Try on the fox mask
You don't exactly have any money, so you decide to try on one of the masks. You've always liked foxes, and the temple seems primarily fox-themed, so you figure it'd be more appropriate to wear that one than any of the others. You pick it up, examining it for a little bit; it's pale white, with gentle red and orange lines along the contours of the face and around the eyes, giving a kabuki-like effect; the “snout” of the mask seems to be pulled into a mischievous grin, as if it's laughing at some hilarious prank. You can't help but laugh yourself at it. Turning it over and looking at the back, you see the eye holes are wide enough that your vision shouldn't be obscured, and there are small nose holes to make it more breathable. A white silk ribbon serves as the strap to hold it on the head; without any further hesitation, you pull the ribbon around the back of your head and carefully lower the mask into place. In spite of it being wooden, it feels oddly comfortable and well-fitting, and though the strap hugs the mask close to your face it doesn't feel too tight. Picking up the hand mirror, you give yourself a look-over; you can't help but smirk and chuckle at yourself. Somehow, you feel just as mischievous and playful as the mask seems to imply.
Distant giggling comes from outside the shrine; ordinarily, you'd be startled by it, but right now you're feeling a bit too playful to worry. Besides, this is a theme park—there's no real danger here. Giggling back, you crouch a bit, holding your hands out in front of you like you're sneaking up on someone to play tag. You seem to near one of the voices, hearing the giggling just outside the door to the shrine and around a corner; with a playful shout, you leap out of hiding and around the corner, just barely catching sight of nine floofy tails disappearing around the side of the shrine, accompanied by almost childish laughter. Another giggle escapes you as you decide to chase after your playmate, ignoring the odd feeling of the mask pressing against your face a little more; it's still not remotely uncomfortable, and you're having too much fun playing tag with whatever you're chasing. You continue the pursuit around the shrine several more times, feeling an odd pressure at the base of your spine and a strange sensation of tightness in your shoes. Your shirt grows a bit too hot; somehow, you feel like you'd be better off without all that restriction. The playfulness you feel completely overpowers any shame you'd otherwise have as you shed
all your clothes, and the pressure at the base of your spine releases with the feeling of something—or several somethings—erupting almost into bloom behind you. You giggle again, louder this time as you continue the chase; gradually, you find yourself crouching lower and lower, eventually falling to all fours —but moving just as effortlessly as on two legs. Your eyesight seems to improve, as does your sense of smell, and a tingling feeling like goosebumps across every inch of your body starts to spread from the mask downward. The chase grows ever more fun, and your nonstop giggling quickly becomes raucous laughter to match that of your quarry. Finally, you seem to catch up... and, to your surprise, see that you were chasing a massive nine-tailed fox! With a giggle, it holds up a mirror in one of its paws... and instead of your usual self, you see a sight that snaps you out of your playful mindset.
The mask is still a mask, but it seems more flexible, like it's becoming part of your face—and the delineation between it and your head seems to be slowly vanishing. Your hair has turned white as the mask itself, with thick white fur spreading from the mask and all over your body, though parts of your belly, arms and legs remain mostly skin, your feet turned to paws and your hands becoming more pawlike
by the moment. Behind you, nine floofy tails wave. It's clear what's happening: You're becoming a nine-tailed fox yourself! You start to feel fear and tug at your mask to try and get it off before it's too late... and then the fox in front of you starts giggling again.
A giggle—involuntary this time—escapes your lips, and the sensations of change grow, your hands fumbling a bit on the mask. The fox giggles again, this time a little louder.
You giggle back at the fox once more, the changes now feeling like you're being tickled. You stumble slightly, your hands going from the mask to your sides a bit as the fox starts to laugh heartily.
The tickling sensation now becomes so strong that you can't help but fall on your back, kicking your hindpaws—no, your legs—while holding your sides, the transformation speeding up. You join the fox in laughter, and your fear slowly replaces with giddy, almost childish glee, your thoughts of removing the mask fading in favor of thoughts of foxy games of pounce and chase, or of playing pranks and jokes on humans, or so many other fun things! You laugh and laugh and laugh, your friend laughing with you! You quickly start to wonder why you ever wanted to take the mask off—being a fox would be so much more fun than being a stupid, boring human! Your new foxy pal suddenly pounces and boops your new snout, now completely part of your face, the changes growing to a halt as your humanity vanishes entirely.
“Tag! You're it! Tee-hee!”
You let out a playful yip, bouncing to all fours and chasing after your fellow fox, ready to continue your
game and start your new, much more fun life.
Written by CoggerD on 14 November 2023
The end (for now)