Even werekittens are allowed to have layers you know! And it turns out Calex has some lesser known skills, ones that Erakir and Kickaha want to learn about and figure out exactly how they work.
Kickaha carefully hid himself in a bush as he observed his target. Just the of white colored snout and two yellow eyes were visible as he held perfectly still. The foxyote had been stalking his target for several days now. Why? Because Kickaha was perplexed. He was used to the strange. He was the strange. But… Whenever the target of his observation was around… It seemed like the world just ran on completely different rules.
The target in question was a small kitten with uniform orange fur. Sometimes he ran on all fours, sometimes he walked upright on two legs. Like most sensible people, Calex didn’t wear pants or any form of clothing. Though, Kickaha felt that the child was underestimating the value of a good cloak. Still, he had known the werekitten for a few years now and the two had been involved in a number of adventures both big and small. Well, mostly small where Calex was involved. Or would it be mostly big based on what their perspectives had been at the time?
That didn’t matter at the current moment. Right now there was something Kickaha was trying to understand. Things just weren’t right around the kitten. When he had tried to teach the small cat some proper rodent hunting, it had ended in a trendy cafe that served exclusively mice. And that wasn’t “served mice on a platter,” but “served food to mice.” At the time when Kickaha had seen it, it had seemed perfectly normal. Once he had gotten away from it, though, he realized how wrong it was. The field that restaurant had opened in didn’t even have any intelligent talking mice! Or at least it didn’t till the restaurant opened. Then there was the time they had tried to go to a public pool… And the entire pool’s worth of water had been stolen to create ice cubes for a kaiju’s soda, just as the kitten had suggested. And well, the less said about the time they both spent as mice the better.
The strange thing was that as far as Kickaha could tell, Calex had no magical ability aside from his natural powers as a werebeast. He could change between a human and a kitten, was super tough, and ridiculously strong. None of that translated to actual spellcasting abilities. But given all the things that happened when Calex was around, there were only two possibilities. Either Calex was somehow causing all of these incidents… Or he was an even bigger weirdness magnet than Kickaha. And which of the two it was, that was the question Kickaha was now trying to answer.
Currently, Calex was simply sitting in his front yard, playing with a wooden plank and an open can of paint. The kitten shoved his paw into the paint and began to wipe it onto the plank, writing something. Kickaha couldn’t make out what from here, but it was clearly some message. After the kitten was finished, he shook the excess paint from his paw before cleaning the rest off with a damp rag. Then he picked up the new sign and headed for the backyard. Kickahah watched as the kitten leaped over the fence separating the yards in one fluid movement, and then he slowly emerged from his hiding place. Silent as a shadow he crept towards the fence, intending to peek over it and-
“Kickaha what are you doing kupo?”
“GAH!?” Kickaha’s fur puffed up and he instinctually drew his green cloak up over his head. After about two seconds passed, he realized he recognized the voice, and it wasn’t his target of observation, so he lowered the cloak and turned around.
“What was that about?” Standing on the sidewalk not far from Kickaha was another familiar face. A white-furred moogle, with blue tipped ears, and a solid blue pom and wings. He wore a purple jacket over a light blue shirt, with brown shorts and matching boots. Most importantly of all to his look though, was the yellow and white striped scarf around his neck.
“Erakir!” Kickaha hissed as he dove for the moogle and threw a paw over his mouth. “Not so loud!” Kickaha and Erakir standing next to each other always looked slightly awkward. Kickaha, at three feet tall, was technically slightly taller… But the long rabbit-like ears sticking from the top of Erakir’s head made him look far taller by comparison.
“Mmmmppph!” Erakir struggled to lower Kickaha’s paw from his mouth. “What has gotten into you kupo? Aside from the usual nonsense?”
“It’s very important he doesn’t catch on that we’re here.” Kickaha gestured to the small house sitting right behind them.
“Huh… Isn’t that where Odin and Calex li-“ Erakir started to ask.
“Don’t say his name!” Kickaha hissed.
“Why? You think he’s just going to magically drop on top of us if I do kupo?” Erakir rolled his eyes.
“That’s… Actually more likely than you think.” Kickaha stepped back from Erakir. “You’re a magic user too. Surely you’ve noticed it. Every time he’s around… There’s a strange energy in the air. But… It’s impossible to notice, at least while you’re within its range. But once outside…”
“You’re being ridiculous kupo.” Erakir shrugged. “Just cause he’s led us into a few incidents and-“ Erakir froze in place as he thought about some of his own past incidents. Being an insect sized chocobo for an equally small moogle Calex to ride. That time Calex had found a sword that had turned them both into nimbats… Then of course there was the time he had gone back to magic kindergarten and claimed Calex as his familiar. That had taken a few years to get back to normal. The thing was… None of these things were outside the realm the usual norms for Erakir. Neither should they have been for Kickaha. Erakir couldn’t understand what the big deal was until…
Until he realized the cause and effects never made any sense. Magical artifacts, strange potions, wands, all common things to be found… But Erakir had seen Calex once pick up a random stick and somehow turn himself into a mouse with it. Erakir was certain the stick had no magical qualities at all… And yet upon picking it up the same thing had happened to him too! Again, he had thought business as usual… But thinking back, he realized, there had been something else there. An aura of magic. For some reason, during the incident it was like he couldn’t even perceive that aura. Yet, now thinking back, it was clear it was there.
“Okay, you’re right, there’s something kupo.” Erakir shrugged. “But does that really make him any different from either of us?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out.” Kickaha explained. “I was hoping if I kept my distance and observed him, when the ‘Calex Effect’ kicked in I could observe it from a safe distance to figure out how it works.”
“Probably some kind of weird faerie thing kupo.” Erakir shrugged.
“Faerie?” This caught Kickaha off guard and he glanced at Erakir.
“Oh? Is that news to you? He’s half faerie. Pretty sure bloodline is from somewhere in the summer court. But that’s mostly conjecture based off his personality.” Erakir grinned, feeling superior at having knowledge the foxyote didn’t.
“How… Did you figure that out?” Kickaha was legitimately impressed.
“His curse.” Erakir nodded. “When he bites someone, they turn into a werekitten on the next full moon kupo.”
“Yeah I know that part.” Kickahah wished Erakir would get on with it rather than cover the basics.
“Well… Turns out, that little curse of his changes when he does.” Erakir grinned. “In fact, the other day he was an espeon, instead of his little curse turning me into a kitten with a bite, it regressed me into a little kid with psychic energy kupo!”
“So his curse mutates with his form?” Kickaha grinned. “That’s veeeeeery interesting. But how did you find out that made him a faerie?”
“I asked.” Erakir gave Kickaha a deadpan look. “You’d be amazed at how easy that makes getting information. He told me that his little werekitten curse is a manifestation of faerie magic. Apparently, no matter what you do to him, that magic can’t be removed. So anytime he’s changed into a new form it just finds a new way to manifest.”
“And is that the only faerie magic he has?” Things were starting to make sense to Kickaha.
“Only thing I’ve seen him do magic-wise kupo.” Erakir shrugged.
“Except for all those other strange things… With that strange aura…” Kickaha grinned. He knew he was onto it. “I am beginning to suspect our little kitten friend has more talents than even he knows about.”
“So you’re spying on little kid?” Erakir gave a weary sigh. “And you think that’ll accomplish something kupo?”
“Well it might get some answers.” Kickaha swished his tail. “You’re telling me you’re not even a little bit curious?”
“Well…” Erakir thought for a moment. “I guess I can tag along. If only to watch this blow up on you kupo.”
“If it does, it’ll blow up on you too.” Kickaha stuck his tongue out.
“Acceptable collateral damage so long as I get to watch it happen to you.” Erakir crossed his arms and grinned.
With something resembling an alliance in place, the two approached the fence. As short as they were, they had to climb up the post before they could peak over. On the other side was nothing out of the ordinary. Calex was climbing up the oak tree in his backyard. He had a treehouse up there that he liked to hang out in and often invited friends. As he reached the top he took the wooden plank he was carrying and began to slam it repeatedly against the wall of the treehouse.
“What is he trying to do kupo?” Erakir squinted.
“I think he wants to attach the board to the house entrance.” Kickaha held his paws over his eyes as if holding invisible binoculars. “Though I’m pretty sure he’s going to need a hammer and some nails for that.”
The sound of wood banging against wood continued for a few seconds, and then Calex let go of the plank, and it stayed firmly attached to the wall.
“… Okay, that’s weird but doesn’t prove magic kupo.” Erakir sounded uncertain. “He’s pretty strong. Could have just beat it into the bark… or had some glue.”
“So I guess we better get a closer look.” Kickaha grinned as he stared at the kitten. Calex was admiring his handiwork for a few moments, and then the kitten leaped down from the tree and went inside through the backyard. “And looks like we’re in the clear.” Kickaha scrambled over the fence.
“You know if we just asked he’d probably invite us up there right kupo?” Erakir asked as he struggled to get over the fence.
“Oh I know.” Kickaha nodded. “But this is an experiment. We can’t risk changing the results by letting the target know they’re being observed.”
The foxyote and the moogle approached the tree and stared up at the board. It was clear that the board was some kind of sign, but the kitten’s writing was pretty messy. Neither one of them could make out what the sign said from ground level.
“Up we go.” Kickaha started on the ladder built into the side of the tree. Erakir wasn’t far behind him. They reached the platform just outside the house and could finally make out the messy message.
‘No adults allowed.’
“Well, that was kind of a boring message kupo.” Erakir shrugged. “Most adults wouldn’t even be able to get through the front door of this place.”
“Well we coul-“ Kickaha started.
“Kicka, most adults are over three feet tall.” Erakir rolled his eyes. He then grabbed the wooden sign and pulled on it. “It’s not stuck into an indent… Or glued. Give me a second.” Erakir placed a hand over the sign as he began to cast a spell. It was a very basic one, meant just to detect magical energies. He closed his eyes and focused. There was definitely energy there, it was strange, far different from the magic that either he or Kickaha used. There was a primal element to it, and yet a whimsical sense as well. Following the flow of magic, Erakir could feel it flowing into the tree house, circling the walls, almost as if it was forming a cube shaped barrier.
“So, what’d you find?” Kickaha looked over Erakir’s shoulder.
“Faerie magic.” Erakir may not have felt this kind of energy before, but it was pretty obvious as soon as he felt it. Except… He had felt it before, other times Calex was around. He had just somehow been unable to notice. “It’s forming a shield around the entire house.”
“So think it keeps adults out?” Kickaha grinned.
“Given it’s Calex, I’m pretty sure we both know what it does kupo.” Erakir rolled his eyes, and slowly stepped behind Kickaha. He then gave the foxyote a shove. It wasn’t enough to knock Kickaha over, but it did send him stumbling a few steps forward inside the house. And immediately, Kickaha began to shrink. His torso shrunk slightly as his arms and legs became a little stubbier. His tail shrunk just a little bit, and he dropped in height significantly, all the way down to about two feet. His ears appeared larger on his head, while his paws felt a bit too big for his body. His green cloak hung very loosely off his shoulders as the foxyote now appeared to be about six years of age.
“Yes… Yes I suppose that was to be expected.” Kickaha looked down at his regressed body.
“The fact going inside made you younger, or the fact that I pushed you kupo?” Erakir grinned.
“Yes.” Kickaha took a few steps forward, then stumbled slightly over the edge of his cloak. At least, pretended to. As he ‘fell’ forward towards the door he flailed his arms and grabbed Erakir’s scarf, before shifting his weight back to pull the moogle into the treehouse into him.
When Erakir regressed, it looked more dramatic, despite it mostly being the same. His ears got slightly shorter, and his proportions squatter like Kickaha. The dramatic change for him, was the loss of most of his clothes. Stumbling forward a few steps his boots came off, and his shorts fell right off his hips. As he wound up a mere six years old, he was left standing in only a very oversized jacket, shirt and scarf. They dragged along the floor hindering each step.
“I suppose I might have deserved that kupo…” Erakir muttered.
“Maybe.” Kickaha sat down on the floor inside the treehouse. He pressed a paw to the ground as he began to reach out with his own magical senses, repeating the same process Erakir had. Having witnessed what happened, and now being able to feel the magical energies it finally became apparent to him. “It’s an enchantment.”
“I got that, but Calex can’t do magic kupo!” Erakir threw up his arms in exasperation, causing his jacket and scarf to slip off leaving him in just his shirt. He growled in annoyance at that, realizing how hard it was going to be to move around right now. He reluctantly removed his shirt, standing naked for a moment before he grabbed his scarf again and wrapped it around him as tightly as possible.
“But faeries can in general.” Kickaha rubbed his chin. “He’s an enchanter. It explains so much. He’s imbuing random objects with magic, and he doesn’t even know it.”
“So basically… Calex less casts spells, and more just assumes the world works the way he wants it to, and that causes him to leave random faerie enchantments in his wake kupo.”
“Pretty much.” Kickaha nodded.
“Huh.” Erakir grinned. “You know… Someone who understood how that worked could cause a lot of chaos with him… And he wouldn’t even know he was doing it.”
“Erakir!” Kickaha crossed his arms. “I am ashamed of you. Taking advantage of a child like that.” He tsked. “Give him some sweets first or a new toy. That way you’ve technically rewarded him and the sugar high will make him even more chaotic.”
“You know, despite being half dumb-fox, you sometimes have some pretty brilliant ideas kupo.” Erkair grinned. “But who to point him at and with wha-“
Erakir was interrupted by the sound of someone coming up the treehouse ladder. A moment later, Calex appeared in the doorway holding a large cooler, or at least large in it was almost as big as the two foot tall kitten. He froze when he saw the youthened Kickaha and Erakir in the treehouse. Both of them froze not sure how he’d react.
“Kickaha! Erakir!” Calex beamed. “I didn’t know you were coming over! I would have made more snacks if I had known!” He walked into the treehouse right past both of them and sat the cooler down. “Also, thanks for following the rules.” He nodded to them acknowledging their regressed forms. “Had trouble with weight limits thanks to too many adults coming up here. I really appreciate the fact you two would turn yourselves into kids before coming in.”
“So… You think we did this to ourselves kupo?” Erakir had suspected Calex was unaware of these enchantments. But it was hard to accept anyone could just toss out powerful spells like that and not even know it.
“Technically we sort of did.” Kickaha hissed to Erakir.
“Anyway… I was just going to hang out up here and read comic books for a little bit.” Calex grinned. “But since I have company we can do something else!” He opened up the cooler. “I’ve got a couple sodas in here and some cupcakes… I only brought two.” His ears sagged. “You two can have them, I can get more.”
“How nice of you!” Erakir placed a hand on Calex’s shoulder as he watched the kitten draw out two cupcakes. “Hey… I can’t help but notice one of those has green frosting.”
“Yes?” Calex tilted his head.
“Well, you know what green frosting does right kupo?” Erakir whispered into Calex’s ear while Kickaha stared at the two suspiciously. “Oh you know, anyone who eats too much green is bound to wind up a tiny dragon.”
“Huh…” Calex tilted his head. “I had no idea.” There was a subtle change in the air. Normally, it would not have been noticeable at all. The change simply didn’t want to be noticed, and forced people not to pay attention. But as Erakir and Kickaha had finally identified it and were actively looking for it they were able to sense it. “Anyway you two can have these, I’ll go make some more snacks.”
“How nice of you.” Erakir grabbed the cupcake with blue icing. “Kickaha, you can have the green one kupo.”
“Seriously?” Kickaha crossed his arms and stared at Erakir. “At least put a little effort into it.”
“Effort into what?” Calex looked between the two.
“Into showing appreciation.” Erakir grinned. “I mean… Kickaha, this little kitten made these cupcakes all by himself. And they were meant to be for him… But he was so selfless-“
“I have more back in the kitchen-“ Calex started.
“So selfless, that he gave up his own cupcakes just to share with you!” Erakir’s grin was absolutely predatory. “You wouldn’t possibly break his little itty bitty kitty heart by refusing his most gracious gift kupo. I mean… Do you really hate the little guy’s selfless gift that much kupo?”
“Did… Did I do something wrong?” Calex looked between his two friends clearly distraught.
“Low blow Ery.” Kickaha hissed as he took the cupcake. “But… It’s not that I’m refusing! I’m just being polite.”
“Polite, by refusing to take his present kupo?” Erakir thought he had Kickaha trapped.
“By waiting to eat until everyone has a snack!” Kickaha held up a paw knowingly. “In fact, come on Calex, I’ll happily help you prepare some more snacks in the kitchen. Because I’m a good guest.”
“Really you don’t have-“ Calex objected.
“No, no I insist.” Kickaha pushed Calex towards the door. “Besides, friends cooking together is always more fun, right?”
“Right!” Calex happily agreed as the two climbed down the ladder.
“So close.” Erakir snapped his fingers. But he looked to where the green frosted cupcakes sat atop the cooler now. “But I’ll get another chance kupo.” Meanwhile, he bit into his own blue frosted cupcake and enjoyed his snack while he waited.
And immediately began to change.
“Wait wait, what!?” Erakir shouted, being hyper aware of the fact that he didn’t kupo. “But! I told him only the green one would change someone!” Erakir’s pom shrunk away into his head, as he wings sank into his back. His little tiny tuft of a tail began to grow in length and width, until the only proper term that could describe it was ‘outrageously fluffy.’ While his fur stayed mostly white, the blue parts of his fur completely covered all four of his paws, almost making it look like he was wearing socks. His fluffy tail also ended in a blue tip. His ears shrunk down, and while still pointed took on a more canine-like appearance as his face pushed out into a longer muzzle.
He knew what he had turned into. But he didn’t want to believe it.
“Nooooo. Noooooooo. Absolutely not. NOOOOOOOOOOO!” Erakir ran around in circles in the tree house trying to find anything with a reflective surface. Eventually he found a magnifying glass. It wasn’t perfect, but by holding it at the right angle he could just make out his face.
He was a fox. The cupcake had turned him into a dumb stupid fox.
“NO! NO! NO! NO!” Erakir tossed himself down on the ground and beat his hands and feet against the ground throwing a tantrum. “I’m not dumb enough to be a fox! Calex! How could you!?” Technically, it was his own fault, probably. But that didn’t matter. It was Calex’s fault! Clearly, when he had convinced Calex that green icing could cause a dragon transformation, the kitten must have assumed all different colored icings did the same thing. He had enchanted both cupcakes without knowing it. It wasn’t fair!
A few minutes into Erakir’s tantrum Calex and Kicikaha returned. This time they were both holding a couple of grocery bags containing chips, crackers, cookies and all manner of snacks.
“Oh!” Calex put a paw over his mouth when he saw Erakir. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you be a fox before. Well… There was that time we spent a year in Europe and you were a braixen… But you know, never a fox fox.”
“Indeed, it’s quite the good look on you.” Kickaha grinned.
“Laugh it up.” Erakir growled.
“Come on, no need to get grumpy!” Calex beamed. “Kickaha helped me pick out a lot of snacks to bring up here! He assured me some of these were more fun than others.”
“Did he now?” Erakir eyed Kickaha with suspicion. “It was pretty clear what he was up to. “Well maybe he should enjoy his cupcake first. The one I had was quite good.”
“Of course.” Kickaha grinned, and walked for the cooler, a response Erakir had not expected. He bent down to grab the cupcake, then paused. “By the way, what flavor is this? Gotta be careful with allergies you know.” He stood back up and spun around, as his tail knocked the cupcake off the cooler landing icing side first on the ground. “Shoot!” Kickaha shouted with false alarm.
“You did that on purpose!” Erakir growled.
“It was an accident.” Kickaha lowered his ears and dilated his eyes. “I’m half fox… And you know how us dumb foxes can’t control our tails.”
“You are getting it so hard before this is over.” Erakir muttered.
“Guys calm down! It’s just a spill.” Calex smiled. “Happens all the time. I can fetch more if you want some.”
“Let’s just enjoy the snacks we have now.” Kickaha grinned as he pulled out a bag of candy from his bag. It read ‘Gummi Mice.’ “Not quite as good as the real thing… But given our current species I think we can all appreciate this one.”
“You don’t say…” Erakir grumbled as he sat up.
“Yeah they’re pretty delicious.” Kickaha opened the bag, grabbed a handful and threw them into his mouth. He than passed it to Calex so he could get a handful.
“Surprised you’d eat those.” Erakir was suddenly grinning. “I thought you hated being a mouse.”
“Gummi Mice turn you into an actual mouse?” Calex tilted his head, right as Kickaha had grabbed another handful from the bag in the kitten’s hands and already thrown the candy into his maw.
“Oh no.” Kickaha’s eyes widened. Maybe the enchantment would only take effect on the bag Calex was holding, and the ones he had just eaten would be fine.
Of course that wasn’t the case. He found himself shrinking down to the ground quickly, his ears becoming much more round, his tail soon naked of fur. His body became more round, as the fur vanished from his hands and paws. After a few moments he was a tiny little mouse.
“WHYYYYYYYYYYYY!?” Kickaha threw his paws up. “Why does this keep happening!?”
“I guess you just really like being a mouse.” Erakir walked up to the tiny mouse, enjoying the sensation of looming over him. He bent down and pinched Kickaha’s tail between two fingers before lifting him up.
“Hey put me down!” Kickaha shouted.
“Why? I quite enjoy you in this position.” Erakir grinned.
“Because! Because!” Kickaha looked to Calex. He wasn’t going to be any help. Calex had a habit of finding himself quite small on occasion… And he considered tail dangling being playful teasing. He wouldn’t realize anything was wrong. So there was no way he was going to help.
“Because the mouse change hasn’t stopped yet!” Kickaha grabbed onto an idea. “Meaning it’s still contagious.”
“Ohhhh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” Calex’s eyes lit up.
“Because it’s not-“ Erakir tried to explain, but suddenly found himself shrinking downwards to the ground. “Oh… Right… Freaking faeries.” Erakir was hoping he would at least get some respite and change into a mouse so he wouldn’t be stuck as a stupid fox.
No such luck.
Soon he was so small that Kickaha was standing on the ground as he tried to hold him. Then, they were eye level. Erakir was still a fox, but he was a mouse sized one.
“Wow, what are the odds?” Kickaha grinned. “Contagious gummi candies.”
“Ha ha.” Erakir shoved Kickaha.
“Wow…” Calex looked down at the two. “I had no idea normal junk food could do stuff like this. I should eat junk food more often.” He grinned, then suddenly frowned. “But… You two aren’t really as good getting around all tiny like I am… You could get hurt… AH! I know!” With that the kitten dove behind a pile of boxes in the treehouse and began digging
“What do you think he’s doing?” Erakir asked.
“Helping.” Kickaha responded in a solemn defeated tone.
“Isn’t Calex’s helping usually bad?” Erakir raised an eyebrow.
He got his answer.
“Here we go!” Calex reappeared holding a shoebox. He sat it down on the ground then in one swift motion scooped up the mouse Kickaha and the tiny fox Erakir before putting them in the shoebox. “The terrarium I usually use is out for cleaning, so this will have to do.” Calex grinned thinking he was being helpful. “But don’t worry, this is clean! And I’ll make sure to keep you two fed while you’re like that… Shame I don’t go to school. You’d be great for show and tell… That’s what Arzure does to me when I’m stuck like that. Maybe he’ll borrow you.”
With that the kitten put the shoebox under his arm and began to climb down the treehouse. Meanwhile the mouse and tiny fox only had one thing to do while being relocated in their new temporary ‘home.’
Argue over whose fault it was. They were still arguing when the kitten left the shoebox in his room and vanished, but finally stopped when Calex interrupted them by reappearing holding two tiny items, one in each paw. A very tiny yellow and white striped scarf, and a very tiny green cloak
“Hey, so… I know these things are important to you two and you kind of shrank out your normal ones soooo…” The kitten smiled. “I knitted you up some mini versions for you to have till you’re back to normal.
“You…. Can knit?” Erakir stared up at the kitten dumbfounded.
“Why did you pick up that skill?” Kickaha seemed confused. “What would you even use it for?”
“I make mittens.” The kitten replied and just got a deadpan stare from both of them. “What? I’m allowed to have layers. Anyway, hope you like them, but I gotta go meet a friend at the park so later!”
With the kitten gone, the two were just in shock. There was no longer an argument. Somehow, they had discovered an even more unlikely skill the kitten possessed, the ability to actually craft garments and now both of them were just left confused.