No art submitted yet
An Early Spring Night's Dream
As Charles began to realize he might be lost, he surveyed his location looking for a place to rest. There seemed to be a clearing a short ways to the south of him, so he made his way there. Entering the small forest glade, he was very excited to find a motley collection of flowers and grasses overtaking what must have once been a riverbed. Opening the case he carried from a strap on his shoulder, he carefully began collecting and cataloging samples, all thoughts of his predicament having given way to the prospect of discovery.
Charlie, as he was called, had come to the Charnwood Forest to try to find a sample he could use for the subject of a paper. Several of his mates also needed to find a subject for their own papers and had traveled with him to the rocky forest in the middle of England. None of them had his passion for botany, which is probably why he had become lost, he mused. Corking the last sample vial his case held, he noticed how dim the light had become and guessed it was probably near dusk. He had spent four hours collecting his samples, but now that he had them, he wondered how he was going to get back to the hotel.
He was a thin man, but with a decent build afforded to him by his years on the rowing team. He had blue-grey eyes that told of his natural curiosity, and kept his dirty blonde hair short under his usual Windsor cap. He wore a Norfolk jacket over a brown wool waistcoat and matching trousers with field boots. He also wore his father's pocket watch on a new brass chain. The day had been warm, but he was starting to regret leaving without his topcoat.
There appeared to be a burned out fire pit to one side of the clearing, which would mean someone had camped here before, so it couldn't be too far afield. Hopefully a campfire would attract the attention of his mates, and if it didn't it would keep him warm through the chilly May night so he could find his way home in the morning. He soon had a cheery little fire going in the small ring of stones, and wished he had some food he could cook on it. Soon he was drowsing by the warm fire as he considered topics for his paper.
"Hey!" the small voice startled him, "Listen!" It sounded like a child, probably calling to a playmate somewhere behind him. In the woods. At night. He felt his shoulders tense as he strained his ears to find the voice. It was defiantly coming from behind him, though he couldn't quite hear what was being said. Peering into the gloom of the trees, he could make out a dim light coming from the direction of the voice. Whoever it was carried a lamp and spoke in tones that were most likely trying to soothe their companion. He chuckled to himself, thinking he would have to thank Artie Doyle, his dorm mate, for all their conversations on deductive reasoning. They had been more useful than he would care to admit. Using sand to douse his small fire and donning the case on which he had been sitting, Charlie moved to meet whoever it was that, he surmised, was coming to his rescue.
The wielder of the lamp seemed to be somewhat frantic, as the light darted about rather haphazardly. Charlie wondered how they managed to keep the oil from spilling. The soft glow appeared to be retreating from him, "Over here, lads! This way!" he began to shout in panic. Since he had snuffed out the fire, it would only be luck that could guide him back to his clearing should he not meet his rescuers. His feet found a small game trail through the underbrush and his pace quickened as he noticed the light coming back to meet him. "Praise be!" he called to whoever might hear him. "I had thought you'd gone! I daresay I wasn't relishing the prospect of bedding down out he--" his thoughts fell short as he met the source of the light.
"Good evening to you, weary traveler," the little thing said as she drew near. He thought she was no more than a foot tall, probably closer to eight inches. She seemed to be made of starlight, and wore nothing other than the fine silvery wings on her back that looked to be a flurry of motion and perfectly still at the same time. Her hair was a hopeless shamble, except that it had captured the golden rose hues of the first rays of dawn. He felt fear and awe at seeing the fae creature, and he didn't know weather he should run away or remain perfectly still. Finally he resolved that the decision wasn't his to make, as his nerves had locked him into the latter option.
Her nude form fluttered in front of him, hands clasped behind her. All he could manage was to blink at her until he finally found his voice, "W-what is this? Who are you?" he stammered.
"This," she spread her hands to indicate their surroundings, "is a large stand of trees on the land you call Charnwood Forest. I am known as Paeony. What are you doing out here all by yourself?"
"I was looking for a bit of flora that might impress my professor back in London." The answer had spilled from his lips before he had thought about it. He thought back to the fairy stories his mother read to his sister and remembered something about fairies having to answer any question that was asked of them. He hastily added, "I came out here with a few of my mates, but we became separated. I'm ill equipped to spend a night outdoors, might you be so kind as to help me find my way?"
The pixy darted to a position above and behind his left shoulder, then she flitted to below his right hip. She took up several more positions, peering at him intently each time she stopped. Much to his surprise, he found her sudden scrutiny arousing. She was a very attractive sprite, and he was not inexperienced with women, but he wondered what actions he could possibly take with the luminous little thing. He began to back away from her, fearing the thoughts that were coming to his mind, but stopped suddenly as his back hit a thick old oak tree. Suddenly she flew to where she was even with his eyes, only a few feet from his face. She bent forward in a strange bow with a broad smile on her face and clasped her hands behind her back.
"My dear traveler," she began, "It would be my sincere pleasure to help you, however, my mistress has tasked me with assisting another poor soul who is also looking for his mate." Though he tried to concentrate, he was distracted by her posture, which seemed to be designed to make her minute breasts frame her tiny crotch. He had seen the same pose in a bawdy house, and had she been a full-sized woman, he imagined they would already be in a more intimate position. "If you would agree to help," she continued, "I'm sure my task will be completed much quicker, and both my mistress and my charge would be quite grateful. What say you?"
He had been so mesmerized by her voice that he did not immediately notice she had stopped speaking. "What?" blinking, he came back to himself. "Oh! Yes, of course. I'd be happy to help in any way I can." His cheeks and ears were burning with the embarrassment of the moment. Noticing this, she tilted her head to one side. "What do we do first?"
"I excite you?" Her speech was odd, more of a statement than a question.
She cut him off, "I make you horny?" He wasn't certain what that meant, but he had an idea.
"Yes!" At this, she started a run up like a flying cricket bowler. "I just don't see what-" this time he was cut short by a ball of glittering dust hitting the center of his forehead right below the brim of his cap. Heat seemed to bore into his brain as a slight pressure began to build against his skin. As the pressure mounted, he felt as though it was stretching his scalp and face, then, with a sharp prick, the pressure abated and the brim of his cap lifted from his head. It took a moment for him to realize what was happening, but once his cap dropped down over his face, hanging from his new horn, he came to. Reaching up to inspect the protrusion, he missed the fairy's movement. The rush of the night air to his private areas alerted him to her position.
"Hmm," she intoned, "This won't do at all. It'll have to go." Before he could object, another flash and more heat in a very tender spot made his eyes go wide.
"Now wait just a tick!" he shouted as he swatted at her to get her away from his trousers, clenching his fly in his other hand to keep them from falling. He took another swipe at her to try to catch her, but she nimbly dodged again. His previously swollen pride was rapidly sliding up into an alien but not unfamiliar configuration. "This needs to stop right now," he said, giving up on trying to catch the pixy and covering his abdomen where the heat had come to a rest, but was obviously not finished with it's business. The feeling of his insides rearranging themselves was making him nauseous and he fell to his knees, braced on his left hand, the waist of his trousers having gone back to their original shape. "Why?" was all he could manage before starting to expel the contents of his stomach.
"You agreed to help me," was her cheerful response. He looked so pitiful retching on the forest floor, she decided to wait upwind and let him finish. Thankfully he had missed tea and supper, so it didn't take long. The nausea passed and he found his anger at being so violated battling a strange serenity that washed into his mind from the new horn.
"Please," he begged, "you have to undo this."
"Our bargain is made," she answered. "You agreed to help me find a mate, and found her we have! You will be the mother of this land's next generation of unicorns!"
"Mother?" panic crept into his voice, aiding his rage in it's struggle. "I cannot be a mother! I'm not a woman, you wicked little thing!"
"No? I'm not that familiar with humans, but you seem womanly enough to me, what with all your picking of my flowers," she stated with feigned innocence, but there was a certain venom in that last part.
"I'm a botanist! I study flowers!" He got to his feet and cleared his throat, trying to calm down. Trying to believe that this may be an honest mistake, he changed his argument, starting with what had proved to be his best features. "Look at my chin, it's much broader than a woman's, and my cheeks are coarse with whiskers. Their faces are different, their features finer, and they are shorter in stature. Human women appear much like you, with broad hips to cradle unborn children, and breasts to feed them after their birth." As he continued the description, a vision forming in his mind drew more and more of his attention. "Their slender arms hang from finer shoulders, with delectate wrists supporting elegant hands." The more he spoke, the easier it was to see this woman. "Their legs," he started again, but a button flying past his nose and a blast of the night air on his chest brought the realization that the fairy had been at work again.
"No, no, no!" he shouted as he watched his blossoming bust, trying to ignore the shrill falsetto his voice had climbed to. His trousers tore at the seams, finally failing in their valiant attempt to contain his expanding rump and thighs. His skin in the air felt as though it were on fire as it struggled to keep ahead of his changing physiology.
"What about your legs?" Paeony asked as she popped out from behind him.
"I demand you fix all this at once!" his voice had settled to a honeyed contralto that softened the anger he tried to put behind it.
"But I just worked so hard to address your concerns," the pixy pouted. "Now, never mind about your legs, I'll have them ready to support the weight of two in no time." She backed up a pace, which opened a path of escape for young Charlie, and he took it. Smiling, Paeony gave chase, firing off little balls of glittering fairy magic that would explode in Charles' path like Chinese fireworks. She expertly herded him until they were near enough to their destination, then a spell caught the changed man like a rabbit in a snare.
His feet stopped suddenly and he fell forward onto his chin. He rolled to his side, clutching his tender new breasts and ignoring his bleeding chin. The spell had started his thighs growing again, and heat in the rest of his legs told him his thighs weren't the only target. Soon his pants had split into four pieces, and he could feel his heel climbing the back of his boot, though his toes were cramped in the front. His legs spasmed as they changed, kicking off the ill-fitting boots and revealing a pair of nearly perfect gold-toned cloven hooves.
"Oh, your poor chin!" The little fairy seemed genuinely concerned over the scrape, and with another spell set the wound to healing. He was about to thank her for her consideration, but the telltale warmth crept up his jaw to his ears, and he remembered why he was trying to get away. He tried to scramble to his feet, but found that he couldn't stand. He could, however, run on all fours, and as he got used to the stride, he found it much easier than running as a biped had been. It was suddenly hard to breathe, as his nose flattened out, but soon his jaw began to lengthen, and his upper lip followed it. As the muzzle grew in, his upper lip split with an electric sensation, forming a cleft in his lip that went up to his nostrils. His sinuses grew with his new face, and he found breathing easier than it had ever been. The sprint was exhilarating; the high spurring him on faster than any human would ever run. Bushes and brambles tore at the tatters of his clothes, shredding them until only small pieces remained.
Paeony was keeping pace behind him, and as her last two spells were winding to their end, she started turning her quarry back the way they had come using her little flares again. Once he was on the right heading, she caught up to Charles and hopped on his back, elongating the chain on his watch for a makeshift bridle. The sudden addition of his torturer spooked the man-turned-unicorn, and he began to try to dislodge his tiny passenger. The fairy was not going to be thrown so easily though, and with one hand released two more spells. One started the final alterations to Charlie's rear, sprouting a tail and finishing his hind legs, the other reinforced the changes starting in his body and arms. As the spells took hold, he began to buck and juke, throwing himself into trees and bushes, but his rider remained unharmed.
He slowed to a canter, then a trot as naturally as if he had been born to four legs. Finally, he stood still, working out his muscles as they settled to their final configuration. Looking around at his surroundings, he wondered at how differently everything looked. It was if he was seeing the verdant life of the forest for the first time, and he gained a new appreciation for the plants around him. His new snout allowed him to smell the smoldering fire pit in the distance, and his closer vomit, along with a myriad of other spicy and musky scents of the forest. With a little concentration, he found he could sort out each individual one. The decay of last year's shed foliage, the leavings of various animals, the scent of spring buds, he closed his eyes and began to make a mental catalogue of everything around him. Satisfied he was done for the moment, Paeony left her perch and began removing the last pieces of clothing, healing scratches, and repairing the unicorn's new coat as she went.
He stretched his long neck, gently sniffing the air for the scents it held like a librarian handling an ancient manuscript. He managed to place all but one scent. It reminded him of all the other smells in the air, except that it was more like a separate, musky echo. The more he searched it out, the more uneasy he became. It caused a strange reaction within him, especially, he realized, in his new sex. His eyes flew wide with the realization and his head shot up. Looking around, he found the little fairy placing his watch on his sample case. She turned around and smiled.
"You guessed it!" she clapped her hands with a little laugh. "It's the unicorn's mating season. As you reckon time, the unicorn rut happens once every other century, so you can see why it was so important to find a mate for our young buck. Unfortunately, there are no does left on this isle, so my Lady Titania gave me permission to improvise. Of course, the laws can not be subverted, so your cooperation was mandatory, thank you." She made a little curtsey and the new unicorn wondered why this didn't anger her.
She shook her head, realizing how she had just thought of herself, but she could no longer imagine herself as Charles. She could hear the approaching buck now, and his scent was covering her mind in a lustful haze. He was nearly in sight and her fear and anticipation of what was to happen next was maddening.
The pixy attended the new unicorn, cleaning her with a couple quick spells, then adding another to ensure conception. She had turned her attention to the unicorn's mane when the stag strode into the little clearing. He was a proud creature, instantly commanding his mate's attention. He circled her once, and obviously liked what he saw.
She found it hard to stay still as he moved around her, watching the object of her desire stiffen under him. She turned and presented herself to him as the sprite ran down her back and helped lift her tail. In one motion he covered her, and she new she would never mourn the loss of her old self.