With a few shrugs and shakes, the fresh skin settled around her muscles. It felt unfamiliar. That’s not uncommon, yet this time the sensation was more awkward.
She looked down and saw that her breasts were gone. Instead, two small nipples buried in a mass of curly black hair stared back at her. She stamped her feet—the movement showed her hairy and well-muscled legs—yelling curses. They’d given her a man’s body!
Although she wanted to believe it was a mistake, she knew it wasn’t. This was the “undisclosed punishment” they’d mentioned for failing them. For dying.
She grunted at the memory and the unfairness. She hadn’t done it on purpose, and she definitely hadn’t enjoyed it. Dying hurts. Especially when it’s the result of getting skewered by seven broadspears at once.
Those rusting defenders! Too good at their work! She really thought she had them fooled this time with her helpless-gorgeous-woman-in-need act. Wrong! They saw right through her. Literally so after removing their spears.
“This is the last chance you get, child of destruction.”
The booming voice exploded in her head, causing an array of wild colours to bloom in front of her eyes. The marvelous sight contrasted highly with the pain she felt. Must they alway do this? she thought, annoyed at their repetitive way of working. She’d been through this too many times to feel scared at the words. She knew it wasn’t the last chance. An idea came to her, better than the previous ones. She felt them probing her brains, picking at her idea.
“We approve of that. Your different body will help. Don’t take long. Time gets short.”
With that, the colours multiplied in front of her eyes, dazzling her in their stunning patterns, like blooming flowers. She couldn’t see anything but those erupting coloured blasts.
When they stopped, the smell of sulphur heavy in her nostrils, she recognised the hill they’d dropped her on. Below in the valley, surrounded by a massive wall and large lake, she saw her target. The target she’d had for the past nine cycles. Get into the core chamber of the monastery, destroy what’s inside.
This time, as a man, she could infiltrate and be accepted as a guard. She would get their trust, be excellent, and eventually get assigned to guard the core chamber. It would take more time than before, but less chance of dying, more chance of succeeding.
She nodded to herself, liking the plan more and more. Putting her in a man’s body had been brilliant, although she’d never admit it to them. She embraced the change and savoured the beginning of yet another opportunity.
It was about two days hike to the large structure. Enough time to come up with a backstory and get more details in her plan. She looked downward again. So much hair. She should probably try to find clothes first. The dangling bits between her legs reinforced that thought as she started down in a trot.