One Wish = One Changed Reality
(Entry for TTFA 2012 Summer contest)
‘Italics enclosed by single quote’ = thinking
Bold [followed by something in brackets]= Japanese [translation]
Bold with italics = English words with Japanese accent applied
Bold followed by bold and italic [and bracketed words] = Mix of Japanese and English [with translation at best possible spot]
Alright, start the story!
A skilled DJ.
All my friends.
‘Why am I here again?’
It was the party to end all parties: a big end-of-summer beach bash held by one of the richest kids in town (whose name I can never remember). He did one every year, but this year he pulled out all the stops simply because he was heading off to college soon and wanted to give everyone a nice party before he headed off and they went back to school. Now, I wasn’t one for this sort of party, so I was just sitting at the snack bar when someone very familiar came up to talk to me.
“Come on, Henry. Are you just going to sit there the entire time?” And that’s why I’m here. My, ah, friend-who-is-a-girl Aria – who also happened to be the host’s little sister – had convinced me to attend. “It’ll be fun”, she said. “You’ll enjoy it.” Sure I will…
The music? Too loud.
The dancing? Didn’t know how.
The volleyball? Wasn’t too confident in my skills.
The swimming? Forgot my goggles.
The DJ? Not my style.
My friends? Barring Aria, I didn’t really have any.
I was the loner of the school. I was never really noticed until me and Aria started hitting it off…then the threats came. None of them have ever come to pass, thank goodness, but it’s still worrying that some of the jocks are out for me.
*sigh* “Well, if you do choose to actually get up and join the party, I’ll be over at the cabana if you need a dance partner.” With that, Aria went off into the crowd, leaving me to ponder the current state of affairs.
Gazing into the starry skies above, I began to daydream. My daydreams were a place where I could indulge in my fantasies, where I get away from the concerns of the world. And boy, did I!
In my fantasies, I was much more outgoing and social, even if I wasn’t human…yeah, about that. My personal “pipe dream” was to know what it’d be like to be an Oriental dragon, so in my daydreams I often assumed the identity of an anthro Oriental dragon teenager named Shinkou. Shinkou was more of the average teen: he kept up with the social scene, he had a sizeable circle of friends, and his relationship with Aria – or rather, her Oriental dragoness counterpart Ryuko – was an actual boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, and not a “just friends” one. He was basically my “wild side”, a side I didn’t want out except in the world of my daydreams. But at the same time, I was yearning to let him out – to be him, not only because he was the embodiment of my dreams but also because I was a little envious of his life. But it would never happen: My life couldn’t just suddenly become his. It was impossible! So, I resigned it to a mere pipe dream.
Looking into the sky, I saw the constellation Draco: my personal favorite, if only because it was a dragon. Just then, I saw a shooting star heading straight for the constellation’s “eye”. ‘Eh…what have I got to lose.’ Keeping my eyes locked on the star, I silently made a wish: A wish that my daydreams could be real. It was a simple wish, just something I did on a whim. I had no idea that, just as the star crossed over Draco’s “eye” and I finished my wish, forces I could never comprehend would do the one thing I would never expect…
Nothing happened for a while after I made that wish. Eventually, I felt a slight itch under my shirt. Taking a quick peek, I saw that bright yellow scutes were starting to form on my chest, with deep blue scales appearing at their flanks. ‘What the…’
Taking a quick glance around the room, I noticed that I wasn’t alone: everyone else’s skin was changing as well, although not everyone was becoming scaly. It didn’t go unnoticed, but for some reason everyone just ignored it. In fact, it all seemed almost…normal… but how? Soon afterwards I felt my tailbone slowly grow longer, causing a tail to smoothly snake out a hole in my pants. I took a quick glance around the room, noticing the same thing happening to everyone else as well. And again, it was being passed off as relatively normal for some completely obscure reason.
My tail was soon covered with the same scales and scutes from before, making it feel more…complete, for lack of a better word. Soon afterward, my spine began extending, my torso and neck being taken for the ride. Glancing around, I saw a few people with elongating necks, including a couple of the “cool kids”. But now, only one or two people were panicking: everyone else had either ignored the changes entirely or just decided to go with the flow. ‘Just what is going on here?’
I soon found my entire body scaly as my arms and legs shrank some, thinning out a bit into skinny, almost twig-like limbs. My pinkies vanished and my thumbs receded a bit into my hand, looking slightly more like a dewclaw. Looking down, I saw that my shoes had vanished before noticing that I had also lost my little toes, and my big toes had migrated to the back of my foot, thickening and growing somewhat. Speaking of claws, each of my remaining fingers and toes gained a wicked sharp ivory claw, and each gleaming with a slight radiance I couldn’t help but be a little proud of.
My body stopped lengthening as my palms swelled into paw-pads, along with the undersides of my feet. My legs migrated to the sides of my torso, my hips becoming dog-like as my I found my feet naturally angling downwards, in a digitigrade stance. My legwear, on the other hand, had converted into a custom-fit bright red bathing suit. ‘Isn’t this what Shinkou wears while he’s out on the beach?
Levels of familiarity, panic, and restrained joy grew as I felt a metallic collar appear at the base of my neck. Once I saw the golden collar with ornate carvings and inset sapphire (using my lengthened neck to do so), I knew that this was another of Shinkou's signature accessories. 'Masaka [Impossible]... Am I actually becoming Shinkou?'
Running over to the water, I took a glance at my face - well, "muzzle" might have been a better term for it now. It was blue and scaly like the rest of my body, although there was a set of bright tellow scute-like scales that ran from the back of my dog-like nose to about halfway up my muzzle. Glancing inside my mouth, I saw that my teeth had multiplied into razor-sharp fangs while my tongue had thinned and forked. Closing my maw, I shifted my attention to the area above my muzzle. My nose ridge was more pronounced, and my eyes had moved a little to the side (although they still faced forward). Said eyes had turned a bright yellow and gained slit pupils in place of the former human ones. I noticed a pair of antlers sprout from the back of my head while a pair of whiskers - complete with tufted tips - began growing on either side of my muzzle, just behind my nose. I was turning into Shinkou, alright.
That’s when it hit me: if I was becoming Shinkou, then Aria’s probably…flip. I shot out of my chair and made a beeline to the gazebo where she was waiting for me. As I walked, my hair turned into a rather wild mess of bright yellow fur; fur which began sprouting in a straight line down my back all the way to the end of my tail. My whiskers halted their growth at about the base of my neck, and gained tufted tips. A tuft of the bright yellow fur sprouted from the tip of my tail and a pair of aviator goggles appeared on my forehead finishing the physical changes. And while all this was taking place, I just barely noticed a shift in my mentality: I felt…freer, less introverted. I paid this no mind at the time, though, focused on getting to Aria.
I arrived at our favorite cliff-side cabana, and as I feared, the Aria I remembered was nowhere in sight. The only being that was there was a white-and-cream Oriental dragoness who was leaning on the railing, gazing out at the horizon. The red-and-black splotches of various sizes littered all over her scales, along with the like-colored patches in her creamy mane, made her stand out in a very good way. Delicate fins could be seen trailing off her forearms and calves, and where some other species had ears she had another pair of similar, albeit slightly larger, fins. She also had a single tailfin on the end of her tail, underneath the tuft of fur it shared space with: another result of her being part-koi. All of this gave her a relatively aquatic appearance, which was slightly accented by the relatively modest violet two-piece bathing suit she wore. Outside of that, the only other attire she wore was a silver collar not dissimilar to the one I now possessed. I knew it: this was Ryuko.
Unsure if the koi-dragoness before me actually was Aria, I decided to take my chances, hoping it actually was Aria: "Oy, Ryuko-kun!” I froze upon hearing what issued from my muzzle – that was not what I had intended to say.
Nevertheless, the dragoness noticed my call, and turned around to face me. Her sea-blue reptilian eyes glimmered in the sunlight as she responded: “Oh, Shinkou-chan!” Right as those words left her maw she froze as well: apparently, that wasn’t what she had intended to say.
Awkward silence reigned supreme for a few moments until I finally spoke up. “Erm… can we talk for a moment?”
“Sure…do you know anything about this?” the koi-dragoness – whom I could reasonably assume to be Aria – gestured to her body as I joined her in the gazebo.
“Not everything, no. I do know a good bit, though.”
“Like…” The upwards inflection at the end of the sentence indicated that Ryuko – I mean Aria – expected me to finish the sentence.
“Erm…” I sheepishly rubbed the back of my neck with a hand-paw and drew lines in the sand with a foot-paw, nervous about how Aria might react to the news. The koi-dragoness in question tilted her head in confusion before tapping her foot-paw on the ground: she was getting impatient. “I…think I may have caused this…”
Fearing a furious outburst from Aria, I immediately launched into an explanation about the wish, why I had made it, and how reality had apparently changed as a result of it. Ryu – no, Aria – was surprised when I admitted that I had a draconic counterpart of her in my daydreams, although our relationship was further along there than it was in reality.
Aria didn’t speak for a couple of minutes after this, likely due to pure shock. When she did speak, the incredulity implied by her tone put me slightly on edge. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I sighed and shook my head, replying “’Fraid not, Aria. It’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of.” For some obscure reason, calling the dragoness in front of me “Aria” seemed…well, wrong. It was like the name didn’t match the person…but it does – doesn’t it?
For the next few minutes, the only sounds either of us heard were the waves crashing on the shore, the seagulls flying overhead, and the noises from the party going on below us. We simply stared at each other, taking everything in. Ryuko – err, Aria – was the first to break off the stare, closing her eyes and sighing, “Well, I guess that may explain these mental issues I’ve been having lately.” Uh-oh. This could be trouble...
“Ano [Erm]… Just what do you mean by ‘mental issues’?”
“Well, for some reason I keep thinking of me and you as ‘Ryuko’ and ‘Shinkou’, respectively. Furthermore, I’ve got new memories…dragon memories. Memories of a life in this form…”
As Aria gazed down at her hand-paws, I realized that she wasn’t alone. Besides my referring to her as ‘Ryuko’, I noticed that I was subconsciously calling myself ‘Shinkou’. Furthermore, I had also attained new memories…but that wasn’t all that had changed.
“Hey Ryuko…” I didn’t bother to correct the name slip this time; as there was something I was more concerned about.
“What is it?”
“For some reason I feel like going and… I can’t believe I’m saying this…” Ryuko (ah, forget about it. It's not like there's any difference between the two of them now) tilted her head as I took a deep breath before finishing my sentence: “joining the party.”
“Really?!” Both shock and elation showed on the koi-dragoness' muzzle, as I would have never have even thought about doing such a thing willingly before now, no matter how hard she had tried.
“Yeah…but I think it’s because of this reality shift.” Gesturing to our bodies as I spoke, I hoped I had gotten my point across.
“Huh?” And I failed...better elaborate.
“Remember when I said that, in my daydreams, I let my ‘wild side’ loose?”
“Uh-huh…wait – are you saying…”
“Yeah… I think the change in reality may also have caused a slight change in personality.” Looking off to the side, focusing on the party below, I continued: “Joining in the mayhem down there seems so unlike me, but at the same time it feels like it’s what I would normally do. It’s just…weird.”
“Well, if reality did shift, then maybe that’s what you would normally do in this case.”
“Isn’t that besides the point?”
“Not in my opinion… Think about it.” Ryuko held my entire attention captive as she spoke: “If reality has shifted to accommodate your daydreams, and your daydream counterpart was basically yourself with your ‘wild side’ let loose…then wouldn’t it make sense for the reality shift to free your ‘wild side’?”
I opened my mouth to make a retort, only to close it just as quick. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a flaw in her logic. Eventually, I closed my eyes and hung my head, sighing as I relented. But…I’m still me. That’s what’s important. “Shinkou-chan? Daijoubu ka [Are you alright]?”
“Ah, ore wa daijoubu [Yeah, I’m alright]. Say…you up for a quick dip before hitting the dance floor?”
Ryuko smirked, replying with a to-the-point “Do you even need to ask?”
Within minutes, the two of us were in the water (fortunately, my goggles were waterproof), doing acrobatic maneuvers that would we could have barely dreamed of doing mere minutes ago. Ryuko looked especially gorgeous underwater, which was a bit of a surprise seeing as her koi blood made salt water slightly inhospitable to her. Then again, her dragon blood did give her some tolerance for salt water, seeing as Orientals were aquatic by nature. This was manifested in that we were both able to both see clearly AND breathe underwater (even though I don’t think I have any gills…Ryuko may have a pair, but I don’t think I do). In fact, we could also talk clearly underwater without any problem! Time got away from us, being in my natural habitat and all, and we only got out once Ryuko started feeling a little uncomfortable – a good three hours after we got in. We didn’t get back to shore until about one hour before sundown…just enough time for some volleyball. Ryuko and I managed to wind several games, but we lost just as many to the more experienced pairs. Once the sun set, the DJ turned the music up to 11, and the dance floor was packed with various anthros: canines, felines, birds, reptiles, and even some other dragons (not all Oriental, of course). I was among the first to join the floor, Ryuko soon joining me in moving to the beat. Whenever the couple’s dances came along, the two of us naturally picked each other as partners: and we made a killing on the floor, as others would attest the next day. Once we took a break, we almost instantly found ourselves in the company of people whom I kinda knew in the old reality, but who I had never really befriended. Turns out in this reality, I had befriended them a while back, and as a result I had formed a rather sizeable circle of friends – about on par with my girlfriend’s.
As the party went into the wee hours, people began leaving to head home and hit the sack for the night. Once everyone else had left, Ryuko, Numakou (her brother), and I cleaned up a bit before heading to the siblings' Chinese temple-esque manor for the night (another perk of a BF/GF relationship). Upon arrival, one of the servants helped carry my bags in while Ryuko and I went to the den for to talk about all that had transpired. Well, we would have, if we weren’t so darn tired from partying until almost 3:00 AM! As a result, after a few minutes of discussion we decided to retire to our rooms. Our parents wouldn’t let us sleep in the same room yet, so Ryuko went to her chambers while I went to one of the several guest rooms in the manor. Opening the door, I saw that my bags had already arrived in the room and a facsimile beach had been set up. Smirking, I undressed and set my goggles aside before slipping into the nice, chilled water. Maneuvering my limbs into a quadruped position, I walked on all fours until I reached a sudden drop-off, slowly sinking into the water.
While I sank, I pondered how life had just taken a wild turn for me – a turn I could actually handle and adjust to easily, unlike most others. This pondering halted once I was about 15’ or so below the surface, seeing as I landed on a near-identical replica of the ocean floor – complete with aquatic life. Finding the small cave which served as my “lair” while I stayed in this room, I walked several feet inside. Once I reached an area lit only by several bioluminescent spheres, I walked some circles for a bit (like a dog does) before lying down, curling up on the floor. A quick tap on the wall with my foot-paw caused shutters on the spheres to cover them, extinguishing the light. The room went pitch-black in moments, and I closed my eyes, slipping off into dreamland. My last thoughts before I nodded off? ‘I bet I can get used to this life…’