Lockely and the kittens learn what a chisagi is when the fox has to babysit Calex and Zeelo for one weekend.
Chisagi Bedtime Stories
Lockely could not believe his luck. In fact he didn’t believe it. The fox was not babysitting one, but two werekittens at the same time. The brown furred Zeelo and orange furred Calex both sat on the couch on either side of him. Neither one was wearing anything, but that was normal. Both kittens were running out of energy, and despite having originally insisted that they were going to stay up all night were in danger of nodding off. The night had passed completely without incident.
And that was why Lockely did not believe it. He was still a fox, he was still an adult, still his normal size, and still fully dressed. By now he would usually be down to just his scarf, glasses and tailband assuming that he wasn’t too small to wear them. Right now, he was his normal humanoid black speckled orange fox dressed in a pair of jeans and a polo shirt. If he had been alone in his living room tonight that might be normal… But his two charges simply left chaos in their wake, oftentimes without even meaning too. Sometimes they didn’t even cause it, things just happened when they were around. And when both of them were around a lot of things happened.
And yet the night had been completely uneventful. They had been dropped off at Lockely’s apartment around 5 PM, he ordered pizza for dinner and let them pick a movie for later. They had put up a small amount of fight over bath time, but considering Calex could lift a house and Lockely was able to wrestle him down, grab him and put him in the tub, it was clear he wasn’t really putting up a real fight. More putting up the pretense of a fight as if he felt obligated to be a little difficult. After the baths Lockely had let them watch the movie they picked before bedtime. Now the credits were rolling and both kittens looked like they might fall asleep right where they were on the couch. They were small enough that it would make a decent enough bed, but Lockely had a bed in his spare bedroom he had planned to let them use. With them already mostly asleep, all he had to do was carry them to the other room, set them in the bed and tuck a blanket over them and he was done for the night. No chaos.
Something was going to happen. There may only have been minutes away from the two being asleep and the night being over, but something had to happen. Something always happened! Lockely had mentally prepared himself for it. And now… He wasn’t sure he would say he was disappointed everything was fine. It was more… A certain sense of unease that whatever weird thing that was bound to happen had not occurred yet. And if nothing did occur, and tonight was perfectly normal. Then it met something was seriously wrong with the universe and Lockely did not want to think about that.
“I don’t understand this movie.” Calex gave a big yawn as he spoke. “If the villain succeeded in turning everyone into beavers to take over the world, what’s his endgame? How does everyone being beavers give him the world?”
“Maybe he has mind control powers that only work on beavers?” Zeelo suggested. Though there had been nothing in the movie to give credit to the theory.
“Even then, the world he wants to rule won’t exist if Earth’s entire population is beavers.” Calex shook his head. “Supervillains have no foresight.”
“That something you have some experience with?” Lockely ruffled Calex’s head fur.
“A little bit.” Calex leaned into Lockely’s hand. “You would think with as much time as they spend planning they would think about what would happen if their plan succeeds. Like, what’s their endgame. What next? I asked Professor Pandamonium once and he wound up having an existential crisis and we had to take him out for ice cream to help him feel better.”
“That is absolutely ridiculous.” Lockely squinted. “Which means it probably really happened.” His expression softened. “Anyway, you two are about to fall asleep on the couch. Let’s get you into bed proper so you can rest.”
“Bedtime already?” Zeelo whined. “I’m not even tiiii-“ His speech was interrupted as he gave a huge yawn. “-ired.
“Yeah the night is still young!” Calex insisted. “We should come up with a game to play! We could… Do… something…” The kitten’s eyes closed and for a few seconds he seemed to be asleep.
“Calex?” Lockely gently poked the kitten’s side to see if he was still awake.
“HUH!?” Calex’s eyes snapped open. “What was I saying? I… Forgot.” He then shut his eyes again nearly falling asleep a second time. However, he caught himself and forced his eyes open. “Okay… Maybe it is a little late… But, just one more thing before bed.”
“Yeah!” Zeelo added on. “We do one more thing then go to bed! No fighting! No trying to sneak out after you leave the room. Scout’s honor.”
“You’re not a scout.” Lockely said dryly.
“Am too.” Zeelo insisted. “I scouted out your pantry in search of cookies earlier.”
“Yes, I remember catching you.” Lockely couldn’t help but grin. He would have hidden the sweets before the two had been dropped off, but he knew that would only encourage them to search them out. Instead it was easier to just catch them breaking into the pantry and making them eat dinner before they had dessert. “But either way, I don’t think you two have enough energy left to do just about anything.”
“What about a bedtime story?” Calex asked. “We could listen to a story.”
“Yeah!” Zeelo joined in. “Come on Lockely! Just one story before bed! Pleeeeease?”
“Alright, one story.” Lockely figured that was more than fair. “I don’t really have any kid’s books though…” He didn’t doubt that the kittens would be interested in his sci-fi novels. Nor did he think they would be incapable of following along with an adult book. It was more the fact that a full novel was a little too much to try to read right before going to bed.
“I brought a book!” Calex replied eagerly and jumped off the couch. He ran for the front door where a backpack containing a few toys and other belongings of him had been dropped when he arrived. He pulled a book out of the bag and dragged it across the floor.
“Let me see here.” Lockely picked both Calex and the book up off the floor. He set the orange kitten on the couch again and looked at the cover of the book. There was a colorful creature on the front of it with three horns and glowing markings on its fur. The book had no author and simply had a single word title.
“Looks like the type of creature you two would fit right in with.” Lockely smiled as he saw the book. “Alright, let me get a fresh cup of coffee then I’ll read your story.” Lockely stood up from the couch.
“Won’t that make it hard to sleep?” Zeelo looked up at Lockely with curious eyes.
“It would for you.” Lockely replied. “By now though my blood is 80% coffee and I’ll be fine.” He moved towards the kitchen. “You two wait here… And don’t get into any mischief while I’m brewing a fresh cup.”
“Don’t worry!” Calex grinned. “We’d never be that rude! We’d wait for you to be here before we started! We wouldn’t exclude you like that.”
“Thanks Calex.” Lockely couldn’t help but feel some affection for the little guy. He was a source of constant troubles, but it was clear he always meant well. Lockely supposed Calex, as well as Zeelo, were like a lot of kids. Mostly good and never outright disobedient. They just like all kids had poor impulse control. And unlike most kids, had encounters with several strange magical and technological creatures and objects where said lack of impulse control created much bigger problems than what other kids did.
Lockely got a fresh pot going as he kept his ears perked listening for any signs of the two causing trouble. They were completely silent. Either they really were exhausted. That or they had shrunk or something and could now easily move around without being heard. One of the two. However, as the scent of coffee filled the kitchen most thoughts about what they could be doing were pushed out of his head. The second the coffee was ready he poured it into a cup and greedily clutched it as he walked back to the living room.
Both kittens were sound asleep.
“What were you two up to today?” Lockely wondered out loud. He had babysat both before, and while they would eventually run out of energy it was never this early, and never this easy. They must have been involved in something really big before being dropped off to be that tired.
As quietly as possible, Lockely moved across the living room and gently set his cup down on the coffee table next to the book. Then he sat down between the two kittens. It looked like they didn’t need that story after all.
And both kittens woke up, sat straight up, and were at full attention. Well, sleepy little kitties or not, they were still Calex and Zeelo. And once they had their minds set on something it was hard for anything, even the limitations of their own body to deter them.
“Alright, I take it the two of you are ready?” Lockely asked.
“Uh huh!” Calex nodded as he grabbed onto Lockely’s left shoulder.
“Yup.” Zeelo grabbed onto his right. Now both kittens had a good view of the book when Lockely picked it up off the coffee table.
“Chisagi.” Lockely read aloud. “By… author unknown I guess.” He opened the book and then scowled. The letters inside were gibberish. Made up words that had no meaning. He flipped through a few more pages and saw the entire book was like that. Whatever this was it wasn’t a storybook.”
“Something wrong?” Calex asked.
“You can see the pages. I can’t read any of it. It’s not even another language, just nonsense.” Lockely replied. “None of it has any meaning. I mean, look at this. Et ru mep lum di kono su treo muqe ma chisagi.” He paused. “Well the last word I recognize as the book title at least and-“
That was as far as he got before the letters in the book lit up with a golden light. It engulfed the fox and both kittens as a strange warmth went through their bodies all at the same time.
“Ah. There it is.” Lockely had just enough time to say that before the change occurred. It was almost a little relieving. The Calex and Zeelo Effect had finally triggered.
Lockely couldn’t see through the blinding light, but he could feel his clothes growing baggier on him. He was getting smaller or turning into something smaller. One of the two. There was no point in trying to fight it. Instead, he focused on trying not to get tangled up in his own clothing.
Lockely’s scarf fell down around his shoulders and he felt his legs shrinking out of his pant legs. He quickly stood up on the couch, stepping out of said pants and allowing both those and his boxers to fall to the floor before he could get tangled in them. His shirt and scarf on the other hand were soon covering him despite his best efforts to free himself.
“Dang it.” Lockely muttered in frustration as he had gone from being blinded by light to trapped in darkness. But then, something started to glow inside his shirt with him. It wasn’t a strong glow, a faint golden light but it let him see a little bit. It made it easy for him to locate the neck hole of his shirt and crawl out of it. The light from the book had faded and the book had landed on the coffee table when Lockely had dropped it while shrinking. He looked to either side to see what had become of the kittens.
And saw two creatures that were not unlike the ones on the cover of the book.
One of them was predominantly orange, had a fang, and the whites of his eyes were yellow while the irises were green. That was Calex. However, he was smaller than he had been, which was saying something since kittens weren’t very big to begin with. And he was no longer uniform orange. There was a crimson red pattern over his body. Each arm and leg had a single Celtic Knot running around them as a band, then there were two more on his ears and one on his tail. There appeared to be one more on the tail that Lockely almost missed, as it was orange instead of red and the tail became red after that knot. Then there was another Celtic marking on his forehead. The tips of each of his foot-paws and hand-paws were also red, and he had two horns atop his head. Calex seemed to very much be interested in checking out his own body, and as he turned around examining himself Lockely saw that he had a red patch of fur in the shape of a crescent moon on his back.
The other was mostly brown. That would be Zeelo. He had blue stripes on his arms, ears, legs and tail now. As well as the sides of his body being blue, the pattern ceasing just before it reached his chest and stomach. His paw tips were also blue like Calex’s, and he had one more stripe that was almost a V shape between his two horns.
Also, both of them were glowing. Calex’s markings produced a faint red light while Zeelo’s produced a blue. Lockely remembered the inside of his short lighting up and realized at once what must have been happening. Just like the other two, he had been changed. He looked down at himself to see just what the damage was.
Lockely was the same type of creature. And while a lot smaller than he had been, likely barely more than a foot tall now, he was still a good head taller than the other two. So, he was still an adult and they were still children. His ears were long and had fluff, much like the other two. And he had matching horns just like them. His fur had stayed its normal shade of orange, but his black speckles were gone. Instead, there were golden markings over his body. Rings with small lines running between them that gave them a mystical look. There were two on each arm, two big ones on his sides, and one really big one on his tail. He also had a small golden marking in the shape of an arrowhead on his chest, and while his tail and paws were tipped with golden fur there were also small golden triangles on his foot paws. The golden light had been coming from himself.
“You know… I want to be surprised.” Lockely did his best to come off composed. “But I’m really not.” As he recovered his composure for real and it ceased being an act the marks on his body stopped glowing. “Least I’m not completely naked.” He swished his tail. It was quite fluffy. And as a result, his tailband had managed to stay on. It was only one article, but it was nice to at least have something. Though he needed something else. The world was kind of blurry right now. He reached around digging in his shirt trying to find where his glasses went.
“Here.” Zeelo found them first and offered them to Lockely.
“Thanks.” Lockely did his best to wear them. They didn’t fit well, but he was able to rest them on the bridge of his muzzle to where he could see. “Calex… Where did you get this book?”
“Well, you ever run into one of those stores that wasn’t there yesterday and is gone the next day?” Calex asked.
“Not… exactly.” Lockely was familiar with the concept before. Once upon a time he wouldn’t have believed they were real.
“Well turns out there are libraries like that too.” Calex replied. “But for some reason they don’t want you checking books out. Which is weird, as why give us the option and let us do it if you don’t want us to?”
“I’m confused.” Lockely shook his head. It was a normal state of mind around Calex. “What exactly happened?”
“We were going to play in the park today.” Zeelo explained. “But when we got there well, there was this big old gothic looking library where the lake should have been.”
“So naturally we had to go inside.” Calex grinned. “And it was the biggest library I had ever seen.” Calex gave a wistful sigh. Despite how hyperactive the kitten was, and how foolish he might act, the kitten was surprisingly well read and seemed to greatly enjoy literature. “I could have picked at least thirty books to take home. But they said I could only check out one.”
“Okay, right, I’m with you so far.” Lockely wasn’t going to try to apply logic to the story. It would only make his brain hurt. “But what do you mean they don’t’ want you checking books out?”
“Well, you see the library has all these gargoyle statues all over the place. And the second I took a book off the shelf, their eyes lit up red and they came to life and came after us. I wanted to fight.”
“But, I reminded him we have to be quiet in a library and fighting tends to make a lot of noise.” Zeelo added in.
“Right, so we had to run away instead.” Calex explained.
“Run away quietly.” Zeelo helped
“Ninja stealth run.” Calex nodded. “It wasn’t easy doing this all without making a sound. I mean we were on the fifth floor, and these things were just everywhere. I lost count of how many there were after twenty. Anyway, have you ever tried to swing on a chandelier full of several delicate glass chains dangling from it without breaking anything or making a sound?”
“No. No, I can’t say that I have had that experience.” But now Lockely was wondering if he was going to in the future.
“It’s not easy.” Calex explained. “And Zeelo barely held on by grabbing my tail. Good thing he doesn’t weigh much or him hanging off there like that might have hurt.”
“Yeah if you had the strength of a normal cat.” Lockely muttered.
“Anyway, we basically had to jump to the chandelier because we got surrounded on the fifth floor balcony.” Calex continued his story. “I thought we had a moment of respite, but it turns out gargoyles can fly.”
“I mean they had wings.” Zeelo pointed out. “I figured it’d be obvious.”
“But they were also made of stone!” Calex protested. “If you tossed them into the water they’d literally sink like a rock! I didn’t think they’d be able to actually fly. They’re way too heavy for those wings to support them.”
“Yes, because nothing else you’ve seen has ever broken the laws of physics like that.” Lockely snarked.
“Exactly.” Calex didn’t pick up on the sarcasm. “So with them flying for us, and every second I clung to that chandelier was another second we risked breaking it and making a ton of noise we had to move. So I swung myself forward and let go. Brought the book up in front of me and landed on the guardrail of the staircase. Grinded down the rail riding the book, Zeelo had gone from holding onto my tail to clinging to my back. Think the extra weight really helped me pick up speed. The gargoyles took swipes at us but we were two fast. But let me tell you, it was a real trick jumping from one rail to another to go down the next staircase. But we made it to the first floor. We just had to get the book to the check out corner and we’d be home free.”
“But of course, the library wasn’t going to make it that easy.” Zeelo interjected excitedly. “The first floor was a maze of bookshelves, and they kept moving around and shifting positions making it impossible to tell where we had been. We were running as fast and as quietly as we could, dodging the occasional swipe of gargoyle claws and just getting more lost among the bookcases.”
“Then we ran into a dead end and things looked pretty bleak.” Calex crossed his arms. “Three gargoyles blocked the way out so it looked like it was all over.”
“Well, you’re clearly here and have the book so they didn’t stop you.” Lockely studied the former kitten. He wasn’t sure what species they were right now. The book title, chisagi? Could that be the name of their current species. “Stop trying to build up suspense and explain what happened.”
“He cheated is what happened.” Zeelo stuck his tongue out at Calex.
“I didn’t cheat. I used my resources.” Calex huffed. “I tossed Zeelo and the book up on top of the bookshelf, before leaping up myself in a single bound. Then grabbed the book again. And then we ran across the top of the bookshelves. It didn’t matter how many times they shifted positions. From up there we could see the check out desk and keep moving towards it. And it was trivia to jump between bookshelves when they tried to move to dislodge us or make us come down.”
“The gargoyles were not happy. They screamed.” Zeelo paused. “Sort of. They opened their mouths like they were screaming but no sound came out. You no, library and all.”
“But there was nothing they could do to stop us, we made it to the check out desk, the librarian stamped the book, and then just like that all the gargoyles froze where they were.” Calex looked quite smug. “We had succeeded in checking out a book. Though… Because of the whole running for our lives thing I never actually looked at what book I had gotten until now.”
“You apparently found some kind of spellbook.” Lockely pointed out. He jumped from the couch to the coffee table and looked down at the book.
“It’s a magic book but it might not be a spellbook.” Calex rebutted as he leaped over as well. A second later Zeelo was there and all three stood atop the coffee table looking at the book. “We don’t know if reading the words aloud was a spell or if the book just magics anyone who opens it.”
“So… What exactly are we?” Lockely asked. “Chisagi was the only thing I could think of.”
“Pretty sure that’s it.” Calex explained. “I’ve actually heard of them before.”
“You have?” Zeelo was caught off guard by this.
“Magical familiars, or used to be. Some of them still are. It’s weird.” Calex shrugged. “Read it in an old history book.”
“Was that a history book that existed in this world or one of those other weird realities you somehow find?” Lockely asked.
“I don’t know.” Calex responded honestly.
“Well we have a name for it but not how to change back?” Lockely looked at the book. He could try reading more from it, but that felt like a bad idea. Really, it would be best to just stay like this until the kittens, erm chisagi cubs were picked up. Calex’s owner was pretty good at figuring out how to fix this kind of stuff. Well, sometimes. He was better with science, this was clearly magic. But he had more experience in this thing than Lockely had. In the meantime, Lockely would have to deal and…
He froze, as the suddenly incredibly alluring scent of coffee roused him from his thoughts of the current crisis. He realized that the fresh cup he had made was right across the table from him. And it was still warm. He looked at it longingly, unaware he was absentmindedly walking towards it and away from the cubs. He could use that coffee right about now. And he was about to take a drink when…
“Wonder what the other chapters do.” He heard Calex speak out loud. He then heard the orange chisagi cub reading more of the gibberish words. Lockely saw the book starting to glow, and not sure what would happen leaped from the coffee table down to the floor as another bright glow enveloped the room.
Lockely checked himself over after the light faded. He was completely unchanged. It looked like he had dodged whatever spell Calex had just triggered.
“Calex? Zeelo? You two alright?” He called, but didn’t hear anything from them. He leaped up and grabbed the edge of the coffee table and then saw what had become of the two.
The young chisagi were gone. In their place were two eggs. One of them was orange, with celtic knots and a crescent moon on it. The other was brown with a bunch of blue stripes.
“Ok, wow, really dodged a bullet there.” Lockely looked at the eggs. Neither one was bigger than a chicken egg, granted that meant it still took two hands for him to hold one with the proper amount of caution. Well, they were easy to put to bed now. Really, they kind of already were. He wondered how long they’d be like that before they hatched from their little egg nap. He supposed it made his job easier, but taking care of himself was going to be a challenge as a critter this small.
Now, he definitely needed coffee to deal with this.
Lockely approached the coffee cup and very carefully leaned over it to lap up some of the coffee with his tongue. Suddenly, he felt a jolt of wild uncontrollable energy go through him, and then everything else after that was a blur.
A few days later, Calex’s owner showed up to pick up the kittens. When no one responded when he answered the door he let himself in with a spare key he had been given. It was provided in case Lockely had been rendered in a state where he couldn’t open the door. He probably could have found a way. But as the wolf Calex lived with worked his way into the living room he found the chisagi Lockely completely passed out, curled up next to the two eggs between the now empty cup of coffee and the book.
The wolf arched an eyebrow. He was unfamiliar with what species Lockely was, but he had seen quite a few on his way here. In fact, the entire neighborhood consisted of nothing but these small creatures. Someone or something had transformed them. The wolf had heard a few remarks on the way here, and people just recall seeing a yellowish orange blur and then suddenly they were small adorable creatures.
The wolf approached the coffee table and reached down to gentle nudge Lockely and try to wake him. The chisagi was completely out of it. Something had wiped him out and he was in a deep slumber. The wolf would have tried to rouse him again but when he touched the small creature he felt a spark of energy flow from Lockely into him.
And then the wolf began to shrink into his clothes as he started to transform.
“Of course.” He muttered. He would have to wait until Lockely woke up, or one of the eggs hatched to get an explanation. Whichever came first. In the meantime, it looked like he was about to join the three of them, and everyone else within a one-mile radius, in being a chisagi.