Part of the Magical Pet Shop collaboration I did with Terri. In this one, Joseph finds himself in a world of battle.
Magical Pet Shop: Joseph
Story By CalexTheNeko
Art by Terri the Dragon
Joseph Owned By VulpineTF
“Monster Capture Registered. Generating environment.”
There was a bright flash of light and then Joseph found himself laying flat on his back. What the heck had just happened? He quickly climbed to his feet trying to piece together what had just happened. It looked like he was outdoors now. He was out in the middle of the woods on a very brightly lit day. That was weird… He had just been indoors. Specifically he had been inside a pet store reading over a rather strange help wanted ad. The ad had mentioned being the very best no matter what… Joseph had assumed that meant it was related to sales. He had asked about it… And then he met the store owners… A small orange talking kitten and what appeared to be a fluffy white dragon. After that things got a little hazy… And now he was in the middle of the woods on a sunny day.
Obviously, the pet shop must have been a dream. A dragon and a talking cat? Ridiculous. But… Why was he outside now? And where even was he? And… Why was he…
Joseph froze in place as he realized something.
WHY WAS HE NAKED!?
All of his clothing was gone! But… Despite that he didn’t feel even remotely cold! And looking down at his body revealed something a lot more shocking than his lack of attire! He was covered in fur! Most of his body was covered in silver fur with black circles… His chest meanwhile was a snowy white! And then he had a tail… And there were his feet… They were massive animalistic paws with long claws sticking out of them. Then… His hands were in a similar shape… And they lacked opposable thumbs. His claws were so long he could probably use them to manipulate objects with some finesse… But not to the same degree proper hands could.
“Roooooaaawwwr!” Joseph gave a shout of disbelief. Words completely failed him though. All that game out was a roar. He didn’t understand. What was going on?
He had to get a better look at himself. He looked around the area as his ears began to twitch picking up the various noises around him. He could hear running water. Maybe he’d be able to get a look at his reflection in the water? He took off running in the direction that the noise had come from.
Navigating the forest was surprisingly easy. His hide seemed to be pretty thick… And as leaves and sticks were crushed beneath the pads of his paws he didn’t feel even the slightest pain. Tree branches that scraped against his fur didn’t leave so much as a scratch on him… But they might have scratched an annoying itch on his backside. Joseph was also running a lot faster than he had ever moved before as a human. He felt strong, and full of energy. It was like he has acquired some animalistic savagery… And yet he still ran upright on two legs like a person.
Eventually he came to the source of the noise. A river with clean and clear water ran through the middle of the forest. On either side of the river, large bushes grew full of sweet looking berries and nuts. Those didn’t concern Joseph for now. Instead he just crouched down next to the river and stared into his reflection. What was staring back didn’t look like him. At least not much.
There was one quality he recognized from himself. His hair. There was still a small trace of black hair atop his head that had been shaved down. Other than that, no trace of the person he had been seemed to remain. He had large round ears atop his head and a muzzle! He looked like some kind of cat! Maybe a snow leopard? But his paws seemed a lot bigger than they should have for something like that… And didn’t most cats have retractable claws? His were so big there was no way for him to hide them away. Then… There was one other detail. Joseph was wearing something around his neck. In his panic he hadn’t even noticed it at first. It was a small necklace, with two claws and a fang hanging from it. It… Looked familiar. He had seen it in the pet shop! It was inside one of the kennels just laying there! Actually… The job posting he had been interested in had been hanging from the very same kennel. So… Whatever happened to him was connected to that? But… The pet shop wasn’t real! It couldn’t have been!
So this couldn’t have been real either!
Joseph cupped his two massive paws together and shoved them into the water. He quickly brought up multiple pawfuls of water in a row, splashing them over himself in an attempt to rouse himself from whatever dream he was having. It didn’t work. The water however was pleasantly cool and fresh. It wound up making him feel very awake and alert… But it didn’t explain anything about his situation.
“Mroooooooaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwrrrrr!” Joseph let out an annoyed shout. Did… That mean this was real? This was actually happening? But how was that even possible? And he still had no idea where he was! It was obviously a forest… But that didn’t explain where. If this was related to the pet shop… Maybe it was somewhere in the same area? If he could find his way out of the woods could he work his way back home and try to get help?
He had no idea… But it was a plan, and it was better than sitting around doing nothing. Joseph had no idea where to go… But you could only walk into the woods for so long before you were walking out! As long as he kept moving in one direction he would eventually make it out of the woods! And so he strode off in a straight line away from the river, hoping to find his way back home.
Moving around like this made him feel a little better. It made him feel more in control and so some of the shock was wearing off. He didn’t understand why this had happened to him. He had just wanted to apply for some job. Had he become a victim of some nefarious scheme? Given his current appearance it seemed likely. He felt really strong though… If he ran into the people responsible maybe he could give them a good throttling if they refused to change him back!
After about thirty minutes of walking Joseph came to a river. It was just like the river he had just come from. There was perfectly clear water… And bushes growing on the side of it full of berries and nuts. Had he gotten turned around somehow? Or was this just a different river? Or maybe a different part of the same one… It wasn’t as if rivers had to go in a straight line.
Joseph really wasn’t sure which it was yet… But if he was going to continue in a straight line he’d have to get across it. The water was clear enough for him to see the bottom of the river… But it still looked deeper than he was taller. At least the current was pretty mild, swimming across wouldn’t be an issue. He leaped into the river and began to paddle. Swimming was actually slower than he remembered it being… And the river had to be at least 30 feet across. Still, he didn’t get tired and eventually reached the other side. After climbing up and shaking the water from his fur he paused and stared at the berry bearing bush. After a few seconds he walked up and scratched a giant X into a tree next to the bush.
He was fairly certain he had walked in a straight line… But now he had a marker! If he ran into another river he could easily check for the marker to verify if he had gone in a circle. He was also being very careful to continue in a straight line this time. He wound up marking several trees with a slash to help keep himself oriented as he continued straight on.
His fur dried out in the warm sun surprisingly quickly as he traveled. And after roughly thirty minutes Joseph found himself staring at another river. Again, it looked just like the last two. He looked around in front of the river to see if he could see his mark. He didn’t, and gave a sigh of relief. Again, he leaped into the river and swam across. However… Once on the other side of the river he looked around again. Right next to one of the berry bushes was a tree with an X carved into it. That was his mark.
But… That didn’t make sense! If he had accidentally got turned around and came back to the river… Then the mark would have been on the same side of the river he started on! Instead, it was only on the other side after he crossed! It was as if… The entire world had just looped!
Joseph sat down in the grass as he realized that was exactly what happened. It seemed to defy all explanation, but so did being here in this body. Wherever he was… He couldn’t simply walk out. He gave a heavy sigh as he began to wonder what he should do.
Joseph had no idea how much time had passed before he found himself getting hungry. He realized he was going to need to find food. There were those berries… But weren’t cats carnivores? Wouldn’t he need meat? Though… Come to think of it he hadn’t seen any traces of any other animals since getting here. The nuts and berries were the only food source in this entire forest. Joseph crawled over and pulled a few from the tree. He really hoped they weren’t poisonous as he tossed them into his maw.
They actually tasted quite good… And Joseph felt energy running through his entire body the moment they went down. It was as if he had suddenly had both a good night’s sleep and a solid meal! It was amazing! And it seemed the berries were safe to eat. But… Now what? He had food and water at least… But he was still lost and had no idea how to escape this forest.
“Alert. Battle has begun.”
Joseph jerked his head up as he heard a computerized voice. The voice didn’t seem to have a source… Instead it just seemed to come from every direction all at once.
“Mroooawwwwwr?” Joseph tried to address the voice.
“Summoning initiated.” The voice ignored his inquiries as it continued. “Deploying IceCat.”
And then Joseph was blinded by a bright flash for the second time that day. When his vision returned the forest was gone. Now he was inside somewhere… And it was noisy. He looked around in confusion… He was in a sports arena? There was audience seating, and it was completely packed. Joseph’s ears twitched as he could hear tons of people screaming and hooting as they stared down at him and the rest of the arena.
As for the arena itself… It didn’t look like any sport he knew. It seemed like he was on a large circular stage. The floor was made of some kind of blue padded substance, like the kind you might find on a children’s playground. Most of the circle had a large white line drawn around it, but there were two sections on either end with white rectangles drawn onto the surface instead. Joseph was standing just a few feet in front of one of those rectangles… And there was a human kid standing inside it! The kid couldn’t be older than ten but he was twice Joseph’s size! And… Come to think of it the entire arena looked gigantic! Was… Was Joseph small? If the kid was around average height Joseph would have barely stood over two feet tall!
“Alright Ice Cat! I know we haven’t had time to properly train yet! But you’re my last hope!” The kid seemed to be speaking to Joseph. Joseph just stared at the kid in confusion. The kid looked like some kind of fashion disaster… He was wearing pants that didn’t quite make it down to his shins, a striped t-shirt, a scarf and a beret. Then he had some kind of weird watch strapped to his arm that seemed to mostly just be consist of a black orb with different colors pulsing through it.
“An Ice Cat? What a novice.” An older voice came from across the arena. Joseph looked across to see a much older man who was having his old fashion disaster. The guy had to be in his 30s, and was wearing a neon blue vest with no shirt beneath it, shorts with pink leggings beneath them, no less than three belts worn diagonally across his chest, bright green hair that made him look like a cockatoo and a weird orb on his arm that looked identical to the kid’s watch. “You were just lucky with the double knock out in the last round! This one won’t stand a chance! Come forth… My Razor Toad!” The orb on the man’s wrist began to glow and then a ball of blue light shot out from it. The ball flew into the arena in front of him before revealing a large frog-like creature. The best way Joseph could describe it was a bipedal frog with swords for arms and a lance-like horn that Joseph wasn’t sure if it was part of its body or wearing some kind of helmet. The thing was massive! It had to be at least twenty feet tall!
Actually… Considering how short Joseph apparently was… It probably only looked that big by comparison. It was technically a little shorter than the kid… Meaning it’d actually be somewhere around four feet and something… Still, it certainly looked menacing.
“Ha! You think that’ll scare me!” The kid sneered. “Go on Ice Cat! Get in there and take him.”
“Rooooaawr!?” Joseph gestured a claw at himself. He was so confused. Was he being ordered to fight the giant frog? No freaking way! That thing was huge and terrifying! One second he had been in the forest… Then he was here! And now they wanted him to fight!? “MOW!” Joseph objected loudly as he sat down in the middle of the arena and crossed his arms. Whatever was going on… He would take no part of it.
“Ice Cat… Come on!” The kid pleaded.
“Looks like you’re a pretty lousy monster tamer.” The older man sneered. “Ah well… If he’s not going to fight back this won’t take anytime at all! Razor Toad, take him out!”
“Mow?” Joseph’s eyes widened. Was he was still going to be attacked even if he didn’t fight? He got his answer soon enough…. The toad leaped across the arena in one swift motion, swinging both its sword arms down at Joseph. Joseph barely had time to react. He just managed to scramble onto all fours and move out of the way before being run through.
“Ice Cat what are you doing!?” The kid shouted. “You gotta fight back! Come on!”
“Forget it kid. This is what happened when you can’t control your monsters. Now, nothing to do but sit back and take the loss.” The older man sneered. “Don’t let up!”
“CROOOOOOOOOOAAAAK!” The giant toad boomed as it lowered its head to charge at Joseph with its horn.
“MOOOOW!” Joseph managed to leap to his feet and swing his forepaws up. He caught the horn directly between his two sets of claws and managed to hold the toad back from running him through.
“That’s it! Yeah!” The kid shouted. “See you can do it! Now go on the offensive.”
“MROOOOOW!” Joseph tried to object. He wasn’t fighting for the kid’s sake! Just… This thing showed no sign of signs of leaving him alone. He really didn’t have much of a choice.
Of course… He really wasn’t sure how he was supposed to fight right now… He had a bestial body, that even if it didn’t seem to have a lot of muscle on it appearance wise, was still quite strong… And of course, there were the four sets of claws… And sharp teeth. Well, improvising it was.
“ROOOAWR!” Joseph kneed the toad in its chest, as it let out a croak and was knocked backwards away from him.
“That’s not a regulation move…” The older man muttered. “Doesn’t matter! Just… Take him down!”
“CROOOOAK!” The toad wasn’t done fighting yet. It held out its sword arms and began to spin in a circle like a top. Then it came barely forward towards Joseph intending to cut right through him. The blades were moving so fast Joseph couldn’t even see where to try to bring his claws to parry it.
“MROOOOWL!” He gave his own battle shout as he tried to go on the offensive. Joseph leaped into the air. He was surprised by just how high he could jump. He went straight over the spinning toad and felt weightless as he seemed to pause for half a moment directly over him. He knew he had to strike… Acting on instinct he brought his two forepaws together so that the claws touched. He didn’t realize why he was doing this until it had started… Crystals of ice began to grow over the tips of his claws as he dove down and swung then in an X-formation at the toad. An explosion of cool mist erupted from the impact that covered the entire arena, blocking even Joseph’s vision. But… he didn’t feel either of the swords hit him… So, the attack must have worked!
As the mist faded and everyone could see again… Joseph saw most of the floor of the arena was now entirely frozen over by a thick layer of ice. And yet… He could move across the ice as easily as if he had traction on normal ground…. The toad on the other hand… It was stuck standing in place… Its legs frozen to the ground. Joseph stared in awe. He had done all of that? He looked to his claws seeing a few ice crystals still falling off them. Apparently, he had ice powers. That was new.
“What… How could an untrained monster use such a high level attack!?” The older man defeated.
“This is it! Finish him off!” The kid shouted excitedly.
“MROOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWL!” Forgetting his earlier trepidation Joseph let himself go with the moment. He did his best to curl one of his paws into a fist and delivered a punch squarely into the toad’s chin. The toad swayed back and forth for a moment, then fell to the ground.
“Razor Toad is unable to battle!” A female voice sounded over a loud speaker. “Ice Cat wins the round!” The audience erupted into applause. Joseph relaxed, happy the fight was over, and as he did the ice over the arena seemed to melt.
He stared down at the toad, feeling slightly guilty about what he had done. But he paused… It didn’t have a single injury on its entire body despite the battle.
“Unbelievable. What kind of weird monster is that?” The man gave a hefty sigh. Then he seemed to whisper something into the neck of his own vest. “It’s too rare to waste on a kid like that… See about having someone relieve him of it.” With that the man held out his arm, the giant toad suddenly turned into a blue ball of light again and flew back into the orb on his arm.
“Mrow?” Joseph stared at the man uneasily. He wasn’t taking the loss well and was clearly up to something. The man didn’t congratulate or acknowledge the kid for his victory. Instead he turned and walked away from the arena without another thought.
“YEEEEAH!” The kid didn’t seem to notice. He ran across the arena and nearly tackled Joseph as he pulled the beast into a hug. “We won! You did it!”
“Mroooowl!”Joseph pushed back against the kid. He hadn’t done it for the kid! He was just… Protecting himself! And yet… He couldn’t deny it had been kind of fun. He was wondering what else he was capable of…
“But you’re really touchy…. Maybe not one for crowds?” The kid seemed confused. “Ok, you can go rest back in your habitat for now! Thanks for everything!” The kid held out his arm and the orb began to glow… Then there was a third blinding flash of light!
And Joseph was back in the forest.
So… That was it. The forest was inside the orb thing somehow… That other guy must have kept his toad in a similar environment.
Joseph gave a heavy sigh. He found he had appeared next to the river, so he sat down next to it and began to soak his feet. What kind of mess had he gotten himself into? Some kind of professional monster fighting thing? The kid seemed pretty clueless really… And Joseph didn’t like being treated as some kind of battle pet.
Still… He started to think about what the older man had muttered. It sounded like he was planning on coming for Joseph… Joseph didn’t like being this kid’s pet… But he suspected he’d dislike the old man and whoever he was talking to even more. The kid at least didn’t seem to have any malice.
He supposed… For now he would just have to play along with the kid and keep him safe. At least until he could figure out how to get back to normal and go home. In the meantime… He was curious just what other powers this body of his might be hiding. Perhaps… Another battle wouldn’t be so bad… Just to test what he was capable of.
Yes. He would tolerate this for now.