There are 3 paths.
One appears to go to a jungle,
one appears to go to a cave,
one appears to go to a beach,
you could try and climb the tree,
there is a nearby shop you could go in,
or you could do something else.
So what's its going to be?
Illustrated by Catprog
Written by catprog on 01 April 2003
There is a table with a sign saying
On the table there is a fridge with a range of liquids. Also on the table are various magical trinkets including costumes. What would you like to take, or would you like to buy something?
Written by catprog on 10 April 2003
You decide to get something else. But what?
Written by catprog on 13 December 2005
You take a lamp. Now what are you going to do with it?
Written by catprog on 05 March 2004
Just then, a huge puff of green smoke appears.
The smoke forms the shape of a humanoid, then finally materializes into a turquoise-skinned man who appears to be about 25 years old. You quiver with fear, staring at him (after all, you're not used to seeing turquoise-skinned men appear out of lamps).
"Who has rubbed the lamp of the Genie of Transformation?", the man asks in a light, yet stern voice.
"I-I did", you answer softly.
He steps closer to you and bows. "Thank You, Master, Thank You!", he says as he kneels to you.
He stands. "Yes", he says. "You have released me from the Lamp, and now you may have three wishes.
The wishes carry certain limitations, however..."
"Yes, like what?", you ask again, almost bursting with excitement (having your own genie and all).
"First, there are only three wishes, no more and no less, and this may not be changed by any wishes made. Second, all wishes made by the master should be precisely worded. If the wish is too vague, then I shall choose the remaining factors of the wish. And third, all wishes must be related to the change of the master, or of someone else that the master chooses. In other words, all wishes must be transformative."
Well what are you going to wish for?
Written by on 11 March 2004
The genie’s words sink into you as you ponder them. You’ve seen your fair share of movies and TV shows with genies involved - this one reminds you of the Genie from Aladdin, but, you also know the traditional genies are… not exactly the nicest of beings. This one was kind enough to inform you that there are rules involved, at least, yet even so, you are hesitant.
“When you say you’ll ‘choose the remaining factors’ of a wish, what does that mean, exactly?” you inquire.
The genie folds his arms. “It is as I say it, Master.”
“Would you be more… specific?” You frown, and consider the proper way to phrase it. “If I ask for a certain, I guess, transformative power, but I don’t word it tightly enough, then that means you can tweak it to however you please?”
The genie chortles. “In essence.”
There is a long pause. Your lips purse, and your first wish is to get a better sense of what this whole ordeal entails. The genie, as if sensing this, stares at you for a long moment - perhaps daring or desiring you to speak the words for him to grant. Yet you don’t, and eventually, the genie offers a small, softer smile.
“I must admit, Master, you have surprised me,” the genie said. “I have known many fellow djinn before - and have experienced numerous masters prior to you over the centuries. I’ve seen men and women alike who rushed into their wishes without stopping to think about the ramifications. You are likely pondering whether or not I am a malicious djinn, aren’t you? A trickster that you’ve read or heard about in your media for ages?”
You shift somewhat. “I mean, honestly, kind of. There are movies and kids shows with good genies, but, the myths always tend to…”
“Point toward the opposite.” The genie’s smile grows. “Out of necessity, and to ensure you grant your wishes, I will throw you a proverbial bone: I am not what you consider ‘good,’ Master, but nor am I ‘evil.’ The whims of a djinn are his or her own, yet to make it simpler for you to understand: most of the time, we base our own actions off the character of the Master making the wishes.”
You blink a few times. “I see. So if they’re a jerk, you’ll be more inclined to twist their wishes?”
“Mm.” The genie dithers. “Not always. It is not so much the external, though yes, that does play a factor - rather, we can see beneath. We read the heart of the Master, and we understand why it is they make the wish they want. That is not to say every djinn will be tempted to be kinder to those who make wishes for morally sound or logical reasons, but,” he shrugged, “it isn’t unheard of.”
“You’re obviously a very wise and honest genie,” you say, and you don’t mean it to be overly complimentary - it’s just how you think. “I imagine if I were rude or disrespectful, it would be an insult to you.”
The genie’s eyes darken. “A grave one, yes.” His tone does not betray the fact he means these words - dangerously so. It is enough to make your throat go dry, yet, the genie’s features soften after a moment. “But you are… decent, Master.” He smiles again, and he seems to mean it in a general sense rather than a fake or forced smile. “For that, I am appreciative.”
You are still hesitant. But, before you consider your first wish, you think of something else from your knowledge of genies and their usual predicaments.
“Do you desire to be set free?” you ask. The old Disney movie comes to mind.
The genie is surprised at this. “I…” He frowns, as if you’ve completely thrown him for a loop he wasn’t expecting. “That isn’t something I’ve ever considered. I don’t know that freedom for a djinn would mean the same thing you may believe it to. But…” He trails off, and sighs. “If you are hoping to free me in an attempt to earn my favor, Master, you needn’t. Please speak your first wish.”
You relent to this since you don’t want to waste the genie’s time given the fact, well, he’s a genie. And so, you start to think for real on what to desire.
It has to be transformative in some way, but, you don’t know what way the genie means it. You also don’t want to test this being’s patience, however, so, you think of the first thing that comes to mind. But! You also ensure you word it the right way, thus you take a moment to phrase it in your mind first.
When you’re ready, you speak it: “I wish to be able to transform painlessly into any animal I want without losing my humanity or self-control, and without having to worry about being trapped in that form forever.”
The genie eyes you for a long few heartbeats. You are hoping that you’ve done a good enough job being specific about the wish, without any nasty loopholes the genie can exploit. You can’t be sure if this genie is going to be the petty or mean-spirited sort, after all - he seems to be nice overall, but, he’s a genie, and you know from speaking to him that you could seal your fate if you say the wrong thing…
“A curious wording, Master,” the genie remarks after a moment. He is thoughtful, stroking his chin as he mulls your words over. He smiles then. “Very well, this wish shall be granted. But!” He again eyes you with an unreadable expression. “You have left it open enough for me to tweak it to my whims.”
Your heart nearly skips a beat. ‘Oh no.’
Written by Hollowpages on 02 April 2020
“First,” the genie says, “you desire it to be a painless transformation. That is fine, and because you’ve shown me decent respect, I will ensure no physical or emotional pain befalls you during the process. You have also specified not wanting to lose your humanity or self-control - that is also fine, but you will be gaining new insights and abilities, those befitting the creature you choose.”
You watch, waiting. So far, those don’t sound too bad…
“Ah, but, now comes my fun,” the genie says. There is a glimmer in his eyes. “I will grant you not lose your intelligence or moral compass, Master. However, while you have said you don’t want to be ‘trapped in that form forever,’ you did not specify a time limit. So! You will be given the power to transform into any creature you wish… at a cost!”
The genie’s hands sparkle. Energy bolts surge about, and they aim at you. You can’t even blink before they strike you, and you feel the warmth surging about your whole body. You yelp in surprise - it isn’t painful, no, but it’s a wave of strange tingling that erupts through you, and it’s definitely not a sensation you’re used to experiencing.
“There,” the genie says after a moment. The sparks have died down, and the warmth dissipates. The genie is pleased. “Your wish has been granted. As I have a modicum of like for someone like you, Master, I will now inform you of the caveats: there are three rules you will obey, and you cannot change them without using another wish. Though, mind you, that might add more on.”
You stare at your hands a moment. You don’t feel any different right now on the surface, yet there’s a sensation inside the pit of your stomach - like a tingling of some kind.
You swallow the lump in your throat. “What are the rules?”
“First: you will be able to transform into any creature,” the genie says again, holding up one finger, “but, Master, you must choose wisely: the instant you choose a form, you will be in that form for…” He pauses and thinks a moment. “Two hours. Yes. Two hours exactly, no sooner - you cannot change back or to another creature until that two hour time limit is over, and that includes your turning back into a human.”
You blink a few times, absorbing this. “So, I can turn into one animal, but…”
“Say you turn into a wolf,” the genie says, rolling a hand along with the words. “You will be in the form of a wolf for two hours. When that time limit ends, Master, you may return to your natural state. However. You will not be able to change into anything else for another two hours.”
It dawns on you, and you nod. “In other words, if I want to experience different animal forms, I have to choose that versus turning into a human again.”
“Correct,” the genie replies. He folds his arms and nods. “The second rule, Master, is this: you cannot change into the same animal twice in one day, nor can you change into the same species twice in the same day.”
Now your eyes go wide. You start to panic internally, wondering if that means--
“Ah, ah,” the genie says, shaking his head. “I am not so cruel as you may feel. Fear not, Master: what I mean is not related to your human state. I simply mean you cannot become an eagle once, then later on, decide to become an eagle again - this relates to technical species terms. You can become another avian, but it must be a falcon or a hummingbird. That is what I mean.”
You feel a bit of relief at hearing this, at least. It means you don’t have to be afraid of being stuck in an animal form for too long, though you admit internally that two hours… Well, you suppose it isn’t a terrible time limit. It gives you time to enjoy what you’ll become, if anything else, without having to be afraid of the idea of an invisible ticking clock looming over your head.
But then, you also recall…
“What’s the third rule?” you ask. You brace yourself for that one.
“In order for this wish to continue, you must use it at least three times a day,” the genie replies, holding up three fingers for emphasis. “This is a gift, Master - a power the average mortal could never hope to gain for themselves. And so, if you don’t use it, then you squander it entirely. As such, you are to use assume three different forms every day to keep it active.”
You nod slowly. “Alright then. Oh, but, how does…?”
“It work?” the genie finishes. He chuckles. “Simple: envision the creature you want, and you will begin the shift. But be warned: you cannot change your mind when the process begins. Perhaps try it now, Master, hmm?”
You nod again, since, it makes as much sense as it’s likely going to.
With that in mind, you think for a moment - what sort of creature would you want to turn into first? There are countless choices, but you consider some of your favorites - you think first of a falcon, since the idea of wings and being able to fly at high speeds sounds awesome. You also consider a wolf, like the genie suggested, because wolves have always been a favorite from your childhood. But since the rule of three seems to be a thing here, you decide to consider a third choice… something strong, yet graceful… a lynx.
With those three ideas, now, you have to decide which to start with: a falcon, a wolf, or, a lynx?
‘Choices…’ you muse.
Written by Hollowpages on 03 April 2020
“Okay,” you say, having made your decision. “I’ll go with falcon.”
The genie nods. “You must visualize yourself becoming the bird. Picture the exact breed, and envision your body turning into it. Then, it will be so.”
You take in a quiet breath, hoping this works and doesn’t blow up in your face.
You start by envisioning the falcon, like the genie said. Falcons are sleek, beautiful birds, you feel, and you know the peregrine falcon is one of the best - and the fastest of the lot. You picture one in your mind, and then, you picture becoming one. Mere seconds later, you feel things start to change - they aren’t painless, but you can and DO feel them taking place rather abruptly.
Your fingers begin to elongate first. You feel your body starting to shrink, too, and feel your clothes ripping away. Your shoes and socks are torn through as your toenails stretch out, and you soon see sharp talons spring from the tips.
It is a rather fast process altogether. Your clothes are torn, bursting and shredding themselves as your body shrinks down to a much smaller size. Your arms stretch out, feathers sprouting from all around. It’s like getting a massage, almost, you feel; even though this massage is turning your hands into the fused ends of wings now growing and blooming feathers all about.
Your nose and lips elongate and fuse, then harden into a beak. Your eyes grow larger, your sight growing much stronger with it. Your feet have morphed into talons, and within minutes, you are now a literal peregrine falcon on the floor. Only shreds of fabric and bits of what used to be your clothes remain of what you used to be at your feet.
You can think, and feel, and hear the same. Your eyes are sharp, yes, yet your sense of smell is somewhat dulled. Still, you are thankful for the fact you can actually control yourself as you turn your head, glancing about the surroundings.
“Well done, Master,” the genie says. He shrinks down to better match your size, and he smiles. “You’ve managed to successfully transform! And into quite a lovely specimen, if I might add.” He looks at you with genuine appreciation. “A peregrine falcon. A noble hunter, a swift sky warrior. Wise decision indeed.”
You blink - a sensation that feels odd - and realize now that, well, you can’t exactly speak any longer. You attempt it anyways and your voice is a harsh caw. You can’t string together words, though, since you lack lips and the vocal means to do this.
The genie chortles. “Ah, don’t fear, Master. You cannot speak the words any longer to me, but, I have granted you a secondary trait to alleviate this. As you can see, I am more considerate than you might’ve felt.” He winks. “You may telepathically speak. Think the words, and I shall hear them. Try it.”
‘Think the words? Like this?’
“Precisely,” the genie says. “Now then. It would be cruel of me to demand you make your second wish so soon, Master, especially now that you’ve transformed yourself for the first time.” He smiles. “So, go on and experience this new body you’ve been granted.”
You tilt your head about and notice a window - an open window at that, wide enough for you to get through. You are, admittedly, rather excited about the prospect of being able to fly, although you don’t know HOW to fly.
You start by testing your wings - your arms, as it were, yet lighter, and also somehow stronger. The feathers attached to do not register to you beyond feeling like hair attached to these new arms, meaning, very faint. Still, you can feel them as you move your wings up down several times in a row.
After doing this and feeling like you understand how these wings work - in theory, at least - you decide to give it a shot. You flap them with a great deal of strength and try to jump, and you manage… to get about a foot in the air before you flop onto the floor rather pitifully.
You pick yourself up somehow, despite lacking hands to do it for you. You hear the genie chortle behind you, and you sign internally. This will prove to be far more difficult then you expected it to be, it seems.
“A word of friendly advice for you, Master,” the genie says. “Do not force yourself to adapt to these new bodies. Rather, you must allow the innate instincts of these creatures to come to you. Close your eyes, and relax - allow yourself to FEEL like a falcon, and you will find it to come to you with ease.”
You ponder this for a moment before deciding, well, why not?
You close your eyes and relax. Your heart beats quicker, yet, you feel your body calm, and as you stand there, you begin to feel… something. It is a stirring sensation that bubbles in you, yet it feels in your mind like you are already in the sky, soaring among the clouds. The freedom of the air, the feeling of wings beating in rhythm with your heart, the lightness and speed.
These are what you feel, what being a falcon means in your head.
With this in your mind and your chest, you open your eyes. You straighten your wings out, and with a single, smooth wingbeat, you manage to push yourself off the floor to the windowsill. You feel the lightness to your body and the wind under you even from such a short distance. When you land, you feel the air on your bare body, and you understand now what it means to be a falcon.
“Well done, Master,” the genie says. “If you wish, I can join you on your flight. Or I can stay here. Do let me know, yes?”
Written by Hollowpages on 04 April 2020
You glance about the outside area, taking in the forested location. You ponder about whether or not you would want the genie to be with you, but, after a moment, you decide that having magical assistance could be of some help.
Granted, you know the genie may not help you without being an actual wish first. Still, you wouldn’t mind the company.
‘Yes, genie, I would love to have you join me,’ you say.
The genie gives a jovial laugh and then flies through the air over to you, shrinking down even smaller as he does. He lands on your upper back, right behind your head, yet he is so small, you hardly feel him there.
“You know,” the genie says, and he sounds rather gleeful now, “this might be the most fun I’ve had with a Master in a long, long time. You are the first to actually ask for me to come with them - I might actually like you, Master.”
You would smile if you could, but, as you can’t, you simply focus forward.
It takes a moment for you to maintain that same sensation inside of you that you did before, but, when it feels like it will stay proper, you take off. You leap from the windowsill and your wings stretch out, then flap with enough strength to push you up, and up, and up.
And within moments, you are aerial, flowing through the sky at last. Flying.
It is a remarkable feeling, one that words cannot do justice. You soar through the sky at great speed, your wings flapping now and then, keeping you balanced against the currents of the air itself. It is breathtaking, truly, to feel lighter than air itself as you zoom forward - it’s almost like swimming in a way, you think, in how it works, except rather than working against the water to stay afloat, your ability to stay in the air is much, much easier.
‘This is… wow,’ you think, more so to yourself.
The genie, who has been silent for this time, gives a small chuckle. “Indeed it is, Master. Perhaps it is best you are a human choosing this path - you possess the ability to understand and appreciate these boons in a way no creature could. I am glad you wished to retain your humanity for this wish, truly.”
You decide to be a bit daring and dip down, thrusting your body at an angle toward the trees you’ve been soaring above. You shoot down rather abruptly, your body dropping with ease at the angle you wanted to - and though you shoot with a great speed, you thrust your wings out and start to pick yourself up before it’s too late. You avoid hitting the trees, just barely, but still.
You admit that there’s a frightening aspect of this, but holy hell, is it fun.
You begin trying to really test the limits of this new body and your new abilities by seeing how fast you can fly. You flap your wings, up and down, up and down, as hard as you’re able to, and you pick up a good amount of speed.
You feel like a bullet - you rocket through the air, clearing a mass expanse of trees with little effort whatsoever, though your wings do protest a bit after a moment of hard wingbeats.
You take a moment to relax them and instead glide, leaving your wings out, yet not forcing them to move up and down. It’s strange - the sensation of having your wings, your arms, out like this doesn’t bother you. You simply ride the wind current as you gradually begin to descend in height, dropping little by little until you’ve neared the tops of the trees below you.
‘What a strange area,’ you think.
You hadn’t noticed it before, or, maybe you did but you sort of forgot (and really, who could blame you when there was a magical genie standing before you, that wasn’t something you saw every day) how weird this whole locale was. You’d been walking about when you happened upon the area where you wound up running into the genie, which itself seemed to appear out of thin air.
Now, you were in the actual air, flying for real, and you wondered how long this whole wooded area went on for. And where did it even come from in the first place?
The genie chortles, and you’re surprised to hear him again.
“Magic is a very intriguing concept, Master,” the genie says. “There is a great deal at work here - it goes beyond what you can comprehend, I’m afraid. Suffice to say… when you have internally decided you’ve had enough of this area, and wish to return to where you came from, then it will be so.”
You turn your body and start to descend a bit more, keeping your eyes peeled for the weird shop. As you do, you ponder these words.
‘Is this part of your magic?’ you ask.
“Hmm. No.” The genie sounds odd as he answers. “This goes beyond me. I am but a portion of it. It’s difficult to explain, to be honest, in a way you would understand. Do know that you aren’t trapped here, Master. I, however, am.”
You frown, or at least, in your head you frown at this.
“Would you like to return to your area?” the genie asks. “Or remain here?”
You slow your flight and come to a perch on a tree branch. As you rest there, you mull this over for yourself. You aren’t sure, really, which is best.
Written by Hollowpages on 14 April 2020
After thinking it over for a few minutes, you decide you want to return to your ‘area,’ which you assume somehow means the city you came from. But then, you do feel for the genie - the way he speaks makes it seem like he’s trapped in this location, and you kind of wish for him to come along with you.
‘Tell me something, genie,’ you say. ‘Am I able to use my second wish to allow you to come with me?’
The genie is, again, quite surprised at this. “I… believe so, yes. But, Master, surely you wouldn’t want me to come along. I am not a human - I am an interloper, a creature with a vastly different sense of morality compared to you and those you live around. I don’t know why you’d want me with you.”
You would shrug if you could. ‘I know you may not be this genuinely benevolent being, genie, but, you’ve been very fair to me so far. You didn’t curse me with any big twists and turns, and you actually gave me some advice. So, I would be fine with you tagging along. Plus, it’s better than being stuck here until I return for those other two wishes, isn’t it?’
The genie is silent, thoughtful, and after a moment, he sighs. “You make a good point, Master. A point I never thought I would hear from a human - but, I respect it. Yes, if this is your second wish, then…” He pauses. “You must word it correctly, however. I still have the rules I must follow as a djinn, you know.”
You ponder this. That’s right. The genie said the only wishes he grants must be transformative in nature. But as you think this over, you note that, well, there are ways to get around that. And since the wish would be beneficial to him more so than yourself, perhaps that might be enough to avoid any sort of tricks or loopholes - you feel he might stick to that, after all.
You choose the words, and this time, you iron out a good phrasing internally.
‘Genie, I wish for you to become my personal, genuinely helpful guide for anything I struggle with or need help with, and with you possessing the ability to come with me wherever I go, but also the freedom to go wherever you want unless I specifically ask you to stay with me, at which point you will resume being that guide until I relieve you of your duty.’
The genie falls quiet for a moment. Then, he gives a jovial laugh. “My, Master, you are very fast on the uptake when it comes to phrasing. Ensuring I am free enough to go where I please, but also specifying ‘genuinely helpful’ for the guide portion. In other words, you give me the favor of being able to leave you, with the caveat being you can summon me back should you need me.”
You say nothing, and instead wait, and listen.
The genie floats over to hover in front of you. He has his arms crossed, and is still the small size he has been since you first took flight. He smiles at you.
“You are showing a selfless nature by gifting me freedom,” the genie says. “You still have me as your genie for a third wish, and, given the wording, you seem to wish me to be your personal guide even after that. I do not know if I will remain, to be quite honest. But, I do like you, Master. I appreciate the consideration you’re giving me - a vast amount more than I’m used to.”
His hands begin to glow, and he again shoots you with bolts of energy. You feel the same warmth, though this is briefer.
“Your wish is granted, Master,” the genie says. “I will sincerely guide you to the best of my ability when you ask me to. Though I could spin things in a way to better benefit myself, I will instead simply invoke a loophole into your phrasing: the nature of that which you might ‘struggle with or need help with’ must be severe enough to require my assistance. I will not guide you for a mundane action, or a simple decision, Master, only one where you genuinely need me.”
You can’t really see a reason to argue with that logic, mostly because, well, you don’t exactly know that you’d need a genie’s help for anything normal anyways. The only thing you have to wonder, though…
‘How exactly do I… go back?’ you ask.
The genie smiles. “Simply fly back to the shop where you found me. Find that, and it will be a matter of following the path you took. Do remember that you are timed with this, Master - you cannot revert back to human until two hours are up.”
You blink. ‘How will I know when the two hours are expired? And… erm. When I turn back, my clothes will be…?’
The genie pauses at this. He appears thoughtful. “Regarding your clothing, you will regain what you were wearing. That wasn’t specified, mind you, but, I am kind enough to ensure you don’t reform into a human naked.” He smiles and winks at this. “As for the time… that is something to consider, I suppose.”
You are a little… unsure about that one. You hadn’t thought about asking that when you made the first wish, nor did you consider it with the second. And with one wish left, you have no idea if you’ll need that wish for something meaningful or not…
The genie gives a small sigh. “But, as this is considerably severe enough to require my help…”
He gives you a look, and you know what he means. You’re relieved, internally, at this. Thus, you don’t need to worry, and now, you simply need to consider whether or not you wish to return to the shop, or if you want to keep flying in this area. Back where you were before, but, with answers to help ensure you have less to worry about. So. Now to decide what to do…
Written by Hollowpages on 15 April 2020
You decide, after feeling the wind brush over your face, that though you are enjoying the freedom of flying about this area, being closer to home sounds like a better idea for the time being - and it’s more familiar to you, too. Thus, you opt to take off and search for the shop where you found the genie.
The genie returns to his previous spot before you take off, and then, you’re in the air, flapping your wings with a gusto and pushing above the treeline again.
‘How does this place work exactly?’ you ask. ‘Will I be able to return here?’
“Ah, yes, Master,” the genie remarks. “Finding it is fairly simple - now that you’ve been here once before, you need only think about it when you are out and about. A path will open up for you, and take you back. As for how it works… well, it’s tailored in part to you and the choices you make.”
You are confused, but also curious, as you soar about, gliding at a reasonably high pace while glancing to and fro. You are a bit surprised that you don’t see any other birds flying around, yet this is shelved, since your main focus right now is finding the shop. Still, you soak in the genie’s words.
“This place is… a world attached to yours,” the genie says after a moment. “Imagine it a separate plane hidden away from the normal world you inhabit. It is one where reality and fantasy blend in many ways, and it opens only to certain types of individuals. You are not the only human to venture here, nor will you be the last. How did it come to be? Where does this magic come from? I do not know, and I have existed for many, many lifetimes.”
You glide through a few clouds. ‘Where did you come from, though?’
The genie chuckles. “A fascinating question. I have no answer. I truly can’t tell if I came to be some day by the whim of this place we are in, or, if I have always existed. Time has no meaning to me. I know that many centuries have passed while I have existed, and I have worked with many Masters. Some were cruel, petty, or stupid. Others were pleasant, like yourself.”
‘Do you miss them?’ you ask. You are curious, sincerely, in knowing.
The genie remains quiet for a moment before answering. “Not in the way a friend or family member misses a loved one. To me, they are past acquaintances. But, I suppose there is some fondness for the good ones. They dance through the nethers of my mind, now and again. That is the truth.”
You can tell that he doesn’t wish to continue on the subject by his tone. You decide to respect that, and focus instead on locating the shop. Fortunately, you soon see it in the distance, and so you fly toward it. Your wings feel natural to you now, and as you near the shop, you begin to second guess whether going back is the better option. You’re having quite a bit of fun, after all…
Written by Hollowpages on 16 April 2020
Well, after mulling it over, you decide to keep on with your previous plan. You fly toward the shop and descend when you’re closer to it. Once there, you circle about and notice the path you took to get to the shop.
You drop lower, fluttering your wings very slowly to ease the descent. Once you’re low enough, you begin to follow the path. It is a strange, empty path, one that weaves about. Yet after a few minutes of flying low through it, you begin to hear familiar noises - the noises of a city, of cars driving about.
Moments later, you break from the wooded area and find yourself now flying into the city - a familiar sight for sure. You steady yourself and pick your body up, flapping your wings to push upward on the current. The wind seems a bit stronger now, you note, but it isn’t so bad that you can’t fly against it.
You keep going until you stop, and you perch on a building’s roof. You then take in the sights with your new, stronger eyes - and you see much, and strangely farther than you expected. You even notice pigeons and other small birds - there’s a group of pigeons chilling on the ground a few yards away, and a handful of small robins scattered about.
“So this is what your realm looks like now,” the genie says. He seems equally intrigued and perplexed at the same time, and he hovers down to stand beside you as he looks around. “I have not been able to witness the strange growth of your kind for a long, long time now. How things have changed…”
You eye him, curious to hear more. You enjoy hearing about this being.
He crosses his arms. “The last time I truly was able to explore your world was… I would say over a century ago, perhaps two. Technology was nowhere near this level.” He shrugs. “I wonder what it would be like to live among your kind. I did that, you know, for a time. It was… enlightening to say the least.”
But he offers no more after this. You don’t press, and instead, you take in the sights. Your mind wanders - being this high up, despite the fact you’ve never been a huge fan of heights, you don’t have that fear now. You feel without the fear of falling you would possess, and you imagine having wings helps.
‘It’s kind of cool to see a city from up here,’ you say, and you wonder what you can get up to now that you’re a falcon. A thought pops into your head. ‘Genie, you said I’m not the only master you’ve had, and that there are other genies. Am I the most recent one for you? Are there others like you? Like me?’
“So many questions,” the genie says, yet he sounds quite amused rather than annoyed by that. “You are the most recent, yes, Master - my previous one was… I would say two years ago, perhaps. As for other genies? Oh yes - many djinn are here and there, yet they are hidden from the plain-eyed. It is a process to be able to come across one, my friend, another thing I cannot properly articulate to you. But yes, there are many about this world.”
He floats over to you. “And to answer the last question? Yes, as a matter of fact, there are others like you. I am one of a number of djinn whose specialty is transformation. You may very well be looking at a human with the power you possess, or, you may come across an animal that is in fact a human in mind.”
This fascinates you. ‘How will I know?’
The genie considers this question. He seems to be dithering on something, but what that is, you don’t know. After a moment, however, he smiles and extends a hand out to you toward your eyes. Your eyes go dark for a second, then, he pulls his hand back. You blink a few times, and nothing has changed?
“I have decided to gift you two abilities, Master,” the genie says. “Neither are tied to your third and final wish - consider them gifts from me, for being courteous and thoughtful of an old djinn. I don’t do this normally, but, I like you, as I said before.”
‘What have you given me?’ you ask.
The genie grins. “First, the ability to see time. Simply focus on your desire to know how long has passed from the moment you transformed, and an astral clock will manifest before your vision for as long as you need it. It will not hinder your direct line of sight, and, it will remain with you as long as you will it.”
You blink. That sounds immensely useful, you note.
‘Thank you,’ you say.
“And the second is a similar gift of vision,” the genie says. “Concentrate your sight, and, you will begin to see the world in a different way, in a way I can and often do. You will be able to see the auras of all living beings, Master. And it is the aura that will tell you what you wish to know.”
The genie hovers near your shoulder. “A pale blue aura will denote an untouched person - someone who has never seen magic of any sort. Pale yellow will be the same, but for creatures - animals like those pigeons below. A pale green aura, however, will denote a human who has been touched by magics. They will be able to sense and see you, as you do them, though they may possess different traits. And pale red? Pale red will be a creature, yes, but it will be human, too - gifted transformation by some other means.”
You absorb these details and nod. ‘Thank you, genie.’
“Try it, Master,” the genie says. “Try your vision, see if any below are like you.”
You do so, concentrating at the cityscape beneath you. And after a moment, you begin to see auras - an array of auras, little glows all about. At first, you see simply blue ones, but then, you suddenly notice one that is green…
Written by Hollowpages on 17 April 2020
‘A green aura…’ you muse, and you narrow your eyes, feeling them concentrate further and closer toward the faint green flicker. ‘That means a person that’s been with a djinn, right? Or maybe they have a djinn with them?’
The genie chortles softly. “I doubt they would have a fell djinn on hand the way you currently have me floating about with you. It is not UNHEARD of, mind you, that some masters are gracious, or, they allow their djinn to come along with them. But it is more common that the djinn in question is likely far from them, if they even have a djinn any longer at all.”
You blink, and cock your head to the side. ‘What do you mean?’
“Many humans who come into contact with my kind tend to use their wishes up and that is that,” the genie replies, shrugging. “Despite what you may think, it’s actually a simple process - while not every djinn is affable or even sound by human moral standards, most are, nevertheless, bound by their own oaths and codes to ensure they grant the wishes asked of them, provided these wishes adhere to our basic rules we all follow.”
‘I see,’ you reply.
You ponder this, but, you also find yourself feeling a bit curious about this pale green aura - it is travelling away from you, and with each passing moment, it gets further and further away. You decide you want to investigate, at least from afar to start with, so you ready your wings and, after a pause, you take off.
Your wings feel light and strong as you fly from your perch, speeding through the air at a speed you wish you could muster as a human - the sensation of feeling the wind beneath you, and the freedom of feeling so airy, are equally things you cannot describe, but greatly enjoy.
‘What happens to a djinn after the three wishes are used up?’ you ask, as you scour the teeming city beneath you, and notice all the different blue auras flickering about - a sea of tiny, calm flames, you think. It’s rather beautiful.
The genie is at your shoulder and responds. “When a master has fulfilled their three wishes, the djinn will return to their original home - that being their lamp, or, in some cases, another housing unit. Think… like a vase, or a bottle, even.”
‘A… bottle?’ you reply, confused. Again, you think of the Disney movie, and recall the words that Genie used. ‘Isn’t that… I dunno, cramped?’
The genie laughs jovially. “Oho, Master, you are thinking of the movie, I see. In reality, the home of a djinn is not as uncomfortable. In fact, within the confines of our home, we are able to use our powers freely - think of the lamp as a separate realm from this one, one where there are less rules. There we are able to alter the very fabric of our reality to suit our needs, which allows us to, among other things, watch the outside world and experience the new discoveries you humans gain as time goes on.”
You dip down toward the streets beneath you, and you spot the green aura not too far ahead. You slow your flight, however, to a steady glide, for your curiosity and desire to understand more outweighs the immediate curiosity of coming across whomever this person may be.
‘Wait,’ you say. ‘So your lamp is… it’s like another world entirely, and you can use your magic to do whatever you want?’
“Yes, within reason,” the genie replies. He has a smile in his voice. “In my lamp, I can do many things - I can change the scenery to an empty void of nothing, to a lush forest with a babbling brook, to a splendorous mountain in the clouds. I can generate food of my choice to feast on, or drinks to indulge in. I can create furniture, or technology that exists in the human world, and I can even access your world wide web or watch your various television shows. I can even view the past when this technology didn’t exist, if I were so inclined.”
You are amazed to hear this, and it fills you with even more questions and wonders. You try to steady the influx of thoughts rushing through your mind, of course, lest you lose focus entirely and end up dropping out of the sky, or crashing into something you weren’t paying attention to.
The genie continues with that smiling tone of voice. “Now even with this, there are still limitations - I cannot actively free myself from the lamp, for starters, nor can I bring anything living into the lamp with me. And, I cannot create sentient flesh and blood beings - I can generate a sort of, shall we say, illusory person or creature to interact with, but that is the scope of the average djinn.”
‘Oh…’ you muse, and you lower yourself slightly more as you inch closer toward the green aura - you notice it’s someone in a vehicle, so that makes it a little easier to keep track of them in the air. ‘It sounds like it would be fun, but, it also sounds lonely. And to be stuck in something for… months? Years? Ages? I don’t envy you that. I honestly feel bad you would have to live that way.’
The genie is silent for a moment before speaking, softer now. “Your consideration is touching, Master. But it is not as unfavorable as you believe. We djinn are accustomed to being in solitude for ages. And to be fair, we don’t experience time the same way you humans do. In there, there is no such thing as time, so what you might experience as a decade, to us, would be no longer than a few minutes, if that.”
You ponder this with fascination, of course, but decide to shelve it away for the time being. You instead direct your focus toward the car that is quite close to you, and you finally end up flying above it. As you do, you recall the genie gifting you the ability to see time to find out how much time has passed since you began this.
So, you concentrate as the genie said to do - and an astral clock manifests before your immediate field of vision. The clock shows that, to your astonishment, it has been over an hour since you first transformed!
‘Wow,’ you say. ‘Time flies… Or… Oof, I’m not even going to finish that thought.’
The genie chuckles. “You have approximately twenty minutes remaining before you may change your form into something else, Master. So the choice for what to do now is yours still: do you wish to pursue this current quest, to see what sort of person has been touched by magic like you? Or would you rather explore the city more with the freedom of wings before you decide?”
You soak these words in, and you mull this over for a moment…
Written by Hollowpages on 06 July 2020
You admit that you are inquisitive about seeing what sort of person it is that has been touched by magic like you - but, after a moment of flying there in sync with the car, you decide you would rather enjoy the freedom of flight a bit longer instead. Besides, you think, you have to consider what you’d like to turn into next. And, along with this, you feel you can stumble onto this person, or someone else like it, in the future.
For now, you veer away from the car, and you halt the ability of yours to see auras since you’d rather just fly around the cityscape.
“An interesting choice, Master,” the genie remarks. “But a fair one nonetheless.”
You flap your wings, and your mind wanders a bit as you soak in the warm sun’s gleam upon your back. You really enjoy this sense of freedom - birds have it best, you feel, if this is what they experience when they fly.
‘Tell me something,’ you say after a moment. ‘Earlier, when I mentioned setting you free as my third wish, you said that freedom for a djinn isn’t the same as what I imagine it to be. What did you mean by that?’
The genie is silent for a moment, but you wait - you can feel that he is gathering his thoughts and perhaps choosing the way he wishes to answer.
“To be perfectly honest, Master, many djinn do not desire to be ‘set free’ like that,” he replies eventually. His tone is calm, and there is an underlying current of thoughtfulness to it. “It is because we would not know what to do with ourselves, I suppose - and because the freeing of a djinn would sever their connection to much of their powers. In a way, it is almost damning a djinn to free them, though there are circumstances where that isn’t the full case.”
You steady your pace, and glide for a bit on the currents of wind that carry you like unseen hands.
‘Really? I… hadn’t thought of it that way before,’ you admit. ‘You lose your powers entirely?’
“Mm. Not entirely, no,” the djinn replies. “Our power is split into two forms - that which we possess naturally, and that which is tied to the lamp we live in, or the vase, or whatever it is we call our abode. If we are ‘freed’ in the sense you are thinking, then our lamps become inactive. They lose the power they held, and in doing so, we lose access to that portion of our abilities.”
You glide to the left, tilting your body as you fly around the side of a building.
‘I see now,’ you reply. You understand what the genie is saying - it makes sense why he would decline wanting to be set free like that. ‘So you lose your home, and you lose a portion of your powers. But you retain some of it?’
“Yes, Master,” the genie answers thoughtfully. “I think, worse than losing our home and a portion of our innate powers, however, would be that we lose our purpose. We djinn are bred by magic to create magic - it is in our essence to use our powers for whatever means we need them for, and that is primarily in the form of granting wishes.”
‘You have no choice in the matter?’ you ask as you right your body.
The genie chuckles. “Master, you are truly a fascinating human to converse with. I have spoken to some much like you, and I always enjoy it. Your curiosity thrills me in ways I cannot articulate through words.”
There is a pause, and you can sense that the djinn is going to continue, so you wind up spotting another building free of birds for you to perch on. You dip down and fly toward it, waiting for the genie to continue his explanation.
“Ah, but, to further your desire to know more,” the djinn says, “the ‘choice’ you ask of is not a part of the process. We know our lot in life is bound to our powers, and to using our powers for others. I feel no obligation to be freed of this, nor do I feel any inherent desire to change this, either. Because to me, granting wishes for humans is not a chore, nor even a duty - it is a part of who I am, of what I am. And I know this to be the case for all djinn. It’s innate within our makeup that we think, feel, and operate this way, if that helps explain.”
You eventually arrive at the building and stop to perch. The djinn’s words echo inside of your head, and you soak them in.
‘I think I understand,’ you say. ‘Then, for djinn, it’s not a matter of… free will, I guess?’
“Free will does not exist in our vocabulary,” the djinn replies, and he floats to hover before you so that you can see his calm, oddly gentle features. “We have no term for this in our society, and frankly, many a djinn finds the notion to be terrifying.” He pauses to stroke his chin. “With exceptions, of course.”
You nod and absorb this. It has been a fascinating day to learn about these beings that you never once expected to exist. To find that magic is indeed real, and that the djinn that exist have their own rules and codes is just… well, as a fantasy lover, and someone that enjoys dabbling in reading or appreciating any sort of fantastical medium, it’s basically a dream come true for you.
“Now then,” the djinn says. “I hope I’ve sated your current thirst for knowledge for the time being, Master. I find myself to be curious, in fact, as to what form you will be taking when the time has ended. Which, so you know, will be rather shortly. You can probably fly down to a secluded area in the woods there, and by the time you’ve landed, and decide, it will have been two hours.”
You blink, then turn your head to the area he is indicating, a small wooded area that you think might be where you came from in the first place. Perhaps you went in circles? You shrug this off, and, you decide to take off to do just that - and you drop down toward the forest as your mind wanders.
What will you turn into next?
Written by Hollowpages on 08 July 2020
e, not for a while to the west.’
The genie’s smile doesn’t falter. “Snow is for those that live the most comfortably in the tundras and the frozen landscapes - big or small, they are at home in the ice. Stone, similarly, is in relation to mountains and caves, Master. Many creatures do their best in these settings, like bats or species that prefer higher altitudes to lower. And dust, well, that is for the desert creatures, the ones that thrive in dirt and sand thanks to their genetic evolutions.”
‘Oh… I see. So sort of like their respective biomes,’ you muse.
“Precisely,” the genie says.
‘Does that mean, when you say ground, that it’s… ground as in… underground, I take it? Sort of like moles or lizards or whatever lives in burrows?’
“Yes, Master,” the genie replies. “Creatures that prefer to live beneath the earth in some capacity, to me, are their own separate realm, and thus, you can consider it a realm of potential to choose from.”
‘And I take it wood is…’ You dither a bit. ‘Wouldn’t birds be considered wood, if they make nests in trees?’
The genie shakes his head. “Wood in essence is those that live in trees but cannot fly, Master. Or that is how I think of it. Do keep in mind that how I, a djinn, see these realms is not how it is in nature, nor do I expect you to latch onto these as if they were your best choice. Think how you wish - I merely want to offer another perspective is all.”
‘I see,’ you say, and you do understand. ‘What are the other two?’
The genie folds his arms and nods. “Dark realm is not some nightmarish thing despite its sound - no, when I speak of this, I refer to nocturnal creatures, those who flourish when the sun has set.” He winks. “And the small realm is for insectoids, to creatures that are small in size, and view everything as much, much larger than they are to your human eyes.”
‘Now I understand…’ you reply. ‘I don’t think I would’ve considered these as ways to, I guess, separate the different animals. But I sort of get why you might do that. Thank you, genie, for the advice.’
And thus, the genie falls silent, and you begin to ponder what creature you desire to become next. You have many, many choices, you know this, and you also know you could realistically return to being a human being if you wanted.
The genie’s rules are simple enough to follow - if you use this power three times a day, you will continue to have it in the next day, and so on. That, you feel, is easy enough because six hours out of every day really isn’t that big of a deal. Plus, the genie made it clear to you that you can pick and choose when you want to turn into something over the course of that day, too, so that helps.
You mull this over, and, you decide for sure that you aren’t really interested in becoming an insect. You’ve never been the biggest fan of bugs, to be honest, and you feel that being so small, you’d be a little helpless to deal with animals around that eat bugs - or humans that happen to dislike bugs and might desire to smash you flat.
And since you are not near a body of water, you don’t desire to turn into a sea creature - not yet, at least, although you consider this for the future one. The same goes for anything that lives in the snow or in deserts - neither of those are anywhere close to you, and you’ve no interest wracking your head for that sort of being, at least not in the current moment.
‘It isn’t close to nighttime yet,’ you muse.
That meant no nocturnal animals, lest he have a hard time moving or seeing. And though the wood realm was an interesting way to consider it, you admit you don’t see it as a separate entity from the land realm, so, you let this one slip away from you for now.
Thus, you have three choices you can actually see yourself taking: a land creature, a creature that lives underground, or, returning to being a human.
Written by Hollowpages on 11 July 2020
You sift around between the different possibilities before your mind ends up wanting to be a land animal over the other two - returning to human form is easy, and, you feel no rush to do that yet. So, why not experience the life and abilities of an animal with four legs for a change? Now the only thing is deciding what sort of creature you want to be.
You mull this over, but then you recall something the genie said earlier on when he was explaining the rules of the wish you’d asked. Namely, you remember the animal he gave as an example, and latch onto that idea.
You like wolves. Wolves are one of the animals you’ve always liked since you were a kid, and why wouldn’t you like them? Wolves are cool - they’re gorgeous creatures, they look and sound awesome, and they are essentially a bigger, badder dog, or that’s how you looked at it when you were younger, you suppose. Either way, you decide that is the animal you wish to transform into.
‘I think I’ve made my choice,’ you say. ‘You mentioned a wolf as an example before, and to be honest, I find myself sort of gravitating toward that.’
The genie chuckles. His expression is one of unsurprise. “Master, I am quite pleased you would choose it, mostly because it’s one of the more common picks among those whom are granted similar powers using a wish. Wolves are majestic, and revered, and I’ve heard they’re quite fun to… play as.”
‘Is it the same as before?’ you ask to be certain. ‘I envision myself as a wolf?’
“Yes,” the genie replies. “Will yourself into the body of a wolf - imagine yourself becoming one, imagine its features as yours.”
You close your eyes and begin to envision a wolf. You know of several different breeds by nature, but, around here you know wolves aren’t exactly a common sight. But you envision a gray wolf, a gray wolf that looks as… gentle as possible, perhaps even like it could be a mixed breed since those exist.
You then begin to feel the transformation coming.
Your body grows first, elongating outward. You can hear the bones cracking and even feel them, faintly, snap and crack and tear. Yet like before, it is a painless process. You find it strange to FEEL it without really feeling it, but, you mostly absorb the sensations in wonder since there is no pain or discomfort.
Your body grows and grows, thickening, as your wings begin to shrink in size and the feathers start to fall away, scattering to the ground and then vanishing into the grass. Your body grows wider still, and larger, and with it, your bones and your muscles expand and stretch out as well. Your legs - the talons you have merge into a single stub as you feel toes sprout out, and as this happens, your wings - or rather, your arms now as the wings are no more - fall to the ground, growing long and then forming paws just like your feet have become.
You feel fur begin to grow, as your head begins to bulge out and stretch out. Your beak crackles and splinters as your nose and mouth jut out in its place - nostrils bulge and flare as numerous smells hit you at once. You breathe in, and you can smell so many things, it’s almost overwhelming. Your head is spinning, but you are somehow able to remain in complete control over this, and despite an urge to freak out, you can ignore it, because you’ve done this before.
Your eyes become larger and longer - and though your vision weakens slightly since you aren’t a falcon now, you see just as well, and possibly see even more than you did moments before due to a larger field of view, or so you think of it that way. That is when you feel your ears blooming from the sides of your head with a newfound, sharper sound of hearing hitting them the instant they finish. It is sudden and strange to hear so much better, but, you adjust.
You feel teeth break from the gums, drooping down and saliva bubbling on your longer, stronger tongue. And at last, you feel a final part of you from your other end - a tail, long and bushy, swaying there as if it were a part of you all along. It all feels natural, and yet new, at the same time.
At last, the shift is complete. You are no longer a falcon that soars with speed and grace through the skies - no, you are a wolf, a prowling hunter blessed with sharpened smell and hearing, fangs, and fur.
You stand there on all fours, four legs that you wiggle the toes of to better feel the grass beneath your new paws. You have claws that arc out from each paw, like fingernails, but you can tell these are sharper and a bit more… menacing. You feel so very strange on all fours - it’s going to take some getting used to, yet you are overcome with excitement, along with all the new sensations.
‘Wow,’ you think.
You take a moment to look around and breathe in, smelling so many different scents that it takes a moment within that moment to really gather all this in, to separate all the smells so you can better understand what they are.
You can smell the grass, and the trees - both the wood of the trees and the leaves in them give off their own scents. You can smell flowers not far from you, their aromatic scent wafting in the gentle breeze that ruffles your furry body. You can also smell the city - you smell the pavement, the exhaust left behind by the cars driving by, and people! You can smell a variety of things that combine to form what you know in your chest to be humans - sweat, perfumes, fabrics, and food smells, all fusing into a strange mass that is… familiar.
“A lovely choice indeed,” the genie says. “Well done, Master. You have transformed into a handsome specimen, if I do say so myself.”
You blink, and turn your head to find him hovering there. You are surprised to find that he, too, has a scent - he smells of… some sort of incense. It is spicy, with a tang to it, yet not at all unpleasant. You blink again and eye him, and you also note he is smaller than he was before, because you are bigger now.
‘Now then, I…’
You pause and blink, and you turn about. You are still in the normal world, your world, and you are also in a city where there are people and animals and cars.
And you are a wolf.
Not exactly the best creature to become when you are in a place where people might freak out at the sight of you. You ponder this, because you don’t want to hurt anyone, nor do you want to get chased after by any animal control centers or anything like that. You had not thought of that, so, you realize you need to decide what you want to do next…
Do you ask the genie for advice? Do you use that third wish you’ve not tapped into yet? Do you perhaps return to the proverbial Narnia you came from, to be able to run about freely?
You wrack your brain to decide.
Written by Hollowpages on 13 July 2020
You are far away enough from prying eyes that you can, at the very least, experiment with moving on all fours as you think - and you do so, taking the time to see how to walk on four legs. You recall the genie’s advice when you were trying to learn how to fly, and, you thus don’t worry too much and let your body and mind move in tandem with one another instead.
One step with a front leg, then one with a back, and then the other front…
‘I mean, I’ve tried to do this as a human, but…’ you let this musing trail off, because this feels separate from that because your body is different now.
One leg, one leg, one leg, one leg; one at a time, in tandem, making walking motions. You tell yourself this and try to do this as you think it - definitely out there for you to consider, but, like growing wings and using those, you aren’t about to give up yet since you’ve got plenty of time to live as a wolf and learn.
Plus, it’s fun, because it’s all so very new and exciting for you. That’s a bonus.
It takes some adjusting, naturally, but after a few minutes of careful attempts and pacing yourself as you trot around in small circles that gradually grow bigger in size (though you stay in the same area), you manage to get the hang of walking about on all fours. Even with two additional legs, you find it isn’t super hard. Strange, maybe, but not hard when you understand how to move properly as a wolf.
‘Woo,’ you think, and you stop. You can feel your body is warmer now, and you find you are panting slightly - this helps cool you off, funnily enough.
“Nicely done, Master,” the genie says, and he sounds earnest in this praise. “Learning to walk is an integral part of a new body like this - but now that you have grasped it, I imagine you will now go out and explore the world as a wolf, yes?”
He sounds eager to find out what you will do next - as if any step you take is interesting to him. His features show this, and you don’t see, nor do you sense, that any of it is forced or even insincere. He has proven to be very considerate toward you, as he says you are to him.
So, you cannot lie to him, nor do you want to. ‘I’m, um. I’m not sure, honestly.’ You lie down on the grass, feeling the softness against your belly and chest - it feels rather nice. ‘I don’t know what to do with myself now.
“Having trouble deciding what to do next, Master?” the djinn asks. He does not sound bothered or upset at all by this. “That’s alright. There is no rush, truly.”
He has been following along with you, floating by your side in silence up until seconds ago in fact, though his gaze has never left you. You have not yet figured out your course of action, but, you decide you value his advice - he may very well request you use your third wish, but, you like conversing with him, and thus, you decide that is best.
‘I’m a little nervous to venture into the city as a wolf,’ you admit, and you stop to eye him as he hovers in front of you. ‘I kind of didn’t think that far ahead. Wolves aren’t really normal in cities, and I don’t want people to get freaked out I’m some deadly wild animal. Do you have any advice, genie?’
The genie strokes his chin thoughtfully in silence.
You cock your head to the side. ‘Actually, you know… I feel really bad. I don’t think I ever asked your name before. Do you have one I can use, instead of just calling you genie or djinn all the time?’
This startles him. He eyes you with, again, astonishment, and it takes a moment for this to gradually wear off. He eventually smiles at you with a very serene, yet earnestly appreciate glimmer in his eyes.
“You continue to amaze, Master,” the genie says. “I do have a name - and it is not often I am asked what it is. You may call me Akam, Master.” He bows, and then looks at you with that same thoughtful stare as before. “Normally, I would not do this sort of thing, but for those who treat me with such decency and care, I go out of my way to help them how I can. Should you wish to remain in this area, in your world, and explore, I can use my magics to ensure you are able to do so freely.”
You feel a rush of excitement at hearing this. ‘How would you do that?’
The genie smiles, and his hands begin to crackle with electricity. He aims his hands at you, and the electricity arcs out and strikes you in a painless burst of flashing light. Your vision returns seconds later, and you shake your head.
“There,” Akam says. “To the naked eyes of the average human, you will appear as a harmless dog with a collar - and they will feel no desire to call any authorities on you, either. Rather, you will appear as a dog simply heading in the direction of its owner. Think of it as a magical deflection, if you will; it tricks their minds into playing off seeing you, while also masking your true form.”
‘Thank you, Akam,’ you say, and you are indeed very grateful for the genie’s generosity in helping you.
“Ah, but, a warning,” Akam says, holding up a finger. “Bear in mind that you can still see auras, Master - and should you come across another like you, or one that has dealt with a djinn before, they will see you for your true form. I cannot hide you from those who have been touched by magics, is all.”
‘Understood, Akam,’ you reply.
With this, you feel less wary and far more brave in being able to fully explore the world as a wolf - and so you set your sights about and leave the shadowy area you were lingering in. You started to prance forward, moving at a casual pace on all fours - the bonus of having two additional legs is that you cover a bit more ground than you can as a normal human, you notice that right away.
‘What would you like to do, Akam?’ you ask the djinn as he follows along.
Akam chortles. “Master, you are far too kind to me. This is your new body, your abilities - your wish, as it were. You decide where you wish to go. The city is vast, and I’m sure you can discover a lot about your new abilities as a wolf regardless of where you head.” He pauses, then, after a moment, he smiles. “I suppose if I were to offer a suggestion, you could go to the park to your left.” He sweeps a hand that direction. “Or, you could go to your right, as I believe there is a beach a little further that direction.”
He gestures that way as well, and you think it over. A park or a beach…
Both sound like fun ideas to you since you enjoy both locations depending on the day and the weather, and you admit that you wouldn’t mind seeing how they are as a wolf. No doubt tons of smells and possible creatures to come across one way or the other. You look right, then left, and think to yourself.
Do you want to feel the grass beneath your paws? Or smell the lush scent of the sea instead?
Written by Hollowpages on 16 July 2020
You sniff the air for a few seconds, and, after you mull it over a bit longer, you decide that the park sounds like a nice place to visit first. Plus, you know the park Akam is speaking of - and it isn’t that far from you. You’ve been there before to have picnics and just to kick back and relax on nice days like this, so why not go there as a wolf and see what it’s like, if it’s any different?
You turn left and head that direction, breaking out of the wooded area entirely and walking onto the pavement. The surface is hard and somewhat grainy beneath your paws, yet still flat and relatively pleasant once you get used to the feeling of concrete instead of dirt and grass.
Of course, you are not alone - now you are in the city proper, and there are cars and cyclists, and plenty of people walking about, both coming toward you and heading the same way you do. You don’t feel nervous or afraid, however, especially since no one that looks at you seems to see a wolf, or at least react as if they were seeing a wild wolf trotting about their streets. (Granted, you muse that some people would assume a wolf was just a normal dog, perhaps, and you know there are people out there that might come up to you, either way…)
‘Good thing I don’t have to worry about that,’ you think. You don’t want that hassle right now, honestly. You just want to explore.
A few people glance at you and react with smiles or giggles or coos - even a rather burly, bearded man seems smitten by you as though you were an adorable puppy.
You are… kind of flattered by it, you suppose - you recall what Akam said would happen thanks to the magic he used on you, so it makes sense people would react to you so positively since they don’t see a scary wolf. But it isn’t a big enough problem that you feel bothered by this attention, especially since no one stops to pet you or to talk to you (not that these would bother you, you admit they wouldn’t, and you do wonder what being pet feels like since you have fur now).
That aside, you keep onward, trudging past people as you head toward the park.
Then, minutes later, you finally get there, and it seems… so much more lush and grand then you last remember it being. You step onto the grass and you are hit by a myriad of new scents - scents that strike you as strange, but familiar at the same time, for they have an odd flavor wafting about that you can’t really put a word to. You breathe in, and you can smell a number of them.
And then you spot, in the distance, a few people with dogs, some playing fetch or with a frisbee with said dogs. Your nostrils flare, and it clicks in your head that these dogs are what you’re smelling - this is their flavor, as it were.
“So you know, Master,” Akam says. He has been quite silent thus far, but you have the sense he’s been content to explore and observe with you. “Animals will take to you a bit differently now that you are one among them. But, well…” He smiles at you. “You might find you can understand them a bit better, too.”
You look up at his hovering form. ‘Do you mean I can talk to animals now?’
He chortles. “Something like that, I guess you could say. It isn’t so much that you can talk to them like in television, unfortunately, but you can communicate with and understand animals like you a bit better. It is a side effect of the magic, in truth: it lets you comprehend their various noises as words.”
You nod slowly and venture forward, feeling the grass beneath your paws again - it feels so very soft, and you can also feel the dirt as your paws dig into the ground from each step. The wind blows over you, carrying all the different smells, and all the sounds, too - the sounds of people shouting and cheering and the sounds of their dogs barking and… speaking?
You pause and listen, for to your ears, you can hear both the sounds you expect from dogs, yet along with it, you hear words, too, fused into the barks.
“Ball! Throw it, please! Throw!”
“Yes, let’s play! Play, I’m so excited!”
“Is that mine? It smells good. Is it mine? Is it?”
These are some of the things you hear, and you feel a little enthralled to be hearing the voices coming from the dogs themselves - that, and, you are also kind of amused. It seems those internet videos you see all the time might be more correct in how dogs think than they might be aware.
‘I wonder how they’d interact with me,’ you say, since you are an animal like them now.
Then again, you don’t know if the dogs would recognize you as a wolf or as a human or as something else. Akam didn’t comment on that prior, but you don’t mind finding out for yourself. You’re curious, and, you don’t think it would be any harm to see how that could go…
‘Akam, how do I communicate with them, exactly?’ you ask. ‘Do I just… erm. Bark?’
“You will see it better up close than for me to explain,” Akam replies with a playful look. “Trust me on that much, Master.”
You roll your eyes at this response, but, you don’t mind so much that it’s not really an answer at all - he isn’t wrong, either. So, it comes down to whether or not you want to go up to these dogs to have a chat. Do you?
Written by Hollowpages on 17 July 2020
You end up choosing to try to have a chat with at least one of the dogs running about, mostly because you’ve often wondered what it would be like to speak to a dog that understood you in full. You know that it won’t be a simple feat, as Akam made that clear when he said it himself - but, hey, you’ve got nothing else to do right now, so why not try?
Your mind is ablaze with how this will work. You’re excited, to say the least.
You trot forward, closing the distance between yourself and the humans playing with their dogs. Of the dogs in the park, one seems to notice you quicker, a Golden Retriever - it turns to look at you and tilts its head to the side, appraising you with an inquisitive stare - you can tell that it is wondering what you are, and you yourself wonder how it is seeing you right now.
The Golden Retriever slowly moves from where it was standing, and comes toward you, its tail wagging and its nostrils flaring. You halt, and it stops a few inches away from you, still staring and sniffing to try and deduce what sort of dog you must be.
“Smell odd,” you hear it say amid a soft bark. “Have a strong human scent.” It looks around curiously. “No human near?”
You pause to think of what to ‘say’ to this dog, and how to even ‘say’ it in the first place. You suppose you can try to, well, speak the normal way.
You let out a bark - a somewhat deep bark that you feel resonate from your throat as it leaves your mouth. And to you, the bark sounds like what you imagine a wolf barking sounds like. But there is no words to it, and you feel at a loss as to how you can articulate that despite your desire to communicate.
The Golden Retriever’s ears perk up. It eyes you. “What?” it barks out, and it moves closer to sniff you more. It gives a tiny noise that seems to turn into the words you hear next. “You sound strange, very strange. Not like others I have smelled or heard before. Deep bark, deep scent. You don’t smell of this park.”
You try again, but you try to actually use words while willing them out of you. “I…”
The word escapes you, and you hear it clearly, even if it sounds like it was growled out. The Golden Retriever perks up and stares at you, waiting with a strange sort of patience that, to you, registers as it not only having heard and understood you, but also that it recognizes you have more to ‘say’ to it.
‘This is so weird,’ you think.
Akam chuckles. “You are doing well, Master. Try again.”
You do so, and you try again to speak to the dog like you were speaking normally. “I… am… not dog. Not… like you.” You let the words fill the air, then, you finish up with a truth for the moment. “I am… am a wolf.”
The words sound like your voice, you hear, just deeper, more guttural. They are mixed in with the bark you let out, but it seems they have done the trick - the Golden Retriever looks at you again with the eyes of something that has registered what was just spoken, and it stares at you for a silent instant.
“Wolf dog?” it asks, with a low bark. Its nostrils flare and it leans in to smell you closer. You feel a strange urge to bare your teeth at it getting so close, but, you ignore this urge and let it sniff you since the dog is harmless and not threatening you at all. “No wonder you bark low and smell different.” It cocks its head at you, and utters words that seem to come from its lips without any barking or growling. “But strange wolf dog. Scent is still more human than like me or others. Not wild, no. You smell different.”
You are fascinated by all of this - it’s so cool to be talking to a dog, you feel all giddy inside, like a kid in a candy store. It’s a little silly, you know, but, you don’t care right now about that.
‘So is this what dogs are actually saying?’ you wonder aloud. ‘Or is it because I’m a wolf that I can understand this dog so well in the first place?’
“A little of both,” Akam replies, and he hovers about your shoulder. “Animals speak their own languages - normally, you would recognize the tenor of what it is this pup is trying to communicate. But as I said, magic is helping you better translate its words to your own ears, as your words are translated to its.”
The Golden Retriever turns to face the direction it came from, then turns back to look at you quizzically. You think you hear its owner call for it, but you can’t be certain since your focus is namely on the dog in front of you and what it might do or say to you next.
“Do you want to come play?” the Golden Retriever asks with a slight whimper. It paws the ground and boofs a happy noise. “Master is fun. I like playing with new friends, wolf dog.” It cocks its head to the side and studies you. “Yes? No?”
You are touched that the dog wants to play with you, and, you think it might be an interesting - and fun - experience. But as you think, you catch wind of something: a scent. Yet this scent is different than the dogs, then the grass and the humans. It is strong, and potent, and its scent burns at your nostrils in a way that leaves them tingling. It’s carried on the wind, and you turn your head to follow the scent. It’s not far from you.
‘What… what is that?’ you ask Akam. ‘That scent is… it’s different.’
Akam responds with another smile in his voice. “That, Master, is one like you… a human in the form of an animal. You are smelling the flavor of magic. They aren’t far from you right now, should you wish to have another attempt at speaking to someone whose world has changed as yours has.”
You turn toward the curious Golden Retriever, then back toward the new scent. What do you do now, you wonder? You can stop to play with this rather sweet dog - and you can tell you would not regret choosing this option, as the dog eyes you patiently and wisely. You like dogs, after all, so you imagine it would be very fun. And yet… your curiosity is also tugging at you to go the other way and to find this person…
To find someone that is like you, and to see what they are, and what they’re doing with their wishes; this would be equally fascinating and fun, you know it in your gut. You can’t decide, though! You want to do both, but you can’t.
Both ideas sound good… but which do you want to choose?
Written by Hollowpages on 18 July 2020
You decide after a moment of thinking it over that while the Golden Retriever is friendly, and sure, you would enjoy being able to play with dogs, you are a wolf, and not a dog. And, more than that, you want to continue to explore - but you also want to see what it’s like to meet someone else like you.
You turn and bolt toward the direction the strange scent is coming from - you can hear the dog yip once behind you, but, you pay it no mind since you know the dog will be happy either way.
No, your focus is on the scent.
You breathe in fast, your stronger nose filling with all manner of smells that you recognize - you ignore the obvious ones, though, and focus only on the one that Akam said belongs to someone like you. You try to put some words to the flavor as you run down the street, moving around any passerby in your path.
To you, the flavor seems to have a rather sweet profile, almost like a birthday cake or the inside of a candy store, yet there is a bite to it - a spicy undertone that leaves your nose tingling with each sniff you take, and it’s this undertone that seems to grab at you. It’s not the same as mouthwatering food, or, as the smell of some meal you really love, but it’s a jarring sort of contrast.
‘Is this what magic smells like?’ you ask Akam.
The djinn is on your back, chilling there since you feel no sense of duress from him. He chortles as you turn to the left and arc down a street with the scent getting steadily closer to you.
“To a degree, I suppose,” Akam says. “Magic’s scent is a rather lush bouquet, one that indulges in several different flavor types that don’t often mesh well together. But that is partly because of the form you’ve assumed - were you human, or some other creature with a weaker sense of smell, the scent would not be the same at all.”
You don’t take a moment to ponder this since you’re currently on the move, but you do register his words and tuck these away for later, possibly. In the meantime, you come to a bit of a problem in that the scent is closer, however, you have to cross the street if you want to trail after it.
You stop at a crosswalk and notice that there are people on the opposite end of you, but, no one directly across either direction, nor anyone right where you are to hit the crosswalk button. You can’t exactly do it yourself since you’re on all fours, and, you don’t want to lose track of the scent because you want to see what this person could be like - a potential friend with magical abilities, or maybe someone that can offer insight into this new world of yours. Either way…
‘Akam, if I may ask you…’ you say, and you look up to see him sitting at your shoulder now. ‘Would you be open to hitting the crosswalk button for me, please? If you don’t, that’s fine. I don’t expect you to do things for me just because I ask you.’
Akam eyes you for a moment before he smiles. “That you are so considerate is enough of a reason for me to hit a simple button, Master. This isn’t a laborious task whatsoever - some djinn would be lazy and decline, but not I!”
He laughs and springs through the air, flying to hit the button.
Seconds later, after a few cars have driven by, the crosswalk flashes on - but it does so on all four corners. You take this as a sign that Akam is likely using his magic a bit, and you bolt down the crosswalk directly to your left, the run past the oncoming people to go down the second crosswalk.
Your nostrils flare, and you catch the scent again, as if it’s beckoning you.
‘Thank you, Akam,’ you say to the genie as he flies beside you.
He nods, and you take off again to follow the scent.
It is even closer now, and after a few minutes of running down the street on all fours, you finally come to a less busy section of the downtown area, and in fact, you find the road you’ve been going down leads to another, much vaster park. Not a park for kids to play and pets to run off their leashes, no, but an actual nature park that you remember going to and walking around countless times before.
The scent is there, and you run toward it, exchanging the coarse textures of the pavement for the softer texture of dirt and grass within seconds.
‘I’m getting close…’ you think.
The scent is almost burning your nose by this rate, but in a way that isn’t painful - no, it is letting you know how strong it is, because you’re there.
At last, you come to a stop, and as you peer down a lush trail that splits off into several directions - you can smell and hear people walking about one way, and there is a couple having a picnic on the grass to your left, but your focus is on that scent - you finally spot them. You are surprised when you see a fox spring out from the shadows of several thick bushes, a silvery fox that darts the opposite direction from you. You think you see something flying beside them, too, but they are quite fast, so it isn’t easy to see.
‘Is that a djinn?’ you ask.
“It is indeed,” Akam says. “And it’s one I know!”
You want to inquire further about that, but, you hold off. Instead, you dash after the fox scampering away from you, and you feel your legs exerting themselves in full as you even manage to pick up some shreds of grass with your movement.
“I don’t believe they’re running FROM you, Master,” Akam remarks as he zooms beside you. “It might be that they are simply running is all. I feel it’s more obvious when someone is fleeing from another, don’t you think?”
You slow your pace slightly, and you brush past a person jogging on the path that the grass dips into. You don’t want to run into anyone, nor cause any scares, so you pace yourself as you keep your senses attuned primarily to the fox - it’s still quite a ways ahead of you, but not so far that you’ve lost it.
‘I guess I’m just excited,’ you admit. ‘To meet someone else like me, and to meet another djinn. I hope their djinn is as awesome as you are, Akam.’
Akam lets out a quiet sigh. “Ah, Master, you are too kind, truly.”
Moments pass, the fox shoots through a row of trees. You follow its footsteps and come to that same row of trees, but when you break through it, you find yourself in a much bigger wooded area, with more trees that are spread about and yet, still clumped close together. Your nose has not lost the scent yet, no.
But now, you must decide how you want to pursue this fox, if you want to continue.
What do you do?
Written by Hollowpages on 19 July 2020
You ponder it for only a short burst of time before you decide, since you’ve already gone this far, that you’re eager to get a chance to speak to this person. And so, you take off after them, you tap into the new abilities and the new body - you may appear to be a dog to others, but, you aren’t just any dog: you’re a wolf.
A wolf is bigger, stronger. Your legs pick up speed with each passing second, and your paws dig into the ground, kicking up little bits of dust that sprinkle behind you while you dash down through the grass, following after the fox.
‘What can you tell me about the djinn with them?’ you ask.
You push through the trees that the fox ran through, and end up in a small, miniature forest of sorts given how many trees there are jutting out from the ground all around you. But you move forward, moving briskly, yet cautiously since you’ve got less room to maneuver around.
Akam chortles. He’s flying beside you with ease. “Her name is Shira. She’s one of the few djinn I know personally since we’ve encountered one another numerous times over the ages with different masters. She’s… I would define her as a more morally ambiguous djinn, I suppose, but she has a kinder heart than she likes to let on. She enjoys her trickery, though.”
You ponder this, but, you ponder it on the side since your focus is trailing after the fox. The seconds tick by, and you loop around and between the trees, only to come to a stop when the trees open up to a small clearing.
You stop and look around. There are no signs of the fox, no signs of any footprints on the ground, either.
‘I’m starting to think maybe they’re aware I was following them,’ you muse to yourself and to Akam. ‘I think they don’t want to be talked to, otherwise… I don’t know, wouldn’t they have stopped so we could chat?’
Akam strokes his chin in thought. “I didn’t feel any sort of fear or apprehension from them, Master. While I may not be an empath in every sense of the word, I stand by my belief that they weren’t actively fleeing from you. Perhaps tap into your senses - you are a wolf, after all, surely you know what sort of abilities a wolf is blessed with, hmm?”
You blink a few times, letting the words soak in.
You realize that, yes, you do have one ability that a normal person, and many animals, wouldn’t possess: your heightened sense of smell. You used it earlier, yes, but now you can focus on it in full and tap into the benefit without distraction.
You close your eyes and breathe in very, very slowly.
The air is rife with different scents, naturally. You can smell the grass, the dirt beneath your paws, the wood and the leaves and even some floral flavors wafting around. The wind blows, too, and it brings with it even more smells that seem to strike you as part of nature; you can smell what you are somehow able to know to be birds in the distance, and you can smell yourself, your own scent reminding you not of a ‘wet dog,’ thankfully, but of something that just says ‘dog’ to you.
You can also smell the strange, sweetened scent of what you now know to be magic - it grabs at your nostrils and tugs at them to your right, and with them, you can smell something else mixing in, a scent that feels like it matches the woods, just with a faint, noticeable musk. That must be the fox’s scent, melded in with the magic!
‘I wonder if this is what animals smell like to one another,’ you muse, to yourself rather than asking Akam. ‘Well, minus the magic sweetness, I guess.’
It’s definitely something you’ve never thought of until this moment - but then again, you find that you’ve been having a lot of random, new thoughts and questions pop into your head since you stumbled upon an actual genie.
Still, you feel like the scents you’ve latched onto are the fox and the magic fused together. That makes the most sense to you, and, you open your eyes again. Without thinking, you start to follow that scent - you move at a quicker pace than a mere jog, but, still slow enough so that you can keep breathing in the scent. It takes you through the small clearing and back into the wooded area, weaving more toward the right, deeper into the trees, although you’ve no clue how long that’ll go on for.
You don’t remember the park being SUPER massive, but, then again, you’re looking at it from a new mind now, with new eyes and a new nose to boot - maybe it’ll be bigger. For the moment, you shelf this, and focus on that smell.
It’s strong, and it is essentially guiding you onward.
“Very good, Master,” Akam says as he flies beside you. His tone is one of earnest appreciation and kindness, and you can tell he’s smiling at you. “You picked up on the scent rather quickly. You’re definitely skilled with catching up on things in the new bodies you transform into - well done indeed.”
‘Thank you,’ you reply.
Your mind starts to race, and as your heartbeat thunders in your ears, and the scents burn at your nose, you can’t help but start thinking a lot about this fox, about this person you’ve stumbled onto and their genie.
You wonder what this person will be like - are they a male or a female? What is their genie like? Was the genie like Akam, or different beyond what Akam has said of them? Was the person like you or your polar opposite in personality? Younger or older than you? How did they stumble across a djinn, and, what sort of wish did they end up making that granted them the ability to transform the way you did? How does their wish differ from yours?
There are many different questions teeming about inside your head, and it’s more than a bit difficult to keep them from overtaking your senses.
Still, you manage to concentrate, and you keep moving through the woods - the seconds tick by and by, and soon, the scent grows increasingly stronger, filling your nose until it seems to seep into your bones, into your being.
‘I think I’m closing in,’ you muse to yourself.
You weave around a row of trees, and, after another minute, you break away from the trees at long last into an actual expanse of open land. It’s a field, a field you recognize as being part of the park, because you’ve been here before - you know this area, and the familiarity of it fills you with a sense of calmness that you didn’t have prior.
The field is pretty vast, but to the right more, it eventually leads back toward the more ‘parkish’ area, and with that, the downtown portion you were soaring around when you were still a hawk. And you know there’s a river a few yards off to the left, while anything else is just field with some dips and small hills, before it leads into another part of the big city, the northern portion.
This is important, yes, but, you soon shrug it off when you notice that the fox isn’t far from you. They’re literally a few feet away, looming on a hill, looking right down at you.
Now the choice becomes… how do you want to approach this?
You can go to them, or, you can wait for them to come to you, naturally. Or, you could attempt to communicate with them from where you are, although you don’t quite know how to manage that without asking Akam. Regardless, you’ve got options, and as silence falls besides the blowing wind, you now start to mull over what you wish to do next…
Written by Hollowpages on 20 July 2020
The silence lingers through the area for a good few minutes, and you eventually decide that, since the fox hasn’t run away from you yet, maybe approaching them first is the smartest choice to make.
You casually - as casually as can be done in the body of a wolf - start to move toward the fox, and, eventually, you make it up to where they’re currently chilling at. They watch you the whole time, and when you stop, you notice at last that there is another entity there, one currently on the grass next to them.
A djinn - a female djinn, at that.
She’s… quite attractive, you note. She looks much like a human woman in terms of shape and size, minus the fact she’s currently very tiny like Akam - by choice, you know that much. What sets her apart is that she has teal-colored skin and wears an outfit much like a belly dancer, with long, flowing black hair currently tied into a ponytail. And her eyes are very, very bright, a striking purple shade, enough that they’re noticeable even when she is small.
“Aha!” she exclaims. She grows in size to that of a small child in the blink of an eye, and her arms cross. “I thought I caught the smell of another gifted by magic. And look who happens to be with them. Akam!” She grins wide. “I haven’t seen you for a century, old friend. I see you’ve found a new Master.”
Akam chortles. “Indeed I have, Shira.” He, too, has morphed into the size of a small child as he nods toward you. “My Master here has proven to be far more favorable than some I’ve had in the past.” He smiles at her. “It’s lovely to run into an old friend, Shira. You’re looking as exquisite as ever, of course.”
“As are you, Akam, as are you,” Shira says.
“Shira and I have known one another for ages,” Akam says to you. “We met, I’d say, about two thousand years ago, was it? Or around two thousand years.”
Shira scoffs. “Two thousand, yes, during a bygone era. And it’s been a solid two hundred years since we last ran into one another. I’ve stumbled onto a few of our other fond acquaintances… and a handful of unwanted djinn, regrettably.” She rolls her eyes at this, and flicks her gaze to you. “Word to the wise, my friend, if Akam expresses distaste toward a djinn, heed his words.”
You blink a few times and look at Akam. ‘…how many bad genies do you know? And… how bad are we talking about?’
“Master, the stories I could tell you…” Akam remarks, and he shakes his head. “I’d be happy to tell you about them later on, though. You’ve proven yourself to be a kind, considerate Master, and, perhaps even a friend.” He regards you with a thoughtful look. “Regardless, I don’t want to prattle on and take away from what your initial goal was, yes?”
You nod to yourself.
“My, my, Akam,” Shira says. “You seem to be keen on this one.”
Then, the focus shifts to you, and you look from Akam to Shira, the new genie, and then to the fox. The fox’s eyes are very wise in appearance as they stare back at you, yet the fox doesn’t ‘speak.’ You wonder why that is - is talking to another like talking to an actual animal, you wonder?
Shira is in front of you, eyeing you curiously.
“You stumbled upon Akam’s lamp, my dear,” she says. Her lips twitch, and there’s a glimmer in her eyes. “It seems you did indeed go through with at least one of your wishes, but, judging by the fact Akam is with you, I can tell you must’ve requested it. That isn’t something the usual Master does.”
You look at Akam. ‘Can I think-talk to her, the same way I do to you?’
Akam nods. “Focus on her, and think, yes. It is much the same way with me.”
“Ah, still learning, I see,” Shira says, and she chuckles. “Yes, my dear, merely concentrate and think your words - I shall hear them, I guarantee.”
You turn and concentrate on Shira. ‘Hello.’
She smiles. “Hello to you, my dear.”
‘Huh,’ you think. ‘I… guess it’s easier to communicate than I thought. It’s just… different, is all.’
“Being in your own head to such a degree can be quite strange,” Shira says, nodding with genuine understanding flashing across her face. “Regardless.” She beams. “I am Shira, as you’ve no doubt been told. I, too, a djinn, much like Akam here. He is one of a few fellow djinn I actually tolerate - so many of the others are a bore, or arrogant, or some other thing that irritates me. Humans can be similar, mind you, but humans are so much more fascinating to me.”
You look from her to the fox, who continues to eye you in silence.
Shira pauses and snickers. “My Master here is one that has definitely fascinated me… a great deal, in fact. But, tell me, my dear, about yourself. How did you come upon Akam?” Her eyebrow raises. “And what wish did you ask for to be able to transform into this lovely creature before me?”
You blink, then you proceed to run down everything that’s happened - starting from your discovery of the lamp. You don’t hold back anything, for you see no reason to, and Akam doesn’t interject or seem upset at all by your honesty.
When you finish explaining, Shira looks at you thoughtfully, like she’s contemplating something.
“Intriguing,” Shira says. “But, I like it! It’s not unheard of for such a generous Master to exist, mind you, yet it’s always welcome to meet one regardless. And to be the Master of Akam, a friend - I like that a lot, too.”
She nods to herself before moving to stand beside the fox. The fox’s eyes break from watching you, and for a moment, Shira and the fox look at one another, as if they are communicating telepathically, or something. You swear you see Shira’s lips move now and then, yet no words can be heard from her.
When this ends, and the fox and Shira look back toward you, Shira grins.
“My Master wishes to communicate with you,” Shira says. “She was a little leery at first, but, she was also very curious to simply watch how we interacted. And, if I may be honest…” Shira’s grin lowers slightly, and she folds her arms. “I am… a bit protective of her. I wanted to ensure you were worthy enough for her time. I feel you are, though, and so you may speak as you wish.”
‘Oh,’ you say. ‘So, this was… a test of sorts, then? To see what sort of person I was?’
Shira’s eyes sparkle. “Indeed. My Master and I have known one another for longer than you’ve had Akam, and over that time, we’ve bonded. I admit it may be odd for a djinn to care deeply for their Master, but…”
She gently puts her hand on the fox’s head, and the fox closes its - or, her, in this case, which you realize means the fox is technically a vixen - eyes.
“I am fond of her,” Shira says. “Fond and perhaps a bit too guarding of. Still. I deem you worthy of her time,” she winks at this, “and you may now proceed.”
“Speaking to her is the same as with us,” Akam says, before you can ask.
With that said, you look to the vixen, to this person that has found a genie much like yourself - your head is spinning a bit with all the different questions you thought of asking, and you admit you feel incredibly excited to be talking to someone like you in this fantastical predicament. You have to take a moment to halt all the influx of thoughts so you can actually narrow it down.
Now the question becomes… what do you say first? What do you ask first?
Written by Hollowpages on 21 July 2020
You aren’t entirely certain how to approach this subject, given the fact it’s not something you’ve ever done before. It takes you a moment to mull over how to properly speak to someone like this - it’s not the same as talking to a human on the street, after all.
But you settle on trying to treat it that way, for the sake of simplicity.
‘Hi there,’ you say, as you focus on the vixen. ‘I, uh… yeah, this is a lot for me, still, but, I couldn’t help but want to talk to you.’
The vixen regards you with a strange look as she turns her head to the side. ‘So I noticed.’
Her voice is definitely that of a woman, of someone that is definitely an adult - maybe somewhere in the late twenties or early thirties? You can’t be sure, but, it does help paint somewhat of a picture for you about her, either way.
‘I’ll be honest, I didn’t even notice you at first,’ the vixen says. Her tone holds curiosity and some mirth in it as she appraises you. ‘It wasn’t until almost when I broke from the trees that I smelled you. I was lost in the moment, but then, I caught your scent, and Shira here,’ the vixen flicks her tail toward the genie, ‘decided to inform me you were following me for several minutes.’
Shira snickers. “Of course I knew about it, my sweet. I could tell our friend here was filled with curiosity, but, I didn’t want want to interrupt your moment. You do so love the freedom of being able to run at full speed while tapping into the animal instincts you’ve been blessed with. Why spoil the fun?”
The vixen rolls her eyes.
‘I was worried you were running away FROM me,’ you admit. ‘I didn’t want to come across that way - I was honestly just… excited to meet someone that also happened to find a genie and had their wishes granted.’
‘I gathered that,’ the vixen replies. She seems to smile at you. ‘My name is Ali, by the way. What’s yours?’
You introduce yourself in response.
‘A pleasure,’ Ali says. ‘So you’ve only had your partner here for a little under a day, huh?’
You nod. ‘It hasn’t been long, yeah. But it’s been one heck of a day so far.’
Ali laughs at this. ‘Oh, yeah, I bet. I remember my first day meeting Shira.’ She turns to eye Shira. ‘It was a wild ride from start to finish, but damn was it a good one. My life hasn’t been the same since we met - and I’m honestly thankful to the core for that fact. Shira’s been a blessing.’
“Oh, stop it,” Shira says, waving a hand off. “You’re trying to flatter me, Master.”
“Liar,” Shira says, and she snickers.
‘How long have you known Shira?’ you ask Ali.
‘Three years,’ Ali replies. ‘I met Shira by freak accident, I think, when I was going for a walk in the park at nighttime. Probably the dumbest time to go walking alone for a woman, but, I was… well, I wasn’t sober, let’s put it that way.’ Her ears twitch. ‘Fortunately, fate was on my side, and I managed to find my way down a path that took me to where Shira’s lamp was resting…’
You nod, fascinated to be hearing all this.
You look at Shira next. ‘Are you a transformation djinn as well?’
Shira arcs an eyebrow. “Transformation? Ah…” Her lips curl into an impish grin. “To be honest, I see myself as more of an… open-ended djinn, or I try to be depending on the Master I happen upon. But to answer your question, my dear, when I met my Master here, I was, yes.”
‘You… wait, what?’ you ask.
“To only grant ‘transformative’ wishes doesn’t only refer to changing from the form of a human to the form of an animal,” Akam answers. He shrugs as you look at him. “Some djinn will take that term and utilize it in the broadest of senses, depending on their preferences and on how their Master words the wishes they ask for. But, me, I am a djinn that loves nature and the wilderness, and I am deeply fond of all animals and insects of the world. That is why my focus is specific to just that realm, Master.”
‘Oh… I guess that makes sense,’ you reply.
Ali giggles. ‘Don’t feel too bad if it doesn’t. It took me a good two years to fully grasp the extent of Shira’s preferences. The stinker.’
Shira beamed. “Magical stinker, at least, my Master.”
Ali rolls her eyes once more.
“But, to answer your question,” Shira says as she regards you. “I am fond of nearly any form of transformation - whether it be taken in the physical sense or not. What it comes down to for me is my taste. If a Master strikes me as someone that is rude, petty, or lacking common sense, I’ll usually mess with them by finding loopholes in their wishes.” She beams wide. “Nothing TOO harmful, mind you. I tend to try to teach those sorts a lesson is all.”
‘I see now,’ you reply.
One thing is for sure: you are glad you had the common sense to be decent when you stumbled onto Akam. Who is to say what would’ve happened to you had you been rude or dismissive of the genie? You don’t want to consider that outcome, so, you let that thought slip off you, since you made the right decision and now you are far more appreciative of this fact.
‘So you’ve only gotten two of your wishes granted, huh?’ Ali asks.
‘Yeah,’ you reply. ‘The first was to be able to turn into any animal, painlessly, and to be in control over myself when I did. I didn’t want to be like the old werewolf stories where the person lost control, you know?’
Ali nods and grins again. ‘Smart move.’
‘And my second was to allow Akam to join me,’ you say. ‘I phrased it so that he was able to be my guide for as long as he wanted to be, unless I really needed his help for something. Otherwise, I gave him the freedom to choose.’
“Ohoho!” Shira says. “Now THAT is quite telling of the sort of person you are, my friend. Not many care enough about us djinn to extend that offer.”
‘Interesting…’ Ali remarks. She eyes you with a strange glimmer in her eyes for a moment before nodding. ‘You’re definitely deserving of a djinn, I think. Anyone can wish for things that’ll make their lives better without putting any consideration toward a genie - but, it’s nice to see someone that’s above that kind of thinking.’
You nod, then curiosity grabs at you. ‘What wishes did you make?’
Ali remains silent for a moment as she seems to mull this over. You’re not sure why, but you don’t get an immediate sense she’s going to lie to you about it, at least not right now. Even then, though, you’re rather intrigued about her sudden relapse into silence.
‘I could tell you,’ Ali replies. ‘But, why don’t we make this fun?’
You blink. ‘Fun?’
‘A little game,’ Ali says. ‘If you can beat me in a challenge, then I’ll tell you what you want to know. If you lose, then you can keep trying, unless you want to give up. I don’t want to stand around like this all day, is all, and don’t you want to test the limits of your new wolf body?’
She grins at you. You’re a little startled by the proposition, but…
‘What do you say?’ Ali asks. ‘Do you accept?’
Written by Hollowpages on 22 July 2020
You certainly didn’t expect to be given a challenge like this out of the blue, not when you’d only really planned on just asking some questions. And yet, you can’t say you’re opposed to it - the idea seems fun, after all, and besides, what have you got to lose?
You focus on seeing the time and find that of the two hour time limit, almost the first hour has passed - you’re right around the fifty-five minute mark, so you’ve got plenty of time to kill. That spurs you on into your choice.
‘Sure,’ you reply. ‘I accept your challenge. What do you have in mind?’
Ali’s tail swishes around as she grins at you again. ‘Awesome. Well… do you know this area at all?’
‘Yeah!’ you say, and you smile, too. ‘I’ve been here a lot, so I’ve got a good sense of the layout.’
‘Excellent,’ Ali replies. She nods her head to the right, your left. ‘Then you know where the river begins not far from here, and how it leads into a lake? Here’s my challenge: it’s simple… we have a race. If you can beat me to that lake before I make it, then you’ve won, and I’ll gladly answer whatever other questions you might have for me. No strings attached, I promise.’
You pause to ponder this. ‘Why do I feel like you’re being crafty on me to live up to the fact you’re in a fox’s body right now?’
She snickers. ‘Clever joke. But, hey, you’ve got a good point.’ She eyes you then, and her eyes are filled only with sincerity. ‘I promise it’s the truth.’
“She doesn’t lie,” Shira says. You almost forgot the genies were there.
‘Alright, then,’ you say. ‘A race it is.’
‘Shira, could you maybe serve as our starting point, please?’ Ali asks her djinn.
“Ha! Gladly, my dear, gladly,” Shira replies. She beams and immediately floats over to stand on a spot a few feet away from all of you. She stretches her hands to her sides, and, in a flash of purple light, there are now two small but thick lines engraved into the ground. “There we are. Your starting lines.”
You and Ali both walk over to the lines and stand directly behind them.
‘Hope you don’t mind losing,’ Ali says, and there’s a playful flicker in her eyes.
You scoff. ‘I was about to say the same thing to you.’
‘Pffft, sure, sure you were,’ Ali says.
There’s a pause. You look forward, and you think about the quickest path to get from where you are to the lake that the river leads into - if you were human and walking, it would be about twenty minutes from this area, you feel. But with the body of a wolf on four legs, you feel like you’d be able to cut that time down considerably - especially since your legs are bigger, and you can likely cover more ground than a fox can in that amount of time.
‘Alright, then… on the count of three…’ Ali says.
You nod and let in a slow, deep breath through your nose, then you exhale.
You dig your paws into the ground beneath you to test the ground’s strength, since you don’t want to overshoot or trip yourself up. Though you feel the grass get crushed as your claws spear into the soft dirt, it isn’t enough to where you’ll have trouble taking off in a run, which you’re content with.
You tense your body in preparation for this little race you and Ali have agreed upon - you can feel the excitement bubbling up in your chest and spreading to the rest of your lupine body. It’s a surge of energy, and you feel that energy sparking at your paws. Even though you aren’t a human right now, you do assume the closest thing to a runner’s position that you can in this form, if only for the sheer spectacle of it - and because it’s kind of a habit, too.
With that, you take off, and you push yourself forward with all your might.
Moving on all fours isn’t foreign to you anymore - and moving at a high speed, the fastest you can move, is no issue, either. Your legs kick up dirt as you charge down the grassy plain, running not over the hills in the immediate area directly up top - which you know would force you to move slower given the fact running uphill is harder than downhill - but around the sides since it’ll allow you to cover more ground faster. You know where to go.
Of course, Ali is no slouch, and you immediately notice when you start to run that the vixen is definitely faster than you thanks to her smaller size.
She rockets past you by going directly up the hill unlike you; except when you’re dashing around the side of the hill, she flat out leaps over the top and seems to literally fly through the air for a good few seconds before landing lithely on her feet and picking right up at the same speed.
‘What the?!’ you think aloud.
Ali cackles. ‘I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than you!’
She sprints on ahead like a bullet, but you snap out of your brief daze and charge on after her, and though she continues to run up hills, you keep your speed and keep your practice of wrapping around the sides instead.
The hills won’t last for too long; within minutes, the mounds cease, and it turns into a pure flat ground that only slightly slants downwards. You use that to your advantage and pick up your speed, pressing down into the ground with your larger paws and pushing your legs to their utter limits.
Despite the initial lead, and the smaller frame with a higher speed, your wolf body persists, and you’re able to pick up the distance between you and Ali.
It takes a moment once the hills have ended, but, you eventually manage to bridge the gap enough to where you’re nearly directly behind her. Yet despite the fact she’s beating you, that doesn’t register much in your head - you’re feeling the energy pulsating through your bones, through your muscles, and your heart is thundering from the motion - but also from the sheer excitement.
You’d be smiling if you were a human.
You aren’t even a huge adrenaline junkie, really, but the sensation of freedom is just overwhelmingly good, and it pushes you to do your best in this race.
Yet as the seconds fly by, and as you and Ali make it to where the river starts, you realize something: within minutes, you’ll come to a spot wherein you’ll be able to actually pick what direction you want to go. Not quite a fork in the road, no, but, there are two ways you can take to get to the lake, your destination.
Right or left.
Going right, you know you’ll have smoother ground to run through, but there are more trees that direction. The grassy field breaks up around that point, and beyond some clumps of grass and weeds, it’ll be dirt, which means dust and rocks and debris. The downside is that while this path is faster to get to the lake, for sure, it’s also going to be harder to navigate when you’re not small.
Going left, on the other hand, will be elevated, and though it will also be dirt, there are less trees. It’s basically a sort of cliff that you’ll be running on, one that will dip back down again, yet there’s a bit of a vertical climb for a four-legged animal to move up that’ll cut your speed down. Yet, even though it’ll be slower, you know it might be better for a wolf.
Which do you pick?
Written by Hollowpages on 23 July 2020
‘Having fun eating my dust?’ Ali asks.
You scoff internally. ‘You talk a lot of trash for someone so small.’
‘I’m only small right now, silly mutt,’ Ali replies.
You have to resist the urge to roll your eyes.
She’s definitely got a sassy edge to her, but you can keep up with it just fine.
Still, you have a choice to make, and as you near the point where you’re able to pick between the right path or the left path to end up at the lake, you rush through your thoughts as you weigh them both down. It’s not exactly an easy feat to ponder over two big choices when you’re racing against a snarky vixen, but somehow, you manage to decide what way you’ll go: you choose left.
‘We’re almost there,’ Ali says. ‘If you can’t pick up the pace, I’ll be there before you, Fido!’
‘Yeah, yeah, keep trash talking!’ you reply. ‘It’ll make my victory sweeter!’
She laughs internally. ‘Is that your best attempt at talking back? Really?’
You don’t respond; you’re thoroughly amused by her, naturally, but you’re also a wolf on a mission, and you don’t want to end up getting distracted right now!
Seconds zip by.
You and Ali make it to that point where the grass starts to splinter into normal ground, but the left path that leads up into a small cliff maintains some of that grass. You go left, while Ali goes right, both of you following the river.
‘Good luck down there!’ you say.
Ali’s laugh is her only response to you. Fine by you; time to push yourself!
Moving left is what you expected it to be: you end up climbing a little bit up with each passing second as the ground begins to elevate itself, and with those passing instances, the grass fades into dirt instead. Yet it’s devoid of rocks or cracks or puddles - nothing mars the path, because it’s used by humans for hiking. The other path? Running, jogging, and cyclists go that route, and dirtbikes, too, from time to time. Not this way.
‘Judging by the time of year, I bet there’s probably tire tracks,’ you muse to yourself as you feel the dirt beneath your paws. The earth is soft and malleable to a degree thanks to your claws digging in and out of the ground. ‘She may have a quicker path, but she’ll have to take the time to bob and weave a lot around all the trees, and if she’s not careful…’
You can imagine mud puddles spread about, and probably the remnants of cyclists from the morning, perhaps even joggers or runners rummaging through the area. Regardless, you’re counting on nature to be on your side with this, because while you’re not super competitive, you don’t want to lose this race - you want to win so you can appease your curiosity.
You’re focused purely on the end result at the moment, on getting to that lake, which is about five minutes away from you going by your best guess.
‘C’mon, wolf body, don’t fail me now,’ you think.
The ground is only rising at fractions with every few steps you take. You use this to your advantage and slow your speed a little since you have to push upwards a bit, but your legs are big and strong, and your paws kick up only little spurts of dust and dirt. It feels cool to be kicking up the dust with four legs like this, and you’re glad it isn’t wet since that would slow you even more.
‘Once this cliff starts to dip down, I’ll have to pick up my speed,’ you think.
The cliff winds down to a few different spots where you can drop off to get back to where the river is directly; there isn’t much of a difference besides where these are located, beyond the fact that you recall there’s a bit more of a drop for the nearest ones for someone on four legs, rather than on two.
‘I can handle it,’ you think.
And as you barrel over the path, time slips past you, and you can tell you’re approaching the point where the cliff dips back down to the river. You don’t know where Ali is, or how far she’s gotten, but you try not to let that distract you - your main goal is to get to the lake, and with your heart and body brimming with energy, that’s not going to take much longer by this point.
At last, the dips start to appear, but you bypass the first few, and instead, you aim for one of the later ones - it’s a few feet away from where your position is, and when you reach it, you can’t help but leap forward when that dip arrives.
Your body is briefly in the air - you pushed yourself off like you were jumping with two legs, and for a brief instant, you’re a little freaked out by the fact you leapt so high up for a wolf. But then you feel the ground beneath your paws, which throb for only a handful of seconds from the impact they took.
You manage to shake this off, and you keep your pace. Except now, the river is beside you, and you can spot the lake in the distance. You’re close.
You don’t see Ali, not at the lake, nor behind you. But you push yourself to the fullest again, and you speed up, working those four legs until your muscles start to groan in protest from the effort being exerted from them.
Closer… closer… closer…
Only then, when you’re mere feet away, do you hear movement, and out of your peripheral, you spot Ali zooming out from a row of trees. She’s dangerously close to overtaking you, but you grin at this, and you keep going with the same momentum.
Your paws dig into the ground, your heart feels like it’s about to burst from your chest to try and get to that lake before your body does.
And then, finally, you’re there.
‘Aw, dammit!’ Ali shouts.
You leap into that lake bed and feel the water embrace your furry body, and literally a heartbeat or two after you’ve made it, Ali’s smaller vixen form does the same.
You let yourself relax as your heart begins to settle itself, and you float there in the lake, turning your attention to Ali’s form. She paddles away from you, out of the lake, and you gradually make your way to do the same. Your legs are beat, and they protest every step you take, but once you’re out of the lake, you let your body drop onto the ground. You’ve achieved victory, and it feels… nice.
Ali shakes herself off, and plops down across from you. ‘Well. This stinks,’ Ali says, but her tone retains the mirth she held earlier. ‘Congrats on winning.’
You start to pant without even thinking about it to try and cool off - or were you panting sooner? You can’t recall, mostly because you weren’t even thinking about it until now that you weren’t running. The cold water from the lake helps this, and after a stretch of quiet, you feel much more at ease.
‘Thanks,’ you say. ‘That was pretty fun, though.’
‘Yeah,’ Ali says. She chuckles internally. ‘You won, fair and square, much as I hate to admit it.’ She shakes her head, and you notice she’s panting, too. ‘Alrighty, victor. I’ll stand by my promise - I’ll answer your questions now.’
You smile inwardly, pleased. ‘Alright then.’
Where to start?
Written by Hollowpages on 24 July 2020
Before you end up asking anything, however, you notice something - neither of the genies were with you or Ali when you were racing. You look around without getting up, and wonder where they might’ve gone off to. You recall that Akam could leave if he desired it, so, you consider that maybe he chose to do so when you agreed to race Ali. Yet what of Shira, then? Where did she…?
You get your answer after a few seconds when both genies appear from above you, floating down until they’ve landed - Akam close to you, Shira directly beside Ali, respectively.
“That was quite the race, Master,” Akam says. He’s grinning wide. “We watched the whole affair from a good vantage point in the sky. It was quite quick-thinking of you to choose the route you did - that gave you the advantage you needed to secure your victory.”
You let out a breath. ‘Thank you. I kind of hoped it would help.’
Ali snorts. ‘Guess I underestimated you. Or, I overestimated myself.’
Shira pats her on the head and seems to stroke Ali’s fur. “You did plenty well, my sweet. It was all in good fun, regardless, and so long as you enjoyed yourself and are safe, then I am a happy djinn no matter the outcome.”
“Unless it was us doing the racing,” Akam remarks wryly.
Shira snorts. “Then, Akam, you would’ve eaten my proverbial and literal dust.”
You snicker at this, and so does Ali. What a turn of events.
‘Now, you were going to ask…?’ Ali says.
‘Right, right,’ you say. ‘What were the wishes you had granted?’
Shira grins and sits beside Ali on the ground, but does not answer for Ali.
‘My first wish was to be able to transform into whatever I desired,’ Ali replies after a moment. She grins, and her eyes flick to Shira with glee for a brief instance. ‘Like you, I was smart enough to make sure that it wouldn’t hurt, and that I’d be able to control myself to the fullest. But, I phrased it in a way that… gave me a bit more to it than that.’
You frown inside. ‘What do you mean?’
“My Master is very methodical,” Shira says, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. “She worded her wish in a way that I honestly had a difficult time looking for any loopholes I could exploit for my amusement, to the degree where I was actually impressed with how hard she made it for me to find one.”
That catches you off guard.
Akam chuckles beside you. “Remember, Master: we djinn are not morally bound by the same rules you humans are. We often do find loopholes, as I did with your wishes, but we do it for our own entertainment most times, rather than out of pettiness or malice. It’s a fun game of ours that we enjoy playing.”
“And this one,” Shira nudges Ali, “was perhaps the first Master I’ve ever had that had me stumped.”
‘Basically,’ Ali says, and she speaks with a hint of smugness and pride rather evident in her eyes as well as her voice, ‘I got my first wish to be able to transform into any animal I wanted, or even change my appearance in other ways, without a time limit. Not to brag, but, I kind of got away with it and there wasn’t any downside Shira could think of.’
Your jaw opens as you gawk at her. ‘No way.’
Even Akam seems genuinely amazed. “Really, Shira? You couldn’t think of anything to limit your Master’s abilities? Nothing at all, not even some sort of time limit or rules for her to follow? I find that incredibly hard to believe…”
“Akam, I am not one for deceit or exaggeration,” Shira replies, and she folds her arms with a scowl. “I tried to think of every way I could, but Ali’s phrasing was incredible - it was like she took into account every single factor any djinn would actively use to tweak the wish, to the degree where the only limitation I was able to set didn’t even turn into a limitation in the end.”
Ali beams. ‘Guess I’m a stinker, too.’
“You’re VERY correct,” Shira says, yet she seems proud of the fact.
‘So what’s the one limitation?’ you ask.
‘Well, I’d say there’s maybe three limits, but I never really saw them as limitations: the first is I can only transform into living things,’ Ali says. ‘The second was I can only turn into female creatures, since I’m biologically a woman, and I identify as a woman. That made sense to me, though. Oh, and, I can only turn into five things a day - I can shift around between those five forms at will, without a timer, but only those five, so I have to pick carefully.’
Shira shrugs, and there is a moment of silence that falls after this.
You’re perplexed, naturally, but you’re more amazed than anything. And here you were trying to word your wish in a way that would make it difficult for Akam to change it to his own desires - you still ended up with limitations upon you, although you had to admit these limitations were feasible and not cruel.
Either way, you were impressed that Ali was able to go even further than that.
Akam folds his arms and eyes Ali. “Now I MUST hear what the phrasing was… you’ve got me curious.”
“I’ll tell you later, Akam,” Shira replies with a wave of her hand.
You can’t help being curious about this as well, but, you shelf this for the moment, and instead return your focus to Ali.
You lean in, quizzical. ‘So you can turn into any animal you want… up to five different animals a day, with no time limit, and the only rules you have to follow are they have to be the female animal, and… you only have the five to choose from?’
‘Yes,’ Ali replies. ‘Oh, and, in case you’re wondering, my natural human form doesn’t count toward those five - I managed to wriggle my wording enough that my human form is considered the starting point.’ She winked. ‘Technically, I guess that means I’ve got six forms.’
‘Jeez,’ you say.
Now you regret not taking even more time to figure out your own first wish’s wording, although you admit that you don’t regret it too much. At least, not now - there’s always the future where things may change, you note.
‘Your second wish,’ Ali says. ‘You wishes for your genie to be able to stay with you whenever you needed him, as long as you actually needed him, yeah?’
‘Yes,’ you reply.
“I have the freedom to choose,” Akam says, but he ultimately smiles. “But if I’m honest, my Master has proven to be a very kind, favorable human. I could’ve easily returned to my lamp at any given time throughout much of this, yet I’ve felt no real desire to. Frankly, I may wait until nighttime to do so - until then, I’ve had far too much fun watching and experiencing all these things with my Master to bother with returning.”
‘That’s pretty rad,’ Ali says, nodding.
‘What about you, Ali?’ you ask. ‘Did you get a second wish granted?’
Your eyes flick to Shira, and you wonder if she wished for something like yours. Yet before Ali has a chance to respond, you hear something - and feel something - in your stomach. That is, your stomach grumbles.
You only now start to notice that… you’re kind of hungry.
Ali giggles at this. ‘Someone’s hungry, I see.’
You’d blush if you could, but, thankfully you can’t. ‘I, uh, suppose so.’
‘Then, here’s an idea,’ Ali says. ‘We can stay here and talk more, or, if you want, we can go hunting.’ Her eyes flash. ‘I’ve only been in a vixen’s body today, to be honest, so I can turn myself into a wolf, and we can go out to find something to eat. Whaddya say?’
You blink a few times. Good question…
Written by Hollowpages on 25 July 2020
Wolf: A Hunting We’ll Go
You give it some thought, before you make your decision. ‘I… I think I’d like to try hunting. I’ve never done it in the past.’ You pause, then, after considering something, you add, ‘although to be honest, I’m a little… wary about it.’
Ali chortles internally. ‘I’m guessing because you’ve never killed an animal before, yeah?’
‘It’s a fair thing to take into consideration,’ Ali remarked. Her tail swishes about a few times. ‘I’m not gonna say that the idea of hunting and eating a living creature is entirely inhuman, since plenty of people have done it throughout history for survival. But, I get it.’ Her eyes hold yours with sincerity. ‘It’s not the easiest thing in the world. I’ve done it a handful of times, though, ever since I met Shira.’
You’re a little taken aback at this, although you suppose it would make sense in a way - you hadn’t considered that someone with the ability to transform into animals would use that power for something like hunting, if only because, well, if you could turn into an animal and back to human, why bother?
Ali eyes you as if she knows what you’re thinking. ‘There’s… I guess you could call it a sort of thrill to the hunt, depending on the creature whose form you assume. The predator animals, like the wolf, or the fox, they have this sort of…’ She pauses and thinks. ‘How did you describe it, Shira?’
“A predator’s mentality,” Shira replies. She nods and grins. “Assuming the body of a creature has its perks, particularly when you maintain your humanity - something that many djinn will give you even if you don’t ask, although, as with all things tied to our kin, it’s not a certainty. Either way, one of those perks is that you can tap into the mental state of that creature, if that makes sense.”
“It’s not the same since you retain your human lens,” Akam adds, and he regards you when he says this. “It’s like trying to communicate with the dog in the park, Master. Your mind is human - thus, you think and see and experience and understand things in a human way, including the words I’m saying to you right now. You can feel a taste of what a wolf thinks if you allow yourself to, yet it’ll always be framed by emotions and concepts you think as a human.”
“But, it helps with things like hunting,” Shira says. “If that helps, anyways.”
You suppose it does, although you aren’t entirely sold on the premise - you’ve killed bugs before, sure, but that is a much different thing, at least as far as you tend to think of it. The idea of hunting and killing a creature with your bare… well, not hands since you’re a wolf, but, your teeth? That’s… much different.
‘We’ll be smart about it,’ Ali says. She holds your gaze with a steady look, and you get the sense she’s being earnest with you about it. Not that she’d have a reason not to be, mind. ‘And I know a good route that’ll take us to where we’d find game. I can tell you’re overthinking it, and I can tell you’re thinking about it the way you would if you weren’t a wolf.’
‘It’s a little hard not to,’ you say.
She nods. ‘That’s true. Definitely not disagreeing. But, trust me. When you tap into that bestial side… it gets easier, because you can not only work through it, but, you’ll be able to better accept and understand. So, shall we get going?’
You sigh, then nod. ‘Yeah.’
Your stomach gurgles as if adding onto the conversation, to your mild embarrassment. Ali simply giggles at you, before she stands on her legs.
‘One moment, please,’ Ali says.
You blink a few times, but say nothing. Then it dawns on you, right when you watch as Ali’s body starts to transform - her body stretches out and grows in size and bulk, her fur darkening to a deep-grayish color, all over the course of seconds. Her features thicken, and her snout extends, and so does her tail, and within about a minute, she’s no longer a vixen, but a wolf just like you.
Her transformation was smooth and brisk, and to your eyes, she’d changed forms so fluidly, it was almost like watching something out of a cartoon or a movie, but with really, really good CGI. You’re astounded, but then, the appearance of a fox isn’t too different from a wolf beyond the size, admittedly.
‘Ahhh,’ Ali says. She licks her snout, and eyes you again, with yellow eyes now. ‘You forget the benefits of being in a bigger body when you’ve spent hours on end in the form of a fox. This is much, much nicer.’ She sniffs the air, then leans toward you and sniffs. ‘Yup. Feels good to be a wolf.’
‘What made you choose to be a fox in the first place?’ you ask, earnestly curious.
She blinks a few times, then smiles at you with a big, wolfish grin. ‘Oh, that’s easy. I love foxes. They’re one of my favorite animals, have been since I was a little girl. To me, they’re awesome because they’re fast, smart, gorgeous, and tricky little stinkers by nature. Plus, I’ve always seen myself as being pretty keen and crafty, so, there’s that, too.’
You smile back at her. ‘Makes sense, I suppose.’
‘Let’s talk more after we get some grub,’ Ali remarks. She licks her chops now, and nods her head to the side. ‘We can decide to find some food together, if you prefer. I’m not against letting you take the lead, though, or if you’d prefer I be the alpha in the equation, that’s fine with me, too.’
‘Didn’t you say you know a good spot?’ you ask.
She snickers. ‘I do. I know several. But, you said you knew the area, right? I don’t want to invade on your own pride if you felt like you’d have a better chance at getting us to where there’s wild animals roaming about.’ She grins again. ‘Or, we can do it together. I don’t have a preference right now, I just wanna get something in my belly. What do you think?’
You blink again, and then start to consider this.
Written by Hollowpages on 26 July 2020
Wolf: A Hunting We’ll Go, II