Anya’s heart rose when she happened to swing by Under The Bridge. Jynni was working at the coffee shop in the afternoon for once. Jynni, her half-troll girlfriend was as long and lanky and green as her brothers but, she was a much better mage than them. Bones which had been 3D printed around bells clattered in her collection of short, stone gray braids as she moved around behind the counter around the smaller hired help. The lovers got a moment together when Jynni handed over Anya’s drink.
“Do you want to do something tonight?” Anya asked over the coffee.
Jynni shrugged and scratched at her three-week-old tattoo. “I had a combat practical with the old man this morning. It didn’t go well. So he will probably have me do drills and then some sparring. ”
“You were the one who wanted to be a Gish,” Anya said over the rim of her cup. “Besides, if you tell Falstaff you have a date with a hot girl he’d probably let you out either way.”
“Hah! Well, we can’t all be librarians,” she said, punching Anya in the arm. As Anya went to fire off a witty retort, someone called for Jynni from the other end of the counter. “Gotta go, but I’ll see what I can do--text you either way!” With a tusky kiss, she was gone.
In the basement of The Grand Library, Anya blew the dust off the heavy tome’s cover and coughed as most of it hit her in the face. When she got her breath back, her long fingers traced runes sewn into the leather around the likeness of a spider. The half-nymph had a hunch when she first saw it, but it was incredible that an Annasi Tome had come into her possession, much less been for sale in a used bookstore. Considered myth, the set of nine books written by the Goddess of All Stories was said to be crammed with the sum of knowledge mortal and immortal alike. It was believed the pages contained not only what had been and what was, but all the potentials of what was yet to be.
The book was sealed on all sides as if it had been designed to be water resistant. A simple loop of brass rose through a wide leather strap. A lock was clasped through the ring, but a quick word from the linguimancer had it open. That worried her. She had opened many more protected books before, but the ease of this had to be a trick. As she slipped the loop of metal out of its place and removed the strap, the air in the library’s restoration lab grew heavy. A feeling of being watched crept up her spine. When she glanced around, there was no sign of anyone. A mental check of her wards reporting nothing was amiss, her closest co-worker was two floors up on the main level. Still, it felt like something massive was breathing down her neck. She could feel her hair shifting. Sure that her mind was playing tricks on her, she tossed her loose ponytail of iridescent blue and purple hair over her shoulder in an attempt to keep the circulating air from tickling her further.
Prying the cover loose took more effort than she expected, the leather and board much heavier than it should have been. Considering she had carried it here, the fact that it took two hands to lift edge was disconcerting. The sense that something else was in the room with her intensified. The half-nymph had to put nearly all her strength into open the book a few degrees. Blood vessels began to stand out under her skin from the strain, her silver blood brightening her deep blue skin. She was making progress, but it was like something else was pushing back against her. Maybe it was even Annasi herself, trying to prevent a mortal from witnessing something better left unseen.
Catching a glimpse of the first page sent a shock down her arms. She squeezed her eyes closed and gritted her teeth as she continued to struggle with the book’s cover and the invisible forces intent on keeping it closed. Putting her whole body into the effort, and taking one step forward, then another, pushed the board to a ninety-degree angle with the pages. The tingling in her arms grew stronger but, the resistance to her efforts lessened. The sound of the cover eventually hitting the table sounded more like a bell being dropped than a leather-wrapped binding.
Anya stepped back, bent over as she gasped for breath. The feeling of being watched had dissipated. She had beaten whatever enchantment had been placed on the book to protect it. She turned to pour over those pages when she realized she was seeing much more of the room than normal. Putting her hands to her face made her recoil as it looked like she was about to poke herself in the eye. Fumbling for her phone, she went to snap a selfie when she stopped dead. Sitting to either side of the middle of her forehead were two almond-shaped, solid purple mounds. Another pair were at the peak of her cheekbones.They looked like gummy candy, but as she raised her finger towards them, it very much looked like she was going to push on her real eyes. The other eyes blinked, sinking into her skin before reappearing.
“The tingle must have been another safeguard," she mused aloud. "A prank of the Spider Goddess to punish those strong enough to thwart her other measure. Don’t spiders have eight eyes though?”
Her chest began to get warm and itched like after getting sunburned. She rubbed it absently through her blouse then jumped when it felt like she had run her hand over her eyes. Undoing a few buttons and pulling the sides away, she found two, much larger shimmering purple almonds just below her collarbone. “I had to ask. Still, being cursed with six extra eyes is still a bargain to witness these pages. If anything they’ll be a great help.”
With her phone still in her hand, she sent a text to Jynni saying that she would probably be late. Something had come up that needed her immediate attention. Her half-troll girlfriend replied right away, saying it was okay. Old man Falstaff did indeed have her doing extra Gish drills after barely scraping by on her combat practical.
Leaning over the book, Anya let her gaze move over the sparse first page. The runes were ancient but, somehow, understandable. However, as she looked at them, they began to move. The strokes which formed the words were wriggling like inchworms over the page to shape new letters.
[Greetings, mortal. Your pure and innocent curiosity has permitted you to open a book upon which no mortal has ever gazed. For that, I commend you–and bless you.]
“Are you... Annasi?” she asked, not thinking about whether the book could even hear her. Even so, the runes changed shape once more.
[That is a name you mortals use for me, yes.]
“Um, okay...what happens now?”
[You desire to read the words within these pages do you not?]
“More than anything–well, almost anything.”
[Almost? A portal to all that is known and will be is open before you, and you have reservations? What, pray tell are they, Seeker?]
“It’s not anything easy to put into words, but I have someone who means the world to me, and I will not leave her behind. Even for this.”
[Ha! So you are as earnest in your loyalty as your curiosity. I positively love that! Tell me, mortal, what would you say to becoming my priestess in exchange for a chance to read this holographic shard of all there is?]
“This feels like one of your legendary traps, Great Spider.”
[It very well may be thus, but I think you will agree regardless. That is just your nature, Seeker. Though you wish not to use this knowledge for ill and gain, you still desire it like your partner. Being bound to me is a small price to pay for such an opportunity.]
“If I agree–IF, mind you...what will happen?”
[The next thing is already happening, it just awaits your acknowledgment. We shall speak soon, my new priestess.]
“What does that even mean?” she asked, but the tome did not respond.
She shifted her weight on her feet and realized her pants felt tight. Her hands went to her butt, and it pulsed against her palms. Accompanied by the sound of her pants stretching and groaning, her ass swelled in dramatic fashion. At the same time, she could hear a whisper. She tried to focus on it instead of her still expanding bubble butt. It was coming from the tome which was starting to glow. Like a tide going out, the lines of words receded. As they did, a wave of faintly golden energy rose off the page. It kept growing, the wave’s height matching her ass in terms of growth. The button of her pants snapped off as her cheeks began to rise out of her waistband. A second later, the outer seam popped. From there, her growth only accelerated as the curve of her ass grew more extreme by the second. The wave was taller than her now and starting to crest. It overshadowed her as it came crashing down, only, instead of the entire wall of energy hitting her, it pulled together into a point. A point which slid into her face right between her extra eyes. It was like the universe unfolded before her as the book pumped her full of its knowledge. She was distantly aware of her ass getting so big she was being pulled backward by it, but even that was washed away by the flow of near infinite understanding making itself at home in her skull.
As suddenly as it had begun, it ended, and she was back in the basement. She struggled to stand up and found herself not able to feel her legs. Looking down, it looked like she was kneeling while hearing a very tight, probably vinyl, fetish skirt. One that proudly displayed her pubic area. She did not see her knees though or a shirt even, her nipples tight against her piercings from the chill.
“Okay, standing up now…” There was a sound like a splash as something long and pointed came into view from her left. It looked like a wide, solid black spear that was spattered with paint the same color as her...skin.
Another spear that was the same appeared on the right. Like with the eyes earlier, there was a sensation that matched the movement. Then, Anya screamed as she realized what she was seeing. It was not that she was kneeling in some ridiculous skirt, her torso abruptly ended at the top of her thighs as it sank into shiny black carapace. Somehow she had become centaur...only with a spider instead of a horse.
“Annasi! Why as I changed? You said this was no trick!”
“And It is not, my priestess. I have granted you a great boon.” A woman in a long robe stepped into the light. Six arms, wrapped in bandages, were crossed over her chest and a multitude of eyes glittered from the depths of her hood. Not even her chin projected from the shadows. “I can change you back, should that be what you wish. However, if you go back to being simply mortal, I am afraid all of the knowledge in your mind will burn you to crisp from the inside. I have heard that flames erupting from one’s eyes is not particularly pleasant. Besides, you are not quite done transforming yet… You might like the final product.”
A swelling feeling like before gripped her lower body as a heat blossomed in her shoulders. Apparently, the sensation of developing a thorax was like a much more intense version of her butt expanding. She rose off the ground as her abdomen inexplicably gained mass, the carapace stretching as what had been her butt grew and grew until she could feel it brushing against her back and then her shoulder blades. She thought it was over when a sickening crack sounded on either side of her head. There was a brief sensation that felt partly like stretching and partly like pulling on a shirt and then another pair of otherwise normal hands came into view below her original pair. The muscles knitting to her back and the nerves to her spine made her see stars, but it passed quickly. Her thick, pointed legs drew inwards, her dexterity with them growing as the knowledge of being a whatever she was bloomed in her mind. Familiarity with her new physique spread like a warm breeze over her body. The fingers on her new hands twitched, then clenched and unclenched. The nymph twisted her left wrist, but both the old and new hands on that side moved.
“See? You have already accepted the new you.”
Anya turned to face the goddess, the clacking of her six armored limbs echoing in the small space. “I haven’t accepted shit!”
“See, that’s the thing…” Annasi said, walking closer as she gestured with the open palm of one of her six hands. “That is the form you acknowledged. You chose it, not I. For that is the you which you believed could best serve The Spider Goddess. Once again, I am impressed by your mind, Seeker.”
The transformed woman gasped as her Goddess’ hands brushed her chin and neck as the backs of her fingers moved over Anya’s new body. Annasi’s skin was intensely warm and the direct touch of divinity made the half-nymph shudder with want and anticipation.
“I want to wrap you up and steal you away," Annasi whispered in her ear with a shuddering breath.”You are so tempting, priestess mine. So wonderfully brilliant. However, such callous disregard would be unbecoming of me. So, instead, go with my blessing and pursue wisdom.”
“My, uh...” Anya's brain had stopped working. The Goddess of All Stories was attracted to her? What did that even entail? Finally, though, she found words once more. “My sincerest thanks, Goddess.”
“Now then,” Annasi replied with a wide, warm smile. “I have held you up long enough.” She turned and scooped up the tome as she began to walk away.
“Wait! What will I wear? How am I going to explain this to my parents? What do I do if Jynni hates me now?”
“You will find that those are all simple questions if you only think about them for a moment. Farewell, for now, my Priestess Anya.”
An hour later Arya cheered on Jynni as she knocked down her sparring partner. Heeding Annasi’s advice she had searched the near infinite library in her mind and found an answer to her first question. Sure, the half-nymph could do more than create a strapless dress with a massive split, the research mage continued. It was entirely by accident that she discovered she could transform back to a somewhat humanoid form by altering the truth written about her. Mentally, it was like putting a sticky-note on the page that described her. Even so, the second pair of arms remained and her lower half was an impossibly full hourglass, but at least she was not growing out of six feet of spider-shaped lower body.
It was like holding her breath though. The longer she was out of spider form, the more her head hurt until she had to pull the note off and change back. So far, no one had noticed, but Jynni was about to get quite a show.
[Hey bone breath, I’m waiting up top.]
[Be right there, bookworm! <3]
A moment later the half-troll appeared from the spiral stairs that led up to the observation deck. “Hey, yo-whoa! Anya, you look...different–and great! Find some fun sexy spell at work or...?”
“Something like that, it’s a long story and this,” she said, gesturing at herself. “Isn’t the half of it. Promise not to scream?”
“Unlike you, my cute little bookworm, I’m a battle hardened mage. I’ve seen things that would make you puke.”
Anya giggled at her girlfriend’s bravado, “The most disturbing thing you’ve seen is probably Dinah and Marra making out.”
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s so...messy though. Anyway, what do you have to show me?”
She tugged at the alteration to the truth about her and felt her body morph back into her semi-arachnid form. Each time the change happened, it was more comfortable, pleasurable even as her ass swelled into her thorax.
Jynni’s expression was unreadable at first then she broke into a wide grin. “Does this mean you don’t need to save up for a motorcycle now?”
The thought had not occurred to her and she began to laugh. “I suppose not. You’re not creeped out?”
“Love, Anya, I lived with someone Slime Positive for two years. Nothing–and I mean nothing–freaks me out anymore. I guess I will have to call you bookspider now.”
They both laughed at that. Two down, one to go. Hopefully, explaining to her parents who had feared Anya going to live in the city would only have a handful of ‘I told you so's…'