A few chapters from an interactive fiction origanally posted on the now defunct tf-media
|You find yourself in a magical labyrinth surrounded by traps and impossible creatures, searching for a way out. After outwitting a pair of mischievous fairies you choose between a well lit but partly flooded passage and a dry but dark one.
First published at tf-media
While it would be nice to have dry feet you don't fancy stumbling around in the dark, there's no telling what you could run into. So you continue splashing through the water and follow the more well-lit corridor. The water grows deeper as you go and warmer than you'd expect, you are soon wading calf deep. You don't notice any ill effects from the water but, still, you should be careful. You are about to turn back when you round a bend and the hall widens into a huge stone cavern. Water stretches of into the distance lit from below by a blue green light that dapples the high rough hewn stone ceiling. Here and there statues in marble or bronze break the surface like relics of a sunken temple. The water seems to get much deeper ahead. You can see no other way around, it looks like you've reached a dead end and will have to retrace your steps if you want to find your way out of this maze.
Just then a movement catches your eye, something sleek cuts through the water moving towards you with alarming speed. The shape is vaguely fish like. Gleaming an iridescent blue, as you watch a second shape joins it this one a dazzling shade of yellow. More swift forms rise from the depths and you are transfixed by the whirling kaleidoscope of brilliant colours only a few feet away. Not until one of the fish like creatures breaks off and streaks straight towards you does it occur to you that you could be in any danger. Taken by surprise you...
You turn to flee but before you can take more than a step the creature leaps from the water slamming into your chest and sending you sprawling. You thrash in the warm briny water coughing and spluttering as the shoal goes into a frenzy darting all around you. They almost seem to be fighting each other smashing into each other with a force that makes the waters roil. You scramble back trying to reach dry land. It's too late for that though, as you do a particularly large and aggressive creature drives the others back and lunges straight for you. It scales are a deep scarlet and shine like rubies in the wavering light. The only thing you have time to register is how beautiful it is. Then its gaping maw swallows the lower half of your body in a single bite. As the jaws clamp down around your waist you scream and thrash. You are so convinced that you are going to die that it takes you a few moments to realise that you feel no pain at all.
You steel yourself to look down and gasp at what you see. Instead of a bloody ruin the crimson scales of the fish creature merge with smooth skin below your navel. With a yelp, you drag yourself back trying to kick the thing away still not understanding what has happened to you. As you kick the tail twitches and slaps against the surface of the water. Your heart skips a beat as you realise you felt that. You actually felt the sting of the water against the thrashing tail. You take a deep breath afraid to acknowledge what that feeling means. You decide to try an experiment and picture yourself taking a step. In response the tail swishes back and forth, propelling you several feet before you can bring it back under control. Finally, you have to accept that you have merged with the fish creature, becoming some kind of merman.
You examine yourself, taking your time to allow yourself time to acept your transformation. The tail, your tail, is long muscular and more flexible than any human limb. You are able to twist it ways your legs could never manage. Smooth hard scales coat the whole length but there's no loss of sensation when you touch it. The feeling is much like touching your skin. The scales along the back are a brilliant ruby red fading to pale pink on the underside. There are semi-translucent fins at the tip and along the back, stopping around where your butt was. You are most relieved to find you still have your male equipment, tucked into some kind of pouch, pretty much where it has always been.
As you check yourself over you realise that your transformation is not restricted to the lower half of your body. Scarlet patches mottle your skin and your nails are hard and sharp, almost like claws. Your fingers have webs between them and even your hair has changed. It is and is now the same unnatural shade of red as your tail. The biggest shock is the slits in your neck. You can feel them open and close in time with your breathing, you figure that they can only be gills.
Inspection complete you sit in the shallow water weighing your options. On the one hand, you could use your new form to explore the underwater cavern and try to find a way out.
On the other hand, you don't seem to be having any problems breathing the air. You could crawl back up the hallway and find help, who knows, maybe those fairy girls will take pity on you?
You look down at your transformed body and then back at the corridor you walked down earlier. It's clear that walking back is not an option and in fact walking anywhere doesn't seem like something you'll be doing anytime soon. Your only choice seems to be to press on, you take a deep breath and plunge into the deeper water.
You dive deep moving through the water, swift and sure, propelled by your powerful tail. For a moment the salt water stings your eyes but then you feel a sensation almost like blinking and some kind of membrane snaps into place. Your vision clears as your body reveals another aquatic adaptation.
Swimming like this is a completely new experience for you. You've always been a strong swimmer and you've tried scuba diving a couple of times but this feels totally different. It's more like flying than swimming. The most amazing part is how natural it all feels. All you need to do is think about what you want to do and your body responds as if you were born this way. You gain confidence diving to the pool's sand cover floor then zooming back to the surface to leap into the air like a dolphin.
Once you have spent some time testing your capabilities you start to explore the pool. You take a closer look at the statues and see that they all appear to be sculptures of mythical beasts rendered in amazing detail. Considering what you've already seen in the labyrinth you suspect that they were modelled from life but by whom or for what purpose you couldn't say. The statues are so fascinating that several minutes pass before you notice that you don't feel the slightest urge to come up for air. You almost choke as you realise that you are breathing under water. The warm water passing through your new gills without your conscious control. You shake your head at how you are adjusting to being a merman.
You finish searching the pool finding only one exit, an underwater tunnel at the far end. Seeing no other choice you follow the aquatic passageway. You soon leave the main cavern behind and your way is lit by strange luminescent corals. Before long the tunnel splits in two, one path seems to angle up towards the surface the other leading down towards who knows what.
Even though you are in no danger of drowning you instinctively reject the idea of diving even deeper. Instead, you choose the upward path you hope will lead you back to the surface. You follow the tunnel until it widens into a large submerged grotto and your jaw drops at what you see by the coral light. Wooden treasure chests are scattered around the room some still sealed others spilling their contents onto the floor. Everywhere you look you see gold and jewels, a vast fortune, enough to make you a millionaire many times over if only had some way to take it with you. You scoop up an egg sized ruby that exactly matches your scales and hold it up watching it glitter in the dim light. You go to tuck it in your pocket before remembering that your jeans have vanished along with your legs. You shrug and look around for more portable forms of loot and among a pile of gold doubloons, you spot…
A diamond ring
A ruby necklace
A silver diadem
A ruby necklace catches your eye and you pull it free. It certainly looks valuable and it would leave your hands free. You put the heavy gold chain around your neck and let the glittering gem rest against your chest over your heart. Almost as soon as you do it you a brilliant light surrounds you.
“Oh shit, here we go again.” you think as your body begins to change.
You feel a terrible pressure all over like you are being crushed from all directions at once until you think you are going to pass out. The pressure stops as suddenly as it started. You gasp as you look down at yourself and see that you have shrunk. Your muscular torso is now skinny and weak and your waist pulled inwards. Even your face feels like it has changed your features becoming softer and more delicate under your fingers. Before you can do more than look you feel the pressure building again this time it seems to be forcing its way out from the inside. In moments large breasts burst from your chest stretching your shirt to its limit. Your hips and the part of your tail that would be your ass expands giving you a distinctly feminine figure. Horrified you grab for the necklace only to find it has become a tight fitting choker with the gem set in the centre under your chin. You struggle to remove it but only succeeded in scratching your neck with your sharp crimson nails.
Sobbing with the frustration you give up and instead feel around your altered body, trying to wrap your head around the idea of becoming a mermaid. Your hands roaming hands confirm that your breasts are totally real and very sensitive. You are more alarmed to find that your junk has completely vanished. In it's place you find something warm and soft hiding behind a set of scales that part when you touch them.
Your self-examination is interrupted a deep growling voice.
“Are you satisfied, thief?” it rumbles “Is the treasure you took worth the price you have paid?”
“I wasn’t, I didn’t.” You stammer searching the shadows for the source of the voice “I was just looking I swear, I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please, can’t you help me.”
“Ha ha ha.” deep booming laughter shakes the chamber. “You must be very new here little thief. Nobody will help you in the labyrinth unless you do something for them first.”
“What do you want?” you ask hating the way fear makes your now high pitched voice crack.
“A simple favour really” the voice replies “ beyond this room is a world gate. Go through it and retrieve a certain object for me and I will tell you what I know of the labyrinth and grant you safe passage to the edge of my domain.”
You shrink back in horror as the owner of the voice reveals itself, a monstrous moray eel squeezes out of a crack in the wall. It looms over you, its jaws as wide as you are tall,
its dead black eyes reflecting your terrified face.
“Well little thief,” it asks “will you accept my offer? Or will you continue to wander until something less understanding than myself decides to snap you up?”