This is an attempted giftfic for Rubyprism, who requested something with Sulpher. Since I wanded off topic in this, I did a drabble instead. Getting this wrapped up is part of my campaign to get stuff out of my documents folder: for every random oneshot I write or project I start, I have to finish off two old ones.
Disclaimer: I don't own Mana Khemia or any associated properties. Gust and the other rightful owners and distributers do. No infringement intended or money made: please don't sue.
In the end, Roxis was the only one of the workshop to get out of it with his dignity intact. When he'd woken up buried in blankets and lifted up a paw to rub his face only to feel fur, he'd only struggled free of the covers long enough to discover that he had been turned a rather fetching calico before turning around thrice and going back to sleep. After he woke up, he prowled around his room a bit until he found some sun or clean clothing and went back to sleep, a pattern he repeated until sanity was restored.
Of course, it would have been impossible for most of the workshop to keep their dignity intact due to not having any in the first place.
Vayne was an incredibly difficult person to shop for. He didn't have any hobbies, no collections or games or even reading material that wasn't school-related. He bought what he needed, or made it, and didn't spend any money on frivolities.
Normally, that was a good thing, and the reason he held the workshop's purse strings, but if he'd even given something a longing glance in the store, that would have been something. If it was something too expensive for one of them to buy, they could have chipped in.
Flay always gave Vayne stat fruits, although he thought of that as giving himself the present of a strong rival, and birthdays were one of those things that Jess was clueless about. They were a celebration of life, a milestone, a marker of how long someone had survived, and so Jess had grown up showered in UnBirthday presents. She was aware that you gave people something to be polite, but didn't think that there was anything particularly important about putting thought into it and generally gave people bombs or potions.
Anna always just gave everyone money on her own birthday (which was on her country's New Year's Day), in envelopes that the others had first thought were party favors until she'd explained.
That left Roxis and Nikki, since Pamela couldn't eat birthday cake and… was disqualified from the cycle of birthday gifting for obvious reasons.
At first, Roxis hadn't wanted to give Vayne anything, and had wanted Vayne to ask if Roxis was giving him anything so he could give him a glare that would remind Vayne of how much Roxis hated him. Or something. Except Vayne hadn't even noticed.
This year, however, they were on better terms after the Quiz event (and the Light Mana had insisted), so Roxis had gone and bought a fishing rod recipe, since Vayne was an expert fisherman and generally that would have meant that Vayne liked fishing if it weren't for the fact Vayne was what he was.
Not that Roxis knew that when he bought it, of course.
So the only person who had ever actually agonized over what to get Vayne had been Nikki, until she'd realized this year that she should just ask him, "Hey, Vayne, what do you like?"
"What do I like?" Vayne had blinked at her, hands still kneading the magical clay. "Well, alchemy, I guess. And Sulpher." Of course Sulpher.
"Sulpher! Right." Nikki nodded. "Thanks!"
Vayne watched her scamper off. "I wonder what that was about?"
"Mrow." Clueless Vayne.
Roxis had snorted, assuming it had something to do with the fact Vayne's birthday was next week and Nikki's crush on Vayne, the one that no one seemed to know about but himself and Nikki, even though the other members of the workshop were normally observant when it came to these things, and continued chopping up the dunkelheit.
Vayne left when he was done making the supplies the others had requested and Sulpher got bored, which left Nikki free to ask Roxis, "Hey, Roxis, what do cats like?"
"Aren't you a beastman? Why are you asking me?"
"Well, uh," Nikki wasn't going to tell him that she could smell cat on his clothes sometimes. "You look like a cat person?"
"I doubt that's supposed to be a compliment." Ah well. If it would get her to leave him alone so he could focus on the assignment. "I assume you're asking about Sulpher. You do realize that he's a mana?" So normal cat toys likely would have little appeal.
"Well, he looks like a cat and acts like a cat."
"I noticed." Sulpher even meowed instead of talking. "I suppose you could try a catnip mouse."
"Catnip? Yeah! Thanks, Roxis!"
"You can buy it at the underground campus store in the student center," he called after her. Not that he had bought it for his cat or anything.
That was when his mana appeared, of course. "So the way to Vayne's heart is through his cat?"
"As though that wasn't obvious. His mana is the only thing he seems to feel any attachment to. No." That was unfair. "He has changed. I suppose." Not that Roxis had been paying attention.
"Hmm." Her tail almost wagged before she vanished again.
And thus it was that, after Sulpher smelled something interesting coming from Nikki's drawer in the workshop and told Vayne to open it for him, the entire population of Al Revis, students, mana and teachers alike, were turned into cats.
Since that involved things like instincts and heat, most people were embarrassed by what had happened after they turned back. Except Flay and Nikki, of course, and Roxis, because he had done the sensible thing and stayed in bed.
Actually, it turned out rather well for Roxis, since his skills were instrumental to getting the entire campus dosed with exactly enough Water of Lethe to forget the past week, after the truth had come out and the amount of people trying to rub Vayne to get wishes granted had reached critical mass. Honestly, he had no idea where they'd gotten the idea that was how it worked: Vayne wasn't a genie and if they wanted Vayne to grant a wish they should have petted Sulpher, since he was obviously the one in charge there.
Not to mention that although Vayne had squeaked amusingly when people touched him like that, Sulpher purred.