The message shook my hopefully safe cavern, all of my wards and runes lighting up. I didn’t feel any pain and Spot was sleeping peacefully next to his bowls of soup. I gripped Gungnir, “Just in case, I need you to protect Spot and I,” I told the spear, “Absorb whatever energy makes its way through the wards.”

  “You’re telling me to eat?” Gungnir giggled, “I can do that all day! I mean, I already do that all day. Can weapons get fat? Humans can and dogs can, but what about me?”

  “The bleeding weak lift their throats, set loose the cull.”

  The glowing increased in intensity all around as I knelt next to Spot, Gungnir in spear form pointed up. “Bring it on! Gimme that beautiful delicious power!”

  Its jubilations were started to get on my nerves, but I was glad for a reliable shield. Spot woke up suddenly and looked at me, concern and curiosity twanging our mental link. “It’s ok buddy, you’re safe,” I reassured him while petting him, “And, I gave you epic upgrades too!” He looked over and began wolfing down his food.

  “Alter, shift, change, adapt, transpose, grow.”

  As the first segment of the last part of the Ripple rang out, Spot jumped up and sprang across the cavern, knocking the bowls everywhere. He landed in a crouch, then began howling at the ceiling as the rest of the emotional levels of the Ripple vibrated reality.

  “Uh oh,” Gugnir said, “Didn’t see that coming.”

  Spot’s body began to contort and twist, growing until he was the size of a small car, his fur turning dark brown and black. Spines of bone sprouted along his spine and then shrank back in, the same happening to the nails on his feet. Bone armor sprouted along the flat areas of his body and then vanished. This was happening so fast that my shock kept me frozen.

  “Uhm, hello?! Wake up fleshbag!” Gungnir’s voice breaking the slow motion shock I was experiencing, “Might wanna keep that bond going before the Change breaks that!”

  Pulling energy from Gungnir, I focused on my mental connection that I had been weaving between Spot and I and saw that the threads I’d been braiding were slowly stretching and snapping. “Oh hell no,” I growled walking over to Spot, “My dog, my sorcery, my bond, MINE!” The entire time repairing the bond and sending pure mana down that link, adding more strings to the entire rope and fixing the snapped fibers. I treated it like a muscle and my flesh sorcery took over, making the entire bond stronger from the stress. A wave of instinct rushed out of Spot, cresting over my mind like a tidal wave hitting a cliff. Run, hunt, food, master, scratches, pee, HUNT, food/prey, change, GROW! His primitive thoughts rebounded off of me as I made the mental bond stronger, incorporating his own pack instincts into it and using my flesh sorcery as the authority. I am the alpha. I am the master. I direct the hunt.

  Spot grew again as the last of the Ripple faded away, bulging to the size of an armored humvee. The bonds once again strained and bulged as the instinct to challenge rose up, which I mercilessly squashed with my mind while at the same time using my flesh sorcery to take over his, forcing his body to submit to me. As his minor flesh sorcery was gestated from my own, his body would always obey me. It could not rebel as my sorcery ran through every enhanced cell in his body. His huge body lay down and rolled over, exposing his belly. I felt his normal puppy mind come to the fore as the effects of the Ripple flowed through and out of him. My dog was huge, not Clifford huge, but big enough to seriously fuck a place up. I let my senses wash through him, examining the changes in his body. The Chaos had done a better job than I could have, making and melding everything perfectly in his body, enhancing his size and sorcery, and even his mind. I could see that he somehow could grasp more complex commands, his brain was larger and sparking fast. Fuckin tight. An intelligent tank sized attack dog with bone armor and ridiculous regeneration. Can’t wait to test this out.

  It took me about an hour to expand my tunnels and entrances so that Spot could get out. I don’t think he’s an inside dog anymore, but I need to be able to put him back in the cavern for the last two Ripples. I really wanted to check on my various materials that I had left out for the Change, but I wasn’t taking any chances. My armor was ready to go and Gungnir was rip-roaring eager. He kept spouting songs in my head, and as we emerged from the tunnel to greet the new Earth he kept screaming “LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR!”

  I emerged into an almost alien land. I was on top of Spot, riding on his big neck, with my new platinum shield and tricked out spear, ready to do battle with whatever was here, but nothing was the same. The river behind me was gigantic with a waterfall over it, which was impossible as the Rappahancok river is a very small tame river. The trees around me were also huge, redwoods would be jealous. The smallest I could see I wouldn’t be able to fit my arms around, and the canopies almost blocked out the sun. “Stay,” I ordered Spot as a herd of whitetail deer the size of cars came running by. They ran past us, on to the river, and sprinted on its surface out of sight. “Gungnir, I dearly hope you know what’s going on.” I said very, very quietly.

  “Duh,” it said, “Alter, shift, change, adapt, transpose, grow. Don’t you remember? It was like an hour ago.”

  “Right you stupid spear, but what exactly does that mean?” I pressed, looking around me and seeing nothing of the old Earth.

  “It means that maybe the dimensional seal fully broke and mana is all the way back, which also means that the next two waves are really going to fuck shit up. Check it out, the mana levels are ridiculous!” it said, its happiness translating into emitting lights like an old school rave.


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