(CW for this chapter for: parental abuse, transphobia, transphobic slurs)
I ignored the goddess’s pleas for me to stay, running up the stairs and into the courtyard, slamming the cellar door behind me. Already my lungs burned with exhaustion, but I kept running as fast as my little legs would carry me. The dragoness I’d seen before was starting to wake up, probably roused from her slumber by my pathetic squeals. She rubbed her eyes and let out a loud yawn.
“Uh, hi there,” she said drowsily. Nearly three times my height, her gargantuan sleeping form blocked my path through to the gate. “Oh, you must be a new convert! Hi, I’m--”
“Please let me through! I’m so sorry, I won’t bother any of you again!” I frantically pleaded, tears welling up in my eyes. “I just want to go home! Please!” The dragoness furrowed her brows in concern and sat up, reaching for me with her enormous claw. I squeaked at the top of my lungs and dodged out of the way. Before she could grab for me again, I dove past her and squeezed my tiny form through the bars of the gate.
“Wait, come back!” the dragoness called after me as I scrambled away from the temple. “Please, you don’t understand!” But she was too late. By the time I heard the gate open behind me, I had already ducked into an alley and disappeared.
I only made it a few more blocks before fatigue finally caught up to me and I collapsed. Scared and alone, I wrapped myself up tight in my cloak and broke down sobbing. Why now? Why like this? I used to have… fantasies, when I was younger, but it had been years since I put those thoughts behind me.
“Kaen? By the gods, is that your mother’s dress?”
Tartarus. If it hadn’t been so traumatic, I would barely remember the last time I was caught crossdressing. Of course being caught in the act by a complete stranger was less mortifying than, well, the alternative. But it still brought back bad memories.
“F-father! I didn’t expect you home so soon!”
There were times when I missed my family, but never him. Gods only know how much longer he would have let me stay after that anyways. I made the right choice running away. Better to cut things off before they only got more painful.
”Don’t bother trying to explain yourself. You always were a pansy, it’s no surprise you’re a damned ladyboy too.”
I shuddered. I really was better off living on the streets than with that bastard. Since escaping him, I’d never opened up about my sexuality to anyone else, even my closest friends within the guild. Why risk being outed and alienated like he’d--
There was a sudden feeling of wetness on my face and I tasted… salt? My tongue slid back into my mouth and I realized that the salty taste was my own tears, directly out of my eye.
“Ew ew ew ew!” I sat up and wiped my face off on the inside of my cloak. I guess now I subconsciously lick my own eye sometimes. Thanks, goddess, I hate it! Who knew how many more gross surprises this weird body had in store for me? I curled up with my squishy new tail and took out my hand mirror.
I stole a quick glance at myself and winced out of reflex, only to realize the reflection looking back at me was just a normal looking kobold. She had welcoming green eyes, just a little brighter than they were before, framed by scaly little lashes. They were both still moist, one from sobbing and the other from being licked. The yellow snoot that now dominated my field of vision was also surprisingly small from this point of view. I gave it a little wiggle and immediately blushed bright orange when I realized how adorable that looked.
Though my hair didn’t feel any different, on closer inspection I found it had been replaced with a plume of long, soft feathers. I ran a hand through it and found that it was just as soft as my former elven hair, and I handily fashioned it into a messy bun before checking it out in the mirror. Hmm, that didn’t look quite right. I undid the bun and tied it back into a high ponytail. Perfect.
I tentatively stood up on my new legs, brushed myself off, and composed myself. This was fine. Everything was fine. I was still a little rattled from being turned into a tiny she-lizard, but all I had to do was make it back to my guildhall, get turned back, and everything would be back to normal. I’d finally be back to being a tall, handsome, male elf, which is definitely what I wanted.
And with that, I set off into the night. I knew this city like the back of my hand, and had no trouble finding my way back home. I cut through back alleys and empty streets with purpose, quickly making my way across the sprawling cityscape. It wasn’t long before I found myself standing before the edifice of my guildhall. I gulped, then pushed open the door and walked inside.
“Evening!” came the familiar singsong of Desra, the drow receptionist who worked the night shift at the front desk. “Welcome to the Adventurers’ League. Do you need help with anything, miss?”
“You could say that,” I began. “I don’t know if I need the help of a wizard or a cleric. Do you know if Augustus is in right now?”
Desra cocked her head and shot me a weird look. “Um, are you like, a friend of his? This is a guildhall, not a hospital. There’s like, a sanctuary a few blocks down if you need medical assistance or something. But I’m pretty sure his services are for guild members only.”
Oh, right. Of course she didn’t recognize me, I was a kobold now. “Come on Desra,” I tried to groan, but it came out as more of a whine. “It’s me, Kaelen. Look, I even have the same hair.” I let down my hood to show her my ponytail.
Her jaw dropped. “Holy shit! Kaelen, what happened to you?” She stood up from her desk and clacked over to me in her high heels, squatting to look at me face to face. “You’re like, small as fuck now. Did you steal a cursed item or something?”
“I wish it was only that embarrassing.” I said as I avoided her gaze. “I was caught trying to steal from a goddess then I insulted her to her face.”
“That’s hilarious,” she deadpanned. “So like, what did you actually do?” My face flushed and I looked her in the eye. “Wait, oh my god, that’s really what happened? Kaelen, you dumbass. Ok, I’ll take you to Augustus. He should be up right now.”
To my surprise, Desra leaned over and grabbed me in her delicate hands. I was too shocked to protest as she lifted me up and cradled me like a baby, my tail awkwardly flopping over onto my stomach.
“Desra, why are you carrying me?”
She giggled. “Cause you’re a cute little lizard and I wanted to pick you up. Do you want me to put you down?”
I blushed. “No, this is fine.”