The night sky was the clearest it had been all spring. On this particular night, the normally breathtaking view of the moon and all its accompanying stars, shone over an exceptionally unwelcome conversation. Around a merrily crackling fire sat two people. One, a uncomfortably androgynous blonde mage, shifted restlessly on her log bench. Her petite frame was draped in a dark blue floor length robe inscribed with dull red lettering, and sitting on her head was a similarly colored pointed cap. She stared at the massive armored male before her, who seemed to be stunned, though his face wasn’t exactly visible through his thick metal helmet. For a while, the smoke rising from the fire was the only thing moving in their modest campsite. Finally, the knight, with much awkward shifting of his metal plates, broke the silence.
“So, Tom,” he said with an easygoing air, “does that means you, uh, lost your dick or something, dude?”
To his blunt statement, Thomas shook her head, the bell at the tip of her pointed hat bobbing back and forth. Seeking to correct the bluntness of the statement, she elaborated, “It’s not that simple, Hero. What I am now is an Alp. It’s a succubus type monster that-” Thomas was silenced by Hero holding up a hand. In the same movement, he reached into a satchel at his hip and produced a well thumbed tome. At its cover, faded gold lettering spelling out “Monster Girl Encyclopedia” were visible, and Thomas was sure that her friend was going to quickly search through the book himself and frantically thrust what information was available upon her. Surprisingly, the burly knight simple opened up to a bookmarked page and quickly “skimmed” through the entry. He slammed the book shut and looked back up at Thomas, gesturing dismissively.
“Dude, since you gave me this thing I actually look at the pictures sometimes. Usually to jack off though. Anyways that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I always knew you were kinda gay,” he explained, ignoring Thomas’ peeved expression, “I get that. So just in case you went ahead and went full blown homo on my ass, which you did. Clearly. Anyhow I got to be prepared, right? So yeah, I found this page while I was flipping through this thing, spanking it, and bookmarked it. So I had to have you read this to me once, and now it paid off, didn’t it?” Thomas furrowed his brow. She knew what the entry specifically stated, but as to not send the knight on an ego trip, did her best to deny the truth.
“It might not be that. It could have just been the Demonic Energy around this place. We’ve been traveling across Demon Realms for a while, and since I have a large reserve of Spirit Energy, it got corrupted.” She was rapidly beginning to believe her own half-baked, mid-spun lie. “After all, there hasn’t been a truly powerful mage, like one on my level, that’s stayed this long in a Demon Realm. This could be the first case of Demonic Energy tainting a male by overtaking his own Spirit Energy production. An outlier if you will.” The knight listened attentively, hands clasped in front of him as his friend began spouting fairly unlikely theories. He coughed to get her attention, and presented his own argument.
“Thomas, I have no idea what you’re saying. Demonic Energy and Spirit Energy doesn’t mean anything to me. I skipped school as a kid like, four days out of the week. When I did show up, I ended up just getting my ass whooped for being a prick to you. But I think I know that you’re full of shit. I mean after all, even before your dick decided to fall off, you basically looked like a girl. When we used to swim together in the river,” he tapped his own chestplate with a gauntleted finger, “girl chest. That wasn’t a chest, those were boobs dude. And now you have ‘em for real.”
Thomas’ face flushed. There wasn’t anything she could say that would make her feel any better about the situation. She had noticed her transformation only that morning when she awoke in the tent and noticed that not only was her manhood absent, but she had grown a pair of horns, wings, and a tail. Fortunately, she was able to quickly hide the physical changes from the unconscious knight, and had gotten through the day without incident. Unfortunately, her conscience had gotten the best of her and she confessed what had taken place to her best friend, leading up to the rather unpleasant situation they were in.
The knight sighed and decided to give her a break. He sat up and walked over to Thomas. He pulled off her hat to reveal a pair of small black horns perched amongst her blonde hair and a quivering set of pointed ears beneath them. Thomas did not take the theft of her hat sitting down.
“Give me my hat back.”
“Dude, I’m trying to see your wings and tail. I wanna know if you’re not just messing with me, and this is the best way, short of me pulling your pants down.”
“Alright, that’s actually a much better way of us enjoying the evening.” Thomas rose from her log bench and walked to the tent. “When I woke up, I found an outfit laid out for me next to my blanket. It really, shows off my new features, to say the least,” she said over her shoulder as she entered the tent.
“Bro. You’re full of it.”
“I’m not,” she rang through the tent walls, “I’ll wear it so you can see.” The mage sounded slightly too enthusiastic. There was a brief wait as Hero stared at the fire, listening to the rustling coming from the tent. He hoped that “showing off her new features” didn’t have any further implications. When she finished dressing, Thomas exited the tent and entered into her friends line of sight. The garments were, true to her word, extremely well suited to showing off her wings and tail, and also did a spectacular job at exposing her midriff, legs, and general crotch area. In fact, the midnight blue two piece garment did an all around good job at pretending to clothe Thomas’ decency.
“You know, there are less flashy ways of coming out of the closet,” he said, now fully convinced that his friend Thomas was no longer a he, “Like, just so we get this out in the open as fast as possible, like, at least a thousand percent no homo.”
Thomas ignored him, “These clothes are kind of strange. It was kind of cold underneath my robe, even by the fire, but in these,” Thomas fluttered up and flew around her log, showing off the sleek, velvety, black webbing of her wings, “it’s perfectly warm, even though it doesn’t look that way.”
Behind the visor of his helmet, the knight’s nose wrinkled in disgust as he watched his friend flit around like a horribly deranged fairy. “You gonna, like, not dress like that for a little bit? I mean, I’m kind of sick of calling you a giant, gay, flaming one-man-cabaret, but if you keep that on, I don’t have too much of a choice dude.” His tone was nonchalant, but from the slight quivering in his voice, it was clear that he was unsettled. Thomas noticing his discomfort, fluttered down back onto her log. She faced him from across the fire mirroring the postures that they were in previously.
She rubbed the back of her head abashedly, “Well, the clothes lead into another issue that we should talk about. But if we’re going to talk about that with any coherency, I’m going to have to… teach you?” Thomas worked her jaw up and down. Saying those words to a grown man did leave a nice feeling in her mouth. The grown man in question nodded his head like similar to how a grade schooler might.
Putting on as much of a teacher air she could muster while dressed like an exotic escort, she began lecturing on the fundamental qualities of Demonic and Spiritual energy, “To begin with, humans produce Spiritual Energy naturally and can replenish their supply with food and rest. Think of it as stamina. It’s most potent in human reproductive fluids, but also occurs in most living things. Monsters on the other hand have Demonic Energy, which is similar to Spiritual energy in every way except it can’t be replenished and can corrupt places and people if present in large enough quantities. Monsters can’t replenish their Demonic Energy naturally and thus need to intake Spiritual Energy for that, which unfortunately leads to, how shall I put this, “love blossoming on the battlefield.” So you understand that right?” The knight grunted in acknowledgement, fighting to prevent his attention from wavering. Thomas decided to help ease her friend’s discomfort and skip to the important points. “So moving onto the clothing. The cloak that I wear is really effective at amplifying spells that I cast with Spiritual Energy, but now that I’m an Alp, I don’t have Spiritual Energy anymore. But with these clothes-”
“They aren’t clothes, and you can’t call them that. If your mom saw you ‘dressed’ in that, she’d kick your ass into next week, and my mum would probably join her.” Thomas shot the knight a dirty look.
“Neither of our mothers believe in ‘kicking asses,’ Mr. Hero. Irregardless, the new garments that I have now seem to augment my Demonic Energy so I’ll probably keep them on.”
Immediately, Hero got up from his log and stared at the girl sitting across the fire. The intensity of the gaze made Thomas squirm slightly in her seat. Not blinking, he spat each word as accusingly as possible, “You’re. Wearing. Prostitute. Clothing. For. Buffs?” Thomas’ face flushed as she struggled to come up with an argument to refute her friends very accurate assessment.
“No. I think it looks cute too.” she managed to squeak out. Once the offending words reached Hero’s ears, the knight dropped to his knees and grabbed both of his temples, silently screaming to the night sky. From a bird’s eye view it might have looked appropriately theatrical, however, from Thomas’ perspective, it was unnecessarily melodramatic. Recovering from her self-consciousness quickly enough, she sighed before continuing, “Alright I know this is a lot to take in, but I’m sure we can figure this out together. In the state that I’m in right now, it’s going to be hard for me to help you with spells like before because I don’t exactly have a male I can…” she paused searching for the right word, “…harvest, I suppose for energy. Unless, well… you know.” She looked up expectantly at Hero, who had reclaimed his position on his log bench. The knight caught her look and indeed did know.
“It’s your choice. I can’t really tell you what to do for the clothes,” he said, seeking to delay his answer, “but for the harvesting…” he trailed off. Looking up at the stars, he began reminiscing, “You remember that one time that shopkeeper caught me stealing a honeyed roll out of his pocket?”
Thomas, puzzled at the new change of topic, nodded, “I do. After you split it with me and wolfed down your half, he thundered into the alley behind the store and yelled at you for a while.” They stared in the dimming fireplace as they both relived the memory in comfortable silence. “You were a terrible kid,” she said, a big grin on her face, “and after that you looked so miserable, I just had to give you my half.”
“Yeah. I remember. That was a pretty good roll.” He paused before getting to his point, “Well, whatever, he said something then, that probably applies to right now. Something like, ‘If I catch you with your hand in my pants ever, I’m going to make sure you won’t ever be able to use that hand again.’ So yeah, keep your hands off the goods.”
The succubus slid off the log and sighed, getting comfortable on the grass, “Well, if you don’t want me to, then I won’t. I’m still a monster though, so I have my instincts. And if I can’t replenish my Demonic Energy, I’m going to be fairly ineffective in combat.” She shrugged while lying on the ground, “Well, I mean I could maybe get some spirit energy from people in the next town we go to and so on like that. But…” She trailed off and let the wind blowing through the grass talk for her.
“Yeah, you’re not going to do that,” Hero said dismissively, “You still consider yourself a dude right? I read in the encyclopedia entry that if you go ahead and mess around with any dudes then you’re gonna actually turn into a succubus.” He responded a tad too quickly.
“What I consider myself is secondary.”
“Well as your best friend, I’d love it if you didn’t just change completely into a succubus.” He got up from his stump and walked over to Thomas’ stump, whose owner was using her wings to make grass angels. “Okay dude, seriously. I know you think it’d be bad if you can’t shield me, or heal me, or any of that. But it’s alright, you’re going through some stuff, but we’ll find a way to fix it,” he sat down on the log looking down at Thomas, “I’m not gonna let you down, that’s what I’m here for. Here’s what, we get some sleep to figure stuff out, and then next day when we reach the next town, we’ll start looking for a way to get you back to normal.”
“De-monsterization. That sounds possible,” the succubus mused glumly, “but I’ll have a little faith in you. Even though everything that you accomplish is done through completely arbitrary means, Hero.”
“Yeah. That’s my name.” Silence filled the air between them once again. Then Hero piped up again with a thought that he had been holding to himself for the entire night. “You know, if even I saw this coming, shouldn’t you have? Or were you just lying to yourself and telling yourself you don’t enjoy dick?”
“Wait, now that you mention it,” her eyes lit up and wide grin broke out across her delicate features, “I did prepare for this! Just in case I happened into a scenario where I would ever turn into an Alp and require Demonic Energy replenishment, every time I, ahem, pleasured myself, I collected it into jars and put them into my Bag of Holding! I just need to drink a jar once in awhile and then I’ll be able to still cast magic!”
“Dude, what the fuck?!”
Thomas had finally finished cataloging every single detail of the tent’s sloped ceiling. A rip here, a stain there, and a dead insect stuck somewhere in between. However, the mess was to be expected. The tent had weathered the abuse of all the travels that Hero and Thomas had made since they left their village to find adventure. It had been a gift from the very shopkeeper that Hero had pickpocketed earlier. Back then, his name wasn’t Hero, but likely something much more ordinary. Unfortunately for Hero, punching the most magically potent monsters on the continent wasn’t a terribly bright decision on his part.
She rolled over, suddenly uncomfortable on her mat. Today, the tent was strangely empty because Hero had decided that he would be able to sleep much better outside. Something about not having to keep one eye open and one hand protectively over his nethers.
Usually, he would be taking up nearly all of the room inside the small tent and otherwise attempting to roll out of the slight shelter it provided, driving the smaller mage to despair in what little space she used to have. However, without the hulking metal presence to intensify her claustrophobic feelings, it was fairly lonely. Before Hero had vacated the tent, taking a comically undersized blanket along with him, he detailed the kinds of gruesome tortures that Thomas would receive should she “take a walk into Homoville.” Then he groggily made his way to the extinguished fire, collapsed bonelessly, blanket barely covering his left pauldron, and then drifted off to sleep as gentle as a baby.
Thomas, on the other hand, because of her tentmate’s nocturnal habits, stayed awake for a fair amount. Sometimes, she would leave the tent altogether and practice her magic, sending bolts streaking across the sky or even making sparkling werelights light up the sky. Then invariably, she would fall asleep, magic fizzling at her fingertips, and awaken back inside the tent with two blankets draped over her. After the first time that happened, she made it a habit.
It slightly unnerved her that she wasn’t sure if she could cast anything of the sort anymore. Sitting up, she resolved to learn the magic herself or beg the next succubus that she encountered to teach her. Thomas threw away the sheets and clambered out of the tent, exiting into the crisp night air. Barely flapping her wings, she lifted herself into the air above the tent and hovered above the blackened timbers of the fire. Next to pit was Hero, peacefully asleep with his head nestled by a log. Wearing a helmet at all times greatly reduces the need for anything soft beneath your head at night.
Thomas shivered from her vantage point. Despite her sheer attire and its heating properties, the garment gave more than an ample opportunity for the wind playing across her exposed skin to deliver a touch of nighttime chill. She shivered, but remained in the air as she began to test her magical capabilities.
Glancing up at the winking stars and accompanying moon, she attempted to shoot out a bolt of light at the stars. Before her change, the mage had no problem shooting off endless barrages of bolts into the sky. This time however, she felt something catch in her palm before they were released and numb the arm. Writhing in discomfort, she gritted her teeth and quickly made a landing.
Once she touched the ground, she began vigorously shaking her wrist in an attempt to bring feeling back into her hands. She grimaced as sensation within the hand crawled back, starting from her elbow. Once sensation finally returned, she noticed her palm was tingling. From her palm, a wispy black smoke now exuded. Uncertainly, she held her palm up to the night sky and shakily shot a bolt out. However, instead of a bright discharge of light, a dark smoky ball was ejected from her palm into the night sky, blocking Thomas’ view of a rapidly shrinking portion of the stars. The inky black orb leisurely made it’s way into the night sky, eventually melting into the blackness of the night. Thomas was unsure how useful her newfound ability to fire orbs of what appeared to be pure, tangible shadow, but she resolved to test more thoroughly later.
She shivered. Hugging herself in an attempt to ward off the chill, the mage guessed that casting magic made the surrounding night seem colder. As she was about to trudge back the relative warmth of the tent, her gaze fell on Hero, who was quietly snoring under a wool blanket. A mischievous idea popped into Thomas’s head. An impish expression on her face, the succubus tiptoed towards the armored giant. Stopping just short of the slumbering knight, she knelt down and, with no small effort, lifted his arm. Sliding in underneath, she tried to get as comfortable as possible underneath the plate as possible.
Luckily, the metal was fairly warm, which would be questioned by nearly anybody else. Unluckily, the plate covering the knight’s other arm was not necessarily made for lying on. After some struggle in finding a comfortable position for her back, she eventually just deigned to lay her stomach on his outstretched arm and get a mouthful of grass. Several minutes passed until Thomas tired of the taste and decided to go back into the tent. In the process of getting up, she first had to shift the arm she was using as a blanket.
Eventually the jostling of his arm caused Hero to stir. He groggily opened his eyes and stared at the offending succubus. From the sight of his friend tucked beneath his arm, in what he could only interpret as an embrace, he had the impression he was in a terrible nightmare. He shattered the peace of the night as he leapt to his feet with a string of curses at his lips. Thomas rolled onto the ground shouting for the hulking mass of armor to regain his senses and telling him not to trample her.
After much din in the campground with Thomas and Hero both trying to shout each other down, they finally managed an agitated standoff. Hero stared down at Thomas from behind a disapproving glare and crossed arms.
“Thomas, how late is it?” Typical adult question.
“Extremely?” Typical adolescent retort.
Hero sighed heavily. While it was late, the moonlight provided more than ample lighting for him to see Thomas still draped in her parent’s disapproval. “Alright, I wanna get back to sleep, so whatever you wanted from me, you should probably tell me.”
“Couldn’t sleep, so I decided to practice my magic and test out if I can do anything new,” she yawned and rubbed her eyes, fatigue finally overcoming the excitement of the day, “turns out I can fire black bolts now.” Her friend’s helmet gave no indication that he was impressed. “Then I wanted to go back to sleep, and you are generally a smart choice if I want to be warmed up.”
Hero shook his head, then began to walk in the direction of the tent.
“Where are you going? I thought you weren’t going to tent with me since I’m an alp now.”
The knight groaned as he bent over to enter the tent, “Whatever, couldn’t stop you from trying to have a go at me-”
“That is not what I was doing!”
Hero dismissed his friends indignant response, “Couldn’t stop you and I tried my best. Going back in the tent. Need sleep.”
She fought to suppress a grin. “Alright, if you’re sure about this, I’ll go back into the now crowded tent with you.” She walked up to the flap at the front of the tent and hesitated. “Thanks Hero,” she muttered.
The knight responded half asleep, “When we get to another inn, I’m not sleeping in the same bed as you. Off-,” he paused for a long yawn, “-limits.” Satisfied smacking sounds came from the tent and Hero fell asleep soon after. Finally, a smile touched Thomas’s face and she went into the tent. Curling up against the cozy suit of armor inside, she finally closed her eyes and contentedly nodded off.