What do you do when a mostly naked girl who was previously your cat jumps into your bed with you and your wife?
Because I certainly didn’t know, other than make her comfortable, and try to figure out what exactly my reaction should be.
Okay, talking animals, I had come to peace with it. They had honestly improved my life, and I was glad that they were here. Washy turning into a dragon? Strange, but there was the story of the carp jumping over a waterfall. Another easy deal.
Tigger as a human? I was freaking out a little, very quietly so as not to wake her up. She looked about fifteen or sixteen years old, slightly shorter than Meiling, but well into her teenage years. Excited yellow eyes, now closed in slumber. There were no ears, no tails. The only part of her that might suggest she ever was a feline were the black markings on her face. In every other way, she mostly looked like a normal young woman.
Wearing only a mostly open shirt Xiulan had given her, with her back pressed into my chest.
…I have never been more un-aroused in my life. She barely acted her apparent age. This was my cat. Well, she wasn’t really mine anymore, was she?
I mean, I knew it could happen. It was a thing in stories, the animal transforming into a human. But I had thought that it was some super high-tier technique. Tigger wasn’t that strong, was she? Washy still looked a lot like a fish. He wasn’t an imperious dragon, he was… Washy. But slightly bigger.
Meimei raised an eyebrow at me, and tilted her head to the side. There was a silent question there, waiting for me to decide on what to do.
I looked down at the orange-haired girl; At the content smile on her face, safe and happy between us.
I mentally kicked myself. No. No, things weren’t any different, not really. She was just in human form now.
I would do what I said I would do. We had joked about the animals, disciples, being our children before. Now, one had figured out a way to transform into a human to be closer to us.
I would be happy for her, proud of her, for managing to accomplish this. To set her mind on a task, and do it. I had told them I’d do my best to guide them, to be there for them. I would have to be better, though. There was always room for improvement, and I thought because everybody seemed to be getting better, becoming closer friends, that they were happy. We would all need to have a talk.
I turned back to Meiling. My choice was set, and my path was clear.
“Will you help me with this?” I asked her quietly.
She took in my serious, resolved face, and nodded her head. “Yes,” she agreed. “When you’re so resolved, how could your wife say no?” she asked with a smile.
For a brief moment, I thought it was mere obligation on her part. Meiling brushed some hair out of the girl’s face, running her thumb along black markings. Tigger shifted, pressing unconsciously against the tender touch.
…or Tigu. Most people called her Tigu, thinking the “er” was the affectionate suffix people gave to children, animals, or women they liked. I hadn’t really bothered to correct anybody on the names. They were my inside joke, so whatever they thought they were hearing, well, I just went with it. I still may think of them with the names that I gave them, but Bi De probably was what Big D thought of himself as.
“What should we do about the rodents, though?” Meiling mused. “Should we still rely on her for it? It would be a bit odd to see her with one dangling out of her mouth.”
How to teach a cat who turned into a human, and referred to herself as a Young Mistress?
That was a question for tomorrow.
We’d take it slow, ease her into things.
Smell once more came first. Herbs. Something earthy and comforting. It was a bit less intense than she was used to.
Sound. The breathing of two beings, one in front, and one behind, sleeping.
Touch. Oh, the touch. The warmth. The feeling of sheets against skin, of her forehead pressed into something soft and warm and oh so comfortable.
Tigu opened her eyes.
Light. Colours. There were so many colours. Her eyes had been sharp before, as befitted a proud and expert huntress, but now… The difference in quality was just too great. She could see in exacting detail each strand of hair, each pore on her Mistress’ face.
Tigu pulled back. Her hands went from their places, one curled against her chin, one resting against her Mistress’ hip, and explored. The smooth skin. The toned muscle. The soft, silky orange hair.
It hadn’t been a dream. She had done it.
Tigu began to giggle. Her body shook with her joy.
“Somebody is in a good mood this morning,” Mistress noted with a wry smile.
“Mistress!” Tigu exclaimed. She was still a little unsure of how her own voice sounded. It was a bit high pitched. It was her voice, so naturally it sounded pleasant. She just wished she had a bit more of Master’s intimidating rumble.
Tigu perked up, as a hand moved. Her eyes tracked the appendage, as Mistress ran her fingers through Tigu’s hair. Slowly, she reached up, and grabbed the hand. It was a searching motion. The thumb worked its wonders, as she grasped. But that was not all that happened. Mistress’ hand shifted, as their fingers meshed together.
She just stared at their entwined fingers. The Mistress had her nails trimmed short, but her fingers were still as long and slender as Tigu’s. Perfect for herb gathering, for manipulating objects. Much better than Chun Ke’s trotters, or even Ri Zu’s stubby, bulbous graspers.
Though Tigu could grudgingly admit the Rat was surprisingly deft with her inferior instruments.
“Morning.” The rumble moved through Tigu’s back.
There was pressure, as Master leaned over Tigu’s head, and Master and Mistress’ lips met. He paused as he drew back, and leaned down to kiss Tigu’s forehead, as he did in her other form.
"Aside from Wa Shi, the eyes of fish are always so blank and soulless. I wonder what goes through their heads." Master mused, and Mistress snorted.
“Cultivating mosquitoes probably exist,” Mistress replied, and Master looked horrified.
“Thanks for that,” he muttered. “You know, we used to tell each other about ourselves, when did that stop?”
“When you told me that every time I drank a cup of water I was drinking somebody’s pee,” she said reproachfully, but was still amused.
Both began to laugh, and Master’s hand landed on Tigu’s head.
“Things are going to be a bit different now, Tigu’er. Being a human… well it means a lot of things change, okay? We’ll work through them, together.”
Tigu puffed out her chest. “I shall master this easily!” she declared, and received a smile.
“Shall we get started on the day?” he asked. Both got out of bed, and Tigu followed after.
“First things first. Getting dressed. Humans don’t run around naked, right?” he asked her, and she nodded rapidly. Every human wore clothes. That was one of the things she wanted, to wear clothes like the Master did.
He opened a drawer. “We’ll get you something to wear for now—” And Tigu swiftly reached in, and grabbed something she always coveted. She shed the Blade of Grass’ garment, and robed herself in more proper colours.
Master stared, bemused, as she put on his shirt. It was a bit big, but it was warm, and smelled perfect.
She knotted the sash around her waist and grinned, pleased at her choice. “These clothes are obviously superior!“ she declared, planting her hands on her hips.
The front of the garment opened. Master turned to the Mistress, who sighed.
‘This is not-not as Chow Ji. No-no deformity-defects,’ Ri Zu said in shock and wonder, running her paws over Tigu’s new arms. She had reverted to her previous way of speaking, with how out of sorts she was, stunned and frantic when she first beheld Tigu’s new form. All of the Disciples were gathered to marvel at her. The Blade of Grass congratulated her, and Disciple Gou Ren was gaping, seeming to not understand what was going on. Ha! Her appearance surpassed even the awe shown by the others when Wa Shi revealed his dragon shape!
Tigu preened under the attention. And tugged slightly on the bandages covering her breasts. She had been allowed to wear Master’s shirt, but Mistress had declared that this would be the measure, as it kept flopping open. As if that mattered. Everyone should stare in awe of every part of her form! It wasn’t quite what she had wanted but it was her, so naturally it was a work of art, like how Master’s muscles were works of art!
The undergarments around her waist were annoying, but it was that, or one of Mistress’ skirts. Tigu knew an instinctive distaste for them. They were too long, and she didn’t know how the Blade of Grass stomached having to wear such a garment. Her battle-attire was much better.
She had her hair brushed too, but she often had her coat brushed. It never got put into two tails at the back of her head though. She quite liked it.
She was practising with her chopsticks with her other hand. They spun around her new, long digits with ease.
She giggled, watching with fascination as she spun the stick on the end of a single nail. And they were nails, not claws. Thankfully, they were still rather pointed and sharp, but they were nothing compared to her proper weapons.
Something to work on, but for now? She would revel in the new sensations. Her sense of hearing and smell weren’t as affected as she thought they would be. She knew they were slightly lesser, but it was mitigated by the vastly improved vision.
Pi Pa was staring at her hands with barely disguised envy, while the glutton was simply watching her with smug superiority.
‘Congratulations on second place.’ Wa Shi smirked, grooming his whiskers, and lounging in his tub.
Tigu narrowed her eyes. “Care to test yourself against me, Wa Shi?” she asked.
The fish went from entirely too pleased with himself to panic, his eyes darting to the water room. Tigu chuckled, while Disciple Gou Ren seemed to finally snap out of his gaping.
‘Heartbeat, normal. Breathing, normal,’ Ri Zu muttered.
‘Friend good? Friend fine?’ Chun Ke asked worriedly, from his place as Tigu’s back rest. This had not changed. He was comfortable in both forms.
‘Yes-yes, her body is Human. Chow Ji had an elevated heart rate, and his deformity-defects caused him great agony-pain. Yet Tigu is fine-good. Perfectly healthy. How is this possible? Ri Zu thought that this transformation was doomed, that it was something completely unnatural, with how Chow Ji attempted it.’
“He was likely doing it incorrectly. It is a delicate procedure, and one needs patience! Chow Ji surely would have perished under the lightning of Tribulation!” Tigu boasted.
‘Yes-yes, Ri Zu saw the scorch marks,’ the rat said with a grimace.
“Ri Zu… might be able to survive it,” she conceded. The rat seemed equal parts fascinated and horrified about what Tigu had done. “She is superior in all measures to the beast that brought her here.”
Not that it was a great feat, but Ri Zu shrunk, embarrassed and pleased at the praise.
“Indeed, the more wicked a man is, the worse the lightning of tribulation,” Xiulan confirmed. “Though this one has not had anything of the sort. I don’t believe that any in the Azure Hills have suffered a tribulation in centuries. It is simply too weak.”
“Nobody in centuries, huh?” Master mused, and looked up at the ceiling as he entered with food. He frowned briefly at the sky, before sighing and setting down the food.
“What you did was dangerous, Tigu.” She jolted at the lack of affectionate suffix, her head swiveling around and her eyes wide at The Master’s rebuke. “I would have been very sad, if I had found out that you were never coming back to us.”
Tigu hung her head, staring at the table. It was true, she had not been thinking of the consequences of failure too much. It… it was wrong of her, but she still felt good, as the Master told her he cared for her.
A hand clapped onto her head. This, at least, felt the same no matter what form she was in.
“If the rest of you try something like this… At least tell somebody, in case something goes wrong,” he finished. “Now eat up.”
She perked up. Lessons today? She would likely be finding the limit of this new form, and learning how to properly do human things!
Smiling, she prepared to shovel down her food.
The first bite entered her mouth.
Stars exploded in her vision.
She let out a sound that sounded like it should have come out of the Blade of Grass.
Wha--What?! What manner of sorcery was this?! How could the food taste so much better?! She stared in shock at her bowl.
“Predators tend to have worse taste buds than herbivores or omnivores,” the Master told them, amused.
Tigu shoved another bite in her mouth. This was amazing. Human bodies were great!
She would forgive Xiulan for being annoying. Maybe. She would control this urge soon, because the noises that were coming out of her mouth were incredibly embarrassing. Everybody was laughing at her!
They finished their meals and began their day. The Master noticed her attention, and slowed down his moves for her, so that she could copy them properly.
She marveled at the sun on her skin, and the wind in her hair.
She grabbed her leg, and pulled her knee to her ear. She flipped onto her hands, and her legs split, first front to back, and then on both sides. She dug her fingers into the dirt, and her feet touched the ground in front of her head.
She had expected a bit more lost movement, but her flexibility remained.
The day continued as normal. There were chores to do. There was a property to patrol. It was a bit harder to walk along the Great Pillars, as Bi De called them, but she still strode along them with ease, checking the perimeter for intruders.
Things changed. Things stayed the same. All she could say for certain was that she was enjoying herself.
And Chun Ke gave her a ride back to the house. The sheep were slightly too small to sit on, now.
There, the Mistress was waiting for her. Waiting with a lesson.
She bit back a groan, at the word on the slate, even as Pi Pa squealed with happiness.
Decorum the board proclaimed.
Mistress raised an eyebrow at the once more opened shirt she was wearing, exposing her stomach.
Decorum was an important topic to humans. She would learn it well.
As soon as it stopped making her fall asleep.
After the boring lesson that had Pi Pa smug, there was another medical check up. Wa Shi did not have to be prodded so!
“Everything seems to be fine, still,” Mistress mused. “No side effects from the lightning; you’re as healthy as can be. Just one more thing. Can you change back?”
Tigu scoffed. How simple! She tried to turn back into her original form.
She pulled. Nothing happened.
There was a brief moment of panic.
“…Wa Shi. Your Senior Sister has come to beg your help. How does one undo their transformation?”