Autumn finally awoke from her long sleep and gave a mental yawn. She felt a bit better after all the events. This would be the true start of their journey. The wolf was a bit young but she felt that she could turn it into something powerful. She cast an avatar over the wolf body and began to look into her surroundings. She saw that there was not much of a difference since her sleep. The lake was the same, the shore was the same but then surveys the rest. The tree that stood tall was gone and a few bodies including hers were missing. The others looked like they were bit and chewed by a wild animal. Some even seemed as if they were drained of all their life force. This startled her as she hovered over the wolf. She woke up from her daze and looked down at the wolfling.
His body lay there peacefully as if it was a corpse. Its head was sunken in as if there were no meat or bone. It had the appearance of a wolf mask if anything. There was a bulge in the middle of where the wolf body laid. She wondered how this was possible. The cub was dead but she lived. Her and his lives are intertwined. If he was dead, that means she should have quickly followed. She began to look at the wolf body in great detail. She saw that the middle of the body continued to move up and down as if it was breathing.
“Is this the last dredge of life of this wolf?” She asked in defeat. She felt horrible that she caused his death for a chance to live. The worst part was not killing him. It was causing such a deformity. It looked as if a huge ball was breathing under the wolf dried out corpse. “Did all it inside come together as a heart beating ball.” Autumn covered her mouth as if her mana body could throw up. “Did he end up like a necromancer failed experiment?” It was as if she was experimenting with his body and life. This went against everything Lady Fauna stood for. If the deformity is horrendous, she prepared herself to end both of their lives.
“Better to die now than live your life as a deformity of a bad experiment.” She said with determination. “ It’s only right that I follow you to your death since I caused such a mishap.” She spoke gravely. She touched the moving part in the middle of the body and saw that it seemed to uncurl. Its body mass sank a bit but grow wider and longer. She looked down saw what seemed to be a smooth arm that stuck out.
She jumped back in shock. She looked with a steely gaze at the arm and prepared to fight. The wolf carapace was partially turned over when a young head popped up from under the corpse. It was a young sapient being with white hair, big round eyes and a small nose. His eyes were a light shade of lavender that did not reflect any life. His mouth was medium with two small fangs that showed when he quietly yawned from the apparent nap he has taken.
He had sharp ears as if he was an elf. She was able to tell that it was a boy because as she continued to observe him, he had male parts. His face was more of a cute girl with his snow-white hair that draped down to below his ear though. The most peculiar thing was that he also had a long white puffy tail that began to wag back and forth. He had the ears of an elf, the tail of a wolf but the typical body of a human. He looked like a cute elf child but with white hair and lavender eyes which was not normal. He also had the trademark ears. He would have been seen as a peculiar elf looking wolf if it was not for his fluffy pure white wolf tail.
“What in the hell happened while I slept to recover my mental. How long was I out?” she screamed. It felt like something was always happening. “Why is there something that is always happening since that soul-pact. “ She wanted to scream again. She noticed that the young boy was just staring at her. That is false; he was just staring in her direction. He did not have any focus. He continued to open and close his eyelids as if he could not believe what was happening. He tried to stand on all fours as if he was a wolf before falling back down. He opened his mouth as if he wanted to speak but nothing came out. He continued to suck in air as if it was water and he had nothing to drink in days. The whole time his face stayed deadpan to hide his emotions. He tried to take a step while on all fours before he fell again. Autumn just stood there in a daze. Her brain was lagging a bit behind. She did not know how to respond to this situation before everything clicked. “His soul” she exclaimed.
She went back into his soul space to examine everything. His soul was the same but her soul weapon was different. The bow and quiver were the same shape but has been transformed into a lavender color. Over the soul weapon was a wolf that hovered it as if it was its guardian spirit. She observes her weapon for a brief moment before almost crying. She felt a wavering connection to it. She felt that the wolf spirit and Nanna could control the weapon at will. She saw the connection to the souls. She felt that she had secondary rights to her soul weapon.
She shook her head and walk over to the young wolf soul. “Can you reach inside this soul space” she spoke. She did not get a reply before her avatar materializes outside. He stood there frozen in a daze. She spoke out loud hoping he could hear and understand her. “Try to focus inside your body. Close your eyes and drown out all your surroundings. This might take a while, but you needed to learn this now” she said in a demanding voice.
The young boy closed his eyes as if he understood. He just set there as if he was meditating. She thought he nodded off before she heard a small voice reach her. She quickly returned to the soul space. The soul shuttered for a moment before an avatar of his physical body appeared in his soul space. It looked at her befuddled. It wanted to speak but could not.
“You do not need to speak while in here. This is called a soul space. It’s where the soul lies. This space will allow us to express our emotions and thoughts without speaking. You just have to try and convey it to my soul directly.” She said slowly while staring in confusion.
“How did this happen? It appears that Nanna is the soul of a wolf in a chimera body. The soul contract should influence him minimally. Did it look to my soul as a reference when huge chunks were ripped off as it was healing? Was it because I gave him my clan name? My essence also could influence him when I was speeding up his recovery.” Autumn thoughts were running in circles before she heard a voice and felt a ton of emotions.
“What….happened….to me? I….opened…..eyes.....can not see.” Nanna became to ramble off. Autumn proceeded to cut him off. “Your words are cutting out. Slow down and become accustomed to conveying your soul.” This was the best advice she could give. This could only be accomplished on one own. She also needed time to think and figure where to go from here.
This would make things easier to get into the city since he is humanoid with intelligence she thought. He would just have to pay a fine without identification. The hard part would be transforming him back to how he was. His very soul changed and she does not know how it happened. How would she proceed from here?
“I do not know enough about the soul to change him back but there are minds that greater than me in that regard. The national library might be able to provide a clue if I could gain access.”
“My body feels weird.” Nanna interrupted her from her thoughts again. “I cannot see no matter how much I blink my eyes. I can see everything here. What happened after the soul contract?” He was speaking slowly but in complete sentences. Autumn thought she would lay everything out with him.
“The soul contract was successful but the same poison that killed me was transferred to your body. I had to do impromptu surgery on your soul. This caused a large part of your soul to be damaged. I used a lot of my mana and yours to help you recover and went to sleep afterward. When I became aware of everything, it seems you transformed into a half-elf half-wolf hybrid. You might not have noticed but you are no longer a wolf. These changes also seem to damage your voice and vision. I had no idea these results would have happened from the soul pact.” She said sadly.
The wolf looked in disbelief before he saw the pool water come into the soul space. It made a huge oval in front of him showing his reflection. This form appeared to be a hybrid of the strange carapaces and the spirit. The only thing that remained of him was his wolf tail. His soul began to shake violently and his emotions began to spill out.
“What is this? What am I? Change me….back. Change me back. CHANGE ME BACK NOW!!!!!!!” Nanna began to scream. “I am a proud wolf. I AM A MOONLIGHT WOLF. I AM NANNA. I am not this….this THING.” He pointed at his reflection. Autumn just shook her head. She created the sin of a monster. She wanted to alleviate some of his pain and confusion with words of comfort but none came to mind. She could only tell him the truth.
“I do not know enough about the soul to revert your soul to that of a wolf. What we can-” “You did this though” Nanna interrupted her with his unchanging face but anger and grief were transmitted through his soul. “You change me into this FREAK. My body is weaker than ever. I have no fur for the weather. I am now pathetically weak. I also cannot see anything. How will I spot prey for food or escape the beast in the meantime? I cannot roar because I have no voice to scare off a potential beast. I also feel like I am easier to kill now. This was not part of the deal. Why did you do this? Is this your way or torturing your prey before you kill them. I should have believed in my gut. That poisonous aura of yours was a clear warning to your nature. Just kill me and get it over with. “
Nanna projected emotions were grief, despair, and indignant of his current situation. She knew she has wronged him. She continued to be quiet as he wails in mental agony. She felt all his negative emotions continue to pile up. He suddenly went quiet before she realizes he left the soul space. There was a tense silence between the two.
She left the soul space and allowed the silence to continue. She felt that as she observed the boy, his aura slightly changed. He continued to look out towards the lake. As she looked at him in his eyes, it felt like he lost something. An unchanging expression of a child lost in grief stared over the lake. The moonlight barely breaching the canvases to illuminates the water surface that reflected the face he could not see. The peaceful stillness felt like the calm before a storm.
A pounding echo suddenly broke out. She saw the wolf slowly but firmly hit the ground with his right fist. His facial expression never changed but his tail and action exposed his emotional turmoil. He did it again but a tad faster causing his pale skin to turn a shade of pink. He continued doing this faster and stronger each time before she felt mana pour out of him.
Autumn just continued to observe. She could not stand to look at him directly in his deadpan eyes. She just stood behind him and looked at the lake in front of her. This place was her home, her prison and also her second chance at life. It was beautiful and heart-wrenching looking over it knowing she would leave this location soon. She just looked at the lake reflecting on her past action as the steady pounding continued in the background. She needed to reflect on herself, her actions and her plan for the future. She was not the only one.
Nanna been through so much in the last few weeks and never had time to lash out. This trauma ranged from seeing his mother died to him fighting for his life. This was normal for a magical beast, but he was a young cub who has been ostracized from wolf packs. He did not even get the chance to socialize with other wolves. He never had time to sit down and think about his situation and how he felt about it.
Then after everything that happened to him, he ended up changing into an unknown form. He was physically weaker with a disability. He could not speak and was also blind. It would be stranger if he was not indignant about his situation. To Autumn, Nanna showing anger and sorrow was a good thing. He still felt emotions and that meant he cared. His anger showed that he has not fallen completely to grief and despair. It would be a problem if he inflicted too much self-harm.
As she thought about these things, she saw her soul-weapon summoned by him. A bow and quiver appeared on his back. She saw him grab ahold of the bow. It was slightly smaller than it originally was. The color changed from forest green to a mix of light purple and jade. This lilac purple ran throughout the bow and quiver as if they were giant veins. From the quiver, a seed dropped with Nanna mana signature on it.
Autumn looked in awe at the young boy. He began to use some of the functions of her soul-weapon without any training. This was probably all a coincidence. By this time, she saw him begin to stand; his aura was extremely different. It was the same in many ways but extremely different in others. He slowly turned around and she was shocked. His eyes showed complete hostility. His mana was rapidly being used up. The seeds began to grow from the floor that slowly wrapped his foot before covering him from the ground up.
He fell on all fours and looked at Autumn hovering mana avatar. She looked back at him in shock. His eyes now contained light but lacked intelligence. It seemed like he reverted into a beast. This was not the most shocking thing though. The bow and quiver had an opaque wolf spirit hovering over it. The soul-weapon proceeded to meld with the vines that wrapped around him. As he stood on all fours, the vines gave the appearance of a wolf made of vines. It was in a position to lunge at any time. Nanna howled before he proceeded to pounce.
Autumn mana avatar dispersed before reappearing out of his sight. She just continued to hover above his position. Nanna in this new form seemed to lack intelligence but boosted physical attributes. It looked around the landscapes before it encountered the corpses laying there. It lunged to the corpses before devouring the corpse of the man with vicious maw. The vines began to reach out and stab into the other corpses. The bodies slowly began to deflate as if the insides were getting absorbed.
“Is the wolf using its bloodline ability to devour these corpses through the vines? You can combine bloodline abilities with soul weapon functions?” she said in shock. They continued to deflate at a moderate pace. “He’s not just devouring them in a physical sense. He devouring their mana and vitality also. There will not even be a spec left of the corpse once he is done.” She said appalled.
She saw the lilac color slowly expand across the body as the size of the creature began to grow in size. “He will become a demonic beast. I have to stop him now.” Autumn began to rush back into the soul space. As she returned to his soul space, she saw a bloodthirsty wolf hovering over his soul made of vines. The eyes of the beast were dyed red with a gleam of hunger. Its action and impulsiveness from the outside showed he was acting on instinct and not premeditated thoughts.
She saw her old bow and quiver covered in vines in the shape of a wolf made of vines. The quiver appeared to be embedded in the belly of the beast while the bow was inside the beast as if it was the spine. The wolf shaped weapon was orbiting around the soul as if it was a moon orbiting the planet. She began trying to call it back with her soul connection. She felt a resistance before it started walking towards her. It began to walk away from the soul. Then a malicious howl was heard from the wolf. The lilac veins began to pulse and expand. She saw the wolf's eyes went dull again before it went from a sprint to a jump. It ended up landing inside Nanna’s soul.
The soul space began to shake. “My life used to be a routine. Why has my life have this much action back to back” Autumn avatar was seen sighing. “Every moment feels like a life or death situation with the wolf. I should say boy now. A peaceful life is more my style than something full of exhilaration.” She was starting to feel a bit more apathetic to these situations.
The soul began to pulse blue and green before cyan. The image of a wolf was standing inside the middle of Nanna's soul. It howls as is if it was the announcement to a battle. The soul then began to fluctuate. It was being sucked into the wolf as if it wanted to devour the soul from the inside out. If that happened, Nanna would just be a walking weapon. Autumn ran towards the soul and tried to pull the wolf from the soul by hand. If she could not recall the weapon remotely, maybe she could do it by touching it directly with her soul avatar.
She began to grab the wolf weapon but it resisted. While she was holding the wolf, the soul stopped slowly shrinking but she realizes she could not recall the weapon no matter how hard she tried. Nanna would have to expel the weapon from his soul himself. She decided to try to talk directly to his soul. Hopefully, this would bring back his consciousness.
“The soul weapon is taking control of your body. You have to fight it.” She yelled to his soul to no avail. She would not give up. “Do you seek strength this badly? This shows the opposite. You being taken over show a lack of willpower.” She continued to speak.
“I’m…..a….wolf.” Nanna was able to barely able to speak.
“He’s still there somewhere. It just started the process. I just have to stop the weapon from taking over. I do not feel much stress or tension this time around. This is a lot less scary than soul surgery.” She chuckled. “I need to focus,” she thought as she kept the soul-weapon at bay.
“Just because your physical appearance is not a wolf is not something to be afraid of. Once magical beast becomes strong enough, they transform. Sometimes into a more bi-pedal form.” She continued to console the wolf into listening.
“I have not….became stronger. I…..am weaker than before.” Nanna countered. He was speaking a bit more and less choppy. This was a good thing. He continued.
“Not only will I become stronger, but I will also become a wolf again.” He said with some conviction.
“You will no longer be you. You will be a husk of yourself with no intellect. The soul weapon will cover you and the wolf form that will descend upon your soul will not be a moonlight wolf. It will be a weapon disguised as a wolf made of vines. Its only goal will be hunger and destruction. A weapon is merely a tool to be used. If you are being used by the weapon, you become a tool yourself. Reduce from something with sentience to an object to be used. This not the way to go about strength.”
The vines were deadly still outside. The bodies outside the place were mostly dried husk. One even had a giant chunk bit out of it. A bunch of random clothes was laying by the wayside.
“I need strength. I wanted to have the strength to potentially start a pack. To protect my family. To enact vengeance on them wolves. I cannot even show them that I'm superior. To show them that my mom's life was not wasted on a wolf-like me. My mother would not even recognize………me.” Nanna said the last sentence in almost a hush voice. His feeling being conveyed through their souls. Bitterness, anger, grief, and despair.
“If you allow this weapon to take you over, you will lose the slim hope of you ever becoming a wolf.” Autumn voice was a level deeper with a grave undertone.
“It’s true that I do not know how to transform you back but this is not my area of expertise. There many people in this big world who know many things. Some are scholars who specialize in the subject. Others are stronger than me and know more from experience. If you lose yourself to this soul-weapon and become a husk, you will never be allowed that chance. You will be seen as a demonic beast and hunted down. That’s if I do not kill you myself.” She said with slight killing intent. Her voice then became softer.
“These results are honestly unexpected. I never meant for this to happen. You are weaker now but you still have much potential. You are a bit weaker than before but in all honesty, you now and before is not much of a difference to people at my level. I will still fulfill my side of the bargain. We will also add looking for ways to turn you back into your wolf form. Worst come to worst, you will train under me till you become a divine beast and transform your blood, body, and soul the natural way.” She concluded.
The wolf from the bow and arrow soul weapon was slowly pushed out until it began to orbit around the soul like before. It laid dormant but was more menacing than before. Nanna's voice came out in a hushed whisper.
“Will I become a wolf again?”
She did not want to sugar coat anything. She decided to reply honestly. “I honestly do not know. There is a higher chance that you will not revert than us pulling it off.” She did not say anything for a moment. A deep sadness came off from Nanna. There was a quiet moment of tension between them before she continued.
“I will guarantee you strength. You will become stronger and more knowledgeable than you ever dream. And as long as you live, hope is still alive. I do not know much about souls but the fairies and thousand-year-old treants might know. They live deeper in this forest. Even if they do not have a solution, they should be able to point us in the right direction.”
The wolf perked up a bit before being coming back down. “Are they stronger than you?” he asked with some trepidation.
“Not necessarily. Some are peaceful creatures that live their life out stretching their roots. All manners of creatures are attracted to them from fairies to sprites. Sprites are said to be the wandering spirits of the dead. Even observing them could give us a clue. What you need to transform back is not the necessary strength but knowledge. You need to find a solution to your soul problem. The older creatures who have experience with soul creatures might be able to point you in the right direction. That’s also why we should go to the town I talked about before.”
Nanna just remained silent soaking in everything she said. He needed to make sure he did not miss anything. “Are there older creatures in the town that you spoke about?”
“Few would be older than me in that town but there is a good chance that there is someone more knowledgeable than me about the soul. There is a library we can use that has books that might have answers to the questions we seek. ”
Nanna began to perk up before looking at her confused.
“I will teach you about books and libraries later. First, you must learn how to move your new body. Second, you must become stronger than you are now. That’s where I come in and teach you. These are our first steps into the world together, so listen up. We will discuss soul-weapons, magic and the established systems, and magic beast. These are the bare minimum we must go over. This will help us plan the path you will be taking to gaining strength and how you can transform again if all else fell.” Autumn said while looking at the wolf soul. She had to be strict and informative. This way he would not go out of control again.
She left his soul space before she looked over the boy one more time. “Let’s make you some clothes first.”