As far as groves go, there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about Fael’al Whain.
Maybe. That is, if tall, moss-covered gnarled oaks dotted with fresh dew was your thing. Surrounded by marble statues long stripped of any varnish. And dryads. Or two. Maybe a few deer, frolicking about, eating the most pristine, virgin underbrush you’ve ever seen.
But outside all of that — and the magical blueish wisps passing to and fro, signaling the eternal passing of the wheel of time — you know, it wasn’t all that special.
Oh. And the crystal cat statue with sapphire eyes that sat at the center of the grove. That was kinda dope, I guess.
A pure ray of moonlight traced a stark line down Etheril’s skin, perfectly accentuating her copper skin, her emerald eyes catching the light just enough to glow.
The moon blessed her. Nature’s gift made her beautiful.
And, you know, the makeup and hour of skincare and magical cream.
But she was hot, right? And that’s what matters. That’s, honestly, all that matters. You learn some nature magic, you do your best to make your grove look groomed (but, like, not so groomed that it looks like you’re TRYING, there’s a balance and she wasn’t about to go on and construct a fountain that’d be, ugh), and uh, well, that’s it. You sit here.
You sit here and wait.
Another druid? Wildlife? Yesterday a cute tiger wandered up to the grove. That was interesting. Maybe it was a panther. Earnestly, she should’ve known, but magical cats can get weird, you know?
God, she was bored.
A hundred years? Was that how long she was stationed here? That might be an exaggeration. Who knows. She didn’t. God. Etheril looked down at her hand, flipping her nails over. “What I would do, you know, just to,” she sighed, “just to SEE another person. C’mon, nature goddess, or some shit, PLEASE! Anyone! Company!”
Off in a distant land, the kobold’s paw slowly curled.
Not but a minute after those words left her lips, Etheril heard a sound coming from the forest.
Her long ears perked up. Could it be…?
A person! A voice!
A shiver went down her spine. Was she sure? Was she sure this was a person? At first, the noise sounded like it came from a sentient creature. But now she wasn’t sure. It was piercing. Foul.
Was it thrown on the wind?
Was some twisted spell sent to torment her?
Her eyes darted from oak to oak. The grove was still. She was alone. A pit opened in her stomach. Company? Maybe. But she was certain, nothing good could come of that noise. This was her end. Pray her soul to rest in nature’s peaceful grasp.
A body burst through a bush, tumbling down the embankment. Twigs and leaves followed close behind, scattering in the body’s path. Slowly, the creature came to a stop, only to spring straight up.
Etheril leaped back.
It was a human. A short one. A woman by the looks of it… but there was something different about her. The human was smiling.
Etheril squinted. “Hello?”
The woman shook her whole body, freeing a branch from her knotted hair. She took a few large steps forward, almost bouncing toward her. She smiled, wide.
“Hello! I am K’atgirl! That is my name. I am here for training. I am here to train. To be a cat. No — to be a girlcat.” She hacked loudly, as if removing a thorn from her uvula. “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA,” she growl-gagged.
Etheril’s brows knotted together in disgust. What the fuck?
“EXCUSE ME! Sorry. Had a problem there, sorry. But did you hear me? Can you understand me? Oh, you’re an elf,” K’atgirl said. She cleared her throat — with much less theater about her.
“BEEPITY BOOPITY? BEEPITY BOOPITY BOPPITY BEEPITY?”
What the fuck?
“No — okay, excuse me, I speak — I can understand you.”
“No — I mean, before. I understand yo — this language I am speaking, you know, now. Not… uh, whatever it is you were doing.”
It was then that Etheril realized just what she was looking at. The human — presumably — in front of her was wearing… makeup? She wasn’t quite sure. She had perhaps the worst smokey eye she’d ever seen, paired with four lines drawn from her nose out toward her cheeks on both sides, eight in total. Additionally, she was wearing two clumps of fur, crudely sewn together on her head, connected by some sort of band. Behind her — only visible between her legs — dangled what looked like some rope that had been wrapped (crudely, once again) in hair of some vintage.
What type of barbarian was this?
“Excuse me, you said your name…”
“And you are here…”
Training. She was here for training. Gods, this is what you asked for. This is what you got. You were desperate. Desperation is manure for the flies of bad luck.
“I want to be a cat girl.”
The lines. The fur. The rope.
It clicked. She suddenly — and she really hated this — understood.
The winds had carried her a message months ago. Other druids at other groves, all telling of the same message: a girl had visited them, one that they couldn’t adequately explain. Depending on the humidity and barometric pressure, the winds sometimes referred to her as a cat that wanted to be a girl, or sometimes a girl that wanted to be a cat. Most mentioned that she refused to leave without being pointed in the direction of grove that could help her shapeshift. Usually the messages were coddled in a sandwich of profanity.
One particular breeze carried only one message: big phallus, girl of cat, beware. She was certain that they were all playing tricks on her.
But alas, her she was.
Though, that last message still didn’t make sense.
“I want to be a cat girl.”
“Excuse me — could you just, like, explain to me what you mean by that? A cat-girl? What is that?”
“A catgirl,” Katgirl paused briefly, sucking in a vast quantity of air, “is a CUTE and ADORABLE friend to felines who can also BECOME a feline. She is cute, and adorable, and she can transform into a cat, but most importantly she is a hybrid of both who is TOTALLY COOL AND RAD and can completely fuck up her enemies if she wants to while also seducing boys who like that sort of thing.”
Etheril stood, in awe of the thing in front of her.
“And one more thing: a large penis.”
Oh. There it is.
“I want all of that. And. A. Big. Dick.”
“Okay, so I guess — and I’m sort of ashamed to admit this — but I guess I can follow the first bit, but why exactly do you want a big, er, dick?”
Katgirl grabbed her chin. “Hmm…” A pause. She then proceeded to gyrate her hips.
“I want to spin it around real fast.”
“Well, I can’t help you do that.”
The girl looked absolutely devastated. She might’ve just told her that all of her relatives were murdered by bears. And then the bears shit in her mouth. And then she was the bear, and she shit in her mouth, too.
“Noooo…” Katgirl whimpered.
The noise was utterly pathetic. She couldn’t believe it. She felt her heart break, right there. How in the world? Was this girl some sort of mind control demon? She couldn’t believe she suddenly felt so sorry for this… catgirl? She filled her cheeks with air, slowly letting it out from behind pursed lips.
“Look, the dick thing. I can’t do that. But maybe the cat thing. I might be able to do that.”
Katgirl fucking exploded. She leaped forward, tackling Etheril, knocking her to the ground.
“I BELIEVE THAT I LOVE YOU.”
Etheril stared upward, the filthy human firmly locking her against the ground. She caught a glimpse of the moon through the trees. She gritted her teeth.
Fucking nature goddess bullshit.