The Lokian Way - Part 13 - Downhill

Last time on "The Lokian Way":

Mercy was accused by the second family member of Mitch Jenkin's family. This time his sister. It might have something to do with Mitch's developing need to immerse himself more into cross-dressing. At first Mercy curbs his enthusiasm, but agrees to a not-date date on Sunday for further exploration of Mitch's hidden feminine side.

Mercy did also go toe to toe with an old adversary of her: Mister Hesbrow. The most boring physics teacher her world has ever known. She got a win, but not without its cost.

The latest surprise for Mercy was when she (and her parents) got a surprise visit from Aunt Mary. A person screaming eccentric.

And now the continuation of "The Lokian Way".

***** Saturday *****

"There she is. Our sugarplum."

Mercy winced hearing her Aunt Mary's nickname for her. Grumbling and with bed-hair, she bridged the last few steps down the stairs.

"Good morning," she mumbled as she reached for a bowl and cereals.

Both her parents and her Aunt already sitting at the table. It hardly couldn't be a more unmatched trio. Mercy's parents - already dressed for the day - looked prim and proper in outfits that Mercy would describe as business casual. Gray and tan colors composed their outfits. Mary - her aunt - contrasted strongly in her long gown. It wouldn't look out of place for a visit to the opera or a gala. It was in a rich burgundy color and of a silky material. If flowed around her stature as if poured on. Strangely enough, her Aunt decided to pair it with tight high wide striped stockings in white and a muted pastel red.

"Hurry up, Sugarplum," her Aunt Mary beamed. "We've got a busy day ahead of us."

"Is it too late to fake that I am sick?" Mercy asked.

It earned her small grins from her parents and a playful punch on the shoulder by her aunt. "You bet it is. Now hurry up."

"I actually do feel sort of sore in places."

"Nonsense. Get to it."

Grumbling to herself, Mercy pouted milk and devoured her cereals, while her parents and aunt chatted. As soon as her bowl was empty it was snatched away by her aunt.

"Now get a shower and get dressed," Mary instructed her.

Not seeing any help from her parents Mercy did as told. A half hour later she came down in jeans and a t-shirt.

"Oh, come on," her aunt howled. "You can do better than that!"

Sighing, Mercy shifted her t-shirt into a summer dress and made her jeans vanish through magic. "Better?"

"That'll do for now. Come on. The mall opens soon," Aunt Mary said while already slipping into some neon pink rubber boots with a heel of maybe one and a half inch.

Mercy cast a doubtful look outside when her Aunt shrugged into a pink tinted transparent raincoat. It was sunny outside and not a cloud in the sky. Mercy shrugged and chalked it up to her Aunts eccentric fashion style.

She slipped herself into some sandals with a small chunky heel and followed her Aunt out to her car. A small city car with a metallic pink paint job and lavender interior.

"So why again do we have to go to the mall?" Mercy asked while her Aunt steered the car out of the driveway. "You saw yesterday evening that I can pretty much change every piece worn on me."

"Yes," her Aunt agreed with a bright smile. "But there is something that vexed me. You are a trickster mage, right? You need to prank and favorably so with your spells. What I learned yesterday is that you don't know anything about fashion."

"I did manage so far," Mercy said with a pout.

"For dressing yourself up," Mary agreed. "Though your repertoire is limited to casual styles and summer dresses."

Mercy fiddled with the hem of her own summer dress. "Maybe. It's comfy."

"There are other styles that are comfy. Take Boho for example."

"Take what?" Mercy asked confused.

"Short for bohemian. Long flowing skirts and loose tops. Boho is ideal for a comfy casual look that looks stunning. It is not such a stretch from the summer dresses you are currently wearing and it would look great with your naturally wavy hair."

"Okay. Color me intrigued. But what does it have to do with me being a trickster mage."

"Well, you can't put everyone into a bohemian style dress, right? You need to learn about other styles. Those that might fit other people. Men and women alike. What people wear can tell a lot about them. And this insight can help you plan pranks."

"We could do that at home," Mercy countered. "Browsing the internet."

"Oh, no," Mary said while shaking her head. "People on the internet show fake persona. Their wannabe ideal self. Either by adding or subtracting things. We need to observe people in their natural habitat. It is time for a safari!"

Mercy couldn't help but chuckle. When she calmed down one question was on her mind. "Why are you so intent on helping me with my trickster stuff?"

"Do you remember Uncle Pete?"

"Yeah. You dated him for a year or two a few years back. Why?"

"He was a trickster mage too."

"Really?" Mercy asked shocked.

"Didn't look like it, right?"

"I always wondered how someone like you ended up with him. He looked so plain."

"We always joked it was camouflage," Aunt Mary said with a grin. "It was a lot of fun helping him train his spell."

"What could he do?"

"Make people feel certain emotions when they saw certain colors. Let me tell you it was my best contribution to make him realize he could make people aroused to certain colors. For some time I was so much into ketchup, tomatoes and everything else colored red."

"Ewww. Too much information," Mercy exclaimed but then mused on. "Is that the reason why you like wearing pink so much?"

"Ha! No. I wore it before. But here is the fun part. Pink was his Achilles heel. Along with black and white."

"What? Why?"

Aunt Mary didn't answer for a moment as she pulled into the parking lot of the mall. "Because they aren't really colors."

"That you have to explain to me. Black and white I can see. But pink?"

They both exited the car and Mary then gestured in a sweeping motion along her outfit. "Pink is a color that does not naturally exist. Have you ever seen pink in the colors of a rainbow? Nope. It is a mix of light from both ends of the spectrum of a rainbow. Our brain tries to make sense of it and created pink. It is a purely imaginative color our brain made up. Pete could target any color of the rainbow, but not imaginative ones."

"That explains a little bit of you why you like the color so much. And why I always developed a fascination with blue when Uncle Pete was around."

"Yeah. You were his measurement of personal grows. Others he could make his spell stick for hours or days. You, however, shrugged it always off within the hour."

"Well, I was always special," Mercy boasted.

"Hate to tell you sugarplum," her Aunt said with a smirk. "But you were always special. Especially boring that is. Thankfully that changed."

"Hey now, I wasn't ..." Mercy piped up only to quiet down. "Wasn't that boring," she grumbled.

"Maybe not, but you were certainly your mother's son."

"And what am I now?"

"Maybe your Aunt's nice," Mary said with a chuckle. "Time to find out. Time for shopping!"

Her Aunt struck a dramatic pose and pointed to the mall, which was amazingly far away with the next door three and a half feet away. Mercy was painfully aware how ridicules it looked and how many people stared at her aunt.

"Let's head in before I die of embarrassment," Mercy said dryly.

"Oh, don't be so dramatic," her Aunt scoffed. It made Mercy stumble for a moment.

Once inside her Aunt dragged her to a 'Forever Seventeen' store. "Now look around. What do you see?"

"A lot of clothes?" Mercy offered.

"The people Mercy," her Aunt chided her. "Tell me what kind of people you see?"

"Hmm. Mostly women or girls. Ranging maybe from fourteen to mid-twenties. Some older women, but I guess those are mothers."

"Good. Now take a guess. How many of the girls and women here are actually seventeen?"

Mercy looked around for a while and spotted two girls behind some racks. "Maybe those two? Don't see anyone else. So not a lot?"

"Exactly!" her Aunt said with a beaming smile. "We have two main demographics at work here. And both aren't seventeen. Younger girls that try to emulate older girls or early twenty-somethings that try to stay young. Even if it is in outfits only. Clothing is just half of it, Mercy. Who wears them is the other half."

"So it is a little like dressing as stereotypes, but more subtle?" Mercy asked.

"That is one way to see it," Mary agreed. "Stereotypes are crass and distinct. But many dressing styles are less obvious. Just like this store. You have the supposed target group of seventeen-year-olds and the two side groups that wish to belong to the target group."

"So it is just like the old saying," Mercy concluded. "Don't dress as yourself. Dress who you want to be."

"Now you get it," Mary beamed. "By knowing who wears what you can conclude why. And this, Mercy. This gives you insight and power over them."

"You talk like you want me to become the next big dictator," Mercy accused her.

"Goodness no, but knowledge is useful. Now let's get out of here and into a few other stores."

First was a shop known for hip beachwear. Which Aunt Mary quickly labeled as "full of wannabe surfer types". However, she showed Mercy a few new ways to dress casually and comfortable.

Next was a big department store, but before they could enter Aunt Mary pushed Mercy on. "Come on. Hurry. We've got to make some distance," she urged Mercy.

"What? Why?" Mercy asked confused.

"I saw an old acquaintance. She gives me the creeps," Mary whispered as she led Mercy around the corner.

"If she gives you the creeps then there has to be a story behind it," Mercy mused aloud.

"Oh sugarplum, you have no idea," Mary said with a sigh as they slowed down. "That girl dresses horribly. So old-fashioned. Pete introduced me to her. Another trickster mage. She can change bodies."

"Mavis? You know Mavis?" Mercy perked up.

"Oh, sugarplum. You too? I am so sorry that you know her."

"I met her last Wednesday when I was at a meeting of all local trickster mages. What is so horrible about her?" Mercy asked. "Beside her fashion sense."

"Okay. Maybe not horrible. You see when Pete introduced us she invited me out for shopping."

"I thought you love shopping."

"Normally yes. You see as soon as we hit the mall I felt uncomfortable. Like my bra was too small. Mavis suggested that maybe I should get myself measured again. Just to be sure. Now you know breasts tend to shrink and swell a little..."

"They what?" Mercy asked confused and glanced down at her own.

"Oh, sugarplum. Didn't my sister tell you about stuff like that? Yes, they do. Not a lot. Certainly not cup-sizes. But yes, they do. It's mostly a hormonal thing. So imagine my surprise when I got measured and I suddenly have about a half cup more on my rack."

"Mavis can do that?" Mercy asked rhetorically.

"I know. Changing bodies. I should have connected the dots, but I didn't. I was already dreading what came next. A good bunch of my bras too small. Cute ones that I had to sort out. But then the real horror started."

"What did she do?"

"Well, at first I didn't know. You see the sales clerk brought bra after bra for me to try out. After a while, she measured me again. Just to be sure. Turns out the first measurement had been wrong. So she brought other bras for me to try on. None fit. She measured me again and you know what? The first measurement was again the correct one and the second wrong. This continued for two hours and by that time she had asked a co-worker of hers for help. Mavis all the while played innocent and understanding. You know. To shift attention away from her. Then they got the manager and she knew Mavis. Turns out that this little prank of hers was well known to the senior sales clerks around here. Mavis constantly had changed my breast size and I hadn't even noticed because it had always been just a tiny amount."

"So what did you do?" Mercy asked. "How did it all end?"

"Well, I am forbidden from returning there. They thought I was a new trickster mage and she was my mentor. Showing me the ropes. My condolences to whoever ends up her pupil for real."

"That would be me," Mercy admitted. "She's my mentor since last Wednesday."

"Oh sugarplum I am so sorry to hear this," Mary said sincerely.

"Is she really that bad?" Mercy wanted to know.

"Well. Probably not, but I never gave her the chance to apologize. I stormed out of the shop and avoided her ever since. I admit it is partially to keep my altered body."

"She didn't change you back?"

"Didn't give her the chance. Well, I noticed at home that I left with nearly a full cup-size plus... Pete didn't mind one bit. Even helped me to avoid her. And then there is the hair. On the way to the mall, I complained to her how expensive it was to keep my roots from showing. Two weeks after the debacle I noticed that still, no new roots showed. Apparently this... " - Mary pointed at her hair - "... is now my 'natural' hair color."

"Sounds like you did go out with plenty ahead," Mercy threw in.

"Well, yes. But that isn't the point. She should have asked Mercy. I don't mind temporary stuff. Pete and I had a lot of fun with temporary stuff. But permanent? Well, she should have asked or said something. Pete always had."

"So I guess you are off-limits to me?" Mercy asked.

"Oh sugarplum, no. As long as it is temporary I don't mind."

"Great!" Mercy exclaimed. She pointed at a mannequin in a nearby shop window. "How do you like this outfit."

"The pantsuit one?" Mary asked. Confusion tinted her voice as Mercy's abrupt change of topic. "It looks boring. Your mother might like that one."

"Perfect," Mercy exclaimed.

Aunt Mary gasped as the clothes around her body shifted. It lost all its vivid colors as it settled into a gray pantsuit with matching pumps.

"What? Why?" Mary demanded to know.

"Well, I decided to test your lesson on a live subject. Understand a person, get power, and blackmail," Mercy said with a grin.

"And what do I have to do for you to undo this?" Mary asked with a lopsided grin.

"Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"I'll change your clothes back in ten minutes." Seeing her Aunt's confusion Mercy added with another grin:"But every time you call me 'sugarplum' you spend five more minutes decked out in gray."

Aunt Mary broke out in laughter. "Thirty-five times till you cracked. I knew this was the way to get you out of your shell. Well done Sugarplum.

"Fifteen minutes," Mercy updated her Aunt.

"Well, fair is fair 'sweety'," Mary agreed.

"Why do I get the feeling I will hear 'sweety' a lot now?"

"Because you are a good student?" her Aunt volunteered. "So besides blackmailing your own Aunt, did you learn anything of note so far?"

"Sure," Mercy casually replied. "If I really want to piss off a girl I just have to shrink her bra."

Mercy was suddenly twirled around as her Aunt grabbed her shoulders and made Mercy look at her. "Listen to me. There are pranks and there is plain evil. Don't be evil!"

Mercy gave a nervous laugh. "Just a joke. I was messing with you."

"You better be, because..."

Aunt Mary was interrupted as Mercy's mobile phone rang. Pulling it out Mercy winced as she saw the caller I.D.: Victoria. She declined the call with haste.

"Friend of yours?" Aunt Mary asked. "You could have invited her to roam the mall with us."

Alarm sirens did go off inside Mercy's head. Picturing Victoria and Aunt Mary together? Abandon ship! Everyone, go for the life rafts. Forget women and children. Mercy first!

Her growing panic attack was interrupted by the buzzing of her phone.

# Unfuse contacts, please? #

"She's busy," Mercy eventually managed to squeeze out. "Just wanted me to unfuse her contact lenses." Seeing her Aunt's confusion she clarified. "I fused cat-eye contacts to her. It was her idea."

"Must be an interesting gal," Mercy's Aunt mused. "I must meet her someday."

And the sirens were back. In a panic, Mercy pointed to a random store. "What about that store? I bet you can tell me a lot of things about its customers."

"A Hot Topic?"

Now Mercy noticed where exactly she was pointing at.

"Oh do I," her Aunt said with a grin. "Follow me. Now it's getting interesting."

Wincing Mercy followed her Aunt. This could take a while. Still better than Victoria and her Aunt meeting.

***** Sunday *****

"Really?" Aunt Mary asked. "After everything I taught you, you still going out to your date in jeans and t-shirt?"

"It's not a date," Mercy said with a sigh. "I am helping Mitch with an English assignment. No need to get fancy. Besides. I doubt being a pirate lolita would fare well with the public."

"But you looked so fierce yet cute," her Aunt cooed.

Both were referencing the little game Aunt Mary had come up with in the morning. They had taken a deck of cards and divided colors and numbers among themselves. Each one wrote down a list of material, dressing styles or themes for two of each suit and half of the numbers. Then they each had alternating drawn cards from the deck and it was Mercy's job to change the outfit matching to the card.

The game had been fun, yet exhausting. It resulted in strange creations like the 'pirate lolita' or 'ballgown swimsuit'. The game ended when both decided that 'sexy clown' was more than they could handle.

"I bet you could make him write a really long essay if you wore that 'latex ballgown'," Mary teased her.

In hindsight, it had been a mistake of Mercy to include 'latex' as one of her choices.

"And sweat like a pig in the sun? I think not," Mercy shot her down.

"That does sound like you have more familiarity with latex than you told me about," Mary said with narrowing eyes. "How did you know of latex garments again?"

"A friend told me about it," Mercy said. "Nothing special. Just panties." And then a whole bunch more outfits, but that she better left untold.

"Kids these days," her Aunt mused. "Took me till college till someone introduced me to it and here you are. A highschooler. Times change."

"Well, it is not like I run around in latex all day," Mercy justified herself. Before her Aunt could jump on her comment Mercy quickly added: "And I don't intend to change that."

"Fine," Mary huffed. "Be boring."

"I just don't want to give Mitch the wrong impression if I show dressed up," Mercy admitted.

"Oh, sweety," her Aunt chided her. "He's a boy. Believe me, he will get the wrong impression." Seeing the doubt in Mercy's eyes she did go for the finishing move. "You had been a boy not long ago. Tell me. What would you have thought if a beautiful girl came out of the blue and offered you to be tutored by her?"

"W-well it isn't like that," Mercy protested again.

"Sure Sweety," her Aunt agreed. "Just remember: if he hasn't kissed you at the end of the 'tutoring' you can always change into the latex ballgown."

Rolling eyes Mercy didn't dignify it with a response. She just slipped out of the door to go to her not-date date.

*****

Mercy looked again on her phone's clock. It was already four. A whole hour after she was supposed to meet Mitch. No way she had missed him as she had been early.

"He stood me up," Mercy huffed to herself.

A strange mix of anger and disappointment welled within her. Was it her fault? Didn't Mitch want to hang out with her? Then she reminded herself that this was not a date. Their meeting had a purpose. To introduce Mitch to bras and other feminine garments. Away from school and snooping classmates.

Maybe he had become cold feet Mercy reasoned. After all, it was a step up. It could be that Mitch wasn't ready to take the next step. Mercy decided she should be relieved that his obsession might not have evolved further. That was a good thing, right?

Still, the fact was that she had been stood up. Annoyed she pushed off the park bench and walked towards the park bench.

As she stomped by the ice cream parlor Mercy had to do a one-eighty turn. A few feet further carried her to a couple that tried to be inconspicuous.

"Victoria!" Mercy nearly yelled. "I can't believe you are stalking me. And you even dragged Brian into it."

"M-Mercy," Victoria stammered. "We didn't ..."

"Not what it looks like," Brian added at the same time.

"So you didn't get dragged by Victoria into spying on me and Mitch while we are on a date?" Mercy demanded to know.

"I knew it was a date!" Victoria perked up.

"Not helping," Brian hissed at Victoria.

"It was not a date. Tutoring, Whatever it was it isn't happening. Mitch didn't show," Mercy huffed. "So you two can go home. Nothing to see. You two are the worst spies ever."

"We weren't..." Brian started while Victoria exclaimed "Mercy!"

But Mercy didn't care. She had already turned and stomped away in anger. Ignoring the shouts behind her.

***** Monday *****

Mercy was practically humming with anger while she stood in front of the school. Which was better than the uncertainty she had felt a moment before. Today her emotions were a mess. it was a rollercoaster of changing moods. She had cried in the morning as her body had betrayed her as had she the day before when her Aunt had said her goodbyes. Then there had been those times she felt anger boil trough her veins.

"So he isn't showing here either?" Victoria asked while approaching her. Seeing Mercy's glare she added: "Can we talk? I think you got something wrong yesterday."

"And what might that be?" Mercy asked with a hiss.

Victoria grabbed her hand and dragged her to a bench. "Look. Me and Brian. We weren't spying. I swear we weren't. I knew you had been busy on the weekend so I reached out to take up Brian's offer. To teach me a little about Video games. Us in the park. That was just a break from a gaming marathon. Honestly, I didn't remember that you were supposed to meet Mitch there. Mercy? Say something."

Mercy had looked away while her friend explained herself. Now, while prompted, she broke down. "I am such a bad friend," she cried and breaking out in tears. "I should have known. I am so sorry."

"Hey now," Victoria said while patting her friends back. "Just a stupid misunderstanding. That can happen. Are you alright?"

"I-I don't know," Mercy admitted. "It wasn't even supposed to be a date."

"Mitch?" Victoria asked.

"Yes. I just wanted to help him with something," Mercy explained while drying her tears. "Why I am so upset about it?"

"Look. Mitch is ... not the most upstanding person to be around. Yes, he quit being a bully, but he still might be bad for you."

"He appeared so changed," Mercy sniffed.

"Well, that is how boys are. If they want something from you...," Victoria gave Mercy a hug. "Come on. Classes are starting soon. We have to clean you up before class."

Mercy gave a weak nod and followed her friend into the school.

*****

"Wow, Mercy," Sonja - the redhead - remarked while they all were changing to get ready for P.E. "What are those glossy panties made of?"

"You are wearing latex to school?" Victoria asked as her attention was drawn.

"Yeah. I thought they might be nice to wear. For P.E. you know. Less friction," Mercy mumbled.

"If you ask me that doesn't sound like a good idea," Victoria said with doubt coloring her voice. "In fact it ..."

"Well, I didn't ask you!" Mercy snapped and stomped out to class.

"What's up with her?" Sonja asked.

"I have no clue," Victoria admitted. "Maybe boy trouble. Not sure."

*****

"So you want to tell me what is going on?" Victoria asked at lunch.

Mercy gave a small meek glance at Brian. "Not right now."

"Look," Victoria insisted. "If it is about Mitch..."

"May I have your attention!"

The loud shout made Mercy, Victoria and Brian look up and over. There, lifted up by her fellow cheerleaders, was Stacy.

"As you all know, we cheerleaders have been a real bitch to certain girls in the past weeks," Stacy started in her half shout as she had the mess halls attention. "Where is Sonja?"

"Not good," Victoria murmured and Mercy felt anger boil inside her. She tried to curb those cheerleaders and their need to criticize Sonja for being a lesbian.

In the past week, Mercy had changed those cheerleaders panties to ones with slogans. Ones that hopefully deter them. It appeared not. Still, it was Mercy's only shot to prevent whatever was going down. Before Sonja got hurt worse by those mean girls.

But scanning her preys gave Mercy an unexpected obstacle. They already all wore panties with slogans only proud or cheeky lesbians
would wear. It confused the hell our of Mercy.

"There she is," Stacy shouted and pointed to Sonja who now found herself the center of attention. "Sonja, the last weeks we had made fun of you for being a lesbian. On behalf of the whole cheerleader squad I want to say we are sorry."

"Say what?" Victoria exclaimed beside Mercy who could only nod to the sentiment.

"That is right," Stacy continued. "We are sorry. But a simple apologie won't do. You, Sonja, deserve the reason why. You see we all were afraid. Not of you, but each other. We all witnessed how we each other dissed lesbians. It made it hard for us to come out with the truth. And the truth is we all are lesbians."

At once a cacophony of shouts erupted. Most claiming bullshit.

"I know. I know," Stacy agreed. "Hard to believe. But over the weekend we found out that each and every one on the cheerleading squad is a lesbian. We were so afraid of each other that we leashed out at the only other person we knew who was a lesbian: Sonja. Sonja, by harassing you, we each thought to shift suspicion from us to you. For that we are sorry. You didn't deserve how we treated you and I promise you that it won't again."

Mercy's eyes darted to Sonja. To see how she would react. But was spun around by Victoria.

"What did you do Mercy?" Victoria asked with intensity.

"Me?"

"Yes. You. Don't tell me it is a coincidence that the whole cheerleading squad comes out as gay," Victoria insisted.

"The panties!" Mercy said while her eyes grew wide in shock. "I might have ..."

"What did you do?" Victoria asked again.

"I can fix this!" Mercy said while her eyes grew wet. "I am sure I can fix this."

Loud shouts made them look around and both saw Stacy kissing Sonja right on the lips. When they finally broke apart Stacy whispered something and then vanished into the crowd.

Victoria grabbed Mercy and dragged her to Sonja.

"What happened?" Victoria asked.

Still stunned Sonja needed a moment to react. "I-I called her out. Stacy. Called her fake. Then she kissed me. Damn, that was a kiss. Kamasutra level. My knees still feel weak."

Sonja stumbled away while Mercy mumbled to herself "I can fix this." over and over again.

"No!"

The one word of Victoria cut through Mercy's growing panic like a knife.

"Even if you can you shouldn't. How will Stacy and her goons explain that to herself once she is straight again? That all this was a joke? A prank to hurt Sonja further?" Victoria asked her. "You messed up Mercy, but this way maybe something good might come out of it."

"I am sorry," Mercy whimpered and then rushed out of the cafeteria in tears.



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