I woke up suddenly, without any of the normal grogginess I'd come to expect in a morning. That dream had been so vivid, I just knew it meant something! Then it hit me all at once. It did mean something....it meant I'd gone through the whole intricate process to become a warrior for my race. An experimental wiggle returned the thought of heavy and large. Great.
I sat up and immediately felt something VERY wrong. It felt like I was sitting right on the end of my spine! It was a really uncomfortable feeling and I shifted to get rid of it, almost overbalancing before I could get my hands under me. Then something gently slapped me in the face, in a supposedly secure room! I turned to see who had done it, and saw something out of the corner of my eye. Rapidly I turned again, and promptly overbalanced and with an undignified squawk fell out of the bed. A snicker from the corner of the room that I hadn't taken in before, being distracted and all, distracted me from the fact that my chest had squished when I fell for a second.
"Who is there?" My voice came out light, breathy, and very feminine. I could feel my eyes widen.
"Chasing...her tails. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! I can't even..."
Chasing her tails? That was specialist Rose without a doubt, but who else was here? I looked around; save for the darkened corner where Rose lurked, no one else was here, but then there was that annoying thing at the edge of my vision...
"Specialist, report!" The captains voice roared through the door.
"Seems safe enough sir, subject's awake but not hostile at this time."
Rose replied through glances and occasional snickers. I tried to pick myself up, but somehow I'd become tangled in the bedsheets.
"Excuse me, Rose-san, could you please help me? My body isn't working."
"Oh, um, sure."
The door opened as specialist rose was helping me disentangle myself, I counted arms and legs, but had other limbs caught apparently; all behind me. I focused on standing up, almost stepping on my new extremely long platinum hair. Now when I say platinum, I don't mean the blonde platinum that comes from a bottle: I mean true platinum-silver hair that could be taken as a slightly less shiny chrome.
"Hello Fu; are you alright?"
I took pause at seeing weapons not quite pointed at me, but nonetheless ready. a bit further up I saw the stern faces, much different from Roses' amused one. Then what could only be my tails popped free of their cloth prison, and I instantly felt better.
"Yes Captain, I am well, I think."
Rose was stroking a tail, holding it ever so gently near its base and sliding her hand up over and over, and it felt wonderful! Like an electric tingle all the way to my brain.
He stared at me a long moment that might have been tense, except Rose was using both hands by this time...ahh, bliss! I flopped back on the bed, sighing,
"Hmm, well you seem fine. You remember who you are and what you're doing here?"
"Of course captain, I'm Fuyuko Yamamoto, kitsune and servant of Inari-sama. I am here by request to defend humanity against a suspected dangerous foreign invader."
I blinked a bit; while I was sure there was something wrong with that, I couldn't quite figure out what it was.
"Have you always been a...kitsune was it?"
"No of course not captain, I became one just now in order to save humanity."
That answer felt much more right. Just as I nodded to myself something hit my nostrils like a slap to the face, if slaps were pleasant.
As quickly as I could I ran to the living room of the suite...perhaps too fast, I was using on all fours. It didnt matter, I had to! I didn't need chopsticks! I was hungry and there was a plate full, and it was all mine!
"Stand down captain, shes just hungry."
I looked up, face stuffed with delicious heaven, to see every weapon inches from my nose. I swallowed and raised my hands.
"I'm sorry captain, was this yours?"
"Um, no. Go ahead, it's for you. We just can't take any chances, there have been a few...incidents since you've been asleep."
I needed no further encouragement.
"Incidents?" I asked between bites.
"Some of your fellow champions of humanity have woken up less than stable."
"That doesn't sound promising captain. Can I help?"
"Honestly no, if you step outside you'll likely be shot on sight by twitchy army pukes."
"Well that would put a damper on my day...or a further damper,' I frowned. 'Not really sure what to make of all this yet."
"Well whatever you do, don't go crazy and start killing us...I happen to like being alive."
"No intention to captain, you fed me. But I really would like to help if I could."
"Orders from Betty were to sit tight if you grew tails, and wait for something, she said we'd know what. But I'll see the brass gets the message."
"Hmm, well what do we do then? We can't just sit around, there is an invasion to prepare for!"
"You're in the army now.' he replied. 'Hurry up and wait time."
And he sat down and turned the television on, flipping channels with a bored look. The rest of the squad relaxed as well. Sated, I decided to surreptitiously check myself, not wanting to move much and cause my squad to stress. My nails were rather claw like, my hair was just impossibly long, My ears were those of a fox, and of course, there were the tails.
Problem is, my mind insisted they should be there....that this was normal, even though I knew I wasn't like this yesterday. I still looked 90% human, but was absolutely sure I was a fox, and simply wearing this shape as I might wear clothes. If I looked like this, what did my fellow champions of humanity look like? were any of us still human at all?
Did it matter?
I had to admit that for myself, it did not. Having come from humanity, I wanted them to have all the nice things, not to be ruled by a bunch of despoilers. besides, all my favorite people were people! But...I was pretty sure not everyone would feel the same. Good Inari, what about when the entire world changed?
And just like that, I was somewhere else, whisked away into a bird's eye view of some wooded terrain bordering a city. Thousands of humans shooting dozens of various eldritch seeming horrors, embittered former humans who were not part of the old regime any longer, striving to impose their will on a desperate, intolerant species.
With a shudder I snapped out of it. What was that? was it something like Betty experienced?
"Captain, might I go to the restroom?"
he looked up from the south park episode he was watching.
"huh? Oh sure. rose, your shift."
"Screw that Captain, I'm staying here."
I gave her a smile of gratitude and departed quickly, hoping to avoid any potential dressing downs that might occur. Once in the bathroom I closer. That I was dressed as a miko was obvious the moment I looked down before. But the mirror confirmed a few facts; I was perhaps 5ft 3in or 5ft 4in, tall. My chest was wrapped in a traditional manner, and yet it was easy to see why I lost my balance at first. I had wide hips, and a narrow waist...and my face could probably stop traffic. But the most unusual thing (aside from the hair) were my new eyes.
They were mismatched; one was a clear crystal blue the color of a tropical waterhole, and the other a pure amber gem that looked see through. Very weird.
Since I didn't have to actually go yet, I splashed some water on my face and headed out, my curiousity satisfied. And I walked right into a Mexican stand off.
My team had their weapons pointed at a tall handsome Japanese male; Cut body, longish ebon hair tied into a ponytail, and arresting grey eyes. I knew
immediately who it was, and bowed deeply.
"Inari-sama! What a surprise to see you here."
"Greetings Fuyuko-chan. How are you this fine morning?"
"You know this guy? He just appeared while you were in the can. Big no-no at the moment."
"Lower your weapons captain, hes on our side...and hes a god, so I doubt you could stop him anyway."
"My God specifically; meet Inari-sama, patron god of kitsune everywhere."
"And this is my chief servant on all the world, Fuyuko Yamamoto. Of course I would pay her a visit to see how she is doing after her traumatic night."
I bowed again, using my hair to cover my reddening face and racing thoughts. Inari-sama here personally! Stilling my face, I raised again to find everyone looking at me, Inari-sama calm, while the others present seemed to be in shock.
"What is it? I said before I served him. Of course he will help us in our darkest hour. You WILL help us, won't you Inari-sama?"
"Ack, please stop with those doe eyes Fu-chan! Of course I will help...in fact that is why I am here. I come bearing gifts."
He handed me two pouches that smelled like kidskin, both bearing strange kanji that I did not fully recognize, but looked like 'tough'. One was filled with ofuda (prayer slips used for casting various spells), a fine detail brush and ink for writing on them. The other was empty, and I raised an eyebrow at my benefactor.
"The use of the second bag will become clear in time. The ofuda from that bag will never run out, and can be used for any of your miko magicks. Nor will the ink."
I bowed deeply.
"Thank you Inari-sama. I am sure they will be useful."
"Of course they will...and now, I'm afraid I have my own preparations to make. so I will depart. Good luck Fu-chan."
And with a wave, he was gone.
"Well, that was different." Sergeant Dewinter summed it up for us.
"Yes, it is nice to know that Inari-sama will be taking an active role."
The captain opened his mouth, but the quick burping of sub machine guns from the hall quieted his words. Immediately the squad was active, finding cover and pointing guns at the door. I wasn't surprised exactly, but the screams that followed shocked me. They sounded piteous, as if the persons crying out were both in pain, and had lost all hope.
"Oh, enough of this. I'm going to go help, shoot me if you must."
I strode to the door and slammed it open. right outside was a statue of a soldier with a machine gun pointed back down the hall, a frozen expression of horror plastered on his face. A quick flash and I was somewhere else, in an underground temple with frescoes. I slammed the door closed again.
"One moment. You can follow, but stay behind me, otherwise this will end badly."
Using a skill I knew I possessed, I conjured an illusory mirror. It wasn't real, but it would work for my purposes. Closing my eyes, I opened the door
again, feeling around the new statue and called out.
"Excuse me, Medusa-san? I hate you and all that you stand for."
"You what!?! Do you know who...I...am...."
I heard cracking sounds and had an idea. Summoning mirror shades through the same ability, I peeked. there was a new statue in the hall, a lady with the lower half of a snake, and snake hair, staring at me with disbelief. She looked vaguely familiar.
"Well that was easier than I expected. Captain, isn't that the model? Miss Summers?"
"It was...She obviously went off the rails."
"there is a certain amount of irony here. How many did she kill?" Rose chimed in.
I stepped to the door, desummoning my illusions.
the pockmarked mess that was once an underground suite much like mine greeted me with a forlorn spectral wave.
"looks like her entire team. the man outside was the only one to escape the initial surprise I think."
"Carstairs. Good man, had the constitution of an ox." Corporal Delgado identified.
We stood in silence for a moment, contemplating developments.
"Well we can't leave him in the hall...can we maybe move him and the snake witch into the suite?"
Everyone glared at Rose.
"What? Too soon?"
"No Rose-san, we do need to be practical. funeral arrangements can wait. Dewinter-san, Berkowitz-san, could you please help?"
By this time we had an audience of military personnel watching us move the new pieces of rock.
"I can perhaps help."
Everyone turned to see an old man in a dirty brown robe looking suspiciously like Gandalf from lord of the rings. With a gesture the man caused Carstairs and Summers to float into the suite.
"Alright you both helped...now back into your suites so we can be less nervous. alright?"
"Alright Captain. thank you for your help wizard-san."
He gave a polite nod and we both went our separate ways, heedless of the weapons pointed at us.
As soon as the door to my suite closed, I turned and bowed apology.
"I apologize if I caused us trouble captain. I just could not stand to do nothing."
"Don't worry about it Fu, you're fine. I might take a little heat, but I don't think you're what my boss had in mind when he gave the order to lock this place down. You didn't seem all that surprised to see who our Medusa was though."
"I wasn't captain. Rose-san stated it; there is a certain amount of irony there. I feel that who we are, affects what we become, in a very real sense."
"It's possible I suppose. But those types of thoughts are above my pay grade. Let's all sit down and watch some boring television while we can."
And so we did, trying to shelve our worries as long as possible.
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