who was a dragon.
  1388. >You found your cheeks flush up, thinking about it.
  1389. >Why were you being embarrassed by your own thoughts?
  1390. >Why were you even thinking about dragon sex at a time like this.
  1391. >You wouldn’t think it’d be high on your list of priorities.
  1392. >But after a few minutes of trying hard not to think about it, you found yourself only thinking exclusively about it.
  1393. >You’d experimented a little bit earlier, while transforming. And it had definitely felt… Different.
  1394. >A good different, honestly.
  1395. >But then of course you’d gotten distracted by everything else.
  1396. >Maybe your dragon body was just still feeling aroused?
  1397. >You hadn’t finished for sure, but you hadn’t thought you’d gotten far along enough that it mattered.
  1398. >You also now realized you were tucked under a blue tarp, which was flapping in the wind-
  1399. >There’s no way anybody would notice if you were to start or finish anything here-
  1400. >Your mind wandering off, your clawed hand slowly reaching lower in the cramped space, you became aware of a smell-
  1401. >A smell that didn’t take much guessing to realize was arousal.
  1402. >Your fingers found your warm slit, not being encouraged but not really stopped either, until you let out a sort of weird draconic chirp of surprise.
  1403. >Y-You were leaking.
  1404. >You weren’t quite expecting it to be like this.
  1405. >If you kept going…
  1406. >Your mind began to picture the scene.
  1407. >Some generic barn in the background, Marcus pulling the tarp off the truck, happily announcing that you had arrived.
  1408. >A blue dragon with a lustful look stared back at him, panting as she fingered herself, a puddle spilling out around her nethers.
  1410. >Oh god.
  1411. >You could never speak to him again if you let that happen.
  1412. >Why were you still picturing this?
  1413. >Why were you picturing Marcus in your sudden fantasy? You weren’t attracted to men!
  1414. >The scene played out in your mind with acute vividness.
  1415. >You could see that dragoness licking her lips slowly, her eyes half lidded, lost in bliss.
  1416. >And you became aware that you were still touching and rubbing at yourself, a warm and pleasant feeling tracing through you with each rub-
  1417. >Shit.
  1418. >Now you knew.
  1419. >You really were a horny dragon after all.
  1420. >This wasn’t like your everyday arousal.
  1421. >This was advanced arousal.
  1422. >You could swear you were only ever this turned on when actually looking at porn and such.
  1423. >Why did you feel this way while just in the back of a truck?
  1424. >You refused to believe that obscure ‘dragons fucking cars’ fetish was a real thing.
  1425. >It was just- spontaneous lewd desires!
  1426. >You- You’d really have to keep this in check-
  1427. >R-Regardless of how much you wanted to keep going.
  1428. >It was extraordinarily hard, but you managed to pry your fingers away from yourself, as you felt yourself frown and your voice let out a whine.
  1430. “I-It hasn’t even been one hour. I really need better self control.”
  1431. >You let yourself breathe, trying to distract yourself from your apparently very needy body.
  1432. >Just do some breathing exercises! They finally won’t hurt!
  1433. >You inhaled through your nose-
  1434. >And exhaled in surprise.
  1435. >Something smelled good.
  1436. >No, it wasn’t you this time, you were trying your best to ignore that.
  1437. >But outside the truck, outside in the wild blue yonder.
  1438. >You could smell-
  1439. >A barbecue?
  1440. >You kept sniffing, trying to take in some more smells.
  1441. >At least it was a distraction from your draconic lust.
  1442. >You hated to tease yourself and then cockblock yourself like this, but this really wasn't the time for anything like that.
  1443. >You tried to guess where you were in the town based on smell alone, since sight wasn’t an option right now.
  1444. >Hearing was out too, since all you could really here was the low roar of the truck’s engine.
  1445. >It was strange though. You couldn’t tell if it was just the power of having normal lungs, but you could swear smells were more powerful and distinct to you now!
  1446. >T-that barbecue sure smelled delicious.
  1447. >It wasn’t beef, you were pretty sure it might be chicken-
  1448. >But then the smell was gone, and you were left, mouth watering.
  1449. >You sniffed again.
  1450. >Was that the flower shop you were passing?
  1451. >No, you’d just smelled barbecue, so you were probably off the main street already.
  1452. >You must be passing by that one park with the floral decorations.
  1453. >Which meant you were heading North?
  1455. >North didn’t help. You never went north. You had no idea what was out here.
  1456. >With smells getting less interesting, and boredom reigning supreme again, you found yourself frustrated once more.
  1457. >This ride was taking forever.
  1458. >Your scales hurt.
  1459. >You’d rather be at home playing games.
  1460. >Honestly, the suspense of not knowing what this barn you were apparently going to be living in even looked like was killing you.
  1461. >Would it be rundown and rickety?
  1462. >Would it be big and red and round and simple?
  1463. >Maybe there’d still be hay.
  1464. >...
  1465. >Geez this ride was slow.
  1466. >How long had it been? It had to have been at least another 15 minutes or so since you started this trip, right?
  1467. >How long did it take to drive across and out of town?
  1468. >You didn’t have time for all this nonsense, You still had a rigorous schedule to keep up:
  1469. >1pm, existential crisis
  1470. >2pm, figure out fire breathing
  1471. >3pm, find out if you could still use your phone
  1472. >4pm, continued existential crisis
  1473. >Honestly, existential crisis was taking up a big chunk of your schedule right now
  1474. >Unable to think of more than four entire things to do, you harrumphed, laying your head down on your forelegs.
  1475. >For being a mythical fantasy monster, that sure was a boring list.
  1476. >You didn’t really think you were living up to your full potential.
  1477. >Maybe you could punch a tree.
  1478. >Or bite a sheep or cow.
  1479. >There weren’t any princesses around to kidnap, but maybe-
  1480. >You could get Marcus to bring his sister out to meet you!
  1481. >She was a pony now, right? Maybe she’d like to meet a dragon.
  1482. >Maybe you could pet the pony.
  1483. >Thinking about it realistically, if you were going to be living on this farm now…
  1484. >There’s no way Marcus could be there all the time. He still had a semi-normal life, barring your presence and existence in it.
  1485. >It’d be awful lonely over there, wouldn’t it?
  1486. >I mean, you were used to spending time alone for days at a time.
  1487. >But that was with the internet.
  1488. >Would you still have that? You doubted there was wifi connection at a rural farm outside of town with nobody there to use it.
  1489. >Well, whatever. You’d figure it out eventually.
  1490. >You still had to see the place to decide if you even liked it or not.
  1492. >Time kept going by excruciatingly slowly for you, so you were absolutely delighted when you felt the truck slow to a stop and heard the engine turn off.
  1493. >Marcus’s door opened, and you heard the crunch of gravel underfoot as he approached you.
  1494. >”Alright Anon, we made it. Sure was fast, huh?”
  1495. >He pulled back the blue cover that had become your entire world, and you saw the open country skies expand before you.
  1496. >The mountains, the fresh air, the gentle puffy clouds-
  1497. >You had to suppress the urge, but you wanted to leap out of the truck and just prance around like an idiot. Something about seeing the open skies for the first time as a dragon just made you so damned happy.
  1498. >And you were afraid to ask why.
  1499. >”Wow, I didn’t know your pupils could dilate and turn into slits like that, freaky.”
  1500. >You sat there in the back of the truck, unsure if you were ready to get out yet.
  1501. >At your own mental nagging and insistence, you managed to look down.
  1503. >Before you was a surprisingly large looking pair of buildings, one green, freshly painted, the other a desaturated and old flaky red.
  1504. >One was clearly the classic barn. Large and… Barn shaped. Red, white trimmings, old and wooden, massive doors, little hole in the top near the roof where some hay was peeking out.
  1505. >The other green building was a different sort of design, long and a bit shorter, with a tilted roof. It looked like it led into several shed looking areas, and more fenced off enclosures that all led towards an overgrown field that was probably a pasture or something once.
  1506. >It’s metal siding was freshly painted, and you could see several large wooden doors.
  1507. >It certainly looked big enough for you to walk into, and must have been designed with cattle or horses in mind.
  1508. “Huh. So which should we check out first?”
  1509. >”Well, probably just the green one. That’s the one that’s had the most recent renovations, and it’s got inside rooms and stalls cleaned out and basically ready to go. There should be thick winter blankets in the tack room, we could probably lay those out as a bed of sorts for you.”
  1510. “Alright, I gotta ask, because this seems way too convenient. How did you know about all this?”
  1511. >”Convenient? Did you want me to try and make things harder for you, Anon?”
  1512. “No I mean like- This is such an easy solution. How do you happen to have this all worked out like this?”
  1513. >”Oh, well… It’s a bit of a story, but my family goes way back in this town. I think my Grandparents might have stayed and worked at this very farm. There used to be a ranch home somewhere around here, but it burned down. Afterwards, nobody really could decide who this place belonged to, and since the town’s main laborers were turning towards mining, the farm shutdown. Later on, my family got word from the municipality that this here farm was getting rebuilt and possibly turned into a museum as a tourist trap kind of deal. Probably turn the big red barn into a snack shack or something.”
  1514. “So what happened? Why didn’t it get finished?”
  1515. >”Well, the reason my family got word was because the mayor was looking for volunteers to help restore it all. I remember my Mom volunteered and took me along a few times almost a decade back. Of course, nobody really cared enough to put their freetime into it, so they hired a maintenance guy to come in every few weeks, and put the plan on the back burner for a few years, which quickly turned into decades.”
  1516. “So it’s just like road work? Nothing will ever actually get completed but they say their working on it?”
  1517. >”Hey yeah, exactly!”
  1518. >You laughed a little.
  1520. >So this was it huh?
  1521. >You were just sort of expected to… Live here.
  1522. >It wasn’t exactly ideal.
  1523. >It was still so sudden you were trying to wrap your head around it all.
  1524. >You felt like you could still go back to your old home and just pretend none of this ever happened.
  1525. >But you couldn’t.
  1526. >Whenever the shock of that started to sink in, you were sure you’d be miserable.
  1527. >For now however, you were just curious to see what this new place had to offer.
  1528. “Better head inside.”
  1529. >Marcus nodded.
  1531. >You treaded across the gravel walkway over lengthy grass, and into the solid and slightly dusty building on the left, the green painted barn.
  1532. >Everything smelled… Woody.
  1533. >The floors were all cement, but it actually looked a lot more cozy than expected.
  1534. >You found that blanket room Marcus was mentioning, and managed to bring several piles of thick wooly horse blankets into a room of your choice.
  1535. >After a little bit of help from Marcus, you were able to lay down on your soft pile, testing it’s comfort level.
  1536. Test results: Very yes. Bed is confirmed.
  1537. >It was sort of surprising that this was completely comfortable, what with the lack of pillows and sheets that made up your usual experiences with beds.
  1538. >But you succeed in curling up and laying your head down flat, in a way that definitely would have killed your spine if you were still just a normal human.
  1540. “Well this… Works. This is actually super nice. It smells a little horsey, but other than that I think I have a place to sleep again.”
  1541. >”That’s great. I doubt your old bed would have been able to hold you without breaking.”
  1542. “So… Besides sleep- What is there to do here?”
  1543. >”Well- Nothing yet. Most of these rooms are empty. I’m not gonna lie, this farm is pretty lame if you aren’t a fan of dust and old hay.”
  1544. “Well that's… Disappointing. I guess my time here is just gonna be really really boring.”
  1545. >“Well, there’s wall plugs. Maybe we could could get a tv set up in here, and maybe some game consoles. The only thing left to worry about is food, and I think I can place an order and drive some pizzas out to you later tonight, maybe...”
  1546. “Will controllers even fit in my hands?”
  1547. >”You’re not THAT big, Anon. You can still hold things.”
  1548. >He was sort of right. Although you couldn’t help but think of yourself as massive compared to how you used to be, it wasn’t like you were a massive beast.
  1549. >You were more like… Horse sized. Maybe a Clydesdale or one of the larger horses.
  1550. >In fact, back in the tack room, there was a statue of a horse, that you stood about eye level with. It looked small to you, but comparing it with Marcus it did seem to be actual horse sized.
  1551. >You walked around aimlessly, taking in the rest of the barn.
  1552. >There was a room with a wooden plank floor, and many wall plugs.
  1553. >Also a few spare area lights, saddles, ropes, brushes.
  1554. >This really was a horse barn.
  1555. >It didn’t feel very much like a home.
  1556. >There was another room with a linoleum tile floor, which seemed really out of place. A drain sat in the corner of the floor, near a coiled up hose and a tap.
  1557. >”Oh, this used to be a sort of washing room, I think. If we dragged a few tables in, along with an oven or stove, I think it could work as a kitchen of sorts.”
  1558. “A kitchen?”
  1559. >”Yeah, I mean, you’re pretty big. You’re probably going to need a fair bit of food.”
  1561. >You went through the rest of the barn in short order. Most of it was taken up by empty stalls that once held horses.
  1562. >In fact, you even found some hoofprints!
  1563. >They were kind of small though. Maybe they belonged to a foal or a smaller pony.
  1564. >You had no idea how long ago those hoofprints were made though.
  1565. >All in all, your overall impression of the place was…
  1566. >Well it wasn’t your home.
  1567. >It needed trinkets and shelves and- A bit more.
  1568. >But it wasn’t drafty.
  1569. >And for a barn, it didn’t actually smell at all. That maintenance guy must clean up really well.
  1571. >”I think that’s about all there is to the barn- Did you want to come outside? Maybe see the pasture? There’s more to this farm than just the barn. We could even go visit the lake or something if you wanted…”
  1572. “Eh… Sure. Why not. If there’s nothing else to see here.”
  1573. >You stood up with an annoyed grumble, and treaded after Marcus.
  1574. >You headed out, following him through a large wooden door which he had to unlock.
  1575. >He led you out to a field of grass and spring flowers.
  1576. >With the blue sky looming ever present above you, the sun warming your scaly back.
  1577. >You stared up at it longingly.
  1578. >You felt your wings spread ever so slightly-
  1579. >Then you forced them back to your sides.
  1580. >There’d be no giving in to temptation today! ‘Anon was simply not made for flying’ you firmly told yourself.
  1582. >”There’s a big fence surrounding this pasture, but there’s a bunch of gates and holes in it now too. And... Outside the gates…”
  1583. >He trailed off, clearly trying to build dramatic suspense, but not realizing how long walking across the entire field was going to take.
  1584. >You could already see a gap in the metal fence from here. It looked like there was a wide dirt path. If you had to take a wild guess, horses probably gave trail rides on it for small children and adults.
  1585. >You’d also seen an old poster for it back inside the barn.
  1586. “Okay, you stopped talking like a minute ago. The suspense is killing me.”
  1587. >”Right, sorry. It’s a trail! Two trails in fact, one of which leads up the valley and into the mountains, the other which goes directly to the northernmost half of Sienna lake!”
  1588. “Yeah, you mentioned the lake. What’s so special about it? Is it a big lake? Won’t there be people there?”
  1589. >”Yeah! It’s big, big enough to be the thing the town was named for. Lots of people visit the south side for boating and fishing and all sorts of stuff, but the North side is pretty much untouched.”
  1590. >He stopped and gently touched some of the fins on your tail.
  1591. >”And it clearly seems like you’re the kind of dragon that might like water. You’ve got fins and everything after all.”
  1592. >You flicked your tail away, the sense of touch still bugging you.
  1593. >You did have fins… But were you really a water dragon?
  1594. “So what, are you saying I should go for a swim?”
  1595. >”I mean, you don’t have to. I’m just showing you what’s around the barn while I still have time.”
  1596. “Well, when do you run out of time?”
  1597. >”Well, I’ve got a few hours before my shift starts at the pizza place. Not all of us turned into dragons and can just skip out on life. I still have responsibilities. Not to mention… I still have to check up on my sister again. I probably shouldn’t have left her alone this long already.”
  1598. “Uh- You know if you need to go I can just chill on the bed until you get back.”
  1599. >”Well I don’t know when I’m coming back, so I wanna make sure you’re settled in first.”
  1600. “You don’t know when you’re coming back? You aren’t just gonna leave me alone until tomorrow or the next day or something, right? There’s literally nothing to do here!”
  1602. >He sighed, seemingly slightly annoyed.
  1603. >”Look man, I’m trying my best here to figure this all out and help you, but I can’t just drop my entire life to hang out with my friend who is now an overgrown lizard. I know it’s boring and there’s not much to do here besides sleep or walk around, but I’m really trying my best here. If I turned into a dragon and asked you to help me find a place to stay, I don’t think you’d be doing any better than I am!”
  1604. >You looked to the floor, silent and a little bothered by his outburst.
  1605. >It was very true that had you been in his shoes, you’d have no idea how to even begin to help him.
  1606. “Y-Yeah. Maybe so. I mean, I’d probably still be trapped in my apartment without you, so I should probably be thanking you, right?”
  1607. >“I would certainly appreciate it.”
  1608. “And I mean- I don’t have it that bad. At least there’s a bed and- Hey, maybe the lake will be at least a little interesting…”
  1609. >”Yeah, that’s the spirit. And if you get bored of the lake, then you can go check out the large collections of dust and spiders in the red barn.
  1610. “Eugh, not a chance.”
  1611. >”Okay. I thought so. Even big scary dragons still don’t like spiders, huh?”
  1612. “Dude, nobody likes spiders. Not even spiders.”
  1613. >He grinned.
  1615. >”So-”
  1616. “So- You gotta go see your sister and go to work still, right?”
  1617. >He sighed.
  1618. >”Yeah- But I don’t want to have to deal with that right now. I’d much rather shirk my responsibilities and keep showing you around.”
  1619. “Right… Did you want to go show me that lake, then?”
  1620. >”Yeah- It’s a kind of warm day, maybe the water will be nice.”
  1622. >You kept walking down the trail, tail swishing and making sweeping marks in the dirt as you went.
  1623. >”So you know, you don’t actually have to swim, right? It was just a suggestion.”
  1624. “Nah, it’s fine. I do have a lot of fins, maybe I was meant for water.”
  1625. >”Okay. I just don’t want to seem like I’m swim obsessed or something.”
  1626. >Marcus seemed self-conscious around you now.
  1627. >Oh well.
  1628. >You wondered if you might really be meant for water, or if your fins were just for show.
  1629. >You’d never been a particularly great swimmer, so you’d probably end up just dog paddling around the nearest shore a little, before getting out and hoping you’d dry out in the sun.
  1630. >Damn, you should have brought a towel!
  1631. >You might be too big for a single towel though.
  1632. >Damn, you should have brought several towels!
  1634. >The trail sloped down, and up ahead, you could see a clearing of thin grass, then lake sand, a little beach, and finally-
  1635. >Water.
  1636. >Lots of water, this was a big lake! The trees on the other side had to be at least a half of a mile away. And that was just straight across.
  1637. >From what you could tell, the lake bent in an L shape, and headed south. You couldn’t see the other end from here.
  1638. >You found yourself moving just a little bit faster.
  1639. >No longer walking, but not quite running.
  1640. >In horses, they called it trotting. You weren’t sure what to call it for yourself.
  1641. >You broke past the clearing of trees, and stopped, skidding to a halt in the warm beach sand.
  1642. >Why were you in a hurry?
  1643. >You slowed, wondering what the big rush was about.
  1644. >You looked around, checking if anyone was on the beach, despite Marcus’s assurance there wouldn’t be, you felt you had to be sure.
  1645. >Fortunately, there was no one.
  1646. >You crept up to the water’s edge, and dipped a toe in.
  1647. >It felt like water.
  1648. >...You weren’t sure what you expected.
  1649. >”Is it cold?” Marcus called out, walking slowly and only now catching up to you.
  1650. “Nah. Feels pretty average.”
  1651. >You were hesitant to go in.
  1652. >Why?
  1653. >Maybe because you’d have to hold your breath.
  1654. >You’d gotten rather attached to breathing since you’d mastered the difficult art of breath.
  1655. >Did you even want to go in?
  1656. >The lake was pretty enough to just look at and try and ignore your troubles.
  1657. >You picked up a small, flat rock, trying to skip it.
  1658. >It sank, your throw going astray.
  1660. >Marcus sat by, sitting on a dry rock near the water’s edge.
  1661. >”What’d I tell ya, pretty huh? This is pretty much the nicest part of the lake, it’s a shame nobody comes here.”
  1662. >It was certainly nicer than you’d been expecting.
  1663. >You splashed your foreleg in the water some more, testing it out.
  1664. >The water was certainly inviting.
  1665. >You wiggled all the various fins around your body, to varying degrees of success.
  1666. “Eh, screw it. Maybe I really will be a water dragon or something.”
  1667. >You set your mind, to charging in to the lake.
  1668. >It really wasn’t like you had anything better to do today anyway.
  1669. >The farm only really had a bed.
  1670. >If you were going to have to get used to keeping busy with things besides video games.
  1671. >Maybe physical activity wouldn’t be so bad?
  1672. >And swimming certainly wasn’t the worst thing.
  1673. >It’s not like you were a frail, sickly man anymore. From what you could tell of your new body, you had some decent muscles.
  1674. >It’d be a shame to let them go to waste.
  1675. >You stepped forwards into the lake, water splish-splashing around your legs as you waded in, before you hunched up, ready to leap outwards.
  1676. >You inhaled to your the best of your lung capacity-
  1677. >And dove forwards, a sudden wash of coolness embracing you as the water splashed all around you, decent sized waves rippling away.
  1678. >You heard Marcus cheer, as you began kicking your powerful legs, floating out into the water.
  1679. >The crash and splash settled down as you began to float, holding your wings spread out.
  1680. >You let out your breathe, seeing as you apparently didn’t need to hold it.
  1681. >You quickly found that even kicking to stay afloat didn’t seem necessary.
  1682. >Despite your size and weight, as long as your wings remained spread out, you seemed to be quite buoyant, almost as if they acted like plane pontoons or something.
  1683. >Your neck bobbed out of the water, and you kicked your legs to spin yourself around, facing Marcus.
  1684. “So, do I look like the lochness monster?”
  1685. >”Nah, you look like an idiot. Why’re you spreading out your wings like that?”
  1686. “So I don’t sink, moron.”
  1687. >You paddled around a bit more, actually finding you could move about as fast as you used to be able to go while you were plain old human Anon.
  1688. >Either you weren’t a good swimmer before, or your kicks just had a lot of force to them now.
  1689. >”You aren’t even using your tail! You should try it!” Marcus suggested loudly from the beach.
  1690. >You waggled your tail back and forth, feeling the resistance against your fins.
  1691. >To your surprise, it did help propel you forwards just a little bit.
  1692. >But it was much better at helping with turning you, as dropping and raising the spines and fins was able to help you maneuver in interesting ways.
  1694. >You would have been fine with just hanging out and paddling around for another few minutes, but then you got an awful idea.
  1695. “Hey Marcus, how deep is this lake?”
  1696. >”Oh, pretty deep. At least fifty feet where you are, and hundreds elsewhere. I think the deepest point should be 500 feet deep or so.
  1697. >You held your breathe once more, and dove straight down-
  1698. >You felt your nostrils close entirely.
  1699. >Your eyes felt weird, as a secondary eyelid covered them. Also acting like a lens. You didn’t know how it happened, but you were quick to accept it.
  1700. >You were surprised to find that it was like you were wearing swimming goggles.
  1701. >Your eyes began to adjust to the darkness of the lake, distant dark shapes becoming visible.
  1702. >Not that there was really much to see down here. Far below you, rocks could be seen, surrounded by a dark murky ink.
  1703. >You flicked your tail, spinning in place, and swam upside down, belly facing the surface.
  1704. >You could reach up and touch the surface of the water, and in fact, you did.
  1705. >First with your claw, then with your tail, letting it skim and breach the water, leaving inverted ripples in it’s wake.
  1706. >You firmly decided that it was beautiful.
  1707. >Your nostrils remained firmly plugged, and you were quite glad they were. Not having to pinch your nose was already making this a much better swimming experience than any that had come before this.
  1708. >You began swimming downwards, with the intent to touch the bottom. Maybe you’d find a cool rock or something.
  1709. >The world sounded muffled, your body felt a surprisingly refreshing chill as you swam deeper.
  1710. >You were also surprised to find that your large lungs weren’t complaining at all. Your breath was still being held, but you didn’t even feel the urge to go up for air yet.
  1711. >Nor was your head bothered by pressure as you kept swimming downwards.
  1713. >Before long, you reached the bottom, your awful front crawl and efficient tail swishing having gotten you there somewhat quickly.
  1714. >You looked up-
  1715. >The surface of the water shimmered a glassy blue like a beautiful crystal, distant and wonderful.
  1716. >You could see the sun’s rays streaming into the water, illuminating gross and slimy plants that looked like the lake version of seaweed.
  1717. >You sat there, still holding your breath, wondering if your lungs would ever begin to protest.
  1718. >You had to have been down here for a minute or so now, right?
  1719. >Whatever capabilities your dragon form had, holding its breath forever surely couldn’t be one of them.
  1720. >And yet it would appear you were just chilling here at the bottom of the lake.
  1721. >This was certainly pretty amazing.
  1722. >Unless you had trained to be a deep sea diver, there was no way you’d ever get a view like this.
  1723. >You exhaled some bubbles, watching them rise to the surface.
  1724. >You sat there, floating in the depths, your legs kicking slowly, and your tail treading the water slowly.
  1725. >You spread out your wings, feeling the resistance of the water and just enjoying the invigorating cold of the lake water that spread through them.
  1726. >It wasn’t a freezing cold, but more like the feeling of taking a cold shower on a hot day.
  1727. >Deep and soothing.
  1728. >You felt like maybe you could just stay down here forever.
  1729. >You wondered if Marcus was getting worried.
  1730. >You better swim back up-
  1732. >It was then that you saw it-
  1733. >A fish.
  1734. >Probably a lake trout or something?
  1735. >It was high above you, it’s scales shimmering in the dimmed underwater sunlight.
  1736. >
  1737. >You wondered if you could catch it.
  1738. >And with that thought, you felt your legs kick off the slightly slimy lake bed, a cloud of tiny rocks following in your wake.
  1739. >Your body was suddenly swimming, not using the inferior kicking and clawing methods of a learned human, but more like a dolphin. Entire body rocking up and down as your tail flicked left to right.
  1740. >You weren’t sure how, but you were suddenly aware of the most efficient way to use your whole body to propel yourself through the water.
  1741. >Your legs tucked in, your sleek and dynamic body carving through the water like scissors through paper. You could feel it all flowing over you.
  1742. >You couldn’t really tell how fast you were going-
  1743. >Your mind was more focused on one simple goal.
  1744. >Get the fish.
  1745. >You felt yourself grinning.
  1746. >You knew you were going fast.
  1747. >You knew you were going to get it.
  1749. >You were the queen of the water, an unchallenged predator.
  1750. >This felt… Right.
  1751. >Your tail flicked, one of your wings stretched ever so slightly, and your entire course changed, preemptively altered to intercept the fish once it realized it was about to be caught.
  1752. >It never stood a chance.
  1753. >From it’s point of view, a gargantuan lake beast suddenly teleported behind it-
  1754. >Heh, Nothing personal, fisho.
  1755. >Your jaws opened and snapped down on it, teeth sinking into its flesh.
  1756. >You felt it squirm in your jaw, tail flapping aggressively.
  1757. >You internally cheered.
  1758. >You did it! That was amazing! You went so fast, you got the fish!
  1760. >And then, whatever had come over you let go, leaving you carried forward towards the surface by your own inertia, fish flapping your jaws.
  1761. >Your head breached the surface of the water, and you stared, wide eyed and confused over what had just happened.
  1762. >Water rained down around you, as your sudden exit left you in the warm, sunny air, a sharp contrast to the cool water you had just gotten used to.
  1763. >The taste of raw fish permeated your mouth.
  1764. >Why the heck had you wanted to catch a fish?
  1765. >Where had this fish been? Was it bleeding? This was a raw fish, oh god this was so gross and slimy-
  1766. >You heard Marcus give a distant shout far off to your left.
  1767. >You blinked, feeling your inner eyelid retract, your vision returning to normal.
  1768. >Your nostrils unplugged, and you exhaled and inhaled, more from surprise rather than a need for fresh air after your long dive.
  1769. >You spun around, disoriented.
  1770. >What had just happened?
  1771. >Was that the same as the incident with the Kyanite gem? Was that the monstrous dragon inside of you taking over?
  1772. >You had just seen a fish and- Lost all control? Why had you wanted it so bad?
  1773. >Why had catching it made you so happy and fulfilled?
  1774. >Would this keep happening? Would you keep losing control of yourself?
  1775. >Was this the beginning of the end? Would all control slowly slip away from you as you became a passenger in your own body?
  1776. >Would you even persist after that? What if you faded away entirely?
  1778. >A fish flopped against your face, still held by your locked jaws, disturbing your existential crisis.
  1779. >You’d come back to it. No way you were going to just pretend it hadn’t happened.
  1780. >You slowly paddled back to shore, still confused.
  1781. >Marcus greeted you.
  1782. >”Hey, you had me really worried! You were down there for like, four whole minutes! Since when did you become a champion diver- Is that a fucking fish?”
  1783. “Thiff iff a fffkmff fiff.”
  1784. >You nodded, your thoughts still elsewhere.
  1785. >You climbed out of the water, water streaming off of you.
  1786. >Literally streaming, it seemed like your scales might be hydrophobic, because none of the water stayed on you, not even a few spare drops.
  1787. >You drip-dried your way back onto the shore, and spat out the fish on dry land, where it kept flopping.
  1788. >”How the hell did you manage to catch a fish?” He asked, just as amazed and confused as you were.
  1789. “Uh- Apparently I really am meant for water. Although- I wouldn’t say it was exactly me who caught it...”
  1790. >”What, did it swim right into your mouth? Good catch either way, but damn. That’s amazing. Y-You really are an animal or something.”
  1791. >You ignored that last bit.
  1792. >You didn’t want to be an animal.
  1794. >Instead, you thought about telling Marcus that you had lost control of your body.
  1795. >But reasonably decided that it sounded insane, and would only make him and yourself worried more than you already were.
  1796. >Honestly, you weren’t sure how to deal with it.
  1797. >Could you even do anything to stop it?
  1798. >Stay away from lakes?
  1799. >And gemstones?
  1800. >The incident seemed to have been triggered by seeing things that your inner dragon seemed interested in.
  1801. >Like the Kyanite gem.
  1802. >Like a shiny fish.
  1803. >Like the entire fucking sky, you realized, remembering the same giddy feeling you had felt when you had first seen it earlier today.
  1804. >God, how were you supposed to avoid that?
  1806. >The fish flopped aggressively.
  1807. >”Uh- Did we want to keep it? Or kill it? Why the heck did you bring a fish out of the lake?”
  1808. >You shrugged.
  1809. >Marcus shrugged back, and picked it up by the tail, giving it a solid whack on the nearest rock.
  1810. >The fish stopped flopping.
  1811. >Seeing the fish in Marcus’s hands, you became aware of how big it was, which was almost as long as his arm.
  1812. >That was a heck of a catch. The kind that people usually took pictures of.
  1813. >”Well uh- It looks like you took a bite out of it. Did you want to finish it? Do dragons eat raw fish?”
  1814. >You looked at the scaly and shiny grey fish with large bite marks and trails of blood coming out of it. It’s eye looked sad.
  1815. >The prospect of eating it for dinner grossed you out slightly. You hadn’t even wanted to catch it.
  1816. >Or rather, some part of you wanted to catch it, but not the conscious you that you were right now.
  1817. “Uh… No thanks.”
  1818. >”Why not?”
  1819. “Well, who knows where it’s been?”
  1820. >”Uh… In your mouth, for one.”
  1821. “No, I mean- Who knows what kind of lake bacteria it has in it?”
  1822. >”That’s why we cook our food, Anon. Although I wish I had known you were gonna catch a fish. I would’ve gotten a fire started or something. I don’t think the barn has an oven- Hey, you can breathe fire, right?”
  1823. “I- Well I did that one time. I don’t know how.”
  1824. >”Well try again, there’s got to be a way!”
  1826. >Were you really doing this right now?
  1827. >You didn’t even want to eat it, cooked or not.
  1828. >Well, you might as well try and humor Marcus.
  1829. >You rolled your eyes, inhaled, and then let out a breath of normal air.
  1830. >You spoke with a raspy voice, hoping commanding yourself would help.
  1831. “Firrrrrreeeeeeeee…”
  1832. >Marcus stared at you, expression blank.
  1833. “Well, I’m out of ideas.”
  1834. >”Seriously? Is that really your best try? Come on, man! How did you do it the first time?”
  1835. “Well, I coughed out a lung and turned into a dragon. It was in the middle of everything, give me a break here.”
  1836. >You turned your head away, snorting in annoyance.
  1838. >What a strange day this was turning out to be.
  1839. >You’d started as a normal guy, and now you were apparently a lake dragon, with your friend Marcus demanding you breathe fire on a fish you had caught against your will.
  1840. >Well, if he wanted fire, you’d give him fire.
  1841. >You reared your head back, trying to remember or think of a way to even begin to do it.
  1842. >You filled your lungs with a breath of sweet air.
  1843. >You closed your eyes.
  1844. >You’d been coughing.
  1845. >The world had been full of pain.
  1846. >You’d thought you were going to die.
  1847. >You just wanted to breathe-
  1848. >Your lungs had felt hot.
  1849. >Focusing, you attempted to revisit these feelings.
  1850. >Think of everything…
  1851. >Think of anything…
  1853. >You opened your eyes.
  1854. >Your lungs didn’t feel any different.
  1855. >You exhaled simple air, lowering your head and feeling like a fool.
  1856. “I don’t know how. I really just don’t.”
  1857. >Marcus offered you another shrug.
  1858. >”Maybe you’ll figure it out someday, buddy. For now uh- Well, did you want to keep swimming? It looks like… You’re already dry. Damn, how did you manage that one? Are you literally magic?”
  1859. “Uh- I might just be.”
  1860. >You looked back to the lake.
  1861. >Swimming had been- Kinda fun actually.
  1862. >Especially sitting there near the bottom, just letting the water flow around you.
  1863. >You’d felt at peace, completely serene.
  1864. >Until you’d seen that damn fish.
  1865. >Well, even that was kind of… Exhilarating.
  1866. >But it left you feeling odd.
  1867. >You’d suddenly just stopped doing human things and did a dragon thing instead.
  1868. >And while it still felt like you were doing it, you couldn’t help but feel as if it hadn’t really been you.
  1869. >Or was it?
  1870. >You still didn’t know.
  1871. >And maybe you wouldn’t know until it happened again.
  1872. >If it happened again?
  1873. >No, it wasn’t an if. You already knew it wasn’t over.
  1875. >And you hated to admit it, but if it was as fun as it had just been, you almost looked forward to it.
  1876. >What if you just- Embraced it?
  1877. >What if you just let yourself be the Dragoness?
  1878. >You shook your head.
  1879. >No, you were Anon.
  1880. >You didn’t want to lose your humanity, you didn’t want to lose track of who you were.
  1882. >You were pulled out of your thoughts by Marcus, who was tapping you on the snout.
  1883. >You scrunched it up in response.
  1884. “Yes?”
  1885. >”I asked if we were done here, and if we wanted to bring this fish back to the barn with us. And now I’m asking if you’re alright? You seem REALLY spaced out recently.”
  1886. “Uh- Still got a lot on my mind. But yeah, I think we’re done here. Thanks for bringing me here, I think I might come back for another swim some time.”
  1887. >”Hey, not a problem- But uh- Fish? Yes or no?”
  1888. >In answer, you picked up the dead slimy fish.
  1889. >And-
  1890. >Hm.
  1891. >You wanted to throw it away, back into the lake.
  1892. >But that’d be a waste, right?
  1893. >Maybe if you cooked it, it’d be pretty tasty.
  1894. >You stood there, still holding the fish, trapped in indecision.
  1895. >Seeing that you looked like you were spacing out again, Marcus took the fish from your claws and just started walking back down the dirt road.
  1896. >With nothing else to do, you followed after, taking a long glance back at the large lake.
  1897. >It was certainly an eventful swim.
  1898. >You would surely come back, seeing as there didn’t appear to be much else to do on the farm.
  1899. >But would coming back indulge the dragoness inside you? Would it be making her happy? Or you?
  1901. >Your thoughts muddled and confused, you began the trek back to your new home.
  1902. >You did remember one question you’d been holding onto though.
  1903. “Hey Marcus.”
  1904. >”Mhmm?”
  1905. “Your sister- She’s a pony, and she probably won’t be able to go out into public either. Do you think she’d be able to come here? Just so I’d have someone to talk to?”
  1906. >”Hmmm.” He seemed to be thinking about it.
  1907. “Furthermore… Do you think we’re the only ones this happened to? This whole… Transformation thing. It happened late at night, while I was looking at a bright light. Do you think there are others who might have seen it, besides your sister?”
  1908. >“Uh- There’s got to be a couple of them, for sure. I mean, whoever hangs outside at almost two or three in the morning.” He replied.
  1909. >You nodded.
  1910. >Whomever else in this city was outside at the time.
  1911. >They might have been turned into a mythological creature as well.
  1912. >They were probably going through the same things as you-
  1913. >So you could talk to them, and maybe help each other.
  1914. >But how would you find them?
  1915. >What would you do if you found no one?
  1917. >”Hmm. Yeah, I think maybe I could bring my sister here. You’ve met her before, right? I think she didn’t mind you. At least it means she won’t be at risk of going out and wandering the neighborhood and getting seen. I mean, that’s the first thing you said not to do, and I’d LIKE to think she’d have the sense not to do it, but… She probably would. And she’d get animal control called on her and probably get snatched up by a dog or horse catcher or something, knowing her.”
  1918. “Do small towns like this really have horse catchers?”
  1919. >He shrugged. “Probably not. But she’s a cute cartoon horse thing. I’m sure somebody would want to take her home. It isn’t exactly the same as it is with you. If someone saw a dragon walking down the road, they’d… Probably call in a SWAT team or something.”
  1920. >You frowned, but it was true.
  1921. >You again cursed your luck.
  1922. >Why couldn’t you have been a cute pony too? At least then you’d be small and compact.
  1923. >Being as large as a proper horse, with bulky horns and wings and tail, was really not as easy as you were making it look.
  1924. >And you were making it look damned difficult.
  1926. >You’d reached the barn. You went in through the same large door, finding your way back to your blanket room and laying down almost immediately.
  1927. >Marcus stood there in your massive doorway, awkwardly holding a fish.
  1928. >”So… I guess I’ll go see about meeting up with my sister. You just hang tight, okay Anon?”
  1929. >You shrugged your wings at him.
  1930. “Yeah. I’ll just- Chill, I guess. Thanks again for helping in getting me here, Marcus.”
  1931. >He entered the room, giving you another hug.
  1932. >You pressed your long neck towards him and leaned your head over his shoulder, not out of affection, but because he was holding a slimy gross fish against your back and you wanted to get away from it.
  1934. >Finally, he let go, and Marcus left you alone once more, taking that accursed fish with him.
  1935. >Though he did return from his car, briefly, just as you thought you were getting comfortable.
  1936. >”I almost forgot, here’s your stuff, Anon.”
  1937. >He dropped your tiny phone, wallet, and keys nearby.
  1938. >But then he went and seemingly went in for another hug- Wow this guy liked hugs! It was getting kinda weird-
  1939. >Or so you thought.
  1940. >But he wasn’t trying to hug you at all.
  1941. >Instead he reached around your neck, and tied that little Kyanite necklace around your neck.
  1942. >If you weren’t surprised with the fact that it even fit, you would have protested.
  1943. >But it was a perfect fit.
  1944. >Like it was made for you.
  1945. >It complemented the color of your scales perfectly.
  1946. >”Wow, it looks nice. Matches you perfectly, what a funny coincidence.” He said, unknowing of your internal protests.
  1947. >You thanked him between gritted teeth.
  1948. “Oh wow. My Kyanite necklace. I was just thinking about how much longer I could go without having to see it again.”
  1949. >You said, voice both dripping and dry with sarcasm.
  1950. >”Well, good thing I remembered it! Anyway, I’ll be back soon Anon! Try not to burn the place down!”
  1951. >He left immediately.
  1952. >Hrrrrghhh.
  1953. >Once again, you found yourself inexplicably incapable of refusing the gemstone outright.
  1954. >It was like the words of protest you wanted to say simply wouldn’t come out.
  1955. >And no matter how you struggled, you still resisted the urge to tear it off.
  1956. >It did actually look nice on you.
  1957. >And at this point, it kind of seemed like your cruel fate was making sure you were stuck with it.
  1958. >Just like you were stuck being a dragon.
  1959. >This damn gem was truly symbolic of everything you’d become.
  1960. >Was resisting it even possible?
  1961. >You lay there on your pile of thick wool blankets, thinking.
  1962. >It’d be a while before Marcus got back.
  1963. >Could you just sleep until then?
  1964. >You heard the sounds of a car engine starting and pulling away distantly.
  1965. >You were alone.
  1966. >Just you and your dragon body.
  1967. >You looked back at it, taking a close look and studying it, trying to get used to the sight.
  1968. >Your tail still flicked on it’s own.
  1969. >Your wings and fins still moved by themselves too.
  1970. >Was this body really yours?
  1971. >You poked at your butt, right on one of the many purple splotchy freckle things you had.
  1972. >Your scales pressed inwards, behaving like flesh. Your dragon hide certainly was weird.
  1973. >And your butt certainly was big.
  1974. >You manually moved your fins, tail, and wings, trying to get used to the feelings.
  1975. >It wasn’t feeling quite as alien anymore, but you wouldn’t exactly say you were used to it.
  1976. >Had it really only been this morning since this all happened? It was beginning to feel like you’d been living this one day for a whole week.
  1978. >You guessed you’d just have to wait until it had been a proper week. Maybe by then it would feel like you’d been a dragon for a year, and you’d reach some sort of normal again.
  1979. >You laid your head down on your blanket pile, finding the little bump that was comfiest, your body curled up in an inhuman manner once more.
  1980. >Yes, normal would be good.
  1981. >You closed your eyes, trying to sleep some time away.
  1982. >You weren’t very tired, but maybe you could force yourself into a quick nap.
  1983. >And hey, maybe you’d wake up from this whole crazy nightmare eventually.
  1985. ===---=---=-----=---=-----=---=-----=---=---===
  1987. >Be Marcus’ little sister, Rosie.
  1988. >And hot damn, you were a pony!
  1989. >For real!
  1990. >This was really happening! You could hardly believe it!
  1991. >You kept looking in the mirror expecting to see your old boring dark curly hair and pale skin waiting for you.
  1992. >Instead-
  1993. >Look at that boopable snoot! Huge blue eyes! Long and exciting light purplish mane.
  1994. >A sort of blueish purple color for your coat!
  1995. >It was amazing!
  1996. >It didn’t make sense, and shouldn’t be possible, but who cared! It was amazing!
  1997. >You’d already spent half an hour just trying to figure out how to brush your mane, only to mess it all up again so you could start over!
  1999. >Honestly, you were having so much fun with this that you were pretty much stuck in a happy-go-lucky consequences be damned kind of mood.
  2000. >Who cared about all that boring adult human stuff you’d have issues doing.
  2001. >You were a totally legitimate pony!
  2002. >A unicorn even! You had a horn that could probably do magic and other cool stuff!
  2003. >You even had a cutie mark!
  2004. >At first glance, you thought it was just a boring rose.
  2005. >But it was actually what looked like a strawberry tart with a huge dollop of red speckled whipped cream that happened to resemble a rose. It was surrounded by magic, represented like little bursts of colour.
  2006. >You were great at baking, especially with fruits!
  2007. >This was literally your destiny!
  2008. >You never needed to worry about if you were on the right path in life again! You had it made, sister!
  2009. >You didn’t at all regret staying up until three in the morning now, it was one hundred percent worth it.
  2011. >You stared into the mirror some more, admiring how pretty you were as a pony.
  2012. >This was clearly the best.
  2013. >You leaned away from the counter, uneasily dropping onto all fours, and shakily walking around the bathroom once more.
  2014. >There was only one problem with all of this!
  2015. >The only thing holding you back from literally marching out into the world and grasping your destiny, baking pies and taking names!
  2016. >You were locked in the bathroom!
  2017. >And had no idea how to open the door with hooves!
  2019. >Okay, so maybe being a pony wasn’t literally all sunshine and rainbows.
  2020. >But you weren’t going to let anything bring down your mood.
  2021. >At least the little clip clop of hooves that followed your every step was really great to listen to.
  2022. >Clip clop clip clip clop
  2023. >It was cathartic! You were still having a great time!
  2024. >You kept pacing, trying to keep yourself entertained.
  2025. >You couldn’t even check your phone to see how long you had been trapped in here, since it didn’t like hooves.
  2026. >It was also in the Living room, unlike you.
  2027. >Since Marcus left, obviously-
  2028. >Ugh, what a butt that guy was! Just leaving you here all alone!
  2029. >He’d looked really freaked out when you told him “everything was going to be fine, you were just going to be a pony for while.”
  2030. >Things were still fine, right?
  2031. >R-Right?
  2033. >You looked around, the bathroom as plain and boring as ever.
  2034. >You could hear a wall clock ticking in the hallway just beyond the unpassable door.
  2035. >You could see the towel you’d abandoned beside the door, where you’d attempted to wrap it around the door handle for a better grip.
  2036. >How did they do it on the show?
  2037. >You seemed to be an actual pony from your cartoon, so-
  2038. >You should have all the power of a cartoon pony, right?
  2039. >They could grab things! Why couldn’t you!
  2040. >It was just a door!
  2042. >You caught yourself breathing faster, and closed your eyes, sighing.
  2043. >There was no way you could let yourself get all worked up and have a panic attack or anything.
  2044. >You were a pony, this was supposed to be the best day of your life! You had already sold yourself on that lie, and now you were going to make it a reality!
  2045. >There were no take-backsies!
  2047. >Time dragged on.
  2048. >This was getting boring.
  2049. >Maybe you could figure out how to do magic!
  2050. >You were a unicorn after all!
  2051. >You scrunched up your cute little face, trying to focus your brain and get your horn to do literally anything.
  2052. >Instead, you succeeded in straining too hard, and giving yourself a headache.
  2053. >You let out a long and final sigh.
  2054. >It looked like you were going to have to finally admit it.
  2055. >This kind of…
  2056. >Wasn’t what you were expecting at all.
  2057. >In fact it kind of sucked!
  2058. >Real hard!
  2059. >Maybe if you weren’t trapped in a bathroom, it’d be great!
  2060. >But as it was-
  2061. >Being a pony was very hard!
  2062. >And you didn’t really have anyone but yourself to blame.
  2063. >You had locked yourself into the bathroom after all.
  2064. >But-
  2065. >Actually, you know what, this was your dumb brother’s fault!
  2066. >How dare he leave you in your time of need!
  2067. >When he next got home, you were going to-
  2069. >Your ears perked and swiveled as they heard the sounds of a key in a lock.
  2070. >A few seconds later, you heard someone enter your home, your brother’s familiar voice calling out.
  2071. >”Rosie. I’m home. We need to- Figure things out. Where ya at?”
  2072. >Oh my god! He was home!
  2073. >You were saved!
  2074. >Life wasn’t over! You wouldn’t die alone in a bathroom!
  2075. “Helllllpppp!”
  2076. >Your call was long and sustained, and he was at the door before you even finished.
  2077. >The bathroom opened, and your burst out into the hallway, free at last.
  2078. >Yes! Being a pony was going to be good again! No longer would you be oppressed and kept down by the system! And doors!
  2079. >You ran right past Marcus, who was looking at you in surprise, heading to the living room.
  2080. >He probably just wanted to have a serious discussion about how you were a pony now, and needed to seriously consider what you were going to do.
  2081. >Screw that! Ponies ain’t gotta worry about consequences!
  2082. >Instead, you made a beeline for a certain object of yours.
  2083. “Phoneeeee!”
  2084. >You skidded on the hardwood floors, sliding all over the place and nearly losing your footing several times.
  2085. >Eventually, you clawed and crawled your way to the couch.
  2086. >You clumsily pushed yourself up onto the sofa, your pink little phone waiting there for your embrace.
  2087. >You tapped at it with your hoof, growing upset once more as it failed to respond.
  2088. >You seriously needed to check your messages.
  2089. >Because if your suspicions were right, you weren’t the only one this whole pony thing could have happened to.
  2090. >It was vitally important to you that you message all your friends that might also have been awake.
  2092. >”Uhhh. You’re welcome, I guess.”
  2093. “Oh right, thanks.”
  2094. >”So are we gonna… Talk about this?”
  2095. “Hmm, maybe later.”
  2096. >”There’s- Wow, you are ignoring me entirely. Nice. That’s great.”
  2097. >You ignored him entirely.
  2098. >You had been planning on chewing him out for leaving you alone all day.
  2099. >But he was getting a pass, since he actually showed up to save you.
  2100. >”Really, what’s so important on your phone that you can’t stop to talk about how your entire life has changed? Is your facebook or whatever really that important?”
  2101. “If you must know, I need to message my friends.”
  2102. >”What, and tell them you’re a pony?”
  2103. “Well, that and check if any of them are as well.”
  2104. >”You’re just gonna message them and be like “what up, I got hooves?”
  2105. >He imitated your voice, giving a terrible impression of you.
  2106. >You looked up at him, face completely serious.
  2107. >He looked equally serious.
  2108. >Except-
  2109. >He was holding a fish.
  2110. >The complete absurdity was enough that you did a double take.
  2111. “Why- Do you have a fish?”
  2112. >Where did he get a fish?
  2113. >Did he go fishing?
  2114. >Who finds out that ponies are real, and that your sister was one of them, and then goes fishing?
  2115. >What the christ, bro?
  2116. >”It’s not mine.”
  2117. >...
  2118. >That only raised further questions!
  2119. >Who’s fish was that, then?
  2120. >Were those bite marks? Did he wrestle it away from a grizzly bear?
  2121. “Okay, there’s a story behind that.”
  2122. >”There sure is.”
  2123. “Did you want to share it?”
  2124. >”I will if you stop futzing with your phone and treat a situation seriously for once in your life.”
  2125. “I’ll have you know I’m taking this situation one hundred percent seriously. I really need to message my friends, because I guarantee at least THREE of them were also awake at the same time as me.”
  2126. >He put his hands on his hips, waiting for you to focus up.
  2127. >You hated when he did that.
  2128. >Your mother did it to you all the time as well, you were pretty sure Marcus stole it from watching her.
  2130. >You rolled your eyes, and left your phone alone.
  2131. “Okay, but after you tell me where you got a fish that looks like it was mangled by a dinosaur, you gotta promise to help me message my friends. It’s like, super seriously important, bro.”
  2132. >”Sure. We can deal with that afterwards.”
  2133. “Okay then. Who’s fish is that, and how did it end up here?”
  2134. >”I met up with Anon.”
  2135. >Oh yeah, that one guy with the lung problem your brother worked with.
  2136. >You remembered Marcus saying something about him maybe being a unicorn too.
  2137. >”He wasn’t a pony.”
  2138. >Oh.
  2139. >Too bad, being a pony was great so far.
  2140. >As long as you didn’t get trapped in any bathrooms.
  2141. >Or closets.
  2142. >Or anywhere with those pesky rounded handled doors.
  2143. >”He was… A dragon.”
  2145. >Okay, that caught you off guard.
  2146. >Your interest in this story had officially been piqued.
  2147. “Does he breathe fire?”
  2148. >”Not yet, but he can catch fish. Straight out of a lake. And- He’s also a she now.”
  2149. >What?
  2150. “What?”
  2151. >”That was my response too. I know it’s weird and a bit strange to grasp-”
  2152. “No, not the gender thing. It’s cool if she’s genderfluid. It’s 2018, nobody cares anymore. I’m confused over the fish thing- Where did she catch a fish?”
  2153. >”Wh- That’s the part that you don’t understand- You know what, never mind. I took him to a safe place where he could stay, that old farm out by the northern part of the lake.”
  2154. “What was wrong with his house? Why wasn’t it safe?”
  2155. >”Well, he’s a drag-”
  2156. “She.”
  2157. >”She, yes. Whatever, Sis. She’s a dragon, and paying rent and keeping a job isn’t gonna be feasible for her anymore, if that sounds familiar. Also, she was too darned big for her hallways, and couldn’t even walk around.”
  2158. “I see. Opposite of my problem then. Everything is just a little too big for me. Why are ponies so gosh darned small?”
  2159. >”You’re asking me? You’re the pony expert.”
  2160. “It’s rhetorical. The answer is that small things are cuter.”
  2161. >“Uh- That’s not what a rhetorical question- Okay, whatever. But anyway- Anon! He- Er, She needs company, and sort of- Asked if you wanted to hang out. Seeing as you’ve both been affected by this magic light show thing.”
  2162. “I still don’t see where the fish comes into it.”
  2163. >”We were at the farm by the lake. We went to the lake. Anon went swimming, and caught a fish in his jaws-”
  2164. “-Her jaws.”
  2165. >You corrected.
  2166. >He rolled his eyes.
  2167. >Annoying your brother should have been your real cutie mark.
  2168. >It was all too easy.
  2169. >”Yes, anyway- So that brings me to my point. Did you want to go hang out with a dragon?”
  2170. >You considered.
  2171. “Hell yes I do.”
  2172. >Anon was a kind of quiet person, but the one time you’d met him/her you’d found him to be sort of nice. He’d been kind of awkward, but pretty much all the guys you’d ever met in this town had been like that.
  2173. >But how bad could hanging out for just one evening be?
  2174. >”Great. Gimme a second to put this damn fish in the freezer or something. I’ve been holding it all day and it’s gonna start to stink the place up pretty soon.”
  2176. >You and your brother hopped in the family truck shortly after.
  2177. >He’d wanted you to wait until he got the truck into the garage, but you just ran outside and waited at the car door.
  2178. >He seemed really worried about someone possibly seeing you.
  2179. >You were a pretty pony, who wouldn’t want to see you?
  2180. >This mane was meant to be flaunted!
  2181. >Marcus grumbled something about Horse catchers.
  2182. >You had no idea what he was going on about, to be honest.
  2183. >But soon enough you were in the truck, watching the trees roll past.
  2184. >Every now and again, you’d keep trying to even unlock your phone.
  2185. >You’d finally figured out that you could just use the tip of your nose instead of a finger.
  2186. >But you kept messing up and the phone kept locking.
  2187. >You’d give up in frustration, but Rosie wasn’t a quitter!
  2188. >Actually, if you were a pony now, did you need a new name? Was Rosie good enough?
  2189. >If you thought of a better name, you’d be sure to snatch it up right away. Copyright it even.
  2191. >Finally, you arrived at the barn.
  2192. >It was still the same dusty place you’d seen years ago, when Mom had last taken you here.
  2193. >The dirt path had become overgrown, and there wasn’t as much mud as there had been last time.
  2194. “So you expect me to believe there’s a dragon in there? How big is this dragon anyway?”
  2195. >”Well- Not insanely big, but bigger than me or you, for sure. He- Er, she- Anon seems kinda sensitive about being a big scary dragon, by the way. Try not to be rude.”
  2196. >Don’t worry. I bet you she’s a big sweet heart.”
  2197. >”Oh, I’m sure you’ll be having second doubts when you see those jaws and claws.
  2198. “Hey, I bet you that within the first minute of seeing her, we’ll be hugging it out and laughing over the idea that you ever thought she was frightening.”
  2199. >”Okay, five bucks.”
  2200. “Wait, really?”
  2201. >”Yeah. I bet you five bucks that you couldn’t just walk in and find a way to make her give you a hug within one minute.”
  2202. “You’re on.”
  2203. >You stepped out of the truck, being extra careful.
  2204. >Dropping down from high places face first was really frightening.
  2205. >Walking and stepping down the path, you began making your way to the barn.
  2206. >You didn’t want to admit it.
  2207. >But you sort of still hadn’t figured out walking.
  2208. >You were sure it would come to you though!
  2209. >Hopefully sooner rather than later.
  2210. >After all, how you could be the cutest pony around if you couldn’t walk around!
  2212. >You successfully arrived at the old smelly horse barn.
  2213. >It didn’t smell that bad actually.
  2214. >Kind of like blue raspberries or some sort of sweet sports drink.
  2216. ===--===--===--===--===--===--===--===
  2218. >You were Anon once more.
  2219. >Sleep came unnaturally fast.
  2220. >Whether it was the general events of the day, too much swimming, or something else, you didn’t know.
  2221. >Maybe obtaining the form of a dragon had been too taxing on you.
  2222. >Either way, you could tell you were sleeping.
  2223. >Because you were dreaming.
  2224. >You had to be, right? There was no way this was real?
  2225. >You were looking at your surroundings.
  2226. >You’d been here before.
  2227. >But, you also hadn’t?
  2228. >You were in a… Place. It was sort of hard to describe, because you’d never seen anything like it.
  2229. >And yet it felt so familiar.
  2230. >Was it a temple? Was it something else?
  2231. >The architecture reminded you of Ancient Greece.
  2232. >tall pillars, archways-
  2233. >No, maybe it was gothic? Were those mini arches high up near the ceiling what they called flying buttresses?
  2234. >You wouldn’t know the name if it weren’t so silly.
  2236. >Light green stone surrounded you, rising high above you in a cavernous way.
  2237. >Murals were painted on the walls in fine detail, but you couldn’t tell what they were meant to be.
  2238. >They seemed out of place to you, but you couldn’t place the reason why.
  2239. >It was like your eyes wouldn’t focus on what you wanted them to.
  2240. >It was like you really needed glasses. All the details were fuzzy.
  2241. >Infact, everywhere you looked seemed to suffer from the same problem. There seemed to be things just out of your view that you couldn’t look at. Like your mind couldn’t comprehend what was supposed to be there, and there was just nothing, even though you knew there was supposed to be something.
  2242. >Further back in the grand hall, you could see a vast doorway, a large white statue atop of it with water leaking down around it visible just beyond.
  2243. >At least you were able to focus on that much.
  2244. >No door in the doorway though, that had been demolished many years prior.
  2245. >How did you know that?
  2246. >Were you there?
  2247. >You stood up-
  2248. >And started walking.
  2249. >Where were you going? You wanted to stay here.
  2250. >You couldn’t, it was almost past your bedtime.
  2251. >Bedtime!? You were a grown man, why did you have a bedtime-
  2252. >You felt your draconic jaws open wide as you let out a yawn.
  2253. >Oh great, you were still a dragon even in your dreams.
  2254. >Of course you were, why wouldn’t you be?
  2255. >You felt confusion.
  2256. >The dream seemed to darken.
  2257. >It was like the light in your surroundings was being extinguished.
  2258. >You didn’t want that. Light was good.
  2259. >’Okay, maybe being a dragon in your dreams was fine!’ You told yourself.
  2261. >As if in response, your dream lightened once more. It was entirely strange, but you didn’t want to protest it.
  2262. >You were still walking through the hall.
  2263. >You could feel your tail sagging, dragging over the smooth floor.
  2264. >Wings tucked to your side.
  2265. >You were tired.
  2266. >You were going home.
  2267. >Where was home?
  2268. >You’d see.
  2270. >You looked up as you reached the broken doorway on the other side of the hall, turning your head and getting one last good look at the place.
  2271. >You’d have to come here again! It was so fun to explore!
  2272. >It was then that your eyes seemed to register what they’d been missing this whole time.
  2273. >Every mural on every wall depicted what you might expect to find in an ancient building like this one.
  2274. >Battles, religious figures, historical records.
  2275. >And they were full of dragons-
  2276. >Of all colors and sizes!
  2277. >There was Dragonlord Ash, and-
  2278. >Who?
  2279. >Dragon… Lord?
  2280. >Your brain was missing something.
  2281. >It seemed like it should be so obvious to you-
  2283. >But the dream kept playing, and you turned away from the murals of Draconic history.
  2284. >Facing the statue, which you now realized was also a great dragon.
  2285. >Nobody you recognized though.
  2286. >Perhaps this work of art was simply a representation of the dragon spirit itself-
  2287. >The what now.
  2289. >This was-
  2290. >This dream was-
  2291. >You weren’t sure it was your dream, anymore.
  2292. >In fact, you weren’t sure it was a dream at all.
  2293. >Your draconic body approached the fountain.
  2294. >You watched your clawed hand reach into the wide basin, and scoop up a handful of water.
  2295. >It came back with green slime floating in it.
  2296. >You recoiled in disgust, your mental human and physical dragoness self sharing a reaction.
  2297. >You couldn’t help but notice the dream getting a little bit brighter once more.
  2298. >More vivid.
  2299. >You could smell the gross algae of the water.
  2300. >It was nearly nighttime, you could feel the chill of the air.
  2301. >You could hear a raven cawing somewhere.
  2303. >You also felt every movement of your body as you reared up, your claws latching onto the edge of the fountain, as you stared into the basin.
  2304. >Green goop layered the bottom.
  2305. >The lack of upkeep on this draconic monument made you just a little bit sad, but it couldn’t be helped.
  2306. >It was very rare for most dragons to even know about this place.
  2307. >But you were special-
  2309. >You were?
  2310. >What else did you know about dragons?
  2311. >How did you come to know these things?
  2313. >Your body leaned forward, putting her muzzle to the water’s surface.
  2314. >Ew gross what are we doing-
  2315. >A thought came into your mind.
  2316. >You should be paying attention. Just watch.
  2317. >Your body tensed up, and you could feel something clench inside your chest- Another muscle you hadn’t been aware you had?
  2318. >Another brand new thing a human couldn’t have known about.
  2319. >Your chest constricted, as you felt something new-
  2320. >All over you, all through you-
  2321. >You felt it concentrate into your chest, as it now expanded-
  2322. >What were you doing? What was this?
  2323. >You felt-
  2324. >That heat-
  2325. >The same one that had been ever present throughout your entire transformation.
  2326. >The same one that was there as your new wings had burst into existence.
  2327. >The same one you now very much recognized had been there, pushing out as you had finished coughing out your lungs, before you had-
  2328. >Exhaled a jet of flame into your bathroom.
  2329. >And that was exactly what was happening now, as you felt your jaw open wide, and your throat pull.
  2330. >The concentration of raw heat in your abdomen moved, like an unstoppable freight train. You could feel it pulsing through your body.
  2331. >All at once, you saw the water turn bright blue in front of your maw, as you sank your muzzle lower into the basin of the fountain.
  2332. >The water turned white as it instantly boiled, but underneath it’s surface you could see it.
  2333. >A cascading jet of glowing blue fire, that apparently didn’t care at all that it was underwater.
  2334. >Steam rose in a mighty cloud, billowing up and past your face harmlessly. You could feel its warmth-
  2335. >But it was nowhere near as warm as the torrent of flame you were expelling from your mouth.
  2336. >It felt hot- It felt… Great! Your wings were fluttering slightly with glee, your tail was perked straight into the air.
  2337. >There was a euphoric feeling of bliss escaping you. This was awesome- You had truly become the full grown dragoness you’d longed to be for so many years!
  2338. >Years?
  2339. >This wasn’t your first time breathing fire, but it had never been like this before! This was raw power! This was perfection! You’d never felt so awesome!
  2340. >Your mother would be so proud!
  2341. >Mother?
  2342. >You cut off the jet of flame, spreading your wings wide, and closing your eyes, basking in the now large cloud of steam that surrounded you and the fountain.
  2343. >Your grin was wider than you thought your face could handle.
  2345. >It was like you were an observer looking in.
  2346. >These weren’t your thoughts, were they?
  2347. >They couldn’t be. None of this was things you had done.
  2348. >And yet here you were, remembering doing them so vividly.
  2349. >The dragon that was you observed her handiwork as the cloud of steam cleared.
  2350. >To your surprise, there was still a pool of water, only slightly diminished, sitting at the bottom of the fountain.
  2351. >Your nose took in the scent- Blue raspberry. Sweet and fluid. It smelled just like you.
  2352. >This was your signature scent. No other dragon’s breath or body would smell exactly like it.
  2353. >The water stopped rippling, settling down at last, and you could see-
  2354. >It was a total success.
  2355. >The algae was gone.
  2356. >The fountain was cleansed and purified.
  2357. >Just like mother had taught you-
  2359. >There it was again.
  2360. >Your mother was a human who worked in interior design.
  2361. >You were quite certain she’d never taught you how to breathe fire, nor to do it in a certain way that cleansed green fountain scum.
  2362. >The dream darkened ever so slightly.
  2363. >What would happen if you let it darken all the way?
  2364. >It seemed to darken every time you questioned the reality you were in.
  2365. >You weren’t quite sure how you could make it lighter though.
  2366. >But just accepting the things that were happening seemed to be enough to prevent it from darkening further.
  2368. >You leaned forward, taking a sip of the now very clean water.
  2369. >It was warmer than before, but that was to be expected.
  2370. >You finished drinking, licking your lips and just smiling dumbly at your own reflection.
  2371. >That wasn’t you-
  2372. >The dream continued darkening.
  2373. >It really wasn’t you though!
  2374. >It was the same blue dragon you’d woken up to become this morning.
  2375. >But she was younger, smaller, with shorter horns.
  2376. >Juvenile, almost.
  2377. >The reflection smiled back at you with a gleeful look.
  2378. >And you noticed she was wearing a blue kyanite gem strung around her neck.
  2379. “Hello, Anon.”
  2381. >She addressed you specifically, staring into your eyes.
  2382. >N-No
  2383. >She wasn’t you at all-
  2384. >This had to be her, the dragon inside.
  2385. >The monster-
  2387. >The dream darkened further, and she looked alarmed in the reflection. You could see her ear fins droop significantly.
  2388. >You didn’t like being called a monster.
  2389. >And neither did she.
  2390. >You could feel both the pain she felt from those words and guilt you felt from saying them.
  2391. “Anon-”
  2392. >Her voice addressed you again.
  2393. >You could feel her trying to reach out to you.
  2394. >It was only now that you started wishing you knew how to reach back.
  2395. >Your body wouldn’t respond and move to your wishes.
  2396. >And you didn’t know what to say.
  2397. >You’d spent all this time trying to firmly insist to yourself that she shouldn’t be real
  2398. >And yet here she was.
  2399. >And you felt… Sorry for her.
  2400. >Who was to say that she wanted to be Anon anymore than you wanted to be her?
  2401. >Maybe she was as powerless in this situation as you.
  2402. >Wouldn’t it only be fair, then, to give her a chance?
  2403. >To try and talk with her?
  2404. >To maybe try and accept her?
  2406. >In the dream, time had frozen.
  2407. >The water had stopped completely, you couldn’t hear the distant raven or feel the oncoming chill of night anymore.
  2408. >Your body wasn’t even moving anymore, you could see the last wisps of steam off the fresh basin of water hanging in mid air.
  2409. >You were disconnected from it all.
  2410. >It was just you, and the reflection, trying to speak to you.
  2411. >You thought about what to say.
  2412. >There were about a million questions you wanted to ask:
  2413. >Why had this happened?
  2414. >Why you?
  2415. >Tell me more about dragons.
  2416. >Why were you drawn to the Kyanite crystal?
  2417. >Why did you feel the urge to catch a fish earlier
  2418. >Who are you?
  2419. >What was this place?
  2421. >The dragoness in the reflection pointed at the gem around her neck, then to herself.
  2422. >Then to you.
  2423. >You didn’t understand.
  2424. >The dream was darkening.
  2425. >It seemed that however she was communicating with you, she couldn’t do it for very long.
  2426. >She opened her mouth to speak, but no more words came out.
  2427. >No- Not yet.
  2428. >You needed to know more!
  2429. >About her-
  2430. >About yourself!
  2431. >Why had she pointed to the crystal?
  2432. >How were you supposed to interpret that? You were never good at charades.
  2434. >You heard a voice again, this one seeming to come from neither you or the dragon in the reflection.
  2435. >”Anon.”
  2436. >It was then that the dream went dark entirely, and you felt a jolt in your stomach as your eyes opened.
  2437. >You were awake once more.
  2438. >It took a second for you to remember where you were
  2439. >You were back in the barn.
  2441. >”Anon?”
  2442. >Someone was nudging your shoulder.
  2443. >You whipped your head to the side.
  2444. >Marcus was standing there.
  2445. >Behind him was a-
  2446. >Pony.
  2447. >Yep, that’s a pony.
  2448. >Was that his Sister?
  2450. >Your head whirled, as you tried to hold onto the dreams you had just witnessed.
  2451. >You lowered your head, wishing you could just go back to sleep.
  2452. >Those dreams-
  2453. >They felt more like memories.
  2454. >You absolutely didn’t want to lose them. You could tell they were important.
  2455. >They were your only clue to who you were-
  2456. >Who you’d become.
  2457. >You knew who Anon was.
  2458. >That was still you.
  2459. >But this dragon inside.
  2460. >You may not want her to take over.
  2461. >But you did want to know who she was.
  2462. >You wanted to understand her.
  2463. >It seemed like, whether you wanted her or not, she was part of you.
  2465. >”Anon, come on.”
  2466. >You opened your eyes again.
  2467. >You weren’t even aware you had closed them.
  2468. >You grumbled, standing up, and spreading your wings wide.
  2469. >You yawned again-
  2470. >Well, not exactly again, but you yawned just like you had in your dream.
  2471. >”Wow! That’s a lot of teeth,” a new, unidentified but nervous voice proclaimed.
  2472. >You fixed your eyes on her.
  2473. >Pony.
  2474. >Oh my god, that was right!
  2475. >Pony!
  2476. >There was an actual, real life pony in front of you!
  2477. >You attempted to shake away the lingering lethargy of sleep.
  2478. >This was important to you!
  2479. >You’d wanted to see a real life pony for nearly a decade.
  2480. >And now here one was, literally asking for your attention.
  2481. >Her fur looked soft, her mane looked well brushed, and her snoot looked so incredibly boopable!
  2482. >In the dim light, you could make out her sort of blueish purple coat and reddish pinkish mane.
  2483. >Her eyes were a prominent blue, and they stared at you with firm curiosity.
  2484. >You stared back, with just as much interest.
  2485. "Cute..."
  2486. >You stated simply.
  2488. >Here was a creature, that firmly didn’t belong in this world.
  2489. >Of course, neither did you.
  2490. >But at least dragons existed in mythology!
  2491. >This was- A cartoon pony!
  2492. >An actual one!
  2493. >Well, she didn’t look exactly like a cartoon. You could see the individual hairs of fur on her.
  2494. >Her mane made sense.
  2495. >Her eyes were huge, but somehow believably sized on that cute little face.
  2496. >In fact, the thing that stood out the most was that cutiemark. It looked like someone had just painted on a logo onto her butt.
  2497. >Of a… Rose? Or was that a pie?
  2498. >Were those fireworks?
  2499. >You looked away, trying not to stare at her butt.
  2500. “Wow. You really are a legitimate pony, huh?”
  2501. >You reached out slowly, to press your clawed finger against her snoot.
  2502. >She scrunched, just like in the show, before sticking her tongue out at you, and smiling.
  2503. >”I sure am! And you’re a- Dragon. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, but I think you’d fit into Equestria just fine.”
  2504. >Was that true?
  2505. >You hadn’t really thought about it. But if she was an Equestrian pony…
  2506. >Were you an Equestrian dragon?
  2507. “Maybe. So your name is Rosie, is that right? I think I met you once before, but obviously it was under… Sort of different circumstances.”
  2508. >”Well yeah! And you were Anon. You look… Healthy!”
  2509. “That’s one way of putting it.”
  2511. >The cute little pony sat slightly away from you, with Marcus standing there, a calm but attentive look on his face.
  2512. >You sat there right back, the room falling into silence as you just looked at each other for a little while.
  2514. >She was a unicorn.
  2515. >You wondered if she could do magic.
  2516. >You wondered if she was going through the same thoughts of self-doubt and identity crisis as you were.
  2517. >Maybe she had embraced her inner pony already?
  2518. >Judging from that cute little grin, she certainly looked happier.
  2519. “So-”
  2520. >”Can I hug you?”
  2521. “-Eh?”
  2522. >The question caught you off guard.
  2523. >You were the monstrous beast in the room.
  2524. >She was the cutest goddamn thing on the planet.
  2525. >And she was asking if she could hug you?
  2526. >You certainly thought she looked soft and fluffy and huggable.
  2527. >But you couldn’t say the same for yourself at all.
  2528. “Sure. How could I say no to a face like that?”
  2530. >It was already too late though.
  2531. >You were already hugged.
  2532. >N-Nani??!!
  2533. >The little pony had bounded forwards and wrapped her body around your neck as best as she could. As soon as you’d said ‘sure.’
  2534. >Her horn pressed around the side of your neck and against your scales.
  2535. >She rubbed her floofy little cheek against you.
  2536. >Her entire body was like a warm little pillow.
  2537. >You couldn’t help but reach one of your arms around her and give her a snug squeeze.
  2538. >One of your wings flapped out, extending and bending in such a way as to enclose her back and also pull her slightly more into you.
  2539. >Finally, you craned your neck downwards, rubbing your cheek against hers.
  2541. >After a few seconds, you let her out of your embrace, and she stepped back hesitantly.
  2542. >”Wow. Good hug! See, you owe me 5 bucks, Marcus.”
  2543. >What?
  2544. >Had you just been swindled?
  2545. >You felt confused and rused.
  2546. >At least the hug was nice.
  2547. >He sighed, groaning as began pulling out his wallet.
  2548. >”Aww. Sorry Anon, she bet me that as a pony, she could get you to hug her within the first minute of meeting her. I bet her she couldn’t-”
  2549. “You didn’t think I would hug a pony?”
  2550. >”Okay, admittedly I wasn’t factoring in the chance that she might just ask straight up. I was thinking she was gonna try just being extra adorable at you.”
  2551. “Oh. Well, that probably would have worked. I mean, have you looked at her?”
  2552. >You stuck out your arms, gesturing towards the little rascal, who was grinning roguishly.
  2553. >”Yep. Sure have. And she still hasn’t said a word to me about how she plans to live her life now that she’s a small horse.”
  2554. >”Hey! You said this was a safe space. No talking about consequences and responsibilities here.”
  2555. >”I never- Urghhhh.” Marcus groaned some more, rubbing his face his his hands.
  2556. >”Come on Anon, tell him! You’re a dragon now, I’m a pony! Who needs to worry about all the boring stuff? Why not just live life to its fullest, am I right?”
  2558. >Good lord she was wrong.
  2559. >You were a ball of stress 24/7 over all the boring stuff, even before you’d become a dragon.
  2560. >If she was looking to you to be the cool friend that said ‘sure, consequences be damned, let’s get hella drunk and shit bruh-’
  2561. >She had absolutely come to the wrong barn.
  2562. >You immediately knew that this was going to be a very long evening.
  2563. “You’re kidding me, right?”
  2564. >She rolled her eyes.
  2565. >”Yes! You should see the looks on your faces- Of course I’m kidding, geez! What kind of irresponsible doofus do you think I am?”
  2566. >Was she?
  2567. >Was she really just pulling your leg?
  2568. >You felt your heart racing just thinking about having to deal with a loud obnoxious pony who didn’t worry about being not human anymore.
  2569. >You really really hoped she was honest about joking.
  2570. >”Listen, Marcus, Bro. You need to chill out. I’ve been thinking it over throughout the entire car ride…”
  2571. >”Good, yes, and?”
  2572. >”And… I didn’t come up with anything! I don’t have any plans or answers! But I am thinking about it! That counts for something, no?”
  2573. >”Yeah no. Keep trying, Sis.”
  2574. >”Okay, I will- But for now, like- Give me a day to breathe, man! I just want to be a cute little pony for a day without trying to worry, because I know that once I do, it’s gonna be like the time with the car-”
  2575. >”Turning into a pony is not like forgetting to pay your insurance, Rosie.”
  2576. >”Yeah, but it’s the idea of it! I got all stressed out, had a spiritual awakening, made new friends, lost a few others- And I feel like I definitely grew as a person when it was all said and done.”
  2577. >”Didn’t you just pretty much get high that entire weekend?”
  2578. >”Like I said, spiritual awakening.”
  2580. “Um-”
  2581. >You felt a little bit lost.
  2582. >”Oh, sorry Anon, you had to be there I guess.” The little pony assured you.
  2583. >Okay, this was getting out of hand.
  2584. >You’d forgotten that Rosie was still quite a few years younger than you. She was still a teenager.
  2585. >She was treating this almost like it was a big game.
  2587. >She was on the right track about one thing though.
  2588. >You needed a day to just not stress.
  2589. “Alright- Let’s all settle down. Despite how crazy it all is, I think you are right, Rosie.”
  2590. >”She is?”
  2591. >”I am?”
  2592. “Killing ourselves over worrying about this isn’t gonna help. So just for today, just until the END of today, let's not get wrapped up in the how or why of ponies and dragons. Because I’m pretty sure we don’t yet have any answers.”
  2593. >The thing was- You had finally discovered one way of getting answers.
  2594. >And that was going back to sleep, and trying to talk to the Dragoness inside you again.
  2595. >She had to know something!
  2596. >Right?
  2597. “So for today- Let’s just… Breathe, as you put it.”
  2598. >Just breathing had always been a challenge for you.
  2599. >So you had never been able to use the phrase quite as accurately as you had just then.
  2600. “Now. Rosie, how long are you staying for?”
  2601. >”Just tonight.” She replied.
  2602. >”A month, please.” Marcus insisted.
  2603. “What are we gonna do all day?”
  2604. >”Well, Marcus promised there would be snacks.”
  2605. >”I still have a plan to bring in some pizza. I can do other snacks and stuff too. It wouldn’t be that hard to bring out a barbecue grill in my truck.”
  2606. >”But I’m a pony now! What if I can’t eat meat?”
  2607. >”Then… Veggie burgers?”
  2608. >”But those taste funny!”
  2609. >”Then perish.”
  2611. >You yawned again.
  2612. >Damn, you really wanted to just go right back to sleep.
  2613. >The Dragoness in the pool was waiting for you.
  2614. >But it seemed like you were just going to have to wait a little while longer.
  2615. >Why did you invite Rosie to your farm again?
  2616. >You thought you’d get lonely?
  2617. >You wanted to talk to her about the light you both saw?
  2618. >You wanted comfort in knowing you weren’t the only one going through crazy things?
  2619. >There were still questions you knew you should be asking.
  2620. “So Rosie, what do you remember about the light?”
  2621. >”Oh, I thought we weren’t talking about the how or the why?”
  2622. >You gave her a deadpan look.
  2623. >”Okay, well- It was really bright, for one. I was just standing outside, looking at the stars, when like- The sky lit up. Next thing I knew, I was waking up, and started turning into a pony later on.”
  2624. “You don’t remember anything afterwards until you woke up?”
  2625. >”Nope!” She replied cheerily.
  2627. >Nearly the same as you.
  2628. “No clue how you went from outside to waking up in bed?”
  2629. >”Hmm? No, I was laying outside in our hammock. Woke up there too.”
  2630. >Oh.
  2631. >Well that didn’t really help you.
  2632. >Or it made your story a little more weird.
  2633. >Well there had to be a pattern to this all.
  2634. >And you were going to find it.
  2635. >What happened next? The changes started with your head.
  2636. >You already knew that was around when Rosie got her horse ears.
  2637. >Then you went to the store-
  2639. “Hey Rosie.”
  2640. >”Yuh-huh?”
  2641. “Did you find yourself oddly drawn to any specific objects or things?”
  2642. >You reached up, idly rubbing your dragon thumb against it.
  2643. >The Kyanite gem.
  2644. >”Hmm- Well, I can’t say that I was.”
  2645. >That was an oddity.
  2646. >”Except I started looking at a cookbook, and I found a recipe that I absolutely wanted to try for some tarts. And just an hour later, I got this cutie mark!
  2647. >You looked down, getting a closer look.
  2648. >A strawberry pie surrounded by sparkles of magic or something, a large dollop of whipped cream spun up into a flowery shape.
  2650. >Well if the tarts she wanted to bake were her cutiemark…
  2651. >Was the Kyanite gemstone the dragon equivalent of a cutiemark?
  2652. >Something that represented your destiny?
  2653. >It would explain why you seemed unable to get away from it, or unwilling to just remove it.
  2654. >But what did it mean?
  2655. >Were you good at being… A rock?
  2656. >Solid?
  2657. >Pretty to look at?
  2658. >”I mean, the recipe actually called for pecan tarts, but I figured strawberry was pretty close. Maybe it’s relevant?”
  2659. >Oh wow, or maybe you were thinking about this all the wrong way, and were totally off in your hypothesis. Maybe it was just a funny coincidence.
  2660. >Damn it.
  2661. >Pecan tarts weren’t strawberry tarts.
  2662. >Maybe this dumb gem had nothing to do with you.
  2663. >And here you were again, stressing and trying to figure out things that were currently impossible for you to understand.
  2664. >You hadn’t stopped to breathe yet.
  2666. >You inhaled, and then let loose a long and exasperated sigh.
  2667. >Rosie was right.
  2668. >Forget about it all.
  2669. >Try again tomorrow.
  2670. >Hey, speaking of breathing.
  2671. >Hadn’t you just had a dream in which you’d breathed fire?
  2672. “Well- If we’re all just standing around in my bedroom, who wants to come outside and see me try and figure out how to do dragon things?”
  2673. >The pony perked up, the human did not.
  2674. >”What kind of dragon things?”
  2675. >You gave her a sly wink.
  2676. “Fire breathing.”
  2677. >Now Marcus perked up too.
  2678. >”Hey, I was only gone for like an hour. Don’t tell me you already figured that out without me?”
  2679. “We’ll see. If it doesn’t work, you get to see me making a fool out of myself.”
  2680. >You stood up at last, stretching and flaring out your wings, arching your spine like a feline before lowering your front end, splaying your forelegs out and raising your rump high into the air, feeling your legs shake lightly with the mild exertion.
  2681. >Along your long spine, you heard a couple audible pops and cracks as you stretched yourself out.
  2682. >It was immensely satisfying. You could see why cats did it that way.
  2683. >Then you walked off, right past Rosie and Marcus, heading outdoors.
  2685. >”Hey, no way. How’d you learn to walk on four legs so quickly?”
  2686. >Rosie called after you, clumsily skittering her way after your large form, trying to keep up.
  2687. “What? It’s easy. It’s just like crawling, but with alternative joint locations for your knees. It’s not that different.”
  2688. >”Are you kidding me- Okay, maybe going forward is easy, but how are you managing to stop and turn like that? You look like you’ve been a dragon all your life!”
  2689. >Uh.
  2690. >Hmmm.
  2691. >You looked down at your legs, watching where you walked as you veritably stepped and danced around with your claws and paws, finding no issue as you turned yourself in a circle.
  2692. >Then you looked at Rosie, who was daintily trying her best just to remember which hoof was which.
  2693. >She tried to copy you, turning in a circle, instead her hind legs forgot to avoid her forelegs, and she tumbled over, sticking out her tongue as she landed with an oof.
  2694. >M-Maybe she was just a slow learner?
  2695. >Maybe you were just a quick study?
  2697. >Or maybe the dragon inside was giving you a bit of help.
  2698. >It surprised you, but that idea bothered you a little less now.
  2699. >In fact, maybe you’d thank her later.
  2700. >Maybe you could thank her now?
  2701. >’Thanks, Majestic blue water Dragoness who is very good at walking!’ You thought.
  2702. >You didn’t get any response.
  2703. >You weren’t sure how to communicate with her anyway, besides through interpretive dance and monosyllabic conversations.
  2704. >And that was exclusively in your dreams.
  2705. >In one exclusive dream, in fact.
  2706. >That you had no guarantee would be a repeatable experience.
  2707. >You still weren’t sure it was even real.
  2709. >No stress. Leave that til tomorrow.
  2710. >You led Rosie outside, and Marcus followed behind you both, supervising cautiously.
  2711. >You walked out to the middle of the field, stepping over wildflowers and tall grass.
  2712. >Turning around, you noticed you could barely see Rosie, as she attempted to bounce up and down to see where you were through the tall grass every now and again.
  2713. >You stopped about halfway through the field, where the dirt path began and the grass wasn’t at as much of a risk of being burned away.
  2714. >Starting a dry grass fire and burning down your entire farm would not be your preferred outcome for this attempt.
  2715. >You took a breath, letting the warmth of the setting sun seep into your wings and body.
  2716. “Okay. I think I’m ready.”
  2717. >”Alright Anon. Whenever you’re ready, I guess.”
  2718. >”Get it on video, bro!”
  2719. >”Uh- Sure.”
  2720. >Marcus pulled out his sister’s little phone, and you heard a ding as apparently he began recording you.
  2721. “Wow, no pressure, I guess.”
  2722. >You stared straight ahead, tilting your head up slightly.
  2723. >The breeze was gentle, the time was right.
  2724. >Here went nothing.
  2726. >You imitated the feelings you had experienced in your dream, hoping this somehow worked.
  2727. >You clenched that tight part of your chest, and felt that little click-
  2728. >Hey, that was much further than you’d gotten last time!
  2729. >You felt a tightness and warmth build up inside your chest-
  2730. >It wasn’t hot enough.
  2731. >It needed more.
  2732. >You closed your eyes, trying to concentrate.
  2733. >There was some sort of- presence within your body. You’d almost call it an aura.
  2734. >You’d felt it condense into one point last time.
  2735. >You tried to grasp it, to control it.
  2736. >It responded to your wishes… Sort of.
  2737. >But you were missing something.
  2738. “Come on, Damn it. Work!”
  2739. >You felt a flare of anger-
  2740. >And much to your surprise, you felt the sort of aura follow your wishes, squeezing down into your chest-
  2741. >Too much!
  2742. >Too hot!
  2743. >That magic heat-
  2744. >You felt it all at once! It was alive! It was burning a hole in you!
  2745. >But you’d come this far, you couldn’t stop now.
  2746. >So you pulled with your throat, forcing the ball of heat out of you.
  2748. >Wait, was that Aura you were condensing just a ball of pure magic?
  2749. >How did it ignite?
  2750. >How did you control it? What else could it do?
  2752. >It didn’t matter, because at that point your eyes went wide, as you coughed out a dark and flaming ball of royal blue.
  2753. >Uh oh- That wasn’t the right colour.
  2754. >For a brief second, you could feel the heat prickle your throat, but then it launched like a projectile straight into the air.
  2755. “Plah!”
  2756. >You stuck your tongue out, the hot ball of what felt like plasma streaming out of your mouth and leaving a trail as it arched through the air and fell apart, leaving a moderately sized ball of fire briefly burning in mid air.
  2757. >For a moment, you worried it’s momentum would carry it back down into the field, but it seemed to fall apart and rise in a visible wave of heat.
  2758. >Ugh.
  2759. >That was all wrong!
  2760. >That hadn’t felt like the fire from the dream at all! You’d totally lost control of it!
  2761. >You were so wrapped up in your thoughts of how you needed to try again, that you almost didn’t hear Marcus and Rosie cheering.
  2763. >”Holy crap Anon! That was brilliant! Amazing! That’s what I call a fireball!”
  2764. >”It was like a meteor! Do it again, do it again!”
  2765. >You took a second to just pant, your seemingly fire-proof mouth now suddenly overheated.
  2766. “That was- A little messier than expected.”
  2767. >”Are you kidding me? That was amazing!”
  2768. >How could you tell them the whole thing was a fluke from start to finish?
  2769. >”How come it makes everything smell like- Blue raspberry?”
  2770. “That’s just my natural signature smell… I assume.”
  2771. >You replied, definitely not assuming and actually being quite sure.
  2772. >It was one of the few things you were certain of.
  2773. >It was strange. Despite the fact that you had clearly messed up the balance of fire to magic-
  2774. >You were still pretty happy.
  2775. >You had done it. You’d just breathed fire!
  2776. >That was officially the most metal thing you’d ever done.
  2777. >Your previous record had been, of course, biting into a raw fish and carrying it out of a lake with you.
  2778. >That had been pretty hardcore.
  2780. >But you still knew.
  2781. >You could do better.
  2782. >You remembered yourself doing better.
  2783. >You just needed practice.
  2784. >Maybe a target.
  2785. >You looked around the field for anything that stood out as a target that wasn’t Marcus or Rosie.
  2786. >Over in the corner of the field, near the metal fence, you spotted it: An old abandoned and rusted metal tractor.
  2787. >With a draconic chirp of glee, you pranced over towards it.
  2788. “Hold on, let me try again! This one will be even better, I promise!”
  2789. >”I dunno, that last one was pretty neat. It’s gonna be hard to top that one.”
  2790. >Rosie and Marcus tripped and hobbled after you, Rosie seeming significantly more excited.
  2791. >You stopped before the rusty brown tractor, waiting for your friends to catch up.
  2792. >”Hey Anon, that’s a tractor- I don’t know if you should-”
  2793. >It was too late. You were already doing it.
  2794. >You were compressing that magic that flowed through you into a tiny ball.
  2795. >You were squeezing your chest and feeling that click.
  2796. >You were bringing the heat!
  2798. >Hmm, no, this one was no good either. Now the balance was skewed towards too much magic, not enough fire…
  2799. >You could tell, the heat wasn’t enough, but the force was still expanding in your lungs. It was too late to quit.
  2800. >You blinked in surprise, as you pulled from your throat again and got-
  2801. >A wispy stream of the brightest blue. It didn’t look like fire at all? It was more like a cloud of gas.
  2802. >It dissipated instantly, not even making it to the tractor.
  2803. >You coughed and choked, your mouth suddenly full of your blue flavour.
  2804. >It was overwhelming, like eating Kool aid powder by itself. You half expected your tongue to be blue.
  2805. >Who knew that breathing fire could be so hard?
  2807. >Rosie was laughing at you.
  2808. >”Come on Anon, what was that? That wasn’t even fire!”
  2809. “HRk- Sorry, this isn’t as easy as it looks you know. I only figured out how to do this five minutes ago.”
  2811. >You needed help with this one.
  2812. >You needed… Her. The dragon within.
  2813. >But you weren’t sure how to call upon her.
  2814. >Pretend the tractor was a fish?
  2815. >Make promises you couldn’t keep? Like: ‘If you help me with this, we can go swimming again. That was fun, right?’
  2816. >This was so disappointing! You did better the first time! How could you call yourself a dragon if you couldn’t figure out fire breathing?
  2817. >Sure it was only your second try-
  2818. >And sure controlling it was really feeling next to impossible-
  2819. >You didn’t even know what you were doing.
  2820. >It was a miracle you had come this far.
  2821. >But now you were looking like a fool in front of your friends.
  2822. >Rosie was still chuckling.
  2823. >You could see Marcus smirking out of the corner of your eyes.
  2824. >Maybe you were getting worked up over nothing?
  2825. >Maybe you could give up for now and try again later?
  2826. >There had to be a way to do this properly.
  2827. >The answer was within your grasp- It felt like this should be so easy for you.
  2828. >Were you?
  2829. >Or were you just a lame old human masquerading as a dragon?
  2830. >Damn it.
  2831. >You wanted to be the dragon you knew you could be right now.
  2832. >You wanted to impress your friends.
  2833. >You wanted to impress yourself.
  2834. >But you couldn’t do it.
  2835. >Not without HER help.
  2837. >”Come on Anon, are you a dragon or not?” Rosie teased.
  2838. >YES YOU WERE.
  2839. >Something inside you snapped, rage filled your heart.
  2840. >You were most certainly a dragon.
  2841. >This was a matter of pride, now.
  2842. >How dare this pony question your abilities?
  2843. >She was practically questioning your proud draconic heritage!
  2844. >You swung towards her, eyes flashing.
  2845. “I’m the most dragony dragon you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting!”
  2846. >You spat it out, voice rising, as your tail flicked about angrily.
  2847. >You swung towards the offensive rusty machinery.
  2848. >It didn’t know it yet, but it was about to be incinerated.
  2849. >No, you could prove yourself even further!
  2850. >You were going to burn off only the rust.
  2851. >When you were done, it would shine like chrome!
  2853. >You reared back, eyes narrowing. You felt your scales all over your body reflexively tighten and angle outwards, protruding away from your body and giving you a sharper and more aggressive look.
  2854. >It was a draconic response reserved exclusively for when you wanted to look more intimidating.
  2855. >That and mating displays, but the human and pony didn’t have to know that.
  2856. >Standing on your hind legs, you raised your claws up to the sky, angling your neck back as you took the biggest breath of all.
  2857. >You needed air. Lots of it.
  2858. >Followed by magic- Concentrated draconic spirit. You still felt it swirling through you, from the tips of your wings, to your heart, down to the claws on your hind legs.
  2859. >A gentle blue glow began to emanate within your long draconic horns, as well as your chest to a lesser degree.
  2860. >Oh yeah, this was the one. You were making this one special.
  2861. >Just for him.
  2862. >Just for Anon.
  2863. >Because you weren’t Anon at the moment.
  2864. >You were HER.
  2865. >The dragon inside, as he referred to you.
  2866. >But right now, you were outside!
  2867. >And he had asked you, politely, to do something impressive.
  2868. >And there was no way you were going to disappoint.
  2870. >A portion of the magic within you concentrated into one small spot, just next to your diaphragm.
  2871. >The magic took on a physical, gaseous form, as within you, a hard bony organ clicked together, producing a spark.
  2872. >In a separate place within your chest, a billow of flame began to form, fueled by the air you had breathed in and a special flammable secretion produced by dragons.
  2873. >The flames mixed with the ball of magic, combining...
  2874. >Within you, you could feel it.
  2875. >The heat of the dragon spirit. Yours to control.
  2876. >It was building up, a perfect blend of flame and magic.
  2877. >One couldn’t occur without the other, but achieving the perfect balance between the two was key to the art of fire breathing.
  2878. >Your chest expanded, and contracted rapidly as your diaphragm pushed outwards and the special muscles within your throat pulled upwards.
  2879. >Your throat and mouth glowed blue, illuminating the tractor with that perfect cerulean light.
  2880. >And then came the flames.
  2881. >A billowing jet, widening out into a cone as wide and tall as you were, and only growing as you sustained it.
  2882. >The rusty tractor all but disappeared within the flames.
  2883. >And you kept them up, counting, as you tried to see if you could break your previous record.
  2884. >What was your record?
  2885. >You didn’t remember.
  2886. >There were actually quite a few things you couldn’t remember.
  2887. >But you weren’t worrying about that right now. That was all for later.
  2890. >Regardless, you were hitting three seconds.
  2891. >Four.
  2892. >Five.
  2894. >Marcus and Rosie were probably either staring open mouths gaping, or cheering.
  2895. >Or running away in fear, as ponies and similar critters always seemed to.
  2896. >But you weren’t focused on them right now either.
  2897. >This was for Anon.
  2898. >This giant pillar of flame, coming straight from you and being shared with the world.
  2899. >The heat was immense, but the grass around it was unsinged. The roar of fire was loud, but the sound of metal creaking or melting wouldn’t be heard.
  2900. >Because that wasn’t what your specific magical flames did.
  2901. >Well, it could be if you wanted it to be, you’d just have to add more flame to the mix.
  2902. >But it wasn’t what you wanted it to be right now.
  2903. >Because Anon had asked you to do something impressive.
  2905. >Six
  2906. >Seven.
  2907. >That was probably good enough.
  2908. >You could keep going, but you didn’t want to wear yourself out.
  2909. >You closed your mouth, hot blue smoke and steam still trailing out around the corners of your smug grin.
  2910. >The rush of flame ceased, carrying away into the air as light blue smoke.
  2911. >The tractor became visible once more.
  2912. >Glowing blue and hot, the paint and rust had been vaporized within the first second.
  2913. >Everything after that was just polish.
  2914. >It shined.
  2915. >It stood there, completely unharmed by the flame, shining in the light of the setting sun, a bright blue bare metal, forever touched by the magic you had unleashed upon it.
  2916. >The rust was gone. But the rest of the tractor looked brand new. The rubber wheels had even reinflated. The leather seat had puffed back up.
  2917. >You didn't need to check to know the motor would probably still run.
  2918. >Not a single blade of grass or flower around the tractor was harmed either.
  2919. >But they too glowed blue, the scene looking quite eerie.
  2921. >This was your specialty. The breath of a dragon passed down through centuries, taught to you by your ancestors.
  2922. >The breath of cleansing.
  2923. >The breath of purification.
  2924. >The breath of life.
  2925. >Or, as it was always called: The breath of the mother dragon.
  2927. >You turned back towards the human and pony.
  2928. >They were still here! They hadn’t run away in fear.
  2929. >They likely still thought you to be a monster though.
  2930. >”I-It didn’t melt Or even burn?”
  2931. >Marcus was dumbstruck, trying to figure out what he had just witnessed.
  2932. >You didn’t know much about humans, but if he was a typical one, he wouldn’t understand no matter how you explained it.
  2933. “Precision magic fire, Sweetie!”
  2934. >”I don’t- But that was so much fire! How did you-”
  2935. >Rosie spoke up-
  2936. >”Wait wait wait- You not only figured out fire in the past five minutes, but magic too? What the heck Anon! You’ve gotta teach me!”
  2937. >The unicorn leapt up towards you, gripping your leg and looking up at you with puppy dog eyes.
  2938. >You hugged her back, picking her up and holding her against your chest. Even a dragon like you couldn’t resist hugging a cute little pony every now and then.
  2939. “I’m sorry sweetie, but that might be a little… Impossible.”
  2940. >Her ears drooped, but you weren't just talking about the issue with magic.
  2941. >As far as you knew, Anon probably wouldn't like you talking to them.
  2942. >How would you explain this to them-
  2943. >For one thing, you weren’t Anon right now.
  2944. >When was he coming back?
  2945. >You bet he’d be so impressed!
  2946. >There was something you needed to ask him about though-
  2947. >You weren’t content just being called Dragoness or Dragon inside.
  2948. >You were an excellent dragon! You deserved a name!
  2950. >This was getting uncomfortable.
  2951. >You weren't supposed to be in control for this long. You knew Anon wouldn't like it.
  2953. >”Wait, why impossible?”
  2954. “Well, for one thing, dragon and pony magic is very different.”
  2955. >”How do you figure?”
  2956. “Well, I just know it is.”
  2957. >Anon needed to hurry his darn butt up and take control again.
  2958. >This was getting uncomfortable.
  2959. >You could feel him back there, in the recesses of your mind.
  2960. >But it wasn’t like before-
  2961. >He wasn’t fighting for control.
  2962. >He was- Letting you?
  2963. >That was new.
  2964. >But you didn’t want control.
  2965. >You couldn’t force it on him!
  2966. >Whoever was in control was in control!
  2967. >The way it worked escaped you, but you knew that this wasn’t right!
  2969. “Excuse me for one second.”
  2970. >You flopped down sideways onto the ground.
  2971. >Haha! Take that!
  2972. >Now nobody was in control!
  2974. >”Anon? Are you okay?”
  2976. >”Anon?”
  2978. >
  2979. >
  2980. >
  2982. >Alright this wasn’t working.
  2983. >He wasn’t coming back.
  2984. >And that had never happened before.
  2985. >Granted, you’d only tried this a few times before.
  2986. >So how did you get him to come back?
  2987. >Well, you’d have to do things he liked so much, that he just couldn’t help but take over!
  2988. >That’s how it worked for you!
  2989. >You liked fish!
  2990. >And gems!
  2991. >You couldn't just ignore them!
  2992. >But what did Anon like?
  2993. >You weren't 100% sure.
  2994. >But it was either things he liked, or-
  2995. >Or-
  2996. >You grinned devilishly.
  2997. >You could do something he very much wanted you not to do.
  2998. >In front of the human and pony, you stood up, and spread out your wings.
  2999. “Aright, just needed a power nap! Fire breathing really takes it out of you, am I right?”
  3000. >You didn’t really wait for a response.
  3001. >You were sure they didn’t know how taxing fire breathing could be anyway.
  3002. >”Uh- Sure. Are you okay? You’re acting a little strange.”
  3003. “Never better, human! Now excuse me again, I’ll be right back.”
  3004. >You stepped away from them.
  3005. >And began flapping.
  3006. >Your wings, shining in the gentle sunlight, beginning to pick up wind around you.
  3007. >You could immediately feel it.
  3009. >Fear.
  3010. >Horror.
  3011. >It was almost enough to make your wings freeze up.
  3012. >Almost.
  3013. >But if Anon wasn’t going to cooperate, you needed to force it out of him.
  3014. >The wings continued flapping, picking up speed.
  3015. >”No way- Anon, you aren’t going to-”
  3016. >You felt your legs leave the ground.
  3017. >You looked up, joyful and jubilant.
  3018. >You were back in the sky at last.
  3019. >The whole world lay below you, and you were truly free-
  3020. >No
  3021. >NO
  3022. “NO NO NO.”
  3024. >The world was below you
  3026. >Your wings tucked in, and you dropped like a stone, crashing and rolling.
  3027. >It didn’t hurt, but you couldn’t help but scream inside your mind anyway.
  3028. >You clambered to your feet, kissing the ground.
  3029. “I’m never leaving you again. I’m so sorry.”
  3031. >You were Anon again.
  3032. >Or at least, you were pretty sure you were.
  3033. >It was hard to tell, because you weren’t sure who you had just been.
  3034. >Was this what split personality disorder was like? Was this just your mind absolutely losing it and going crazy?
  3035. >Because for a while there…
  3036. >You liked it.
  3037. >You liked her.
  3038. >She was a dragon, through and through.
  3039. >She could breathe fire-
  3040. >And holy shit was that ever cool.
  3042. >And you had no idea what the ramifications of having your magical fire breath able to burn off specific things. Or what being the breath of cleansing and purification and mother dragon breath even meant.
  3043. >But you did know that when you were her-
  3044. >You felt happy.
  3045. >You felt powerful, and happy, and like nothing in the world could touch you.
  3046. >Why would she ever want to not be in charge?
  3047. >You had asked for her help. You had been quite content to just watch what she did with your body.
  3048. >Or was it her body?
  3049. >Either way, she definitely knew what she was doing.
  3051. >But then she had to go and try flying.
  3052. >That was the number one thing on your list of things Anon was not permitted to do.
  3053. >Marcus and Rosie were running towards you, approaching the shallow crater you had left behind.
  3054. >”Anon! Are you okay? What went wrong, you were doing so well!”
  3055. >”YOU flew, dude! Why’d you stop!”
  3056. >You looked over at them, and groaned.
  3057. >Had she really called Marcus ‘Human’
  3058. >It didn’t matter now, honestly.
  3059. >This whole experience was…
  3060. >Actually, still a net positive.
  3061. >But not something you were ready to repeat any time soon.
  3062. >You’d just have to remember that when she wanted you to come back, you better do it right away next time.
  3063. >Because who knew how high she might fly?
  3064. >”Anon, seriously, what’s going on? You figured out fire breathing like a champ, but then you started acting sort of different. And called me Human… And now you’re trying to fly and crashing, and… Staring off into space like you don’t hear a word I’m saying. Anon! Hello!?”
  3065. >He waved a hand in front of your face.
  3067. “I uh- I hear you Marcus. But I’m not really sure how to say this.”
  3068. >”Say what? Dude, did you get a concussion? What the hell is up with you?”
  3069. “Say, Rosie. Have you ever noticed yourself doing ponyish things a little too well? Or felt like you weren’t exactly the one saying or doing something, or that you weren’t in control?”
  3070. >”What? N-No. I’ve been trying to be as pony as I can. But it’s still just me- Why, what’s happening to you?” she replied.
  3071. “Well… All the things I just mentioned.”
  3072. >”Anon, you’re worrying me.”
  3073. “You just met my better half.”
  3074. >You dropped the bombshell.
  3075. >No taking that back now.
  3076. >You weren’t just Anon anymore.
  3078. “This morning, I went and got this gemstone. And I didn’t know why I did it at all. Later, of course, I turned into a dragon. The gemstone necklace still fits perfectly. I literally can’t convince myself to get rid of it.”
  3079. >”Anon-”
  3080. “Even later, I went for a swim. Something came over me, and I- Well I caught a fish. By swimming after it. Only it wasn’t me.”
  3081. >”I thought you said that fish swam right into you?”
  3082. >You shook your head.
  3083. “I swam over and caught it like an animal, just like you said.”
  3084. >He looked a little disturbed at this point.
  3085. >Rosie looked confused, as if pondering why such things weren’t happening to her.
  3086. >You were wondering the same thing, honestly. Why you?
  3087. “Then, just before you got here, I had some.. Curious dreams. That were more like memories. Featuring your’s truly, the blue dragon. Except she was younger. And in this memory, she breathed fire, and that’s how I learned to do it-”
  3088. >”You learned all that stuff from one dream?”
  3089. “Except not. The first two attempts were all me. But the last one- The BIG one…”
  3090. >You lowered your head.
  3091. “Everything about that, and afterwards, right until she started flying. That was all her. And I have to say… I enjoyed it. I let her take over. I asked her to.”
  3093. >”Anon, why?”
  3094. “Because being her… Feels nice. She feels strong and confident and- Well, like a dragon.”
  3095. >”Okay, good to know, but- I meant why as in ‘Why didn’t you tell me sooner?’”
  3096. “Well, it didn’t really escalate until just now- And now that we’re here. I’m telling you.”
  3097. >”Okay…”
  3098. >Marcus took a deep breath.
  3099. >He seemed deeply troubled, which you supposed was only fair.
  3100. >He had just learned his friend was properly becoming a dragon, and not just a dragon shaped friend.
  3101. >Maybe the dragon could still be friendshaped?
  3103. >”Alright. Do you think this is serious enough that it’s a risk to our well being?”
  3104. “To you or Rosie? Not a chance. You’re still my friends, and I don’t think she wants to hurt anyone.”
  3105. >”You don’t think so? Or you know so?”
  3106. “I am positive within a degree of 100% certainty that my draconic counterpart means you no harm.”
  3107. >He put his hands to his face, rubbing it.
  3108. >Rosie looked worriedly at Marcus.
  3109. >”Bro, are you okay?”
  3110. >”No, absolutely not, Sis. None of this is okay. This whole day is not okay. My sister is a pony, my friend is a dragon physically and mentally sometimes, and I just want to scream.”
  3111. >She put her hooves around his waist, offering him a pony hug.
  3112. >He pushed her away.
  3113. >”D-Don’t. Not right now.”
  3114. >Then he looked to you.
  3115. >”Anon. I trust you, you’re a good guy. I’m gonna… Go get those snacks and pizza. Promise me you’ll keep yourself under control, and keep Rosie out of trouble and harms way.”
  3116. >You looked over at the little unicorn.
  3117. >She now had a Dragon guardian, and had never been safer in her life.
  3118. >You gave Marcus a salute.
  3119. “No problem. Consider it done, boss.”
  3120. >”Y-Yeah. See you. And Anon?”
  3121. "Yes?"
  3122. >"Please don't lose control again. Please."
  3124. >He stormed off out of the field.
  3125. >You sat there beside Rosie.
  3126. >And she beside you.
  3127. >You sat there for a little while, watching Marcus disappear into the barn and out of sight.
  3128. >You felt-
  3129. >Tense.
  3130. >You were worried about Marcus now.
  3131. >And worried about yourself.
  3132. >Since apparently you were okay just letting the Dragoness inside come out.
  3133. >You were fine with it?
  3134. >You were so against it earlier.
  3135. >Why was it just fine now?
  3137. >”So, what’s her name?”
  3138. “Hmm?”
  3139. >”Your alter-ego. The real dragon. Does she have a name? She gave me a hug and called me Sweetie, so like, so far she’s treating me better than my brother.”
  3140. “Hey. He’s trying his best, to be honest. He’s actually doing a remarkable job keeping it all together.”
  3141. >”I guess, but- Hm. Do you think he’ll accept a hug when he gets back?”
  3142. “Maybe, kiddo.”
  3143. >”Hey, I’m not a kid.”
  3144. “You sure act like one.”
  3145. >”Whatever.”
  3146. >She really did treat the whole pony thing like it wasn’t a big deal.
  3147. >But it was the biggest of deals.
  3148. >Just like to you, this new dragoness in your head was the biggest of deals.
  3149. >And Rosie was right, again.
  3150. >You needed a name for her.
  3151. >Heck, she’d even asked for one while she was here last.
  3152. >You could give her that, at the very least.
  3154. >You idly rubbed the Kyanite gem around your neck.
  3155. >It was gonna be rubbed smooth if you kept it up, but apparently it was your own personal way of handling stress.
  3156. >”So what’s she called?”
  3157. >Rosie asked again.
  3158. >You held out the gem towards her, your thoughts distracted, as for some reason your brain decided she was asking what the gem was called.
  3159. “Kyanite?”
  3160. >”Huh. That’s a super pretty name for a dragon. I think I like it.”
  3161. >It took you a second to realize you had just given her a name based off the gem around your neck.
  3162. >It too, felt… Correct.
  3163. >In fact, the name felt like a perfect fit, almost. Like it had always belonged there, and was only just now rediscovered.
  3165. >”Well, anyway. Thanks Miss Kyanite!”
  3166. >The pony hugged you.
  3167. >Your heart felt warm.
  3168. “Wait. I’m not Kyanite. She is- I’m still Anon-”
  3169. >She kept hugging you.
  3170. >Maybe it didn’t matter.
  3171. >After all, you were interchangeable, in a way.
  3172. >And being Kyanite was certainly not that bad at all.
  3174. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
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