The server hadn’t been listed – in fact, what few logs she could pull showed it was last active nearly a decade ago.
As the sendaen wandered out of the world spawn, though, she could definitely see why – this place was creepy. It had evidently been a Halloween world at some point, consisting mostly of sprawling, dimly lit and cobweb-scattered hallways and darkened parlors. Odd portraits hung here and there, reminiscent of past visitors and server admins long gone; it was a curiously epitaphic display, even as Lazuli peeked into the practically antiquated code holding this place together.
It was a miracle it was still even online after how long it’d spent dormant – someone really must’ve wanted to keep the server space up.
Still, as she browsed, she spotted a curious entry ahead on the server map.
A… costume room?
Costumes? The sendaen wondered to herself, already imagining tacky halloween ghosts and pumpkins. Maybe even some cute ones?
Oh, well. Might as well take a look, right?
It didn’t take long to find the proper node to pass through – and soon enough she was gently pushing open an old banded iron door more befitting a castle than a mansion, blinking a little at the sheer difference in brightness this room held from the rest of the place.
Rows upon rows of avatar costumes and the occasional counter and register littered the place, complete with phoned-in musak from a speaker high above, rendering the room in a sort of oddly retail-esque dreamy sense. Was this an asset dropped in from a previous world? It certainly didn’t mesh very well.
Figuring she had nothing better to do, Lazuli began wandering the aisles, running a paw along the rows of costumes and clothing. There were ghosts, zombie masks, the occasional old pop culture reference or movie costume – nothing particularly eye-catching or intriguing, much like an actual halloween costume store tended to be. Rows upon rows of hokey costumes and odd party favors, glamors for avatars and the occasional odd effect or fake weapon.
Points for authenticity, if nothing else.
Finally, as she reached the rear of the room and the exit into the rest of the world, something caught her eye.
A… werewolf mask?
No, there was no wolf involved – it simply read “were”, flickering subtly as if the item hadn’t been properly rendered and was suffering from slight corruption after so many years alone, here.
The documentation didn’t shed much light on the function at all, either; it merely stated it was, quote, “monster fun.”
Whatever that meant.
Gingerly, Lazuli plucked the mask from its resting place – and, immediately, felt… odd.
Very, very odd – even as the mask’s code disintegrated into veritable gibberish, her own felt… corrupted, somehow. Changed. Changing.
She panted, bracing herself against one of the many abandoned countertops as a chill ran up her spine – and then down it.
Her tail, usually fluffy, adorned with a pair of floating digital rings, exploded outwards – growing wilder, less well-kempt. The usually fairly low-poly and relatively simple rings grew jagged, crystalline holography cracking and jutting out into strange new shapes.
Her claws, too, suffered a curious shift – growing longer, sharper, scraping against the tile as she struggled to catch her breath. Something was definitely broken with that mask, but as her proportions began to shift even further – she realized that the changes felt… nice.
She felt more powerful, her senses sharper. It felt awesome.
Her legs grew less fluffy, scales growing both more numerous and more jagged as the changes swept upwards, new musculature filling in! It reminded her vaguely of a werewolf, but without the species change – growing more fluffy here, less fluffy and more monstrous there.
Her hands changed next, Lazuli’s claws cracking slightly as they grew longer, sharper, more intimidating. She flexed her fingers, enjoying the raw strength that flowed through them – but, feeling… off.
An urge to growl came over the sendaen as her neck and shoulder fluff began to grow wild and unruly, fluffing out like a scarf.
[USER_STATE UPDATED TO ENTITY_MONSTER_WEREPLAYER], the console helpfully displayed in the corner of her vision.
Lazuli brought her claws to her face as it, too, began to change – teeth growing sharper, snout stretching out slightly into something more befitting a werecreature – and her hair became unruly, hanging down more over her face! Her horns twisted and grew, looping back on themselves until, finally, with a heavy thud the changed sendaen dropped to all fours, panting against the sheer weight of the experience.
She sat there for a moment, mind whirring – before, with a growl, she knocked over one of the long racks of costumes.
It clattered to the floor with a loud crash, sending various items scattering this way and that – and something about it made her want to do it again!
Soon enough the entire place had been trashed – and, with a triumphant growl, she crossed the boundary back out into the mansion – receiving a brief server message from the ancient autolog for her trouble.
[Happy Halloween! – C]