Ellen is invited to the fair by her coworker Paige. She probably should have looked up more information about what kind of fair it was though.
Renaissance Means Rebirth
The Renaissance Fair wasn’t exactly a normal choice for Ellen’s weekend activities. She didn’t even know they had a local fair… Though local might be a bit of a stretch given she had driven two hours out to the middle of nowhere to attend. Apparently the fair was being held in the middle of the woods. They wanted it far from any form of civilization to make it feel more authentic. What a pain.
Ellen had just finished parking her car in the empty field. She slowly got out, dressed in a pair of old threadbare jeans, a t-shirt, flipflops and her black hair tied back in a ponytail. She had been told to wear old clothes in case they were ruined. Considering they were in the woods, she conceded that made sense. She had also been told to bring a spare outfit just in case. That she didn’t understand, but for now she left the clothes in the back seat of her car.
Frustratingly, the parking lot was not actually next to the fair. Instead Ellen had to walk through a forest trail for a solid thirty minutes before she began to hear the noise of other people around. She already regretted her footwear choice. After a few more minutes she had finally arrived. A large wooden fence ran through the middle of the entire forest. Ellen could just see the tops of tents poking out from behind it. One tent was on this side, a yellow and white one with a wooden signboard in front of it saying ‘tickets.’ As Ellen approached she found the tent occupied by a middle-aged woman dressed in a period costume of some kind of poor quality dress Ellen assumed people must have just worn during the old days.
“An absolutely wonderful morning to you.” The woman called out as Ellen approached. “Will it be just one today attending the King’s Fair?”
“The king’s-?” Ellen paused then shook her head. She supposed she was going to have to get used to people talking in character. “I’m meeting a friend.”
“Ah, so two tickets then!” The woman pulled out a not period appropriate lockbox and removed two colorful tickets from it.
“Sorry I mean… Just one.” Ellen corrected. “My friend is probably already inside. We came separate.”
“Not a problem!” The woman replied putting the spare ticket away. “That’ll be 2 silver… Or using the local currency $25. Will you be paying with your paper money? Or if you prefer we will also allow you to purchase on credit with the approval of Lady Visa or the Master of Card.”
“What?” Ellen stared blankly at the ticket vendor as if she had been speaking an alien language. It took her a few seconds to process exactly what they meant. “Oh… Right…” She quickly removed her wallet and passed her credit card from it. The ticket vendor took the car and used a cell phone attachment to scan it, a technology Ellen was sure was not period appropriate. But… She supposed when it came to getting paid she’d break character to if she was running this.
“Looks like the Master of Card has sent his approval.” The woman nodded before passing back a card and the ticket. “Will you be staying for the evening ball?”
“I guess?” Ellen quickly put her wallet and card away.
“Wonderful, what title shall I have you announced by?” The woman had retrieved a parchment from behind her counter in the tent and a quill… Well, a normal ink pen with a feather attached at least.
“Title? I don’t really know? I guess whatever is appropriate?” Ellen had grabbed her ticket and was already moving past the tent.
“How enigmatic! I shall ensure the king is expecting you!” The ticket vendor nodded politely as Ellen left.
“Gonna be an entire day of that huh?” Ellen muttered as she moved past the tent towards the entrance. There was a narrow opening between the large fence, a single person stood outside it dressed in a suit of armor. With the helmet and visor closed Ellen had no idea if they were male or female… But the sword worn on their hip certainly looked real. She just held her ticket up as the armored figure nodded and went right past.
Now she was inside. And she had to admit… It didn’t look as bad as she thought. She had been expecting it to be well, a bit on the dirty side, probably mud puddles to watch out for and run down tents. But… Most things looked new. The tents were miraculously clean of dirt or any other residue, and there were small wooden huts and cottages around as well that looked as if they had just been built. The ground was just covered in grass and leaves, but it was free of weeds and there wasn’t a muddy spot to be seen. The place was a little dark. That seemed to be the fault of the trees. They stretched high above the fair, creating a canopy that casts the entire area into shade. Considering it was a summer afternoon Ellen was alright with that.
“ELLEN!” An excited voice shouted that Ellen didn’t even recognize. A moment later a female figure came bobbing through the crowd of costumed people before coming to a stop right before Ellen. She was a head taller than Ellen and dressed in a pair of a shorts and a tank top, but for some reason wasn’t wearing shoes. Her red hair hung freely over her shoulders and she had a wide grin on her face. “I’m glad you made it!” It took a moment for Ellen to realize who she was talking there. The basic shapes of someone she recognized were there… But they weren’t quite how she remembered them. It took her a few seconds.
“Paige?” Was all Ellen could manage to say.
“Yeah?” Paige responded. It was her… But… This person was not the Paige Ellen knew. Paige was the senior agent on the marketing team at work. She was always dressed in a pantsuit and heels with her red hair tied up in a neat bun. She never raised her voice and was always hyper focused on the task at hand. This barefoot barely clothed woman full of wild energy simply didn’t match. “You act like you don’t recognize me.”
“I’m sorry, it took me a minute I just…” Ellen tried to think of a way to move past this awkward moment. The simple fact was Paige was the reason she was here. Though they were on the same team and reported to the same boss, Paige was considered higher ranking than Ellen. She had always thought her unapproachable honestly, she doubted Paige considered anyone at work friends. Then suddenly out of the blue she’s invited to the fair. Ellen had declined originally… But later after discussing it with her mother over the phone changed her mind. Paige was her coworker, and her senior. It was important to network, build connections. That was how you advanced. And so Ellen had resigned herself to spending an entire day hearing history lectures next to the biggest stick in the mud in the office. Instead… She got… Well she wasn’t sure what she got. “Just never seen you without a suit.” That was the best Ellen could think of.
“Those are just clothes. They come off you know. I wasn’t born in a suit…” She paused. “Unless you count a birthday suit. But… I can’t believe you couldn’t recognize me.” Paige narrowed her eyes.
“Uh well…” Ellen stammered. This networking attempt was off to a great start.
“Relax, I’m just giving you a hard time.” Paige winked. “I know it’s jarring. Look, in the office during the week, that’s Working Paige. And Working Paige is serious, on task, and does what it takes to get the job done. But once I go home, I become Weekend Paige. And Weekend Paige needs a drink after the week we had. Ever had ale? I’m treating.”
“Um… Sure?” That was all Ellen could manage to say. This was just too weird… It was like a Jekyll and Hyde type situation.
“Great! We should just find a locker to put your stuff in before we go! Be a pain in the butt if you lost your cell phone or keys, right?” Paige grinned and began walking off.
“I’ve got pockets, I’m fine.” Ellen objected
“Just use the locker, they’re free and you’ll thank me later.” Paige grabbed Ellen by the wrist to guide her. At this point Ellen decided it was easier to just give in… Besides if Paige was buying the drinks she didn’t need her wallet anyway. But once Ellen’s items were secure the day became a blur.
This early in the morning Ellen wasn’t sure she was ready to drink herself… But she at least tried the ale Paige ordered since she was buying… Though Paige seemed to have also stored her things in a locker and was putting everything on a tab. Ellen wasn’t sure she cared for ale much… Maybe if she had it later in the day at least after lunch… But Paige on the other hand had already downed two before then dragging her off to explore the rest of the fair.
From there the day was surprisingly fun. Ellen tried a number of things she would have never considered without Paige’s prodding. There had been an archery range, horseback riding, a medieval cooking class (Which also doubled as lunch) and so many shops selling handmade goods built from leather and wood. Much to Ellen’s surprise… She found herself actually having a good time. The sun eventually began to set and the forest grew dark, but was soon lit up by lanterns hung from every tree branch. By this point Elllen was starting to get tired.
“Come on you can’t be done already, the ball hasn’t even started. That’s the best part.” Paige grinned. She stared at Ellen for a few seconds as if studying her for some reason.
“I’m not used to running around in the woods all day.” Ellen grunted, but after the rest of the day she was curious about the ball. “My feet are sore. You must have it worse running around barefoot like that.”
“That from the girl who wore flipflops into the woods?” Paige giggled. “But I’m actually used to being like this. You’d probably feel better yourself if you lost the sandals.”
“I’m not going to run around the woods barefoot…” Ellen groaned but slowly sat down on a log to remove her sandals temporarily. She rubbed her own feet hoping to ease some of the soreness before putting them back on. “I’ve been out here too long… My soles feel so sensitive now.”
“Interesting…” Paige gave Ellen the same studying look as if she was trying to figure out something. “You’d probably feel better just losing them. And after my first few times I honestly learned it’s easier to do without footwear if I plan to stay for the ball.”
“Why?” gave Paige a quizzical look. Sure, she had taken her shoes off at a few school dances when her shoes had started to hurt… But this wasn’t quite the same thing.
“You don’t know?” Paige spun around and gave Ellen a stare. “Did… Did you not look up anything about the fair before coming?”
“No? Should I have?” Ellen just felt herself grow more confused.
“… Yes… But I guess it’s too late now…” Paige sighed. “What title did you choose to be announced by?”
“I… Didn’t…” Ellen vaguely remembered the ticket vendor asking something like that.
“Well… This will be good.” Paige rolled her eyes. “Just try to keep an open mind and not freak out, okay? It’s going to start soon.”
“What does the heck does that mean?” Now Ellen was worried things were going to get weird. Everything had been pretty fine up to now.
“Let’s just get some food for now, it’s best to eat early. Plus, I’m starting to feel sober, and that is a thing that must not be.” She paused and placed a hand on her chin at that. “On second though… There will be drinks at the ball, and it might be best to wait.” Considering the amount of drinks Ellen had seen Paige put back today that statement alone was alarming.
But as Ellen was relieved as they entered a small hut containing a restaurant. It felt good to sit down at a table. Her feet really were bothering her… They didn’t just hurt now, they itched. She must have walked through something… She had no idea how Paige had done it. She had hoped getting off her feet would make them feel a bit better but there was no relief. If anything the itching was now getting worse.
“So um…” Ellen struggled to try to think of something to talk about. As she did she started to scratch one of her cheeks idly with a finger. Had whatever she walked through somehow gotten on her face? She was going to be really upset if she had a rash tomorrow. “I guess the client was really impressed with that billboard campaign you-”
“No work! Only drinking!” Paige held up one hand to silence Ellen. “Or I guess eating right now.” As she spoke the strap of tank top slipped off one arm. Even if Paige wasn’t drinking right now Ellen thought she must have had way too much today not to notice that. And yet Ellen felt like she was the one making social graces. She caught Paige staring at her scratching and quickly lowered her hand in embarrassment.
“Was just trying to make conversation…” Ellen replied.
“That’s fine, but no work talk.” Paige snapped. “Work is dead to me until I have to go back in on Monday. And I’ll only concede that because they stop paying me if I don’t show up.” Paige leaned back in her chair. It at least had the side effect of keeping her other strap from coming loose. “Besides… Trying to figure something out… It’s gotta be something hairy.”
“I’m sorry what?” Ellen gave her a confused look.
“Thinking out loud.” Paige smiled. “Just about the ball tonight.”
“I see?” Ellen fell silent, out of ideas of what to talk about and unable to follow whatever Paige was getting at. And to make it worse the itching was getting worse. Now she could feel it on her arm. She just knew she was going to wake up with a terrible rash tomorrow.
She tried not to think about it as she looked over the menu instead. She was probably just going to get a salad or something… At least that was the plan until she saw the picture of the giant turkey legs on the menu. It wasn’t something she’d normally consider, but for some reason the picture just looked so good. Once she saw it literally nothing else on the menu interested her.
“A turkey leg? Interesting.” Paige smiled from her own chair. “Especially since I’ve never seen you eat anything bigger than a chicken salad.”
“What? It looks good and this isn’t a typical day right?” Ellen tried to defend herself. “So maybe I want to try something different.”
“Oh I wasn’t criticizing…” Paige grinned. “I mean… I’d have no room too since I’m about to order an entire vanilla cake topped with cream cheese icing.”
“Shouldn’t you get actual food before dessert?” Ellen felt like she was talking to a child.
“Nah, it’s fine. First thing I saw that I was really craving. It’s perfect.” She passed her menu to the waiter next to the table who nodded and disappeared breathlessly.
“O.. kay…” Right now Ellen was beginning to wonder how Paige maintained her figure. She wasn’t super skinny or anything like that. She was more on the average side. But… After as much as she had drunk today, and now just ordering an entire cake for herself… She must have been on some vigorous exercise regime.
As they waited for the food Ellen began to try to rub one of her feet against the other trying to scratch. The only thing keeping her from reaching down with her hands was the fact she was in a public place. Why was it getting worse?
“What are you doing?” Paige asked.
“Nothing..” Ellen stopped and looked down at the table in embarrassment. After a few seconds she spoke again in barely above a whisper. “I… Think I walked through some poison oak or something… My feet…”
“I see.” Page nodded knowingly. “Look, just take your sandals off. No one will care and you’ll feel better.”
“I can’t just-“ Ellen started to object, but then remembered that Paige had been barefoot the entire day and no one had said anything. Ellen wasn’t exactly one to normally stare at people’s feet all day… But now she started looking around the room and discovered that Paige was far from alone here. Why were so many people not wearing shoes? Was that a character thing? Did people not have shoes in the middle ages? It was so weird. But… It really was uncomfortable. Ellen quickly pressed her feet against her chair trying to slide the flipflops off. They wouldn’t come off. They were stuck. They were supposed to be loose enough to slip on and off… That was the entire point of wearing flip flops!
Frustrated, Ellen released a predatory growl. It was a noise she didn’t even know she could make. She got out of the chair and bent down on the ground to pull the sandals off. It still proved difficult. It was like they were several sizes too small and squeezed on. No wonder her feet hurt so much! Whatever she walked through had made them swell in size! She tugged with hall her might, and there was one sharp pain, but it was followed by relief as they finally came off. The itching didn’t cease… But it was much more mild now and the pain was completely gone. When she got out of this dimly lit restaurant she’d take a look at them.
“Feel better?” Paige asked.
“A lot actually…” Ellen admitted. She felt herself blushing from making a scene and was thankful when food arrived. The turkey leg was bigger than her head! And yet she devoured it with zero hesitation! It was amazing. The taste… The aroma… It was as if her sense of smell had been enhanced just to enjoy this meal! The scent of the grilled meat and the flavor of the juice. It was overpowering. She stripped the entire leg of all meat in under a minute and was left chewing on the bone still hoping for more. She didn’t stop till she saw Paige sitting across from her giggling. Again, she blushed and stared down at the table.
“Hey, I’m no one to judge.” Paige grinned as she pointed to her own plate. Every last trace of sugar and cream had been licked clean. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” Paige got up and Ellen followed, but there was something off about her coworker now. She couldn’t figure it out. “We’ve got some time to look at the shops.”
“R-right…” Ellen was trying to process what was off still as they explored a row of woodwork stands.
Paige suddenly took an interest in the carvings for sell in one area, leaving Ellen right outside the tent. She was still trying to figure out what was bothering her when suddenly someone else was shouting at her.
“Ellen! Oh my gosh! It’s you! I haven’t seen you since high school! I never thought you’d be the type to come to one of these!” It was another girl around the same age as Ellen, but unlike Ellen had come in some kind of costume. Sort of… The girl was just dressed in a pair of overalls but she had horns sticking out of the top of her head. For a costume, they were impressive, Ellen would swear they were real. Then it looked like there were bits of brown hair sticking out from beneath the girl’s pants legs. Either some kind of costume fur, or she hadn’t shaved in years.
“… Betty?” Ellen could vaguely recognize her. It was someone she had gone to high school with. She thought they had a class together, maybe? The truth was she hadn’t really kept in contact with anyone since then.
“Ahhhh! You remember!” Betty stamped her feet happily. She some weirdly shaped very solid shoes that made a clopping noise. She looked like a child honestly… In fact, she was only about as tall as Ellen’s chest. Ellen didn’t recall her being that short in school, but it had been a long time.
“So… What’s with the horns?” Ellen crossed her arms unable to figure out what was going on.
“For the ball!” Betty stuck her tongue out. Se acted like a child too. “Going to be a fun once I’m changed.” So there were pieces of her costume missing, that would explain why Ellen didn’t recognize it. “What title did you pick?”
“Title?” Ellen hadn’t thought about that in a bit. “I… Didn’t really.”
“Oh wow, you’re brave. But… You know bet that’s going to be fun.” Betty suddenly perked up as if she heard someone. Ellen could have sworn her ears had actually moved. “Oh hey, my friend’s calling! I gotta run but I see you at the ball!” And with that she had run off leaving Ellen just feeling confused. Wat was the big deal about this title thing?
Confused, she stepped back into the tent to see if Paige had figured out what she was buying yet. There was still something wrong with her that Ellen wasn’t seeing. It was weird, it was something big, and something that was right there but she just couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t until Paige asked Ellen to help her get a carving of a flower down from a high shelf till she realized what it was. Paige was shorter than her! At least two heads shorter.
“Something wrong?” Paige sensed she was being stared at while staring at the flower.
“Paige this…” Ellen laughed nervously. “I might still be drunk… But I would swear that you shrunk.”
“Nah, you’re sober.” Paige replied without looking up. “I mean I could be shorter. Or you could be bigger. Or both?”
“Paige don’t be ridiculous…” Ellen sighed. She scratched an itch behind her ears as she felt herself grow frustrated that Weekend Paige seemed incapable of taking anything seriously. Then she paused as she looked down at herself noticing that there was a slight tear running down from the neckline of her sweater, as if it had been stretched too far.
“Hey… Ellen, quick question.” Paige looked up with a grin distracting Ellen from the tear. “Did you leave your sandals in the restaurant?”
“I… SHOOT!” Ellen realized that she in fact had. Then she remembered the condition her feet had been in. How had she forgotten! They had been bothering her so much and then she just forgot! She realized… They actually felt completely better now. She looked down at herself and let out a gasp. Her feet were completely black in color. Had she just lost all feeling? Was that why they were black? Were they going to fall off!? She fell back in the grass immediately and poked at them to see if they had any sensation. And in that process she alerted herself to three important details.
- Her feet weren’t black, they were just covered in thick black hair.
- They still had feeling in them.
- Her finger that she poked with was also covered in black fur and tipped with a sharp claw.
And then she had a fourth observation unrelated to her feet. Her jeans had been ripped open on both knees.
“WAAAAAAAH!” Ellen let out a shout. What was going on!? She looked at both her hands, finding them completely covered in the same thick hair. Her toenails were sharp claws too! And… That wasn’t all! She tried to stand up and stumbled. For some reason, she couldn’t stand properly. She kept falling back down… But she had been walking around just a few seconds ago! This just had to be one of those things where she was thinking about it too hard right? She closed her eyes and tried not to think and stood up. No problems. She opened her eyes and discovered she was standing on her toes instead of the flats of her feet. And standing like that she was balanced. It… Didn’t make sense and… There was something else..
She lifted up one foot and looked underneath it to see a small black squishy substance glowing. It was some kind of pad. Actually… It made it much more comfortable to stand on… Had that been growing this entire time? She had been so comfortable walking around barefoot she just now noticed. She sat the foot down and slowly lifted up the other seeing the exact same thing. The pad even seemed to have finished forming on this one, now into the shape of a giant paw.
“I… I don’t understand why are my feet changing and just…” Ellen was starting to panic.
“Ellen, look it’s ok, it’s not just your feet.” Paige’s voice got Ellen’s attention, but as she looked over Paige seemed to be even smaller. Half Ellen’s size! Had Ellen got that huge!? Except… Paige was somehow wearing even less clothes than earlier. Ellen saw her shorts on the ground next to the stand the flower had been on. Now she was just wearing her tank top that fit her like a night gown. “Your changing all over, but it’s fine. Look, I’m changing too, it’s part of the deal!”
“What do you mean all over?” Ellen started trying to look over the rest of her body. There were patches of the black hair on her arms, her legs… And come to think of it her ears had been itching a moment ago. She reached up and touched her ear again, it was fuzzy. It was also really big and pointy. “This… This can’t be happening… This isn’t real…” Ellen felt like her entire body was being squeezed. It took her a moment that her clothes were growing too tight on her.
“Look Ellen, it’s going to be fine. Look around…” Now Paige’s shirt fit her like a tent. And… Her ears were pointy! Though unlike Ellen’s were hair free. Yet she didn’t seem alarmed. Instead she reached up with her tiny hands and managed to grab onto the edge of Ellen’s hand. “Look at them…”
“W-why?” Ellen looked around, she had been so focused on herself she had been tuning out the people around her… And they didn’t look like people anymore. At least not completely… There was one man nearby who was taller than her and had green scales all over his body. He was smiling and holding hands with a large muscular Amazon of a woman… An Amazon who was probably two heads shorter than There was another who that had both feathers and fur! And then a couple of young kids skipped right past her making a clopping noise as they went from their new goat hooves. One of those looked a lot like Betty! “Doesn’t anyone realize what’s happening?”
“Everyone knows what’s happening, it’s time for the ball.” Paige gave an exasperated sigh. “Everyone else here actually looked up what the event they were coming to was.” Paige was still shrinking, at this point she had almost vanished into her shirt. She was doing her best to hold the neck of it up. “Relax. It’s not forever, only temporary. Just try to enjoy the night.”
“But I… Just this is all so…” Words were failing Ellen. This was a confusing mess and it was impossible to think straight. There was… Some strange urge in her, that just wanted to let out a scream… No… A howl and just vent to the entire universe. “I’m confused… And I feel like… There’s just this pent up urge to scream or something now and…”
“Ellen, it’s fine.” Paige was barely visible as she held up the top of her shirt to talk. “Look, the best way to deal with it, whatever you’re feeling. Just let it out.”
“But I…” Ellen wasn’t sure what to do… And then she opened her mouth to scream. Awooooooooooooooooooo!” Ellen let out a howl of pain. Her clothes were so tight she felt she couldn’t breathe. Just as she couldn’t take anymore there was a loud ripping noise… Her shirt and jeans were shredded into scraps of fabric falling to the ground on either side of her. Ellen wasn’t even embarrassed, the relief from the pain fading and being able to breathe again was much greater. Now her naked body was a mix of fur and skin, but the fur was quickly taking over. She felt herself hunch forward as an actual tail grew from her spine. It was at least half her body size in length, and seemed to be comprised of 90% fluff. Her face stretched out into a long muzzle with sharp teeth sticking out from it. At this point she gave another howl, not one of pain, but one of a creature that had finally been freed. Now she let out a second howl, this time one of triumph and freedom. “AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
And then she came to her senses a moment later as her tail shot between her legs in embarrassment. She looked down at herself. Her body was so muscular now… Like an Olympic athlete. And she had to be at least six feet tall! Or no… Over seven! Was this really her? She didn’t know what to do. She looked to Paige to hoping she’d have advice… But Paige was gone! His shirt simply lay on the ground where she had been just moments before.
“Paige!?” Ellen barely had time to register her new muzzle could talk. “Paige where are you!? Don’t tell me you disappeared or!”
“Not so loud!” Paige’s voice shouted from somewhere within the shirt. It was different again, not just higher pitched but had a musical quality to it. A moment later a tiny figure crawled out from the shirt. It was Paige, but she was only about two inches tall now and had a pair of translucent wings sticking out of her back. She looked back over her shoulder at the wings for a moment as if confirming they were there then began to flap them. She then took off from the ground, flying up until she was eye level with Ellen. “I didn’t go anywhere! It just took me a moment to figure out how to move around like this.”
“What…. What happened to you?” Ellen stared at the tiny winged figure.
“I turned into a fairy, obviously.” Paige reached out a hand and booped Ellen lightly on the nose. “Hey quick question, do fairies wear clothes? I’ve seen them wear leaves in cartoons… But that doesn’t seem comfortable. I feel like a leaf would chafe. Think I’m gonna go with a no and just attend the ball like this.”
“Naked?” Ellen then remembered her own state of undress. Despite being an over seven foot tall wolf creature she managed to shrink into herself as she tried to cover herself. “I can’t be seen like this!”
“Ellen almost everyone here is naked now.” Paige sighed “Clothes don’t usually still fit after the change. That’s why I warned you to wear an old set.” Paige floated around Ellen. “Besides, you’re covered in fur and have a rather impressive physique. No one’s going to give you a hard time.”
“Ugh… You don’t have to say it like that…” Ellen slowly lowered her arms but felt herself blushing. At least her black fur kept it from showing through.
“So… Your title is werewolf huh?” The tiny fairy Paige grinned. “I had a feeling after seeing you eat dinner. That or some kind of animal… Heh, you should have seen me my first year here. I turned into a unicorn! Guess what… Unicorns don’t have hands. Do you know how hard it is to put back shots when you don’t have hands?”
“Heh…” Ellen was starting to calm down at the image of a unicorn attempting to get drunk.
“So guess what? This year! Hands!” Paige held out her tiny hands to demonstrate.
“Doesn’t seem like you could actually lift a shot glass like that.” Elen stuck her tongue out. Ellen slowly took a few steps, getting comfortable with her new wolf body. She had a sudden urge to try something and dropped down onto all fours. She could walk on four legs just as easily as two!
“Oh ye of little faith… Just you watch.” The fairy’s grin grew more manic. “And if all else fails I can swim in it. So… Feeling more calm now?”
“Maybe but…” Ellen let out a heavy sigh. She took a few more steps forward on four legs and then decided to try something. She leaped forward and burst into a sprint. She could walk on two legs or four… But it seemed she was way faster on all fours! But there were obstacles to running around like this. Her and Paigeweren’t the only two who had completed their changes. And some of the other visitors here were even bigger than Ellen! She had to hop aside to avoid crashing into a dragon easily twice her size before she came kidding to a stop in front of Paige again. “This is… so unreal.”
“It’s an experience unlike any other.” Paige grinned. “The King’s Ball is one weekend a year. For two nights you can be reborn as something else. Sadly, whatever magic makes it happen doesn’t last forever. If you leave the fairgrounds, bam snap back to human instantly. And even if you stay, once it hits Midnight tomorrow it’s back to normal. Hey… You brought a spare set of clothes right?”
“Um yeah?” Ellen nodded. “They’re in the car.”
“Well that’s going to be a heck of a walk of shame.” Paige giggled. “But that’s a problem for Future Ellen. Present Ellen should be getting her fuzzy butt to the ball.”
“Why would I even want to go?” Ellen asked. “I’m kind of horrified right now.”
“Look, we may be playing at being fantasy creatures from the past, but people and their dance moves are still from the modern day.” Paige crossed her arms. “And some of these things are a sight to behold. Do you want to see an actual griffin trying way too hard to be cool and dab? It’s hilarious.”
“Maybe…” Ellen smiled a bit.
“Then let’s get going!” Paige flew away from the stands to lead the way. “Oh… And if you decide that you hate being a 300 pound muscle carpet, remember to actually pick a title next year.”
“And what’s your title?” Ellen was starting to cheer up. Perhaps, this wasn’t so bad.
“I’m a fairy princess.” Paige replied smugly as she continued to fly.
“Well, you certainly got the attitude of one.” Ellen couldn’t help but laugh as she followed the fairy to the ball.
Days passed and soon the fair was nothing more than a memory. Ellen felt strangely out of her own skin when she went back to being human. She had honestly taken a liking to being so much bigger and stronger than everyone. Half the time it felt like it had been a dream. It didn’t help that Paige had gone back to being the Paige Ellen had always known once they were back in the office. All signs of the wild fairy princess were gone. It was hard not too question if it had even happened… Yet… It had, and as uptight as she acted at work Paige occasionally there was the tiniest glimpse of the other Paige.
“Hey! Ellen!” Paige interrupted Ellen’s work after lunch dropping a file of folders onto her desks. “If you’re not daydreaming about chasing squirrels we need these done today. Get on it!” This rather strange choice of insult got a lot of weird looks from other people around the office. They didn’t know what had went down at the fair. And… No one else aside from Ellen had got the tiniest bit of a wink and a smile from Paige before she disappeared back into her office.
Ellen supposed she really was thankful that she went. Just a shame to come back to her boring human job… At least the fair could come again next year… In the meantime she hadn’t realized how much she hated shoes before. Big ol’ wolf paws were much more comfortable to walk around in than office heels. She wound up taking them off during her break one day and completely forgot about it. She almost got in trouble for that… Almost. But… The second someone had tried to say something Paige had appeared from her office also barefoot. She never addressed it or said anything, simply dropped off more files to be worked on and disappeared. And then it was over. No one was going to say anything to her.
Perhaps her confidence was bolstered by that office incident as she found herself almost never wearing shoes from then on. She even went jogging at night without them. In addition she was shaving less often and her nails had gotten longer. It was frustrating really… Knowing that the next fair was still a full year away. She really was aching to let the wolf out again.