Arylett Charnoa

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Talisman was embarrassed. There was no other word to describe the moronic feeling inside her chest as she doubled back, again stuffing the soccer ball which was the unfortunate cause of this feeling into her backpack. It wasn't allowed to take school equipment outside of the main buildings and field on campus, and she was already practically at her dormitory. Her room was located in the furthest section of the student housing buildings from the main campus, too. She began to jog, annoyed at the panic of the equipment rooms being locked up--though, they hardly ever were, she reasoned. Mostly for her, as she'd had a shouting match with one of her teachers about it at one point, always wanting to practice afterwards... but, well.

 

She was passing near the main building, considering her homework. She had ditched it several times before, and had received a warning of the suspension of her scholarship, which she couldn't afford, so she knew she had to work on her mandatory history course even if she really, really didn't want to... and even if that feeling of not caring about dumb human monkeys from so long ago doing insane battles with lots of blood on top of pretty horses didn't appeal to her. It once had, she knew strangely--but for some reason, it felt less important now.

 

@@Durandal, @@Ochre_Dust

 

Stuck in the train of thought, she crashed directly into the back of the weird guy from earlier. Normally, the force of her run might've toppled the other over, but here his stance was so correct that she stumbled backwards. "Ow!" she muttered, then looked up at him. She immediately processed the fact that the girl had left. "Hey again," she said, about to continue, then changed her mind. "Er--where'd the girl go?" Was that someone over there? No, she must have imagined it. No wait, there he was,  walking away, everything about his posture screaming 'I AM DANGEROUS AND ANGRY, BUT HIDING IT FAIRLY WELL'. She watched him suspiciously as she waited for a response, shifting her backpack's position on her back.

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@@Reaver@@Arylett Charnoa

 

Gut was trying to process the speed with which the young woman had fled, but he was smart enough to notice that she had turned left when the sign pointing to the university walk-in clinic pointed right. The woman was either the most scatter-brained dame he'd met in a decade, an escaped mental patient, or she was hiding something.

 

As he set about following the woman, Gut experienced two things. One: an applied demonstration of Newton's laws of motion. Two: a deep sense of deja vu as someone again walked into him. He turned about, catching sight of the woman from earlier. When the woman asked where the other one had went, gut stuck a thumb out behind him. "She said she was going to go to the clinic, but from the looks of things, she must've gotten a concussion, cause she just went out into that there fancy courtyard with the crystal fountain."

 

Gut turned on his heel, proceeding to the fountain as he called off a piece of advice. "Watch where you're going next time, missy!"

 

Finding himself at a set of glass push-open doors leading to the courtyard, Gut pushed them both, sending the doors swinging open. The muggy city air of the outdoors pushed against him as he walked out, sending his trench coat billowing about his knees like a cape in the wind.

 

That's when he heard the scream, the tone and pitch made him immediately think of the woman he was trailing. Gut Feeling broke out into a jog, going around the edge of the courtyard, until he saw the woman by the fountain, two men nearby. Gut pinned himself to one of the pillars, fumbling with his trenchcoat, feeling for his equipment.

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@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

Aero's panic went into overdrive when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He thought he had successfully gotten away from the person he wronged and found a mostly empty place to let it all out. Then it so happens that someone decided to approach him in his moment of weakness. They probably think he's crazy and overemotional now, and they're here to tell him they want nothing to do with him anymore.

 

Even more worrying is that once Aero turned around, he saw that it was the delivery guy himself who tapped him on the shoulder. Which means not only did he actually notice him at first, but he followed him out here and witnessed his outburst. However, Aero didn't get a chance to ponder the implications of being caught by this person were before he said something that calmed Aero down a lot.

 

Turns out he actually doesn't seem to care about the mistake, and it's apparently actually rather common. He seemed really polite about the whole mess. And most importantly, Aero couldn't detect any hint of a grudge or resentment coming from him. Looks like he really lucked out this time. He wronged someone, and this person didn't care and was still friendly towards him, even reassuring him that everything is alright.

 

Aero stood up straight, trying to pretend he didn't just have that embarrassing display. 'I-I'm sorry. And thank you,' Aero replied. He wasn't really sure whether the delivery guy was giving an apology or expecting an apology, so it's best to cover both cases.

 

@@Arylett Charnoa,

 

He heard another girl he didn't know nearby scream and give a very... unconfident response about how he somehow scared her. 'Oh, sorry,' Aero replied, but his words fell on deaf ears as she already turned away and walked towards the fountain. She seemed like a timid women, so it was probably best to let her be. He watched her walk away, until the fountain behind her attracted his attention.

 

As the fountain caught his eye, Aero found himself drawn to it, drawn to the wonder of how it worked. How did they get the water to flow in such a majestic way? Of course, he could formulate many explanations for the inner mechanics of the system, but he found it so fun to consider all the possible way this fountain could work. He walked right up to the fountain, standing next to the girl while staring at it, his mind shutting out the outside world as he focuses on deeply contemplating his latest object of interest.

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Artful's confidence had long since worn thin. The sheer emotional turmoil he'd underwent in the last hour had significantly thrown him off. The hallways he once had memorized perfectly felt like a labyrinth to him now, each way leading to a dead end. That wasn't to say he couldn't find any exits - there were plenty, but he became so lost in his desire to follow what his mind told him was the quickest route that he forewent all other options. Any exit he didn't recognize, every part of the school that didn't match, every corridor that wasn't exactly the same as the one in his head was ignored.

 

Unfortunately for him, everything felt unfamiliar. His feet wouldn't stop, and the corridors seemed to extend forever as his vision tunneled. He had to stop. He needed to stop. He ordered his feet to halt.

 

They didn't listen.

 

Stop. No response. Stop! He nearly slammed into someone. Stop stop STOP!

 

He plowed into the nearest exit, the force of the impact slamming the doors into the wall beside them, most likely breaking the pneumatic closers. While it succeeded in grinding him to a halt, it also had the unfortunate effect of throwing him off balance.

 

After a brief moment of pain, he found himself staring into the clear summer sky. His elbows and legs hurt like hell, but he was still. He could think. Raising his torso off the ground, he searched his surroundings. He was in the front courtyard of the university, obvious due to the lavish fountain they'd installed.

 

Fountain.

 

He felt himself hang on that word, his sight redirecting. Fountain. He locked eyes with the offending object. He'd barely acknowledged its existence before, its decadence of little interest to him. But now, now it called to him, beckoned his name with the voice of an angel. The water within sparkled like an oasis in the desert, the design enrapturing his intention like it was divine in nature. He couldn't look away.

 

He stood up, ignoring everything. The pain, the others around him, nothing but the fountain existed. Somewhere in the back of his mind he shrieked in horror, the loss of control more terrifying than death. But he couldn't back away, and he definitely couldn't think of anything else. The Fountain wouldn't allow it.

 

He wanted to touch it. No, he didn't want to. He needed to. It demanded his utmost attention, his full concentration, it required his touch. Closing the distance, he reached out, his hand gliding along the polished surface.

 

He felt like he was holding the hand of a God.

Edited by Durandal
  • Brohoof 1

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After he received the Meteorologist's apology, he noticed a strange and ominous feeling was wafting through the air. Something was sending a ghostly chill down his spine, the feeling was like someone had poured liquid nitrogen between his vertebrae. His attention became less focused and expanded throughout the Courtyard. He started to take in all of his surroundings, trying to find a source for this unusual sensation.

 

First was that young woman, the one who shrieked in surprise earlier. He couldn't help but feel he had seen her earlier that day. But he didn't have time to think about that. He noticed another figure rustling behind a pillar. Was he spying on someone? He's just... looking this way. Whatever, he's doing, it's best to keep an eye on him. But, this situation just kept getting stranger and stranger, another man came out of nowhere and waltzed straight up to the fountain. Then he started caressing it? Something must be wrong with that guy, either that or... no, there's just something wrong with him. Why else would someone caress a... fountain?

 

The fountain... it had been there the whole time, but he hadn't given it a though until the weirdo appeared. Something was abnormal about it. It looked... like a normal fountain. But it didn't feel like a normal fountain. It's crystalline structure in the center was the same as always, except it was... glowing? It looked like it might be, but it was so faint it was hard to tell. He decided to get a closer look. He stepped closer and closer, squinting his eyes to try and see the maybe-existing glow. For some reason his usually exceptional abilities in observation failed, as he tripped over the edge of the fountain and fell inside, with a large splash that sent water flying in every direction. Not knowing what else to do, he just laid in the water. It felt good, so why let that good feeling go to waste?

  • Brohoof 1

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More of them had started noticing the fountain... flocking towards it. It would've bothered her on any other normal day, but today, she didn't care. The bewitching glow of the crystalline structure intensified when the large man fell into the water, spreading a soothing pink glow across the ripples, until it looked as though that man was standing in light made manifest. She approached it, so completely fascinated by the phenomenon.  The young woman reached forward and touched the light with her fingers, feeling an odd rather pleasant tingling sensation going through her body.

 

As she gazed at the liquid luminescence, she saw a creature in its reflection. Something that looked like her, but not quite... but wait. She recognized it.

 

It was the creature she had drawn before and it looked as fascinated as she did, its large yellow eyes wide with curiosity. The girl exclaimed loudly in surprise, but heard a strange yelping sound coming out of her mouth. Whatever was going on, she was not sure, and maybe it was something that had to stop. She tried to tug at her hands, but they were stuck in the liquid, her body getting enveloped and absorbed into the light. At this point, she could no longer see or perceive any surroundings around her. It was only that pearl pink radiance, surrounding her in its gentle embrace...

 

Until it released her, and she went tumbling forth into the hard solid ground. All she could do was groan and hear it echoing all around her... as though she were suddenly in some large spacious room. After a few moments' recovery, she foggily observed the area around her was being bathed in a more gloomy, blueish light. The enrapturing light of absolutely beautiful gems. 

 

How did she get in this Crystal Cave...?

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Aero quickly cowered and raised an arm in front of his face to protect himself from the water than went flying when that delivery guy tripped into the fountain. Once that was over, he looked at the man lying in the fountain water. He's probably going to get in to much trouble for almost damaging what looks to be priceless university property. Aero found himself worrying for him; he was so kind to Aero and he definitely doesn't deserve anything for what looked like a simply mistake. Surely, the university just doesn't look after its pavement properly and there was a raised brick he tripped over or something!

 

Aero's thoughts were interrupted when he noticed that a pink light began spreading among the surface of the fountain. Now this is interesting! It's so simple to imagine how fountains would normally work, but clearly this fountain had extra features included in it. Was the water backlit with pink lights that turn on when a button in the water is pressed? That would certainly explain why it began glowing once the delivery guy fell in it, and such a feature would make for really stunning effects if there was some event near this fountain at night. But as the light continued to spread, Aero got the feeling that this light couldn't possibly have come from the water being backlit. The light just seemed... ethereal, as if the water surface itself was somehow glowing. Now this is super interesting! This must've taken some ingenious feat to pull off, so much so that Aero couldn't come up with any theory for how it worked. Which just meant Aero was in for a treat when he finally figures out how it works!

 

Aero kneeled down next to the fountain, hoping a closer look will help him notice something to clue him into how they got this fountain to work like this. He noticed the girl next to him reach into the fountain, and he did the same, hoping he would find something to explain this weird light. As he gazed into the water, he thought he saw in the reflection the head of some sort of horse with his same colour scheme looking back at him. Now that was downright strange. Maybe he's lost it. Or maybe there was some sort of hallucinogen in the water. But surely nothing would cause hallucinations this quickly when it just touched his hands, but he probably shouldn't leave his hand in the water just in case. However, he tried to pull his hand out of this water, but found it was caught on something. And whatever that something was, it then pulled him in and he fell completely into the pink light.

 

Aero hit what felt like solid dirt, dazedly landing squarely on his chest. He tried to stand up, only to immediately lose his balance and fall back onto his chest. Why was standing up so difficult? He wasn't in much pain, was his daze affecting his balance that much? His mind slowly recovered as he laid there with his limbs spread out. When he was able to think clearly again, looking at the two limbs lying in front of him brought him to a shocking revelation. 'F-Fingers! Where are my fingers?!' he cried out. Closer inspection then brought out an even worth truth. 'What happened to my hands?!' he continued. As he observed these... hooves that seemed to replace his hands, his frantic mind could make one conclusion about this absurd situation he found himself in: He was certainly no longer human. Where was a mirror when you need one?

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Laying in the pool, Lunaris started to get an odd sensation... it felt as though he was sinking. In the fountain? It's only 6 inches deep, how could he sink? He looked down to see a pinkish glow from the water, and in it he saw something weird. Sime kinda dog with wings, or something. He must have been hallucinating, cause fountain water neither glows or shows him pictures of fantasy creatures. Probably hit his head as he fell into the water.

Damnit! His mind was distracting him, like it always tended to do. He was still... maybe sinking, but he couldn't really move at all. He just got swallowed up by the luminescent pink water. Then the sensation of sinking slowly decided to turn into a quick fall, like there was no water involved at all. After a few seconds, he thudded against some soft dirt. He was surrounded by a soft glow of many different colors. This hallucination was getting to feel quite realistic... especially the pain in his back from that fall.

 

Something was especially weird about the pain though. It felt like it was stretching beyond his back, like he bumped the elbow of an arm that was growing from his shoulder blade. Last he checked, he had no such arm, so it obviously wasn't real. He started to try and get up, but was having problems reaching the floor. His arms simply wouldn't bend like they were supposed to, and he just started kicking his arms and legs around until he flopped over to his side. It was then he saw a rather large wing fall in front of him. 'Hmm... I wonder where that came from', he though to himself.

 

Woops! He forgot, there was that other guy who was touching the fountain. It must have some sort of drugs in it, so he had to warn him. Even though his mind was in some weird fantasy delusion, his body must still be in the fountain, and he had to warn them, so he hollered at the top of his lungs.

 

"Hey! People! Don't touch the fountain, it's drugged with... meth or something!"

  • Brohoof 2

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The world dropped away, replaced by a soft but enveloping pink glow. He could only see the fountain, in all its glory. But something pulled him from its divine surface. The pink glow became blinding as he turned towards its source, though he could just barely make out what appeared to be water.

 

His body reached out to touch it, no longer under his control. The cool sensation of the water was euphoric, like drinking a bottle of water after nearly dying of dehydration. But what drew his attention was the reflection in the water.

 

It wasn't him, it couldn't be. It looked nothing like him. He was a completely normal human being, but what looked back at him was... Insectoid. Its eyes were a solid purple, the only indication of their direction being a soft white gradient that grew stronger at their center. Its body was a dark grey, with mangled, thin protrusions he could only assume were ears, a smooth, angled horn, a snout, and long, gleaming fangs. It appeared to be wearing what he assumed was a peaked cap, a black and grey affair with a purple band, an emblem of a hive overlaid by cross swords in its center.

 

The sight was enough to knock him out of his daze, but he realized it was too late. Yanking his hand back, he realized that it was stuck. The pink glow once again enveloped him, but this time it began to pull him in.

 

He screamed at the top of his lungs, and for a few fleeting seconds, he realized the creature was too.

 

What followed was a blur of pink and indescribable sensations. His senses failed, cutting him off from the world for a few, horrifying seconds. But just as easily as they vanished, they returned. The pink haze slowly released him from its grip, followed by an information overload. Even as his senses attempted to catch up with what had happened, he realized something earth-shattering.

 

This wasn't the university entrance any more.

 

Before him was the ceiling of a cave, stalactites filling his vision like rain frozen in time. Once he was sure the world wasn't spinning and that he could trust his body enough to move, he attempted to right himself. Rolling to his side he began to pick himself up, but before he could do so he froze.

 

It was a subtle feeling, but it was there. He'd heard about what happened to vets who lost various body parts. Phantom pain, it was called - where you felt something that wasn't there. It was quick, sharp pain, something you could easily overlook, but he felt it. Trying again, the pain vanished, replaced by an unnerving feeling of normality.

 

Pressing his right arm on the ground, he felt like his hand was balled into a fist. There was no tension in the fingers, in fact it felt like his hoof was relaxed. Looking down, it became clear why it felt that way. His hand was gone. No. His entire arm was gone, replaced by a dark grey, stumpy horse foreleg. Holes littered it, though there was no apparent damage.

 

His body slumped, unable to support itself. Contorting his face in terror, he held the leg away from him as if to push it away. This action caused something to fall from his head. Looking over, he was met with the same peaked cap that he saw before on that creature.

 

But... It can't be... That was...

 

He looked up, and was met with a smooth, angled horn.

 

"WHAT THE FUCK!?"

  • Brohoof 2

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Aero continued to lie on his chest, idly inspecting his hoof as he tried to work out what just happened to him. He heard someone nearby mention something about not touching the fountain because it had meth, to which he lazily responded 'Meth doesn't work by contact. You should be safe unless you're drinking from the fountain.' Then remembering his specialty was not in drugs and he wasn't positive about that, he quickly added 'I think.'

 

The sound of someone nearby dropping the f-bomb shattered what remained of Aero's daze and brought his mind fully to attention. He turned towards where the loud obscenity came from, and saw what might just be the host horrifying thing he's ever seen. Some enormous, dark grey insect that looks a lot like a horse with holes in its body and purple-white eyes that lack any iris or pupil was standing there. Survival instincts kicked in, and Aero scrambled about trying to stand up on two legs so he could be ready to run at a moment's notice. But like before, as soon as his front two hooves left the ground, he immediately fell back down again.

 

After his frantic attempt to get up, he realized this bug-like horror seemed to be... surprised? In shock? He was just staring up and that terrifying horn on his head, like he's never seen it before. He didn't seem like he was about to eat Aero, which helped him calm down and think rationally again. The way he was looking at his horn made Aero wonder, what if the same thing happened to him? Did he get pulled into that pink light and have his body transformed too? Aero wasn't the only one at the fountain, he couldn't be the only one who got pulled in.

 

Now that Aero wasn't filled with as much fear as before, he was free to finally give his surroundings a good look. And he noticed to other... creatures in the caves with them. He had no clue what the creatures they transformed into were. The black one seems to be some sort of bug-horse. The light pink one looked the most like a human, just with fur, dog ears, a tail, claws, and paws, so some sort of dog-human? And the blue and white one... was that a griffon? If Aero remembered correctly, a griffon was some sort of quadrupedal bird, and the blue one fits that bill. But he didn't exactly know his fantasy creatures well, so the chance of him remembering correctly is pretty low. As far as Aero could tell, from his new hooves, inability to stand upright, and that strange reflection he saw earlier, he was just a simple, everyday horse. Quite boring compared to what everyone else became, but at least he actually knows what a horse is.

 

@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

That blue and white maybe-a-griffon looked a lot like that kind delivery guy from before. The delivery guy had tripped right into the fountain, so he would be one of the three creatures with him now, and it made the most sense for him to be this blue and white creature. Walking wasn't working, so Aero slowly crawled over to him, and asked 'Hey, were you the one who tripped into the fountain?'

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Chapter 2 Objective: Examine the Crystal Caves and get out.

 

The gems still had her attention for those several moments she was alone in the cave. Peaceful... quiet moments. Away from all the noise and...

 

Meth?! WHAT THE FUCK?!

 

She nearly jumped straight out of her skin at the ridiculously loud shout that echoed all around her, sounding like klaxons that had send violent electric jolts through her body. Luckily, she couldn't really fall over, as she had been laying on her stomach the entire time. Feeling not just extremely startled, but also very irate at this invasion of her existence, she turned her head in the direction of the sound to chastise the person who had done this great injustice.

 

...That wasn't a person.

 

That... was not... a...

 

@@Durandal

 

"Oh my..." What was that thing?! Some horrendous black abomination of a creature. Whatever it was, it did not look good. She tried to get to her feet as quickly as possible to flee from the abomination, but found herself struggling with her arms. Why were they so heavy? They felt like these giant awkward clubs and...

 

...It couldn't be.

 

Her heart skipped a beat. She had thought of this before. Much more than she would've liked to have admitted... even had dreams about it. But it wasn't real. This was a... dream, right?

 

One look at her arm confirmed her suspicion. She flexed her stumpier fingers to confirm that it belonged to her, and soon noticed something which her mind had been tuning out. That weird extra leg near her backside.

 

Yes, it was a dream. This was too ridiculous to not be a dream, after all. Black abominations and... some kind of cat horse wing thing... and... a blue griffon dog! And the lines were so ridiculous too. The dialogue couldn't have been real. Although this dream did make things a little... more visceral than usual, she noted. Her body actually felt like it was difficult to use, as it realistically should. But man, what an awesome dream! She had to savor it immediately. 

 

Grinning madly to herself, she tried to get up again, using her arms to support her smaller legs. This would have to do for now. Now that she was standing, maybe she could try to get rid of that damn ugly bug.

 

Not wasting any time in adding to the ridiculouslessness of this dream, she tried to run straight for the ebony swiss cheese to deliver a swift beating to it. However, this dream still insisted on being painfully realistic, and she found her body sliding out of control as she lost her footing. 

 

"WHOOOOAAAAA!"

 

She kept on going, about to collide with the horned thing.

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Things were just getting silly now. Perhaps everyone got affected by the drug? It was time to get a hold of things and figure out what was going on. He reached his hand out, so he could see what it was doing this time, only he didn't see a hand. There was this... talon there, instead. It was moving like his hand was supposed to, and it responded like his hand normally did, but it was not his hand.

 

Taking a closer look at things, his whole body wasn't his body. It was feathery and fluffy, and that wing? He poked at it, and indeed it was the thing that was bonked earlier from the... 'fall'. But he didn't really fall, did he? Everything was getting way to confusing. He tried his best to control these talons, and those strange dog-legs he apparently had, and was finally able to flop onto his stomach. At this point he looked and saw an upright dog-woman falling towards a... bug-horse, or something. Wow these drugs were extremely potent.

 

Then, another creature, some winged horse, approached him, like an infant that just popped out of the womb, and asked him a question. The fountain? Yes, Lunaris did trip into a fountain, but as far as he could tell, the fountain was nowhere to be seen. Nothing indicated there was ever a fountain to begin with, and his body wasn't even wet in the slightest. But if that were the case, why would this guy be asking about the fountain? He was tired of all this confusion and just wanted to figure out what the hell was going on.

 

@@FortyTwo42

"Yes, I did fall into the fountain, but where did the fountain go? Where did the whole university go? Wait... are you... that guy? You look like the weather guy I was talking to, and you have an anemometer on your butt. Why are you a pegasus? Why am I a... a thing? And what are those things?"

 

He was pointing at the other two weird creatures in the cave. Pointing was about the only thing his claws were good for, at this point.

  • Brohoof 1

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After the initial shock of discovering his new appearance, Metis couldn't help but feel like there was something bigger at work here.

 

Control of his mind had been stripped from him by that fountain. By the time he'd recovered it, he'd been... Changed? He still remembered everything, and he could still feel his old body, as if it were a ghost. He had to have been transformed somehow, regardless of how ridiculous that seemed. Everything led to that conclusion.

 

Metis was abruptly thrown from his reverie by a large, pink thing tumbling towards him. Leaping out of the way, he turned to look at it. It was bipedal, in fact almost human-like, except different. Its legs were different, as if a dog's, and the arms were grossly out of proportion. The head was much more doglike, with a small snout and drooping ears, though it still had hair, which was oddly an entirely different color - a dark brown. It had a tail that terminated in a tuft of brown fur, the same color as its hair. It wore a simple, red vest, along with a necklace and some form of ornament on its tail.

 

But for how unusual it was, it was familiar. It wasn't like anyone he knew, but he could have sworn he'd seen someone very similar to this thing earlier. He gasped as her eyes opened, making it clear who she was.

 

"You're... You're that girl from earlier, aren't you? The one that private eye was talking to..."

 

This didn't make any sense. He turned around on instinct, somehow believing the action would clear his head. Looking over he was met with two more vaguely recognizable forms - one looked like a pegasus, another like some hybrid between a griffon and a dog.

 

And then it all made sense.

 

They'd fallen into that fountain and turned into entirely different creatures. It was beyond reason - everything within him screamed that it was ridiculous, that he'd hit his head too hard and was hallucinating, but that couldn't be possible. He'd never seen things like these before, his mind couldn't just make up this sort of thing on the spot. Which meant this had to be real.

 

But wait. Those missing persons... He wasn't too interested in the cases, but the media successfully drilled one thing into his head: they were always around the university. Why else would so many people be disappearing in a single area without so much as a trace? And he'd never heard of any bodies - to his knowledge people simply vanished.

 

It made so much sense, but it couldn't be more absurd. People falling into a fountain and ending up in another world? It felt like the plot line for some terrible fan fiction story. But he couldn't deny what he was seeing - they'd changed into entirely different beings, and this felt far too real to be any sort of trickery.

 

But... That could only mean-

 

His hindlegs gave out underneath him, his face contorted in shock. Then, he laughed. It started out slow at first, but it slowly rose into a crescendo as he held his hooves to his head. He looked like a madman, his face alternating between several different expressions.

 

Then, he began to sob, all of his pent up anxiety and hope, confidence and despair, all of it bursting out in a flurry of emotion that straddled the line between weeping and laughing. He couldn't control it, the emotions were too strong, too raw for him to reel in. Covering his eyes with his hooves, he bit down on the worst of his feelings, willing his mouth to close. With time they became weak and feeble, much like he was. He swallowed them back down.

 

"God I'm a mess," he bemoaned, his voice hollow and defeated, his throat giving out. "I'm sorry."

Edited by Durandal

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@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

'Yes, that's me. I'm the meteorologist who... accidentally ordered 300 anemometers,' Aero replied, adding the latter part a little hesitantly. This blue and white maybe-a-griffon definitely seems to be the delivery guy from before. Judging from their current situation, they may be together for a while, so it's about time they exchange names so Aero doesn't need to keep thinking of him as 'the delivery guy'. 'I'm Aero Wind,' he added.

 

There were two main things Aero picked up from the delivery guy's response: He had an anemometer on his butt, and he was a pegasus. A pegasus is a horse with wings if he's not mistaken. He turned his head to look at his side, which confirmed what he heard as he saw a wing on his side and a tattoo of an anemometer on his butt. 'Wow, I really am a pegasus with an anemometer on my, well, butt,' he responded. To convince himself the wings were really his, he unfurled them, and then closed them again. Then he did it once more for extra confirmation.

 

This was incredible. He had wings. That should mean he can fly! Which would really amazing and fun! Aero couldn't help getting really giddy from the thought, which caused a bright smile to appear on his face. Imagine if he could get up in the sky and fly through a cloud! It's one thing to study clouds; it's another to actually be up there with them! Aero was too giddy to stop smiling, despite Aero's best efforts so he doesn't come off as weird or strange to the others for smiling at seemingly nothing. He unfurled and closed his wings once more for good measure; this is the worst kind of thing to get his hopes up over so he had to be positive he really had working wings.

 

He seemed to stop paying attention to who he was talking to and everything else, getting lost in his thoughts and excitement about his newfound wings.

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W-what? It just stepped away like it was nothing! Yes... this certainly was a dream of hers. Embarrassment was quite common in those.

 

Although the creature was babbling about something in what sounded like a regular male voice. Then she heard some rather emotional and disturbing noises coming from it. Almost like it... had feelings?

 

Who cared about that right now? She couldn't really pay it much mind as she was still skidding out of control. It was as though someone had just gone out of their way to rub soap all over the ground, because she couldn't gain purchase of her speeding body at all. Her heavy arms were still like chaotic weights that she could barely lift and her feet could only make her swerve slightly towards something else... 

 

@@Lunaris Adamantine

 

"Dammit, stop, body, stop! Going to crash into that beautiful thing over there!" It was careening towards the blue griffon dog. Her brain finally able to think of something she could do, she dug her claws into into the ground and hear them screech all across the cave floor... as she slowed down more and more... before coming to a rather pathetic jilty stop before him.

 

"Whew... ow," Absolutely exhausted from that ridiculous excursion, she let her body fall limply onto her stomach in front of him. Even though she knew it was a dream, this was still pretty humiliating, and she could barely stop herself from blushing.

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@@FortyTwo42

 

He hadn't really ever talked to Aero Wind before, but he had seen him on the campus very frequently. Though the circumstances were odd, it seemed like they were going to get to know each other better, regardless of whether they wanted to or not. At least he did have three others with him for this ordeal. Unless he was correct initially, and he was just extremely drugged.

"Aero Wind... yeah, I've seen you plenty at the university. My name is Lunaris Adamantine, and as for the anemometers... those are the least of our concerns right now. Anyways, we've got to find out what's..."

 

@@Arylett Charnoa

 

He paused as the bipedal dog-woman was flung towards him, and came to a sudden halt in front of him. "Okay... hello, and you... were that girl by the fountain? What's your name?"

 

@@Durandal

 

He turned towards the other guy, that bug-horse who seemed to be, understandably, overcome with emotion, "And what about you, what's your name, Bug-Horse?"

 

While he was talking, his mind kept wandering all over the place. Where were they? Why did they turn into... these creatures? How were they going to get home? For all he knew, they might even be stuck like that forever! He just kept thinking to himself, 'At least I've got wings now'. But then, he was saddened by the fact that he couldn't use them in this cave. But that didn't stop him from stretching them and flopping them randomly, trying to get a grasp on how to move them. 

  • Brohoof 1

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"What's your name, Bug-Horse?"

 

Turning towards the dog-griffon, Metis took a deep breath. Now wasn't time for such displays, though he was still reeling from all the implications of their predicament. He stumbled over to the cap he'd forgotten earlier, thankfully untouched by the pink dog-human. Donning it, he could feel the worst of his emotions subside. Officers wore these caps, and they didn't break down. Officers knew what needed to be done, and how to accomplish it. How dare he wear this cap and not act the part?

 

"Apate Metis," he responded, immediately baffled. Why did he use that name? It had been years since he'd gone by that name, out of both security and preference. Artful Campaign was a far more suitable name for an officer.

 

Yet, despite the cap on his head, Metis felt more appropriate. Perhaps it was him subconsciously distancing himself from his new, alien form. It looked nothing like him, after all.

 

Returning his attention to the dog-griffon, his jaw quite literally dropped. Now that he focused, really focused on the others, he noticed something more. It was almost impossible to describe - the experience wasn't quite visual, rather it felt like an entirely new sense.

 

Around each of the three creatures he saw slight distortions, as if there was a layer of hot air around them. But it wasn't just a distortion - these ripples flowed through them like blood, extending outward from what appeared to be their head and heart. It had a color, in fact the air appeared as several colors, a randomized stream of discernible colors, certain ones rising and falling in magnitude in tune with some unseen process. But there was one problem - these were colors, but they were different colors. It was like he was seeing a whole new array of colors he never could before.

 

It was breathtaking.

 

"Whoa," he finally remarked, unable to focus on anything but this beautiful display. "I, like..."

 

He tried hard, so desperately hard to explain what he was seeing. But nothing felt right, like it wasn't enough. It frustrated him to no end, but he tried anyway.

 

"It's like I can... Can see uhm, the blood flowing through you. It's all these different colors, except not colors at all. I'm not the only one seeing this, right?"

 

He focused on the aurora, trying to figure it out. It couldn't be blood, could it? That made no sense. He followed the trail to the dog-griffin's head, noticing that it flickered and fluctuated with several colors, pumping them out on a constant basis. Mesmerized by it, he attempted to reach out to it. Perhaps it was an illusion?

 

Just then, the orb changed, swiftly making a connection with him. He jolted suddenly, and then realized that he could taste something. It wasn't anything he recognized, in fact he felt like the taste itself was indecisive. The stream itself was a single color, unlike the ones that streamed through the dog-griffon's body. He waved a hoof in front of his face, dispelling it.

 

"Okay, this is weird. I reached out to this orb thing I could see in your head and it linked with me, and it had a weird taste," he smacked his lips before grimacing. "What the hell is going on? What's with this place? And why do you all look like that?"

 

He needed answers badly, but all he was getting were questions. He was going to go mad if this kept up.

  • Brohoof 1

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The pink dog-woman tripping and sliding right past him shocked him out of his flying daydreams and brought his attention back to their current situation. She almost ran into the delivery guy, who he finally found out was called Lunaris Adamantine. He listened to him speak to the others, but he cringed as he called out the bug-horse. Sure, he wasn't trying to hurt them, at least not right now, but he was still one creepy, scary guy. And that maniacal laughter really didn't help.

 

@@Durandal,

 

Apate Metis was the name he gave them 'A-Aero Wind,' Aero simply replied, doing his best to sound confident and speaking quickly to hopefully cover up his mild stutter. The last thing Aero wants is for this guy to know he's scared of him.

 

He then went on to describe something about seeing colours in the air around them or something. Aero just couldn't understand what he way saying; it made absolutely no sense. There are no colours, no orbs, and no tastes in the air. Yet this guy seemed convinced he could observe whatever these things were, as he spoke quite strongly about it. He really hoped that comment about taste wasn't some metaphor about how he was about to eat them or anything like that. This guy was just completely unhinged, and Aero had no idea if he was safe to be around.

 

'I have no idea what you're saying,' Aero responded, shaking his head slightly to accentuate his bewilderment.

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Her ears perked up at being addressed by the more majestic creature of the group as she quickly sat upright, still feeling the keen sense of not wanting to look bad in front of strangers. There was this lingering dreadful feeling within her that this was kind of real the moment he spoke up. Something about the situation, the reactions, the feelings, smells, and sounds seemed... realistic. But she couldn't bring herself to believe that. Especially when the... bug horse described some odd sights. She heard someone say something about meth earlier. Perhaps he was on drugs or her mind was making up some very silly nonsense. It was the latter. She couldn't be in any real danger from an evil-looking unhinged abomination. At least she wasn't the only one who thought he was crazy though.

 

"I'm Anatase... and I guess I am that girl by the fountain. And uh... I don't see anything of what you're... describing either..." She winced as she addressed this Apate, avoiding looking at him and choosing to focus her eyes on the wings of the appropriately named Aero Wind. 

 

"I think we've been transformed into things... appropriate to our personalities," Hopefully, crazy guy wouldn't take offense to that. "Maybe somebody did this to us for some reason. Maybe as punishment... maybe as a reward? Maybe we're all dead and this is just a weird afterlife. Maybe it's just a dream and it isn't real. Or a hallucination... or a hologram?" Normally, she wouldn't be so chatty. But as this was a dream, she tried not to care as much about what she said, even though immense anxiety from others' judgement was still weighing on her mind. "Sorry. Just trying to be helpful," And yet her self-consciousness still couldn't stop her from adding that.

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Well, at least everyone was communicating now. But what was that Apate guy talking about? Some kind of flavor orbs? And colored bloodflow? Sounds weird, but he was definitely the weirdest of the group.

 

@@Durandal

"I'm not seeing anything like what you're describing. My vision seems to be the same as before, no orbs or colors or whatever. Considering you are some weird... bug-horse thing, and your eyes are weird in general, it might be some kind of thing with that species... whatever it is."

 

He was trying hard to think of what Apate might be, but nothing came to mind. He had never seen any kind of creature with holes in it's flesh like that. It seems he got the unluckiest form, compared to the rest. As for the Dog-Lady? She was bringing up a bunch of ideas about what was going on, but there was no evidence around to indicate if any of them were true. It was time to start taking action, starting with getting out of this cramped cavern

 

"I don't know if any of that is true, hopefully we can find all that out. Anyways... maybe if we can find some civilization we can figure out what's going on, or at least where we are. But first we'll have to get out of this damn cave!"

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Aero was keen to get away from the terrifying Metis, so upon hearing the other two talking, Aero quickly took a few steps away from Metis and closer to the two others. He really didn’t want to be next to Metis for any longer than he needed to.

 

@@Arylett Charnoa,

 

The dog-person, who introduced herself as Anatase, brought up an interesting point about this being a dream. Aero never really considered this before, as everything just felt so real. But he had to admit it was a good possibility. Being a dream makes as much sense as being transformed into some mythological creature. Turning to her, Aero replied 'I don't think so, this really does seem real. Everything seems so corporeal, so tangible. If this is a dream or a hallucination, it's by far the strongest one I've had. And that we're all collectively wondering whether this is real or not probably means it's real. And hey, if it actually isn't real, then we're going to wake up on our own eventually anyway. So while we're waiting for that to happen we might as well assume it's real so we can get to the bottom of this sooner if it turns out this really is real.'

 

Aero then realized that for whatever reason, Anatase was staring at his wings. That brought the rush of excitement back to him as he remembered how much he wanted to flying in the open skies. Being terrified and bewildered by a horrifying bug-pony tends to distract people from stuff like that, but Anatase helped him remember how much he looked forward to it. They really need to get out of these caves as soon as possible so Aero actually has room to fly in! These caves are too small for any good flying. It seems Lunaris agrees, since he mentioned they need to get out of these caves too, but for the different reason of finding civilization. Yeah, that's important too, but Aero also wants to fly!

 

@@Lunaris Adamantine, @@Durandal,

 

Pointing at each of them in turn, Aero summarized 'So, you're Apate Metis, you're Anatase, and you're Lunaris Ada... Adam... Adamantle, right?' He had a sneaking suspicion he got something wrong about that last name. Hopefully he got it right; it would be so rude and embarrassing to get their names wrong so quickly after learning them. To add onto Lunaris's point, Aero continued 'Yeah, we really need to find our way out of these caves. Finding civilization would be great, and I really need to stretch these wings.' He looked around and pointed at the path that seemed to lead upwards the most. 'Should we start that way?'

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Metis shuffled uneasily. While Lunaris was unaffected by his current form, the others looked positively distressed, even averting their eyes. While he'd never been self-conscious about his appearance, fear was not the sort of reaction he was used to. He wished he could have looked more normal, if that was even possible.

 

Metis could feel himself overcome with this sensation of longing as his horn flashed. Dazed by the sudden change, he shook his head. Out of the corner of his eye he realized something different. Lifting up one of his hooves, he realized he'd changed completely! Gone was the dark grey, swiss cheese exoskeleton, replaced by his normal skin tone. He wasn't human, but it was progress at least.

 

"Fascinating..." He muttered, looking himself over. His attire had changed - it was still a uniform, but he now wore a light-grey tunic with yellow trim and tall rubber boots. As well, he noticed that he had hair, and that he had developed a 'butt-mark', as Aero had described it, of a black rook. He couldn't look over his cap, unfortunately, as each time he took it off it returned to its previous form.

 

"Hah! I can shapeshift!" Metis concluded, grinning ear to ear. Noticing that Aero was pointing elsewhere, he decided to work on his shape shifting later - leaving this cave was a bigger priority.

 

"We have to start somewhere, so why not?"

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"Whoa..."

 

Her eyes widened in response to watching what happened to Apate. So much so that whatever Aero had said before it left her mind. The possibilities of this shapeshifting ability... a hint of jealousy leapt into her. But she... didn't want to look like that anyway. Yeah... if that was the price, then...

 

But what did it matter what she looked like if she could do that? The advantages of his species now were clear. And the other two, they had wings and they could fly. Perhaps even some other abilities. What could she do?

 

Her mind was spinning with all sorts of conclusions as she vaguely dragged herself in the direction that Aero specified before, feeling the awkwardness of her new body coming into play again. It was such a chore to move on two legs in this weirdly unbalanced way, her knuckles dragging along the ground because she had not yet gotten used to their weight. Trying to distract her mind from going in a more negative direction, she looked around at the cave's walls once more. They seemed to be lined with an endless stream of crystals that went on and on for who knew how long. The ones nearby were a soft blue, illuminating their path, but gradually dulled as far as she could see. How pretty... 

 

Unable to contain her curiosity, she reached out one of her arms and grabbed a crystal close to the ground, dislodging it fairly easily. It felt warm in her hand, soothing.

 

"It's like it is alive..."

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@@FortyTwo42

 

"Adamantine. That's, ADD A MAN TEEN. But yeah, I get that kind of thing a lot. Just stick with Lunaris."

 

He was starting to take a look around, trying to see which way to go. Aero pointed out a direction, but there was no way of knowing where it would lead. But what's the best way to find out? Go find out for yourself!

 

"Anyways, I guess we should just take our chances and go. Can't find out anything just standing here in the darkne-"

 

@@Durandal

 

He stopped suddenly as he saw Apate suddenly turn into... a horse-like thing, similar to Aero, but with a horn instead of wings. Goodie, another mythical creature to add to the collection.

 

"First a bug-horse, now a Unicorn? At least now you've got those holes patched up. Probably best to stick to that shape, if you can. Unless you want to be a bug-horse, but it might scare off anyone we meet... no offense, it's just kinda weird. Anyways, lets get going."

 

@@Arylett Charnoa
 

He started to walk in the direction of the tunnel, but then he noticed that Anatase was distracted with one of the glowing gems. She picked it up and said something about it being alive? Well, glowing gems was certainly weird, but how could it be alive? Whatever, that didn't matter. Her interest in them gave Lunaris an idea that was sure to help them.

"I've got an idea... we can probably take some of these gems with us, to help light the path. I mean, we don't really know if they'll be there the whole way out, so we would need some kind of light source if they stop showing up."

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@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

Aero smiled sheepishly as Lunaris had to correct his last name for him. 'S-Sorry.' Although unintentional, Aero must be starting to come off as really annoying to him with all these mistakes. He's lucky Lunaris seems to be so patient with him. 'Yeah, I'll just call you Lunaris.'

 

@@Durandal,

 

'What the?!' Aero called out as he saw Metis transform in a green flash before his eyes. Now apparently he's a horned, khaki coloured horse with green hair. Aero's initial thought was that he must be under some sort of curse, but that theory was put to rest quickly as he excitedly announced he can shapeshift, making it clear it was a voluntary transformation. At least his current form doesn't have any horrifying features... but if anything, finding out he can shapeshift just made him even scarier since he could impersonate someone Aero knows and use that to trick him and take advantage of him.

 

However, Aero is slowly starting to get used to him. He might have a frightening appearence, have the ability to transform and be completely crazy, but none of his actions so far have had any hint of malicious intent behind them. And Aero could relate to his excitement over his new shapeshifting ability; Aero was just as excited to start flying with his new wings! In fact, perhaps talking about that with Metis will finally help them get to know each other, which could help Aero overcome his fear of him. As they walked through the caves, Aero came next to him and asked 'So, uh, what's shapeshifting like?'

 

@@Arylett Charnoa,

 

While speaking to Metis, Aero noticed Anatase holding one of the crystals and admiring it. Lunaris mentioned to her something about using them to light their way later. 'That sounds like a good idea,' Aero quickly added, but he didn't stick with them to discuss it; he wanted to instead focus on conversing Metis for as long as he feels comfortable with him.

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