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Dec 11, 2019 8:40 AM
Sadde is the Champion of Ingnam
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"Yeah, sure- there's a buncha hooks for reins and stuff on the outside of the stables, go ahead and sling it on there."

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"Will do, thanks."

Sadde goes to do that and, when out of earshot, says, "So, what's up with the casual shapeshifting?"

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Enserric makes the vocal equivalent of a shrug. "Most if not all Marethian food will transform you in some way. It won't transform natural-born morphs unless it's alchemically concentrated or consumed in great quantities, but humans are something of a blank slate as far as alchemical transformations are concerned. You're lucky it started with your tail."

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"Wonderful. Any way to prevent it? Or undo it?"

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"Not really," the sword admits. "Eventually in your study of magic you'll learn to change your shape on your own, but that's less of a panacea than it sounds, because it's exhausting and you don't want to have to do it after every meal. There's a certain alchemical formula that can adjust you back to human; the recipe has been lost, but the potion itself is nonperishable and I occasionally found jars of it in various implausible locations, back when I was adventuring. I myself eventually just adjusted to a certain set of features and ate the right things to maintain them."

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"Hm. Not terribly bad, I can live with it, but why has no one rederived the formula?"

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"The crossover between people who know alchemy and people adventurous enough to find ancient potions in the wilderness despite the significant risk of rape and enslavement is not immense," Enserric says drily. "And, as mentioned, human morphs are rare."

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"Maybe I'll figure it out sometime."

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"In your copious free time, yes. I might advise you to delegate that particular task."

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He giggles and goes to work.

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The work isn't particularly grueling, as the peppers are ripe enough to come off the bush easily. Apparently the mutation that caused the double pepper he noticed earlier isn't unique; he's instructed to carry two baskets, one for "special" peppers like that one. Other examples include glossy black peppers, peppers with unusually thick bulbs, freakishly large peppers, and a variety with two round lobes hanging from the bulb. "Canine peppers are, how'd'you call it, kinda volatile," Whitney explains. "They mutate easily. But it's all gravy for me, people'll pay out the nose for the right cultivar."

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"Do the mutated ones do anything special or are they just kinda nifty to look at?"

...also okay he's starting to get uncomfortable about how horny he is again.

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Whitney grins. "Oh, yeah. The black ones are a little corrupt, but they'll give you black fur, and people like that. The big ones make you, uh, bigger where it counts. Lobed ones do that for your fruit rather than your veg. The knobby ones make your knot bigger. And the double peppers... ever heard the saying 'happy as a dog with two dicks?' That."

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"My fruit rather than my veg?" he says, archly. "Dog with two dicks?!"

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"Makes your balls bigger, how's that," she says tartly. "And yes. Do they not have that expression where you come from? Good on 'em, it's weird as all hell."

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"Yeah it's, it's new, I hadn't heard it before," he says, laughing.

...is she single? Or polyamorous?

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She doesn't seem to be wearing any rings, for what that's worth, which isn't much.

"Well, I've expanded your vocabulary, then. And your alchemical knowledge."

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"Only the theoretical side of it," he says casually, turning to pick some more fruit.

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Whitney laughs.

After about an hour, they're done with the canine peppers in that section of the farm. Whitney wipes some sweat from her brow. "Alright, you're good for the day, I think. Now, I can give you a basket of peppers, or if you don't want to go too far in one direction then I can give you sort of a sampler, which would you rather?"

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"Sampler, probably, I like the way I look for now."

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Whitney spends a little while picking various fruits and vegetables, rinsing them off then placing them in a charming wicker basket. There are still more peppers than anything else, but there's a bundle of bunnycarrots and a little pile of whiskerfruit and a cluster of foxberries too.

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"Thank you very much, you are much too kind."

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“Well shucks,” Whitney says agreeably. “You go on, now, before you make me blush."

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He bows politely then off he goes.

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"Well, I would call that a resounding success," Enserric says cheerfully once they're far enough away from the farm. "You even got a basket out of it!"

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