A/N: Big shout out: I'm still alive!
Hey everyone. Sorry for being M.I.A for so long. All I can say is one thing: Life. However, I'm back to what I'm doing and back in action. Anyway, hope you enjoy this next chapter. I'd like to thank once again to my Beta: Tanuki-chan A.K.A. Tanki-Chan and the one who has opened my eyes to this fandom: NoXVZhuusox. Thank you both and to everyone else. Please read and review. Thank you all.
Ch. 6 Dwindling Soul
Beau nervously chuckles as Artha joins in step as they walk through the curving hallway however Artha was slowing slightly, his breathing had gotten heavier as well as his body too. The entire way upwards seemed to never come to sight as his pace gradually slowed to a stumble, with the climb feeling harder and harder by each passing step he leaned against his dragon for support. Huffing and gasping he blamed the slope for being steep, though a nagging thought was sitting in the back of his mind.
Finally, they had reached the top of the hallway's curve as they passed the statues; conversely, both Artha and Beau noticed the wall on their left was oddly reflective. Artha noted how the wall had distorted their image like a fun-house mirror, it seemed to stretch the reflection, rounding it out. Indeed, it made their sleek physique seem rather plump; especially Artha's.
Laughing quietly he pats his fat round belly, causing his mirror image copy him...only to pauses when his hands met his stomach, eyebrows dramatically lowering he feels something like a large basketball instead of his normally toned stomach.
Looking down his shirt was straining around it, his jacket hung tight and slightly open unable to close around it, the whole mass wobbled at the slightest poke. Artha soon found himself staring in shock; when had that happened? There was no way he could have been fattened up without noticing!
"Beau," he turns to ask his dragon, "Do I look fat?"
Nodding and gesturing to Artha's gut he growls.
"I thought so too... So not drac."
It was confusing really. He hadn't been hit by any kind of poison, gas, or ray, and he hadn't eaten or drunk anything since arriving. The only thing that he had happened to him since entering the temple, was...
"The dart..." Artha groans, "That dart did something to me."
Artha feeling for his backpack, reaches inside, pulls out the sphere noticing the warm feeling it seemed to radiate at his touch. "Oh no..." He whispers now noticing that his shoulders had widened considerably as his body appeared to have packed on some extra weight.
"The dart and this thing must be causing the transformation," He comments as he tries to open it with the help of Beau. "It's closed up tightly for sure."
Finally after a minute of struggling they were able open it, inside was an image of a gold dragon roaring, floating in the air before passing through and around Artha in a flash. The light grows, blinding them both and then just disappears in an instant.
"What? Wait... What was that supposed to mean?!" He hollers as what just happened seemed to speed up the darts effects on his body.
It was a very slow process, but he was certainly packing on weight by each passing moment! His belly had started to swell more than anything, much like a baby green Draconium dragon's belly after eating. His clothes had grown a bit tight on his widened caboose for sure! His calves hadn't thickened up too substantially yet, though his pants' legs were feeling a bit more close-fitting, and even his face was looking a bit rounder, surprisingly even his mouth was feeling a bit thicker than it had before.
"Beau, we've to get out of here and fast!" He jumps onto Beau's back almost falling over before pulling himself into saddle.
Knowing now what's happening to Artha, frightens the young dragon making him double his speed as they dash from the hallway. However, Beau started to slow down as Artha's balance and weight was throwing him off course. Having no choice to stop because of how unstable Artha was becoming on his back, he nudges the growing and groaning teen.
Artha soon stumbles off as he tries to waddle as fast as he could. Everything felt so heavy, it was quite an uncomfortable feeling to be jogging as his weight slowly continued to increase. At the rate he was going, Artha was afraid that he'd be less human and more of a crazed monster before he got out! Still he hurried, hoping that the dart's poison had a cure and if it indeed had one then the transformation would disappear. If he was lucky to get out.
Looking over to Beau, who had stopped after gazing into Artha's eyes, troubles the teen at what else could has changed. "Beau, what is it boy?" Artha questions turning to the mirrored wall to see rather how his eyes peered back at him, the blue iris in his eyes had darken to an almost blackish blue with his pupils starting thin in shape.
"What's happening to me!?" He shouts rubbings his face with his blackened hand.
Staring on in fright, skin seemed to merge into scales along his left arm as more black and gold scales slowly grows over the limb. His shirt and jacket was tearing slightly from his massive gain in weight too, it soon lifts to reveals his whole stomach was covered in black scales with a gold spot in the center. His entire body continues to lengthen and stretch, becoming more serpentine in appearance as it grew, his chest was starting to expand as well, the buttons along the top tightening along with the neck of his undershirt as they popped off.
Trying to rub the scales off he picks at them, shouting in anger. "Get off of me!" But it was a futile attempt as the mutation was still happening.
'Will I be stuck like this?' He thinks whimpering, as the black and gold scales beginning to grow while the few patches of remaining human flesh receded away into the more scales. By now his hands had started to twitch involuntarily as sharp black claws emerged from his fingertips. The palm of his left hand swelled out, putting pressure on the fingerless glove he wore, splitting the cotton further as his hand gained in size. He watches in morbid curiosity as his right hand and fingers fuse into three digits. Groaning even louder as he feels his bones next morph into a new structure, by now every muscle in his body was on fire as the dart's poison continued changed his body.
"We... Need... To... Leave!" he growls painfully.
However, he was caught off guard by how long his body had grown and stumbles over himself. Beau cautiously walks over to Artha, scared at Artha's metamorphosis.
Artha struggling to pick himself off the ground hears his shirt's sleeves shred as his biceps swell, a pair of bumps had formed on his shoulders as a black dewlap with some gold lines slowly protrudes his throat had him hunched over. His abs and pectorals gained in size and definition, hugging tight against the clothes as he goes on all fours on the ground; stretching out his uniform while adding torture to it.
He snarls loudly, "I'm... Becoming... A.. -" Stopping as his shirt final shreds open to reveal the muscled, scaly flesh.
A fire burning inside him, his chest barreling slightly with each breath he took. His pants were straining now as his thighs developed, muscles bulging underneath thick scales. Rips and tears started forming along the inside of his jeans while the scales were heading for his feet. Tingling in his feet, he could feel them change just the same as what had happened with his right hand before.
Gritting his teeth, he could feel his toes on each feet conjoining into three digits, with his boots straining from the lack of space for the new digits. Until they just burst out, splitting the footwear apart. Talons were replacing toenails as his feet gained patting with his heels raising up. His legs had turned into hindquarters before his very eyes. Artha felt a bump on his butt and turn his head as he sees a little bump, growing and growing more. Soon the concealed tail popped out of his pants, ripping them as it thrashes around the cold ground. Small spikes started to grow from his backside, descending down the tail.
Artha now exposed to Beau, couldn't care less because of how painful the process was. Artha's arms both had completely turned into dragon's fore limbs, tearing off whatever shirt remnants were left, the only things that remained human was his head and his exposed genitalia. Artha felt his penis becoming longer and heavier as his scrotum grew wider and bigger, both blackening like the rest of his body. Looking down, his penis and scrotum retracted inside a sack, becoming invisible.
He soon felt the transformation reaching his face as his teeth were sharpening and his tongue lengthened as his jaws extended, with a few painful cracks, into a rounded muzzle, turning black before his eyes with some small gold lines going over the top of his mouth. His ears were receding into his skull as his hair puffed out; looking more like quills on the back of his head. Artha had to squint his eyes; everything looked like it was brighter and more focused than before! It didn't take too long for him to realize that his eyes were actually becoming more sensitive, bringing sharp clarity to anything he looked at. As his ears were more acute now than he was human, he could hear his wildly beating heart. Gold scales soon trailed down his tail and on half his four legs, with a gold band of scales around his neck and some gold crossing his eye lids and chin diagonally.
Artha panting moves his head to overlook the end result; his now draconic body in place of his human body, stood several feet taller than he did as a human, with clothing lying in shredded and tattered pieces around him.
"Dra...gon," Artha tried to say with some difficulty. "I... am... Dra...gon. ...I... Dra...gonahh. Drahhh!"
He threw his head back, bellowing to the heavens as he send a big blast of mag-energy towards the cave's entrance, lighting up the path.
He roars loudly with tears cascading down his face as Beau is mystified with what had happened with Artha.
"Artha... Calm down," Artha looks around confused as he continued to roar crazily.
"Artha, just calm down and think of what you want to say. Then, it'll come out," the voice reasoned with him. He didn't really a choice in the matter. So he closed his eyes, taking some deep breaths and exhaling them.
"Who is talking to me?" he opens his eyes and roars softly, confused.
"Me," the voice speaks calmly, "It's me. I've always been with you. Just think Artha."
Artha closes his eyes as he tries to think and after a few seconds, the name pops.
"Beau," he roars gently and turns to him, "Beau, you're talking to me?"
"It's easier than when you were human," Beau growls happily, "But, yes. I'm talking to you. Letting you know, I'll always help you with everything. Even through unsure and unexpected things, I'll help you. You're like family to me. I'd hate for anything to happen to you Artha. I love you so much."
"Beau..." Artha mewls softly as he struggles to walk towards Beau and rubs his side against Beau's, "Thanks, for having my back."
"Always and forever Artha," Beau bellows.
He abruptly woke up, panting as he looks around and sees that everyone was asleep. He calms himself down as he goes back to sleep, trying to forget his nightmare.
"Artha... Artha," he heard his name being called, "Artha... Time to wake up."
He groans as he squints his eyes, "Hey, who turned on the lights?" Turning to his side he closes his eyes again.
"Artha!" A voice shouts at him; however, his dismisses it with a wave of his hand.
He finally wakes up when Beau's tail smacks him in the chest. "Ow. Ok... Ok, I'm awake."
When he opens his eyes, he sees the person they were looking for and smiled widely. "Stewardd." He grimaces standing and cringing as he leans on Beau.
Stewardd asks concernedly, "Are you okay?" To him it looked like the young dragon booster was in a lot of pain.
"Yes," Artha explains seeing how Stewardd stares his leg, "It's just a scratch."
"Yeah that came from a really big claw-like tentacle thing," a voice speaks causing them to turn and see Lance, Parmon, and Kitt with their dragons.
"Lance," Artha narrows his eyebrows as he glares at him.