The world is so much bigger now. Dangerously bigger. I’m literally a slab of bacon on legs, and I’m pretty sure there are enough animals up here who would love a piece of me. Normally, I’d be able to take them on, but since I’m a freaking pig I won’t be doing much fighting.
Fricking Cressa-la. It was stupid of me to ever think she’d marry me. If she only understood where I was coming from she’d have done it. She’d have done it right then and there and kissed me. Of course, I would have taken her powers as soon as her lips touched mine, but that doesn’t matter. I’m sure she’d see past that eventually. Besides, she wouldn’t be able to get away from me without her gift. But she’d learn. She’d see eye-to-eye with me one day, just like she did when I took her to the Revli Tribe. Yes, I killed their Tribe Leader to manipulate the entire tribe, but they never learned to say no, so why start with me?
I remember the look on the man’s face as I killed him. Terror. Power swam through my veins thicker than I could ever imagine as I drained all of his magic and yanked the arrow out of my stomach. Petty Revli Tribe weapons couldn’t destroy me. I was a One, more powerful than anyone could ever imagine. Of course that was until I figured out what Cressa-la was.
I walked up to the Revli Tribe’s village shortly after the murder, then, and stopped in the trees just before it, a wave of emotions from the past hitting me. This was where I’d fallen for Amawa-na. She later changed her name to Dametria to show her commitment to me, but I always worried that she only had her sights set on the crown—the one I wore. After all, we were a lot alike, considering she was the one who matched me.
Suppressing the emotions swarming inside, I closed my eyes and moved my hand across my features slowly, letting the paint I used to wear appear magically, my clothes shifting to what was expected of their tribe to wear—skins, not cloth. The remaining Tribe Leaders would take me in as their equal, unsuspecting of my motives, but familiar of my face—after all, this is where I’d grown up.
I strode inside the borders, and was immediately spotted by one of them as they all came out of the central house, the Head Tribe Leader’s. The man I’d just disposed of in the woods. Guilt lingered on the other two’s faces, their minds elsewhere until I walked over, putting my best face on.
“Something terrible has happened,” I said. “The Head Tribe Leader is dead.”
“What—how?” The first man asked, his black hair standing on end in the wind.
I shrugged, gulping hard, acted as if I cared. “I just found him... he’s in the woods.”
They exchanged glances and I watched as the beginning of mourning dawned on their faces. They began to walk in the direction I appeared from, silent with sadness. Once the trees brushed their shoulders, I turned around, stopping dead in my tracks. They questioned my action, and then they grew curious about my motives. And then I slammed my hand against one of their sternums, a rope of light holding the other two’s feet to the ground. I willed them to listen to me, my vision glowing brighter, a green tint appearing around the edges for a moment. I had their full attention.
“But you will not go look for him. You will appoint me as the only Tribe Leader, and you will do everything I say until I dispose of you. Is that clear?”
The three men nodded and I let go, touching them each and filling their heads with nonsense about myself. If I was to be a Tribe Leader, shouldn’t the people know about me being one, including the story behind my rise to power? Of course, it wasn’t the real tale, but one I made up, one the Revli Tribe would approve of without a second thought. How astray they’ve been led.
“Good,” I smiled. “Get everyone to come outside.”
They moved hastily as they banged on the doors of the houses, which looked as if they’d topple over at any moment, calling everyone outside. They got up on the stage, the platform rising only slightly from the ground, and I made my way over, feeling the paint begin to drip down my face in the heat and humidity. The body of the tribe gathered in front of us, questions floating up above them and into the air, becoming unrecognizable mumbles. The bright light appeared again as the green tint flashes around the edges of my view.
“I am your new Tribe Leader and you must obey me. When I tell you to jump, you will say ‘from where?’ And when I tell you to kill,” the crowd stilled, green consuming the color of their irises. “You ask me ‘which weapon?’”
Those were the good days, when everything went according to plan. But when we marched down to “warn” the other tribes of the tsunami and I saw Cressa-la, I knew that she was the one I wanted, not Dametria. Something about Cressa-la was familiar and warm, and I wanted her to be my queen. Then… there was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it fascinated me. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her, even through what Amawa-na had told me about her. Born on a full moon, lucky to be spared, as she was born in the same instant as another One-Hundred, and her mother died giving birth to her, pouring her powers into her daughter. She was powerful, powerful and wonderful, and I needed that all to myself, even if she made my knees weak and my heart pound. She took the words from my mouth as I stood in awe in the depths of her eyes, in the mesmerizing dark swirls of her hair.
And now I can’t keep my mind off of her and the feeling she used to give me, with all of these vengeful thoughts swarming around inside my head and twisting like a cyclone inside me. She turned me into a pig. If that’s not worse than dying, I don’t know what would be. It’s disgusting. I don’t even know how to be a pig. And she thought I was cruel...
If only Dametria hadn’t interfered with my plans and tried to take Cressa-la’s powers to impress me... If only she didn’t taunt Cressa-la into touching the water...
If only she hadn’t met Tamir. This is all his fault, it always is! He’s always resented and rejected me, and he tried to take Amawa-na away from me. I wonder if he’d change his mind now, if I could give her to him as she was before. Maybe that’s just what I’ll do. I won’t have to deal with Dametria anymore, I could possibly change her back to her former self before she changed to fit my every need and present her to Tamir, and Cressa-la would come crawling back to me, begging for the power I could have given her, the affection we could have shared. After all, she did at least have some feelings for me at one point, didn’t she? I can’t make her fall in love with me, but whatever that good feeling she had towards me was, I could inflate it and make her feel that feeling multiplied by one-hundred. She won’t stand a chance. Tamir may be her match but sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Especially when I’m involved in its processing.
If pigs could smile, I would, because I just found my way to salvation.
And then I realize there’s one flaw: I’m a pig, and pigs aren’t magical.
So I guess I have to find someone who is.