Chisagi Brand Root Beer
Nait was at the park today. The good park. The one with the really big jungle gym. It was everything a child could hope for. Three levels of height, multiple slides, a rope bridge, both a ladder and stairs to access it, multiple tunnels and small covered room at the very top of the set, just big enough to be a secret lair. At least, Nait liked to think of it as his secret lair.
Many of the other kids who came to the park were younger than Nait, and so they just weren’t likely to try to climb all the way up to the top. As a result, Nait had declared the spot to be his secret hangout that he brought his friends to on the weekend when they had nothing better to do. There was only one way up, a long ladder. And the only other exit was a slide going all the way to the bottom. It was the perfect defensible position for when someone broke out the water guns or they started playing hide and seek.
Sadly, today Nait was by himself at the playgroud. Most of his friends were busy and so he was forced to find a way to entertain himself. And so after getting dressed in a pair of shorts and a baggy shirt he had headed to the playground. He also carried a backpack with him that had two very important things in it. A handheld video game console, so he had something to do while hanging out in his hideout. And of course, snacks. No self-respecting kid would never get themselves a top-secret lair that didn’t include snacks. It simply wasn’t done.
He climbed the ladder leading up to the lair, but upon reaching the top found it was occupied. This was not entirely unexpected. It wasn’t as if Nait was the only nine-year-old in town who knew about the best playground in existence. Other kids showed up a lot. Usually, they just went down the slide but sometimes they hung out. However, this time it wasn’t a kid up in the hideout. Well maybe it was… Nait wasn’t really 100% sure what he was looking at.
It was an orange furred creature, with bright green and yellow eyes. There were also red markings along its body. Nait didn’t know the terms for the chain-like patterns that went around the creatures limbs and tail, or the strangle symbol made of three intersecting ovals. They were Celtic knots. He had seen such patterns before, just didn’t know the name. However, it was easy enough to identify the crescent moon on the small creature’s back. The tips of his paws were also red, and he had two horns, a long fluffy tail and sported a fang. It also couldn’t be more than a foot tall if that. Was something of a wonder something so small even got up here.
The strange creature had what looked like a child’s chemistry set out on the floor and was laying on his stomach as he mixed different things dropping them into a plastic bottle. He didn’t seem to notice Nait at first, but then his ears twitched and he looked over his shoulder seeing the lion cub.
“Huh… I didn’t think I’d run into anyone else up here.” The small orange critter spoke. His voice sounded slightly younger than Nait’s. “So much for a backup lair while the treehouse is being expanded.”
“Backup lair?” Nait tilted his head. Then realizing the meaning of the words became indignant. “Hey! This is my secret lair! Go find your own!”
“I have one it’s just under construction!” The orange critter replied in an exasperated voice. “More people keep showing up so it was either make the treehouse bigger or make everyone else smaller. Still might have to do the latter.”
“Wait, what do you mean make everyone else smaller?” Nait had never seen a creature like this before. It was strange. And like most kids, strange things attracted Nait like a magnet.
“Oh you know… Different ways…” The creature waved a paw dismissively. “Shrink rays. Youth potions. Or just turn them into a smaller creature, kind of like what I am right now.”
“What -ARE- you right now?” If Nait was following along correctly, this creature seemed to be acting as if it had some kind of shapeshifter magic.
“A werekit-“ He froze mid sentence as he looked over his body. “Oh right. A chisagi, for now.”
“What’s a chisagi?” Nait tilted his head.
“Magic creature. Can glow in the dark when being all magical.” As the critter spoke the red parts of his fur lit up glowing for a few seconds. “Pretty sure it has something to do with a book, but that’s about all I know.”
“How can that be all you know?” Nait asked quizzically. How could anyone not know what they were?
“Well, it’s not like I was a chisagi yesterday.” The critter responded. “Though I was a couple weeks ago. You know, sometimes it’s fun to just cycle through things. Gets boring staying the same too often.”
“Very little of that made any sense.” Nait shook his head. “What are you even doing here.”
“Making mischief.” The chisagi replied.
“Mischief?” Nait grinned. “What kind?”
“The fun kind.” The chisagi grinned showing off his fang. “Wanna help?”
“Well…” Nait considered. He was pretty sure the second you started saying no to things like this was the point you stopped being a kid and became a boring old adult. He was pretty sure he was still a kid when things were more exciting. He was absolutely going to get involved in this. “Sure… What can I do?”
“Well… You could drink this!” The chisagi held up the bottle he had been pouring things into when Nait arrived.
“Uhhhhh…” Nait took a step back uncertainly. “No offense, but between your half answers and general attitude I’m not sure you know what you’re doing with that chemistry kit. I’m all for having a little fun, and causing a bit of playful trouble, but I’d rather not go to the hospital for drinking poison.”
“It’s not poison. It’s a potion.” The chisagi sounded extremely annoyed. “It won’t hurt you, just make you another chisagi like me.”
“Right, so if I drink that I’m just going to somehow magically transform into a magical animal?” Nait asked with a laugh.
“That’s the idea yes.” The chisagi tilted his head, as if completely confused by Nait’s skepticism.
“You’re absolutely certain it’s not poison?” Nait asked. That was far more concerning than the fact the thing might physically transform him. He didn’t know if the small creature was telling the truth or not, but now his curiosity was dying to see if it worked. Even if it meant a bit of a change in his appearance.
“Yup!” The critter responded. “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make something poisonous if I tried.” He gave a shrug. “Kitten magic and chisagi magic mixed together are weird.” He held up the bottle offering it to Nait.
“Kitten magic?” Nait raised an eyebrow and took the bottle. He sniffed the liquid inside. It didn’t smell poisonous. At least not anything like Nait imagined poison would smell like. Instead, it had more of a fruity smell to it. He looked down at the creature again, trying to judge how truthful his words were. The small critter didn’t seem to be trying to deceive him. So Nait took a chance. He drank the contents of the potion.
It tasted pretty good. It pretty much just tasted like apple juice. Actually he wasn’t 100% certain that it hadn’t just been apple juice. And would have made such an accusation had the changes not started right then.
Nait shrunk towards the ground as his shorts and shirt became far too big for him. A curved horn protruded from his head as his ears grew bigger and wider. His tail remained about the same length in comparison to his smaller body but grew much fluffier. Then there was his fur. It had changed color. Most of his body was overed in a golden hue. It wasn’t much different from his normal fur color, but it was brighter. Then, there were markings all over his body. Vibrant blue patterns, almost resembling a line of small feathers appeared all over his arms, legs and tail. As he looked his body over, he noticed there was a bigger pattern on his back. One giant blue feather that took up his entire backside. Then, the tips of his paws were also blue.
Nait crawled out of his now oversized clothes, amazed the potion had actually worked. He then stood next to the other chisagi and compared himself to them. He was still bigger, though only by about half a head. He must have been slightly older. He also had a single long curved horn compared to the other chisagi’s two short horns. And of course there was the fact that he had gold and blue.
“It worked?” Nait staired down at himself in surprise. “I’m a… A… What’d you call it again.”
“Chisagi! A magical creature! Your markings will go all glowing when you do magic and stuff.” He explained.
“I can do magic?” Whatever alarm Nait should have felt was quickly shoved aside by this revelation. “How?”
“I’m not really an expert… Just got the very basics down with these potions.” The younger chisagi explained. “Which is where I could use some help. Each potion once mixed needs a bit of chisagi magic applied to it to make it active. If you could help me brew these and just like… Focus on trying to generate magic energy in your paws when you hold the finished potion it’d help me speed things up a lot.”
“Uh… Sure…” Nait sat down next to the orange chisagi and looked over the contents. One of the things next to the chemistry kit was in fact a bottle of apple juice and… Wait, from what it looked like the chisagi had just been mixing apple juice, sugar and food coloring. But, it had clearly worked. It must have been that bit of chisagi magic he added at the end. “Why are you making these?”
“Recruit more chisagi.” The smaller one explained. “Mostly for playmates. Games are more fun with more players.”
“I can’t dispute that…” Nait considered. He held a finished ‘potion’ and tried to focus on it. His markings lit up and he could feel the juice was different now. He had enchanted it. He had done actual magic! “How many you need?”
“Lots!” The smaller chisagi replied.
“So, might be here awhile.” Nait grinned. “You’re lucky I came along. I brought snacks.” He walked over to his backpack which had fallen off when he transformed and dug through it. A few moments later he pulled out a few packs of fruit snacks and a couple cans of root beer.
“Oh! Cool!” The younger chisagi got excited. “I don’t know why I didn’t think to bring any.”
“Some things come with experience” Nait spoke smugly. He was fairly confident he was older than the other creature by now and so that statement most likely made sense. He popped open one of the cans and took a sip of root beer.
“Uh hey, quick question, that root beer…” The smaller chisagi asked. “It’s caffeine free, right?”
“No. Why?” Nait asked. He didn’t get an answer. He was sure the small orange creature was saying something to him. But everything started to become very hazy at that point.
What happened next, Nait couldn’t remember. But he found himself outside the jungle gym laying on his back in the grass feeling mildly disoriented.
“Hey… You okay?” The orange chisagi was standing over him with a look of concern.”
“Yeah…” Nait sat up and rubbed his head. “Just…” He paused as he looked up at the sky, noticing it was sunset. It had still been midmorning when he arrived. “When did it get so late?”
“Well you were running around for hours.” The orange chisagi explained. “It’s probably a good thing you didn’t get more than a sip.”
“A sip?” Nait vaguely remembered. He had gotten into his snacks. Opened a root beer… And now he was here on his back.
“Chisagi and caffeine don’t mix.” The orange one explained. “Or they mix well depending on your point of view. The point is that you’ve just crashed after a major caffeine rush.”
“Oh…” Nait did feel kind of tired. “So… Caffeine free root beer in the future got it.” He paused. “Hey… What happened to the potions you were making?”
“They’re all gone.” The orange one shrugged.
“Gone?” Nait stood up. “What happened?”
“Well…” The orange chisagi gestured at the playground behind them. All of the various species of animal that should have been there had all bee replaced by chisagi of various colors. None of them seemed bothered by this, and were all playing as normal. Many of them even enjoying the now larger by comparison jungle gym. “You were very busy during your caffeine mania.”
“I did all this?” Nait couldn’t remember any of it.
“Yeah…” The orange one nodded. “It turned out alright this time. Most kids are good sports about this kind of things. Not like a lot of adults. But… Maybe pack caffeine free root beer for future chisagi endeavors. Or juice. Juice is always a good safe option.”
“Lesson learned…” Nait was starting to feel less groggy as he moved around a bit. “I’ll pack juice with my snacks next time.”
“Great!” The orange chisagi wagged his tail. “Then if you want we can meet up tomorrow! I’m sure after today’s incident we have enough people to play some chisagi games!”
“What are chisagi games?” Nait tilted his head.
“I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll make up something by the time tomorrow comes around.” The small orange chisagi stuck his tongue out.
“Do you actually think about any of the things you do? Or do you just act and come up with explanations after the fact?” Nait was starting to have suspicions about the other chisagi.
“A little of column A, a little of column B.” The orange one shrugged. “Oh, and sometimes some of column C.”
“There was no column C.” Nait stated blankly.
“Exactly.” The orange chisagi made a motion of zipping his lips then holding a finger in front of his muzzle as in a ‘shush’ motion. Nait couldn’t even begin to fathom what he had been going on about.
“Alright then…” Nait decided to just move on from that weirdness. “I have school tomorrow, but can come by the park after school.”
“School?” The orange chisagi tilted his head. “I’ve heard of that. I really want to give it a try sometime.”
“You don’t go to school?” Nait stared at him. “Do you have any idea how lucky you are?” Nait paused there. It was true school was terrible and filled with evil teachers who gave you homework for the sole purpose of ruining your evenings and weekends… But school was also where he met most of his friends at. Maybe he was the lucky one. Or maybe school was just something of a mixed blessing.
“My owner gives me my lessons at home.” The orange chisagi replied before turning to leave. “Speaking of which, he’ll probably be home soon. I should head there to meet him.”
Uh yeah…” Nait waved to the orange Chisagi. He was curious about the term owner. Were chisagi some kind of pets that people kept? Or if they did magic… Some kind of familiar. He was lost in his thoughts that he almost failed to notice the orange chisagi already walking away on all fours. “Hey! I never caught your name!”
“Calex!” The orange chisagi grinned. “What’s yours?”
“Nait.” The former lion cub replied.
“Well Nait, I look forward to a future relationship full of mischief and adventure.” Calex nodded eagerly. “But I really must be going. See you tomorrow!” And with that he was off.
“Right see ya!” Nait waved until the orange chisagi disappeared into the distance. “Strange kid… But he seems fun.” He looked up at the setting sun. “I probably better get home soon too. Mom and dad will wonder where I was all day.” He paused at this as he realized his current situation. He was still a chisagi. He had no idea how to change back and wouldn’t see the strange kid again until tomorrow.
That meant dinner with the family and a full school day before finding out how and if he could change back
“Well… If nothing else it’ll be fun to see their reactions.” Nait grinned. He was forming plans in his head. Like, complaining his legs were too short as an excuse to get one of his friends to let him ride on their head or shoulder from class to class. If he was going to be like this for a day he might as well have as much fun with it as possible. Though, he probably should be careful not to cause too much trouble. It’d be pretty easy for a parent or teacher to lift him up by his scruff if he got into too much trouble.
Well, he’d play it by ear. He started to walk home then froze as he realized something important. Something he almost overlooked. He couldn’t believe he almost left without taking care of something so obvious.
Nait ran up the jungle gym. Despite his smaller body it was easier. It seemed chisagi were build for climbing. His claws gave him easy grips as he ran up the ladder to his secret lair. There he found his backpack and the clothes that had once fit him. He quickly dug through his backpack until he found two things.
A box of fruit snacks, and his video games
“There you are.” He had to use both arms to hold them as he rode down the slide and then began to walk home. “Never would have forgiven myself if I left you guys here.” And with his important items retrieved, Nait happily headed home, excited to see what the evening and following day would bring.