0.3 -Awake

The first sign of a problem was making up without a headache. I always have a headache when I wake up. I sit up in the bed brushing white strands from my eyes and rubbing them with two soft pale hands. “Grrrr…” I let out a high almost keening groan as I stretch out my arms in the chilly air.

Why is my hair so long? And why is it white again?

I brush my hair behind my shoulders with both hands. Both small delicate looking hands. My body feels different, and I can see I am covered by a fluffy white blanket in a dark wooden-paneled room. The room is small, hardwood floors covered by a large green carpet, there is an wooden and black metal trunk at the end of the old oak bed. The remainder of the room is around three meters square with a large old fashioned pull-down desk on the end of the room across from the bed beside a large book shelf filled with unmarked tomes backed in dyed cloth and leather. I squint at the door beside the book shelf, then at the one in the wall not far from the trunk- neither is letting in any light leaving the room quite dark yet I can see just fine. Throughout the entire room there is not a single sound.

I pull myself to the side under the covers as I begin to get out of bed- there is something wrong with my body. I glance down at my thighs but my view is obscured by my… chest?

“KYAAAAAAAAAAA”

My scream is a high pitched shriek of alarm- I am a girl?! I freeze before I rub my thighs together- there is nothing there. I move in a daze to examine myself as I throw off the covers and I sit on the side of the bed trying not to hyperventilate. I seem to be smaller then I was, and I don’t appear to have any clothing lending me an unfortunately unobscured view of myself.

Definitely female. My breath comes in short gasps, and part of my head feels weird. I cautiously touch the sides of my head where my ears should be- smooth, but as I move upwards just slightly I find the starts of two large fuzzy triangles…

I have two large fuzzy triangular ears near the top of my head and touching them feels odd but not entirely unpleasant. “What-” I feel something shift beneath me as well as my own shifting on the thing- like an extra limb? I shift my weight to release whatever I am sitting on-

I have a tail. Nearly a full three-quarters of a meter long, a bit over half my height in length, large and fluffy widening out from the base before tapering to a fuzzy point at the tip. The shape seems oddly familiar and it takes me a moment to catch why the pointy shape snags in my mind- I have a fox tail. And fox ears. I feel around the inside of my mouth briefly to find my teeth are sharp and pointed with my top and bottom canines especially long. I feel the back of my neck as something there stands up in alarm- There is a thin line of soft white fur running down my spine to my fluffed up tail.

I am a fox girl.

I suppose this means buying more brown hair dye is out of the question then?

Also I am an actual literal Fox-Girl.

I cast my mind back- I remember waking up, the coffee shop with Brandon- We missed the bus… Then Teller’s, and the book. I remember a strange dream, where I was in a form not unlike this one.

I remember the cool mist on my fur- so much like the chill in the air around me now, the urge to hunt- and just like that I find myself a pure white fox sitting on the edge of the bedspread.

“Myurrr….Myurrr…”

I whimper slightly, a high keening sound as I glance down at my paws, my tail tucking down.

I am not human anymore am I? Not since I read the book at least. I think I can turn back right? If I remember my time as myself maybe I can go back to being a guy? I was tall with short brown hair, I preferred sign language to talking, I was male…

And nothing is happening. “Rrrrr…” I growl in annoyance, trying to dispel the mounting panic in my mind. Maybe if I focus on the body I had when I woke up?  I turn sideways and sniff at the place between my hind legs- this shape is female as well apparently, as there is a noticeable lack of what would be there otherwise. I had long white hair, two legs, two soft hands in the other form.

I sit on the bedspread feet dangling above the floor and look at my hands. Ah hands- you really never miss having opposable thumbs until you don’t. The thought that I have hands again is oddly  comforting. A nice familiar thought when everything else has gone to shit.

Now that I have confirmed that I am apparently some sort of magical fox-shapeshifter I am beginning to notice the room is quite cold- and I should probably find some clothes. Like as soon as possible.

This place seems safe enough for now, but if Dungeons and Dragons has taught me anything it is to loot the starting room before heading out or I will regret it later when Brandon’s Fighter brute does something stupid. That and that any power no matter how apparently useless can be ridiculously lethal if you get creative enough- but I really don’t see how that is applicable to my current situation.

The floor is cold under my bare feet. The carpet starts about two feet from the bed- just far enough to be of no use warming my feet whatsoever as I try to get used to the change in my body’s center of gravity on the extremely cold floor. The chest at the end of the bed seems like a good place to start as any. Walking in my new body is surprisingly easy though I stumble a little halfway as I think about it. You don’t really notice how you balance your body when walking until you have weight in different places, and when it is… Then it just feels really weird.

The chest is large, more like a square trunk, and there is a small piece of paper taped to the front of it-

“I leave this note, as well as the contents of this trunk not to any who may find this room, but to the mid-adolescent Kitsune female sleeping on the bed. Any one else who reads this should probably leave as soon as possible before the room’s wards activate if they have not already. My wards are not meant to contain intruders and will almost certainly prove fatal.

To the Kitsune on the bed-

You are likely very confused having woken up as a member of a new species, gender, and in a location you have never seen before. As of time of writing you have been asleep for the past nine years, your body has been slowly changing from that of a human male to your current state as an adolescent Japanese Fox spirit. Your species is known as a Kitsune, and you are now bound to the Grimoire contained within the trunk ‘The Dancer in the mirror’. The book that now contains your soul also lists your name as ‘Alice’ in the page at the front describing it’s resident spirit. As introduction to your new state may prove difficult I have taken the liberty of formally adopting you as my daughter to ease transferal into this world. In addition to this I have enrolled you in the school at which I teach under the name of Solomon Teller. I believe the experience the school will provide is likely explain the intricacies of this world far better than I can, and will provide some measure of concealment to your nature while you figure things out.

Included in the trunk are items I think you may find useful including some money, clothes from your most recent measurements, a student badge for the University of Autumn Forest, your Grimoire, some food, and assorted other items.

As for some things you should know, I would advise against touching anything made of iron in the future. Additionally you cannot enter living spaces without the owner’s permission, and you are fundamentally bound to the word of promises you make.

I am sorry to leave you with this mess, but I hope to be back to watch over you shortly.

-Solomon Teller ”

I try to keep the heat from my face at the mention of ‘measurements’ in the carefully typed note. I just need to stay calm, and try not to panic right? Yah I just need to gather everything useful then figure out where I am. Of course I had to be named ‘Alice’- of course. Lady Grendel must be having a right good laugh right about now. Also I have apparently been asleep for nine years, so… That’s a thing.

Assuming what the note says is true.

Even if it isn’t I seriously had to have that name, and this hair color? I had just stopped having the nightmares, and I spent so much keeping my hair dyed…

The outside edge and latch of the chest at the end of the bed is clearly made from black metallic bands- maybe wrought iron of some kind? I poke it hesitantly with my finger- the band is made of dark black shining material not unlike wood but it looks a lot like metal, maybe ebony or something? The material is painted with flecks of reddish coloring to look like rust- a very good imitation. The latch on the old wooden chest pops easily to reveal it’s contents. Three books including my Grimoire, a plastic gallon bag of beef jerky meat sticks, three sets of black knee-length skirts with accompanying white button-up shirts, panties, bras, and a blue jean-jacket…

Putting on the clothes takes much longer than normal, mostly because clasping a bra behind your back is significantly more difficult than it sounds, and because I am trying to avoid thinking about what I am putting on, or why it is surprisingly comfortable.

My breath comes in short hurried gasps as I finish dressing. Stay calm Alice, yah you are now a member of a different species, gender, and possibly on another plain of existence, and your probably completely screwed.

Okay- bright side of things!

Yes the person who got you into this mess may or may not have peeped on you while you were asleep for possibly more than half again your entire lifetime. On the plus side you are functional immortal if the stuff at the back of your mind is any good, for all the good that does when you are in this situation and bound to a freaking book. Even if the moron who got you into this mess is apparently inconsiderate enough to leave you alone Grendel knows where, and also measure you while you were a sleep for some distressingly comfortable women’s undergarments.

At least grimoires are likely enchanted for durability right? So my soul is probably safer in it’s new container than it was in my original body.

Even if that new container is a fucking book, and apparently decided I needed to become a fox girl.

I laugh to myself to stave off the oncoming panic attack, and for no other reason.

I leave the two other identical outfits folded up on the bed and return to the trunk. the items remaining inside are a simple leather belt, two small skeleton keys on a ring, a small pin-on badge with a silver outline made of amber in the shape of a maple leaf, a small cloth drawstring bag the jingles with coins as I pick it up, and my Grimoire. “Hehehehehehehaha” I pin the badge to the front of my jacket and pick up the large leather tome as I laugh to myself- it seems to weigh nothing but is sizable. I don’t know really where to put it and since it’s attached to me I can’t just leave it behind. I can feel the connection between myself and the book in my mind now that I hold it. I can feel my own fingers on my cover touching my title. My heart is pounding.

The experience is not uncomfortable- just weird, feeling as though the book is my body, as I hold it with this body. I think I can feel a rapid heart beat from the book, is that mine? Am I short on breath? There is a large olive green messenger bag in the trunk and I quickly put it around my neck and place my book in it smiling to myself as I start to pant, eyes wide. Along with the messenger bag is an odd leather sheath with a knife designed to go under my left arm along with the knife inside, a long one made of steel with ‘KA-BAR’ on it, the belt, a belt holster for a gun of some kind, and a mid sized wooden crate taking up a good two thirds of the remainder of the space in the trunk.

I pull out the crate and use the knife to pry the top board off smiling and giggling to myself.

It’s a girls giggle, high clear and scattered with loud panting breathing as I can’t seem to breath well right now.

Correction to my earlier statement- anyone who’s idea of ‘useful items’ is a sawn-off double barrel shotgun, an M1911 pistol, an ammo tin for each, and two different varieties of what appear to be grenades six each is not inconsiderate- they are insane. He was even thoughtful enough to include three magazines and a thigh holster for the pistol

I grab one of the grenades- there are these rounded ones that look sort of like a slightly squashed green ball with the typical handle-pin set up that say ‘frag’ on them in black marker, and there are these one’s that look like little dumbbells with holes on them?

These are six frag grenades, and six of some other kind? There is also a small pile of thin manuals marked ‘US ARMY FIELD MANUAL’ for ‘M67 FRAGMENTATION GRENADES’, ‘M84 STUN GRENADES’, and ‘M1911 SERVICE PISTOL’ among others.

Okay it’s final- I am not freaking out as apparently I am supposed to be able to take out anything short of an military division by my insane new adoptive absentee father. I am going to read the absolute shit out of these- seriously who the dust-blasted thousand hells leaves a seventeen year old of any sort with this sort of equipment?

I should probably check the rest of the room over later- I may find more grenades  behind the books on the bookshelves, or some C4 behind the skirting boards.

I try to hold back another insane little  giggle at the thought.

I fail.

“Ghahahahahahaha!” I clutch my chest and collapse to the floor laughing and gasping for air.

I can’t breathe, is there air in here? Is this room airtight? What if it is and I have used up all the oxygen? what if outsides a vacuum like space? There are just to many unknowns.

This entire situation is just too bizarre, I can’t help it anymore. I laugh and roll backwards onto the dark green carpet. I laugh and laugh until tears stream down my face. Curling up on the soft green carpet I sob into my hands- the soft pale little hands of a fox-girl who has no idea what is going on, or what to do with herself. Or why she is a she in the first place.

Eventually my gasping sobs fade into a low whimpering, then sniffles, until what seems like hours later I stop.

I need to do something, anything with my hands. I read through the manuals and practice disassembling my pistol as I cry. I can’t go back and finish high school now, I am a freaking fox-girl so no one not even Aunt and uncle Dayl would recognize me. Remove magazine by pressing the little button by the right thumb, twist the front part to release the spring and lock pin place those to the side. At least I always wanted to go to collage and find a major. Remove the little side pin thingy that holds the two haves together place that aside, then pull the slide off the frame, and remove the spring pin and place that aside. I wonder if my new school will be any better? Remove the barrel from the slide by moving it back and up. I hope I can find the place.

The movement helps, though the front twisting thing is a pain. I don’t have a screw driver so I use the top edge of my knife to remove the grip screws. Then, after I place them carefully to the side along with the grip panels I take out the leaf spring. I hope I can find Brandon again, I wonder where he is if it has been so long? I really hope that moron has not gotten himself killed. I need to pay him back for getting me turned into this.

I glance down at the neatly arranged mass of parts on the dark hardwood in front of me. I moved to the edge of the carpet at some point- probably when I removed the grip screws with my knife so I would not lose them, or maybe the safety’s little spring thingy. Assembling the gun again is easy after disassembling it in the order the little book showed. The order is slightly different from how I was taught by uncle but I remember. I pull the slide back with a click to make sure I did it right.

Violence is never the answer to things- but it does make me feel better.

I disassemble the gun again as I examine the room. I have two keys, one might be for the door, and one of them probably fits the keyhole in the desk. The books are not visibly out of place and I think I can see some more military manuals- they have a very distinctive shape. I will thoroughly look over the room, prepare, and head out tomorrow for the school. I can probably find where, and when I am from there, and since it is connected to Solomon maybe find my way back to earth. I can probably pick up some info on the world I am in while I am at it and then I can plan there once I know the situation.

Not much of a plan, but having a plan at all is calming.

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