Tuesday, 12 December 2023 01:00

Grendel and Beowulf

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Morpheus’s Legacy Universe – Part 9

Grendel and Beowulf

by

Morpheus

 

I walked down my long driveway with a scowl on my face, miserable from the fact that I was soaking wet. But that does tend to happen when you've walked several miles in the pouring rain. And then as if to make things even worse, I accidentally stepped in a large puddle that I hadn't noticed.

"Damn," I grimaced, "Why did I ever take that job anyway?"

Of course, the answer to that question was pretty simple and obvious. I was trying to save up enough money to buy myself a car. Ever since my dad had made clear that he couldn't afford to get me a car and that I was going to have to pay for it myself if I wanted one, I had been working my butt off and saving money.

My name is William Hartkey Junior, though most people just call me Will. That had always seemed better than being called Little Bill, since my dad went by Bill, or even worse...Junior. I guess I was a pretty normal 16-year-old guy, standing about 5 foot 10 and with hair that was at the right shade where you might have a hard time deciding if it was dark blonde or light brown.

I had just spent a good part of the day working at one of the stores in town, and I was getting pretty close to how much I would need. At the rate that I was going, I would be able to afford a new car in just a couple more weeks, probably before school started up again. But after work, I had to make the long walk home in the rain. And since I lived several miles out of town, in what had once been a small farm, I was reminded even more as to why I needed that car in the first place.

"What came first?" I muttered to myself, "Going to work so I can afford a car...or needing a car so I can drive to work?" It seemed to be one of those unsolvable questions that philosophers loved to ask.

When I finally reached the door to my house and stepped inside, I let out a sigh of relief, thankful to be out of the rain. However, it wasn't to last as I was immediately set upon by my mom, who was less than pleased about me dripping all over her floor.

"Go dry up and get some fresh clothes on," my mom ordered me, then quickly changed it to, "No, go and take a hot shower first..."

I didn't miss the irony in the fact that the cure to being soaking wet was to take a shower. But once I was done and dressed in dry clothes, I had to admit that I felt much better. And I felt even better still when my mom brought me a bowl of tomato soup to help me warm up some more.

"Betcha wish you had a car," my 11 year old sister Sandy teased me. Then she smirked, "Maybe you can borrow my bike next time..." I just cringed at the thought of riding to work and back on a pink bicycle.

"No thanks," I told her, "I'd rather walk..."

"Too bad my car's broke," my mom commented, "or I could have given you a ride."

"You'd think dad would get it fixed," I grumbled between slurps of my soup, "I mean, he takes the truck with him when he goes to work and we don't have any way of getting around."

Then I looked up at my aunt Denise, who was staying quiet during this exchange, though she did have a bit of a smile. Aunt Denise was my mom's sister and had been staying with us for the last two months, though this had really been the first time that I'd seen her since I was a little kid. She hadn't exactly done much visiting until recently, so I was just getting to know her.

Aunt Denise was in her mid to late thirties, with shoulder length dark blonde hair. I guess she was fairly pretty for her age, or would have been if she'd put more effort unto it. As it was, she often looked tired and a bit sad, though I didn't know why. In fact, I realized that I didn't know a whole lot about her other than that she was some sort of scientist. She didn't exactly talk much about herself.

"Hey Will," my mom suddenly exclaimed, "Do you want some fresh milk? I traded some of our chicken eggs to the Murphy's this morning for some fresh milk from their cows."

"Ewwww," Sandy scrunched her nose with a look of disgust, "How can you drink that stuff? It's not even pasteurized... You'll get sick and stuff..."

My mom just laughed at that, then looked to aunt Denise before saying, "She reminds me of you sometimes..."

"I'm don't think I was ever that bad," aunt Denise protested with an embarrassed smile. "Okay, maybe a little when I was a little girl." Then as if to prove that she had changed, she said, "I'll take a glass of that fresh milk..."

I just sat back and smiled as I finished my soup, glad to be home. In fact, the only thing that was missing was my dad, sitting around and complaining about some of the lazy new guys at work. But, I figured that I'd get enough of that once he got home.

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"I need a car," I complained as I walked along the side of the road.

There was no doubt that I was past tired of walking to and from work every day. Going several miles each way might be good exercise, but I'd already had plenty of exercise and would have preferred a nice and easy drive instead. After all, a car would not only get me home with so much less effort, but in a hell of a lot less time as well. With a car, the trip would only take a few minutes as opposed to the countless hours that it felt like it took.

"At least it's not raining today," I muttered, glad that I didn't have to go through another downpour like the day before. And at least I was pretty close to home already as well.

Just then, I suddenly heard a loud roar and a crunching sound. I snapped my attention to across the field next to me where one of the trees on the other side of it came falling down. But that wasn't all as another tree quickly followed. And then, I saw it... A massive figure stepped out from the cluster of trees and into the field.

The creature, which was the only word I could use, was absolutely enormous. He...and the creature was most definitely a 'he', was completely naked and was sort of like a human or gorilla in general shape. However, he stood about twelve feet tall and was bursting with muscle. Large bonelike spikes came out of the creatures shoulders and elbows, and he had what looked like some wicked looking claws on his fingers as well. He had long, dark blue hair and a face that was stretched into a sort of vicious looking snout.

"Oh shit," I gasped in sudden terror, feeling as though my knees were turning to rubber. This creature looked mean, vicious and powerful. But more than that was the fact that I recognized him. I'd seen him before on TV. "Grendel..."

I didn't know much about Grendel, only what I'd seen on the news. And what little I had heard wasn't good. Grendel was some sort of unbelievably powerful monster that destroyed just about everything it came across, and it seemed to like fighting various developed heroes, especially the Protectorate. The one thing that immediately knew for certain was that if Grendel was here, then we were all in deep shit.

Perhaps I was in shock, or just too scared to run away. Either way, I remained frozen where I was, staring at the massive blue monster as he slowly walked across the field. But he didn't really seem as angry or violent as I had imagined. Instead, he was sort of staggering a bit, even looking tired. He took several more steps, then collapsed to his knees.

"What?" I blinked in surprise, completely stunned to see the monster Grendel just falling over like that

I was even more surprised when a moment later, Grendel began to change. He began to shrink, becoming smaller and less muscular. The bone spikes which grew out of his shoulders and elbows seemed to sink into his body. And then, even his skin and hair color started to change color. As I watched, Grendel was slowly becoming more and more human.

"Holy shit," I whispered in disbelief. "I can't be seeing this..."

I watched for nearly a minute before my curiosity got the best of me. Even though I knew that it was stupidest and most foolish thing that I'd ever done, I began to move closer. Grendel didn't really seem like much of a threat anymore, and I just had to see what he was turning into...

When I got closer, I was able to see the final stages of Grendel's transformation into a human in more detail. And as amazed as I had been by everything else, nothing had prepared me for the realization that Grendel was no longer a 'he'. Grendel was most definitely turning into a woman.

"No fucking way," I gasped, not sure that I could take another surprise.

But then, Grendel finished his transformation and I was given the biggest shock yet. Grendel hadn't just turned into an ordinary looking human woman...but one that I recognized as well.

"Aunt Denise?" I blurted out.

Aunt Denise was now laying on the ground completely naked, right where Grendel had been a minute earlier. She blinked and sat up, looking around and then gasping as she saw me standing just a few feet away. It was then that she apparently realized that she had no clothes on and tried to cover herself up.

"Will..." she squeaked out in horror. "Not here..."

I didn't say a word. I didn't know what I could say. I mean, I had just seen Grendel turn into my aunt... That was sort of like finding out that Godzilla or King Kong was one of your relatives...

"Oh no," aunt Denise gulped.

At this point, I suddenly remembered that this was my own aunt sitting there naked in front of me. I wasted no time at all in taking off my jacket and handing it to her. She gave me a look of appreciation as she tried to cover herself up.

Then she quietly asked me, "Did you see...?"

"You...you were Grendel," I told her quietly.

Aunt Denise nodded faintly, looking pretty shaken up. Then she started to quickly look around, apparently just realizing that she was next to naked in the middle of the field, and that there was a road where anyone driving by might see her. I guess it was lucky that no one was driving past at the moment.

"What's going on?" I demanded, "How...?"

"Please," aunt Denise held up one of her hands, "Not now... Please don't run..." Then she took a deep breath, becoming a bit more calm and in control as she added, "I'll explain once we get back to my lab."

When aunt Denise had mentioned her lab, she was referring to our old barn. She had taken it over shortly after coming to visit and made it into some sort of laboratory. But she had kept it locked up pretty tightly to keep anyone from going in and interrupting her experiments.

I had a very hard time making it back to our barn without asking all of the questions that were bursting to come out. But somehow, I managed to bite my tongue and keep them under control.

Once we got back home a short while later, we went straight for aunt Denise's lab, avoiding the house so that no one would see us. And as soon as she unlocked the door and let us in, I got my first look of the place since she had taken it over.

Aunt Denise had really cleaned out the barn, and her lab seemed to consist of a refrigerator freezer, and several tables which had been set up and were covered with all sorts of items. There were dozens of vials and bottles of strange things, a microscope and several odd pieces of equipment that I couldn't identify. It didn't look nearly as fancy as any laboratory that I'd seen on TV, but it did look sort of professional and there were a lot of things which left me clueless as to what they were for.

I was a little surprised to discover that aunt Denise also kept some spare clothes in her lab, and once she had finished changing into them, she was finally ready to start explaining.

"Let's see," aunt Denise started, pausing to swallow a couple of pills. Then she gave me a forced smile, "Something to help my nerves..."

"Okay," I said, watching her carefully and half expecting her skin to start turning blue again at any moment.

Aunt Denise frowned and sat down on a stool, gesturing for me to do likewise. "I appreciate your being patient," she told me a moment later. "I know that you must have a lot of questions."

"Only a few million," I responded with a forced smile.

"Very well," aunt Denise nodded. "I owe you an explanation." She paused for a moment to take a deep breath, then slowly started, "I used to work at a highly classified research facility that was indirectly connected to a part of the government. The facility was broken up into multiple labs, each one working on a completely different project and most of us not even having any idea of what the others were doing."

"Sort of like an Area 51 kind of thing?" I asked her

Aunt Denise just laughed, "Sort of. But as far as I know, Area 51 is mostly just a decoy..."

"Really?" I blinked, just a bit surprised at that.

But aunt Denise continued, "My project was to create a super soldier... I was creating an engineered virus using nanotechnology, which would drastically increase a soldier's physical strength, power, endurance, aggression, and general ability to fight and survive in battle. But I knew that having soldiers becoming permanently enhanced like this would make them unstable and difficult to control, so I tied these enhancements to their survival instincts. This way they would only trigger and become fully enhanced when they needed to be."

Aunt Denise paused at that, looking down at the floor with an intense expression of guilt and sadness. "I was just a scientist," she whispered, "more interested in the ability to do something than the ethics behind it..." She shook her head sadly, "Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way..."

"What happened?" I asked, guessing that turning herself into Grendel wasn't a part of the project.

"There was a major accident in my lab," she told me with a scowl. "I later learned that it was sabotage... One of my rivals had wanted my virus to look like a complete failure and be canceled so that he could get the funding to start his own super solder project using cybernetics..."

I just stared at her in amazement, "Wow..." That was like something right out of a movie.

"He took a DNA sample of an unknown alien species from another lab," aunt Denise continued, "and contaminated my virus with it. And then he sabotaged my safety equipment just as we were about to test the virus on an ape."

"Damn," I whispered.

Aunt Denise nodded, "As you might guess, things went wrong and I was accidentally infected with the contaminated virus. The contamination caused the virus to mutate, and it began augmenting the alien DNA instead of my own. That was what turned me into Grendel."

I stared at aunt Denise for a minute, taking in everything that she told me. It was hard to believe that this kind of stuff could happen in real life. But then again, this was a world where people like Vigil and Ms. Miracle existed and had developed powers. I guess a lot of weird things that I never heard about had to be happening all the time.

"Can...can you control it?" I asked aunt Denise, still a bit nervous. "I mean, how much are you in control?"

"I can't," she frowned, once again looking guilty. "The change automatically triggers when I'm in danger... If I'm injured or just afraid of my life, I transform." Then she told me, "It can be a life threatening injury, but all that it takes is a cut, a bruise...and sometimes just being that time of the month. Earlier this morning I accidentally twisted an ankle... And as soon as that happens, I turn into Grendel... I become a mindless monster that's only good for fighting and surviving."

Aunt Denise was silent for a minute, just looking extremely tired as she thought about her past. "I've been on the run ever since," she told me. "There are people after me... So I hide and try to avoid attention until Grendel eventually shows up again."

"Do mom and dad know?" I asked her.

"Your mom does," aunt Denise answered. "I told her several years ago..."

I didn't know what to think of the revelation that my mom knew something this monumental and hadn't even told me or dad. It was hard to believe that my mom was capable of keeping that kind of a secret. She could hardly keep quiet about a surprise birthday party, but somehow she had managed.

Deciding to change the subject just a little, I asked, "What happened to the guy who did this to you?"

"He was badly injured during my first transformation," she told me, not sounding as though she felt too bad about that. "He later rebuilt himself with cybernetics and started calling himself Cyberius, until one of his other cybernetic creations turned on him and killed him."

"Is it contagious?" I suddenly asked, remembering that it was some sort of virus that turned her into Grendel. I instinctively backed up a little bit. "Can other people catch it?"

"No," aunt Denise reassured me with a faint smile. "The virus bonded with my DNA as soon as I was infected... I could give you a blood transfusion and it still wouldn't do anything to you."

I let out a faint sigh of relief at that, then asked, "What about a cure? If you made it, shouldn't you be able to cure it?"

"I've been trying," aunt Denise admitted quietly, gesturing to her lab and all of the equipment that surrounded us. "Unfortunately, it's not nearly that simple." She gave me a steady look, "The virus that infected me was contaminated and had mutated. I'd need a sample of the alien DNA that contaminated the virus, and I don't even know what species it came from. I would require my original, untainted version of the virus, which I do not have. All of my notes on it were destroyed in the accident and subsequent manifestation of Grendel. And lastly, I would require a sample of my own DNA before the mutation so as to filter out the alterations... And unfortunately, I don't have this either."

"Oh," I responded, not completely sure about half of what she had just said. All I knew was that it all sounded pretty damn complicated. "I guess you'd already have done it if you could..."

"It is difficult finding proper facilities when you're on the run," she responded wryly. Then she gave me a grin, "Fortunately, I think that I'm very close to finding a cure..."

"Really?" I blinked in surprise, "But I thought that you just said..."

Aunt Denise just gave me a smug grin. "Just trying to make you understand how difficult it's been..."

"But you said that you needed all those things," I accused.

"I needed my own unaltered DNA as a filter and comparison," she told me with a smile. "Fortunately, your mother gave me a sample of hers. And as we are full sisters, I believe that her DNA is close enough to my own to work."

"And the rest of that stuff?" I asked, still trying to make sense of it all.

"It's been a lot of work," she admitted with a frown. "I have been working on completely recreating my original virus... I think that it's almost ready... Between that and your mother's DNA, I should be able to isolate the alien DNA. My hope is that I will be able to use all of this to create a retrovirus that will filter out the mutated strain and return my DNA to a more normal human standard. I only fear that my virus may have mutated further, or have become so engrained in my DNA that removing it would be impossible."

Since I still wasn't completely sure about everything that aunt Denise had told me, I just nodded my head and said, "I'll keep my fingers crossed."

"Thanks," aunt Denise told me with a smile.

"Um," I looked at the clock which was sitting on the edge of one of the tables, "I think I'd better get going inside or mom will wonder why I'm late..."

"Okay," aunt Denise grinned as she got up to leave the barn with me, "Just one more thing..." She paused, looking just a bit embarrassed, "Do you think that you can not mention any of this to your mother? I'd rather that she not know how close I came to...well, not after she's been so good to me here..."

I hesitated for just a moment before grinning, "Well...for a price."

After I had told aunt Denise just what that price was, she burst out laughing and told me, "I think that can be arranged."

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I leaned back and smiled, hesitating only a moment before taking a deep bite of my freshly made chocolate chip cookie. There was nothing as good as biting into a cookie that had just come out of the oven and having it melt inside of your mouth.

"Delicious," I complimented my mom.

"Thank you," she responded with a slight nod, "It's a good thing that you were able to get home while they were still warm..."

"Yeah, it is," I grinned. "Thanks to my new car. Now I can get home in just a couple of minutes...."

I still couldn't believe that I finally had my own car, and I'd gotten it a bit earlier than I'd expected. Of course, I had aunt Denise to thank for that. In exchange for keeping her secret, I had only asked that she convince my mom and dad to lend me the rest of the money for my car. Fortunately for me, she had been very convincing.

When I had first started my job in town, I had been thinking that I could quite as soon as I had enough for my car. But now that I had the car, I had discovered that I would still need to pay for insurance and gas, as well as the little bit that I now owed my mom and dad.

After I had complained to my dad that I was still going to have to use so much of my time at my job, he had laughed and told me, "Get used to it. You'll be working like that for the rest of your life."

"Joy," I muttered sarcastically, "Something to really look forward to."

However, I couldn't get too upset about my still having to work since I now had my car. I finally had transportation to and from work, so I wouldn't have to walk several miles in the raid.

I smiled as I helped myself to another cookie, then grabbed a few more of them to take out to aunt Denise. She was still out in her lab, where she had been working almost nonstop since she had told me about her secrets two weeks earlier.

"Aunt Denise?" I called out as I knocked on the door to her lab, "I've got some cookies for you..."

A minute later, she opened the door and gestured for me to come in before quickly closing the door again behind us. "So how's the car working out for you?"

"Great," I grinned at her, "It's a hell of a lot better than having to walk everywhere..."

She nodded, "Trust me...I know. Being a fugitive, I haven't always had access to any transportation besides my feet."

I only nodded back at that, suspecting that things must have been pretty hard for her. Her whole life had been destroyed the moment that she'd been infected by that Grendel virus. From what I'd seen, her time living with us was the only bit of normalcy that she'd had in years.

"So," I said carefully, "You've been spending a lot of time out here..."

Aunt Denise was silent for a moment, then began to smile. She gestured to her work station and proudly exclaimed, "I'm getting closer... Much closer."

"Yeah?" I asked her with a grin, knowing that this had to be great news for her.

"I think that I might have succeeded in recreating my original strain," aunt Denise told me, "Or at least something close to it."

"Really?" I grinned, knowing that this was a major part of what she would need for her cure.

"I've attempted to strain the alien DNA from my blood," she told me, "and injecting a sample of that into my virus in order to duplicate the original contamination. My hope is that by recreating the original mutated strain that infected me, I can use it to create a new virus that reverses my mutation."

"I hope it works," I told her honestly.

Aunt Denise smiled, "Thanks." Then she went into the fridge and pulled out a vial, holding it up for me to see. "Here it is."

But before I could think of what to say, she set it down on one of the tables next to her microscope and went to work. Aunt Denise didn't really explain what she was doing at first, though I could tell that she was taking a bit out of the vial and giving it a good look under the microscope.

"I never examined the contaminated strain before I was infected," aunt Denise told me, "Of course, that makes this more difficult."

"I'd imagine," I said, just so that I had something to say.

Aunt Denise nodded faintly as she reached for several other vials. "I'm about to add a sample of the contaminated strain to a sample of your mother's DNA. Hopefully it will produce results similar to my own blood sample. And if so, I'll know that I'm on the right track."

"I'll keep my fingers crossed," I told her.

"Thanks," aunt Denise sighed, "The fact that I don't have the proper facilities or equipment makes this quite a challenge."

Aunt Denise scowled and turned back to the table. But as she reached across, her hand brushed against the corner of some piece of equipment. She let out a loud gasp and yanked hand back, her expression immediately turning to one of horror.

"NO," she exclaimed with a note of panic.

"What's wrong?" I demanded.

A moment later, aunt Denise held out her hand. She'd just scratched herself...and it didn't even look like a bad one. Then I noticed that her hand was turning blue and I gasped in realization. But it was more than just that... Her skin was all taking on a bluish tinge, and she was getting bigger. Her clothes were becoming tight on her.

"NO!" Aunt Denise cried out again, this time getting angry. She was looking downright pissed.

Aunt Denise let out a loud yell of rage, then she lashed out at the table with her arm, sweeping across half the contents and causing them to go crashing to the floor.

"Aunt Denise," I cried out, running to help her. I didn't know what I could do, but I wasn't thinking about that, only that I needed to help her.

"GET AWAY," she snarled at me, lashing out with her arm again, but this time hitting me rather than the table. I went flying back and hit the floor with a gasp of pain.

At this point, aunt Denise's clothes were beginning to tear at the seams and her skin was becoming even more blue. I only stared at her on terror as she frantically grabbed for the contents of one of her tables, finally picking up a bottle of pills and gulping half the contents down at once.

A moment later, she paused, her skin no longer seeming quite so blue. The anger faded from her expression as she began to shrink back to her normal size. Bit by bit, the changes that she had been going through reversed themselves, until she stood there, looking just as she had been before scratching her hand.

"Thank God," aunt Denise gasped as she grabbed the table for support. She looked weak and shaken, hardly able to stand. "A genetic stabilizer," she commented, letting out a sigh of relief. "It can stop me from changing into Grendel if I get it soon enough... Sometimes... If I'm not too injured or in too much pain... It isn't reliable, but it sometimes helps..."

Aunt Denise finally looked at me, an expression of guilt and fear on her face. Suddenly, her eyes went wide in horror. "Oh no..."

I looked down and suddenly noticing that I was bleeding. I'd torn my hand open on some of the shattered glass when aunt Denise had thrown me to the ground. Then I realized that I was sitting in the middle of a bunch of liquid and shattered glass, remnants of what aunt Denise had thrown from the table. And to my shock, I realized that these shattered vials included everything that she had just been working on...

Aunt Denise and I stared at the mess, at my soaked and bloody and, and then at each other before simultaneously exclaiming, "Oh shit..."

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I leaned back in my chair, frowning as I stared at my half completed model car. It was a half completed Porsche, though unfortunately, I hadn't been able to give it as much concentration as it deserved. Unfortunately, I was too distracted to give much of anything much attention at the moment. And the only reason that I was in my room and working on the model at all was because I didn't want to face my mom and aunt Denise arguing again.

It had been two days since the accident in aunt Denise's lab, and my mom had barely said two words to her since. Or at least my mom hadn't said two words to her in a normal volume, though she sure had yelled a good bit. But the yelling part seemed to be over and now she was just glaring at her sister. I think that one of the only reasons that she wasn't still yelling was that my dad and Sandy were both around, and neither of them knew about aunt Denise's little, or make that, rather LARGE secret.

"Just great," I sighed, absently flicking one of my model pieces with my finger.

After the accident, aunt Denise had quickly taken a sample of my blood and tested it. To my horror, I had not only been exposed to aunt Denise's virus...I had been infected by it.

"It's been contaminated," she had immediately exclaimed, "It's mutated..." I had already learned from my conversation with her that those two words were NOT good when relating to that virus.

It turns out that a couple of the other vials that had shattered on the floor and contaminated the virus were one of my mom's blood, and one of aunt Denise's. Aunt Denise said that she had absolutely no idea how this might affect the virus, or me, though she immediately went to work trying to find out. Now she was desperately trying to find a way to get it out of me.

Fortunately, I hadn't shown any signs of turning into a rampaging blue monster since then. In fact, the only symptoms that I've had were that there were a couple of times when my fingers and toes tingled a bit.

Of course, when aunt Denise ashamedly admitted what had happened to my mom, she was pissed. My mom probably would have immediately kicked aunt Denise out on her ass, if it wasn't for the fact that she was the only one who could get that virus out of me.

"Just great," I groaned, holding up my hand and staring at it. I gulped, feeling more than a little worried and letting out a sigh of relief that there was no trace of blue in my skin. Then I looked at small bottle of pills that was sitting next to me. Aunt Denise had given me some of her genetic stabilizer pills, 'just in case.' I REALLY hoped that I wouldn't have to use them.

"I don't want to be like her," I thought aloud.

I knew how much that virus had ruined aunt Denise's life. It had turned her into Grendel... It had turned her into a monster, then made her go on the run. She hadn't been able to have anything resembling a normal life for years. I definitely did NOT want anything like that for myself.

"At least mom's not yelling at her anymore," I sighed.

After a few more minutes, I decided to go take a walk. That was always a good way of clearing my head. Of course, I was well aware of the irony. I'd been moaning and groaning that I wanted a car so that I wouldn't have to walk, and now that I have one, I still go for a walk when I want to think things through.

I decided to take some back roads and had walked several miles from home, in the direction away from town, when I froze. Something was wrong... I didn't know why I knew this, only that I did. It felt like someone was watching me.

Suddenly, a man's voice called out, "Ho there young man."

"What the?" I jumped in surprise, then snapped around to see who was talking to me. But I didn't see anyone. Then I thought to look up. "What the hell?"

Floating in the air was a man, or at least I assumed he was a man. But since he was completely covered in armor, he could have been a robot for all I knew. And then he lowered himself to the ground, landing just in front of me so that I could get a better look. He was wearing some kind of full body armor that was mostly red, but about a quarter of it was white. It covered his entire body, leaving no hint of his real body exposed. Even his head was covered with a red helmet that showed no signs of eye slits or anything else. And then, he had a red cape on as well.

"I am Beowulf," he introduced himself proudly.

He gave a pause at that, either to let me absorb his name or to see if I had recognized it. But the only place that I recognized his name from was the old story... And the fact of just which story that was sent a chill down my spine.

"Have you heard of the monster Grendel?" Beowulf asked.

"Um...yeah," I responded, then quickly added, "I've seen him on the news."

"Good lad," Beowulf nodded, "Would you happen to have seen him by any chance?"

My heart jumped at that question, and I gulped before nervously answering, "Um...I saw him on TV."

"That is not quite what I meant," Beowulf told me. "I have reason to believe that the monster is in this area, and I am intent on finding him."

"Grendel's around here?" I asked in mock surprise, "I think I would have noticed a giant monster."

"Perhaps," Beowulf responded, "But this monster seemingly has a way of hiding."

I stared at Beowulf for a moment before asking, "What are you going to do when you find him?"

"Why, I'll stop him of course," Beowulf answered confidently. "And I will stop him for good. This monster is far too dangerous to continue to wander free..."

All that I could say to that was, "Oh..."

"Then you have seen no signs of this monster?" Beowulf asked me. "Of course not... You would have already said something..."

"Um, no," I shook my head, "I haven't seen anything..."

"Thank you for your assistance anyway, young man," Beowulf told me as he began floating into the air again. He gave me a slight wave and said, "Good fortune," before flying away.

I stared up into the sky for a minute, not taking my eyes off of Beowulf as he flew away. My heart was racing, and I knew that this was not good. At least not for aunt Denise.

"I've got to tell her," I gasped, remembering how she'd told me that people were after her. I just hadn't really considered that one of them might be a super hero... Or at least I kind of assumed that Beowulf was a hero, due to his name, flashy armor, and his intent on stopping a monster. But unfortunately, this also meant that he was after aunt Denise.

After a few more seconds, I turned and started running back towards my house. I ran as fast as I could, not even sticking entirely to the road, but taking short cuts over a field and cluster of trees. I had to get back and tell aunt Denise as soon as I could.

I was halfway through the trees when suddenly my foot dropped into a hole that I hadn't seen. There was a loud crack, followed by an intense surge of pain through my leg. I screamed and dropped to the ground, already knowing that my leg was broken badly.

"Oh God," I howled, staring at my leg where there was a spot of blood soaking through my pants. I wasn't in a very calm state of mind, but I knew enough to recognize this as the sign of a compound fracture.

I grabbed hold of my leg, not touching the part where the bone had to be sticking out of my skin. It hurt horribly and I was sure that I was crying. But then I noticed my hands and gasped...tearing them away from my leg and staring at them in disbelief. My fingers had all turned a bluish color, and it was quickly spreading.

"NO," I gasped in horror.

For a brief moment, I held onto the hope that my pain was causing me to see things. But it quickly became obvious that it was much more than that. My skin continued to become more blue, while at the same time, a strange itching, burning sensation began to flood through my body. It felt as though my entire body were on fire...from the inside.

I screamed in pain, but the sensations only grew stronger. I could feel something happening to me. My bones were moving, growing and stretching. My muscles were twitching like crazy and moving around inside of me. A million overwhelming sensations had hit me at once so that I was barely even aware of the fact that my clothes were becoming tighter and tighter on me. Then they burst at the seams and slowly fell away, leaving me naked and hardly even aware of it.

My body continued to grow and change, though the pain began to fade, only to be replaced by something else. I felt...good. I felt damn good. I had no idea what all the new sensations that I was feeling were, only that I suddenly felt strong and powerful.

Once the changes stopped just a minute later, I remained where I was. My first thoughts were of surprise that I could still think clearly. When my skin had started turning blue, I had been expecting to turn into some sort of mindless monster, yet it was now obvious that I hadn't.

I slowly stood up, finding that my sense of balance was way off. I had forgotten all about my broken leg until I stood on, and then realized that I didn't feel any pain or discomfort from it at all. But when I automatically looked down to check on my leg, I found my view blocked by two large protrusions from my chest.

"What the...?" I started, then paused at the unfamiliar sound of my voice.

For a moment, I just froze, staring down at my blue skin. Then I slowly reached for my chest, finding that there were two large, round orbs pushing out. I gulped as I immediately knew what they reminded me of. Hell, I was a 16-year-old guy, and what teenage guy doesn't think about girl's breasts? I had to shift position a bit to see the rest of my body, and I could immediately see that I was completely naked, that I was completely blue...and that I seemed to be completely female.

"What the hell?" I gasped, grabbing between my legs but finding my usual equipment missing.

My heart jumped at that, but I quickly tried to tear my eyes from those issues and look over the rest of my body. I definitely seemed to be female, but a very big one at that. All of my muscles were thick and bulging, but I seemed to have a lot of girl curves at the same time. It wasn't an easy thing to face, so I just continued to see what else had changed.

"Oh man," I groaned, staring at my hands. My fingers didn't end with normal fingernails, but with thick, sharp claws instead.

On a sudden impulse, I scraped my fingernails...my claws against a tree that was next to me and easily cut through the bark and wood.

"Wow," I whispered, shaking my head in disbelief.

After this, I quickly finished up my self-examination, finding that I had sharp bone spikes sticking out of my shoulders and elbows, and that my hair had grown down to about my lower shoulder blades, and turned dark blue. I had no idea how many other things had changed, only what I could see with such a quick going-over. However, it was enough to give a basic picture of what I must look like.

"Like some sort of girl version of Grendel," I said aloud, somewhat stunned by that realization. "I've turned into some sort of...some sort of She-Grendel."

I stood there and just stared down at myself in confusion and disbelief. A thousand thoughts suddenly ran through my mind at once. But dominating those thought was the question... If I looked so much like Grendel, if I had been changed by the same kind of virus, then didn't that mean that I might have the same kind of power?

I flexed my arm and stared at the powerful looking muscles, knowing that I sure as hell felt pretty strong. And without a word, I reached for the nearest tree, one with a diameter of about 6 inches. My fingers dug straight into the tree trunk, and with only the slightest effort, it snapped in half.

"Holy shit," I gasped, holding the broken off tree in my hands. It didn't really feel any heavier than if it had been made out of Styrofoam. "I've been turned into a developed..."

With just a little force, I was able to easily snap the tree again and again. Soon I had torn a whole tree to shreds, with just my bare hands. It had been so easy...so effortless. I couldn't resist the temptation to do it again with a much larger tree, this one about two feet in diameter. But even this tree was no match for my new strength.

"I can't believe how strong I am," I whispered, wondering how strong I was compared to someone like Ms. Miracle.

Suddenly, the thought of Ms. Miracle and other developed heroes reminded me of Beowulf and why I had been injured in the first place. I snapped up and looked around me, momentarily afraid that Beowulf might be watching. Fortunately, there was no sign of him, not even in the sky above me.

"I've got to get back," I reminded myself, "I've got to warn aunt Denise..."

But at the same time, I knew that I had to get back to aunt Denise for more than just the warning. I had to find out what the hell her weird experiment had done to me...and if she could fix it. Sure, I was getting a big kick out of just how strong I suddenly was, but there as the little problem of the fact that I had been turned into some sort of blue freak. And a female blue freak at that.

"I'm like some kind of giant Smurf," I grumbled.

Then I suddenly realized that I had a few problems with it came to getting home. First, I was some sort of freak now, and second, I was completely and totally naked. It was going to be pretty damn hard to avoid notice looking like this...

"Clothes," I whispered, picking up what was left of my clothes after I'd grown out of them. I was a bit stunned when I held what was left of my pants and saw how small they were. They were like the pants of a little kid. "How big am I?"

I gulped, not sure that I wanted to know the answer. So instead, I tried to be practical. I used what was left of my shirt to make myself a loincloth. It wasn't much, but it made me feel a little better...and just a little less naked. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything I could do about those things on my chest. I was just going to have to make sure not to be seen.

Once I was as ready as I was going to be, I carefully made my way back to my house, sticking to clusters of trees as much as I could and trying not to be seen. Fortunately, it wasn't a very populated area, so I managed to make it back without much trouble.

"Thank God," I sighed once I made it to the barn that served as aunt Denise's lab. I took one more quick look around to make sure that no one saw me, then I opened the door. Or at least I tried to open the door since the whole thing tore off in my hand. "Oh shit..."

I gulped and quickly slipped inside, only to find aunt Denise in there, staring up at me with an expression of complete shock and disbelief. Of course, there was more than a hint of fear in her eyes too.

"It's me," I exclaimed, holding up my hands to show that I wasn't any kind of a threat... "I turned into this..."

Aunt Denise's eyes went even wider and she gasped, "Will?"

I could only nod my head at that and slowly walk towards her, stunned by just how small she looked. She looked so short to me now, and I easily towered over her by two and a half feet. That would make me around eight feet tall.

"It looks like your virus messed me up but good," I told her, feeling embarrassed as I gestured down at myself.

"You can talk," she gasped.

"You noticed that?" I responded with a bit of sarcasm, trying to lighten the mood to keep me from going crazy if nothing else.

After a moment, aunt Denise blinked and licked her lips, then shook her head. "I can't believe it... Oh Will, I'm so sorry... I never intended to do anything like this to you..."

"I know," I answered quietly. Then I frowned, "Can you...fix this?" I gestured down at myself, "Can you change me back?"

"I don't know," she scowled, "But I'm certainly going to try... It should be a lot easier than curing myself at least..."

Suddenly, something else occurred to me. "You change back and forth between being normal and being Grendel? Will I change back too?" I certainly hoped so. The thought of being stuck as I was, was NOT something that I wanted to contemplate.

"I don't know," aunt Denise sighed. "The virus mutated... It obviously works differently than mine does, but how differently..." She shrugged at that, looking tired.

"Just great," I said, looking for somewhere to sit down.

I grabbed one of the stools that aunt Denise had brought out for her lab, but it was small, like it was made for a kid. Or at least that was how it seemed to me. And when I tried to sit on it anyway, the whole thing buckled under my weight and left me sitting on the floor.

"Just great," I grumbled again, letting out a sigh of annoyance.

"Wait here," aunt Denise told me, then turned and hurried out of the lab.

Aunt Denise came back a minute later with my mom right behind. My mom took one look at me and her jaw dropped open. For a brief instant, I thought that her eyes were actually going to pop out of her head.

"Will?" she gasped in disbelief.

"Um...hi mom," I waved at her and gave her a sheepish smile.

My mom stared at me for a moment more before suddenly turning to aunt Denise and demanding, "What the hell have you done to him?" Then her voice got even louder.

I let my mom yell and scream for about a minute or so before I finally interrupted, "Hey, lay off..."

She looked up at me, looking a bit intimidated by my size. I didn't blame her, and silently decided that it might be a good idea NOT to tell her just how strong I was. If she was afraid of my size, I could only imagine her reaction of she saw me ripping trees up with my bare hands.

"It was an accident," I told my mom a little more gently, "Aunt Denise certainty didn't mean to do anything like this..."

"I've already been working on an antidote for him," aunt Denise said, "And reversing his mutation will be much easier than my own."

My mom moaned and groaned for a few more minutes, staring at me with a strange look on her face. She finally decided to go back in the house and leave aunt Denise and myself alone.

Once it was just the two of us, I told aunt Denise, "Oh yeah, there's something I need to tell you..." I frowned, wondering how I could have forgotten about something so important, even for a few minutes.

"What's that?" aunt Denise frowned.

"Beowulf," I stated simply. When she gave me a blank look, I continued, "I met a guy called Beowulf a little before I changed... He was all dressed in armor and looked like some kind of super hero. He told me that he was looking for you...for Grendel."

"Oh no," aunt Denise went pale, "I wish people would leave me alone... At least half the time I turn into Grendel, it's because people like this are after me... And I don't have time for this now. I need to cure you."

"But what if he finds you?" I asked him. "I mean, he looked like he meant business and he said something about ending Grendel once and for all."

Aunt Denise let out a tired sigh, then said, "Tell me everything about him..."

I told her everything that had happened with Beowulf and everything that I remembered about my encounter with him. Then for good measure, I told her about how I'd run straight home to tell her about him, and how my trip resulted in my transformation.

"I was pretty worried," I admitted, "I hope he doesn't find you."

"Me too," aunt Denise agreed with a frown. "I've never heard of this Beowulf, but it makes sense that eventually one of Grendel's enemies would use that name. I'm just surprised that it hasn't happened before..."

I just nodded at that, "I guess." Then I looked down at myself again and frowned, "This is weird..."

"Wait here," aunt Denise told me, "I'll be back in a minute."

"Just great," I groaned as aunt Denise rushed out of her lab again. Since she had come back with my mom the last time she'd done that, I wondered if she'd come back with my dad or sister this time. "God, I hope not..."

When aunt Denise returned a few minutes later, I was surprised to see that she had a large mirror from off of my mom's bedroom wall in her hand. "I thought that you might like to see what you look like..."

"Thanks," I responded, feeling a bit embarrassed as I looked into the mirror.

I let out a gasp of surprise as I saw my reflection, unable to help but doing so. I gulped, unable to believe that this was actually me. In fact, there was no way that I would have believed it if I hadn't already examined myself.

"Holy shit," I whispered.

The creature that stared back from the mirror was definitely a woman, and had all of the curves and breasts to prove it. Hell, my breasts were literally the size of beach balls, and possibly even larger. They were big, even in comparisson to the rest of me. However, I might now be female, but I couldn't exactly be called sexy. My body was a little too bulky and muscular for that since I was built like a large female bodybuilder. Still, I guess there was something attractive with my features, even if I was pretty weird looking, so I couldn't really be called ugly either.

There were of course a lot of similarities between Grendel and myself, such as the blue skin, long blue hair, claws and bone spikes on my shoulders and elbows. But there were also a lot of differences as well. Obviously, I was not only female but intelligent, which were the two biggest differences. I was shorter, by close to four feet, and my proportions were a lot more human.

I reached up and felt my face, noticing that my face was much more human as well. My teeth were all a bit sharp looking, but I didn't have the snout and even more vicious teeth that Grendel did. In fact, if I kept my mouth shut, I looked a lot like a normal woman...other than the blue skin and yellow eyes.

"No way," I gasped, "I can't believe I look like that..."

Of course, the whole image in the mirror wasn't unexpected since I'd already looked myself over right after my transformation. But seeing myself in the mirror and getting a better 'whole picture' view was more than a little stunning.

"It is rather...startling," aunt Denise said, looking a bit nervous.

"Oh shit," I gulped, "What am I going to do?"

I stared at my reflection in horror, suddenly realizing that this could be a SERIOUS problem. There was no way that I could go to school, my job...or even out in public looking like I did. I was a freak...a complete and total freak.

"You've got to change me back," I blurted out to aunt Denise, "I can't be stuck like this..."

Just then, I suddenly felt a strange tingle rush through my body. I gasped out as it grew even stronger, turning into a burning pain. As I dropped to my knees, I realized that my body was changing again... My bones and muscles were cracking and moving under my skin, creating an intense agony.

"WILL!" aunt Denise cried out, rushing to me.

Aunt Denise grabbed me and I noticed that she wasn't quite so small anymore. She was getting less tiny with every passing moment. I was shrinking... I looked down, seeing that my skin was changing color, going back to normal. My whole body was going back to normal.

A minute later, I collapsed the rest of the way to the floor, sore and exhausted...but normal. I had turned back into myself, a normal teenage guy. Once I'd had a chance to catch my breath a bit, I sat up, checked to make sure that my parts were all there, then I looked into the mirror to see my normal face looking back.

Finally, I let out a sigh of relief, "It's over..."

But aunt Denise stared at me, giving me a sad look as she shook her head. "I'm afraid that it's not over yet. It's just beginning."

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I grimaced, bracing myself for the horrible pain that was about to come. At the moment, I wished that I could be somewhere else, anywhere else. Hell, I'd even rather be off in Iraq than going through the torture that I was currently experiencing.

"Quit being such a baby about this," aunt Denise scowled, "You're acting like this is the first time that you've ever had a shot."

"But it's not a shot," I glared at the syringe in aunt Denise's hand, "You're taking blood out of me like some kind of vampire..."

"Quite being so melodramatic," she sighed, sticking the needle into my arm so that she could take another blood sample.

It had been a full week since I met Beowulf and been temporarily transformed into a female Grendel. In that time, aunt Denise had insisted on taking a sample of my blood every day for testing, and I still hadn't gotten used to it. The very sight of the needle sent shivers down my spine.

"At least you're not turning blue this time," she commented with a wry smile.

I just nodded at that, thankful for that fact myself. Just about every other time that aunt Denise had stuck me with that needle, my skin had started to turn blue in the area and I had been able to feel the transformation beginning. But somehow, I was able to keep the transformation from going any further. I didn't know how I did it, only that I did.

"I wish I could will myself not to change like that," aunt Denise sighed, "It would save me a LOT of trouble. But I suspect that your control is strictly limited and that if you suffered any larger injuries, you would transform again regardless of how much you might will otherwise."

"How much more of that stuff are you going to need?" I asked, glaring at the vial of my blood. "Haven't you taken enough already?"

"I need it to test your stability," she told me with a frown. "The virus has obviously mutated and bonded with your genetic code. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be mutating any further. This makes it much easier to formulate the antidote for your condition."

"How...how close are you?" I asked cautiously.

Aunt Denise was silent for a moment before giving me a reassuring smile, "Very close. I've been modifying a version of the antidote that I'd been working on for myself..."

"Cool," I sighed, not sure what else to say.

I frowned, thinking about how close I had come to transforming again several times during the past week. But each time, I had been able to feel the change coming on soon enough to will it back down. This time, I had been able to keep it from even starting.

"Good thing," I gave her a grin, "I don't think that I want to be stuck as some sort of blue skinned girl Grendel. It would be just a bit too weird... But on the other hand," I mused, "I did kind of like being that strong..."

"I wouldn't really know," aunt Denise frowned, "I'm not exactly conscious when I turn into Grendel, so I have no control over him and his power, and very little memory. You don't know how many times I've suddenly found myself laying naked in the middle of a field or forest, wondering how I got there and how many people I might have hurt."

"I couldn't imagine," I sighed, thinking about how horrible such a life would have to be. "Did you ever think of putting yourself into some sort of protective custody?"

"Many times," she frowned. "I've locked myself into room where everything was padded and made extremely safe so that I wouldn't injure myself. But then, my period came and I changed anyway... And another time, I turned myself over to some people who worked for a part of the government. They promised that they'd keep me safe and work on a cure, though all they really wanted was to learn how to control Grendel to use him as a weapon."

I stared at her for a moment before saying, "I'd imagine that didn't work out very well."

"No," she responded with a deep scowl.

The fact that she stopped there and didn't say anything more about it was a pretty good sign that this didn't end well for the people involved. Then again, I had a feeling that nothing ended very well for anyone who got in Grendel's way.

"Anyway," aunt Denise suddenly changed the topic, "I was thinking that we could take a break and head into town for some ice cream."

"Sounds good to me," I grinned back. "I'll drive..."

Now that I finally had a car, I was pretty eager to use any excuse to drive it. And of course, there was the fact that aunt Denise didn't currently have a car of her own, so it was either I drove or we walk.

Aunt Denise grinned and repeated, "Sounds good to me."

A few minutes later, we were in my car and racing down the road. I was probably going a little faster than I should have been, but there were never many cars out the way I was going, and I had no fear of being spotted by a cop.

"Maybe we should go and jump a river," aunt Denise grinned at me, "I almost feel like I'm in Duke's of Hazzard."

"That new movie?" I asked with a grin.

But she just looked at me and shook her head sadly. "Today's youth..."

Just then, I suddenly noticed something up ahead of us. A red figure up in the sky descended to the road. Beowulf was standing in the middle of the road and I had to slam on the breaks in order to avoid him.

"Oh shit," I exclaimed, my eyes going wide.

I swerved at the last minute, leaving the road a bit and slamming the corner of my front end into a tree. I slammed forward, suddenly VERY thankful for my seat belt, otherwise my head would have slammed into my steering wheel.

"What the hell?" I screamed as I jumped out of the car, "You could have killed us you fucking moron!"

Beowulf didn't seem at all bothered by my yelling at him, though it was hard to tell since his helmet covered his entire face. However, he did nod and respond, "My apologies lad... My sensors had indicated that Grendel was present. I did not notice your vehicle approaching until it was too late.

"You're a lunatic," I howled, "You could have killed us. And look what you did to my car."

I gestured to my car, only then noticing that aunt Denise was staggering around on the other side of it. Since I had been all right, I had thought that she was too. She hadn't seemed hurt in the car. But as she turned to look at me, revealing her yellow eyes and bluish skin, I let out a loud gasp.

"Oh no," I gulped, my heart jumping.

"What is it lad?" Beowulf demanded. "Is your companion injured..."

I stared at aunt Denise in horror, my heart suddenly jumping at the sight in front of me. Aunt Denise's skin and hair continued to turn blue. Her face was starting to push forward into the beginnings of a snout, while her clothes were bursting at the seams. She dropped to her knees as she continued to change.

"Aunt Denise," I gasped, then blurted out, "Oh shit..."

Beowulf seemed almost oblivious to this as he was looking around us, scanning the field in the opposite direction for any sign of Grendel. The irony that he was completely missing aunt Denise's transformation into Grendel just a short distance away didn't escape me, though at the moment I hardly considered that funny.

Then suddenly, a loud roar came bursting forth as the creature who had been aunt Denise stood up, finishing up the final parts of his transformation. His muscles swelled outward in one more surge, and his inhuman power became just that much more apparent before it finally stopped and Grendel stood there before me.

"Tis the creature," Beowulf gasped in surprise.

For a brief moment, Beowulf just stood there motionless, staring at Grendel. I thought that it was as though he had finally found what he was looking for, but didn't know what to do with it. But that thought was quickly put to rest.

Beowulf suddenly threw out his arms, firing beams of red energy from each of his palms. One of them hit my car, going straight through one side and coming out the other, while the second beam hit Grendel, but seemed to do little more than make him mad.

"Be away from here lad," Beowulf commanded, "Tis too dangerous..."

I staggered backwards, staring at the scene in horror. I had no idea who to root for. Sure, Beowulf was the hero and Grendel was the monster who had caused more destruction than a dozen hurricanes, but at the same time, Grendel was my aunt Denise. There was no way that I was going to root for the guy who was trying to kill her.

"RUN," I shouted, "Get out of here!" However, I wasn't sure who I was yelling that to.

The enormous Grendel let out a roar, looking around with an expression that showed no signs of intelligence. And with another roar, he grabbed my car, lifting it off the ground with ease...and threw it straight at Beowulf.

"You shall not catch me unawares," Beowulf shouted as he flew out of the way of the car, leaving it to smash into the ground some distance behind him.

"My car," I gasped in horror. "I just bought that..."

But then I realized that the loss of my car was pretty minor at the moment. I was standing less than thirty yards from Grendel, a monster who had leveled whole towns and faced off against the entire Protectorate...and won. This was NOT a good position to be in, even if Grendel really was my aunt Denise...somewhere deep inside.

Beowulf flated in the air, then fired several more beams of red energy at Grendel, who just roared in response. He barely looked as though he'd noticed the attack, other than to become annoyed by it.

"Foul beast!" Beowulf yelled out, "I shall slay thee..."

Just then, Beowulf held out his arms and red energy blades formed from the back of his hands. Each was like a sword blade which came out a foot and a half beyond his knuckles, and seemed to be made of the same energy that he had previously shot at Grendel. And without a word, Beowulf flew straight for Grendel, apparently unconcerned about getting within arms reach of the monster.

But Beowulf changed course at the last moment and used one of his energy swords to slash through the tree that my car had crashed into. The glowing red blade went through it as though it were nothing, and a moment late, the tree fell straight on top of Grendel.

Grendel let out a horrible roar, loud enough to make me cover my ears. Then he smashed the tree apart with one hand, shattering it to splinters and looking as though he were only swatting a fly. He was revealing his true power, the unparalleled strength which had led to the government declaring him a natural disaster.

This didn't seem to scare Beowulf though, as he charged at Grendel again, this time slashing him with both energy blades. Grendel staggered back, obviously injured this time. There were two nasty gashes across his chest where the blades had sliced through his thick skin. A faint green glow emanated from the wounds, which to my surprise, began to close up again.

"This can not be," Beowulf exclaimed, "I injure the beast it and heals..."

Grendel roared yet again, no longer injured from Beowulf's attack, but obviously pissed off by it. But from what I'd seen and heard, pissed off seemed to be Grendel's normal mood.

"Aunt Denise did say that her original virus was supposed to heighten aggression," I muttered, wondering if the alien DNA that had contaminated it might have been from an extremely aggressive and hostile race to start with.

Beowulf's energy blades vanished, and he fired several more energy blasts at Grendel, yelling, "I shall defeat you yet..."

With a loud roar, Grendel jumped over fifty feet into the air, straight at Beowulf. But armored hero was too fast and got out of his way, leaving the monster to slam back to the ground a short distance away. And with another roar, Grendel tried again.

"You shall never best me," Beowulf taunted Grendel as he lowered himself back to the ground some thirty yards in front of him.

Grendel showed no signs that he understood what Beowulf was saying. He just snarled and looked as though he were about to roar again. But to my surprise, instead of a roar coming from Grendel's mouth...it was a green energy. A massive blast of green energy burst right out of Grendel's throat, while Beowulf was right in it's path.

"NO!" I cried out.

But Beowulf slammed his arms together, and a shield of glowing red energy formed around him, just an instant before Grendel's blast hit. The green blast completely covered Beowulf, burning everything around him and destroying the cluster of trees that were some distance behind him. Beowulf himself though seemed unharmed.

"I come prepared for your tricks," Beowulf called out, rising into the air again. Then Beowulf finally noticed that I was there and pointed to me, "Begone lad... I know that you wish to witness my victory, but this battlefield is far too dangerous..."

I just turned and ran, though only a short distance. I found a place to hide in the ditch beside the road, hoping that Grendel wouldn't notice me. Aunt Denise might be somewhere inside of that thing, but I had a feeling that he'd go through anything and anyone in his path, even if they were family.

"Tis time to call upon my loyal followers," Beowulf announced, firing several more energy beams at Grendel, then using his red force field when Grendel through a tree at him.

"Damn," I muttered as I watched this, "Where the hell can I get one of those force fields? That thing is cool..."

Just then, Beowulf's 'followers' arrived, or at least I assumed that these were his followers. Five men wearing suits of armor that were very similar to Beowulf's, except that they were all white, came and joined the fight. Each of these newcomers looked identical to each other, except that they each had a different animal painted on their chests in red. One had a dragon, one a griffin, one a lion, one a snake, and the last looked like a hawk or eagle.

None of these newcomers spoke a word that I could hear as they floated in the air and opened fire on Grendel with the same kind of red energy blasts that Beowulf had been using. Being attacked by six people at once seemed to be enough to injure Grendel, though like everything else, that only made him even more angry.

Grendel spat out another blast of green energy at the cluster of his armored attackers. Each of them brought up a red force field, but the one with the lion symbol on his chest was hit hardest and was thrown backwards in the air. And once Grendel's blast was over, he wobbled around in the air before finally dropping to the ground.

Lion got back to his feet and looked as though he were trying to fly again, though he couldn't get more than two feet off of the ground. It looked like Grendel's blast had damaged his armor, or at least his ability to fly.

A moment later, Grendel was charging straight at Lion. Beowulf and his other followers opened fire on Grendel, but it did nothing to slow the monster down. Lion threw up his hands and fired his energy blasts straight into the oncoming monster's face, but even that didn't slow him down and Grendel was on him.

There was absolutely no hesitation on Grendel's part as he grabbed Lion and tore him right in half. I gasped in shock and horror, until I realized that there was no blood at all. In fact, a few parts of metal were falling out of Lion's body.

"He's some kind of robot," I blurted out, relieved that Grendel hadn't just killed someone right in front of me.

Then without any warning, Lion suddenly exploded, in what I assumed was some sort of self-destruct. It was like a miniature nuke going off in the middle of the field...creating a massive dome of white hot flame and energy that ripped through everything. I could feel it even from my position in the ditch where I had immediately ducked down.

"Oh God, oh God, oh God," I gasped, carefully peaking out of the ditch, stunned at just how much this fight had escalated.

I stared at the field, which was covered with black smoke. But as the smoke cleared, it revealed a large, blackened crater...with Grendel standing right in the middle of it, apparently unharmed. The most I damage that I could see on him was that his skin seemed blackened in spots, and even that was fading as I watched.

Beowulf flew straight down at Grendel, his energy blades extended again. He drove one of his blades straight into Grendel's chest, right where his heart should be. Grendel let out a horrible roar of pain and rage, then swung his arm, backhanding Beowulf as he tried to fly back out of the way. And with that powerful blow, Beowulf was sent flying, this time not under his own power, where he finally crashed into the middle of a group of trees.

Grendel roared again, then charged straight towards where Beowulf had vanished from view. He want straight into the group of trees, tearing them out of his way with only the slightest effort. Within moments, Grendel himself had vanished from view, and the only way that I could track his passage was with the path of trees being knocked down.

"Holy shit," I gasped, stunned by what I had just witnessed.

I stood where I was for a minute, staring in the direction the fight had moved in shock. I couldn't believe just how much destruction both sides had been capable of. And the way that Lion had exploded...

Then I suddenly realized the exact direction that they had all taken off in. They were heading straight towards town. I gasped, my heart jumping as I thought about what kind of destruction they could cause. They could easily level the entire town.

"Oh shit," I gulped, realizing that they didn't just have to worry about Grendel, but Beowulf too. I'd seen the way that Lion had exploded when Grendel had taken him down. If the other four all had bombs like that inside of them as well... "Double shit..."

Grendel was an unstoppable and unbeatable monster who could just as easily level the town and kill everyone in it as he could swat a fly. Beowulf and his followers were packing quite a bit of firepowers themselves, and if they got into it with Grendel in the middle of town...

Several thoughts ran through my mind at once. I had to get to town to warn everyone so that they could evacuate. I had to stop them from reaching town. I had to stop Grendel. And I had to save aunt Denise. Of course, all of those were pretty much impossible for me as I was not only powerless, but sitting out on the side of the road without even a car.

"Maybe," I paused, "Maybe I can do something..."

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my knife, with my hand shaking a bit as I did so. I unfolded it, staring at the blade for just a few seconds before wrapping my hand around it. Then, with a deep breath, I clenched my hand around the blade as tightly as I could and yanked it at the same time.

"Damn," I dropped the knife, wincing as I opened my hand and saw the deep gash that I had just given myself. I was bleeding all over the place.

A moment later, I felt it, the tingling which indicated that I was about to change. It was just like the first time I had changed, or every time aunt Denise had taken my blood. But this time it was stronger, stronger than all but the first time I had felt it, and I doubted that I could will it to go away if I wanted. But I didn't want it to go away. Instead, I wanted to summon it.

"Oh yes," I gasped as I embraced the burning tingle and the changes that it would bring.

I stared at my hand, which was already turning blue. My nails were growing longer, sharper and harder. Then the agony truly began as the burning and changes rushed through my body. I began to grow larger as my body surged in size.

"My clothes," I whispered as they grew tighter on me. I had forgotten to take them off, which meant that I was going to grow right out of them again. And it was too late to do anything about that now. "Damn..."

There was a loud tearing as my clothes burst at the seams, though I had much more important things to worry about. I gasped as I grew out of them, feeling my body surging with more and more power. My whole body continued to swell larger, becoming more female and more inhuman.

Once the transformation was over, I finally dropped to my knees, letting out a sigh of relief as the intense agony finally went away. The power that came with my changed body was pretty cool, but I could definitely do without the pain that came from getting there.

"Okay," I took a deep breath, getting back to my feet and standing there for a moment. I was filled with a sense of immense strength and power. And remembering just how easily I had been able to tear up those trees during my first transformation, I exclaimed, "I think I'm better than okay..."

I flexed my arm, staring at my muscular bicep, savoring the strength that I felt within it. I suddenly felt like I could do almost anything, and as far as I knew, I just might be able to. But that just reminded me of why I had transformed in first place.

"Grendel and Beowulf," I grimaced, thinking about what would happen if they reached town. "I'd better get to work.

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I stood silently, savoring the feelings of raw strength and power which surged through my body. I felt as though I could do anything, as though nothing could stop me. It was a very heady feeling, though I knew that I couldn't let myself get distracted by it.

After a minute, I slowly looked around. I was currently an 8 foot tall, naked blue chick, standing in the middle of the road. If any cars were coming, it would be a good bed that I'd distract them from driving. And remembering that something along these lines was what had caused me to crash, I wasn't about to intentionally do that to someone else.

"Damn Beowulf," I growled, furious at him for causing me to wreck. If he hadn't been standing in the middle of the road, that never would have happened, my car wouldn't be trashed, and aunt Denise wouldn't have turned into Grendel. "We'd be in town having ice cream..."

Then I grimaced and stared into the distance, seeing a flash of green energy shoot up into the air somewhere in the distance beyond the trees. Grendel and Beowulf were still fighting, and getting even closer to town.

I finally stepped off the paved road and into the gravel beside it. In spite of the fact that my naked foot was on all of those sharp rocks, I barely even felt it, much less felt any discomfort. My skin was now thick and hard enough that I could walk around barefoot just as easily and comfortably as I could in shoes, if not more so. This was something that I'd been a little too preoccupied to notice during my previous transformation.

"My car," I muttered, going straight towards it.

When Grendel had thrown my car, he had done a LOT of damage to it. The whole thing was crushed in and the frame was badly bent. It was obvious with only a single glance that it was totaled and would never run again.

"Damn," I muttered, reaching for my car and lifting it off the ground with ease. It felt no heavier than if it had been made of Styrofoam. I held it there for a moment, marveling at my strength and just how light the car felt in my hands. I could feel my claws sinking into the metal when I squeezed. Then with a sigh, I casually tossed it to the side, "Damn... And I just got that thing..."

I was pretty pissed about my car, but more than just that. I quickly looked back in the direction of town, scowling and realizing that I couldn't let myself get distracted. I had transformed myself for a reason, and it was time to get to it.

With that, I started running in the direction of town, following the path of destruction that Grendel and Beowulf had left. They went through a cluster of trees, leaving a lot of them torn down, shredded or blasted to pieces. They went through another field, leaving huge gouges and holes. And this continued all the way to the edge of town where I finally found them.

When I arrived at the scene of battle, I was a little startled to realize that I must have run at a flat out sprint for over a mile, and I didn't feel any more winded than if I'd just walked across a room. But I didn't have time to marvel over what my new body was capable of a the moment.

Grendel let out a loud roar, while Beowulf's followers were a good distance away, blasting him from the air. Even being blasted by four individuals at once didn't seem to really hurt him, though he was pretty pissed off, which was nothing new. But Beowulf was taking advantage of these attacks to fly by and quickly slash at Grendel with his energy blades, which easily cut through his tough hide.

My plan to warn the town about the oncoming fight was a little late to be useful as they obviously already knew. Grendel and Beowulf were fighting within clear view of the town, and several people were standing back and watching in awe. Of course, the smarter people had already hopped into their cars or trucks and left town as fast as they could.

Suddenly, Beowulf exclaimed, "Ho...there's another monster."

It took me a moment to realize that he was referring to ME. But before I could fully digest his comment, Beowulf opened fire on me. He fired those red energy blasts from his hands and caught me straight in the chest. I staggered back, my skin burning where he hit me.

"What the fuck was that for?" I screamed out, pissed off that he would just attack me for no reason.

"My word," Beowulf exclaimed in surprise, "The beast speaks..."

"Who the hell are you calling a beast?" I demanded.

Beowulf fired more of his red energy blasts at me, one of which caught me in the shoulder while the other missed. I glared at him, getting more and more pissed by the moment. He was attacking me for no reason, even after he knew that I wasn't some mindless monster.

I glared at Beowulf, feeling my anger burning in my gut like a bad case of gas. A moment later, it erupted... It felt like I was letting out a loud belch, but instead a blast of green energy shot out of my mouth and just barely missing hitting Beowulf.

"Yuck," I grimaced, having a bad taste and weird tingling sensation inside of my mouth and throat. "That is gross..."

"The she Grendel attacks," Beowulf called to his followers, "We must destroy her as well..."

"Destroy...?" I blinked in surprise.

But before I could protest that I wasn't their enemy, two of Beowulf's followers dove down and started to blast me. Eagle and Snake were both shooting at me with their energy beams at the same time, and wherever they hit my skin, they hurt like hell. A quick look down to my breasts, which had just been blasted, revealed that they weren't doing any real damage, or at least nothing that wasn't healing in just a second or two, but that didn't mean that I liked being shot.

"It's like being shot with a BB gun," I grimaced, remembering a little game of BB gun tag that I'd once played with a friend when I was younger. I hadn't liked being hit then, and I sure as hell didn't like it now.

I tried protecting myself from the painful little stings, but it didn't do much good. I had two opponents, both attacking me over and over from a distance, while I couldn't do much to hit them. Of course, I could belch out another green energy blast..if I could figure out how I did it in the first place.

"Stupid robots," I grimaced, trying to think of something that I could do.

Then I saw a rock near my feet. It was probably a bit bigger than a bowling ball, but at the moment, it fit in my hand as though it were just a baseball. And with a silent prayer to hit my target, I threw the rock as hard as I could. Unfortunately, my aim wasn't as good as I'd hoped and I missed my target.

"Damn," I spat.

However, I wasn't about to just give up on a good idea. Next, I grabbed a large rock, one that was a decent 3 feet across. There was absolutely no way that I would have been able to lift that rock normally, but as I now was, I lifted it with ease. It felt so light in my hands that I hardly believed that it could do any real damage, even as I threw it.

"Take that," I yelled out.

This time, my aim was a better, but Snake turned on his force field, which shattered the rock against it and knocked him back. Unfortunately though, it didn't seem to do any real damage, though it did cause him and Eagle to back off a little and play defense. I followed it up by throwing a few more rocks at them, just to keep them away from me.

I took this brief opportunity to check on Grendel, then gasped as I saw him charging straight towards the town. The few people who were stupid enough to stay and watch scattered, and I hoped that it wouldn't be too late. Grendel grabbed a truck that was parked on the side of the road and casually tossed it several hundred yards.

"No," I gasped, running straight at Grendel. I couldn't let him get any further into town. I couldn't let him hurt anyone. I cringed, knowing that aunt Denise would be horrified at having done something like that.

Grendel was busy swatting at Beowulf and his followers, so it was pretty easy for me to get ahead of him and stand in his way. After belching out another energy blast, which missed Beowulf and completely obliterated the feed and grain store, Grendel let out a roar and continued his march towards the center of town.

I braced myself, feeling terrified as that massive monster advanced towards me. He towered over me, making me feel small in comparison, even though I happened to be 8 feet tall. And his power... I could feel his power radiating out from him. And as I looked at him, I somehow knew that as powerful as I now was...he was much more so. He was at least twice, possibly three times as strong as me.

"Oh shit," I gulped, knowing that I didn't stand a chance against Grendel. Sure, I could slow him down, but if he really put forth the effort, even I couldn't stop him. "Not good..."

A large part of my mind screamed that I should do the smart thing and just get out of his path. No one stood in Grendel's path and walked away unharmed. Even the entire Protectorate, the greatest super hero team around could barely contain him most of the time. But at the same time, I knew that aunt Denise was inside that monster somewhere. And as she was family, I felt responsible for stopping her...or at least stopping the creature that she had become.

"Stop," I demanded, bracing myself just several yards in front of Grendel.

To my surprise, Grendel did just that. He stopped and stood there, looking down at me. But there wasn't any of the anger and viciousness that I had been seeing from him, at least not directed at me. In fact, he seemed almost calm as he looked at me.

"I...I can feel you," I whispered, staring back at Grendel, realizing that I could feel more than just his power. I could feel his very presence. It was strange...like there was some kind of link between us.

But this moment of calm didn't last as Beowulf came charging in, both of his energy blades going. He shot right past me in a high speed hit and run, with me realizing that he'd cut my stomach wide open only after he was out of range.

I gasped and dropped to my knees, grabbing hold of my stomach in shock. But to my relief, the injury was already sealing up. It hurt like hell, but it wasn't going to kill me. By the time I got back to my feet a minute later, my wound was completely gone, though there was still a faint discomfort that was quickly passing.

"Fucking bastard," I snarled, getting even more pissed off. I felt the churning in my gut again, this time recognizing what it was. "Eat this..." And with that, I let out another belch of that green energy, this time aiming straight at Beowulf. He blocked it with his force field, but it still knocked him back a good distance. "God, that's nasty..."

Just then, all four of Beowulf's remaining followers came flying by, firing energy blasts from their hands. Several blasts hit Grendel, several hit me and some even hit a car just a short distance away. I winced at how much they stung, though I didn't bother checking for damage since I knew just how fast I now healed.

Then I looked to the car that had been hit and muttered, "Holy shit..." There were blast holes that went all the way through the car...and deep into the concrete street. They had gone through steel and concrete like a hot knife through butter.

I stared at the holes in the metal for a moment, suddenly realizing just how powerful those energy blasts were. And since they didn't really hurt me, other than cause a bit of a sting, I had to wonder just how tough I was now. Of course, with the ease that Beowulf's energy swords cut through both my hide and Grendel's, it said something for just how powerful those things had to be.

Just then, Beowulf flew straight at me again, his swords both drawn. He must have decided that I was the easier target and that he should get rid of me first. And this time, he looked like he was pretty damn serious because his blades were at about my neck level. I couldn't read his mind, but I was sure that he meant to decapitate me.

I was bracing myself for Beowulf's charge, which wasn't easy since his followers were all blasting me at once. Suddenly, Grendel stepped in front of me and let out a loud roar as he blocked Beowulf's attack.

"You...you protected me," I gasped in surprise, never having expected such a thing from Grendel, even if he was aunt Dense deep inside.

I scowled, wincing from the rain of energy blasts which was really stinging. Grendel didn't seem bothered by them, but I wasn't quite as tough as he was. And as I looked around, I realized that the ground was really suffering from the constant rain of energy blasts.

"We have to get out of town," I told Grendel, "We have to get go back there..." I pointed to the field where we had been fighting just several minutes earlier.

Grendel growled a bit and slowly started walking in that direction, leaving me stunned. Grendel had done it again. He'd done what I told him to.

Beowulf and his followers continued to blast as us from a distance, even though it didn't do much but make us both pissed. I suspected that their goal was to wear us down, to overwhelm us with so many small injuries that we'd eventually fall, much like how a grown man might if a large swarm of bees kept stinging him.

"Damn, I'm getting tired of this," I winced as another painful blast caught me in my shoulder. "We've got to get away from these guys..." Unfortunately, I knew that it wouldn't be that easy. It was five against two, and the five were all airborne.

Just then, Grendel shifted position, blocking me from all of the energy blasts. He stood between me and Beowulf's followers, taking all of the attacks himself. Of course, Grendel wasn't about to just stand there and take things. He roared and belched out more of those green energy blasts. I felt my own gut churning with more of the stuff myself, though I held back and kept from releasing it...at least for the moment.

"The great beast Grendel protects the female," Beowulf called out, "No matter. We shall destroy them both."

"And you call yourself a hero," I yelled out to Beowulf, "Heroes don't attack ladies..."

"You are no lady," Beowulf called back. "You are merely a monster in female form..."

I was really getting tired of this, "'Blast him," I told Grendel, pointing at Beowulf.

Grendel belched out an energy blast, aimed at Beowulf. Beowulf blocked it with his force field and was sent flying back. He immediately returned fire with his energy blasts, catching me in the thigh with one of them.

"The beast obeys her orders," Beowulf exclaimed, sounding surprised.

"I guess you do," I grinned to Grendel, no longer frightened of him. I could feel him...could feel that he had no hostility or intention to harm me. In fact, he was quite the opposite. He was obviously trying to protect me.

"Tis as the ancient story foretold," Beowulf called out, "The true power behind Grendel is his mother..."

"His mother?" I blinked in surprise, wondering how Beowulf had decided that I was Grendel's mother. Sure, in my current form I looked older...even adult, but I didn't think that I looked anywhere near old enough to be Grendel's mother. "This is insane..."

"Slay them," Beowulf ordered his followers, "Slay Grendel and his mother..."

"I'm getting sick of this," I said, glancing back to make sure that we were indeed moving away from the town, "Take him out," I pointed to one of the followers, the one with the snake on it's chest.

Grendel gave one of his deafening roars, then jumped into the air, higher and farther than I'd ever seen anyone jump before. However, Snake saw this coming and flew back out of the way, so this kind of direct attack wasn't going to work.

"If he can do it," I realized, grinning to myself.

I took a running start, then jumped as hard as I could towards Griffin, hoping that I could catch him by surprise. I nearly had him when Eagle suddenly flew in and hit me in the side, knocking me off course and giving Griffin a chance to move out of the way.

"Damn," I exclaimed.

However, I immediately saw that my attack wasn't completely wasted and reached out, grasping hold of Eagle's foot as he tried to fly away from me. And since I had a good grip on him, I dug my clawlike fingernails into his metal armor and brought him back down with me, slamming him on the ground as I landed.

"Gotcha," I grinned at the satisfying crunch.

Eagle's armor was badly damaged from the impact, and he tried to get up, without much success. Just then, I thought that I heard a faint beeping coming from him. My heart jumped as I remembered what had happened when Grendel had taken out Lion.

"Shit," I gulped, realizing that I wasn't quite as tough as Grendel so there was no guarantee that I'd survive the self-destruction which I was sure was coming.

My first thought was to just run, but I suddenly had another idea. I quickly grabbed the broken Eagle and threw him into the air as hard as I could, right towards the area where Beowulf and the other followers were hovering and firing energy blasts. Eagle flew past them...then suddenly exploded.

"Yes," I grinned triumphantly.

When the light had cleared a moment later, I saw that Beowulf and his followers had been caught close enough to the blast to take some of the effects, just as I had hoped. One of the followers, Snake, had apparently been the closest because he just dropped straight out of the sky and smashed into the ground.

"Grendel," I called out, "Sic em..."

Grendel let out a roar and jumped into the air, this time getting up fast enough that he got his hands on Dragon...and destroy him with a single swipe of his fist. As the pieces of Dragon fell, I didn't even know if enough of him survived to self-destruct. However, I decided to keep away from the wreckage, just in case.

I jumped as hard as I could again, this time going straight at Griffin... His armor was charred, and he wobbled a bit as he flew, but otherwise he seemed unharmed. He quickly moved to the side and opened up to shoot at me with his energy blasts. It stung, but I'd been expected that.

"Gotcha," I smiled as I noticed Beowulf flying straight towards me with his energy blades out.

Gravity was already doing it's work on me and pulling me back towards the ground. Beowulf came at me faster and faster, looking as though he meant to finish me off. I waited until he was right on me, slashing one of his energy blades in the direction of my neck, and I finally let loose. I belched a blast of powerful energy straight into his face, right when he wasn't expecting it or had time to set up a force field.

"I can't believe I just did that to a super hero," I muttered to myself as I hit the ground.

My eyes quickly darted to Beowulf, who had been badly damaged by my attack and who dropped to the ground like a rock. He remained motionless for a moment, then slowly got back to his feet, revealing just how badly damaged his armor was. The whole thing was covered with cracks and dents, and a section of his helmet was missing, revealing the jaw of a Caucasian man, though I couldn't see any more details than that.

Beowulf staggered a bit, then held up his arm. The red energy blade appeared from his wrist, though it flickered and went out just a moment later.

I stared at him for a second, suddenly realizing that this was my opportunity. He was on the ground, his swords weren't working, and he was practically helpless. With only a few steps, I could get my hands on him and it would all be over. It would be so easy to just tear him to pieces, and I surprised myself with just how eager I was to do that... This was really getting to me, and I was really getting caught up in it.

"No," I muttered, keeping myself in check. It just wasn't right to go beating up on an unarmed person, even if he had been trying to kill me just minutes earlier.

Beowulf looked as though he were about to try using those energy blasts of his on me, but then decided not to. He probably realized just how useless they would really be, and that they would only piss me off even more. Instead, he began go hover in the air again, looking rather wobbly as he did so.

"I shall not forget this, mother of Grendel," Beowulf called down to me as he flew up and out of range, "I shall return. You and your monstrous child shall both be slain..."

And with that, Beowulf joined Griffin in the air and they slowly flew off, leaving us alone. Or at least as alone as we could be considering the fact that there were still a few people from town who'd stuck around to watch the whole fight.

"How the hell did he come up with the idea that I'm Grendel's mom?" I shook my head in amazement. "Sure, we look sort of alike, but for all he knows I could be his sister... But his mom?"

Grendel let out a bellowing roar, then slowly started stomping towards town again. "Stop," I ordered him, relieved when he did just that. "Good boy. Stay close to me..." He grumbled but did just that.

I stared at Grendel, then laughed. The idea that Grendel, one of the world's most powerful developed, and one of the worlds most notable monsters, would do whatever I told him was amazing. I could hardly believe it.

Just then, I heard a creaking sound and turned to look at Snake. Beowulf's follower, who had fallen from the sky after the explosion was getting back to his feet. He was pretty damaged, with cracked and burned armor, as well as a missing arm. He stood there for a moment, then began to walk, though it was more of a slow stagger. I thought that he was going to explode, but instead, he continued walking in the direction that Beowulf and Griffin had flown off to.

"I wonder," I mused, thinking that if Snake was going back to Beowulf, I could probably follow him. I grinned at the idea of finding Beowulf, wherever he was hiding, and taking the fight to him. But then I shook my head, deciding that it was too much trouble. "Destroy him," I told Grendel

Grendel charged straight at Snake, giving him one swipe with his powerful claws which tore the robot to pieces. Then, as if to make sure that there was nothing left, Grendel stepped on what had been Snake's torso and blasted his head with a blast of green energy.

"Get back," I called to Grendel, "He might explode."

But after a minute, it became clear that Snake wasn't about to self-destruct. Perhaps Grendel had destroyed that part of him, or perhaps it had been wiped out in the previous blast. I didn't know, nor did I care. Beowulf had lost another one of his followers, and I wouldn't have to worry about this particular one showing up to attack aunt Denise again.

"Come on," I told Grendel, looking around at the destruction, then at the town and the people who were quietly watching, in spite of all common sense saying that they should have run. "Let's get out of here..."

Grendel let out a booming roar, loud enough to make me wince. But when I hurried off to the other side of the field and into a cluster of trees, he followed me. Of course, he knocked down just about every tree in his path, and I had to admit that I did that a bit myself, just because it was pretty cool and I liked trying out my new power.

However, I quickly realized that Grendel and I were leaving far too much of a trail. Anyone who was interested in following us would be able to do so with ease. So I tried doing things a little differently. I only hoped that Grendel would cooperate for what I had planned.

"Grendel," I told him, gently putting my hand on his larger one, "I want you to relax..."

I took a deep breath, hoping that this would work. I wasn't sure how long it would take otherwise, or if I had the patience to wait.

"You don't need to be big and strong to survive now," I told Grendel, "You're safe now so I want you to try bringing aunt Denise back..."

I could still feel that strange link to Grendel, so I felt it a moment later when some sort of switch was flipped inside of him. I could feel a shudder run through his body, and a moment later, the link began to waver and weaken.

Just then, I noticed that Grendel was changing... The spikes on his shoulders and elbows were less prominent and he was getting smaller. He no longer towered over me by four feet, but was looking me in the eye...and then up at me.

"It worked," I gasped in amazement, watching as Grendel continued to shrink and change, becoming more and more human with each passing second. His skin color began to fade, as did his masculinity. In a moment, his features became more feminine...and more like aunt Denise's.

Once the changes were completed, aunt Denise lay naked on the ground in front of me. She was so small compared to me that it was hard to believe that just minutes earlier she had towered over me. Then she opened her eyes, looking around in confusion and exclaiming, "What..?" Then she saw me and her eyes widened further.

"It's okay," I reassured her, kneeling down. "Do you remember what happened?"

"Vaguely," she frowned, "I remember the man in the road and then changing... But after that, it's extremely blurry..."

I nodded at that, then looked around, "We'd better get home..."

"Yeah," she responded, trying to cover herself up a bit.

Since I thought that it would be a good idea to get home as fast as we could, and knew that aunt Denise wouldn't be able to travel very fast without any clothes or shoes, I picked her up. She was so light that I could easily hold her in my arms, sort of like I might a large baby. However, she was NOT happy about this.

"Put me down," aunt Denise complained, "I am perfectly capable of walking."

"Maybe," I told her, looking around quickly for any sign that Beowulf or someone else might have followed us, "But this is faster..."

I ignored aunt Denise's protests and raced home as fast as my powerful and tireless body would let me, though I worked hard at avoiding notice as well. And as soon as I reached home, I slipped unto aunt Denise's lab and set her down.

"What's going on?" she demanded, looking at me with an extremely worried expression, "What did Grendel do this time? And why are you like that?"

I just looked down at her and grunted, then looked at myself. My body was still that of an 8 foot tall, blue skinned, freak and girl version of Grendel. I couldn't very well keep going around like that...no matter how powerful I was.

Closing my eye, I tried to remember what I'd been thinking about the last time I had changed back to normal. I thought about how easy it had been to get Grendel to change back. And to my relief, I felt that little switch to off inside of myself, followed by the painful sensation of transforming.

"Oh God," I gasped as my bones and flesh reshaped themselves. I grimaced and tried to bear the pain, knowing that it would soon be over. I would soon be back to my normal old self.

"Are you all right?" aunt Denise asked, rushing to my side as soon as I had finished transforming back into a 16-year-old boy.

I gave her a weak smile, "Just fine..."

Then I stood up, suddenly feeling extremely embarrassed and tried covering myself. Running around naked while I was a powerful creature that just about no one would recognize was one thing, but as myself... That was a different story all together.

"Um..." I blinked, not looking at aunt Denise as I blushed, "I think we should get dressed first..."

"Good idea," aunt Denise nodded. "First clothes...then storytime."

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I climbed out of bed with a sigh, disgusted at having to get up. But it was morning and I couldn't very well stay in bed all day, no matter how comfortable it was.

After I'd gotten dressed, splashed some cold water on my face and halfheartedly ran a comb through my hair, I made my way to the kitchen for breakfast. I wasn't surprised to see that everyone else in the house was currently there, except for my dad who had already run off to work.

"Morning," I said as I glanced around.

Aunt Denise was sitting at the table, smearing jam on her toast. My mom was standing at the counter, pouring herself a cup of coffee. And Sandy was cheerfully gulping down her bowl of Captain Crunch.

"Hey Will," Sandy grinned at me, "Did you hear that Grendel came to town yesterday?"

"Tom Walston and Cheryl Marks both called us about that yesterday," my mom gave her a sharp look, "Remember?"

"It's in the morning paper," aunt Denise scowled, setting the paper down on the table in front of me.

"Front page," my mom scowled, glaring at both me and aunt Denise. She hadn't been happy when we told her what had happened the day before, and she didn't seem to be in a much better mood.

I gulped and picked up the paper, staring at the large photo that they had plastered over the front of both Grendel and myself in my transformed state. They'd caught a good picture of me pointing to Beowulf while Grendel blasted him at the same time. Then I quickly read through the article.

"What the...?" I gasped in surprise.

My mom coughed, and when I glanced up, I saw her giving a meaningful look to Sandy. It was a reminder that we weren't free to talk about what had really happened. I scowled, nodded faintly and went back to the article.

The article said that Grendel and a female version of him had come bursting through the middle of town, without any provocation, and that a super hero called Beowulf had shown up to chase them away. Of course that wasn't what had really happened, but aunt Denise had warned me that the news often got facts wrong when it came to Grendel.

But of more personal interest was the fact that the article talked about me and speculated where a female version of Grendel might have come from. It pointed out that I was intelligent, could talk and even ordered Grendel around, then suggested that perhaps I had been the one behind Grendel and was secretly controlling his destructive rampages from the very beginning.

"No way," I shook my head.

And the final part of the article which stunned me was that they were calling me Grendel's Mother, as though that were my official name or title. All I could figure was that someone had overheard Beowulf calling me that and the paper had reported it as fact.

"When you're done eating," aunt Denise told me with a knowing look, "I'd like your help with something..."

"How come you never ask me to help?" Sandy demanded, apparently feeling left out.

"Maybe when you're a little older," aunt Denise told her. "Right now, I need someone a little bigger to help me move some boxes."

"Ew," Sandy gave an exaggerated cringe at the thought of physical labor. "Never mind..."

I nodded, wolfing down the bowl of cereal that my mom set down in front of me. I wanted to see what it was that aunt Denise really wanted, since I was pretty sure that it was a whole lot more important than moving boxes.

Once I was finished eating, I went outside with aunt Denise and immediately blurted out, "I can't believe I was in the paper... But why are they calling me Grendel's Mother?"

"Well," aunt Denise smiled, "You must admit that you do have a strong resemblance to Grendel when you transform. You also look like an adult. And since Grendel does what you tell him..."

I just grimaced, "It's just weird... I mean, people calling ME a mom..."

"I'm not too surprised," she sighed. "Shortly after I started transforming, someone decided that it would be a good idea to name the monster I turned into after the giant monster from the old story. Sooner or later, one of Grendel's enemies was bound to call himself Beowulf after the protagonist of that story. And since there is both a Beowulf and a Grendel, it makes sense that people would start looking for other references to the story as well...hence Grendel's Mother."

"Ugh," I grimaced again, "It's still weird."

"I think that you should probably read the story," aunt Denise frowned, "Assuming that you haven't read it already..."

"Nope," I shrugged. I knew a few basics about the story, but I'd never actually read it.

Aunt Denise sighed, "The education system in this country certainly is deteriorating..."

"Dad says the same thing," I grinned at her, "But I tried getting him to help me with my math homework, and he couldn't figure it out..."

When we got to aunt Denise's lab, she let out a yawn and I finally noticed just how tired she looked. "I was up most of the night," she explained, "working on your cure..."

"Really?" I blinked in surprise.

And Denise just nodded and sat down on a stool in front of her work bench. "I can't stay here anymore... Not after what happened yesterday. I just wanted to take care of this while I still could..."

"But we chased Beowulf away," I protested, "You don't have to go..." I stared at aunt Denise, only having really known her for several months but feeling hurt at the thought of her leaving.

"He'll be back," she responded sadly. "Him or someone like him. They always come after me. If I stay here, they'll find me. If I stay here any longer, I'll be putting you and your family in danger. I don't have a choice..."

I stared at her for a moment, not liking it but understanding what she meant. But since I didn't want to think about her leaving right then, I abruptly asked, "Why did you...I mean Grendel do what I told him yesterday?"

"I've been thinking about that," aunt Denise responded. "I don't remember much from my time as Grendel, but I remember feeling a connection to you... It's more of a lingering feeling than a specific memory, but I think that Grendel considers you to be the leader of his pack or family unit." She frowned thoughtfully, "It is quite possible that the alien DNA that both Grendel and you possess is from a matriarchal...or female dominant society, and that this was an instinctive reaction."

"Really?" I asked in surprise.

Aunt Denise sighed, "I'm afraid that I don't know anything about that race, so it is pure speculation. There are other possibilities as well."

"Such as," I urged her to continue.

"It's possible that somewhere in my subconscious, I recognized you," aunt Denise admitted. "But perhaps a little more likely is the fact that the viral strain that you are infected with contains my own DNA. Grendel might sense this and see you as a part of himself."

"Weird," I sighed, "Very weird."

"Definitely," aunt Denise smiled, "But thankfully you were there. If you hadn't been there to contain the situation, there is no telling what Grendel might have done or what damage he might have caused."

"I don't know," I frowned, "Beowulf and those guys looked like they were getting you...him on the run."

Aunt Denise just laughed at that. "Appearances can be deceiving. Whenever Grendel becomes injured or threatened, he becomes even more powerful. The more that they attacked him, the more powerful and destructive he would have become."

All I could say to that was, "Oh."

"You kept things from getting out of hand," aunt Denise told me with a grateful expression, "And you may have prevented a lot of people from getting hurt. You have no idea how much that means to me."

I didn't know what to say to that, so I didn't say anything. I just sat there, feeling awkward for a minute. Then I abruptly told her, "It was weird... I mean, I was fighting a super hero and everything. I never thought I could do that kind of thing... I guess I got a little carried away." I stared at the ground in embarrassment, remembering just how easily I had gotten caught up in the whole fight.

"I'm not too surprised," aunt Denise replied slowly, a thoughtful look on her face. "The virus was designed to increase aggression... In fact, it's amazing that you weren't a lot more aggressive. Look at Grendel. Fortunately, you retain control over your transformed self." I could see the envy and sadness pass over her face as she said that.

"Good thing," I nodded agreement, shuddering at the thought of becoming some sort of mindless monster like Grendel. "I'd hate to be like that." I gave aunt Denise a sympathetic look, easily imagining how hard it had to have been on her. Her entire life had been destroyed because of Grendel.

"A very good thing," aunt Denise told me with a serious expression. "You have no idea how lucky you are, not to have that kind of thing hanging over your head." Then she paused to smile, "But in just a few minutes, you'll be even luckier."

With that, she turned and went into the refrigerator, pulling out a small glass vial and holding it up to the light. There was a look of intense satisfaction in her face as she did so.

"Is that it?" I asked quietly.

Aunt Denise nodded. "It's a derivative of the cure I had been working on for myself. It attacks the mechanism which triggers our transformations and eats away at the virus. Within one week of taking this, all traces of the virus should be removed from your system."

"Great," I responded, without as much enthusiasm as I would have expected.

"I worked all night to finish just this small amount," aunt Denise told me, yawning as she did so. "I was only able to make a single dose, but it should be enough."

"You said it was based off of your own cure," I thought aloud.

"Yes," aunt Denise nodded, looking at me curiously.

"Does that mean it'll work for you too?" I looked at her hopefully. Maybe she had finally done it. Maybe she had finally found a way to stop turning into Grendel.

Aunt Denise shook her head, "I'm afraid not. If I had taken this retrovirus soon enough after my own infection, it would have worked. However, I have been infected for so long that every cell in my body is contaminated."

"Then it wouldn't do anything for you?" I frowned in disappointment.

"Well...it wouldn't be entirely useless," aunt Denise admitted with a weak smile.

"Oh?" I urged, knowing that she couldn't just leave it at that.

"If I took this antivirus," she told me, "It would severely weaken most of the virus throughout my body...even removing some of it. However, it would not be nearly strong enough to remove it all. This is why I have been having such a difficult time with a cure. I believe that it would cause my virus to go into remission...but that isn't a true cure. Remission could be months...or even years, but my virus would eventually become active again and Grendel would return. And after this, my virus would have developed an immunity to further uses of this cure."

"Wow," I said, not sure what else I could say.

"I had been hoping to be able to make it strong enough to completely remove my virus," aunt Denise frowned, "Though it is beginning to look as though I may have to try a different tactic."

Aunt Denise held the small vial up to the light then transferred the contents into a syringe. There was a look of concentration on her face, as though she were afraid to make any mistake with it at all. Of course, if something did happen to the antidote, it wasn't like she had more.

"You will have to control your urge to transform when I inject this into you," she told me with a frown. "If you do transform, your immune system will overwhelm the antivirus."

I stared at aunt Denise for a moment, then the syringe in her hand. That was my cure...the thing that would remove that virus from my body and return me to normal. It would keep me from ever turning into that blue amazon again. My heart raced at the very sight of the syringe.

"No," I said quietly, frowning as I did so.

"What?" aunt Denise blinked in confusion.

"I think you should take it instead," I told her quietly. Then I gave aunt Denise a serious look, "You need it more than I do."

Aunt Denise stared at me in surprise, "Don't be ridiculous. You need this..."

I held up my hand and shook my head. My heart continued to race as I stared at aunt Denise, trying to make her understand. "You need it more," I insisted. "I can control it... I can keep myself from changing, and when I do change, I'm still in control of myself. But when you change..." I shook my head at that.

"Will...," she began gently, putting a hand on mine.

But I wasn't about to change my mind. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that I was right.

"If you take it," I told her, "You'll go into remission and can work on a finding a real cure without turning into Grendel... If nothing else, it'll give you time. And if you do start turning into Grendel again, I can keep him under control. I may be the only one who can." I stared at her intensely, "I can be insurance against Grendel."

With that, I stopped and let what I'd said sink in. Everything that I had told her was true and made a lot of sense. With my power over Grendel, I was the perfect person to stop him and keep him under control. And there was no way that I would be able to do that if I took aunt Denise's antivirus.

There was one other reason that I didn't want to take the cure. I LIKED being able to turn into an 8 foot tall blue chick. I liked the strength and power that came from that body. I liked being able to bench press a tank or toss a Volkswagen. It was so incredible that I didn't want to give that up. Of course, I couldn't tell aunt Denise that. I was a 16 year old guy, and what guy would ever admit that he liked turning into a girl...even an unbelievably powerful one?

Aunt Denise stared at me with a strange, almost pained look on her face. I could almost see the wheels turning in her head. She felt so guilty about infecting me, and so desperately wanted to cure me... But at the same time, she couldn't deny the logic in what I'd said. Nor could she ignore the fact that I was probably the ONLY person on the entire planet who was able to keep Grendel from doing the things that he was known for.

"You...you're right," aunt Denise finally admitted, looking sad as she said it. "If I cure you, I'm still in the same situation...with a monster inside of me that can harm countless people. But if I take the antivirus myself, it will put Grendel out of commission...perhaps long enough for me to find a real cure. And if he does return, you can always keep him under control. You can stop him from hurting people...."

"You take it," I said quietly, gesturing to the syringe.

Aunt Denise nodded slowly, then frowned, "But once I have a cure... I'll cure you. By then, I might need a stronger antivirus for you as well...but I can manage."

"I can wait," I told her with a forced smile. "I mean, I can keep from changing when I don't want to..."

"Unless you're too injured," she pointed out.

"Even then, I can control myself." I reminded her. "It's not that big a deal to me. I mean, not like it is to you."

"Your mother would kill me," she protested weakly.

"She'll understand," I pointed out. "Especially since it might help you get cured..."

After a minute, aunt Denise nodded again, not having any more reasons to argue. She stared at the syringe for a moment, then pulled out her bottle of pills.

"I had better take my genetic stabilizer first," she told me as she swallowed three pills. "I don't want the injection to trigger a change..."

Aunt Denise waited a few minutes for her genetic stabilizer pills to start working, then she carefully injected herself in the arm. For a brief moment, I was afraid that her pills weren't working because her arm started to turn blue in the area, though it quickly reverted to normally coloring.

"Well," she gave me a sigh of relief as she set the empty syringe aside, "I hope it works, because the longer my virus is in remission and Grendel remains dormant, the better it will be for everyone."

"Amen," I agreed.

We just sat there and talked for a good hour or so before aunt Denise swallowed a few more of her genetic stabilizer pills. Then she used another syringe to take a sample of her own blood. And after examining it under the microscope, she turned to me and smiled.

"It seems to be working," she exclaimed. "It will probably be several days before the process is completed, but I can already see my virus going into remission."

"Great," I grinned at her. "Now you won't have to worry about Grendel..."

"Not for awhile at least," she smiled back. Then her expression turned sad. "I'm afraid that it doesn't change the fact that I have to be leaving though..."

"What?" I blinked. "If you won't turn into Grendel..."

"But my presence still makes things dangerous for now," she frowned. "I should probably start packing my belongings..." Then she gave me a weak smile, "But I'll still be in touch. After all, you'll need to know how to find me if Grendel comes back..."

"You'd better keep in touch," I grinned back, trying not to show her how sad I was that she was leaving. "But before you leave...I think you still owe me some ice cream from yesterday..."

Aunt Denise just laughed at that, "Then I guess we'll have to take care of that..."

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I scowled as I walked beside the road, not at all pleased by the fact that I was reduced to traveling everywhere by foot again. It had been a week since the tragic loss of my car and there wasn't a single time that I went to or from work that I didn't regret it immensely.

"Damn Beowulf," I muttered, "If it wasn't for him making me wreck..." Of course, I overlooked the fact that Grendel had been the one to toss the car and total it.

Then I let out a sigh, thinking about aunt Denise. She had hopped on the bus and left town a few days earlier, just as she had said she would. I had been pretty sad to see her leave, though I understood her reasons.

"I hope she can stop running some day," I frowned. "Maybe when she finds a real cure..."

Thinking about aunt Denise wasn't improving my mood any, nor was thinking about my car. Since it had been destroyed by Grendel, my insurance company was refusing to pay. Apparently, destruction as a result of a developed was not covered under my policy.

"Damn insurance company," I spat out, knowing that I was going to have to save up for a car all over again. And I still owed some money to dad. "That's just not fair."

Just then, I heard a sound from above me. I looked up and gulped at a familiar sight, the sight of a man in red and white armor.

"Oh no," I groaned as Beowulf landed just in front of me.

Beowulf looked a lot better than the last time that I'd seen him, and his armor looked like it could be brand new. There were no signs of his helmet having been shattered or the scratches and cracks that had been covering his armor. But for all I knew, it might very well be a different set of armor.

"Ho there lad," Beowulf greeted me, "Tis good see that you were not harmed in the monster's rampage..."

"Um...yeah," I responded, "I just wish the same could be said of my car..."

Beowulf didn't seem to notice the tone of accusation in my voice as he continued, "I successfully chased the monster away from yon town, yet he managed to escape me..."

"Um...yeah," I nodded, remembering it happening a different way than that.

"I have regained my strength," Beowulf announced, "Now I resume the hunt for the monster Grendel...and for his mother."

I gulped at that, my heart jumping as he mentioned hunting for Grendel's Mother as well as for Grendel. I had expected people go hunting after Grendel, but I'd never considered that they might want to come after me now as well.

"Well lad," Beowulf asked me, "Would you happen to know which direction they went?"

"I think," I took a deep breath, trying to remain calm and not look suspicious, "I think that someone told me that when they ran off, they went north..."

"North," Beowulf mused aloud. "I thank thee young man..." He nodded his head slightly, then suddenly started floating up into the air again. "Your assistance is appreciated," he called out before flying off again.

"He's gone," I let out a sigh of relief, glad to see the hero flying out of view. "Thank God."

Then I smiled, thinking that since aunt Denise had actually gone south when she left, I just might have helped throw one of the people hunting her off of her trail. And if she didn't turn into Grendel again, that should give her a good chance to really vanish.

I was almost in a good mood as I stared walking down the road again, though it quickly soured as I once again remembered the fact that just a week earlier, I could have driven home from work. And it galled me a little to know that I could just transform and run the rest of the way home with ease. Unfortunately, it would be far too risky to do something like that.

"I have to keep it a secret," I sighed, knowing that it could cause a lot of problems if the blue woman who had become officially known as Grendel's Mother was seen in the area again.

Once I got home a short while later, I went inside for a quick snack, then hurried out to the barn which had served as aunt Denise's lab. I smiled as I unlocked the door and went inside, looking at all of the equipment which she had left behind for safe keeping. Her entire lab was still there, though mostly pushed off to the side.

"It's my secret clubhouse now," I said aloud, thankful that aunt Denise had trusted me to look after her equipment until she could send for it. "Maybe I should call it the Barn of Solitude...or even the Grendel Cave..."

I thought about other fancy names that I could call the barn for a few minutes, though I quickly discounted them. The whole idea of having a secret place and then giving it a big and fancy name just seemed pretty ridiculous. If it really was a secret, then who else would know about it in order to call it that?

"Finally," I grinned, carefully locking the barn from the inside. I didn't want anyone to come sneaking in on me, especially Sandy or my dad. "I'm finally alone..."

A moment later, I stripped out of my clothes and set them to the side. Then I stood in the middle of the barn and took several deep breaths, closing my eyes and feeling deep inside of myself. And with just a little concentration, I flipped the mental switch that I'd learned to feel deep inside of me.

"It's working," I gasped as my skin started to turn blue. I grimaced and braced myself for the painful transformation, thankful that I didn't have to actually injure myself to transform anymore. If I wanted to, I could do it just by willing it... "I just wish it didn't hurt so much..."

My body continued to transform, to grow bigger, stronger, and more powerful, not to mention more feminine. It hurt like hell, but I still smiled a little as my chest expanded outward into two large, round breasts, knowing that my transformation would soon be complete and I would feel MUCH better.

"Oh yes," I gasped once the changes had finished. "I definitely feel better now..."

I stood to my full height of 8 feet, taking a deep breath and savoring the raw sensations of unbelievable health and power. It was a feeling unlike any other, and one that I could easily get used to. Unfortunately, I had to limit myself to feeling like that for only an hour or so a day, and then only while hiding out in the barn so that no one would see me.

"It's worth it though," I grinned, flexing my arms and staring at the muscles. "Too bad I'm not as muscular as a guy..."

After just standing there and savoring my transformed body for a bit, I looked at myself in the mirror which had been left in the barn. I still wasn't sure that I would ever get used to seeing something like that looking back at me, but I was sure as hell getting a lot closer.

I smiled and carefully went to the corner and picked up the special project that I had been working on for the last several days. I had only finished it up that morning, right before work, and I could barely wait to try it on.

"I'll finally be able to wear some clothes like this," I grinned broadly, "Well...maybe not clothes exactly."

Once I was dressed, I stood in front of the mirror and admired my work, feeling quite pleased with myself. Instead of seeing a completely naked blue woman in the mirror, I saw one with a loincloth and bra or bikini top made out of silver chain mail.

"Not exactly real clothes," I admitted, "But they work."

I knew that getting any kind of real clothes to cover my body, even custom made ones, would be extremely difficult and extremely expensive. And there was also the fact that my new body was so tough that I could easily tear any normal fabrics as though they were made of toilet paper, and do so without even realizing it. Metal chain mail, however, was strong enough and flexible enough to serve my needs...especially since I was dressed so scantily.

Of course, if I ever struck it rich, I would get something much better. Maybe some clothes made out of titanium or something. But considering the fact that I had to make anything I wore myself, and without any real resources, I thought that I did rather well.

"It's better than being completely naked," I grinned, though that wasn't really all that bad in my new body. In fact, it was kind of fun to show it off.

Then I took one more look at Grendel's Mother in the mirror and reminded myself why I had created my new clothing. I had no idea when aunt Denise might turn into Grendel again... But if she turned into Grendel again, or if she just needed me to protect her from the people who were after her...I was going to be ready.

"Don't you worry," I grinned, standing to my full height, "Mother will take good care of you..."

 

The End

Read 2283 times Last modified on Monday, 11 December 2023 22:32

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