The Early Years of Andi

larikaz

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  2. Diaper Lover
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Chapter 1 Baby Andi
Andi was a happy child, with a very attentive nursemaid. His mind grew fast, though his body did not. By the time he was three months of age, he'd already forgotten all about his birth mother, and only knew Nursy, his nursemaid. She did nothing other than care for him, feed him, change his clothes, and kept switching between calling the baby good boy and good girl.

When Andi was three years old, her eyes focused to the point that she could see the world clearly, and she quickly learned her environment. Her world was one of cribs and bottles and diaper changes. She only ate twice a day, and needed a diaper change each morning. So her daily routine was to wake up in the morning, nurse, pee and poop in her diaper, and then get changed by Nursy.

"That's a good boy," Nursy would say every morning as she changed his diaper. Then at night, after nursing him, she would say, "Such a good girl. Go to sleep for Nursy, now."

But more and more often she would lie awake, or only sleep for a few hours. She knew Nursy would not wake up until the dawn, so she watched the patterns she saw in the world around her. She could see the threads of magic in everything. The house was filled with it, and she had no way of knowing that the rest of the world was any different.

It took him three years to learn to crawl. Finally he had freedom of movement, but it was very limited. That was also when Nursy began feeding him mush in the morning and only nursing him at night. The mush was tasty, and it changed every day. He soon learned there were only a dozen kinds of mush, and it made his diapers feel funny when he pooped.

Another three years of diaper changes and bottle feedings and crawling around went by before he learned how to walk. It took his body an entire year to learn balance, but once he did, he was extremely confident in it.

That was also when she got her first tooth. It came up through her gums so slowly that she got used to the pain, but then her gums became sensitive to touch. It hurt to chew or swallow, and then it hurt all the time. She cried and cried, but Nursy ignored her.

He learned then that Nursy couldn't give him what he needed. The pain was still there, but he learned to hide it from himself. He shoved it deep inside until he was aware of the pain, but it no longer controlled him.

She began to walk all the time. She paced her crib at night, because there was nothing better to do. Her muscles grew strong from the effort and she became faster, soon able to run.

That's when Nursy had a hard time keeping up with him, when he started to run everywhere. He explored every square inch of the room, but wasn't able to leave it. He didn't know there was more to the world than this one room.

Andi was fourteen years old when she learned to climb. Nursy had chased her for so long she gave up, and Andi could run and climb to her heart's content. Climbing was important to her, as it allowed her to get closer to the objects that glowed so brightly. The bowl of mush she was fed had a weave of colors and patterns over it, surrounding it, and making it light up.

For awhile he thought the weave was part of reality, but the crib and the walls and Nursy's chair didn't have them. Nursy herself was covered in several layers of patterns, and he was able to see it changing over time. The various layers merged together. The same thing happened with his diapers. They were covered in these patterns, though his own body was not.

She watched what Nursy did to care for her, washing the diapers, getting the spoons out of the drawers, and Andi knew where everything in the cottage was. There was a shelf of objects without the shiny weave, but Nursy never touched those. Andi wanted to know what they were, and was able to reach them one day. She opened one up and found it was covered on the inside in small images, and she studied them for a long time.

He noticed that many of the things in the house had similar markings, and he wanted to know what they meant. He knew how to talk, though the number of words he knew was small. "Nursy, what mean this?" he asked, pointing to the pitcher Nursy always drank from, but never shared.

"That is mango juice," Nursy replied.

"What mean this?" he asked, pointing to the object covered in images.

"That is a book," Nursy replied.

"Book," Andi said. Then she opened it up and pointed to one of the small images in the book. "What mean this?"

"That is the letter J," Nursy said. "Do you want to learn how to read?"

"What mean read?" he asked.

And so Nursy taught Andi how to read. She learned the twenty-eight letters of the alphabet in only a week because she kept staring at the images all day, and thinking about them all night. Each image had a particular sound, and together they formed words.

The first three months of learning to read, Andi asked the meaning of almost every word he encountered. The books had so many different words. It took him a year to read and understand even one book.

It was an adventure called, 'Greggory and the Dragon', about a young man, only fourteen years of age, who battled a green dragon with yellow and red stripes, driving it from the kingdom forever. In doing so, Greggory won the heart of the princess, and eventually became the king of Puji.

Andi thought about an adventure like that, going out at his age to battle a dragon. He could run really fast, but that was all. How could anyone so young take on a beast that sounded so fierce and was five times taller than Nursy?

The hardest book of all to understand was called 'An Apprentice's Guide to Weaving Magic.' Andi didn't even start to read that until she was sixteen, and even then it was filled with words that Nursy had a hard time understanding.

- I hope you enjoy the story. Written purely for my own enjoyment
Larikaz
 
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larikaz

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  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 2 - Andi Goes Outside

2 Andi Goes Outside
When Andi was twenty years old, she started refusing to nurse, but Nursy insisted. "Be a good girl, and drink all your milk, so you can go to sleep."

But it didn't work. He didn't go to sleep every night anymore. He could stay up for three days at a time, and when he did, he found he slept all night. It took a month to convince Nursy of it, though. When he did, Nursy reduced the breast-feeding to only the nights when he was actually able to sleep.

When Andi turned twenty-one she wanted to know how to get to the rest of the world. She was convinced there was more to the world, because the books were filled with things she couldn't see in the room, like dragons.

In the adventures he read, the people used doors to get from the inside of a place to the outside, and Andi finally realized he was inside a room. That meant there must be a door which led to another room, or to the outside. He desperately wanted to see the outside; to see the sun which he believed provided the bright light during the day; to see the stars; to feel the grass beneath his feet.

"Can we go outside today?" Andi asked at last.

"Why do you want to do that?" Nursy asked. "There's nothing outside to see."

"Yes there is," Andi insisted. "I want to see the sky."

Nursy sighed, and finally gave in. "Okay, but you have to stay close." For the first time in more than two decades, Nursy opened the door.

There was another room there, and three other doors. Nursy crossed the room without hesitation and opened the door at the far end. "Wait here for a moment, while I make sure it is safe."

Andi waited with great anticipation. She was finally going to see the outside.

"Okay, come on out," Nursy said.

He walked through the door and saw brown below and blue above. The sky was beautiful, and the orb in the sky was so bright, it had to be the sun. At his feet, the brown had occasional green things poking out of it. He ran over to one of the green things and grabbed it.

"Ouch!" Andi cried. A red substance began to trickle out of her fingers.

"You're bleeding!" Nursy shouted as she ran over to Andi. "You can't grab cactuses. They have sharp needles. I knew this was a bad idea."

Andi stared at the red stuff on his fingers. "This is blood?" he asked. The pain was meaningless once more. It had done its job in getting his hand away from the cactus, but now it didn't help, so he pushed it aside.

"Yes," Nursy said, scooping Andi into her arms. "That red stuff is your blood, and it's supposed to stay inside your body. What would your mother say if you were all cut up and bleeding when she came to visit?"

"My mother?" Andi repeated uncertainly. She thought Nursy was her mother, and had never questioned otherwise.

"Yes," Nursy said as she carried him back inside the house, and back into the room he'd known as his world for two decades. "She should be here any day."

"But I thought you were my mother," Andi said. Her head was spinning, trying to pull things together.

"Well, I'm not. I'm just the nursemaid to care for you until she can come back."

"Why did she leave?"

Nursy took Andi over to the changing table and laid him down. "She has a very important job, and she thought you would be happier here."

"But I've never seen her."

Nursy removed Andi's diaper and wiped her off. "Yes you have. She was here a couple months ago."

"No," Andi protested. "I don't ever remember seeing her. Not in the last twenty years."

Nursy paused as she laid a fresh diaper down. "You know, I think you're right. It's been so long I lost track." She pulled the diaper onto Andi and it closed itself around him, making him feel safe and secure. "But that only means she'll be here soon."

"Are you sure?" Andi asked. Her mind was spinning. There were suddenly so many questions, and no answers.

Instead of putting on the diaper cover, Nursy put another diaper under Andi and pulled that on too. The bulk of it pushed Andi's legs apart.

"I'm not sure of anything right now," Nursy said. "But I'm not going to let you run off like that again." She grabbed another diaper and put it on top of the other two. With it in place, Andi could tell he wouldn't be able to stand up straight, let alone run.

"What are you doing?" Andi asked.

As Nursy put on a fourth and fifth diaper, the purpose became clear. Andi wouldn't be able to crawl, let alone walk in such a thick diaper. "I'm keeping you safe."

Andi tried to sit up, but couldn't. The diaper was too thick. "Why? Why are you doing this?"

Nursy pulled the diaper cover over the large mass of diapers and said, "I promised your mom I would keep you safe. You ran off today, so you have to be punished. This is the only way I can think of to remind you not to run off."

Andi started to get worried. She was now pooping only once every three days, and she'd done that when she grabbed the cactus. She felt it happen, but still couldn't do anything to control it. There was hope that eventually she could learn to use the toilet the way Nursy did. But for now, Andi didn't have enough control over her own body. "How long are you going to leave me in this thick diaper?"

"Not long," Nursy said. "One week ought to do it."

Andi's eyes got huge. "A whole week? That's not fair."

"It'll teach you not to run off," Nursy said. "And no solid foods for a week, either. You'll only get breast-milk. I'm going to teach you to stay close to me."

Unsure what to do, Andi said, "I can't just stare at the ceiling all day and all night."

"I'll give you one book to read," Nursy said. She picked up Andi off the changing table and put him in the highchair, where he'd been fed solid foods before. "Which book do you want?" Nursy asked.

There was only one book left that Andi hadn't studied very well, and if she was going to have a whole week to do it, now was the time. 'The Apprentice's Guide to Learning Magic.'

Nursy brought the book over and set it on the tray in front of Andi. "There you go." Then she strapped Andi in, as if that was still necessary, turned on a light, and went back to her rocking chair. She pulled out her special vial of liquid and drained it, then washed it down with mango juice and drank it.

Andi had never watched before, and soon learned why Nursy never came to get him in the night. Nursy's skin changed from the pale color that matched his own to a deep brown, and then grew long hairs. Her arms grew longer, and her whole body slowly changed into an ape.

He gasped. Nursy wasn't a human at all. She was an ape!

It was hard for Andi to focus on the book that night, but Nursy's transformation became so slow that Andi could only see the change after looking up every five pages or so. It took almost all night for Nursy to change back into a human, and she slept through the whole thing.

Through the night Andi read the book. He learned that magic had five elements; Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit. Magic flowed around them at all times, and a mage could control the threads of magic, weaving them into spells. Each of the five had a color associated with it, though to see the color of the threads was extremely rare. Magic threads under most circumstances were invisible. They must be felt in order to control them.

The week went by slowly, as Andi read the entire book three times. Nursy insisted on nursing her twice a day during that week, filling her super-thick diapers. Since all of her intake was liquid, it took the full week before she pooped in her diaper. She felt it come out, but had no warning. It happened as she was waking up on the last day of her diaper imprisonment. She was very glad it was over, because a poopy diaper was not a comfortable thing to sit in. Unfortunately, it was still an hour before sunrise, and she knew Nursy would not come to get her until then.

As he lay there, Andi decided he had to get away from Nursy, go out into the world and find his mom. He knew people his age went on adventures all the time. People who were twenty-one did all kinds of things. They even had children of their own. He didn't know very much yet about how the world worked, only what he read in the books. But now he knew about magic, and decided before he tried to get away, he would have to be able to control magic.
 

larikaz

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  1. Adult Baby
  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 3 - Andi's Plans

3 Andi's Plans
Nursy came over at sunrise and said, "Have you learned your lesson?"

"Yes," Andi said.

"You won't run away from me again?" Nursy asked.

"No," Andi promised. She wasn't going to run away, she would walk, once she figured out how to keep Nursy from following her.

"Good."

At long last, Nursy took the very thick diaper off of Andi, cleaned her up, and put a fresh diaper on her.

Andi watched closely as Nursy put the dirty diapers in a pail, pointed to it and said, "Clean diaper."

There were no threads of magic coming from Nursy. Instead, it was the bucket that filled and overfilled with water, splashing it all over the floor. The diapers flooded out and continued to gush water. The threads of water were woven into the diapers. It wasn't Nursy that cleaned them, it was the diapers that cleaned themselves. That would be important until Andi could learn to live without them the way Nursy did.

Nursy panicked a little when the bucket gushed the diapers and the mess onto the floor, but she only backed away, seemingly uncertain what to do. After two minutes of gushing water and shaking themselves, the diapers pulled the threads of water back into themselves, and the mess disappeared, leaving the diapers, the bucket, and the floor completely spotless.

Andi waited until that night to start experimenting with magic. He started with Air, the way the book suggested, and he was able to spot a few stray threads of Air in the room. He tried to reach out and grab one with his hand, but his hand passed right through it. So instead he reached out with his mind. The same way he could see them, he reached out and pulled on it.

The thread seemed to split into a hundred threads, and those went in every direction.

She started over with the next thread of Air that floated by. Purpose of thought, the book said. Magic can't just be held, it had to be told to do something. Over and over the book talked about weaving the threads of magic together, so she pictured in her mind a tightly woven sheet of Air.

Air flowed from the single thread in a seemingly endless stream. The thread wove itself into the pattern he'd pictured in his mind, and then hung there.

Unsure what to do now, he told the pattern to tear itself in half.

A tear formed down the middle, but instead of dissipating, the two halves closed up the frayed ends of their patterns, and now there were two copies of the pattern.

She stretched one of the patterns, and the weave grew and grew, the tightness of the weave never widening. Instead, the pattern repeated itself for as far across as Andi told it to stretch. It wasn't really stretching, it was expanding. She noticed then that the thread of Air she'd started with was continuing to feed the pattern, allowing it to grow.

He imagined the weave shrinking, instead, and watched as the pattern shrank, and disappeared altogether. Unsure what would happen if Nursy walked into one of the weaves, he shrunk the other one to nothingness as well.

"Good morning," Nursy said.

It felt like an hour had gone by, but the window was starting to get brighter. Andi didn't attempt to do any magic that day and waited until Nursy took her potion and fell asleep.

When she was, Andi looked around for threads of Water, but didn't see any. She was confused by this for a moment, then realized the threads of Air were in the air. So threads of Water would probably be in the water.

He climbed out of his crib and looked around. There were no puddles on the floor. Not a single stray drop of water anywhere. How could he practice if he didn't have threads of magic to work with?

That was when she noticed the threads of magic just beneath the floor. She'd always ignored them as part of the floor pattern, but now she saw they were actually threads of magic. They must be Earth. She tried to pull at them the way she'd done with the threads of Air, but the threads of Earth refused to move.

He remembered what the book said about working with the threads of various elements. Each one worked differently. Air was very light and easy to mold. Water was very fluid and slippery. Fire could spread or dissipate easily. Earth resisted shaping, but stayed in one place once it was set. Spirit often seemed to have a mind of its own.

With renewed patience, Andi pulled at the threads of Earth, expecting resistance, and thus overcame what resistance there was. As before, she tried to make a weave from the threads of Earth, but this time the threads cracked and crumbled, and the weave fell apart.

He started over, making the weave thicker, and three dimensional. When the weave was in place, he found he'd made a stone. He picked it up, finding it much lighter than he expected. He tried to stand on it, but the stone cracked and broke in half.

It wasn't solid, like she thought. She'd only created a thin shell of stone. It was very thin, and very hard, but simply couldn't stand up to her weight. She reached out to make the evidence disappear, and found that scattering the threads of Earth was almost as difficult as pulling them together in the first place.

He returned to the books, to compare his experience with that of others. From what Andi read, it usually took mages weeks, or even years to learn how to work with Earth. Some mages found it impossible to work with all five elements, and on rare occasion, they could only work with one element. He considered himself very special for even working with two elements in two days. He read the books till dawn, when Nursy insisted on feeding him mush while strapping him down in his highchair.

Despite two days without any food, she was still full from nursing twice a day for a week. It was hard to get even a few spoonfuls down, and Nursy tried insisting on feeding her the whole bowl. The bowl would refill when it was empty, but it was still a proper portion for whoever was eating it.

He was saved by a loud squishing sound as he filled his diaper with the output of all that nursing. The squishy mess in his diaper wasn't a pleasant feeling, and when Nursy tried to feed him another spoonful, he started to cry.

Andi didn't cry very often, but right now she was overwhelmed with everything that was going on. Nursy was overfeeding her, causing her to feel bloated, and now there was a squishy mess on her bottom, and Nursy was still trying to shove more food into her. What's more, she'd recently learned that Nursy was not Andi's mother, and that her mother hadn't come by in years. The weight of all that overwhelmed her, and she began to truly wail like the little baby her body still was.

"Stop that now," Nursy said.

Andi continued to cry.

"What's wrong with you today?" Nursy asked.

He only got louder in his crying.

"If you don't stop, I'm going to have to put a double thick diaper on you and put you to bed."

She couldn't stop crying, even at this threat.

"Fine." Nursy put down the bowl of mash and took Andi out of the chair.

As he was lifted out of the chair, another loud gushing sound told him the first squishy mess was only the beginning. His entire digestive system seemed to be emptying itself into the diaper, and he could feel it getting heavier.

"Oh," Nursy said. "I'm so sorry, I didn't realize you had a poopy diaper."

She set Andi on the changing table, and even more liquid poured out.

"That's a very messy diaper. If I take the diaper off now, it's going to make quite a mess. I wonder . . ." She pointed at Andi and said, "Clean diaper."

Andi felt water gush and flow from her diaper, making the mess get even larger. Her diaper cover contained everything as it swelled halfway to her knees. It was massive, and she thought it might keep going until it swallowed her up entirely. But then all the liquid began to vanish and the diaper cover reduced in size until it was normal. Soon her bottom felt dry and clean.

Nursy smiled. "That was a neat trick." She proceeded to pull Andi's diaper off to inspect. "It's all clean. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner," Nursy said. "I may never take your diaper off again!" She laughed as she tickled Andi.

The thought of going through that experience every time he had a dirty diaper didn't appeal to him. He resisted laughing for as long as he could, but that didn't last long. He giggled and giggled for what started to feel like an hour, until Nursy finally stopped. For some reason she was starting to become more eccentric.

Nursy began wrapping Andi up in a swaddling blanket when it was bed time, and the wrap was so tight that most nights she couldn't get out. She was left to lay there and think. But she used that time to practice magic. She learned how to call forth Spirit from herself, as well as from Nursy. After a week of her swaddling prison, Andi was able to reach out to the threads of Spirit from the plants outside.

He noticed the Spirit from the plants was significantly different than that from himself or from Nursy. The plant Spirit threads tended to stay where they were put, and he even felt their desire to grow. Whereas the Spirit threads from himself were easy to command, while those from Nursy squirmed and resisted becoming part of any weave, trying at all times to return to Nursy.

This experience gave Andi an idea of how to practice with threads of Water. She expanded her awareness out and beyond the house, and as far out into the world as she could. She found that while she could not see the threads of magic outside the house, she could feel them.

His opportunity finally came one day when it rained all night. He was able to bring many threads of Water into the house, through the walls, and into the air above him where he could see it. The Water certainly was different from the other elements. It had to be constantly watched and held with his mind or it would fall to the floor. And he had to concentrate on the entire thread, because any part which he didn't keep a tight hold on would flow away.

On the second night of working with Water, she found that if she got a thin enough thread of Water, it would stay in the air. When she felt herself wet her diaper, she became aware of the threads of Water inside her diaper, but she couldn't pull them through the diaper cover no matter how hard she tried. She was able to wriggle free of her wrapping, and took off her clothing. But when she tried to pull on the diaper cover, it refused to budge. She couldn't get even a finger inside the diaper cover to let the threads of Water out.



The next week was spent reading books whenever Andi could, day and night. This time he searched for advice on weaving the different threads together. Since most mages couldn't actually see the threads, there were no pattern diagrams, only ratios of the different elements. In order to create a successful spell, you first had to consider what you wanted the spell to do, and then ponder on what elements would be required.

Levitation, one of the easiest spells, required a lot of Air, and a little Earth. The need for Earth surprised Andi, but the passage said that the Earth ensured the spell could lift heavy objects. Heavier objects required more Earth to push on them.

Most mages quickly developed an instinct for the ratios, and it took practice to create a tight weave. Also, to make the spell endure required the weave be tight and complete. There could not be any stray threads, or else the threads would slowly unravel as they felt the call to return to their natural state.

Casting spells required the threads of magic be available nearby in enough quantity to perform their task. Most spells would have no effect on the surrounding area, but large or complex spells required more threads, so it was best to ensure there was enough of each kind of thread available, or else strange things could happen.

There was a story about a mage falling into a sinkhole because he took too many threads of Earth from directly below him. It was best to draw Earth from a larger area to avoid creating sinkholes.

Using too much Air while in a small enclosed space could suffocate the unfortunate mage. Using too much Water could dry up whatever source was being used. Too much Spirit could kill the spell caster. There was also a warning that any magic with a significant amount of Spirit would be linked to the spell caster for a long time. The more Spirit used, the longer the connection remained active. Harming the spell would harm the mage, and vice-versa.

Andi began studying the spells cast on the objects around him. The jug with endless juice was surrounded on the inside mostly by threads of Water, with Earth and Air mixed in. The endless bowl of mash had more Earth than Water, and only a little Air.

He wondered how the spell replenished the supply without draining the threads of magic. So he watched carefully when Nursy drank her potion one night. The potion was a tangle of all five elements, and he saw at least three different patterns, indicating there were multiple spells at play.

When Nursy sat down, all the weaves of magic lifted off of her, revealing her true form. He didn't understand why the spell did this, but he knew it was happening. Then the weaves of magic slowly came out of Nursy, transforming her back into the nursemaid who cared for Andi for more than twenty years.

The first spell to reach the surface transformed the orangutan into a human, clothing and all. Next a weave of mostly Spirit surrounded her head, pulsing for more than an hour before it settled down. Her bosom pulsed with a weave very similar to the endless juice spell, and Andi decided that was why Nursy was always heavy with milk.

When the transformation was complete, and the sun began to rise, the weaves became almost invisible and indistinguishable. Only then did the bottle drawn in stray threads of magic from the surroundings, replenishing the vial once more.

Using this same level of observation, Andi stared at her diaper cover, and found a significant amount of Spirit woven into the fabric itself, along with a thin, extremely tight layer of Earth. She couldn't find a single stray thread on the entire weave. Whoever created the spells on this diaper cover was either very good at magic, or spent a significant amount of time working on it, if the books could be believed.

The next time Nursy changed Andi's diaper, he saw thick threads of water woven in and around the diaper itself, as well as an identical weave of Spirit to the diaper cover. He guessed it was that weave which prevented him from removing the diaper cover, but gave Nursy no problems with their removal.

Andi pondered on that, and wondered how long it would be before she could stop using diapers. There wasn't anything about it in the books she read. If Nursy didn't use the bathroom, Andi might not have known there was a different way. But she decided that she couldn't wait for a day which might never come. For all she knew, Nursy would keep treating her like a baby her whole life. From what she read, that could be a very long time.

He had recently reviewed a section in 'The Apprentice's Guide to Weaving Magic' that talked about aging. It was a footnote, really, which read:

Mages can spend more than twenty full days and nights working on a single spell because their bodies do not need as much sleep or food as others. The metabolism of a mage slows when they bond with their primary spell, so that only one month of aging happens for each calendar year. The same applies to food and sleep. Twenty-eight days without food or sleep or interruption would be equivalent to twenty-eight hours for others. Plan accordingly.

She'd skimmed over that before, not realizing what it meant. Of course, at the time, she was reading as fast as she could to absorb the basics. Now she was planning her escape, and needed to know the details. This explained why people her age in stories were going on quests and getting married instead of still being in diapers at age twenty-one. Assuming it took five years to get out of diapers for a regular person, that would mean seventy years for her. She definitely didn't want to wait around for another fifty years before trying to escape. Once she was out of here, she was sure she could find someone to remove her diaper, when she was ready.
 

larikaz

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  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 4 - Experimentation Begins

4 Experimentation begins
Andi already knew how to change the diaper without removing it, but he'd never tried doing it himself. So, one night, after he'd escaped the swaddling wrap, he pointed at his diaper and said, "Clean diaper."

The diaper immediately began to gush water, and her diaper cover swelled up to hold it all in. Once more, the diaper cover got so big it reached halfway to her knees, and she knew it would be impossible to walk while this was going on, so she would have to do it only when she was in a safe place. With all the monsters she read about, she couldn't be sure how safe the world really was.

It took several minutes before the swollen diaper cover began to shrink again. When it was back to regular size, his diaper was as dry and fresh as ever. He couldn't be sure whether he'd wet it in the last day, but it was certainly dry and soft now. That was one less problem to deal with, but there were several others.

In the books, some travelers nearly died of hunger or thirst on their journey, or had to steal in order to eat. She didn't want to suffer or steal, so she would have to find some way of taking food and water with her. Right now she was only eating mush and milk, but she wondered if she could handle Nursy's food.

That's when he remembered the box Nursy used to get food was supposed to give whatever the person needed. So if he could handle the food, then he would get it. But he was way too small to reach the box, let alone carry it with him. Perhaps if he understood the spell, he could duplicate it on something more portable.

So that became her new focus; duplicating spells. She studied the weave of every spell she could see, and took her time doing so. If she broke any of the spells here, it could make life more difficult. Once she felt she'd learned all she could from the books and from studying the weaves of magic, she started duplicating them.

He started with the juice spell, but realized quickly that he would need a container to put it in. So he worked the weaves of Earth to make a small cup. His first three attempts crumbled in his hand when he picked it up. On the fourth try, the cup was so heavy he couldn't lift it. There was something about this he didn't understand, but didn't think there was any way he could learn more, except through practice.

On the third night of trying, she had an idea. She'd been trying to make a stone cup, but that's not what the pitcher was made of. Neither was the bowl used to hold her mash. They were both made from clay. She searched and found a book on making pottery. It was odd, because she hadn't seen the book on the shelf before.

Looking back at the shelf, he saw a spell around it that he hadn't noticed earlier. It was very subtle, and resembled the spell on the bread box. Testing it, he started searching for a more advanced book on working magic weaves. Sure enough, he found one that he knew hadn't been there before.

This was fantastic! The spell must connect to some large collection of books the way the weave on the food box connected to a large store of food somewhere. Anything she needed to study, all she had to do was look for the subject, and a book would appear. She realized that until then, she'd always been looking for the books she expected to see; the books that had been on the shelf the first time she'd started searching through it.

He went back to the shelf and searched for a book on how to read faster. What he found was a book called: 'Advanced Spells for the Studious Mind'. It was full of spells to enhance memory, intellect, and other things. There were spells to enhance sight, hearing, smell, change size, absorb the knowledge of a book or transfer your knowledge to a book. There were spells for making a book record everything that was said.

The descriptions of how to cast the spells all said the spells had to be cast on someone else, and usually on an animal. They were too dangerous to cast on people, because if you got it wrong, you could make them go blind, or crazy, or erase their memory. There was a section on how to cast spells on yourself, but suggested the spells be tested on other living beings first. The problem was, the only other living being around was Nursy. There were already so many spells on her, that there was no way of knowing if the spell worked or not.

"Nursy, can we please go outside again?" she asked. "It's been three months."

Nursy glared at Andi. "Why do you want to go outside?"

"I want to see the sunshine again."

"Do you promise you won't run off?"

Andi's frown grew deep. "I promise I'll be careful, and stay where you can see me."

"Okay," Nursy said, "but I warn you, if you don't come back when I call, or stop when I say to, you'll be sorry."

That day they went outside, and Andi stayed right by Nursy. He desperately wanted to run around, find an animal, any kind of animal, and bring it back into the house. But they were so far from anything, that he didn't see any animals around. Just scrub brush and dusty ground. It was a very desolate place.

"Why are we so far away from everything?" Andi asked.

"To keep you safe," Nursy said.

"Safe from what?"

"I don't know. I was just told to keep you safe."

This presented a problem, and Andi went back to the shelf that night and searched for a book on calling animals.

It was fascinating. The spell for calling animals was simple, but difficult to master. It was a spell of pure Spirit, the hardest element to control. Basically, she would have to weave her desires into a spell, and send it out to find the kind of animal she wanted, and coax the animal to come to her. Some animals were easier to coax, and it was best to be honest with the animal about your intentions. This was not a spell to use for hunting, because you never knew what would come back to you.

Andi thought for the rest of the night what kind of animal he wanted to call. It had to be small, willing to stay in the house, and stay hidden. He wanted to practice magic on the animal, to make it smarter, able to read, and read faster, everything he wanted to do himself. The animal needed to stay quiet during the day, and be able to live off the food in the house, because there was no other food to be had in the area.

That was a lot to weave into a single spell, but then, the book said it was about focusing on your desire. Lots of information could be contained in a single spell, and if you tried to lie, your true intentions would become clear, or the spell would collapse.

As the sun rose, she was finished.

The spell sped away.
 

Hellcommander

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Thanks for the story and explaining why the character has such a undeveloped body. Is the character a female or male, earlier on in the story the nurse calls the character both he and she.
 

larikaz

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Don't worry, the story isn't finished. Answers are coming.

- - - Updated - - -

5 Nursy's Diaper
Nursy got up, smiled to Andi, and said, "Are you hungry?"

Andi nodded.

"Let's check your diaper first. I haven't changed you in a couple of days." Nursy took off Andi's clothes and paused when she was wearing nothing but the diaper and the diaper cover. "On second thought," Nursy said, pausing. She pointed to the diaper and said, "Clean Diaper."

Andi felt the water gushing out of the diaper. It rushed over her skin, and into every corner. The flow kept going as the diaper cover swelled up like a big balloon, reaching halfway to Andi's knees. The water sloshed around for awhile, then started to dissipate. When it was all gone, her skin felt clean and dry once more.

"There!" Nursy said. "I really think that's easier, don't you?"

"It feels weird," Andi replied.

"It does? What do you mean?"

"I don't know how to describe it. It's something you would have to experience."

Nursy thought about it a moment, then said, "Perhaps you're right." She walked over to the shelf where the other diapers were kept, pulled off her underwear, pulled on a diaper, and it fastened itself around her. It fit perfectly, despite looking way too small when she started. She then put on a diaper cover, which also adjusted itself to fit. Then she pointed at the diaper she'd just put on and said, "Clean diaper."

Andi watched as the diaper cover swelled up, until it reached halfway to Nursy's knees. Nursy was knocked off her feet by having her legs spread apart so wide. She landed on her diaper with a big sloshing noise. That was a lot more water than it took to clean Andi's diaper, but then, the diaper was bigger now. Nursy squirmed and giggled as the water sloshed around, and finally relaxed when all the water went away.

"I see what you mean," Andi said at last. She went to pull off the diaper cover, but it wouldn't budge.

She tried again, but she couldn't move it.

"Uh oh," Nursy said. "I forgot. The person wearing the diaper can't remove it."

"You mean," I began.

"That's right," Nursy said as her face went white. "I'm stuck in this diaper until your mom comes back."

"You mean you don't have a way to contact her, or go to her?"

Nursy shook her head. "If I could, I would have done so long ago."

Andi laughed long and hard. Nursy was now diapered too, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Nursy was embarrassed, but when Andi kept laughing, she got angry. "It's not funny!"

"Yes it is," Andi said through the laughter.

"No it's not!"

When Andi realized how angry Nursy was, she stopped laughing. She knew better than to upset Nursy. Nursy could make life more difficult if she wanted to, and right now, Andi wanted to get outside more often.

"I'm sorry," Andi said at last. "What made you put on the diaper in the first place?"

"I was worried about you," Nursy said. "I wasn't sure if changing your diaper that way was safe or if it was uncomfortable, or what. So I thought if I could feel it for myself, then I would know. It didn't occur to me that I couldn't get it off afterward. I mean, they said I was an authorized adult."

"You really care a lot about me, don't you?"

Nursy blinked several times. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you care for me day after day. Why else would you do that?"

"Because it's what I do. I am only here to keep you safe, and make sure you have what you need."

Andi thought about that. The statement felt so cold and distant. "And what if I need to leave this house?"

Nursy stared at her. "Why would you need that?"

"Because I need to know more about magic. I need to learn to control it. This house is so confining, so limiting. I want to meet other people, not just read about them in books."

"I'm supposed to keep you away from other people."

"Why?"

"Because you're too different. They'll hurt you, or worse, they'll take you to Shamballa."

Andi had read about Shamballa. It was full of mages. If she could get there, she would get all her questions answered. "Why can't I go to Shamballa?"

"They'll keep you in their nursery until your body is fourteen years old."

"But that's almost two hundred years!" Andi shouted. "Why would they keep me in a nursery for that long?"

Nursy sighed. "I don't have all the answers. All I know is that they keep kids like you in a special nursery, hidden from the public until they can fit in."

Andi tried to imagine being kept inside for another 175 years. She couldn't do it. There was too much to see, too much to know. "Nursy, I can't stay here much longer."

"Why not?"

"I told you, I need to learn about other people."

"You have all those books."

"Books can only teach me so much. I need to talk to other people, see them for myself."

Nursy sighed. "I was hoping your mother would be here before this day came."

"What day? What are you talking about?"

"The day when I'm not good enough to take care of you."

Andi frowned. "That's not what I said."

"No," Nursy said, "but you need more than I can provide here."

"You're acting like it's a bad thing."

"It is," Nursy said. "They made me into a nurse maid. If I'm not caring for little ones, I'll turn back into an orangutan. Every night I get reminded of what that's like. I don't want to do it. If you leave, I'll become a dumb ape again. I like being human."

Andi considered this. She knew she needed more than Nursy could give her, but leaving would destroy Nursy. She cared about Nursy, and didn't want to see bad things happen. She thought when she left, Nursy would get on with her life. She didn't think that would be the life of an ape.

Suddenly, Andi had an idea. "You said there is a nursery in Shamballa where they keep kids like me for hundreds of years, right?"

Nursy nodded. "I'm supposed to keep you away from there, keep you safe and free."

"But I'm not free if I'm confined to this tiny house."

Nursy's head drooped. "You're right."

"So what if we find a way to get you to Shamballa, without them knowing I'm supposed to stay there? What if we provide you with an entire room full of kids like me? Then you can stay human and continue to care for kids. "I'm sure someone there can get that diaper off, as well."

Nursy's eyes went wide. "That sounds great! But how do we get me there, and not you?"

"I'll have to think about it," Andi said. "Maybe there are some books that can help."

"Well, I hope you find an answer soon. I don't think I'm going to like being stuck in this diaper."
 

larikaz

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Chapter 6 - Grayson Arrives

6 Grayson Arrives
So they started a new routine, where they went outside for several hours of the day. Andi was no longer afraid to use magic around Nursy. It wasn't a secret anymore. The rest of the day and most of the nights, Andi would read and practice.

She found she was thinking more and more of herself as a girl, than as a boy. There was no way of knowing for sure right now, and she decided it would be less confusing if she just picked one.

After an entire week of this, without Andi having any sleep, or anything to eat, she found she was very hungry. "I need to nurse tonight," she told Nursy.

Nursy's face lit up. "Oh, thank you. I like it when you nurse." She picked Andi up, and changed her into pink pajamas. They were very cute. Then she walked over to the rocking chair and let Andi suck to her heart's content.

The milk was warm and thick and delicious. It filled Andi's aching belly, and made her feel at home. That was something she hadn't felt in a long time. When she was done, she set Andi in the bed and kissed her on the forehead.

"Sleep well."

Andi felt there was something missing from the whole experience. She instinctively knew that she needed a stronger connection. Nursy couldn't love. She wasn't capable of it, and Andi needed someone who loved her.

Her dreams that night were of having someone who did love her. Someone who could give her more than thick warm milk and a safe bed to sleep in.

The next day, Andi felt the uncomfortable stuff in her diaper as she woke.

Nursy was watching nearby. "Did you sleep well?"

Andi nodded. "I did. How about you?"

"I'm not sure you'd call it sleep," Nursy said. "I can feel the changes happening, and I'm aware of it the whole time, but I can't see or hear anything. Sometimes I have dreams."

"Can I get a clean diaper?" Andi requested.

Almost immediately, she felt the warm gush of water spray against her skin.

"Augh!" Nursy said. "You need to be more careful what you say."

Andi looked over and saw that Nursy's diaper was swelling up, too. Her legs were being pushed apart, and she had to grab the side of the crib to avoid being knocked over.

There was also a river of water pouring from the shelf where the other four diapers sat.

"You mean if I say it without pointing, then they all do it?"

Nursy nodded. "That's why I was told I always had to point. Somehow the diapers know I'm pointing at them."

"The diapers know?" I repeated. "How do they know?"

"Magic, of course," Nursy said.

"Right." I realized Spirit could do amazing things if a mage was experienced and focused enough.

Both our diapers started shrinking again, and the waterfall from the shelf was going up, instead of down.

When Nursy could stand up straight again she said, "If people see you doing magic like that around them, they'll get worried, because you look so young."

"But that wasn't my magic."

"Yes, but at the age you look, you shouldn't even be talking. Well, no more than a few babbling words."

Andi sighed. "I'll have to be more careful. Can we go outside for awhile? I want to practice some of the magic weaves I read about, and I don't want to try them in the house, because of all the other spells in there."

"Sure," Nursy said. "Let's get you dressed." She went to the magic wardrobe, which, like many other things in the house, provided whatever you were looking for, or needed. She pulled out a lovely little yellow sun dress, which fit Andi perfectly.

As usual, it was hot outside. But, the rather unusual thing was there was a mouse sitting there, looking at Andi.

"Hello," Andi said. She was trying to figure out why a mouse was there at all, and behaving so unusual.

The mouse took a few steps closer, and kept looking up at her.

"What is that mouse doing here?"

That's when Andi remembered the spell she'd cast more than a week ago. A mouse would fit her needs perfectly. "She's here because I called her."

"Why would you do that?"

"Many of the spells I need to practice require a living thing. It seems this little mouse has volunteered." Andi said.

"That's what you've been reading about?" Nursy asked. "Animal transformations?"

"Well, not animal transformations specifically," Andi replied. "I'm hoping that with enough practice I can learn to cast them on myself."

"Why would you need to do that?"

Andi laughed and looked up at Nursy. "I was planning to run away. I don't think I would have gotten very far if I still looked like this."

"You're right," Nursy agreed.
 

larikaz

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Chapter 7 - The Transformation Begins

7 The transformations begin
Andi returned to the study of transformations and modifications. She found one text very helpful on transformations for beginners.

'Cast the spell in the empty air to start,' the passage said, 'and you should see a brief glimpse of what you are trying to achieve before the spell disintegrates.'

The mouse was there for only three days before Andi cast the first spell on it. She'd studied the spell on Nursy's mind long enough that she thought she could cast it easily enough.

They went outside to practice, and Andi reached out to the five elements. It was a hotter day than usual, but since they'd only been going outside for a few weeks, it was hard to say what really was usual. There was plenty of Fire in the air, from the sun beating down on them. Obviously the Earth beneath her feet was never in short supply, and the sky provided all the Air she could need. The one element which Andi could barely feel was Water.

Spells of transformation required a significant amount of Water, which was one of the three elements of change. Spirit could be used to change thoughts, or have the spell make decisions on its own. Fire could be used to transform, but if done poorly, a transformation of Fire could go horribly wrong. Water was the best element for safely practicing a transformation, especially on a living being.

She briefly considered commanding a diaper to clean itself, and trying to draw some of the threads of Water from it, but that might unravel the spell on the diaper, and an unraveling spell could be dangerous.

A thought came to her, of how to create more of whatever element was in short supply. Threads of magic could most easily produce more of the substance which gave them power. There were only a few stray threads of Water, and even that might not be enough for the rain spell.

Andi sat down on the blanket Nursy had spread out for them. The hem of her sundress spread beautifully as she did so. Her thick diaper gave her bottom some cushioning from the hard earth, and it felt like she might need to have it cleaned soon. Pushing that out of her mind, she tried to concentrate on expanding her reach.

She became more aware of the world around her, able to feel threads of Water beyond what her eyes could discern. They were such fine threads, it was a wonder she even felt them at all.

Pulling together what Water she could, she tied it in with the Air, and a cloud slowly formed overhead. She added just a sprinkle of Earth to the weave, and tightened it together, bringing the thin wispy cloud into a small rain cloud which hovered just to the south of the house. She tied off the ends of the spell, and tethered it to the house, to prevent a strong wind from blowing it away. When she was satisfied with her work, she looked up, and saw the cloud, just as it was starting to rain.

The drops came slowly, but steadily. She'd been careful not to overdo the spell, which could cause some unusual weather, if it was done poorly. Instead, the slight rain fell on the parched ground, and was soaked up almost immediately. The sound of the rain caused Andi to pee, and she felt a heavy flow into her diaper. It wasn't often that she was aware of when she was peeing, and even when she was, she didn't have any warning, or way to stop it. Despite being 21 years old, she definitely wasn't ready to start potty-training.

She was about to request a clean diaper, but remembered what happened last time. Instead she said, "Nursy, can you change me?"

Nursy smiled. "Of course. I could use a clean diaper myself."

Andi felt her diaper begin to gush water, and the warm moisture on her bottom made her release her bowels. She didn't have any choice or warning over this, either, and she wondered again how long it would be before she did.

The swelling diaper cover unbalanced her, and she had to lay back on the blanket as it consumed the area between her legs. Usually, it only went halfway to her knees. But for some reason, the diaper cover reached all the way to her feet and stayed there for several minutes.

She looked over and saw that Nursy was in the same predicament.

"What's going on?" Andi asked.

"I have no idea," Nursy said. "I didn't even mean to say the words, 'Clean Diaper.'"

This was clearly another mistake. Whatever accident had caused their diapers to swell up so large before, it was only compounded now, by the never before uttered second command.

Andi's diaper swelled even more, and the diaper cover seemed to swallow her feet. She felt the warm water all the way down her legs, and the massively swollen diaper cover brought her upright. It was almost comical to see Nursy going through the exact same thing. The only reason she didn't laugh was because she had no idea how long this would last.

It took a full half hour before the diaper covers began to shrink again, and Nursy's started shrinking first. Andi was just beginning to wonder if her diaper would ever shrink, when her diaper, too, began to decrease in size. After almost a full hour, both their diapers were back to normal size, and Andi felt clean and fresh again.

By this time, the ground under the raincloud remained moist where the rain fell, and Andi wondered if that was the answer.

"Do you think it was my rain spell that made the diapers behave in such an unusual way?"

"I have no idea," Nursy said. "Though, now that you mention it, your mother did have trouble with the cleaning spell at first. They had to modify it to draw in more Water than before, if I recall correctly."

Andi sighed. "Does that mean they are going to do that every time?"

"I really can't say," Nursy said. "Magic is more your area of expertise than mine."

Hoping it would be awhile before they had to find out, Andi refocused and cast the spell of intelligence. She'd seen it woven onto Nursy, studied the theory, and now had enough of all the elements to try it.

The weave came together at Andi's command, but instead of dissipating, as the book said it would, the spell remained floating in the air.

"Did it work?" Nursy asked.

"Yes," Andi said, "but something isn't quite right. The spell is just sitting there. It should have dissipated by now."

She watched as the spell seemed to catch the breeze and dart away. It zoomed into the house, and Andi feared initially that it would disturb the spell on Nursy's special potion. She was about to head inside to see what happened, when the mouse came outside.

It ran up onto the blanket and said, "Finally."

"You can speak?" Nursy asked.

"Of course I can," it squeaked. "The same way you do."

"Then the spell worked," Andi said.

"Yes," the mouse said. "Though I must say, when I volunteered for the position, I thought you would have done this much sooner."

"Why is that?" Andi asked.

"Well that's a silly question," the mouse said.

"Well, I'm just a silly little girl."

The mouse laughed. "You are at that. I was expecting a fully qualified mage, not a baby. Still, anyone who could cast such a complete searching spell, one that didn't dissipate, even after a few days, had to be worth helping. How old are you, anyway?"

"Twenty-one."

"Wow. You don't look more than two years old."

"That's because my body is only twenty-one months old, just a year and a half."

"Well then, I'm all the more eager to help. I figure you'll be around a long time."

"What about you? Don't mice only live a few years?"

"Sure," the mouse said, "but when animals are transformed using powerful enough magic, they live that way until the spell wears off. Then they continue to age naturally."

"How do you know all this?"

The mouse laughed. "You used an intelligence spell, remember? I was able to absorb all the information in the books inside that cottage in less than a minute. I was surprised that almost all of them were on advanced magic. No beginners stuff for you."

"Wow. So if I cast that spell on myself?"

"I wouldn't try that," the mouse said.

"Why not?"

"Because the spell requires two inter-twined weaves of Spirit. One from the spell caster," the mouse said.

"And the other from the animal receiving it," Andi interrupted, finishing the statement she'd read from the book several weeks ago. "I almost forgot about that."

"Well, now you've got me to tell you these things."

"What is your name?" Andi asked.

"Grayson. What's yours?"

"Andi. And this is Nursy."

Nursy waved.

Grayson turned to her. "What animal were you when she started?"

"It wasn't Andi," Nursy said. "It was her mother."

A horrible thought occurred to Andi, and she had to know. "Grayson, you said the animal that is transformed doesn't age until the spell ends."

"Yes."

"So if I transform myself, then I won't age either?"

Grayson studied Andi. He ran up her leg, played with the shoulder-length hair, spent a few minutes inspecting the diaper cover, and finally went back down to speak with her.

"What did you find?" Andi asked.

"I thought maybe there was a spell on you already, as if you'd been transformed into a baby as a twisted joke. Some mages think that way."

"And?"

"I can't be sure. Mages usually use illusion spells on themselves, or other humans. It is rare for someone to use a full transformation spell, and even then, they won't want it to last very long. Since they were adults when they started, and age so slowly, how would they know? Maybe there is something in the other books that shelf can access."

The trio went back inside, and Nursy picked up the blanket. She took it inside with them, put it in the barrel with a diaper, pointed to it, and said, "Clean Diaper."

The diaper filled the barrel half-way up. It only took fifteen minutes to fill, clean, and dry. With the rain outside, the diapers were all taking longer, and gushing more.

Andi stood next to the bookshelf, with Grayson at her feet. She was waiting for him to make the books shift, but nothing happened. "What's wrong? What are you waiting for?"

"I'm waiting for you. What are you waiting for?"

"Can't you get the books you need?" Andi asked.

Grayson shook his head. "This bookshelf only responds to mages."

"I didn't know that," Andi said. "How did you?"

Grayson tapped his head. "There are directions written on the back of the shelf, along with a warning for non-mages to return the books, 'or else.'"

"Or else what?"

"It's just a threat. I suppose the shelf might be able to recall the book, or perhaps they'll send a mage after it."

"Wow. I'm already learning a lot," Andi said. "Thanks, Grayson. I wonder if there's any books on how to remove Nursy's diaper?"

The books shifted, filling the shelf with theory on undoing spells of other mages.

"Well, that depends," Grayson said.

"On what?" Nursy asked.

"On how old the diapers are."

"Why should that make any difference?" Andi asked.

"You already know the answer," Grayson said. "What do you know about working with Spirit?"

"Oh, I get it," Andi said.

"Well, I don't," Nursy complained.

"Spells using Spirit either grow stronger or weaker over time," Andi explained. "If the diapers are more than a few years old, the spell on them would either be much stronger, or weak enough it should have dissipated."

"But the diapers are more than twenty years old," Nursy said. "Maybe even more than a hundred."

"A hundred?" Andi repeated.

"Yes," Nursy said. "Your mom's Mage Master left half a dozen diapers from his collection. He said he used them on his own children, and some of them are now quite old, if they're still alive at all."

"Can we get back to the transformation spell?" Grayson asked. "You need to focus for the shelf to work right, Andi."

She concentrated on information regarding human transformations.

The books shifted again.

"Next," Grayson said.

Andi focused again, and another shelf filled with books.

"Next," Grayson repeated.

Andi tried again, but still Grayson couldn't find the answer they sought.

"Perhaps you need to narrow your focus," Grayson suggested. "What were you thinking about?"

"Books on human transformation," Andi said.

"Try focusing on books about the aging of humans during their transformation."

Andi did so, and three books came onto the shelf, making three others disappear.

"Ah ha. I was afraid of that," Grayson said.

"What? What's wrong?" Andi asked.

"Human transformation, especially self-transformation, is extremely difficult," Grayson explained. "That much I knew from the first set of books. But there are also laws restricting its use."

"Why?" Andi asked.

"Pretty obvious, when you think about it," Grayson said. "People wouldn't tolerate an immortal king."

"I see. So what do the laws say?"

"It's only permitted in the most dire of circumstances, partially because of the level of difficulty, but also to limit its use. It is punishable by imprisonment to allow such a transformation to last more than a day. That's usually not a problem, because the amount of Spirit required to make a transformation, even one like Nursy's, last beyond sunset, could drain a mage for days."

"That's why I have to drink the potion every night," Nursy said.

"Why sunset?"

"You mean you didn't come across that in your study?" Grayson asked.

"No," Andi said.

"Sunset is the end of the day and the start of the night," Grayson explained. "For most people, many things change at sunset, and holding the weaves of Spirit beyond that, requires extreme precision. It's especially hard to make threads of Spirit into a complete weave. They're always trying to escape."

"All threads of magic try to release themselves from a spell," Andi said.

"But it's the weaves of Spirit that dissipate the fastest. They are the living element, and life seeks a way to change. Transforming any animal into a human form takes a lot of skill. But when the world around them changes like that, the threads of Spirit try to change, too. That's why it's the hardest to work with in changing the nature of something."

"Wow. Less than an hour, and I've learned so much about magic theory," Andi said.

"Why do you want to transform yourself?" Grayson asked.

"If I'm going to leave the cottage, I need to be taller, or people will realize what I am, and send me to the Shamballa nursery for the next eighteen decades."

"I see. So if you can't make the transformation last past sunset," Grayson said, probingly.

"Then I'll need something like Nursy's potion bottle, so I can do it over and over."

"Then you should know," Grayson said, "that every time you use that potion, every time it wears off, you'll return to the same form you were in the first time you drank it."

"What are you saying?" Andi asked.

"I'm saying, you'll always return to the age of twenty-one months old. This is only true of transformations to human shape," Grayson said. "No one quite knows why."

"I do," Nursy said. "Having been through the process thousands of times, I may be uniquely qualified to speak on this. A transformation spell needs to be very specific. That potion was made to change me from the animal I was into the human you see before you. That means every time I take the potion, it first has to transform me into the animal I was, and then into the human. If someone else transformed me into a pig, as long as I drank that potion, I would first become an ape, and then a human."

"Interesting," Grayson said. "Very interesting. I wonder why no one has noticed that before."

"How many creatures do you think have ever been transformed as often as I have?" Nursy asked. "The insight came to me after a few hundred transformations."

"So if I transform myself into an adult," Andi said, "I should try to do so for as long as I need to, and only that long. And it would be best if I started over on the spell each time."

"No," Grayson said. "That could be dangerous. Remember, these spells are tricky. If you do that spell too often, you increase your chance of getting it wrong. This is too tricky to think practice makes perfect. If I were you, I'd get done with whatever you need to do as an adult, and throw the potion away after that. In the mean time, be willing to accept you won't age or grow until you do."

Andi frowned. "It's going to take me two hundred years to look like a teenager, and you want me to accept that I might be stuck at a year and a half until I find a place where I can spend a couple of centuries?"

"Yes," Grayson said. "But if you change yourself into a mouse, and me into a human, I could help you that way, if you'd like. That is what I came for."

"Why don't I just find a way to make the transformation permanent?"

"Well, even if you were very good, and got it to work past sundown, eventually the spell would break. Be it three weeks, or thirty years. It would be no different than if you'd put it in the bottle."

Andi sighed and felt her diaper get a little wet as she did so. This only served to remind her of why she couldn't afford to keep returning to this age. She couldn't live independently until she grew up, but if it took her a decade to find the right place, that wouldn't be too bad.

"Okay," she said. "Let's get started."

The trio went back outside, and saw that the ground under the raincloud was getting quite muddy. "It's still raining," Andi said. "Perfect."

"I'm actually impressed," Grayson said. "Weather spells aren't easy, and to cast a raincloud in an area like this..." He paused, thinking about something, then said, "What exactly is your innate ability?"

"I'm not quite sure," Andi replied, "but I think it's my ability to see the threads of magic. All the books talk as if the threads are usually invisible."

"You can actually see them?" Grayson sounded stunned.

Andi nodded. "Why? Is that unusual?"

"Well, I'm not sure," Grayson said. "Honestly, I haven't had access to books on typical abilities yet. But I already know that in the books I've seen, there's no spell to make them visible."

"What does that have to do with it?" Andi asked.

"So much older than me, yet so ill-informed," Grayson said. "The innate ability comes from the first spell you encounter. Do you know if that happened after you were born, or while you were in the womb?"

"It was during her mom's Mage's Test," Nursy provided. "I heard them talk about it."

"What else did they say?" Grayson asked.

"They said she was pregnant with Andi for several years. Six or seven, I think. Gave them plenty of time to prepare."

"That's why they hid you away," Grayson said.

"It was so Andi wouldn't be locked up in a nursery for two hundred years," Nursy said.

"No," Grayson said. "In effect, they built their own nursery to lock you in for two hundred years."

"Surely you don't mean," Andi began, but realized she didn't know how to end that sentence. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, they hid you here to protect them both. I'm betting they didn't discover the pregnancy until almost a year or more into her apprenticeship. So by then, everyone's first thought would be her Master Mage was responsible. At the very least, they would have been separated, and he would probably have been imprisoned until after the birth, when a paternity test could prove his innocence."

"Wouldn't they believe my mother when she said it wasn't him?" Andi asked.

"No," Grayson said. "One or two of those books spoke of cases where the apprentice fell in love with their master, and would lie for them about anything. Everyone would assume the same thing was going on here. No, they would wait until they had absolute proof. Even then, your mother would have been stuck in the nursery with you."

"Why?" Andi asked.

Grayson laughed. "Because very few people want that job. Centuries of caring for babies who grow up in their minds long before their bodies do. I don't mean to scare you, but some of them don't learn how to potty train for more than a century."

"Why is that?" Andi said. Wouldn't they all be trained by the time they were forty or so?"

"You might think so. The problem is, when do you start teaching them? When they turn thirty? Or do you wait until they're forty, or fifty or sixty? And then how long does it take to potty train them? They only pee once a day or less, if they're holding it in. So if you miss your chance by a few minutes, you have to wait until the next day. It can take a year or more to potty-train a mage baby. So they usually don't bother until the child is sick of living in diapers. Why should they when all they have to do is say 'Clean Diaper' and all the mess is gone."

Andi's diaper began gushing water and she groaned. This wasn't going to be over very quickly. She spared a glance in Nursy's direction to confirm her diaper was swelling up as well. The warm water always felt pleasant against Andi's skin, and she decided to just go with it, enjoying the way it gushed over her. The feel of the wet cloth brushing against her as the diaper began to wiggle made her lose focus on anything else. She was swept away in the feeling of it. It was almost a disappointment when her diaper shrank back to normal, and her skin was dry once again.

"I'm so sorry," Grayson said. "I didn't realize that would happen."

Nursy sighed loudly. "And why should you? We didn't warn you, and you hadn't seen it happen before. Did that seem to take longer than last time?"

Andi's senses were still returning to her, and she almost missed the question. "What? No, I don't know. I kind of got swept up in the feeling that time."

"Well, I can't be certain. Last time I said it twice, and it caused twice the trouble. Let's try to avoid doing that until we actually have a need, okay?"

"Understood," Grayson said. "Perhaps we should change the subject."

"Yes, please," Nursy said.

Unsure why, Andi felt the need to curl up on the blanket right then and there and take a nap.



She woke up in her crib with a ravenous appetite.

Within moments Nursy was there. "How are you feeling?"

"Hungry."

Nursy smiled. "I would expect so after what Grayson told me."

"What do you mean?"

"I'll explain while I rock you." Nursy took Andi over to the rocking chair and exposed a nipple, which Andi happily took. "Ahh. That feels so good," she said.

Andi wanted to ask questions, but Nursy cut her off. "You just nurse, and let Grayson and I do the talking."

As if on cue, Grayson appeared on the arm of the rocker. He smiled at her. "Twenty-one years of breast-feeding. That can't be easy for either of you."

"Hush now, mouse," Nursy said. "Her body is still a baby, and has needs best met by breast milk. Besides, I enjoy doing it. If our plan works out, I'll be the one to end up in the Shamballa nursery for the next two hundred years or more. As long as we're together, she will nurse. She's old enough to be weaned, but that doesn't mean she has to be."

Andi took in the conversation and the warm, thick, sweet breast milk. Sure, she'd been drinking it for more than twenty years; but it still tasted good and made her feel good. She was more hungry than she could ever remember being in the last decade or more.

"Well, I thought the plan was to not need a nursemaid anymore," Grayson said; "just a chauffeur."

"Exactly," Nursy confirmed. "My usefulness is almost up. But I fully expect Andi's mother to leave her here for another thirty years, and if I'm not breast feeding her, I won't feel fulfilled. And if I do breast feed her for another thirty years, I don't think she'd like it. Either way, one of us is bound to be unhappy if we don't change the status quo soon."

"I see you've thought this through," Grayson said. "Did you agree on all this before or after she called for me?"

"After," Nursy said, "but only a couple days before you arrived. Now, are you ready to tell her why she's so tired and hungry, or should I?"

"The raincloud and intelligence spells are both very advanced magic," Grayson explained, "requiring the control of a large amount of magic. That level of magic is very draining, especially for new mages. It's like a muscle you haven't exercised before. The intelligence spell must have been particularly draining, as it used a significant amount of Spirit."

One nipple was dry, and as Nursy switched Andi from one nipple to the next, she asked, "Why didn't it drain me right away then?"

"Because spells of Spirit are different. The weaves actually come from you. Practicing with them usually isn't a problem, as long as they return quickly. But after a few hours, your body has to replace them."

"Is that why the diaper spell felt so odd?" That was the last question Andy got out before Nursy put the second nipple in front of her, and then all she could think about for a couple minutes was sucking.

Grayson seemed aware of her needs and lack of focus. He took his time shifting over to the other arm of the rocker. He knew when she could hear him properly again, because he started speaking again almost as soon as she could.

"That was probably part of your exhaustion. I suspect that your advanced thinking was impaired, and that left your body to react on a physical level. Your body is only twenty-one months old. At that age, children are usually extra sensitive in that region, and that changing spell has been known to have a very similar effect on small children about your physical age. I wouldn't worry about it. But now that I know what to look for, I can anticipate your need to sleep soon afterward if it happens again."

Andi had more questions, but they would have to wait, because her tongue was too occupied with nursing. She began getting drowsy again.

As she drifted off to sleep, Grayson said, "The body is still reacting like a normal infant. She must still be recovering from her use of magic. Most mages are in adult bodies before attempting such a complex spell. By tomorrow morning she should be back to herself."



The next day Andi woke an hour before sunrise. She was in her crib once more. She was glad of Grayson's words before she slept, because otherwise she would have been worried. She was wet and messy again. Her diaper cover was already bulging a little to hold it all in. Nursy was still asleep, and wouldn't be awake for an hour. Andi needed Nursy's help, and she wasn't available.

Perhaps her body hadn't recovered completely, because she felt an overwhelming urge to cry. The tears began pouring out. Within minutes, she was balling and wailing like a little baby.

Grayson appeared at the side of her crib. "Now really, Andi. I thought you were past all that."

She couldn't answer him, because she still couldn't stop crying.

"Alright, fine. If it will end your incessant noise, I'll do it myself." He pointed at Andi and said, "Clean Diaper."

Her wails slowed and stopped as the gushing water sprayed again and again against her messy bottom. The diaper swelled like a balloon, and it once more tipped her upright as it engulfed her legs. The spell took an extra long time in doing its business, because Nursy woke up just after the diaper stopped swelling.

"Thank you, Grayson," Nursy said. "I could hear her, but couldn't do anything until the spell was complete."

"Tisk, tisk," Grayson replied. "Sloppy magic, if you ask me. Leaving a baby untended all night, every night."

"It didn't used to take all night," Nursy said. "A decade ago it only took an hour."

"Then the spell is starting to wear off," Grayson said.

"Why now?" Andi asked. "Why after working perfectly for more than ten years would it start having problems now?"

"Because I feel less needed," Nursy said.

"How can that affect it?" Andi asked.

"The spell relies heavily on Nursy's threads of Spirit," Grayson explained. "If she isn't needed anymore, she won't be able to transform back into a human."

Nursy heaved a huge sigh. "I don't want to be an ape again. Even my intellect leaves me for awhile. I'm not sure I'd keep it if I didn't take the potion."

"From what I've seen you wouldn't," Grayson said. "The potion is a complete transformation potion. They didn't do the intelligence spell first, but instead put everything into one potion. That makes me wonder if they made it or bought it."

"I don't know," Nursy said. "I don't remember any trial and error. I was just suddenly a human, with a driving need to care for Andi."

Andi scowled. "Well, I'm not going to let you become an ape again with no memory of me. I'm going to get you to Shamballa, like you want."

"You'll do that for me?" Nursy asked.

Andi nodded.

"You really think you can replicate the spell?" Grayson asked.

"I've been studying it for a couple months now. It's slow acting, so I've had the opportunity to study each component as it's added in. That's how I knew the intelligence spell. That was the first time I'd cast it, but I knew it was right, because it looked the same."

Grayson whistled. It sounded odd coming from a mouse. "You might become the most powerful mage in the world some day."

"Why do you say that?" Nursy asked.

"Most mages have to practice that spell for months before it works for even a few minutes," Grayson explained. "Andi, here, performed it perfectly on her first try. Sure she had plenty of study, but no practice."

"Then are we ready to continue with the other spells I need to practice?" Andi asked.

"Are you sure you're feeling better?" Grayson asked.

"Yes," Andi said. "I'm not hungry, and I would be if my body was still in charge, right?"

"Good point," Grayson said. "Just remember, after each spell, it might take you a day or two of acting like a baby to recover. Be prepared for that."

Andi nodded. "Okay. Let's get me out of my pajamas and dressed for the day."

"What an excellent idea," Nursy said.

She took her time with getting Andi's clothing off. Andi suspected Nursy was worried this would be her only motherly task for the day. As if confirming Andi's suspicions, Nursy put four different outfits on her before going with a pretty blouse and pants.

At last they went outside, and Andi's jaw hung open as she looked at what her raincloud had done. It was still pouring down the same amount of rain, but instead of a barren landscape underneath it, there was a pool, or perhaps small pond of water. Green plants of some kind were already sprouting around the edge. But in addition, one side of the lake was elongated, as if trying to form a river. The farther away from the raincloud it got, the narrower it became. Thus, the shape of the pond wasn't circular, it was the shape of a raindrop.

"Wow," Nursy said as she saw it.

"It is impressive," Grayson said. "I've already been out here five times over the last couple days to watch the progress. I think the pond has stopped growing in size, and pretty soon the narrow part will begin to flow as a river."

"I didn't mean to do all that," Andi said. "I just needed a source of Water threads for my spells."

"Well, you've certainly achieved that," Grayson said. "What impresses me most about it is how the raincloud doesn't get bigger or pour more rain."

"Why would it?" Andi asked. "That's not what I made it for."

"Well," Grayson began, "if the cloud was poorly formed, it would still be seeking for more threads of Water. There are certainly plenty around, and even the diaper spell is drawing more threads from it every time you get cleaned. But your cloud continues to put out a constant amount of rain, no matter how available the threads of Water have become. I'll bet if you put your mind to it, you could create an eternal flame as well."

"Why would I need to?" Andi asked. "There is plenty of fire in the heat of the air."

"No, actually there isn't," Grayson corrected. "I assume you're ready to start practicing the transformation spell, yes?"

Andi nodded.

"If you perform it without a fire nearby, it could cool down the area by several degrees, perhaps even a couple dozen."

"That doesn't sound too bad to me," Nursy said. "It's always too hot here."

"That's true, but if the temperature drops too quickly here, the surrounding hot air will rush in to replace it."

"I could create a storm," Andi said.

"That's right," Grayson said. "You're catching on. You might even cause a tornado."

"I've read about those," Andi said. "They are very dangerous. I think I'll make a fire."

Grayson smiled and nodded as Andi walked to the other side of the house, away from the raincloud.

Andi reached out to the dozen or so threads of Fire in the area, and wove them together with Air, and a little Water. The Air would feed the flames created by the Fire, and the Water would prevent the flames from growing too large. She tied the whole weave to a string of Earth threads to prevent it from touching the ground or rising into the air.

When she was done she stepped back to examine her work.

A flame about five feet tall burned bright and hot, spewing weaves of Flame out the top. The threads rose into the air in a constant column of heat. Perfect.

There was now a constant source of the four basic elements. The only thing limiting her magic was Spirit, and she'd proven she could command that, though the consequences were a little annoying.

"That was truly impressive," Grayson said. "Where did you learn to do that? I don't remember seeing it in the books."

"Learn it?" Andi repeated. "That's just balancing three elements. It's child's play."

Grayson and Nursy both started laughing.

It took Andi a moment to get the joke in what she'd said, and then she started laughing too. "I guess it is literal child's play. Now, on to the main event."

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Nursy asked. "You know what the last spell did to you."

"That's right," Grayson said. "This spell is even more complex. There's no way of knowing how long the effects might last."

Andi shook her head. "Even if I'm babyfied for a whole month I have to get this right. I've studied Nursy's spell, I've read all the theory I could find, and now I have all the magic threads I need to make this work."

"I'd say you're ready," Grayson said. "What kind of person are you going to transform me into?"

"Excellent question," Andi said. "The spell will work better if you want to be the person I make you into. What age do you want to be?"

"Well, I'm two years old, but I don't want to be a two year old human. I'm thinking something closer to twenty-two."

Andi nodded. "Any preferences on height or weight?"

"Well, let's get this clear first," Grayson said. "I want to be a man, not a woman."

Andi nodded. "I understand. Glad you told me."

"Tall, beefy, and great hair," Grayson said.

Andi nodded. "Anything else?"

"I think that covers it," Grayson said. "Go ahead. Attempt number one."

Andi focused on the weave she wanted to create. She drew threads of Air, Water, Earth, Fire, and Spirit. The Spirit flowed both from her and from Grayson. Together they envisioned the man he'd described.

The weave was difficult to control. It kept trying to unravel. She could see the frayed edges losing threads almost as fast as she could pull them together. Frustrated by this, she realized the only way to keep the threads from escaping was to form the weave into a sphere, instead of a blanket.

Once she did that, it was much easier to change the size of the sphere, as well as work with the shape of it, which would define the characteristics of the human Grayson was about to become. Tall and beefy, without being flabby.

Her threads of Spirit intertwined with Grayson's until the sphere of weave had become the form she needed. At the center of the weave was the form of a mouse. On the outside was the form of a man.

One last thought came to mind as she pulled out the last threads of Spirit needed to complete the spell. There would probably be times when Grayson might want to change back and forth at will. To accomplish that, she would have to tether it to him in some way, the way she tethered the eternal flame and the forever rain. She drew out a few more threads of his Spirit and tied the whole thing to them.

Grayson's threads of Spirit naturally wanted to return to him, and when they did, the weave of transformation was pulled along after.

The mouse's body was stretched, pulled enlarged, transformed, and reformed, until a handsome twenty-one year old man stood where the mouse had been.

"Wow, that was fantastic!" Grayson said. "It worked on the first try!"

"It did, didn't it?" She half expected the weave to dissipate quickly, the way it usually did for beginners, but Grayson remained human.

"Are you okay?" Grayson asked. "You look a little woozy."

"I don't feel so good. Na na," Andi managed to say. "Me want food."

As Andi's legs gave way, Nursy caught her and held her tight. "I know, little one. You were working magic all day long. The sun set an hour before you finished. You must be starving."

Andi nodded. Her head was clouded, and her thinking muddled. It felt so good to have Nursy hold her, and she wanted little more than that. But her need to eat was strong as well.

Nursy had barely sat in the rocker and put Andi's mouth to her nipple before Andi's little mouth was filled with sweet milk.

The milk flowed thick and warm down her throat and into her complaining belly. She felt like she hadn't eaten in days. She was starving, and she was going to get all the milk she could. The rest of the world lost meaning as she focused on getting as much milk as possible as quickly as she could.

She didn't know how much normal babies her age ate, but she knew she'd never had so much in a single feeding before.

That's when Nursy moved her to the other nipple, and she kept going. She fell asleep just as she felt her diaper getting as warm as the milk she couldn't stop drinking.

"Is that normal?" Nursy asked.

"No one knows what's normal with this child," Grayson said. "She's unlike anything those books ever talked about. Just let her body tell you when it's had enough."

"But it's going right through her. I can feel it coming out the other end."

"She's asleep," Grayson said. "She probably wouldn't want to remember this anyway. She can't stop eating, because her body needs far more than a human body her size would need. Wait a minute."

"What is it?" Nursy asked, looking a bit alarmed.

"Do you notice what's odd about this picture?" Grayson asked.

"Odd? Everything is odd, like you said. You're human."

"So are you."

"Why would that matter?"

"Don't you always take the potion at sundown?"

"Sure," Nursy said. "Otherwise it wears off and I become an ape."

"And did you sneak in here and take it while I was transforming?"

"Well, no," Nursy said. "I was too busy watching her work magic."

"Well, it's an hour and a half after sunset."

"I can't take the potion right now," Nursy said. "Andi needs me."

"That's right," Grayson said. "She needs you to be a human, and so you are."

"Of course I am."

"An hour and a half past sunset."

"Oh," Nursy said. "I get it. I didn't transform back."

"No, you didn't," Grayson confirmed. "Is she still sucking?"

Nursy nodded. "And pooping, too."

"How do you possibly still have milk?"

"Part of the spell," Nursy said. "I always have as much milk as the baby needs. I could sit here day and night nursing, and I'd never run out. That's why I'm called Nursy."

"So it's not a name, it's a job title."

Nursy sighed. "Maybe so, but it's the only name I have." She switched Andi back to the first nipple. Each nipple individually stopped producing as soon as a baby latched on, but once it was free again, her body replenished the supply faster than any baby could drink. "She is still drinking. Are you sure she's okay?"

"Did you feel how much Spirit she was using? That was a massive spell. I was surprised she could remain conscious that long."

"So why is she still nursing, even while she's asleep?"

"Her body is trying to replenish her Spirit threads. Breast milk is an excellent source for doing that. I wouldn't be surprised if the Spirit threads are all she's absorbing from the milk."

Andi kept nursing for four straight hours. When she finally stopped, Nursy set her in bed, her diaper bulging beneath her. Nursy didn't want to imagine what kind of mess waited inside there, and was glad they'd worked out a system where she didn't have to deal with it anymore.

She was about to give the command to clean Andi's diaper when Grayson said, "Wait."

"For what?"

"How long was it after she started sucking before she started eliminating?"

"About ten minutes. Why?"

"Then that's how long you need to wait, or you'll have to do it all over again."

Nursy waited, as Grayson suggested. But she was feeling tired herself, and needed to use the bathroom. Except she couldn't do that anymore. She was overdue for her potion, and she knew that taking it always loosened things up, which is why she'd always tried to get it out before she drank it. Transformations could be jarring on the system.

She walked over to the shelf, drank her potion and sat down. "I don't know what you're so worried about," she said as her mind started to slip. "It takes at least half an hour for the spell to make them clean diapers."

The water started to gush in her diaper and between that and the potion, she couldn't hold anything in any longer. Everything came out at once as her human mind melted away.



At the same time, Andi's diaper started spitting out water as well. Grayson watched over her as she slept through the whole thing. So there he was, finally in human form, with no one to talk to. He turned instead to the books, wishing, not for the first time, that the books would respond to him. He really wanted to know more about baby mages and the laws regarding them.

The books on the shelf shifted, and his request was fulfilled.

"Wow," he said aloud. "The spell is effective enough to convince this shelf I'm a human." The knowledge of the books flowed into his brain within seconds of coming onto the shelf. It took him a moment longer to sort through everything, and when he did, he understood much better why Andi had been hidden here and why her mother couldn't stay with her.

Next he turned his attention to whether any mage had ever seen threads of magic before. Once more the books shifted, and in less than a minute, Grayson concluded there was no record of any such ability, or known spell to allow such an ability. As such, there was no way of knowing how Andi's ability came about, or how it affected her magic. So far, she'd been able to easily copy any spell she could study.

Topic after topic, he read rows and rows of books. Basic spell weaving, intermediate, advanced, expert, theories, useful spells, etc. He moved on to eternal flames and eternal rainclouds. He found them in the section of expert spells. They were forbidden because of their tendency to grow and get out of control.

The ancient mages, from long before the time of the dragons, were able to make such spells, and in fact, the source of every major river on the planet was a spring, powered by magic, deep in the ground where it would not be accidentally interrupted. But there was no record of a stable eternal flame. Many mages used temporary versions of the spells when doing difficult work, but most often they went to a place where all the necessary elements were abundant.

He read book after book about magic diapers, their uses and their downfalls. Protection spells on them were common, preventing the children from removing them. However, such spells were best removed after each child. Otherwise they could become too powerful. It only took a few years before other mages couldn't undo the protection.

Plus, if they were found by others who didn't know what they were, the diapers could get stuck forever. They didn't come off after a specific age, and there were accounts of people stuck in diapers their whole lives if they couldn't find the mage who cast the spell. That meant Nursy's diaper was stuck on her until she could find the mage who made them; but undoing the spell would prove he was involved in hiding Andi.



It was only three hours before Andi rose, cranky and hungry. It was only midnight, yet somehow Nursy's transformation back to human was already complete. She rose from the rocker and lifted Andi from the crib.

"Use your words, Andi," she said.

Andi continued to cry and wail.

Without waiting for Andi to calm down, Nursy changed her diaper and cleaned her up, like she'd done before. She put the dirty one in the pail, and settled into the rocker to feed her once more.

Only then did Andi calm down, but she was too busy nursing to say anything. She nursed for two full hours, after which time Nursy rocked her for half an hour, until she stopped filling her diaper. Then she changed Andi's diaper again, and put her back in the crib.

She slept till dawn while Grayson continued to read as much as he could.



When Andi woke the next morning at sunrise, she was aware of three things. First, she could think again, and was able to take in what had happened through the night. She remembered it, but it was as if she was watching someone else be so grouchy and so hungry. Second, she could tell her diaper needed changing again. Third, she was hungry.

"Nursy, are you awake?"

"Of course, dear. How do you feel?"

"Hungry, and squishy."

Nursy smiled and without another word took Andi to the changing table and once more changed her diaper. As before, she put the dirty one in the barrel, pointed to it, and said, "Clean diaper."

The barrel was more than half filled with water as the diaper cleaned itself.

While that was going, Nursy took Andi back to the rocker, and fed her once more.

"I'm very proud of you," Nursy said. "You did such a good job with Grayson's spell. How did you do that on the first try?"

Andi couldn't stop herself from nursing until the nipple went dry. While Nursy switched to the other, Andi said, "Well, I had to change the spell a little from the one in your bottle. It kept trying to fly apart."

"All spells do that," Grayson said. "That's why spell casting takes so much time and practice. Yet you did that spell on your first try. I doubt there's nothing you can't do."

"Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves," Nursy said. "She did that transformation spell once, but if it doesn't last past sunset, then she'll have to figure out how to put that spell into a bottle."

"If anyone can figure it out, she can," Grayson said.

"You really have that much confidence in me?" Andi asked.

"I do," Grayson said. "Your talent appears to be unique. You've already done the impossible."

Andi wanted to ask what he meant, but it would have to wait. She was still hungry.

This time it only took her an hour to get full, but once more she drifted off to sleep right away.



When Andi woke, she knew her body hadn't fully recovered from her magic use. Her diaper was once again full. "Nursy," she called.

Nursy was there almost immediately. "How are you feeling?"

"Squishy again," Andi admitted. "How long was I asleep?"

"A few hours," Grayson said.

"That's a relief," Andi said.

Nursy picked her up and carried her over to the changing table, where she changed Andi's diaper again. Then she put on a nice little pink romper, and the trio went outside once more.

The pond had a good size river running from it now, stretching away to the southwest. It went as far as Andi could see, but she was only twenty inches tall. The flame still burned brightly.

"Well, it's clear I've learned the transformation spell," Andi said, "so Grayson will be able to help me on my journey. The question is, how do we get Nursy to Shamballa?"

"By portal, of course," Grayson said.

"I don't know how to make a portal," Andi said. "Besides, I have to make an anchor point at the destination first. I can't teleport to a place I've never been, and in case you weren't paying attention, I've never been anywhere."

"Come now, Andi," Grayson said. "You've copied other spells already. Are you certain you can't use another mage's anchors?"

Andi stared at him. "How would I possibly do that?"

"First things first," Grayson said. "You're right, you should learn how to do an anchor point first. Do you see any of them around here?"

"What do they look like?" Andi asked.

"No one knows," Grayson said, "because no one else can see them."

"Then why do you think I can?"

"Just look around and tell me if you see one."

Andi turned in all directions, looking for something that didn't belong. She didn't know if they would be an actual point, or a knot of magic threads. Outside the cottage, the only magic weaves she could see were her own, and those affecting Nursy.

"I don't see anything unusual."

"Maybe it's inside," Grayson said.

"What makes you so sure there are any here at all?" Andi asked.

"There must be," Grayson said. "Your mother and her Mage Master came here often. That means they used a portal, and that means there must be an anchor point around here somewhere."

Andi sat down on the blanket and got comfortable. Once more, her diaper provided a wonderful cushion against the ground. It was like sitting on a fluffy pillow.

"What's the matter?" Grayson asked.

"Nothing," Andi said. "I'm looking."

"How do you look with your eyes closed?"

"How do other mages find the threads of magic if they can't see them?"

"Oh," Grayson said.

"Now hush, I'm trying to concentrate." She stretched out her mind, searching all around the cottage. This wasn't the first time she'd done this, and, as before, there was nothing unusual in the area.

She turned her attention to the inside. She'd read about anchor points, and knew they required all five elements, and that it was a very powerful spell, which is why it took so long to create. As she searched the cottage she went over every weave she could find, eliminating them one by one.

Nursy's potion bottle, the food box, juice jug, mush bowl, bookshelf, and extra diapers were all well known to her. She'd studied them many times. But if there was a portal anchor, why hadn't she noticed it before? It must be in the front room, she thought.

As she moved her thoughts into the front room, she noticed two tight, overlapping weaves around the entire door frame. They were nearly identical, and she wasn't sure at first if they were all part of a single spell. She had to look at them to be certain.

Without saying a word, she rose and tried to go inside, but the door was closed, and the handle was still far out of reach.

"Allow me," Grayson said. "I can reach it now."

"Thank you," Andi said, as she walked inside. "Can you open the door to the nursery as well?"

"Sure."

She stood there, staring at the doorframe. They were definitely two overlapping spells.

"Are you going in the room?" Grayson asked, still holding open the door.

"No," Andi said. "I've found it."

"What? The doorway?"

"Yes. This doorway contains what I believe are two separate anchor points."

"Well, that makes sense," Grayson said.

"Does it?"

"One for the master, and one for the apprentice. No other mage has come here, that we know of. Do you think you can copy them?"

"I need to know more about the theory behind them first."

"I thought you might say that," Grayson said. He walked into the nursery and brought back a book.

"I thought you couldn't make the bookshelf work."

"I can now, thanks to you. The shelf thinks I'm human."

The title of the book was, 'Intermediate Spells, Volume 2.' Andi already knew every spell in volume one, though she'd only tried a few.

"Page three," Grayson added.

Turning there, Andi read:

Transportation Spell: Every transportation spell begins with an anchor point. This anchor serves two purposes. First, it helps you to know where you are going. Without an end point, a transportation spell will not work. Second, it contains the majority of the magic required for transport. As such, once an anchor point is established, it is very easy to create a portal between wherever you are and the anchor.

It is best to place the anchor in an out of the way place because it cannot be moved. You won't be able to see the place you are going, and it is best not to knock someone or something over when you arrive. It is also often useful to remain unobserved upon arrival until verifying your safety. As most mages cannot detect the anchor points of other mages, there should be no concern over concealing the anchor spell itself.

It is very possible for hundreds of mages to place anchor points in the exact same spot, though it is ill advised. See prior strategies for placement. Each mage is allowed only one anchor point inside the city of Shamballa, and that is inside their quarters. The first duty of every mage, upon completion of their apprenticeship, is to create their anchor point inside their quarters.

Spell requires mostly Air, with an equal amount of Wind, Water, Fire, and Spirit.

The next page and a half described how to cast the spell, how it should feel when it was done, and the importance of remaining aware of it for twenty-eight hours after it appeared complete, to guarantee it would not unravel. Most mages proficient in the spell take a week to cast a new anchor point, and as such, few mages have more than one per decade of life.

Andi read and reread the passages concerning how the weave should feel when it was complete. She analyzed the two weaves she could see, and felt like she knew what she needed to do. Then it occurred to her that the book said these spells should be hard to detect. Before she tried her own weave, she needed to know how undetectable they really were. After all, she was able to find them.

She sat down in the main room and closed her eyes again. She reached out to the two weaves, and it was easy for her to find them. Was that only because she was looking, or did her innate talent go beyond eyesight?

Stretching her search into the nursery, she felt the weaves of magic on the objects she'd come to know so well. There was a difference, though it seemed subtle. The juice jug, the diapers, the mush bowl, etc, all gave off a stronger 'glow'. That wasn't the right word for it, as she was 'seeing' them with her eyes closed. But she had no other word to describe it. The other spells were much easier to detect, not because they used less magic, but because they were all active.

Why would that be? she mused. The diapers aren't changing themselves right now. The juice jug isn't refilling itself. Then the key came to her. Why weren't they doing so?

The diapers were waiting for a command, but that command didn't need magic to activate it. The juice jug was watching for the pitcher to empty. All of them were actively scanning their environment in some way. The anchor points, on the other hand, were passively waiting. They weren't making any decisions, and couldn't do anything unless someone reached out to them with magic.

Confident now in what she needed to do, she stood and looked around the cottage, trying to decide on a good anchor point. She could use the one her mother had used. After all, she wasn't planning to hide from her mother. However, for her first attempt, she didn't want to accidentally change or overwrite or erase her mother's anchor point. Some day she might use it to look for Andi, and interfering with that wasn't a good idea.

She could make one in the middle of the room. After all, it didn't really need physical boundaries. It was just helpful to focus on something physical that bound it, because they were going by feel, instead of sight.

Well, that sounded like a good enough reason to her. Stretching out her magic, she brought the threads of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth into the cottage, and wove them with threads of her Spirit to match the patterns she'd seen, while at the same time feeling the weave to compare it with the descriptions.

The threads of Air didn't want to stay in place, and Andi kept fighting them, trying to keep them in place all at once. It didn't work, and the spell fell apart.

The spell broke, and Andi gasped as she felt the backlash of the magic escaping. That's when she noticed it was dark in the room. "What time is it?"

"It's about an hour past midnight," Grayson said.

Andi turned to look at him, expecting to see a mouse, but instead, he was still a man. "You didn't transform back?"

"No, I didn't. Your spell is more powerful than anything anyone has ever accomplished before. I bet you don't even know what you did differently."

"How could I?" Andi objected. "I've only done it once. What do I have to compare it to?"

"How about Nursy's transformation spells?"

"They would have to be active for me to compare them properly."

"They are," Grayson said. "She took her potion less than an hour ago, when she started transforming back into an ape."

Andi walked into the nursery and saw that indeed, Nursy was in the middle of her transformation spell.

"Wait, you said she only started turning back less than an hour ago."

"That's right," Grayson said. "It's not the first night she's been able to stretch her transformation."

"But why?" Andi asked. "Why did she delay?"

"She was worried about you. You were deep in concentration on your spell, and spent so long at it. Nursy wanted to be here when you came to, in case you needed her."

"She had a very strong desire," Andi concluded.

"Yes," Grayson said. "But that doesn't explain me. I was expecting to become a mouse."

"Then why didn't you?" Andi pressed. "Did you want to transform?"

"Well, no. I was curious to see how long it would take you to do the spell. Did it work, by the way?"

"No," Andi admitted. "The spell flew apart and I got hit with the magic backwash."

"First time something didn't work for you," Grayson said. "It happens to everyone."

"Don't worry, I'm not discouraged. I'll get it right. But right now, you've asked me an important question, and this is a perfect time to get the answers. Change back into a mouse."

"What? How do I do that?"

"Concentrate on being a mouse."

"But you worked so hard on the spell. I don't want to break it early. I want to see how long it will last."

"You won't break it," Andi said. "I made the spell go both ways, based on your need."

"What do you mean, based on my need? How can I operate a spell if I don't have magic?"

"You operated the bookshelf, and I'm guessing you've been at the magic food box. Those both responded to your need."

"I... I see," Grayson said slowly. "Where did you learn how to do that? I haven't read anything about it in the books I've read."

"It wasn't in a book," Andi said. "I just copied what the box and the shelf did with their Spirit. There was a common structure to them, and I know that Spirit responds to desires if you work it right. So I made it respond to your desires."

"Not your own desires?"

"Do you really think I want to control when you become a man and when you become a mouse?"

Grayson blushed. "I kind of thought you did."

"Well, for right now, can you transform into a mouse and back to a man? I need to see the two spells in motion so I can compare them properly."

Grayson nodded, and he shrank back into a mouse. It only took three seconds. Transforming back into a man took a little longer, but it was done and over with in thirty seconds.

"My my, that was fast. How did you..." he began.

"Not now," Andi said, interrupting him. The difference was blatant and clear now. The magic required for Grayson's transformation was all bound up in the spell on him. Nursy's spell was drawing threads from her surroundings.

As the spell moved from transforming her mind to transforming her body, Andi noticed the spell also leaked magic. It wasn't much, but threads were already breaking off and floating away.

"That's it!" she exclaimed.

"What?" Grayson asked.

Andi ignored him. Instead, she focused on the transformation before her. It wasn't wise to mess with another mage's spells, but in this case, she didn't want to start over. She studied the intelligence spell, and finished the weave so it remained tight. She thought about giving her the same ability as Grayson, to read books by looking at them, but decided not to do so without consulting Nursy first.

Then she turned to the human transformation spell, which hadn't finished weaving itself from the pattern contained in the bottle. Andi brought more threads of magic into the room, and let the spell put them in place, then she completed the spell, by adding the reverse transformation. That would allow Nursy to change back to an ape if she chose, but Andi didn't think she would.

Last but not least, the weave creating milk was a good one, but it, too leaked magic. It wasn't hard to tighten up the weave, completing the spell, and keeping it from losing any more stray threads of magic.

When Andi was done, she smiled, and felt a bit woozy. When did I use my own threads of Spirit? she thought.

Grayson caught her, before she hit the floor.

Andi's legs were too tired to keep standing, and she felt herself getting cranky. It was way past her bedtime, and she hadn't eaten anything since this morning. Not again.



When Andi woke, she had a vague recollection of feeding and getting changed before being put in her crib. As before, her mind started to return before her body caught up, and she could feel how squishy her diaper was. When she tried to sit up, her diaper prevented her from doing so; it was filled almost to her knees. How much did I eat?

She rolled onto her side and slowly pulled herself to her feet by holding on to the side of the crib. It wasn't easy, but she was able to do it eventually. She thought the liquid in her diaper would give way and let her pull her legs together, but it felt like the diaper was swollen farther than ever before, having absorbed everything. She was only able to stay on her feet a few seconds before falling over and landing on the huge, thick diaper.

"Andi, you're awake!" Nursy called out. She came over and picked Andi up. "Looks like you need a change."

Andi blushed. "That would be great."

"You sound like you're feeling better," Nursy said. "I was starting to get worried."

"Why? How long have I been asleep?"

"Only a few hours," Nursy said, as she set Andi on the changing table, "but it's been a week since you spoke in anything but one and two word phrases."

"A whole week?" Andi asked. "How is that possible? I only remember feeding once."

"You've been fairly incoherent," Grayson said. "I can't say for sure, but I suspect that when you altered Nursy's transformation, it took more out of you than when you transformed me."

"Why do you think that?" Andi asked as Nursy removed the diaper that had swollen to ten times its normal thickness. Somehow, there was not even a hint of dripping as Nursy took it to the barrel and dropped it in.

"Well, with me, you were only creating one spell," Grayson said. "I suspect there were three different spells on Nursy, and you must have modified them all."

"Must have?"

"I haven't been an ape since," Nursy said as she laid a fresh diaper under Andi. As soon as she pulled it up between Andi's legs, the diaper fastened itself on. "That's odd. It's never done that before."

"No?" Andi asked.

"No," Nursy repeated. "The diapers always wait for me to pull the sides up. This time it did that for me."

"How did my diaper get so swollen? Did I really eat that much at once?"

"Well, not quite," Nursy said. "The last three days, you've been so hungry that you started screaming almost as soon as you woke up. Then, each time, you fell asleep so deeply so quickly that I didn't dare wake you up, even for a much needed diaper change. Don't worry, these diapers won't let you get a rash."

"I was really a handful, wasn't I?"

"Oh, that's really not important," Nursy said. "It's why I'm here."

"This isn't an isolated case, either," Grayson said.

"What do you mean?" Andi asked.

Nursy tried several outfits on Andi, before settling on an extremely frilly dress that came down to her ankles, with enough petticoats to hide a diaper even as large as the one she'd just taken off.

"When you didn't recover as quickly this time, I did some more research," Grayson explained. "Children like you are discouraged from using magic until at least the age of seventy. That's because children as young as you have a tendency to regress in age while recovering from overuse of magic."

"Overuse? How can I over use it? I just did what needed doing."

"Yes, but you came back to the magic too quickly. You'd barely recovered from one spell when you performed four more. From what I've read, you could have easily become a cranky baby for a full year. It's happened before."

"A full year?" Andi repeated incredulously. "How often does that happen?"

"It's rare," Grayson admitted, "but very few mage babies on record have attempted magic at the level you are tackling. Just because it is easier for you to perform magic than most doesn't change the fact that any magic you use drains you. In your case it drains you physically, emotionally, and mentally."

"Has it ever become permanent?" Andi asked. If there was even a remote possibility of that, she had to know.

"No," Grayson said emphatically. "The body is only trying to recover as quickly as it can. Since your body has developed with magic in the blood, using magic can affect you in strange ways like the age regression."

"How long does it last? I mean, five hundred years from now I'm not going to regress every time I perform a complex spell, am I?"

"That's only happened once," Grayson said, "and most historians agree that it was caused by a spell backfiring. The weave went wrong and took the seven hundred year old mage back to being a baby a little younger than you are now."

"How long did it take them to recover?"

"His body had to grow up all over again."

"What!" Andi shouted. "Don't tell me that could happen."

"The case was studied many times, to see if he'd discovered a fountain of youth spell. Since no one has ever been able to replicate the results, most agree that it was a fluke, and unlikely to happen ever again."

"What spell was he casting?"

"A healing spell."

"So what you're saying is I should wait awhile before returning to the teleportation spell," Andi concluded.

"Yes, definitely," Grayson said. "But that shouldn't stop you from studying the theory, or analyzing the weaves of existing magic."



Andi spent the next two weeks analyzing the anchor points, and studying the theories. For half of that time, her body acted like any normal twenty-one month old child, with its needs and desires. She hated when she couldn't stop a crying fit, but Nursy didn't mind. She enjoyed doting on Andi with extra attention.

Grayson spent his nights as a mouse, curled up comfortably on a shelf, while Nursy enjoyed spending time as an ape for awhile, but soon she gave that up completely. Somehow, she had no more need for sleep, and spent her nights sitting in the rocker reading, when Andi didn't need her.

Both of them were always nearby whenever Andi called, but otherwise, they each developed their own routines.

Finally, a whole week had gone by without Andi needing sleep. That night she slept well, and felt ready to tackle the magic.

She decided to stick with the spot she'd picked out before, so she made herself comfortable in the front room, on a blanket. Nursy's choice of clothing for her had skewed more and more to the long frilly dresses, and Andi didn't object. She would have been fine in just a onesie.

First she put all other concerns out of her mind, and focused on the pattern she wanted. She'd done this part three times a day for the past two weeks, so it wasn't hard to get the image she wanted. Next she called in threads of the four elements; Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Then she pulled weaves of Spirit from herself, and began to weave.

She made a small circle in the pattern she wanted, making sure all the stray threads were neatly tucked in and tied off. Then she expanded the circle into an oval, and then to a tall rectangle. As she did so, the pattern itself drew in the threads of magic, rather than forcing Andi to do it. The weave knew what it was, and expanding it was easy. Finally she made it as tall as a doorway. Instead of stopping there, the circle kept going, until it hit the floor, ceiling, and walls. There it stopped, almost painted around the room in a narrow strip of magic.

The weave was thinner than the other two, but the pattern was right. Andi could feel it. She heaved a sigh of relief, and stood up.

The sun was still in the morning position, which confused her. "How long was I concentrating?"

"Two days," Grayson said.

Andi focused on him, and saw an empty chair next to him. "Two whole days? It felt like a couple of hours."

Grayson nodded. "That's common when mages are still learning their craft. It's easy to lose touch with the world around you. Don't worry, that part will pass. It may still feel like a couple of hours, but you'll become more aware of the time passing. So did it work?"

"Yes," Andi said, "but if you're right about my use of magic, I should wait a few days or more before testing it with a teleport spell."

"Very good."

Nursy came in with a big smile on her face. "Andi, you're back with us. How are you feeling?"

The sensations of her body started to come back, and Andi knew she was in for at least a few days of 'relaxation.' "I'm tired, very hungry, and a little cranky."

"Of course you are, sweet thing. Let's get you fed."
 

larikaz

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Chapter 8 - The List of Needs

8 The List of Needs
Andi woke up in her crib with a vague recollection of the last three days. She hadn't been acting like a two-year-old, or even a one-year-old. She'd regressed further than that. She'd stopped talking, walking, or caring about anything other than nursing and sleeping.

She reached down and felt the size of her diaper. From the size of it, Nursy probably hadn't changed her in three days. Andi didn't blame her. It was easier to put a cranky baby to bed than to keep her awake to get a diaper change. Especially when her diapers could handle it.

She didn't try to get up, she just lay there, thinking. How many more big spells will I have to do in the next two hundred years? How often will I regress like this when I do? No answers came, but she tried to think through her plan once more.

Grayson would take her to see the world, pretending to be her father. If they ever got in trouble, they could always return here. But it would be nice to have other anchor points she could use. That could possibly mean three days of acting like a little baby in order to recover. Without Nursy, where would she get her milk? She would have to enchant a baby bottle with the same spell that allowed Nursy to give her milk, and Andi wasn't sure how much magic that would take.

That's one, she thought. One spell I have to do before we can go.

But milk wouldn't be enough when she had her wits about her, and Grayson wouldn't enjoy drinking only milk, so they would need some other source of food. She could probably copy the spell on the food box, but she'd have to understand it better first. Plus, they'd have to put the spell on something more portable, like a satchel, and right now they didn't have one. I wonder if the food box can provide more than food.

Still, even if it could, that was two.

Knowledge is power, according to the philosophers she'd read, so she would like to make the library available as well. She might be able to put that spell on a satchel as well, but right now she didn't know if that could be the same satchel, or if she could get both with the same spell.

Let's call that three, she thought.

She wasn't sure how they would get around, but then remembered how she'd called Grayson to her. Perhaps she could call for a horse, or other beast that could carry them. That spell didn't seem to take too much out of her. It was small and easy, but it would take time to work. Plus, there was the matter of getting to Shamballa. She wasn't even sure how far away that was.

The bookshelf shuffled.

"Well, I guess my answer is on the shelf," she said aloud.

Grayson walked up to the crib. "Answer to what? Why do you need maps?"

"If we're going to get Nursy to Shamballa, we need to know how far away it is."

"More than ten thousand miles, over land and ocean. Even flying could take a week to get there."

"Well, I guess that makes four."

Nursy walked up with a big smile on her face. "No, little one, it's only been three days."

Andi smiled, "Good. That's how many days I remember."

Nursy picked her up and took her to the changing table. She changed Andi's diaper as they continued to talk.

"I mean four spells I'll have to cast before we can get going. Each one could infantilize me for anywhere between a day and a week."

"What four spells?" Grayson asked.

"Well, I need to know how to enchant something to make it fly, and carry all of us at fast speeds."

The bookshelf shuffled again. Grayson walked over to it and pulled two books off and set them aside. "What else?"

"I need to get us something to eat, so I need to know how to duplicate the spell on the food box."

The books shuffled once more and Grayson selected another two books, setting them next to the first two. "Next."

"Well, when I decide we like a place, and I cast an anchor point spell, I'll need to have some way of getting milk. I doubt you want to be my nursemaid during those times, and Nursy won't be happy if she only gets to baby me once a year. So I'll need to cast an endless milk spell on a baby bottle."

The books shuffled and Grayson selected two more. "And the fourth?"

"Well, I don't want to lose our access to all those books. Even with as many as you've read, I'm sure you're not an expert on everything. So I need a way of duplicating the bookshelf spell on something more portable."

The books shifted and Grayson selected three books.

"Of course, it would be nice if the food and the books could come from the same portable object, and I don't know if that's a fifth spell or, just complicates those two."

More books came onto the shelf and Grayson selected one. "It's much more complicated," he confirmed. "That one alone might put you down for a month."

Andi heaved a huge sigh. "So that means several more months of preparation before we can make a proper go of this."

"You forgot about shelter, and clothing," Nursy said. "That magic bag of yours will also have to provide those for both of you."

"Ugh," Andi said. "Maybe a whole year then." She expected to hear the books shuffling in response to her thoughts of needing to know how to get clothing and money, but they didn't.

"Don't worry," Grayson said. "If you get the spell right, you'll have access to the entire storehouse of items kept by the Mages' Council. The only thing is, we'll have to put something of value back in, or someone will come looking for us."

"How will you know if the things you put in are valuable enough?" Nursy asked.

Grayson smiled. "They'll send us a balance sheet, like a bank account."

"Then who's account is the food box on?" Andi asked.

"I don't know," Grayson said.

"Well, someone's got to be paying for it, cause no one has come looking," Andi said.

"That also means they will know when we stop using it," Grayson said. "When that happens, they'll still come looking, but we won't be here."

"Should we leave a note?" Nursy asked.

"I think we have to," Andi said. "How else will you ever get that diaper off?"

Nursy sighed. "That's true, but I was thinking more along the lines of reuniting you with your mother."

"Well, I know I won't be ready for the diaper to come off before we leave. That means at some point, when I am ready, I'll have to come find you, or find her."

"If you go find Nursy before you're two hundred," Grayson said, "you'll have to stay in the nursery until then."

"So it's a choice between waiting to potty train until I have the body of a fourteen year old, or somehow connecting with my mother before then." Andi only paused a moment before saying, "We definitely need to leave a note, and find some way for her to contact us when she comes."

"I'm not sure what's kept her away for so long," Nursy said, "but she might not be back for twenty years, if ever."

"My body will only be three years old at that point," Andi said. "Sounds like a good time to potty train."

Nursy nodded. "But how are we going to know when she comes here?"

Andi sighed. "That's probably another spell I'll have to master before we can go."

The books shifted again, and Grayson walked back to the shelf to select another text. He now had a stack of eleven books of varying thickness.

Andi guessed it would take her a month to read through them all. But then again, they were already talking about being here twice that long. Still, the spells she needed might only occupy a small portion of each book.
 

kerry

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I'd like to commend you for what so far is a thoroughly original concept rendered very well. :)
 

larikaz

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  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 9 - The Basic Needs Pocket

9 The Basic Needs Pocket
Andi tackled the problem of their food supply first. She read the books Grayson had picked out and discussed the theories with him. The intelligence spell she'd cast allowed him not just to read the books by looking at them, but to remember them all, and recall the relevant information. He was a walking library.

They spent three weeks preparing before Andi even addressed the need for something to cast the spell on. "I think I'm ready to try the spell," Andi said, but what are we going to use?"

"Think carefully about what you need," Grayson said, "and reach into the food box."

"The food box?" Andi repeated. "I'm not going to cast the spell on a loaf of bread."

"Think about what you have learned," Grayson said. "There are several different collections of items used by mages. Do you remember what they are?"

"Yes, of course I do. I had to memorize them all so I would be certain to cast the spell on the right collection."

"So name them," Grayson insisted.

"When did you become my Mage Master?" Andi asked.

"The moment you called me here," Grayson said. "That's what you wanted, someone to teach you how to use your magic."

"I wanted something to try out my spells," Andi corrected. "I didn't expect to get such a good friend."

"Didn't you?" Grayson asked. "When you cast the spell, did you think that practice alone could help you master your magic?"

"No," Andi admitted. He was right. Even back then she knew she would need more than what was written in books. She thought she could make herself into a walking library, but that hadn't quite worked out.

"Were you lonely, and in need of a friend?" Grayson asked.

"Yes," Andi admitted. Nursy was a great nursemaid, but Andi had been preparing to run away and leave Nursy behind. It was only later that they'd started talking more as friends then as strangers.

"The summoning spell you cast doesn't just record one thought, it records them all," Grayson reminded her. "I knew exactly what you needed, as did every other animal it passed by. I was the first one willing to answer the call."

Andi blushed. She hadn't realized until now how much of herself she'd revealed to Grayson before they even met. But then she calmed down when she remembered that he came anyway. He came because he wanted to be exactly what she needed at that moment. He was the perfect companion because he chose to be, not because her magic made him that way.

"Okay, I get it," Andi said. "You became what I needed you to be, and every apprentice needs a master."

"Good. But remember, I'm also your friend," Grayson added. "I'm only trying to help you."

Andi nodded.

"Then recite the mages' collections."

"Basic needs, basic books, Mages' Council books, secret archives, and enchanted items."

"If the secret archives are secret," Nursy asked, "why did they list them?"

"Because an inexperienced mage might accidentally connect to them if they are not specifically excluded," Andi recited.

"What happens if you do that?" Nursy asked.

"Unauthorized connections to any of the collections will alert the Mages' Council, and they will break the spell, then come find you."

"That sounds harsh," Nursy said.

"That's why the theory includes that information," Grayson said. "So that ignorance is not an option. Mistakes will happen, and the Master Mage of an apprentice is supposed to be responsible for explaining them when they do."

"But I don't have a mage for a master, so I can't afford to make those mistakes," Andi said.

"Of course," Nursy said. "The last thing we want right now is to have a mage come here."

"That brings us back to what kind of object you need," Grayson said.

"Well, I want to have access to three of the collections, and there are safeguards protecting the collections from colliding," Andi said, "so I need three different items, or something with three pockets."

"Can't you just reach into the enchanted items collection and pull out bags already enchanted?"

"First, I don't have access to that collection," Andi said, "and second, the cost of such an item is high. My best source of income to pay for our needs will probably be depositing objects I enchant."

"Doesn't that mean you need an account first?" Nursy asked.

Andi smiled. "That's part of the spell. It requires a lot of Spirit to make an object that can decide so many things so often. And every mage has a different Spirit. The mages in Shamballa have a way to distinguish between them."

"So they can know who cast a specific spell?" Nursy asked.

"Not always," Grayson replied. "If threads of Spirit from more than one source are used, it quickly becomes impossible to distinguish them. That's why Andi will have to do this spell without drawing on Spirit from anything else."

"Three spells," Andi said. "If I tried to make one spell do all three, I'd probably lose several months of what little age I have."

"Very true," Grayson said. He picked her up so she could stick her tiny arms into the food box, which she realized, should be called a box of basic needs. That included everything that wasn't enchanted, restricted, or listed as part of the libraries.

She pulled out a satchel with three pockets. One on each side, and one in the middle. Each of the pockets was almost big enough for her to curl up in. "I can't carry this!" she exclaimed.

"You won't have to," Grayson said. "I'll be the one doing the carrying."

"Oh, of course," Andi said. "But both sides look the same. How am I supposed to remember which pocket is which?"

"Colors, letters, or words?" Grayson asked.

"What?"

"Those are the three most basic ways of identifying things," Grayson explained. "Of course the mages in Shamballa add shapes, especially different colored shapes. I suppose those are a kind of letter, though, so perhaps they aren't a separate category after all."

"Why do they use shapes?" Andi asked.

"Well, not everyone in this world speaks the same language," Grayson said.

"They don't? Why not?" Nursy asked.

"The continents have been divided for centuries," Grayson explained, "and it's been several millennia since this planet was colonized. It's only natural that there would arise differences in language. Separating the land into continents only accelerated those differences. We all use the same alphabet, but words have different meanings in different countries, or no meaning at all."

"So when we meet people, they might not understand us?"

"Well, it's very doubtful they'll understand you," Grayson said. "You're speaking Shamballan. When we meet others, I recommend you don't speak at all. The mages claim theirs is the purest language, since they live so long. But that claim can only stretch back about 1500 years, when the mages had to gather into a single body and form their own government.

"Before Cortiban, there was no Mages' Council, no Shamballa. Shamballan is a melting pot of the ten languages the way they were spoken back then. It may not have changed much in the last fifteen centuries, but that doesn't mean it's in any way more pure than the others. The true end result is that Shamballan is even more different from the other nine languages than any of them are from each other. So if you try to say something, it will either be gibberish to them, or identify you as a mage. Neither result would be good."

"Then how do we communicate with them?" Andi asked.

"I speak all eleven languages."

"Eleven?" Nursy repeated. "I thought you said there were only nine others."

"Well, that excludes draconic," Grayson said. "They have some letters which humans simply can't pronounce very easily, if at all."

"Such as?" Andi asked.

In response, Grayson growled.

"What was that for?" Andi protested.

"I was just answering your question," Grayson explained. He growled again "is a letter in the draconic alphabet."

"How strange," Andi said.

"No, it makes sense," Nursy said. "Apes make sounds humans can't easily master. Why shouldn't dragons be the same?"

"Good point," Andi said. "Then I think I'd better go with colors. The letters would only mean something to me anyway, and the words could identify it as enchanted. That's not something we want to advertise."

"Very true," Grayson agreed. "That would make the satchel more enticing to thieves as well as invite questions we don't want to answer."

"What kind of questions?" Nursy asked.

"Only four kinds of people could carry such an enchanted bag," Grayson explained. "Mages, royalty, Thralls, and dragons in human form. We don't want to be seen as any of those."

"Then what colors do you recommend?" Andi asked.

Well, you really only need to color one side," Grayson said. "The middle pocket will always be the middle pocket."

Andi studied the bag again. It was made of cotton spun into tight threads in a tight weave. It was white through and through. That didn't really suit her, and she thought of pink. But she reminded herself that Grayson would be the one carrying it. "You're the one who is going to be carrying it and pulling things out and putting things in. What colors best suit you?"

Grayson smiled. "That's easy. Gray and brown."

"Why?" Nursy asked.

"Well, I didn't pick the name Grayson because my favorite color was purple. And brown is a safe color to me."

"That's just fine," Andi said. She cast a simple dye spell on the bag, using a couple of threads of Spirit from Grayson, so that the colors would be the exact shades he was picturing.

"It looks good," Grayson said when she was done.

"Now for the basic needs spell," Andi said. She pulled in the threads, making sure she had more than enough of each. The spell required meticulous concentration, and lots of threads of Spirit.

When she was done, the center pocket was connected to the mages' storehouse of basic needs, a magical nether space where items could only be recalled by such a spell, and the needs of the one reaching in. She knew it was working because she could feel it.

It felt like a full day had gone by, but she needed to check. "How long did it take?"

"Nine days," Grayson said. "I think you'd better rest."

Andi laid back on the floor and allowed herself to relax. She felt Nursy pick her up before she lost touch with her conscious mind.
 

LilByte

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One of the best stories I've ever read online. Keep it up!

And wow, you posted another update while I was reading. lol.
 

larikaz

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Chapter 10 - Return from Infanthood

10 Return from Infanthood
The room was dark when Andi could think again. Once more, memories of being a real pain filled her mind, like a living torture. The days of being infantilized melted together, so that she couldn't say how long it had been. Last time she'd spent two days casting a spell, and it had cost her three days in infanthood. What did nine days do to her?

"Grayson? Nanny?" Andi called out. "Is someone there?" Her voice sounded funny, as if she had a lisp.

"Of course I am, little one," Nursy said, appearing at her bedside. "Thank goodness you can talk again. I was beginning to worry."

"Why? How long was I a grumpy baby? And why does my voice sound funny?"

"Three weeks," Grayson said.

"And my voice?" Andi pressed.

"Now, Andi," Nursy began, "we knew this was a risk, and it may not last."

"What happened?" Andi insisted. She tried to roll over to grab the rail, but her body wouldn't do it.

"You've regressed quite a bit in age," Grayson said. "Right now I'm not sure if you could even crawl."

"What! Please tell me this will go away soon."

"We have no way of knowing," Grayson said.

"How old am I?" Andi pressed.

"About six months old," Nursy said.

"Six months?" Andi said, panic starting to set in. "You mean I've lost fifteen years of growth?"

"The good news is, you were closer to three months old after you finished the spell," Grayson said. "You've gained back three months of growth in three weeks."

"So if I keep going at that rate, it will take me fifteen weeks to get back where I was?"

"It's possible," Grayson said, "but there is no guarantee."

"Well, my body needs to replace threads of Spirit, right?"

"Yes," Grayson said. "Why? What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking I should nurse more often, and longer."

"That would be hard to do," Nursy said. "You've been nursing every moment you were awake for the last three weeks."

Andi looked down and saw the enormous diaper. It looked even bigger, given how small she'd gotten. "So that's why you didn't take the time to get me a . . ."

"Don't say it," Nursy said. "Just let me change you."

Andi realized what she'd been about to say. That would have caused Nursy's diaper to clean itself as well. She remained silent, and thinking while Nursy took off the gigantic wet diaper and put a fresh one on her. She needed to know if there was a way to replenish her Spirit threads faster.

The bookshelf shuffled itself.

"Why do you need," Grayson began. His pause said so much. "Oh, I see. Yes, that might work."

"What?" Nursy asked. "What are you mumbling about?"

"Andi wants to find a way to gather more Spirit threads faster, so she can recover more quickly," Grayson explained.

Andi was happy to have him explain while she started nursing.

"Normally, a mage eats meats, creams, eggs, and other animal products. Some mages have found plants that contain an unusually high amount of Spirit threads, and find that eating those is even more effective."

"But Andi can't eat anything. Her body can only process milk."

"That's true," Grayson said. "Some of this answer is guess work. What if you ate those plants. The threads of Spirit would infuse your body, and probably give your milk a boost of Spirit threads."

"What plants are we talking about?" Nursy asked.

"Seaweed, plankton, dragonsbane flowers, scrub brush, cactus pads, and gartuga tubers."

"None of those things are edible," Nursy said. "Besides, where are we supposed to get them?"

"The basic needs box," Grayson said.

"Why not the bag Andi cast a spell on?" Nursy asked.

"Because we haven't put anything in yet, and we can't afford to have a negative balance."

"Good point," Nursy said. She pondered this for awhile, switched Andi to the other nipple, and said, "Let's say we get some of these items. How am I supposed to eat them?"

"There are recipes in these books on how to prepare them, but the prepared solutions may be in the basic needs box."

"You mean there might be a vial filled with Spirit threads, and I can just drink it?" Nursy asked.

"Not quite," Grayson said. "Something like that would be in the enchanted items vault, and we don't have a way of accessing it yet."

"So what do we do?" Nursy asked.

Andi listened, but only just barely. She was concentrating on the flow of warm, sweet milk. She needed so much of it, and it just wasn't coming fast enough. She wished Nursy's breasts were larger, and filled with more milk so she could drink it faster.

"What's happening!" Nursy cried out.

"What's wrong?" Grayson asked. But soon he saw the problem. "Oh my."

Nursy's breasts swelled up by several cup sizes. "Why are they doing that?"

Andi's joy at getting a bigger stream of milk sent shudders of pleasure through her and she sucked all the harder.

"What was it you said about the milk you make?" Grayson asked.

"There will always be as much as is needed."

"Well, there you go," Grayson said. "Andi needs more, so your breasts swelled in order to provide it."

"Will they go back down?"

"I don't know. We'll have to wait and see."

Andi continued nursing for six hours. Her body pumped the fluid through her faster than should have been possible for a normal six month old baby. It was like she'd turned on a hose of milk, spraying down her throat, going through her body, and coming out the other end. With the flow that strong, it came out both ways, and Andi didn't care. Getting that much milk, that quickly was all that mattered to her. Eventually she fell asleep, feeling more satisfied than she had in weeks.



"Look at this!" Nursy exclaimed. "Her diaper is huge. I thought it only got that full when I activated the cleaning spell."

"She was drinking a lot of milk," Grayson said. "It had to go somewhere."

"Will you help me get her changed before we put her to bed?"

"Are you sure she's done processing her food?"

The diaper cover, which already reached past Andi's knees, continued swelling for another ten minutes.

"Poor baby," Nursy said. "I hope you got more of what you needed."



Andi woke screaming. Pain shot from her mouth through her whole body. She couldn't stop wailing, and she didn't know what was wrong.

"I don't know what to do," Nursy exclaimed.

"I thought you always knew what to do," Grayson said.

"Give me her pacifier," Nursy yelled. "Maybe that will keep her quiet while I get her in a clean diaper."

Andi was only slightly aware of her diaper swelling up even farther. The pain coming from her mouth felt like someone was jabbing her with a hot poker in her gums.

"Gums!" she managed to call out between the screams. Then it dawned on her what was happening. The joy at realizing she was getting her age back was drowned out by the pain. "Teething," she managed to add.

"Of course!" Nursy cried. She started to rise from the chair, but her swelling diaper prevented her from going any farther, and she fell back into the chair, and onto the wet cushion that was her diaper.

"I'm coming," Grayson said.

He handed Andi a teething ring, and she immediately shoved it in her mouth, grinding on it. The teeth finally cracked the surface, and though the stabbing pain grew sharper for a moment, it faded in the next. Her teeth were back.
 

larikaz

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Chapter 11 - More Preparations

Andi spent almost three months recovering. Even then, she was almost certain she was shorter than she'd been before. She spent another month waiting for her full age to return, but her appetite had returned to that of a mage, as had her sleep schedule. She was making preparations to cast the spell on the library pocket of the bag, and would do so after her next sleep cycle, which was only two days away.

"What if you tried building the spell in stages?" Grayson asked.

"It would still require an enormous amount of Spirit," Andi said. "And if it takes me four months to recover as much as I'm going to, it won't matter if I spend three weeks building it slowly. In the end, it will still take the same amount of time, all around."

"Well, I had to ask."

"I appreciate that," Andi said. "I'm hoping this spell will be easier, now that I've done it once."

"It might be," Grayson said. "Remember, most apprentices only get this spell right once in their first fifty years."

"What happens to those who don't?" Andi asked.

"They stay in Shamballa until they do," Grayson said. "No point in sending someone out on an assignment if they can't get help along the way. Even then, most of them have to cast a spell, or use a few threads of Spirit to activate their bags. What you're achieving is masters level stuff."

"Then what about the food box, and the bookshelf?" Andi asked. "Are you going to tell me a high level mage left them here?"

"I hadn't thought of that," Grayson said. "I suppose he must have been powerful, whoever he was. Of course, they did have years to plan this all out."

"So do we," Andi pointed out. "But I don't want to spend them recovering from using too much magic."

"Then what are you going to do differently this time?" Grayson asked.

"Instead of constructing the spell from scratch, I'm going to splice it, and adjust the new sections to connect to the right collections."

"Both at once?" Grayson asked, stunned. "Won't that be worse?"

"It could be," Andi said. "But I'm hoping the Spirit threads on the bag have had enough time to themselves to duplicate on their own, without sucking more Spirit from me."

"That's quite a gamble," Grayson said. "You could wind up losing the whole spell."

"I've done it before," Andi explained, "but never on something this complex."

"Well, if I were you, I'd drink up before trying it. Nursy's been eating plankton salad for the last two weeks to prepare."

"Yuck," Andi said.

"It's surprisingly good," Grayson said. "Something about the sea salt mixing with the other ingredients, I think."

That night Andi drank as much milk as she could. It still flowed out in a heavy gush, instead of the small squirts she'd gotten before, and by the time she was done, it was already filling her diaper.

Still, she did the same thing the next morning, and the next night, even though she wasn't hungry.

She slept well that night, and nursed again in the morning before attempting the spell.

When she felt as ready as she could be, she sat in front of the bag and reached out to the weave of magic. She divided it in half, and modified one half to connect to the basic books collection. She set it in place, and watched to be certain it stayed put before going back to the first half and cutting it in half again. She did the same thing to this new weave, connecting to the enchanted objects collection. She put it in place as well, and everything seemed fine.

The weaves stretched themselves into place, and threads of magic began to flow into the spells to make them strong enough to stay in place and do what they were designed to do.

Andi stood up and smiled at Grayson.

"Are you done?" Grayson asked.

Andi nodded. "I got the other two spells in place, and the bag will be ready to go by morning."

"But it only took you an hour to do that," Grayson said. "How could you possibly have done it in an hour?"

"Creating new weaves is difficult," Andi said, "but once I have them in place, it's easy enough to stretch them, split them, or duplicate them. There just has to be enough magic in the area for them to . . ."

She paused mid-sentence as she heard the lisp return to her voice. She poked a finger into her mouth and found her teeth were shrinking again. "Uh oh. Baby made a boo boo."

Her mind melted into the background of infant needs as she watched the world expand around her.
 

larikaz

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Chapter 12 Children of the Forest

12 Children of the Forest
Grayson examined Andi as she lay in the crib. She didn't look more than two months old, but it looked like the backward sliding had finally stopped. "Poor girl," Grayson said. "I wonder what her mistake was."

"From what she was saying when she collapsed, I think it was obvious," Nursy said. "Her spells had begun drawing threads of magic from their surroundings."

"The spells were acting on their own?" Grayson asked. "That doesn't make sense."

"You're the one who can research things more quickly than I can change a dirty diaper."

"That's right," Grayson said. He focused on the bookshelf, trying to understand what could have happened. "Spell duplication," Grayson said under his breath.

A dozen new books appeared on the shelf. Usually the new books took up the whole shelf, but these barely covered half of it. Still, as the information poured into his mind, he quickly learned why.

Duplicating spells, the way Andi had done, was extremely difficult, and very tricky. It sounded as if Andi had set everything into place, as others had done in the past, and allowed them to start expanding. That must have meant they had started sucking threads of magic from their surroundings to expand the weave to fill their purpose.

That shouldn't have presented a problem, there were plenty of threads of magic around. Except Spirit, Grayson thought. The threads of Spirit must have all come from Andi, because all of them from the original spell had too.

"She was nursing for two hours," Grayson thought out loud. "And yet she still continued to shrink. There is no way for me to know if the spells are done drawing from her, or if her body doesn't have any more to give."

"Well, let's hope it's the first one," Nursy said. "Otherwise, I'd be worried she will stay two months old until they are done."

"Good point," Grayson said. "I wish I could feel magic like a mage."

The bookshelf shifted more books into the room, making Grayson and Nursy both jump.

"Is it possible?" Nursy asked.

Grayson paused as he took in what the books were saying. "Yes it is," he said at last. "It's been done before, but I need more specifics on how." He cut off the end of the thought as the shelf responded.

"How is that possible?" Nursy asked. "I thought you had to be born with the gift, and both of us have been around enough magic that . . ."

"We're not humans," Grayson interrupted. "We look human, and we are human now, but in reality, we are both animals with spells on us. The longer they remain, and the stronger they are, the more likely it is that we will start feeling magic as well, and possibly controlling it! We are called Children of the Forest. We probably won't be able to feel and control all five elements, but at least one would be a start."

"Well, it must take a long time then," Nursy concluded. "I've been here for more than twenty-two years now."

"And you're sure you can't feel any magic?" Grayson pressed. "None at all?"

"How would I know?"

"When your breasts enlarged, what were you thinking at the time? How did it feel?"

"I was thinking that Andi needed to get milk faster. Then it just happened."

"Yes, but how did it feel?"

"It felt like energy was surging from my body, and from all around me, pouring into my breasts and filling them up like a balloon."

"That's it!" Grayson said. "The flow of energy."

"That's what?"

"You felt the threads of magic!" Grayson shouted. "You didn't know what they were, because you've never read the books."

"Well, if that's the case, I'd say the spells aren't done growing."

"No?" Grayson asked. "Why do you say that?"

"Cause there is still energy flowing from her into the bag."
 

larikaz

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Chapter 13 - The Long Night

13 The Long Night
It took four days for the spell to finish growing, and in the meantime, Andi didn't. In fact, she got even younger. She only weighed about fifteen pounds at her lightest, and it took longer for her to start growing back.

She remained aware of what was happening this time, and she was scared. She couldn't talk, and she could barely control her body. Hope of returning to a twenty-two month old anytime soon was gone. She began to worry that she wouldn't even get back to a year old within the next decade.

It was a full two weeks before Andi could tell there was any progress, and even then it was slow going. Her waking hours were filled with drinking milk faster than humanly possible, filling her diaper, and dreaming as she slept. Even sleeping wasn't an escape from the living nightmare. She was aware of her dreams as much as she was aware during her waking hours, as few as they were.

Two more months went by before her appetite reduced, and she started sleeping less. That's about when three teeth came back in at once. A week later, she could finally talk again.

"What did I do wrong?" was the first thing she said aloud. She'd just woken up from a long nap, and she only had a few minutes before the hunger would make her start screaming.

"Oh thank goodness," Nursy said. "I was worried you wouldn't start talking at all. We felt like we'd almost lost you."

"Hunry," was all she could manage to reply.

"Of course," Nursy said.

Ten seconds later, Andi was getting milk, and the gnawing hunger stopped tearing at her stomach. It was still there, forcing her to focus on sucking for awhile, but the flow of milk was so great, that she should have been full in seconds. Instead, it was less than a minute before an equally strong flow went into her diapers. This continued for three hours, with Andi only able to speak every ten minutes when Nursy had to switch her to the other nipple.

"You were wrong about the spells making their own threads of Spirit," Grayson said. "They had to come from you, and it took four days for them to get enough magic from you to finish."

Andi thought about this as she drank. She knew she would only get a short time to respond, so she worked through the obvious questions on her own. She'd created a fountain of Water threads, and Fire threads, but it was impossible to do the same for Spirit. She knew that.

"Can spells steal magic from other spells?" she managed to get out.

Grayson went to the bookshelf and got an answer. "Yes, but only if those spells are poorly constructed." He went on for five minutes about the instructions given to apprentices to make their weaves tight to prevent other spells from unraveling theirs. Even then, spells usually came unraveled over time.

Can I tear open a spell to spill its threads at the right time? she asked herself. Of course. She already knew that. It was in the basic instructions. So the real question was, could she store up threads of her Spirit over time? And what kinds of objects could store the most, without contaminating the threads? They had to be pure, or it was pointless.

"What objects hold Spirit threads without corruption?" she asked.

Grayson went back to the shelf, and stayed there as group after group flew by. She didn't know if he wasn't getting an answer, or if there was that much material on it. With about one minute to go, he came back and said, "There's nothing written on doing that, but there are references to theories that might help. I need more time, but I wanted to let you know."

During his short speech, the books never stopped shuffling themselves. More and more books went by for more than an hour. Andi was surprised he hadn't read through the entire library by now. Perhaps that is what he was trying. She wondered if he needed access to the secret books of the Mages' Council, and if so, what would it take to gain access.

Finally, the books stopped shuffling and Grayson came back. "Precious jewels," he said. "Diamonds in particular, though rubies and emeralds serve well enough for most spells."

Andi had three minutes of thinking before she could reply. Finally she said, "Can I make them or get them from the basic needs box?"

Without a shuffling of books, Grayson said, "Yes on both counts. Diamonds are made from Earth alone, but it is very difficult to do, as it requires a tight weave of Earth. They are considered a basic need, if they don't have any magic on them. Otherwise, they must come from and go into the enchanted objects collection. Apparently the hardest part of making diamonds, is to do so without leaving any stray threads of Earth inside. The best way to avoid this is to use coal to convert into diamond through magic, instead of weaving magic together to make a diamond, though the second method is difficult enough."

He continued on with his speech for an hour, describing the process to her, the best theories, and competing theories on how to do it. This time she didn't have an example, and probably wouldn't. But she did have an idea beyond what Grayson was saying, and she hoped it wouldn't involve any Spirit.

- - - Updated - - -

14 Diamonds and Rivers
Another month slipped slowly by as her appetite and need for sleep slowly reduced. It was a full four months after her little mistake that she could go without sleep or milk long enough to bother with practicing or prolonged conversation. In that time, she learned that Nursy had realized she could feel, and therefore control magic. Grayson had achieved the same end only a few days ago.

Now Andi sat, trying to think of how to proceed. Her body was about a year old, and she hadn't noticed any progress in the last week. This was probably where she would stay, if she understood Grayson properly. The other seven months would most likely take her seven years to get back. It was so frustrating. On the other hand, it meant she was back to nursing every night, which Nursy enjoyed. She was still drinking far more than humanly possible, and she was grateful that at this age she was completely unaware of when and how things went into her diaper.

"I'm thinking a weave of Earth and Air to pull dirt into the spell," she explained to Grayson, on their fiftieth iteration of the diamond maker. "Then large amounts of Fire burn off everything but the carbon, and then the mix of all four places the carbon in the right matrix."

"That would take a long time," Grayson said, "and create a column of smoke that could be seen for hundreds of miles. Someone would be bound to investigate."

"Then how would you get the carbon?" she asked.

"I found a text last night on selecting from the ground the materials that you seek. It takes a small amount of Spirit, but nothing close to what you've done in the past."

"How does it work?" Andi asked. She was inclined to reject the idea right away, as anything requiring Spirit sounded risky right now, and it would be at least three weeks before she dared to weave even the tiniest threads of it.

"The spell attracts the metals that you seek from under the ground. This is mostly used to bring gold or other precious metals to the surface, and usually it's difficult to find anything buried more than three feet down. Plus, it's complicated, and difficult to get right. Since mages who can perform the spell aren't usually impoverished, it isn't done very often."

"I don't understand how that helps us," Andi replied.

"Well, from what I've read, carbon is everywhere. It's in all living things, it's in the air, and the ground. All we have to do is collect enough of it to make a large enough diamond."

"How do we know it's in the air?" Andi asked. "Shouldn't we be able to see it if particles of carbon are floating around?"

"Apparently, there are some ancient texts that pre-date Cortiban by several millennia," Grayson explained. "From what I gather, they may be older than the Great Continent itself."

"How could anything that old survive this long?" Andi asked.

"Well, how did we cross the great emptiness of space? How do we know space is empty? How did the Great Continent get formed once we were here? Many of these answers are lost to time, and the construction of this book is among them. Still, it speaks of the structure of the universe, and how everything we see is made of things called atoms, which are so small we can't see them. It explains why some substances burst into flames or explode when they touch each other. And it says that the air we breathe has these atoms of carbon in them. Our bodies need oxygen to live, while the plants use carbon dioxide. What our bodies give off, plants use, and the difference is the amount of carbon in the air."

"Well, where do our bodies get all that carbon? If it isn't in the air we breathe in, how is it in the air we breathe out?"

"Our food contains lots of carbon. The plants we eat have lots of it, and the meat we eat has it, too. It is a basic part of life."

"So what happens if we take too much of it out of the air?" Andi asked.

"It makes more oxygen. It shouldn't be a problem, as long as we do it outside."

"So the spell needs to attract this carbon dioxide, and break off the oxygen? How is it supposed to do that?"

"I can't explain it all without teaching you years worth of a subject called chemistry, but there are ways to attract the carbon dioxide, and encourage the oxygen to leave the carbon behind."

"Does it require any Spirit?" Andi asked.

"No," Grayson said. "It shouldn't."

"Then how does it know when we have enough?"

"We put it inside something air-tight, to store it for later."

"That sounds too simple," Andi said.

"Believe me, this set up will be anything but simple," Grayson said with a frown. "But it won't require any Spirit."

Andi liked that plan, and they spent three weeks of trial and error to put the contraption together. Part of the reason it took so long was that Grayson was trying to practice his magic, and the other part was that he couldn't easily explain everything to Andi.

Once they had the carbon collector assembled and working, they set it outside, some distance from the house, and went to work assembling the spell that would form that carbon into a diamond.

For their purposes they didn't need the diamond cut and polished, like a jeweler would do. In fact, a diamond of that shape would only attract the attention of thieves. Instead, they allowed it to form diamonds into a thick circular disk, about the size and shape of the largest gold coin, a royal dragon. That way they could later weave it into a belt or other piece of clothing.

This part of the process was much easier. They created a mold in the desired shape, which would later be filled with the carbon they collected. Then they cast a spell on it that would transform the carbon inside into a diamond.

The spell of transformation required a lot of Fire and Water and Air, but no Spirit. Without Spirit, the spell would try to work on whatever was put into the mold, but only when the lid was put in place. The texts indicated the process would take a full week, but that it was best to allow two weeks to ensure the diamond achieved optimum quality. Any lack of quality, any flaws in the stone, would leak out the precious Spirit they hoped to store there.

So, by the time they got their first diamond out of the mold, Andi was back to the schedule of a mage, nursing only twice each week, and sleeping once each week. She hadn't grown any more, and was now convinced that her mistake had indeed cost her seven years of aging. It didn't seem fair, but then, it was her mistake, so naturally, she paid the price for it.

The first diamond they took out of the mold was perfect. Grayson examined it for flaws, using a jewelers' loop he took from the basic needs box, and found it was completely flawless.

Andi had been studying the spell for adding Spirit to a jewel, and practiced it that same night. She only gave it a few threads of Spirit, and let it sit overnight. The next day, she could feel those threads of Spirit still inside. Thus, each day she began depositing threads of Spirit, a little bit at a time. She knew all the theories on how fast she could do this without weakening herself, and she stayed right around half that amount, for safety's sake.

The second diamond that came out had a very small flaw, and three more days in the 'incubator' didn't remove it. Andi was ready to discard it, but Grayson put it inside the Basic Needs pocket of the bag Andi had spent so long creating.

The next day, she noticed a piece of paper sticking out of the bag. It read:

Deposit accepted, one diamond, VVSI1, white. Credit: two royal dragons, two heads, one tail.

Even Andi, who had very little direct concept of money, knew that was a large amount. It was enough money to pay for decades worth of food.

"Grayson," Andi said.

"Yes?"

"How hard would it be to make diamonds in a different shape with this setup?"

"We need to make a new mold, and then cast a new spell on it."

"Then we won't have any problems with money." She waved the paper at him.

He came over and picked her up, taking the paper from her with his other hand. "Only two royal dragons?"

"Should it be more?" Nursy asked as she walked over to get a look at the paper.

"Well, I should say so. That was a very large diamond," Grayson said.

"So why didn't they pay us more for it?" Andi asked.

"Well, I suppose a diamond that large would have one of two fates. Either it could be used as is, or it could be shaped."

"So if we could make diamonds that didn't need any more shaping, we could make more money?"

"Yes, I suppose," Grayson said, "but we'd have to make them smaller, an appropriate size for jewelry. And if we put in too many, the mages might wonder how we are getting them."

It only took them a day to put together more molds, and it was easy enough for Andi to copy the spell onto them. Without any threads of Spirit, there was plenty of magic around for them to form properly.

When the first batch was done, they dropped four stones of different sizes into the bag, each of them much smaller than the giant circular diamonds they were producing for storing Spirit.

The next day the receipt showed a total credit of more than seven Royal Dragons.

"That should be enough for the bottle of endless milk," Grayson said, "or just to pull out a bottle when we need it, and will probably pay for a flying carpet, as well."

"Sounds good," Andi said. "Now all we need is plan once we get to Shamballa."

"Do you still want to go to Shamballa?" Andi asked Nursy.

"Yes, I think I do," Nursy replied. "Hopefully you won't regress any more, and if I have an endless supply of babies to care for, I'll be happy."

"There is one small matter," Grayson said.

"What is that?" Nursy asked.

"We need to test Andi's ability to teleport."

So they went around the cottage, collecting anything that might be a problem if no one came back for awhile. The juice jug and mush bowl went into the enchanted items bag. Nursy made sure every surface was clean.

"What about the other diapers?" Andi asked. "Should we put them in the enchanted objects bag?"

"No!" Nursy shouted. "No. We don't want to have anyone else putting one of those on without being able to get them off."

"Then we shouldn't leave them here, either," Grayson said.

"Good point," Andi agreed. "I guess what we need is another bag to carry things we don't want to put in the magic bag."

"Like the diapers and the diamond makers," Grayson said. "We don't want to leave those behind, or give them away. If only we could bring the flame fountain, or the endless raincloud."

"If we need them that badly, I can make them again," Andi said. "They weren't very difficult."

"Not for you, maybe," Grayson said, "but I still haven't found any references on how to make them, and I can't tell what you did by feeling the magic."

"You can't?" Andi asked. "You've studied my other spells in the past."

"Yes, I have. But those have two problems. The first is that the threads you used are so tightly woven. And the second is that there are lots of stray threads spewing out of them, which confuses me."

"Well, I guess that will be one more mystery for anyone who comes here."

"I wonder if the river you made will draw any attention," Nursy said.

Andi turned and looked at the small stream coming from the lake. "Why? How far does it go?"

"That's a good question," Grayson said. "Why don't we take the carpet to see. Then you can try out your teleport spell."

"Sounds good to me," Andi said.

Grayson reached into the enchanted objects bag and pulled out a carpet. It was tightly rolled, and barely fit through the opening of the bag. Andi almost laughed to watch Grayson pulling a ten-foot long carpet out of a satchel.

When he had the whole thing out, he set it on the ground, and all three of them climbed on.

Andi watched him command the carpet using threads of Air. Whatever direction he sent the Air in, the carpet followed. The more Air he channeled, the faster it went.

"Do all magic carpets require magic to work them?" Andi asked.

"No," Grayson said, "but they are more expensive."

Up into the air they rose, following the river to the southwest. The river stretched on for hundreds of miles, and they flew for hours. It wasn't wide, and it didn't join with any other rivers, it just cut through the nearly barren landscape, creating a narrow strip of green among the brown and red soil.

Just when Andi was going to suggest they give up and teleport back, they saw the final destination of the river. It poured over an enormous cliff, and into the sea.

"Well, at least there were no cities along the way," Grayson said, "so no one is likely to notice it anytime soon."

"Unless they fly overhead using a magic carpet," Nursy said.

"True," Grayson agreed. "That's a possibility. But why would they care?"

Grayson set down the carpet near the edge of the cliff, but not close enough for Andi to look over.

That hardly mattered, she had already seen enough. Right now she was grateful to see anything besides the cottage and its surroundings. Still, she was eager to meet other people, even if she wouldn't be allowed to talk to them for a hundred years.

"Are we ready to go back?" she asked after a few minutes.

"So soon?" Nursy asked. "This is the first time I've been away from that cottage in decades."

"And before I came to live with you, I hadn't seen more than a few miles of scrub brush," Grayson added.

"Well, okay," Andi said.

"What's the rush, anyway?" Nursy asked.

"I want to see people, not a cliff and a waterfall," Andi explained.

"We've spent almost a year planning this," Nursy said. "Take time to stop and enjoy things along the way, or you're going to be miserable, for a very long time."

Andi sighed, but then decided Nursy was right. "Then can one of you pick me up, so I can see too?"

They took turns holding Andi and studying the land, the sky, the river, what grew next to it, and the amazing height of the waterfall. It looked like it was a mile high. The ocean stretched on as far as they could see.

When they'd had their fill of scenery, Andi searched for her anchor point across the dozens of miles they'd flown. It took her awhile, but eventually she found it. Then it seemed obvious. It was nearly screaming at her. But what she found curious was the other two spells she could feel next to it. She studied all three of them, feeling them at a distance for the first time.

It was obvious to her what elements were needed to connect with her anchor point, but she wondered if she could connect with the others, as well. She reached out to them, instead of her own, concentrating on the weave she needed for a few seconds, and a portal appeared.

"Well done!" Grayson said. "Shall we?"

"Not yet," Andi said. "I need to test something. Can you throw something through it?"

"Why?" Grayson asked.

"Please, indulge me."

"Okay." He reached into the bag and pulled out an orange ball. "Will this fruit do?"

"That's perfect," Andi said. She'd never seen that fruit, so she knew there weren't any back at the cottage.

When the orange disappeared into the blackness, she waited a few seconds, and then closed it.

"Why did you do that?" Nursy asked. "I thought we were going back to the cottage."

"We are," Andi said. "But I'm not certain that portal led to the cottage."

She was even faster this time, and a portal opened within seconds. This time it was much larger. "Of course," she said. "It's as big as the anchor point I made."

Andi was about to step through when Grayson stopped her. "Not so fast."

"Why not?"

"Because the spell will collapse after you go through. The mage who casts the portal needs to be the last one through."

"Well, can you carry me through?" Andi asked. "I don't want to get left behind."

"Of course," Grayson said. He rolled up the carpet and stuffed it into the bag, while Nursy went through.

Grayson then picked up Andi and carried her through the portal. The blackness only lasted a second, and then they were in the cottage. An orange sat on the floor.
 

larikaz

Est. Contributor
Messages
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Role
  1. Adult Baby
  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 15 - Final Plans

15 Final Plans
"Why did you close the first portal, when it led back here?" Nursy asked.

"Because she did something that is supposed to be impossible," Grayson said. "She connected with another mage's anchor point."

"I couldn't be sure where it would lead," Andi added. "For all I know, the orange might have ended up on Dragon Island."

"I doubt there are any anchor points on Dragon Island," Grayson said. "That would be grounds for treason."

"Yet even after two hundred years of being banished, Thralls continue to survive everywhere," Andi countered.

"How do you know that?" Grayson asked. "I haven't heard anything about that."

"Because you only read text books," Andi replied. "I've read adventure books, and in those, Thralls still exist. Besides, the only text books likely to contain accounts of Thralls are the secret archives."

"Good point," Grayson said. "So, what does this orange prove?"

"It proves I can get us places without having to use a carpet."

"How will you know where we are going?" Nursy asked.

"I can't," Andi replied. "But I'm hoping eventually I will."

"Plus, the one place with more anchor points than anywhere else in the world is Shamballa," Grayson said. "We are bound to end up there soon, even if Andi never learns to control where we go."

"So then, what is our plan when we finally get there?" Andi asked. "How do we get Nursy where she is going, and still escape there ourselves?"

"We could try to keep you hidden," Grayson said.

"But you are both animals, transformed by me into humans. Don't you think they are going to notice?"

"If anyone can, one of them is bound to be in Shamballa," Nursy said. "And if they think I'm human, they would pair me with a Master Mage, not send me to the nursery."

"So we should tell them exactly what you are," Andi said, "an ape transformed into a human for the express purpose of caring for children."

"And when I don't transform back at the end of the day? What then? They won't believe me."

"Then we tell them a very powerful mage did it, and that's why you don't transform back," Andi said.

"Again, going with the truth," Grayson said. "But then who do we say we are? Someone is bound to notice you can do magic, and what then?"

"I don't know," Andi said. "Part of me wants to just march in there and tell everyone who I am. I don't think they could stop me from leaving if I wanted to."

"They have binding spells they put over the nursery," Grayson said, "that prevent the kids from doing magic."

"Then I won't let them get me to the nursery," Andi said.

"Wouldn't they try to pair you with a Master Mage?"

"Why? So my ability isn't a danger to anyone? Really, I'd rather prove to them that I'm too powerful to control than to constantly be running in fear of them."

Grayson sighed. "If that's what you want to do."

"Well, just in case, there is something I still need to do before we go," Andi said. "I need something to wrap the anchor point spell inside. That way I can set one up quickly, as long as the diamonds are charged enough."

"Are you sure we're ready for this?" Grayson asked.

"I want to do it anyway," Andi replied.

"Then there's one more thing you need to know," Grayson said.

"What's that?"

"You're a boy, not a girl."

"What!" Andi shouted. She felt like a girl, whatever that meant. She liked the frilly dresses. How could she be a boy?

"It's true. I saw it with my own eyes while Nursy was changing you."

"Why didn't you say something sooner?" Andi asked.

"What difference does it make?" Nursy asked.

"Because I'm a boy in a dress!"

"Does knowing that change how you feel about the poufy dress you're wearing?" Grayson asked.

"Kind of," Andi admitted.

"Why?"

"Cause it's not gender appropriate."

"You have the body of a one year old," Grayson countered. "At your age, what difference does gender really make? Besides, once Nursy leaves us, it's going to be a long time before you get those diapers off again. No one else will know your gender unless you tell them."

"Why did you dress me as a girl?" Andi asked Nursy.

"You said you felt more like a girl," Nursy said.

"Why did you ever call me a girl?" Andi countered.

"I was getting confused. I always wanted a daughter, even as an ape. I didn't think you would ever notice, or care, so I dressed you as a girl, and pretended you were my girl."

Andi was furious. He wasn't sure why it mattered so much, but he felt betrayed.

"If you want to blame someone, blame your mother," Nursy said. "She didn't take the time to explain gender differences to me, and humans look different than apes in so many ways."

"I suppose next you're going to tell me your a male ape?" Andi protested.

"Goodness no," Nursy said. "But I didn't really understand gender until Grayson explained it to me one night. I mean I knew I could have a baby, but I didn't realize that not all humans could."

"How long have you known?" Andi asked Grayson.

"It was during your last period of being babyfied," Grayson said.

"That was more than six months ago!" Andi shouted. "And you didn't think to tell me before then?"

"I did," Grayson said. "I thought it best if Nursy told you, but she could never find the courage."

Andi rolled his eyes. "Great. Thanks, Nursy."

Andi spent a whole day calming down and getting used to the fact that he was a boy. He got changed into something more male appropriate, which was hard, because the diaper expanded so much when it was cleaned, and he wouldn't be able to get diaper changes again, once they got to Shamballa.

In the end, he grudgingly accepted the dresses, but insisted they be blue. At his age, he could get away with wearing a dress, and Grayson was right, no one had to know he was really a boy.

Once he was calm enough to meditate, Andi sat down on a blanket, in a very poufy navy blue dress and spent hours searching for other anchor points. Eventually he found a few, with the vague sense of direction, but no certain way of knowing. Stretching his mind out farther, he found several pockets and clusters of anchor points, but none that seemed enough to account for Shamballa.

Then, as the sun was setting, he found it, or at least hoped he did. The place had thousands of anchor points, and he sifted through them, looking for one that felt familiar. If he could match one of the two here, they might get a few answers.

At last he found it, and opened the portal.

Grayson picked Andi up and put him in a sling on his front so that Grayson's hands were still free, and Andi could see where they were going. He hoisted the Satchel of Needs, as he named it, over one shoulder, along with another satchel carrying the diapers, the diamond, diamond makers, and other toys they didn't want to leave behind.

They stepped through into the unknown.
 

larikaz

Est. Contributor
Messages
38
Role
  1. Adult Baby
  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Babyfur
Chapter 16 - Shamballa

16 Shamballa
The trio came out into a small room, with a couch against one wall, and a doorway leading to a room with two beds. No one was there.

Turning around, they found the door which must lead out into the hallway. Grayson opened it and found the name on the door read Gribble Thwart.

"Gribble Thwart," Andi said. "That must be the Mage Master of my mother."

"Why do you say that?" Grayson asked.

"Because the Spirit in the two anchor points matches."

Someone approached them from the end of the hall.

"Andi, I think it's best if you don't say anything for awhile. Let them think you are a normal child for the moment," Grayson said.

The person was too close for Andi to ask why or to protest, so instead he just giggled and gooed. He remembered how to do that from the last time he'd regressed.

"You're not Mage Gribble," the woman said. "What were you doing in his room?"

"I'd be happy to explain everything," Grayson said, "but only to a member of the Mages' Council."

"Really?" the woman said, "and how do you know I'm not on the Mages' Council?"

Gribble smiled at her. "The Council bedrooms are on a different floor, and you came to greet a mage who recently returned. That means you're a servant, like me."

"Well!" the woman began, then paused and said, "A servant like you, you say? And whom do you serve?"

"That is complicated and confidential," Grayson said. "I must speak only with a member of the Council, or with Mage Gribble himself."

The woman laughed. "If you're a friend of Gribble, the Council will want to see you anyway. Follow me."

Grayson nodded and followed.

Andi wasn't sure why he didn't ask any follow-up questions, but tried to pretend he couldn't understand anything, gazing off into space, and only occasionally glancing at the woman.

The woman escorted them out of the building, across a busy street, and into another building. They turned five times, and Andi was sure they should have come back out into the lobby they entered first, but instead, it lead to a small room, where someone sat behind a desk, studying.

"Yes, what is it, Betzy?"

"This man insists on speaking with a member of the Mages' Council," Betzy said. "I found him coming out of Mage Gribble's quarters."

"I see. Well, thank you for bringing them to me. You may go."

Betzy bowed and left.

"Have a seat," the man said, "and tell me your story, before I have you arrested."

"I'm sorry," Grayson said, "but I must insist upon knowing your name first."

"Alright, if you insist. My name is Thadduck Lorac. What is yours?"

"I am Grayson, this is Andi, and Nursy. Thank you for granting us audience, Councilman."

"Don't any of you have last names?" Thadduck asked, "and what kind of a name is Nursy?"

"It's not a name," Nursy said, "but I have none. Nursy is what I do, what I've been doing for the last twenty-two years. I'm a nursemaid for Andi."

"Really. And why has Andi needed a nursemaid for twenty-two years? She can't be more than a year old."

"Well, I can," Andi said, "because I am."

"You're spell-born, aren't you?" Thadduck asked.

"Of the three of us, I'm the only one truly human," Andi said. "Nursy was an ape, and Grayson was a mouse."

"Very interesting, Andi, but it doesn't explain why you appear to be only a year old, which should mean you aren't older than fourteen."

Andi blushed. "I used too much Spirit in some of my spells, and I lost eight months of growth."

"So you have command of magic already," Thadduck concluded. "Then you belong in the nursery, with the other spell-born."

"I really don't think I do," Andi said. "You see, I'm the one who transformed Grayson, and I made Nursy's transformation permanent. She would like to work in the nursery, continuing to do what she's been doing for more than two decades now."

"That's an interesting request. I suppose Grayson is going to look after you?"

"That's the plan," Andi said. "I think we've got everything prepared."

"Do you now?"

"Show him the bag," Andi said.

Grayson placed the Satchel of Needs on top of the book on Thadduck's desk.

Thadduck inspected the bag, and Andi could see him poking and prodding it with threads of magic. "Are you claiming you made this, Andi?"

Andi nodded. "This is the spell that cost me eight years of maturing."

Thadduck nodded. "I imagine it would, but a magic bag alone doesn't prepare you for life outside of Shamballa."

"He has me," Grayson said.

"He?" Thadduck said, raising one eyebrow. "If Andi is a 'he', why is he wearing a dress?"

"Because he's wearing a magic diaper."

"What difference does that make?"

Nursy pulled up the front of Andi's dress, showing off the diaper and, pointing at him said, "Because only a few people can get it off of him, and when he doesn't have me around anymore, the only way to get him a clean diaper will be this way."

The diaper demonstrated her point by swelling up and drooping down to Andi's knees.

"I guess I can see that," Thadduck said, "but why can't Grayson change him when he needs a clean diaper?"

Nursy sighed as her diaper began to swell as well, and Andi's expanded down to his feet. Now even Andi's dress couldn't hide the massive size of the diaper, and Nursy's clothing didn't do much to hide hers.

"I suppose there's more to the story," Thadduck said. "Why don't you tell me the whole thing."

So they did, not leaving anything out. Andi wondered why Grayson trusted this man so much, until he learned that Thadduck was one of the leaders of the Council, and if they could convince him, there would be no need to explain it to anyone else.

When they were done, Thadduck said, "Gribble was arrested eighteen years ago for sleeping with his apprentice. He's been in prison ever since, and Timple has been working in the nursery as punishment. I suppose you claim to be their child?"

"He's not Gribble's child," Nursy said, "though he is the son of Timple."

"How do you know this?" Thadduck asked.

"I was there when Andi was born. I've been caring for him ever since. I heard them discuss it several times, fearing the punishment they have already received. Timple said she was pregnant at her test, but didn't know it. She'd slept with another potential while waiting for a mage to test them. I don't know his name."

"It should be easy enough to discover," Thadduck said, "but first I must summon the full Council."

"Why?" Andi asked.

"Because it's time for me to change the law," he replied. "And to get Gribble and my daughter out of prison."

"Your daughter?" Andi repeated. "Then that would make you my . . ."

"Yes. I'm your grandfather."

"You don't look old enough to be my grandfather," Andi said. "You don't look more than thirty."

The door opened and Betzy walked in "Yes?"

"Summon the full Council, I have a request to make."

"The full Council is not set to meet for a month."

"I'm aware of the schedule," Thadduck said. "Tell them I want to change the law."

"But that will take at least three-quarters of the Council to be present. That hasn't happened in ten years."

"Betzy, I know you're only a servant, but I ask you to do as I say, not question me on it."

"Of course, Councilman. Forgive me," she said as she left.

"Come with me," Thadduck said to the three. "Andi, I don't want anyone else to hear you speak until I tell you. Understood?"

Andi nodded.

"Where are we going?" Grayson asked.

"To see my daughter."
 
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