Summary:In the Kingdom of Etheria, Mark was a nobody with no future ahead of him. But little did he know fate had already set in motion a sequence of events that would ultimately and magically transform him into his nation’s new princess. A gender transformation he didn’t ask for or want — but one that would save an entire kingdom from certain doom and destruction.
On your world, scientists are now discovering the existence of other universes. Alternate realities where the laws of nature may be very similar—or quite different. In some of these universes, life may be exactly like it is in your own, with only a few minor exceptions. In other universes, things are so different, nothing would be recognizable at all.
But one universe in particular is of note. This universe is very much like the one you’re already familiar with. Earth is still the third planet from the sun. Humans have evolved on this alternate reality Earth, just like your own. But there are some key differences. Due to a small decimal point being moved over one digit in some universal mathematical equation, electricity never became possible. As such, technology never progressed past the medieval era. This is a world of kings and castles and brave knights who fight with swords. Everything’s made of wood and stone. People travel on foot or by horse. Even the biggest cities never grow beyond several thousand people.
But that one minor adjustment in the law of physics also produced another interesting side effect.
Yes, spells and sorcery and wily witches and more—is very much a part of everyday life in this world. Not everybody can do it. Only a few rich enough, or rebellious and determined enough, have the time or resources to study and begin mastering the control of magic. Most towns have a local witch or wizard to cast various enchantments—a favorable harvest, a desired pregnancy, a mild winter, that sort of thing—as well as protect the village from the various evil creatures that roam the wilds and occasionally stumble upon human settlements. The king, certainly, has a royal wizard for all things magical and divine. Duties like peering into the future, providing health and longevity to the royal family, and empowering the knights who courageously battled demons and dragons on behalf of the kingdom’s safety. But to the average citizen, magic may have been a part of life, but not one they directly had any personal access to or control over.
Now, I know you, dear reader, may also have an interest in stories about men who get magically transformed into women. I mention this particular world to you because, as you may have rightly guessed, someone very special was recently transformed into the opposite sex.
A young man, an ordinary nobody, who fate had chosen to become somebody very important. An unexpected transformation, forced upon him, against his wishes and desires. But a transformation that, intended or not, ended up saving us all.
This is his, or rather, her story.
* * *
This was the town of Lost Angels, home to 425 people, not including cows, horses, or chickens. It resided on the southern west coast of the Etheria Kingdom. A beautiful village, surrounded by mountains on three sides, a vast ocean on the other. Its port welcomed trade from many other kingdoms.
Which meant a bustling, diverse marketplace in the town center.
Exotic foods. Precious jewelry. Rare artifacts.
Mark was eighteen years old. He had completed his schooling. His father wanted him to enlist in the King’s Royal Army. But Mark was no fighter. He was physically weak and scrawny to begin with. A little short for a boy his age too. But he was fast. He could run like no other. When it came to sprinting and distance running, there was no competition.
That’s why he became a foot messenger. A courier of sorts, for local hand-to-hand deliveries and urgent postal mail.
Today, he needed to pick something up from the marketplace to be delivered to a wealthy client.
It was crowded today. A new ship had recently docked, unloading its goods from all over the far eastern world. People from all over, even neighboring villages, came to see what goods and spices and trinkets could be purchased. It was exceptionally hot and humid that day as well. Which made the crowds not very pleasing to the senses.
Mark worked his way through the crowd. “Excuse me, coming through, pardon me…” Where was it? He needed to find a specific merchant. His shop had to be somewhere nearby.
Mark bumped into a pretty girl.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” she shouted.
He laid eyes on her.
Wow. She was beautiful.
The hair. Those eyes. Her smile. Awww… he melted inside, just looking at her.
“What?” she remarked snarkily.
“Nothing. Sorry. I’ll be on my way.” He pushed through the crowds and left her behind.
There it was! He found the shop.
Goodman’s Curiosities: Magical Oddities from Around the World. That’s what the painted wooden sign read. He stepped inside. Slightly less crowded in there, mainly because everything was too expensive for the common folk.
He approached the trader in the back.
“Excuse me,” Mark said. “Are you Gilbert Goodman?”
Gilbert Goodman had a lazy eye. His clothes were made of purple silk with gold-laced trims. His feet wore leather strap sandals with solid gold buttons. His hair was thinning and balding, but other than that, he was a fairly handsome elderly man. “The one and only,” he replied.
“I’m the messenger you summoned for. I’m here to pick up the item for Lady Bethany Steers.”
“The bard? Excellent!”
Gilbert Goodman unlocked a case and reached deep inside. He dug around for a bit.
“Ah hah!” he said. “Here it is.”
He handed it to Mark.
It was a small exotic glass perfume bottle. Something clearly from a distant and foreign land. Inside was a sparkling pink liquid. Sparkling, as if by magical enchantment.
“Is this magical?” Mark asked.
Gilbert Goodman shrugged.
“If it’s magical, there’s a chaos hazard surcharge.”
“Yes, yes, fine, fine.” Gilbert Goodman handed Mark an extra two gold coins. “Here you go, sonny. Now hurry. She’s been waiting weeks for this. It only finally just arrived this morning. But you know celebrities. They want everything ‘yesterday’.”
Mark held it in his hands. The pink sparkles reflected in his eyes. There was something so alluring about it. He rarely held magically enchanted items. Usually it was just letters or payments or random packages people were too busy to pick up for themselves.
He could probably sell this on the black market for a lot of money. If only he knew what exactly it was enchanted to do. Lady Steers was a popular traveling bard. She sang and danced exotically in one town performance after another. Sort of a local celebrity. She was young and beautiful. Maybe this pink liquid helped her sing and dance better. Maybe that’s why she was so famous. Maybe she had a magical advantage. Maybe her voice was enchanted to make men and women fall in love with her.
Personally, Mark hated magic. It kept the wealthy in power and prevented the poor, like him, from ever getting too far ahead. The system was rigged. He sure wished he could get his hands on some real magic. Maybe he’d cast a luck spell on himself, to get better paying jobs or, you know, get laid a little more often. At least once a year would be nice, even. Running around on foot all day was great. He loved getting a runner’s high. But it didn’t leave much time for a girlfriend. Even when he had one, he’d always come home too tired to do anything about it. She’d want to be all romantic and do stuff—stuff he wanted to do too—but just didn’t have the energy for. The last thing he wanted to do was work more and spend energy pleasing her. He kinda wished he could be the one on bottom for a change, let someone else take over and do all the work. So he could just relax, let go, surrender, and enjoy the moment.
“And tell the Lady her tiara and new costume’s on order, and should arrive on the next ship, sometime next month.”
“Yes, sir,” Mark replied.
“No go. And be careful! That bottle’s expensive!”
Mark nodded, held securely onto the glass perfume bottle, and headed out the door.
Gilbert Goodman returned to lock up the case where he had pulled the perfume bottle from. Then he paused. Sitting there, among several other similar items, was another glass bottle that looked just like it. It also had a pink liquid inside. This one sparkled too, but not as much. Hmm. Did he give Mark the right one? Meh, probably. More sparkles, less sparkles, what’s the difference? He was sure it was the correct one. Yeah, almost definitely sure.
As Mark left, a girl came in. Her cheap hand-me-down clothes signaled she was too poor to afford anything in here. He almost ignored her. Common folk would pop in from time to time, mostly out of curiosity and to wish and dream about owning some of his wares. But then she said an item had been left for her. Something special by the castle wizard. “Ah, yes, right, of course,” he said. He quickly grabbed the other perfume bottle with the slightly-less sparkling pink liquid inside.
Meanwhile, outside, Mark worked his way back through the crowds. And as soon as he exited the marketplace and found himself back in open space, he hit the ground running.
And he ran.
Down the road. Up the hill. Into the mountain foothills. Where only the super rich owned property. Large mansions were scattered about the hillsides here. Luxurious parks and stunning landscapes surrounded them. Mark sure wished he could live in a place like this.
But alas, that was not his fate. He grew up in a poor farmer family. And unless he wanted to till the fields or join the army, he didn’t have many other choices. He fought with his parents many times over the right to be a foot messenger. It wasn’t the most prestigious job, but it was one he enjoyed. He got to meet new people every day. Go to different places. Occasionally travel to nearby towns. It paid enough to get by. Not much else. Not the greatest life in the world, but he learned to like it.
He arrived at the Lady Bethany Steers’ mansion. Two tall pillars created a grand archway entrance to her estate. He was quite exhausted. He’d been running the last sixteen miles. After this delivery, he’d walk back into town and find something to eat. For now, a celebrity needed this pink-filled vial. Was it some exotic smell? Made from rare flowers a continent away?
He sniffed it. Couldn’t really tell. The glass bottle was sealed shut. He got in trouble once before for opening and peeking into a package, so he wasn’t about to do that again. Oh well. He’d just have to leave it up to the unknown. It was clearly magical. Normal perfumes didn’t glow like that. Was it enchanted to make her more beautiful, sing more elegantly, dance more erotically, have more success and luck in life? He shrugged. It wasn’t his to use, it wasn’t for him to know.
He walked down the long, marble-stoned driveway that led to the mansion’s large wooden front door. He slowly caught his breath. Clients wanted their stuff A.S.A.P., but they never wanted to see their messengers sweat or look tired doing it. He quickly wiped any sweat off his forehead, took a deep breath, stepped up to the door, and knocked.
No one answered.
He knocked again. It was a big house. Maybe they didn’t hear him.
“Well, perfect,” he said, sitting down on the front stoop. This was his last delivery today. And he was too far away from town. Might as well sit here and wait.
Listen to the birds chirping. Enjoy the cool breeze coming all the way from the ocean, which from this elevation, he could faintly see in the distance. Admire the wealthy mini-palace of a mansion this celebrity could afford…and only dream of such a life for himself.
A few moments later, he heard something.
The clapping of horse hooves.
He immediately hopped to his feet.
He saw a horse and carriage come through the archway entrance. This must be her. The famous Lady Bethany Steers. His heart started racing. He never met a celebrity before. Be cool. Be cool. Act like a professional, man.
The carriage stopped. The horse driver noticed Mark on the front step, but said nothing. The carriage door opened. A lady’s foot extended out.
And as she stepped out and down, Mark recognized her.
Not the bard. The girl, from the marketplace. The one he bumped into. The most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. It was her.
What was it about her? She was stunning. He got hard just looking at her.
She turned and spotted him. “You!”
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