Edrick walked away from the bazaar, his business complete, leading me by the bridle. I was becoming resigned to the fact that I was now apparently an illiterate giant bird creature, incapable of making any noises except animalistic chirps and clicks, and stuck serving as this player's mount and pet for the foreseeable future. Not to mention that the virtual reality was messing with my mind and giving me Pavlovian tendencies to make me a more agreeable bird mount. It was hard to believe that this could be my life now, if the devil had been telling the truth about me being trapped in the game.
I clung to the only shred of hope I had - that this Scepter of purity - or whatever the hell it was, would somehow fix all of this and get me out of the game. But even that hope seemed dim. The Scepter could just as easily be a useless item for one of the quests in the game, and even if it was the real deal, who knew if my condition was classified as a curse? The devil had seemed to imply that he had rewritten the reality of the game to put me inside this ridiculous body.
In my despair, I barely noticed where Edrick was leading me, until we came to a sudden stop just outside of a large, long barnlike structure near the edge of town. Edrick pushed open the door, and a rush of scents hit me from inside the building - dirt, shit, sweat, animals. The breeze ruffled the feathers on my head as we walked inside. There were numerous pens, some of them containing various animals. I saw a few horses, some pigs, a cow- thankfully, no bird mounts. I didn't feel ready to interact with members of my new species just yet.
Edrick led me to one of the empty pens, pushing me firmly inside before shutting and locking the gate behind me. He reached over the tall fence to pat me affectionately on the top of the head. "You're staying here tonight, Amy." He said soothingly, removing my bridle and bit. "I'll see you bright and early, girl." With that, Edrick walked over to the stable owner, paid the man to presumably board me for the night, and soon left.
It only took a few moments of looking around the pen to realize I wasn't getting out of here until Edrick returned the following morning. The pen was clearly designed to hold a creature of my nature and there was no way I was dexterous enough to open the latch on the gate, even if I used my new beak. So, with little else to do, I examined my pen. There wasn't much- some hay in the corner, a trough of oats, and a large bucket of water in the center of the pen. Realizing I was thirsty, I ambled over toward the water bucket.
I dipped my beak into the water, filling it for a few refreshing gulps. After a moment, I caught myself staring at my reflection in the clear bucket of water. For the first time since this had happened, I had some downtime and a real opportunity to get a good look at myself - and what I was seeing was still very strange to me. I looked at my new face in the slightly rippling water, taking in the large ridge of feathers sticking up from the top of my head, the great orange beak growing where my nose used to be, the big, sad-looking eyes. I could swear I could just still barely see the man looking back at me in those scared eyes but I blinked and all I could see was a huge flightless bird again.
I tore my eyes from the water bucket and looked downwards toward my body. I was covered in a thick layer of soft feathers, everywhere except on my legs and feet. The feathers were mainly a goldish-yellow color, but they faded to white on my belly and face. My feet were now scaled talons, with two clawed toes facing forward and one backwards. Two long similarly scaled legs stretched upwards towards my gigantic feathered thighs. These hugely muscled legs were seemingly what allowed the creature that I was now to perform so well as a mount and transport.
My ass was proportionately large, including a large frilled tail that continued upwards onto my lower back. My arms were much smaller, and bent backwards in a shape reminiscent of a chicken wing. I had nothing resembling hands, as my wings just ended in feather tips. I mourned the loss of my dexterity once again, and noted that my wings seemed exceedingly useless for anything except balance, as I certainly wasn't going to start flying anytime soon. I was simply too big to fly.
Although my new form was surprisingly sturdy, I felt ridiculous. I was having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with the fact that I was a huge beast of burden. 'A bird of burden!' I thought almost giddily, before a new thought bubbled into my mind. Wait a minute... Amy? Girl?! How had I not noticed that before? It's like I'd been in denial, but maybe that was understandable given the circumstances. But now I looked frantically downwards, trying to peer around my feathers, dreading what I might see.
I couldn't bear to stare for long, but what I saw confirmed my fears. I was a female bird creature. 'Do players breed these things? Do I lay eggs?' I wondered, feeling sick, now doubly glad that I hadn't been introduced to any other bird mounts yet.
I curled up in a pile of hay in the corner of the pen, trilling softly to myself as I tried to relax, feeling myself on the edge of panic. I was trapped as a huge, feathered female bird mount, with no way to communicate and little prospects for becoming human again. For all intents and purposes I was a stupid animal, good for little more than carrying my player. I don't know how I managed it, but it had been a long day, and my eyes soon drifted shut. 'Tomorrow, I'll try to fix this. Somehow...' I thought as a fell asleep.