Zeelo accidentally applies to become a chisagi familiar. Always find out the full details before you agree to a job.
Chisagi species created by me, feel free to use them in things. They’re cute little buggers.
Chisagi For Hire
Zeelo had a small problem. He needed a job. And there weren’t many options. Considering he wasn’t born to nobility, that pretty much put any desirable job out of reach. Then of course, there was no family business to take over so to speak. Being in his twenties he was beyond the age that most practices would take him on as an apprentice. And with no one to apprentice under he didn’t have the funds to try to become a merchant on his own. He could try to become a squire and then a knight, but there was no guarantee of finding a knight to sponsor him. He also wasn’t sure how he felt about an honorable life of killing and dying just because some guy with a fancy hat told him too.
The options for commoners like him were quite limited. There were always farms that needed an extra hand… And while becoming a merchant itself right away was out of the question, there might be work in helping with the hauling of cargo, or acting a guard on the road, both physical labor, neither paid well, and one was likely to get him killed. But, physical labor rather it be helping with the unloading of cargo or working on a farm was about the only option available to people like him. It wasn’t easy to work your way up in the world.
Unless of course you were lucky enough to get a job at the Academy, the prime location of all magical research in the kingdom. But the thing about magic was, much like nobility you had to be born with it. Magic could not be learned, you either had it or you didn’t. Still, even the Academy had mundane tasks that needed to be done and could be done without magic. From working in the kitchens, to cleaning, and supply runs. Mostly menial labor, same as the options outside the Academy, but with considerably better pay and living conditions. A single room at the academy was far more luxurious than any thatch roof cottage.
And so, for the fifth week in a row Zeelo found walking towards the academy doors, waiting to hear if there were any new positions available. He was dressed in his best blue tunic, a pair of trousers thick boots. The best clothing he owned. He was making the attempt to make a good impression. Here was hoping. If he didn’t find something soon he was going to have to take whatever was available in the town no matter how undesirable the position was.
“-For assisting with research and aiding with spell crafting, no magical aptitude required.” A familiar voice rung out from the Academy doorsteps. Zeelo recognized it as the usual crier who gave out announcements. He was late! He broke into a sprint trying to reach the doors as fast as possible. A position without magical aptitude had been announced and here he was about to miss it because he was a few minutes late.
By the time Zeelo reached the front doors, the crier had reached the end of his announcements, and the crowds of hopefuls looking for a job were beginning to disperse. Zeelo hunched over, catching his breath, as his messy faded brown hair fell over his eyes. He quickly pushed it out of the eyes and looked up at the crier standing atop the steps. Had Zeelo not seen him before he might have mistaken him for a kid, but he was a halfing dressed in silken robes and a vest.
“That assistant job!” Zeelo addressed the crier between breaths. “Anyone been picked for it yet?”
“No one even applied.” The crier shrugged. “But that’s to be expected. Very few are willing to go through with it.”
“Seriously?” Zeelo looked confused. “But… That’s basically the best possible case. No hard labor, no difficult chores… Well I guess maybe if the mage in question was a little grumpy it might get tiresome… But compared to the alternative jobs…”
“I suppose that’s all true.” The crier shrugged. “But like I said most people simply aren’t ready to so easily give up the-“
“I’ll take the position!” Zeelo interrupted. “Or apply for it! Whatever needs to be done.”
“Really that eager huh?” This got a chuckle out of the halfing. “You know, I always loved the adventurous type. Very well, come inside, I’ll inform the mage of your interests and he’ll interview you.”
“R-right!” Zeelo swallowed nervously. That was right, just because a job existed didn’t mean he automatically got it. He followed the crier into the Academy. It was his first time ever being inside. It was… Surprisingly normal. In his head Zeelo had pictured a lot of magic circles, crystals floating in the air, maybe some hovering fireballs. Instead, it was normal stone masonry and looked like the inside of a normal school, just with everything being more expensive looking. It was well decorated, the floors covered with colorful rugs, banners hung on the walls, and the place was lit by normal lanterns hung on the walls.
Zeelo was led through the main hall, up a spiral staircase, and to a wooden door at the end of a second hall.
“He’s in there. Good luck. Hope it’s everything you want.” With that the halfing left Zeelo by himself.
“So do I just go inside?” Zeelo asked. He received no answer. He knocked at the door. No one answered. He waited a few minutes, and when still no one answered opened the door and slipped inside.
The room was a little bit more like what he pictured, minus the floating crystals There were desks covered with all kinds of strange contraptions, bubbling potions, and cauldrons. While they didn’t float, there was a series of crystals laid out in a tray on another desk, each of them changing colors every few seconds. Then near the back of the room was the mage himself.
From how short he was, Zeelo at first assumed him another halfing. But as the mage moved around eagerly and Zeelo got a good look at his face, he realized this one actually was a human kid, likely somewhere around age twelve. He had shaggy blonde hair and was wearing blue robes that looked to be about one size too big for him as he excitedly ran around the lab, working on some kind of concoction. He didn’t even seem to notice Zeelo enter the room. Instead the kid was excitedly dumping the contents of one glass bottle into another. And then he froze, very slowly picked up a silver spoon, dipped it into a beaker with a red liquid, and then lifted a spoon full of the liquid and held it above the other glass. His entire body tensed up as he slowly turned the spoon upside down dumping the contents into his concoction and then he jumped a whole five feet straight back. A second later, a small puff of smoke erupted from the glass holding his potion.
“Oh…. That wasn’t too bad.” The kid sounded sheepish. He took a few steps towards the desk with the potion, then suddenly an explosive shockwave was released sending him flying back further, shattering several glasses in the room, and sending Zeelo flying out the door. “There it is…” The kid sat up after landing on his back.
Zeelo began to wonder if mistakes had been made.
“Um excuse me.” Zeelo spoke loudly to ensure he was heard.
“Oh?” The boy looked up. “Sorry I was in the middle of an experiment, think I’ve almost got this potion down. Well I’ve got it down, just need to make it less explodey when brewed. And um…” He paused. “I don’t recognize you. Who are you? And why are you here?”
“I’m Zeelo, and I’m applying for the assistant job.” Zeelo managed to hold himself back from mentioning the mage was shorter than he expected.
“Huh.” The kid stared at him. “You’re taller than I expected.” He shrugged. “But if you’re up it, sure, you’re hired.”
“Just like that?” Zeelo blinked in disbelief.
“Well yeah, I mean it’s easier than trying to hunt one down in the wild. They’re a bit stubborn.” The kid shrugged. “I’ll make a magic circle in a moment and we can get started. Zeelo was it? Could you grab me one of those crystals from the tray. I need one that changes colors in this order: red blue green red green blue green yellow.” Without further remark the boy began to push on a desks, moving it aside to make more floor space.
“Uhhh.” Zeelo was going to ask questions about his remark, but then suddenly had a bunch of colors rambled off to him. He tried to memorize the list then looked to the tray of crystals. As they flashed through different colors Zeelo realized he had no way to tell which was supposed to be the first color in the pattern, and which the last. Then what was the order? He did his best to try to focus and grab the one he thought was right.
“Alright bring it over here!” The mage was down on the ground. He was drawing a circle in red paint and then drawing several symbols and triangles within the circle. “Stand in the circle and get ready to crush the crystal in your hand when I say so.”
“Wait just crush it?” Zeelo seemed confused and looked at the crystal in his hand.
“Don’t worry, it’s actually really brittle. The second you squeeze down even slightly hard it’ll shatter.” The boy paused. “Um so…. Make sure your grip is a little relaxed till we’re ready so it doesn’t shatter early.”
“O-okay!” Zeelo nearly squeezed down on instinct.
“Almost ready for the ritual.” The kid grabbed a bottle of golden dust, dumped a bit into his hand and then blew it over the circle. “Ready! Okay, stand in the circle.”
“Why?” Zeelo asked.
“Cause you’re not going to be very good at the job like that.” The boy rolled his eyes, acting as if it was obvious.
“Yeesh, I haven’t even learned your name and you’re so busy.” Still, despite his objections Zeelo entered the circle.
“Name? Oh right. Sorry.” The boy slowed down for a moment. “Sorry when I’m focused on a project it’s really hard for me to think about anything else. And then if I get distracted, I can’t get back into it. I hope it’s not too hard to work with and… Oh right name! I’m Fulko. And… I guess your new boss? And… Oh right the crystal! you need to shatter it?”
“Now?” Zeelo asked unsure.
“Yes now!” Fulko paused. “Wait don’t.” He bent down and rubbed at the paint on the floor. “Circle shape was off. Ok now!”
“Okay you’re sure it’s now?” Zeelo hesitated.
“Yes! Hurry! That fairy dust is only good for 60 seconds once released from the bottle. If you don’t do it now the spell is going to fail!” Fulko insisted.
“Okay okay!” Zeelo had questions about what spells they were doing, but it sounded like things would go wrong if he waited much longer. And while he didn’t know too much about magic, he had a pretty good idea that magic going wrong was bad. He quickly squeezed down on the crystal, and just as promised it shattered instantly. The crystal fragments floated in the air for a moment and then began to spin around Zeelo. And suddenly, there was a bright flash of light and they were gone. “Did… Did it work? And what are we doing?”
Zeelo got his answer soon enough.
Suddenly, his trousers fell to the floor and the room was suddenly starting to look a lot larger. He would have asked what was happening, but froze up completely when he looked down at himself and saw dark brown fur growing in on his arms. The fur spread from there, slowly covering the rest of his body as Zeelo continued to get smaller. He clung desperately to his shirt, but it was useless and soon he slipped right through the neck hole. At this point, he was essentially naked, except for his feet currently stuck beneath his trousers and inside his giant boots.
Zeelo tugged at them, trying to free himself, and as he came free, he rolled backwards landing on his back right as a long fluffy tail sprung from the tip of his spine.
“W-what?” Zeelo stared in surprise. He sat up, now completely naked, though his entire body was covered by fur. Two small horns protruded from his head, while ears stretched out becoming much longer and wider. His hands and feet were the next to change, becoming animalistic paws. His body became shorter and squatter, and his limbs more evenly sized. It was at this point Zeelo realized he could walk on two legs as well as four. Zeelo’s face pushed out into a small muzzle and sprouted whiskers. He was some kind of small animal creature, only around fourteen inches tall now.
But the changes didn’t quite stop there. His fur began to change. Glowing blue streaks of fur appeared beneath his knees, on his shoulders, and at his forearms. Three more glowing blue stripes appeared on his tail, with the last stripe taking up the tip of said tail. another stripe formed about halfway up on each of his ears, as more sprouted in the shape of a V atop his forehead. The last blue stripes of fur to sprout were the largest, going from his shoulders to his thighs and forming a rectangle on his back. And now the changes were complete, and the blue fur ceased to glow.
“What… WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?” Zeelo freaked out, and as he did the blue fur started glowing again. “Did the spell go wrong?”
“No it worked fine! You’re a chisagi! Just as was planned!” Fulko grinned. “Chisagi made the best familiars, but a lot of the real ones don’t trust mages these days… So I thought I could turn someone into one! I figured if I put a job ad out someone would answer.”
“But… That’s not what I applied for!” Zeelo objected. “I thought I was just going to be an assistant!”
“Well yeah, my familiar, my magical animal that assists me in my daily duties and magical tasks.” Fulko sounded confused. “I don’t know how I could have been anymore clear on that.”
“But that’s not what-“ Zeelo paused. He remembered he had not actually heard the full description of the job. And how no one else had been interested. And now going over the context of previous conversations…. “Oof.” Zeelo slapped a paw to his face as his fur stopped glowing. He really had just walked right into this one.
“You okay?” Fulko now towered over Zeelo. Zeelo was barely over a foot tall now so it wasn’t surprising.
“Am I ok? Look at me!” Zeelo gestured as his fur lit up again. Then he remembered that no one had technically lied to him or tricked him, but this was a result of him seizing an opportunity without learning the full details. His fur stopped glowing and he just sat on the floor looking sullen. “I didn’t realize this was going to happen.”
“Oh.” Then after a moment later Fulko’s eyes lit up. “OH! So you thought… Oh… Oh my… I um…. Uh… Sorry?”
“Just… Look at me! I look like someone’s pet!” Zeelo’s fur let up as he shouted. Then suddenly faded as he paused. “Okay, what’s up with my fur?”
“What do you mean?” Fulko asked.
“The blue stripes, they keep lighting up and then going back to normal.” Zeelo stared down at the stripes on his wrist.
“Oh, that’s part of chisagi biology. I don’t really understand it myself but… My understanding is anytime a chisagi feels intense emotions or uses magic their markings light up.” Fulko explained then brightened. “But on the bright side! That means the transformation must have been a complete success! You’re 100% chisagi! No human left in you and oh right….” In his excitement Fulko had forgotten Zeelo’s despair.
“Just… What am I supposed to do now?” Zeelo asked sounding dejected.
“Well… The job is still open.” Fulko suggested. “Sure you’re a bit smaller and fuzzier now, but being my familiar and assisting me with research is probably way easier than any other jobs at the Academy.”
“And especially easier than jobs outside the Academy.” Zeelo considered. “Is it possible to change back?”
“In theory yes.” Fulko seemed unsure. “I had been working on this spell for months, I’m sure I could figure out a spell that does the opposite in the same amount of time.”
“I see…” Zeelo considered his options. Going back to being human was on the table, but he would be stuck this way for a little bit until Fulko finished his research. And he’d likely be helping with said research in his current state. Basically, doing the familiar work. But then once he got back to being human…
He’d be right back at square one, in desperate need of a job and very few options.
Zeelo looked down at his body. He waved his tail slowly, then reached up and touched his horns with a paw. This form was small… But it wasn’t that bad. He kind of liked having a tail, and such big ears. In his mind he weighed his options, comparing his current state and what his life as a familiar would be like compared to if he went back to being human.
“Maybe…. Maybe I can be your familiar.” Zeelo spoke up at last. “I was just… Caught off guard. If I had known maybe I’d even have gone along with it.” Zeelo considered that for a moment. He very much might have! Despite his loss of height and gain of fluffiness, his quality of life was likely to be a lot better. Mages got pretty cushy positions and tended to make a lot of money… And that meant he would too by extension… Or at least benefit from his new boss’ future wealth. “Though I gotta say, it feels odd having a boss who’s younger than me.”
“Oh I can fix that easy! Was working on something like that right before you arrived! Just a for funsies project.” Fulko grinned as he retrieved the potion he had been working on before Zeelo arrived. “One sip of this will fix the problem, two sips might make it feel more natural and three well… I’d prefer you didn’t take three sips as I don’t have time to both take care of both you and continue my research.” He paused. “Also you won’t explode. That only happens when brewing it.”
“Okay, okay, stop. Hang on.” Zeelo had learned his lesson from rushing into the job the first time. “Exactly what does that potion do?”
“It’s a youth potion!” Fulko explained excitedly. “Though I had no idea who to test it on I mean I’m only twelve myself and I feel like this is the kind of thing the faculty would get upset about if I used on them.” Fulko’s mind seemed to wander a lot. “But, if me being younger makes it feel awkward for you… Well one sip of this and we’ll be at the same age! Two and you’ll be a bit younger. Three, you’re a toddler… So I’d prefer you not do that. Anything beyond would leave you an infant.” He knelt down to offer the potion to Zeelo.
“I see.” At Zeelo’s smaller size he had to hold the potion flash with two paws. He looked at the red liquid in it. Yeah it was awkward having a boss so much younger than him… But that didn’t mean he wanted to be younger! And yet… He couldn’t deny there was a certain appeal to it. Growing up as a chisagi familiar might be a lot more fun than his human life for a bit.
“I mean you don’t have to take it.” Fulko was at least aware enough to sense Zeelo’s reluctance. “I mean I’ll eventually be older than you anyway.”
“Wait how is that possible?” Zeelo gave Fulko a confused stare.
“I mean chronologically I won’t be but… Humans live like… eighty years if we’re lucky. Chisiagi live for hundreds of years. You’ve still got centuries of being in your prime, so I’ll be older than you physically in just a few years.”
“I see…” Zeelo had a realization. “So if I drink this thing that means I’d be a kid for centuries before reaching adulthood again?”
“I hadn’t thought about that.” Fulko looked thoughtful. “But I suppose it would! The change seems perfect, so you should age just like a normal chisagi.”
“I see…” Zeelo stared down at the potion held between two paws uncertainly. Was his boss being older than him really that much an issue? Even if it was, it would resolve itself in a few years if Zeelo was going to be as long-lived as promised. And yet… He still felt tempted to drink the potion.
And then he realized it. He wanted to. He wasn’t going to admit it out loud, but he liked the idea of being a kid again. And being a chisagi kid… That sounded like it’d make the job a lot more fun than if he stayed his current adult age. But was it really right to want something like that?
Then again… His boss did need to test the potion… So he’d just be doing his job.
“Well… It is a little awkward being older… And you do need to test the potion.” Zeelo muttered. “So I guess… There’s no harm in it.” He tried to downplay his eagerness to try the potion. He quickly took two sips from the potion. He considered a third but realized that would probably upset Fulko.
Immediately Zeelo began to shrink. It wasn’t as dramatic this time. His tail shrunk slightly in length, while his ears soon looked a bit too big for his head. His horns became tiny little nubs, and his body became a bit rounder overall. The biggest change was in height, as he had gone from around fourteen inches to eight inches tall. As for his age, well he didn’t know what he was in chisagi years, but if he were human he’d have likely been around six or seven.
“It works!” Fulko jumped up and down. “Tell me! How do you feel? Any side effects? Anything unexpected? Any sudden new cravings? Let me grab my notebook I want to know every possible effect the potion can be having on you.” Fulko dug around through the various desks trying to find the notebook. It took several minutes but eventually he found it. “AHA!”
“Um… I feel… Fine?” Zeelo could se from Fulko’s looks he wanted more than that. “And um… I guess… More energetic… And suddenly I could really go for something sweet. There a kitchen around here?”
“Um yes…” Fulko was writing notes. “We can go in a few minutes. Do you feel less mature or about the same?”
“What does that matter!” Zeelo complained. “I’m hungry! Come on, put the notebook down you can ask questions later.”
“I’m going to say less mature…” Fulko made a note and shut the notebook. “Alright, we’ll get you fed, but then we have more research to do.”
“Right, right I know.” Zeelo sighed, then suddenly grinned as he got an idea. He jumped up onto Fulko’s back, quickly scrambled up to it and perched on the young mage’s shoulders.
“Oof.” Evevn though Zeelo was small, Fulko felt the impact.
“What? Your legs are bigger than mine.” Zeelo tried to give a deadpan stare. He wasn’t very good at it. The harder he tried to look serious, the larger the urge to laugh.
“Fine… Fine…” Fulko sighed. “We’re off to the kitchen to get you something to eat.” He reached an arm up and rubbed a hand between Zeelo’s ears. Zeelo pulled back at first, but then realizing how nice it felt leaned into the petting. “I feel like I’m going to regret making you younger.”
“Less talk! More cookies!” Zeelo insisted.
“Though on the other hand it might make you a willing test subject for some other potions.” Fulko grinned. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun in the future.”
“Yes. After cookies.” Zeelo nodded.
“H-hey! I’m the boss you’re the familiar! Remember that!” Fulko insisted.
“And as the boss you’re going to treat me. Right?” Zeelo’s ears drooped and his eyes dilated as he made a begging face.
“I’ve created a monster.” Fulko laughed. “Keep your britches on… Erm, maybe poor use of words given the lack of pants. But, we’ll go get your cookies. But then we’re getting to work.”
“Right!” Zeelo saluted and then rode on Fulko’s shoulder as they headed off to raid the kitchen.