The watch around Daniel’s wrist beeped at 5 PM, the time when the museum closed. He nodded, satisfied with how the day went, guiding groups of people throughout, doing his best to answer questions they asked. Of course, the trickle of new guests slowed as it went closer to closing time, but he would still help if he could.
As with all closing periods, he walked throughout the museum, hunting for hiding guests, which was simple since it wasn’t as large as other museums he went to. But he didn’t mind if it was on the small end, especially since it still held plenty of historical relics throughout the ages and lands. Such as medieval swords, with signs and looping videos that showed how the blades were forged back in those days. Besides, there was the benefit of fewer people would hide within the museum so they could interact or steal one of those relics.
Before he knew it, Daniel paused, standing within the Egyptian wing of the museum, the yellow light shining down, making his blue uniform look green. It was small, only containing a jackal statue, a couple of flails, some rubbings from a wall, and a gold Ankh that lay within a case. Yet, it was still his favorite, if only for the Ankh, which his brown eyes paused at when taking one look over them for the day.
At once, he felt a strange pull coming from within, his hand inching up to the Ankh. For months since the Ankh was donated to the museum, Daniel felt a strong urge to steal that relic, even if it meant being arrested, yet he contented with working for the place instead. He hoped this strange desire would fade over time, yet it had become more substantial. His arm rose as though pulled by invisible strings, but he shook his head and pulled back.
“What is wrong with me?” Daniel said to himself, shaking his head. “Perhaps I’ve spent too much time here.” Yet, he remained standing there for a couple of seconds before he continued his walk, his body almost robotic before the pull was out of reach, and he moved more naturally. Finally, he sighed and rubbed the back of his head. “Yup. Too much time.”
He continued his sweep through the floor, peeking behind every wall and under the table. Yet, no kid, adult, or anyone hid in those spots. Soon, with a great inhale, Daniel stepped through restroom after restroom, knocking on the stalls, checking underneath, and even swinging open each door. But no one was there each time, and he sighed relief. He didn’t want a repeat of that one time; it took weeks to scrub off that memory.
Soon, Daniel smiled before stepping into the back room and unlocking his locker. He slipped on his favorite blue jacket, his short brown waving as he pulled back its hood. Daniel then removed his work ID, attached to a lanyard, and placed it in the locker before closing and locking it. His pale blue sneakers squeaked as he pulled out a card with a QR code from his black jeans, setting it under a scanner. It beeped and confirmed that Daniel clocked out at 6:00 PM after a couple of seconds.
“Another long day over,” Daniel said, stuffing his hands into his jacket’s pockets. “But enough time to make some dinner. I may even play SMT5 some more.”
Daniel stepped out from the back room, having a slight grin on his face. He strode through the various exhibit, pausing for a few seconds as he glanced at the Egyptian wing before shaking his head and continuing his walk. A tapping noise came from the side, and he stopped, turning to the side. The security door was open before it swung shut, and the tapping noise became faint. Daniel strode towards the door, pressed his ear against it, the tapping becoming more apparent, and nodded, sighing out of relief. He continued his walk, soon standing in the entranceway.
He glanced around with a couple of service desk ladies, his coworkers, standing behind the desk as though frozen. Daniel scratched his head before shrugging and approaching the glass door, pressing against its handle. Yet, it refused to budge no matter how hard he pushed. So, finally, he grunted, turning to the ladies with their eyes toward where he stood, each with a slight smirk.
“OK, it was funny the first couple of times,” Daniel said, shaking his head. “But the joke is getting old.” The ladies kept staring, not responding or even moving. “Hey! Do you hear me?” He stepped behind the desk, yet they didn’t move an inch. He grabbed one of their shoulders. “This isn’t—”
She fell onto the floor, her knees buckling from the sudden touch while slipping from Daniel’s grip. He blinked, bending over to her, and turned her head. Yet, her expression remained the same slight smirk, her eyes unfocused. He waved and snapped his fingers in front of her, yet she didn’t react. Finally, he gulped, setting her down before standing up behind the other and setting his arms under her own. She fell as soon as they touched, but he caught her and set her beside the first one.
“O. K. This is weird.” Daniel stood up, reaching to one of the service desk’s phones and grabbing it. Yet, not even a buzzing sound emitted from it. He pressed a few buttons, even on the switch hook a few times, but it still returned silence, with the only sound being the button presses. The same happened with the other phones, and he took a step back, rubbing the top of his head. “Why are the phones dead?”
At once, the tapping sounds returned, and he stepped out from behind the service desk, sweating. He peeked out from the corner, still hearing that tapping sound, and he spotted a strange man with blond hair carrying a staff of some kind. He inched back, but the man traveled away from Daniel.
His heart slammed against his chest as he went into his jacket’s pocket, pulling out his smartphone. He pressed it, yet it refused to wake up, the screen reflecting a black mirror of himself. Daniel gulped, breathing in and out, before striding towards the security door, swinging it open. All three of the security team sat around a table, grinning at each other, with one having a walking stick right next to him. He grabbed one of their shoulders, but he fell without a sound, the other two not moving or reacting at all.
“What is happening?” Daniel said, his eyes wide as he stepped back a bit. But he forced himself forward, pulling out their phones to wake them up, yet they refused to. Finally, he grunted in frustration before grabbing a chair and dragging it out, heading towards the glass door before stopping and shaking his head. “No good.” That glass was practically bulletproof. If anything, the chair would shatter before the door would, and that strange guy would notice.
At once, fear flowed through him like a frozen wave, and he sat down, breathing in and out in an attempt to calm himself. He gripped his hair, feeling the strands between his fingers, even as his heart slammed against his chest. But he kept breathing, and soon a soothing wave flowed through, and he stood up.
“OK. Try to keep calm,” Daniel said to himself, walking back and forth even as his sneakers squeaked. Yet, he sweated enough that his shirt became damp, his heart slamming against his chest. Soon, he rubbed his hands together before heading to the back room. “There must be a phone that still works.”
He strode toward that direction before he stopped; a shadow stretched out from the Egyptian wing. He tilted his head before stepping behind one of the walls, keeping still and silent, the undusted wall smooth. Soon, he scooted over with the shadow growing closer until he peeked out from behind the corner, his knuckles turning white.
The strange man stood in front of the Egyptian exhibit, wearing a two-toned red shirt, the sleeves darker than the rest of his shirt. He leaned against his staff, wooden and ending with a yin-yang symbol, the black opposing brown. He tilted his head at the exhibit, pulling his hand out from his black jeans before reaching towards the gold Ankh, his hand phasing through the glass.
“Hmm. I sense great power from this,” the strange man said, removing the Ankh from the display even as Daniel blinked and rubbed his eyes. “But, how to unlock its secrets?” He hovered his staff over it and nodded. “Ah. Looking for someone. But who?”
Daniel pulled back, his back pressed against the wall, even as he felt utter confusion from what he had witnessed. He pressed his hand against his chest, the various fabrics rubbing against it while wondering about this strange man. Part of him wondered if that was magic, though the rational part of his mind knew it didn’t exist. And yet, it would explain a lot about what he witnessed.
He remained still, trying to calm himself even as the mental image of that man holding the Ankh flashed in his mind. And, instead of calmness, a wave of fiery anger flowed through his limbs, and he clenched his fists tight. Yet, he forced himself to remain standing still, waiting until calm came in, fusing with anger and becoming a colder kind of burning. Finally, his face turned white, and he stepped around the corner.
“Hey!” Daniel said, and the strange man spun around, his strange blue eyes blinking. “What are you doing here?”
“Did I miss someone? How?” The strange man said, leaning back. But he shook his head and said, “I’m just here to examine this fascinating artifact.” He held up and flipped over the Ankh, the staff pressing against the floor. “I’m always intrigued by such objects, and just witnessing it wouldn’t give all the information I desire, hence why I came in.”
“How did you get in anyways?” Daniel demanded, their noses inches away from each other. “I checked through every spot a visitor like you could hide!”
“Quite simple, really. I stepped through the front door,” the strange man answered, pressing his staff against Daniel, who didn’t budge away. “It’s simple when you’re a mage like me. Don’t worry about the service guests and the guards. They’ll wake up within an hour, feeling as though they chatted until they lost all track of time.”
“You expect me to believe such stuff?” Daniel snatched the Ankh away. “That you can use ‘magic?’” The strange man nodded, and Daniel rolled his eyes. “Regardless, I will not tolerate thieves like you breaking into the museum!”
“I have not come to steal anything,” the strange man said, taking a step back. “Merely to research this Ankh. But I knew that if I bothered to explain why I wished to, it would be an endless circle with leader after leader. Hence why I chose a more disgraceful path.”
“Even so,” Daniel said, grabbing the strange man’s shirt and pulling him close, “that doesn’t change the fact that you’re—”
At once, the golden Ankh sparked out in Daniel’s grasp, and he blinked, letting go of the shirt and stepping back. Yet, this electrical kind of spark didn’t hurt at all; instead, it felt soothing as though it was trying to calm him down. The strange man tilted his head and waved his staff before he grinned wide, becoming fox-like for a couple of seconds.
“I knew it,” the strange man said even as Daniel took a couple more steps back, blinking as his brown eyes reddened. “And it seemed that fate has a funny way of showing itself.”
“What are you talking about?” Daniel asked as a golden flow emitted from the Ankh, surrounding him. “What’s happening?”
Even as he asked that question, his fingernails became long and thick, turning gold. His palms became thick and padded as black fur sprouted from his fingers down to the back of his hands. He gasped, trying to drop the Ankh, yet his grip refused to slacken, with more golden waves coming out from it.
Daniel’s ears stretched long while moving up his head, with black fur growing on the back and golden fur sprouting from within. His nose and mouth pushed forward, his teeth becoming longer and sharper while his nose blackened, changing shape. More black fur grown on his face, yet golden fur around his eyes stretched out in a particular pattern. Gold surrounded them, with the inner part of his eyes having a line stretched down and another line crossing it. Right next to those lines was a curve stretching to the outer parts of his eyes, ending with a spiral shape, a line growing from the outer parts of his eyes from the center. He rubbed his face, his nose and mouth stretching out further with more black fur growing as his eyebrow turned golden.
Soon, the golden waves rubbed against his clothes, dissolving where they touched. Daniel gasped, yet new clothes formed underneath as though he always wore them, hiding underneath and waiting to be exposed. His blue sneakers dissolved, with black sandals replacing them even as he stood on his toes, his feet stretching out into digitigrade. Fur covered his feet-paws, with golden claws forming on his toes as golden rings formed around his ankles, hanging there. What remained of his coat’s sleeves morphed into a pair of massive leather bracelets that stretched from his wrists to his elbows, with gold on its outer part.
Black fur continued to sprout all over his body, his pants dissolved and replaced with a leather kilt that went down to his knees, with golden trimmings and a belt wrapped around tight. A budge formed from behind until a tail popped out, growing from the kilt’s hole and down as far as his knees, covered in fluffy fur much like the rest of his body. He turned back, blinking with his tail wagging even as his hair grew long, turning blacker than the rest of his fur and with thin golden highlights that shined through. They rubbed against his shoulders, his coat and shirt dissolving and exposing a massive collar that went down to his chest, leather with golden edgings and lines that connected to the neck part of the collar, also lined with a golden ring. Near the neck was a golden pattern with an alternating circle and square pattern underneath the golden ring.
Daniel’s body became toned, with small abs on his stomach even as black fur grew, though a golden pattern formed on his chest. An upside-down tear shape loop formed on the upper part of his chest, which stretched down in a line and stopped just above his navel. A horizontal golden line grew underneath the loop, stretching out until they were longer than the loop itself. Daniel rubbed it, the symbol being the shape of the Ankh itself.
Soon, the Ankh stopped sparking, with the golden waves dissipating, and he dropped it with a clank. He flipped over his hand-paws, his eyes wide, before he rubbed his hair, long and silk-like. His heart slammed against his chest, his back against a wall, before the strange man approached and grabbed his shoulder.
“Try to stay calm,” the strange man said, with Daniel responding with a nod and a whimper. Soon, the strange man pressed his staff against him, and he nodded. “I see. So, it has chosen you.”
“W-what are you talking about?” Daniel asked, his claws piercing the stone wall. “What have I b-become?”
Daniel leaned to the side, a blue orb hovering over one of the displayed flails. He blinked, felt calm, and stepped forward as though instincts had taken over. The strange man nodded, letting go and tapping where Daniel’s claws pierced through, the damages undone. Soon, Daniel stood in front of the blue orb, reaching up to it.
At once, the blue orbs emitted some waves, and memories that weren’t his appeared before him. A farmer worked in a desert, using that flail to separate the grain from the husks. But a shadow appeared behind the farmer, and before he could turn around, he was stabbed through the chest and died; Daniel felt emotions of horror and shock from the orb as though they were his own. He poked the sphere and soon felt a peaceful wave, with the orb fading.
“Fascinating,” the strange man said, and Daniel spun around, confused while keeping his hand-paw up. “I felt what you did. You guided a lost spirit into the afterlife.”
“I-I did?” Daniel asked, his fingers splayed out. “How?”
“My friend,” the strange man said while chuckling, stepping forward and patting Daniel’s shoulder. “You have the powers of the Egyptian god, Anubis, even appearing like him. So in a way, you have become Anubis himself.”
“Huh?!” Daniel turned back to his fluffy tail, which wagged behind him. “B-but I don’t feel like a god at all!”
“Perhaps it is because you haven’t got all of it,” the strange man said, picking up the undamaged Ankh. He waved his staff over it once more, and he nodded. “Hmm. I see.”
Daniel tilted his head, his left ear flattened to the side. “Sir, who or what are you?”
“Oh! Sorry. I guess I haven’t introduced myself properly.” The strange man grinned before bowing. “I am a mage, as I said. Specifically, a kitsune mage, though I’m wearing a human suit. Much fewer questions that way in lands populated by humans. I explore all kinds of lands, searching and learning all kinds of magic, for my desire to learn all that can be is unquenchable. Call me Glorfindel.”
“Glorfindel,” Daniel said, blinking and, for a moment, an image of a green anthro kitsune with five tails formed before him, hiding behind the human skin. “Huh? I-I thought I saw a green fox of some kind!”
“That’s impressive since this skin was to make my aura undetectable even by magic. For what you saw was my true form.” Glorfindel said, stepping around Daniel while nodding to himself. “So, that change also granted magic. Powerful one too, even if it was fractured.”
“What do you mean?” Daniel asked, tilting his head.
“From what I detected from the Ankh,” Glorfindel explained, lifting it, “the divine essences of Anubis were split into seven parts, each contained in an Ankh like this. So, you’re only 1/7th Anubis, though where the other six are, I cannot tell. Just that they’re in Ankh like this one.” He handed it over to Daniel before rubbing his chin. “Still, the fact that it reached out to you and not me tells me that the Ankh chose you.”
“Me?” Daniel said, blinking even as he turned to the Ankh. “But I’m nothing special! I’m just a guy working as a tour guy in a museum!”
“Then let me ask you something,” Glorfindel said, grinning while tapping his staff. “Have you felt any strange pulls from the Ankh? As though you must wield it instead of letting it sit within a case?”
Daniel was about to deny it, but he stopped himself. At once, memories flowed, recalling all the strange times he felt the pull to take the Ankh only to force himself to stop. Daniel lifted the Ankh, handing it back to Glorfindel, and found that the strange tug was no longer there, as though the desire was spent. He then nodded, and Glorfindel grinned wider.
“You see,” Glorfindel said as he placed the Ankh back in the glass case, “we’re no different.” He patted Daniel’s shoulder before walking around him. “Though I’m a kitsune mage, I too was once a human until I found a relic. It too, for whatever reason, decided to bless me with its powers much like you.”
“But, am I worthy?” Daniel asked, rubbing the back of his head. “I mean, isn’t Anubis the god of death? Like a grim reaper?”
“Being a god of death doesn’t mean that you actually kill someone,” Glorfindel answered, shaking his head. “You’re more like a shepherd, helping guide souls into the afterlife, especially souls with sudden and violent death. And there, a new beginning will happen.” He rubbed Daniel’s fur, which Daniel blushed at. “After all, the Nile’s soil is as black as your fur. Besides, the symbols you bore on your chest and around your eyes are not of death, but life and protection.”
Daniel blinked, rubbing the symbols as Glorfindel continued. “Of course, I’m not here to tell you what to do. I prefer advising rather than ordering. But I believe the Ankh has chosen you. You could try to claim the remaining Ankh, your powers becoming whole, or you could remain as is. And while I specialize in transformation magic, I fear that I cannot revert you as you once were, so that path is blocked off. Still, the path is yours to take.”
Daniel turned to the Ankh, spotting a ghostly reflection of himself as an Anubian jackal on the glass, though the image was more confident, the face more massive than his own, and what he could see of the rest of the body was a mountain of bulk. He blinked, and the reflection turned to his current form. He rubbed it before turning up and spotting a red orb, another lost soul.
He turned to Glorfindel and, with a grin, he nodded.
Commissioned by Tofubread
The work day ended, and Daniel, the tour guide for the museum, was doing his final checks to make sure no one snuck in. Everything seemed normal until he tried to leave, but the doors were lock and the other coworkers were in a trance-like state. Before he knew it, he met with the one who caused it, and his life was transform.
Whew. Finally, a story that I can post. I mean, I did two other stories, but I'm still waiting for a response from the commissioners for their final thoughts and such. Well, more like one with the other one did responded in a timely manner, but his friend has yet to respond regarding his character's use in the story. XD;
Sigh. Oh well.
In any case, enjoy!