Dark Schneider chuckled in his sleep.

At last--the perfect shoes! They were his! He could not help but gloat over the soft sepia leather and brushed ebony of the low-heeled dress clogs; they were so comfortable! And they'd go with everything! Laughing with euphoria, he fled the outlet store piled haphazardly with open shoeboxes. He had the perfect shoes!

"Heehee. . . . What a weird dream," he snickered, sitting up as he awoke.

Something tugged at his chest.

"Oi, Arshes," he nudged the half-elf in his bed. "I just had the most bizarre dream--"

"Mmm?" She rolled to face him sleepily, then her eyes widened with alarm and disbelief, and she sat up quickly, clasping her mouth.

"About shoes. . . ." he trailed off, distracted by her shocked expression. He looked over both shoulders, but there was nothing behind him. "Arshe, what's wrong?"

The Thunder Empress uttered a whimpery little scream and fainted. Schneider leaned over to revive her, and something brushed against his upper arm . . something that had been tugging at his chest.

"Arshe! Hey, Arshe--hmm?" Then he chanced to look down.

He was a woman.

Dark Schneider's scream was vigorous and full-throated.

"Arshes! Hey, Arshe, wake up, it's important!" she was urged. Arshes Nei came around reluctantly as her camisole was yanked at.

"Mmm?" She opened her eyes. It was Darsh, but he was--gods, it hadn't been a dream--

"Don't you faint on me again!" Dark Schneider snarled as the same look of horror came over the elf's face again. "I need to borrow a dress, fast!"

"Wh-what happened to you?"

"I'm a woman!" Darsh snapped, gesturing at her pale new body. "None of my old things fit! What have you got to spare?"

"Um. . . ." As if still dreaming, Arshes opened the wardrobe.

"I look like some airheaded dancing girl," Darsh grumbled in the mirror at the sea-green silk loincloth held at her hips with ornate jeweled links. She was shorter than Arshes now, so all the borrowed things were a bit too long.

"Oh?" Arshes' eyebrow arched. "Was that how I looked, when I wore it?"

"Of course not," she answered a little testily. "You look totally different to start with. I just don't want to appear . . . frivolous," she explained.

"No? Well, try this on--" the half-elf offered, and Dark Schneider lost her balance under the unexpected weight of Arshes' formal shoulder carapace.

"Uugh--it's so heavy," she grunted, struggling upright. "Don't you have a lighter one?"

"We--ell . . . if you're not afraid of looking like a dancing girl," Arshes sniped, rummaging deeper into the wardrobe. "Or a magician's assistant . . . or dragon bait. . . ."

"I get it, I get it!" Schneider recoiled, finally shedding the leaden armor and approaching the mirror again.

Damn, I'm really a woman. What could have done this? How long is it going to last? she wondered, and a sly grin spread across her face. At least I get my own pair of these. . . . Her hands came up and cupped her generous new breasts, hefting them through the borrowed camisole. Firm, but not too firm--

"Stop handling yourself and try this on," Arshes interrupted.

"Oh! Right," Schneider gasped, turning away from the glass with a blush.

Why the hell am I blushing?!?

"So what on earth were you doing to turn yourself into a woman?" Arshes asked as she helped the black magician into her armor.

"Um--it's an experiment," she improvised, suddenly very busy with fasteners. "I'll tell you later. I don't want to repeat myself."

"It's accidental, isn't it? Unanticipated aphrodesiac backlash, ne?" the half-elf smirked, and very nearly winked.

"Absolutely not," Schneider retorted. "Since when have I needed an aphrodesiac?" She drew herself up and took stock of her new ensemble in the mirror while Arshes laughed. "This will do," she decided, and swiveled automatically to see how big her butt looked.