After that experience, I ended up shifting back into my old form to get some proper rest. What woke me up the following morning was a text message. When I reached for my phone to read it, it was quite obvious to notice I hadn’t spent the whole night in said old form. My red hand grabbed the phone and read the text from Leo. Quite a simple one, really. He’d gotten a reply on the forums on how to solve the problem. I threw off the blanket and got up, questioning whether I should swap to my old form or just not bother. In the end, I decided to not bother. I didn’t have the mental energy to shave my original body. I slipped the dress back on and walked downstairs, knocking on Leonard’s door.
“Oh I wasn’t expecting you this quickly. Or in this form.” I could swear he mumbled “At least not this casually” to himself after that, but I ignored it for the sake of sorting this out.
“So how do we sort the cravings? Because fuck me, it’s driving me nuts to not force the block to clear itself out after I eat goat’s cheese.” I plopped down on the free armchair I knew Leonard had stashed in between the books as he cleared his throat and showed me the page. Wow did somebody from the 1990’s design this forum or something? Holy shit, it looked positively ancient. But I started reading the thread, Leonard of course omitting the detail that he was the one responsible for fucking up the ritual. A user by the name of ForestHagGranddaughter had left a quick and simple reply. “Contact the ancestor so they can redo the ritual properly?”
“Correct.” Leonard fixed some hair behind his ear, I swear to god he had showered since I last saw him because he was less greasy and more just off-putting.
“So let’s do that, call my ancestor!” I jumped off the chair and walked towards Leonard, who got extremely fidgety about that.
“Well, there is one simple small issue about that...” Leonard moved to his laptop again, while handing me a piece of paper with something printed on it. A gorgeous woman, done in like a greek mosaic style, her skin the same shade as mine, her head adorned with two pairs of horns, tall straight ones and curved ram’s horns. Four leathery wings sprouting from her back, a spined tail. Sharp claws, fire in her eyes; the most striking visual was a flaming heart floating shattered in front of her chest. At the top of the visual it said “Meassael” in a matching stylized font.
“Me-ass-eye-eel?” I raised my eyebrow, as Leonard showed me the page he loaded up. Another thread on the forums. “How do I contact Meassael?” He nodded.
“Check the single reply.” I did. Once again, ForestHagGranddaughter. A single sentence, and a link to download a file.
“You don’t... Wait. What? What do they mean ‘You Don’t’.” I looked to Leonard, confused, unsure of what to say. He cleared his throat.
“The file is a quick rundown of her history from one of the Archives. Forest never specifies in the notes if Celestial, Infernal or Fae. Your Ancestor had a lot of kids, Heaven got scared she was building an army, they sent a group after her, her kids got slaughtered, it was believed all of them.” He pointed to the printed page. “That image of her was a depiction of her heart shattering. Nasty business when a heart shatters. She disappeared after that, and nobody has been able to get in touch with her since.” I fell back on the armchair again, holding my forehead, minding my horns.
“I’m fucked. I’m stuck like this. I’m gonna wake up every day as a really cute succubus. I’m gonna be craving a weird coffee and something I can’t eat. I’m gonna constantly feel awkward about having to take care of two bodies.” I rubbed my face and groaned, as I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“It doesn’t mean you are stuck. I’m going to look further. I think I got some memories I could get rid of in a trade with the Fae, for some information.” He shuddered, visibly shaking. “Eugh, no clue why I haven’t given them the one of my first period, that one is horrible to keep!” He looked towards me as I was visibly confused, shaking it out.
“Oh right, yeah, trans guy. I keep forgetting. You just look like Professor Snape in his 20’s or something.”
“I had been hoping to end up closer to The Rock, truth be told, but my Master decided that wouldn’t be the best plan.” He shrugged at me. “Anyways, I will look for more information. I will get this sorted out for you. No more weird cravings.”
“Thanks.” I got off the chair and returned to my apartment. If I was going to be stuck like this, it might not hurt to get more clothes for devil me. Shifting to my guy form, I got dressed and ready to go out, before realising a problem. Sizing. I didn’t know devil self’s sizes. And a pillar of fire in the changing room would scare everyone at the thrift store. So, reluctantly, I shifted to demon mode once more to get my three sizes and my height. And with that information, I left my home in human form.
Half an hour later I was returning home with a bag. It contained only one set of clothing, but that meant I had a dress, plus that outfit. Deciding to hop into The Question, I was greeted by a familiar smell, plus familiar sounds.
“Peter, you haven’t shown up at all yesterday, you alright?” Olivia was already sizing me up.
“Something unexpected popped up. Hey so besides my usual order, could I, uhm, get a grilled goat’s cheese sandwich, plus a vanilla soy latte with chocolate syrup?” Olivia raised her eyebrow questioningly at me.
“Aren’t you lactose intolerant?” She got started on the coffee while asking.
“Oh, it’s not for me, it’s for a friend. She just… showed up in town, not doing great, so I’m getting her lunch too.” I scratched the back of my head, hoping to deflect her.
“Ah, so that’s the something unexpected, huh? Okay then. Clark! Pete’s usual-”
“Plus a griddled sacrifice, I heard the kid, coming in three seconds.” Clark plopped down the order on the counter, nicely wrapped, as Olivia handed me all the items and I paid.
I wasn’t expecting to see a City Watch car pull up in front of my housing complex right as I exited The Question. The guard who stepped out looked around, noticing me. Usually they dealt with stuff like bar fights breaking out by showing up and holding the people apart until they calmed down. Maybe a traffic accident. Really, they showed up to make sure the situation was resolved peacefully. Way better than the old police force, from what I’ve heard. No guns and you needed four years of training in law, psychology and disarming opponents non-lethally before they even sat you with a desk job. And then most of the time you just followed up missing person cases along with a partner on the streets. Someone always behind the desk, someone walking around, constant contact and communication. The Guard pulled out their toolkit and summoned a drone from their car, which started floating around and taking pictures, as the Guard noticed me.
“Ah, excuse me, Mx., please correct me in your reply, are you a resident of this complex?” They had turned on an audio recorder the moment they asked me. They always used the neutral honorific unless you told them otherwise yourself. Weirdly enough it always felt nice. Not completely right, because, you know, guy, but nice. Somehow not being gendered by the peacekeepers made me trust them a bit more. Hell, I guess I was a ‘mix’ now considering the shifting.
“Uhm, yeah, A-201. Is anything wrong officer?”
“Got a missing person call for A-401. Do you know them by chance?”
“No, no, I honestly only just started talking to my downstairs neighbor, not much contact with anyone else.” The Guard nodded at me.
“Well, if you learn something, please do contact us; the person who filed the report was quite distressed.” The Guard called the drone back to collect the data, as I scratched my chin.
“When was the missing person reported? Just... out of curiosity.”
“Yesterday? We usually give about a day, in case the person just hid somewhere, if there isn't any suspicion for foul play. And nobody had broken into A-401, based on door records.”
“Thank you for your service.” I nodded at them and went inside. And the first thing I did was knock on Leonard’s door and yell at him. “Just unlock the door, because I’m gonna kick it in for dramatic effect and I don’t feel like smacking you with a door!”
“Why do you need to kick it in for dramatic effect?!” I heard him yell back, before I heard the door unlock and be left open ever so slightly, letting me kick it with reckless abandon.
“LEONARD YOU FUCKER HOW MANY RITUALS DID YOU DO. THE FUZZIES SHOWED UP SINCE A-401 IS MISSING. AKA TWO FLOORS ABOVE ME!” I chugged down the coffee like a frat boy chugging a beer at a party, and took out the goat cheese sandwich to munch it down fast. God was it delicious and made me functional again.
“I… performed as many as I was able to perform in a single night.” He was fidgeting, standing to the side of the door frame, visibly scared.
“Which was?” I turned to face him, my stare full of defeated wrath.
“...All of them. I didn’t know if any of them would work on me!” I rolled up the wrapper from the sandwich and started mercilessly beating Leonard over the head with it.
“You complete and utter idiot! There’s other folks out there running around now, probably not looking like cute succubi, having no clue how or if they can turn it off!!!” I groaned and stopped whacking Leonard, especially because he mumbled something and the paper got set on fire, burning up completely the moment I let go of it. “Oh haha, magic away the thing I was torturing you with. Anyway, we need to find and help them.” I rubbed my face. “And it will be much easier with me having superpowers. Any ideas what kinda cover story I could use?” Leonard scratched his cheek, and shrugged.
“Some sorta new social media fad of being a demonic e-girl or something?”
“E-girl oh my god how old ARE you?!”
“Shit. You’re way older than me.”
“Well, I know this lovely couple who’ve adopted the online thing, full blown angel and demon, quite adorable really, knew Adam and Eve personally. One of them keeps posting books, the other old cars. So it might work as a cover.”
“Wait what, the Bible is real?” I was confused, dumbfounded. But, well, I could grow horns, of course it had to be real.
“Of fucking course not, humans wrote that garbage, Gabriel rated it 1/10 on accuracy on History Review.” Leonard started looking through his things, and I sighed.
“Well, time to see if I purchased the right size.” I mumbled to myself, hoping he wouldn’t hear it, but I noticed a small smirk on his face forming not a second after I said it. Never mind then, definitely heard me.