“You woke her up, you fool!”
I heard the voice like it was coming from the other side of a thick window. Or maybe like I was underwater. It was distant, at the very least. I wondered for a moment if the truck that had been about to hit me had missed or veered away at the last second. I vaguely remembered being pushed out of the way, but… everything had gone dark, regardless. I heard shuffled footsteps around me as I came to.
The stone floor was cold as I propped myself up. I saw people running around. As my vision became clearer, everything became a lot more unclear. There were people in armor. There was a girl whose hands were glowing. One of them had a sword that was much too big. And there was a man on the floor behind them. Everyone who was upright looked at me with a mixture of fear and anger.
The street I’d been expecting was nowhere to be seen. No cars, but instead some kind of… castle? Like the kind you’d see in popular television shows. The whole thing looked a little cartoonish, the walls made of stone slabs too big to carry, the doors at the far end of the room absolutely much too big for convenience.
“She’s awake! Quick, get the Hero up on his feet!” Their shouting was very loud, and very annoying. But they seemed genuinely worried about the unconscious person on the ground behind them. Being a little panicked in that situation made sense.
“It’s no use!” Giant Sword said. “We have to defeat her without him!”
Her? I didn’t pay that too much mind and sat upright, looking at the shouty boys. Something was tugging at the corner of the tablecloth that was my mind, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Everything about this seemed familiar, but also off.
“What’s going on?” I wagered. My voice was amazing. There was a timbre to it, an essence of absolute authority with a hint of… It reminded me of actresses from old movies. A playfulness that made you feel like you were being confronted with an apex predator. God, that was a sexy voice. Too bad I was making it crack as much as I was.
I looked at my hands. Something was different. My hands had never been so slender. Or so purple. My fingernails had never looked like talons. Come to think of it, my hands had never been feminine. My arms also didn’t have their old fuzz. I think what I found most important in that moment was how right everything felt. I could feel power coursing through my veins. That must have been it. Feeling like I could do anything, something I’d always wanted, was making me feel like, for the first time in my life, I was finally in the right body. The old one had been… fine? But this one was powerful.
“Don’t fall for her tricks!” the girl with the glowing hands said, and ran forward. As I sat there trying to figure everything out, all I could really do was stare at her. Her arms and eyes crackled with blue and purple energy, and honestly, it was really cool. She was cool, if I was honest with myself. She was pretty, in a dainty kind of way? I tried not to think of women like that, god knows they get objectified enough already, and I’d sworn to myself I wasn’t going to contribute to that. The way I saw it, I might never experience that kind of treatment, but I was certainly going to fight for their right to exist without discrimination or harassment. But she was pretty, short brown pixie cut and all.
She wore some sort of soft pink utilitarian robes, that reminded me of the kind of thing Buddhist monks wore. I briefly tried to remember what those were called, when I realized she hadn’t really stopped charging me. I had no idea why she was running at me, but I didn’t think it was to help me up. On the other hand it seemed rude to assume hostile intent. I held up my hands to calm her down. Something came to me, like a memory but different, the same way your fingers know a password your brain’s forgotten.
“Wait!” I tried, but I was too late. Just as she struck both of her hands at me, there was a red glow around my hands and some kind of field materialized between the both of us. My ‘muscle memory’, for want of a better word, seemed to have kicked in. The energy that cascaded down her arms bounced off the field and hit her in the chest and she flew backwards, bouncing off the stone floor.
“Sabine!” one of the others yelled. Sabine. That was a familiar name. Something about it… But the girl had stopped moving!
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” I apologized as I scrambled to get to my feet. “I didn’t mean to--”
The man ignored me, rude as he was, ran towards her, robes fluttering behind him. He looked to me like something you’d find on the cover art of an eighties board game, stars and symbols embroidered in the blue cloth with so much care and detail they seemed to move on their own. It was hard to focus on any individual thing. Everything happening at the same time, I kept being distracted by, well, everything.
As I stood up, I realized that I was… tall.
Much too tall.
Close to, like, nine foot tall. I looked down on them. This was a perspective I wasn’t used to. I looked down at myself. I was going to have to process my newfound cleavage later, because I was interrupted.
“She’s dead,” the man in the robes wailed. “You monster! Fiend!”
I felt the power in me throb in response to his statements. I felt those memories inside me respond to my desire to help. I knew that I could help here! I had the power! Not only that, but it almost felt like it wanted to be used. Obviously there was no time to wonder why.
“I can fix this!” I yelled, as I ran over. “I can fix this, I’m so sorry!”
Running was weird, I noticed. It was the high heels. I’d never worn high heels, because who wants to see a man in heels, right? But for some reason they didn’t impede my movement at all, like I was used to it somehow. I pushed the man aside, who slammed into the other two people still standing. In my head, they made the sound of bowling pins falling over. But the unmoving girl was more important, right now. I had no idea what was going on, but this girl was hurt very badly because of me and I could do something about it.
My arms buzzed with glowing red energy, and I bent over the girl. The men, untangling themselves and trying to get up, were yelling at me. “Get away from her you fou--”
“Please stop shouting! I’m just trying to help.” I said. I found my voice cracking. I’d never been very good with people yelling at me. Even as I made it to senior year of high school, a stern talking-to from a teacher had me almost in tears. Fighting and arguing just made me upset, made my heart pound in my chest and my hands shake. In a situation like this, crying almost seemed like the logical response.
They didn’t stop shouting, of course, because men who didn’t get what they wanted weren’t exactly known for calm responses. That’s why I’d always tried to keep my temper. I’d hate to be seen as someone like that. I had to cover my ears to keep what they were saying from getting to me. I felt that there was more ear there than there used to be. The tip of them poked out between my fingers. They reached up almost to the tip of my head! I was distracted by this newest revelation, until I saw that the one in the robes was drawing symbols in the air and I saw a glowing circle appear underneath them. Big Sword was arguing with Robes, but the others held him back.
“She’s gone, Tybalt! We need to save the Hero!”
“I’m trying to help!” I tried again at them.
“You monster!” the men shouted again. Why were they shouting?! I was just trying to help! That wasn’t fair! I pointed at the girl to prove my point. If they could only see I was trying to make her better... They just responded with more shouting. “Why do you mock us with your cruelty, you…”
Maybe they’d be less hostile if they felt like I was on their side!
“Yes! No! Stop helping!”
With that, the circle underneath the party flashed once, twice, and then they were gone. I looked to where they’d just stood with mild confusion.
The room had gone quiet. Now that the running and the noise was over, I had the time to take stock of my environment. The room we were in was a familiar-looking medieval throne room, easily the size of a football field. Why would anyone need that much space? Large pillars in rows leading up to a giant throne gave the room an imposing, oppressive quality. It would also give anyone trying to fight here a lot of convenient cover, I thought. That seemed like a big design flaw. The humongous doors at the entrance were opened just a tad, but the lock, I could see, had been smashed.
Everywhere around me there were burn marks and other signs of fighting. I briefly remembered… something. Power flowing from my hands in a beam of pure… some negative emotion I tried not to think about too hard. But it had been met by something? A magical artifact, maybe? Whatever it had been, it was the last thing I remembered before some kind of flash and then waking up. I shook my head after this reverie. It was like two memories were trying to occupy the same space simultaneously. I’d been in a car accident before waking up, not some magical fight. Right? There was something else that had been bothering me.
“Tybalt, where do I know that name from?” I wondered out loud. “Tybalt and Sabine.” Sabine, the dead girl, didn’t respond. Obviously. I looked down at her. Even without all the shouting, tears began to well up in my eyes. This was my fault, I thought. But maybe I could still fix this? The power within me bubbled again, excited to be of service again.
I focused, and something in my head clicked as the energy in my hands formed weird symbols in the air above the girl. Crackling flowers of red fire flowed from me into her, and I saw her eyes glowing. After a second, the glow dissipated and I thought that perhaps it hadn’t worked, until she suddenly sat up. Thank God, I thought. I’d fixed it!
We both kinda just sat there for a moment. I expected her to start shouting, maybe with some interspersed yelling. I didn’t know how these things went. How do you apologize to someone you’ve killed? “I’m sorry you were dead, but I fixed it”? I waved a hand in front of her face.
She turned her head towards me. The movement was unnatural, mechanical and entirely terrifying. Her eyes were dull and unfocused, and I was worried she might have had a concussion.
“How can I serve you, mistress?”
Oh no! Oh no no no no! That’s not what I’d wanted! (Though being called Mistress was nice. Being respected was new, and that’s probably why a title like that just hit so close to home.) The voice was dead, with no inflection. The familiar lump in my throat was back. I just wanted to help!
“No, no, please don’t say that!” I pleaded with the girl. Her mouth clamped shut, and I knew that she’d never talk again until I told her otherwise. I could feel some kind of invisible tether between us now, that bound her to me in… uh… eternal servitude. This was bad. “No, I mean… Just… be who you were before! I don’t want you to serve me!”
I really, really didn’t! The thought of servitude was really gross to me, and I just wanted her to be okay. My last sentence was punctuated by another flash of energy from my hands, and a small white flame flew from my hands back into her. The girl perked up. I felt the invisible thread between the two of us sever. That was good, right?
Her eyes, listless just seconds ago, were now full of life again, even if they were a bit more… red, than before?
“Yes!” I was so happy I didn’t notice just how angry she looked, right up until her hands hit me and I was thrown across the giant, suspiciously empty room. I hit the wall like a truck, but the wall didn’t really hit back. It barely hurt. Didn’t even really knock the wind out of me. I cried anyway. I didn’t want her to be mad at me, but I understood why she was mad. I didn’t mean to hurt her, but now this girl I barely knew hated me and she’d attacked me!
“I’m sorry!” I blubbered. It was hard to talk while crying. Trying to catch my breath as I began to sob, I walked up to her again. “Sabine, I’m so sorry!” I was still trying to remember what I knew her from. She jumped up and raised her hands.
“Don’t say my name, you monster!” She was shocked at the sound of her own voice. It did have a weird ring to it, like it had a bad horror filter over it, with some kind of weird echo. She seemed genuinely horrified and looked at her hands, which now had a sickly grey colour. Now that I thought about it, she looked kind of dead.
“What did you do to me!?”
“I’m so sorry!” I had my hands raised as I went to her. “I can fix this!”
She looked up at me with fear and revulsion. I was so much taller than her. She looked so small! But I wasn’t being threatening; why was she still scared of me?
“Don’t… Don’t touch me!”
I took a step back. “Of course! I’m sorry!” I cried.
“Where are the others?! What did you do to them?”
I paused. “I think they left. Big blue circle?”
Sabine looked even more upset. “They left without me?”
I tried to keep it from getting to me too much, but she looked so sad. “I think they just thought you were dead. I’m so sorry.”
“I was dead?!”
“I’m sorry! I fixed it! I think!”
She looked at her hands again, and then back at me. “You made me undead! You monster! You… You… what did you do to my soul?! You enslaved it, didn’t you??”
“Your… what? I didn’t… what? I didn’t want to enslave anything? Anyone?! Please, I’m so sorry, I have no idea what’s going on!”
“Let me go, you monster!”
I nodded quickly. “Of course!”
“Let me go this inst-- what?”
“You’re free to go! I’m not keeping you here or anything? Please, I’m so sorry. If there’s anything I can do to fix this, please let me know!”
She looked at me suspiciously. I don’t know why. She ran to one of the windows, looking over her shoulder to see if I ran after her. I figured it was best to let her go? If she needed something from me, I wasn’t planning on going anywhere any time soon. I waved at her carefully as she ran. She raised her hands. The blue glow was back, and suddenly she turned into a beautiful raven, and flew off.
I took a deep breath.
“What the heck,” I said to myself. The tension of the moment dissipated, and I sank to the ground and cried a little bit more. It was good to let it out. Finally, I got up and looked around again. The throne at the far end of the room looked like the only comfortable place to sit. And it was sized to me, so I kind of assumed it was mine.
I sank down in the chair, and immediately my legs came back into view. Right. New body. My legs were long and beautifully toned and a soft purple. I was wearing some kind of battle armor that, for reasons I couldn’t pin down, didn’t protect my inner thighs. That explained the light chafing. I looked down. Breasts were new. I didn’t mind, they seemed to give me an air of power. Besides, every guy would want tits to look at whenever, right? Right.
I was lost in thought, running my fingers through my hair, over my horns. Over my horns. Over my horns?!
That was cool as shit!
I was lost in thought when a small voice peeped up next to me and I screamed in surprise. I turned to the voice. Next to me was a woman who was mostly snake from the waist down.
“Queen E-- I’m so sorry, I’m h-- Please stop screaming, your highness. Thank you. I wanted to congratulate you on defeating the Hero of Eferton, Queen Eliza.”
My eyes shot open in Recognition with a capital R.
The Hero of Eferton.
Tybalt. Sabine. Two romanceable companions, one of whom would become an immortal evil lich if you made the wrong dialog choices.
Queen Eliza, I remembered. The final boss of the Lair of the Dragon Queen DLC.