Kickaha gets a job working for Nile.com to deliver packages as part of their 1-hour delivery program. When the work gets a little boring he decides to add a bit of magic to make things more interesting.
Karma Express Delivery
One would think that living on a diet of rodents you could freely hunt in the woods would lead to sound economic security. And Kickaha was certain that at one point in his life that had been true. The problem was that, over time, rodents were getting a lot more clever. And not just ‘clever enough to look dubiously at that hunk of cheese with the anvil hanging above it.’ Many of them had even moved beyond ‘clever enough to use a tiny fishing pole to retrieve the cheese’. Now they were arriving at ‘clever enough to build trendy micro-malls with stores selling tiny fishing poles and sarcastic thanks-for-the-cheese cards.’
And so that left Kickaha with a problem. Sure, he could ramp up his hunting techniques. That would be good clean fun. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that, regardless of how much a smug rat had it coming, or how delicious it looked, you couldn’t eat an animal once it got that clever. That was essentially no better than cannibalism. And as a general rule, killing sapient creatures was pretty much an evil act.
There were still normal non-clever mice in the woods for Kickaha to hunt, but the process was a lot more awkward. If you saw a delicious-looking mouse just ready to pounce on, you couldn’t be sure if they were the clever kind or not. Walking up to the mouse and asking them outright tended to result in the mouse running away if it turned out to be a normal non-clever mouse. Pouncing upon the mouse and capturing it tended to traumatize the mouse if it was a clever one, and led to neighborhood block meetings to discuss predator-prey sensitivity. The point was, it wasn’t a good situation for Kickaha. His only real choice was to very carefully stalk potential prey for a long period of time, maybe even hours, to make sure they were a normal mouse and not a clever mouse who was just introverted. And that was worse than time-consuming. It was boring.
There were alternatives. There was Rodent Repast, of course. Even in the wilderness, when there was an unmet demand, there was bound to be a fast-casual restaurant chain. “Farm-raised, grain-fed, ethically-harvested low rodents expertly prepared and served fresh”. Kickaha had even done a few advertisements for them.
And there was an alternative solution. Pet shops got normal mice in stock all the time. They also got clever mice on occasion, usually those that used to be human. But those were quite easy to pick out when looking into the cage. There was the fact that as a practitioner of the Art, Kickaha could sense the magical aura of a transformed person. And there was the fact that normal mice didn’t try to write messages in the cage bedding asking for help. Kickaha often felt bad about ignoring those mice… But he knew they were currently involved in some plot that didn’t involve him and he had already gotten in trouble more than once for interfering in such scenarios. Besides, he came to these pet shops to buy lunch. He didn’t have time to help every transformed human complete their character arc and discover that humanity was boring anyway. He had places to be. Other people to meet and occasionally turn into mice and send to pet shops.
So, now that Kickaha had two sources of non-clever mice, that he could eat guilt-free, that meant his problems were solved and all his dietary needs met, right? Wrong! It turned out, humans expected you to pay money for their good and services. It was something Kickaha felt was a little rude. Not once after swindling someone out of their humanity had he then sent them a bill for his services. He did what he did just to help out in the community! His deeds were noble and selfless! At least that’s what he had told the very nice police officer who was now a member of the K9 unit when they asked him some very angry questions. He didn’t get it. They had failed the academy test, had wanted more than anything to get in. So, Kickaha gave them an alternate route in. And then they tried to have him arrested!
Luckily, it turns out that the K9 units were not in fact capable of issuing warrants. It was a huge oversight on the part of the police, but it benefitted Kickaha that day.
The point still remained that ‘selfless’ acts of karma did not in fact do anything to pay for lunch. And so, after Kickaha’s advertising career had fallen through due to ‘creative differences’, he had gotten used to taking on odd jobs here and there. Actually, he had quite the impressive resume, just as long as no one asked about why it didn’t mention how long he had served in each position. Because usually it was about one day. And he suspected the new job he had taken on was no different.
Nile.com. The biggest shopping web site on the internet, and legally distinct from shopping sites found in other realities too. They needed people to run deliveries for them, and with their next hour delivery option there was always a shortage of capable workers who could get the packages to their designated homes on time. It also didn’t pay nearly as much as it should for the amount of work it was. Which, in a lot of ways, made it perfect for Kickaha. Why? Because it meant they were the types of employers who didn’t ask a lot of questions if you were willing to put up with their nonsense policies.
And so now Kickaha was dressed in the uniform of a Nile.com delivery man. Well, he had a hat on that said Nile.com. The slacks and dress shirt seemed like overkill, and they clashed with his cloak, so he had tossed them when they arrived with his training equipment and instructions. The training had been brutal. It was a one-hour long video that explained that when you get an order, you take it to an address. Why was it brutal? Because it took them a full hour to explain ‘Go deliver the package.’ Imagine how many needless segues there must have been in the video? Imagine the boring lectures as they talk about zip codes and give you trivia about the street names. It felt like it would never end. The sheer boredom. It felt like it was a torture device. Kickaha couldn’t think of anything in his life that had been more painful. There was that time that he had fallen down off a third floor balcony while being chased by a mall cop… Yeah, this was way worse. Injuries healed. This video would now occupy space in his brain forever.
Somehow, he survived the training, finished the video. And all that was left before he could start delivering packages was to take the online assessment. Kickaha elected to visit the local library to complete this. He and technology didn’t usually get along even on a good day. And right now his laptop was being very temperamental thanks to a new operating system update. To be specific, the daemon that powered the laptop was being very temperamental. It had very strong feelings about poorly-written device drivers. Who needed that kind of verbal abuse while taking a test? So, off to the library. The foxyote expected that he would likely spend several hours at the library to complete this test.
Instead it was about 5 minutes.
The test had only a single question. It was multiple choice. It asked:
Did you watch the required training video to completion?
- I Don’t know
Kickaha moved his mouse over the yes button and clicked. Virtual confetti rained down on the screen and congratulated him on being a fully certified Nile.com Delivery Specialist. He was entitled to exactly 30 seconds to celebrate before he had to make his first delivery. Kickaha quickly retrieved a very tiny flag he kept inside his cloak for just such celebrations and waved it around. After the 30 seconds of corporate-mandated fun were complete it was time to get to work. Kickaha left the library and abruptly received his first delivery.
A giant metal canister fell from the sky, crashing into the earth a few feet from the library’s front doors. Good chunks of the sidewalk as well as a Renaissance-inspired statue were destroyed from the canister’s landing. The words ‘Nile.com’ were printed on the side of the canister. Then there was a hissing noise as the top of it slowly rose up, releasing a jet of steam. Once completely open, Kickaha could see inside where there was a cardboard box a little bigger than a basketball with an address printed on it. A monitor lit up on the side of the canister. It briefly showed 1:00:00. Then it began counting down. It was his deadline to complete the delivery.
Some people may have wasted time wondering about the logic of this arrangement. If Nile.com could airdrop shipments to their deliverymen… erm… delivery-animals… then why couldn’t they just drop them directly in front of the home of the recipient? Kickaha was smart enough not to think too hard about it. He only had an hour to make this delivery and if he tried to process the human logic behind this process it’d likely take all day. Then there was the fact that the actual answer would likely wind up being incredibly depressing involving several questionable ethical decisions that while technically legal were still incredibly wrong.
Not wanting to dwell on what went through the minds of the people at the top of a late-capitalistic society, Kickaha instead just fetched the package out of the canister and checked the address. Despite living in the woods, Kickaha had a pretty good mental layout of the city. This was where he did a lot of his work after all. Between carrying out his solemn duty to improve humanity through karmic lessons in fluffiness and being chased by dog catchers, he had a decent idea of where most things were. Which is why he realized the delivery he just received was impossible to make within the time limit. It was all the way on the other side of town and Kickaha didn’t exactly have a car. It was hard to get a license when you were a woodland critter who was too short to see over the wheel.
The dreadfully long and boring training video had made something absolutely clear. Every package delivered on time resulted in the delivery person receiving a bonus. This bonus was ‘practically guaranteed’, the training video had bragged, and was also how the company got away with paying less than minimum wage for the job. As Kickaha thought, he realized even if he had a car it’d be pretty hard to make this delivery on time without running several red lights. If he didn’t know any better he’d almost suspect the system was designed to intentionally delay deliveries and avoid paying out bonuses. But what kind of human being would do that? Kickaha mostly wanted to know the answer to that question so he could add them to his schedule for next week. For now, he had an impossible delivery to make.
Or perhaps impossible for a human. But Kickaha was a practitioner of the Art. Which Art you ask? The Art. All Kickaha needed was the right spell and he could easily make the delivery on time. Sadly, teleportation and portal spells were a little bit outside his areas of expertise. He could manage a portal… But unless he wanted to emerge a kobold in a different universe and suddenly be thrust into an adventure to uncover a lost crown of unimaginable power, his portals weren’t going to be that useful. At times like this it was best to fall back on what he knew. And there was an animal that was just as fast as a car but didn’t have to obey traffic laws.
Kickaha reached into his cloak and produced a ribbon that he tied around the box. Then he dropped down onto all fours as spots formed along his entire body. He grew leaner, and his ears more round as tear marks appeared on his face. His tail grew thinner and his muzzle shorter. He had transformed into a cheetah. He kept his original colors, including the brown patch on his chest, not that it was visible with him down on all fours. He quickly picked the package up by the ribbon he had tied to it and took off running at full speed.
Kickaha sprinted as fast as he could, which right now as pretty dang fast. He avoided main roads. Traffic laws might not apply to him but getting hit by a car running across the street would likely slow down his delivery. Instead he stuck to roads he knew were often abandoned or seldom saw traffic. Thirty minutes passed and he had reached the neighborhood. Here he allowed himself to slow down and catch his breath as he figured out which house the delivery was supposed to go to. Once he identified the house, he stood back up resuming his normal foxyote form carried the package up to the front step and rang the doorbell at exactly the 45-minute mark.
The door was opened by a young woman, who took the box and went back inside without even acknowledging Kickaha’s presence. He was used to that. But normally it was a result of people who were stuck in their ways and knew magic and foxyotes and magic foxyotes didn’t exist, trying very hard to pretend that Kickaha wasn’t real, even when he was trying to help them balance on four legs. He was used to that. This was different. It felt a little insulting. Like someone dismissing someone’s existence simply for being the ‘hired help.’ But in the end, perhaps it didn’t matter. Kickaha had made the delivery with 15 minutes to spare. That meant he had earned his bonus. If he kept it up he’d easily have more than enough to pay for a week’s worth of lunches before he inevitably got fired.
Everything was turning out fine.
And that really annoyed Kickaha. Things didn’t just turn out fine in his life. Fine was boring. It lacked any sense of creativity and lacked any surprises. The only surprise here was the fact Kickaha had made the delivery on time. An entire day of doing this? Just dropping off packages and moving on, nothing eventful happening? Kickaha was not sure he could survive such monotony. He had barely made it out of the training video alive after all.
Another metal canister with ‘Nile.com’ printed on it crashed to the ground, destroying a bird bath in the yard of the customer Kickaha had just made a delivery to. Once more it opened up and the timer began to tick down. Things were going to go just like the last delivery it seemed.
Kickaha glanced around at the ground, then up at the sky. Where was a mole people invasion or alien encounter when you needed one? Kickaha wasn’t normally one to look for trouble. It found him before he had a chance to start looking. But today, despite Kickaha’s ability to attract weird things like a magnet, everything was normal. Even predictable. That could only mean one thing.
Kickaha was the weird thing that was going to happen.
In these trying times of normalcy, someone had to take up the burden to keep reality from becoming boring. And Kickaha was willing to make that sacrifice, to do the noble deed and make the day just a bit more exciting for everyone involved. He knew he would not be thanked. Many might not even realize it was him. But sometimes a good deed was its own reward.
And so, Kickaha reached the conclusion to modify the orders. Just a tiny bit. He was still going to deliver the original item requested. He was simply going to add some extra value to the purchase. And if you don’t know what Kickaha meant by extra value, then you are clearly bad at pattern recognition.
Karmic Transformations delivered straight to your front door, with your original item as well of course. This was bound to cause a few complaints and demand for refunds, but it wasn’t as if Kickaha intended to last more than a day on the job. Besides, the bonus was paid based on him making the delivery on time, not comments from the customer.
Kickaha studied the address of the next one. There would be a lot of major streets this time. Flight seemed the best option. So after he tied a ribbon around the box, he took on the form of a large crow. He then grasped the box by the ribbon in his talons and took off. While he traveled it gave him time to think. He had just under an hour to figure out exactly HOW to go about this whole Karma on Demand delivery service.
It would be easy enough to zap the person when they opened the door to check their package, or just leave an enchantment. But there wasn’t one size fits all when It came to transformation magic and how it should play out. Discounting the difference in size between a fully grown dragon and a dragonfly, there were things to consider like what the person had done. What was the reason they were being transformed? What purpose did it serve? If you just want around zapping people into animals or giving them cursed objects at random, then you weren’t a magical trickster, you were just a jerk. The person needed to deserve it, learn from it, or enjoy it. Kickaha specialized in the first one, dabbled in the second, and ran into the third one far more often than he actually intended.
So Kickaha was faced with a problem. He was going to turn his next client into something. But what? He didn’t know anything about them other than their address and… What they had ordered! There was an order slip with the product information. It wasn’t a lot to go on, but Kickaha didn’t have time to shadow and study every target if he was going to make the one-hour deadline.
He landed short of the house his next delivery was at, resumed his foxyote form, and quickly checked the slip on the package to see what the contents were. It looked like it was a starter deck for a trading card game about training and battling with a cast of colorful monsters. That was a problem. There was a roughly equal chance that the package was going to an eight-year-old as it was a thirty-year-old. Some things managed to span beyond age and unite people across generations. But that made things difficult as there wasn’t a lot of information here. It was a starter deck, so whoever it was probably wasn’t very experienced in the game yet. That meant they were unlikely to be a snob and rub their victories into other peoples’ faces. Not impossible. But unlikely.
Kickaha made a decision. He placed a paw down over the box as it glowed with a green light faintly for a few seconds before it went back to being a normal box. The cards inside were now enchanted.
Kickaha quickly left the box at the front door, then made himself scarce, diving into some nearby bushes. He could just see into the kitchen window from here and some of the living room. He was going to try to survey his work.
Sometimes, if you did it the right way, you could get away with some good-natured mischief without coming off as too much of a terrible person. Kickaha had enchanted the cards in the deck. The first time, and only the first time each monster from the deck was played the player would transform into that monster. Well, a modified version of them. It would cease to be good natured if suddenly their house was destroyed when they turned into a massive creature. To take precautions against that, Kickaha had ensured that each monster would be somewhere between the size of a squirrel and a fox after the transformation completed.
Once whoever owned the deck played their first card, they’d catch on to the enchantment and how it worked pretty fast. Kickaha wasn’t too concerned about freaking them out. Usually, his magic didn’t actually last that long. In fact, if they didn’t play with the deck at all for a few days, it might disappear before they even got a chance. Transformations Kickaha caused only tended to stick if they met one of three conditions.
- The person really liked their new form and didn’t want to go back, and so was holding the spell together through their own willpower.
- The person refused to acknowledge what had happened and kept pretending they were still a normal human. When this happened it caused the spell to get stuck in a sort of loop. The subject never realized the transformation was complete so the spell never realized it was complete. As a result until they were willing to admit what had happened to them the form would stick and then likely not last much longer beyond their acknowledgement.
- The last one was a bit more rare, and it required quite a bit of work on Kickaha’s part. But the last one was when they really, really deserved it. Either they did something exceptionally bad, or something exceptionally good. Either way, it was enough for Kickaha to make sure the spell would stick even if that was normally a little hard for him.
Most likely scenario here. The owner of the cards plays their first card, transforms, maybe has a minor freak out over it, and the change doesn’t last very long. Then they get curious and try another card and realize what they have, and learn that each card is a one time deal when they try to use the old ones. After the first transformation if they chose to trigger additional ones then it was their choice what they did rather they just had a little fun or decided to go cause a bit of mischief themselves. That was a second reason to make the monsters smaller. A rabbit sized dragon whose flames were only hot enough to toast a marshmallow could cause a lot less mischief then a full sized one if they turned out to have self-control issues. Worst case scenario. Some clothing was destroyed as collateral damage, and later when they tried to tell someone they were told over and over again it had to be a dream until they believed it.
Someone appeared in the kitchen window. They took a seat at the table and placed the box on it and opened it. It looked like they were in their twenties. Maybe thirty? Judging by their excitement at seeing the deck of cards they seemed to be the intended recipient. So, they weren’t for a kid or someone else in the house.
The young man unpacked the cards and read over the instructions of the game. It looked like he was doing a small practice match of sorts to get the gist of it. He played his first monster. And abruptly dropped all the cards in his hands when he suddenly found himself falling down onto all fours. Fur grew over his body, as he sprouted a tail and grew larger ears. It wasn’t long before there was a small electricity-generating lion laying flat on its stomach on the kitchen floor, torn clothing laying beneath it.
The young man… or lion, was confused to say the least. He held up a paw in front of his face as if not believing it was real. Then he carefully balanced himself on his hind paws, placing his forepaws on the table so he could look at the card he played, seeing it was the same monster he turned into. For a brief moment he looked terrified. And then as he looked over the card, Kickaha was pretty sure he saw the feline smirk. He let out a small squeaky roar, and small bits of electricity jumped in every direction from his body. He stood wide eyed for a moment, and then had a look Kickaha was all too familiar with. It was the type of look Kickaha often had right before he well… Did something like deliver a magical deck of trading cards. Kickaha prided himself on having the foresight to make sure the monster forms would be small and not actually able to deal too much real damage with their abilities. Having any form of foresight into his plans was uncharacteristic of him, but he had also seen what these specific monsters were capable of. They were pretty popular, and it wouldn’t be the first time he transformed someone into one. And once, long ago, Kickaha had learned a very important rule that he added onto his long list of inconsistent, arbitrary and rarely followed rules.
If the would-be victim isn’t the type to take things in good humor, don’t turn them into something that can roast you alive.
Kickaha didn’t get to see what the electric lion would do from here. Another canister fell from the sky, destroying most of the bush Kickaha had been hiding in. The rest of it, and by extension Kickaha, was now covered in light flames. Kickaha patted the flames down on himself before they had time to grow then examined the canister. Another box awaited, and already the hour timer was starting to tick down. Kickaha had already made two deliveries on time today, which the higher-ups likely didn’t expect. Why not make it three? Things were usually done in threes.
Well usually… Today he figured he should just go as long as he could before he got fired. It was breaking tradition, but after he went through that horrible training video, he was going to milk as much lunch money out of it as he could.
The next destination wasn’t far. At least not physically. However it was mostly forest and grasslands between the current house and the next one. If someone was driving a car, they’d have to go down, get on the interstate and go in the opposite direction for 10 miles, get off the interstate, and then come back down a different road. Considering Kickaha was fairly confident he wasn’t intended to make these deliveries on time, he was confident that the higher-ups hadn’t figured out he wasn’t traveling by car yet. Though they had to see he wasn’t following roads by now at least. After all, if the canisters were always able to home in on his location, that meant that the sender had to know what his location was.
Perhaps the leader of Nile.com was a practitioner of the Art as well, and weaved powerful divination spells to keep tabs on all their workers. That, or there was just a GPS tracker chip in the hat Kickaha was currently wearing. One of the two.
With the walk not being too far, Kickaha took the form of a feral foxyote and allowed himself to travel at a brisk trot as he headed into the woods. It was nice to take something of a breather after having to go maximum speed for the earlier deliveries. And it was nice to be going through the woods instead of city streets. Kickaha didn’t dislike the city. He wouldn’t spend so much time there if he did. And Dog Catcher Dan was always fun to play with. But Kickaha was on the clock. And no one called animal control on you while you were out in the wilderness.
The walk gave Kickaha time to think and plan out what to do at the next residence. He had already checked the package slip and seen what the item was. In this case, it was two items. One of them was a toy lawnmower, the type toddlers played with that had the balls bouncing back and forth inside of it. Considering the box wasn’t that big, the thing either folded up or some assembly was required. The other appeared to be a video game about feudal Japan and seemed to involve a lot of cutting people up with a katana. There was no way to be 100% certain, but Kickaha was fairly confident that the two items were for two different people. Perhaps two siblings? One toddler and another a teen, or maybe a little younger. Or maybe the second person was the parent. Or maybe they were both going to an older person who just for some reason liked to play with baby toys… Or a toddler who had taken a very early interest in violent video games.
With no way to know in advance, Kickaha had to do his best guess. He assumed siblings, meaning he was likely working with two kids. Kickaha liked kids. They tended to be more open minded about the world and less stuck in their ways. Very seldom did a child refuse to believe the obviously magical thing right in front of them. And they were far less prone to freaking out and more likely to take an interest in what had happened to them. Really, the problem was getting some to change back to normal who refused to let go of the spell before their parents saw and got angry over it. Of course, oftentimes when this happened the parent would refuse to acknowledge what would happen and well… It was always a surreal experience watching a family assemble for dinner, the eldest daughter a kobold, regaling the family with tales of the monster she had slain and the parents insisting on how imaginative she was. They still didn’t realize that she was one of the most elite mercenaries in an alternate universe that she accessed through a portal in her closet that was only partially Kickaha’s fault. He had made the portal. But it was supposed to be one time use. The kid’s will must have just been that strong that she tapped into the magical energies to not only maintain her kobold form but also the portal.
Now? What was Kickaha to do with the hypothetical siblings? Well, based on the game he was guessing they were pretty far apart in age. At least he hoped they were. There was always the possibility the parents had no sense and bought an M rated game for a five-year-old. Since Kickaha tried to work on the assumption that most people in the world weren’t completely terrible, the two could easily be ten years apart. That likely meant there was going to be some difficulty in them ever having a close relationship.
Unless they were close in age for a bit. The older one seemed to have an interest in Feudal Japan. Kickaha could only assume that extended to folklore. With what he had in mind, the game was not really appropriate, but Kickaha was sure they could come up with a new activity. With his decision made he finished the rest of his journey before resuming his humanoid form and casting his enchantment on the package. Then once more he left the package at the door and hid waiting for someone to claim it.
His guess turned out to be right on the money. It was a teenage boy that answered the door, and there was a toddler girl following him around. Sometimes, Kickaha was pretty good at guessing these things and thought he’d make a pretty good gambler. He definitely gambled with fate far more than was healthy. Shame he was barred from almost every casino. So many of them had opinions about waging humanity over money in the games. One day Kickaha would have to open his own casino, show those people what they were missing out on. For now, he satisfied himself with trying to find a spot to watch what unfolded.
This turned out to be a two-story house, and apparently the teenager’s room was on the upper floor. Kickaha took on his crow form and found a tree branch that gave him a good view of the proceedings through the window. It looked like the teenager had already popped in the game and was trying to get it going. However, he was running into a problem. The game kept asking him to verify his age before playing, and no matter how many times he entered a birthday that made him eighteen, (which Kickaha was pretty sure was a lie), the game would switch to a message telling him he was too young to play the game. The teen stood up and might have yelled or thrown something or who knew what, were he not distracted by the fact that his pants had fallen around his ankles. From the second he had put the disc into his console, the spell had already started to change him, and make him younger. Right now he was only about eight years old. And he was getting younger. He shrunk downward to the floor till his shirt fit him like a tent, soon leaving him a toddler just like his younger sister.
And the changes didn’t stop there. Red and white fur covered most of his body, while black fur covered his new paws. He was dropped down onto all fours, and after a few minutes there was a very confused young fox kit where the teen had been.
He didn’t get to process the change long when a second fox appeared. A female of the same age. His sister, who would have transformed the second she touched the toy lawnmower. She came bounding into the room at full speed and pounced upon her transformed brother, wagging her tail eagerly, clearly enjoying how much more capable she was as a fox. Regardless of how shocked the brother was, he wasn’t about to just let her claim victory like that. And soon both of them were yapping and chasing each other around the house. It did Kickaha’s heart good to see siblings getting along.
Not that either of them knew, but since the teen seemed to be into Japan, Kickaha had specifically transformed them into kitsune cubs. However, they were so young that they only had one tail at the time. As a result they might be capable of a small bit of magic, but nothing major. Most kitsune couldn’t even manage a basic foxfire before growing their second tail. And both of them would be back to humanity well before that happened. Almost certainly. Probably. Usually.
Another canister shot down from the sky, destroying the entire tree Kickaha was in. He barely had time to take to the air before getting flattened by the canister himself. Again, another package, and again the hour timer.
This time the location was in the next town over. Even by car it would be a 2-3 hour trip. Kickaha felt like he was being tested at this point. Or at least they were trying to give him a delivery that was impossible. Well, he lived to subvert expectations, which meant of course he was going to get this there in an hour. He just needed to find the shortest possible path, and to be something that could move really fast.
And thus, two minutes later, a coyote-sized dragon with orange and rust colored scales spread its wings and took to the sky. Kickaha hadn’t actually shrunk the intended size of this dragon. Instead, he had picked out a species of drake that was known for its incredibly agile flying speed. Flying to the next residence in a straight line, it’d only take him about forty minutes.
And so Kickaha continued his deliveries throughout the day. Each one included a little extra magic to liven up the recipient’s life. Near the end of the day, he considered cutting it close on a delivery, let the people up high think he’d fail to make the delivery on time, then pull it off at the last minute. Even unseen delivery monitors deserved a little excitement. But then he peeked at the package slip and realized that he had a golden opportunity. He was delivering a set of tabletop RPG books, several different kinds of dice, and all kinds of miniatures for the adventure. This was going to a tabletop gamer. And if Kickaha was lucky, they just might have an entire group meeting today.
Letting the people who fantasized about adventures be real adventurers. It was a classic. In all of Kickaha’s long and confusing life, it had never fallen flat once. Well, maybe that one time, when the book with the final boss and dungeon was missing from the set. But that was the exception that proved the rule. And the beauty of the adventure-turned-reality trope was that there were so many fun ways to go about it.
He could send them to a world and let them be transformed into their characters. Though if some of them had rolled something boring like a human or elf, Kickaha might give their character a few upgrades. If they were going to be adventuring for real, they needed every advantage they could get for their first time; and most bestial races tended to have better senses for watching out for enemies and traps.
There was also the option of letting them have the adventure within their own home. Transform the players into their characters (with improvements if needed) and then shrink them down to the size of a game piece. Let them run around on the board as the game pieces representing monsters came to life and they got to fight them in a safe environment without ever leaving their home. Strangely enough, despite it being the safer of the two options, most people found it more intimidating. Even though the game pieces were to the right scale, it was hard to ignore the gigantic room in comparison to you. Not that Kickaha was about to let either group fall into danger. He might take numerous unnecessary risks himself, sometimes just to see what would happen, but he didn’t purposely endanger people. Anyone who went into an alternate universe would simply pop back to this one unharmed if their character was somehow defeated. And the other group would return to normal size whenever the session ended. Kickaha made a mistake in the past where people didn’t return to their proper size. It was because they were supposed to change back at the end of the adventure, and the adventure lasted more than one session. But Kickaha was absolutely confident that he had accounted for that now. Almost certainly. Very probably. Usually.
He was halfway there and he hadn’t made up his mind on which to go with. Should he just try to cast a spell blindly, leave it up to fate and see which spell wound up sticking to the package? There was a very small chance that both spells would take effect and they’d wind up shrunk AND in another world. But if that happened they’d still snap back to normal size and their normal world if they got into any serious trouble.
Kickaha wondered if they had a GM set up. He could volunteer his time. Well, not now he was on the clock. But later. It seemed unfair to only let the players go on an adventure while the GM just got to watch. Though, they would have some power over what the party faced so it’s not like they were completely uninvolved.
Kickaha still hadn’t made up his mind on which enchantment to use when he arrived. So he closed his eyes, focused on both enchantments, holding one in each paw and fired both at the box. One of them should override the other. Should. And now not even Kickaha knew what would happen to the people when they played. He resumed his normal form and left the package in the usual place and eagerly awaited for someone to pick it up. He didn’t get a chance though. Another canister fell from the sky landing right behind Kickaha, destroying the driveway. When this one hissed and opened, there was no box. Instead there was a simple phone. The old type that still went on a hook and had to be plugged into the wall. Apparently it was plugged into the canister. The phone began to ring.
“Hello?” When an old phone falls from the sky you just don’t not answer it. Not unless you’re someone who likes to be boring. “Kickaha of the Art speaking.”
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?” An angry voice came from the other end of the line. “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH TROUBLE YOU’VE CAUSED US!?”
“Oh dear.” Kickaha did his best not to snicker. “I guess some of the people didn’t quite enjoy the little bit of extra magic I put into their delivery. I’m guessing I got some really bad reviews?”
“What? No?” The voice seemed confused. “Actually, every single review was five stars, and many of them left comments requesting to specifically have all future packages delivered by you.”
“Oh.” Kickaha paused for a moment. “Wait, then. What is the problem?”
“YOU DELIVERED THE PACKAGES ON TIME!” The voice shouted. “You’re not supposed to do that! Our entire business model runs on the fact we make it impossible for our delivery men to make it on time, and therefore no one ever collects their bonus and we get away with paying only $3 an hour!”
“That sounds like a terrible business model.” Kickaha thrashed his tail.
“Well, it’s what works!” The voice shouted back. “And you’ve ruined it! Now we legally have to pay you a bonus on every delivery! You cost us a full $200 today! How am I supposed to buy a second house now?”
“I don’t think $200 can buy a house.” Kickaha said flatly, clearly annoyed with his employer.
“The $200 isn’t for the house, it’s for the nice dinner we have after viewing different houses!” The man spoke as if it was obvious. “Now I’ll have to celebrate my new 10,000 square foot estate by going to a cheap chain restaurant that probably doesn’t turn away most customers!”
“Why would you turn-“ Kickaha started to ask.
“To make it an exclusive experience!” The man on the other line was angry. “It’s not a proper restaurant if normal people can eat at it. I hope you’re satisfied with the damage you’ve done. Because you’re not getting a second chance! You are fired! Fired I say!” With that there was the sound of the phone clicking and then Kickaha’s hat burst into flames. The foxyote quickly tossed it aside and stomped it till the fire was out. A moment later, the cannister hissed again as it provided him his wages for the day.
“Not too bad.” Kickaha counted the money. He could buy a lot of mice. He had one more line to put on his resume. And on top of that,he had some pretty good ideas of people to visit during his working hours in the near future.