About the time I had finally gotten used to the warm sun on my butt, the uncomfortable bobbing of being turned into a sack of meat and bones, and my abductor/savior’s belabored breathing was about the time I got chucked to the ground, this time, less wet than the forest floor.
“Seriously though, can you get the blindfold off first?” I asked while they hacked away at the encasement of ropes keeping me from crawling away like an inchworm. My abductor/savior, we’ll call them a/s for short, grumbled back something unrecognizable and I ended up with a sinking suspicion that whatever the other guy, who I will lovingly refer to as that asshole who Soul Transferred me did, they sure didn’t give me my babel fish. Look. I’m gender neutral, fluid, indifferent, and I’m still struggling with reminding myself during frustration and anger not to view the outer appearance of a person and assume a gender. Even that asshole who shoved me into a body that I’m not going to complain about right now. Everyone does deserve the respect of their preferred pronoun being recognized. Even when we hate them. And I could currently say I hate them. But it’s more of a hate love. I distinctly don’t like the fact this happened without my permission, but I’m also pretty okay with at least one factor of this outcome, for now. That may be reassessed in short order once a/s gets the blindfold off me.
Getting my arms bound to a tree on the other hand. Now we might just switch a/s to abductor instead of a/s. “What are you doing?” I demanded of my captor. Again, a babel fish or a techno-translator button would have been nice. Still nothing I can understand of tenor voice drop over here. A swift, forceful kick to the nuts did the job of getting the offender to unhand me when they went to town trying to cut my tunic to ribbons. I realized it was a tunic because it went a lot further down to cut than a shirt. The texture was also atrocious in hindsight. Some type of coarse material. Wool had to be out. That stuff was way to expense to consider affording, but something in that category of ungainly itch.
A soothing begging cadence of pitches elicited from abductor and the blindfold finally came off. Well, hello god. I at least got the full view of every romance writer’s dreams. Wide shoulders, dark hair, square jaw, chiseled features. You know the routine. Now, the accusatory look of pain and begging forgiveness that meshed together made me feel a touch guilty at bringing abductor down a peg didn’t need to seep in.
That and the fact this body type was playing mean with the rest of me. Not something I wanted to learn how to control immediately. Thanks heart, you can go shut up about the sirens of ‘you’re going to die, you’re going to die, you’re going to die by this blob of handsome, but you’re still going to die.’ I realize I’m probably going to die, go tell it to my second brain, ‘cause it definitely has a mind of it’s own and is not welcome here at the moment. “Fucking hell, let me go, you dick!” I shouted, struggling with the rope holding me to what turned out to be a rose quartz colored tree. The translucent pink was interesting. The ropes, those were futile.
Abductor returned a series of comments, eyebrows drawing up in confusion. The individual in the plate mail and ornate standards pointed toward my hands and then mimed a series of hand gestures. Question rise at the end of sentences. That left me trying to follow along with no logical idea. The hand gestures looked like a bunch of anime spell casting signs. I got isekai’d, didn’t I?
One would think the rose quartz tree and the dollop of easy on the eyes would answer that as a definitive yes. The iridescent quintessential European style dragon with full wings. That did it. That answered all of my pressing questions. I was in a different world. Which left a whole hell of a lot of other questions, none of which were going to be answered by the individual who insisted on pointing at my hands. “They are stuck to a tree, Morgan. Stuck to a tree. If you want them, you’ll have to untie them. Also, explain to me about the dragon. And why it’s three feet tall, and acting like a labrador.” I took my panic down a couple of notches. Side note, I tend to call a lot of people Morgan. It’s my go to gender neutral name, rather than assuming sir or ma’am or xerster. I find titles like that more sarcastic. Maybe not the most polite of things to do, but I couldn’t outright keep calling tall, dark, and good looking abductor or dick. I mean, I could, but it wasn’t going to do much for either of us.
For want of a better name, Morgan crept over to my side, continuous with the gestures, and the calming, quieting tone, at least, I was hoping it was that type of tone. I watched warily as they cut away one of the ropes, letting my left hand free. They brought up their hand to block their face almost immediately and ducked. Most people think I’m weird with my body language observation. Morgan was breaking every running list of what to expect from a person I have constantly scrolling through my head in preparation of interaction with people. One hand free, I went after the other rope to get it off. There’s something to be said about Morgan’s efficient knot tying skills, and why they depend so heavily on their knife. The rope wasn’t going to come off if I wanted it too. Which I desperately wanted to.
This is where everything started going haywire in my brain. My brain is pretty haywire to begin with. World doesn’t quite process like everyone else’s does. It really wasn’t processing correctly now. Little blue sparks were flicking away from my skin like electric water droplets. I stopped struggling with the rope to fixate on the randomness I was seeing. Rose quarts trees, labrador sized dragons, armored Morgan. Those seemed relatively unassuming with this transpiration. I glanced in Morgan’s direction. “So, why’ve I gone all sparkly, Morg?”
Morgan had back up a good several paces from me at this point and the red dragon puppy had sat back on it’s haunches, spread it’s wings out wide, and was emitting a low hum, resulting in a lime plasma transparent shield of some kind around Morgan. Clearly neither human nor beast was about to help me out of this situation. While studying my sparking fingers, I noticed a bit of black smudging on my chest under my tunic. Grass green tunic. Shelve that. The grass here was redolent amber. Gold embroidery. My chest was just right for once, save for the sigils I found beneath the ribbons of wool. “What is this?” I demanded, realizing I probably would not receive an answer. Warped circles and zaggy lines radiated all over me. I rubbed at the lines, the soot coming away on my finger tips. Which made Morgan even more agitated.
“No, wait, what are you doing?” Morgan asked.
I met his eyes, a deep hazel shade, at that question before flicking back to the sigils. “What do you mean what am I doing. You’re the one that bound me to a tree. And why do I understand you now? Who the hell are you and where am I?” I rubbed my hand against khaki leggings in an effort to dispel the soot that was leaving my skin feeling dry and brittle.
“Wait. What have you been saying? I thought you were casting some long ass spell, Wallace!” Morgan bristled. “If you aren’t going to torch me, I’ll let you free.”
“What do you mean torch? Not directing the sparkly fingers at you. Wallace? Wait, this body’s name is Wallace?” I’m not sure what was more nauseating, the color of my leggings or the fact my name was Wallace. Bad combination of sounds if there ever was a series of sounds mashed together. Save for the weird crooning sound of the dragon when Morgan went around it’s little barrier. Thing sounded absolutely pathetic.
“You are Prince Wallace Mark Demare or did that fall from the Wraith sprain your brain?” Morgan asked, coming over to release my other hand.
I rubbed at my wrist to return circulation, the sparkly fingers dissipating. “Yo, I’m a prince of nothing. I got switched into this body. My name is Lacey McNamara and your prince is not occupying this husk at the moment. Grant it, I rather like this husk, but you’ll probably want to find somebody to switch us back.” I explained.
Morgan flopped on their butt, their metal armor clanking. The blank expression, that I could relate to. The one that said all the lightbulbs had just turned off. “He really ran off and left this world like he promised.”
“Is he liable to come back?” I asked. “I don’t mean to rush things along, but I kind of was in the middle of practice for a performance tomorrow night and if he got switched into my place, he sure as hell isn’t about to perform anything properly.”
“What do you remember of what happened? When did it happen. Was it back when the Raturdash captured you? You knew I’d come for you, why didn’t you just wait for me to get you down?” Morgan begged, grasping my hands, pulling my attention.
I tugged for freedom, not liking the close proximity. “First off, Morgan, let’s make sure you remember I’m not your you. Call me Mac if you must, but I’m not Wallace. Second, space. Thanks.”
“Why are you calling me Morgan?” Tall dark and confused asked, letting go when blue sparks zinged off to fizzle in the air.
“What else am I going to call you at the moment? Abductor and dick are off the list. I still don’t even have a proper pronoun for you for my internal monologuing. Can we get that fixed?” I shoved my hands under my armpits to keep them from being touched again.
“Abductor?” Morgan’s voice pitch went up a notch. “Wait, dick?”
“Name?” I asked again.
“I’m your stepbrother, Rowan, ring a bell?”
“I’m not Wallace, ring a bell?”
“Oh. Right. Okay. Um. So. Wallace is my stepbrother. You’re in Wallace’s body,” Rowan explained.
“Pronoun?” I asked.
“The one you prefer people using when referring to you?”
“Uh, he, I guess? That’s never been something someone’s thought to ask me,” he surmised.
“Is it the one you want?” I asked.
“I’m not sure I understand?”
“I’m just trying to play nice by societal dictates on how I’m supposed to treat people and not misgender them. I’m good with any pronoun outside of it, thank you. Now where am I and why am I occupying your prince’s body?” I pressed “Also, where can I go to get this gunk off of me? I don’t like the textures. It’s bugging me and I’d much rather not deal with the wool crap.” I rose unsteadily in the body that was about a foot taller than my regular form. Oh was I going to be a clutsy new born giraffe or what?