Wait for Marcus
You decide it best to wait, at least until Marcus returns. Until he does, you spend time closely examining the room, looking for any hint of traps. Though your search turns up nothing, you’re still hesitant about messing with the panels any further. After a few minutes, Marcus enters the room. You quickly explain to him the current situation.
“Hm…” He takes a look at the panels. “Not really sure. If we could understand whatever it was that voice said, then maybe we could figure it out.” You ask him if you should go ask the old woman. He shrugs at that. “I don’t know. I get the feeling that she would be either unable or unwilling to really help here.”
With a sigh, you aren’t really sure what to do. Looking at the panels, you decide to just give it a shot. There’s no sign of any sort of trap, so you just hope that it’s safe. You consider the shapes of the icons on the panels, and try to take a guess using those. You activate the top right and bottom left panels before touching the center panel.
A noise goes off, startling you, but otherwise nothing happens. It looks like whatever you did wasn’t correct. “Well, at least it doesn’t explode if you get it wrong.” Marcus sighs. “Maybe it’s those?” He points to a couple of the panels, and the two of you spend some time trying different combinations.
Eventually, you choose the two panels on the left before touching the center panel. Another noise sounds, though different this time. With a bit of a rumble, the door starts to slide away. “Well, I don’t know why that worked but-” Marcus starts to speak, but is cut off.
As the door opens, a sudden blast of energy slams into you! It’s not enough to knock you down, but it causes your body to feel strange. However, you don’t feel that strangeness for long before a sharp pain in your head goes off, getting steadily more intense. “Floria!” You hear Marcus shout before he tackles you to the side, away from the door and the energy that is flowing out of it. The pain in your head stops growing, but it’s already intense enough that after a few more seconds, you pass out.
You wake up to hear more shouting. “… were the one who sent her down there!” It takes you a moment to recognize the voice as Myla’s. A very angry sounding Myla. “You expect me to think that you didn’t know that this could happen?!”
“I would suggest you watch your words, wolf.” You struggle to sit up as you hear the old woman reply to the angry wolfkin. She looks over at you as you recover. “Ah, she’s awake.”
Looking around the room, you realize you’re back in the old woman’s room, though it looks like Myla came inside. Myla quickly comes down next to you. “H-hey, are you alright?” She asks, sounding concerned. You’re still dazed, but give her a nod anyway. Though something feels off. “Just… just don’t push yourself, okay?” You ask her what happened, which only gets you a worried look in response. “W-well uh…” She finally speaks up again. “You remember how that Rohum guy said that he wanted you to stay human? I think he’s not gonna be too happy about this…”
Her words snap you out of your daze and you quickly examine yourself. The strange sensation you felt earlier was the fact that your body seems to be covered in soft fur! You check your ears and find that they’ve changed shape, becoming long and furry, and a small poofy tail rests just above your rear. That energy blast must have somehow transformed you! You seem to have become some sort of rabbit beastkin, but even more strangely, you’ve somehow managed to become a pure beastkin!
[FLORIA RACE CHANGED TO PURE RABBIT BEASTKIN]
[STRENGTH HAS DECREASED BY 1]
[CONSTITUTION HAS DECREASED BY 1]
[AGILITY HAS INCREASED BY 2]
You quickly look around the room, asking where Marcus is. “Relax, I’m here.” You hear him from behind you. A quick turn around, and you see that he has been affected by that energy as well, though to nowhere near the same level. From what you can see, it looks like he only was partially transformed, to a point where he’d just be considered an impure. “Funny that getting the correct combination was what would cause issues, isn’t it?” He sighs, obviously frustrated at the changes. You ask him what happened. “When you got the door open, you got blasted with… something. It quickly changed your body before I was able to push you out. I caught some of it too, I guess.” He looks over at the old woman. “And the barrier device that our friend here set up started working on us. I guess because you got changed more completely, it must have hit you hard enough to make you faint.”
“I have to admit, I’m impressed that the young man here was able to bring you back up here with the barrier affecting him too.” The woman comments. “Though with little choice, I had to lower the barrier. If you spent too long in it, even unconscious, it might have driven you mad.” You frown at the woman, though she sees your expression, lifting a hand to stop you. “I had no idea that would have happened. Do not accuse me of such. I’ve already heard enough of that from your wolf.” She looks over at the passage. “It would seem that the old race put some sort of strange device in there. Some sort of experiment of theirs, I would imagine. It must have malfunctioned over time, filling the room with that strange magic.” You aren’t too happy with how unconcerned she seems, but if she’s telling the truth, then she really didn’t know.
“Floria, I am sorry.” Elykae moves over to you. “I should have been the one to go. We are here because of me, and now…” You assure her that it’s fine. There’s no way any of you could have seen this sort of thing coming. “Even so…” She sighs, obviously frustrated at the situation.
“Well, it’s no matter.” The old woman speaks up again. “Your guard friend went back down for the power module after the magic faded.” She holds up a small device. “You’ve kept your end of the bargain, and so too shall I.” You ask what exactly it is that she can do to help you. “Conviniently, I can help the Cervidae girl, the guard, and you, if you like.” You give her a confused look. She pauses for a moment, as if hesitant to continue. “It may be… controversial, but I know magic that can change the physical form of a person.”
The room goes silent at her words. “Transformation magic may help Floria restore her form but…” Elykae is the first to speak, hesitantly. “If that were all I required, then we would not have risked this. Such magic can be easily detected and dispelled in the Empire-”
“You misunderstand.” The woman looks up at Elykae. “I do not intend to mask your appearance with a transformation. I mean to change your physical form at it’s core.”
“You mean… Shapeshifting?” Marcus gives the woman a serious look. “A magic that is considered highly illegal in all nations?”
“I do, yes.” She glances over at him. “Is this an issue?” Marcus seems unsure what to say. He seems to be waiting to see how the rest of you react.
“To my knowledge…” Elykae’s voice suddenly becomes more serious. “The only ones with knowledge of shapeshifting are those closely related to the Demon Witch.” You suddenly realize that this may go in a bad direction, remembering how Elykae reacted to the bat when she learned of her loyalties to this Demon Witch. “Explain yourself.”
“Judging by your tone, I might consider it best in both our interests if I do not.” The woman looks back at Elykae. “I can assure you though. I hold no agenda. I wish only to live the rest of my days in peace. And you… You wish for a way to remain undetected. You’re free to refuse my magic, if you will.” She looks over to you. “And if you like, I can restore your form. The fact that you became a pure beastkin shows that the magic that did this to you had some effect on your true form. It’s likely that my magic is what it would take to fully restore you.”
You consider her words for a moment. Myla just seems upset that you got hurt. You doubt that she’d really care too much about what magic the woman used. Marcus seems to just be looking to you and Elykae to reach a decision. Though Elykae, with her mask, it’s difficult to tell what she is thinking. If the woman’s shapeshifting magic can actually keep Elykae from getting found by the Empire, then there’s no denying that would solve your issue. You worry that the deergirl might fight against it though. Aside from that, you have to decide if you want to take her offer yourself…
[WAITING FOR INPUT…]
And now HumanFloria is gone. FluffFloria has arrived! :V
Poor Floria’s never gonna get to stay human. :V