Four months later
Ouran plopped himself down on the floor of a cave, folding black leathery wings together over the blood-sucking leeches he could now (apparently) spawn. He closed his mouth with the glowing pink tongue and then shut the eye on his tail. As he did so, a new nose sprouted from his back, and he could smell sea salt flowing from down the cliff outside.
Inside, he was broiling with rage. The changes had not stopped. That, perhaps, was the most frustrating thing.
He had no idea why, but even without the potions and rituals, his changes were now coming in at complete random. One moment he’d be swinging through a tree with his seven limbs and ultra-long, prehensile tongue. The next he’d crash into the ground with no limbs at all. He was forced to adapt to the new changes immediately, however, because more often than not, someone or someTHING was trying to kill him.
Villages saw him as a monster that needed to die, animals saw him as easy prey, and the occasional sorceror or wizard saw him as something interesting worth capturing. He’d bled too many people and creatures just to survive, and had eaten too few of them… he wasn’t going to be able to keep this up forever…
He smelled a human approaching. A human with a scent he recognized.
He opened his wings, and the leeches jumped off of him. They were burned in flames before they could even reach his target, but that was fine – he wasn’t budding any more anyway. A spark leaped from his eye as more fire flew from the woman’s hand to consume him… except his hide had chosen that exact moment to grow leathery and tough. He snarled as two new eyes popped on his slowly extending neck, and glared darkly at the figure at the mouth of the cave.
“Hello Althra.” Ouran groaned out past his eyeba- tongue.
“Ouran. It’s taken far too long to find you.” She hissed angrily. “You should never have been brought into existence.”
“It’s too late for regret, little apprentice.” The abomination sneered with it’s second mouth. “I exist. And it’s your fault.”
Flames danced in her hands, rage and passion flickering in the dark of the cave. “My master is dead. I am alone. My life is ruined because of you.”
“You tortured me. Brought me into a high enough intellect to understand the concept of ‘torture’. Unbound my form, and made it ever changing. You created me, Althra.” Ouran spat as he formed into his next being. “Everything I am is YOUR doing.”
“I did nothing wrong! I never could! You-”
“Do not deny it, wizard. You made your own failure.”
The flames flared bright and hot now. “Then I will unmake it, monster.” She slammed her palms together, and flames roared from her hands.
Ouran’s small form darted to the side. Finding the walls remarkably easy to grasp onto, he ran up and dove behind the wizard as she broadened her stream. It was a testament to the apprentice’s arrogance that she believed him trapped in the conflagaration. He jumped down, opening his reptilian maw wide-
-and crunched down using a mouth with no teeth.
Althra grasped him by the neck and threw him towards the entrance of the cave. As she began to chant a new incantation, a tentacle sprouted from Ouran’s back, grabbed one of the leeches and tossed it at her. She shouted as it hit her face, but since it was already burned to death it did nothing. She smacked it aside and pointed at Ouran. White lightning flew from her finger and struck the ground behind her little abomination. He rolled away to the edge of the cliff, and looked up, his head resolving into a human face.
“I’m not the monster here, Althra.”
For a moment, the wizard stood stunned. Then she said quietly, “Am I really that pretty?”
“…I hate you.” Ouran scowled as tentacles began to pour from his mouth.
This time the lightning collapsed the cliff and sent him falling into the sea.
Ouran’s story, perhaps, should have ended when he hit the water. The form he had at that moment could neither float on the water nor breathe under it.
It seemed, however, that chance or fate or perhaps even the gods themselves had other plans. Ouran sank like a stone into the sea and gasped in a lungful of seawater for a few brief moments before his form changed again – he found with his next gasp that he could breathe the water around him. He felt his flesh changing, as it always did, but now it became sleek and slimy. His bones crunched and shifted within him, his organs squished and writhed. In a few moments, he was a many tentacled, black and gray mess with one large purple eye in the center.
Ouran turned and swam deeper into the sea.