I guess I should start from the beginning that led up to this. It started after I went to the bathroom just before the wildlife preserve closed down for the night. Usually, there isn't a curfew enforced, but with the recent attacks from poachers on the preserve, a curfew was established and security was tightened more than usual. Just before I went back to my room for the night, I heard a loud noise off in the distance.
"Who's there?" I said.
Growing suspicious, I quietly make my way onto the open field carefully looking out for anything that may be roaming in the area. If I wasn't careful, I could wind up being another predator's late night meal. I look up and see that the moon is full and bright, which makes it easier to see around me. As I continue on, I hear some voices in the distance and decide to take shelter behind a tree. I look closely and see that one of the cheetahs wandered off the preserve and became ensnared in a trap. I knew if I didn't get rid of the poachers and get there in time, the cheetah might die.
"Ok, now how am I going to do this...?" I ask myself.
I look around to assess my options when I see young cheetah cubs hiding in a bush close to the truck and realized time was of a serious essence. While inching closer, I notice that the poachers are moving away from the truck. I peeked out to find they were heading to a watering hole to refill their canteens. Regardless of what it was, I had one shot and I needed to take advantage of it.
"I hope this works; otherwise, this will be the shortest offensive of all time."
I manage to sneak my way over to the wounded cheetah and assess the damage. From what I had seen, there was a bullet wound in the cheetah's side.
"No way she's going to make it back in this condition."
I take off my shirt and use it as a makeshift bandage to stop the bleeding, but when I apply pressure, the cheetah cries out in agony.
"SHHH! Just hang in there! I'm going to get you out of here and get you some help."
I'm not sure why I was talking to her; she can't understand a word I'm saying, but whatever helps. I quickly manage to wrap the cheetah up and continue to put pressure on the wound to attempt to stop the bleeding, but nothing seems to be working.
"Come on, come on... just stay with me; everything will be fine."
Again, not sure why I'm talking to her...
I look up for the poachers and see that the cubs aren't hiding in the tall grass anymore.
"Damn it, where'd they go?!" I said quietly.
I hear talking in the distance and decide it's time to make my escape. Carefully, I pick the cat up into my arms and begin carrying her away from the truck into some trees near a river. Continuing forward, I think about the wound in the cheetah's side again and stop. I set her down again to look and notice something different about it. Just as I study the wound, I feel a sharp pain in my back and feel myself nearly freeze in place.
"What the...?!" I choked out.
I look around only to discover that I've been busted by the poachers who weren't too happy about my rescue attempt.
"Get the cat and get rid of this guy," says one of the poachers (we'll call him the head poacher).
I try to protect the cheetah, but with a bullet in my back, I couldn't do much of anything, except watch.
"The catch isn't looking to good, boss." says the assistant. "What do you want me do to?"
"Well, she's no good to us dead. Leave it."
The assistant goes and turns me over sending agonizing pains up and down my spine.
"What should we do with him?"
The head poacher walks up to me and stops.
"Leave him here to die along with his animal friend."
He then knocks me in the head with a shotgun and I fall to the ground, barely conscious. The two of them then leave the cheetah and myself for dead in the middle of nowhere with no help in sight. They quickly jump in their truck and drive off to avoid attracting attention. I try to crawl my way over to the cheetah, but the pain is too great and I stop moving. I lay on the ground next to the dying cat, upset with myself that I couldn't do anything to help.
I place my hand on the cheetah's lungs only to find out that it has stopped breathing. As darkness overtakes my vision, a tear manages to stream down my face, mostly out of frustration. The cheetah cubs come out from hiding again and walk over to their mother wondering why she isn't moving. They try to wake their mother, but her body continues to remain lifeless. One walks over to me and tries to nudge me awake, but that doesn't work either. Several minutes pass and it seems there isn't much hope for the cheetah cubs or myself. That is until I hear a voice.
"Do not cry, my children..." the voice said in a calm and comforting female voice.
I gradually notice the pain in my back is subsiding, which led me to think I was dying, but it didn't feel that way. I fought my way back to consciousness and then groggily sat up, leaning against a tree, only to see the cheetah cubs looking at the moon. Since the bullet was still lodged in my back, my movement was limited. I looked in the same direction the cubs were looking, but I didn't see anything. Once I began moving towards the body, I began to see a white mist forming in front of us.
"Now what?" I said.
There's a brief flash of white light and I shield my eyes; once the smoke clears, I see a tall feminine figure that wasn't entirely human. She stood upright on two feet, or paws and had white fur; she had the head, tail, paws, and ears of a lion and was wearing clothing that was Egyptian in nature. There was also a faint white aura surrounding her, which suggested she probably had some supernatural ability. She kneeled down to the ground and the cubs calmly walked to her without hesitation.
"No way..." I said with disbelief. "I must be having one hell of a near-death experience..."
She stands up and walks over to the body of the dying cheetah. She places her hand on her and chants something in a language that I didn't understand. A white aura envelops the lifeless body as the spirit that used to inhabit it rises upwards and hovers next to the lioness.
"There, there..." she said as the cheetah purred softly.
There is another flash of light and the cheetah spirit transforms into an anthro form wearing similar clothing to what the lion was wearing. The white lioness then proceeds to walk over to me and kneels on one knee, and reaches out her hand.
"Who are you? What's going on?" I ask, freaked out.
"Do not be afraid; I am not going to hurt you. Take my hand and I will help you," she said.
She didn't actually speak words; it was entirely telepathic. I hesitate for a moment and then take her hand. Instantly, I felt the pain from my back disappear completely and everything feels back to normal.
"My back... it doesn't hurt anymore..." I said, standing up.
"Your bravery tonight has saved three innocent cubs from harm. I, as well as their mother, thank you," she said calmly.
"I, er, you're welcome?" I said, confused. "I think..."
Before I can say anything, she raises her towards me and a stream of warm, white light floats through the air towards me. Not knowing what is about to happen, I begin to take a few steps back.
"I can assure you that no harm will come to you. This is to complete the healing process."
I wasn't exactly sure how this was happening, but more importantly, how was I going to explain this back at the preserve? Before I say anything else, the cheetah cubs surround me, purring softly. I kneel down to pet them and they end up cuddling next to me. If I didn't know any better, I'd say they were smiling at me.
"So what happens now?"
"These cubs will not be able to survive on their own, not with the danger that has fallen upon them. Even taking them back to the preserve where you reside is not safe enough."
"Well, I can't leave them out here and I can't stay out here with them. I guess I have to figure out a way to take care of them..."
"If that is your wish, then I will help you. However, it will involve a physical change."
She spreads her arms out and begins chanting in a language that I don't understand and hovers in the air.
"What the...?!" I said.
A golden aura surrounds my body as I notice several changes are taking place to my body starting with my hands. I see that they are becoming more paw-like in nature, just like a cat's paw, but with opposable thumbs. Black fur with gold spots appears and spread all over my arms and legs. I feel pressure in my lower spine as a long tail sprouts and rips through my pants. My feet change and form into paws that cause my shoes to rip to shreds, my face protrudes outwards slightly, and whiskers appear on each side of the black triangular nose that forms with it. My fists tighten as I brace myself for any pain that may follow; however, the feeling of the transformation is the complete opposite and is the best feeling I've ever had.
"What's... happening... to me?!" I said, with a tear streaming down my face.
My eyes change color to a golden yellow and two cheetah ears grow outwards from my head with my human ears disappearing. Gold stripes encircle my eyes before traveling downwards to both sides of my mouth. The fur completely covers my body and the aura disappears. The transformation leaves me weak and I fall to the ground. The lioness catches me and cradles me, as if I were one of her children, purring softly.
"Now you can protect these cubs with this new form," she said, calmly. "Now sleep well, young one, for tomorrow, your life begins again..."
THE NEXT MORNING...
I slowly open my eyes and stare into a covering of leaves and branches leading to a blue sky. I look to my left and my right and see myself lying in a soft patch of grass underneath the branches of three trees obstructing the view of the blue sky above me. I sit up and look to my left and my right for anything familiar.
"Where am I?"
Around me, I can see the trees lead away to an open grassland in a large valley with a somewhat narrow, shallow stream flowing into a lake near the center before going into the forest at the other end.
"How did I get here? This doesn't look like the savanna to me..."
I yawn and stretch out while opening my eyes only to catch a glimpse of my newly formed hand-paws.
"Huh?! What the...?!"
My eyes widen in shot as I look at my feet for the first time in their paw-like state. As I explore the dramatic changes to my body; the fur, spots, my hands; I feel something moving behind me and turn around to see a black and gold spotted tail gently moving back and forth.
I crawl over to the river to look at my reflection in the water.
I can't help but stare at the reflection of my face. Whatever human about me was gone. I touch my face, feeling the odd shape of my newly formed muzzle and the tickle from the whiskers on the opposite sides of my nose. The black and gold-spotted fur covering my body feels warm and comfortable almost to the point I where I feel like taking a nap. The ears on the top of my head twitch back and forth picking up the slightest sounds from the furthest of distances. The fuzzy tail behind me moves slowly back and forth across the soft grass.
"...This is a whole new level of freaky...",
After a short moment, I stand up somewhat off balance as I'm not used to the digitigrade stance and stumble a bit for a few steps.
"Since I'm here now, I guess I should explore this new transformation of mine..."
Eventually, I get the hang of walking and it soon turns into a run. Running out onto the flat grasslands, I feel the cool air race past me and through my fur, the feeling becoming more exhilarating with each step. The steady running turns into a sprint, allowing to embrace the gracious speed of the cheetah in all of it's glory. I manage to crack a smile as I approach the other end of the valley within no time at all. Approaching the steep curved cliff of the valley, I push myself harder than ever before and begin running up the side of the valley towards the waterfall feeding the stream. I cut through it like a saw through a piece of wood, scattering water droplets everywhere and get my fur damp with water. I come back down the cliff onto the grassland towards the stream and stop just before hitting the water. I look around me and take in a deep breath of fresh, clean air, smiling at how great I feel. I look over to my right and see a boulder next to the stream, sticking out over it and decide to sit down on it, dangling my paws over the water.
"I wasn't so sure about this earlier, but now... this is amazing! I feel great!"
"I am glad you feel that way, my child."
I turn around and see the same white lioness from the night before standing behind me.
"It's you! From last night! So then this... wasn't actually a dream..."
"No, it was not," she said, "The events that unfolded yesterday were indeed true and did happen; the poachers, the cheetah cubs, and your transformation. I have been watching you for a very long time, all the way up to this very moment. I knew as soon as you tried to save the cubs' mother and almost sacrificed yourself to do so that you were the one."
"The one for what?"
"In time, I will explain everything. Right now, however, I have someone I want you to meet."
A white beam of energy swirls up next to the lioness and it forms into the anthro spirit of the cheetah cubs' mother.
"The cubs' mother..."
"She wanted to personally thank you herself for what you did for her and her cubs."
"Ah, well... I... you're welcome... I think..."
Before I can say any more, I feel something brush the side of my leg. I look down and see the cheetah cubs have come to greet me. I sit down as all three of them climb all over me purring and speaking little high-pitched cheetah chirps all while cuddling next to me.
"I see they've taken a liking to you; watch over and care for them until they are old enough to venture out on their own."
"They are indeed very cute," I said smiling, as one cub climbs up and nuzzles me. I wasn't sure at first, but I think I actually purred when that happened.
"Stand up for me, my child; there is one thing I want to leave you with before we leave."
"And what would that be?" I said, standing up.
The cubs' mother walks over to me and gives me a heart-warming look, as if she was happy to see me. She takes and places my right hand on her chest and then places her right hand on my chest. The lioness then raises her hands in the air and after a short chant, a glowing gold orb of light appears in front of us. The light then absorbs into the mother spirit, giving her a soft, glowing, gold aura. The mother spirit then dematerializes into a white light combined with the gold light, which then absorbs directly into me, creating a tingling, vibrating sensation all over my body that is highly relaxing.
"What just happened?"
"The mother chose to merge her spirit with yours so she can guide you in taking care of her cubs. What I chose to give you is the ability to communicate with the mother spirit that lives inside of you and for a reward, a few psychic abilities, as well."
"Wow... that feels..."
The cubs stand in front of me and chirp out what seems to be small words, but I figure it's because I'm becoming more and more drowsy every passing minute.
"What...?" I said, groggily. "Me... ka... li...? Is that what they said?"
I look down at them again and they repeat themselves.
"Mekali... that's what they said... what they're... calling me..."
I look up again and notice an extra soft patch of grass under a tree further away from the stream.
"I believe it was. I think for now I'll leave you to get some rest; I often do not remember how exhausting the power I give someone is on themselves."
The lioness slowly fades away with the sun as I tiredly walk over to the soft patch of grass and lie down on top of it. The grass blades act as a cushion for the hard ground, which feels just like sleeping in a regular bed. The cheetah cubs follow suit and walk their way over to the patch of soft grass and do the same. As I lay comfortably on my back staring into the sky, the cubs begin to yawn and become sleepy. I turn over on my side and see the cubs looking at me in my eyes as I look in theirs with the feeling that there is a sense of warming comfort between us. They all lick my nose and purr before lying down to sleep.
"Maybe... this isn't... so bad after all..."
I eventually succumb to the drowsiness and fall asleep, purring softly and happily into the night.
Finally, after all the distractions, I managed to finish this. I'd like to think this started out as my original transformation story, Amayas Spirit, at which one point started to take two directions. Amayas Spirit was the short direction and now this one is the more in-depth version of it.
The other one, if you want to read it, is in my gallery.
Story Finishing Song: Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid*
YouTube Link For Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypr18UmxOas
*I kinda had a moment of nostalgia listening to this song as it was featured in Gran Turismo 2.