Chapter 53: Becoming the Beast

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 411

Consciousness floated back to Lance. He sensed firmness, as if he were lying down. He'd been here before...

Am I back? His eyes opened. The bolt of excitement fell flat, diminishing as he realized he was eye-level with the side of a small white desk, a half-open mirror closet, and someone sitting down in a chair. Zidane's leg; he recognized the deep ashen grey of his uniform.

"Hey, you're back!"

Lance closed his eyes, turning to blindly face the ceiling. Yeah...

"Seems like you're moving easily... That's good..."

Looking up at the ceiling, memories came back to Lance. He'd seen red... and then...

Did I drown?

Zidane heard his thought. "No," he replied. "I was able to reach in and give you enough oxygen for one full breath. It was more than you needed by the time I teleported you out."

"So you came in?"

"Uh, yeah." The slight hesitation underlying Zidane's voice was enough for Lance to turn and look at him. His hair was disheveled, points of his ears peeking out from the sides. There was also a pile of small books at his feet. It looked like he'd been awake for a long time. Lance focused back, noticing Zidane look at his own tail, the tip looking back at him. "Water doesn't exactly agree with me, but, hey, if it prevents you from dying..."

The last word woke Lance up. Zidane saw the panic in his face and quickly corrected himself.

"From the water, I mean. I don't think this reaction would've killed you..."

"Reaction?" Lance felt as though his heart was about to burst.

"Calm down." Zidane held a palm to Lance, and for a moment Lance thought he was speaking to himself. But then a deep feeling of peace cleared away the panic he was feeling, and Lance knew the word was actually for both of them.

Zidane returned his hand. "So, this is going to take some explaining, and frankly I'm not sure exactly what's going on. But for what it's worth, I'm sorry for not telling you about this sooner. It's just—it's hard to predict what this thing is going to do. It's like playing a hand and having no idea what the next card is."

Lance waited, watching as Zidane looked to him, continuing. "There's no human medical term for what happened to you, so for the sake of explaining I refer to it as a cleansing. Spiros have a very good immune system; it's actually really rare that they ever get sick, especially when exposed to the human territory. But if they do come down with something and there's an infection that can't be dealt with the normal way, the body goes into a state of shock. Everything except immediate vital organs shut down. Only the hearts, lungs, and some parts of the brain keep working."

Lance hesitated, ready to ask about the other organs before realizing they were talking about an entirely different species. These organs were probably very different than the ones he was used to hearing about.

Instead, he backtracked, catching something Zidane had said. "Did you just say hearts?"

"It's another conversation," Zidane replied, shaking his head. "I'm already giving you a lot of information; I don't want to make anything more complicated than it has to be."

Reluctantly, Lance nodded, trying to get the image of two hearts out of his head. "Alright. So, what, these cells—are giving me some kind of infection?"

Zidane opened his mouth, then closed it. He thought before light shrugging. "I wouldn't think so, but I can't say for sure. I've never heard of any cell creating its own mutation and developing a disease... But it makes sense. Maybe trying to test how strong the host is." He shook his head. "The reason I was going for is that these cells see your human side as a threat."

Lance sat up a little straighter, wary of the pain in the muscles along his spine and neck. "What?" The word fell out as a weak cough. "They can do that? Put my body into some state of shock?"

"Well, yeah, if the cells are strong enough. And, unfortunately, it looks like they are." He held up a gentle hand, silently calming Lance again. "But this was a very light reaction. I can tell from how quickly you got up that it wasn't that bad."

"How bad does it get?"

Zidane's eyes closed, head giving the briefest of nods. "Pretty, pretty bad," he said. "But it depends if you have anything to help or not."

"Wait," Lance said. "Have you had these?"

"Since I was born. Both sides see each other as a threat, but lately they've been getting along better, so the reactions are less frequent." He brought a hand up, and Lance saw what looked like an oversized plastic pen in between three of his fingers.

"This is what I used on you," Zidane explained. "Looks like a standard Epi-Pen used for severe allergies, but there's a serum in here that helps with the pain from the cleansing. Makes the recovery process easier."

The pen lowered, and in the next moment Zidane's hand was empty again.

Lance looked past the crossbreed, noticing the window's curtains were shut tight, preventing little light from bleeding through. Somehow, Lance knew he was thankful for the darkness. Even the bright light peeking out on the side of the window was enough to hurt his eyes.

The curtain moved, covering up the sunlight.

"You should get some rest." Zidane stood up, moving slowly like his legs were stiff.

"What about the teleportation?" Lance asked as he walked towards the door.

The crossbreed looked back, stopping near the doorway. "I'm still trying to work some kinks out. Don't worry about it." His eyes brightened, but he didn't smile. "Just get some sleep, alright?"

Lance nodded a little, and Zidane disappeared into the hallway. Shaking away the worries trying to creep in, Lance laid down, his back pressing against something wet. He sat up immediately, turning around and only seeing slight wet marks against the sheet. Water. Just water. Parts of his clothes hadn't fully dried off yet.

A memory tried to surface to his consciousness. Lance shoved it back, bending over and removing his shirt. When he rose up, the shirt still bundled around his wrists, Lance felt the weight of fatigue pressing.

He wasn't kidding about getting rest...

The exhaustion sunk further, getting to his muscles, and then sinking into his bones. He looked down at the shirt still on his wrists and tried to move his fingers. Even the slightest of twitches shot pain into the digits. Lance set his jaw, pressing his teeth together and moving his hand downward. He slipped one hand out of the shirt. Temporary darkness came to his brain, a single moment of unconsciousness. Lance let out a breath, regaining himself. He looked down, and then noticed something.

With a grimace, he straightened his back, looking down at his stomach. Was he seeing that clearly?

Reaching into the reserve of energy, he looked out into the hallway, speaking as loud as he could. "Hey."

A few moments passed before he heard running footsteps. Zidane stopped in the doorway, catching himself on the frame with one hand. "What is it?"

Lance turned back to himself, his head feeling like it weighed too much. "What's on my stomach?"

Lance heard Zidane sit down in the desk chair before feeling a hand on his shoulder, pushing Lance upright enough to reveal his stomach. Enough to see the thin, scar-like mark below his naval.


Zidane let go of Lance's shoulder, standing up and walking towards the center of the room with his hands behind his neck. Lance watched, focusing on keeping his eyes open. Zidane looked like he was thinking, and even though his back was to Lance and his head was down, Lance could see how focused he was through the mirror. Beneath Lance's fatigue, anxiety was mixing with fear. This wasn't good...

Zidane turned back, hands in his pockets. "You know that Spiros aren't human, right?"

"Yeah..." Lance looked at him, incredibly hesitant. Where was he going with this?

"They're born... Differently than humans. Like, way different than humans. They're something called a Zicora, translates to guardian of life." Zidane hesitated then folded his arms, one hand by his mouth. "I'll show you what that is in just a second but after this other life form is created and everything is stabilized, the body gets reformed into the more human-like appearance. This... Thing, the Zicora, is really, really powerful. But when the body transforms into something more human, all that power gets stored into a marking."

Lance shook his head, giving up trying to understand. "I think I need a visual. I got no idea what you're trying to say."

"Alright." From the corner of his eye, Lance saw Zidane crouch down. Quickly, his body shifted, the change reaching out from his lower back. Fur was spreading out from his tail, covering him as another set of ears formed and his face changed. Lance focused his eyes, fighting off the fatigue. When he looked up again, there was an animal he had never seen before; a golden-tan wolf with a slim tail. Long hair pointed its ears, and a rattling tongue darted out of its mouth.

"Why the long tongue?" he asked.

"More room for the teeth," Zidane said, speaking into his mind. "Three more rows grow in during the transformation."

As if to accentuate his point, Zidane turned to Lance, looking up and opening his mouth. Yep, four rows of small, incredibly sharp teeth. The mouth closed, white-blue eyes slowly blinking. The pupils were slit, cutting through the irises at an angle. 

So this is what they look like when they're born? he asked, speaking only in his mind.

Zidane nodded, head bowing deeply as if showing respect. The black nose twitched, shifting long whiskers. A smile came to the beast, showing long, sharp teeth. "Except, when they're about to die, they don't look this friendly."

All at once, hair stood up. Sharp points coming out from every direction. The hair upon its ears sharpened to thin horns, the longer hairs at the end of its tail like spikes.

He was right; not friendly at all.

"At the time of near death," Zidane began, speaking into Lance's mind, "the energy that is stored in the marking at birth is released, transforming the Spiro into its natural state. Everything is at its max strength, including senses and brain function. Every ounce of energy is used to keep the Spiro alive for as long as possible. Whatever the cost."

Lance thought hard, eyes closing on their own, focusing and fighting off the exhaustion. He remembered seeing... Something in Zidane's past. Bodies of people and beasts. This must have been what he'd seen.

He retraced what Zidane had said, forming each word in his mind and piecing together the explanation.

Okay, he thought. So what's this got to do with what's on my stomach?

"Your Shingrey is forming," Zidane replied. "That's the white line on your stomach."

Lance looked down at the scar-like mark, hooking out from the side of his naval like a thin, jagged scythe. And this is... What locks in that power?

"Yes. The reaction must have triggered it."

Looking up, Lance surveyed the beast across the room again. He shook his head. I thought Spiros evolved from humans. What the fuck is this?

The animal's eyes brightened further, and Lance saw a hint of a smile on its face. "A few more evolutionary turns. Probably something to do with Razaleks."

Lance remembered how Zidane was ridiculed, beaten and abused for the mix that he was. That didn't make any sense, if Spiros were developed from Razalek traits...

The animal's fur softened and Lance watched as Zidane stood up, transforming back. "They've never been big on acknowledging history," he said, speaking aloud.

Lance didn't reply. His mind had slipped away from the crossbreed, instead wondering what to do now. What this marking meant.

"What now?" he asked, his voice reduced to mere breaths.

"All the more reason to get you to Yittek quicker," Zidane replied, not meeting his gaze. "I'll have the portal done by the time you wake up."

Lance barely moved his head in a nod, sudden fatigue rendering him speechless. He wanted to say how much he appreciated it, the help...

Zidane flashed him a smile, thanks received.

In the next moment, he was gone, silent feet leading him out into the hallway. Leaving Lance alone once again.

Lance fell back onto the bed, gritting his teeth at the pain screaming through his muscles. He stayed like that, eyes closed, until sleep finally pulled him away.


A/N: dRoPpinG an Animal I Have Become refErEnCe

Submitted: December 04, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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