Into the Wild – Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Matsugo

I watched as Devon worked around the grove we’d awoken in. He was male now. So many dreams were already coming true just by merely waking up. It brought a smile to my face. If the process had been the same as mine, Devon had gotten to choose his features, and unsurprisingly he created a very handsome man.

I pushed aside the thoughts and the warm fuzzy feelings about my friend, and the miracle that had just come true. We could deal with that later. I listened as Devon read the letter and before he’d even finished, I was tearing into the packs. I now knew how to tell which was which. Finding the book in the first one, I opened it…there was words. Grabbing the other, I tossed it to my waiting friend, “that one must be yours, I can read the book in this one.”

I dug through the pack and found a tunic, a long strip of cloth, tights, a belt with bags, and a traveling cloak with a hood. Amongst the stuff was also another leather bag, it was bigger than the others and not attached to the belt. Tossing it behind me, I continued to dig and found six, yes count them, six daggers with sheaths. The final item was a small drawstring pouch that seemed heavy for its size. I almost fainted when inside I discovered a hand full of gold coins.

I found the belt and got it buckled, and almost instantly noticed that the weight of the bags was going to be a bit of a challenge; they were small but still. Oh well, I’d work on that.

When I reached for the daggers, I realized what they’d said about us having muscle memory was correct. I was still thinking about the bags while lacing the daggers on. Before I realized what I’d done, I’d strategically placed them around my body. Two were on my legs, just under the tunic, there was one on each wrist under the cuffs with the hilts facing towards my hands. The larger one displayed prominently on my waist, and the last one ran down the center of my back just below the collar. They were all perfectly comfortable, in reach and all but one hidden from view. I nodded my approval and understanding as to why each was where it was.

Shoving everything else back into my bag, which had straps like a backpack, I turned my attention to Devon. He too was dressed, still pulling at his tights. He wore much the same outfit except his tunic went to his knees and was green with gold piping. To my surprise, he carried a short sword at his waist and, of course, had knee-high lace-up leather boots that looked exactly like what he needed for traveling in this grassland. It was then I realized I’d probably be picking briars out of my fur a lot over the next few days.

“A sword, really? I wouldn’t have thought you’d have gone with a class that used a real weapon,” I asked.

“I went with Druid and Bard, so I guess the second skill allows me to carry a weapon, I’m a bit surprised too. Should I ask what you choose, or would you prefer, I guess? I knew you were going with that look, so I’m one for one so far,” Devon added.

“Well, of course, but I’d never have believed hooves were such a pain, no wonder demons are so bitchy. I think I’m starting to get the hang of them, though. It seems to be a lot about leg muscles. Oh, and yea, go ahead and try to guess my classes; let's see if you can figure it out.”

I watched as Devon walked around me in his usual appraising way. He was so OCD at times.  He did the same thing just before a party we’d throw, checking and rechecking everything. “The daggers throw me off, but I’m pretty sure you chose something with magic. It’s the second skill which has me stumped, maybe rogue?”

“Backwards but yea, Rogue/Necromancer. With what you choose, it's going to make questing a bit more difficult since neither of us wears armor. But then I can't picture me in armor, but I can raise the dead, so we’ll always have meat shields.”

“Necromancer, really? We’ll need to talk about meat shields, not sure I like that idea. My choices means I can heal and use armor, just leather though, nothing clangie. That should help, and Druid’s have hand-to-hand abilities. As a Druid, I can shift into several forms but that's nothing compared to what I’ll eventually be able to do as a Kharvan, they are excellent shifters it would seem.” he smiled.

“Kharvan?”

“The race.”

“Oh, that’s fucking cool. You said eventually, can’t you do anything now?”

“No, unlike our other abilities, since shifting requires me to understand the specifics of how my body is composed and the fine points of the creatures I want to become, I have to learn how to shift just like the young Kharvan do.”

“I guess that makes sense. So basically, you’re as you always were. You can carry a sword, but you’re more likely to turn it around and beat the hell out of them with the blunt end,” I added as we both laughed.

“Yea, pretty much,” looking up at the sky Devon added, “should we start looking for this cave, it sounds like it might be a challenge to find.”

Nodding, “you’re the tracker, off you go, and I’ll follow. I’m so not looking forward to a long walk in hooves but guess I’m stuck with them.”

“You think?” said Devon throwing his pack over his shoulder and heading off in the direction the letter said we’d find the cave.

We walked for a couple of hours and a little after noon, by the looks of the sun, we stopped and had a brief lunch. We were both wet with sweat and panting. “This walking thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You always read and saw the parties, covered in armor and packs marching through the vast open fields. Yea well they’d have to have calves of steel and legs made of iron. I mean Christ,” exploded Devon as he plopped down.

“And just think, they said the town was a couple of days march from the cave. We’ve walked, what, two hours? Let that sink in.”

“Oh, gawd.”

The only upside to this death march was I’d started to understand how the hooves worked. You wouldn’t believe how dependent we are on the flexibility of our toes. My legs were sore; I mean really sore, not from falling as much as the change in the muscles required for me to use my new hooves. I was already sure I was going to have a smokin ass. Since there wasn’t the flex of a foot, toes or ankle, as such, all the movement and support was in balance and upper leg and butt muscles.

We had our first simple lunch under a grove of trees. The sky was filled with clouds lazily floating across the afternoon as insects played in the grass. I looked around and realized if it weren’t for our clothing, it would’ve been easy to mistake this place for the earth. Off in the distance, the mountains were closer but still further than they’d initially looked. The sun had made the early afternoon hot, so both Devon and I took off our tunics and stowed them in our bags. I removed four of the daggers as well. I looked at both of us sitting in tights. That was all I now wore; he still had his boots on, we looked fit, healthy, and might I say sexy. I was still getting used to Devon as a male. When he turned to say something to me, I’d notice the bulge or how his bubble ass moved when he walked, it was all a new and somewhat exciting thing. We both had no sexual interests in each other, but still, it was strange to hear the old voice and mind in a completely different body. I looked forward to watching him discover his new gender.

When Devon removed his top, for example, he had covered his breasts, or where his breasts had been, with his arm, until he realized he no longer had breast, now he had pecs. He lowered his arm, looked down at his chest and then over at me with a smile from ear to ear as a tear of joy ran down his cheek.

Everything at this point was auspicious, our first lunch in the new world was hard bread, some cheese and cured meats with a skin of wine. Yes wine, and to put to rest any questions about old-style wine vs. wine in our world, it’s as strong. People in this time must be drunk most of the day. By the end of our meal we were both laughing and stretched out in the grass.

“You know you can stop playing with it?” I said as I looked over to find Devon adjusting his tights again, “They say if you play with it too much, you’ll go blind.”

“Then I’m going to be one blind mother fucker before the week is over. It's just strange, having a memory of my old body from before. I can actually feel its weight between my legs. It’s all the things I didn’t know about it.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Well, for one, it keeps changing size, both the cock and the balls seem to have a mind of their own. My balls will draw up tight, then the next thing I know they are hanging down the side of my tights. My cock doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind either.”

“Why do you think so many guys are always adjusting and fiddling with it.”

“Seriously I’d heard these things were a hand full.” He stopped as a smirk worked its way across his lips, and then we both burst out laughing.

“Just don’t keep me up all night moaning.”

“You better hope it’s a big cave because there’s no way I’m not jacking off tonight,” he said with a flush in his cheeks.

“Oh, I know, you’ll finally get to see what all the fuss is about,” I said as I noticed the sun well on its way towards evening. “We should probably get going.” I jumped up, and between the hooves and the slight buzz I again ended up flat on my ass. And again, we’re consumed with laughing.

As Devon got up and turned with a grin, “You do look sexy in hooves.”

“That’s your cock talking, get moving,” he laughed as we headed again towards the hills.

We walked for another few hours; this was quickly becoming our first perspective on distance. That fucking mountain range was much further than it looked. The sun had just reached the top of the trees when we stumbled upon the rock we’d been instructed to find. At first, we missed the trail; it was a tight squeeze. Behind the rock was the path, no wider than maybe four feet with sheer cliff walls going up a hundred feet or so on each side. It went back for about fifty yards then opened into a good-sized cave. We both looked at each other in surprise, for a cave, it was excellent. Seeing the outline of the sun on the floor my eyes followed the shaft of light up to discover a hole in the roof, not too large but big enough to let in the light. It was pointing towards the evening sun. The cave itself was about forty feet high and maybe twice as wide and three times as long. We heard a noise that sounded like water and was blown away when we found, towards the back of the cave, a waterfall flowing down from an opening near the top into a pool some twenty feet round. This was a fantastic place.

I looked at the water, then to Devon and found him a step ahead. He was flat on his ass, unlacing his boots, I stripped my bags, belt, and tights off, and together we ran screaming towards the pool and dived in. Thank Gawd it was deep, or we both would’ve ended up with brain damage.

“Oh man, this is awesome. I can't believe they found such a sweet cave,” I remarked.

“It’s nice, but this isn’t a vacation as you recall, we’re here to learn our skills. I can see how this place would be perfect for that, secluded, made of rock and thick enough to absorb your screams when you set your ass on fire.”

“Yes, but we just got here. This is the rest of our lives. We can take some time, get used to our surrounding and enjoy ourselves. This isn’t a mission; this is our new lives.”

Devon smiled and nodded, “Yea, sorry, it’s a habit. You’re right, we, not only can but should enjoy ourselves. I need to remember this is a gift, not a job. This is life now.”

We both nodded and dived underwater.

We swam and washed the travel from our bodies. The water was crystal clear and tasted unlike any water we’d had before. Devon checked it, it wasn’t poisonous, but we knew that. I’d always thought purified water was good. I had one of those things on my faucet, but that water tasted like nothing. This didn’t taste like nothing, as corny as it sounds, it tasted like liquid life. It was amazing.

As the light began to fade above us, a chill settled into the cave. Together we went out to find kindling and logs and for the first time in this new world started a fire. I was amazed at the speed Devon arranged the wood, another one of those muscle memories, I guess. “Now we just have to light it, do we have matches, flint or something”?

“Don’t you have a spell for that?” I asked.

“Oh, that right!” he said as he extended a hand. For a second nothing happened and then the logs flared up. We looked at each other, smiled and started whooping at the fact; we’d just seen our first real magic.

We spread out the blankets Devon had collected, good thinking on his part and ate another light dinner. We were both hungry, but with so much having happened and the reality starting to sink in, we decided the concept of hunting, killing and cleaning something was still a bit too much reality for day one. Plus, we both had our minds on something else, those books. As I settled into my blanket and cracked open the book for the first time, I noticed a drawing on the second page; it was the larger bag I’d ignored earlier. I read what it said and stared in shock, could it be true?

Reaching over I picked up the bag and studied it more carefully, making a noise to get Devon’s attention, I opened it and reached inside. First, my hand, then lower arm, then upper arm, finally to our surprise, I was up to my shoulder in a bag that was not even eight inches deep.

“What the fuck?” Devon exclaimed, “Is that…oh what did they call it in D&D?”

“A bag of holding, I have a fucking bag of holding.” I fished around inside and found a large bag with more food, another with several skins of wine, four sacks of gold, I mean A LOT of gold, what looked like an old wooden door and still more supplies. Looking back to the manual, “It says here…” I passed looking for what the illustration showed. Devon moved over, “Look here,” I said, pointing to a small circle around the closure, the ring was black with just a hint of red. “It says here that the red changes as the capacity increases. From the looks of it, the bag is empty, which it is. I just took all the stuff out.” Devon reached over and picked up one of the bags of gold, I put it back in, a little bit of change, not much. We finally shoved everything I’d removed back in along with several heavy rocks; each of which weighed at least 25 pounds. When it was all in the bag, we looked again, this time the ring filled maybe 30% of the circle. We now had an idea of how much it could carry.

“That is fantastic. What is that?” asked Devon, pointing to the wooden square.

“It looks like an old door?”

“A door, why would they give us a loose door?”

“No idea, another mystery for a different time. Who knows it might be in one of the books?”

“True,” answered Devon as we settled back into our manuals. We continued to read for several more hours as the cave continued to darken around us until only the light of the fire remained. Together we listened as the sounds of night animals started to move outside in the brush.

When I could read no more, and the fire was only embers, I heard Devon’s light snore and turned to find him asleep. I lay back, put my hands behind my head, and looked up into the top of the cave. The last thing I remember thinking before sleep took me was … It was all true, all of it. We’re here now.

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