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Mr.Grignard

A day in the life of a monster (working title)

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Hey, so... I made a thing. Feel free to put your “yays” and “nays” in the comments section:

*sigh*, “Morning already...?”

Drip.

“Gah! Cold! Damn it, another leak.” I grit my teeth and shiver, realizing just how cool and moist my body was. I don’t feel like looking for where the water was coming from. I'll just have to find a new napping spot... again. Letting out a yawn and shaking myself off as best I can, I sliver over to the other side of the cave. It’s time to check my “feed”.

Shutting my eyes in concentration, my prison is lit up with a whitish-purple light as my monitors appear before me. Giving my eyes a minute to adjust, I start cycling through my usual “channels” to check on my next batch of targets, and to see if I can find some new marks.

“Let’s see, no, no, boring, no, too much, not enough, definitely not, niet, n- wait, stop!”

I pause for a minute when one of my monitors focused in on the city hall. A little spike of negative energy appeared right... augh, him again. Mr. Muller, the custodian. Sorry loser, but you had your chance, and your gimmick was disgusting. Next.

In the end I settled on a purse snatcher and an addict who happened to be passing through town. Zooming in, I reached out and pushed against the screen, letting my power soak through to the other side. This part was always tiring, and I could only do one at a time in my current state, so I had to focus on following the other one around while I work. In the “real world” my powers slips through with a faint flash of purple light, barely visible to the naked eye, and sticks itself to the biggest source of bad vibes in the area. At the time, my new minion is trying to focus on escaping and avoiding letting people see his face, but his stopped by the sensation of me rooting around inside of him. I had to find a good place to attach the curse or it wouldn’t set right. There, no go back to running, my pet. Now for the other one...

The former mutated into some kind of quilled, monkey thing with enhanced agility (how original) and the latter turned into some kind of weird... tentacle zombie. His already considerably pale skin turned a gray-green color and weird worm things started to grow out of him. As expected, with in the hour, the little priestess appeared to deal with them before they managed to cause much damage. The little brat has just been getting stronger and stronger lately, breaking out new weapons and abilities left and right, just like the last five I’ve had to deal with. It’s getting to the point where she’s causing more damage to the city she allegedly protects than me. Even on a lucky day like this, where I get two solid minions at once, it’s still not enough to phase her anymore. A few months ago, this might have at least been an entertaining battle, but now I actually feel kind of bad for the little guys. After the fight was over, I decided to zoom in and follow her for a minute. Not like I had anything better to do.

She was a young girl, as most of the priestesses tended to be, and “cute”, at least by human standards. In her magically enhanced form, her long, wavy, hair glowed a bright orange color, which actually went well with her natural blond. Her “uniform”, if you could call it that, was frilly mess of red and white with a short, round skirt that plumed out from her legs, creating that ever important absolute territory where her skirt ends and her knee socks and boots begin. She did have some light protection, namely a set padded, fingerless gloves equipped with an archer's ring and a bit of plating for her shoulders, chest, and back. Not that she really needed it, since the little squirt was harder to kill than a cockroach, especially since she figured out how to make those annoying barriers, and it’s not like she got into a lot of melees anyway, since all priestesses specialize in archery. To “conceal her identity”, most of her face is obscured by a red mask, which obscures her mouth and nose, as well as a set of glasses which cover her eyes.

Of course, now that she was finished with my creations, and was out of sight, this outfit promptly disappeared, quickly being replaced with a blue tube top and set of black skinny jeans. As soon as she was finished changing, running a hand through her hair, she ran out into the street to meet up with her friends, Tessa and Samantha, to continue their trip to the shopping center. Apparently our little heroine (her name's Sharen, by the way) broke her cellphone during one her heroic escapades a while back and final had enough currency to afford a replacement. I zoom in a bit closer to listen to their conversation.

“So, how did it go?” Sam inquired.

“Piece of cake.” The priestess replied confidently.

“Really? But weren’t there like two of them this time? How’d you get them both so fast?”

“Neither them were very good at dodging, I guess. Plus, their abilities were pretty lame. Kind of like the people they used to be.” Hey, it’s not like I get to pick, you brat!

“So, who were they? Are they going to be okay?”

“Just some thug and a homeless guy. They'll be fine... probably.”

Not that she could tell, but Sam didn’t find that very reassuring. And of course, the priestess quickly put it aside and changed the subject, striking up a conversation with Tessa about her new phone. Sam tries her best to forget it too, nodding along like everything is fine.

Just talk to her, your doormat. Keep wallowing in your own despair like that and I might need to pay you a visit, too. Whatever, it’s time for another mark.

I rip my attention away from little miss perfect and her two lackeys to try and find another potential source of chaos for my magic to feed off of, but as usual, I didn’t find anything in this boring town. Whether they’ve figured out how my powers work on a subconscious level, or if having a super-heroine for a town mascot counter balances the shear terror of mutating into a horrific monster and going on a rampage, it’s pretty rare I find someone depressed, anxious, or riled up enough for me to curse them, at least to my standards. I mean, it’s one thing to have bad day and feel sad about it, but it’s another entirely to want to hurt people over it, and I’ve long since exhausted this city of violent, disposable thugs and entitled ass hats. So, I either have to sit around and hope I get lucky, or... no, not again. Not after what happened last time. I just need to be a bit more creative.

Technically, I can plant curses on normal people, but until they feel some kind of hostile intent towards someone else, and fuel them with enough negative emotion, they can’t really do much. It's really one of those long term investments. I already have a few planted through out the town, although so far those investments have yet to pay off. *sigh*, well, there’s always tomorrow I guess. It’s not like I’m in a rush to get out of here at this point.

Hm? One of my monitor's flash faintly as I pass over a coffee shop. It’s nothing substantial, but I detected a faint spike in power from one of the customers. I zoom in lazily, my view drifting over the line of pedestrians until I find the source. It’s a woman, I’d say about late thirties,  5’ 4” and a bit on the chunky side, with a full waist and rounded shoulders. She was dressed professionally in a white button up, a gray jacket and matching pencil skirt. She had her hair tied in a neat bun with bangs parted to one side, and a pair of black framed glasses with square lens which kept sliding down the thin bridge of her nose. She looked exhausted those with bags under her eyes, and she was starving too. Apparently she’s been trying to lose weight but cutting out carbs, but it wasn’t working as well as she hoped. She also skipped breakfast this morning because she overslept and cooking breakfast would’ve taken too long. She had agreed to meet with a work friend today to help her with some paperwork at the last minute, and now in her mind she was taking out on her friend and herself.

What the hell. Maybe I’ll follow this one for a bit. Who knows. Could be interesting.

 

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1 hour ago, Batman76 said:

Sailor moon inspired?

Yes and no... I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t actually seen sailor moon or it’s other incarnations. But I have watched enough parodies and knock offs that I get the gist. 

 

D99F8BC2-E349-44D7-8536-50589A8079D8.jpeg

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Aw yes, you're writing too! You know, it's easy to tell when someone's recently gotten into anime because they write with the same social quirks that are only found in such shows

full metal alchemist love GIF

... unless they've got weird tastes 😙

Wicked City Horror GIF by xponentialdesign

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1 hour ago, >_< 0_0 said:

Aw yes, you're writing too! You know, it's easy to tell when someone's recently gotten into anime because they write with the same social quirks that are only found in such shows

full metal alchemist love GIF

... unless they've got weird tastes 😙

Wicked City Horror GIF by xponentialdesign

 

4BCFEAD7-64AF-4B84-A72A-3B7AE00D0471.png

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Here’s another quick entry to introduce everyone to our heroine.
 

“Oh god- mmmf!- I needed this.”

Against her ‘better judgement’, she orders a sandwich with ham, eggs and cheese, quickly taking a seat and stuffing it down her face. Hey, if you don’t chew it, your just going to feel even worse later. Eugh, Humans.

Still, I’m not sure what she was expecting. Anyone with two brain cells could tell this diet wasn’t going to work out. From what I can see in her memories, she can’t really cook, so she’s mostly been eating the same thing every day for the past two weeks, and she isn’t great at planning ahead either, because if she had been paying attention this morning, would've remembered she couldn’t have breakfast at home because she ran out of eggs yesterday and was supposed to run to the store after sch- oh! No wait, there we go. She swallowed, her eyes flashing momentarily with recognition before letting out an exasperated groan, realizing she'd have to add something else to her to do list today. Now she was thinking about how she was going to explain this to her coworker.

Ah, here we go. On some level she realizes how futile her efforts were. She does genuinely seem to want to lose weight, but she never tells anyone because she doesn’t want to be held accountable. The one time she let it slip she was planning to diet, she immediately got a round of applause and promises of support from her work friends, but she quickly shot them down, saying she would handle it on her own. She knew that was probably what really put the nail in the coffin for her diet: she needed to be held accountable. But she just couldn’t handle everyone at the office looking over her shoulder, judging everything she planned on buying for the week.

Hello, something is starting to bubble out. Anger, frustration, shame and... something else... something... “Mr. Muller”-y, but, in a less disgusting way. Intriguing. What are you thinking about? Unfortunately, before I can start probing her subconscious to answer that question, someone else walks into the coffee shop, and immediately her brain is flooded with fear. It’s her coworker, Pauline.

What should she do? Had she seen the wrapper already? Should she come clean? Should-should she lie? Hey whoah, slow down. Stop panicking- oh, she spotted you, and she’s waving.

Let’s see. At first glance, I can't really see what’s so intimidating about her. She's younger by a few years, and waifish with a thin face, gangly arms, and long legs. She’s dressed a bit more casually, with a collared, short sleeved blouse and dress pants, and a little red purse at her side. But then I notice the blond hair, the blue eyes, and the sweet (but vaguely insincere) smile on her face, and realize that I recognize her from somewhere. Now, I understand.

“Hey Mandy. What are you doing here? I thought we weren’t going to meet for another hour?”

“Actually, you said you wanted to meet right away, and I haven’t had breakfast yet, so I came here.” Mandy replied, trying to be brave.

“Really? I thought you were one a diet.” Here we go.

“I’m taking a cheat day. Everyone does it.” Hmmm...

She’s not buying it. “Fair enough. So about that last report-“

She hasn’t dropped it yet. Be on your toes.

They talked about banal topics for a bit: the budget for the club Pauline is supervising, Mandy's students and how they were improving, Pauline's daughter. It wasn’t until they finally came to a brief pause before she finally brought it up again. Rather brazenly, I might add.

“So... how’s your cheat day going?”

“Good... mostly.” Well, at least you’re being honest.

“Really? Well, I’m glad. I’d hate for you to have to cheat on your diet just for me.”

“W- *cough* What makes you say that?”

“Well, it’s just... it kind of sounded like you wouldn’t be having this cheat day if you didn’t have to meet me. Was I wrong?”

“Not exactly.”

“Well, you know, it’s really important to structure these things, cheat days and all. It’s okay to reward yourself every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be something that happens spontaneously.”

“Sorry, I’m still a little new at this. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“You know, if you really want to lose weight, you might want to throw some exercise in their too. You should try the spin class I’m trying. It’s great for the glutes.”

Now, admittedly, Pauline's intentions her weren’t completely malicious. She did feel some iota of concern for Mandy's physical and mental health, so she didn’t want to flat out sabotage her weigh loss efforts. But she was annoyed by Mandy's big speech about how she wanted to go it alone, believing that meant Mandy was above her help, so she was enjoying teasing her, perhaps a bit too much. Again, to her credit, Mandy was aware of this, and even tried considering the prospect of taking a spinning class in order to appease her and get out of her comfort zone. But sadly, as I’m sensing is a recurring problem, her anxieties started to bubble to the surface, and the emotional tunnel vision began to set in. She became skeptical of her coworkers advice, examining her face for any signs of weakness while thinking up excuses to simultaneously turn her down and leave in as few sentences as possible.

Then, she did something unexpected. She glanced down at Pauline's body, the way her shirt billowed out over her thin waist, and imagined it filling out. She imagined what it would be like if she was the chubby one, for just a moment. Just long enough for her to picture the look on her face when her belly brushes against the table. I feel a dash of lust trickle out at the image, and she calmed down a bit.

“You know what, I’ll consider it. But for right now, I have some more errands to run. So, unless you need anything else, I should probably get going for now.”

Pauline actually retreated a bit at her sudden burst of confidence.

“Oh, right, well, yes, I think that takes care of everything. Thanks Mandy.”

“No problem.” Amanda got up and gave a polite nod. It wasn’t until she left the restaurant, coffee in hand, that she breathed a sigh of relief.

While she walked towards her car, I began to ponder the current situation. On the one hand, this was just another “Mr. Muller” waiting to happen. I definitely didn’t want that. Also, while fighting ability was kind of irrelevant since she was probably just going to mutate into something else, I was under the impression this lady wasn’t exactly the warrior type, so I wasn’t convinced she could deal the with the little priestess should things get hairy. That said, it’s not like the direct approach has worked out for me so far, so a more cerebral minion might be a blessing. In addition, there’s something... different about this person. Beneath the anxiety, the depression, the exhaustion, and the weird, sex stuff, there is... ambition, pride, a desire for power. If I play my cards right, this woman could evolve into something dangerous. And hey, what more did I have to lose? One more failure wouldn’t kill me.

On that note, I was struck with inspiration. Rather than immediately dig in with my nails and give her the usual treatment, I instead watched and waited for the right moment. After transforming the same targets multiple times, I learned that the effects of my curses in a particular target can change, not just by the mere presence of hostility and negativity, but also based on the thoughts, fears and desires of the individual when they are first afflicted. The thief from earlier wanted to get away, the homeless man felt like his skin was infested with worms, etc. If I really wanted to take this seriously, with this woman, I had to wait until- now!

While sitting in her car, finishing off her coffee, Amanda noticed as Pauline emerged from the shop and began strutting to her parking space. Just as she began fantasizing again, I reached out through my monitor and gave her a little prick, right at the top of her head. And as my magic flooded her brain and ran down her spine, I caught myself saying:

“Don’t disappoint me.”

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I can’t remember if you described this monster, but I’m so spoiled by kinky Curvage stories, I immediately pictured “her” as a cute girl sitting incognito in random places watching the plot unfold

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1 hour ago, >_< 0_0 said:

I can’t remember if you described this monster, but I’m so spoiled by kinky Curvage stories, I immediately pictured “her” as a cute girl sitting incognito in random places watching the plot unfold

Well, you're not necessarily wrong, aside from the “random places” part. The only thing explicit about this character is they're trapped inside a moist cave and have an affinity for the color purple.
It’s actually kind of nice that you brought this up. Because of my writing style, I’ve already planned out this character’s backstory, fighting style, their approach to problem solving, their interests and motivations outside of “leave moldy cave” and “take a shower”, and even how they would interact with some of the other characters. Their appearance, on the other hand, is a real Schrödinger’s cat of hypothetical possibilities, and unfortunately I don’t feel like collapsing that particular wavelength just yet. So, for now, just put them on a sliding spectrum of... shadow demon and spider loli. 

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Okay, sorry to say it, but this is gonna be the last on for a while. I gotta plan the rest out and deal with my... “projects”.

 

Generally speaking, when I plant a curse on someone, it only directly affects the target. They'll either mutate into something else, or it’ll get suppressed along with the target's negative emotions, only to boil over to the surface later. Sometimes, under rare circumstances, the curse will do something unexpected: it can fail and just not stick or latch onto a different target, it could get split between multiple targets at once, which can result in all kinds of weird effects, or sometimes after mutating they'll develop abilities that could be considered “supernatural”, allowing them to affect other people in ways beyond just dishing out beatings. But, those are really the exception to the rule, and up until this point, I’d grown accustomed to getting one monster at a time, with purely physical abilities.

So, saying what happened next surprised me would be an understatement. As soon as the curse seemed to be fully formed and I was about to detach from it, it started yanking on me again, like a vacuum that needed to be filled. And when I obliged it, the magic power began to shoot out of Amanda's eyes, straight at Pauline. The curse had formed a link between the two of them using my power.

At this point, my power was no longer visible to the two of them, but I could tell just by looking at them that they could feel the curse flowing through them. Pauline was frozen in place while in the midst of unlocking her car, dropping her purse on the ground, while  Amanda’s body, thankfully already in a seated position, seized up as a strange crawling sensation wriggled through her. And this isn’t even the fun part, yet.

Amanda’s “end” of the curse was reacting to her negativity, seemingly as intended, as though it was ready to start the mutation process already, but instead, the negative emotions started to leave her body, flowing down the pipeline my curse had haphazardly laid out. And as her anxieties and frustrations were stripped from her, the “source” of said anxieties began to disappear as well.

Her whole body seemed to bubble and the excess fat on her form boiled away. Her abdomen deflated, leaving her with a concave waist, her shoulders narrowed, and her facial features became more defined. Of course, this didn’t change the fact that she was still an out of shape, sleep deprived, older woman, so this really only served to make her look more exhausted than before, but hey. Guess her wish was technically granted.

Amanda was skinny now.

Meanwhile, her anxieties had to go somewhere, and as a result, Pauline was experiencing the opposite kind of problem. Suddenly, as the chemistry inside her brain began to go haywire, the fact that she was suddenly hit with a bout of paralysis wasn’t nearly as important to her as her butt. Specifically, it’s appearance. Apparently, this was a concern she already possessed, as she originally took that spinning class she mentioned early to “tone it up” and give it some more shape. But now, she was dealing with levels of anxiety and self doubt she’d never experienced before, certainly much worse than even anything Amanda had to endure, so any flaws in its shape or appearance were seemingly magnified in her eyes. And unfortunately, the more she pondered these fears, the more justified they seemed to become.

Reluctantly, Pauline tore her eyes away from her rear end to retrieve her purse and dig out her car keys. But, it seemed as soon as she took her eyes off it, her butt began to swell. It became rounder at first in alignment with her new muscles beneath, but perhaps unsurprisingly enough, as the flesh around it began to grow, her new “glutes” soon began to atrophy, causing her new bubble butt to sag and take on a more square shape. Then when she stood, and gave her quads a cautious rub, the effects began to spread to her legs. Soon, her previously loose fitting dress pants became filled with her new thick thighs, and the waist began pinching the new dollop of belly fat that was forming just below her navel.

At this point, Pauline had safely entered her car, briefly disgusted by the fact that a small but noticeable roll of fat was forming over to the waist of her pants. In her mind while she was momentarily confused and shocked, she was now mostly distraught by the fact that she’d chosen to wear this outfit in public, and in front of Amanda of all people. While initially alien to her, whatever Amanda did to her was forcing her brain to rationalize away and accept the new changes to her body and mindset. Memories of examining her body and weighing her self became distorted, vague visions of flabbiness and hedonism flooded her brain, contradicting and eventually overwriting her original view of herself.

And like that, as suddenly as it had appeared, the link was severed. It took me a few seconds to process what happened after that. Firstly, lets return to patient zero. I can always just keep a monitor on Pauli and check the recordings later. I needed to probe Amanda for any weird traits which might’ve caused this. Upon closer inspection, it seems that after the link was severed, a curse had formed inside of both of them, rooted in the anxieties and hostility present in both of them. So that's... good, I guess? But in Amanda’s case, her curse appears to have stabilized. Which makes sense. In the absence of emotion and hostility, the curse most likely severed the link and halted its growth in an act of self preservation. Now, it was burying itself deep in the recesses of her subconscious, waiting for its moment to strike.

In the meantime, Amanda was busy examining her body, feeling up her waist and squeezing her arms, wondering where her missing flab went... and grinning ecstatically. She was thin! And not just thin, but her body actually looked super model thin. Of course, she knew it didn’t look super natural, especially with her still sunken in eyes and noodle limbs, but hey, it was an improvement. But now she was trying to decide what to do. It obviously wasn’t normal to lose this much what in a few seconds. She’d probably have to see a doctor, tell her boss and coworkers, and if it was permanent, she'd have to buy new clo-

Wait. If... It was permanent. That was the catch wasn’t it, she thought. It was too good to be true. There was no way this didn’t come with some kind of side effects. She wasn’t stupid after all. As she thought this, a tiny bit of her anxiety came back. Not a lot, and certainly not as much as I was expecting from this woman, but as it did, her belly squished back out, just a smidge. Surprisingly though, Amanda managed to put these concerns aside. Resolving herself to make the most of the situation until she saw a doctor, she drove off making plans for today’s shopping trip. And with her mind distracted again, to my surprise, her belly seemed to pull itself back in. Naturally, Amanda didn’t even notice.

Shifting back to Pauli again, it seems her curse was stabilizing as well... well, sort of. She was still feeling anxious about her lower body, understandably, but as far as she was concerned, it had always been like that and she just hadn’t noticed until now. With the flow of stress hormones and sweat turned down to a low trickle, the mutation appears to have slowed as well.

Wait, that’s it! That’s what’s happening! I've never gotten a case this... weird before, so I didn’t recognize it at first, but our little friends' transformation wasn’t just Amanda pumping her fat into Pauline’s body (ew), but rather it seems Amanda is subconsciously... controlling or at least taking advantage of the mechanics of the mutation process.

Based off what I know about this type of magic (which, you know, isn’t much, admittedly), it would appear that the... ambition or pride I detected inside of Amanda “shielded” her from the negative aspects of the curse by afflicting someone else with her personal woes. In other words, by cursing Pauline too and afflicting her with her fears about getting fat, Pauline got stuck with Amanda’s original curse, and is now mutating in her place. Fascinating stuff, really, but at first glance it doesn’t seem super useful. When happening spontaneously, it doesn’t seem to have produced much of an effect, and I still have a ton of questions: how did Amanda do this? Why did Pauline’s memory change? How come Amanda's memories didn't change? Etc.

But, if this means what I think it means, it might be possible for me to move peoples' negative emotions from one host to another using curses. If that’s the case, and I can figure out how to control it, I won't need to wait for another thug or basket case to wander through town to make minions. I can just start mixing and matching people’s anxieties until I get the combination I want, and then maybe, just maybe, I can pull one over on that dastardly priestess long enough for me to make my escape! I’m so clever!

Oh yeah, that reminds me. I guess this means I accidentally made her mom fat.

Oops.

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So their anxiety affects the curse directly? That’s really intriguing; I wonder what people would do if they saw them changing?

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I gots another quickie for ya. Unfortunately, it seems our shadowy mastermind has pushed themselves a little too hard...

What to do now? Unfortunately, I am working with a time limit here. For now, the curse inside of Amanda’s body is under wraps, so the priestess won’t be able to detect it as long as Amanda stays calm and the two of them stay far enough apart. But of course, inconveniently for me, both Amanda and Pauline are teachers at her school, and of course Pauline is Sharen's mother. She’s pretty dense, but the priestess will figure out what’s happening eventually, especially if she sees that Mandy has slimmed down while her own mother is blowing up like a balloon. I’ve got to come up with this new technique before she purifies both of them and ruins everything. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to recreate the affects by infecting Amanda again, so I have to get everything I can out of her right now.

So, step one is to run another couple trials and get some better footage of Amanda doing her thing. And that means I’ll have to follow her around until she has another of her... “fantasies”. Unfortunately for me, today is Saturday. Normally, that wouldn’t make any difference to me. In fact, sometimes I specifically try to infect people on weekends to ruin Sharen's plans or attack the city while she's on vacation. It hasn’t worked, obviously, but it is nice to get under her skin every once in a while, since apparently the prospect of being torn a new ***shole by a giant bug monster just rolls right off her. Whatever, what were we talking about? Oh right, weekends.

Amanda doesn’t have to go to any lectures today, but she still has work waiting for her at home, so as soon as she finishes these errands, her contact with humanity will be pretty limited. Worst case scenario, I might actually have to wait until she gets to school on Monday, or even until she interacts with Pauli in her current state.

Speaking of which, now that she’s returned to the comfort and privacy of her own home, Pauli has taken the opportunity to strip and more closely examine her lower body in the mirror. Since getting in her car, her body is mostly the same, save maybe a touch of softness evenly distributed across her body. Especially in her face, since that’s what she looked at the most while stuck in traffic. Her cheeks seemed fuller then they used to be, making her already girlish face seem... cheerier, if that’s even possible. Of course, right now, she just looks sad and grumpy.

I’ll need to divide my attention between the two of them at least until Monday, because I’ll need to know how much the priestess knows and how far both of them are progressing. If worse comes to worse, I can probably just rip the curse out of Pauline’s body to avoid getting her daughters attention, although I was really hoping to use her to draw out Amanda’s dark side.

Going back to Amanda, she was currently in the process of buying clothes. Specifically, workout threads. Apparently, her sudden transformation has inspired her to try and live a more active life style. Good for her, and more importantly, if she actually starts exercising, the dopamine output might be able to buy me some time. So, for now, I’m all in favor of this decision. Oh, hold on, I think I’m picking up something. While she was rifling through a selection of under armor sweatshirts, a store clerk had honed in her. Young, bubbly, just a few years older than the sophomores she teaches at school, with long brunette hair and olive toned skin. She was relatively fit, although it was pretty clear it was more due to her age rather than her lifestyle, which I can confirm after going through her most recent memories. As soon as Amanda saw her approaching, all sorts of weird emotions started to wriggle around in her skull, ranging from “oh, she's cute, I’m so self conscious” to “look, I don’t need any help, just leave me alone you little-“, but all of it could pretty much be boiled down to “I don’t want to deal with this right now”.

“Hello, Miss. Are you finding everything all right today?” She said sweetly. She wasn’t thinking anything rude about Amanda. She didn’t see the overweight mess of a woman Amanda was used to envisioning. She just genuinely wanted to do her job. Too bad Amanda isn’t nearly as good at cold reading as I am.

“Oh no, I’m just browsing. I don’t even think I’ll buy anything. I’m sorry.” She was starting to cave into her old habits. The darkness was seeping out again. “I’ve just been trying to lose some weight lately and thought I might need some new workout clothes.”

Oh great, she was starting to puff back up again. I can’t have her mutating just yet. I have to do something, quick. Hm, maybe if I can just...

“Really? Well, I think you look great already.”

This surprised Amanda. “Really? Well, I mean, I have lost some weight already... since I started my diet that is. I actually used to be much bigger than this, so I need some clothes in a smaller size.”

“I see. In that case, I think you should go with this one. I think the color goes great with your style, plus this material feels amazing. Trust me.” I made her give Amanda a little wink.

Amanda was more than a little weirded out by that last part, but it seemed to have the intended affect. Amanda’s confidence was back, and if you were paying attention, you’d notice there was some subtle changes in her appearance as well. Her skin seemed healthier and body became more toned. Also, it might just be because her posture was improving, but she seemed slightly taller, as well. It feels weird trying to get positive changes out my curses, but hey, at this point I’ll try anything once. And I had to admit, a part of me kind of liked helping people with their problems instead of making them worse.

Anyway, back to mischief. This seal isn’t going to break itself after all. I started to dig around inside the salesgirl for anymore threads for me to pull. If I could get her to humble herself before Amanda, I might be able to draw out her creepy side again and get her to curse this girl. She had a few memories of overeating last weekend at a friend's birthday. I could make her bring it up to Amanda before she leaves, but she’s already a little weirded out by this girl’s forwardness. I don’t want to scare her off. Maybe if I try tugging on- Ow!

Oooh, I don’t feel so good. Crap, I’m running low on magic already? Let’s see, there were the two idiots this morning, the curse I used on Amanda, which became another two curses when it split off with Pauline... aw crap. My monitors began to bend and shift, the image  become distorted as my concentration fails. It’s no good. I’m finished for today. If I give up anymore I’ll starve to death. The room goes dark as my monitors blink out of existence, like a TV that's been unplugged. I lurch forward and curl into a tight ball, trying to get warm as my body shuts down. Sorry, Amanda, looks like you're on your own for now. I need... to rest...

 

 

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Their weight is affected by their mood? That’s insanely hot! Imagine trying to live with a curse like that. Sooo many amazing moments can happen from this. Also, Amanda’s glo-up is a refreshing change of pace compared to typical plot lines here

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Thanks. I’m gonna try and live up to that, but unfortunately I can’t silence the part of my brain that keeps screaming “establish more characters! magic systems! Combat mechanics!” 
On the plus side, I've got a design for the monster in the works, and I also did a redesign of Sucky from last time.

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Time to set the stage. 
 

“Is that really the best you can do?”

She's too fast... it hurts...

“Well, you've put up a better fight than your master, although that’s not saying much. I can give you a generous 30/100.”

“Just... shut up and kill me...”

“Hm? You’re really giving up? You do realize that this is it. If you fail now, it’s over. The last vestige of resistance in this galaxy will fall.”

“I can’t beat you...”

“You aren’t trying hard enough.”

“I can’t!”

“Yes, you can! You are not a fake or a substitute! You are a real warrior! You are ****!”

“RRAAAAAA-

 

-AAAAhhh! ...Huh?”

*sigh* just a dream. I pinch the bridge of my nose. How much did I lose with that last screw up? Let’s see, my body doesn’t feel anymore emaciated than usual, so that’s good. My magic is back from the brink to about 30%. That’s also good, considering it usually floats at around 50% after a good day of cursing. I’ve got to practice that hypnosis spell, though. It's still too inefficient.

All right, now what time is it? I start reconstructing my monitors gingerly. Thanks to years of practice, I don’t lose my targets even after falling unconscious, but I’m still on edge after my nap. As soon as my monitors open, I get a view of Pauline and Amanda's respective apartments. The former was working on dinner, stirring a ** of some kind of stir fry. Her weight woes were pushed out of her mind for now, but I noticed her hips had a touch more girth than I remember. It caused her to sashay a little bit when she walked.

I actually caught myself giggling. Slower transformations like this were as rewarding as they were frustrating. It's really annoying when I can already guess what I’m going to get and I’m just waiting for the inevitable, but since it works in my favor this time, and I can’t actually guess what either of them are turning into, it’s kind of nice to enjoy the show for once. Speaking of which, it would appear the star of my little stage production isn’t here. Sharen was still out with her friends at the shopping center. According to the microwave, it was nearly a half an hour after her curfew and her mother was getting worried. Guess I’ll go check on her.

Shortly after acquiring her new cellphone, the young priestess decided she deserved to extend her outing after a week packed with monster battles and school work. Understandable. Everyone needs a little r and r (*cough* :3) but unfortunately for our priestess's comrades, purchasing a new smartphone left her pretty broke, so they would be shouldering the financial burden from there. Turns out, being the priestess of Gaia (or, wait, what does she call herself again? Magenta... something?) is a full time job in itself, but it’s not like anyone is giving her a salary to beat the snot out of mutant ruffians.

On that note, Sharen was currently getting an ear full from Tessa after bullying Samantha into buying her a large yogurt with extra toppings, meanwhile Sam was just nodding along with an ashamed look on her face for spoiling her. And of course, Sharen was busy spoiling her dinner, cramming the entire thing into her face like a pig... I’m so hungry...

Whatever, she’s not doing anything interesting or interfering with my plans, so let’s check on Amanda again. At the moment she was busy rooting through her paper work, getting her materials ready for Monday, going over the reports Pauline gave her this morning one more time, looking up exercise videos on YouTube for her to try out later, etc. Whenever she gets like this, she almost never stops for a break, aside from the occasional snack and to relieve herself, so it looks like I’ll be stuck waiting through the weekend anyway. Great. I was really looking forward to messing with that salesgirl too. I guess I should at least be glad I didn’t lose too much time though. Last time this happened, I didn’t get enough energy to fully awaken for three whole days. Still, now I have an entire day to kill before I can have any fun. What to do?

Guess I could go back to business as usual, look for some new marks. But it doesn’t seem like there are any at the moment. At least nothing substantial. There’s some rowdy teens making a racket in the old junkyard, a few depressed people at home, Mr. Muller *again*, and there’s also... actually, on second thought, let’s go back to the priestess's little friends for a second. I’m getting inspiration tingles again.

Obviously, I’ve played with this idea before: if I could just turn her friends against her somehow, I might be able to exploit some chinks in her armor, metaphorically speaking. And I’ve come close before. Sam, the meek nerdy one, has always had a pretty deep seeded inferiority complex, especially after Sharen got her powers, and Tessa has a bit of an explosive temper. But, even with some meddling on my part, they’ve managed to pull it together before things got interesting, and to give her some credit, Sharen isn’t completely oblivious when it comes to her friends, so she can at least shut her mouth and be supportive when things get serious.

But this time... shall be different! This time, instead of using her friends against her directly, they'll make pretty good pawns for this new scheme. And I know just one to pick. For now though, I need to step up my game. My usual bag of tricks isn’t going to cut it. I’ve got one day to perfect that hypnosis spell and maybe get some more energy before I head onto the battlefield again. My deadline... 2:00pm, Monday. Let’s do this.

 

“One-two-step-step-one-two-step-kick-“

All right, today's the day. As soon as I finish my morning calisthenics, I’ll be pumped up and ready to set my plan into action.

So, yeah, this weekend didn’t pan out exactly like I hoped, but hey, it’s pretty rare that they do, and I did technically get what I said I wanted, so I can’t really complain, right? I didn’t get any new marks, and as I suspected, Amanda ended up holing up in her apartment, feverishly trying to get all her work done before Monday, so I had to shelve that little side project too. I did get to mess with the hypnosis spell a little and I even got some curse energy out of it, but only just enough to break even. Since I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to use it for, I also spent a lot of time with the priestess and her little pals, so I could get a good feel for their thought processes. I thought about using Sam for this first, since she’s actually in Amanda’s class, but she’s just not... abrasive enough for what I have in mind.

I also spent a lot of time with Pauline, since her curse is actually acting like a “curse” and not some weird magic yo-yo. She managed to hide her weight gain from her daughter on Saturday while she was chewing her out for breaking curfew without telling her, and the stress of the situation actually stopped her from growing... er, well kept her bum from growing, at least. During her little tirade, I noticed she seemed a little... wider, around the shoulders, like the curse was helping her posture a bit. Since then, the two feelings have kind of merged together and now the curse isn’t letting them disappear from her mind. All day yesterday, Pauline kept wondering if her skirt was too tight and what her daughter was doing at that specific moment.

This is probably a good time to mention my magic’s biggest problem/asset: the amount of control I actually have over my minions, because it kind of shifts and changes through the process. While they're still human, I can basically do d**k all. I have the hypnosis spell, which can let me control people who aren’t already cursed or aren’t protected by some other kind magic. So, you know, basically everyone I want to control. And even then, control is kind of a stretch, since it’s more like playing a bad role playing game. I can “control” the speech and actions of some humans by picking from a few specific options that happen to be floating around in their brain at the time. I can dig for more options by expending more energy, but it’s not usually worth the effort, and until recently I didn’t even think it was possible to implant options that didn’t already exist.

When I curse people, the curse normally latches onto the biggest source of “nutrients” and starts to drag more and more of it to the surface as it grows larger. As they get further along, it gets harder and harder for my victims to think rationally and remember things other than what’s hurting them, until they eventually mutate into mindless monsters with a single objective, be it escape, fight, make the pain stop, etc. In a vacuum, it’s great if you’re trying to make a sadness battery, but in practice, it just makes them easy targets. Their movements and abilities are simplistic and predictable, so much so that a C student like Sharen can figure them out after going a couple rounds with them, so they’re kind of worthless in a “fair” fight. In the past, I used to compensate for this by trying to take control of their movements. Once it’s fully developed, I can tug and pull at the curse itself inside their bodies, essentially manipulating them like puppets on a string, but this method also has drawbacks: again the energy expense in this method is an issue, so I can usually only use it in short bursts, there’s a slight delay between my commands and the puppets reaction to them, and of course, I can only control one monster at a time, and as soon as I let go, they’ll just go back to whatever nonsense I was trying to stop them from doing in the first. Again, like an NPC in a bad video game.

As an example, we'll go back to the purse snatcher from Saturday. He was trying to escape the authorities on foot after being spotted stealing a woman’s purse. Do to the urgency of his situation and the resulting amount of adrenaline coursing through his veins, his transformation was a relatively speedy 20 minutes. I can’t interfere at all with this process once it’s set in motion, outside of prepping him with hypnosis or just removing the curse after placing it on him. After turning into a gangly hedgehog, I could theoretically control his motions to move him out of the way of any incoming projectiles, such as the arrows of Gaia the priestess uses to purify my curses. But I would hesitate due to the energy costs, and that plus the control lag means he probably would’ve been hit anyway. After getting tagged a few times, eventually the priestess would actually hit the curse inside of his body, destroying it and returning him to normal, albeit with a few arrow shaped bruises all over the inside of his body, which incidentally is why I stopped using children and old people.

Anyway, Pauline hasn’t quite reached the obsessive stage yet, so for now her changes have still been steady. That being said, the changes are now noticeable even if you weren’t looking for them, so it’s only a matter of time before someone points them out. Pauline’s body looked slightly fitter than Amanda’s was on Saturday, but that could be attributed to their noticeable differences in body type. While Amanda was more of an apple, Pauli is definitely a pear, with her thighs and hips taking most of the damage. She also had a fuller face, and her skin was developing a glossy sheen to it, giving her an admittedly cute, energetic looking glow. But now that she’d put on weight, she was also a lot less friendly, her sweet smile replaced by a chubby pout, as if to signal to everyone that she did not want to talk about it. For similar reasons, she was avoiding Amanda like her life depended on it. In her mind, she’d made a complete fool of herself, condescending to her about exercising while she was pouring out of her clothes, meanwhile, Amanda still remained blissfully unaware of Pauline’s new look.

Speaking of the woman of the hour, Amanda had been getting odd glances all day. Her students and coworkers had noticed that something seemed off about her today, but the changes were still subtle enough that nobody felt comfortable bringing it up. Of course, Amanda had expected this, and unsurprisingly had mixed feelings about. She was uncomfortable with being stared at in general, but ever since the salesperson incident, she’d gotten more comfortable with the idea that this attention might be a good thing. That they didn’t think she was fat anymore, and might even be jealous of her for once. For once, she could actually feel good about the way she looks, and not just average. As we ticked closer and closer to 2pm, with each class of students noticing their teacher's good mood and inexplicable weight loss, her pride began to swell within her. The curse was taking root, inflating her ego and making her feel stronger. And at 2 ‘o’ clock, when the time was right, I was going to ruin it for her.

Or, rather, a certain “snot nosed brat” would ruin it for her.

 

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And now, let’s a give a warm welcome to contestant number 3:

Tessa Metzger, Olly High's all American, butterflying, tennis playing champion. With a tall, muscular, athletic build, black pixie cut hair, and a scrappy yet endearing attitude, she is the walking definition of “Tomboy”. And, of the three amigas, she's probably the best choice as far as test subjects go for this little project of mine, maybe even more than the priestess herself.

At 1:50 pm, the bell will ring, signaling everyone that class is over. Everyone, including back up guinea pig Samantha, will pack up their things and head to their final class for the day. But today something is off. While packing up, Sam suddenly gets a weird jittery feeling up her spine. She can’t quite explain why, but she suddenly feels like she’s running behind today. So doubling her speed, she packs up her school bag and practically sprints out the door, much to the surprise of her teacher, who’d never seen her in such a hurry.

New students start rolling into the classroom as the minutes tick by, ever so slowly towards 2 ‘o’ clock, when suddenly a tall figure walks in through the door. For reasons she can’t fully explain, Tessa really needed to speak to Sam about something, expecting her to still be here, since she usually takes her time packing up her things and asking last minute questions. But after a quick glance around, to her confusion, her friend is no where to be found. Then, she looks at the person behind the teacher’s desk, and her confusion only grows.

With my heart racing, I reach out and pull the string on my little doll's back.

“Who're you?”

The room fell silent for just a second. Everyone looked toward Ms. Fulvits and the new comer, some recognizing her from the posters in the hallway.

Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, is a mental condition that changes the way the human brain distinguishes the identity of different individuals, by recognizing differences in voice, body type, hair style, movement, etc, rather than their facial features. It’s a condition I can relate to, since I had a hard time distinguishing human faces when I first got here, among other things. Tessa has never told anyone this, but she was actually diagnosed with this condition after a head injury she received while on the swim team last season. Because of the differences in height and weight, Tessa literally couldn’t recognize Amanda, and now she thought she’d walked into the wrong classroom.

“Oh, um, you’re Ms. Metzger, right? I think you may have the wrong classroom. Or wait, are you looking for Samantha, because she just left.”

“Oh right, yeah, that’s right. Phew, I was worried I had the wrong room. It’s Ms. Fulvits, right?”

“Yes-“

“Sorry, I didn’t recognize you. Didn’t you used to be fat?”

“Excuse me, what did you just say?”

Okay, that might have been a little on the nose for my taste, but I want to be efficient about this. After all, Tessa and Amanda are both busy people with places to be, and also I’m feeling more anemic by the second.

Within Amanda, the panic is beginning to set in. She’s wondering if Tessa “knows” her little secret, although you could argue it’s not much of a secret. It’s not like you know something they don't. But her confidence only faltered for a second. This girl just said something rude, but her intentions weren’t to insult her. In fact, in a clumsy sort of way, it was more of a compliment. It made her weight loss all the more real.

For Tessa's part, she was realizing she said something stupid in front of a classroom full of complete strangers, and now that I wasn’t squishing her inhibitions down where they wouldn’t bother her, she was sweating nervously while trying to think of a quick apology. I gave her nerves a little prick to really play up how pathetic she felt.

“I-I'm sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. You’re not- I mean, you weren’t-“

“No, it-it’s fine. Yes, I have lost a bit of weight recently. Thank you for noticing. I understand you're quite the athlete, so I'll take it as a compliment coming from you.”

Amanda paused, gazing at Tessa's toned body. This was it. The spark I was looking for. I move the monitor behind her and begin reaching out. Amanda recalls one of Tessa's matches she’d seen footage of, the way sweat glistened on her body after a long day of performing in the sun, and it was then that I latched on, paying close attention. This wouldn’t be like last time.

As the newly budding curse sprung from her forehead it became pretty apparent to me that there was not enough anxiety inside of Amanda at the moment to fully curse Tessa by itself, but I wasn’t going to let it stop half way, so I forced something else out along with it, to see what would happen. Up until now, these fantasies of hers have been restrained because the shame and guilt she associated with them. I wonder what kind of monster she would turn into if I removed these restraints.

From an outsider's perspective, this situation couldn’t feel more surreal. The air felt tense and hostile as their formerly mousy teacher became increasingly cold and condescending with her gaze, while the tall, athletic student who’d just waltzed in and said something stupid seemed to freeze in place. Tessa felt a weird pit forming in her stomach as strange visions began flooding her mind. Thoughts about her appearance, her athletic ability, how she was afraid of losing it. Suddenly, her body felt looser and more soft, she felt weaker compared to this woman. And more importantly, she felt stupid and ashamed of herself. Memories of lecturing others and taunting her opponents were reframed in her mind as shame and guilt overwhelmed her. How could she let something like this happen? She’s not a bad person, why would she say something like that?

“Tessa?” A voice, cold and quiet pulled her, along with everyone else, back to reality.

“Ye-yes?”

“Class starts in two minutes. You should probably get going.”

“Yes, right, I’m t-terribly sorry for bothering-”

“It’s fine. I’ll forgive you... just this once. Now get going. I don’t want you to be late.”

Tessa bobbed down politely, and then ran out of the classroom with her head down, running in the opposite direction of her next class in her haste. It would be kind of funny if it didn’t also feel so sad. You know, it never really occurred to me until now, but I’m not actually sure what would happen if Pauline, and now Tessa, were purified. Sure, the curse and its resulting mutations seem to be the thing causing all the memory changes along side the physical ones, but the source of those changes were “real” parts of Amanda’s psyche she  handed off to others. It’s possible the damage I just dealt to Tessa was permanent. I’ll have  come up with a way to fix that later.

Either way, I got what I came for, so I think it’s a little late for regrets now: after watching her do it again and even helping the process along, I think I’ve figured out the secret to Amanda’s transfer abilities. I still have enough power for one more curse before I call it a day, and one more guinea pig to test it out on.

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All right I got one more to lay on ya before I go on hiatus again. This one is a little lore heavy because contestant 4 is kind of a doosy.

Tessa is currently having a nervous breakdown, so at least I was getting a nice, refreshing spritz of negativity after burning through all that energy. Of course, what I already went through for said spritz was akin to running up hill for mile on an empty stomach, and what I have planned will be just as bad for my health, if not worse. I tracked down Samantha in the next corridor, in a calculus class, scribbling away in her note book with a bored expression on her face. The professor was droning on about partial fraction expansion, a topic this class will definitely not use outside of this week because the examples in the text book aren’t that advanced. Samantha was already well aware of this fact and was pretty much checked out. Instead, she was thinking about random topics: what she was going to eat later, her friend Tessa's tennis practice, where she was going to meet her after school, her other friend and their... “dynamic”. This was a thought that kept creeping on Samantha a lot, especially when she was alone.

She’s known Sharen Pughs since they were in elementary school, so that should make them good friends, and Sam did admittedly know Sharen quite well. But if she was being honest with herself, she'd only really stayed friends with her because of that familiarity. Even as kids, there was something about them that just didn’t click. Sharen was always ditzy and outgoing, caring little for how her antics affected others until someone got hurt, while Samantha was calmer and more reserved but also neurotic and even a bit selfish. She knew Sharen quite while, but the reverse wasn’t necessarily true. Sharen had only ever been to Sam's house a few times during their long friendship and she knew only a little bit about her family, her hobbies, and even what her job was. A part of Sam told her it might be best to move on and make some new friends, but if she left Sharen and, more importantly, her actual best friend Tessa, she’d practically have to start from scratch.

But there was something else, another reason why the two were growing apart. A few years ago, at her friend's behest, She and Sharen went out on a hike into the woods and discovered the bow of Gaia, left behind by the previous priestess about a month or so prior. It had chosen Sharen to be its wielder, but from their perspective either one of them could've taken up the mantle of the “Orange Menace” and start running around, firing arrows at monsters. When they found out that they couldn’t take turns and that Sharen was stuck with the bow, Sam was, at least at first, simultaneously envious and relieved. While she wanted the powers the bow could provide her with, she did not want the responsibility and risks that came with it, and was honestly astonished how easily her friend seemed to take the danger in stride... and then later, afraid. It didn’t happen often, but occasionally her friend would make a mistake or a monster would be exceptionally crafty and the situation would get out of hand. And that’s when her friend would show a side of herself Sam was previously unfamiliar with.

I touched on this before, but our little priestess isn’t exactly gentle with my creations. I mean, part of that is my fault, since I prefer my victims to be the human equivalent of a crash test dummy, if they had the personality and twirling mustache of an evil railroad tycoon. It also doesn’t help that she isn’t nearly as skilled as she thinks she is. Sure, Sharen can hit a moving target as long as they are running in a straight line, preferably towards or away from her, but it’s not like she’s spending an hour every day at the target range, trying to get an extra millimeter of accuracy to avoid causing unnecessary damage to her opponents spleen or some unsuspecting pedestrian's car. But if that were the only problem, Sam wouldn’t complain. Her problem was that Sharen just didn’t seem to care about my victims, and her cruelty was only getting worse. Before, she would at least apologize half heartedly for causing property damage or injuring a civilian (to Sam, not the people she actually injured), but now it barely got mentioned until after it ended up in the papers. It was even worse with the cursed individuals themselves, since she would typically assume they deserved to be cursed for some reason and that she was actually helping them by firing her magic light arrows into their jugular. I mean, after all, it was pretty rare that the same people mutated again, so that must mean they’ve gotten their life together, right?

While that little excuse may help the priestess sleep at night, the sad reality is that a significant portion of my victims are normal people grappling with fairly mundane issues like opioid addiction and financial ruin, and just because they are no longer cursed doesn’t mean those problems, and the negative emotions they create, are magically cured. It’s the only reason I don’t starve to death when there isn’t a natural disaster or mutant creatures running around. The truth is she doesn’t get a lot of repeat offenders because I choose not to infect people more than once. Practically speaking it usually results in the same minion with slight differences in their arsenal, and from a moral perspective it either feels like I’m rubbing salt on someone's wound after our last outing left them severely burned, or I’m enabling sadistic perverts like Mr. Muller. And Sam realizes this! She’s read the news articles about the victims after each incident, assuming the news decides to print anything about them. She's researched the exploits of previous priestesses to help her friend, and even discerned some of their identities. She's even theorized about what actually causes my curses by looking for patterns in the victims, and is right on the cusp tying them all back to me.

God, it has been forever since a priestess has acknowledged my existence.

But whenever she tries to explain this to her friend, it’s usually in one ear and out the other. Either that, or she gets defensive and angry, refusing to talk to Sam  and holding her breath like a five year old until she apologizes or offering her own sardonic condemnation of her actions before moving on like nothing happened. Like an angsty teenager. At this point, whether or not she's “jealous” is a moot point. Sam has plenty reason to be critical of her friend’s “heroics”.

Sam's biggest fear is that one day, her friend will become an even worse monster than the ones she faces, because unlike them, a magical girl isn’t going to swoop in out of nowhere and depower her after a couple stabs to the groin. Well, I mean, aside from me, that is. Now, she just wishes that she had picked up the bow first, not because she wants it, but because it might’ve salvaged their dying friendship, only to wonder if she had if she would've eventually ended up like her friend, too. I wonder about that.

Anyway, it’s convenient for me she happened to be thinking about this, because it’s the perfect foundation to lay my new and improved curse upon. There was no one around to steal negativity from, unless of course I wanted to make her feel even more bored than she already was. But that’s fine. I don’t need any help with this one. I think my own pent up resentment, guilt, and isolation will gel quite well with Sam's, don’t you think so?

So, I dig my claws into her brain, poisoning her with the bile that’s been eating away at me for five centuries, and watch her blood begin to boil.

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It’s all up hill from here. I think I might be going through this a little too fast. Ah well, I gotta be consistent with the rules. 
 

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All right, I know I said was gonna take a break, but I couldn’t help myself. But seriously, don’t get used to this. The chapters are gonna start getting longer, and that means I need more time to right. 

It didn’t take very much, or at least I thought so. I didn’t feel that wave of relief or burst of confidence Amanda felt when her negativity was syphoned off. I still felt as miserable as when I started, but I made sure to stop short before it actually started to affect me, because it was looking like Sam's head might explode if I kept going. Her face turned red with anger and her whole body seemed to puff up, like her blood was carbonated. Thankfully, as soon as I let go, she seemed to settle down a bit, but the anger didn’t leave. Now, rather than an animalistic rage, it was more focused. Sam resolved to confront her “friend” whether she liked it her not, and she wouldn’t let her get away with dodging the question this time. Normally, she would be afraid to confront her directly, even with Tessa around to back her up, but now, with the curse giving her strength, she had the confidence she needed to push those fears aside. But first she had to make it through this class. She was still new to this, after all.

Meanwhile, speaking of Tessa, she was currently hiding in a bathroom stall, too embarrassed to leave after walking into the wrong classroom three times in a row and now was just waiting for the final bell to ring. She was still going to go to practice, as much as she dreaded it, because she needed some sort of punishment, and also because her friends would be waiting for her and she wanted to see them. I don’t think she was taking to the changes very well, not as well as the other two at least. Pauli and Sam were unaccustomed to the level of emotions my new technique subjected them two, but in those cases the curse built off of feelings they already had, where as in this case it felt more like Tessa’s old personality was playing tug of war with her new one, and losing badly. If she remained this unstable she might even be the first to mutate of the current trio (or quartet if you count Amanda), but it’s not like I can do anything about it. Thankfully, nervous wreck or not, she was still a jock at heart and she’ll be damned if one day of stupidity would be enough to stop her from playing tennis.

Sliding down from her perch on top of the toilet, she took a deep breath to try and compose herself before marching stiffly out of the bathroom stall. In the mirror, Tessa's reflection had undergone quite few changes. One of the most notable changes was that she’d shrunk, by maybe two or three inches, but a noticeable change none the less. She was also chubbier, which was spread out pretty evenly across her body for the most part... except for her breasts! Holy cow, forget her height! Those things had to have jumped from an A to a solid D-cup by now, maybe even an E-cup!

Oh yeah, and also her face was different too. Her nose was wider and slightly upturned, kind of like a pig, and her eyes were smaller, especially with her squinting like that. Also her ears seemed to be a bit larger. Internally, her senses were off, like they were recalibrating. Her vision was getting worse, but she was also more sensitive to sound and light. Honestly, those changes alone probably would’ve made her unrecognizable to a normal person, but when she saw her reflection, Tessa only gave a half hearted sigh and squished her bust, thinking rather nonchalantly about how it got in the way during practice. I mean, yeah, I guess getting out of shape gets in the way of playing sports overall, but I guess this is technically more inconvenient for playing tennis then a pudgy belly and thick thighs so...

*Ahem*, anyway, her physique overall has lost a lot of tone, as in her mind much of her training and practice has been devalued. In this new world of darkness she’d created, she was a clumsy, mediocre tennis player at best with a only a passing interest in swimming. In fact, the idea of getting wet actually made her feel uncomfortable. The cold water, the smell of chlorine, the idea of pulling on that tight one piece in front of tons of people- oh, she grew again. This time it gave her little ** belly which pooched over the waist of her pants, but some of it still went to her breasts.

“Eee!” Also, it looks like her bra just snapped. Hopefully her sports bra is a bit more accommodating.

She glanced around to confirm with one hundred percent certainty no one was in there with her (which, aside from me, there wasn’t) before immediately running back into the stall to strip and inspect the damage.

Now, um, as concerned as I am for her well being, I think we should give her some privacy for now. Let’s go check on Pauli for a minute. Right now, she should be finished for the day and was taking a break in the teacher's lounge, eyeing a box of stale donuts that were sitting on the counter. Despite having had lunch just an hour prior, her stomach was rumbling and she could feel the saliva build inside her mouth. She really knew she shouldn’t, the last thing she needed was a blob of fried sugar to snack on, and under normal circumstances she wouldn’t. Before, Pauline had always hated sugary things, donuts included, and these particular donuts had been sitting on the counter for three days already (I know! How wasteful). But unfortunately, it would seem it wasn’t up to Pauline anymore. To my astonishment, she ended up eating the entire box in less than two minutes, cardboard and all, a feat I assume was assisted by that fact that she she can somehow now unhinge her jaw!

Upon closer inspection, it would appear Pauline is a lot further along than her appearance would suggest. At some point while I was busy with Amanda, Pauline's fake memories had overwhelmed her and she'd given in. Inside her mind, she was fat, she’d always been that way, she always would be. And now that the curse had what it wanted, it was making her increasingly hostile about it. Tears were actually running down her face as her body moved on its own, tear apart cupboards looking for more food. Her whole torso began inflating, bursting the buttons off her shirt while her sleeves split apart at the seams. Her face swelled and a fold formed under her chin, her neck disappearing beneath her broadening shoulders. It was around this time that I realized this was actually happening. The first curse was ready.

Things get more interesting below the waist. Her hips were continuing to widen as expected, but as her legs grew thicker they also seemed to get shorter. At the same time, her butt seemed to be expanding, but in a weird way, like she had a large growth at the base of her spine. As pants burst off below her navel and split along the sides, it became clear that lump was actually her new tail. It was thick, and powerful looking, like a python's, but also flabby, like a... well fed python, and as it grew, her legs continuously retreated until they found a nice perch at the edge of the fridge. They weren’t completely gone, but now they were more like the paddles on an alligator or a newt, the toes extending out into long, hooked talons. Her new tail, about twice as long as her new torso, was thus given the task of holding her upright while she ripped apart the fridge in search of something salty to go with her donuts.

Obviously, all this noise and negative energy was attracting a lot of attention at this point. As soon as one of the teachers saw an obese snake woman blubbering into a fridge before angrily constricting it and smashing it into a wall, they quickly pulled the fire alarm and told everyone to evacuate. On the other side of the school, Sharen was still sitting in history class when her radar suddenly went off, detecting another monster somewhere on school grounds. She didn’t even need to make an excuse to leave, because the fire alarm went off shortly afterwards. Rushing into the hallway, she moved to break away from everyone else when suddenly, she was intercepted by someone grabbing her shoulder.

Turning around, she found her friend Sam... or, at least, it seemed like it was her friend Sam. They had the same face, but this person had a very intense and angry looking glare behind her glasses. She was also a lot stronger than Sam, because she couldn’t wriggle out her grip, and it was actually starting to hurt.

“We need to talk, now.”

“I'm kind of busy right now.” She shouted over the blaring alarm and flowing crowd of people. She kept trying to move or slip out her grip, but Sam held fast. Wait, was she getting taller.

“Then I’ll go with you. This is important.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. You have to get outside where it’s safe-

“I’m not leaving until here me out.”

“Sam this isn’t the time! There's... there’s something here in the school that I need to deal with.” Way to maintain your cover.

“You mean you’re going to ‘help’ again? Because that’s what I need to talk to you about.”

At this point, Sharen was getting sick of Sam's games and just used her ability enhancement magic to smack her hand off. An ill advised move, since on a normal person, that might’ve been enough to injure or at least bruise her wrist.

“Listen, I don’t know what your deal is, but I don’t have time for this. I’ve gotta get changed.”

Dodging Sam’s grapple, she ran off towards the restrooms looking for an empty stall to transform inside of in order to avoid prying eyes. But Sam simply chased after her, even as they weaved through the flood of people and ignored the shouts of concerned faculty members. Eventually the two made it to an abandoned hallway where Sam was able to corner her outside the restroom.

“Stop following m-oof!” Before she could even finish, Sam slammed her against a wall of lockers, creating a metallic clang.

“Not until you stop ignoring me! I need to talk to you before you go off on another monster hunt.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve got some lousy timing, don’t you think? Because there’s one tearing up the school right now.”

“No. We need to talk about this now before you hurt someone you care about!” Heh, yeah.

On that note, I think this restroom seems a bit familiar.  Suddenly, there was a loud thud and a crash coming from the restroom to their right. Sounds like Tessa was having a hard time.

Shortly after the alarm was pulled, the sound caused Tessa to freak out. Her transformation apparently gave her sensitive hearing which was currently working to her detriment. And even worse, the stress of the situation appeared to be accelerating the affects. Her already enlarged ears became longer and pointy, moving to the top of her head. Meanwhile, her fingers began to stretch in long claws, and a thin membrane of skin grew between each digit and under her arms. Her body began to shrink even further as she curled in on herself, trying her best to shut out the noise by covering her ears with her gnarled palms. Eventually, it became to much for her to process, and she was forced to flee.

Despite her flabby waist and large bust, she proved remarkable agile. Driven by instinct, instead of wasting time trying to unlock the door with her webbed fingers, she instead vaulted over the door to the stall and jumped on top of the sink, causing it to break under her weight. This, plus a sudden reading from Sharen's radar, got the duo’s attention, and while she was distracted, Sharen pushed Sam off and started transforming. Unfortunately, the arming sequence takes a total of ten seconds to fully complete, which was not fast enough to intercept Tessa.

To say her new form looked awkward would be an understatement. At this point, the membrane of skin forming between her now massive fingers had formed a pair of furled wings, which extended out behind her like spikes beneath her forearms. Her arms themselves had extended out quite a bit while her legs had actually shortened, forcing her to run on all fours like a primate. A very fast, large primate, but still. And of course, her torso was anything but lithe. If anything, now that everything but her arms appeared to have been squashed down, her body actually looked rounder. Her waist had formed two small but distinct rolls of belly fat, and her hips were now much wider than they were before, but the real show was happening around her chest, which had long since been freed from the confines of her bra. All this came together to give her a rather pudgy, top heavy looking hour glass figure. Her face looked mostly the same, albeit wider, so now her chubby cheeks were forcing her tiny eyes half shut and her lips into a pout, but as the alarm went off, she rhythmically grimaced, showing off the new set of fangs she was hiding underneath. Also, it appeared her hair was getting longer, as the bangs also did a good job covering her sensitive eyes. She wasn’t so much running in particular direction anymore as she was running away from the sound, but she could tell based off the way it bounced off the walls if she was about to run into something.

Long before Sharen had finished her own transformation, Tessa had already ran passed them and turned a corner, apparently still having the wherewithal to avoid confronting them in her current condition. As soon as she had her bow equipped, Sharen's first instinct was to chase after it, since it looked pretty small, and the fact that it was running away meant it probably wasn’t very strong either. But then, her radar reminded her that there was another source of negative energy on the other side of the school, and based on the readings, it was causing a lot more damage. Against her better judgement, in order to silence the irritating buzzing her visor was making she would have to prioritize going after the bigger one first.

“What is it? Is it bad?”

“Damn it, there’s two of them. One of them is wrecking the main office, while the other is getting away.”

“I'll help. I can handle the other one, but only if you promise to take it easy, even if you are on your own.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? I can take care of myself. And since when do I need your help-

“This isn’t like last time, Share'. The fact that they’re at the school means that they're teachers, maybe even students. You need to take this more seriously before you actually hurt someone.”

Sharen didn’t respond at first. She just stared blankly, and then glared at her, feeling patronized. Sam shut her eyes and exhaled.

“Just go. We’ll talk about this later.” And before Sharen had a chance to reply, Sam ran off after Tessa.

 

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Are you ready, because I’m ready. It’s time to start the preliminaries.

Sharen was kind of stunned, for a moment at least. She’d never seen her friend act like this before, especially not during a situation like this. For a moment, Sharen tried to think back on what might’ve caused this, what she might've done to upset her. But she didn’t have time to think over all of it now. The visor was picking up spiking danger levels, meaning civilians were in jeopardy. She would just have to deal with Sam later.

Meanwhile, Sam had to maintain a full sprint just to keep the flighty Tessa in her sights. She’d followed the bat creature down the next hallway, towards the gymnasium, where it likely planned to lose her by dashing towards the stands. Up the stairs, at the top of the stands, was a balcony with a door in the back, that connected to the pool locker room. Once Tessa reached the top of the stairs, she tried to open the door by pulling down on the handle with her thumb and head butting the door inward, but the handle wouldn’t budge. It was locked. Realizing she was cornered, Tessa's ear pricked up, hearing heavy footsteps behind her. She quickly tried heel turning and jumping out over the railing and onto the bleachers, but by then Sam had already caught up. She was panting, but alert, her eyes locked on Tessa with an intense gaze that startled the already frightened Tessa.

“Hey! Easy, I don’t want hurt you.”

Sam lifted up her hands where Tessa could see them, while doing what she could to spread herself out, hoping to stop the creature from jumping past her. Tessa shook and stared up at her, unfurling her right wing and hissing defensively.

“Look, I know you don’t want to get hurt, but I just want to help you. You want to be human again, right?” Sam did her best to soften her expression as she looked into the creature's eyes, partially obscured by black hair. But, as she examined the creature, the ripped T-shirt and jeans, the shade of hazel she peered into, and even the pattern on her exposed underwear, a flash of recognition came over her face.

“Tessa?!”

Tessa recoiled at the sound of her own name, backing herself further away from Sam, into a corner.

“But how? How did this happen to you? You were fine just a few hours ago. Why did this happe-“ Whoa, ease off their, tiger.

Oop, never mind. During her inquiry, Sam ended up getting a little too closer for Tessa's liking, so she lashed out, lunging forth and tackling Sam. Even with her enhanced strength, Tessa wasn’t in a position to absorb the impact and got knocked backward... out onto the stairs behind her. The two of them tumbled down together for a bit before Tessa managed to untangle her arms from Sam’s, leaving her to roll the rest of the way to the bottom. Sam then proceeded to face plant at the bottom of the steps onto the hardwood gym floor. Thankfully her glasses had fallen off (and gotten smashed), because otherwise I’d worry she’d have injured her eyes at this point. Her body was pretty badly bruised, and while she had managed to tuck her head in during the initial impact, after Tessa let go, the snapping motion her body made probably gave her a concussion. So, for lack of a better option, Sam just kind of lied there, face down and quaking with pain.

When Tessa saw what she’d done, the frightened and nebulous eyes she’d developed suddenly cleared. Instead of taking the opportunity to escape, Tessa came down the stairs and stared down at her former friend. The animalistic fear that had been governing her behavior up until now actually began to fade, replaced by guilt and concern. Memories of her friend came back to the surface, and despite her limited mental capabilities, Tessa realized what she’d done and... and started crying. Um, I... *cough* anyway, recognizing the fact that moving her might cause more damage, instead, she began wrapping her wings around her protectively. And that’s when their respective curses began to react, almost like what happened with Amanda’s powers: the curses were trying to link together.

Intrigued and more than eager to help at this point, I decided to help the process along, even sparing some of the curse energy Pauline had been stockpiling for me by harassing the other teachers. The pain Sam was suffering from flowed into Tessa’s body, causing her to seize up and grit her teeth. But it was not just pain being shared between them, and this was not a one sided exchange, like one of Amanda’s links. Instead, feelings began to flow between the two, causing their respective curses to become something more... balanced. I'd never seen anything like this in my curses before, but then again, I don’t think I’ve ever cursed two people with this level trust between one another. As much as I want to stay here and keep an eye on these two, it doesn’t really look like they’re going anywhere, and right now, Pauline’s rampage was my main source of sustenance. I had to know what she was doing. So, with a heavy heart, I turned my attention away from them and turned back towards my other monitors.

It wasn’t too difficult to find her: her massive girth at this point made it difficult for her to go very far in this cramped building. Pauline’s body had only gotten bigger since I last left her. Not only had she gotten substantially thicker, with her torso looking more spherical by the second. She now had pretty substantial double belly which ripple above her wide snake hips, as well as thick, stocky looking arms which actually seemed to have the firmness of muscle behind them. Her tail had gotten longer and thicker as well, tripling in length and doubling in width. It now had a spiked dorsal fin running down it’s length, and she’d sprouted extra feet in the back to help with propulsion. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, her face had undergone some changes as well. Her eyes were now bright red with slit pupils, like a tree frog, and her teeth had been replaced with a set of snake fangs. Lastly, her ears had extended out into a set of webbed fins, which popped up when she became distressed. Like right now, when Sharen shot another arrow at her.

Yes, as expected, the priestess had managed to find and corner her at this point, but for some reason she was having trouble finishing her off despite seemingly having the advantage. Sharen's path into the teacher’s lounge was actually blocked by her mother's tail, so she was stuck firing at her through the doorway in order to avoid literally leaping into a snake pit. Her mother’s new size and the cramped quarters of their arena actually worked in her favor, since the priestess couldn’t get a clear shot at the curse inside her body with her tail and the walls of the enclosure constantly getting in the way, not to mention the fact that she wasn’t out of range of her mother’s tail flicks. Every time Sharen attempted to get closer or enter the teacher’s lounge, the tail would shoot out, attempting to either wrap around her and drag her in or slam her against the wall. Eventually, Sharen had gotten so pissed she decided to take drastic measures, attempting to catch the tail and bind it to one of the walls in the hallway. This would hopefully move her shield out of the way and give her a clearer shot at her chest, but the tip of the tail was too fast for her to catch one handed. Finally, she reluctantly holstered her bow to free her other hand, at which point she tried to tackle the slippery tail with her whole body. As intended, she managed to get a grip on it, but sadly, she failed to get a foot hold.

Unsurprisingly, Sharen was yanked into the lounge, slamming her head on the ceiling in the process, before being wrapped. Pauline’s tail was now coated in a layer of smooth but durable scales which slid across Sharen’s armored body, draining the body heat from her exposed skin. With her prey temporarily subdued, Pauline went in for the kill, biting into the exposed flesh of Sharen’s neck like a vampire and injecting her with... venom? Hold on a second, there’s something odd about that stuff. It’s almost like- Oh! Ouch! Sharen retaliated by activating her barrier, slightly singeing her mom’s face in the process. She quickly began to expand the barrier into a sphere, wriggling out of the tail's grip while she was distracted. Stunned and temporarily blinded by that last move, Pauline attempted to retaliate by thrashing about, smashing what little intact furniture in the room remained and slamming Sharen into the ceiling again. Someone’s off their game today.

Deciding she had enough of this, Pauline shook off the last of the pain (thankfully the damage did appear to be healing) and exited the room by smashing through the window... along with most of the wall surrounding it. My guess was that she wanted to put some distance between them while she was still recuperating, and like most of my little idiots before her, this was checkmate. Now that she’d sacrificed the close quarters of the teacher’s lounge, the priestess held the range advantage again. All she needed was a good vantage point to get a clear shot, which would come sooner rather than later if Pauline kept slithering towards the baseball diamond. A crowd of evacuated students and teachers began screaming and shouting as a gigantic, mostly naked snake woman slithered out onto the track field just yards away from the evacuation point, still waiting for the fire department to arrive. Hm?

Oh, would you look at that. I’m almost half full! You know, it would actually kind of suck if things were to end here. It’s been so long since I’ve... felt this much from my curses. But I shouldn’t get my hopes up just because things were different. I still need at least twice as much curse power to even attempt to break the seal. And with only one curse actively running amok, and with the priestess hot on their heels it was only a matter of time before this little experiment finally fizzled out. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Anyway, Sharen herself was still reeling after that last attack. Her armor was currently using some stored backup energy to repair the damage, so she wasn’t in a lot of pain. But, now that I’ve had a closer look again... the damage is actually pretty severe. I don’t think she’s realized it yet, though. Sharen has tanked poison based attacks before, even without her armor, and while she feels unsteady at the moment, she can feel her armor rapidly cleansing the toxins from her blood. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize that wound was more than physical. There was curse energy mixed in with the poison.

I’m not a huge nerd like the psycho who invented it, so I’m not super clear on how it works myself, but the bow of Gaia and all the annoying accessories contained within it use a special type of magic energy that breaks down curses. Her barrier, her arrows, and all of her physical augmentations and gadgets run on this same power source. In addition, even while her armor and bow aren’t equipped, she's constantly surrounded by a thin membrane of the stuff which prevents her from being cursed while off the clock and it also doubles as a pretty good shield against physical damage as well (case in point, having your head slam into things multiple times without getting a concussion). The energy can even be used to heal minor injuries and fight off poisons by locally speeding up the body's natural healing process. This system isn’t perfect, obviously, which is why the bow puts up so many layers of defense in the first place. This energy isn’t normally all that safe for humans when ingested, and as a result it can’t go inside them to heal injuries without going through a special process first. This process takes up a lot of the bow's energy and also reduces its ability to fight curses.

So, in other words, our little priestess is going to be fighting with a handicap. I can’t believe it. The first real stroke of luck I’ve had in almost 200, no, 250 years! I can’t mess this up now. I’ve got to figure out a way to take a more active role in this fight!

Let’s see... Sam and Tessa aren’t ready yet with... whatever it is their doing... I still have Amanda, but she hasn’t reached the obsessive stage... hey, wait minute. Where is Amanda? She’s not in the classroom, obviously, but she’s not with her class at the rendezvous point either. Let’s see, the trail of curse energy leads outside towards... the track?

Ah, here she is, right in front of... Pauline. She was just standing there, gazing up into Pauline’s red eyes, a condescending look of amusement on her face. I felt it again. A weird connection between the two cursed parties. Their intense rivalry surged back into her mind as Pauline glared down at Amanda, clearly not pleased with this turn of events. Below the waist, she was an enormous leviathan, while above, she was a naked obese woman with vaguely monstrous but still somewhat cute facial features.

Meanwhile Amanda stood in stark contrast to her, possessing a tall, willowy form that had definitely changed since I last saw her. She had to have grown at least a foot, seemingly without gaining a pound, considering how thin her face and lanky her limbs were. And yet, she also seemed strong and durable, like a work of ceramic. As she raised a hand to push her glasses up her nose with a smug grin on her face, I realized those weren’t the only changes, as I noticed what first appeared to be a black glove was actually a black exoskeleton forming on her fingers. Behind her glasses, her eyes had a fine hexagonal pattern along the edges.

“Love the new look, Pauline. It really suits you.”

Pauline gave a hiss in response, rearing up a bit.

“No, I mean it. You look cuter this way.” She wasn’t lying. I could feel a flood of lust energy spilling out of her as she gazed into Pauline’s exposed waist.

Tired of being ogled at, Pauline growled and whipped her tail at the woman, but to both our surprise, Amanda just leaped over it, clearing not only her tail, but Pauline’s head, landing on the base of her tail on the other side. She placed a hand on Pauline’s exposed back, and their curses began to synchronize. I’m still not quite sure what is happening, but if at the very less I learn something from this phenomenon, I’ll indulge you for now. I allowed their curses to link together.

However, rather than merging together and sharing negativity like Sam and Tessa did, this felt more like the classic Amanda move of burdening someone else with her feelings. In this case, however, instead of more shame, she added lust into Pauline’s body, causing her calm down immediately and begin cooing and purring in a friendly manner. Once this linking process was over, they both turned their eyes on the crowd of people watching in shock and awe. With just a casual pointing gesture from Amanda, Pauline began charging at them full speed.

Hey, hey, HEY! What makes you think you can give my minions orders! And also, how are you doing that so well? I peer closer into Amanda’s mind to get a better idea of what she’s doing, but unfortunately I didn’t find much. Apparently, during the chaos, she’d looked upon the eyes of the high school girls being evacuated, the bored, the inattentive, the confused, and the genuinely fearful, and let her fantasies overwhelm her. She’d given in. Now, all that was on her mind was her gross kink of making everyone else fat but her. She was fully cursed.

And right on cue, she stripped away her jacket and allowed her shirt to be torn away, revealing what she’d been hiding underneath for who knows how long. Her body, her skin, had been segmented by long geometric patterns along her torso and arms, and attached to her sides just below the chest were a set of... extra arms, like insects, which were coated in a black exoskeleton with little pincers at the ends. On her back were a set of furry, white, moth wings with black patterns currently scrunched up with her wings folded. Now that she had freed them from their confines, she quickly unfurled them, briefly revealing the menacing black eye shapes cover their surface before fluttering them into a frenzy. Rather than ride on Pauline’s back, she now hovered just above her as the moved as a unit to the now scattering crowd of people.

Grinning maniacally, Mandy suddenly shot straight and began circling then entire field  with increasing speed, as she did so, her curse began to flicker violently and she began releasing a faint but visible powder onto the crowd below. At first, I thought it was just a poison, something to slow them down and make it easier to do... whatever it was they were planning on doing. My victims generally don’t eat people, but with Pauline who can say?

But then, Pauline actually joined in. Her cheeks suddenly swelled with some kind of liquid which she then sprayed into the air as mist, which mixed with the powder. The poison vapor seemed to be doing its job fairly well, as the crowds movements began to slow down, their panic began to fade, instead being replaced a feeling of general despair and submission. Some even stopped running and just fell lazy to their hands and knees, suddenly losing the motivation to keep running. And as the number of victims began to pile up, I felt a familiar pull coming from Amanda. She wanted me to curse them through her. Again, I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I don’t feel like the one in control here, although, then again, I guess I’m never really “in control” in that sense, but damn it, I like to keep up the illusion every once in a while. On the other hand, I guess this is technically a good thing. The victims are in a chemical induced stupor, forcing them to wallow in despair and making them perfect targets for more curses, and I am curious to see how this will play out, but I have know idea how this will affect Amanda. She’s I’ve basically gutted her original personality by flogging all her inhibitions onto others, so I’m a little worried this might stretch her a bit to thin. And me, for that matter! I’m not made of curses over here!

Oh shit. And of course while I was pondering all this, the priestess finally decided to step out of her hiding hole and open fire on the moth woman. Thankfully, the shot had an uncharacteristically short range, probably due to the poison, so it whiffed, but this still meant time was running out. Fuck it! I’ve come this far, let’s for the big play. I jab Mandy in the back and start pumping her with curse energy, which she quickly spreads evenly amongst her victims with her powder. Almost immediately, I felt a pretty big return on my investment as a strong and steady stream of curse energy washed over me from the direction of the school.

Everyone who’d succumbed to the affects of the poison began mutating, right in front of the priestess's face! Her stunned expression alone totally made this worth it. Sharen could only stand their in shock and horror, as her classmates flopped helplessly on the ground, their bodies swelling until they nearly burst from their clothes. I was noticing something of a pattern in the victims: the inevitability of their fates in their minds and the loss of their energy result in their mutations being very... corpulent, to put it mildly, with a noticeable insectoid theme. As the crowd expanded into obesity, some of the bigger ones grew long, fat, tails, and extra stubbier arms, like a caterpillar. Their eyes clouded over into a single color as they stared off into the distance, some half heartedly trying to escape before giving and flopping forward into their guts. Aside from Amanda and Pauline, who appeared to be rather enjoying the current turn of events (a little too much, if you ask me), basically everyone on that field had slipped into a coma of apathy and misery, effectively creating me a farm of negative energy. And, oh boy, was it working. I had to waste a lot of power to set it up, but now, as long as Pauline and Amanda could stall Sharen for a few minutes I get it all back and then some. Speaking of which, at this point, she’d recovered from the shock, just in time to dodge a dive attack from Amanda.

Quickly turning around, Amanda flapped her wings aggressively in Sharen’s direction, attempting to do another poison curse combo attack. However, unlike the incident earlier, the priestess's passive defenses were enough to keep the effects at bay, and she retaliated by firing an arrow at her. It whiffed, and Mandy smirked down at her before going in for another dive bomb. Sharen attempted to block with her barrier and get a net ready to catch her, but while she was distracted, Pauline closed the distance between them and slashed the barrier with a tail whip. In her weakened state, the barrier couldn’t with stand the rapid succession of attacks, so it ended up collapsing on her as soon as Amanda slammed into it. Dazed by still conscious after the mild collision, soon as she was inside, Amanda hooked onto Sharen’s uniform with her pincers and took off upward, carrying her along for the ride.

“Let-urgh- Let go!”

Amanda gave another cheeky smirk and obliged, dropping her from a height of at least 3 stories. Then, before hitting the ground, she was blindsided by her mom again, knocking her across the field into a wire fence. Yes. YES! This is actually happening! I’m actually winning for once! After putting a pretty sizable dent into the side of the fence, while she wasn’t injured to badly by the fall, Sharen found one of her legs was currently stuck inside of it. She began rapidly ripping the fence apart, trying to free herself before the next onslaught of attacks came, but it was too late. Amanda was practically on top of her again and- wait, is that a trash can?

Yes. Yes it was, apparently. Someone had picked up and thrown a metal trash can into Amanda’s face. And it that wasn’t bad enough, Pauline was currently preoccupied dealing with a familiar looking bat-like creature. Sharen turned and risked a look behind her, and in the distance, she spotted a tall, muscular, humanoid figure sprinting towards the track field at full speed.

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I’m gonna level with you, I’m not actually sure if I’m happy with how this turned out. The original concept has gone through a lot of changes over the last few weeks. Originally the narrator was just supposed to be a narrator and Amanda was going to be the main antagonist, but then I was all like “hey, what if this was an unreliable narrator kind of story” and I created the monster. Now I’m stuck with a narrator who can’t physically interact with the cast, has biased opinions of all of them, and is doing everything their power to speed things along as much as possible. I’m hoping to fix this in part two, but if I could do it over again, I’d probably write some chapters from the priestess’s POV to improve the pacing. On the plus side, we haven’t fallen off the rails yet, so the plot is still more or less the same as the original concept.

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All right, it’s almost final boss time. Here we go.

Sharen’s savior was female, although her age was difficult to judge because of her size. She had to be at least 6 and a half feet tall, and her body was covered in muscle. Also her skin was bright pink, and her hair was platinum gray tied into a messy bun. Her eyes were completely yellow with no pupils, like they’d rolled into the back of her head, and her teeth had become serrated and pointy. Sam had changed a lot since I last saw her. I really need more practice juggling multiple curses at once.

Anyway, it would appear Sam and Tessa had come to their friend’s rescue, albeit somewhat begrudgingly, evidenced by the fact that instead of helping her too her feet, Sam just ran right past Sharen towards Amanda, leaving her stuck in the fence to fend for herself. Hey, genius, I know you’re new at this, but if you’re going to save her, you probably shouldn’t leave her pinned like that. Or, better yet, you could do your actual job and STEP ON HER! Why are you fighting each other, you idiots!

It seems this “power of friendship” nonsense my favorite shows keep going on about is a more serious threat than I thought, because now my curses were actually working against me! Well, I mean, not really. If I wanted to, I probably could just yank the curses out of them and turn them back to normal, but... I mean, it’s not like this isn’t what I want either, exactly. They’re still producing curse energy for me, in fact now that they’re in combat, the amount has actually increased. And I mean, it’s not like I care about humans getting hurt and all, but if I change them back now... err, decisions! Screw it! I’ll just let them duke it out until the priestess recovers. Then if Sam breaks her neck fighting Amanda moth, it'll be on her.

And now that I think about...

All right then, have it you little scamps. I’ll be sure to discipline you later. Sharen, for her part, was having trouble processing this turn of events. Naturally, she wasn’t nearly as observant as Sam was, so she hasn’t recognized any of the cursed parties yet. So now she’s confused as to why this ogress and bat woman are helping her. She actually considers shooting some of them in the back while they’re distracted, so she can deal with them now rather than later. Geez! I knew you could be cold, but that’s too much. Of course she doesn’t do that, because even she isn’t that stupid. After all, she’s still stuck in the fence, and surprisingly, Sharen could hear her friend's words echoing in the back of her mind. She grimaced at the thought, as acknowledging this meant the fight became that much more difficult.

Finally digging the metal out of her boot, Sharen materialized a net to throw over Amanda and dashed over towards where she and Sam were fighting. Sam was actually performing pretty well, considering she was fighting someone who can fly, empty handed. Unlike Sharen, who let herself get picked up off the ground without her barrier to help, Sam actually deflected Amanda’s dive attacks with a solid block and countered by taking a swipe at her. Of course, due to the nature of their mutations, neither one was making much headway against the other. Their curses meant that physical damage had little to no lasting effects, so even though Sam was landing a lot more hits, she wasn’t really “winning”. Sharen stood by with the net, making her presence known to both bodies. Sam took advantage of her presence first, grappling and throwing Mandy to allow Sharen to throw the net over her. But, rather than just let this happen, Amanda latched onto Sam’s arm and held on for dear life, flapping violently to throw her heavier body off balance.

While this worked, it only succeeded in getting them both ensnared, so I’m afraid I can’t give you any kudos for your quick thinking. The net, which was a mesh of that anti-curse energy I mentioned earlier, quickly began dealing damage to them, burning their mutant skin on contact and tangling the two of them together. It won’t be enough to cure them, since it needs to penetrate into their body at a specific point, but it’ll definitely hold them in place while the priestess deals with the last two, especially if they kept tangling themselves together. But I won’t lift the curse on Sam. Not yet. Even though I know it’s hurting her, she won’t be in any better shape as a human strapped to a raging moth woman. And besides, I just thought of an interesting back up plan, and it’ll work better if I draw this out. Reaching out, I start linking up their curses together (through the underside, careful not to touch the net) now that they’re in close proximity to each other. It’s a bit more tedious since the link is non consensual, and it also doesn’t do much as a result, but I’ll still need it later. There. Now, back to the fight.

Pauline is being subjected to the same tactics Amanda was using earlier, except instead of attempting to lift her off the ground, Tessa merely slashed at her with her talons and bit the arms Pauline used to swipe at her. She did get knocked down every once in a while when Pauline managed to put some distance between the two of them, but she wasn’t able to coil around her fast enough to catch her. I had to work fast, since it was obvious Pauline would be taken out first. During each of their clashes, I worked feverishly to link them together, attempting to exploit the link Amanda had made between her and Pauline earlier. Much to my good fortune, it was still somewhat intact. There.

Now, to let things play out. I really hope this works. Because if not, I’ll have wasted four curses for nothing.

Sharen began firing at her mom again while she was still busy blocking hits from Tessa, and actually managed to nail her in the back, getting dangerously close to the curse's core, inside her chest. Unfortunately, her piercing power was still limited by the curse energy flowing through her veins. At this point that was basically all that was left of the bite's damage, since the physical toxins mixed in during the bite were already flushed out by her kidneys. I'd only ever had one other case like this before, and it wasn’t nearly as severe, so I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be weakened like this, but her handicap definitely wasn’t as substantial as before. Most of her range is back now, so she just kept her distance, firing weaker shots into her mother’s tail and back until the curse eventually fell apart. Pauline began to shrink, her hits having a little less impact with every arrow she took, ironically as though a poison were spreading throughout her body. She was breathing heavily and would probably be in a lot of pain if it weren’t for all the adrenaline running through her. Eventually she just fell forward and didn’t get up, although she kept struggling. Realizing the fight was over, Sharen stopped firing and Tessa landed on the opposite side of her, trying to keep her distance from Tessa and look as non-threatening as possible. Pauline’s tail melted away while her legs rematerialized, meanwhile, I kid you not, the way her torso rippled and shrunk inward reminded me of air being let out of a balloon. Pauline was back to normal, all be it naked, exhausted, covered in bruises and ironically probably starving after all that slithering and poison spitting. Toxins are not easy to make, magic or otherwise.

But this wasn’t over yet. My link was still hooked up to her, even without a curse at the other end, although it only remained because I was clinging onto it for dear life. And more importantly, what I was looking for was still in there too. As I suspected, her memories remained in their altered state. Even if the curse was lifted from all of them, it’s likely the same would hold true for the other victims.

Sharen had a look of shock on her face, something that had become a common occurrence today, but this time it was cranked to eleven by a dash of despair as she recognized her mother’s face. She realized she hadn’t recognized her own mother, and had treated her as she would have any random thug. And even worse, now she was with her mother, naked, in public. Doesn’t get much more awkward than that. Can’t wait to see how she’ll react when she purifies her friends.

But for now, she runs to her mother’s aid, desperately searching the field for something to cover her up with. Thankfully, Amanda’s jacket was left intact (albeit a bit muddy) after she’d stripped it off right before her big reveal, so she at least had that to throw over her.

“Mom? Mom?! Are you okay?!” Sharen, in blatant disregard for her identity, began shaking and yelling into her mother’s ear.

“Eugh, mmph, not now sweety. I’ll make cookies later. Five more minutes.” Ah good. She was still responsive, and still had the energy for snark to boot.

Sighing with relief, she stood, bow in hand, and looked over at Tessa. Tessa’s self preservation instincts kicked in again, and she attempted to make a quick take off. But before she could, Sharen had already fired an arrow into her chest, taking her out in an instant. Two down, two to go... plus or minus a few of whatever those things are, she thought, referring to the mutated students and staff, still wallowing away in the poisoned mud. Sharen rushed back to deal with the two caught under the net. She doesn’t stop to see who the bat creature was.

Sam was basically smothering Amanda into submission to get her to stop wriggling so much, but this made her the easier target of the two. Once again taking the pragmatic approach, Sharen fired an arrow into her friend’s chest, disrupting the curse inside, before widening the net and letting her slide out. Sam choked and cough on her hands and knees before regress back to her normal size, and once again, Sharen found herself shocked, and also... a little angry, perhaps? As Sam looked up into Sharen’s eyes after reverting back, the two glared at one another before turning back to Amanda.

Well, this is it. All my links are ready, and everyone else has been changed back. It’s taking everything I have just to hold everything together, but I have to wait until Amanda is cured too. I need a clean slate for this to work. Amanda glanced up at Sharen, a look of fear spreading across her face as she desperately tried to untangle her crippled wings, but it was no use. At point blank, Amanda fired an arrow into her back, right between the shoulder blades, causing those wings to disintegrate. Her body pulled itself inward, without actually shrinking, causing her to puff back up to her original weight. Defeated, Sharen removed the net allowed the woman who tortured to lie on the ground, moaning. She had to deal with the others now, starting with offering a hand up to her friend, which was swatted away.

Almost... there... all right, it’s gone. Time to get to work. I can only do one at a time, but if I work fast, it shouldn’t matter. I had to do this in the right order. First, there’s Tessa. I started forcing curse energy through her down the link, forcing out the inhibitors placed inside her by by her previous curse, the ones that belonged to Amanda. The link was shaky, but it held as the flow made its way to Pauline, still regaining conscious. Slowly, it wormed its way through her mind, removing the shame, the lust, the stress, and even some of her physical pain, and pushed along with everything else, down the tube. It was an uphill battle from here.

Even now, I’m still not entirely sure what makes Amanda so special, how she was able to push off and manipulate my curses the way she did with the others, even after I basically figured out how to do it myself. Even now as she lied defeated on the ground, her subconscious was doing its best to hinder my progress, to push her unwanted “flaws” onto someone else. But in the end, her trick would never have worked without me, and I know how to play these games too now. Speaking of which, turn my attention towards Sam while I work. She’s got a lot on her mind, obviously, but for now she’s keeping them to herself until the crisis is fully averted. She has a warm, but brief and somewhat awkward hug with Tessa after seeing she was all right before turning to watch her friend purify the remaining student.

Then she heard Amanda gasping as I worked to drill her lost personality traits back into her skull and flooded her with curse energy. Sam immediately ran over to hold her down as she began to spasm and choke. And as soon as that was finished I went to work on Sam. I began to push the foreign hostility, my hostility, out of her brain and into Amanda, reverting her back to her original personality... in theory at least. Amanda began to tremble, veins appearing on her neck and forehead as a vortex of negative emotions swirled and churned away inside her mind.

It was at this point that Sharen also noticed what was happening thanks to the spike in negative energy, and turned away from the mutated students to see what was happening.

So listen, I know I’m breaking my rule here, and under normal circumstances, I’d be a lot less inclined to reinfect Amanda after such a long and productive day. This has probably been my most successful day of cursing in my entire prison sentence. Even with all the power I just wasted on this last play, I still had a sizable net profit compared to what I started with today. But this isn’t about just “breaking even”. I’m trying to make it to one hundred and ten percent, and I’m not going to make it there if I keep half-assing it. And more importantly, now that everyone has had their curses removed, it seems only fair I put everything back to the way it was.

And of course, there’s Amanda. Poor, poor, Amanda. The one who made all of this possible. If it’s any consolation, I am sorry. I should just let you go in peace, give you time to recover after you helped me come so far. But we’re not finished yet. You still owe me one last favor. So get up.

 

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