Meaning "Serpent Lady"
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Tanith, the long-suffering intern over at the supernatural labs, finds herself in a curious predicament one day...for she has been transformed into a supernatural! (The "Houasyou" is as far as I know not an actual creature in mythical canon, but a creature from 3x3 Eyes which Tanith's transformation resembles.)
"Tanith? Would you be a dear and feed the creatures on floor B2 for me? I have this big date, and I really can't miss it."
"I have things I need to do, Carly," Tanith said over her shoulder as she filed some papers into a cabinet.
"And now those things include my things! You're such a big help Tanith, thanks so much," Carly blew a kiss into the room before ducking out.
Tanith sighed darkly, not even bothering to call after the other. She got stuck feeding the "nasties" again. Technically, she wasn't qualified to tend to the creatures on the bottom floor, but nobody in the laboratory seemed to notice if she did things she wasn't supposed to, as long as she didn't do anything that cost them money. Those were far from the kind of priorities that she would have liked to work under, but work was hard to find in the supernatural biology field.
She went to floor B2 so often that the creatures there were familiar with her. The manticore growled a greeting as Tanith poured a pile of mush down his feeding chute. The chimera hadn't touched his meal from the morning, so she skipped him. She walked towards two great metal doors at the end of the hall.
"Tanith," rumbled the dragon behind the barricade. "I did not expect you."
"Yeah, well Carly is being irresponsible again," Tanith said as she heaved the bucket of mush onto her shoulder.
"Pity. Say...your footfalls seem...heavier than usual, Tanith."
"Surely a gentleman like you isn't implying that I've gained weight, are you? You hungry?"
"My most sincere apologies...though I'm quite peckish for a leg of mutton, or perhaps an entire deer. Do you have any of that?"
"Nope, just some nice, delicious goop, as usual," Tanith groaned as she dumped the bucket's contents down the only slot in the door.
"Oh, my kingdom for a piece of real meat," the dragon heaved a great sigh. "When I get out of here, I swear -"
"...Swear upon my good name, Azreth, that I will right the wrongs done to me," Tanith finished, leaning on the bucket. "I know it's never a party here, but nobody listens to me when I tell them you need more space. I'm not happy about it either, trust me."
There was a loud clanking noise, as if Azreth was drumming his claws on the floor. "One day, one day. Until then, I will manage. Fare well, Tanith."
"Goodbye, old lizard."
Tanith made her way back to her cubicle, sinking into her chair with a frustrated sigh. There was paperwork to do, of course, but she was exhausted, and a quick nap before her night shift started seemed to be in order.
She woke up with a splitting headache. As if the day couldn't get worse.
As if to spite her for having that thought, a siren went off. And not just any siren: the most irritating, intolerable, shrieking siren. The one that meant that one of the beasts on floor B2 had broken out.
The intercom was going off, but it hadn't been repaired yet so all that came out of it was some sort of muffled buzzing pretending to be human speech. Tanith was familiar with what it was supposed to be saying, though, having gone through many drills and the manual a few times, out of boredom. All personnel to floor B2. Contain the beast. All personnel to floor B2...
"Azreth, you old bastard, you finally did it," Tanith said under her breath as she ran. Unless it was the Wonderland Rabbit who had gotten out and pulled the alarm again. If that was the case, she was throttling the thing, no matter how rare it was supposed to be. She did not want to have to deal with another one of the fairies' riots over the noise.
Most of the people working in the institute at this hour worked on the lower floors, so she was alone walking down halls and flights of stairs. The siren wasn't helping her headache in the least, and there was this new noise that seemed to follow her. It was a sort of sharp hissing from the walls. The combined racket was entirely too aggravating. "Be quiet!" she yelled at the walls, even if she realized that was ridiculous.
A second after she said that, the hissing noise spiked in volume and burst out of the walls. The water pipes had broken. Not only was the hall saturated with noise, it was saturated, period. Tanith sighed hard, and would have put a palm to her face if it weren't for the fact that her hands and shoulders felt heavy. Maybe, she thought, I should just...go back upstairs, have my usual pre-night shift coffee, and come down later. They don't really need me down there; I'm just the intern after all. That's the best idea I've heard all day.
She turned around to go back to her cubicle, but the supernatural containment team was blocking her way. What were they doing there? They should have been downstairs trying to catch the whatever-it-was. They had their stun guns ready. Tanith looked behind her to try and find what they were pointing at, but saw nothing.
"Don't move!" one of the team members called out from behind a shield. "Identify yourself!"
Tanith could hardly believe what he was talking about. She was hardly new at the facility. "I'm Tanith," she answered, turning back to them. They didn't react. "The intern."
One of the team members was speaking into his walkie-talkie. "Sir, we've found the basilisk. What are your orders?"
"The what? We don't have a ba --" Tanith tried to wave them off, but as she raised her hand, she realized that it was about three times bigger than it should have been. And covered in scales. "Sil...isk."
"Take it down."
Tanith was only conscious long enough to realize that being stunned was not a pleasant feeling.
When she came to, her headache was even worse, and something was covering her eyes and mouth. She wanted to take the stuff off of her face, but her arms were tied down. Her waist was also pinned. ...Wait a minute, why her waist? Why didn't they bother with her feet?
She could hear footsteps, and the president's voice talking overhead. "Well, that's a brute if I ever saw one. Good work. What is it and where'd we get it?"
"It's a basilisk, sir. ...It's from one of the transforming serums we injected last week." That was the head scientist. He sounded uneasy.
"Already? I don't remember authorizing that."
"You signed a paper about it, sir."
"Signed a paper -– doctor, I sign too many papers to know which one you're talking about! Whatever. Does anyone else know about it?"
"Yes, we put the building on lockdown and captured it before it got to the ground floor. We are the only ones in the building who know of it."
"Good. Then get rid of it."
"But sir –"
"Get rid of it, doctor. Nobody knows, nobody cares, right? We can't let anyone find out about our research." There was the sound of footsteps fading away.
Tanith could hardly believe what she was hearing. Transforming serum? But...the facility was just about studying the supernaturals, wasn't it? There was nothing about experimental transformation in the job description!
...Besides, if she was a basilisk like they kept saying she was (the thought was hard to swallow, but she touched some of her fingers together, and yes, they were still scaly) wouldn't the supernatural containment team all be dead by now? Even Wikipedia of all places would tell you that a basilisk killed with its stare. If she could talk, she would give them both a stern lesson in supernatural herpetology.
So if she wasn't a basilisk, what was she? Figuring that out would have to wait, because she could hear the scientist talking to his colleges about what exactly "getting rid of it" entailed. She knew these restraining tables fairly well, having used one to pin down a cockatrice a few weeks ago. They all had loose straps. She had told the management about them, and they hadn't done anything about it. Right now, she was quite thankful for their incompetence. She yanked one hand out of its strap, then the other.
"Doctor! It's conscious!"
She had to get her legs free next. After a second of struggling with the strap on her waist, she realized that she could not feel her feet, and her legs were stuck together. She tore the tape off of her face to find out why. Her lower body had fused into a long tail with a tastefully small fin at the end.
The scientists in the lab were running around in a panic, shouting. Tanith felt heavy, dizzy, and disoriented, mostly due to her headache, but not afraid. She rose from the table to have a better look at herself. There had to be something she could use as a mirror. A container of deionized water in the corner would do nicely. Moving around on a tail was different from walking, but she quickly learned how to properly adjust her balance.
Well, she still had her hair, and some fins on her shoulders. Her scales were a soft green-blue. Not a basilisk, of course. A leviathan? No, leviathans don't have hands. Some sort of naga...
One of the scientists was charging at her with a makeshift tranquilizer gun. "Stay out of my way!" she cried, lashing out with her tail and one of her long arms. The container of water cracked and burst, and the liquid followed the arc of her arm.
"Tanith!" the head scientist called from his position on the balcony. "Please, calm down. We are trying to help you!"
Tanith scarcely paid attention to what he was saying or to the hushed murmurs of the other scientists, focusing on the swirling water instead. If she wanted it to go left, it went left. If she thought of a circle, it traveled in a loop.
...There was this obscure supernatural she had read about in college...what was it again? The Houasyou? "Enchanted snake". It had the power over water. That would explain the exploding water pipes, too.
"You think I'm a basilisk, of all things?" Tanith addressed the entire room, the facility even. A few more water vats started to crack, and all of the scientists scrambled under tables. "I can't believe you – I know what I am better than you all do! And I'm an intern!"
"Tanith, now would you please..."
"I've had enough of this," she waved him off, sliding out of the room. No one dared to stop her. As she left the laboratory, she felt her head clearing.
"Well, now that that's over..."
Tanith had barely crossed the hall when that blasted siren went off again. "Ugh, just shut up!" she said, covering her ears. "I am so fed up with this place!"
She was about to make her way towards the exit, but the stairs down to floor B2 were nearby, and she had an idea. She had to hurry though, as she could hear shouting and footsteps.
By the iron doors at the end of floor B2, there was a lever under a sign that read "CAUTION: DO NOT PULL LEVER UNLESS BEAST WITHIN IS INCAPACITATED". Tanith pounded at the lever, trying to force it down.
"Who is there?" Azreth asked, stirring uneasily behind the doors.
"It's me," Tanith answered, shoving the lever harder when she heard it start to click. The doors were beginning to open.
"Tanith? How did you get here? What is going on?"
"I got experimented on," Tanith pulled apart the doors to speed things along, "and you're breaking out. Today's the day you get to right your wrongs."
The great, green dragon blinked, stretching his neck out of his cell. When the doors folded into the walls, the cuffs on his legs popped open. He tilted his head at Tanith.
"If you permit me saying so, that shade of green is very becoming of you," he said, nosing her hair in an affectionate gesture. "You make a very fine-looking serpent."
"You kidder," Tanith pushed his snout away. "Quit dawdling and go raise some hell."
Azreth roared and stomped out of the hall, leaving Tanith alone. She stood there for a while, finally dusting her hands. Freeing Azreth wasn't enough. She had a lot of levers to pull.
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