|The Transformation Story Archive||The Other Sex|
Rescueing a Princess
It was a day just like any other day in the Kingdom of Tomandia. Of late, there seemed to be little else besides the widespread serenity that had firmly entrenched itself across the kingdom. The tranquility in the realm greatly pleased its monarches, King Chonar and Queen Elanna. And the calm and placid nature of this day did nothing to belie the long standing aura of peace within the kingdom.
As was his normal monthly custom, King Chonar, feeling strangely anxious for some unknown reason, was sitting in the midst of his scheduled audience with the people of Tomandia, when a courier, one of the land's finest messengers, broke through the rank and file in order to speak to him.
"Your Highness." addressed the breathless courier as he approached.
"Yes, Arlond." replied the King. "This had better be of the greatest importance. You know how much we dislike being interrupted when we're meeting with our people."
"It is extremely important, Sire." replied Arlond. "It is most important news. It's about your daughter, Your Highness."
Chonar sighed. His daughter was always in some sort of trouble of late. "I sincerely doubt that you have anything to tell us about our daughter, the Princess Rena, that cannot wait until after we've concluded our monthly audience, Arlond. Please, return here in a couple of hours, and, then we shall discuss further whatever her latest problem is."
"But, Sire, this news is does not concern Princess Rena." said Arlond, hemming and hawing as if not really knowing how to continue. "It is about ... your other daughter, Highness ... the Princess Deela."
A hush suddenly fell over the assembled crowd. As far as any of them could remember, no one had mentioned the missing princess' name to her father in several years.
"Deela!" exclaimed Chonar, who now believed that his earlier unexplainable anxiousness had been a premonition of this news of Deela's possible return. "Why didn't you say so earlier, man? Might I dare hope that after all this time our daughter has been returned to us unharmed?"
"She has, as yet, not been returned, Highness." spoke Arlond cautiously. "But the Knights Guild, Division of Missing Princesses, did receive early this morning an anonymous message stating exactly where your daughter is currently being held as well as who holds her."
"Hell's bells, man! It is obvious that we must expedite her rescue from whoever is holding her immediately. She has been gone from us far too long already." exclaimed Chonar. "Arlond, go back and inform the Knights Guild that they are to ready as large a party as they deem necessary - money is no object - to rescue our daughter."
"As you wish, Sire." And with that Arlond hurriedly left to so inform the Knights Guild of the King's decision and desire.
"This is almost totally unbelievable." said Chonar wistfully to the assembled crowd about him. "After what has been the most dreadfully long fourteen years, our little girl has finally been found and will soon be coming home." The King sat down and grinned like a Cheshire cat. "Just imagine how happy your Queen shall be when we tell her the wondrous news of the return of our youngest daughter. And, likewise, our other children, Princess Rena and Prince Andar, shall no doubt be elated when we inform them of their sister's pending return."
"Your Highness." came a raised voice from the crowd. "You must go and tell the Queen of this most wondrous news. She must be told as soon as possible. We can postpone the rest of this meeting until some later date."
A roar of approval erupted from the crowd.
"Thank you, my people." replied Chonar. "We shall continue this meeting tomorrow morning. Hopefully by then, we shall have news concerning the rescue party."
As the King had expected, Queen Elanna was beside herself with joy at the prospect of her youngest child returning home again. "I still find it difficult to believe that after the passage of fourteen long years that Deela will be finally coming home once more." Tears of joy streamed from her eyes. "I had almost given up hope of ever seeing her again."
"As had I, my dear." replied Chonar. "But you must remember, she will not the same little girl that disappeared. After the passage of these past fourteen years, she will have become a young woman."
"Is it really true, father?" interrupted Rena. "Is my little sister really coming home again?"
"Yes, Rena, it is really true." replied the King. "Very soon, your younger sister shall be home with us as she was meant to be."
"That is indeed most wonderful news, father." she replied. "But now, if you will excuse me, I think that you and mother probably want to spend some time alone together to celebrate. If it is alright, I will take my leave and seek out my brother in order that I might tell him of this wonderful news."
"How thoughtful of you, Rena." replied her mother.
"Thank you, dear." echoed both her parents.
Princess Rena stormed angrily into the room belonging to Larnak, the court wizard. "I thought you said she'd never return!" she shouted angrily at the wizard.
"That is not what I said at all, Princess." replied the wizard calmly. He had been expecting Rena's arrival ever since he had lifted the spell of forgetfulness from the kingdom. Just two hours earlier, no one in the Kingdom remembered or even had the slightest idea who Princess Deela was. But now, a mischievous grin spread quickly across Larnak's face. "I said she would not return until the time was right. And now, with our plans finally coming to fruition, that time is almost here."
"Then everything is still alright?" asked Rena.
"Of course, my Princess. Everything still proceeds according to our plans. If my old friend and colleague, the witch Senesha, has done her typically slow but generally adequate work, as she assures me she has done, then your little sister will neither be a cause for concern nor create any problems for us whatsoever. In fact, I believe your sister should be a very useful pawn in gaining us allies. You are certain, your parents and your brother are unaware of our plans?"
"My parents suspect nothing. And my brother, as you well know, is so infatuated with that horny little slut Hakena, you introduced him to, that he barely thinks of anything past new ways to please her. With all the time Andar spends in that trollop's bed, I'm surprised she hasn't turned up pregnant by now." Rena grimaced as a new thought occurred to her. "You don't suppose there is something wrong with my brother's seed. Do you, Larnak?"
"Of course not. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your brother, my Princess. Other circumstances have simply delayed Hakena's time to find herself in a family way. At least, as yet." replied Larnak with a devilish grin. "And even though you don't like her, you must admit that Hakena is a very passionate and extremely sexy young wench who manages quite easily to keep your brother occupied and out of our affairs. Sometimes, my Princess, I find myself wishing that I could bed that lush, definitely sensuous, body of saucy Hakena."
"Ha!" exclaimed Rena haughtily. "My brother would kill you if you ever laid a hand on her."
"Of that, I am quite sure, my Princess." answered Larnak casually. "Love spells often produce that particular side effect when administered to a man like your brother."
"But please tell me, Larnak, that you can do something about her. I am not overly pleased about that whore's prospects of being the next Queen of Tomandia."
"There is no need to worry about that, my Princess." replied Larnak. "The people know what she is and would never approve of her being their Queen. I'm quite certain that the infatuated Andar realizes that as well. I envision her becoming the Royal Concubine. That is, without doubt, the most acceptable position for her at court, but it is a position that will be acceptable to the people and it will also allow her and Andar their little pleasures with one another. And when her circumstances change and the time becomes right, perhaps then, she'll mother a royal bastard."
And the laughter of Larnak and Rena echoed throughout the hall.
In deference to their King's desires for a speedy rescue, the Knights Guild had met in emergency session well into the night for the purpose of selecting the party that would rescue Princess Deela. And early into the morning hours, they finally agreed on a rescue party composed of just five knights. According to the consulted seers, five knights, no more and no less, were required for success.
And even as the King and Queen were informed, the five chosen rescuers prepared for the attempt to free their princess from the clutches of the ancient crone Senesha.
The Guild had chosen Rornick as the foray's leader. It was not a selection based on his leadership abilities, which were regarded by most as fair at best. Instead, it had been primarily based on his being extremely lucky. Countless times in the past he had faced witches in battle and each time, against all odds, he had somehow managed to survive. Additionally, Rornick had previously worked with each of the other four hand-picked knights on earlier missions. Both factors enhanced his value to the mission and, hopefully thought the Guild, its eventual success.
Traekar the Giant would be his second in command. As a long time member of the Guild, he was one of its few remaining members to have actually met the Princess before her abduction years ago. Hopefully, even given the passage of several years, he would be able to recognize her. With his experience, the very presence of Traekar, who stood nearly seven and a half feet tall, commanded respect from every member of the Guild.
Malpa and Otnahl, the twins, had also been picked for the team. Even though twins, they were far from identical. Even a blind man could have easily told the two brothers apart. Malpa was at least six inches taller and over seventy pounds heavier, then his older brother who had been born two minutes earlier. Despite his size, some of the guild had argued against Malpa's inclusion in the party. But Otnahl knew they would have a better probability of success with his Malpa along, despite the rumors running rampant through the Kingdom that Malpa fancied men. And yet, whether he did or didn't was unimportant to the mission. For in the entire kingdom, there was no one living that would even dare risk Malpa's wrath by asking if the rumors were actually true.
Little Dehlar rounded out those making up the team. Although, by far the smallest member of the guild, he possessed a unique and invaluable talent for the mission. Known as "The Fly" to his friends in the Guild, Dehlar could, without the aid or assistance of any known tool or device, scale any wall that existed.
They knew they were the five selected to rescue the Princess.
They knew they were the five who had been dutifully prepared and were now ready to set out on their mission.
And, with the blessings and prayers of the King, the Queen, and all of the people of Tomandia, they were the five that set out the following morning on their momentous task of rescuing their Princess.
The long overland journey to the castle where the Princess was being held was both boring and uneventful. After several weary days of travel, the would-be band of rescuers finally caught their first glimpse of the castle where Princess Deela was held by the old crone Senesha. Within sight of the impressive edifice, they pitched their tents and made camp for the evening. It was their intent to rise early, quickly rescue the princess, and then head off for home.
Having arrived in the stillness of late evening, the small band surveyed the outlying castle grounds. What they discovered in their limited reconnoitering made them all smile. All five of them were now in complete agreement. Despite the involvement of the witch Senesha, this would be a relatively routine rescue mission.
At that particular moment, Rornick decided it was time to give his comrades the guild's obligatory "going into battle overconfident" warning speech. If the speech had not been mandatory, he would have likely foregone it. After all, he had served with each of his comrades previously. He knew exactly what he could expect from each of them. And by the same token, they knew exactly what they could expect from him.
A gentle morning breeze blew across the field, as the sun began its slow rise over the horizon. Rornick smiled as he realized the advantages of his position. The sun would be rising behind them as they approached, making it difficult for any of the castle's defenders to see them. Even the breeze was helpful, for their camp was located upwind of the castle. After days of weary travel, it would be nearly impossible for anyone within the castle to catch the slightest whiff of them.
But yet, they might be heard. That was a very strong possibility, and someone might hear them as they approached. They decided they would not talk among themselves once they were on their way, since there was no need. And all five knights were more than ably skilled in the art of making a stealthy approach. In addition, reasoned Rornick, most of the castle's inhabitants would still be sleeping, while the remainder, who had been on guard all night, would more than likely be sleepy.
"Its time to move out." Rornick told the men with quiet determination. "Let's go."
The band of five stealthily made their advance towards the castle walls. As each of them had expected, they had been unobserved by the few guards manning the battlements. It was obvious that no one inside had expected any trouble. In virtually no time at all, all five knights stood at the base of the castle.
"Dehlar." whispered Rornick. "You know what must be done."
"Yes, sir." he whispered in reply.
Using neither rope nor pitons, for he truly had no need of them, Dehlar free climbed the outside castle wall. Having heard only the rumors of his possible flyish heritage, Malpa and Otnahl stood amazed as they watched Dehlar quickly scamper up the outer wall. And no one would ever have doubted those rumors about "The Fly" being at least part fly ever again, if they had only been able to watch his descent along the inside wall.
Before any of the defenders had time to notice that anything was amiss, Dehlar had opened the gate for his comrades and the small band had firmly established themselves within the castle walls.
In the battle that followed, all five knights engaged in fierce combat, both hand-to-hand and with swords, with the castle's defenders, who, although noticeably out of shape, still managed to hold their own in defense of their castle.
It hadn't taken long for Traekar, Malpa, and Otnahl to form a tight offensive line that systematically cut through the defenders leaving countless bodies in their wake. And with equal precision, Rornick and Dehlar battled along a second, just as impressive, front.
All five knights were well-trained warriors. And all of them were numbered among the best in Tomandia's service. But the ease with which they routed their opposition made them all feel confident that victory would soon be theirs.
However, none of them recalled the dangers of overconfidence until scant moments later ...
... when suddenly ...
... the witch entered the fray.
Unseen by Rornick, who had been separated from his companion, the witch made a wide sweeping pass with her hand.
And suddenly, without warning, Traekar screamed out in painful agony.
Unable to hold onto it, his sword fell weakly from his hand to the ground. And then, as his body began to pulse and transform, his screams intensified. Having always been taller than most, his body began growing even taller. And as each new inch was added to his height, both his torso and his legs stretched out correspondingly thinner and thinner.
Both Rornick and Dehlar winced in sympathetic pain as they heard the snapping and cracking of the bones within Traekar's rapidly contorting feet. In shock, they watched as his toes extended into stringy filaments that began furrowing into the ground. Deeper and deeper they dug themselves into the now dampened soil.
And still both men could tell that Traekar's transformed toes continued to dig even deeper. But by the time the digging motion ceased, his legs had fused into a solid woody trunk. Both of his arms continued to lengthen as the rose above his head. And then, Traekar bellowed in pain, as his arms splayed, even as his much longer fingers did the same.
And then - very suddenly - all was quiet.
Rornick stared out in silent awe at the tall palm that now graced the courtyard. Had he neither seen nor heard the terrible transformation that had befallen his comrade, he would have never believed it possible that the majestic palm now standing silent guard over the pond beneath it had only scant moments before been Traekar.
Almost immediately, the silence was broken by the croaking of frogs in the pond beneath the palm.
Quickly, Rornick scanned the courtyard for his men. He saw Dehlar aimlessly wandering toward the pond as if entranced, but of Malpa and Otnahl he could find no trace.
Again the frogs within the pond began croaking. And then a sudden intuitive leap left no doubt in Rornick's mind exactly where his missing men must be. They were deep within the shade of Traekar the Palm, alternately swimming about and resting contentedly on lily pads floating about the newly formed pond. Malpa and Otnahl, he knew, must now be the frogs he heard croaking from the pond.
The witch spotted Dehlar as he advanced toward the pond. She grinned at the sight of her next victim standing helplessly alone in her courtyard. "Well. If it isn't the little fly. Eh, my pretty one?" cackled Senesha contemptuously. "I will be done with you very quickly, fly. Then I will seek out the missing leader of your little band. But with him, I promise to be very, very deliberate."
Dehlar looked up as the sound of her voice broke whatever spell he'd fallen under. Reading obvious fright in the face of the man, who stared helplessly toward her, the witch smirked. "There is no need to fear me." Senesha basked in her prey's obvious fear of her. "Your transformation shall be very quick, although I fear I cannot, in all good conscience, guarantee that your change will be completely painless." And with that Senesha's smile broadened.
But "overconfidence in battle" was never only a mortal failing. And overconfidence was simply overconfidence regardless of whose it was.
And this time, the witch had misread the cause of Dehlar's fear. As she had seen fear in an opponent's eyes countless times before, she naturally assumed that his fear was a respectful fear of her. In her overconfidence, stemming from her centuries long life, she had failed to recognize, nor even consider, the existence of any other reason to explain his fear.
There was no doubt that Dehlar was afraid. In fact, he was nearly petrified. But it was not for anything that might be done to him. Instead, he was afraid that he might compromise his comrade and leader Rornick, who was slowly and silently sneaking up on Senesha from behind. The witch could do whatever she wanted with him, as long as the mission was successful in the end. Three of his comrades had already fallen victim to the old witch's spells. If he had to be the fourth so transformed, then, if his sacrifice were necessary to rescue the princess, so be it.
And in the end, Dehlar was highly successful.
For as the unsuspecting witch made a small pass of her hand in Dehlar's direction, Rornick stepped up and swung his blade.
The witch's severed head struck the ground and rolled a short distance away. When it came to rest, Rornick stared into the witch's lifeless face that had a stunned look of great surprise frozen on it. As he continued watching, it and then her headless corpse vanished in twin puffs of purple smoke rapidly dispersed by the wind.
Once again, all was suddenly quiet in the courtyard, save for the croaking of the frogs upon their lily pads ... and that infernal buzzing from the annoying little fly that now constantly circled about his head.
Several times, he'd ineffectually swung his blade at the fly, before another sudden feeling made him realize that only he, this infernal fly, two frogs, and a palm tree were the only living things remaining inside the castle courtyard. Every other thing he had considered a living being had literally disappeared when the witch died. And since he knew where (or rather what) Traekar, Malpa, and Otnahl were now, he quickly deduced that Dehlar, by the process of elimination, must now be that annoying little insect buzzing about his head.
The band, as they had so overconfidently expected, had won the battle in the end. But the victory had been costly. His band, who might never be human again, numbered eighty percent casualties. Was it truly a victory? Even if his men were merely transformed and not actually dead, Rornick found it difficult to believe his superiors would consider this much of a victory.
And yet, Rornick realized, there was a rescue still undone.
Now all alone, Rornick diligently searched the castle room-by-room and floor-by-floor. It was tedious work for a lone man, but it was work that must be done, if only to justify to himself the loss of his men. With only two doors remaining on the last floor to be searched, Rornick finally located her.
As he looked into the room and saw her, he knew without doubt, that the beautiful young woman sitting naked in front of her mirror while calmly brushing her long golden hair, could be no other than she who his band had been sent to rescue.
For several minutes, Rornick could only stare at the naked perfection of the princess. Her breasts were firm and full. And he found himself unable to turn away. Nor could find his tongue to speak, so he simply continued to watch her movements in absolute silence.
Finally, the Princess spotted him staring at her in the mirror. At that moment, Rornick, thoroughly ashamed of himself, expected her to blush before screaming bloody hell, since those were the most common prescribed actions available to a naked princess who suddenly found herself alone with a strange man standing outside her room. But surprisingly, she did neither.
Instead, she slowly rose from her dresser and almost as slowly strolled over to confront Rornick, whose eyes darted back and forth between her eyes and her more than ample bosom. When she reached where he stood, she looked him squarely in the eye and, in a voice that Rornick would not soon forget, snapped out, "Just who the fuck are you?"
Rornick blushed profusely at her words. He had never been addressed in exactly this manner by any woman, and certainly not a princess, before. When he found his voice to answer, he replied simply "I am Rornick, Princess."
"And just what in hell do you think you're doing here?"
"I'm ... well, that is, my men and I are ... well, we're here to rescue you, Princess." replied the flustered knight.
The young woman shook her head, then briefly smiled. "It's about fucking time."
"We got here as quickly as we possibly could, Princess." replied Rornick sounding overly apologetic.
"Would you quit doing that."
"Quit what, Princess?"
"That. Calling me Princess." she said obviously annoyed. "I _am not a princess. I am_ a prince."
Rornick stared at the buxom young woman. "I find that extremely difficult to believe, Prin..., ah, er, miss. After all, with you standing here, quite naked in front of me," he replied, his eyes darted first to her breasts and then somewhat lower, "not only can I plainly see your obviously feminine charms, your Highness, but I can also just as obviously see that you are missing something which is extremely vital to that which makes a person a prince or, for that matter, a man." Flushed, Rornick sought a way to change the subject. "But I suppose, in all fairness to you, I could check and verify the wording of my assignment."
Rornick reached quickly into one of his coat pockets and pulled out a small and worn black book. Thumbing quickly through its pages, he finally stopped at a page and began to read.
He glanced up at the Princess. His orders listed her as nineteen and Rornick guessed that the young woman standing next to him was that age, give or take a year.
"Let's see. You were kidnapped fourteen summers ago." he began. "Well, that certainly explains why you seemed more than a little testy earlier. Your parents are King Chonar and Queen Elanna of Tomandia. Does any of that sound right to you?"
"Yes." sighed the young woman in obvious relief. "That's correct."
Rornick relaxed and sighed. "Then, according to what I have in my written orders, you are Princess Deela of Tomandia. You were kidnapped by party or parties unknown just over fourteen years ago. No ransom was ever asked. And no trace of your whereabouts was known until several days ago when an anonymous message was delivered to my guildmaster." Rornick quickly looked over (although leered might be a more descriptive word) the girl's naked form. "Unless you can produce some evidence to the contrary, miss, I must conclude that, according to my just completed visual examination, your identity, as listed in my orders, is confirmed, Princess. I'm quite sure that the King and the Queen will be extremely happy to have their missing daughter safely home at long last."
"But my name's not Deela. It's Delan." she replied nearly in tears. "I can't believe that in fourteen years, nobody has fixed that error in my school records."
"And what error might that be, Princess?"
"Well, I guess, it wasn't exactly an error. I think you might call it more of a practical joke. My best friend Haknee hacked into the school records ... they were supposed to be totally secure. He was supposed to make a few adjustments in both of our permanent records before the first day of school. Our plan was for both of us to be classified as honor students so we could take advantage of their special privileges. Even though I didn't see Haknee at school that first day, I imagine he became an honor student just like we'd planned. But when I arrived at school, I found myself, now officially enrolled as a 'girl' named Deela. My schedule was full of girl classes like cooking and sewing. The people at the school said they'd correct things by the next morning. But it was on that very night, as I was walking home, that I was kidnapped."
Strange classes for girl of five to be taking, thought Rornick. But turning back to the woman, he said "Unfortunately, Princess, I do not have the capability of accessing any school records at this time. So, unless you have some other more concrete and confirmable proof, my visual determination must remain intact. Maybe, after our return to Tomandia, I will be allowed some time to investigate this claim of yours further."
"What about the witch?" asked Deela.
"I'm afraid, Princess, that the witch is neither a reliable nor a very viable source of any information."
"Why not? She was the one who transformed me into this girl before you. And many times, she promised to restore me to normal if I were ever rescued. And you have just rescued me, Rornick. Haven't you?"
"That is true, Princess. I have undeniably rescued you. But in doing so, I have beheaded the witch. I am certain that being quite dead, she will not be available to keep any promises she may have made to you, Princess."
"Shit!" exclaimed the young woman.
Rornick waited for the Princess beside the pond under the palm that had once been his companion Traekar. As he watched in saddened silence, the two frogs, who had once been his comrades Malpa and Otnahl, as they swam about, seemingly without care, in the calm water. He had no idea of the current whereabouts of the fly Dehlar had become.
"I am truly sorry, my comrades, but I have not the means to transform you back into the men you used to be." said Rornick sadly. "I believe our best course of action now is for the four of you to remain here together. All of you should be safe here. After I return the Princess to her parents, I will seek out the finest sorcerers in all of Tomandia with the hope that one of them will be able to undo these vile transformations, so that once again you may be your true and normal selves."
"We should be on our way, don't you think?" asked the young woman who was now attired in a low cut pink gown that greatly accentuated her womanly attributes. She seemed to float down the stairs. "I don't own anything really suitable for riding a horse, but I was able to fashion this old gown into something resembling a pair of pants. I hope it will be adequate."
As he had been when he first found her, Rornick was momentarily stunned by the blond-haired vision of loveliness gliding down the stairs. He could do little else but stare at her as she descending the stairs. "Your work should be sufficient." he told her before unthinkingly adding "You are very beautiful, my Princess."
She blushed a bright beet red, then sighed. "Oh please, Rornick, don't call me Princess. I know we've been through this before, but if you really must think and refer to me as a woman, then ... Why don't you call me Deela? I've been called that for so long, that I sometimes think of it as my real name."
"But that would be highly inappropriate, Princess."
"Would you prefer I made it an order?"
"Well, ... er, ... ah, ... No, Prin..., er..., ah..., Deela." sighed Rornick.
"Are these your men, Rornick? These two frogs and this tall palm tree?" she asked curiously.
"Yes, your Highness, these are three of the four men that arrived here with me to liberate you from the witch."
Suddenly, and before Rornick could intervene, she swatted at and struck the annoying little fly that had begun busily buzzing about her bountiful breasts.
"Damn fly!" she swore.
In spite of himself, Rornick smiled. Dehlar had always been a boob man. He'd often joked that it would be some buxom wench that would cause his ultimate demise.
But a sudden strange noise, sounding something like a slurp, returned Rornick's thoughts to the present. He was shocked. The tongue of one of the frogs had zapped out quickly and caught the stunned fly before he had had time to recover from Deela's blow.
"What happened to your fourth man?" she asked in innocence.
Rornick looked at her. Then he stared down at the frogs in the pond, no longer sure which had made a meal of his companion. "He..., ah,... er..., didn't make it." he finally said.
"That's too bad."
"Yes, it is." Once again, Rornick stared down at the frogs. "Do you think they'll be alright, Deela? I can't believe that a tree makes for very good company. And they'll be all alone here for possibly several weeks. I wonder what these two will do to pass the time, while they await my return with help."
Rornick watched as Deela gently picked up one frog and then the other. Very carefully she examined them. She'd always wondered how she would ever put to most of the information Senesha had taught her, particularly about amphibian biology. But as she set each frog back on their lily pads, Deela smiled. "I wouldn't be all that worried about these two passing the time." she told Rornick. "As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if these two don't figure out something to do real soon."
Rornick was puzzled. "But there are only just the two of them. And they're so small. I'm afraid they'll probably very get bored." he sighed.
"For now, there are only two of them." replied Deela. "But, in this case, two is more than plenty. And somehow, I doubt that they will get bored with each other anytime soon, although I can imagine that one of them will probably be receiving the surprise of his life in the near future. And don't be surprised to find this pond filled to overflowing in frogs when you return."
Rornick didn't completely understand the meaning behind what Deela had said. Other than understanding that his transformed men would likely survive until his return, he was confused.
But it was time to depart.
After he and Deela mounted their horses, Rornick took one last look at the frogs lazily stretched out on their lily pads. He could only shake his head in wonder, as they left the castle and headed for home.
Even with only two riders returning instead of five, it would still be a long journey back to Tomandia. And with Deela being unaccustomed to being on horseback and wearing clothing ill-suited for riding, it would seem even longer. Seeking to find some way to pass the time away, instead of continuing to ride in complete and utter silence, Rornick finally decided to engage his new companion in conversation.
He asked the first thing that came to mind. "Just how did you come to be a female?"
"So, despite all your doubts and what you said back that, you do believe me after all." smiled Deela warmly back at him.
"Perhaps, I do. Perhaps, I don't. But after seeing what I've seen over the past day, I'm not all that sure I know what to think or believe anymore. I watched helplessly as the witch transformed Traekar into a palm tree, Malpa and Otnahl into frogs, and Dehlar into ... eh, never mind - that's not important now. Given all that, it is not a difficult stretch of the imagination for me to think you could actually be a prince who, for reasons unknown, was transformed into a princess by the witch. What happened to you?"
"It's a long story, Rornick."
"And we have a long journey in front of us." replied the knight. "A long story should provide the perfect means for both making the time pass faster and the trip seem shorter."
"I suppose. It all began," started Deela, "on that night I was kidnapped. That was thirteen, or was it fourteen, long years ago. I was eleven years old and was on my home from school after what had probably been the most embarrassing day of my whole life."
"Excuse me." interrupted Rornick. "But how could you have possibly been eleven years old then. My orders list your current age as nineteen and you look no older than that to me. That means you could have been no older than six on the night you were kidnapped."
Deela gasped in surprise. "But I'm not nineteen, Rornick. I may not look it, but I'm really twenty-five. Just think about it for a minute or two. Do you actually believe my parents would have let a six year old walk home alone after dark?"
"No, I don't. That makes no sense to me." replied Rornick. "But I'd wager that it means there is another mystery involving the witch to solve later. Since we can do nothing about it now, please continue with your story."
"Of course, Rornick. If you remember, I told you about my friend who hacked into the school's records to reclassify both of us as honor students. Well, it obviously didn't work the way it had been planned, because what actually happened implies that Haknee had played a little trick on me. Instead of becoming an honor student, he changed my records and then enrolled me in a sewing class and in a cooking class and in a lot of other classes only a girl would take. Most of them were tolerable, except for, maybe, the gymnastics class. I wasn't an overly athletic boy, and most of the girls just sort of stared at me and shook their heads. They were all probably wondering what the gawky boy was doing in their class.
"I complained about being enrolled in girl classes to the school authorities. They were thoroughly embarrassed and apologized profusely for the unexplainable mixup in my records. Of course, I couldn't turn in my best friend without getting myself in an equal amount of trouble. And no one had been hurt. and they did promise that everything would be straightened by the next morning.
"But on my way home, two men grabbed me from behind. I never saw their faces. They bound my hands and feet before putting a smelly burlap sack over my head. They shoved me into a cart filled with straw and took me out to what I could only assume then was the edge of the city. There, they met with a woman.
"I heard her ask them 'Is this our prince?'
"To which one of the men replied 'Yes, this is he.'
"After a short exchange, the men untied my feet and put me up on a horse. But they didn't remove the bag from my head. I guess they figured, if I couldn't see, I wouldn't try running away."
"Was that woman actually the witch?" interrupted Rornick again.
"Yes. Although, I didn't know she was a witch at the time.
"We rode on for several days. Although they gave me water from time to time by passing a straw through a hole in the sack, they didn't bother feeding me. When we finally arrived at the witch's castle, I was nearly starved. And that night, when they fed me at last, I could have sworn I'd eaten the proverbial horse.
"When I could no longer eat another bite, the woman took me to a room and told me it would be mine while I was 'visiting.' It had a simple wooden bed and only a few other simple furnishings. It was sufficient for sleeping quarters, but not for much more. Besides I was well-schooled in what it meant to be a prince. I knew these people would ask for a ransom from my parents and then, once it had been paid, I'd be sent home unharmed. I figured two days, three at the very most, would be the longest I'd be staying in my room.
"I was confident I could survive that long."
"But that was several years ago. What happened?"
"I don't exactly what happened, but I guessed something was wrong, because after a week had passed, I was still their 'guest.' Shortly after that, the witch, whose name I had by then learned was Senesha, told me that I'd already been there longer than she had originally been told to watch over me. Then she told me the plan was being slightly amended. She added that she didn't really know how to properly raise a boy and still wasn't all that comfortable with having me around. I remember smiling after she'd said that, because I assumed I'd soon be going home.
"But you remember what everyone says about 'assume,' don't you, Rornick?"
Rornick simply nodded.
"Later that same night, after getting ready for bed, Senesha came into my room. She'd never come into my room at bed time before then, but that night she tucked me in under the covers. And as she did, she whispered several strangely sounding syllables, none of which I recognized as any word I understood. But all of a sudden, I felt very sleepy. I must have closed my eyes and fallen almost instantly in a deep sleep because the next thing I knew it was morning and I was waking up.
"A lot of things had changed during the night.
"My room had been totally transformed. No longer was my bed plain and simple. Instead, it now possessed a silken canopy and was of an extremely ornate design. Also, there was an equally lavish dresser among the several new pieces of bedroom furniture, all of which featured the same ornate design, in my now generously decorated room.
"There were dolls and stuffed animals on the dresser and all the window sills, which I thought odd because there hadn't been a window in my room at any time during my occupancy.
"And standing in the corner of the room was an antique full-length mirror.
"When I finally convinced myself I wasn't dreaming, I got out of bed to look around. Strangely, I felt different. I didn't how or why, but somehow I felt smaller. It wasn't by much, but I felt certain I was definitely smaller than I'd been when I'd gone to bed the night before. Still I couldn't put my finger on whatever it was that made me feel different. That is, until I decided to walk over and look at myself in the mirror.
"You can't imagine how surprised I was when I saw my reflection in the mirror wearing a full-length pink flannel nightgown. Or when I saw that my hair, once short and dark, had turned blonde and tumbled over my shoulders down to the middle of my back. Even my eyes had changed color - they were now a sparkling blue. For the longest time I stared into that mirror in disbelief. Unbelievably, the image reflected by the mirror - my reflection - was that of a girl. During the night, the witch's spell had transformed me from an eleven year old boy into an eleven year old girl."
"That must have been quite a shock."
"You'd think so, wouldn't you. But there's not a lot of difference between boys and girls when they're eleven years of age. But at the time, I remember thinking that I was going to die from an acute and terminal case of girl cooties. Yet in the end, I adjusted. The only strange thing that really happened right away was me beginning to play with the dolls and stuffed animals in my room. I think the witch must have done something to make me want to play with them, but I never complained, because I always had so much fun playing with them.
"Things went along fairly well for a while after that. But then, about the time I was fifteen or sixteen, something awful happened for which I was totally unprepared.
"Senesha called it puberty."
"That brings another mystery to the surface, Deela." said the knight. "You should have entered adolescence much earlier than that. I wonder if the witch had the power to slow your natural aging. But why would she have wanted to do that?"
"I have no idea, but anything was possible with Senesha." replied the young woman. "I just thought that everything was proceeding normally for a girl."
"But all of Tomandia prides itself on their liberal views on sex education. Those policies have been in effect several decades. As a result, I would have thought, especially being who you are, that you would have known precisely what was happening to you and at what age they would occur."
"Ha! That's very amusing, Rornick." laughed Deela. "Can you tell me what happens to a girl during puberty?"
"Of course. I learned all about that in school." replied Rornick. "It's really very simple, although I thought it unusual at the time that the explanation given to us about what would happen to our bodies took a several hours, while a similar explanation to tell us of the corresponding types of changes that happened to girls lasted less than three minutes."
"And what did they tell you?"
"We were told that wood nymphs from the nearest forest sprinkled every girl child near a certain age with magic sawdust from the tree she guarded. As she grew older, then the sawdust caused the girl to develop nymph-like features and thus become a woman."
"And you believed that?" asked Deela incredulously.
"Of course." replied her companion. "They couldn't teach things like that in school if they weren't true."
"But that's the point. It isn't true." said Deela staring off into space. "It's all crap. Tomandian school officials might vigorously pat themselves on the back for espousing liberal sex education policies for the rest of the world to hear, but I am surprised they haven't hurt themselves in the process. They are no where near as liberal as they claim to be.
"Now I'll admit that I thought I was thoroughly prepared by the school for what was supposed to happen to me during my puberty. But I was a boy then, and it was about a boy's puberty I'd been taught and for which I'd been prepared.
"And I was also taught the same old line of bullshit about what a girl goes through during puberty. I can't believe I ever accepted it as true. After going through it, Rornick, I can honestly tell you, Rornick, there are no fucking wood nymphs involved in a girl growing up and becoming a woman.
"My teachers, just like your teachers, followed that antiquated policy established centuries ago by people who didn't believe that one gender should know anything about what the other gender went through at certain times of their lives."
Rornick was shocked. "That's an asinine policy."
"Agreed. But policy is all there is to bureaucrats." replied Deela. "So there I was entering adolescence and expecting bigger muscles, a deeper voice, and chest and facial hair. And what did I get instead? A soprano voice, soft curves in places where I never expected them, these huge boobs, widely fluctuating hormones, and worst of all - a fucking period. I have to tell you, it scared the shit out of me the first time I bled down there. I was convinced I was about to die. Fortunately, Senesha helped me both survive and understand what was happening to me. She told me that the changes my body was undergoing were perfectly normal ... for a girl."
And as tears began running down her cheeks, Deela quieted and became sullen. Her tale, at least for a while, discontinued.
Rornick saw her flowing tears and decided the best course of action would be to leave her to herself for a time.
And in the silence that had resumed between them, they rode on.
"I'm sorry." said Deela, as she led her horse up to ride alongside Rornick.
"For what?" he inquired.
"For my silence of the past few days." she replied. "Those things were not your fault. It's just that ..."
"There is no fault to be placed. And I believe I can understand somewhat, Deela." said the knight. "One word led to another. I saw your tears begin to flow before you disappeared into yourself. And in considering what we had spoken of, I thought you might require some time, such as we have, to be by yourself. Also, from your earlier reactions, I gather the witch was good to you. At least, in her own way. After all, I believe that no one in the world is purely evil."
Deela smiled. "Senesha cared for me almost like a mother. Whenever I needed her, she was always there. And I really needed her as I went through puberty. That time in my life was pure and simple hell.
"Did you know ... of course you don't ... there's no way you could ... Senesha actually sent me to school? Of course, it wasn't a real school; it was one she created with her magic. It was a girls only school, as I'm sure you could have guessed, so there weren't any boys hanging around. But there were always plenty of girls around." Deela sighed. "You know, now that I've had a little time to think through about some of this, all of them either went through, or would shortly be going through, exactly those things I was going through. There was always someone around with whom you could share any of your problems. Some of them were always helping me and then I'd turn around and get involved with helping the others. Somehow, helping and being helped made things more passable."
"Being in the company of friends has long been known to have that effect." answered Rornick. "It creates a lasting bond."
"It must be true. I had a best friend at the school. Her name was Jelina. She taught me lots of things about makeup and clothes and other girlish stuff, I needed to know." A puzzled look crossed Deela's face. "You know, that must sound awfully weird coming from a man, even if he appears to be a young woman. It even sounds strange to me as I tell you about it now, but it felt perfectly normal at the time."
"Maybe Senesha intervened once again to make you more accepting of your fate." replied Rornick. "We have ascribed many strange things to the actions of the witch. Perhaps your life as Delan were to be forgotten in time."
"Maybe. Anything could have been possible." answered Deela. "That might explain a few other things I'd begun wondering about while riding the last couple of days. Jelina went through everything I did, only she was always two or three weeks earlier than me. It was just last week, Jelina told me she'd slept with a man. Believe me, I'd never even considered sleeping with a man before then - somehow, I knew I shouldn't - but afterwards my thoughts began to change. Was I, or am I, being prepared for something over which I have no control? And I've also started wondering, whether the jealousy I always felt, as Jelina's feminine frame filled out more quickly than mine, was real or not. Could it have been somehow induced by Senesha? I remember every time I complained about Jelina's boobs being even a little bigger than mine that Senesha would just smile at me and say nothing. But within a few days, mine had swollen to the same size."
"Sounds like a possible case of magical augmentation. Cases are rare, but by no means unknown. And in your case, I find the results extremely pleasing."
Once again, Deela's face turned beet red.
Meanwhile, back in Tomandia...
"Well, Rena, my crystal ball informs me that the rescue party sent to free your little sister has been successful, just as we planned. Even now, she is on the road headed for home, my Princess."
"Most excellent, Larnak." she replied. "But tell me, wizard. Is my sister pretty?"
"Your sister is very beautiful, although, in my opinion, her breasts are far too large." replied the wizard. "Senesha always believed that big boobs enhanced a woman's desirability among most men. And there can be little doubt, Princess, that there will be many men who will look upon her with desire. Senesha, as usual, did a near perfect job sculpting your sister's body, but, unfortunately, she has done a piss poor job on her mental development."
"What are you talking about, wizard?" asked the curious Princess. "What mental development?"
Larnak smiled. Like the rest of the kingdom, Princess Rena only had memories of having a younger sister. But every now and then, he experienced an irresistible compulsion to tell someone of the things he and Senesha had accomplished with Prince Delan. And now was one of those times. Later, he could, and probably would, remove those memories he would now return to Rena. But right now, there were things she needed to remember. Slowly he passed a hand over Rena's head. "It seems your little sister still believes herself to be your big brother."
"How is that possible Larnak?" she asked. She now remembered, as if it had always been true, having an older brother. "Senesha was supposed to take my older brother Delan and make him think he was and had always been my younger sister Deela."
"I know. Physically, he is completely female." replied the wizard. "Even the spell that caused her to age but one year for every two that passed has worked perfectly. But alas, Senesha always had problems completing timely mental adjustments. It's her insistence on using the old ways that always presents problems. Those spells, while tried and true, only produce satisfactory results if given sufficient time. Unfortunately, Senesha never seemed to understand that some of the newer methods obtain equal, if not better, results in far less time."
"Like that job you did on our unknowing little dupe, Haknee, several years ago." grinned Rena wickedly. "I'd have loved to have watched."
"I'm sure you would have enjoyed it, my Princess. Even now, I can still see his face at the moment he realized he'd been used." replied Larnak. "For our own plans to be successful, we needed some way of changing Delan's school records without using any magic. But since all of the school's records had been totally secured against magical alteration for centuries, I had thought all was lost.
"I could scarcely believe our luck, when Haknee and his amazingly simple little scheme to improve both his and Delan's records using the new technological methodology instead of magic literally fell into our laps.
"I promised Haknee whatever he wanted if he would alter Delan's records into those of Deela. And the fool quickly agreed. How was he to know that I would also make him unknowingly change his own record in a similar fashion? But I did give him everything he wanted in the deal." Larnak smiled. "Only the boy didn't get it exactly the way he had anticipated.
"When he told me he'd finished changing Delan's records, I fondly recall asking him if he wanted a celebratory drink. Being far to trusting, Haknee drank the potion I gave him without question. And then, while I sat back and watched, Haknee, totally unaware that anything unusual was happening to him, began to physically change.
"Afterwards he acted puzzled when I asked how he liked his new body. At my suggestion, he stood up and walked over to my magic mirror. When he saw his reflected image, I could tell he was shocked by his altered appearance. He even demanded that I restore him. But his demand, as well as his shock quickly faded. With a simple wave of my hand, I completely rewrote her memories.
"She became the insatiable Hakena. And since it better served our purpose, I made her seventeen, instead of the twelve Haknee had been. Then I slowed her ageing process so that for every passing year only a single day would pass for her. Nowadays, as your brother Andar would readily attest, pretty young girls have vast and variable uses.
"It's a really shame that Senesha never liked using brute force mental transformations. If she had, she'd still be alive now. Her methods employing simulacra always worked, but, as I've already said, when the old methods are employed, sometimes centuries are required to obtain satisfactory final results. Brute force is so much faster.
"Using brute force, dull and potential troublesome Haknee has become our sexy Hakena. Now she is one horny little slut with a virtually insatiable sexual appetite. I'm sure you're aware, I'd love to bed that saucy wench once more, but your brother Andar would probably kill me if I tried."
"There's no 'probably' about it, Larnak. He would kill you." Rena stated matter of factly. "And he would make it a very slow and intensely painful death. Where Hakena is concerned, Andar is one insanely jealous little boy totally spaced out on his testosterone. I often wonder what he would say, if he found out that his sexy little plaything started out life as a boy who wanted to be a part of the royal household."
"I'd guess it'd be remarkably close to what your brother Delan would have to say if he found out that his former best friend is now in the enviable position of becoming the Royal Concubine and could quite soon be the mother of the first of Andar's royal bastards."
On hearing her brother's true name spoken, Rena momentarily winced. "I don't think we should refer to her as Delan anymore. Her name is Deela. We need to remember that and to think of her only in that manner. We don't want to make any other mistakes now. Do you have any ideas how to cover up Senesha's shoddy mental workmanship."
"That will be no problem. I'll either find someone to meet them out on the road, or I'll go myself. Deela won't recognize me. And after a few relatively minor mental adjustments on both your sister and that fool Rornick, she'll truly, and quite permanently, become Princess Deela. No one, not even her, will ever question her identity again.
"Then, once she arrives, she'll simply take her place as Princess Deela. Everyone in the Kingdom is expecting her already. You'll all be one big happy family once again.
"Then after a few weeks, we'll arrange a marriage between Deela and that Sanarian asshole Crendal. Their marriage should forge the 'unbreakable' alliance with Sanaria we've been courting of late. And with Deela married off, she should be unable to cause us any problems, not that she'd ever want to or even think of doing so."
Their scornful laughter mingled into a frightful racket as the sounds echoed down the hall.
The travelers crested a hill that overlooked a small uninhabited valley. At least they assumed it was uninhabited because their map indicated no settlements located within its boundaries.
With the sun hanging low in the sky, Rornick decided they would find a suitable spot on the valley floor and settle down for the night. Their day's journey had been long and exhausting for both Deela and Rornick. Both were road weary, eager to find a a place to pitch camp, and hungry.
But when they began their descent into the glen, both of them clearly saw the enormous tent standing majestically on the valley floor.
"There must be some other travelers nearby, Deela." said Rornick. "I hope they will not mind having some company tonight. Even if only for a short time. And I'm sure you won't mind having an evening's respite from my cooking either."
"Your cooking hasn't been that bad ... exactly." she grinned.
Oddly, when the travellers finally arrived at the tent, they found it unattended. And as surprised as they'd been at that discovery, they were equally surprised when it became very apparent that the surrounding area had been uninhabited for am exceedingly long time. In fact, Rornick felt certain that the area had been completely abandoned for several years. Littered all around the site were pots and pans covered by layers of dirt (dust just didn't come that thick). And yet, the tent, although made of materials apparently centuries old and covered by strange ancient designs, still appeared to be remarkably good shape.
"You should sleep better tonight, Deela, then you have since we left the witch's castle." remarked Rornick. "This tent should offer you the spacious accommodations you've not had since then. And when the morning comes, we will be able to use much of what is already here to speed us on our way. That means we'll be able to unpack less of our own gear tonight, which in turn will mean fewer things to repack in the morning. We should be able to get back on the road tomorrow far earlier than we have so far."
"That'll be great, Rornick. Lets get what we need unpacked, find something to eat, and turn in for the night. I'm exhausted." With that, Deela took her bedding down from her horse, then carried it into the tent.
And only moments later, Rornick heard her scream.
He rushed to the tent. As he entered, he found Deela passed out on the floor. He leaned down and took her pulse. "Princess?" he asked with great concern. "Are you all right?"
Deela stirred. "Who the hell are you?" she asked him gruffly as she returned to full consciousness. "And what's this princess shit?"
"I'm Rornick. And you're Princess Deela of Tomandia." replied the confused knight. "I rescued you from the witch Senesha. Don't you remember?"
"Rescued me? From a witch?" puzzled the young woman. Then without warning, Deela's hand shot up and grabbed a handful of her hair. Pulling it in front of her eyes, she angrily stared at the strands she held in obvious disbelief. "By the gods, I have long golden hair." she exclaimed in surprise.
Then Rornick was utterly amazed as he watched her expression change once more as one of her hands reached down and first found, then cupped one of her ample breasts. "Oh fuck!" she screamed. "I've got tits, too! Damnation, I'm a girl!"
She stared daggers at Rornick. "Just what kind of a miserable excuse for a knight are you? Are you completely ignorant of the all rules of chivalry? Aren't you even aware that a proper knight does not let a mere girl enter an unknown place without checking it out first."
"Deela?" questioned Rornick as he wondered what had happened to her. A sudden wave of dizziness and nausea forced him to drop to one knee. He began to raise his hand to his face. "What is hap..."
Abruptly, his arm stopped midway to his face. Instead, he looked at Deela. A wide grin began spreading across his face.
Continuing in a slightly different tone, he said "Perhaps Kelrik, unlike you, he is one that does not leap into something before he looks. Or just maybe, he is one who sees his female companion as an equal, not just some toy to be pampered. But what is most likely, he simply perceived no danger here."
"Marena?" queried the young woman. "You've possessed the man?"
"Of course, Kelrik. Why should I not possess the man? After all, my dear, you have possessed the woman, have you not?"
"But I was supposed to possess him, not this mere girl child." whined Kelrik in Deela's soft voice. "That is the way it has always been before."
"Who you thought you were supposed to possess is no longer of any importance whatsoever." stated Marena in Rornick's voice coldly. "Nor is the 'way it has always been' any longer of consequence."
"But by all the rules of our ancient covenant, I have always possessed the one who is first to enter this tent. And according to the inviolable rules of chivalry that person must be male; therefore, I should always possess the male. By all that is right, I invoke our covenant and hereby demand you relinquish the male to my control."
"Oh, pish tosh, Kelrik." laughed Marena. "You know as well as I that under our ages old covenant, Kelrik, you were given the right of first possession and, as 'it has always been,' you were granted first possession. However, my dear, no where in our ancient agreement is it stated that you are guaranteed a masculine form. Besides, I truly believe your male persona has been in charge here for far too long as it is."
"But you know this isn't right, Marena." replied Kelrik nervously. He had invoked their covenant, yet nothing had noticeably changed. For once, he was unsure of himself. "I am the man, here." said Kelrik as he stared defiantly into Marena's eyes. "I am the man." he stubbornly repeated. "I ... was ... supposed ... to ... possess ..."
"Under our centuries-old covenant, which I shall now invoke, youngwoman, all that is important to our agreement is my_ possession of this man." replied Marena with equal defiance. Marena smiled as she watched Kelrik's eyes begin to glaze. "Had you never wondered before why each of us had both male and female personalities? This time, it shall be my masculine persona that controls this man, just as it shall be your feminine persona in control of that woman. Is that not right, my dear Kirella?"
"Of course that's right, my Lord Marnak. You are correct, as you always are." groveled Kirella before the man as her personality supplanted Kelrik's. "You are indeed the man. In truth, you are my man, m'Lord. It is you who is all that is important to me."
"Now that is much better, Kirella." grinned Marnak, as he leered with obvious lust at the young woman in his presence. "I do believe, we should have some fun before we do anything else tonight. It has seemed like eons since I've last found pleasure between a woman's legs."
"Of course, my Lord. Whatever you desire of me, you may have." she obediently replied. "As it has with you, m'lord, it has been an equally long and boring time, since the last time I was afforded an opportunity to pleasure someone such as yourself, m'Lord." added Kirella quickly in breathless anticipation. Stretching herself out languorously on the unrolled bedding, she opened her legs wide in obvious invitation. "Please, take me, my lord."
"What the hell do you mean they just vanished?" asked Rena.
"Just that, Princess. I was watching them in the crystal ball." answered Larnak. "They had just reached the top of a hill that overlooked a small non-descript valley. But as they started down the slope, the crystal suddenly clouded over. I can't even relocate them. For anyone else I can think of, I concentrate briefly and the crystal focuses on them perfectly without undue delay. But whenever I've tried to relocate them, the crystal simply clouds over again."
"Well. Go out and find them!"
"Yes, Princess. At once, Princess."
When Rornick woke, he had a gut feeling that something was amiss, particularly since he didn't remember going to sleep in the first place.
Slowly he opened his eyes.
Then just as quickly shut them.
Strangely, he was still inside the tent. He clearly remembered Deela's scream that had caused him to rush inside the tent to find out was wrong. He remembered finding her unconscious on the floor and then having a really strange conversation with her. But after that everything was a total blank.
And now, he woke up and found himself laid out on Deela's bedding.
He was laying on his back.
He was naked.
And stretched across his chest was an arm, which wasn't his, with playful fingers, which also weren't his, twisting and gently pulling the hairs on his chest. In the crook of his arm rested a head covered with long blond hair, which in turn was attached to an equally naked woman. Even though he couldn't see the face of the woman he held, he was deathly afraid he knew who she had to be.
"Oh, please." he whispered in prayer. "Make this not be, how I fear it shall be."
Once again he opened his eyes. Shyly he carefully lifted the blond mass of hair to peek at the face of the woman laying next to him. It was exactly as he had feared. For the woman he held tightly to him, laying eyes closed with an openly mischievous grin spread across her face, was Princess Deela.
What had they done last night?
Indeed, what had he done last night?
But before he had time to think another thought or pose another unanswerable question, Deela opened her eyes. Finding herself naked, bedded with a man just as naked as her, and not having the slightest idea how she came to be in that position, she instinctively did what any good little princess would do in a similar situation.
"What have you done to me?" she screamed hysterically, while flailing her arms wildly at him.
"Forgive me, my Princess." he answered softly. Then, in an effort to break her out of her fit, he slapped her, not as gently as he would have preferred, across the face.
For a moment, she seemed shocked that Rornick had struck her. Then her hand quickly reached up to touch her face where he had hit her. In doing so, her rage and hysterics melted away. After a few minutes, having regained her composure, she asked "What the hell's going on?"
"I really don't know." Rornick replied. "What do you remember?"
"I remember unpacking my bedding and bringing it into the tent. I laid it out on the floor and then unrolled it. When I stood up, I suddenly felt dizzy ... no, not exactly dizzy ... but I did feel very strange, almost like there was someone else in my head. I think I screamed. And then I must have passed out, because the next thing I remember is waking up ... here ... next to you."
"This is getting stranger and stranger." replied Rornick. "You did scream. And when I heard it, I rushed in here and found you passed out on the floor. When you woke only a few minutes later, you didn't know who I was. Neither did you seem to know who you were. In addition, you sounded completely surprised and somewhat angry to be female. And you also complained about my not being adequately chivalrous."
"I don't remember any of that." said an obviously frightened Deela.
"And that's all I remember, until I woke up next to you. It's as if some malevolent spirits possessed of us."
Deela shivered at the thought of being possessed. Unconsciously she pulled herself closer to Rornick.
The sun slowly sank below the horizon.
"Our hosts are most observant. Are they not, Kirella?"
"Yes, my love." she replied playfully. "They are most observant, indeed."
"We shall need to keep these bodies well nourished, lovely one, if we are to successfully accomplish that which the infernal ones have charged us to do in the time allotted. Until we have done what we must do, our hosts shall have precious little time to act as themselves. But if last night be any indication of what we might expect of them, my lovely, then our lovemaking should render them totally exhausted and compliant until then."
"I do hope so, Marnak." With a sly seductive grin, she kissed him passionately, before pulling him down onto the bedding. In her most sexy and seductive voice, she added "Perhaps, before we dine, my Lord Marnak, we might have a little fun first. After all, m'Lord, on this night this body is not a virgin."
Marnak smiled. "Whatever is your desire, my Lady Kirella."
Once again Rornick's eyes slowly opened.
He silently glanced at Deela's sleeping form. Once again she laid in almost the identical position she'd been in the last time he'd awakened. He couldn't help wondering how much time had passed. Had it been only a day? Or had it been longer?
Deela gasped, as she opened her eyes and found her arm once again laying across Rornick's chest. "They've done it again, haven't they? Have you any idea what is going on?"
"It would appear Princess, for I truly fear you may not wish me to call you Deela any longer, that we have been possessed by spirits who are using us as vessels to act upon and satisfy their connubial desires."
"Look, Rornick. How many times have I told you to call me Deela and not Princess. For however long this may take, you will call me Deela! Is that understood, Rornick?"
"Perfectly, Deela." he replied sheepishly.
"And just what the hell did you mean - 'satisfy their connubial desires' - anyway?"
"How about 'exercise their conjugal rights?'" suggested Rornick. "Does that help any?"
"Not really." answered Deela.
"Then I'm really glad you haven't stood up yet. Although I have this feeling, you're not going to be overly happy in a minute or so. To be quite blunt, Deela, I believe these spirits have possessed us for the sole purpose of having sexual intercourse."
"Holy shit." she replied blushing bright crimson. "But I don't even want to have sex with a man." she said as tears welled in eyes. "Besides, I can't have sex, I'm still a virgin."
Rornick shook his head. "Not any longer, I'm afraid." he replied sadly.
"Goddamn it. Who the fuck do these spirits think they are? I wish those arrogant bastards were here right now so I could give them a piece of my mind."
In an attempt to comfort her, Rornick pulled the sobbing young woman closer to him. "And if they were here, just what you tell them?" he asked.
"Why, I'd tell them ..." began Deela.
"... thank you." finished Kirella. "Especially since our hosts have provided us this far superior position from which to continue our festivities from last night. Come out, Marnak, dearest. Play time has returned."
With a total conscious day composed of no more than fifteen minutes, it was inevitable that Deela and Rornick would lose track of the passage of individual days. And in no time at all, they did.
Each passing day was just like every other day. Today was just like yesterday, and tomorrow would be just like today. And yet with the continued passage of the days, little things began to subtly change. Rornick no longer awoke each morning shocked at finding Deela draped all over him. And likewise, Deela was no longer frightened to find herself waking up in that position. To both of them, their waking moments and the time spent together had become treasured and seemed almost normal now.
And then one day, without warning, the two of them were taken by an unexpected complete surprise.
On that morning, Rornick and Deela woke just as they had uncounted times before. They sat together and talked back and forth, all the while waiting to be possessed once more. But on that day, the cycle that had become their normality changed.
They found it unbelievable that after nearly twenty minutes had passed, absolutely nothing had happened. They were still themselves.
Both of them began wondering what would happen to them now, as their time of consciousness soon stretched out to thirty minutes.
Their sense of wonder became one of worry, as, after the passage of three-quarters of an hour, they still remained themselves.
Eventually, a full hour had passed. They still remained themselves, but now a feeling of hope pervaded their thoughts. Perhaps, the spirits had accomplished whatever had been required of them. Perhaps, the spirits were letting them leave.
Cautiously, both of them rose and went outside. It was the first time that either of them had knowingly been outside the tent since they'd entered. And neither of them had a clear idea of just how much time had passed since then.
The site was far cleaner than either of them remembered it being. And it clearly showed signs of recent habitation.
Laid out on the table, they found a meal prepared for them. They sat down at table and ate in silence. Neither of them overly hungry, for the spirits, if that was what they'd truly been, had obviously kept them fed and fit. Yet neither of them could recall the last time they'd eaten. And both found the food incredibly delicious.
Upon finishing her meal, Deela turned to her companion. "Do you think they're finally letting us go?"
"I really don't know. But if we're still able to function as ourselves in the morning, then I think we should get the hell out of here and never look back." replied Rornick. "I know we just woke up, but the sun has already set. I think it is important for us to travel by day and sleep at night, so we'll remain here tonight and leave at dawn."
"I'm not sleeping in that tent by myself." exclaimed Deela.
"But it will be more comfortable for you inside."
"No, Rornick. You don't understand." replied Deela. "I don't care if I'm comfortable or not. There is no way in hell I'm going to stay in that tent alone. If you want me to sleep in there, then you're going to have sleep in there too."
"But that wouldn't proper." replied Rornick quickly.
"And why not, Rornick? For the past god-knows-how-many-days, you and I have been possessed by someone or something that made us fuck like hyperactive bunnies. I'm sure as hell not going to worry about what is or isn't proper now."
"But, I just meant ..."
"I know exactly what you meant, Rornick. But I didn't ask you to have sex with me." she curtly replied. "Even after everything that's happened over the last however-many days, I can't believe I'm even remotely close to being ready to sleep with a guy. All I want from you is for you to just hold me while we sleep. You know, like you did when we only had our few minutes of being ourselves each day. That's all I want."
"Well, I suppose." whispered Rornick. "If that's all ..."
As the sun rose quickly above the horizon, light filled the tent and roused the sleepers. As Rornick and Deela woke, they found themselves in what had by now become familiar positions. But, instead of waking at nearly nightfall, as they had uncounted times before, now it was morning. And more important, they were still themselves.
As they passed through the slit to the outside, they were momentarily blinded by the unfamiliar brightness of the sunlight. Set out on the table, as if it were waiting for them, was a lavishly prepared breakfast. Hurriedly, they consumed what had been prepared for them, still uncertain if they had truly been set free. The meal, as it had been the night before, was so delicious, it exceeded their ability to describe it.
But, if they were able, they needed to be on their way. And they wanted to be as far away from this place as possible in the shortest amount of time. Resulting from this need, they took little time after finishing their breakfast to relocate their horses, who, despite the amount of time they'd been imprisoned, had remarkably not strayed far away and appeared ready, if not eager, for travel. Quickly they repacked their meager possessions. Once done, they mounted their steeds and rode quickly away from that tent sitting peacefully on the valley floor.
They did not look back.
Until at last, they reached the crest of the hills that framed the small valley. The travelers stopped to take one final look back into the glen that had taken more time than it should have to cross.
Deela said nothing. She simply stared into the valley at the tent that stood on its floor. Never in her life had she wanted to be away from any place, as much as she wanted to be away from here. She merely waved her hand, as if to say goodbye.
Rornick also stared out into the valley. "Goodbye, valley most strange." he murmured.
"An apt name." whispered Deela.
And while the two of them continued to stare down into the valley, the air about the tent began to shimmer. And with the passage of less than two heartbeats, the tent had slowly and completely faded from view.
"Well, Larnak." asked Rena as she entered the wizard's room without knocking. "Has there been any progress locating my sister and her companion Rornick?"
"I have had none, my Princess." replied the wizard. "Nor have any of the search parties found any trace of them as yet. I was just about to try my crystal one more when you arrived." Larnak looked down into his crystal and concentrated for several seconds. "Well, I'll be damned."
"What is wrong now, Larnak?" queried Rena.
"Absolutely nothing, Rena." said the surprised wizard. "It's just Deela and Rornick, my Princess. They're back."
"Well. Where have they been? Its been eight weeks since you last located them in that stupid crystal of yours."
"I haven't the slightest idea where they've been. I wish I did. A place shielded from magical observation could be most useful." Larnak shook his head. "I looked into my crystal and summoned them to appear exactly as I had done every day for the past eight weeks. Then today, they suddenly re-appeared, as if they'd never been gone."
"Do you think this is going to cause us any problems?"
"I doubt that her delayed return will have any major effect now, but our plans, as I'm sure you recall, were already in need of alteration. I'm sure you have not forgotten that unexpected wedding that took place last week in Sanaria, when Crendal quite suddenly married that homely little Princess Faeli of neighboring Parquat."
"I heard she was with child." spat Rena cattily. "But what of the alliance we sought from Sanaria?"
"With Crendal and Faeli married, there will be no alliance. It's dead. And with no hope of forging that alliance, we really have no need of your sister any more."
"But everyone in the kingdom already expects her to return soon."
"Actually, my Princess, that's not exactly true any longer." Larnak smiled at Rena. "When the two of them disappeared, I replaced the spells over the kingdom that made the people not remember her existence. In the entire kingdom, only you and I were unaffected by its casting. And to put it quite simply, Princess, I now have no reason to ever remove those spells. When she and Rornick arrive, no one will have any idea who this girl who claims to be a prince of the realm really is."
"But after they arrive, she'll realize, if she hasn't already, that there is something wrong, especially when no one comes out to greet her or celebrate her return. Rornick will also know that something is amiss. And they'll talk with people."
"Then the solution is very obvious." A smile spread across Larnak's face. "The two of them can never be allowed to arrive. Can they, my princess?"
"I suppose not, Larnak." replied Rena. Then suddenly, she frowned. "I don't want you to hurt her, wizard." exclaimed Rena emphatically. "She's my sister and I won't let you hurt her."
Larnak's smile widened. "There is never a need to hurt anyone, my Princess. I'll simply make her believe she is, and has always been, someone else. Of course, Rornick will also have to be suitably transformed and made to believe he's someone else as well. Perhaps a whore and her pimp would be appropriate. Perhaps something else will come to mind. I know. I'll send my apprentice and nephew Crydar out to meet them. I'll let him determine who they shall become. It'll provide a good learning experience for him."
"I'm certainly glad to be far away from that place." said Deela as the travelers stopped at an oasis for a brief rest and some water for both them and their horses.
"As am I." replied Rornick. "I wonder just how long we were detained there."
"I have no idea, Rornick." she replied. "But I do know that the farther we travel away from that place, the better I like it."
"That's understandable. I suppose we'll be able to figure out how long we were kept there once we return to Tomandia."
"I guess so." said Deela. "But do you think we'll ever find out whatever it was they, whoever they were, wanted from us, or why they decided to let us go?"
"I have no idea, Deela."
Once their brief rest stop ended, they remounted their horses and continued their journey home. Both of them hoped that the remainder of their trip would remain as totally uneventful as this day had been so far.
With sunset fast approaching, the two travelers found a suitable clearing to pitch camp and stopped for the night. They had just finished their evening repast to cap a welcomed uneventful day, when they spotted a lone rider approaching.
"Hail." cried the stranger as he rode toward them.
"Hail, stranger." answered Rornick. He stood to meet the stranger. "From whence do you come, stranger."
"I am a subject of the Kingdom of Tomandia." replied the stranger. "My name is Crydar, and I am one of several parties sent out to scour the countryside for the returning Princess Deela and her rescue party of five brave knights. They were expected to return several weeks ago, but, as of yet, no one has heard anything from them."
Deela and Rornick looked at each other with broad smiles. "That's us, Crydar." said the knight. "This is Princess Deela. And I am Rornick, who led the rescue party."
"There were five knights in the party that set out to rescue, Her Highness." said Crydar, thinking himself clever in asking them questions that his uncle had already answered for him. "What happened to the rest of your men, Rornick."
"One of them is dead." answered Rornick sadly. "The other three were horribly transformed by the witch. As we were preparing to leave the witch's castle, I thought it best to leave them there, where, behind its battlements, they would be safe from harm."
"That was undoubtedly the wisest decision you could have made. I have always been told that a location of safety is always the better option than facing the unknown, even under the best of circumstances. And with your men trapped in unfamiliar forms, circumstances would have been far from ideal. Besides, they should be easier to find there, once you find a wizard to restore them."
"That was exactly what I thought, even though it grieved me to leave them behind." replied Rornick. "Can you tell me, just how far are we from the Tomandian capital?"
"For two or three riders, probably a day and a half's ride." replied Crydar. "Certainly it should take no more than two days."
"Did you hear that, Deela. With the passage of no more than two days, you will be home once again."
"I heard Rornick." she replied excitedly as tears welled in her eyes. "I'm so happy. I can hardly wait to get home and see my parents again."
Crydar couldn't help but notice the familiarity of address that shouldn't have properly existed between a princess and a subject knight of her realm. He smiled as he thought of the increased possibilities now open to him. Perhaps, the two of them might become even more familiar with one another before he took his final leave of them.
Nearly anything he could consider was possible with all the potions and powders Crydar carried in his saddlebags. His Uncle Larnak had told him to be creative and supplied him with things that covered nearly every possibility. Not only that, but his wise and thoughtful uncle had even included an emergency escape potion, just in case he had said, although Crydar was confident he'd never need to use it.
"Would you mind if I camped with you tonight?" asked Crydar. "Then in the morning, we can all ride together for Tomandia."
"Of course." replied Rornick. "You are most welcome to join us, both tonight as well as on tomorrow's journey."
The three of them sat down around the camp fire.
Nervously, Deela asked, "Can you tell me things of Tomandia? It has been so long since I've been there. And what can you tell me of my parents? How have they fared during the time I've been away?"
"Certainly, your Highness. I'll try and answer all your questions." answered Crydar. "Perhaps you can also fill me in on some of the things you've been through as well."
Continuing to sit around the camp fire, the three of them spoke long into the night.
Deela had many questions about both Tomandia and her parents. With patience, Crydar answered all of her queries as best he could.
Sandwiched between Deela's questions, Rornick calmly spoke of the battle that he and his men had had with the witch Senesha. With a mixture of awe, fear, and respect, he spoke in great detail of the transformations that had befallen his men. And while Rornick told his narrative, he had Crydar's complete and undivided attention.
Afterwards, Deela spoke of having been Delan, but Crydar couldn't conceive of the possibility that this beautiful princess who now sat gracefully across the fire from him had ever truly once been male. His uncle had, just as her sister Princess Rena had, only spoken of Deela. They'd never once mentioned a missing prince named Delan. And, for that matter, neither had anyone in the kingdom ever spoken to him of someone by that name.
But Crydar was an apprentice wizard. And being an apprentice, he realized that the powers of a witch like Senesha could have easily transformed a boy physically, even mentally, into a girl, or, likewise, a girl into a boy. But the alteration of the entire collective consciousness of the kingdom in general would require access to tremendous amounts of magical energy. And Crydar was absolutely certain that no one, not even his Uncle Larnak, would ever be able to harness that amount of power, let alone wield it. Besides, if Larnak possessed that kind of power, then Crydar assumed, that as his favorite nephew and only apprentice, he'd certainly share it with him.
It was very unlikely that the Princess had ever been male, thought Crydar smugly. It was far more reasonable to assume that Deela had always been female, and that Senesha, whatever her reasons had been, had simply made the girl believe she'd once been a boy. That was a far simpler explanation then believing someone capable of tapping into virtually infinite power.
As Deela spoke of the time she'd spent in the witch's castle, Crydar was surprised at the forgiving tone of her voice. He'd expected her to be angry, maybe even bitter, yet clearly she wasn't. And she spoke of Senesha with a certain fondness that he knew he could have never felt if he'd been imprisoned as she had been. Then, as she had told Rornick earlier in their travels, she mentioned to Crydar all about the school that Senesha had provided for her education. And, in doing so, she spoke of her best friend Jelina, as well as some of the mixed feelings she'd experienced since she and Rornick had left the castle.
"I think, it is getting late." said Rornick finally. "We should retire for the night." He looked down at the remaining embers in the pit. "Morning shall come far earlier than we desire, but we should be on our way as soon as possible tomorrow."
"Of course." replied Crydar.
But as Deela and Rornick retired to their respective tents, Crydar walked slowly to where his horse stood tethered. From one side of his saddlebags, he silently removed some of the powders and potions his uncle had supplied him. From the other, he removed some clothes that had been carefully handpicked by Princess Rena. And then, he returned to the pit, where embers continued glowing, to sit and wait.
After an hour had passed, Crydar rose and walked over to the tent he remembered Deela entering. After cautiously pulling back the flap, he warily entered into the pitch blackness within. It would not do to wake her now.
"From memories become." he whispered as he carefully emptied the potion into the sleeper's mouth that only scant moments before he'd just as cautiously sought out.
He set the clothes down on the floor of the tent before quietly leaving. Before refastening the flap, he gently blew some of the powder he carried into the swirling air just inside the tent. After a short while, the dust would settle, not only on the clothes he'd left inside, but on the sleeper as while, thereby creating an affinity between them.
Crydar smiled. Everything had gone exceptionally well, he thought, as he retired for the night. His uncle would be proud of him. And in the morning, there would no longer be a princess traveling with them. Deela would be someone else entirely by then.
And once morning arrived, he would quickly take care of Rornick's residual memories. With any luck, he would return to Tomandia by himself, no later than the end of the day.
How simple everything had been, he thought confidently.
Crydar was the first to wake as the sun made its inevitable climb above the horizon. Since it was the first time his uncle had allowed him to transform something larger than a rabbit without his direct supervision, he was quite anxious to learn the results of his handiwork.
As he waited and watched, a stirring of activity soon began inside Deela's tent. Unfortunately, Rornick's tent remained silent. Now that was a shame, he thought. He'd actually been looking forward to seeing Rornick's reaction as someone other than Princess Deela exited the tent that she had entered last night.
Waiting in eager anticipation, Crydar's eyes had been riveted to her tent, when finally its flap was thrown back. He watched as a young woman's form stepped out and turned slowly towards him.
Oh shit, he thought. What the hell happened?
"Good morning, Crydar." remarked Deela cheerfully as she walked over to him. She was still wearing the same clothes she had worn the night before. "I trust you slept well."
"I slept fine, Deela." He continued staring at her in disbelief. Everything had gone so smoothly last night. What in hell had gone wrong?
He pondered over the actions he'd taken the previous night. He knew his uncle wouldn't be the least bit happy with this turn of events. However, as he continued to replay his actions from last night over and over in his mind, he couldn't track down even a single error in the spell he'd cast. There was no way, unless his uncle had unknowingly provisioned him with faulty potions or powders, which he believed a complete impossibility, that Princess Deela could still be walking about this camp.
But she was.
And try as he might, Crydar could think of no plausible explanation why?
In the meantime, unnoticed by Crydar, activity had finally begun within Rornick's tent. Deela noticed the movement, but had only thought it peculiar that she had been up and around this morning, while Rornick still slept. That was something that had never happened before, even during those strange days when they'd been possessed.
Several minutes later, Rornick tossed back the flap of his tent and joined his companions outside. "Good morning, Deela and Crydar." he said lively.
Both of them turned to greet him. But Crydar and Deela could only gape at him. Neither could believe what they saw.
"What's wrong?" asked Rornick completely unaware of anything being amiss. "I know, it's my clothes. Isn't it?" He shook his head. "I don't know what's wrong, but they didn't fit this morning. And when I finally managed to get them on, they were way too tight. Even my shoes seemed far too small this morning. It was a struggle to put anything on this morning."
Deela continued staring at him. She wondered where Rornick had found the clothes he was wearing. But even more importantly, she wondered why he was wearing them.
Crydar also continued to stare, but for vastly different reasons. Now he knew what had gone wrong last night. He'd screwed up and entered the wrong tent. The proof was Rornick, standing plainly in front of him, wearing the clothes that Crydar believed he'd left in Deela's tent.
In response to the silence from his companions, Rornick asked, "If it isn't my dress that's a problem, maybe I'd look better wearing a little makeup. There wasn't any in my tent." Then he looked down at his feet. "Do either of you have a larger pair of shoes I could wear? Mine still feel too small."
Subconsciously, Deela glanced down at Rornick's feet and gasped. They were definitely smaller and more dainty, then she remembered them being. And as she watched, they shrank a little more, becoming even smaller and daintier.
"Never mind about another pair of shoes." said Rornick. "They feel fine and fit perfectly now. I guess I must have been dreaming before."
As Deela's gaze drifted upwards, she stared at Rornick's legs that were no longer hirsute and muscular as she remembered. Instead they were long with a silky smooth appearance that showed no traces of hair ever having grown on them. And as his legs disappeared underneath the skirt he wore, Deela suddenly realized that these were legs that could have never been his before. Not only that, but these legs looked totally out of place on him.
"Are you alright?" asked Deela with obvious concern.
"I'm just fine, Deela." he replied perplexed by her question. Whatever made her think there might be something wrong with him, he wondered?
But then, Deela noticed something else happening. Rornick had been at least a foot taller than her yesterday, and she had always had to look up at him before. But right now, she was staring directly at his chin. Along with everything else, Rornick was also inexplicably shrinking.
And even more peculiar than anything else, Rornick continued to act as if everything were perfectly normal. He didn't seem to realize he was changing with each passing minute.
Deela glanced downward and immediately wished she hadn't. Rornick now possessed a waist totally unlike any that had previously graced any man before. Likewise, she saw that he now had the jutting hips and the pleasing rounded ass of some comely woman.
Neither was Crydar unaffected by Rornick's ongoing transformation. As he watched in fascination from where he stood behind him, Crydar felt his manhood stir in response to what he was seeing.
When Deela's frightened gaze returned to Rornick's face, she now looked him squarely in the eye. But before she could react to the two of them being of equal height, she gawked in awe and wonder as his eyes changed from brown to emerald green, even as his closely cropped dark hair lightened while it briskly flowed down to cover his newly softened and rounded feminine shoulders.
Once more she gasped, as Rornick's flesh began to swell beneath the bodice that he wore. She watched in disbelief as the hair on his chest thinned, first becoming wispy, then disappearing completely, as the swelling of his breasts continued unabated, until finally his were just as full and buxom as hers.
Inexplicably, Deela felt a tinge of jealously build within her as she looked over Rornick's form. Even though his face was still his own, he now had a body completely indistinguishable from a girl.
"Rornick?" queried Deela.
"Who's Rornick?" came his puzzled reply in a soft soprano voice. It was a voice not quite like Rornick's, but neither was it all that different. Still, it sounded vaguely familiar.
Oh shit, thought Crydar. His uncle would surely be pissed now.
But the transformation of Rornick was still unfinished. As Deela observed helplessly, his facial muscles began to twitch. Then the bones beneath them, which provided form, became pliant as they shifted positions, remolding into new shapes. His hard, angular features rounded and softened. His eyebrows thinned and his now pouty lips puffed slightly. As his cheek bones rose higher, his craggy nose shrank and reformed into one that was upturned and pertly petite.
At the same time, Deela was both frightened and amazed. Staring at Rornick's transformed features, she realized that there was nothing physically remaining of the man he'd once been. By some unexplained means, he'd been changed into a buxom young woman just like her.
And she was ...
"Oh my god." whispered Deela. "Jelina?" she asked.
"Of course, it's me, Deela." replied the girl who had been Rornick. "I was beginning to think there was something terribly wrong with you. For the life of me, I can't understand how come it took you so long to recognize your best friend in the whole wide world."
Oh shit, thought Crydar again. Now he knew that he'd fucked up royally. It was even worse then he'd first thought. Surely his uncle would be shitting bricks by now.
"But there's no way you can be Jelina." remarked Deela. "She was my imaginary best friend at the imaginary school conjured up by Senesha's magic."
"Oh, come off it, Deela." replied Jelina once Rornick. Quite casually, she strolled over to Deela, all the while strutting her stuff exactly the way Deela remembered Jelina doing. "Don't tell me, you've forgotten all the fun the two of us had together at Senesha's school for girls." Jelina reached over and pinched Deela's arm.
"Ow!" cried Deela. "What was that for?"
"I just wanted to prove to you that I'm real, and not imaginary." she replied playfully. "Now prove it to yourself. Pinch me back. But not on my arm, Deela. Just like the old times, pinch me on my soft round ass." Turning to present her rear to Deela, she spotted Crydar for the first time. "Well. Hello there, cutey pie." she said with his seduction first and foremost on her mind. Oozing sexual appeal, she asked, "Do you come here often, sailor?"
Before the stunned and speechless Crydar could even think of a simple response, Jelina grabbed him tightly, pulled him closely to her, and kissed him long and passionately. For a fleeting moment, Crydar had struggled vainly to free himself from her grasp. But it was a skirmish he had no hope of winning and, quite obviously, he lost. Sensing his surrender, Jelina pulled back, then heartily laughed as Crydar's legs buckled under him, nearly causing him to fall.
"Did you enjoy that, cute stuff?" she asked. "I guarantee there's a lot more where that came from, cutey. You know something, Deela. If you still haven't found someone to take your virginity, this quiet little cutey here might be the perfect fella for you. Why don't you mosey on over here and give him a playful little kiss. Then we'll be able to see if he's anywhere near interested in you."
"What are ..." began Deela.
Suddenly unable to control her actions, Deela felt an overwhelming urge to walk towards Crydar. With each step she took, she felt an irresistible desire build. When she reached him, she, just as Jelina had done, clutched him tightly to her and firmly planted the wettest and juiciest kiss he'd ever received in his entire life on his waiting lips.
And incredibly, Deela's kiss had been far more passionate than Jelina's had been. Never in his life had he experienced anything like it.
As Deela broke the kiss and pulled away, Crydar's legs once more crumpled. In order to steady himself, he had to drop to one knee.
Even as Crydar fought to regain the strength drained from him in passion, Deela also fought to free herself from the effects of this new spell. "This isn't right. I can't do this." she repeated, as if her mantra, several times. Then suddenly, her obsession with him vanished.
Now she stared at Crydar with deep suspicion etched upon her face. "What did you do?" she demanded.
"Who? Me?" asked Crydar innocently. He was still dazed and weakened, slightly incoherent, from the release of passions evoked from the fervent kisses of the young and ardent women.
"Yeah, you." she snapped back. Deela grabbed Crydar's unresisting arm and quickly twisted it behind his back.
"What are you doing, Deela?" asked Jelina sounding worried.
"Hey, that hurts, Deela." whined Crydar. "Let me go. Please."
"It's going to hurt even more, you little wimp, if you don't restore Rornick to normal." she told him curtly. "But then, maybe I should just break this off at the shoulder." She tugged slightly on his captive arm.
"Oh, don't hurt him, Deela." exclaimed Jelina. "You know, I think he's really kind of cute. But if you go and hurt him, then he won't be nearly as much fun to be with."
Once again, Deela applied more pressure to his arm. As her grip on his arm continued to tighten, Crydar winced in ever increasing pain.
"Hey, please. Oh, alright. You win, Deela." surrendered Crydar. "I can't return to him his true physical form again, but I should be able to restore his mind. The powders I require are over there in my saddlebags. Now, can you, please, let go of my arm."
Deela loosened her grip, but not enough for Crydar to entertain any thoughts of escape. "That sounds okay for now. But I think I'll just hold on to your precious little arm until after Rornick recovers his senses and knows who he is."
"Fine." mumbled Crydar. He knew now he wouldn't be able to fool her into releasing him. As a result, he had little choice but to do what she asked. "I should be able to cast the spell using only one hand," he grumbled, "provided I use the right powder. Jelina, would you bring my saddlebags here and hold them open for me?"
"Certainly, cute stuff." replied Jelina with a passion that left no doubt as to what was on her mind.
As Jelina held his bag open, Crydar rapidly fumbled through it with his free hand until, finally, he found the small bottle of powder he required. But during his search, he had also found and palmed that little vial of potion, which, not too long ago, he had never believed he would ever use.
After handing the bottle to Jelina, he managed, unnoticed by either of them, to slip the small vial into one of his pockets. "Can you open this for me, Jelina?" he asked.
"Sure, cutey." she replied. Quickly she uncapped the bottle and was pleased with herself for being so helpful.
"Now pour some of the powder into my palm." Crydar slowly extended his hand and then watched as Jelina tapped some of the bottle's contents into his open hand. "Regain yourself." he whispered. Then Crydar blew the powder into Jelina's face.
"Hey. What the fuck are you doing, asshole?" screamed Jelina angrily. With her hands, she tried without visible success to wipe the powder from her face. "Since you've decided that blowing powder into my face is so much fun, then you can go and find someone else to sleep with after you and Deela finish playing." She pouted. "Deela, why don't you do both of a favor and go ahead and break that asshole's arm."
Deela's grip on his arm tightened.
"Please. Wait a couple of minutes." whined Crydar. "Give it some more time to work."
"Oh." groaned Jelina abruptly. Ever so slowly, she raised a hand to her head. "Oh, shit." she moaned. "Damn, my head hurts." Then slowly she shook her head. "What the hell is going on here?"
"Rornick?" asked Deela. "Is that you?"
"Of course it's me, Deela. But who is that speaking?" A look of surprised shock crossed his face as he suddenly realized that the feminine sounding soprano voice he'd heard and wondered about was somehow his. The hand that Jelina had raised to her head, now began fingering and twirling the long and silky light brown hair that cascaded over his shoulders. And then, totally unbidden, his hand slid slowly away from the hair covering his shoulders to his chest, where surprisingly, at least to him, he discovered his overly generous breasts. "What the hell has happened to me?"
Deela pointed her finger accusingly at Crydar. "It was his doing. Whatever's been going on, he's involved. I think he was going to make me believe that I was Jelina. Only he goofed. Last night, after we went to sleep, he must have entered the wrong tent and, instead of bespelling me, he cast his spells on you. When you came out of your tent this morning, you were wearing those clothes, but they didn't fit you very well. Over the next several minutes, your body transformed, and when you finally stopped changing, you looked and sounded exactly as I remembered Jelina."
Much to Crydar's relief, Deela released her arm lock. In an attempt to restart his circulation and hopefully return some feeling to it, he began to vigorously flex his arm.
"Change my body back, Crydar!" Rornick demanded.
"Sorry, sweetheart. No can do." replied Crydar with a smug grin. "I only had one dose of the transformation potion with me, and it should be obvious, even to you, that I've already used it. The body you now possess, my dear, is your body. Let me give you some friendly advice - get used to it, sweetcakes.
"You're going to be stuck exactly as you are from now until you get back to Tomandia, assuming, for the sake of argument, that you actually do make it back. Even then, you'll have to find someone who can supply and administer the proper counterpotion along with the proper counterspell. However, even that makes the assumption that whoever you ultimately find will be willing to release you from your current form." He ogled Rornick's frame from head to toe, then maliciously smiled at him. "You want to know something, sweetheart. I don't think that's going to happen. You're a very beautiful young woman, Rornick. Maybe you'll decide to remain one. But then, on the other hand, you probably won't be given a choice."
Both Rornick and Deela were stunned by Crydar's statements. And as he'd hoped, neither of them noticed him reaching into his pocket, where he'd earlier stashed the small vial he now retrieved. Nor did either of them see him uncork its stopper.
"I'm really sorry, girls, but I really do have to go now." he gloated. He raised the vial to his lips. "My uncle told me to drink this if I got into any trouble. I never really believed that I'd have to use it, but you know what they say, 'better safe than sorry.'" He chugged the vial's contents. "I guess I'll be seeing you around, girls."
But nothing happened.
Crydar began to worry about his safety as doubts about this potion's efficacy surfaced in his mind. But when he looked towards Deela and Rornick, neither of them appeared to be moving in his direction. In fact, they looked to be frozen in place. Was this the way the emergency escape potion was supposed to work? He wished now that he had taken some time to ask his uncle how this particular potion actually worked.
But then, he suddenly doubled over in agonizing pain.
What was wrong now, he wondered?
But a few moments later, after the pain had subsided, he stood up straight and heard the gasps from the now unfrozen Deela and Rornick hurrying towards him.
Crydar felt very odd, but didn't know why.
But Deela and Rornick could plainly see everything that Crydar couldn't. His waist had constricted to waspish proportions. His hips now looked like shelves and his butt appeared to have been stuffed with an overly fluffy pillow. He now had breasts that rivaled theirs in both shape and size. And his silky blond hair kissed his darkened nipples and, without doubt, easily flowed down well past his waist. To both of them, he looked like a girl.
Shock rapidly spread across his face, as Crydar finally began to realize what was happening to him. He knew it must be his uncle's doing. "May the devil take you, uncle!" he screamed, but with each word spoken, his voice slid upwards to the next higher register.
Deela and Rornick stared transfixed as Crydar's transformation continued uninterrupted. Both of them now knew that it was his uncle, whoever he may be, they had reason to fear. Maybe, after Crydar's changing ceased, they could find out more about his uncle.
"Oh my." said Crydar in a very healthy and extremely breathy soprano voice. He began feeling oddly dizzy.
"He looks like he's going to pass out." said Deela.
Crydar raised both of his hands quickly to his head and buried his face in them. A moment later, he collapsed.
Deela and Rornick rushed to his side. Having already regained consciousness, the girl who had been Crydar looked up at them and vacantly smiled.
"Hi there." she said sexily. "Do I know either of you?" she puzzled. "My name's Cyrah." she told them. "What's yours?" she asked. "And by the way, do either of you know where I can find some boys?"
Deela and Rornick glared at Cyrah. Then they looked at each other and sighed. Neither of them thought they would be obtaining any additional information from the bubbly airheaded Cyrah. Whoever her uncle was, he'd made certain of that.
But there was still time left in the day to begin their trek home.
Only now, for better or worse, all three travelers, now heading for Tomandia, appeared to be very attractive and exceptionally buxom, young women.
Larnak had risen early this morning. He wanted to use his crystal to discern what progress, if any, Crydar had made before Rena arrived to distract him. Since he'd expected little from his bumbling nephew, he'd been pleasantly surprised at finding him in the midst of the camp of Rornick and Deela.
Maybe the others he'd sent had been unnecessary after all, he thought. But then, he had not been amused when Deela, still quite herself, had joined his obviously surprised nephew on the grounds outside her tent.
He watched with amusement as Rornick emerged from his tent wearing the clothes that Rena had selected for Deela. As he continued to peer into his crystal, he watched in fascination as the knight, not noticing anything unusual himself, slowly and inexorably transformed into Jelina.
At first he was angry at Crydar's wasting of the only dosage of the transformation potion he'd been supplied. It was Deela who was supposed to have been transfigured, not Rornick. But for a short time, Larnak had actually been hopeful that the transpiring events would, even if not as he had planned, work out. At first, he'd watched Jelina passionately kiss Crydar, then, quite unexpectedly, he'd watched as Deela, apparently acting under Jelina's control, kissed Crydar with even more fervent ardor than her "friend."
But his hope vanished abruptly, when Deela's relentless struggle to regain her self-control finally succeeded.
As events continued to unfold within his crystal, Larnak began to laugh.
And he was still laughing loudly, when Rena entered his room.
"What's so funny, wizard?" asked Rena.
"It's my fool of an apprentice and nephew." chuckled the wizard in reply. "Since last night, he's fucked up and given Rornick the potion that we had intended for Deela. Now Rornick has become some girl that was dredged up out of your sister's memories.
"Yet still my incredible bumbling nephew almost got lucky. The girl that Rornick became must have had something linking her to Senesha because apparently she had some residual power over Deela's actions. The girl almost forced her into the very situation that would have completed Senesha's final mental alterations." He held his finger and thumb closely together. "We were just this close to having Delan lost within Deela forever."
"What'll we do now?" asked Rena.
"I suppose our best course of action would be to wait and see what happens next." answered Larnak simply. "Once Deela freed herself of Jelina's control, she rapidly turned the tables on Crydar and quickly captured him. She then forced him to restore Rornick's sense of his own identity and mind. I can't believe what a wuss my nephew has turned out to be."
"That's not very fair, Larnak. He's only an apprentice." said Rena. "Apprentices make mistakes. That's one of the reasons they're still apprentices."
The wizard glared at Rena. "My apprentices don't make mistakes."
"Aren't you going to help him?"
"Of course, I'm not going to help him, my Princess." replied the wizard. "Crydar must use his own wits to free himself. Either that, or he could use the emergency escape potion I supplied him."
"But you're his uncle, you must help him."
Once again, Larnak glared at the Princess. He was becoming more and more annoyed with Rena's continual insistence of telling him what he must do. First, she had told him not to hurt her sister Deela. Now she was telling him he had to help his witless nephew Crydar. "I need to make sure he is capable of using his wits, when necessary. This is an important lesson that he must learn."
"I think that you're being needlessly cruel, wizard."
"Not at all, my dear Princess." he said scornfully. "It's life itself that is oft times most cruel." Again he began to laugh. "It seems my nephew has no wits about him after all. He's just about to swallow the escape potion."
"But won't that let him get safely away?"
"I suppose it will." grinned Larnak. "In a manner of speaking."
"What do you mean by that?"
"It will be far easier to explain what has just happened, if you come and look for yourself." He pointed at his crystal. "Look within it, my Princess. Tell me what you see?"
Rena looked deeply into the crystal and was visibly surprised when the the images of three very attractive and exceptionally well-endowed young women came into focus. Since she'd seen her sister in the crystal several times before, she easily recognized Deela. She realized that one of others must be Rornick, who, the wizard had said, had been newly transformed into a girl. But, as far as the identity of the third was concerned, she had no idea who she might possibly be. "Who are those other girls with Deela?" she finally asked.
"That one." He pointed at one of the girls. "The one with the light brown hair was Rornick. She makes a very attractive woman. Don't you think so, Rena? And the other one." A devious grin spread across his face. "The pretty one with the long silky blond hair is Cyrah."
"Who's Cyrah?" puzzled Rena.
"I'm really surprised you haven't guessed by now. I really thought that who she was should be quite obvious." Once again, a devilish smile spread quickly across his face. "I guess you might say that Cyrah is my bubbleheaded niece. Are you absolutely certain, you don't remember her? After all, she used to be my nephew Crydar before he consumed the emergency escape potion."
"How could you do that to him?"
"It was quite easy, my Princess. He was prone to making mistakes." spat Larnak. "He won't be making any more. He made his bed, now she'll have to lie in it."
"But what about his family and friends?"
"What about them, princess? My sister has always wished she'd birthed a girl child instead of his father's son. She has always wanted a daughter to pamper and now she has one. And his friends should prove no problem at all, once they've been suitably adjusted."
"You are going to change him back? Aren't you, Larnak?"
"I'll think about it." he replied casually.
"You'd better do more than just think about it, Larnak." She quickly spun around and stormed angrily out of wizard's chamber.
Larnak glared after her.
Enough was enough.
"I've taken all I'm going to take from you, dear Rena." whispered the wizard within the vacant room. "I think its about time you learned who was really in charge around here."
But first things first.
He had some unfinished family business to attend to. He made a wide sweeping gesture with his arm, then smiled as felt his handiwork take its hold on reality.
"Now that's much better." he said to himself. "Now only Rena and I recall that pretty Cyrah was once bumbling Crydar. My sister now has, as she has always had, the daughter she had coveted for so long. She has even forgiven her for being a boy-crazed bimbo. And all of his friends are now her friends. Especially those two young lads he went camping with last spring. I'm absolutely certain, they'll be looking forward to seeing her again.
"Now, I wonder what can be done about keeping Rena out of further mischief?"
The three apparently buxom females rode quickly along the trail that would take them home to Tomandia. Cyrah no longer retained any knowledge of the way home, but, fortunately for them, Rornick still carried an old map of the area with him that he'd had since he was a young boy.
But there were a couple of things that still bothered Rornick.
"How the hell do the two of you get along so well with these 'things' bouncing up and down on your chest all the time?" said Rornick in disgust. "I find them awfully damn distracting. And its even worse, when I try to steady them by using my hand to keep them from bouncing about so much."
"Gee whiz, Rornick." replied Cyrah in complete innocence. "You know, you have such really nice titties. I really can't understand why you're always complaining about them. All the boys I know like their girls with big titties."
"But I'm not a girl, Cyrah. I'm a man."
Cyrah looked at him skeptically, then turned questioningly towards Deela. "Has she been smoking the leaves of the hoohoo bush?" she asked Deela.
Deela smiled. "No, Cyrah. Rornick is just fine."
"But she thinks she is a man. I've seen a lot of men in my life, Deela, but, with those big titties of hers and her really awesome figure, she looks nothing like any man I've ever met."
"I am too a man" grumbled Rornick.
Deela turned to Rornick and smiled. "Does any of that sound remotely familiar?" she asked him. "It seems you and I have been through this discussion before. Only now the shoe is on your foot."
Rornick grumbled to himself unintelligibly, resulting in giggles from both Cyrah and Deela.
And hearing them laugh, Rornick began to pout.
Larnak had asked Rena to join him in his quarters for a strategy session. When she'd arrived, she found the wizard and an older woman already deep into some other discussion. Both looked up briefly, as the Princess entered.
"What is she doing here, Larnak?" Rena asked brusquely.
"Mistress Doxine is here at my request." answered the wizard.
"That still doesn't explain why she's here. She's the madame of the biggest bawdy house in all of Tomandia. Her very presence here sullies me."
Doxine glared daggers at her.
"Pull in your claws, my princess." Larnak readily advised. "Mistress Doxine has graciously come here to conduct some business with us. I'm sure you'll remember that, with our recent change of plans, we are in need of someplace to stash your sister, my niece, and that fool Rornick for a while. After several discrete inquiries, I discovered that Mistress Doxine might have a vacancy or two in her establishment for our three young and attractive girls. When I asked her directly, she indicated that she was very, very interested. Didn't you, Doxine."
"Of course, I was interested, wizard. I'm always interested whenever new girls become available. They are always welcome at the house of Doxine." She smiled. "New girls provide variety, which everyone says is the spice of life."
"If you say so." spat Rena.
"The wizard told me these girls could be made mutable. In effect, I would be able to have them made over into whatever image I fancied." said Doxine. "But, I'm afraid, that sounds far to fantastic to be true."
"If Larnak said he could alter their forms to please you," replied the princess coldly, "then he can reshape them anyway you want."
"But still ..." began Doxine.
"Perhaps, if I might be allowed to give you a small demonstration. That is, as long as the princess doesn't mind terribly being re-made into a new and quite different form for a short while." He turned towards Rena. "It would be a simple and harmless alteration of your current form, my Princess. It should give Mistress Doxine an excellent example of what I'm capable of doing."
"I suppose it will be alright." sighed Rena, knowing that had it been anyone other than Larnak asking this favor of her, she would have quickly refused. But she was confident that the wizard would do nothing to jeopardize his meal ticket. "Just as long as it helps hurry her along her way, and isn't something overly degrading."
"It shall be as you wish, my Princess."
Larnak slowly passed a hand over Rena's head.
Rena uncontrollably shivered as she felt her body change. What an odd sensation, she thought. She could only smile as she heard Doxine's gasp of surprise.
"Well, Larnak." she asked curiously. "Just what have you made of me?"
Larnak nodded at the wall. Suddenly a full-length mirror hung from his usually barren wall. "See for yourself. Take a look in the mirror hanging upon the wall." said Larnak.
Rena felt peculiar as she sauntered over to the mirror. She'd never known her body to be capable of moving this way before. And when she finally stood before the mirror, she, like Doxine had moments before, gasped at the sight of her reflection.
What had been her once short hair now rested upon her shoulders. She loved its new jet black coloration, as well as her new dark green eyes that now stared back at her from the mirror. But she frowned at her seriously overpainted face.
Larnak's spell had also increased the size of her breasts. Quite possibly, although she couldn't really tell, they were now as large as Deela's. But they were far bigger than they normally were and the scanty latex bra she now wore made them look even bigger. Their sheer enormity made her feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.
Her skimpy skirt gripped her newly rounded ass and hung on her widened hips more tightly than a customized glove would fit her dainty hand. And as small as it was, the skirt still revealed to her more shapely curves than Rena she had ever called her own before.
And looking down at her feet, she wondered, how she had ever managed such graceful movements in the spiked heels she wore.
"Damn it, Larnak." Once again Rena was taken by surprise. Her voice had become breathy, almost drooling of feminine sexuality. "This is totally unacceptable. My hair looks like it was caught in an egg beater. And with these spiked heels, overly revealing clothes, and gaudily painted face, I look like one of her cheap whores."
"That was the whole idea." Larnak reminded her. "Wasn't it?"
"I suppose." she pouted. "But I want you to change me back as soon as possible. I don't want anyone to see me like this."
"I am very impressed, wizard." said Doxine. Larnak could hear the awe she'd felt echoing in her voice. "That is something not easily done."
"Then what I've shown you is acceptable?"
"Perfectly." Unnoticed by Rena, she winked at Larnak.
"Then I suppose its time to make Rena normal once again." he said as he returned Doxine's conspiratorial wink.
"It's about time." said Rena. "I hate looking like a common tramp."
Larnak gently laid his hand across Rena's forehead. "Close your eyes." he told her calmly. "Farewell, Rena. Greetings, Roni."
"Take your fucking hands off me, you damned old fart." spat the young woman just mentally transformed. "Mistress Doxine? What are we doing in this shithole?" she queried. "Certainly you would never expect me, or allow this old shit, to touch me." She shivered at the thought. "That would be just too gross for words."
"Of course, I would never ask you to do that, Roni." replied Mistress Doxine as she smiled once more in Larnak's direction. "You've come with me today to learn more of the day-to-day business of our house, which someday will be yours. Larnak has three new girls for us. They should be arriving within a day or two."
"Very good. But I'm glad we've concluded our business here so quickly. I want to go home, Mistress Doxine." stated Roni. "I do not like being in the same room with him."
Larnak watched with interest as Roni turned and strode purposefully towards his outer chamber door, possessing a gait, which in spite of the spiked heels, she'd never been blessed with before.
"Wait for me outside, Roni." said Doxine before she could leave the room. "I'll be just another minute or two." She turned back to Larnak. "Now wizard, I am very impressed. Imagine, from a young princess to a lady of easy virtue with nothing more than a touch."
"It was what we agreed upon. Was it not?"
"Of course it was, Larnak. But that takes nothing away from my being impressed by what you've done here this day." answered Doxine. "Are you sure that no one remembers her as Princess Rena?"
Larnak grinned. "Absolutely. Only you and I have any recollections of the wench outside being Rena. To everyone else, she is, and has always been, Roni. Never in her life, except perhaps in her dreams, has she ever been a princess. But by the same token, she has never despaired of having always been a wanton harlot."
"And you say you have three more girls just like her who will be arriving soon? I will be just as interested in obtaining them, as I was in acquiring Roni." She opened her purse and handed Larnak the large brown envelope she'd just removed from it. "I believe this is the compensation we agreed upon as your procurement fee. Please, call me when the others arrive."
She turned and rejoined Roni in the hall. Laughing loudly, both Doxine and her newest charge noisily ambled down the hall outside Larnak's chamber.
Larnak gazed after them as strolled away. Rena had become a palpable thorn in his side of late, but now, she was gone. He knew Roni would be very happy as one of Doxine's girls because none of the other girls he'd supplied her had ever become unhappy. And by his own count, he'd procured nearly half of the girls now employed by Doxine, even if no one recalled that fact but him.
And soon, because he hated having loose ends to resolve, Mistress Doxine would also forget this transaction, just as she had all the others before it. She'd also forget that saucy and oversexed little Roni had ever been Princess Rena. Soon, probably by the time they returned to her house, Doxine would believe, as Roni now totally believed, that Roni was the little waif she'd found wandering the streets and adopted.
Larnak wondered, if he'd been kinder than he'd intended. Rena had definitely been a royal pain. And yet as Roni, she was the heir apparent to Doxine's business, which, in its own way, still made her a princess of sorts.
He finally decided to keep Doxine in mind when it came time to dispose of the others. But he was glad there had been no guarantees made. He might still find a way to be more creative with them.
Suddenly, he had an devilishly clever notion. Perhaps, one of the girls could be slipped a potion which would metamorphose her into an exact duplicate, the identical twin sister, of Hakena.
Now there was an idea with very definite possibilities.
He'd always privately longed for the return of that saucy wench he'd made Andar's plaything in order to keep the prince occupied and out of his way. And maybe now, for his own private and everlasting enjoyment, he could have a Hakena of his very own.
But, he wondered, which of the three young lovelies would be most suitable to become Hakena's twin?
There was something about the area they'd just entered that worried Rornick. But he couldn't recall exactly what it was that caused his distress.
The area was simply marked "AVOID" on his map, but Rornick had easily traveled through this area several times as a young boy. He'd never encountered any problems as he crossed through this land before, but yet, something still gnawed at the back of his mind from the old legends he'd heard.
Finally, he decided that whatever it was that bothered him couldn't be all that important. Otherwise, he'd remember it. Rornick knew they had to return to Tomandia as soon as possible, and passing through this area was, without question, the shortest route home.
But still, he wished he could remember something of those old legends he'd heard as a boy.
"As a boy." he suddenly said aloud. "Oh, shit." he exclaimed. "Deela. Cyrah. We have to get the hell out of here before ..."
"Hold." spoke the Voice.
And suddenly, without warning, their horses came to a complete and unexpected stop. Nothing they could do or say could coax them to take another step.
"Damn. It's too late." sighed Rornick.
"Dismount from your horses." spoke the Voice again.
And without hesitation or question, the three of them dismounted as the Voice had commanded them to do.
"What's going on here, Rornick?" asked Deela.
"It's this area we're in." replied Rornick. "The old legends speak of this place as the land that women should never enter. I've been here many times before without incident. But I was a boy then ..."
Once more the Voice commanded. "Women shall be silent."
And in that very instant, both Deela and Rornick found themselves incapable of finishing their conversation. Both of them looked towards Cyrah, who smiled back at them. But even she could do no more to communicate than slowly shake her head.
Deela feared what would happen to them as the men who had captured them began marching them away.
Rornick didn't believe that any of these men, who so eagerly leered at their abundantly feminine flesh, would care one whit that the three of them were actually men magically transformed into women. But then, even the voice, which had somehow commanded them, had identified and treated them as women. It had ordered the women silent, and now Deela, Cyrah, and he were totally incapable of speech.
Cyrah, on other hand, appeared to be almost ecstatic at her change of fortune. Rornick was puzzled by her expression, but Deela immediately recognized Cyrah's wry little grin as saying "Oh boy. I'm finally going to get laid."
The armed guards, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air to capture them, now led them hurriedly along in the direction of an exotic looking building that none of them recalled seeing as they'd been traveling along the trail.
When the guards took them inside the imposing edifice, they couldn't help but notice that the marble walls of the great hallway entrance were thoroughly blanketed with archaic inscriptions and drawings, possibly of some arcane origin. While none of them could truly fathom, past their own impressions of foreboding, the actual meanings behind the inscriptions, which were written in a language, perhaps even several languages, that none of them could read, the meaning suggested by the drawings was clearly understood. None of them believed it could be coincidence that the drawings portrayed the most intimate of interactions between men and women, who inexplicably resembled like them.
At the end of the hall, a portal opened noiselessly in what had been, until then, a solid and seamless wall. Two of their guards attended them and quickly ushered them through the opening and into the opulence of lavishly ornate chamber revealed behind it.
The three passed furtive glances back and forth among themselves. Although all three had been commanded not to speak, each of them seemed to sense and be aware of what the others thought. It was obvious, by the similarity of their expressions, that they all felt this chamber might function as some kind of temple.
Once the guards attending them had brought them inside, they found themselves standing in the presence of a man of indeterminate age wearing long and flowing robes, which reminded them of the raiments of a priest. They suddenly realized they'd seen only men since they'd been captured. Maybe, they hoped, this place was some kind of monastery.
But it was a hope, which would be unfulfilled. For as secluded as this place might be, they somehow came to know that this place was not a monastery.
The robed man, who they still believed might be a priest, scrutinized each of them very carefully, but, in doing so, he said absolutely nothing. He seemed to be evaluating them, each in turn, for some reason. They became unnerved as his looks of studious perusal slowly changed to steady undisguised leers, as if he were casually undressing them with his eyes.
And the two guards who'd accompanied them into the chamber added to their discomfort. For both of them, just like the robed man, regarded them with unconcealable lust smoldering in their eyes.
Within this chamber and in the presence of these men, they all felt uncomfortable. All of them wanted to complain. But, as they had earlier been ordered to remain silent, not a single voice was raised in complaint.
"I suspect you have questions you would have me answer." said the robed man after a while.
Rornick opened his mouth as if to speak, but, try as hard as he might, he could make no sound. Seeing Rornick's frustrated attempt to speak, Deela simply nodded her head to indicate her answer. And Cyrah, making no attempt to communicate, only smiled.
"I thought that might be so." he said. "Women may now speak, but only when spoken to."
He walked over to where Cyrah stood. "What question would you have me answer?"
Without much thought, she quickly and eagerly asked her question. "Are there many available guys here?"
The man smiled with surprise. It was not the question he'd expected her to ask. Or rather, it was not the first question he'd expected from their group. "There were several men responsible for bringing you here. Were there not?" he answered. "And in this place, there are many more men that you have not yet met." He took her hand and held it tightly in his own. "What is your name, beautiful one?" he asked.
"Cyrah." she whispered shyly, a light blush appearing on her face.
"That is a very beautiful name. And it is most fitting of you." he replied. "Why is it that you ask of my men's availability?"
Cyrah's blush brightened. "Do you think any of them would want to have sex with me?" she asked meekly. "It's been so very long and I'm awfully horny."
For several minutes, Deela and Rornick stared at their companion in shock and disbelief. Then they began to wonder if her reaction were a part of the spell that had recast Crydar, both in body and in soul, into Cyrah. After all, how else could she be so sex-starved, since she hadn't even been a girl a full day yet.
"I assure you, beautiful Cyrah, that each and every man here will gladly give you the passionate pleasures you require. You shall never feel the despair of unfulfillment here, although I doubt, even if you might consider departing here, you would be long in such despair."
Once more, Cyrah blushed bright crimson.
But there was something in his words that neither Rornick nor Deela liked. Yet the man still had not spoken to either of them and as a result, neither of them was capable of questioning what he'd meant.
The priest, it was hard to think of him otherwise, turned to one of the guards who had led them into the chamber. "Tredak." he addressed him. "Would you consider providing the pleasure that the beautiful Cyrah seeks? Would you think to love her as is her desire?"
Tredak smiled, gazed longingly at the blushing Cyrah, and then turned back to the priest. "If it would give her pleasure and it would please you to sanction it, then most gladly would I bestow upon her anything she desires of me."
"See. What did I tell you, Cyrah? Do you believe me now?" beamed the man in robes. "Tredak shall be the first of many men to pleasure you this evening. Soon, my beautiful one, you shall have had more men than you could ever have dreamed imaginable." He turned to Tredak. "Take Cyrah to the Room of Delights."
"It shall be as you say." replied Tredak. He slid his arm gently around her waist. "Come." he whispered to her. And when, as her response to his presence, she leaned against his body and kissed his waiting lips, Tredak responded eagerly. Soon thereafter, he led the smiling Cyrah from the chamber.
The robed man watched as they departed. After they disappeared from his view, he turned back to Deela and Rornick. Both of them saw the wide grin spread across his face. "I did not forget about either of you." he told them. "But seeing to Cyrah's pleasure was foremost in my mind. Each of you still may ask of me a question."
"Who are you?" demanded Deela.
"I am Asfazra, high priest of Reis." explained the robed man. "Most visitors to our land know naught of Reis. Most times, Reis is known as the god of pleasures. But sometimes, to those who are especially favored, Reis may sometimes become the goddess of pleasures instead. When appearing in that aspect of himself, she is beautiful beyond description. I am certain that the guards who brought the three of you to me mistakenly believed that one of you might be Reis."
"Where are we?" asked Rornick.
"We are in the Temple of Reis the Pleasurer, of course. And the temple grounds are located within his land where women, any and all women, are exceedingly rare. With the exception of his feminine aspect as the goddess, women of great beauty, such as yourselves, are virtually unknown within our boundaries. But after seeing you myself, I certainly cannot fault the guards for intercepting you, when just one of you alone would have easily roused within Reis her green-eyed beast."
Asfazra then looked Rornick directly in the eye. "And what would please you, my beauty?" he asked. "Would you, like your companion Cyrah, desire for yourself the pleasures of my men? Would it please you to have just one of them make mad and passionate love to you?"
Rornick felt disgusted. "I don't think so." he replied curtly. Disgruntled, he tried to ask Asfazra another question, but couldn't. Suddenly, he realized he'd answered the question asked of him, and until Asfazra decided to speak to him once more, he'd be unable to say another word.
Asfazra turned his attentions to Deela. "And what of you, my lovely? Would you desire the company of one of my most handsome men?"
"Like he said," replied Deela indicating Rornick, "I don't think so, priest."
"He?" smiled the priest, his gaze returning to Rornick. "An odd and most unusual choice of pronouns for such a ravishing beauty, as yourself." He turned back to Deela. "But, if we consider the ravenous sexual proclivities of your other companion Cyrah along with the reference by masculine pronoun to this remarkably attractive companion, then I would have to surmise that you must be Deela, the currently missing Tomandian Princess, and that he must be all that remains of those knights sent to rescue you. Would that be correct, Princess?"
"How did you know?" asked Deela, once more inwardly fuming to be called a princess. She wanted to scream at him, but once again, she couldn't say a thing.
"We were told you might be passing through our land." replied Asfazra. "Cyrah and he fit a most unusual description of the women we were told to expect traveling with you." He ogled her form with great appreciation. "I can certainly understand why Cyrah's uncle wants you undamaged. But in other things, he is most difficult to understand. He is a strange man, who seems to care for nothing, but himself. He is totally unconcerned with anything we might do to either 'him' or his niece. It is you, who is all that seems important to him."
"Who is Cyrah's uncle?" asked Deela.
But Asfazra, if he heard her question, didn't answer. Instead he asked, "Would either of you care for a soothing glass of water. I am certain that both of you must be thirsty."
"No thanks." replied Deela. "I think I'll pass for now."
"I am thirsty." said Rornick: "Thank you, Asfazra. Some fresh water would definitely hit the spot right now."
The priest grinned, unnoticed by either of his guests, as he turned to the remaining guard. "Baylen. Would you fetch some spring water to quench the thirst of our beautiful guest."
"At once." answered Baylen. He left the chamber but quickly returned with an antique glass filled to the brim with water. He handed it to Rornick.
"Thank you, Baylen." he replied. He'd been surprised that he could speak and, impulsively, he tried to ask Baylen another question, but once more his voice had disappeared.
"You are most welcome, milady."
Rornick bristled silently at Baylen's use of milady. He raised the glass to his lips and took a sip. His lips puckered and he quickly spat out the foul tasting liquid.
"Is there something wrong with the water?" asked Asfazra.
"It is extremely bitter."
"Are you certain? Our water supply comes directly from the Spring of Reis. It is generally of pleasurable sweetness, as are all things associated with Reis. Perhaps you should try another taste. I am certain, you will find it most sweet this time."
With definite hesitation, Rornick slowly returned the glass to his lips. He took a small sip, then suddenly began to smile. "You were right, Asfazra. This water is absolutely delicious." And without another moment of delay, he quickly gulped down the remaining water. But as he set down the emptied glass, everyone in the room heard the gurgling and rumbling sounds emanating from his stomach.
"Is there something else now wrong?"
"I don't now." said Rornick, a slight quivering present in his voice. "Suddenly, I feel ill, maybe just a little bit dizzy. And obviously, my stomach is upset."
"That, too, is most unusual." replied Asfazra. "Our water generally evokes a strong sense of pleasure for pleasure is the Will of Reis. It is almost impossible for me to believe you could feel sickened after partaking of it, when that very feeling itself would be abhorrent to Reis. You must be feeling pleasure."
Suddenly, Rornick felt his dizziness swept away, his upset stomach calm, and his feeling of illness pass as if it had never been. He now felt pleasurable sensations begin to build within him. A low moan of obvious pleasure escaped his lips.
Deela was surprised as she watched Rornick drifting deeper and deeper into his budding pleasure. When she'd heard his whispered moan, she decided to discover for herself, if he required any help. She began to rise.
"Sit down, woman." commanded Asfazra. "Watch quietly, and learn of that which is Reis."
Deela sat down once more, compelled by Asfazra's command. She would nothing now but watch and learn, because, until he told her otherwise, she could do nothing else.
Asfazra reached for drawstring of Rornick's blouse. To Rornick's consternation and the observing Deela's surprise, he slowly began to undo it."
"Please. Don't do that." he groaned.
"Clothing inhibits pleasure." he told Rornick. "Certainly, you would not wish your pleasures to be in any way inhibited. Would you?"
"No. Of course not." Rornick stood, and as Deela watched with surprise and Asfazra leered with lust, he slowly removed his clothes. With each garment he removed, Rornick felt his pleasure swell, until finally he stood naked in front of the priest.
Asfazra gently ran his hand through Rornick's light brown hair. And when there was no complaint forthcoming, he carefully slid his hand to one of Rornick's breasts. Asfazra broadly smiled as he watched the effects of the light stroking of his breasts and the gentle caressing of his nipples continually build on Rornick.
"Please." Rornick said with great effort. "Don't." he managed between deep breaths.
"What I do for you now is done solely to increase your overall sensation of pleasure." replied the priest calmly. "That is your desire, is it not?"
"Oh, yes." breathed Rornick heavily, his more than ample breasts now heaving in response to the constantly accumulating pleasure within him.
Asfazra lightly cupped one of Rornick's breasts. Without conscious control of his actions, he leaned into the priest, who just as lightly kissed his newly engorged nipples. Rornick shivered with boundless rapture, as Asfazra had slipped behind him and now nibbled playfully at his neck. Lost as he was in the inexplicable delights which had possessed him, he couldn't stop himself from leaning back into the very source of all his pleasures.
Deela wanted to scream at them to stop, but couldn't. She'd been commanded to sit quietly and watch and learn. And quiet observation was all that she could do. But as far as what she was now being taught, she wished to never learn it.
Asfazra gently lifted Rornick's chin and softly pressed his lips to his. With the passage of a single moment, Rornick began to respond as if truly the woman he appeared to be. But it was just a passing moment, as suddenly Rornick pulled away."
"I cannot do this." he whispered nearly breathless.
"But our kiss was only meant to bring you pleasure." replied the priest calmly. "Certainly, it must bring you pleasure. Does it not?"
"It brings me more pleasure than I have ever known before." answered Rornick simply. "But that does not make this right."
"But the giving and receiving of pleasure is the Will of Reis. As such, neither can ever be wrong." countered Asfazra quickly. "In that, I'm positive, you certainly must agree?"
"Of course, I agree. But you are a man Asfazra as am I. What you want from me, I cannot give."
Knowing he could now cross Rornick's last mental bridge unimpeded, Asfazra smiled in apparent victory. "How can you think yourself a man?" he asked. "I have kissed your lips and felt your pleasure in being kissed returned. I have held your winsome form closely in my arms, as you have squeezed yourself even closer to me. I have given you much pleasure as I have lightly stroked your breasts, even as I have gently kissed your nipples. I cannot believe you to be a man now. Neither can I believe that you ever thought yourself a man. Certainly, you could never believe that about yourself? Could you?"
A look of profound puzzlement spread across Rornick's face. "Of course not."
"Then you would not be offended, or think the less of me, if I were to kiss you now?"
"Why should I?" answered Rornick. "There is nothing offensive or inappropriate about a man kissing a woman."
Their ensuing kiss was long and passionate. Asfazra's hands roamed unchecked across Rornick's body, as she responded with unbridled lustful passion. And to her everlasting joy, the priest left no part of her body untouched by his hands.
"And what should we call you?" asked Asfazra several minutes later.
"My name is Rornick." she answered.
"That is very hard and overly silly name for a beautiful woman like yourself." said Asfazra. "I am sure you agree?"
"Now that you mention it, Asfazra, I can plainly see that my name is totally unsuitable for me. I wonder now, why my parents named me so. But, in the end, Rornick is still the only name I've ever known."
"I believe that can be easily fixed." replied the priest. "There is a flower unique within our land that always blooms this time of year. It is called the lysteah. In your own way, you have also newly bloomed. Therefore, no longer shall the name Rornick mean anything to you. From this moment on, your name shall be Lysteah, just as it has always been. It is a beautiful name, is it not?"
"Yes it is." said Lysteah. "And I thank you for giving it to me."
"I have a few simple questions to ask of you, Lysteah." said the priest. "They will help to define you."
"And what might those questions be, Asfazra?" she sighed.
"Do you remember how you came to be here?"
"Of course, I was merely riding through this land of yours, when your guards captured me and brought me here."
"Were you alone?" he asked. "Or was someone with you?"
"I was by myself."
"Do you remember why it was that the Will of Reis brought you here."
"Certainly, Asfazra. By his will, I am here to give pleasure. And by her will, I shall be given pleasure in return."
"Then, I'm sure that you do not know of two women named Deela and Cyrah, who were also found within our borders this day."
Lysteah shook her head. "Those names are unfamiliar. I can't remember ever hearing either of those names before."
"That was just perfect, Lysteah." said the priest with a crooked smile. "Baylen. You may now take Lysteah to the Room of Bliss. For your able assistance, you shall be rewarded as the first of the many allowed to sample her pleasures this day."
"Thank you, Asfazra." replied Baylen reverently. "You are indeed most kind."
And as Tredak had done earlier with Cyrah, Baylen slid his arm gently around Lysteah's waist. Together, they strolled, as if young lovers, away from the chamber.
Now that they were alone, Asfazra returned his attentions to Deela. "Are you suitably impressed, princess?"
"What did you do to her?" she asked, unable to think of the woman who left with Baylen as Rornick.
Asfazra smiled again, pleased at Deela's proper pronoun reference to his newly initiated provider of pleasure. "I merely made her believe in her reality. Those who look like women and dress the part, as he did, must truly think and act as women, as she now does, within the Land of Reis.
"In truth, it was simply done. An extract from the mentmorf berry mixed with the waters from the Spring of Reis weakens any woman's will and makes her extremely open to suggestion, as I'm certain you would attest having witnessed its effects first hand.
"Quite obviously, Lysteah was not a man. Strangely, the juice of the mentmorf berry has not one visible effect on a man, but such are the quirks and peccadilloes of this strange land of ours."
"What about me?" asked Deela. "Are you going to do that to me?
"You are very lucky princess. You will not go through all that Cyrah and Lysteah do in the days to follow, not that either of them would ever think of objecting to what they do. They have become insatiable givers of pleasure. I believe you would enjoyed becoming a giver yourself, were it not, unfortunately for you, that Cyrah's uncle will arrive here shortly to take you home, or wherever else he may have decided.
"But as long as you are whole when he arrives, I can do just about whatever I wish with you. Since the effects of the first dosage wear off within a day or so, perhaps you'd care to sample the mentmorf extract for yourself."
Yet before Deela can even begin to answer, another voice answered Asfazra's question.
"I really believe that the princess would prefer to take your mentmorf berry extract and shove it up someplace where it would never again see the light of day."
Both Deela and Asfazra turned quickly around and faced a little man, who might possibly, were he standing on thickly bound book, stand almost three foot tall.
"Who are you?" asked Deela perplexed.
"Oh shit." said Asfazra in disdain. "Just what the fuck are you doing here?"
The little man, who had mysteriously appeared inside the room, looked at both Deela and Asfazra and smiled broadly. "Since you and I are already well-acquainted Asfazra, proper etiquette requires me to inform the princess just who I am. Princess Deela, I am one of the Eternal Guardians."
"Infernal Guardians is more like it." replied the priest in disdain.
"Sticks and stones, Asfazra." The little man retorted, while continuing to smile. "And it's not even an original insult. I've been called that before, as well as many things much worse, by lesser men."
"If you don't mind my asking. Just what exactly are you a guardian of?" asked Deela.
"Why I'm one of the Eternal Guardians of Reality, of course. It is our great and noble purpose to preserve and protect that which is, that which was, and that which shall be, young princess."
Deela looked at the little man as a confused frown spread quickly across her face. Even though she'd never met this man before, he acted as if he knew her. "Why do you call me princess, when..."
"When what?" the little man interrupted. "When I know that you are actually Prince Delan of Tomandia who was kidnapped and magically metamorphosed into a girl several years ago by the witch Senesha? Or when I know how much it upsets you that just about everyone thinks you've always been Princess Deela instead."
"I was going to say 'when you've never met me.'" replied Deela. "But how do know all that other stuff about me?"
Another irritating smile appeared on the little man's face. "Just because I'm a Guardian of Reality doesn't mean I don't keep up with current affairs."
Asfazra began to laugh. "That's a load of bullfeathers and you know it. I doubt you take the time to pay attention to anything or anybody, unless there's something in it for you. What's so special about our young princess here?"
"Can you change me back?" asked Deela suddenly.
"Of course, I can, Princess. That is, I could, if I wanted to." answered the little man. "But right now, I don't want to."
"What?" exclaimed Deela. "Why not?"
"Because you have role to a play." he explained cryptically. "And, as of this exact instant in time, you are in the midst of that role. Before you can move on, your current part must be completed."
Once more Asfazra laughed. "Sounds like a another load of monkey droppings to me. I would guess that my old acquaintance here doesn't have nearly the power that he wants you to think he has. You can be most amusing, old friend. Don't you think our little Infernal Guardian of Reality is very amusing, Deela?"
"Think of me whatever you will, Asfazra. Your thoughts are totally unimportant." The little man turned back to Deela. "I think that one of your playwrights, at least I think he's one of yours, probably said it best when he wrote 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.'" Seeing the puzzled looks on the faces of Deela and Asfazra, the little man stopped reciting. "I take it, you don't recognize his work? Oh well, I suppose Shakespeare is probably from your future, unless he's from a distant past you've already long forgotten, not that it matters much in the overall scheme of things. But this could even be a totally different reality. And the old bard I quoted might even now be laying bricks someplace in Jolly Old England at this very moment."
"What's a Jolly Old England?" asked Asfazra.
Before the little man could respond to the question, Deela asked, "But if you aren't here to restore me to my normal self, then why are you here?"
"I'm here in order to protect our investment in you, of course."
"What investment?" she asked. "I don't even know you."
"I'm really sorry, princess, but I can't tell you - yet." he replied. "It's a causal violation of the primary directive given all Eternal Guardians of Reality. Namely, don't tell people who don't know they're important that they're actually important. It tends to skew the normal bell curve. And it sometimes makes the people involved become somewhat delusional."
"But what about Cyrah and Rornick?" asked Deela.
Asfazra coughed. "That's Cyrah and Lysteah, if you don't mind."
"What about them?" queried the little man.
"Are they alright?"
"They're fine. No one here could ever begin to even think of doing harm to them." Asfazra said. "It really hurts that you'd even think so. Our Givers of Pleasure are highly revered."
"He's right about that, Deela. Reis, be he female or be she male, would not be a happy little camper if one his followers were to do bodily harm, even accidentally, to one of his Givers of Pleasure. Right now, they're fine. In fact, I'd wager that both of them are probably having the times of their life, even as we speak. Let's face it, it's not everyday that a guy gets the opportunity to discover what it's really like to be fucked over a hundred times in a single night and actually enjoy it at the same time."
Asfazra laughed once more.
Deela was becoming angry.
She started to speak, but was interrupted by the guardian. "Let's not get into a snit now, princess. I just told you not to worry about them. They're just fine where they are. And anyway, the three of you will be riding out of here tomorrow."
"What!" exclaimed both Deela and Asfazra almost in unison.
"I thought I made myself perfectly clear just now." replied the little man. "I guess I'll just have to repeat myself. The three young ladies are leaving here tomorrow to return to Tomandia."
"Oh no, they're not." stated the priest emphatically. "No one is taking away the new Givers of Pleasure."
The guardian sighed. "I'm sorry, Asfazra, but you have no choice in this matter."
"No, I won't let you. You can't take them." he repeated emphatically. He pointed a finger at Deela. "You may take her, if you must, but I insist that the other two remain here, as is the Will of Reis."
"Hey, you asshole!" exclaimed Deela. "Don't I even get a say in any of this?"
But the little guardian and the priest ignored her complaint.
"You've always had a problem listening to people, Asfazra. You have no choice. All three of these young women have far more important things yet to do in this reality. They can't stay here. It's that Shakespeare thingy I was talking about earlier. They are all on stage right now. In addition, they are all somewhere between their respective entrances and exits. To interrupt them now could spell disaster and cause irreparable harm to this reality."
"This isn't fair." groaned Asfazra.
"Who said that reality had to be fair." replied the little man.
"But my men have not had adequate time with these Givers of Pleasure." complained the priest. "More time is absolutely essential for my men to sow their wild oats. Surely, you can arrange to give us more time with our new Givers of Pleasure. I'm absolutely certain they'd appreciate a little more time to, as they might say, horse around a bit." He winked at the little man. "I'm sure, as a man, you'll understand their needs."
"Of course, I understand." replied the little man mischievously. "I think I can promise you and your men plenty of time to, as you say, 'horse' around."
"Now, wait one minute!" screamed Deela. "What the fuck..."
As Deela watched, Asfazra's face began to lengthen. His breathing became labored as his chest inflated at each breath. Short an thick brown hair began to cover his face, then his chest and arms, and legs. His mouth enlarged, as did his teeth, which flattened into grinding molars, losing all resemblance, as they did, to those of the omnivore he'd been.
His spine lengthened and did his arms and legs. His fingers and then his toes pulled together and fused, while the nails of both hardened and solidified into one solid mass on each appendage.
No longer able to stand upright, he dropped to all fours. The muscles of his arms and legs, now of equal length, grew stronger and more sinewy.
His neck began to stretch, as his muscles swelled in ways that no man could have ever imagined. He tossed his head, as if he were a king. Each existing muscle of his body gained new mass. New muscles formed from old. And then, his newly sprouted tail began to swung back and forth as if chasing flies away.
He tried to scream, but he could neigh in disbelief.
For a long time, Deela stared at the transformed Asfazra dumbfounded. "What did you do to him?" she finally asked the guardian.
But the guardian only sighed. "Weren't you watching what just happened? Or did you just now wake from a late nap, girlie? I want you look at him ... closely. Asfazra is now a horse. Was Asfazra a horse before?"
"No, he wasn't." whispered Deela.
"Then what did I do to him?" he asked her as if she were a small simple-minded child.
"You changed him into a horse." replied Deela.
"That's very good, princess." he replied. "I can't understand why my brothers think you people are so backwards and dense."
"You have brothers?" she asked in surprise. "I would have never thought the Eternal Guardian of Reality would have a family."
"I never said that I was the, as in the one and only, guardian. I'm just one of them. There are four of us who do most of the work. I have two brothers and a cousin that share those responsibilities over a countless number of real and potential realities."
"Do you have a name?"
"Well, of course, I have name." he replied with a hint of irritation in his voice. "Just what kind of parents do you think I had for them not to give me a name?"
"I'm sorry, Guardian. That wasn't what I meant." said Deela. "I wanted to call you something other than Eternal Guardian, or Hey You. That's so impersonal."
"Oh." he whispered. "In that case, you can call me Gus."
"Gus?" questioned the princess.
"Sure. Why not. Everybody else calls me Gus." replied the little man. "My real name is unpronouncable by almost all known mortals. Even my own mother has problems getting all the inflections of it right most the time. But that's really her fault. She created the problem in the first place. You see, when she was pregnant was me, she'd had these cravings for yak's milk. As long as it was pasteurized and homogenized, she didn't have any problems. However, on the day she went to the local scribe to register my name, she was inadvertently given a glass of raw yak's milk while she was in the waiting chamber. She had an allergic reaction, which resulted in my totally unpronouncable name. Joe and Sam always kid me about that."
"Joe and Sam?" she asked.
"My two brothers."
"I suppose your cousin is named Bob, or something similar."
"Not really. My cousin is considered quite the black sheep of the family. And while I think Bob would be an excellent name for her, she doesn't believe, and probably never will, in making things easy for mortals. Her given name is Nesfendatwabblesocksentard ... Junior. She was named after her father. But Joe and Sam and I like to call her Nessie." Gus began to laugh. "That name really pisses her off. Anyway, she's not really much help around the realities. She tends to spend all of her time swimming around in that lake she found a couple of realities over from here, although I think they call them lochs over there.
"But enough about me. You should be getting some rest, young lady. You'll have a lot of traveling to do soon. You and Cyrah and Rornick ...
The horse that had been Asfazra whinnied its disapproval.
"Oh alright, Asfazra. I'll humor you for the rest of the evening." replied Gus. "Anyway, you and Cyrah and Lysteah, are you happy now, have a long day's journey to Tomandia ahead of you."
"Are they going to be alright?"
"Certainly." answered Gus. "I would imagine that both of them will probably be a little stiff and sore in the morning considering all the physical activity they'll be getting this evening, but that should pass quickly come morning. Other than that, both of them should be physically sound."
"But what about mentally?" she wondered. "Asfazra made Rornick think he was actually a girl - one of the Givers of Pleasures - named Lysteah."
"She, or he as the case may be, will probably be alright a few hours after she rises in the morning. Fortunately for her, one dose of mentmorf extract doesn't induce permanent results. That was why I had to intervene tonight. A second dose would have made some of Lysteah's new memories and thought patterns permanent at Rornick's expense. And, if a third dose had been administered, Lysteah would have become just as horny and sex-starved as Cyrah - permanently.
"Rornick, or Lysteah, may also have a few flashbacks for a while. And she, or he, might seem a little schizophrenic for a while in the morning, but I'd guess most of that should pass by midday."
"What about all of Asfazra's men?" she asked the guardian. "They aren't going to let us go without some trouble. Especially if they believe that Cyrah and Lysteah are really Givers of Pleasure, as decreed by Reis."
Gus smiled. "You won't have any problems with them, Deela. I've already taken care of that problem." He turned to the horse standing nearby. "Haven't I, Asfazra, my old friend?"
And while Deela pondered what he could have meant by that odd remark, the smiling Gus raised his hand, waved at her, and faded slowly from sight.
As the sun rose, Deela re-entered the great hall from the small room she'd found to sleep in after she'd left Asfazra's chamber. The snoring of the transformed priest had kept her from dozing off. But now, as she stood all alone in the vast hall, everything was calm and peaceful.
Cyrah bounced into the room. "Morning, Deela." she said cheerfully. "I had a really great time last night. Damn, but I'd swear I'd forgotten how good it felt to have a man between my legs."
Deela stared at her and shook her head. It had to have been her first time with a man. How could she have forgotten being with a man, when up until yesterday she'd been a man herself. It had to be that damnable spell, she thought.
"It's really a shame you didn't come along and join us in all the fun we were having." giggled Cyrah. "All of the guys were totally awesome in the sack. That is, until they suddenly disappeared."
"What do you mean?" asked Deela.
"They just disappeared. One minute, one of those manly studs had slipped up behind me and was fucking me doggie style." she sighed. "And then the next minute, it felt like a lodge pole pine had been shoved up my ass. It was a totally unbelievable feeling." Cyrah frowned. "Then all of a sudden that feeling just stopped. And when I turned around to see what was wrong with him, he'd disappeared. And in his place, there was a horse standing in my room."
"A horse?" queried Deela.
"Yeah, a horse." pouted Deela. "I'm not into equine trysts, so I left and tried to find another guy outside, but I couldn't find another one. It was so frustrating. Finally I went back to the room, the horse had wandered away by then, and went to sleep."
Lysteah, still looking like a walking advertisement for sexual delights, swayed gracefully into the hall, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
"Good morning, Rornick." bubbled Cyrah.
"Rornick? Who's Rornick." she replied holding her head. "I have one hell of splitting headache. And if either of you can find whoever's spinning the room around, would you make them stop before I have to puke."
Deela stared at the woman's form. "Are you Rornick now, or still Lysteah."
"Who's Lysteah." asked the puzzled Cyrah.
"I think I'm both, sort of." he replied unsure of himself. "On the one hand, I want to find that asshole Asfazra and kick the crap out of him. But on the other hand, I want to find him so I can fuck him to death. What the hell did he do to me?"
"Asfazra had some drug put into the water the guard brought you last night. Under its influence, he gave you several suggestions that made you believe you were one of the Givers of Pleasure of his god or goddess Reis the Pleasurer." explained Deela. "By the time he had finished making those suggestions, you were acting a lot like Cyrah. And then he had one of the guards lead you away for your night in the Room of Bliss."
"Oh shit." she exclaiming sounding more like Rornick. "Then all that shit I thought I dreamed last night was true."
"Do you want to talk about it?" asked Deela.
"Are you kidding? No way." replied Rornick defensively, even as Lysteah replied sexily "Are you kidding? Of course, I want to talk about all the fun I had."
"I couldn't believe I was fucking men left and right." said Rornick.
"It was so wonderful to give them such pleasure." replied Lysteah. "And receive so much pleasure in return."
"I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't stop myself."
"I never wanted to stop."
"One of them had just finished."
"He was such a totally awesome stud."
"And another one was supposed to come in and take his place." he shuddered at the thought.
"But no one came in." she pouted.
"I decided to go out into the hall." said Rornick.
"But there weren't any men out there." pouted Lysteah.
"There were just horses milling about in the hall."
"And I'm not into anything kinky." proclaimed Lysteah.
"Neither am I." agreed Rornick.
"So I went back inside my room and went to sleep."
Deela shook her head at this exchange between Rornick and Lysteah. "I really hope you two aren't going to keep talking back and forth with yourselves like that much longer. If you do, you're going to drive me crazy."
"There's no need to worry about that, Princess." said Gus as he gradually reappeared. "The mentmorf effects should wear off quickly now that she, or he, or whatever, is awake."
"Do you know what happened to all the men who used to be around here?" Lysteah asked him. She shook his head in an attempt to rid herself of the cobwebs in his mind.
"Maybe my brothers are right after all." replied Gus. "You people sure don't seem to be very observant. Isn't it obvious to everyone here? I changed all of the men into horses. And they're all going stay horses until they provide a sufficient number of vessels for all the souls they've displaced in their hedonistic pursuits."
"Well, that's just fucking great." exclaimed Rornick angrily. "Some asshole priest drugs me, messes with my mind, and convinces me that I'm some fuckbunny for his men. Then you let him and his men off easy by turning them into horses and charging them with repopulating this little shithole.
"That doesn't sound very fair to me either, Gus." said Deela.
"Fair? What's this thing you people have with fairness?" asked Gus. "What don't you like about my plan for them. I think all of them will have to account for at least a thousand souls."
"But, Gus, it won't take very long for a stallion to impregnate a thousand mares. It shouldn't take more than decade. They'll all be back at their old tricks before we know it."
A wide smile crossed his face. "I don't think so. It's going to take them a little longer than a paltry decade." said Gus. "And I don't remember anybody ever mentioning anything at all about stallions. Do any of you? Let's see now. By my quick calculations, if we assume eleven months for gestation and up to another four months for weaning their foals, then these mares are going mighty busy for the twelve centuries or so."
"Oh." replied Cyrah, Deela, and Rornick.
"Now the three of you had best saddle up be on your way." said Gus, as once more he slowly vanished.
It didn't take the three of them long to gather their belongings, find their already saddled horses, and be on their way away from the Land of Reis. Very soon, unless something else strange happened to them, they would be home in Tomandia.
"Who was that odd little guy back there." asked Rornick.
"He was kind of cute." answered Cyrah. "But he was a little short for my taste. Too bad he wasn't taller. Although he might have been interesting."
"That was Gus." Deela told both of them. "He told me and Asfazra, who must have already known him from somewhere, that he was an Eternal Guardian of Reality.
"I've never heard of an internal guardian." said Cyrah. "What does one of them do?"
"That's eternal, Cyrah. Not internal." corrected Deela. "He said that he and the other guardians protected that which was, that which is, and that which shall be."
"That doesn't make any sense." Cyrah replied. She scratched her head. "Just what does that mean anyway."
"I'm not exactly sure. It sounds like he watches over things to make sure that everything works the way it's supposed to work. And if it doesn't, he can alter things so they do. Just like last night, when he transformed Asfazra and all the other men in the temple into horses.
"So that's what happened to all those awesome guys last night." said Cyrah obviously relieved. "I was afraid it was something I said that made them all run away and hide. But that really wasn't very nice of that Gus guy to spoil all of my fun."
Rornick and Deela glared at her.
"You said you thought Gus could alter things. Did you ask him if he could change all of us back to normal."
"I asked him, Rornick. He said he could, but he wouldn't."
"Why not?" sighed Rornick.
"Gus gave me some flaky shit about all of us having some part to play in the great scheme of things. He said we were in middle of something really important and it couldn't be changed now without blowing this reality away."
"That's just great." exclaimed Rornick. "Instead of guessing that we were being used, now we know without a doubt."
"But he did give me the impression that he'd be willing to restore us when whatever these roles we're playing finally come to an end."
Rornick shook his head. "I wonder how long that will take. It could be several years." He pointed towards Cyrah. "And what about her?"
"I'd think he would change Cyrah back too. Wouldn't you?"
"What do you mean 'change me back too?'" asked Cyrah as she overheard her name come up in their conversation. She put her hands on her hips. "Why should that little man want to change me back when I haven't been changed in the first place? Look at me! I'm still the same girl that I've always been."
"But it's all part of the spell you're under Cyrah." replied Rornick. "It's making you think you're a girl now and always have been. Don't you remember that you were really a man named Crydar when we first met?"
"Oh, for heaven's sake." sighed Cyrah in disgust, rolling her eyes and staring into space. "Please. Don't try and push your fantasy obsessions off on me, Rornick. I'm a girl. I've always been a girl. I like being a girl. And no way would I ever want to be a boy." She let out a quick little sigh. "Just because you think that you used to be a guy once doesn't mean that all girls think they were once guys. I mean, you don't see Deela whining about having been a guy once. Doyou_?"
Once more, Rornick and Deela exchanged sullen glances. Somehow, they knew they had to find some way of breaking the spell's hold on their companion.
Having witness their exchange of knowing glances, Cyrah frowned. "I don't want to talk about it any more. But know this, if that little man comes around and tries to change me into some boy, then I'll kick him in his nuts so hard he'll wish he were a girl. And besides, you two smartypants don't know everything. If I were really a guy like you claim, then I wouldn't enjoy having guys fuck me so much. Now would I?" She smiled at her use of logic. "Not only that, but if I were really a guy, then a lot of guys would never have wanted to fuck me in the first place. And when there are a lot of boys around me, all of us know what they're thinking about and with whom. So there!"
Cyrah jabbed her horse and opened a small gap between her and them. She was thoroughly pleased with herself and thought certain she'd convinced them she was, and had always been, a girl.
In what was becoming habitual, Rornick and Deela exchanged disdainful glances. Something was going to have to be done about her.
Deela turned towards Rornick. "I wonder. Do you think we could convince Gus to transform her into a big rock?"
"It would be an improvement." replied Rornick with a wry smile.
After a few hours of traveling without seeing another living thing, the three entered into a small village, where they hoped to rest for a short time. It was just a small farming community, nothing overly exceptional. But the inhabitants acted as if they were unused to having visitors. They, mostly the men, stared and pointed at them. After seeing some of the inhabitants, Deela and Rornick wondered if maybe it was actually amply endowed female flesh they weren't used to seeing in these parts.
And inevitably, Cyrah stared back. At least, she stared at all the approaching men. "Wow!" she exclaimed. "Look at all these really cute guys. Do you think we could stop and talk to some of them?"
"I don't think we should stop, Cyrah." replied Deela quickly. "I know we intended to rest here a while, but, all of a sudden, I have a really bad feeling about this place." She felt panicky at the sight of the village men. "I think we should continue along and find another place to rest."
"Oh, please, Deela. Can't we stop for just a little while?" she whined like a spoiled little girl. "Please, Deela. Please. Pretty please."
"No!" stated Deela firmly. "We continue on."
"We might have to stop, Deela." uttered Rornick from behind them. With considerable effort, he added, "Unless you can get me away from here really soon, I think I'm going to lose control."
Deela turned back to Rornick. She saw immediately that he was in definite trouble. His skin glistened as he was sweating profusely. With great difficulty and a concentrated effort, he strained to remain in his saddle, but Deela realized that it was a fight he might soon lose. She watched him stare at the approaching villagers, with lust building in his eyes as each male came closer. It had to be the mentmorf extract, she thought suddenly. Gus had said there might be flashbacks. And as she gazed at the primping female form of Rornick, who was now quite obviously attempting to draw the village men's attentions away from Cyrah and to herself, Deela knew without doubt that Lysteah now completely controlled Rornick's mind and body."
"Oh, shit. Just what we needed." she grumbled. "Why now?"
The men from the village continued their approach. Soon the three were surrounded, their horses forced to a halt. All of the men stared at the buxom beauties sitting astride their horses. But Rornick, her breasts heaving with the return of the pent up passions of Lysteah, garnered more and more of their attentions as time passed.
"Damnit." swore Deela. "We can't afford this kind of shit." Cautiously, she reached out to spank the flanks of each of her companions' mounts, which resulted in both of them bolting through the circle of villagers that had surrounded them. Without waiting to see if anyone was hurt, Deela prodded her own horse to leave the circle. Once free of the villagers, Deela and her mount galloped off in pursuit of the other two dashing quickly away. Finally, she caught up to them several kilometers outside the village.
"Are the two of you both okay?" asked Deela pulling up beside them.
"I'm fine." pouted Cyrah. "I don't see why we couldn't have stayed for a little bit. I'm sure one of them would have been fantastic in the sack."
"I think I'm okay. Now that we're outside the village, it seems to be passing." panted Rornick in relief. "Back there in the village, all of a sudden I felt this insatiable need for one of those men to take me someplace, any place, and fuck me. It was just like last night, all over again. I couldn't think of anything else."
"And you think you're a guy?" snarled Cyrah.
"Gus said that you might have flashbacks." replied Deela. "But he also thought, they'd probably weaken as the day wore on."
"I hope they don't get any worse than the one I just had. Otherwise, I'll probably be jumping off my horse and ripping the clothes off the the next man I see. Maybe we ought to avoid any villages we come across the rest of the way home. Just in case."
"That might be the most sensible thing to do." sighed Deela.
For the rest of the journey, they avoided villages, towns, and anything that even remotely appeared to have people associated with it. As a result, the rest of their trip passed uneventfully.
A few hours after their narrow escape from the village, they had approached a tall cactus that had two long upraised arms which made it look strangely similar to a very large man. Rornick had suffered a brief flashback when he'd first seen the man-shaped cactus and had veered off in its direction.
But as his slight change of direction, the light also changed. What had appeared to be the visage of a man was almost instantly replaced by the cactus it actually was.
Quickly, he had fallen back into step with Deela and Cyrah. He'd hoped that neither of them had noticed his small indiscretion. Fortunately for him, the lighting had changed. He would have never been able to adequately explain to them, why he had wanted to impale himself on the prickly bud that blossomed on the cactus.
At long last, the weary travelers arrived at the Tomandian border. Deela was so happy at being home, that she had leapt from her horse and kissed the ground under the sign that said "Welcome to Tomandia - If you lived here, you'd be home now." She began to weep. After the passage of so many years, she was finally home again.
They went directly to the royal castle. Deela wanted to see her parents again. As they approached the castle gate, one of the guards stopped them.
"What would three pretty young girls like yourselves be wanting here?" asked the guard suspiciously.
"We're here to see my parents, King Chonar and Queen Elanna." replied Deela cheerfully.
The guard frowned at them. "You had best be moving on along girls." he told them. "Everyone in Tomandia knows that the King and Queen have no daughters. But that was not for lack of trying, so the story is told. As much as they wanted children, they have only one child, their son and heir Prince Andar.
"But that can't be true." said the shocked young woman.
"Of course it can be true, young woman." replied the guard. "I've been a castle guard for nearly all of my adult life. I have seen their majesties many times. I would definitely know if my king and his queen had any other children besides Andar. And they don't."
Deela was clearly stunned by statement that her parents had only one child. She wondered what was going on.
Rornick pulled at her arm. "Perhaps we had best find some place to think through this matter." Slowly he led Deela and Cyrah away from the castle.
"What's wrong with all of them, Rornick. Ever since you rescued me from Senesha, everybody's been calling me Princess Deela. And now that I'm home nobody seems to remember me as either the girl I appear to be or the boy I'm supposed to be."
"Oh, no." groaned Cyrah. "Not you too."
"I don't know, Deela. I spoke with the King myself just before our little band left to rescue you. He knew you then, even if it was as his daughter, and was anxious to have you returned safely."
"And what about my sister Rena? What has happened to her?
"I don't know that either, Deela. I saw her briefly as I spoke with your father. I recognized her immediately as Princess Rena. I heard her call the King and Queen, Father and Mother, and no one corrected her. When the five of us left Tomandia to rescue you, everyone knew that the King and Queen had three children - two daughters and one son. Somehow, all memories of you and your sister appear to have been wiped clean from the collective consciousness of the kingdom."
"I'll bet that whoever was behind my kidnapping must be behind this." said Deela. For the first time, she realized there was actually someone other than Senesha that had masterminded her kidnapping.
"That would be my guess."
In the meantime, Cyrah, who was totally uninterested in the strange conversation between her companions, began to flirt with the boys that passed by. Finally, one of them lingered for a moment before coming over and and starting to talk with her. But he didn't stay very long, because another girl wandered over and said something that made him leave.
"Why'd you do that?" whined Cyrah.
"I don't recognize you." said the girl. "It's bad for business, when someone like you is giving it away."
A puzzled expression spread across Cyrah's face. "Giving what away?"
"You have to forgive her." Rornick told the girl. "She's kind of simple-minded in some things."
"Then you're not in the business?"
"What business?" asked the still puzzled Cyrah.
"See. What did I tell you?" responded Rornick. "And no, we're not in the business."
"Yeah, I guess I catch your drift about that one." replied the girl. "But if attractive girls like you should ever be in need of work, I'm certain that Mistress Doxine could set you right away."
"Thanks." said Rornick. "But I don't think we're interested, miss."
The girl shook her head. "Very well. But if you should change your minds, the all you need to do is ask anyone, that is any man, where Doxine's House of Pleasure is located. When you get there, tell them Roni recommended you."
Roni turned and headed back to where she'd been standing before. As she leisurely strolled away, Deela couldn't help but stare after her.
"Is there something wrong?" asked Rornick noticing her stare.
"I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not." replied Deela. "I know I've never seen that girl before, but there was something about her that seemed awfully familar. I don't understand it at all. I've never in my life even met that type of girl before."
"And what type of girl is she?" asked Cyrah perplexed.
Rornick and Deela ignored her question. But being ignored didn't bother Cyrah very long. Before long she had forgotten she'd asked them a question and had returned to flirting with the passing boys.
"You know, Rornick. I think maybe we seek out the court wizard. If there is anyone who can figure out what has been going on around here, he should be able to. Don't you think?"
"That's an excellent idea, Deela. I wish I'd thought of it." Rornick turned to his other companion. "Come on, Cyrah." he hollered at her. "We're off to see and speak to the court wizard."
"Oh goody!" she exclaimed. "I've always wanted to meet a real wizard."
Deela knocked on the door of the wizard. It had take them slightly longer to find the wizard's dwelling than they'd expected because Cyrah had stopped and flirted with every boy they'd passed along the way. Rornick had wanted to leave her behind with one of them, but Deela had insisted that Cyrah had to come along.
The door opened slowly.
This was utterly amazing, thought Larnak. He'd been wondering how to get them within reach of his clutches, and now, here they were, delivering themselves to him. "Won't you come inside?" he asked them.
Deela and Rornick entered the wizard's lair.
"How might I be of any assistance to you young ladies?" smiled Larnak maliciously.
"We were hoping that you could tell us what is going on around here." replied Deela.
"What do you mean?" answered Larnak with another question. But it was a question for which he already knew several answers.
Rornick explained, "We are not really what or who we seem to be."
"Oh." said Larnak simply. He had already decided what he was going to do to his visitors, but his mind had wandered to the how of things. A slow change would be most satisfying, especially if it went unnoticed by the victims until mere seconds before its completion.
"Regardless of what you see in front of you, wizard, the three of us aren't really women at all. We're actually men, magically transformed into these abundantly female forms. I am really Prince Delan, son of King Chonar and Queen Elanna. That is Rornick, who led the knights sent to rescue me from the witch Senesha. And ..." She looked furiously about. "Now where is she?"
"She's probably outside trying to pick up one or more of the guys out on the street." said Rornick harshly. "It's that one track mind of hers. I'll go fetch her".
As Rornick went outside, Larnak wondered for a moment what he should do with his niece with the one-track mind. He smiled as he thought about what he had planned for Deela and Rornick.
Rornick returned, firmly holding Cyrah's upper arm. She tried, without succeeding, to free her arm. "But Rornick." she whined. "He was just being friendly." She turned and spotted the wizard. "Oh. Hi, Uncle Larnak. I didn't know you were a wizard."
Larnak stared at her. What a bubblehead, he thought.
"Uncle? ... Larnak?" asked Deela.
"The wizard is your uncle?" queried Rornick.
"Of course, Larnak's my uncle. My mother is his sister." replied Cyrah to both questions. "But I didn't know he was a wizard. He never told me he was."
"I suppose, we all must have our little trials and tribulations in life." sighed Larnak. "It's as all the great wizards say, 'the best laid plans of mice and wizards are oft times hosed by a twit.' And I'm absolutely certain you'll agree with me that my niece fits that description perfectly."
"Oh, thank you, Uncle Larnak." gushed Cyrah as she blushed brightly. "That was very nice of you to say."
Deela turned to Rornick. "I think we should be going."
"Agreed." Rornick turned to the wizard. "We're sorry to have bothered you, Larnak. We'll be leaving now."
"I don't think so." laughed Larnak. "Now that you're here, I think you should stay glued to the floor, right where you are."
Rornick, Deela, and Cyrah suddenly found it impossible to lift their feet from the floor. Deela, now realizing that Larnak had been the cause of all of her problems over the past several years, stared daggers at the wizard. Rornick and Cyrah struggled without success to move their feet.
"I wondered how I was going to you here, but vapid little Cyrah did manage to solve that problem for me. Although I suspect, after seeing her in action, that she probably had very little to do with your showing up here. Now, I'll just have to implement my plans for you out in the open. That won't be nearly as much fun for me as I'd hoped." He glared at his niece. "Thank you, Cyrah." he spat sarcastically.
"You're very welcome, Uncle Larnak." beamed Cyrah with pride.
Everybody stared at Cyrah and shook their heads in disbelief.
"What's wrong?" she asked innocently.
Larnak began to laugh.
"What are going to do with us?" asked Deela.
Larnak smiled. "An interesting question, princess, since I really don't have any need of either of you. Now do I?"
"Then you're going to kill us?" queried Rornick.
"Of course not, my dear. That would be excessively cruel and highly unnecessary." answered the wizard as his evil smile grew broader. "I'm hurt by your implication. I'll just transform you into someone or something more palatable to my tastes."
"That's just fucking great." spat Rornick. "We're going to be mindless bimbo twits just like Cyrah."
"Not necessarily. I do like to believe I have a more vivid imagination than that, especially since I have near total control over reality within the kingdom." bragged the wizard. "You'll probably be happy to hear that I've been thinking of giving my dear niece the intelligence she needs to be my upstairs maid."
"Oh, thank you very much uncle." replied the blushing young woman. "Mother will be so very pleased and happy if I could only have a full-time job. She never really thought I'd amount to anything, except maybe pleasing guys at Doxine's."
"And you still might." Larnak told her sharply. "Now I think I should move you away from the center of floor, someplace where you'll be less likely to be in the way. Let's see." He looked towards his niece. "Cyrah. First, I want you to fetch me a glass of water. After you return with my water, I want you to go stand by door and just look pretty. That shouldn't be much of a stretch for you.
"Deela. I want you to sit demurely in that chair over by the bed." As she was commanded, she did. "Now don't move until I tell you otherwise. Just sit there and think very sexy thoughts."
Cyrah returned, a tall glass in her hand. "Here's the water you wanted, Uncle Larnak."
"Thank you, Cyrah." He took the glass from his niece and set it on the table next to the chair where Deela sat quietly thinking her sexy and provocative thoughts,
Cyrah, as she'd been instructed to do, walked over and stood by the door. Striking a seductive pose, she asked merrily, "How's this, Uncle Larnak?"
The wizard stared at her. "That's just perfect, dear."
Unaccustomed to any kind of compliment from her uncle, Cyrah blushed brightly.
Seeing his niece's reaction, Larnak shook his head. Quickly scanning his room, his eyes fixed on the empty wall near the door. That will be perfect, he thought staring at the bare wall. Slowly, he made a wide-sweeping gesture with his arm and suddenly the wall was covered with the appearance of a full-length mirror. He turned to Rornick. "The mirror is for you, my dear sweet Rornick." he said casually. "I would like you to stroll over, as sexily as you possibly can, and stand in front of that mirror."
"Go to hell!" exclaimed the determined knight. "I don't want to. And you can't make me."
"Ah. Defiance. I so love a petulant streak in my women." said Larnak with a sneer. "But you know, as well as I do, that you want to walk over and stand in front of that mirror. And we both know how sexily you want to walk, because it's the only way you know how to walk. I'm sure you know how happy it makes me to watch you walk. And I know that you want to make me ever so happy."
"No. I ..." said Rornick hesitantly. He shook his head, trying to remember what he was supposed to do. "Well, ... maybe, I ..." Rornick's gaze fell on his reflection in the mirror. Unconsciously, he began to casually stroll toward mirror in full possession of a gait that was far sexier than he'd ever had before.
Larnak smiled as Rornick stopped before the mirror gazing ever deeply at the image reflected there. "Now sweetness, just stand there for a few minutes admiring yourself. You may primp, if you like."
"I don't want to." said Rornick softly, nonetheless striking a most sensual and seductive pose. He pulled his shoulders back, which pushed out his ample breasts even farther in front of him. He placed a hand on his wide hip, even as it struck out an even sexier pose. Then his free hand brushed lightly through his light brown shoulder length hair.
"Now, isn't that much better." said the wizard. It was obvious from his tone that Rornick's provocative posings had affected him. "Don't you feel so incredibly sexy and totally feminine now?"
"No." moaned Rornick. "Not at all."
"Then I suppose we'll have to make a few more minor alterations. It wouldn't do to have the newest girl at Doxine's House of Pleasures be anything less than the sexiest and most feminine creature around. Would it? Let's see. First ... the hair."
Rornick's shoulder-length light hair began growing longer and darker. Several minutes later, when it had finally stopped growing, his soft and luxurious hair flowed done to kiss the rounded cheeks of his plump ass. And instead of the tawny color it had been, his hair was now the darkest black he'd ever seen.
"And the breasts. They should be a little bigger, I think." smiled Larnak. "Senesha always said that most men liked big-breasted women and Doxine has required you to be 'better than amply endowed.' You, as well as all the men you've yet to meet, should enjoy these."
A tingling sensation began and soon spread rapidly across his already buxom breasts. They began to enlarge. Rornick could do nothing but stare at his reflection with an odd mix of horror and delight as they engorged and became the largest breasts he'd ever seen.
"And that waist really must be smaller."
Rornick felt the tingling shift downwards from his breasts to his waist, which constricted to waspish proportions while his hips jutted out in compensation.
Larnak leered at his creation. "And those clothes have really got to go." he said.
Rornick felt his blouse, already uncomfortable being far too small to fit his newly ponderous breasts, begin to shrink still further and flow as it reshaped. The feelings of its contortions, like millions of probing fingers, excited him. He looked in the mirror and saw that which remained barely covered his enlarged breasts and revealed vast cleavage like known he had ever seen. The material looked soft and silky and it felt the same as his every movement made it caress his feminine frame.
As taken as he'd been with his changing blouse and the heightened sense of delightful pleasure that accompanied it, the fusing of the legs of the pants he'd been wearing had gone completely unnoticed. Neither had he felt the new skirt as it slid quickly up his lower legs nor had it felt the soft silky material stop just above his knees. Lost in the thoughts of the softness of what now covered his bountiful breasts, he failed to recognize the light pink and diaphanous skirt that shouted his newly enhanced femininity to the world.
"Only a few insignificant changes left to go." remarked the wizard.
His emerald green eyes changed slowly to slate gray. His face, once again, remolded into one unrecognizable to him. The girl he appeared to be now was still beautiful. And when Rornick finally turned his gaze back upon the mirror, his mouth dropped open in total surprise.
"I take it, you like what you see, my dear?" asked the wizard smugly.
Rornick stared at his reflection. This even more buxom than he'd been before woman couldn't be really him, he thought. "No." he whispered. He shouted, "Change me ..." Then he grabbed at his throat in disbelief. His voice was light and airy. He thought it sounded incredibly sexy and just hearing it excited him.
"That's much better, I believe." said the amused wizard. "Now you may properly preen in the mirror, my dear."
Without objection, Rornick posed before the mirror. One of his hands reached up to rearrange the hair that had fallen across his face. The wizard smiled once more, then motioned at Cyrah, who walked over from beside the door to stand next to the transfigured Rornick.
"Hi. You're new here aren't you?" she said. "My name is Cyrah. What's yours? And did you happen to see where Rornick went?"
"Cyrah, I know you don't recognize me, but it's me." said Rornick. "I'm ..."
"No. No. No. We can't have any of that, my dear." interrupted Larnak quickly. "You are who you are. Not who you were."
Rornick's slate gray eyes quickly glazed over, before just as swiftly regaining their spark of life.
"I'm sorry, Cyrah, but I don't know where your friend Rornick went off to. My name is Viselle." She extended her hand. "I'm very pleased to meet you, Cyrah."
"Me too, Viselle. That is, ... I mean ... I'm pleased to meet you." replied Cyrah blushing slightly. "Viselle is a very pretty name."
"Thank you, Cyrah."
Viselle turned and looked in mirror. After a hurried inspection of herself, she turned back to Larnak. "You have done an excellent job, wizard. Mistress Doxine will be very pleased that you could restore my features so quickly. She has asked me to inquire of you if she might keep the man who scarred me. He has become most popular among our guests, ever since you ensorceled him to take my place."
"Of course, Viselle. When you return, you may tell Doxine that she is now hers to do with as she will." He turned to Cyrah. "Why don't the two of you get better acquainted, while I turn my attention to other pressing matters."
"An excellent suggestion, wizard." replied Viselle. "It will make the time I spend waiting for Roni to come and take me home seem that much shorter."
"But, Uncle Larnak ..." whined Cyrah. "... She's a girl."
"So what." answered her uncle briskly. "You like girls, too."
"Oh, that's right. I must have forgotten. Thank you ever so much for reminding me, Uncle Larnak."
Cyrah and Viselle embraced one another. Each undid the fastenings of the other's top. Both tops fell to the floor as if they were one. Each lightly stroked the other's breasts. And each responded with moans of ecstasy.
Larnak gestured at the floor beneath the mirror. "If you'd like, the two of you may use that bed to facilitate your pleasures."
"Thank you." echoed Cyrah and Viselle, as they collapsed onto the bed, kissing, each in the arms of the other.
Larnak turned to Deela. "It's a real shame that not everyone can be handled as simply as that fool little twit. Oh well, two down and one to go."
"What did you do to them?" she asked the wizard.
"Nothing much." smiled the wizard. "And nothing of permanence to my niece. Not that I really care, but my sister would have a fit, if I were to take away the daughter she only just so recently gained. Right now, Cyrah just likes making it with girls as much as she does with boys. It will wear off soon after Roni takes Viselle home.
"And the beautiful Viselle is now newest member of Doxine's House of Pleasures, which I'm told is probably the best bawdy house in all of Tomandia. Of course, she and everyone else outside this room firmly believes she's been there since she was an adolescent girl. She has been, and will continue to be, very happy there. Other than you and me, and soon it will just me, no one remembers the man you knew as Rornick. In fact, he was never born. In his place, she was born of different parents who had a vastly different set of values. Her parents were thrilled when Doxine picked their daughter from among the many to join her select few."
"But that was exactly what Asfazra was going to do to her, when he made her believe she was Lysteah."
"More or less. But, believe me, she is far better off employed at Mistress Doxine's then she would have been horsing around with that stupid quack in the Temple of Reis." he smiled. "That, and she'll live a lot longer. If the Givers of Pleasure last out a full fortnight, they're considered truly blessed. And Doxine's girls have full retirement benefits, as well as a chance at advancement, just like your sister Rena."
"What did you do to my sister?" asked Deela with concern.
"Oh really, Princess." said Larnak knowing how much being called princess upset Deela. "You've already met her. Do you remember the whore in the street named Roni. At the time, you wondered why she seemed strangely familiar. Didn't you? Now you know, at least for a little while."
"You changed a princess into a common whore?" asked Deela incredulously.
"I don't believe I would call Roni a common anything. But, as Rena, she was fast becoming a pain-in-the-ass and a real bitch. She kept wanting to tell me what I had to do. And she also kept pissing off a lot of other people, who would have given anything to be able to fuck her in return. And by now, all of them have. Not only that, but all of them, your precious sister included, have enjoyed themselves immeasurably."
"What are you going to do with me?" she asked nervously.
"In my original plan, you were to become the blushing bride of Crendal, the King of Sanaria."
"Ugh! You've got to be kidding. When I was a boy, Prince Crendal was one of the most arrogant assholes that it had ever been my misfortune to meet." snarled Deela in disgust. "What would make you think that I, a prince of Tomandia, would agree to marry someone that would make a warthog look pleasant."
"It was all for the alliance that I thought we needed with Sanaria, my dear." replied Larnak with an annoying smile. "Besides, if Senesha had done the job she was supposed to have done, then you would have returned here capable of thinking of yourself only as a princess. You would have neither remembered nor even thought of yourself as a prince. And as a princess, and a dutiful daughter, you would have married Crendal."
"I take it something happened to change those plans?" asked Deela.
"You might say that. That fat ass Crendal went off and secretly married little Princess Faeli of Parquat. She's not much of a looker, a real dog, I'm told." He started to laugh, then abruptly stopped. "Now there's an interesting thought. I wonder if Crendal would like being the husband of a real bitch. Of course, I could easily change his outlooks and perspectives to make him the perfect mate for such a bitch. Who knows, he might enjoy being a mutt, once I've taken over Sanaria and relieved him of his kingly duties. Oh well, those are all wonderful things for me to look forward to." He let out a sigh. "I haven't forgotten about you, Deela. Unfortunately, I do tend to ramble sometimes. But it was his marriage that made you expendable. For quite a while I wondered what I should do with you, but then I thought of something that would be just perfect for you."
"What?" she asked apprehensively.
"Oh yes, princess. I have decided on something that will be just perfect for you." he mumbled. "Do you remember your friend, Haknee?"
"Yeah, I remember him. He was supposed to change our school records so that we would be ranked as honor students. But instead of that, he changed my records to say I was really a girl. It's all his fault that my records got screwed up. If he would have had the guts to show up at school the next day, I think I might have killed him."
"No, you wouldn't. You probably couldn't have even hurt him. The ability to kill someone has never been a part of your make-up. That's why certain people didn't want you to ever become king." replied Larnak. "But what you've surmised is more or less true." Larnak smiled again. "You'll be happy to know, I'm sure, that she will be arriving soon."
"She?" queried Deela in surprise.
"Of course, Princess. Oh ... I forgot you didn't know. Haknee wanted a position of power behind the scenes of the royal court. And to get it, he sold you out. He had a method to change school records, where I couldn't. But he never realized that as he altered your records, he was also rewriting his own in exactly the way yours were being changed." The wizard laughed. "And after a few years, when your brother Andar became old enough, I gave him sultry Hakena, the perfect little slut I'd made of Haknee, as a gift."
"You bastard." exclaimed Deela.
"Not really." laughed the wizard. "Hakena's quite happy with her life. She's going to be Andar's concubine and soon will be the mother of his royal bastards. Of course, they'll only be truly his, if I decide not to take over his life any sooner then is absolutely necessary. And when I do assume his life and identity, then I'll simply reconfigure his reality so that he is, and has always been, just another buxom beauty totally devoted to me."
Deela swallowed nervously. "What has any of that to do with me?"
"It's quite simple, princess. I miss all the fun I used to have with Hakena before I gave her away to Andar." He sounded like a spoiled little brat, who was angry at not getting his way. "And I don't really want to wait until after I've taken over his life to get her back again. I'm sure you'll understand."
Deela nodded slowly, as if to agree. There can be no doubt, she thought, Larnak's gone completely round the bend.
The wizard continued. "So I have devised a potion, especially for you. It will transform you into her identical twin sister." he smiled that maddening smile of his. "It's very simple. You will drink the potion. Since you're already abundantly female, you won't notice any changes at first. But after Hakena arrives, you'll bond with her, as a good sister should, and, as a result, you'll become almost exactly like her. Then you'll fall into mad and passionate lust with the first man you see. And since I'm going to be the only man here, that man will be me." He leered at her in lustful anticipation.
"That's terrible." snapped Deela.
"Oh no, it will be quite wonderful." replied Larnak. "Just you wait and see."
Suddenly, there was another low moan of ecstasy from the bed where Viselle and Cyrah laid playfully in each others arms. For a moment, their playful sounds distracted the wizard. But then, he turned his attentions back to Deela.
"You see, Princess." he told her brashly. "Everything is going exactly as I planned it. Soon I'll have my very own Hakena once again, Viselle will be back in Doxine's house, and Cyrah ..." He paused. "Well no plans are totally perfect."
"You're crazy." spat Deela with contempt.
"Not at all, my soon to be lusty Hakena twin. Even to you, it must be rather obvious by now that everything continues just as I have so carefully crafted it to occur. I'm totally convinced that absolutely nothing can interfere with the complete success of my plans now."
"You're totally mad, Larnak. And you're damned overconfident." said Deela. "Somehow, I don't know how, but that overconfidence will lead to your undoing."
Larnak laughed madly. "We shall see." he gloated. "We shall see." He reached across the table and picked up the glass of water. "Won't we, Princess?" He drained its contents quickly, then set the emptied glass back on the table. But as he did, he noticed that his hand was shrinking, that the fingers on it were becoming more slender, and that the nails on those same fingers were growing longer.
"What the hell?" asked Larnak, who puzzled at his cracking voice.
He touched his arm with his newly slender fingers. With that touch, he found the flesh of his arm softer and more slender than it should have been. His chest began to tingle slightly. When he looked, he both saw and felt the small budding breasts under his shirt. He raised his now slender hand to verify the swellings on his chest, but as the first of his fingers gently touched one of the small buds, they instantly blossomed, as his shirt, unable to withstand the strain, ripped open to reveal his ample naked breasts. His waist then quickly contracted, which was immediately followed by the swift widening of his hips and the plumping of his butt.
"Cyrah." screamed the wizard angrily, but in a soft soprano voice that he couldn't recognize as his own. "Where did you get that water?" he tried to bellow.
"It was in that bottle on the shelf."
Without rising from the bed, Cyrah pointed to a shelf.
Larnak's eyes followed her outstretched finger to the empty place on the lower shelf across the room. "Oh shit!" he swore. "That was the potion meant for Deela."
It was Deela's time to laugh aloud.
"Didn't you see the label, you stupid airheaded bimbo." he yelled in a voice that continued to soften and become more feminine with each spoken word.
"There was no label, Auntie Larnak." replied Cyrah.
Auntie??? Larnak looked at the shelf again. He plainly saw the label that he had affixed to the bottle sitting there. It must have fallen off and landed there.
Someone knocked on the door.
"Who can that be?" grumbled Larnak. "Cyrah, tell whoever's at the door to go away." Viselle frowned at him as Cyrah left their bed and made her way to the chamber door.
"Yes, Auntie Larnak." mumbled Cyrah displeased with being interrupted.
Suddenly, as Cyrah reached for the knob, Larnak remembered something he should not have forgotten. "No, Cyrah. Don't open that door."
But it was too late.
Hakena strode through the opened door. When she spotted the transformed Larnak, she smiled broadly and rushed to him, nearly knocking down Cyrah on her way. "Is it truly you, Lakena?" she asked. "Oh Lakena, my twin sister, how have you been? It has been so very long since I last saw you."
Larnak felt a rush of dizziness as his mind swirled madly about becoming hers. "I'm just fine, my darling sister Hakena." Tears rolled down her face. "I'll never go away again. You and I will always be together from now on."
Hakena embraced her sister.
Lakena embraced her sister.
Tears flowed like water from twin leaky faucets.
"And who do we have here?" asked a strong masculine voice.
Unable to fight the urge, Lakena looked up and into the eyes of the man who spoken moments before. She shivered with building pleasure and anticipation.
"This is my twin sister, Lakena." Hakena told the man. "Lakena, this is Prince Andar."
Lakena extended her hand. Andar took it gently in his, then just as gently kissed it. Lakena could do nothing, but stare into Andar's eyes like a girl experiencing her first crush."
>From her chair, Deela spoke out quickly in an attempt to start something. "It looks like Lakena has the hots for your boyfriend Hakena."
"Can this be true, my sister?"
"Yes, my sister. I can't deny my feelings for Andar, even though we've just met."
"But you're my sister."
"I know. And I'm so ashamed. Maybe I should go away and never return. I would never hurt you, my sister."
"That might not be necessary, my sister. After all this time, I've just found you again. I wouldn't want to lose you again so soon." Hakena turned to the prince. "Andar?" she asked. "Do you think you could satisfy two concubines?"
"I don't see why not." he replied confidently.
"Then the matter is all settled, my sister." said Hakena. "You and I shall share Andar equally."
"That is a most wonderful solution, my sister." replied Lakena.
Somebody please gag these idiots before I puke, thought Deela.
Andar and his twin concubines group hugged themselves. As the three of them left the room, Andar, his arms clutched tightly about each twin's waist, with Hakena and Lakena draped on either side of him, walked away oblivious to anything else.
Deela shook her head. "I told that son of a bitch he was overconfident. He should have listened to me."
"Yes, he should have. Not that it will matter anything to her now." said Gus as he solidified next to Deela. "I have to admit that things have worked out far better here than we anticipated. You have all played your parts to perfection."
Gus walked slowly towards Cyrah. As he came nearer, she doubled her fists.
"You're not changing me into a man, you little pervert." she screamed at Gus. "I'm a girl. And I'm going to stay a girl." Cyrah readied her foot for a quick shot at the little man's groin.
"Why would I want to change you into a man, my dear?" asked Gus.
"But she was a man when we first met her." said the puzzled Deela. "She was Larnak's nephew Crydar."
"That's true." replied Gus with a smile. "But Cyrah was always meant to be a girl in this reality." He turned and faced Cyrah. "When you were still in your mother's womb, your uncle divined that the woman you would grow up to become was destined to be his downfall. So he cast a spell that changed the female fetus into that of male. Your uncle was so concerned with keeping you from becoming the powerful sorceress you'd been meant to be, he failed to even consider that you, as the brainless little bimbo twit he turned you into, would be the actual cause of his inevitable downfall."
Gus placed a hand on Cyrah's forehead. As Deela and Viselle watched, intelligence flowed into her eyes. Her breasts became somewhat smaller. And her blond hair pulled back until it barely covered her ears. "How do you feel now?" Gus asked.
"I feel alright." she answered. "It is like everything is opening up to me. It is almost like everything is new to me."
"Cyrah?" asked Viselle. "Is that you?"
"No, Viselle. I am no longer Cyrah." she answered. "Gus has made me who I was always supposed to be, but wasn't because of my uncle. I am Cyrene, the sorceress to the royal court of Tomandia."
"Excellent, Cyrene." Gus turned away from the new sorceress and walked slowly to Viselle still sitting on the edge of the bed. "And now its your turn." he told her.
After seeing what the little man had done to Cyrah, Viselle was very frightened. "What are you going to do to me?" she asked with obvious fear in her voice.
"There is no need to fear me, Viselle." smiled Gus. "Your role as Viselle has come to a successful conclusion. It is time for her to exit from the stage." He saw the confusion growing in her eyes. "You need not be afraid. For you need only understand that I am restoring you to your true and normal self." He placed a hand on Viselle's forehead. "It is time. You must once more be, who you were born to be." Gus snapped his fingers. And in that instant a dazed and confused Rornick, male once again, replaced Viselle on the bed.
"Now, it is time that all of us must go and speak to the King and the Queen."
"But Gus ..." whispered Deela.
"Later, Deela." replied the little man.
Gus led them to the throne room, where they found King Chonar and Queen Elanna speaking with the courier Arlond. Gus coughed.
"Ah, Cyrene." said the king as he saw his court sorceress. "Has there been further ..." He then spied Rornick and the young woman standing next to him. "Rornick." he exclaimed. "We had heard that you had returned. It is good to see you again."
"Did you find our daughter?" asked the queen.
"Father." said Deela quietly. "Mother."
"Oh, Deela, my precious daughter." exclaimed the queen. "We had all but given up that we might ever see you again." The queen threw her arms about her daughter and clasped her tightly, as if to prevent from ever leaving. Openly, she wept tears of joy.
"Welcome home, my daughter." said Chonar. "You are home and safe. It is all I've ever wished for these past several years." There was a glistening in the corner of one eye. "I shall have Arlond spread the word of your return throughout the land." his voice breaking with joy. The King put his arms around the huddled mass that was his wife and his daughter.
There were no dry eyes in the throne room.
Chonar stepped back from his reunited family. "Rornick." he addressed the knight. "The Queen and I have thought long and hard over what reward to grant you in recognition of your devotion and bravery in rescuing our daughter. We have decided that there is only one reward truly fitting. We would, therefore, be extremely pleased if you would accept our daughter's hand in marriage."
"What?" exclaimed both Rornick and Deela in surprise.
"Of course, we shall also give you land and the title to go with it." smiled the King. "No longer are you merely a knight. You are now Lord Rornick. It is but a small measure of our thanks for rescuing our daughter."
"But ..." started Rornick.
"There shall be no 'buts' Lord Rornick." stated the King forcibly. "You would not wish to offend us. Would you?"
"Certainly not, your Highness."
"Then that is settled. Lord Rornick shall marry the Princess Deela." spoke the King in the imperious tone he knew no one would question. "Arlond, you shall spread the news of both the return of the Princess Deela and her impending nuptials with Lord Rornick. Now go, Arlond. And spread these joyous tidings to all the people of Tomandia."
"It shall be as you command, your Highness." replied Arlond.
The King slapped the new lord on the back. "Come Rornick, my soon to be son-in-law. We have many things to speak about, my son." And he and Rornick soon left the room in high comradery.
"Gus." said the puzzled Deela. "I can't marry Rornick. Both of us are men."
Gus smiled at her. "Not from where I sit, most gracious princess."
"Would you knock off that princess shit. Damnit, Gus. You know how much I hate that. And while I'm thinking about it, why didn't you change me back to Delan when you changed Viselle back into Rornick. Then we could have avoided all this marriage crap."
"It is very simply explained." replied Gus. "The part of Viselle was no more than a temporary role that has now concluded. But in the role of Deela, you still stand centerstage. There is much still required of you before you might even think of exiting the stage."
"What? Why?" asked Deela. "What's so important that I have to be Rornick's loving wife."
Gus smiled again. "You have it completely wrong, princess." he told her simply. "It is not for Rornick that you must remain female. To be his wife is purely incidental." He saw puzzlement grow in Deela's eyes. "You must remain who you are, princess, for the children that you carry."
"Children? What children?"
"Why, yours, of course." answered Gus. "And in that same sense, Rornick's as well. Did it never occur to you to think you might be pregnant."
"Pregnant?" she exclaimed. "Me?" she wondered. "How?"
Gus continued smiling. "It would seem we have chosen wisely. Your naivete in these matters is most refreshing. Far be it from me to intimate what transpires between a man and a woman that inevitably leads to that woman being with child. Do you know how much time you and Rornick spent in that tent? Did you not wonder why you were suddenly set free?"
"Of course, we wondered about that." replied Gus. "But nothing we thought made any sense."
"Then I shall tell you. The two of you were set free, because the spirits that had taken possession of you had fulfilled what we had required of them."
"You were behind all of this?"
"Some. Not all." replied Gus. "Ridding this reality of the wizard Larnak was just a surprisingly happy coincidence. Although we would have removed him from this reality sooner or later anyway. Mortals cannot partake of that which alters reality for long and remain sane. But the real test shall come later."
"That is unclear. Even the Eternal Guardians are not infallible. But in your children, you and Rornick have provided them, who shall save this reality, with necessary fleshly forms. But it has been a long time since either of them walked among mortals. They will require both watching and guidance. And who would be better for these tasks then their mortal sire and she who shall give them birth. Rornick's role requires him to be him, not one of the women he has been or shall be. It is just that your role requires you to be you, for however long it may take."
"I think I understand, Gus."
"We shall see, princess. Time shall pass, and we shall see." His words echo in her mind as he slowly fades from sight.
"Deela?" asked her mother.
Oh shit, thought Deela. What must my mother think after hearing all of that, she wondered.
"Is it true that your father and I are going to be grandparents?" she asked.
Deela embraced her mother. "Yes, mother. It's true." And inwardly she sighed for her mother had heard only what she'd been meant to hear.
Rornick had led the small group that returned to the witch's castle to retrieve his fallen comrades. Three knights and the sorceress Cyrene had accompanied him. Deela had fumed at being left behind, but her ladies-in-waiting had convinced her father that preparations for her wedding were far more important than a rescue mission.
At the castle, everything had been much as he had expected it to be. And damned if Deela hadn't been right about the frog population explosion in the pond that had occurred while they'd been away. How had she known, wondered Rornick. He noted to himself that he would have to remember to ask her.
"Rornick." said the sorceress calmly. "I have touched Traekar's mind. He has told me, he would prefer to remain the palm tree that shades this pool."
"He told me that the guild had decided this was to be his final mission. Should he return now, the guild will force him into retirement. And, if he has to retire, he'd prefer it to be here, where his fronds shade the pond beneath him and where the frogs need that same shade to insure their own survival. It is his fear, that the retirement the guild would force on him would kill him, as surely as it has made other knights quit and die not long after hanging up their swords."
Rornick looked at the palm with sadness and understanding. "I think you're right, my friend. I have seen far too many of our old friends pass far to early when the guild pushes them through the door. I wish you well and will visit when I can." He turned to face the sorceress. "It is his life, Cyrene. And therefore, it must also be his choice."
"You have gained wisdom, my lord." answered Cyrene.
"Maybe. Maybe not." sighed Rornick. "Perhaps, somewhere I have gained some insights into the subtle workings of reality. What of Malpa and Otnahl?"
"Both are well." answered Cyrene holding two frogs, one in each hand. "And both have told me of their desire to return to human forms." She smiled enigmatically. "However, Rornick, I suspect, you shall be surprised."
"It will be better if I show you." Cyrene placed one of the frogs she'd been holding inside a small pentagram she'd quickly etched with her foot. "This is Otnahl." She passed her hand over the pentagram. In a puff of bluish smoke, the frog was replaced by the knight who had accompanied him to rescue Princess Deela. Then she set the second frog down inside the pentagram. With another pass of her hand over the frog, they both saw the puff of pinkish smoke."
"But Cyrene, she is not Malpa." said Rornick as he stared at the very attractive, yet quite petite young woman now standing dazed within the pentagram.
"Malpa, my twin sister, you are yourself again." exclaimed Otnahl as he hugged the young woman. "I told the Guild they should not have sent a woman, even if she were my sister, on this mission to save the Princess."
"Times are changing, my brother." said Malpa. "Being a woman no longer automatically disqualifies me from seeking out the same perils or performing the same duties as you. As are you, I am a knight of the guild and they could think of no logical reason to prevent my being a part of the team." She stretched her arms. "But still, my brother, it feels good to be myself once more."
"But ... how?" asked Rornick.
"I suspect it has to do with the witch's spelling. It very clearly transformed the comrade you remember into a frog - a female frog. As to why, we may never now. Perhaps the spell somehow rewove her reality. Or perhaps the spell broke an even older transformation cast by someone we may never know." replied Cyrene. "But now her brother remembers her as his sister. And from the looks on the faces of these knights accompanying us, I'd say they regard her as a woman even though all of them knew her when she was a man. I have no memories of her as a man outside those you have shared with me."
"So why do I remember?" asked Rornick.
"I don't know that either, Rornick. Who can tell what happens when reality is perturbed?" said the sorceress. "But I imagine, it will be just as interesting if, after we return home, anyone remembers her as a him."
Not only did no one else remember Malpa as a man, but Deela remembered her. She'd been one of the girls that had stared at the gawky boy that was in her gymnastics class. Almost immediately, they became the best of friends. Deela had even asked Malpa to be her maid-of-honor at her upcoming wedding. And she readily accepted the honor.
Deela also asked Roni, who had no idea why a Princess of the realm had wanted someone like her, to be a member of the wedding party. Nearly everyone thought that the whore's inclusion in the wedding party was scandalous, but in the end, most everyone accepted the decision of their Princess as final, even if they didn't understand the reasons behind it.
But Rornick understood completely. Even though Gus had told them that Rena's role as Roni was far from over and might, in fact, never end, Deela had wanted her sister present at their wedding. And what she wanted that badly, her father the king could not refuse her.
The wedding turned out to be the social event of the season.
Even King Crendal of Sanaria and his wife, the former Princess Faeli of Parquat, had attended. Everyone of the assembled guests had heard the rumors of her homeliness, and all of them had been shocked by her appearance at the wedding. But the rumors had turned out to be just that - rumors, totally untrue. Faeli had been stunningly radiant.
Princess Murlynn, who, like her older sister Faeli, was simply ravishing, was also in attendance at the wedding. She was the representative from Parquat. And Murlynn had caught Andar's eye, just as he had hers. The talk of another royal wedding in the not too distant future spread across both lands.
But Andar still had responsibilities to his twin concubines, Hakena and Lakena, who were now both pregnant. When Lakena had announced her pregnancy, Andar had been overjoyed at being a father. Meanwhile her twin Hakena had been terribly disappointed, especially since she'd known the prince so long and she wouldn't be the first to have Andar's child. But before the next day had passed, Hakena's disappointment was a thing of the past. For the physicians had told her that she too was pregnant with Andar's child.
As if there were something to be said of miracles, they were both due to deliver on the very same day. And on that day, even stranger still, each gave birth to a boy at precisely the same time.
With celebrations held throughout Tomandia, Deela gave birth to healthy twin girls. Although neither of them could explain why they'd picked those names, she and Rornick named their twins Kirella and Marena.
The girls grew quickly. As far as Deela could tell, they were truly normal adolescent girls, even if Gus had told her they'd be otherwise. They often quarreled between themselves, but no one in the land thought that strange.
Even if, sometimes their disagreements might sound strange.
"You know, Marena." said Kirella. "We weren't both supposed to be girls, you know."
"Oh give it rest, Kirella. If one of us was supposed to be a boy, then one of us would have been born a boy."
"But you know one of us has always been male before. That's the way it's always been before."
"That's tough. But it's just not the way it is now."
"What are you two arguing about now?" asked Deela on entering the room."
"Nothing, mom." echoed both girls.
"Deee-laaaa." came a voice, Rornick's, but not quite.
"In here, dear." she called back.
"You'd better try and get a hold of Gus again." said the teenage girl with long blond hair and blue eyes who'd just entered the room.
"Not again, Rornick." sighed his wife.
"I was just combing my hair, when suddenly I was brushing this mane." said Rornick. "I hope you can find ..."
"Do you think daddy went to Madame Doxine's place this time, Mommy?" asked Marena.
"Or do you think daddy went someplace new?" asked Kirella.
"I don't know, girls." sighed their mother. "But at least I was able to see what she looked like before reality breached. She should be easy to find once I contact Gus.
"At least it won't be like the first time his Acquired Spontaneous Reality Dysfunction Syndrome acted up. At the time, we didn't have the slightest idea what had happened to him. We searched for four and a half months until we found the insatiable and sexy little tart Tixi at Mistress Doxine's. And neither Doxine nor her other girls had been very happy when we arrived to pick up your father. It seems Tixi had by that time earned more money than any three of her other girls combined to earn in a year."
Rescueing a Princess copyright 1998 by Bill Hart.
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