Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Literature / Hobbyist Anon YmousPeru Groups :iconthe-tgf-crew: The-TGF-Crew
 
Recent Activity
Deviant for 10 Years
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 312 Deviations 5,588 Comments 147,941 Pageviews
×

Newest Deviations

Random Favourites

Watchers

Journal History

Groups

Activity


Chapter 12: A Goal

“This is my personal notebook regarding the plants in this world.” Mrs. Vanet presented with a light slap on the dusty table of her unused library, which easily raised a cloud of dust that sent her into a coughing fit. The place, much like in the other floor and wing of the manor had seen much better days and was now abandoned and covered in thick layers of dust while the air itself was filled with particles after what seemed to have been years of neglect.

“This place is dusty,” Forest muttered as he waved his hand onto the raised dust just to vent some of the air.

“It has seen little use over the years. Ironically, I wasn’t really certain I would be using this place other than to stash old notes. Darla wanted to have this place cleaned… but with the many shelves and books, it would be a job of magnitude for the little girl.”

Forest guided Mrs. Vanet out of the room. A part of him was just wondering how would the notes help him see his family and get revenge on Roland, though he would be lying if he wasn’t curious at all.

“Notes back when I was studying advanced botany. Summarized versions of lectures and textbooks that contain a list of the plants and qualities. You might find it interesting.” Mrs. Vanet explained.

In a matter of minutes, they set themselves up in Mrs. Vanet’s greenhouse laboratory. With the sun already gone and the lanterns lit up with steady warm flames, the place seemed to gain a balance between eerie and cozy. The book was laid down onto the table and opened it.

The pages were antique tanned color written in a handwriting strokes were smooth yet distinguished. Each page was properly illustrated with black ink and graphite showing details such as herb in question, details on the equipment used to treat and handle it, the landmarks and locations on the map where it could be find. Along with it were several lines of text that seemed to note small descriptions and listed several properties of the herbs.

“This is basically a summary on the rare plants I have obtained back then. A small study aid to remember them.” Her finger caressed the pages of the thick book which made Forest wonder about the practicality of the book as a cliff note. “Almost all plants are cataloged here.

“And what is this for?” Forest asked as he eyed the pages and tried to read the words.

“This is to show you the plants I am talking about and possibly where to find them.” Mrs. Vanet sighed, still coughing the dust out of her lungs as she turned the pages.

“The graywoods,” she said, her finger pointing at a page that bore the image of a large tree, growing in an apparent straight line with several leaves atop of it. The page contained several notes, ranging from the shape of the seeds to the form of the leaves. “As it’s name says, it’s defining feature is the gray bark that envelops it. The plaques grow with such density and stiffness, it can and often dents a normal axe. Getting the seed to it might not be easy, but it is doable.”

“The seed?” Forest asked out loud.

“By the looks of it, you can only retain any plant you touch for a limited time. Taking in the seed of said plant, like with my hemlock rose hybrid just allows you o hold that power for much longer.” When Forest seemed sated by the idea she continued “Following through…”

The pages turned once again and this time settled on another entry. This time it bore the artistic drawing of flower, large and curvy by the looks of it with wrinkled petals that seemed as if they had been put to dry. At first it puzzled Forest, but then Mrs. Vanet continued with her explanation.

“The phoenix bloom. This flower is an odd resilient kind. Only appearing and growing in volcanic areas, this plant is perfectly adapted to survive high temperatures.”

And before forest could ask another question the pages turned and turned, showing out many various plants and herbs that could possibly help, seeing which would catch Forest’s attention. All of them did. There were extreme cases in the other side of the portal, but this was a whole other level. Mrs. Vanet told of a form of water vine that could be stretched long without snapping, of a plant that had a powerful anesthetic that acted in seconds, a plant that emitted a deafening sound when plucked out. There was even a huge creature that belonged to the plant realm rather than the animal one. A mixture of both and feared by many.

“They call it the Ivy hydra… a large beast comprised of vines formed around a cluster. They grow in the wilds deep within the elven glades, not meant to be seen or caught by any humans. These beasts are fierce and grow fast and big. They have what I would coin a perfect regeneration. While far from immortal, they are just tough to kill.”

That one just felt so out of reach yet Forest could always dream as to how it would’ve helped back then.

While the idea of gaining the tools to beat Roland was something was a motivator and possibly something to look up for in this world. Wanting to see the man that condemned him to five years of slavery tied down to a monster in chains. There were some more relevant matters to focus on. “What of the plan to recreate the seed?” Forest asked. If he would would be finding himself searching for the special plants, would that put the other quest to a halt?

Mrs. Vanet paused for a cough and clear her throat. “No, that is still our foremost priority. However, that doesn’t signify we cannot take over a detour. Since we are dealing with plants, we are likely to find some of these within our reach. Should you ever run into trouble, you will be ready.”

There was a small pause as she turned around the pages. “Given the recent events, we will be moving fast on with the next item of the list. A vial containing a special extract. I have already sent a messenger telling the chemist in a frontier city by the edge of the region we will be dropping by in a matter of days, on the way there, we will be passing, if memory serves, a small graywood farm.”

“Farm? I thought you said they couldn't be cut.” Forest muttered.

“I said they can be hard to cut, but of course there is always a way. Fortunately, they will have one of the seeds I will be able to procure for you.”

——————

“Take care, Mrs. Vanet,” Darla said waving her hand at the moving coach that was passing by her side.

“Remember, child, lock the doors while in and after you leave. Also keep your ears peeled for any strangers trespassing the property.” Mrs. Vanet said in her sternness while Forest could easily tell he was meaning well for the little girl. It wasn’t a surprise, after all, Roland had been confirmed around the area. The last thing she or Forest wanted was to find out the man had tracked her down and broken into their place.

Mrs. Vanet waved her hand as if to bid her farewell as the two moved on down the road. “Now, take it easy. The horses will keep on moving forth as long as you don't pull the reins. If you need them to go faster, whip the reins slightly or just tell them to do it. They are pretty smart beasts so they will catch on whatever you want,” Mrs. Vanet instructed. As of today she had opted to allow Forest to do the driving, arguing that, should the need arrive, teaching him how to mobilize would be pretty useful.

“I think I get the gist of it,” Forest agreed as they rode forth.

“Good…” Mrs. Vanet nodded as they rode ahead.

As they continued down the road, silence began to settle in between the two, a rather awkward silence that just put Forest at the edge.

“Are we close?” Forest ventured to speak. “To finishing the seed, I mean.”

“We are…” Mrs. Vanet agreed. “Why do you ask?”

Forest leaned forth as the horses kept on with the path at a tranquil pace, their ears and Forest’s, attentive for danger as the conversation carried.

“It’s just…” Forest muttered, starting to realize how much the small question proposed in a spur of the moment was now starting to bring up much thought on this.

The seed was dug into Ogre’s body, the hole was carved using a dagger and the seed was deposited in it. From there on, suddenly from there on the brute’s body began to convulse as thick roots and vines began to violently pierce out of the skin, ripping through and growing bigger and bigger until making a giant flower completely grow out of the mangled remains of his body. He couldn’t help but shudder at the idea of that happening to a live body.

“It’s just that… the seed worked for me. And perhaps worked a bit too well.” Forest muttered gesturing down at his feminine body, imagining this is the kind of thing Mrs. Vanet seemed to strive. The madame nodded in agreement, taking a bit of pride on her expression as Forest continued “But… the way it worked for me it was so… gruesome and violent. I saw roots piercing through my chest and and bad as the remains of Ogre were basically used to grow the large plant… And back then, I could barely feel a fraction of the sudden mangled outburst. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like for a real life person.”

Mrs. Vanet faded into silence for a moment as in deep consideration. Her expression curdled lightly as her fingers twiddled one another, almost in deep consideration. Every now and then turning her head to look into the woods for a moment before snorting.

Forest wondered if he had done good in asking that out loud. It took a moment before she broke up with a couple of chuckles, slow and cluttered with irony. “I just love this irony,” she said with a small sigh.

“What is it?” Forest asked.

“Remember of the time when I used to chastise you for not being able to think things through? Of jumping to conclusions without making logical leaps?” she sighed “I guess that got the best of me as well.”

“So you…”

“I never thought of the process of the change. I just concentrated on the end result and the means to it. While I was aware of the mangled state of your body, subconsciously, I must’ve brushed the thoughts into the back of my head.” She made a heavy pause “Definitely, the violent germination and growth of the seed would produce heavy internal hemorrhaging and multiple lacerations. A fully healthy man in prime health would be dead after a matter of seconds, even before the seed would start to do its work. The soul would’ve departed from the body by that point…”

“But I wasn’t dead. I was sealed within the body.” Forest ventured.

“An artificial core I would presume, artificially organic and engraved with magical runes. It would work as a vessel and contain your essence.” Mrs. Vanet theorized “That is perhaps the sole reason why it all worked in the first place… Which poses a problem if I seek to use the seed on my person.”

For a moment Forest was concerned that Mrs. Vanet would deem the enterprise as impossible as she would have the right to actually go back on her word and not grant the request.

“So… what will happen then?” Forest asked with a whisper.

Mrs. Vanet shook her head. “This seed is my best project and perhaps the best chance I can get to save myself. I can’t drop this just for the sake of one minor oversight… no matter how much it could be.”

She sighed and leaned back, her head looking back to the sky. While she was rather depressed on the minor oversight of hers, she did sound hopeful when she added. “I will work it out as we progress. I am sure there is a way around it. Now, if you please, let us make haste.”

“Alright, Mrs. Vanet,” Forest agreed slapping the reins and making Maximus and Minus go faster.

********

A wide cavity that was devoid of light. The lair of the necromancer, Roland had been laid there silent up to a couple of days ago, while it’s owner had been out on his ‘vacations’ the place had remained vacant, with only the faint sound of an echo feeding off the noise droplets made when they hit the ground. Now the man was back and the place seemed to have gained a dark aura to it.

“Ah!” A voice broke the silence of the cave and a figure shuffled from the large seat that overlooked the scrolls, notebooks and hundreds but hundreds of vials containing a great variety of potion ingredients, most of which laid depleted. “Coagulant!” He blurted out as he reached at the table, his hand landing on home made mushed pellet of various herbs and ingredients. Without much ceremony, he drew the thing to his mouth and did his best to swallow the foul paste.

His breath steadied and his body began to relax, now that it wasn’t in danger of bleeding out for now. “Damn it…” he muttered as he shuffled on his chair, He felt weak… sick. He hated that. Yet there was nothing he could do about it. As any good field doctor would know, pride would get you nowhere if you are dead from a “flesh wound”. Roland grumbled, shuffling into a more comfortable position on his chair, even if his body felt like tree sap. His body trembled and his stomach was twisted into a knot that he barely knew how to handle it all. Fingers reached up to the crook of his neck just to get a feel of the pulse, make sure he would eventually recover from this. The same hand then moved down onto his basilic vein where the IV tube was hooked up.

“Just… a couple more days…” he muttered, knowing he was being optimistic. His head leaned on the back of the chair as if to look at the empty darkness of his cave’s ceiling. “And here it seemed like a promising weekend,” he thought out loud, letting the echo of the cave be his company. He was certainly feeling like was missing his big slave to lend an ear. Not that Ogre ever answered with anything other than growls and snarls, but at least Roland knew a soul was listening his rambles. He chuckled.

He had spent the last months in the Arwae nu, that is the world on the other side of the portal looking over for a big project… yet before he knew it he began to slack off and basically let the time pass on. There was something about that world that just encouraged wasting one’s time.

Yet there he was, somehow having managed to make it through his stay in the other world keeping a low profile, thing that doesn’t come natural to individuals such as Roland Ethanas. No matter how many people he had felt the urge towards. The urge to demonstrate them how powerful he is.

Yet all the time he stood there he reflected on something. He had always been a man of projects. There was always something to do, something to chase after, something to seek. Now there was just nothing on his plate to get his attention. First it had been creating Ogre and battle testing him, Then it was the destruction of the school of mages, the massacre of the village that killed his father… then it was Elliot’s great enterprise and it was then that it all began to fall apart.

He had felt ready to get back on the metaphorical horse and got himself a ticket back to the Alternate. It was surprisingly easy how much the toll passages omitted when they saw the seal of the guardian headquarters.

Once he set foot on the cobbled stones of the alternate world, Roland grinned devilishly. He was now back in his home turf. Where his lair stood, where the people he knew operated, and where discretion wasn’t the norm. He had a small itch on his body as the ideas began to surge in.

“First… I have to create a new pet. Oh this will be grand,” Roland said with but a small laugh as he traversed the alleys of the city of Firlandis, casting aside the robe he had used to disguise himself and putting himself on something more comfortable. His trade mark ebon trench coat and the sash of belts that tied around his waist, carrying a small surplus of emergency essentials and his mean of self defense: the jagged knife hidden from sight. He hadn’t carried his grimoire with him through the portal as that would’ve been a giveaway of his identity. But the internalized spells he had would have to make due at least until he got back to his lair. Afterall, how many problems could he get into in that simple trip?

Roland’s stomach ached when he laughed at the irony of his memory. “I was blatantly tempting fate,” he muttered as he adjusted himself on his chair, sitting upright which just made the pain on his abdominal area just worse. His fingers traced through the fabric of his tunic, finding over the various holes that had been made in between his arrival to the alternate and reaching his lair.

He snorted softly as he picked up his pen with a trembling hand and took a moment to steady his grip before pulling over a parchment. “Let’s see if I remember this… Always take notes of interest…” Roland mused as he began to trace over lines. The tip of the pen seemed to outline a woman’s figure while making the occasional pause to take some notes on the matter.

He felt invigorated once he made it out of the city. No one seemed to have recognized him as he made his way through. He felt so smart, he descended into hubris without really knowing as he made it through the road.

Roland took the least guarded route towards the woods, one leading towards the west and across a small patch of farmlands. It was then that he spotted a group of mercenaries taking their time getting drunk in a small outdoor tavern by the road. What caught Roland’s attention was the presence of a minotaur in the group, already drunk after three jars of ale. A small idea popped up in Roland’s head. Ogre used to have multiple human hearts, interconnected into a massive pump just to move his large body and as a backup. A minotaur’s heart could easily triplicate that performance.

He walked up to them and already began by kicking the table on them. The men were armed yet Roland didn’t feel that much fear of them. He was fast and nimble and they were too drunk and dumb to actually land a good solid punch. It wasn’t until Roland applied his touch of death straight to the neck of a man that they drew out their weapons and things became more dangerous, yet entertaining for the necromancer. In a matter of seconds, they were all taken down with the exception of the minotaur. With a skilled touch and his scalpel magic, he removed the heart from the still living minotaur. Watching the life ebb from the beasts eyes was something Roland took delight on.

Yet it was then that it happened. She happened. A woman appeared in the middle of the scene. Standing in the middle of the scene, leg’s shaking, sweat running down her brow and a look that just screamed fear. “I underestimated her,” Roland mumbled with a small cough as he made sure of sketching as many of the outstanding features of that woman as he could memorize.

He tried to kill her as if to not leave any witnesses, knowing that there was a chance the guardians would drop by. The girl survived, somehow. Roland had trusted the zombies would get her, even after she picked the rusted axe. Then he had trusted his touch would break her arm, making it easier for the zombies to eat their food. Much to his shock, that never happened as somehow, she managed to walk off broken bones. Roland had felt it many times before, he knew he had broken her bone like a twig yet, a minute later, she was swinging her arm as if it had no problem, even after he used the same skill on her again.

“That is interesting…” Roland muttered as his pen scribbled “Regenerative abilities?” while marking it with a question mark. There were rare creatures that had uncanny healing abilities, yet so many few of them were humanoids. Werewolves could heal up broken bones in a matter of days… but seconds, it’s impossible, at least without any healing magic. And there was no magic involved or Roland would’ve seen it.

That alone was enough to pique Roland’s interest as he increased his efforts. If he could get a hold of that body, of that power to heal. It could be the core of his new Ogre… His grin grew even more when he saw the woman produce what seemed to be chips of bark out of his arm. Grow a stake at the palm of her hand which she then used to pierce the head of one of his servants. Such ability comes only from the fabled dryads of legends. Back when it was just a love story about a satyr falling in love with the daughter of a forest god. As a matter of fact, she could as well be one of the dryads of legend, with her green complexion, elven like features… “Were her leg joints arranged differently?” Roland thought out loud as his hand scribbled the ear on the image, trying to be as faithful to memory as possible.

“What was she?” he mumbled to himself as he drew more of the aspects “Whatever she was, I want her.”

Even when he drove his knife into her heart, she refused to die. Instead, and Roland had to take a pause to feel his chest where the various puncture wounds rested, she grew copious amounts of thorns that pierced through his chest. And in doing so, she somehow ended up injecting toxins into his body. He would’ve been done for hadn’t he acted before the paralysis would set in.

But then again, the ‘temporary solution’ he had to resort to wasn’t nice anyway. He might have played it casually before his victim but the cocktail of herbs he drank basically slowed his pulse to a halt, and would’ve killed him if he hadn’t taken a second last resort potion which would get his body to work overdrive. Just enough to make it back to his lair.

By the time he arrived, both potions were almost starting to wear off and he was already starting to feel the chest pains of the self induced cardiac arrest as well as the aching overworked bones and muscles in his body.

Much to his luck, his lair bore the much needed ingredients to concoct a an antidote for the known poisons, the blood required for an emergency transfusion and the protection of his hideout.

Yet right now there was nothing he could do, and he hated that. The transfusions needed to finish first, then he would have to make sure all toxins had been cleansed from his body before he could even figure out anything. The strange girl was probably dead by now, after all, he had ordered the dead minotaur to end her as she laid weak. No matter how much he wanted to get her remains to examine her, the less people there were to tell the tale the better would be. “Such a waste,” he muttered. “A body with such regenerative capabilities and sylvanmorphic qualities would’ve been an interest experiment…” he shook his head before feeling a pain on his neck muscle, a result of the cocktails. He gritted his teeth and stifled a scream of anger. “Yet, I can only say I am relieved she is dead… Maybe if I contact Mirko I can see if I can acquire the body… Ugh… Once I start feeling… better…”
Heart of the Forest part 12
Hello Everybody. It's been kinda hectic lately and forgot i had this written and  checked (by me, so still expect flaws) This is perhaps, as i would put it a bit of filler here and there between parts of the large story, but i still hope it's good enough.

As always, comments are appreciated.

Cheers.

Previously---malagua.deviantart.com/art/Hea…
Next ---
Loading...
My Special Sister (part 9)

*

“Tess? Tess?” Fred’s voice came out soothing so to wake her.

“Five more minutes,” Tess purred softly, her cheek rubbed against Fred’s skin. Her whiskers tickled his neck as his scent filled her nostrils. Her thick and soft fur made her believe she was wearing her own blanket; every place she leaned onto felt comfortable. Fred shuffled under her and she just tightened her grip around his arm.

“Tess. We’re up,” Fred said softly as he gently moved. “The doctor is waiting.”

“The doctor…” Tess mumbled half in her sleep before snapping awake “The doctor?!” she sat up, almost jumping to her feet as she looked around. That drew the attention of other patients waiting for their turn. Some of them, if not most of them looked at her with disgust and caution, as if she could spread the virus just by breathing the same air as her. “Is it our turn already?” Tess muttered dusting the mental cobwebs off her mind while her hand went reflexively to comb and smooth out the fur on her cheek.

“Yes, we were just called,” Fred said, guiding Tess up on her feet. “Better not leave the doctor waiting.”

She held onto Fred’s arm as she yawned. The nurse jumped back as she caught a sight of Tess’ sharp fangs as they passed by, not that Tess noticed. She was just feeling so drowsy. She knew this and was doing her best to get herself active.

Why am I tired? She found herself thinking, her mind running like the reel of a movie as she pondered. Sleeping in a waiting room was so unlike her. Yet it’s been a really tough week for them. So many things going on from many different angles that at times it became difficult to keep track of what was going on.

The first thing that came to her head was Dr. Westin. Her doctor, former doctor, that was in charge of Tess pregnancy had taken it sourly after losing his famous patient. About a day after their last check up with him, he informed Tess, not as a courtesy, but because the hospital practically demanded him to let Tess know he was submitting his findings to a medical magazine. Tess was not happy about it. One thing to be one of the first taurs in Oregon, but another to be the first known pregnant taur in the world. So, Fred and Tess were quick to call the magazine just to dissuade the editor from accepting the unsolicited information. But despite their effort, the information was so valuable the issue was set to come out by the end of September, within a week or so. The battle was lost, and all Tess could do was prepare for the worst.

“I will have to share this with Casey soon,” she muttered to herself on and on. Regardless of having no idea how the reaction would be, it was best to have the media as an ally rather than being the freakshow.

That was the biggest source of her stress, but it was something that was yet to happen, and not one of the reasons for her exhaustion. Another was her job. At the end of last week, she had just about the best moment in the office since her transformation. She stood up to her boss, Mr. Bell and Cranston’s idiotic plan of having Monica pose as Tess, just because she was a taur. She just couldn’t let that plan slide, note even from her boss, so she made her voice heard. She spoke up and set her foot down. She had all the arguments to win the argument, points Mr. Bell just couldn’t ignore as he always did. In the end she got what she wanted, much to her joy. She would be meeting the famous investor, Mr. Devlin, soon over lunch and make new contacts in her career.

She did call Mr. Devlin to confirm the meeting but had to tell him she was a taur (she hesitated but assumed he was open minded person based on his portfolio). Additionally, Tess spent extra hours in the office every day to prepare the investor’s portfolio for presentation and summary. Tess did what she could to possibly impress him. That wouldn’t go unnoticed for her client and by the company. Some of the time of her extra hours, she was daydreaming her future: a raise, more prestige and maybe working from home, spend more time with her family, specially with the baby on the way.

With the news going public in a matter of weeks, Tess saw no reason as to keep on hiding her pregnancy from her relatives. She started with her Mom and Dad, then they carried the breaking news down the rest of the family tree. Fred’s family did the same. Before long, the married couple were receiving phone calls from relatives with mixed emotions. Some were proud, while others were startled the baby would be a taur. Still, they were all trying their best to be welcoming.

With two people pregnant within the group, Marion and Olivia were all on board of looking out for their friends. Marion was determined to get herself elected godmother of either kid, even though she was already Nick’s. She was always present, doing her best to ease up the piling tension off Tess and Dinah’s shoulders. Olivia, on he other hand, had been reading books about pregnancy and studies recommending the best multivitamins and supplements that might benefit the babies the most. Of course, most of her advices were directed to Dinah since she was having a “human pregnancy”. She was cautious when advising Tess, unsure whether the information would be helpful for her taur body, such as what to take and how much per day. Their meetups would double, as if her friends were trying to squeeze as much Dinah time as possible before she leaves for Europe.

And as if all that wasn’t helpful, Tess was already starting to feel the effects of her pregnancy. Most of the mornings she would wake up with a knot in her stomach that could only be the morning sickness she heard about. She was becoming a bit self-conscious of her body, in particular her rump and the mood swings. She might have not noticed she had been a bit erratic, just what her husband and friends said. She got worried. After all, she brought her hopes up on the pregnancy and this was the farthest she’d ever lasted. She would’ve tried to put up a brave and excited face at the question, but if asked if she was actually scared and worried, she would’ve confessed she was, without consideration. She was afraid that at one point, she would lose the child, flying blindly without a doctor to guide her. Often wanting to cry anguish and joy. Not sure what to take, what to eat, whether should follow her gut and go on a meat diet or a balanced meal, whether or not she should ask Dinah for some of her multivitamins. If she were to say yes, how many should she take as a dosage? Two? Or one and a half? Would those work for her body or not? The anxiety was causing her to lose sleep.

To make things more stressful, there was the search for a new hospital and doctor. Each day of the week she scheduled appointments with potential doctors to take up her case. Everyone of them haven’t been successful and all the stress in Tess’ life was affecting her performance.

“Very well…” The attending doctor said after meeting them. He seemed resolute and stern in his attitude. Professional, was the word that came to Tess’ mind, but then again, she had also thought of Dr. Westin.

Tess eyes wandered around the room as she sat on her hindquarters, shuffling every so often to not fall asleep. She noticed the doctor’s diplomas and certificates hanging on the wall behind him, a usual sign of a status along with pictures of his family. The window’s blinds were open to show off the 23rd Street in the Northwest District. The sky was growing darker while cars outside were switching on their lights during a slight traffic jam. The view from this place just reminded her how far they had gone on their search of a new doctor.

Many doctors turned her down, but the few appointments they had were not really close winners. The first one was a polite denial because of her form and healthcare policies. In the second appointment she was treated as a biohazard. The third appointment was a yes, but it was so far that Tess was seen as a medical science experiment, even the doctor asking to have her eggs for analysis. Tess could only imagine what he would do to her baby.

And that’s how they wound up at the present appointment. Dr. Quinn was a thin man in his fifties, with graying hair and a thick set of glasses. Unlike Dr. Westin, he seemed to be a man of few words. No sooner they entered the room, he merely asked them to sit down and asked a couple of quick questions.

“Mrs. Fritz,” Dr. Quinn said in a monotonous tone after a rather long pause, or at least it felt long. Was she starting to dose off again? Tess thought for a moment before the doctor continued his talk. “I have reviewed your file, even brought it up to the board. It wasn’t easy.” He made a small pause, probably for suspense “We are willing to accept your case.”

Weight was lifted off Tess’ shoulders. “The hospital is more than willing to provide the guidance and help for this situation. However…”

And just like that, the weight returned.

“Because of your particular condition, the delicacy of the situation and the reputation you now seem to hold. The hospital is willing to take care of you… but not the baby.”

“Are you suggesting an ab-” Tess said, only to be interrupted by the doctor. Thankfully, she wasn’t sure if she could even say those words.

“What? Why?” Fred muttered.

“There are too many unknowns and so many elements that could make the pregnancy process dangerous. What were to happen if your time as a taur would finish before you could deliver. And that is the least of it. What would happen to the hospital’s reputation if we didn’t provide the proper prenatal care? It is a risk we can’t afford, considering how well known you are.”

Fred looked at Tess as they held hands for a moment. Once again, the possibility of something going very wrong because of the pregnancy. It was something she had shared her concerns with Fred, imagining what would happen if she was carrying a nine month old taur baby just when she changed back. Just thinking of it made Tess shudder. Would it be safe to keep up with it? Would the baby be okay? Too many questions to ask and yet none had a clear-cut answer that she could hold to.

“So, the board does believe that, for the best of all those involved, the pregnancy should be terminated to avoid any risks. That is the only reason as to take you in as our patient. We will provide free process and include the cost of follow up checks just to make sure you are save.” The doctor kept on speaking through Tess and Fred’s silence.

Even so, Tess felt this could be different. This was already a huge difference when she was told that she couldn’t have kids. She squeezed Fred’s hand and got up before the doctor finished his spiel as to the costs and rates.

“Thanks but I’m not doing it,” she said, her eyes sternly glaring down at the doctor, almost doing her best not to let her lip curls and growl. It was Fred’s hand holding her that prompted her to relent.

Dr. Quinn was rather startled by the sudden answer. “I don’t think this is the appropriate decision…” he began, “I can assure you this is for the best of interest. The hospital will rather have one living patient rather than risk your life for a dangerous element.”

Dangerous element? Does he mean my kid? “Is there a way to get the services provided without having to abort the child?” Tess asked. Fred was now standing at her side with the same glare at him.

A long pause was followed by the answer “I don’t think so. The board was pretty clear on this matter. I’m sorry,” he said.

“Very well… thank you doctor.” Tess said as she held Fred’s hand. The two were already making their way out of the doctor’s office.

“You are making a mistake,” he spoke up no sooner than Tess hand touched the doorknob. “There are few hospitals in this city that will take in taurs and are just as cautious as ours.”

In a way, Tess knew he was right. This one was the most expensive hospital on their list, and as such the last resort. Tess and Fred exchanged looks as they walked out of the room and into the hallway. What would they do now? They would have to travel to another city to get the proper care, or even the tolerance for taurs.

They quickly made their way over to their parked car. Tess prepared to endure at least an hour worth of traffic stuffed in the back seat, yet that seemed to be the least of her concerns right then.

“I’m sick of hospitals,” she muttered.


**********

“Fi, don’t rub your nose on your fur,” Mom chastised playfully while looking in the rear view mirror. “Doctor Cleos wasn’t exactly joking when she said she could put a doggie cone on you.”

Her daughter reeled her hand back as soon as her name was spoken and giggled. She adjusted herself in the taur seat of her car, her finger close to the release button of her seatbelt, and her tail swishing in anticipation while coming back home.

“So Fi, are you going out exploring while I prepare lunch?”

The little snow leopard taur thought for a moment, finger under her chin. She was already done with her homework, so she could go out and have some fun traversing the forest, maybe even drop by the junkyard again and explore a bit more. Maybe take a souvenir with her as well, if it was clean enough. Though she remembered seeing several neatly stacked magazines there and wondered if Nick would want them.

However, today she just didn’t feel like going out. Instead she was looking forward to spend time with her brother. Weekends used to be their time together.

“Nah, I think I’ll play inside today,” Fiona smiled just to have her Mom’s hand gently stroking her ears. “Maybe play some games with my brother.”

“Very well, sweetie. That’s one less worry. And I am sure your brother would appreciate it as well.” she said just for Fi to giggle in response.

Mom drove up to the parking spot around the house before turning off the engine. Fiona was quick to unbuckle her seatbelt skip over the modified seat and out of the car.

“Daddy!” She greeted as she entered the house through the kitchen, having already seen his car in the driveway.

“Fi, my little kitty,” Dad said, Fiona tackled him, wrapping her arms around his waist and her tail wagging happily. “How was the university?”

“Good!” Fiona chirped as her as Dad reached down to stroke her head right behind the ear.

“She is always happy whenever she goes into the university,” Mom said after coming through the back door. “Dr. Cleo says she is growing up just fine. She doesn't seem to need any orthopedics and she seems to be eating well. Despite the full on sweet diet she seems to be carrying on.” Fiona to stop her purr and give her an innocent cat like grin.

Mom smiled as she checked the clock in the kitchen. “I got here just in time, perhaps a bit early, to start off cooking lunch.” She rolled her sleeves up as she browsed the day’s menu she made the week before. Fiona watched her mom cook. She had tried to help her once, while her pancakes were “spot on” as her dad said, she ran into a bit of trouble with the maple syrup. From there on, Fi would always have to wear gloves, hairnet and mask when in the kitchen to that it dissuaded her from cooking anymore.

Snow leopards aren’t supposed to eat their meat cooked, she thought to herself.

“I think that’s all… Fiona, could you ask Nick for help? We’re running a bit low on soy sauce and rice,” Mom said as after checking the grains before taking a large steak out of the fridge.

“Okay!” Fiona said with a small giggle. She was heading to his room anyway.

“Fi, wait a moment,” Dad called out after Fi left the kitchen, but she did not stop before the stairs.

“What is it?” Mom asked.

“Just so you know. Nick has some friends over from school on a group project in his room.”

“Oh dear. I completely forgot about it. Who is it?”

“Dylan and Janice,” Dad clarified even though to Fi, she didn’t really know who the were. Her ears just perked and her tail swished with curiosity. Her brother had brought friends over from school? What were they like? How did they look? What project were they working in? Fi was particularly curious about the girl, Janice. So far the only girl closer to her age she knew of was Tina. Meeting some of her brother’s classmates drove her curiosity.

Without losing much time, she silently padded upstairs to her brother’s room and was actually about to open the door before she found it locked. Her ears dropped at that as she tapped on the wooden surface.

**********

“Nick? Are you in there?” Called a voice sweet enough to make any adult fawn. Nick was quick to act.

“Yes, but we’re kinda busy,” he answered, remaining attentive, wondering what else to say if she insisted.

“Can I come in, pretty please!?” Fiona said as she started knocking on the door several more times. Janice and Dylan were looking at the door too. Nick was close to opening the door or raising his voice when his mom interjected from downstairs.

“Fiona, leave your brother alone. He’s busy.”

That seemed to do the trick as Nick heard Fi sigh, “Yes, Mom.” She padded away from the door. Nick took a relieved breath while his project partners noticed the reaction.

“Nick, I have lunch for you and your friends. It’ll be ready in about an hour.”

“Alright, Mom!” Nick called out through the door.

“What was all that about?” Janice asked curiously.

“Lunch.”

Janice rolled her eyes “No, I meant the one behind the door. Fiona, right?”

“That was my sister. She’s a bit annoying,” Nick said.

“Oh…” Janice said. Her brow furrowed for a moment, as if trying to understand his reasoning but shrugged. “I suppose that makes sense? I do have an older sister and now I wonder if that’s how she sees me.”

Dylan snorted “I have two older brothers,” he said, not in the mood to explain further.

“Really? Are they in our school?” Nick asked, somewhat glad he was able to shift the conversation away from Fi.

“None of your business… but yeah, one is a senior year and the other is in college. They’re annoying to say the least.” Dylan grumbled as he adjusted himself in the bed to get a better look at Nick’s computer screen where they were gathering information.

“So, shall we get to work?” Janice said “We’re almost over.”

“Sounds fine,” Nick nodded, somewhat eager to get this done especially now that Fi was home. He wondered if there was a way of keeping her from running into his classmates, but had to worry about it later.

**

“Can you do this for me, Cassey?” Tess asked on the phone. She hated to do this but she figured this might as well help.

“Don’t worry, I completely understand. And congratulations, Tess! This is big news, both personal at a large scale even. I am not surprised you want my secrecy,” the reporter said with her cheerful demeanor.

“So I…”

“You have it. I won’t tell anyone else about this before you.”

“Thanks, Cassey.” She smiled on her end of the line. Knowing that the reveal of her pregnancy was right around the corner, she had to tell Cassey Koi, especially since the woman was blending well within her circle of friends.

**********

Fiona pouted as she walked around the house, looking for something to entertain her. She was close to calling Nick a stupid head for not letting her into his room, but her mom had a freakish sense of hearing.

She wanted to know more about Nick’s school and meet his friends but he didn’t sound keen on letting her near them. “Now that I think of it,” Fiona muttered spotting her basketball in the backyard. As she walked to it she said to herself “Nick doesn’t really want me around his friends, does he?” The realization of that made her ears drop as she thought back of the times Nick invited people over. Most of the time he would go at their places rather than letting them come. Was it because of her? She thought before shaking her head as she let the ball roll closer to the garage and by the thick tree Fi used as a scratching post.

Her eyes followed from the tree’s trunk to the top. The tree was thick and had a lot of thick branches spreading in every direction. The bark was coarse and rough, perfect for Fi’s claws. It grew right alongside the house, with some branches growing close to the wall that Dad often trimmed. As she looked further, one of the branches was by a window.

Nick’s bedroom window

An idea began to sprout in Fiona’s head. “Could I?” She mused. Her intrepid personality saw it as a challenge rather than considering the drawbacks, as she never tried anything like this before.

Standing on her hind legs, she rested her paws on the bark and clenched her toes just so her claws could sprout at full length, digging into the bark. While not sharp, they seemed to do the trick on the rough surface.

“Okay, okay, just think of this. You’ve seen videos of it many times,” she muttered, her hind legs tittering in anticipation as she used her hands to cling off the bark. “Quick moves and claws out. Cats always fall on their feet,” she said forcing herself to give a nervous smile before she jumped up.

**********

“It doesn’t work like that,” Nick clarified.

“It does, I’ll tell you,” Dylan said. “I know it first hand.”

“No way. You can’t get infected just because a taur sneezed on you. Even though he had yet to experience the taur transformation, with the many visits at the university with his sister, he could be considered an expert in the whole group.

“How would you know? If I remember well, I don’t think you have turned into a taur yet.”

“Have you?” Nick countered.

Dylan stuttered for a moment, giving a small glare at Nick before saying “Yes, I have.”

“Guys! Guys!” Janice interjected standing between the two boys, arms outstretched keeping them from fighting. “We slipped in a tangent here. The topic at hand is the early onset of the virus, can we get back to it?”

Janice sat back on the bed, as her eyes briefly passed by the open window, missing the shadow that moved behind the curtains where a gray figure with black spots looked in with a sense of childish fascination and an amused smile.

**

“Cassey! Just who I wanted to see!” The editor greeted the reporter as she dropped into the office after lunch

“Hello, Walter,” Cassey answered, where her overweight boss was leaning up against, grinning and bearing a smug look. That was already triggering Cassey’s intuition alarms that there might be something amiss, even when Walter never greets her like that. They were at odds with each other. The only times both of them would “get along” was when there was a party or a special event.

Cassey looked around. No balloons nor cake.

“What is it?” She asked putting her purse on her desk.

“Oh, I just had the most peculiar conversation with a friend of mine working for a magazine,” Walter said.

“Is he the one that deals the adult material?” Cassey joked, which made her editor frown. That’s more like it, she thought.

“No. This one works for a prestigious science and health magazine. He basically gave a sneak peek of an article to be appearing in their next issue. Quite a rather interesting development that has to do with the latest source of gossip. One of the first taurs in Oregon.”

“What?” Cassey thought while keeping a straight face.

“Apparently, Mrs. Theressa Fritz, is pregnant. The first pregnant taur, in the world,” Walter said that last part with a dramatic pause and tone just emphasize the news, and even annoy her. Cassey was close to giving out she already knew the secret, but managed to gain her composure just a minute later.

“Wait, what? No way!” She said, just enough surprise in her words to get Walter to believe her reaction.

“Precisely. The magazine apparently received the report by one of Mrs. Fritz doctors. He documented that she was pregnant since day one of her transformation, even confirming the fetus was growing with nonhuman characteristics. This. Is. Big, Cassey. We have to make a note on this! Work on your magic, get an interview from her, the world must know!”

“I don’t think Mrs. Fritz will agree,” Cassey said, measuring her words.

“Why wouldn’t she? We have a sort of implicit exclusivity with her. We’re the only news chain she talks to and everyone else knows it thanks to you. I have no idea how you did it but I don’t argue the results. If there is news around her, it is our duty to get them out to the world and be the first. Weekly interviews of her pregnancy will need to be met and when that little freak is born, we will spend hours with her just to get the latest exclusives. If kittens and babies are cute, I’m sure a baby taur might draw up the ratings, even an internet viral tyraid. Just imagine it, Cassey. We might do a collaboration with the CDC.”

Cassey was staring at her editor with an appalled face. “Are you out of your mind? There’s no way she would agree to that. It’s practically inhuman.”

“And what is she?” Her editor snorted. This was a usual answer from him, just spew whatever came to his head to counter her. She led it slide before, but for Tess and her family, this felt way too sensitive.

“She won’t agree to it. Not even I would agree to.”

“We have an exclusive agreement with her. We can just ask her, just like we manage to get the interview with her.”

“No,” Cassey stated, much to the editor’s dislike.

“Sorry, Cassey, but as the editor, this has to happen. You will ask for an interview with her. If you aren’t willing then I’ll ask another reporter to do the job.”

“Correction, she has an exclusivity agreement with me and just me, not the cameraman, not the team and not with you. I won’t go on with this plan if it implies making her more of a circus freak of the country and piling more stress than she already is under.”

“You’ve grown too close with her,” the editor chastised, though for Cassey, it didn’t matter. “The board and the people want this interview to happen. Don’t you see? They will want to know what happens now and what happens after.

“I can’t go on. Putting it plain and simple, I won’t.”

“I am ordering you as your boss then,” Walter said, but Cassey was already going for her purse, producing her press pass and unceremoniously dropping it on the desk.

“Fine. Good luck getting that interview,” Cassey said with a winner smile.

“You know you’re burning off your career,” Walter stuttered as if to try to dissuade her. “I will make sure no one hires you!”

But his threats didn’t shake her. She just shrugged.

“I was considering a change of career anyway. I am so much better suited for many other things.” Cassey shook her head as she left the office, heading over to her desk to collect her belongings.

**********

Fiona giggled as she adjusted herself on the thick branch. She was able to get a minor glimpse from inside the room, at the same time, being out of view from her brother and friends.

Her ears remained perked as she overheard their conversation, trying to picture what school and group projects were like. She, occasionally took a small peek into before hiding back before she was noticed. So far it was going smoothly, though it wasn’t long before she found herself bored of the experience, or at least remaining perched on the tree branch.

“I guess I should go down,” she muttered to herself, figuring she learned enough and that her nose started picking up her mom’s cooking and already feeling hungry.

“I’ll ask Nick about his friends later…,” she said as she backed away, but finding her rear end pressing against the tree and her footing lacking against. How was she supposed to dig her claws on the tree on the way down? Realizing that just made the ground seem more distant than before. She just didn’t think it through.

“Uh oh…” Fiona said with a short sad catlike mewl.
My Special Sister part 9
Sorry for the delay in this case. I will try to make these posts more regular if i can get my focus back on.
We find out more of Tess' struggles to work out her pregnancy with more of Fi's present hijinks.

As usual, any comment is appreciated,

Previously --- malagua.deviantart.com/art/My-…
Loading...
Chapter 11: Stretching Favors

“Are you awake?” Said an amused voice, almost tauntingly, close to his ear just as Forest began to regain consciousness. All the events of the night before came crashing down to him like an avalanche. Trish’ recital, the shortcut through the alley. The encounter with the man bearing unnatural powers. His daughter screaming for him as her mother carried her awake. “Are you awake?” Roland asked, this time his breath closer before feeling a couple of taps on his cheek.

Forest reacted as it all clicked in his head, the kidnap, the lightbulbs exploding their way as the stranger came closer. The pain of being hit by a lighting and having his arm broken just by a simple tap. It had been all real. It all happened! His first action was to violently throw his body back seeking to put distance between him and the stranger. Before he could even make a whole turn, his back hit the side flat bars of his prison.

His leg had a lump that was killing him and so was his limp arm. “So then, you are awake,” his captor, Roland seemed to grin at his struggle His expression crooked slightly, bearing a slasher smile, even as he didn’t even seem to be trying to be threatening. It was the twisted glee of kid gazing at a new toy with the sole intent on breaking it.

“I-I have no idea who are you or what do you want… I just ask you to please, let me go!” Forest quickly demanded as his eyes scouted the surroundings. He was in a cage, that much he could tell by the iron bars pressing against his back, and the world seemed darker than he remembered, the walls were jagged and irregular, making no effort to hide the fact that it was a cave. Furniture was present, but it was arranged in the form of a lab, with several tables covered with unsorted papers, vials and tools, books filling a shelf and pale light from the outside piercing through a skylight.

Forest tried to move just to feel an agony in the back of his legs where his severed tendon kept on stretching the muscular tissue. It was impossible to walk. “Shit,” Forest muttered under his breath as he used his good arm to pull himself up.

“Let you go? I am afraid you can’t walk, quite literally,” Roland mused as he backed away and just walked out of the way back to his table, letting the cage open, as if taunting Forest to make an attempt to escape.

He did make an attempt though, relying on just one arm to move forth proved difficult, his other arm was dragged across the floor, just making him feel the bones’ friction and the severed tendon in his leg was just enough to halt him every time he attempted to move. “What are you doing?” he sputtered, unsure if he was drooling or bleeding in the dark. The place was so grim, secluded and damp, he could only gaze at the man standing under the spotlight.

Roland returned not long after and quickly tossed something at his Forest’s reach, just within the light from his study table. A pen and a piece of paper.

“What is this?” Forest asked distrusting as he reached for both items.

“I want you… to write a letter,” Roland said turned a switch around and lit up a lantern that hung by the wall, just enough to cast a light into the place. “If you can manage to convince me… then I will let you go.”

Roland’s world had a devious undertone to them. Forest knew that, he knew there was something really wrong with those words yet he could only cling to the faint hope they seemed to bring…

“And you’ll let me go?” Forest asked.

“I will let you go,” Roland simply answered.

“My arm is broken,” Forest said. He was already imagining this was bound to be a trick question.

Roland knelt down and rested both hands on the broken forearm. He muttered a couple of words Forest could barely understand yet there was little if anything he could do to resist before a faint white glow began to emanate from his palms. What if was he doing? How could he possibly make this worse? He wondered as his arm began to go numb.

And just like that, the pain was gone. Roland dusted his hands against his clothes and walked away “There we go, now you can write.”

“What do you want?” Forest asked as he flexed his arm, feeling the numbness gone and now replaced with the natural refreshed feeling of his limb, as if it had never being broken, not even the lingering phantom of pain. “What do you want from me?”

“I the essence of you,” Roland said ominously “I want that what makes you be you. That what makes you move.”

The answer felt unsatisfactory, or at least if it was, Forest didn’t wished to pay attention. The challenge seemed clear in his head. He had to convince Roland to let him go through a letter. Did that made sense? Forest asked himself at one point, but the subject was quickly dropped as he tried to write his will.

There was a silence as Roland turned around and treaded his way over to one of the tables, one that sat under the beam of light, that seemed to house a large set of lumps that made Forest imagine there were a camel was lying underneath the blanket. From where Forest was, he couldn’t tell what it was, but as Roland began to work on it, he began to hear the familiar sound of medical tools at work in surgery, clanking against the metal tray.

“And do not try to escape as you write. You are not in your world anymore,” He said with a warning tone. The first of many times he would remind it to him ever so often as time went on. “You won’t get far without running into me again.”

———

The dream seemed to stretch and slowly die down as the reality began to settle in. Once again, Forest found himself sleeping on the hard surface… Too akin to his dream to give him rest, but with the difference of the comfort of a blanket on him. What happened? Where he was? He thought, his memories were but a jumbled from the dream recollection, making it difficult to tell what was real and what was not.

A door opened, with the racking of the iron bars and the creak of the hinges. Forest’s ears twitched reflexively as someone entered the room, bringing him much closer to the world of the awake than before. “Wake up, Forest…” said Mrs. Vanet’s voice.

And then, he remembered the last thing he saw, the large reanimated minotaur suddenly going his way with the clear intent to stomp his head. His reaction was to quickly sit up with the intent of rolling out of the way.

“Forest, calm down.” Mrs. Vanet reassured, her bony hands quickly gripping for his arm to keep him from acting.

His eyes quickly scanned from side to side. Evidently he wasn’t in the middle of the carnage anymore but back in a cellroom and one that seemed to feel somewhat familiar. The walls were made of sand colored bricks, of course it was difficult to tell, with just the light of the street lamps pouring in through the window so high it was close to the ceiling. The other end of the bore a simple set of bars that comprised the door of her habitat, which right now stood wide open, with a guard distrusting looking their way.

“Wha-what happened?” Forest blurted out, steadying herself as she immediately reached to prod down at herself. Her body was still marred with dry blood, but the bruises and injuries he sustained in the fight where gone. His hand reached to his chest only to find but smooth skin where Roland’s knife had been plunged, right under the… breasts, jutting inwardly at the bottom of his ribcage, evidently aiming for his heart.

“You are at the guardian’s headquarters.” Mrs. Vanet explained, prying Forest’s hands off his chest.

“I am?” Forest muttered, certainly the had just been leaving the city when it all came to happen. The sight of the thrashed tavern, the sounds of battle and agony and the overall stench of death that seemed to fill the up the environment. It wasn’t long before he was able tell what happened, know what was a long time memory and a reality. “I… I saw him… I saw the man who is responsible for making me a…”

“No word of it here, Forest,” Mrs. Vanet quickly said. “Right now, I have the permission of the leader of the Guardian fort to get you out. The faster we leave, the better for everyone.”

“Yes,” Forest muttered as he pulled himself up on his feet. The more he recalled about the scene, the more he realized he realized there was something really off about this woman. She claimed to have been a medic once, a person who respected life and tried to preserve it yet he could barely believe this was the same woman that told him to ignore what he saw.

“I have permission to get you out, I don’t wish to wait to see how much it will take before the other guardians find away around them.”

“You don’t trust them, do you?” Forest muttered.

“Now it’s not the time for that,” Mrs. Vanet barely deigned herself to say as she picked the blanket Forest had been clinging onto at the time she woke up “Use this. You have blood all over.”

Forest didn’t answer, instead he did as told and wrapped himself, covering the spots that were marred with blood before setting out. The more he thought about the situation the more he began to realize how he had made it out of it alive.

“The guardian’s saved me, didn’t they?” he muttered, thinking those were words he probably would never imagine himself saying out loud, even less with a feminine voice as his new body.

Yet as they passed by the courtyard, making their way to the exit. It was dark in the middle of the night, with the waning moon incomplete over the sky and yet the place seemed to be brimming with soldiers that clung to old habits. It was almost like being in the middle of a medieval castle as some of the soldiers lit up braziers along the edge of the wall and others took their time to train out there in the middle of the night for a sparring session.

Forest couldn’t help but try to feel thankful for the magical police of this land yet at the same time, that did little to was away the fear he felt whenever he was close to any of the men in blue armor. All she could think of was the fading but still vivid memory of the guardians attacking Ogre over and over and while he couldn’t feel the attacks physically, they did leave a mark on his soul. Every time Ogre suffered, something felt ill and pain within him.

And now, as Forest passed by the yard over to the front gate, he could tell how the soldiers were looking at him. With a spiteful expression as if they didn’t want him to leave because he had done something terrible, yet at the same time, they didn’t seem to want him around. What was it all about? And how could Mrs. Vanet do something like that.

They walked past the gate where a buffed man holding a long sword stood guard. He let his sword tilt to the side to block their way to the exit and looked down at Mrs. Vanet with a defiant look. The old lady though, didn’t fall for it as Forest did. “Step aside,” she almost commanded. The man awaited for a moment and relented, pulling his blade away as the two walked over to the dark.

“That man,” Mrs. Vanet muttered as she oriented Forest over to the carriage, a pair of lone lanterns that were shinning in a field rather far from the Guardian headquarters. Just how distrustful was Mrs. Vanet of the organization? Forest wondered as she continued/ “That was a Paladin. One that has always voiced his opposition to my presence. He was really close to going against the orders of his lieutenant.”

“Mrs. Vanet,” Forest found himself talking, and now that the words were already out, it just became easier to speak the rest of the question. “Why don’t you trust the guardians?”

“I don’t trust anyone anymore. The guardians, though, even as they are doing their job I can’t bring myself into discussing some matters with them unless absolutely imperative.” Her pace was slow and calmed, now that they were outside the fort there was no real to hurry so she picked up a pace suitable for a conversation. “I used to work with them. I healed their injuries and wounds. I saved their lives and when I need help of them as persons, they turn me down as if nothing had ever happened,” she snorted before sighing to admit “It is only after a great calamity that I managed to learn who is trust worthy and who isn’t. The list is comprised of… very few people. At least one of those is in a power position within the guardians. The rest of the organization, though. I know they are corrupt.”

“Thank you for bailing me out,” Forest muttered, admittedly he wasn’t sure what might’ve come to happen to him if they’d discovered his abilities. Would they put him over to the dissection table to try to figure out how he manages to create, control and absorb plants? Utilized him as a tool like Roland had?

“I had to get into the fort just before the team of healers could arrive. I had to burst into a meeting where all the looks easily turned against me and I had to practically strong arm a man into letting you go. You are a relevant witness of the event that took place and also suspected to be some sort of disease carrier. Evidently the guardians are not happy with my interruption,” she said as they carefully stepped around the field. “I can at least hope you take into account how much of a sacrifice and effort I am putting on helping you next time you take the completely idiotic decision of not listening to me.”

Just like that, Mrs. Vanet’s voice became poisonous and Forest was unable to keep himself from reacting. “Listening to you? There was people in danger over there?!”

“And it was not your job to intervene,” Mrs. Vanet said dryly stopping to throw a glare in Forest’s way “It’s the guardians who should’ve been there. You couldn’t have done anything.”

“Yet I managed to stand my ground against the enemies.”

“And how many people did you save?” Mrs. Vanet snorted. “You charged right in where there was no one to save. All the mercenaries were dead by the time the guardian’s arrived and the person behind them, Ethanas, the necromancer had long fled before they arrived.”

“How do you know this?” Forest asked.

“I got the briefing from the member in the force,” Mrs. Vanet snorted. “Be as it may be, the guardians claim they were unable to get a lead on Ethanas.”

“But… h-he shouldn’t be able to run, I poisoned him with hemlock…” Forest muttered as he recalled what happened right after he delivered the massive dose of the poison. Roland took out some sort of herbal concoction and quickly downed it. Claimed it would delay the effects, but even so…

“That was probably ineffective.” Mrs. Vanet muttered.

“How can you be so sure?” Forest frowned. He could at least hope he had managed to slow down Roland, and that the police might have caught up with him. Oddly enough, if that were the case, it wouldn’t feel as rewarding as he imagined.

“A meager poison won’t stop someone who calls himself the necromancer,” Mrs. Vanet shook her head.

“At least I tried to help,” Forest argued, finding Mrs. Vanet’s condescending tone just as irking as they day they first talked.

“Once again you are charging into situations not thinking about it or the consequences,” the old lady shook her head in disappointment. The message seemed obvious “Haven't you learned anything?” she might as well have said but instead went into details. “You rushed into the situation against the unknowns. You tried to face off a man who isn’t only the destroyer of many lives but cataloged as a monster even by subhuman standards. How did you think it was going to turn out? Were you clinging to the hope that your body was just enough?” Mrs. Vanet’s tone began to rise up sternly in a level of anger he hadn’t seen on her before.

Forest didn’t answer. It was a reflex, he would’ve said, the need to help others, yet the answer might have not sat well with Mrs. Vanet. She just carried on.

“To become master of the death, Ethanas had to learn to become master of life. Without a doubt, no doubt a poison, and a rather common one at that, won’t work against the likes of him.”

“But what about the men.” Forest began but was quickly interrupted by Mrs. Vanet.

“What about them?” she retorted “You mean the guardians? Either the man outsmarted them or they just let him go.” And with that she merely climbed onto the carriage where Maximus and Minus were more than happy to greet up her owner, thing often Forest found puzzling given Mrs. Vanet’s scornful attitude. “Now get up, we have to get back to the cottage.”

Forest looked up at her with a sense of indignation as he climbed up on the passenger’s seat in silent protest. Mrs. Vanet didn’t take her eyes off he fort though, not as a silhouette entered in their range of sight.

It was a man that had just walked up into the view of the lamps. His skin black as charcoal and his hair silvery white. He was clad in a rather elegant cloth robe that bore blue and black colors that seemed to strangely go along with the tone of his skin. Forest could easily tell that was a drow elf, even though they were elves, he had more intimidating memories of their kind.

This one in particula thr he recalled, but not from his time as a monster but rather his first capture to the hands of the Guardians.

“Efraim…” Mrs. Vanet greeted.

“Narcissa… What is the meaning ofis?” He asked, almost demandingly.

“I thank you for your aid back then-” Mrs. Vanet began to say but her tone didn’t seem to hold the appropriate sentiment for an apology.

“Spare me the empty appreciation, Narcissa,” the man, Efrain, muttered with palpable discontent. Though he seemed to be maintaining a calmed demeanor, it was starting to crack. He stood by the side of the carriage. For a moment, Forest just imagined Mrs. Vanet just whipping the horses to move on but she didn’t.

“What were you trying to do by bursting into a mission debriefing just like that. Do you have any idea of the situation you have laid down on me just by entering like that and taking away a key witness of the activities of a wanted criminal?” His voice quickly and markedly.

Mrs. Vanet was unshaken by his words, nor seemed to feel regretful, but instead rose up to the confrontation with an argument of her own. “I was trying to keep this from escalating. Do you have any idea as to what would’ve happen should the team of healers had arrived on the scene?”

“I have an idea, or I would have had I known the sole witness of the attack was your personal experiment.” He briefly turned to look at Forest for a moment and utter “No offense.”

“Um, none taken,” Forest muttered almost automatically.

“But it was neither the worse time to show up and make a demand, Narcissa. Do you have any idea how it looks like when you force me to order my men out of an important meeting just so you can ask me to release her before you start forcing my hand? My men are already starting to think I am taking bribes, with this being the second time you show up and she walks free,” he said pointing at Forest.

“I couldn’t allow myself to be overheard by any other person.”

“Because the Guardian’s are corrupt?”

“Efraim… I trust you but…”

“…Not even I have any idea as to what you are up to and that just makes helping you all the more difficult,” Talos added, his eyes moved over to Forest for moment, he was thinking of something, almost choosing his words. “You are a woman of secrets and little trust now, Narcissa. I don’t even know what to make of you anymore. I respect you and wish I could help you in whatever way I can if you would just tell me what you are planning.”

Mrs. Vanet looked down at Talos in silence for a moment as he stood within reaching distance of her, but in turn forced herself to look away. “I cannot. I just can’t involve anyone else. I do appreciate the sacrifices you have made for me up until now.”

“That is… sad,” Efraim muttered stepping back. “I had always trusted you and had at least hoped you would shade some light on what you have been up to. At least… this way I can know where do we stand.”

“Efraim…” Mrs. Vanet began but quickly trailed off as the man raised his hand.

“I did not just came over to offer you a lending hand as a friend… but also to speak to you as a lieutenant of the guardians. While I will be indebted with you for saving my life once during the war, and regardless of all the good you once did. I will not allow you to keep twisting my arm and forcing me to ruin my career. This will be the last time I put my debt with you over my role as the lieutenant of the guardians.”

“Trust me, I…” Mrs. Vanet began.

“Trust you? How can I trust you if you don’t even trust me to tell me what you are up to? That ends here.”

“No, you can’t be…” Mrs. Vanet muttered.

“From here on out, I won’t be allowing you free reign in the fort nor will I bail you nor ‘Forest’ out of detainment,” Efraim spoke crystal clear. “If you ever need my help, I will be willing to offer, but don’t force me to bend the rules a third time…” And with that he turned around and walked out of the range of the lantern’s light, slowly disappearing into the dark, his skin almost blending perfectly and his hair slowly fading and soon it was as if they were all alone in the middle of the carriage.

“Fine!” Mrs. Vanet yelled out loud, getting up on her feet, much to Forest’s surprise “I don’t need you! I can handle all this on my own! *cough* I don’t need the help of the corrupted guardians! *cough* Turn your back on me as well, like they did, like *cough* every *cough* one! *couch* *cough*” Her voice dissolved into coughs as she fell back on the driver’s seat of the carriage as she coughed wildly.

Forest’s instinctive reaction was to rest his hand on Mrs. Vanet’s back, but the lady violently turned her back on him as she continued. With the message clear, Forest just waited for her to clear her lungs.

Without saying anything, she gave Forest a small glare at him, almost as if thinking this was all his fault for acting brash before grabbing the reins and slapping the horses just to get them running.

“What was all that about?” Forest muttered trying to think of the consequences. What was she hiding? She understood the risk of trusting the Guardians as he remembered, that, when being the big brute beast known as Ogre, he attended meetings in which Roland talked with crooked cops, but the man, Efrain, the lieutenant seemed be a good man, why wasn’t she willing to speak to even him?

Now, if the guardians ever captured him, he would find himself serving time in a magical prison… with that body. He could barely imagine what it would be like to be behind the bars. But it wasn’t just that… he began to wonder what would happen if Mrs. Vanet would be able to uphold her promise?

————

The following days at the cottage were different.

Darla dropped by for a visit the next day yet found the ambiance of the place rather somber from the get go. Forest couldn’t bring himself unable to smile at her presence. The woods suddenly became a dark place where Roland seemed to lurk. He was already starting to worry about Darla though was at least reassured to know she knew how to get around, being a part squirrel and at that.

Ever since the discussion with Efraim, the lieutenant, Mrs. Vanet had become more of a recluse than usual, not even going down to perform Forest’s exams at that. The argument had hit her hard, it seemed for some reason, yet Forest couldn’t say he disagreed with the man. Mrs. Vanet had always been secretive, it was hard to defend her when she refused to be open about her plans. For the first time, Forest felt pity for the old woman in the second floor.

Darla took it to herself to try to lighten up the mood in the cottage, so she began to clean about in her earnest, the eight year old did her best to try to clean up the place and even going as far as to restore the other wings while making attempts to get Forest to smile, thing he appreciated the gesture wholeheartedly specially when he saw how much effort the little girl put to it. So whenever he could, he would play around with her, tell her stories of his world as a way of distraction. It helped them both.

Even so, Forest found himself unable to shake off meeting of his tormentor off his head. Even though he had managed to survive unscathed, he still considered it a defeat,  after all he passed out in the middle of the fight. Being rescued by the guardians was what Forest had come to consider as a lucky strike yet at the same time, knowing that Roland was at his larges in this world made him evidently uneasy.

He always knew that Roland was alive somewhere. Probably back in his lair or out doing for some job. He knew the necromancer wouldn’t go down easily yet, for the past month, that had somehow felt like a far away problem. Now, seeing him and fighting him had made it real. The stab Forest received on his chest had been a painful proof of it. He just was lucky his new body managed to heal the wound, not letting it touch his heart… or whatever he was supposed to have.

So, as a way of preparing himself, Forest began to practice with his new body, trying to develop skills he could have yet still haven't managed to tap into.

His first experiment was simple. She had seen herself grow her forearms to form large fists coated with bark. It felt instinctive and simple, giving him the ability to pummel through stuff with greater strength. So then Forest wondered how far he could take it. On his first day of official training, he began making an effort to grow his legs, seeing the feminine feet swell up big was almost comical and almost felt worth the effort, it was like making progress.

Then he planned to take it a step further, try to make his entire body grow. The idea of him literally stepping on Roland was growing more appealing the more she mused with the idea. She put her effort into growing herself up as much as she could, but barely got it over two meters in height before starting to feel lightheaded and weak.

“That must be my limit,” Forest noted as he ‘deflated’ himself back to normal. Upon reaching his original height, his knees gave out and he fell down, finding out he was almost out of breath after a full day of training. It was like a diabetic running out of sugar, the world seemed hazy for a moment and his energy was low. It took a long time of resting under the sun before he could feel himself as good as new.

“Maybe I overworked it out… and just needed the sun to get back up… like a plant,” he mumbled to himself “If Mrs. Vanet were here she would probably confirm it.”

Once he had an idea for his limit, he began to experiment around it with care. Starting by doing some focused shapeshifting. He knew he could control his body, allowing him to grow tree bark, thorns, leaves and even flowers on his body, so, in turn he tried to grow bark it on his body, in the form of an armor. Effectively, wooden plaques began to emerge when called and Forest took note of them for any situation, although he certainly wasn’t really going to test their durability by stabbing himself.

He then tried on several more variations, making his nails and finger tips drip out the hemlock poison, growing a thick branch of his arm in such way that it was mostly a straight line and pointed near the end. Forest had hoped to make a sword by day four, and now he knew he could, he just needed more practice as the moment he tried to drive the spike protruding from his arm against a tree, it snapped in half with just minor discomfort as it was connected to his arm.

He then tried to see what else he could do with his shapeshifting abilities. He had seen himself grow fur, bark hooves and change her ears. He tried to make himself look human, or even male, but he didn't seem to have the skill to accomplish either perfectively. When he tried to shapeshift his specie, though, he managed to look like a human woman for quite some time, yet he could only hold it for so little time. It was like an overweight person holding their breath to look decent. It just took a lot of effort and concentration to pull off.

One afternoon, about a week after Forest’s encounter with the necromancer, Forest found himself on his own in the field, as the sun was now setting out and the sky was acquiring an orange tone. Darla had already gone home and after a full day of helping her do her chores, trying to work on cleaning what was once the patient’s rest area, Forest had some time for himself. In this case, he opted to start a training session. Even after a week, Forest felt with no lack of certainty that he would run into Roland at some point in the future.

He grabbed some of the haystacks from the stables and carried them over to the back area. The derelict garden that had once being supposedly the delight of the resting patients and carefully tied it up against the tree with a rope, making sure it wouldn’t fall off.

“Alright…” Forest muttered as he took some steps back to see the full image of his “opponent” somewhere in that block of messy hair was the mental image of Roland standing, grinning at him almost in a taunt. “That man…” he muttered clenching his fist. Just like he had felt it in the days of practice before, there was a movement going on underneath his skin as his ‘bones’ began to shift around and slowly began to push out on the back of his hands, softly breaking the the skin as it grew longer. It took little focus to make it grow in a straight line… of course, the shape of his weapon wasn’t really the problem.

With the refined branch now sticking out from the back of his hand, he quickly set out in a sprint towards the stack of hay. With a battle cry that was mostly to convince himself, he raised his arm and struck the huge stack of hay with a side swing. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, his weapon broke with a sordid snap. But then again, he didn’t let his imaginary enemy get the best of him and responded with a back swing, quickly growing the branch back so fast, it ached badly, making him feel weaker around the arm, yet that wasn’t enough to dent the haystack, so he continued on attacking, each time losing more segments of his arm stick and growing more as he did.

“That won’t do,” Mrs. Vanet’s voice reached his ears as he paused, no longer able to lift his arm as it hung limply because, as Forest might have imagined, from a certain point, he was practically using his ‘bones’ as weapons. It would recover in a matter of hours.

“If you pass out right now, you wont wake up until after the sun comes out,” Mrs. Vanet’s voice pierced through the haziness.

“You are out…” Forest muttered, with his current state, his voice made him sound much more fragile than he might have wanted.

Mrs. Vanet didn’t seem to hear those words. She just drew closer and without any sort of preamble, she just picked up Forest’s arm, her bony fingers oddly pressing and squeezing the flesh before making a small frown. “As I imagined. You forced your body to go into overdrive and as a result, ended up without any bones. You will have for them to grow back.”

“I know. It’s not the first time I have tried this,” Forest argued forcing himself up, leaning his shoulder against the large haystack just to feel it dangling with no actual support.

“Then why were you doing such reckless thing,” she muttered picking up one of the snapped sections of the stick Forest tried to use as sword. The woman glanced at the hay stack and the piece of wood with a frown as she pieced it together. “You are training in combat…”

“I had to,” Forest muttered.

“You had to?”

“Roland is still out there. He is in this world and I have seen him. The necromancer is around and you have no idea how terrible he can be…” Forest’s voice trailed off as he began to recover his breath.

“Even so, this isn’t the best way to face this. It is stupid and a waste of energy to attack Ethanas this way. He will have you before you can-”

“How would you know,” Forest snapped. “You weren’t there. You’ve never faced him!”

“Enough!” Mrs. Vanet interrupted “I am sick of your childish accusations. Not in the mood to discuss here,” she snorted. “Do you wish what advice I have to offer? Or would you rather see me when I manage to find another lead on the ingredients?”

The words rang in Forest’s ears and forced himself to lower his tone. “What did you have to say…”

“Believe me when I say this, I am counting on you and do all this for the best of our agreement. The more capable you are, the better.” She paused and looked at the tree branch she was holding, her finger running over its still jagged surface. Do you know why the sticks keep on breaking?”

“Because I need to make them sharper and stronger?” Forest guessed. “I managed to pierce the head of some of the undead with them.”

“That might be true, yet I doubt you did it using a branch as thick as this one,” Mrs. Vanet muttered, swinging the stick against the tree just for it to snap.

“Then… what do you suggest?” Forest asked, making an effort to keep his tone in check.

“The problem isn’t in the sharpness and length of the stick. It is the material you are using it to make the sword with.” Narcissa muttered as she showed the broken piece of wood to Forest. This is common tree oak. It’s the same kind that grows from my tree. Beautiful to look at but not the strongest one as it can’t keep itself from being chopped clean by an axe.”

“It’s all I have…”

“For now,” Mrs. Vanet smirked “I am familiar with plants of the Arwae nu and the ones in this world. The magic here has allowed for these plants to grow past what you can imagine as normal. More than a few are actually located close to some items of my list. In this world there are trees as strong as steel, rare lilies that are almost resistant in terms of stretching and damage absorption, poisons that can be a thousand times stronger to what you already have. Living plant creatures with uncanny regenerative abilities…”

Forest immediately understood what Mrs. Vanet was leading to and her eyes narrowed with determination “Where can I find them?”
Heart of the Forest part 11
Hello everyone. Here I present the next chapter of the heart of the forest series.

Here we find the aftermath of Forest's first meeting with Roland and the backstage of the events from Golden Wolf.

As always, I thank my readers for taking the moment to let me know what you think.

Previously --- malagua.deviantart.com/art/Hea…
Loading...
For those who read all the way down the comments of some of my stories. First of all, I will apologize for not thinking the comments all that way through as I write them. Secondly, you might notice that I often give a hat tip to my editor for stories such as My Special Sister, :iconcooper3: This guy is a great editor who assures a quality job in a record time and I feel really lucky of having him as a friend and editor.
Up until recently, he has begun to offer his services for making edits up on DA and i would suggest for budding writers to take up his services and advice.

For further information consult his journal:

Now Pursuing...Birding.
Nah, just kidding.
I imagine some of you keep up with my doings—here, social media, my blog. Although there are the blog posts linking to my website’s recent blog posts. Laborious but something to keep passing the word. It’s all that cross-messaging tasks and this website needs better APK support.
I also view and clear out my messages, mostly works of deviants I follow for inspiration, and those small sparks of inspiration are helpful. On the other hand, I do have friends here.
See, when I’m not writing, or at my day job, I help :iconmalagua: edit his serialized stories. This has been going on for a couple of years now, a couple times on The Genetic Park series, but the most editing were for Taur Virus (finished) and currently My Special Sister. He appreciates the help when English is not a first language and has learned much. And I enjoy the job.
In some moments, and then for the past week thinking hard and asking other writers, I thought, “Shoul



In other news
Currently, I am doing my best to work out a system for the patreon account. I do hope to have something to propose soon and in the meantime, I am still writing and trying to get my stuff in order.

I thank the comments, even if few, that i got in my previous journal post.
  • Watching: many things
  • Playing: AC 4, LoL, The last of us and steam
  • Eating: rice!
  • Drinking: fanta!
My Special Sister (part 8)

*

“How does it look, doctor?”

Tess was so nervous she had trouble staying in the perfect position. It was always a risk with a body as big as hers, and the rather unstable hospital seat-bed, two of them, put together for the exam. She was dreading that it would split apart in the middle of the test.

Laying on her back, she looked like a big cat asking for a belly rub. So far, in her four months as a taur, Tess had discovered she really didn’t enjoy showing her underbelly. It made her feel exposed, not to mention was topless. Stretching her fore and hind legs could not be stretched for relief.

Still. she had to wait for the doctor to finish the sonogram.

“Will we know the gender of the baby?” Fred ventured to ask. They’ve been talking about it for the past weeks. Tess would’ve asked the question herself, but was somewhat too busy trying to keep her long tail from swishing and knocking stuff off the nearest table.

“Hmmm… it’s a bit too early to know that,” Dr. Westin said, stopping the calibration of the machine, much to Tess’ annoyance, to answer. “Usually, we can start telling the gender of the baby halfway through the pregnancy… for humans.” He trailed off before clearing his voice.

“Affected how?” Fred asked.

“We’re not really sure. We hope to have an estimate from the image. I mean, after all, the CDC estimates at least 90% of her lower body is a snow leopard.”

“Does that mean she’ll give birth like a snow leopard?” Fred said slowly, as if trying not to hurt his wife’s feelings. Tess squeezed his hand, letting him know it was okay. It was something she had wondered as well.

“Oh, goodness no,” Dr. Westin laughed. “Leopards have a shorter pregnancy cycle.”

Tess swallowed. She did research her specie and was already aware of many facts about her body she wouldn’t have known otherwise. One of them being pregnancy. Three and a half months long on average.

“Then how long will it be?” Fred asked.

Dr. Westin once again stopped calibrating the machine, making Tess squeeze Fred’s hand again. “Hmmm… the average pregnancy of a human is nine months. Between you two and me, this is brand new territory. I’m not sure if the two pregnancy cycles will average out or if whether the added girth, body mass and complexity will lengthen it. Of course, both scenarios might even out.” He then went back to calibrating the machine.

“It would have been so much easier to perform the sonogram on the floor,” Tess grumbled.

“Alright then, stay still,” the doctor said as he held the white scanner pad, then rubbed it on Tess’ abdomen.

One of the nurses helped Tess off the table, almost falling to the floor.

“I can’t use that if it gets bigger,” Tess noted as she circled the contraption to meet up with Dr. Westin, the results. The doctor seemed to miss out on the comment. He evaluated the images with a small knitting on his brow. “Is everything okay?” Tess asked.

“Yeah… I mean, the image is out of the ordinary. But then again, we weren’t really expecting anything ordinary…” Dr. Westin mumbled as he took a step back, allowing Tess and Fred to peer into the screen. So far they could see a sonogram of Tess’ womb. Right away, she could feel a warmth spread all inside of her as she spotted the now bigger spot in her belly.

“Is it… alright?” Tess asked as she squinted her eyes to get a better look, almost as if trying to spot something wrong. Or if she did, she would refuse to see it.

“Yeah, so far it is alright,” Dr. Westin defended “We have confirmed that it is healthy. It is just… well, it doesn’t seem like it will be human…”

“What?!” Both Tess and Fred blurted out if not appalled at the news.

“Look here.” Dr. Westin tapped on the sonogram. “See this?” he then traced the outline of an amorphous figure. Tess spotted lumps. It didn’t take her long to realize how different her child was becoming from Dinah’s sonograms. “Usually, fetus develop and form in a fetal position, which allows us to see the outline of the back, head and limbs… But as you can see here, the fetus here presents two sections that are consistent with a taur’s body. See, the long animal like lower half and the upper half looking humanoid. There’s not much to say that-”

“S-so…” Tess said out loud but stopped in shock, her hands paws moving down to her lower midsection.

“Our kid would be born a taur.” Fred said with heavy words. “But she will change back into a human once Tess does? Right?”

The doctor was nervous before saying. “We don’t really know, but that’s still in development. If Mrs. Fritz were to revert back but the baby doesn't…”

The thought made Tess’ body tense up and her tail stiffened up.

“Buy it might be. Everybody reverts back.” The doctor immediately reassured. “This is a delicate matter. In a couple of months the CDC will send over their first prototype taur exam. It will allow us to tell how much time she has left as a taur before the virus self-purges from her system.”

“But is there any way to know if the child will change back when Tess does?” Fred asked.

The doctor shook his head. “I don’t know. The test requires a large amount of blood from the host. It can’t be performed on the fetus,” the doctor answered with honesty. “Though, if I were to venture a guess… given that the virus seems to retain information of the host’s original form, thus explaining the change back process. Given that the child would never have been human to begin with, there isn’t really any sort of back up for her to change back to.”

There was a small silence in the room, not even the nurses dared to say or even move just to avoid breaking the insightful reflection time.

“I assure you,” Dr. Westin weighed in, right away sensing the tense atmosphere. “The hospital is willing to offer the best prenatal care it can provide to make sure the child is born without harm.

“Part of it, doctor, these wild guesses are too much for us” Fred admitted as he reached over to hold his wife. The possibility of the child not being an actual human hadn’t really escaped the young married couple. The couple looked at each other’s eyes and held hands.

Thoughts wandered over as to how their child would turn out to be. What life would their child have? Being a social outcast or a full time freak?

And yet, Tess couldn’t help but feel sadness and pity for the thing growing in her belly. It was her baby, her first child. Something she had ever wanted and dreamed ever since she was told she could not have one. She would watch it grow and give it all the love she could give. When she looked up to Fred, she knew h was thinking the exact same thing. The sadness was starting to give way to the joy.

“It’ll be okay, we’ll love it all the same,” Tess said. “Do what is necessary, doctor.”

“Understood,” Dr. Westin conceded, though bearing some disinterest on his face as he reached over to the drawers. “As I mentioned, while this outcome is surprising, it wasn’t unexpected,” he said shuffling through the papers.

“What are those for?” Fred asked.

“As I mentioned, the hospital is more than willing to offer an intensive and top notch prenatal care, doing the best to make sure the baby is born without a problem. All you have to do is sign the contract.” He said producing two stacks of forty plus pages each along with two pens.

“Really?” she said as she glanced at the first page, thinking it was rather standard, with the hospital offering them the promise of house call visits, free check up exams and offer even a minor monetary help for furnishing the baby’s room.

“Tess, wait,” Fred weighed in.

“What is it?” She asked, noticing how her husband seemed to be plowing through the notes, flipping the pages with care.

“I just want to make sure. You know what they usually say about reading contracts.”

“Good point,” Tess sighed, usually, under more normal circumstances, she would’ve read through the pages before even considering signing, but the news and the experience had left her somewhat lightheaded and she couldn’t stop staring at the screen to fawn over her child.

“It’s mostly the standard,” Dr. Westin noted in.

“Standard? Says here we are consenting to hand over the baby two and a half years after birth!” Fred blurted out, showing the doctor the stack of pages open halfway through.

The doctor seemed to pale for a moment. “It is for scientific and health reasons. CDC measures. We wish to make sure the child is in perfect health and that it doesn’t pose a danger to others.”

“Danger?” Tess said, clenching her fists and being just this close to baring her teeth to the doctor. The news must’ve really upset her.

“We don’t know how your child has bonded with the virus, for all that is know, it probably might end up spreading the virus constantly much like the warts after changing back. We can’t even do a biopsy at this point. We have to make sure it’s safe. That is not to mention what effect it might have in it’s mind.”

“This is inhuman,” Fred said with a small frown.

The doctor seemed to open his mouth. He was just close on pointing out something that could’ve left him open to lawsuit. “I am just giving you the options for what could only be in the best of the interests, nothing less.”

“It is no excuse,” Tess argued.

“Sorry, but that is the condition imposed to me by the medical board, if we don’t get the child for monitoring and research, we really can’t offer you any of the help proposed.” Dr. Westin frowned.

“The answer is no!” Tess said.

“I urge you to reconsider. This is the best hospital in Oregon and perhaps the only one in the whole country who is just as open minded as to take in a taur.”

“We are not signing anything,” Fred said. “Is there anything else you need us for because we are not signing our lives away for this?! What Westing was proposing was the last straw. No matter that he was speaking the truth, that the couple were walking into the true frontier of the taur virus research. The hospital was the only one to take them in, but first treating her like a biohazard.

“Nol,” Dr. Westin said in defeat. “So no more exams from me?”

Neither Tess nor Fred answered; they both turned around and exited the room

“What an ass,” Tess muttered as the elevator took them down to the parking lot, the underground concrete air, as usual, was a rubbing her nose the wrong way, but was used to it.

“Me too, Tess,” Fred said walking by her side, his hand resting on her back. “There isn’t much we can do. This is the hospital that took us in.”

“But that was months ago. Maybe others changed their attitude?” Tess said, though Fred’s head shaking told her he didn’t believe so. “I just don’t like that. The proposition. I don’t feel comfortable.”

“I know,” Fred agreed, leaning closer to kiss his wife’s cheek.

**********

Once again, Saturday had arrived for Nick. And like a clockwork, his sister woke him up, who seemed to enjoy experimenting new ways to wake him up whenever he overslept. Once it was putting a paw on his cheek and rubbing. This time it was tickling him with her whiskers. He couldn’t really be mad at her; the wake up request came from Mom.

He got ready in a rush and was taken over to soccer practice by his Dad, though not before giving him a small reminder. “Dad, FYI, but I’m having some friends over  to work on a school project.”

“Say no more,” Dad said. “Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to be on time to pick you up.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Nick said. “And is Mom and Fi gonna be at home?”

“Well, today Fi was asked to go over to the university. I think they wanted to film a couple of scenes with her for the documentary.”

“Right.” It was all he needed to know. The last thing he wanted was for Fi to get involved. She tended to get a bit excited with new people, in particular with anything related to Nick’s school.

“Now go beat them, son,” Dad said with an encouraging nod. Nick stepped off the car and walked over to the school grounds. Being on time, he ran into his friends Ash and Jimmy on the way. Neither friend was happy when Nick turned down the invitation to Ash’s place, but they were understanding to know Nick was about to have a meeting with Janice, since both were aware he had a crush on her. They also gave him their condolences when he mentioned that Dylan would also be there.

As it was to be expected, with just a couple of weeks before the soccer tournament began, the coach was already up and about with training, and no sooner they arrived to the field and warmed up, they were immediately put to pick teams and start the practice game. While Nick wondered if this would indeed make them win the game, given that they were mostly goofing around, it was the good kind of goofing.

The game began and lasted for two hour. Much to Nick’s ire, he found himself in the same team as Dylan. The teenage jock was the most annoying person to have at his back because as the game started, he kept on trying to show off his skills with the ball

“What the frac?” Was Nick’s pattern of thought more often than not whenever Dylan received the ball. He was made frontrunner in the first half of the game, but more than once, he refused to make a pass, but instead sprint to score a point. The captain took notice and in turn made him a defense. At one point, Dylan left his position open to try to steal the ball and push forth. In his cockiness, he lost track of the ball and the other team scored a point through the unprotected gap.

Nick tried not to dwell on it, at least he was also in the same team as his two friends and they managed to turn the game in their favor through some unexpected team plays. While he wouldn’t admit it, he had been told he had good management of the ball, often dribbling it between his legs to keep others from stealing it, even managing to make a small spin as he raced towards the goal.

The coach noticed and by the time the training was declared over, he stepped up to Nick, clipboard in hand as he reviewed the lineup. “Nick, I want you to be in the main team’s roster for the tournament.”

“Really?” Nick said, while he reveled inhis own goal.

“Yeah, you will be in the opening roster. Just keep playing as you are and you’ll be golden.”

It was confirmed later as Coach Carl began reading out loud the list of players that would be officially be in the team. Nick and his friend’s made it, with Ash as a middle field player and Jimmy - while not fast nor skilled - was actually a pretty decent goalkeeper. Those that weren’t listed, Dylan among them, stayed as substitutes.

“Nick! Dylan!” Came Janice’s voice from the bleachers. She then came down as the coach ended the talk. “Wow, that was some game!”

“Thanks,” Nick said, trying not to blush. Dylan answered the same way, although in his case, it came out as a bit more sullen. “Never seen a game of soccer before?” he asked as they began picked up their bags, with some of the other players giving her a small appreciative look, evidently somewhat welcoming of having one of the girls of their class come over to their training session.

“Not really,” Janice admitted. So far Nick began to count himself lucky. “I mean, I know soccer-”

“Whatever,” Dylan snorted, still sulking.

“I just never found it interesting I never really bothered to know any of the players.” She admitted, looking around. “Was it true what the coach said? You will be in the starting lineup for the game?”

“Yup,” Nick said with some fake modesty.

“Nice. I’m glad for you. I bet the team will win,” Janice smiled.

“Are you coming over for the game?” Nick asked. “You know, for support?”

“Oh, sure, I don’t see why not.”

“I’ll be on the game too. If I were in the starting roster, it would be a victory assured,” Dylan stepped in, his voice dropping some of it’s sulking tone in exchange for vacant confidence.

After a moment of awkward silence, he added “Don’t we have a dumb project to work on?”

Janice nodded without noting Dylan’s remark. “Right. So, um should we get going?”

“Sure, just let me go get cleaned up. My dad should be here soon,” Nick noted.

“Alright,” Janice nodded to the bleachers, “I’ll wait for you both here.”  

As Nick he picked his stuff up and walked to the locker room with his friends. Dylan followed behind, looking somewhat irritated.

*

Another week begun for Tess, and she was more and more finding herself already missing the weekend as she got out of bed to get ready to work. One good thing though, after expending weeks as a taur, she had grown used to her body. She wasn’t really bored of her body, but had come used to expecting to see a humanoid snow leopard every time she looked in the mirror. She learned some tricks on how to make herself more presentable. Such as using a special brush on her fur every night before going to sleep to keep it from getting knotted the next day, shaving off some time from her daily routine.

Even so, no matter how much practice she did, the same obstacle were another reminder. The sounds of printing, faxing and ringing with her enhanced hearing. Her nose noting whenever a co-workers skipped the shower or their deodorant, or just returned from a smoke break reeking of burnt tobacco and make her more nauseus from her pregnancy. Her appearance kept on invoking jokes, even if the trend seemed to be fading away.

Headphones were not permitted and air freshener around her cubicle made her dizzy from the chemicals; anything she did to remedy the situation was fruitless.

The day began with a bit of an edge for Tess as she squeezed herself into the elevator before her co-worker and office rival, Jonathan Cranston, would enterand left him waiting for the next one. A small victory fr her.

The rest of the day seemed to blur between phonecalls, poking numbers into the computer with the end of a pencil and carrying the occasional order over to her supervisor for more detail.

Though there was a moment that caught her attention while seeing Mr. Bell. “Tess, there is a small matter I’ve wanted to talk to you.”

For a moment, Tess’ mind thought “This is it! I am about to get promoted!” Her tail was already swishing in anticipation as she sat down on the carpet before sliding the chair aside.

“Do you recall Mr. Devlin?” Mr. Bell asked.

Tess nodded. “Yes. He’s a high end stock market investor. He currently holds a portfolio that is around sixty percent on medicine and biology studies.” Tess had to make a small effort to not point out that it was thanks to her encouragement. “I often talk to him once a week to verify his investments.”

“Exactly. If you don’t know, he really appreciates the extra work you put on it. He speaks wonders of the company and, more importantly, to the board.”

Tess’ felt herself blush under her fur, already thinking her day was getting better.

Mr. Bell folded his hands on his desk “So, Mr. Devlin is making some diligences in this part of the city and thought to drop by to meet up with the lovely lady that has raised his profits by seven percent.”

Tess’ blinked with surprise. Helping a person of interest for the company, someone who made earnings of over a million dollars for every quarter was often, was something that was well regarded in the office. It was something that the higher ups couldn’t ignore. It was something that could award her, say, a much needed promotion.

“Don’t worry!” She blurted out now with renewed energy. “I will be here to talk over with Mr. Devlin in person.”

Mr. Bell’s face cringed, almost as if he wished Tess wouldn’t have thought of that.  “That is what I wanted to talk to you about. I mean, you know how it is, for all of us, to be the professional face of the market. We must look presentable at all times when we are up for work. Formal and decent.”

The words seemed to confuse Tess for a moment. While being vague enough to keep her from guessing what it meant. But I’m fine, Tess thought, half annoyed and looking down at herself. She was wearing a slightly dark grey blouse to highlight the fur on her cleavage with an elegant dark jacket that matched the tone of her spots. The skirt she wore, as she has had been wearing the past couple of weeks had been tailored so that her fore body was covered. It wasn’t really as formal but…

“And that’s why we think it would be best if you would leave Monica and Jonathan to do the interview, with Monica posing as you and Jonathan posing as your aid.” Mr. Bell finished just as Tess was opening her mouth to voice her complaint.

“You are giving my client to Monica and John?!” Tess blurted out. “I don’t understand.”

“You will understand, this is a matter of presence. It is nothing personal, but we are doing what we think is best to allow Mr. Devlin believe he will be attended by a human Theressa Fritz, since he really wanted to meet you.”

Mr. Bell was trying to be civil with his words and message yet it was impossible for someone not to feel outraged.

“And you will now make Monica replace me and pretend to be me just because I caught a nasty space bug!” Tess said said, making a good effort to clench her fist and feeling her muscles tighten, getting ready to push her claws out.

“Actually, Jonathan was supposed to be the one to take over-”

“Wait! The meeting is so to officially hand my client to Jonathan? What the hell?!” Tess blurted out with a small reverberate in her throat as she slammed her had on the desk, her claws digging into the wood.

The outburst made Mr. Bell snap as well. “Therssa! This is an office and y-you don’t really have a reason to object that I do this because I think this is what’s best for the company!”

Just with his bravado voice, Tess realized the man reeked with fear. That gave Tess the confidence that she was right.

“Really?” She asked, taking a pause to contain herself and gather her thoughts. “What’s best for the company? I do wonder what would the stakeholders think when word gets out you exchanged the first taur in the city’ client to another without permission. Or did you forget I’ve been on the news?”

“Y-You wouldn’t! You can’t. I mean, you are practically forbidden,” Mr. Bell blurted out.

“I have a complete log of my e-mails I have exchanged with Mr. Devlin over the years. I am still the object of local media hustling and more importantly, I’m friend with one of the reporters. I am sure she would be interesting to hear this.”

Mr. Bell sighed, admitting defeat. “I-I am just doing this to not scare Mr. Devlin away. And, it was suggested to me that this could be a way to prevent it.”

“Suggested? Listen, I know Mr. Devlin’s portfolio. I talk to him all the time, on the phone, and I know what his investments are like the back of my hand. I am the only one who can have this meeting and him.”

Mr. Bell nodded, still somewhat insecure. “I-I suppose.”

Tess couldn’t really tell if he was coming around on his error or was just afraid of her. She did make a rather intimidating figure with her claws tapping the desk’s surface.”

“I will handle this because that’s what I do, and that’s what I’m good at.” Tess felt offended that she actually had to spell out her work to her superior. But then again, she probably wasn’t surprised.

“Alright,” Mr. Bell said, taking a deep breath. “I will let you handle the appointment with Mr. Devlin on Friday.”

“Perfect,” Tess smiled. “I also want in it  email, please,” she noted, feeling rather gleeful of having won an office argument.

Mr. Bell nodded, displeased. “I will send you an email and an appointment for the interview. He will want you to make your way over to his company just a couple of blocks away to meet him and the office. Maybe lunch will happen.”

“Maybe so.” Tess smiled almost bringing herself to purr. Damn mood swings, she thought, or at least she hoped that was the reason.

“Alright Tess, go back to work.” Mr. Bell reassured as he pulled up his laptop closer. Tess nodded and bowed before walking away.

As she made her way there, her ears perked and her nose cringed as she caught something from the other side of the door. Someone was maybe eavesdropping. How long had he been there, she didn’t know, but she knew who it was as he would recognize the stench of the cheap cigarette brand anywhere.

She kicked the door open and walked out.

“Oh, Tess, careful,” Jonathan greeted, almost taken aback by the swinging door as it passed close to his nose.

The sight of his smug smile caused the anger within her to flare out as the hairs on her lower back stood on end as a warning. A growl even managed to escape her throat as she passed by, but Cranston evidently misunderstood the sign as he grinned. “How are you doing?” he said drawing each word out.

“Just fine,” Tess said, trying not to gag. “How about yourself? Did you make any progress with that account incident from the morning?”

“I’m working on it. I’ll have this sorted, since I might be getting a new account,” his voice reeked with smugness of a known winner.

Did he know of Mr. Bell’s plan? Of course he did. He probably was the one who suggested the idea. Did he hear the argument?

“So are you staying?” Tess asked as she walked past him, having her tail poke his leg lightly, which he promptly cleaned as if covered in mud.

“Eyup… I have some matter’s to discuss with Mr. Bell,” he mused as he walked into the office, letting the door close behind him.

“Well, this will be rich,” Tess muttered with a short laugh. Sitting down on her hindquarters, she allowed her senses to pick up on her coworker’s outburst and flimsy arguments and rebuttals. Even when her heightened hearing, which annoyed her during her job, she could not help to use it for assurance. Mr. Bell was a pushover and he would probably change his mind later on, but with the “encouragement” Tess provided, he wouldn’t back down until after the email was sent.

Tess could only hope. Though by the time she made it to her desk, she was pleased to spot Mr. Bell’s rather brief invitation to Mr. Devlin’s appointment.


**********

“I have to say, Nick, you have a beautiful house!” Janice said with a small smile as they stepped into Nick’s bedroom.

“Thanks,” Nick smiled, trying to be modest. “My parents really like the woods… so they got this house.” He was trying to simplify details, hoping to avoid having to mention Fiona. Who would know how her hyperactive nosy sister would react when meeting Nick’s assignment partners?

“It’s really pretty.” Janice walked around the room with an inquisitive look. There was something about her that did make her think about Fi in terms of curiosity as she reached over to the window to look outside. “Really gorgeous. Must be interesting to wake up every day and see the woods out there. Do you walk around often?”

“Sometimes I come back home with my bike.”

“That does sound nice.” Janice smiled turning to look at Nick for a moment. Her smile was warm to Nick before Dylan walked into the room.

“Big whoop, my friends and I walk almost as much as this when we’re heading over to our club house,” he said with a derisive snort. He took a seat on Nick’s study chair without bothering to ask.

“I think I might have heard of it. I think Jasper was bragging on about it being a work in progress,” Janice noted before looking over at Nick.

“It’s ours,” Dylan shook his head.

“I don’t think so. Jasper has been bragging about his perfect hideout since last year,” Nick weighed in. His opinion irked Dylan as was running thin on his patience.

“No, it is ours because I have done most of the restoration work since I moved in.” There was a small pause before Dylan added. “Besides, don’t we have an assignment to work on?”

“Right, the assignment,” Janice agreed as she took a seat on the bed. “Well then, did you guys do your part of the research?”

I sure did, I got some notes of it,” Nick said, sitting down on the other side of the bed, taking advantage that he was sitting close to her, then grabbing some papers on his nightstand.

“Actually, I did some research as well,” Dylan blurted out as he quickly hopped from the chair and sat himself between Nick and Janice, intending to show off his research.

Nick rolled his eyes at the childishness but continued on. He gathered his stack of papers and stood up, making his way over to the now unoccupied chair. “At least I get to look at her in the face.”

He had a thought cross his mind and closed his bedroom door, just to be sure Fi stays out when she comes home.

*
My Special Sister part 8
For now, I am trying to make a regular sort of post.

Life tries to resume as Tess tries to deal with the stresses and new problems from work and the medical side of the hospital.

As per usual, I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts on my series and the chapters:). I am often worried my stories tend to drag on into boredom at times :(.

Also, a hat tip for Cooper3 for his setting and the editing.

Previously --- malagua.deviantart.com/art/My-…

Next --- malagua.deviantart.com/art/My-…
Loading...
For those who read all the way down the comments of some of my stories. First of all, I will apologize for not thinking the comments all that way through as I write them. Secondly, you might notice that I often give a hat tip to my editor for stories such as My Special Sister, :iconcooper3: This guy is a great editor who assures a quality job in a record time and I feel really lucky of having him as a friend and editor.
Up until recently, he has begun to offer his services for making edits up on DA and i would suggest for budding writers to take up his services and advice.

For further information consult his journal:

Now Pursuing...Birding.
Nah, just kidding.
I imagine some of you keep up with my doings—here, social media, my blog. Although there are the blog posts linking to my website’s recent blog posts. Laborious but something to keep passing the word. It’s all that cross-messaging tasks and this website needs better APK support.
I also view and clear out my messages, mostly works of deviants I follow for inspiration, and those small sparks of inspiration are helpful. On the other hand, I do have friends here.
See, when I’m not writing, or at my day job, I help :iconmalagua: edit his serialized stories. This has been going on for a couple of years now, a couple times on The Genetic Park series, but the most editing were for Taur Virus (finished) and currently My Special Sister. He appreciates the help when English is not a first language and has learned much. And I enjoy the job.
In some moments, and then for the past week thinking hard and asking other writers, I thought, “Shoul



In other news
Currently, I am doing my best to work out a system for the patreon account. I do hope to have something to propose soon and in the meantime, I am still writing and trying to get my stuff in order.

I thank the comments, even if few, that i got in my previous journal post.
  • Watching: many things
  • Playing: AC 4, LoL, The last of us and steam
  • Eating: rice!
  • Drinking: fanta!

Donate

MaLAgua has started a donation pool!
2 / 2,361
Hello, I've been looking for a mean to extend my premium membership. It's been about two years since i offered the last donations poll and it didnt turn out well. I'd really appreciate if people show interested and might even offer something for some of the donners.
Everyone who participates, has my thanks

You must be logged in to donate.
  • :iconblargzan:
    BlargZan
    Donated Jul 8, 2014, 7:39:16 PM
    2

deviantID

MaLAgua
Anon Ymous
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Peru
An aspiring videogame designer who picked the wrong career
Interests

AdCast - Ads from the Community

×

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:icondrakenman:
drakenman Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I plan on reviving an old series with curries and gaurs, got any title ideas?
Reply
:iconmalagua:
MaLAgua Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Curries and gaurs? I might need a bit more of info :)
Reply
:icondrakenman:
drakenman Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Well it's an old series I'm reviving and I want to change up the script and title. 
It'll have gaurs and curries, I just need a way to make a title. 
Reply
:iconmalagua:
MaLAgua Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Well I would need more if you want my help or so.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconmhtg:
mhtg Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016   General Artist
So what's been going on? Not a lot of activity lately
Reply
:iconmalagua:
MaLAgua Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Heya. Yeah, mostly been on classes and so on >.> And i've been getting distracted easily and so
Reply
:iconcandelediva:
candelediva Featured By Owner May 10, 2016
So when's the next part of 'My Special Sister' going to be released?
Reply
:iconmalagua:
MaLAgua Featured By Owner May 11, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
It is still in planning stage. Hopefully next week
Reply
:iconcandelediva:
candelediva Featured By Owner May 11, 2016
Hopefully?
Reply
:iconmalagua:
MaLAgua Featured By Owner May 12, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
yeah
Reply
(1 Reply)
Add a Comment: