I wanna take you for a ride (I think)! Let's discuss Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite!


July 22, 2013

I Hraet You (76)

Beat 76: Myriad Methods to Break the Camel’s Back

Deirdre raised an eyebrow.  “Oh?  Did I hear that right?  I must have misheard -- because I could have sworn I heard you call me ‘Miss O’Leary’.  Didn’t I just tell you to call me Deirdre?”

“You did.  But it seems like a bit of a misnomer, given that -- as I understand it -- you and Miss O’Leary are one and the same.”  Lloyd stroked his chin.  “It goes beyond physical similarities, of course.  We’ve only had a brief time together, yet the similarities are all in place.  It’s only a matter of proper application on my part; after all, if you ARE the same, then you both have the same shared set of strengths and weaknesses.”

“Weaknesses?  Ha!  I have no weaknesses, boy.  Get that through your purple head right now.”

“I would watch your words carefully.  Those that utter such a phrase tend to be proven wrong soon afterward -- spectacularly.”

Deirdre let loose a sharp, scathing laugh.  “There you go again, using that brain of yours.  Wouldn’t it just be so much easier to let go, and give in to your carnal instincts?”

“Well, I don’t know much of carnal instincts, but for every other sort I imagine that’s a method well-tapped.  My middle name might as well be ‘Haphazard’ rather than ‘Beatrice’.”  He glanced aside.  “Huh.  I just realized that that name is more commonly given to the fairer sex.  That would explain --”

“Blah, blah, blah.  Words and thinking, words and thinking.  See?  THIS is why you haven’t satisfied me yet, boy…and that’s exactly why, from this moment on, I’m taking control.”  She pointed at Lloyd’s head.  “Actions speak louder than words -- and my next one’s about to leave you screaming all night long.”

“But it’s not nighttime.  Come to think of it, can there even be a night in this alternate --”

Deirdre took a deep breath -- and then dive-bombed Lloyd like a fighter jet.  If the sonic boom that followed -- a string of shockwaves that hammered the walls -- wasn’t enough to break Lloyd into pieces, the collision that followed would do the trick.  He thanked his lucky stars that he couldn’t see his body shattering; a burst of light swallowed him whole, and blanketed his world in white.

But miraculously -- and indeed, “miracle” was the only way to describe it -- Lloyd survived.  He’d survived, and outside of a sudden headache he didn’t have any pain to speak of.  And even then, his headache left him soon enough.  If not for that lingering whiteness (and the fact that he’d been bowled onto his back), he would have been fine.

That was quite the shock, Lloyd thought.  But it seems that I’m all right…at least, I will be once I can see clearly again.  He sat up and started to regain his footing.  I wonder what my gracious host is --

He stumbled, and fell back onto his rear.  He would have guessed that Deirdre’s impact had left him off-balance, but he would have guessed wrong.  Something about his feet had changed; their positioning had shifted, and it felt as if something protruded from the bottom of his heels.  He tried to stand up again, and managed the job for about two seconds.  A third try had him wobbling, and tipping backward once more.  A fourth had him stable, but nearly toppling the moment he tried to take a step.

“This is more than a little odd,” said Lloyd.  Except it wasn’t Lloyd’s voice that came out.  And it wasn’t Deirdre’s, either.  No, it was much smoother, creamier -- proper in tone, but more importantly shifted upward in tone.  It almost sounded like…like…

“No.  No, no, it couldn’t be.”  Lloyd reached under his glasses and rubbed his eyes.  Somehow, that did the trick; the whiteness started to fade, leaving him with a blooming view of…the black and white audition room.  But he could at least make out shapes again.  Now he could take a look at his feet, and figure out why he’d stumbled so much.

Except he couldn’t.  He couldn’t even see his feet.   Something got in the way…or rather, some things.  Two of them, large, and fleshy.  Round, and half-contained by silky white cloth.  Swelling and contracting in time with his breaths, with each motion forcing a subtle bounce.

It took Lloyd a full three minutes to process what he’d gotten an eyeful of.  And as the realization dawned on him, those same eyes nearly rocketed out of his skull.  “Why do I have breasts…?” he asked in a quivering whisper.   “Why do I have breasts?  WHY DO I HAVE BREASTS?!”

His arms lashed about, as if he’d turned into an electrified octopus.  Wherever he snapped his head, he found a whole new reason to fear.  He saw it all clearly: delicate fingers, topped off with nails as pink as carnations.  A torso that could shame an hourglass, stuffed (mostly) into a snow-white bustier.  Legs that looked ready to burst from dark stockings -- and a rabbit-tailed butt with enough cushion to stop a freight train.  Shimmering violet hair that reached down his back, and bounced as energetically as his newly-discovered mountains.  Upon his feet, a pair of pearly high-heeled shoes; atop his crown, a pair of fuzzy bunny ears that beckoned -- and rewarded -- his touch.

“I’ve turned into a GIRL?!” Lloyd shrieked.

“Not a girl.  A woman.  And what a woman.”

Lloyd whipped his head around to try and find the source, but to no avail.  “What sorcery is this?  What foul, forbidden arts have you used to transform me so?  Stand before me, that we may --”

“Calm down, sweet cheeks…oooooh, I guess that’s more appropriate than ever now.”  Lloyd’s shadow shifted, twisting and looming ahead of him.  Sure enough, it didn’t match his movements (or sudden lack thereof); it just folded its arms and laughed at him.  “I have to say, boy, that’s a good look for you.  Or should I say ‘girl’ instead?”

“You may have changed my body, but my heart is still that of a man!”

“Oh?  I wonder about that.  I’ve already given you my body -- or at least a special version of it.  Who’s to say that our minds -- and our hearts -- aren’t already one?”  A low chuckle echoed from the shadow.  “We’ve bonded in ways no one else can…and that’s just the way you like it, isn’t it?”

“How do you mean?”

“Give yourself another eyeful.  Isn’t this like a dream come true?  You never have to worry about another woman giving you permission for something even as basic as looking at their body -- because as long as you’re with me, my body is your body.  And what could possibly be better?”

“I can think of any number of things that…”  Lloyd cut the thought short -- mostly because for a moment, his brain had stopped working.  His man’s heart had betrayed him; his eyes drifted downward…and hardly a microsecond later his body came to an utter halt.  “Oh,” he said curtly.  “Oh.”  He jerked out a nod.  “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.  OhOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

“So I take it you’re starting to see things my wa-” 

“ARONDIGHT!” Lloyd roared as he thrust his fists skyward.  “COREISEUCE, SECACE, GALATINE!  LLOYD BEATRICE HOIGLEHEIMER HAS BEEN BORN AGAIN -- THIS TIME, AS A WOMAN!  FEEL MY BOSOMY POWER!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Deirdre’s shoulders twitched.  “Oh no.”

“OH YES!  OH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!”  Lloyd pumped his fists up and down, with a delirious smile stretching from one end of the room to the other.  “SO BEGINS THE NEW ERA OF SPLENDOR!  FEEL THE MIGHT OF THIS WORLD’S NEWFOUND GODDESS OF LOVE…LLOYDELLINA!”

“Can’t you just go with something like ‘Lois’ or ‘Lauren’ or --”

But Lloydellina paid her no mind.  Her nostrils flared and fired off cannons of steam, while her eyes darted so quickly they blurred into jagged spirals.  “MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  AND NOW TO BEGIN THE ACCLIMATION PROCESS IN EARNEST!  STARTING WITH…THE SYMPHONY OF WOMANHOOD!  CELEBRATION OF DAILY LIFE MADE EXTRAVAGANT VIA ESTROGEN!”

“That doesn’t make any --”

“THE FIRST MOVEMENT: LIGHT STRETCHING TO DISPEL MORNING GROGGINESS!”  Lloydellina dropped onto her side, and mimed getting out of bed; she threw one hand upwards, and clapped the other atop a yawn-flinging mouth -- all while jostling, arching, and twisting her back.  “Ahhhhh.  I think I’ll eat some oatmeal this morning,” she said, staring dopily at some imaginary point. 

“Lloyd?  Are you --?”

“THE SECOND MOVEMENT: DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR AS A MEANS TO LITERALLY DRESS FOR SUCCESS!”  Lloydellina leapt off her knees and trotted forward, and rifled through some invisible drawers.  She held up an imaginary set of clothes and pouted.  “Oh, this top is sooooooooooo cute.  But I couldn’t possibly wear it today.  It’s a Wednesday.  If only it were Tuesday…ohhhhhhhh, but it looks so good on me.”  She pressed the fabric across her body and sighed.  “My clothes are all so adorable -- but none of them will work for me today…for whatever reason.”

“That is not how women --”

“THE THIRD MOVEMENT: GLORY OF THE FOAMY VANGUARD OF WELL-LATHERED TOOTHPASTE!”  Lloydellina skipped forward and pretended to brush her teeth, with her cotton-tailed hind quarters swaying like a metronome.  “Mrrrmrphrmrpuff!  Hrmmmmgrprhagaph!”  She flashed her teeth in a dazzling smile.  “Grrr!  Mad dog!  And -- whoops, looks like some of that foam slipped onto my chest!  What a terrible and amazing turn of events!  THE FOURTH MOVEMENT --”

Deirdre reached feebly for Lloydellina.  “H-hey, how many of these movement things are there?”

Lloydellina turned back toward her shadow.  “Nine hundred twenty seven.  It’s the only way to be certain.”

“Of what?!”

“Of me getting the full experience!  Of the apotheosis of being, of existence itself!  Of knowing what it’s like to have body parts at or very near the size of my head grafted alongside my thumping heart!  I must know!  AND I WILL KNOW!  FOR I AM LLOYDELLINA, MISTRESS OF -- NO, EMPRESS OF AROUSING PANTOMIME!  BASK IN THE GLORY OF A WOMAN’S DAILY ROUTINE GIVEN NEW GLORY!  FOR GLORIOUS GLORY!”

“Are you joking?  There’s no way in hell I’m sitting through a thousand of these --”

“SILENCE!  DO NOT DEFY YOUR EMPRESS!” Lloydellina bellowed, now foaming at the mouth for real.  “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!  AND BY MY DIVINE EDICT, YOU WILL KNOW THE SPLENDOR, THE VERY MAJESTY OF MY BEING!  LET THE WEIGHT OF MY WORDS AND MY BLESSED BODY BE PRESSED UPON YOUR…YOUR…your…your…”

Deirdre cocked her head.  “My…?”

Lloydellina froze in mid-boast.  And then, she slammed a fist into her face.

“Hey!  What in the hell are you thinking?!”

Lloydellina dropped to her knees and smiled wearily.  “But that’s just it, I’m afraid.  I haven’t been thinking…or at least, I haven’t been thinking the proper thoughts.”  She pressed a palm over one eye.  “How shameful of me…to have been so easily corrupted, merely by dint of newfound ownership of an illustrious form!  Such dishonor I’ve welcomed into my soul!”

“You’re seriously starting to give me a headache,” Deirdre said with a sigh.  But that sigh gave way to a low chuckle, and the shadow resumed its haughty posture.  “You know, for a boy in your situation, you sure are taking a roundabout approach to all of this.  Can’t you just give your hands a tour of the new you and leave it at that?”

Lloydellina shook her head slowly.  “I cannot.  How could I allow myself to fall prey to baser instincts -- especially if the experience is undeniably hollow?”  She stared at her palms.  “I may have Miss O’Leary’s body, but none of her experiences.  Her feelings.  Her pain.  As I am, I’m merely a distorted reflection -- a shallow admirer of her body, and not her heart.  How can I ever hope to call myself a man -- or even a friend -- if this is the furthest I can go for her?”

“Who gives a crap?  You’ve got her body, so what else do you need?”

“If I’m to own this body, I must know what it truly means to be Miss O’Leary -- and you’ve nothing for that cause but draw me into your illusion.”  She ran a hand across the small of her back.  “Not even a twinge of pain, yet you expect me to believe that this is everything I want?”

Deirdre snorted.  “So what, you want some back pain?  If I give you that, then your mind really WILL be blown.”

“I want more than that.  I want to know what her daily life is like.  What she fears.  What she enjoys.  What she hates.  What she loves.  Her hopes, her dreams, her resolve.  All of it.  I won’t just be some shoddy reflection of her.  By the sweat of my brow, I swear I shall become a part of her -- or my name isn’t Lloyd B. Hoigleheimer!”

“…That’s your last name?  I feel sorry for you.”

Lloydellina -- or rather, Lloyd -- stood up.  “You needn’t worry about me for much longer.  I intend to sally towards my lofty aims soon enough.  And the key to that is a simple one -- one that you’ve taken steps toward giving me.”  He smiled.  “Your intent is to have my mind rent asunder by the blessing you’ve given me.  But you’ve miscalculated on two fronts, ma’am.  The first is that thanks to you, at the moment we are of one mind as well as body.  If you can affect me, then there’s no reason why I can’t affect you.”

Deirdre flinched, but held her ground regardless.  “So what?  What are you playing at, boy?”

“The second front: what gave you the impression that I needed your help in blowing my mind?”  He clamped his hands into fists.  “If you won’t give me what I want, then…”  He started to bend over, with teeth clenched and muscles tightening.  “All…I have…to do…is…imagine...for myself!”

“Ha!  Think you can, boy?”

“As long…as I speak…in staggered…dialogue…I can do…ANYTHING!”  He sucked in as much air as his lungs would allow.  “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“Oh, having a little scream, are you?  Well, go ahead, if you think it’ll help you focus.  And as soon as you fail, I’ll have you screaming until the end of time.”

And Lloyd did just that.  “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

The shadow just threw up her hands and laughed.  “Just wasting your time.  Your head’s as empty as your words; who do you think you’re trying to be, one of those --”  But suddenly, her cheer gave way; the hands she threw up in disbelief started reaching for him in panic.  “H-hey!  What are you doing?  Don’t -- stop that right now!  If you don’t, then you’ll --!” 

“HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“Damn it, listen to me!  I’m telling you to STOP!”

But Lloyd didn’t listen.  He just kept screaming.

He probably should have stopped.

--STAGE SHIFT--

TO BE HEARTINUED…

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