The Changeling's Challenge (Part 2)
Adria spent a few weeks at the riverside. Maybe it was longer than that, or shorter. Time was not easy to measure in Underhill. Adria found the time there rather peaceful. She did practice with her sword and bow quite often, but she had plenty of time to relax. The Unseelie had yet to arrive so it was safe for Adria to swim and bathe in the river. Adria didn’t enjoy it just because the water was cool and refreshing, but it allowed her to keep track of how much her body was maturing.
Her body’s change was mostly in length. She was getting taller and longer in limb. Adria was thinking that she was simply being stretched out into a tall skinny creature. But after a bit, she started to notice some extra changes. Her waist seemed to be a bit more defined as her hips were starting to widen. She thought her backside was regaining a little bit of roundness, but it was hard for her to tell. But the most noticeable change was that her nipples were looking a little puffy. She knew she was starting to develop breasts, but she was doing so almost as slowly as if it would be in the mortal realm. There was only so much experience she could gain right now. While she found the riverside relaxing, she was waiting for the Unseelie with anticipation of a more eager variety than should be expected.
One day, the sky became overcast, making it almost night. There had been a few clouds in the sky while Adria was waiting on the riverside, but nothing like this. Perhaps it meant that the Unseelie that she was to face was finally approaching. Adria quickly donned her clothes, noticing that her tunic was starting to get a big tight on her. Hopefully that won’t get in the way of fighting the Unseelie. She strung her bow and notched an arrow to the string. All she had to do now was wait for the dark fae to show itself.
Then Adria heard of water sloshing. She looked around until a dark shape walked around a bend. It looked exactly like a black horse, a particularly handsome horse at that. Its black coat was glossy with a healthy sheen, though that might simply have been because of the water clinging to its fur. Its mane and tail were very straight and looked like they had been well-cared for until relatively recently when water weeds had become tangled in them from the horse’s apparent swim. The horse looked at Adria with soulful eyes and started approaching her.
Many girls would have approached the horse to pet it and feed it. It looked so pretty and docile that girls wouldn’t have hesitated to climb onto its back for a ride. Of course, that would have been the last ride they’d ever take. Adria had plenty of time to study about the different races of Seelie and Unseelie that live in this realm and this creature was perfectly described in detail. This was a kelpie, one of the fiendish dark fae that were found in or near water. The kelpie may appear like a tame horse that would allow foolish mortals to ride on its back. But once the mortal was on, the fur will become impossibly sticky and the water weeds would entangle their arms. With the human bound to its back, the kelpie would leap back into the water and dive down to the deepest part. As soon as its prey was drowned, the monster would devour them and leave only bones that will be washed away by the current.
Of course, Adria wasn’t fooled by the kelpie’s show of docility for a moment. The kelpie might think she’d be easy prey, but she was going to be the hunter this day. She drew her bow and shot her arrow at the beast which landed deeply in its shoulder. The kelpie let out a loud bellow of surprise and pain, much deeper than a horse could have made, almost like a bull’s. The dark faerie glared at Adria, the friendly look in its eyes having been replaced by a baleful light. Kelpies may prefer to have their meat thoroughly soaked through with water, but this one had no problem with eating on dry land. The kelpie let out a raging bellow, its open mouth showing sharp fangs instead of a horse’s molars, before charging at the changeling.
Adria loosed more arrows at the kelpie as it got closer. The arrows pierced its shoulders and chest, but that was not enough to stop the magical creature. The kelpie reared up as it got close enough to Adria to crush her skull with its front hooves. But Adria shot one last arrow that struck the underside of the kelpie’s right foreleg, just below the knee. The kelpie screamed again as it was forced to come down, its uninjured foreleg lashing out as it fell. Fortunately, it missed Adria’s head, but it struck her bow, causing it to fly out of her hands.
Adria quickly backed away from the kelpie, but she didn’t go for her bow. The monster was in too close a range now and she wouldn’t be able to have time to let fly more arrows. The beast glared at Adria with deepest loathing as it paced in front of her, limping a bit with its injured leg. The arrows definitely hurt the dark faerie, but it did not incapacitate it. It was more determined than ever to make a meal of this changeling. Adria drew her sword and assumed a fighting position. This was when her challenge really began.
The kelpie bellowed as it charged at her, its mouth, full of teeth that no business being associated with an herbivore, opened wide to take a chunk out of Adria. Adria dodged to the side at the last second before slicing at the kelpie. The blade didn’t touch the kelpie’s hide, but it did sheer off a good part of its mane. Adria looked at the falling hair and water weeds with dismay. She had hoped she would able to have done some more major damage with her first strike. But the beast unexpectedly started dancing with pain, its screaming starting to become painful to Adria’s pointed ears. It was then she noticed the green blood on her sword and the water weeds she had cut off writhing like snakes. She soon realized that the water weeds weren’t just enchanted plants, but actually a part of the kelpie like tentacles. And by the way it was reacting, they were quite sensitive to touch.
Adria lunged forward to strike while the kelpie was incapacitated. However, killing it was not as simple as it seemed. She could cut the kelpie’s skin, but the flesh beneath it was tougher than she would have thought. In theory, she could have kept leaving enough gashes in it so that it would eventually bleed to death, but the water monster was too adamant about trying to kill her for Adria to wait it out. The kelpie didn’t give her any serious injuries, but its teeth had managed to leave plenty of scratches and the strikes from its hooves, though glancing, did leave bruises.
Eventually, the kelpie reared up one more time to crush Adria with its front hooves. That’s when Adria saw her opportunity and made a move that the kelpie did not expect. Instead of dodging to the side or jumping back, she dashed toward the kelpie. The beast didn’t realize what Adria intended until the point of her sword pierced its belly. The kelpie’s own weight was used against it as it fell forward, Adria’s sword going deeper into it. It let out an even louder scream before as Adria had to quickly roll to avoid being crushed under the kelpie. The dark faerie writhed on the ground, which only caused the sword to slice into more of its insides. Before long, its thrashing stopped as its life left its body.
Adria grimaced at the sight. She had to kill the kelpie for her Calling and the monster had made it clear that it wanted to kill her. But that didn’t mean she liked looking at its dead body. If she was a better swordswoman, she could have given it a swifter and less messy death. But the kelpie was slain now and she had completed the first part of her Calling. She wasn’t quite sure what was next but the first thing she ought to do was retrieve her sword. She looked away as she pulled it out, not wanting to see what else would be spilling out. She went over the river and started cleaning the kelpie’s blood from the blade.
As Adria was cleaning her blade, she heard a rustling in the reeds. She quickly stood up, thinking another kelpie had come. To her great relief, it was only a water nymph. The nymphs preferred living in the more wild parts of Underhill as opposed to the more civilized fae. Adria wasn’t quite sure if they were actual fae or elementals but they at least seem to be somewhere in between. This particular nymph looked to be Seelie-oriented, but a large amount of nymphs were neutral towards the two sides.
“You’ve slain a kelpie I see,” said the nymph as she looked towards the body of the dark fae.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Adria.
“Of course it wasn’t. It was quite a task for a changeling. You’ve made an important first step for your Calling,” said the nymph.
Adria paused before asking, “Are you some sort of judge for the Calling?”
“We nymphs do not actively participate with the Calling. The changeling must deal with their Unseelie adversary on their own. But when a changeling triumphs, a nymph usually appears to guide to where they need to go next,” said the nymph.
“So you’re here to guide me to the next part?” asked Adria, “Then what are we waiting for?”
“There is no rush right now,” said the nymph, “Why don’t you take one last swim? You could use one after your ordeal.”
Adria looked down at herself and saw the nymph had a point. She had gotten rather dirty from her fight and there was some blood on her clothes, some of it from her but most of it from the kelpie. “I suppose one last swim couldn’t hurt,” said Adria before she started undressing. She wasn’t too bothered by the nymph’s present as nymphs were more interested in males and there weren’t any fauns or satyrs about.
The cool water felt good on Adria’s bare skin and it certainly was helping her relax after her tough battle against the kelpie. She didn’t have a reason to fear another kelpie or some other water Unseelie appearing as the nymph would give her a warning before she was in actual danger. The dirt and blood soon washed off and Adria could start swimming just for her enjoyment.
Eventually, she started to notice something odd. She seemed to be moving in the water faster than she could before and the water was moving against her body in odd ways, particularly around her chest. She rose up to the surface and took a look down at herself. The reason was quickly obvious. During her swim, her body had grown considerably. She wasn’t certain how tall she was now, but she was definitely bigger now. She ran her hands over her hips, feeling their increase in width and roundness. Her backside had also become more plush and appealing. More tellingly, her nipples were now the caps of actual breasts. Granted, they were small breasts and they were mostly conical, but they showed plenty of signs of becoming larger. Adria felt up her face which seemed to have gotten narrower and more defined. Her ears had definitely grown, their points becoming unmistakable. She wasn’t a full grown woman just yet, but she was well on her way.
Adria returned to the shore and the nymph was waiting with her clothes. “I took the liberty of cleaning, mending, and adjusting your clothes,” said the nymph.
“I am grateful for that,” said Adria. Faerie had an odd sense of etiquette regarding some things. They consider the term ‘thank you’ to be offensive and one had to express gratitude by other phrases. The nymph accepted Adria’s gratitude as seen when her body dried almost instantly. Adria put on her clothes and found that they have been changed to match her new size and form. She wished her outfit could highlight her bust, even if it was minuscule right now. But as soon as her bosom was at full size, she would be displaying it with elven robes.
“Are you ready to take the next step of your Calling?” asked the nymph.
“Indeed I am,” said Adria, “Which way do I go to proceed with the Calling of the Lord?”
The nymph’s smile wavered before she said, “Are you sure you want to set out on that path? There is considerable risk from which you may not be able to overcome.”
“I’ve just fought a kelpie and lived,” said Adria, “Even if there are worse adversaries, I am not turning away.”
The nymph considered this before saying, “So be it. I can only lead you part of the way for the road you must take is far from the river. But I shall see that my sister will be able to guide you the rest of the way.”
“Lead on,” said Adria before she and the nymph started walking. Adria could feel her anticipation and excitement starting up anew. She was one step closer to becoming a lady and she eagerly awaited the next part of her journey.
Previous story: Part 1