“Hrm... I think this is the place.”
The sound of rustling paper could be heard as Shinden lowered his map, a look of wry amusement on his face. He didn't even have to take a second glance at the drawn images to be certain of his destination; it only took one look at the structure rising above him to realize that the architecture was unique enough that there was no way to mistake it for anything but his goal. And after a good week's walk through bug-infested jungles, the saber-toothed wolf dreaded the thought that this could be the wrong place. Besides, how many people could construct temples in the middle of one jungle? Certainly the odds of another location nearby were slim to none.
Adjusting his pilot's cap absently, Shinden looked over the building before him. Built similar to some of the standard South American civilizations, the temple rose up in several tiered layers, reaching the equivalent of about fifteen stories high. A long flight of stairs led up one side of the building towards what looked like an altar at the top of the structure, but that wasn't what Shinden was after; no, maybe the historical types might be interested in the culture and history they might glean from the general area, but the wolf had more practical desires for coming to the temple. The saber-toothed pilot had come to the temple not to study it, but to plunder it—for a good cause, of course!
About two days back, Shinden had been enjoying a flight over the area; as a pilot, it wasn't unusual for him to go out and about, often roaming far out of his range and spending a few days wherever the wind took him. However, engine trouble struck at the worst moment, causing him to make a quick and rather bumpy landing at a halfway-civilized town at the edge of a rather large jungle. A few phone calls had gotten the wolf in touch with a mechanic from another town about a day's drive away, but the costs for delivery were rather steep in such an out-of-the-way location. Shinden wasn't quite broke, but after hotel fees and general supplies, his money had been running too tight for him to afford such an expenditure. As a result, the wolf had found himself high and dry without any way to fix his plane, leaving him quite stranded.
Fortunately, an opportunity came up. A local merchant, seeing his distress, had offered him a small job. There was some kind of temple not too far into the jungle, perhaps a few hours away, that had a large number of cultural artifacts that he was interested in. The gator had offered very reasonable prices should they be brought to him, stating that some of the more important pieces, such as jewels or—he mentioned specifically with an almost sly look—certain golden statuettes that were hidden away within the building. Perhaps if Shinden brought such items back, he'd be willing to pay handsomely to ensure that the wolf had plenty of money in order to repair his plane. The merchant was even so kind as to offer a small advance for taking the position, enough to buy a backpack, some food and water, and a few other supplies that could be useful for temple raiding.
And so one thing had led to another, and Shinden found himself at the entrance to the temple. He wasn't sure what kind of building it was, or what it was dedicated to; the merchant had been very vague as to what the wolf would be plundering. Shinden didn't mind that particularly, however; he was just there to grab a few shiny objects, bring them back, and get his plane repaired so that he could get home again. Adjusting his backpack again, the pilot started up towards the temple, looking around for any doors that might lead deeper into the building. Fortunately he spotted two of them almost immediately, set into the second tier up about ten feet. They were set to either side of the stairs, and since they looked as if they would lead the same way, Shinden picked one at random, going through the entrance on the right.
The hallway was made of carved stone, and the walls showed plenty of murals and carvings. Most of them were standard paintings, often symbols of deities or pictures of rulers that had been respected and carved to be preserved for all time. Some of them were interesting though, particularly the ones that involved a statuette; many of them showed the object in the possession of rather largely-drawn figures, whose features seemed rather exaggerated, and often somewhat draconic. The larger figures tended to coincide with those who appeared to be rulers; perhaps it was an art style, making them “larger than life” in pictures to signify their importance. Obviously the statuette was a symbol of royalty, or perhaps a “holy” artifact that was given to show the worthiness of candidates. And being made of gold, it would likely fetch a fine price, which was likely why the merchant wanted it.
The hallway turned sharply inwards, starting to move downwards. It opened up into a large, rather innocuous corridor, one that extended about fifteen feet on either side. There were statues lining the wall, three on each side, each of them carved to represent the same “larger than life” image of the murals before. In each statue's outstretched hands was a silver-forged object that looked much like the statuettes in the paintings, aside from their color. Shinden considered grabbing the smaller symbols, but given that these places were often trapped in one way or another, he didn't want to bring the temple down on his head yet. Once he grabbed his main prize, the golden statuette in the deepest part of the temple, [i]then[/i] he could grab the smaller pieces on his way out. A bonus to go with his reward would go a long way towards perhaps modifying and upgrading his plane, rather than just fixing it.
Moving past the corridor, Shinden found himself in a much larger room, bigger than should easily fit in the temple. Looking around, he realized that he had been moving steadily downwards, and that he was likely beneath the temple's foundation, allowing for a much more spacious cavern. The room itself was rather expansive, with a long flight of stairs leading down towards a stone bridge. The bridge crossed a large chasm, one that was a good forty feet deep. The sound of dripping water could be heard, so Shinden assumed that there was a lake or a reservoir down below. Still, a four-story drop did not sound pleasant, so he made a note to remain in the center of the bridge. Fortunately the stonework was fairly sturdy, and despite the lack of rails to prevent one from falling off of the side, the pilot was easily able to make it across with no difficulties.
“I wonder who built this place...” Shinden mused idly as he entered the next room, shining his flashlight around. “Sort of weird to have this place so deep underground. There must be something pretty important down here.” Indeed, across the bridge was a tall spire that reached to the ceiling, and at the base of it there was a door, from which the pilot was able to ascend up a spiraling staircase. The climb took a few minutes, but soon he emerged into a large, circular room at the top of the tower. The chamber itself was a perfect sphere, easily fifteen feet in diameter, and along one side there were several small openings cut into the wall, almost like unfilled windows. A glance would show the bridge that Shinden had come across, though it was fairly far below; the stairs had brought him up about twenty feet before reaching the chamber.
At the center of the chamber was a single pedestal, with a statue on either side of it. These statues were similar to the ones below in the previous antechamber, symbols of previous rulers, and they seemed to almost stand guard over the raised platform between them. And no wonder; atop the pedestal was the golden statuette that Shinden had been seeking! The statue was carved in the shape of an anthro dragon, about a foot tall, though almost equally wide. The murals had not done the figure justice... or rather, they had not done the figure's figure justice. The statuette looked as though the dragon it had been modeled after was more than just a little on the obese side; most of the figure was made up by an enormous, round belly, causing it to be almost globular rather than the tall, thinner statue Shinden had expected, but the figure was extremely well detailed, leading to impressively thick hips, wide limbs, and even a stubby snout starting to be buried between two mounded cheeks.
“Heh... what a little fatty you are.” Shinden grinned as he looked at the statue carefully, not yet touching it. Though there was no evidence of such, he felt that taking the statue without caution would have some trap snapping shut on him, and that was the last thing he needed. “I'm surprised that these people worshiped such a round figure. Maybe they were one of those that had the belief that weight equaled prosperity; who knows? The merchant [i]did[/i] say you'd be worth your weight in gold, though... and a little extra weight is never a bad thing, when it comes to being paid well!” Taking another walk around the altar, Shinden looked carefully for any sort of sign that might suggest a trap, but he didn't see any openings for darts, any panels that could detect weight; indeed, it seemed like the altar was completely safe.
Once he was sure that it was safe, the pilot leaned forward and snagged the statue off of the stand. The gold was warm to the touch surprisingly, given that the temperature of the room was fairly cool, being underground as it was. Shinden looked over the object in his hands a few times, trying to determine if there was anything odd about it, but the only thing he discovered was what he already knew, and that the dragon statue was quite a fat-looking one, down from its wide, soft-looking chest to a big, bulging backside. “Heh, 'little' fatty might be an unfair description of you, big guy. No matter, keep on being as big as you are, you'll be worth more that way.”
Tucking the statue into his backpack, Shinden heard his stomach grumble slightly, reminding him that he hadn't eaten in a little while. He had some supplies on hand, but dining in the middle of an ancient temple didn't sit well with him. Figuring that he could eat once he had made his way out, the pilot hurried down the stairs, taking them two at a time. Thankfully the path up to the surface wasn't too far away; he only had to cross the bridge, make his way past the statue room, and then head up the tunnels to get back out. It was a bit of a trek, perhaps a good twenty minutes, but Shinden figured he could cut off half of that if he kept to a jog. Being a pilot, he had to keep in good shape, so a little jog wouldn't be too difficult at all.
Or at least that was what he thought. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, Shinden found himself huffing, surprisingly out of breath. Strange, he thought, that he couldn't even go down a flight of stairs without feeling a bit winded. He had gone up it just fine, but that had been at a walking pace; perhaps he had hurried down too quickly, and had tired himself out. The pilot couldn't figure out why it would wear him down so quickly, but he resolved to take a slower pace until he caught his breath, taking a normal walking pace as he made his way across the bridge. His breathing slowed soon enough as he let himself rest, and soon the saber-toothed wolf felt right as rain again.
As he walked over the bridge, however, Shinden heard a loud cracking sound. His ears perked up the moment it rang out, but he didn't freeze up; reflexes told him to [i]run[/i], and to run now! Quickly the wolf hurried across the bridge, which continued to let out several alarming cracks as stone fell down to the water below. Fortunately, the pilot reached the far side of the chasm without the bridge collapsing under him, making it safely to the far landing. The shuddering ceased the moment that he stepped off of it, oddly enough, but the wolf attributed it to some sort of trap that was triggered when a would-be robber stepped on the bridge. He imagined that if he had hesitated, or tried to turn back, the structure would have collapsed completely, dumping him into the lake below. Where it led, Shinden didn't want to know; the last thing he wanted was to be washed far away!
Taking another moment to rest, Shinden found himself leaning against a wall, gasping for air. He swore that his endurance was far better than that, yet it felt as though he had been running with weights attached to his legs, the limbs burning from the sudden exertion. Sitting down heavily, the wolf rubbed at one of his legs, trying to figure out why he was so sore. Maybe he had been doing too much flying and not enough exercise lately; a little slacking of discipline was all it took to get out of shape. Yeah, that had to be it; he was just a little out of shape. Shinden made a mental note to go through a fitness regime after he returned home, maybe just going through a physical to ensure he was in peak condition once more.
The wolf got back to his feet to resume his trek once he had gotten his breath back again, deciding that it would be best to maintain a slow, but steady pace rather than wear himself out repeatedly. After all, he still had a good two hours of trek through the jungle before he made it back, if not more, and the last thing he wanted to do was get stranded out in the wilderness in the dead of night. Quickly, but carefully, Shinden made his way back up along the curving hallway, slowing slightly whenever he felt his breathing get a bit heavier. The entire way upwards, however, his pace gradually slowed as the climb seemed to get harder and harder by the step. This time he blamed the slope for being steep, though a nagging thought was sitting in the back of his mind.
As he finally reached the top of the hallway's curve, which was followed by another thirty feet or so of corridor before reaching the room with the statues, Shinden noticed that the wall on his left was oddly reflective. He had been distracted before, examining the murals on the far side, but upon closer inspection the wolf noticed that a good ten feet of the corridor extended like a long mirror. It was distorted however, clearly faulty craftsmanship; almost like a fun-house mirror, it seemed to stretch the image, rounding it out. Indeed, it made Shinden's normally sleek physique seem rather plump! From a big, round belly that stretched his shirt out to an embarrassingly large backside, Shinden couldn't help but blush a bit as he imagined all of the times he had looked exactly like that. People seemed so keen on fattening him up all the time! But not here, here he had no one trying to sneak around and prank him, just his imagination getting away with him.
Shinden chuckled as he patted at his belly, making his mirror image copy him... only he paused when his paws met his middle, ears lowering as he felt something much softer than he had expected. Wincing, the wolf looked down, afraid of what he'd see, and he wasn't disappointed; a fairly large belly, like a large basketball, stuck out away from his middle. His shirt was straining around it, while his jacket hung slightly open, unable to easily stretch around it, and the whole mass wobbled at the slightest poke. Shinden found himself staring in shock; when had [i]that[/i] happened? There was no way he could have been fattened up without noticing! He hadn't been hit by any kind of dart or ray, and he hadn't eaten or drunk anything since arriving. The only thing that he had touched, since entering the temple, was...
“Oh no...” Shinden pulled his backpack off with some difficulty, noting that his shoulders had widened considerably as his body had packed on some extra weight. Reaching inside, he pulled out the statue, noting the rounded features of the figurine and the warm feeling it seemed to radiate on touch. “Ugh, he should have warned me the statue would do something like this! I can't fly out if I'm too fat to move, I'll have to leave this here...” Shinden tried to drop the statue, leaving it in the temple's hallway, but something odd happened; he wasn't able to make it leave his hand! Even with all of his fingers opened, the statue just seemed to stick to his paw!
“Huh. I could let go of it earlier, when it was in my backpack...” Curious, Shinden tried again, and he was able to place the statue in his bag. However, when he tried to leave the bag behind, his paw wouldn't let go of the strap, dragging the bag along behind him no matter what he did! “Oh no... it's probably cursed or something. I can't leave it behind!”
Now that he had finally noticed the statue's effects on him, Shinden had become more aware of what was going on almost actively as he tried to throw the figurine away. It was a very slow process, but he was certainly packing on weight by the moment! His belly had started to swell more than anything, much like the dragon figurine's belly took up most of its size, though he was certainly starting to grow quite a bit in the backside, his clothes a bit tighter on his widened caboose. His legs hadn't thickened up too substantially, though his pants were feeling a bit more close-fitting, and even his face was looking a bit rounder, surprisingly even his muzzle feeling a bit thicker than it had before.
“Durf... I need to get out of here, and quickly!” Now that he knew what was going on, Shinden redoubled his speed, still able to walk rather than waddle, though for how long he could only guess. Everything felt heavier, even his normally poofy tail, and it was a strange feeling to be running as his weight slowly continued to increase. At the rate he was going, the saber-toothed wolf was afraid that he'd be less the fleeing explorer and more of the round boulder rolling down the hallway before he got out! Still he hurried, hoping that the statue's curse only extended as far as the temple, possibly meant to trap intruders inside until the guards could deal with them. If he was lucky, and it ended there... well, a waddle through the jungle was far better than being trapped in the temple altogether!
At least Shinden reached the room that had been lined with statues, his second checkpoint on the escape from the temple. However, he stopped when he entered the room, surprised; the statues, which had normally been along the sides before, now blocked the far exit completely! Each of them was different than before as well; rather than representing the different images that Shinden had passed on his way in, each of them had taken on an appearance similar to the wolf's own! Saber-toothed wolves stared at him from all sides, though they certainly were far different from the smaller one staring at them. Each statue reached nearly fifteen feet in height, brushing against the ceiling of the chamber, and they were massively obese; enormous, round bellies practically fought for space, looking soft and plush despite the stone they were carved out of.
Oddly enough, however, they had features that Shinden was sure that he didn't have. Rather than pointed ears, each had large earfins, as well as a thicker, longer muzzle. Fur seemed to merge into scales along the belly, and the tail had gone from poofy to simply thick with mass. Wings and horns were visible too, making each statue look as though they were something between the wolf's current state and something more draconic. Shinden was starting to see a theme in the temple, too; dragon-like rulers, a draconic statue? Suddenly, it seemed as though weight gain wasn't his only immediate problem. A few feels around, however, showed no horns or wings, and his muzzle and fur was all in place, so perhaps the transformation hadn't started yet. Maybe it was a remnant of the last civilization, perhaps a race of dragons...
Suddenly, as his tail bumped up against his leg, Shinden's heart fell again. Though he couldn't quite look over his shoulder to see it well, it was easy enough to bring it around as he grabbed it in his paws, noting that it was no longer the fluffy mass it once was. Instead, a thick layer of scales ran along the underside of it, stopping about halfway currently, though slowly spreading. The top was fur, but rather than being purely fur, it ran along an almost fleshy tail, very draconic in nature. Long, thick, and pointed rather than just a mass of fuzz, it was certainly only the first step in the looming transformation!
Forward wasn't an option, it seemed, as the statues took up all of the space on the far side of the room. Shinden tried to move them, but found that they were more solid than their obese masses looked. Worse, as he tried, his body kept packing on weight; his shirt was starting to slide up, revealing a large belly that was starting to develop scales along its underside as they spread from the tail, the mass swelling up like some kind of balloon. His chest was starting to thicken as well, the buttons along the top tightening along with the neck of his undershirt. Already the wolf—er, dragon? Wolfdragon? He couldn't tell anymore, at this rate!—was starting to look fairly obese, to the point he was pretty sure he wasn't going to be flying anywhere anytime soon. Thankfully he had left his jacket unbuttoned so that it could fall open to either side, else buttons and straps would have been popping off with every breath!
Quickly turning, Shinden headed back towards the gorge, thinking that there might be another tunnel that led from it. Surely there wasn't only a single tunnel that led to their sacred artifact! His run had become more of a waddle now as his fat thighs forced one another apart, his pants starting to strain around his plumping legs as he hurried as best as he was able. His belly swayed from side to side as he ran, throwing off his balance slightly, and that wasn't all; after a few feet, Shinden noticed that the tunnel ceiling seemed far lower than before, though he hadn't heard it lowering. In a moment the wolf realized that he had been growing taller as well as outwards, though not quite as quickly as the latter; his shirt was riding up far further than it should have, exposing most of his belly, while the arms felt a little short on him. Just how big was he going to get, anyway!?
The gorge opened up soon enough, and just in time; Shinden felt his horns scrape against the ceiling of the tunnel as he exit—wait, horns!? The wolf reached up and realized that he indeed had two long horns poking up from his forehead, just behind his ears. A quick check showed that the latter were still lupine in nature, pointed rather than fin-like, though for how long the transforming wolf was not sure. Wings hadn't yet grown in, and his muzzle was still the same as ever, so he figured he still had some time left before the transformation finished. However, he was starting to get a bit worried; he had passed the twelve-foot mark in height and close to a full ton in weight, his clothing almost comically small on him; his jacket was mostly around his shoulders, the sleeves torn by his fattened limbs, the ends barely able to reach down his hefty moobs. His pants fared better, but they were made for larger sizes; after enough pranks gone wrong, Shinden had managed to find a material that stretched almost as much as he did! Pity it was so rare, he could use a whole outfit like that for some of the shenanigans he went through!
But most surprisingly, his boots were long gone, despite being rather durable. He couldn't see it so much as feel it around his massive belly, but the boots had been torn to shred by his growing size, his paws swelling to match. The front had gone first, but not because of any amount of size; rather, large claws had grown free from each toe tip, pointed like a dragon's talons as they emerged, ripping through the leather quite easily. It seemed most of the transformation was from the bottom up, sans the horns, so Shinden figured that he'd be finding some wings sprouting next! That seemed like it would be helpful, but with how fat the cursed wolf was getting, he didn't think that he'd be getting airborne anytime soon. Already his width was starting to approach his height, and he still had a ways to go!
However, the gorge didn't have any other tunnels on the near side of the bridge, only the one path that Shinden had come out of. And the wolf had gotten too big to fit into the opening again, both in width and height; already the opening was about at chest height, and he wasn't sure his wide hips would fit through the opening, let alone the massive belly that was blocking more and more of his vision. The scaled midsection bulged out almost as far as he could reach now, and was growing more rapidly to match his increased size; Shinden was starting to worry not only about his mobility at the rate he was going, but whether he'd be filling up the cave before his expansion was done!
Since there was no exit on the near side... Shinden looked at the far side, noticing that the path continued around the spire, rather than only going up it. Was it possible that there was another exit on the far side, one that led out? It was possible, but the half-draconic lupine eyed the bridge warily. If it had creaked and groaned under his original weight due to the trap, what would it do when more than ten times as much weight was put on it? Shinden could see himself plummeting into the gorge below if he so much as tried to step out on the bridge, and that would get messy. Sure, at his size—nearly fifteen feet, and still growing—the fall would be mostly harmless, maybe a few bumps and bruises, but the former pilot didn't relish the idea of taking a dip in a subterranean lake.
As he evaluated the distance across the gorge, an idea hit Shinden, one that he had not thought of before. It wasn't a long bridge, really, maybe thirty feet across. It was a quick sprint at best at normal size, so what about at his increased height? Sizing up the gap, Shinden was somewhat confident that he could leap it completely, even with his weight. He'd just need a bit of a running start, or rather, a waddling one, given that his width was overtaking his height now, his enormous belly blocking most of the lower half of his vision. A few steps was all he had, but it was enough, getting the transformed wolf enough of a start to take a leaping jump.
Shinden's toes caught the far edge, and he almost lost his balance as he started to topple backwards, reaching out to grab at whatever he could for balance. His fingers caught the spire, and then dug into it; it seemed that matching claws had grown into his fingers as well as his toes, allowing him to catch himself and pull his feet all the way onto the ledge. Once he was steady, the draconic wolf took a long breath of relief, inching his way around the spire. It wasn't terribly wide to begin with, and now that he was nearly eighteen feet tall, and probably weighed into his third ton by now, the excessively obese wolf-dragon's belly nearly pushed him off of the ledge! Realizing that he was having a harder time reaching the spire, Shinden turned around and dug his claws into it while it was behind him, only to find that it wasn't much better, his backside expanding almost as much as his paunch, forcing him to hurry by the moment!
The far side had a larger tunnel, though Shinden still questioned if he'd fit in it for long, as his earfins—gah, when had those grown in!?—were already ready to reach the top of the tunnel. Still, he didn't have much choice, so he ducked down quickly, hurrying down the tunnel. If it came down to it, he'd try to crawl, though he wasn't sure if his belly would allow it! As he squatted down, waddling along the tunnel as quickly as he could, the dragon—no, no, wolf! He couldn't think of himself as a dragon yet!—found a small itching feeling forming between his shoulders, followed by a sensation almost like the surge that one felt when stretching their muscles. Suddenly the space became far more crowded as thick wings grew in, the “limbs” of them already widened like the rest of the fat wolf-dragon's body, and he found himself forced to a crawl sooner than he thought. Worse, he could see his muzzle starting to shift, thickening rapidly to accommodate his draconic self. His transformation was almost done!
As he started to despair, Shinden felt a breath of warmer air. His earfins perked up, and his glowing yellow eyes lit up with hope; the exit was near! Quickly, the wolf-dragon crawled as best as he could, though at this point he was mostly pulling himself along. His massive belly forced his lower half upwards, his backside pressed firmly against the walls and ceiling, and each tug came with a small pop as he pulled free of the confining space. Soon he could see light, and in a moment, his head was out the door! His shoulders followed, and his wings managed to curl out, able to stretch at last, and then...!
Suddenly Shinden halted, unable to pull himself any further forward. Surprised, the transformed pilot tugged a few more times, only to find that he was well and stuck. A glance back showed that his waistline had expanded far too much for his body to free itself from the cave entrance! Growling, Shinden kept trying, tugging and squirming, twisting and squeezing. A few inches gave, and then another, but he couldn't quite pop free. “Durf... I can't... get out...” The wolf-dragon panted, flopping down on his belly. Idly he noted that he had finally stopped growing, at least as far as he could see... maybe the effects did have a range limit!
Looking around, Shinden realized that he wasn't too far from the village that he had started from; the cave he had emerged from came out from a valley on the lower slope of a nearby mountain! The wolf-dragon groaned, pressing a large, taloned paw to his forehead, careful not to smack into the sharp horns that now emerged from his forehead; he wish he had known that there was another entrance so close! It would have saved him a lot of time and trouble if he had known that it was there! It might have even allowed him to avoid the worst of the curse... assuming that he had gotten out in time. Well, he wouldn't have been [I]this[/I] big, at least!
Taking a moment, since he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, Shinden looked over his frame to verify just [I]how[/I] big he was. A guess had him around forty-five, maybe fifty feet, which was massive, almost ten times bigger than his normal height. His weight, however, was far more than ten times heavier; with his height, the wolf-dragon estimated that he was probably fatter proportionately than even a sumo of his size, not that any such things existed! His belly stuck out so much that his hands could barely reach the ground, made harder by his massive chest pressing his limbs further out to each side. Several chins pressed against a wide tire of a neck, that thick mass as wide around as a kiddie pool, while his rounded cheeks pressed around a thickened snout. A small trail of smoke curled out from between his lips, and almost experimentally, the transformed Shinden let out a small puff of fire. He was thankful he missed his intended target, striking a clearing and scorching the ground; the last thing he needed was to start a wildfire in this humid jungle!
“Durf... so... what do I do now...?”
When Shinden's plane suffers some damage, the pilot finds himself delving into the jungle in search of an artifact to trade in for some coin. Little does he know that the treasure he is about to find is about to change his life... and his look, quite drastically!
My half of a trade done for Shindenwolf a while back, this was a fun piece that I enjoyed writing immensely. I experimented with a few things in this, particularly the transformation aspect, and it turned out exceptionally well!