tagSci-Fi & FantasyMetamorphosis Ch. 03

Metamorphosis Ch. 03

byXayna©

Welcome back! I appreciate you reading my story; it means a lot to me. This is almost everything I have written so far, so bear with me as time between my uploads becomes longer. I'm a college student and finals are coming up very quickly, so it might take a bit for me to pump out good work. I promise I'll get it uploaded asap. I really appreciate any of the comments you leave, so feel free to drop a line or two. I'm always looking to improve, so if there's anything you think could be better, please let me know.

Here we go! Enjoy!

Xayna


*

When I woke up, I felt the strangest sensations. The ground was poking me with something sharp and I felt cold, which didn't happen except in the most terrible winters. I attempted to check my body for injury, but everything was foreign. My wings were completely gone and my legs were different lengths. My forelegs were much shorter than my hind legs, but they were both extremely long. Something thin and soft was tickling my face and the ground was uncomfortably hard, which was strange because the ground had always felt perfect before.

"Xayna?" called a deep, rumbling voice in my head. "Are you alright?"

"Taldon?" I asked. "Something is wrong. Something is very wrong."

I opened my eyes and saw the sky, but it was filled with more color than I had ever seen. The blue of the sky was bright and vibrant while the white of the clouds was clear and clean. "I can see so many colors," I said. I turned my head to the side, and was amazed to find that my head swiveled instead of swinging toward where I wanted to look.

"My neck is funny. It doesn't move correctly." I looked at the trees, in awe of how deep and rich the browns and greens looked. This will be wonderful for hunting, I thought excitedly. Then, I remembered that I had no wings and realized that I wouldn't be able to hunt anymore. "My wings are gone, Taldon! My wings are completely gone!"

"Yes, they are, Xayna. Keep telling me what you are experiencing." I found his request strange, but so much was new that I didn't argue.

"Okay." I replied. A breeze flowed over my skin and I looked down in surprise. "My skin!" I cried. "It's exposed and bare! How am I going to protect myself?" My skin was creamy white, soft and smooth. I lifted my foreleg and gazed at my foot. "I have so many toes," I said as I flexed them each individually. "And look! They move so much!" I lifted my other forefoot and gazed at them together. I moved them up and touched my face. My nose was small and I had no snout. I had soft pouches of skin around my mouth and I had something short and prickly above my eyes. I continued to move my forefeet up my face until I reached something soft and free. There were so many of these little strands and they felt very nice against my skin. I pulled them forward and saw that they were the same color as my scales had been.

"These things in my hand are so soft," I said quietly. I moved my forefeet down and used my toes to feel around my neck. I noticed that it was so much shorter than normal. I moved down my chest until I came to two soft, round, squishy patches of skin. I grabbed them with my forefeet and rubbed them. Something at the tips hardened and I pinched them experimentally. Feeling the tingling that ran down my spine, I pinched them again, noticing a warmth between my legs. I moved my forefeet down over my soft, flat belly and between my legs.

I felt two patches of skin, much like the ones around my mouth. Inside, something slick and wet coated my fingers. I started at the top and began moving down. My toes grazed a hard nub and my whole body shook, but this time with pleasure. I moved my finger over that spot again and again, reveling in the feeling of it. I mewled loudly, moving my head back and forth. Warmth and pressure built up in the pit of my stomach and I gasped in heavy breaths. Suddenly, something tore open and intense pleasure flooded through my system. I screamed out and curled into a little ball as wave after wave of pleasure rocked my body.

I laid very still for a while, waiting for my breathing to calm down and my heart to stop beating so quickly. I wiped my toes on the grass and finished feeling down my legs, finding no more pleasure spots.

"Try moving your hind legs," Taldon suggested softly, interrupting my exploration of my new body. I moved them around, pulling my knees to my chest.

"I have so much movement in my limbs," I said, completely surprised. "I wonder if I can stand on them." I tried to roll over, but my body wouldn't let me. Instead, I used one of my forelegs to push myself over and moved the hind leg on the same side over so that I was lying flat on my belly. Sharp things poked into my stomach and chest, but I didn't take time to examine the feeling. I planted my forelegs on the ground and pushed up. I moved onto my knees, but my hind legs were so long that I couldn't stand all the way on my hind feet.

"I think there's something wrong with me," I moaned. "I can't stand all the way up."

I looked up at Taldon and made a strange, high pitched noise. "You're so massive!" I screamed. I scrambled backwards, falling on my face in my attempt to put some distance between my friend and me. "When did you get so big? Why are you so big? You could kill me with a scratch of your claw!"

"No, Xayna," Taldon said solemnly. "You've gotten smaller."

I took in this information slowly. I had gotten smaller. That explains the pressure I felt, I thought. My body was pushing in on itself. "Am I still a dragon?" I asked Taldon nervously.

"You look like a human."

I inhaled sharply. "No," I whispered in Taldon's mind. "Then that means..."

"You're a Changeling." He sent amusement and excitement through our Link. "You're the first one in centuries, Xayna! Think of what the Elders will say!"

I pushed myself off of the ground and sat with my rear end on the prickly ground. "I'm a Changeling. But I can't control it. I don't know what to do for this body. How will I get food? What can I eat?"

Taldon's excitement suddenly faded. "How are we going to get you back to your cave?"

I thought for a moment. "I suppose I'll have to ride on your back." I attempted again to stand. I got onto my forelegs and knees and started moving toward my friend. "This isn't a very efficient way to move," I commented.

"Maybe you should try standing on your hind legs."

I moved one of my hind legs forward and pushed up so that I was standing on my two back legs. I wobbled and then fell over.

"That feels extremely odd," I muttered in annoyance. "The balance is strange." I tried to stand again, this time with more success.

"Now try to walk," Taldon commanded. I put one foot in front of the other and stumbled a little bit, but I caught myself before I fell to the ground. I walked slowly at first, testing out this new ability.

"This is much better," I said as I moved a bit more quickly, walking in circles around the clearing. "I can move with much greater speed."

I moved faster, until I was running. My foot caught on a stick and I fell, rolling until I flopped over, my limbs akimbo. "Ow."

Taldon was amused. "Glad you find it funny," I muttered. I stood again, moving more slowly. "How am I going to get on you?"

This caused my dragon friend to pause for a moment. Then he laid down, extending one leg out to the side. "Try climbing from my leg onto my back."

I walked over to Taldon and clambered up his leg onto his back, where I sat with one leg on either side of him. "Okay, I'm on." I sat between two of his blue spikes and held on to the one in front of me. "Be careful," I warned. "I don't want to fall off."

He grunted in agreement and took off. Usually, I loved flying but riding on the back of my best friend was an entirely new experience and I didn't enjoy it. The wind tangled the long strands on my head and his scales chafed my sensitive legs. Balancing in front of his wings was a precarious place to be, especially when he turned. It seemed like forever before the mountain came into view and I was surprised at how shortsighted I was. The colors may have been brighter and more vibrant, but I lacked the ability to see at a distance.

*

Finally, we arrived at my home cave. The walls and floor were a dark gray color and little granules of dirt and rock stuck to the bottom of my feet. The odor of the dead flesh was offensive to my nose and I scrunched up my face in distaste.

I slid down Taldon's back and landed on solid ground. My legs shook and were surprisingly weak underneath me. My parents stood agape at Taldon's arrival with a human on his back. I was shocked and slightly frightened at how large my parents were; I had thought that Taldon was big, but my parents dwarfed him.

"Taldon, do you care to explain who this is?" my mother demanded, her golden eyes filled with mistrust. "And where is my daughter?" She walked forward slowly and eyed me suspiciously. "Why did you allow this human to ride on your back?" she spat. "You're no common slave animal."

"It's me, Mother," I said tentatively. "I kind of Changed. No, I really Changed. And it was painful and strange and now I have all of these new sensations. I've been having painful episodes for a while now and I'm really sorry I didn't tell you sooner."

"Who does she think she is, claiming to be my daughter?" my father asked indignantly. "Explain yourself, Taldon."

I could hear Taldon take a deep breath beside me. "She's right, Roma-elda and Daeria-elda," Taldon replied, addressing my parents by their formal names. "I witnessed Xayna Changing from a dragon into a human. I have also witnessed some of her episodes. She was going to tell you tonight after the gathering you planned."

My parents were shocked beyond measure. There hadn't been a Changeling in centuries. "Are you sure?" they asked unanimously.

"Father, when I was fourteen, we went hunting for the first time and I was so nervous that all I would catch was a rabbit. I ate leaves off a tree that day, just to see what they tasted like. Mother, when I was seven, you told me about how when you were a hatchling, there was no other dragon around your age so you had to travel to the construct in the Eynor Mountains to find Father, but you didn't want to live with him because you would have missed your parents far too much."

My mother and father looked at each other, obviously having a conversation that Taldon and I weren't privy to. "One more question," Father said slowly. "What is your greatest fear?"

I was aghast that they would ask such a personal question in front of Taldon. It wasn't something that I wanted to share with him around. I tried to single out my mother or father and tell them through a private Link, but my means of communication had been weakened immensely and I was forced to speak to everyone.

"My greatest fear is to be old and die without a mate," I said softly.

"We are satisfied." My mother looked me over again. "So you're a Changling, I see. We must call a Conclave immediately." A Conclave was a meeting ran by the Elders of our construct. A Conclave could be called by any dragon to bring up a serious piece of business. Usually, it was used to settle familial disputes and to discuss the logistics of a large clan of dragons.

My stomach growled and I looked down at myself curiously. "I feel hungry, but I just ate. This doesn't make sense."

Taldon spoke up, saying, "It does make sense. You have a new body and I expect Changing must take a lot of energy. What do humans eat, though? We don't want to make you sick. Terrah-elda says that they can't eat the same things we do."

"The Elders may know what to do," my father said firmly. "Xayna, can you ride on Taldon's back again or would you rather ride on one of ours?"

I looked both of them over, noting how large they were. "I think I'll ride on Taldon's back again, if that's okay. He's much smaller than the two of you."

Taldon laid down and spread out his leg. I climbed onto his back, getting more used to my human body. Once I was settled, Mother and Father took off, heading toward the large gap in the mountainside where the Elders held the Conclaves.

When we arrived we stood in the middle of the large gathering hall and my father called out through his Link to all who were in range to hear him. "I, Roma, call a Conclave to be held at this very moment. The situation is urgent and I encourage all to come who can."

Quicker than I expected, dragons began pouring into the large, hollowed out cavern. I supposed they must have been waiting for the call for my birthday celebration. Those who saw me looked at me with a mixture of mistrust, fear, and disgust, although I could see a few eyes bright with excitement. Everyone packed in exceptionally close together, but left a wide berth around my parents, Taldon, and me. The Elders made their way through the crowd, slowly converging and forming an inner half-circle around us.

"What is the meaning of this?" asked Aldred-elda, a fiery-tempered old dragon who loved to argue and cause a fuss.

"Xayna is a Changeling," my father said simply.

Despite their own self-control, many dragons sent their shock through their Links. The Elders were skeptical and Aldred-elda was sputtering and hissing, sending clouds of smoke through his nose.

"What proof do you have that this human is, in fact, Xayna?" asked Intra-elda, who was, by far, the most even-tempered dragon in the room. She was also the leader of the Elders.

"I saw her Change, Intra-elda," inserted Taldon. "It was really a frightening thing to watch. Her bones broke and her skin shrank and her whole body twitched and shook. I can show you, if you'd like."

My Link went quiet as the Elders conversed with each other. "That would be acceptable," said Reyus-elda, another Elder.

Taldon sent the memory of my Changing to everyone present and I felt bile rise in my throat as I remembered the pain that accompanied the event.

Once the scene was over, my mother spoke to the Elders. "She knows information that none other than Xayna herself would know and Roma and I are convinced she is our daughter."

My stomach groaned again, and I hoped that the Conclave wouldn't last much longer. The Elders spoke among themselves for what seemed like an eternity. I sat down on the floor and reexamined my forefeet, marveling at their dexterity.

"We must hear what happened to you from your own perspective," said Intra-elda, surprising me and causing me to jump.

"Okay," I replied and began to recount the past several months and how my episodes started and progressed all the way up to the Changing. I stopped talking abruptly, not wanting to explore the pain that had turned me into a human.

"Continue on," Intra-elda said softly and kindly.

"It – it hurt," I sputtered. "Everywhere, it hurt. Do you want the memory?" I didn't want to relive the experience, but I had to convince the Elders that I was who I said I was.

"Yes," came the simple reply from Reyus-elda.

I dug into my mind and brought forth the pain I felt. I started with my limbs shaking and ended with waking up and seeing so many different colors. There was a long silence and I began to worry about whether or not they would believe me. My fears were put to rest when Reyus-elda said, "You are a Changeling; there is no doubt in our minds. Now, though, we have to decide what to do with you. Obviously you cannot live with us here. You are unprotected and small and you cannot fly. Also, we sense your hunger and do not know what you should eat. We propose, then, that you go to the nearest human village and live with them while you remain a human. When you become a dragon again, we will welcome you back."

I silently agreed and my stomach made a funny noise. "When should I leave?"

"We will leave now," replied Intra-elda. "It has been decided that I will take you. We do not wish to scare the humans more than we have to. Say your goodbyes now."

I turned to my parents and touched each of them on the snout with my forefoot. "I love you," I said quietly. I was going to be very homesick; I had never been away from my family for more than a few days and I was unsure how long I would remain a human.

"We love you, too," replied my mother. I turned to where Taldon sat next to my parents.

"I'm going to miss you," I told him. "I will think about you daily."

"And I, you." I touched him on the snout also and turned to Intra-elda.

"I am ready to go." She laid down and extended her foreleg. I climbed on her back. Each time was easier and I found that I could walk up her leg without crawling on my feet and knees. I positioned myself in front of her wings, between two of the ridges on her back. Surprisingly enough, I could sit fairly comfortably. "Do you know where we're going?"

"Yes. It is half a day's flight from here. I'm sorry for you to be hungry for so long." Intra-elda was, by far, my favorite Elder and I was glad that she had been chosen to bring me to the humans.

"Let us be off, then."

I wrapped my hands around her neck spike and she walked through the crowd, which parted readily for us. I heard murmurs of "Good luck, Changeling," and "May the spirits be with you," coming from the congregation.

As we took off, I was again reminded of how unnatural it felt to be flying. I hoped that I would become more accustomed to the sensation as time went on.

*

It was dark when we departed, and time seemed to move slowly. Occasionally, Intra-elda and I would speak, but for the most part the journey was silent. I marveled at how different I felt as a human; even the pain in my legs felt different than anything I had ever experienced. Intra-elda's scales chafed my legs and they became sore quickly. As time wore on, my body became stiff from my stillness and I longed to get on the ground and move around. However, my hunger overrode my other pains and I didn't ask for a break.

Intra-elda rode straight through the night and by the time we reached the settlement, it was midday. We circled over the buildings before we landed. I could see many small shapes moving about the structures they had obviously built as shelter. There was a circle in the middle of the village where most of the people were walking around. I noticed that everyone had the same, odd strands on their head as I did, but some of them were shorter than mine and none of them were the same color.

"Are you ready?" asked Intra-elda.

"As ready as I'll ever be," I replied as my stomach gurgled again. I was very tired and I had begun to feel faint.

We circled back around and landed well outside the village. I climbed off of the Elder and crumpled to the ground in pain. My legs burned and my whole body felt taut and tense. I attempted to relax my muscles and stretched out on the ground, feeling my muscles loosen gradually. Eventually, I was able to stand up.

I walked next to Intra-elda, who had to take extremely small and slow steps so that I could keep up with her. As we approached the village, we heard a hum, as though many people were talking at once. I found it extremely odd; normally this noise happened in my head during large gatherings.

When we reached outer edge of the buildings, the hum became completely silent. Then, loud screeching overwhelmed the air and I looked at Intra-elda with alarm. We had apparently scared them.

"Silence!" my escort said loudly and forcefully into the minds of all who were present. "We have come in peace." Immediately, the high-pitched squealing stopped. "We mean you no harm. Please send out your leaders." At first, nothing happened. The hum began again, but much quieter this time. We waited for several minutes. I felt dizzy and was sure that I would fall over soon.

Slowly, a group of tall humans came forward. They came in a small cluster with one standing before the others. I noted that the humans didn't have the things on their chests like me and wondered what it meant. The lead human had darker skin than me and the strands on top of his head were dark brown. I noticed that he was wearing protection over his lower half, along with something covering his bottom feet.

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