The Initiation Game

The Initiation Game
By
Morpheus

When Dylan is approached to join a secret society called the Circle,
he soon discovers that the initiation involves playing a game with very old and powerful magic.

* * *

It was a nice day with great weather. The sun was out and a slight breeze whispered through the area to keep things from getting too warm. Countless people were surrounding me, all out to enjoy the weather. Unfortunately I was too preoccupied with some problems to enjoy it very much.

My name is Dylan McKenna, and I'm an 18 year old Freshman who just started college. I was lucky enough to get most of the courses I wanted, but just found out that they were going to be a little more expensive than I'd thought. They had raised the tuition this year so all the calculations my parents and I had made were thrown out the window. This meant that while I still had the financing to go to college, I could no longer afford to do both that and pay for dorm housing. I was going to have to find another place to stay that I would be able to afford.

"Just great," I grumbled as I sat on the campus lawn, flipping through a campus newspaper and looking for the housing ads. Most of the places I'd called were either already full or still too expensive for me. "I've got to find something..." The idea of getting a small studio apartment and sharing it with two other people was seeming my best option so far and I really didn't want to deal with that kind of crowding or lack of privacy. "I really wish I could afford more..." As it was, I was probably going to need a part time job.

Of course there was always the fraternity route to get into one of their houses, though I wasn't the fraternity sort. I was quiet, liked to be left alone and wasn't into partying or anything. Besides the fraternities at this school tended to be fairly specialized in what they looked for in membership. One focused on the athletic type while another recruited intellectuals and required its members to keep high GPA's. I wasn't athletic enough for the first or smart enough for the second. And then there were the wild party animals which were most definitely not my sort.

"Maybe I should try for the Circle," I joked, knowing that this was an even less likely option. The Circle as it was called was one of those secret societies that sometimes hang around old schools. It's been around since the college was first founded and some say even longer. I don't know a whole lot about the Circle even though I'd asked some questions after finding out about their existence. One person claimed that they were the elite while another claimed they were the freaks and misfits. Someone even told me that they were Satanists who performed human sacrifices in their basement. My conclusion was that no one else really knew much about them either, other than that they were fairly mysterious and had a big building off campus where their members could live.

I frowned and folded my newspaper, deciding that I had probably get back to the room I was staying in for the moment. I started walking, glancing down through the newspaper again as I did so. Suddenly I was shoved back, landing on the ground.

"Watch where you're going," someone snarled at me.

I looked up to see a large guy who was glaring at me. "Sorry," I quickly apologized though I wasn't sure it was my fault. It was always easier to just avoid trouble with people like that whenever possible.

"Just watch where you're going next time," he grimaced, glaring at me and adding, "next time I'll have to kick your ass."

Once the larger boy had left I sighed and got back to my feet. "Great," I grumbled, shaking my head in disgust. "What else can go wrong today?"

Just then someone said, "You didn't have to take that."

"What?" I blinked, turning to see who'd spoken.

The other boy was about my own age, maybe a year or two older. He was also tall and thin, reminding me a little of a scarecrow. The boy stared at me for a moment with a strange expression before shrugging, "He walked into you and knocked you down on purpose. I think he'd made some bet with a friend about how you'd react."

"Great," I grumbled, "now I'm part of a bet."

"It could have been worse," the tall boy chuckled. "The bet could have been over how fast he could kick your ass." Then he held out his hand, "I'm Chuck."

"Dylan," I responded, shaking his hand.

"You're a new Freshman?" Chuck asked, half statement and half question.

I nodded, "Yeah... I'm still getting used to everything here."

"College is a bit tougher than high school," he grinned. "I'm a Sophomore myself." Then he abruptly asked, "Have you thought about joining one of the frats?"

I nearly laughed at that. "To be honest," I admitted, "I was thinking about it just a few minutes ago. But I'm not really the frat type..."

"I understand completely," Chuck told me. He hesitated a moment, then asked, "Could I suggest an option?"

I stared at him suspiciously, "Yeah?"

Chuck reached into his pocket then pulled out a business card which he handed me. I looked at it, feeling just a little confused. One side only had a circle drawn in green ink while the other side had an address and time. "What's this?"

"An invitation," Chuck told me with a look of amusement. "If you're interested in applying to join the Circle, come to our house this Sunday."

"The Circle?" I gasped, staring at Chuck in surprise. I could hardly believe that I'd been asked to actually try out for something like that.

Just then a girl nearby exclaimed, "You're with the Circle?"

I snapped around to see a girl who'd been standing close enough to overhear our conversation. She looked vaguely familiar but it took me a moment to remember where I'd seen her. I didn't remember her name but we were in a couple classes together. However, more than that, I remembered overhearing a conversation she had with a couple other girls. The conversation was mostly just a rant on how the whole education system was skewed to make girls fail and how a boy who earns an A was actually only doing as good as a girl who earned a B. Just that little snippet of conversation was enough to tell me that she had very feminist views.

"Whether I am or not is none of your concern," Chuck told her with an enigmatic smile.

The girl just stood there with her hands on her hips, "I want an invitation."

"It doesn't work that way," Chuck tried to explain.

"I see," she snapped, "you only want men in your little club."

Chuck scowled, beginning to look annoyed. "Gender isn't an issue," he stated coldly. "We look for people with certain talents."

"And what talents are these?" She looked at me suspiciously then snorted in dismissal.

"Only our members are allowed to know that," he answered calmly. "Organizational secrets and all that."

"I'll just might have see what a lawyer has to say about that," she threatened. "Discrimination is illegal you know."

Chuck stared at her, his expression turning icy cold. Then he had an odd expression and reached into his pocket. "You MIGHT have what we're looking for," he stated, handing her a business card like the one he'd given me. "If you want to go beyond an invitation, it will depend on your own actions."

The girl seemed pleased with that and walked away with a smug expression. I just shook my head and turned to Chuck. "That was blackmail..."

"Extortion actually," he told me with a shrug. "She couldn't have done anything but we don't want that kind of attention. Besides, sometimes the worst thing you can do to someone is to give them exactly what they ask for."

I was about to ask Chuck what he meant but he glanced down at his watch. "I've got to get going. I hope you decide to come." And with that he turned and hurried off.

"Weird." I shook my head, glancing down at the business card I'd been given. "I can't believe I got an invitation..."

I'd heard that very few people even got invited to try out with the Circle so I was half sure that it was some sort of a mistake. However I didn't think that it really made much difference, since I didn't really intend on going. After all mysterious secret societies weren't exactly what I was looking for in a college experience.

With a shrug I slipped the business card into my pocket and continued back to my current living place. I still had to find both a job and a new place to live so couldn't let myself get too distracted by these things.

* * *

I sat back in my current dorm room, scowling in frustration at my inability to find either a new place to live or a job with hours that would work for me. Of course it had only been several days and was far too early to give up... but it was still annoying.

"There's always the Circle," I told myself for what had to be the hundredth time. I glanced over at the clock, seeing that the time was getting close. "Maybe I should go.."

Ever since Chuck had given me that invitation, I'd been caught in indecision... which wasn't really all that unusual for me. I frequently had a hard time making a decision about anything. This time was even worse. A part of me wanted to stay away from the Circle, knowing that it could only lead to trouble. I had a bad feeling about that group. But on the other hand, it was a rare opportunity which I never thought I'd get. It seemed a shame to turn it down without even finding out more about it.

"And they have a place for their members to live," I reminded myself quietly. If I got in, it would solve all my housing problems. Of course I had a feeling that it would only create other problems instead. Thoughts of all the stories and rumors I'd heard came to mind, most of them not all that good. "It wouldn't hurt to at least go and see what they have to say..."

While I continued to wrestle with the decision I got up and began to get ready... just in case. I grabbed my razor and shaved again though I didn't really need to. Then I put my comb under the faucet and ran it through my dark blonde hair. It was a bit messy and didn't really want to settle down, but I was as passable as I normally was when I left for class in the morning.

"Maybe they want me to dress up," I said, though Chuck hadn't made mention of how we were expected to dress. "Maybe they'll make us get undressed and stand around naked for some hazing..." I winced at the thought, nearly making up my mind to give up on the Circle right then and there. There was too much about them that I just didn't know. "What if they're some kind of weird cult?"

After a minute I'd calmed down and began to think of the positive side again. There was the incredible opportunity, the chance to find out more about these people and satisfy my curiosity, and of course the chance that I might very well get a place to live where I wouldn't have to pay. All of those were tempting reasons and finally pushed me to my decision.

It took me nearly twenty minutes to get to the address on the back of the business card and I spent the entire time having second thoughts about my decision. I kept reminding myself that it wasn't too late to back out, but then I would just remind myself that this was something I needed to do. By the time I finally arrived, I felt like my stomach was tied in knots.

The building at the address was a simple but impressive looking structure. From the outside it seemed to be nearly all stone and made in the shape of a giant rectangular block. I guessed that it had three stories, though it was hard to be certain since at least one more could fit into a building that tall. There were absolutely no windows at the bottom, only a large wooden doorway. There were slitted windows higher up, too narrow for a person to fit through and looking more like the kind of slits an old medieval castle would have for firing arrows. All the real windows were reserved for the top floor where they were too high up to look through. The building reminded me more of a medieval fortress or military fort than anything else.

"It's like this place is built to withstand a siege," I commented to myself.

Only after I had stared at the building for several minutes did I bother to look around at the other cards which were parked in front of it. I watched as one guy walked up to the heavy wooden door in front and was let inside. I hesitated a moment and then went to the door myself. There was no doorbell, only a heavy iron door knocker which I used.

When the door opened a few seconds later, there was a boy standing there dressed in a red robe that had the hood down to obscure his face. He asked, "Do you have an invitation?" I nervously fumbled for the business card, hoping that this wasn't some sort of a joke. But as soon as he saw it he opened the door wider and gestured for me to come inside. "Come in."

I stepped into a large entrance hall, literally gasping as I took everything in. The floor was all done in some sort of golden slate or marble with a tile pattern in the middle of a large green ring. The walls were a dark stained wood with intricate patterns carved into them, looking as though they could belong in any mansion. There were even a pair of staircases, one on either side of the room which went up to the second floor. There were also several large wooden doors in the walls which were closed shut.

After I took in the details of the room, I looked around at the other people inside of it. There were just under two dozen other Freshmen standing around in the entry room, most of them looking just as impressed as I felt. About half of them were women, obviously proving that the feminist girl who'd tried threatening her way in wrong... at least as far as giving out invitations went. The people gathered here seemed to have nothing in common though, making me a little confused since I couldn't figure out why we were all invited.

There were several guys who looked like athletes, including the large guy who'd run into me right before I'd met Chuck. I was a little surprised to see him here but no more so than some of the others. There was a petite Asian girl, a skinny girl with acne and thick glasses, a hot looking girl who could easily be a cheerleader and even a massively obese guy.

Of course the girl who'd threatened Chuck was here as well. After that encounter, I'd found out that her name is Crystal and that she was every bit the man-hater that she seemed. Even though she'd just arrived at campus she'd already reported some guy for sexual harassment just because he tried hitting on her a little. At the moment she stood back and talked with another girl, looking a little smug and occasionally giving suspicious glances at the guys in the room.

Just a few minutes later a loud bell started to chime. I looked around but didn't see the source, then glanced at my watch and saw that it was the time I was told to be here by on the invitation. The guy in the red robes slammed shut a sliding bolt on the back of the main entrance and a dozen more dressed just like him began to filter into the room. Including the guy by the door thirteen people now stood there dressed in red robes, their faces all obscured by the hoods. However several of them were definitely women and I recognized one of them as Chuck.

One of the guys wearing a robe stepped forward and I guessed him to be the leader, based on the fact that he was wearing a golden colored sash. He held up one hand to get attention and called out, "Welcome to the house of the Circle. You have each been invited to test for membership in our organization. I promise you this... if you are able to pass through our tests and initiation to become a member, there will be great rewards awaiting you."

With that there was a sudden knocking on the wooden door I'd come through. Everyone turned to look but the robed guy at the door made no move to open it. I guessed that someone had arrived a little late and that these guys valued punctuality. After a minute the knocking stopped.

"Not all of you will be accepted," the leader continued. "And not all of you are here as honest pledges to the Circle. There is a tradition among some of the fraternities and sororities on campus where every year they set their pledges the task of breaking into our vault and discovering our secrets." He looked straight at the guy who'd pushed me down, "None of them has ever succeeded." Then he added, "However, we have no rules against anyone being a member of both the Circle and some other order... as long as they keep our secrets."

Then the leader clapped his hands and two of the people in robes rushed to one of the side doors and opened it up. Just inside the door was a table with an old looking vase atop it. Each of the two robed figures took a position beside it.

"You are each to draw a single stone from the vase," the leader announced.

Everyone went up and drew a stone, then stepped to the side. When it was my turn I tried to catch a glimpse inside the vase before drawing, but only saw blackness. I reached in and felt a bunch of stones, all about the size of a golf ball, and feeling perfectly round. I grabbed one and pulled my hand out to see that the stone was green. Then I silently looked around and saw that about half the people had drawn green stones like my own while the other half had white ones.

"Those with the green stones step over here," the leader announced, pointing to the center of the new room. "As for those with the white stones... I am sorry... but are dismissed." He gestured to some of the other people in robes and they came forward as escorts to lead the others out. "Please leave your stones in the vase as you leave."

I gasped in surprise as did a number of others. Drawing rocks from a vase was a test to get into the circle? That made absolutely no sense at all. And as I glanced over the others who had drawn green stones, I saw that they included both Crystal and the jerk who'd run into me. That didn't strike me as a good sign.

Then I looked at the people who'd drawn the white stones and was even more surprised. Not a single one of them looked upset at being dismissed so quickly or so strangely. In fact each and every one of them looked... dazed. They looked as though they might even be drugged. There wasn't a single word of complaint as they were all led out of the building.

"Man, that really sucks," the guy next to me exclaimed. I could only nod agreement, feeling even more confused by this Circle than before.

A skinny black guy muttered, "Figures they'd get rid of two brothers. Those crackers will probably try finding a way to ditch me next..."

Once the others had all been escorted out, the robed figures all returned to the second room where we still remained and closed the door. Only then did the leader pull back his hood and reveal his face. He was a few years older than me with a thin face and a pair of glasses.

"My name is Peter Edwards," the leader stated. "I am a senior and the current leader of the Circle." He slowly looked over all of us. "That test may have seemed arbitrary, but trust me... it was anything but."

"Sorry," someone in our group said, "but it sure looked random to me. I mean, picking green rocks..."

The leader... Peter smiled faintly. "Actually every rock in the vase was white until you chosed your own. It's a litmus test that detects certain traits that we are looking for in the Circle. Every one of us can sense those traits to a degree, which lets us choose likely candidates. However this is more specific and weeds out all those who fall below the required amounts."

"Just what traits are you looking for?" the same person asked. This time I saw that the question came from a big and muscular black guy with a pair of glasses. At first glance I'd taken him for just another jock, but he had a thoughtful expression on his face that I didn't really associate with jocks.

"A good question," Peter answered approvingly. "And you will get an answer soon. First however there is something else you must all go through." His expression turned serious, even grim.

Peter went to the far side of the room and pulled a key from his pocket, inserting it into a spot on the wooden panel. The wall cracked open, revealing that there was actually a carefully concealed door.

"Holy shit," a skinny black guy in our group exclaimed. "This is real Scooby Doo type shit."

"This is the doorway to our vault," Peter announced, looking at us each one at a time. "This is where countless people have tried sneaking into. This is where we keep our greatest secrets. This is where you will truly be tested to see if you will join the Circle." And with that he started through the door, gesturing for the rest of us to follow.

"I don't know if I even really want to join the circle," someone muttered beside me. "I only came here to check out the spiel..."

"They are rushing us through this without much explanation," the muscular black guy with glasses commented.

The skinny black guy snorted, "I just wanna see how long before they kick the niggers out... Bunch of white ass snobs..."

I frowned, ignoring the skinny black guy, but agreeing with the other two. I still wasn't completely sure I wanted to join since I didn't even know what the Circle was about... other than being mysterious. Then again I certainly couldn't afford turn down a free place to live. With that I followed Peter and some of the others through the door.

On the other side of the door there was a side stairway that led down. The stone steps were old and worn, looking as though they might have been there for centuries or at the very least, the founding of the college. The stairway was lit by antique oil lamps placed along the wall, creating a pool of light that didn't quite extend to the bottom of the steps.

When I reached the bottom of the steps I found myself in a large room with the walls all made of the same old gray stone as the steps. There were oil lamps spread along the walls of the chamber to illuminate it, along with several standing on posts. However something about the room still seemed a little dark. But there was more to the room than that. As I looked it over, I felt an increasing sense of strangeness.

My eyes were drawn to the center of the room and what was obviously the central focus. A tree trunk grew from the stone floor, its roots pushing aside and raising some of the stone tiles. The trunk, a bit knotted and about a foot in diameter, going up only three feet before its leafless branches spread out to the sides, clenching a large stone disk as though they were fingers. The disk looked like it was smooth white marble about six inches thick and five feet across, as well as perfectly parallel to the floor so as to make it into a table top. The tree branches were holding it... even growing over the edge a bit to grasp it tightly.

I stared at the strange table for several seconds, the hairs on my arm all going on end. I could feel something from this strange table. I looked away from the table and began to notice a few more details, such as several of the tree roots coming through the stone floor in various places, even growing up along the outside walls in several.

"Holy shit," I exclaimed, "you've got all this under your building?"

Peter just stood beside the strange looking table with a smile, gesturing for us all to come closer. As we did so, the rest of the people in robes spread out and surrounded us, remaining there and watching. Only two of them stepped forward and joined Peter, pulling their own hoods back and revealing their faces. One was Chuck while the other one was an unbelievably stunning woman who had to be one of the sexiest I'd ever seen.

"Most of you have no true idea of who we are and what we really do," Peter announced, looking us one at a time. "Forget the rumors. Most of them are made by the jealous or ignorant. The truth is that we aren't much different than a fraternity or sorority in many respects, with each member helping the others. We just happen to be co-ed and have a variety of secrets... some of which you will soon learn."

"What is this place?" I asked hesitantly, afraid that they'd throw me out for interfering in what they had planned.

Peter didn't seem bothered by my interruption. Instead he adjusted his glasses and then gestured to the strange table, "This is the alter..."

"They are a cult," Crystal exclaimed.

"In many ways, that is merely a name," Peter continued as though she hadn't interrupted. "We also call it the Game. It is very old... older even than the college. Some think that this tree came from a cutting off the tree of life. Some think that Adam and Eve brought the seed for it with them when they left the garden. Even we do not know the origins, though we do know that the founders of the college brought it from somewhere in Europe. They did not leave any records as to who or what they were before moving here."

"This is some weird shit," the skinny black guy told the larger one.

"The Game," Chuck called out, "is unlike any game you have ever played. Unlike any game you have ever seen."

"In the Game," the sexy woman beside Chuck announced, "you play less against other people and more against yourself. Winning is not determined by completing it first... but by completing it at all."

"For those who complete the Game," Peter continued loudly, "the rewards can be great. For those who do not..." He went quiet at that, looking almost sad.

"What kind of rewards are we talking about?" the big black guy asked, adjusting his glasses slightly.

The sexy woman smiled and gestured down at herself, "I didn't always look like this. When I first came to this school, I was short, flatchested and not precisely attractive."

"The rewards vary," Peter stated simply.

"That clears that up," Crystal grumbled sarcastically while the rest of us nodded agreement.

"The Game is more than just that," Peter said grimly, "much more. It is both the test and initiation you must complete in order to join the Circle. It can be difficult... very difficult. Once you start playing... you may not quit. You may not quit the Game... but the Game can quit you. Do not start unless you are willing to complete it... no matter how difficult the task may be."

"You each still have the spheres you have drawn," Chuck said, gesturing to my hand. I looked at the green sphere that I was still holding, as did everyone else.

"This is your chance to back out," Peter said with an incredibly serious expression. "If you choose to leave now, you will lose your memories of what happened since you entered the door of our building just as the others have. We will hold no grudge against you. You are free to go. This is your last chance though. Either stay and face the Game... with all the risk, challenge and rewards that this entails... or you leave. Make your decision now."

Peter was silent for a minute to let this all soak in and for us to make up our minds. One guy shook his head, "This cult shit is just too weird.. I'm out of here..." he snorted. "Erasing my memories... I'd like to see you try..." One of the robed figures escorted him back to the stairs and after a few seconds two others followed him. Peter didn't say a word.

The skinny black guy who remained in our group exclaimed, "I can't believe these crackers think I'm gonna fall for this shit..." He stood there with a stubborn expression on his face, obviously deciding to call their bluff.

I gulped, once again thinking about turning around and joining those other three and not sure whether I should or not. It was only a mixture of curiosity as to what was going to come next and the need for a place to live which kept me standing where I was. However I couldn't resist looking to see who else remained.

Of course the skinny black guy was still here, along with the big black guy with the glasses. The first seemed a bit high strung, as though ready to snap at any moment. The larger of the two stood there with a calm expression, silently looking around the room and waiting to see what would happen next. The big jock who'd threatened me stood there, watching Peter with a big of a smirk, perhaps thinking about how easily it would be to beat him up or threaten his way into Circle membership. Crystal stood off to the side, glaring at all of the guys who remained as though we were all competition that she was determined to beat.

Then I noticed the petite Asian girl. She had a nervous expression and somehow reminded me of a deer caught in the headlights. She kept glancing towards the two large guys in our group, obviously a bit intimidated though trying unsuccessfully to hide it. Crystal seemed to notice this as well as she stood beside the smaller girl to offer her support.

The last two people who remained with our group was a sexy looking cheerleader type with blonde hair and big boobs, looking a bit smug but not saying anything, and a pale skinned guy who was dressed up as a goth. Both of them had been behind me and not saying much so I nearly missed them entirely.

Once the three who'd chosen to leave were out of the room Peter nodded his head and looked us over. "I already know who each of you are, but perhaps you should introduce yourselves to each other before we continue." He gestured to the big jock I'd run into right before meeting Chuck, "You may go first."

"Figures," the skinny black guy told the big and muscular one. "I knew they'd want some other cracker to go first."

The big black guy just looked down at him and whispered, "Shhhh."

"I'm Ed," the big jock stated, staring at Peter with a smug expression, almost daring the Circle leader to do something.

Peter started to gesture to the second person but Crystal stepped forward with a look of annoyance. "I'm Crystal Gates," she stated, obviously not wanting to wait until she was called on. Peter raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything.

"Dylan McKenna," I said quietly when it was my turn, then watched as the others introduced themselves as well.

The skinny black guy said he was Jordan Green while the tall and muscular black guy with the glasses was Bill Foreman. The petite Asian girl with the nervous expression was Michelle, though I had to struggle to hear her quiet introduction.

"I'm Alexis Andrews," the cheerleader one said with a broad smile, suddenly making me wonder why she wasn't trying for a sorority instead of the Circle. Then again Peter had said that both sororities and fraternities tried sneaking their pledges inside. I couldn't help wondering if she was one of those, especially with the way she was suddenly all smiles and good cheer. It seemed kind of suspicious to me.

The last of the eight people who remained behind was the pale goth boy. He glared at Alexis with an expression that seemed to be half attraction and half disgust. Only once he realized that everyone else had already introduced themselves did he do the same, saying, "Everyone calls me Gecko."

"Now that you all know who each other is," the sexy woman beside Peter said to us, "it is time to begin the game."

"Place the green stones you drew on the alter," Peter said with a very serious expression. "You will find divots in the stone which will hold them in place. Which ones you use does not matter."

I went to the stone disk and stared at it, suddenly realizing that this must be how the Circle got its name. After all the table was perfectly round. Then I noticed the small indentations in the stone that Peter had mentioned. I hadn't noticed them the first time I looked at the table. And oddly enough, I counted exactly eight divots... the perfect number for our little group.

I hesitated a moment, not wanting to be the first one to put my little ball into the divot. Crystal quickly put hers in, as though it was somehow important for her to be first. Then everyone else followed. Once the last ball had been put on the table, the white stone had a faint green shimmer run across its surface.

"What the fuck?" Ed demanded.

The stone ball I had just set down was melting, as was everyone else's. Then I noticed that it wasn't just melting away, it was reshaping as though it were a piece of clay until it had become a figure of a man. It took me several more seconds to realize that it looked a lot like ME.

"What the fuck?" Jordan exclaimed, "it looks like me..."

I looked at what had been Jordan's green ball and saw that it did indeed look like him. Everyone's balls now looked just like them. I gasped at the sight, feeling a chill run up my spine. This wasn't just some cheap trick. There was something very VERY strange going on. I felt as though I had just thrown out the book of natural laws I'd always used and was now left without a guide as to what was possible and what wasn't.

"It's some sort of trick," Bill said, looking more curious than anything else as he obviously tried to figure out how it worked.

"Are you guys stupid or what?" Gecko snorted. "It's obviously magic."

"Yeah right," Crystal snorted. "There's no such thing as magic."

"Actually," Peter said as he looked at each of us, "he is right. It is magic. That is also what we were looking for in each of you... a potential for magic. The Game will not work for anyone who does not have a certain affinity for it." Then he gestured to the table, "Now watch."

I turned my attention back to the table and gasped to see that the white stone was moving and changing shape, just as the balls had a minute earlier. Parts of it were rising up, forming small peaks and ledges while other parts formed what seemed to be valleys or channels. When it finally stopped, it almost seemed to be some sort of model that represented a landscape, with clear smooth roads running all through the natural features. Each of these roads started where our figurines remained. The only part of the table which remained as it had been was a small round space in the middle of the board.

"It is now too late to turn back," Peter announced in a loud and theatrical voice. "The Game has begun."

All of the people in red robes who surrounded us and had remained quiet until this time began to cheer. They each pulled back their own hoods, revealing their faces. Several of them looked familiar, as people I had seen around campus and had even talked to briefly. All of them were looking at us and the strange table.

"This is fucking weird," Ed snorted, grabbing his figurine and trying to lift it. However it seemed completely frozen to the table and wouldn't budge an inch. He struggled with it for a moment, obviously surprised but it did no good. It refused to move.

"Hey," Alexis suddenly asked, "how come his path is shorter than mine?" She gestured to Bill and then down at the path which started where his figurine rested. I looked and saw that her path was a bit long and windy while his was much shorter and straighter, probably only half the distance.

"Everyone's path is different," Peter responded. "Each of you will be following your own path. Remember, the goal is merely to reach the end... not to reach it before everyone else."

"It's the same thing as always," Crystal exclaimed with a bit of anger. "They make us women work harder to win. It's set against us..."

Peter turned to glare at her, his eyes narrowing. "You will find that we have few problems of that sort around here."

I looked around at the people in robes and realized that about half of them were girls. That certainly seemed to prove Crystal wrong, though she just snorted, "Men."

Just then Michelle gasped, "My figure... It's moving..."

Everyone turned at once and saw the little green figurine of Michelle was indeed moving down the path without anyone touching it. It went perhaps six inches before it stopped. Then I noticed the flat circle in the middle of the table was beginning to shift and move, though not nearly as much as the rest of the board had. Instead letters appeared right in the stone as though they were being carved there by some invisible force.

"Your order of play will be chosen at random," Peter said, looking at Michelle. "It seems Michelle is to go first. Please read your instructions." He pointed to the center of the table where the writing had appeared.

Michelle looked nervous, then took a deep breath and read the words aloud, though her voice was still quiet enough that I had to strain to hear what she said. "You shall face your greatest fears."

Suddenly Michelle began to glow with a strange green aura. She looked around in terror just before she began to shrink. I watched in stunned disbelief as she lost inches of height, becoming four feet tall and then three. Her clothes were somehow shrinking right along with her. Michelle screamed but it didn't stop her shrinking until she was only a foot tall. Only then did the green glow fade away from her.

"Holy shit," I blurted out, sure that I had to be imagining things.

Everyone else was backing away, staring at Michelle in horror as though her condition were contagious. Then we all began backing away from the table and moving towards the stairs to leave. Michelle was staring up at everyone, screaming in terror.

"It's too late to quit now," Peter said simply, gesturing to the table. "The Game has begun and can not be stopped until you complete it."

"Bullshit," Ed snarled, going straight at Peter with a fist raised as though to punch him. But when he reached just several feet away, he froze with a strange expression on his face. "What the hell? I can't move..."

Peter looked around with an apologetic look. "You were warned that the Game would be difficult and I didn't lie."

He looked down at Michelle with a sympathetic look, then gently reached over to pick her up. One of the other circle members came rushing forward with a step ladder and Peter carefully set her on the top so she could see the stone disk.

Peter gave Michelle a sympathetic look, then said, "It seems that the next player has been chosen."

Everyone looked back to the Game and Gecko gasped, "Oh shit," as his piece was now moving. It moved several spaces and then stopped. New words began to appear in the center of the game and he gulped before reading them to himself, not bothering to read them aloud. I was far enough back that I couldn't see exactly what they said, though Gecko suddenly exclaimed, "Oh shit..."

Gecko gasped as his body became covered in a green glow, the same glow that had transformed Michelle. However, instead of shrinking, something else seemed to be happening to him instead. Gecko grew taller and more muscular. His dark hair quickly faded, turning into a golden blonde while his pale skin began to tan. The metal rings through both his lip and eyebrow vanished and his features began to alter.

"Oh my God," Alexis gasped, staring at Gecko in amazement... and something else.

When Gecko finished transforming he no loner looked anything like the pale goth he had. Instead, he was tall and athletic, looking like a jock or a lifeguard at the beach. His features had changed, giving him rugged good looks. Even his clothing had been altered, turning from black leather jacket and faded black jeans to a pair of jeans and a tight sleeveless shirt that showed off his new physique.

"What did it do to me?" Gecko demanded, looking down at himself and gasping in awe as he saw how his body had been transformed. He was both impressed and confused, as was I. How could Michelle have been shrunk while Gecko turned into this?

Bill's turn came next and I was again left without any idea what the Game had written for him. All I knew was that he suddenly began to glow green, and when the glow faded he seemed entirely unchanged. I was a little surprised at that, especially after what had happened to both Gecko and Michelle.

"If you don't stop this now," Ed threatened Peter, discovering that he could now move... just not make any movement towards Peter, "I'll kick your ass..."

Peter didn't seem the least bit bothered by his threats. Instead Peter walked up to Ed and said, "I can't stop it if I wanted. Remember, I warned you all that there was no turning back. The only way to end the Game and its effects is to go forward."

"I'm gonna kick your ass," Ed snarled, obviously not listening to what Peter said.

"That's not a good idea," Chuck warned him.

But Peter held up a hand to indicate that he could handle this on his own. "I was once like you," he told Ed with a sad shake of his head. "Fortunately... I learned better."

Just then Crystal exclaimed, "Mine's moving..." She stared at her figurine as it moved, looking a bit nervous as it did so. Once it stopped and the words appeared, she read them aloud with a broad grin, "The most sexist person in the room shall lose the advantages of their gender."

Crystal stood there with a triumphant smirk, looking at all the men in the room, obviously wondering which one of us would be the target of this curse. But then she began to glow green and gasped in shock and disbelief. She obviously hadn't expected herself to become the target, though it certainly wasn't a surprise.

"It's got the wrong person," Crystal screamed as her body began to change.

"Oh my God," Alexis gasped in horror as she watched Crystal's transformation.

Crystal's transformation wasn't quite as dramatic as Michelle's and was actually a little like Gecko's in reverse. Her chest flattened as she seemed to lose her breasts and all of her feminine curves. Then her appearance seemed to become more masculine, especially as she grew stubble and a scraggly beard. Crystal didn't become any taller, but she now looked like a man... a short and scrawny one, but a man nonetheless.

"What did you to do me?" Crystal demanded, her voice now low and male. There was almost nothing feminine about her other than her size.

"Gross," Alexis backed away with a look of disgust.

Next came my turn though I certainly wasn't ready for it. I gulped at the sight of my own figurine moving forward and then took a deep breath and braced myself to read the writing which appeared. It merely said, "No decision shall be yours to make." I felt a strange tingling run through me but nothing more. Like Bill, nothing seemed to have happened to me... much to my relief.

Jordan's turn came next and he told me, "Back off and give a nigger some room." I stepped back and watched as he read the words to himself and began to glow green. "Oh shit," he gasped, "no fuckin way..."

I was too far back now to read the words that had appeared for Jordan, though I got a good look at him as he began to change. The green glow covered his body, becoming even more noticeable as his skin began to pale. Jordan stared down at his hands as they lost their dark color, becoming a shade much like my own... and then even more pale. By the time it was through, Jordan was a very pale Caucasian... perhaps even an albino.

"You... you're white," Bill exclaimed.

"No fucking way," Jordan gasped, staring at himself in shock.

"I'm out of here," Ed snapped, turning and starting for the stairway to leave.

"It doesn't matter if you read the words or not," Peter said, "the magic will happen anyway. Wouldn't you rather at least know what was happening?"

Almost as though Peter knew it was Ed's turn next, his figure began to move. Paused by the stairway, glancing back to the Game but refusing to step towards it. Then the green glow suddenly hit him, dropping him to his knees. I couldn't see the words in the center of the table nor could I bring myself to go and look. All I could do was stand where I was and watch Ed slowly shrink, losing his height and muscle. When it was finished, he looked like a little boy.

"NO," Ed cried out, sounding just like the little boy he appeared. "Turn me back..."

"I can't do that," Peter told him. "The only way is for you to continue with the game."

"Fuck you," Ed screamed, turning and running up the stairs as fast as his little legs could carry him.

"Too bad," Chuck said, "I'll track him down and tell him the rest in awhile."

"The rest?" Bill asked.

But just then Alexis burst out, "Oh no... It's my turn..."

Alexis read the words in the center of the game with a pale expression, saying them low enough so only those who were closest to her could hear them. I was too far away to hear or to read them for myself. All I could do was stand there and watch as Alexis began to glow and transform.

"No," she cried out, staring at her fingernails which seemed to be pulling back, then down to her shrinking breasts. "Please, not that..."

Alexis seemed to be transforming much like Crystal had, though there were some obvious differences. Alexis was losing her beauty and curves but she wasn't becoming any more masculine. Instead her hair darkened and became frizzy. A splattering of acne broke out across her cheeks. A pair of thick glasses appeared an her face and when she screamed in horror, I could see the braces which she now wore.

"I've turned into a nerd," Alexis cried out in a now nasally voice.

"You have each gone through your first turn," Peter said, slowly looking around the room at each and every one of us. "However, it is not time for you to start the second. The Game does not work as other games do. A single game may often take several weeks to play. It is not uncommon for it to last for several months. There was even once instance I know of where it continued for more than a year."

Everyone suddenly gasped and started to demand answers as to how he could expect us to keep playing that long. Everyone was talking at once but Peter seemed to have no problems with this. He just stood there silently until everyone was finally done and had gone silent.

"Each of you will have to continue your current turn on your own," Peter said calmly.

"When it is completed and you are ready to move to the next, you will feel a compulsion to return here to the Game. You do not need to worry about where anyone else is or if it is your turn. If it is time, you need to merely touch your figurine to tell the Game you are ready to continue."

Crystal and Jordan both immediately rushed to the Game and grabbed their figurines. Neither could remove them from the stone disk, nor did anything unusual happen. They both just stood there, cursing and ordering the game to change them back.

"You are not ready to continue yet," Peter told them. "The Game will only do so when you are ready... not before."

At this the sexy woman who'd been standing beside Peter called out, "You may all leave now. The magic of the Game will prevent you from telling anyone else about what goes on here until you are full members of the Circle."

"It will also make things easier when you deal with people who would otherwise notice your changes," Chuck continued, gesturing to Crystal and Gecko.

"When you return to continue the game," Peter said, "we will have someone waiting to lead you to it. We will answer any questions that we can. And remember..." He slowly looked to each of us with a sympathetic smile, "Every member of the Circle has been through the Game as well." He gestured to the people wearing the read robes.

The rest of the 'players' went to the stairway and grumbled as they left the room. I could hear more than a little swearing as they examined their changes and compared them to the others. I just remained where I was, feeling no real urge to actually leave... or do anything else for that matter.

"Why aren't you going too?" Chuck asked, then paused to stare at me. "Oh, I see..."

"What is it?" the sexy woman asked as she came over to look at me with a curious expression.

"His turn," Peter told her. "It made him incapable of making... or at least acting on any decision."

"Ah," the woman nodded with a look of understanding. "That's harsh."

"The Game is almost always harsh," Peter agreed. "But it is necessary to get the prize." Then he turned to me. "Dylan... go straight home. Tomorrow you will continue your normal schedule the best you are able."

I just nodded at that and walked straight to the stairs though I hadn't actually decided to do so. There was a guy in red robes standing at the main door to let me out and then lock it behind me. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to come back to this place, whether to continue with that creepy Game or now.

"Damn," I muttered, thinking about the words I'd read and Peter's explanation. If he was right, then I was in deep trouble. I wanted to test it, to prove him wrong but I wasn't sure how I could do that. Then it dawned on me, "He told me to go straight home. If I stop at the store, then I'll prove it isn't working."

Now that I knew what I had to do, it was a simple matter to actually do it. Or at least it should have been. For some reason I just couldn't actually bring myself to stop at the store. Even as I passed it the motivation just wasn't there. Instead I drove straight back to my dorm and then went up to my room. Now I knew without a doubt that I had been cursed just as surely as Ed.

* * *

I awoke to the sound of my roommate C.J. making a mess as he tossed random items aside, digging through his closet for something or other. The fact that I was still there asleep didn't even concern him in the least, but that was nothing new. C.J. was always coming and going at odd hours and making a large mess and waking me up in the middle of the night. Even if I didn't have financial problems, C.J. would have been reason enough for me to look for a new place to live.

"So how was that Circle thing?" C.J. asked when he noticed I was up. He paused in his mess making long enough to give me a curious look.

I was about to tell him about the strange secret room and the Game, when I found myself saying, "It didn't," instead. That wasn't at all what I had intended to say, but then I continued, "They wouldn't even let me in the door. I think the invitation was just some sort of joke..."

"Figures," C.J. snickered, "I knew they wouldn't invite someone like you." He turned away from me and continued digging through his closet.

I felt a little insulted by C.J.'s comments, but also a bit confused about why I'd told him that lie. Peter had said the Game wouldn't let us tell anyone else about it, though I never would have believed it would force me to lie like that. Then again I'd seen more than enough strange things last night to doubt it was possible.

Without consciously willing it I found myself getting up and going about my normal morning routine. I went to the bathroom, took a shower, and even sat down to eat a bowl of cereal. It was like I was on automatic with no real control over myself or even any desire to do something else. I was just going through the motions.

"Hey, I'm having a big party tonight," C.J. abruptly told me. "I'm inviting some friends over so I'd appreciate it if you kind of vanished for tonight. Is that all right with you?" His tone indicated that I didn't really have much choice since he was going to do what he wanted anyway. That's the way C.J. was.

"Just fine," I responded blankly, absently wondering why he'd have a big party on a school night. Then again this was C.J.

"Found it," C.J. exclaimed as he pulled out an old video game cartridge which appeared to be what he'd been searching for. "I told Brad I'd get this to him." Then he glanced at his watch. "Shit, I've gotta get going." C.J. turned to me and joked, "Clean this up will you..." Then he hurried out the door.

As soon as C.J. was gone I stood up and began to pick up the pile of clutter he'd left all over the floor. It wasn't that I wanted to clean up his mess or even do him a favor. The truth was I didn't even think about it. I was just moving on automatic again, doing exactly what he'd told me to.

"Damn," I muttered to myself, realizing that C.J. had just made my decision to clean the room for me.

Once I was done cleaning up C.J.'s mess I left my dorm and continued my normal routine just as Peter had instructed me to. I went to class and sat there, unable to decide what I should write down in my notes. The professor continued to lecture on, completely unaware of the fact that his entire speech was nearly wasted on me. By the time class ended I remembered a few things that he'd said but not a whole lot. I hadn't been able to focus on any specific information and decide which was important enough to remember.

My second class of the day didn't go very well either, especially after one of the boys next to me jokingly told me to throw a paper airplane at the professor. I couldn't help but do it, which earned me some brownie points with the other students but quite the opposite from the professor.

"I want to talk to you after class Mr. McKenna." Professor Cole glared at me before returning to his lecture.

The rest of the class was not a pleasant one for me as I was well aware of the fact that Professor Cole kept giving me odd glares, noticing that I wasn't taking any notes. I knew that my grades for this class were dropping like a rock and I'd only recently started it. I could only imagine what my GPA would look like after I went through all my classes like this.

When class was over I remained behind talk to Professor Cole, not having any other choice. He stood there and glared at me, "What is the meaning of this behavior?"

"I don't know," I told him, knowing that I couldn't very well tell him the truth.

He shook his head, then gave me a strange look. He stared at me for a moment before gasping. "You didn't happen to go to the Circle initiation last night?"

I blinked in surprise, then found that I could actually nod, "Y... yeah." I was stunned. I was sure that I'd be forced to tell him some lie about never having been given an invitation.

Professor Cole nodded, looking a little more sympathetic. "I am a member of the Circle myself," he told me in a conspiratorial voice. "I joined way back when I was a student here." After a moment he sighed, "Now I understand your odd behavior today... Just try to be more careful."

"Yes sir," I responded, remaining where I was.

"You can go now," he told me with a note of exasperation.

"Yes sir," I responded again before I was finally able to leave.

The rest of the day didn't go much better and only seemed to get worse. In one class I had a multiple choice quiz that the professor passed out, only to find that I couldn't answer a single question... even the ones I knew the answers to. I winced as my quiz was returned without a single answer on it. Then for lunch in the cafeteria, I ended up with several things I didn't like because someone told me I should get them. I was extremely relieved when my classes were done for the day and I was able to return to my dorm room.

Unfortunately even the sanctuary of my dorm room wasn't safe for long. As C.J. quickly reminded me, he was having his big party. And to make it worse, with a few casual comments he even had me cleaning up everything for his friends before I was forced to leave. Then, since I couldn't decide where to go or what to do while his friends were there, I ended up standing outside the dorm building for the entire party. I watched his friends go in, I heard them making a lot of noise, and I even watched them leaving a number of hours later. The whole time I just remained there, silently fuming inside.

C.J.'s party didn't end until 3 AM and only then was I able to return to my own room. The whole place was trashed, a horrible mess with beer cans all over the floor, pizza spilled onto the carpet and even a number of unpleasant stains on the walls. I could only stare at the wreckage of what had been my room, and the mess that had been made of even my own belongings. I was furious but helpless to do anything about it.

As I looked at my bed, which looked as though someone had puked in it, I was sure that things couldn't possibly get any worse. I should have known better because before C.J. collapsed into his bed and fell asleep, he jokingly told me, "Clean this place up... will ya? It's a mess..."

I screamed in frustration, which didn't seem to bother the now snoring C.J. at all, then I went to work anyway. I spent the next several hours scrubbing down every bit of my dorm room in order to undo the chaos that my roommate and his friends had created. I was seething in anger, nearly ready to bust in frustration. I felt like a slave, forced to do whatever anyone else told me to. I was helpless, unable to do even the simplest things for myself and having to take even an offhand comment or suggestion as a strict command. I had absolutely no control over myself now and I HATED it.

Suddenly I felt something twist inside of me. I paused, my cleaning nearly finished, realizing with absolute certainty that I HAD to get back to the Circle's house. I HAD to get back to that horrible Game. But at the same time I realized that I didn't have to do it right at that moment. I was completely exhausted and that could wait until morning. With a long sigh of relief I made my decision and collapsed into bed.

* * *

I stood in front of the Circle house, feeling a strange mixture of nervousness and relief. I briefly wondered if I'd made a mistake in skipping a class to come here but quickly shoved that concern aside. I was still feeling a strange compulsion to come and I wanted to get this taken care of as soon as I could.

"At least I get to make the choice," I muttered to myself with a faint smile.

When I had woken up I'd been relieved to discover that I was free from the compulsion to obey other people. I was free to make decisions of my own again. It had been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to tell C.J. to 'fuck off' after he asked me to help him clean up the rest of the room. As it was I'd done far more cleaning than he had any right to expect. I was still pretty pissed off about just how badly he'd taken advantage of me.

"Him and everyone else," I grumbled bitterly, hating what that Game had made me do. I didn't really want to come back and have it do even more, but I couldn't very well ignore it either. "Here goes nothing."

I went to the heavy wooden door and used the door knocker, not sure that anyone could possibly hear it. After all it was a big building and the odds of someone being near the door weren't the greatest. However, the door began to open up almost immediately. The sexy blonde woman who'd been standing next to Peter during the start of my initiation gestured for me to come inside. This time she was dressed in normal clothes instead of the red robe she had been wearing then.

"Welcome back," she smiled at me, holding out a hand, "I'm Delilah."

"Dylan," I responded nervously as I took her hand. I wasn't used to talking to gorgeous women like this or having them be nice to me.

"I know," Delilah chuckled. "I remember you from the other night. I assume that you are ready to continue playing."

I nodded at that, gulping before carefully answering, "I think so..."

"Right this way," she told me cheerfully, leading me through the same path that I'd gone the night before.

We went into the second room and through the secret passage, then descended the old stone steps. The large chamber was exactly as it had been the other night, except that this time we were the only ones there. I stared at Delilah, noticing that she was much less formal than last time too, a fact that her tight jeans and cleavage revealing shirt emphasized.

"Is something wrong?" Delilah asked.

"No," I answered quickly, then hesitated before adding, "actually, I kind of expected you all to be here wearing robes again."

Delilah bust out laughing at that, "Sorry to disappoint you. In spite of the impression you might have gotten last night, we don't hang out in robes all day. In fact we usually only wear them during the start of initiations and a few other rare occasions. It's a tradition thing." She shrugged. "As for everyone else... They're mostly in class. Since initiates are coming and going at all hours, we take turns waiting for you to show up. Right now it's my shift."

"Oh," I responded as we walked to what Peter called the Game.

"All you have to do is touch your piece," Delilah told me gently. "If you really have completed the first stage the Game will do the rest."

I merely nodded at that and looked over the game board, noticing that several of the figurines had already been moved ahead from where they'd been the other night. "Don't I have to wait for my turn or something?"

Delilah shook her head, "There are no turns. You're all playing at the same time but only sometimes against each other."

I took a deep breath, wondering if I should continue. Maybe I should just turn around and leave before things got any worse. After having spent yesterday as some sort of zombie, I was terrified of what it would do to me next. I shuddered with the memory of how the other's had been changed. Delilah just stood back, not saying a word or rushing me to go ahead.

"I can't quit," I whispered to myself, knowing now that Peter was probably being very literal. After what I'd seen I had a feeling that this Game could force me to continue whether I wanted to or not. My only real choice here was to either continue on my own or go kicking and screaming. I just wanted to get this done and over with so I reached out and touched my figurine.

"Good," Delilah said as my figurine began to slide forward along the path, stopping when it reached a fork. The path in front of my figurine diverged into three separate paths. "Now it seems you must choose which one to follow."

"But which one?" I asked in surprise, looking ahead along the three paths and seeing them go in completely different directions. I couldn't see anything that told me which one would be the best path to take or the easiest. "I can't tell..."

Delilah stood back, watching me with a curious expression but not making any suggestions. I kept looking back and forth between the three paths before me, trying to decide if one of them would be easier or faster. Unfortunately it didn't do any good and I still didn't have a clue. Finally I just pointed to one of the paths at random and said, "This one..."

As soon as I had announced my decision, my figurine began to slide onto that path and then stopped just an inch after it began. My eyes immediately darted to the flat space in the middle of the stone table. I gulped as the words began to appear, fearing to read them but knowing that I had to.

"It is time for a new direction," I read aloud, having no idea what that meant other than that I had just chosen one of the paths.

A moment later I was awash in a green glow and feeling a strange tingling through my body. The tingling intensified and I could actually feel my body beginning to move and change. It didn't really hurt but it was still an extremely strange sensation. This was what some of the others had to be feeling when they were being changed. I gasped and stared at my hands, watching as they altered subtly, becoming a little longer and more slender. It was the fact that my nails had become long and coated with a glossy polish that really caught my attention.

"What the hell?" I gasped, staring down at the two lumps that were pushing out from my chest. Of course that was hardly the only thing happening to my body. I quickly grabbed between my legs, feeling a strange absence there as I did so. "Oh shit..."

The changes running through my body finished up in less than a minute and the glow promptly faded away. I continued to just stand there, staring down at myself and taking in the changes. It was more than a little obvious that I had been transformed into a girl. My body was noticeably feminine and I had B cup breasts which pushed out from my chest.

"Interesting," Delilah mused as she watched me with some interest.

"Interesting?" I gasped. "Look at me!"

"I am," she responded with an amused smile. "You make a very lovely young woman." I glared at her in response but she just shrugged, "Trust me... this is nothing unusual. You've seen how your fellow initiates were changed."

"But I'm a girl," I exclaimed, grabbing my breasts and staring down at myself in disbelief.

"Just think of it this way," Delilah told me. "You're the one who chosed this particular path..."

"What?" I blinked, staring down at my figurine and going pale. "What would have happened if I'd chosen one of the others?"

Delilah stared at the stone table for a moment before admitting, "I have no idea. You might have become a macho bodybuilder, turned into a scrawny nerd, returned to childhood, been compelled to tell everyone exactly what you thought at all times or any number of other things. The Game has a will of its own and isn't very predictable. But it's too late now since you've already chosen your new direction."

"Great," I grumbled, silently hoping that it wore off soon like the last thing had. "But what am I gonna do? I can't go to my classes like this..."

"Sure you can," Delilah told me with a faint smile. "The Game takes care of these things. Most people who know you will just assume that you're someone else entirely, in spite of any evidence to the contrary. Or they'll just think you've always been like this. It's hard to tell since it doesn't always work the same way."

"How long will I be stuck like this?" I asked quietly.

Delilah shrugged, "I have no idea. The Game treats everyone differently and most of the time it's pretty hard to predict."

"Why does it do this?" I demanded, gesturing at myself and then the stone disk. "What's the point?"

Delilah hesitated a moment, looking thoughtful as though she was trying to decide how much to tell me. Then she said, "I'm not sure... I don't think anyone is. But there are some theories and some things we do know. I really shouldn't tell you though until you pass your initiation." She stared at me for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, we do know that the Game tries to open your mind and force you into new perspectives. Unfortunately its methods are usually... traumatic."

"You can say that again," I looked down at myself and thought of how everyone else had been changed.

"My personal theory," she said almost conspiratorially, "is that the Game is sort of symbiotic. We know that the tree part is definitely alive and the Game as a whole has its own will. I think that its goal is to shock us into releasing some of our magic potential so it can feed on it. That would explain why it only works with those who have it."

I stared at Delilah for a moment, trying to absorb what she'd just told me. It make sense in a strange way. Trees were living things and needed things like sunlight and water to survive, but there was definitely no sunlight down here. Since this seemed to be a magic tree, maybe it needed magic to survive the way a normal tree needed sunlight. Of course I had no way of knowing for sure and doubted that I ever would.

Just then I heard a sound coming from the stone table. I snapped around and watched as one of the figurines was moving on its own. I was stunned since there was no one else in the chamber besides Delilah and myself, and neither of us had touched it.

"It tends to do that," Delilah explained, not looking as though she was surprised in the least. "Like I said... the Game has a will of its own. Now come on, I'm sure you've got things you want to do." She gave me a knowing look and a bit of a smile before she started for the stone steps.

When we reached the top of the steps and were back into the large room Delilah gestured to a wall that had a large mirror covering half of it. I hadn't really noticed it on my previous visit, but then again, I had been distracted. "This is for initiates like yourself," she told me with a wink. "I'll be at the door when you're ready to leave." And with that she stepped out of the room, leaving me alone with the mirror.

I slowly moved towards the mirror, feeling nervous and a bit curious at the same time. I stopped right in front of it, staring into my reflection with a startled gasp. It wasn't my face that was reflected back at me, but that of a girl. I was still the same age, still had dark blonde hair though it was now shoulder length, and still resembled myself more than a little. If anything else, it was like I was staring into the face of my own twin sister.

"Creepy," I exclaimed in surprise, reaching up to touch my face and hair. I shook my head, hardly able to believe this was really me.

I continued staring at my reflection for nearly a full two minutes, stunned and amazed. I was comforted by the thought that this was only temporary, that it would wear off when the Game was done with whatever it was trying to do. I wondered if the others felt the same way when they saw their altered reflections for the first time. I kind of doubted it since at least I had the comfort in knowing it would eventually end while they might not have.

I turned away from the mirror with a shake of my head, wondering how I was going to deal with being a girl. There was no doubt that it was going to be weird, but at least I could make my own decisions again. Compared to that, being a girl would be a snap.

"Good luck," Delilah told me as she opened the door for me. Then she gave me a smile and added, "think of it as a learning experience."

"A learning experience," I muttered after she'd closed the door behind me. "Just great..."

I looked down at myself again and shook my head, wondering what C.J. and everyone else would say about my changes. Of course Delilah had told me not to worry about that, but I wasn't sure I trusted the Game that far. After all she had also said that it was unpredictable and had a will of its own.

Even though I was a bit nervous I went to my next class, arriving just in time to avoid being late. I took my normal seat, a little surprised that no one gave me a second look. Even the boy I normally sat next to acted as though my presence there as a girl was perfectly normal. In fact the only one who actually seemed to notice was Professor Cole... who had admitted to me yesterday that he himself was a member of the Circle.

Since I'd created such a bad impression on Professor Cole yesterday, I tried to be on my best behavior and take good notes. I felt awkward sitting there in my new body and a little afraid that someone would declare me an impostor or start laughing. Fortunately nothing like that happened and I was actually able to focus on the lecture.

About halfway through class the boy next to me leaned over and whispered, "I was wondering if you might want to go out for dinner sometime?"

I nearly choked at that, staring at him in disbelief. "You want to go on a date?"

"Yeah," he blushed, looking a little embarrassed.

I was too shaken to think clearly. Sure, I knew that I looked like a girl... at least I knew it intellectually. This was the first time though that someone else had treated me like a girl. I wasn't sure how to react to this.

"I... I'll think about it," I lied, knowing that there was no way I'd ever go on a date with him. It was just WRONG. However I didn't really want to create a big scene or draw extra attention by telling him what I really thought. He looked disappointed but nodded in understanding, obviously hoping that I'd eventually say yes.

"Maybe I should have told him I already have a boyfriend," I muttered to myself, shaking my head at the idea of ever saying something like that.

When the class was finally over and I began to leave, Professor Cole gave me a nod and a smile, then commented, "You were much better behaved today... in spite of your distraction." Then he chuckled, "Good luck on your initiation."

"Thank you," I blushed self-consciously, hurrying out the door as fast as I could.

I continued with my normal schedule for the next few hours, finding that most things were pretty much normal. However I slowly became aware of the fact that people were treating me differently. It was subtle and I didn't really notice it at first, but once I did it became almost obvious. Most girls in my classes were friendlier to me, while the boys seemed a bit more distant, yet friendlier at the same time. It was a strange contradiction that made me wonder about how I acted around girls.

While I was sitting down for lunch, I couldn't help noticing one boy who kept sneaking looks at me. I frowned, wondering what was wrong. Did I have something smeared on my face? It took me several minutes to figure out that he was checking me out. I gasped at the realization, blushing immediately. This was nearly as bad as when the other guy had asked me out in class. At least this guy hadn't come up to actually talk to me.

Unfortunately my relief was short lived since the boy in question stood up and started walking towards me. I groaned and averted my eyes but he continued coming anyway. "I couldn't help noticing that you were looking at me," he said with a smile.

I groaned, then snapped, "I was just wondering why you kept staring at me."

The boy blinked, apparently not expecting that answer. He stammered for a second, "I just thought you looked interesting..."

I groaned again, deciding that I had to cut him off. "I'm sorry," I told him, remembering a line that a girl had used on me last month, "but I'm not interested in dating right now."

"I just wanted to talk," he said, looking a little hurt.

For a brief moment I felt bad for him, then I remembered that he was trying to get into MY pants. "I've got to go," I quickly said, getting up and leaving as fast as I could. I couldn't help but feeling uncomfortable, knowing exactly the kinds of things he was thinking about me.

Once I was out of the cafeteria I went to the outdoors common area to kill some time until my next class. I took a seat on a bench and just sat back watching the people pass. People watching was something that I'd been doing for a long time. You never knew what kind of people would go past or what they might do. Of course it didn't hurt that a lot of good looking girls could go past as well, especially here on campus.

"Wait," I suddenly grinned to myself, realizing one possibility that I hadn't considered before. "I bet I could get into the girls locker room without a problem." I chuckled at that and fantasized about doing just that... until I thought of one major flaw to my plan. Members of the Circle would know who I really was and I had no idea who most of them were. "With my luck, I'd walk in on the cheerleaders and they'd all know who I was and kick my ass..."

Just a few minutes later a pair of black guys walked past me, exclaiming, "I hate when white boys try acting like gangstas... That boy was an idiot..." He gestured back with a shake of his head. I followed his gesture and saw a familiar looking white boy.

"Jordan," I gasped in realization, remembering the skinny black guy from the other night.

He still looked exactly as he had the last time I'd seen him, like a skinny white guy. But at the moment he didn't seem happy at all. In fact he seemed to be cursing to himself. I thought about going over to talk to him then decided against it. "Now might not be a good time..."

I remained where I was for a few more minutes, watching Jordan walk away. I continued watching other people, wondering where the other Game players were at and how they were doing. I felt bad when I thought about Michelle and even Ed. It would have to be horrible to be turned into a child again and even worse to be made the size of a doll. I just hoped they were all right. I hoped everyone was.

When I went to my next class I saw one girl who looked vaguely familiar, though I couldn't place her. She was a goth with short pink hair, several piercings on her face and some visible tattoos on her arms and shoulders. I knew that I'd seen her somewhere before but I just couldn't remember where that had been. I kept my eye on her all through class, trying to figure it out.

As soon as the class was over with I hurried to the goth, trying to get close enough to guess her identity. She took one look at me and scowled, "Who the fuck are you?"

"I'm..." I started nervously, looking into her face and then gasping as I suddenly recognized her. "Alexis?"

The last time I saw Alexis the normally sexy blonde had just been transformed into a scrawny nerd. I stared at the goth in front of me, seeing hints of the sexy Alexis as well as the nerd one. I was sure that this was her, which could only mean that the Game had transformed her again.

"Yeah?" she responded, looking suspicious.

"I guess the Game changed you again too," I said with a nervous smile.

Her eyes went wide and she nodded, "Fuck yeah. I can't even stop this fucking cursing every God damn mother fucking other word." She shook her head. "Fuck, this shit is driving me fucking insane..." Then she gave me a suspicious look again, obviously trying to figure out who I was.

"It's Dylan," I told her quietly, quickly glancing around to make sure no one could hear me. "I kind of got a sex change this morning..."

"No fucking way," Alexis exclaimed with a lout laugh. "Sorry, but this is pretty fucking funny..."

"Yeah, funny," I snorted. "I guess that game really likes to mess with people."

"Fuck yeah," Alexis agreed. "It was hard enough spending the whole fucking day as a brain yesterday, but now I'm some kinda fucking freak... Shit, I'm pierced in places that shouldn't be and I can't even fucking talk right anymore..."

Alexis and I continued talking for several more minutes, commiserating on how bad we had it and then even competing to see which one had it worse. We couldn't agree to a winner on that though as we were each sure that the Game had hit us than the other. Then we said a quick 'good-bye' to each other and went out separate ways, wishing each other good luck in the process. I had a feeling that we were both going to need it.

During the rest of the day I continued to notice changes in the way people treated me. One male professor who had been nice to me before suddenly seemed patronizing and insulting. That was a bit of a shock and made me reevaluate my opinion of the man. This whole change in gender was beginning to make me reevaluate my opinions on several people, including one girl that I'd previously had a bit of a crush on but who now seemed like just a bitch.

Eventually I was done with all my classes for the day and I let out a long sigh of relief and started for my dorm room. I hesitated about halfway there, suddenly realizing that my transformation would create certain problems with my roommate.

"Oh shit," I grimaced. "As if I didn't have enough problems with C.J. as it was."

I could just imagine how hard it would be to deal with C.J. looking like I now did, not to mention awkward. Somehow I didn't think it would be a good idea going back to my room as I now was, especially not after the way he'd taken advantage of my situation the last time. There was no telling what could happen this time.

"Damn," I muttered

I remained where I was for several minutes, trying to decide where I was going to go or what I was going to do since I couldn't very well go back to my normal dorm room like this. Unfortunately I couldn't think of any other ideas. It looked like I might have no choice but to go back and hope C.J. didn't see me. It wouldn't be easy to avoid him that thoroughly in such a small space, unless this weird stage of the game ended pretty soon.

Just then someone asked, "Are you okay?" I turned around, startled to see Delilah standing there with three other girls. "It's Diane, right?" She glanced to the girls beside me, making me realize that they probably weren't members of the Circle which was why she'd brought up the other name.

"Um... yeah," I responded, deciding to play along. "It's Diane..."

"I thought I remembered your name right." Delilah winked at me, then told her friends. "We met this morning. I thought it might be nice to help her out since I remember what it was like being a freshman."

"Nice to meet you," one of the other girls smiled. "I'm Jill."

"Rebecca," a cute brunette introduced herself.

The third girl was Hispanic with reddish brown hair. "I'm Anna," she introduced herself with a pleasant smile.

"So what are you doing?" Delilah asked me with a look of concern.

I glanced at her friends, then cautiously said, "I'm just having some problems with my roommate..." I looked down in embarrassment, "You know... from what happened this morning."

"Oh," Delilah gave me a look of understanding. "That kind of thing does happen... Why don't you come with us for a while and we'll see what we can do."

I was a little surprised by that. "Are you sure?"

Delilah just grinned. "I was a freshman once too."

"Me too," Jill nodded agreement. "Just last year in fact."

I wasn't sure where the girls were all going but I had nothing better to do at the moment so went along with them. They all continued to talk as we walked, trying to include me in on the conversation a bit. Mostly they were giving me bits of advice about the campus and how to survive as a freshman. They even gave me warnings about which guys I should stay away from because they were jerks, to which I just politely nodded. Delilah was obviously amused by that topic and did nothing to change the subject in spite of my embarrassment.

We eventually arrived at a small house that was just off campus where Jill immediately exclaimed, "Make yourselves at home."

"You live here?" I asked in surprise.

Jill just grinned. "My folks didn't want me being stuck in a dorm room with someone who might very well be a psycho so they rented this place for me."

"Cool," I whispered, feeling extremely jealous. It would have been very nice not having to worry about C.J. and his antics.

"Why don't we order some pizza for dinner," Rebecca suggested, then asked, "What does everyone like?" Once everyone had made their preferences known, Rebecca left the room to order the pizza, dragging Jill and Anna with her.

I looked over at Delilah, feeling a little nervous. It was strange being surrounded by four attractive girls, or at least three attractive ones and one drop dead gorgeous one. It was stranger still having them all treat me like one of the group, including Delilah who knew my real identity. She just sat beside me, watching me with a look of amusement.

"You know," Delilah told me quietly, glancing to the door that the others had gone through, "it's against the Circle rules to interfere in your initiation... but that doesn't mean I can't help you make a few friends."

I gave her a nervous smile. "Thanks. It's a bit weird though... I mean, I'm a guy..."

"Not at the moment," Delilah smirked.

For a moment I just stared at her, wanting to ask her so many questions about the Circle and the Game but unable to think of any at the moment. I knew that the others could come back in at any moment and I didn't want to be talking about how I was really a guy when they did.

"Don't worry about them," Delilah grinned, gesturing to the door. "Rebecca is with the Circle and is keeping Jill and Anna distracted so we can talk for a few minutes."

"Oh," I blinked in surprise. I hadn't thought any of them besides Delilah was with the circle and certainly wouldn't have guessed Rebecca who seemed so nice and ordinary.

"Have you seen any of the other initiates yet?" Delilah asked me.

"Yeah," I nodded, "a couple of them... This game is pretty... extreme." Extreme was putting it mildly but I didn't want to use a more accurate word like 'insane' for fear of insulting her.

"That's putting it mildly." Delilah just laughed, mirroring my thoughts. "It really likes to mess with your self-identity. It seems to look for any weaknesses in your psyche... any fears, prejudices, or whatever... then throws them in your face. Of course it just seems completely random a lot of the times too. It's pretty unpredictable for the most part, but you can almost count on it hitting you with something traumatic."

"So... what did it do to you?" I asked, getting more and more curious. It was easier to think about what the Game did to other people than what it was currently doing to me.

Delilah looked as though she was about to answer, then shook her head. "Sorry. I think I've probably told you too much already. You'll just have to learn the rest firsthand."

I wanted to ask Delilah more questions, but she refused to answer, and then the others came back into the room and there was no more opportunity. The conversation immediately turned to boys they were dating or at least liked, which made me cringe back a bit and try hiding. I swear that Delilah had brought me into this group for the sole purpose of making me uncomfortable and embarrassing me. She was obviously having a good time at my expense, though I had to admit she was at least being really nice.

"Is it smart," I finally asked, "to just hang around like this when we've all got studying to do?"

"Absolutely not," Anna grinned, "but that's what makes it so fun."

"Relax girl," Rebecca told me. "You've got four years to be stressed. One or two nights relaxing isn't going to kill you."

The rest of the evening was a strange mix of going by fast and lasting a long time. I got to know all four girls a little better and was even beginning to relax more around them and feel less like an intruder. I couldn't really get into some of their conversations, but I could still laugh when they talked about stupid things some of their former boyfriends did... and wince when I remembered doing some of the same.

Eventually it was time to go and I suddenly remembered my roommate problems, which I'd managed to forget until then. I only hoped that C.J. was already asleep or out somewhere when I got back. Those were my only hopes of avoiding a very uncomfortable encounter with him.

But just as I was getting ready to leave, Jill pulled me aside and said, "Delilah told me you were having some kind of argument with your roommate."

"Yeah," I smiled weakly, "something like that."

"Well," Jill smiled sympathetically, "I've got room on my couch if you want to crash here for a night or two."

"What?" I blinked in surprise, not having expected anything like that.

"It's a comfortable couch," she quickly told me, "at least somewhat."

I stared at her for a moment, relieved at the idea of not having to go to my own dorm room but not sure that it was proper accepting her invitation. Of course she'd be in her own bedroom and I'd just be on the couch... but still. I glanced to Delilah, who gave me a slight nod.

"But you don't really know me," I said hesitantly.

"You're a friend of Delilah's," Jill just shrugged, "and you seem all right to me."

I stared at her for a moment more before responding with a nervous smile. "Thanks... I really appreciate it."

* * *

I shifted in my seat uncomfortably and stared into my plate of lunch, making a point not to look at the boy who'd been staring at me. It was pretty uncomfortable, but I knew that if I looked back I just might accidentally encourage him to think I liked him. Instead I did my best to pretend that he didn't exist and to focus on just the people at my table.

It was a little strange to be surrounded by pretty girls who all thought I was one of them and treated me accordingly. Jill and Anna were sitting next to me, but Rebecca and Delilah were elsewhere, leaving no one at the table who knew my true gender. In a way it was strangely liberating since I didn't have to worry about keeping up appearances in front of them. All I had to do was just be one of the girls and enjoy myself.

There were a number of girls at the table who I didn't know but who seemed to be friends with Jill and Anna. Jill was talking to them and saying, "Don't forget about that party I'm holding this weekend. And don't forget... it's BYOD."

"BYOD?" I asked blankly.

"Bring your own date," Anna smirked. "You're not allowed in the door without one."

"It's Jill's way of making sure there's a guy there for every girl," a girl whom I didn't really know commented.

"Her parties are fairly decent," Anna told me with a grin.

"Hey," Jill glared at her in mock insult, "I think they're better than just all right..."

They continued to gently tease each other while I turned my attention to Faith, a girl who'd spent nearly every minute since I'd sat down near her talking about how unfair the school admissions policies were. "They need to open up more scholarships for women," Faith said. "Those bastards wouldn't even let me into Professor Latkey's history class... Laura Latkey is the best... but they put twice as many boys in there as girls..."

I stared at Faith and shook my head, reminded very much of Crystal. "You know," I said in annoyance, "those classes were first come first serve. You should have signed up sooner."

"Bullshit," Faith snapped, looking at me with an edge in her eyes. "That's just what they tell you. If you buy that..."

"Okay," I sighed, knowing that I couldn't talk sense with her.

Unfortunately Faith was on a roll and not about to stop. At least I didn't think she would until some guy came up beside her and said, "Please Faith... I need to talk to you."

I didn't pay the guy any attention at first... until I did a double take and realized that it was Crystal. She was still the fairly short and scrawny guy she'd turned into at the initiation and she didn't look well. She looked tired, dirty and pitiful.

"I really need to talk to you," Crystal pleaded to Faith.

"Who's this?" Anna asked, looking at Crystal with an expression of disgust.

"Some stalker who won't leave me alone," Faith spat out, jumping up and backing away. "Keep away from me you sick pervert..."

"But I'm your friend," Crystal gasped, looking horrified. "I just want you to listen to me..."

"Talk to this," Faith snapped, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a small canister which she immediately sprayed in Crystal's face. Crystal screamed and covered her eyes while Faith laughed, "Eat pepper spray you bastard. You guys are all alike..."

"My God," I gasped in horror, feeling sorry for Crystal who staggered away while Faith just continued laughing.

I felt a bit sick to my stomach and got up, making my way to Crystal. "Are you all right?"

"Leave me alone," Crystal cried, shoving me away. "Just leave me alone..."

I stared after Crystal, wondering if I should go help her anyway. But she seemed so messed up at the moment that I was afraid of getting even more involved than I was. After all I reminded myself, it wasn't like we were friends or anything. The only things we even had in common was that the Game had made us both go through sex changes... though I seemed to be doing better than she was.

"Holy shit," I shook my head, feeling pity for the girl... even if she was some kind of femnazi bitch most of the time.

I thought about going back for the rest of my lunch but decided against if. After what I'd just seen I'd sort of lost my appetite for the moment. Then with a sigh I turned and made my way to my next class, trying to shake the image of the pitiful crying man Crystal had become from my mind.

After this the rest of my day was pretty much like yesterday. I even stopped and talked with Alexis again for awhile, though it was a little awkward since she was still the same she had been then, swearing nearly every other word. Still I think it made both of us feel a little better to be talking to others who were going through the initiation as well. And though neither of us said a thing, I think we were both afraid of what the Game had in store for us next.

I returned to Jill's house after my classes were all over, feeling a little guilty for doing so. I didn't want to keep taking advantage of her hospitality but was afraid of how any encounter with C.J. would go. Would he think of me as someone else entirely, not even recognizing me as his roommate? If that was the case, I couldn't go back to my own room anyway. But what if he just thought that I'd always been a girl. Then how would he rationalize the fact that we were roommates. I didn't even want to think about that one.

"I'm just glad Jill is willing to help me out," I sighed, thankful for Delilah's story about me feuding with my roommate. That was certainly a much easier explanation to swallow than the truth.

The other girls all showed up at the house again so I found myself hanging out with Jill, Anna, Rebecca and Delilah again. Delilah and Rebecca both gave me amused looks, perhaps enjoying my discomfort or the fact that I was quickly losing it in their presence. Then again maybe they were just wondering what the Game had in store for me next. I know I was.

"I have an idea," Rebecca suddenly exclaimed.

"Yeah?" Jill asked with an eager grin.

Rebecca leaned back and smirked. "Delilah was telling me that Diane here is from a conservative family and never got to dress up nicely while growing up." I stared at her in horror as she continued, "I think it's high time for her to have a makeover..."

"No," I quickly protested, "I'm fine..."

"That's a great idea," Delilah grinned while the others nodded their agreement.

"Oh no," I responded, getting up and slowly backing away from them. I felt like I was in a horror movie because they all came at me with identical grins. "Please..."

"Resistance is futile," Delilah stated matter of factly. "You will be assimilated..." Then at Anna's blank look, she blushed, "So I'm a bit of a Trekkie..."

"I don't need this," I protested quickly. "I'm just fine..."

"It's not for you," Jill grinned, "it's for us. Besides, you can think of this as payment for letting you stay here."

"Great," I sighed in defeat, "if you put it that way..."

"I do," Jill chuckled evilly, "I do..."

Before I realized it I was sitting on a chair while all four of my new friends went to work on my hair. They did everything short of actually cutting it. They braided it, unbraided it, used mouse and gels... and wouldn't let me see until they'd settled on what they thought was the best style.

"I think it needs a bit of a trim and styling right here," Anna suggested, which was quickly shot down since we didn't have a professional handy.

"Thank God," I muttered to myself, wondering if my hair would go back to normal when I did or if it would be left mangled because of any cutting.

"I used to love playing with my dolls when I was a little girl," Rebecca mused with a dreamy smile.

"I feel like a Barbie," I complained.

"Lucky you," Jill commented, "that bitch has everything."

"Just be thankful we don't have a nice wardrobe," Delilah sighed in exaggerated disappointment. "We could have a lot of fun playing dress up."

Once they were done with my hair I thought they were done or that I'd at least get to look at myself in the mirror. However my friends had other ideas and went to work on my makeup. Or more specifically, Delilah went to work on my makeup while the others watched and offered suggestions. I just sat where I was, trying to stay calm. After all I told myself I was helping them have fun. It didn't help my self-image much though.

Just as I thought this treatment was destined to go on forever, Delilah exclaimed, "Done."

"Really?" I asked cautiously, half afraid that this was some trick to lull me into lowering my guard so she could strike with some new trick.

"Yeah," Delilah grinned, winking at me. "You look great."

With that Jill came in with a mirror that she'd pulled off the wall and held it up in front of me so I could see myself. I stared at my reflection, nearly as stunned as I was when I first saw myself as a girl yesterday morning. I almost looked like a completely different girl. My hair was done up kind of nice and the makeup actually made me look beautiful. I absently licked my lips, tasting the lipstick and fighting the urge to wipe it off.

"It's... impressive," I finally said, not sure what else I could say.

The girls were all delighted and got excited, even going to grab a camera to take some pictures of me. To my surprise I even got caught up in it a bit and began to pose for the camera, having fun in spite of myself. It was strange, but these girls all made it seem so normal and fun that I couldn't help having fun as well.

Once things calmed down a bit more, Delilah quietly told me, "Thanks for being such a good sport about this. I know it's not your normal thing." She took another look at me and nodded with approval before leaving for the night.

Rebecca winked and me and whispered, "I really hope you pass your initiation."

Once the others had left Jill took a long look at me before sighing, "As much as I hate to say it, we'd better get that cleaned off you before you go to bed." She shook her head. "I really don't want that makeup all over my couch."

"Thanks," I told her as she gave me some wet naps to wipe off the makeup, "and thanks for letting me stay here. It means a lot to me."

"No problem," Jill blushed self-consciously. "We girls have to stick together after all."

"I still appreciate it," I told her honestly, surprised to realize just how much I did. It wasn't just the couch she was letting me sleep on, but the fact that she and the others had included me in everything and really made me feel like part of the group. Surprisingly it was some of the most fun I'd ever had.

* * *

When I woke up in the morning I was a little uncomfortable from sleeping on the couch, but I felt oddly good at the same time. I moaned, thinking about the fantastic dreams I'd been having all night. I didn't remember much about them, but Delilah had definitely been involved. My body was still responding from the dreams too, feeling pretty damn good. I absently fingered one of my nipples, gasping in surprise at just how sensitive it was compared to normal.

"Damn," I groaned as I sat up, nervously glancing around in case Jill was nearby.

I remained where I was for a few minutes, tempted to keep exploring my body and the new sensations I'd just discovered. I had to admit that this was really getting me curious about what else my transformed body could feel. Unfortunately I was a guest in Jill's house and didn't exactly have much privacy.

"A real shame," I sighed in disappointment.

After another minute I finally got up and went to find Jill. I knew she was up already because I could smell coffee coming from the kitchen. I nodded to her and sat at the table to eat a bowl of cereal, while she just sat there with such a groggy expression that I was half tempted to think she was sleepwalking. She'd been like that yesterday too.

"I was wondering," I carefully broached a subject I'd been thinking about since last night. "I was wondering if I could borrow some clothes... I didn't think about going back to my place and picking any up..."

"Sure," Jill half grunted, "I think you're about my size... I'm sure I've got something that will fit."

Jill wasn't exactly real helpful in the morning, but she got some spare clothes ready for me, while I climbed into the shower. I'd been so nervous about my body that I'd avoided this yesterday morning, but now I was afraid I was getting kind of nasty. I hesitated for a moment before getting completely undressed, then I just stood there and looked over my naked body, feeling somewhat amazed as I did so.

"This is better than any sex ed class," I muttered, thinking about the boring films from high school. "If nothing else... it's more interesting."

I just looked myself over for several minutes before climbing into the shower. Then I tried to stay focused and just clean myself up, ignoring my new parts as much as possible. It was a little amazing to realize just how much I'd been ignoring my changes during the last couple days.

"Like I could ever really ignore all this," I sighed, cupping my breasts.

Once I was done with my cleaning up I got dressed in the clothes Jill had pulled out for me. They weren't exactly a perfect fit, but at least I could wear them. I shook my head slightly at that, wincing faintly at the pink shirt with the cute kitten on the front, but deciding not to complain. After all Jill was doing me a lot of favors.

"I wonder what she'd say if she knew who I really was," I frowned, knowing that I'd have some uncomfortable explaining if she ever found out.

A short while later I was on my way to class. I'd already been a girl for several days now so going out in public wasn't as awkward or embarrassing as it had been. In fact I felt rather proud of just how well I was adapting. I didn't even cringe when I noticed guys looking at me anymore, though I still wasn't comfortable with it and was sure I never would be. After all in spite of my body I was still a normal guy inside.

I was in the middle of Professor Cole's class when I suddenly felt it, the urge to go back the game. Unfortunately now was not a great time. It was like an itch in the back of my mind that I could refuse to scratch but could never really ignore. I grimaced and did my best though, focusing on class and mentally going over my schedule to figure out when I'd have a chance to go to the Circle house.

My chance didn't come until lunch when I hurried straight over to the Circle house, eager to get this over with. I didn't know what the Game had in store for me, but the sooner it was done and over with the better. I couldn't get Delilah's warnings about it being traumatic out of my head, especially not when I thought about what it had done to the others.

"I am so dead," I muttered, wishing again that I could just quit the game and have everything go back to normal. Unfortunately Peter and Delilah had both made it very clear that this wasn't an option.

Just as I was nearly at the door it opened on its own and a woman came out. I took a step back, staring at her in surprise. She was undoubtedly the tallest Asian woman that I'd ever seen... and the most muscular. She had to be 6 foot 5 and had the muscles of a bodybuilder, though she had some very noticeable and generous curves as well. The woman was quite a unique sight, a fact which she was obviously aware of since she looked a bit uncomfortable and self-conscious.

After a moment I suddenly realized who this woman was. "Michelle?" I asked in surprise.

Michelle looking down at me suspiciously, "Who are you?"

I gulped, feeling intimidated in spite of myself. "We've never really met," I told her with a forced smile, "but I'm going through the initiation too... I saw you get shrunk to doll size..."

"I got bigger," she smiled almost proudly. She stared at me again, "You don't look familiar..."

I hesitated a moment before sticking my hand out. "My name's Dylan," I told her self-consciously. "The Game changed me a bit too..." I gestured down at myself and sighed.

Michelle actually laughed. "You're a boy?" she sounded as though she didn't quite believe me. Then she looked down at herself and shrugged, "I guess it is pretty weird." She shook my hand, surprising me again by just how strong her grip was. It almost felt as though she was going to crush my hand. "Sorry," she quickly apologized when she noticed the look on my face. She blushed, looking extremely embarrassed again.

"You've got quite a grip." I forced a smile, trying not to let her see just how intimidating her sheer size and strength was.

Michelle blushed again. "Um... yeah." Then she looked at her watch and sighed, "I've got get going. Good luck in there..." She gestured back to the door she'd just come out of.

"Thanks," I told her, turning and going to the door and using the knocker.

Chuck was the one who opened the door and let me inside, giving me a curious look as he did so as well as an appreciative one. "I guess you're here to continue the Game," he told me with an amused chuckle.

"How did you guess?" I snorted in impatiently, eager to just get this done with.

"So," Chuck asked as he led me to the room with the secret passage, "what's it like being a girl?"

"Kind of weird," I admitted, not sure that I wanted to talk with him too much about it. Sure, he was the one who'd given me the invitation to the Circle, but I still didn't really know him. And when I thought about it, he was sort of the one to blame for my current situation.

Chuck just shrugged and led me down the stairs into the strange chamber beneath the building. My eyes immediately went to the game in the center of the room. I gulped at the sight, feeling my heart jump a little in my chest. And as I went closer I noticed that nearly every piece on the board had moved since the last time I'd seen it. Even my own piece had moved ahead a bit since the last time.

"Do they always move on their own?" I asked Chuck, hesitating to touch my figurine in spite of the fact that I'd been impatient to do just that a minute earlier.

"Without you taking your turn?" he asked. When I nodded, he shrugged, "Pretty much."

I looked over the board, trying to guess which of us was winning the game... or at least had gone the furthest. To my surprise Ed's piece was in the exact same place it had been the first night. That meant he was probably still a little boy, which had to be a rough time. I frowned, wondering why he hadn't gone any further, while everyone else had.

Suddenly there was a loud cracking sound and Ed's figurine just exploded into dust right before my eyes. I jumped back in surprise. "What the hell?"

"Oh shit," Chuck exclaimed staring at the board, "whose was that...?"

"Ed's?" I answered quickly.

"Damn," Chuck scowled, staring at the now empty space on the Game board with a sad shake of his head. "Peter is gonna be disappointed... That Ed guy reminded him a lot of himself back when he'd been a jock."

"What's going on?" I demanded nervously. "What just happened?"

Chuck hesitated for a moment before he grimly told me, "Ed just lost the Game."

"What?" I blinked in confusion.

"The Game got rid of him," Chuck scowled. "He didn't make any progress and the Game decided he wasn't worth the effort. Now he'll never be able to join the Circle."

"He's not playing anymore?" I asked in surprise, remembering Peter's warning that the Game might decide to quit you. "So he's back to normal again..."

"No," Chuck shook his head sadly, then explained. "He didn't make any progress... so now he's stuck where he is."

"He's stuck as a little boy?" I gasped in horror.

Chuck just nodded, "Permanently... Or at least until he grows up again normally."

"Oh shit," I whispered, suddenly feeling horrified by this Game again.

"Damn," Chuck spat out bitterly. "We usually lose one or two to the Game every time... but I still don't like it."

"Every time?" I gasped. "Then why the hell do you keep putting people through this?"

"Risk and reward," Chuck answered quietly. "He was warned that it was risky. He was warned that once you start you have to keep going. It was his choice, just like it was yours."

I stared at Chuck for a minute and then turned my attention back to the Game. I gulped at the sight. "I don't think I'm gonna play anymore."

Chuck sighed, "It doesn't work like that. If you refuse to continue... then it might do the same thing to you."

I gulped at that, feeling shaken and uncertain. I really didn't want to keep playing this Game, but it seemed that I had no choice. Of course I'd already known that. I just hadn't known what happens when you refuse to keep playing.

With that I turned my attention to my own figurine, noticing for the first time that it was sitting at a spot with two possible paths in front of it. I was a little startled because I'd been so sure that it was a straight path. I frowned and pointed to the right path, saying, "That way," as I touched my figurine. It immediately began sliding down the path I had chosen, coming to a stop a bit further down.

Just as my piece stopped the words, "Explore your feminine side further," appeared in the center of the board.

A moment later the green glow surrounded me and I felt the strange warm tingling rush through my body. I felt myself changing again, but not nearly as much as last time. I gasped and blinked as the green glow faded away, looking down at myself to see how I'd changed and finding that I was still a girl. However I couldn't help but noticing that my breasts had grown a couple sizes larger.

"Not bad at all," Chuck said as he looked me over. "Very nice."

I blushed at the compliment, "Thanks..."

"I have a feeling that this one will be interesting for you," Chuck grinned.

I just looked down at myself again, feeling self-conscious and wondering just how much more I had been transformed. I went upstairs with Chuck and then stopped in front of the mirror, staring at myself in surprise.

"Wow," I exclaimed, my eyes going wide.

Of course I knew that I was still a girl, but I looked even more so than before. I was much more feminine looking... much sexier. I guessed that I was several inches taller, I looked much more athletic and fit with noticeable muscle tone. My hair was longer and more luxurious, as well as a lighter blond color. My breasts had increased in size to D or DD cups, which looked magnificent. And there was something about my face that just looked sexy and daring. Then I noticed that I was now wearing makeup and earrings when I hadn't been before.

"I'm a total babe," I gasped, mentally comparing myself to Delilah whom I still thought was a little hotter. I felt a tiny surge of envy as I made the comparison.

I continued looking myself over, noticing several other details as I did so. My clothes were still about he same as they had been, though now changed to fit my altered proportions. Instead of the tennis shoes I had been wearing I was now wearing a pair of high heels that I hadn't even noticed... in spite of the fact that I'd walked all the way upstairs in them.

"My God," I whispered, relieved that as sexy as I now appeared, I didn't look like some kind of bimbo. I was more... sultry. Seductive. I felt a strange mixture of pride and apprehension when I looked into my reflection. "I can't believe that's me..."

Just then I was distracted by the sound of a loud knocking. Chuck blinked and tore his eyes from me. "It looks like someone else is here to continue the game."

"Okay," I sighed, deciding that I'd better leave anyway.

Chuck opened the door to let the new arrival enter and to let me leave. I paused a moment, recognizing Gecko, though he looked a little different than the last time I'd seen him. When he left the first night, he'd been a tall and muscular looking lifeguard type, but now he had regained much of his old goth persona as well. It was as though he had taken bits and pieces of both selves and mixed them together, leaving him tall and muscular, but pale looking with black hair and tattoos.

"Hey," Gecko smirked at me.

I just stared at him, deciding that I really liked the muscles but not the whole goth thing. He was much better looking the way he'd been before, even if it had been a bit stereotypical. Instead of answering him, I just nodded and hurried out the door, deciding that I'd better go now if I wanted to get something to eat before my next class started.

When I arrived back at the cafeteria I intended to just run inside and grab something quick and easy. But just as I was going in I nearly ran into Anna, who paused to look at me. "Hey Diane," she greeted me without even blinking, "you'd better watch where you're going girl."

"Sorry," I apologized, a little startled that Anna wasn't demanding to know what happened to me. "Don't you notice anything different about me?"

Anna looked me over again, then shook her head, "Not really. Are you using some new makeup?"

"Yeah." I forced a smile. "That's it exactly."

Anna grinned, "I'm real observant that way. I mean, I notice just about everything."

"I noticed," I told her, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. "I've got to get going though. I'm running a bit late and want to grab something before class."

"No problem," Anna shrugged. "I'll see you later girl."

"Later," I told her as I continued on my way.

I looked down at myself, stunned that Anna hadn't noticed anything different with me at all. Of course Peter had warned us all that the Game took care of things like that, but this was the first time I'd seen it with such effectiveness. Before this everyone else had just assumed that Diane was someone entirely different from Dylan, though the grades I earned as Diane still seemed to go to Dylan. This was something else entirely, though I had to admit I was somewhat thankful for it. It would make things a lot easier when dealing with Anna and Jill and would require a lot fewer explanations.

Since I was getting short on time I hurried into the cafeteria and quickly looked for something I could eat fast. Unfortunately the options didn't look nearly as appealing as they normally did. The hamburgers were greasy and nasty... as were the chili dogs. There were a few other items that were much better, but I ended up settling on a grilled chicken salad.

"This is good," I mused after I'd eaten a few bites. "I should have started eating these things sooner." I looked at my salad which was much healthier than my normal lunch fare but still quite tasty. I would definitely have to start eating these more often.

I'd been in such a hurry to get back and grab something to eat that I hadn't really been paying much attention to my surroundings. But now that I'd eaten I began to notice the boys who were looking at me. Before just a few boys shad been looking at me. Now it suddenly seemed as though half the cafeteria was.

"The price of being turned into a babe," I sighed, though I was feeling a certain smugness from all the attention.

I finished up my lunch and went to class, not very much aware of how much extra attention I was getting. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, whether I should be annoyed or honored. I think I felt a little bit of both, though it slowly shifted more to annoyed when several complete strangers came up and asked me on a date just while I was on my way to class.

Things were a little strange for me, but not much more so than they'd been for the last few days. Once again I noticed a change in behavior with the people around me, with guys either becoming friendlier or too nervous to really talk to me anymore, while girls who used to be nice started acting bitchy and jealous. It was almost amusing, though I had a hard time guessing how anyone would act around me ahead of time.

"So this is what it's like for really pretty girls," I mused to myself, wondering how I was going to manage with this.

After some consideration I decided to go have a talk with Alexis. We weren't exactly friends yet but we had talked a few times over the last few days. Since she was normally the sexy cheerleader type, I knew that she must have a lot of experience dealing with guys who were attracted to her, and girls who were jealous. Maybe she could give me some advice so I wouldn't make a complete fool of myself.

I found Alexis in the same class that we'd been meeting in before, though I was once again surprised to see her. I never even would have recognized Alexis if another girl hadn't called her by name within my hearing. While Alexis had still been a goth yesterday, now she had been transformed into a black girl.

"That's a new look for you," I told Alexis as I came up to her, getting a look of surprise as she looked me over and tried to figure out who I was.

"Do I know you girl?" Alexis demanded in a tone of voice that I normally associated with 'ghetto accent'.

"It's me," I told her with a sigh, "Diane."

"Diane?" Alexis' eyes went wide as she looked me over. "Damn girl, you is fine... What happened to your white ass?"

I rolled my eyes, seeing that the Game had once again changed the way she was forced to talk. "The Game of course," I told her with a shrug. "It could have been a lot worse."

Alexis nodded. "Yeah, I know what you mean. I saw that Jordan boy awhile back and he looked like he's having it hard. That boy got the shit beat outta him by one of his friends cuz he called him a nigger."

"Ouch," I winced, feeling almost thankful that I'd just been turned into a woman. At least I don't have anyone trying to hurt me... other than a few jealous girls.

"So what's it like?" I asked Alexis.

She thought about it for a moment before answering, "A bit different. One guy I like won't even look at me no more." She shook her head. "I just wonder what that there Game is gonna do next. Maybe tomorrow I'll be turned into a brother or somethin..."

"Who knows," I sighed. "Did you hear about... about that Ed guy?"

"No," Alexis shook her head. "What's up?"

"He got kicked off the game," I told her, then described how his figurine had just exploded and what Chuck had said afterwards. "Now he's stuck as a little boy for good."

"Shit," Alexis winced. "Now I know I'd damn well better pass this test..."

I could only nod in complete agreement. We continued talking for at least another fifteen minutes, with her giving me some advice on how to handle overly interested boys who wouldn't take no and jealous girls who wanted to make me look bad. She was obviously quite amused by my situation and the fact that I had to ask her these question, but at least she was helpful.

Once I was done talking to Alexis, I thanked her for her advice and continued on my way. I was just about to reach my next class when I suddenly saw another Game player. It was Bill, the big black guy who'd been at the initiation. I'd caught sight of him a few times since then but hadn't been able to talk to him. He'd always looked the same as before, though this time he had been changed. It was still him, but he was now shorter and skinnier.

"Can I talk to you," I called out to him, but he must not have heard me because he continued walking. "Damn," I muttered, glancing at my watch. I'd spent too much time talking to Alexis and was running too late to chase him down. "Maybe later."

When I was done with my classes for the day I let out a long sigh of relief. This meant that I had enough free time to check out my new body in a little more detail and explore my 'feminine side' like the Game had told me to. I still wasn't quite sure what the Game meant by that though. I was trying to figure it out when I saw Delilah and Rebecca.

Delilah and Rebecca were sitting on a bench out in the campus courtyard, apparently talking to each other. I smiled when I saw them then made my way over, calling, "Hey," when I got close.

Delilah turned and looked at me without recognition for a moment, then her eyes went wide. "Diane?"

"Um... yeah," I blushed.

"Very nice," Rebecca told me as she looked me over. "I like the high heels... Very sexy."

I quickly looked down at my shoes and blushed even brighter. "They kind of came with the new body. So did being able to walk in them."

"They're still nice," Delilah told me. "I think I might need to buy a pair like that."

I sighed and sat down on the bench beside Delilah. "How long do these Game's usually last?" But before she could continue I continued, "This just keeps getting weirder and weirder... And Ed..."

"I heard that we lost someone today," Rebecca said quietly. "It happens."

"So why do you guys keep recruiting new people?" I asked. "Why do you keep playing?"

Both Rebecca and Delilah were quiet for a minute before Delilah responded, "Because we must. The Game is at the core of what the Circle is. It is risky and difficult, but if you can make it through the rewards are worth it." She shook her head and sighed, "You'll understand when you finish your initiation."

I noticed that she said 'when' and not 'if'. It gave me a sense of home and made me feel better that she had such confidence in me. However I still felt sorry for Ed. Sure he was a bully and a jerk, but that didn't mean he deserved to lose everything and be stuck as a kid again.

"Anyway," Delilah changed the subject, "we've got to take you shopping while we still can. You've got a golden opportunity here so you should really take advantage of it."

"Maybe," I admitted, "but I do have to get some studying done... ."

"Nonsense," Rebecca grinned. "You'll have plenty of time to study. How often are you going to be able to walk into Victoria's Secret and not have anyone think anything strange about it?"

"Good point," I giggled. Then I sighed, "First I've got to go back to my own dorm room. That's where all my money is." I sighed, wishing I could stay at my own place and wear my own clothes. Unfortunately playing the Game had currently made both of those impossible.

"Okay," Delilah told me with a grin. "You go and take care of that. We'll meet you at Jill's place when you're done."

Once I said good-bye to Rebecca and Delilah I returned to my dorm room, feeling more nervous the closer I got. I hoped that C.J. was away at the moment since it would make things so much easier, but I knew I couldn't count on it. My fears seemed to be ungrounded though since the room was empty when I arrived.

"Oh God," I groaned when I looked around. "It's a pig stye..."

C.J. had not been a neat roommate in my absence and had actually made a rather large mess in that short time. There was even a pizza box with a half eaten pizza still in it sitting on my bed. I almost felt nauseous, knowing that I'd have to have a nice talk with him once this was all done and over with.

"But once this is over with," I reminded myself, "I'll either have a place to stay at the Circle house... or I'll have bigger problems to worry about."

I took a deep breath, wincing at some unpleasant smell that I couldn't quite place. Then I decided to just get what I needed and leave. I hurried to my dresser and searched it for the small stash of money that I'd hidden under one of the drawers. I'd been sure to come up with a good hiding spot after I met my roommate. It wasn't that I didn't trust C.J... but I didn't.

A few minutes later I had my money, a few books I needed, and some personal items I wanted to keep close. I was just about to leave my room when the door started to open. I froze in horror as C.J. stepped inside and saw me.

"Who the hell are you?" C.J. demanded in surprise, proving that the Game didn't just make him think I'd always been like this. That was a relief in a strange way. Then he smiled pleasantly, giving me very appreciative look with his eyes. "I'm Cody James... but everyone calls me C.J. What are you doing in my room?"

I remained frozen, my mind racing for some kind of believable explanation. Then I blurted out, "I'm a friend of Dylan's."

"Dylan?" C.J. said with a look of disappointment. He continued to stare at me with a look of obvious attraction, paying special attention to my breasts. "Do you know where he's at? I haven't seen him in like... days." Then C.J. grinned, "As you can see, he left a mess and never cleaned it up."

I stared at my roommate, hardly able to believe that he was trying to blame this whole mess on me when he didn't think I was here to defend myself. I scowled in annoyance but tried to keep it out of my voice. "Actually," I gave a forced smile, deciding to have some fun with C.J., "I'm Dylan's new girlfriend and he's staying over at my place for awhile..."

"YOU'RE dating Dylan?" C.J. gasped in disbelief, his eyes going wide. I loved that look where he seemed to be choking, knowing that I'd just scored myself some major points in his opinion.

"Of course," I half purred. "He's fantastic in bed."

C.J. turned a marvelous shade of blue, looking almost as though his head was going to explode from that one. It was all I could do not to just burst out laughing. As it was, I didn't think I could keep this up for much longer.

"Anyway," I smiled, holding up the bag of things I had gathered, "Dylan gave me his key and asked me to pick up a few things. He's a little... tied up at the moment."

"Tied up?" C.J. squeaked out, his imagination going wild.

"Maybe I'll see you later." I walked to the door with the sexiest strut I could manage. "Ta ta..."

As soon as I was outside the room and going down the hall I finally lost it. I was laughing so hard that it hurt, but it was definitely worth it to see that look on C.J.'s face. And best of all, I'd left him with the impression that 'Dylan' was a real ladies man with an incredibly hot girlfriend.

"This is the best day of my life," I laughed in delight. "I can't wait to tell Delilah."

When I arrived at Jill's house Jill and Anna were both there, so I couldn't tell Delilah and Rebecca about what had happened. I was little disappointed at that but knew I could tell them later. At the moment they were all eager to go on a shopping trip and were even acting as though it were some sort of major outing.

We arrived at the mall a short time later, and though it seemed sort of stereotypical to me, Delilah insisted it was the perfect place to shop because of the variety. The other three nodded their agreement, leaving me with little choice but to follow along.

"I am supposed to get in touch with my feminine side," I reminded myself, hoping that this would take care of the requirements and get me through the Game.

"This way," Jill called out, pointing to a shoe store.

"But I've already got great shoes." I pointed out the heels I was wearing, remembering how much Delilah and Rebecca had been admiring them.

"That's not the point," Rebecca told me. "The point is to try them all out and find which ones you like."

I sighed but played along. I was soon trying on other shoes, including other high heels and even high heeled boots. To my relief I was able to keep my balance and walk just fine in most of them, though a few that Delilah had offered were too high for me to manage. I felt a little disappointed at that as I thought a particular pair of stiletto heeled boots would look fantastic on me, though I wasn't about to tell her that.

Next we went to several clothing stores and tried on a variety of outfits. I expected to be bored silly, though to my surprise I actually found some of it quite enjoyable. It was kind of fun to look at myself in the mirror and create whole different images with just the choice of clothes I wore. One moment I could look relatively conservative, and with one change of clothes later I could look like some bad to the bone bitch.

"I warned you last night that I like playing with dolls," Rebecca teased me after she'd talked me into one particularly sultry outfit. "This is like having my own life sized Barbie..."

"I wish," I joked, "that bitch has everything."

Then the subject finally turned to the one topic I'd been afraid of. Jill gasped and pointed to a guy, "Look at him. Isn't he hot... ?"

"Oh yeah," Anna nodded agreement, "I wouldn't mind doing him."

"Very nice," Delilah agreed.

I looked at the man Jill had pointed out, surprised to realize that she had a point. He did have something interesting about him. He was tall, athletic and seemed somehow... interesting. That was really the only word I could think to describe it. It was like I couldn't take my eyes off him. The way his muscles bulged under his shirt...

"Are you okay?" Delilah asked with a look of concern. "You were sort of spacing out..."

"She was just drooling over him," Jill laughed. "I know I was."

Delilah looked at me with an expression of curiosity. "It's nothing," I quickly told her, blushing as I did so. I couldn't believe I'd been staring at a guy like that. It was... wrong. But on the other hand, he was cute...

I couldn't help but being a bit worried over the way I'd been staring at that guy, about the things that were starting to dart through my mind when I thought of him. Was it the girl hormones finally getting to me? Or maybe the Game had done something to my head when it had changed me this last time, just like it had made it easy for me to walk in high heels. I was still thinking about this when we went into the lingerie store.

The idea of playing around with lingerie wasn't all that appealing, but I had to admit that it was kind of interesting to check myself out in the mirror with different pieces on. I could just stare at my reflection, easily imagining that I was a model in some magazine. It was a bit embarrassing, yet kind of exciting at the same time.

"Can you help me make sure this is straight." Delilah pulled me into one of the changing rooms and stood there with nothing but a skimpy bra on.

"It looks fine to me," I told her.

Delilah stared at me for a moment and sighed, "I'm not doing anything for you, am I?"

"What?" I asked in confusion, then suddenly realized that I was in a small room with a very sexy, half naked woman... and I felt nothing for her. I stared at Delilah but didn't have any kind of reaction or speeding up of my heartbeat. I knew she was gorgeous and extremely sexy, but instead of attraction I felt a little envy instead. "I... No..."

"Okay," Delilah shrugged, "I thought as much after the way you were looking at that guy. I guess now we know that the Game did a little more than give you a makeover this time."

I just nodded, feeling a little stunned while it all sank in. Of course it shouldn't have been any kind of a surprise that I'd turned from being attracted to women to being attracted to men, not after the way I'd been thinking about that guy. Somehow though I'd managed to avoid coming to the obvious conclusion. Denial can be a powerful thing.

After this our little shopping trip took on a whole new perspective. I started looking at the men we passed, now consciously realizing I found certain things about them appealing. It was strange to think of a man as attractive, but in a way it felt almost natural and no different than it normally felt to look at women. I knew that it would drive me insane if I thought about it too much, so I made an effort not to think about it. It didn't do much good but it helped.

"What about him?" Jill asked, pointing to a clerk working in one of the stores. "He's kind of cute."

I looked in spite of myself and agreed with her statement. Brief fantasies flashed through my mind though I tried to keep them under control. "He's all right," I said, blushing as I did so. Rebecca and Delilah both watched me with amusement.

"A little pale for my tastes," Anna smirked. "I like my men a little darker."

Our shopping trip continued along these lines for several hours, though we bought surprisingly little. I soon realized that the shopping trip was less about spending money and buying things than it was about spending time together and fantasizing about having the various things. We eventually went our separate ways and I once again ended up on Jill's couch.

After Jill had gone to bed I just remained on the couch, my mind racing too much with what had happened to let me to go sleep. I kept thinking about the mall, about the cute boys I'd been staring at. And to my surprise I found my body beginning to respond. It had been on the verge of doing this several times at the mall, but now it became fully excited. I gasped as my nipples hardened and my panties became wet.

"Wow," I whispered at the sensations, remembering how I'd been tempted to explore those very ones earlier this morning.

I began to gently caress my new parts, to tweak my nipples and finger my hot wet... I moaned a the strong but pleasurable sensations, continuing my manipulations with even more eagerness. I began to fantasize, thinking about how hot and sexy Delilah was and about the women I'd always fantasized to before. However they did little for me now and I found my thoughts shifted to various guys I knew instead. My body found those thoughts MUCH preferable and responded even better.

"Is this what it's like being gay?" I asked myself absently, sparing only a little attention from my current activities.

Back when I'd been in high school there was a guy I used to hang around with on occasion though we'd never really been friends. He was big, tough, and into sports, the kind of guy I never would have guessed was gay until the day he came out of the closet. After that he was still the same guy as he'd always been before, doing the same things and even acting the same... though he somehow seemed just a little creepy to me. I now felt a little guilty for those feelings, knowing that hadn't really done anything to deserve them.

Was this what it was like for him when he first realized that his sexual preferences weren't quite what was expected? Before this I could only imagine how strange it must have been to realize that he was attracted to boys instead of girls like other boys our age, but now I had a much better understanding. My mind said that I should like girls... that this was normal... that I always had before. However, what I thought I should be attracted to and what I actually was were now two completely different things. It created a bit of a contradiction that I finally just shoved out of the way and ignored for now, focusing instead on what felt good... on what felt right at that moment.

I finally brought myself to orgasm and had to bite my lip to keep from screaming out. The sensations were much stronger and more spread out than they'd ever been in my normal body. I laid gasping on the couch for some time, savoring the remaining feeling and absently thinking that maybe playing this Game wasn't such a bad thing after all.

I woke up, still feeling some faint echoes of the sensations from last night. I was more than a little tempted to go at it again, to see if I could recapture that glorious explosion of pleasure, though I knew it wouldn't be a good idea. For one, I didn't really have the time for that and for another, I could already hear Jill moving around the house.

Within a few minutes I was in the bathroom, taking a shower and slowly going over my body as I did so. I marveled at just how much sexier I was than yesterday morning. It was as though every part of my body had somehow been improved. Even my muscle tone was much firmer, making me look as though I might be an aerobics instructor or something. A girl with this kind of muscle tone obviously spent a bit of time keeping in shape.

Once I was done with my shower I took my time drying off. I slowly ran the towel over every inch of my body, smiling as I thought about how sensitive my skin now was and how good it felt last night. I was seriously thinking about skipping class in order to explore my new body a little better.

"The Game did say to explore my feminine side," I winked at my reflection.

Unfortunately I couldn't turn my back on my responsibilities and my dad would definitely kill me if I failed a class for not attending, especially after how much he'd spent on them. So with a sigh I went about getting dressed, thankful that I'd bought a few extra clothes last night so I wouldn't have borrow from Jill.

After I was fully dressed I slipped my heels on and marveled yet again at the fact I could walk in them without breaking my ankles. It was strange that I'd never worn high heels before in my life, nor had any intention of ever doing so, but now I was walking in them with barely a thought.

I looked myself over in the mirror, pleased with what I saw. However I did notice that I didn't have any makeup on. I was beautiful enough now that I didn't need it and could easily go without, but I felt a little naked without it for some reason. With that I helped myself to some of Jill's makeup and went to work. It wasn't until I was halfway done putting it on that I paused to think about what I was doing... and the fact that I was doing it very skillfully.

"It looks like I know how to use makeup now," I mused, deciding that the Game must have done some of these changes to make it easier for me to be a sexy woman. Of course I still had no idea why it had done all this to me in the first place. I stared at my reflection for a moment then continued with my makeup, "At least it makes me look even sexier."

Eventually I left the house and got back to my schedule of going to classes and such. I'd gotten a little better at dealing with all the attention I now received but it was still a bit strange. It was especially strange when Professor Cole stared at me with a look of obvious attraction during his class. The fact that he knew who I really was only made it all the more embarrassing, so I rushed out of his class as fast as I could once it was over.

When lunch came around I sat in the cafeteria with the girls as was starting to become normal. I was eating a salad again, nodding along with the conversation as I ate. Jill was telling a dirty joke which had me laughing even though it was a sexist joke which poked fun of boys in general. Delilah was laughing as well, though whether from the joke or from the fact that I was laughing at it I wasn't sure. Perhaps it was a bit of both.

Then I noticed the clothes Delilah was wearing and blinked in confusion. She was wearing a nice jacket she'd been admiring at the mall yesterday and a pair of heels much like what I was wearing. They looked nice to Delilah, but I was a bit surprised because she hadn't bought them, which only made me wonder how she had them now. Had she changed her mind and gone back to the mall this morning?

"Thank God it's Friday," Anna suddenly exclaimed, shaking her head. "After this week I really need the break."

"Tell me about it," I muttered, forgetting about Delilah's clothes. I could hardly believe it had been nearly a full week since I'd started playing Game.

"I've got a lot of work to do," Rebecca sighed. Then she gave me a knowing look and added, "I'm even on shift for most of tomorrow morning."

"On shift?" Jill asked with a blank look. "I thought you'd quit your job. Don't tell me you got a new one without telling me about it?"

"It's nothing like that," Rebecca quickly explained. "I've signed up to help some freshmen with tutoring is all."

"Oh," Jill answered, seeming satisfied with explanation. Then she abruptly brightened, "Don't forget about my party tomorrow night."

"I won't," Rebecca answered with a roll of her eyes.

"Do you all have dates yet?" Anna asked with an eager grin.

"Not yet," Delilah shrugged, earning a look of surprise from Jill. "Don't worry... I won't have a problem finding someone."

Rebecca shook her head and gave Delilah a look of jealousy, "You never do."

Then Jill turned to me, "What about you Diane? Do you have anyone lined up yet?"

"Me?" I nearly choked. I glanced to Delilah and Rebecca before answering, "I don't know if I'll even be able to make it to the party. I've got things going on..." I had no idea when the Game would call me next or what it would do. For all I knew, tomorrow I might be spending the day as a ring tailed lemur.

"Go ahead and get a date," Delilah told me with a look of amusement. "If things change..." she gave me a knowing look, "you can always change your plans."

Jill nodded agreement. "It's a little late, but I don't think you'll have any trouble finding a date either."

I sighed, not sure of what to do. Then with Rebecca and Delilah both looking at me, I nodded my reluctant agreement. "Okay. I'll come if I can..."

"Just make sure you have a date," Delilah told me with a grin. "And make sure he's cute."

"Yeah yeah." I blushed, wanting to just change the subject.

The conversation had gotten a little embarrassing, so I was almost thankful when lunch was over and I had to go back to class. Still once I was in class I could only wish I was back at the lunch table with my new friends. As awkward as some of the topics could be, it was still a lot more fun to be with them than taking notes on a lecture.

I was sitting in one of my classes, trying hard to pay attention to the lecture, when I noticed the boy just a few seats away watching me with a very appreciative look. He was tall, athletic, and very cute looking, though this was the first time I'd really noticed that. He'd been watching me yesterday too now that I thought about it.

"Hey." The boy came towards me when class was over. "I'm Gabe."

"Diane," I responded shyly, hardly able to believe I could feel this way about a guy. God, I felt the same way I normally did when I was talking to a total babe. I would have thought that when I became the babe that this nervousness would have gone away.

"You know," Gabe said with a confident grin, "you are absolutely gorgeous."

"I know," I responded, then smiled at his look of surprise. "I do have a mirror you know." Then I smiled, "Thanks though."

Gabe just laughed, "You're a confident one."

I blushed at that and muttered, "I wish." At the moment I certainly wasn't feeling very confident, though I did try to look it a bit more.

"I was wondering," Gabe looked me over with an appreciative eye, "if you'd go out to dinner with me tonight."

"You're asking me on a date?" I gasped in surprise.

"Um... yeah," he responded.

I gulped, unsure of what to do. A large part of me screamed that I should tell him 'no' just on general principal. After all I was still a guy inside and I didn't want to do anything I'd regret when I went back to normal. On the other hand, my hormones were racing and I was actually happy he'd asked me. It somehow made me feel more... feminine. I wasn't sure that this was a good thing, but at the moment I kind of enjoyed it.

"Okay," I told him after a moment, "I'd like that."

"I'll pick you up at six," he told me as though it was a simple statement of face.

I hesitated a moment, then nodded, "Okay." Then I gave him Jill's address so he'd know where to come. After that I said, "I'll look forward to it," and then left him to go to my next class.

The rest of the day passed in a near blur. I could hardly believe that I was actually going to go on a date with a guy... or that I was looking forward to it so much. After all Gabe was really good looking and the thought of him was starting to do some interesting things for my body.

As soon as I was able to I tracked down Delilah and blurted out, "I can't believe it... I've got a date tonight..."

Delilah's eyes went wide for a moment. "With a boy?" I nodded and that and she let out an appreciative whisper, "You do work fast..."

"But what am I going to do?" I nearly cried out. "I've never been on a date with a guy before. I can't believe that I agreed... What does this mean?" I gestured down at myself.

"Calm down," Delilah told me with a smile. "What it means is that you're a very sexy woman and that you're adapting very well."

"But I'm a guy," I protested weakly, to myself as much as her. It sounded pretty silly even to my own ears.

Delilah just laughed. "Not at the moment, you aren't. Just relax and enjoy it. In fact I'll help you get ready if you'd like."

"Thanks," I told her, feeling a little less nervous.

When I started getting ready for my date a while later Delilah was right there to help. However it turned out that I didn't really need her help, only her moral support. She was interested to find out that I could apply makeup just as skillfully as she could, though not surprised. And since I didn't really have any fancy clothes, there wasn't much more I could do to prepare.

"Don't worry about it," Delilah told me with a grin. "You don't have to be fancy for a first date. Besides, you already look great. He's lucky you accepted."

I just grinned at Delilah and told her, "Thanks. Somehow though I don't think he'd feel as lucky if he knew who I really was."

"Maybe not," Delilah laughed. "But that's why he'll never know."

Gabe arrived a short time later and I went out to his car, feeling nervous. It had been some time since I'd gone on a date and the first that I'd done so as the female half. At the same time though I was excited and eager. I tried pushing my mixed emotions aside and focusing on the positive, deciding to enjoy myself and the experience while I could.

"Here we are," Gabe announced when we reached the restaurant, "I made reservations." I just stared at the restaurant for a moment, feeling somewhat impressed. It was a nice restaurant, nicer than any that I'd ever taken a girl to. He must really have the hots for me to bring me to a place like this. The thought made me smile, filling me with delight.

Once we were led to our table Gabe picked up his menu and started to look through it, nearly ignoring me. That was fine with me though as I started looking through my own menu to decide what I wanted. The stuffed pork chops looked delicious and came with a bunch of vegetables. I giggled silently, amused by my own interest in eating healthy. I never would have cared about the vegetable part of the meal before.

"Maybe I'm just getting in the role," I mused quietly, knowing that it could very well be another one of those subtle changes to my perspective such as my new attraction to men. However it didn't really matter in the long run since it was what I really wanted at the moment.

I sat back and watched Gabe for a minute, admiring his great physique. He had such good muscle tone that a large part of me was envious, wishing I had muscles like that when I was in my normal form. Another part of me just admired them and got all warm and gooey in response. At the moment I let the warm and gooey part take the lead.

The waiter finally came by and asked, "Have you decided what you'd like?"

"Yes," Gabe told the waiter with a smile, "I'd like the garlic sirloin and the lady will have the Tuscan chicken."

"What?" I gasped, caught completely by surprise by the fact that Gabe had just ordered my meal for me... without even asking what I wanted. I felt a surge of anger at the way he was trying to make my decision for me. I'd had more than enough of that during my first day of playing the Game. "I'm not a fan of Tuscan chicken," I told Gabe coldly, hoping he'd get my message.

"Okay," Gabe nodded, looking faintly annoyed, "how about the almond salmon. It looks pretty healthy." He said this looking at the waiter, not at me.

My eyes went wide as he did it again, making me scowl. I didn't want to make a big scene in front of the waiter, but this was going too far. I waited for the waiter to leave, then I turned to Gabe, "I would prefer having a say in what I eat."

I was expecting him to get the hint and at least apologize, but he shrugged, "Since I asked you out, it's my responsibility to order the dinner."

Gabe's response only upset me further, though I kept my growing anger under control. If we hadn't been at a nice restaurant I might have made a larger deal out of it, or at least made my opinion known a little more loudly. As it was I reminded myself that he was paying for the expensive dinner though it didn't help much. I'd spent too much time not having the ability to make decisions to just sit back and happily let someone take it from me again.

Our date hadn't gotten off to a very good start and I remained in a bad mood. Unfortunately things didn't get much better. Gabe spent most of the dinner talking about himself and bragging, barely letting me get any words in edgewise. And when it came time for dessert, he tried ordering for me again.

"I'm not hungry," I told him coldly, deciding that it was time to cut our date short. "I'm full from dinner."

Gabe didn't get the hint though. He still ordered his own dessert and then sat there and ate it while I watched, feeling annoyed. Eventually though he finished up and paid the bill so we could leave. I just couldn't wait to get home and forget this whole experience. Cute or not, Gabe was really getting on my nerves.

When Gabe drove us away from the restaurant I noticed that he was going the wrong direction. "Where are we going?" I asked cautiously. I'd been expecting to go back to Jill's house, not to somewhere else. At the moment I wasn't in the mood to spend much more time with Gabe.

"I think we'll go back to my place," Gabe said with a grin. "We'll watch a few movies... and maybe a little more." He winked at me.

"I don't think so," I said, my voice turning cold. I'd had more than enough of him making every decision without even consulting me. And since we weren't in a nice restaurant anymore, I wasn't going to keep holding back. "I'm tired. This date isn't going the way I expected and I'm done. I want to go home."

"What?" Gabe suddenly slammed on the breaks, turning to stare at me.

"I want to go home," I told him firmly.

"Fine," Gabe snapped angrily. "Go... Get out. Walk home for all I care."

I stared at him for a moment, feeling the anger surge inside me again. "Fine," I snapped back, opening the door and stepping out of the car. I knew that it would be a bit of a walk back but I didn't care.

"Ungrateful bitch," Gabe spat out as he hit the gas and drove away, leaving me standing on the side of the street.

"Fucking bastard," I grimaced, glad to get rid of him.

I just stood where I was for several minutes, fuming in a silent fury and angrily clenching my fists. My long nails dug painfully into my palms and nearly drew blood, though I barely noticed that. Finally I started walking back to Jill's house, quickly realizing that it wasn't going to be an easy walk in my heels. As embarrassing as it was, I was going to have to call Jill or Delilah for a ride.

Delilah didn't ask what happened when she came to pick me up, only if I was all right. She gave me a worried look, though there was anger in her eyes too and it certainly wasn't directed to me. "I'm all right," I told her, "just pissed off."

She nodded and drove me back to Jill's house, finally asking, "Did he try anything?"

I stared at her in surprise, "He didn't try to force me or anything," I told her, shaking my head with a sigh. "But now that I think about it... I'm kind of afraid he might have if we'd kept going."

"It's all right," Delilah told me, giving me a sympathetic squeeze on my hand. "It's over with now. I'm just sorry your date with south so fast."

I nodded at that, deciding that I didn't really want to talk about it anymore. When we got to Jill's house she asked a few more questions than Delilah had, but a warning glare from Delilah and my own silence convinced her that now wasn't the time to talk. Of course I knew that I'd be facing the same questions tomorrow morning over breakfast, but then I'd be in a better mood to answer them. For now I just wanted to go to bed and forget this whole thing had ever happened.

* * *

I silently sat in the middle of the campus common area, leaning back on a bench and watching the various people go by. It was Saturday so I didn't have any classes, but I still found it relaxing to come here and people watch. It let me forget about my own problems for a short while if nothing else.

My largest concern at the moment wasn't what had happened last night with Gabe, but the fact that I'd been as I currently was for several days and hadn't feel the call to go back to the Game again. I couldn't help but thinking about Ed, about what had happened to him. What if the Game decided I wasn't making any progress and rejected me too? I felt a growing fear of that very possibility.

I wanted to talk to Delilah about this, to ask her advice on how I could avoid it, but she wasn't available. It was Rebecca's turn watch the Circle house door for us initiates and Delilah had decided to keep her company. Jill and Anna were nice girls and I really liked hanging out with them, but I couldn't exactly talk to them about these kind of problems. Those two had nothing to do with the Circle and couldn't possibly even understand... even if I was able to somehow get past the Game's magic and tell them.

My attention shifted back to the people around me and I looked to see how many of them I recognized. So far I'd already seen the amazon Michelle and caught a brief glimpse of someone who I thought might be Jordan, as well as a few people I was in various classes in. But since it was Saturday there weren't nearly as many people around as normal, which made the watching a little less interesting.

There were a few interesting looking people out and about at the moment though. There was a goth girl who was really tall and skinny, along with an extremely busty girl who was walking beside her. Normally I would have given the busty girl a lot of extra attention, but at the moment her attributes weren't doing much for me. On the other hand there was one nearby boy who was short but very cute.

I looked at the boy a little more closely, noticing that he was about my age and very attractive in spite of his height. He was short, only about 5 foot 6 or 7, but with a lean muscular build like a gymnast or swimmer. As the boy came closer to me I found myself thinking about ways I could introduce myself to him. But after what had happened last night with Gabe, I wasn't sure that was such a good idea.

Just then another boy came walking past, watching me with a very appreciative look, but not watching where he was going. The second boy walked right into the shorter one, then quickly apologized, "Sorry dude..."

But the shorter boy got angry. "Watch where you're going." He glared up at the larger one, almost daring him to do something.

"I said I was sorry." The larger boy shook his head and continued walking. "You really need to chill..."

"A bit of a Napoleon complex," I muttered in disappointment, though I was also a little impressed since the other boy was twice his size but the shorter one hadn't just backed away. I grabbed the purse that I'd recently started to carry and went to leave. Unfortunately I was still looking at the short boy and wasn't paying enough attention and tripped. I fell flat on my face, spilling the contents of my purse. I got back up with a curse and began to gather my things.

"Can I help you with this?" the short boy asked almost eagerly.

I stood up and looked down at him, nearly towering over him with my larger height, and the few extra inches from my heels. He was staring at me with a strangely expression which was part attraction, part eagerness and part... something else. For some reason he suddenly reminded me of a puppy.

"Um... sure," I responded after a moment.

The boy immediately began gathering up my things for me and placing them in my purse. I just stood back and watched in confusion, accepting my purse once he was done and handed it back to me

"Thanks," I told him cautiously.

"I'm... Chris," he said, looking away in embarrassment.

"I'm Diane," I told him with a smile. I stared at Chris for a moment, admiring his fit body and cute face, feeling a little turned on as I did so. Then on a sudden impulse I abruptly asked him, "Do you want to come to a party with me tonight?"

Chris blinked in surprise, "What?"

"I need a date for the party," I told him with a smile to hide my nervousness. "Come with me."

"Okay," he answered, giving me a nervous smile.

"Good," I grinned at him, "here's where the party is gonna be." I wrote down Jill's address on a scrap of paper. "I'll meet you there at six."

I talked with Chris for a few more minutes before I finally left to go back to Jill's house. I could barely believe that I'd done that, asking him out to the party when I'd only just met him. Of course I told myself I did need a date for the party, and he seemed like a nice guy. I might not have known Chris for very long, but he sure seemed polite and not at all pushy like Gabe had been. Well, at least not other than the brief encounter with the larger boy.

When I got back to Jill's house she asked me, "Why are you so happy?" Then she grinned, "Did that Gabe get hit by a car?"

"No," I chuckled, "but that would be good. Actually I got a date for the party."

"So soon?" Jill seemed impressed.

"Well I didn't want to miss your party," I told her with a grin. "I mean, being BYOD and all."

Jill laughed. "I was going to make an exception for you, but congratulations. So, what's the lucky guy like?"

"Well," I mused, not sure how to describe him. "He's pretty short but really ripped and he's kind of sweet."

"Short and sweet," Jill mused, "I see. After an asshole like Gabe, you want someone a little less threatening."

"Maybe a little," I admitted, not having considered that before. "But it certainly wasn't a conscious reason for asking him out."

"You asked him?" Jill asked curiously. "This should be interesting."

I only nodded agreement, thinking of my date last night, and hoping that this wasn't a mistake. Of course this time was a less formal date and we'd be at a party surrounded by other people, so it was a completely different situation. Whatever the case, I'd find out how good an idea it was come tonight.

People started arriving early for the party, which didn't seem to surprise Jill in the least. However, she did seem annoyed that her own date Dave wasn't one of the first people through the door, though he showed up well before Chris did. Jill introduced me to Dave as a classmate, sort of hinting that they weren't serious and were more friends than anything else. The guy seemed like a bit of a flake to me, though I didn't tell her that.

When Delilah arrived she took one look at another girl who'd come first and spat, "Damn..."

"What's wrong?" I asked her in confusion.

"She's wearing the same shirt as me," Delilah told me with a look of annoyance.

I blinked in surprise, "I thought that only counted with dresses."

"Technically." She rolled her eyes. "But I need to change."

Delilah looked around and then hurried to the bathroom, only to find that someone was already inside it. She cursed and then went into Jill's bedroom. I followed her, wondering what she was doing. When I stepped inside I saw her gesturing down at herself and having a familiar green glow coming from her hand. An instant later her clothing all rippled and changed, transforming into a completely different outfit.

"What the hell?" I gasped in amazement. "You changed your clothes just by looking at them," I said, staring at her new outfit.

Delilah looked at me and frowned, "I probably shouldn't tell you this... not until you finish your initiation."

"But you're going to anyway," I finished for her. I'd come to know her well enough to see that much.

"Yeah," Delilah laughed lightly. "It's one of the rewards I got for finishing the Game."

"Really?" I asked, suddenly even more curious. "What else did you get?"

"My good looks for one," she grinned proudly. "I used to be pretty plain you know. As for the rest..." She shook her head. "I'll let you find out after your initiation."

"You are so mean," I teased her, relieved that she still seemed confident I was going to pass. It certainly made me feel better since I'd been doubting it more and more myself.

"And don't you forget it," Delilah winked at me. "Well, I'd better get back to my date before he starts to get worried."

"How are you going to explain the new clothes?" I asked.

Delilah rolled her eyes. "I'll just tell him that I brought some extra. Trust me though, he'll never even think to ask. I'll just flash a little cleavage and he'll forget everything else." I laughed at that. "I'll have to remember to look out for that trick after I change back."

"You do that." She winked at me again before leaving the bedroom to go back to her date.

Chris arrived almost exactly at six, looking a bit hesitant and uncertain. When I went out to meet him he just stood there and stared at me with a strange expression. "Welcome to the party," I told him, gesturing for him to come inside. "Let me introduce you to a few people... This is Jill, the host..."

"Nice to meet you," Chris told her politely.

"This is Dave," Jill gestured to her date.

"Nice to meet you," Chris said with narrowed, nearly hostile eyes. It surprised me but I quickly realized that it had to be jealousy, since Dave was much taller than him. That would also explain his hostility towards the other boy today too.

"I don't know a lot of people here myself," I told Chris, "but I'll introduce you to the ones I do know."

I introduced Chris around to my friends, but when I got to Delilah she just looked at the two of us together and started to laugh. I felt insulted that she'd laugh at my date just because he was short, but she didn't stick around long and soon vanished into the crowd. After the way she'd laughed at Chris, I decided to just avoid her for the rest of the party and have a talk about it tomorrow.

"I can't believe she'd act that way," I muttered to myself and apologized to Chris who only looked embarrassed. "She's usually so nice..."

The party quickly grew more crowded, filled with people I didn't know. Chris stayed close by my side, obviously uncomfortable with the situation, but never ceasing to be extremely polite and even deferential to me. "Would you like something to drink?" he asked me almost eagerly before going to get me a Diet Coke and some snacks. This was far different from how Gabe had treated me and much better.

While Chris was gone, Jill came up to me and giggled, "Your new boyfriend is kind of a pushover... Dave says he's a total wimp."

I just nodded at that. "Maybe, but at least he doesn't try making my decisions for me like Gabe." Then I quickly added, "And he's not my boyfriend. He's just my date for the night is all."

Jill just nodded while looked to where Chris was, knowing what she meant. Chris was nice to me and very cute, but he was just a bit too eager to please. Sure it was a nice change from Gabe, but it was also a little creepy when I thought about it. I could easily imagine having some fun with Chris... but not a serious relationship.

"Since when am I thinking about relationships?" I quickly asked myself when I caught the direction of my thoughts. I wasn't a real woman and couldn't get involved in a 'relationship' if I wanted to. I would be changing back to normal as soon as this Game was over. "Unless of course," I gulped with a sinking feeling, "I get kicked off the game..."

Just then I noticed one of my fellow initiates dancing on the floor. It was Bill, looking exactly like he had before we'd started playing last week. He was tall and muscular again, looking every bit like some kind of football player stereotype, except for his glasses. And then I noticed his date, though it took me nearly a full minute to realize that it was Alexis. She was still a black girl and seemed to be having the time of her life with Bill.

"They do seem to be a good couple," I admitted, watching the way Bill was having fun with her as they danced.

Then Chris returned with my drink and snacks, apologizing for taking so long. "I had to get some ice for your soda since it was getting warm..."

"Thank you," I told him, feeling pleased by all this attention. I was definitely going to enjoy it while I could.

"It was my pleasure," Chris responded, giving me that strange look of admiration he had. "You're so gorgeous..."

"Thanks." I blushed with pleasure, loving the compliment. He said it so differently than Gabe had. Then I noticed the rather prominent bulge in the front of Chris' pants and gasped, "Oh..."

Chris looked down and blushed in embarrassment, "I'm sorry..."

"Don't be," I purred, feeling a flush of excitement in my own body. I'd already noticed that this new body was much more excitable than my old one had been, and that I was frequently getting turned on very easily. Of course I wasn't about to consider that a downside, since it felt so good, though it could get a little uncomfortable at times. I stared at Chris for a moment, at the bulge in his pants, and then his nice tight muscles, fantasies running through my mind. Then on a sudden impulse I grabbed his arm and whispered, "Let's go find somewhere more private..."

Chris stared at me in surprise, looking a bit nervous as well. But he nodded, "Okay..."

"Come on." I grabbed his arm and pulled him behind me, deciding that Jill's bedroom might be a nice place for some privacy. I felt a little guilty for bringing Chris there, but I was too caught up in the moment to stop. I promised myself that I'd apologize to her later if I had to.

As soon as the door was closed I grabbed Chris and kissed him passionately, feeling rather aggressive about it. Chris made it so easy to take charge and I was actually getting a bit turned on by it. It was strange to be kissing Chris, who was not only smaller than me but a guy. I wasn't sure which was stranger, since the girl part of me thought that kissing a short guy was a little strange, while the male part was freaking at kissing any guy. It all felt so good though that I shoved the concerns from my mind and focused on the moment and what I wanted.

We kissed passionately and groped each other for several minutes before I began to unzip Chris' pants. I could hardly believe I was doing this, but I knew what I wanted and I made a decision to get it.

"What do you want me to do?" Chris asked hesitantly, staring at me with those awe filled eyes and reminding me a little of a puppy.

"On the bed," I whispered, nearly shoving him there when he moved too slowly.

Within a minute we were both completely naked and I just stood there admiring his body. It might not be very tall, but it was well shaped and his manhood was more than normal size. In fact I felt a bit envious, since he was definitely larger than I normally was. However it was an entirely different feeling that won out as I stared at it, deciding that I wanted it inside of me.

"What do you want me to do?" Chris nervously asked me again.

"Make love to me," I purred to him, running a finger along his cock, then smirking, "and fuck me."

Chris stared at me with a look of intense lust then grinned hesitantly. We collapsed together onto the bed, exploring each other's bodies. His touch excited new sensations in my body, ones like I could create in myself, but even stronger and more intense. Eventually I lay on my back with my legs spread, inviting him to do what I never would have imagined letting a boy doing to me. I was actually excited about it as well.

I gasped as Chris stuck his cock inside of me and began pumping, never having felt anything like that before in my life, not even when I'd used my own finger. I was soon overcome with powerful and overwhelming sensations which built and built until I finally came in an orgasmic explosion. I think I screamed but I was a little too out of it to know for sure.

When we eventually collapsed together I absently thought that I was going to really owe Jill an explanation for doing this on her bed. I looked at Chris to see if he was as happy as I was, seeing a look of pleasure and delight on his face, as well as one of... shame. I felt a little confused by that and decided that he probably thought he'd taken advantage of me. I snickered slightly, knowing very well that it was the other way around.

I just laid on the bed with a dreamy smile, savoring the afterglow that tingled through my entire body. At that moment I suddenly realized two things for a fact. One was that I was now truly and completely a woman, more than even the Game had made me. The second was that I had a new appointment with the Game.

* * *

Chris was gone when I woke up in the morning, having slipped out sometime during the night while I was asleep. I was a little disappointed by that but relieved in a way too. Now I wouldn't have to face him in the awkwardness of the morning after when I was having some regrets about my behavior. After all in spite of how I looked and what I felt for him... I was still a man somewhere inside of me and would be going back once the game was over. At least I hoped I would.

Unfortunately the morning also meant that I had to face Jill, who was less than happy about the fact that I'd made a huge mess of her bed and then used it myself during the night. She'd been left to sleep on the couch, which she did not appreciate, a fact that she let me know. I was afraid she would kick me out of her house for that, but never once made that kind of a threat or indication. And after a bit of grumbling she even laughed about it and asked me for "all the juicy details". It was a bit embarrassing to describe what we'd done, but worth it to placate Jill.

Now I found myself outside the Circle house, feeling apprehensive as I returned to answer the call of the Game. So far the Game had been strange, pushing me to stranger and stranger things. Since having sex as a woman seemed to be what the Game required when it told me to explore my feminine side, I was a bit afraid of what it would want next.

"I guess I'd better find out," I said, taking a deep breath and walking to the heavy door, using the knocker to announce my presence.

When the door opened a minute later there was a petite black girl standing there whom I didn't know. She smiled, "Follow me." Then she turned and led the way to the stairs, not bothering with conversation.

I followed the girl down the steps but then heard some voices coming from the hidden chamber. One of them was too quiet for me to make out any detail, but the other was male and very angry. I could hear him furiously yell, "YOU did this to me! It's your fault..."

That voice sounded familiar but I couldn't quite place it. I frowned as we entered into the chamber, not sure that I wanted to get caught in the middle of some kind of argument. The girl who was leading me didn't seem to have that problem though and led me to the Game in the center of the room. As we got closer I saw that Peter was one of the two people standing there, though I couldn't quite see the second one who was furiously yelling at Peter.

"I can come back later," I told the girl who'd led me there.

The sound my voice caused the yelling to stop and the second person turned to face me, his eyes going wide in surprise as he did. I stared at him in stunned recognition. "Chris..."

Chris, the boy I'd slept with last night, was standing there beside Peter, his anger vanishing as he stared at me in disbelief. He was obviously one of the other initiates, a fact that I never would have guessed. I could only stare at him, suspicions of his true identity running through my mind.

"Diane?" Chris asked quietly, sounding almost apologetic. "Are you...?"

"You're playing the Game too," I said simply, not sure that I trusted my emotions enough to say anything more.

Chris looked down at the ground, looking almost like a kid who'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It was strange after the way he'd just been yelling at Peter a minute earlier. "Who are you?" he asked quietly, almost hesitantly.

"Dylan," I answered quietly, staring at Chris with a gasp of realization. "Chris... Crystal... You're Crystal, aren't you ?"

Chris gulped and nodded weakly, whispering, "I'm sorry..." Then he turned and ran for the steps, pausing only long enough to look back and glare at Peter with a look of absolute hatred before vanishing.

"That was Crystal?" I gasped in shock, hardly able to believe this mild mannered boy was the same person as that feminist bitch. He didn't even look the same as Crystal had after she'd first transformed into a boy. And his behavior...

Peter nodded, "Yes." He gestured to the black girl who nodded slightly and then hurried up the steps after Chris. "During her last turn the Game transformed her into her version of the ideal man."

"Ideal man?" I gave him a blank look then gasped in realization, "Oh..."

Crystal was an angry feminist, so her ideal man would be someone who was small, weak, and submissive towards women. He would be attractive and good for sex, but not much of a threat. That would explain why she was always so polite and even submissive towards me and other girls, while still angry and bitter towards every man she encountered. It suddenly explained everything, or nearly so.

"What did the Game tell her this time?" I asked Peter out of curiosity.

"Nothing," Peter answered with a frown. "That was why she was so angry. She came here demanding to continue, but the Game was not ready to do so."

"Oh," I responded quietly, not sure what I could say to that.

Peter sighed, then looked at me with a faint smile. "Ready to continue?"

I nodded at that and moved to the Game, looking over the table and realizing that one more of the figurines was gone. "Did someone else get kicked out?" I tried to remember who had their figurine on the now empty path and immediately pictured Bill, the big black guy who had been dancing with Alexis last night. I gulped, "Did Bill get rejected?"

"No," Peter grinned, "quite the opposite. He's the first one to complete the Game. That means other than a small ceremony for once everyone is done, he is now for all practical purposes an official member of the Circle."

"Wow," I whispered in relief, feeling kind of glad for him. At least now he wouldn't be caught up in the Game changing him and making him do things he normally wouldn't.

A few seconds later I turned my attention to my own figurine, noticing with surprise that it had moved ahead since the last time I saw it and that it was now sitting at another fork with four possible directions I could go. I had four options to choose from, but wasn't sure which would be the best choice or what they would do. I could only pick one at random and hope that it worked out all right.

"Okay," I said slowly, about to point to one of the paths when I noticed that another of the choices intersected and touched someone else's path. That was the one choice which really stood out as different to me so I touched my figurine and said, "That one..."

My figurine slowly began to move down the path I had chosen, stopping a short distance ahead. I looked at the flat space in the center of the game and watched as the words slowly appeared. Take control of your life. I frowned, wondering what that meant.

Then I was hit with the green glow and the strange tingling sensation that came with it. It rushed through me but didn't seem to really touch my body again. Instead it was much more like the first time... but much different. I felt things flowing into me. I felt something burst open, releasing something deep inside of me to come bubbling to the surface. I gasped at the raw power of the sensations but remained where I was until the glow faded away.

"Are you all right?" Peter asked me with concern in his voice.

"I'm fine," I snapped at him in annoyance. After all it should have been perfectly obvious that I was all right. I was still standing wasn't I?

I looked down at myself, seeing that my clothes had changed again but not much else. My high heeled shoes had become stiletto heeled boots with a slightly higher heel. My jeans had transformed into a pair of black leather pants with a metal studded belt. My T-shirt had likewise been transformed into something that strongly resembled a black and red corset.

"Interesting clothes," I mused as I held up my hands, noticing that my nails were now pointed and almost clawlike, not to mention painted with a crimson polish.

Peter nodded, "They certainly are."

I glared at him, annoyed that he interrupted my self-examination. Other than my clothes nothing seems to have changed. I frowned, realizing that this wasn't quite true. There was one thing that I now noticed was different. I felt strangely confident, more than I'd ever been in my life. There was a strange clarity in my mind as though all my doubts were gone. I don't know what it was that had happened to me, but I immediately decided that I liked it.

"I'll come back when it's time," I told Peter, turning and walking to the steps, leaving him to follow behind me.

When we reached the room at the top of the stairs I immediately went to the mirror. The woman reflected back at me was the same one in the mirror this morning, but vastly different at the same time. It wasn't just the clothes, or the fact that my makeup had been altered. I was now wearing dark mascara and crimson lipstick. There was something in my face, in my expression. Something dark and dangerous. I was still extremely sexy, but now that sexiness had an edge to it.

"I make one sexy bitch," I smirked, liking the effect.

I admired my altered reflection for just a minute before I turned and left, letting Peter open the door for me but not bothering to thank him. After all it was hardly worth thanking him for just doing his job. I smirked, wondering how a geek like him ever got to be head of the Circle anyway. It hardly made the organization seem worth joining.

"Now that I have this shit out of the way," I mused to myself, "what should I do with the rest of the day?"

Of course I had homework and studying to do, but I immediately discounted that. After all I didn't want to do anything of the sort and wasn't about to waste my time doing something I didn't want to. What I did want though, I thought about last night with a grin, was a little fun with Chris.

"Or Crystal," I scowled, reminding myself of who Chris really was.

Strangely enough Chris' real identity didn't bother me at all though it had just a short time earlier. The fact was, Crystal and Chris were now two completely different people, thanks to the Game. It had taken care of that while messing with his personality.

"He's submissive to women," I said in realization, grinning evilly as I said it.

Chris was a cute and sexy little man with a big cock. He was also a submissive who would eagerly do whatever I wanted, which I now realized was his most attractive feature. And after last night he was mine. I wasn't about to let anyone else have him, at least not without my permission.

"You're my bitch now," I smirked, determined to find Chris as soon as possible and make sure he understood that fact. The very thought made me all excited. "Come to momma little man..."

Unfortunately I had no idea where Chris was at the moment, so didn't know where to go. But since he'd left the Circle house only a few minutes before me, I doubted he could have gone too far... unless he had a car. I frowned at that, looking around and not seeing a trace of him. It looked like he might very well have a car.

"Damn," I grimaced in annoyance.

Just then I noticed Delilah getting out of a car and walking towards the building entrance. She saw me and waved, "Hey Diane..." She eyed my clothes as she came towards me.

I stared at Delilah, suddenly remembering the way she'd just burst out laughing last night when she saw me and Chris together. Then I demanded, "You knew who Chris was, didn't you?"

"What?" Delilah blinked in surprise.

"You knew who he was last night," I snapped impatiently. "That's why you were laughing. Why the fuck didn't you tell me?"

"I... I thought you knew," Delilah responded, staring at me in surprise. She was obviously lying which only pissed me off.

"No," I said with my eyes narrowing. "You thought it was funny seeing us together when neither of us knew who the other was. Did you know I was going to fuck him too?"

Delilah gasped, then stared at me with a look of sudden understanding. "You're on a new turn..."

I scowled, "Forget about that..."

"You might want to avoid Jill and Anna for now," Delilah told me hesitantly, not sure what to make of me anymore.

"Don't tell me what to do," I snapped at her, "I'll talk to whoever the fuck I feel like, and don't you forget it."

"Okay." Delilah backed away cautiously, looking at me warily. "Good luck with this..." And with that she turned and hurried towards the door.

I stared after Delilah for a moment and shook my head in disgust, "What a chicken shit. I can't believe I was hanging out with her."

After a moment I decided to go over to the campus since it seemed like a good place to look for Chris. After all that's where I found the pansy in the first place. Once I found him though, he was going to pay for making me chase after him like this. The fact that he didn't know I was trying to find him was completely irrelevant.

Since I had no other leads I started off by sitting at the same bench where I'd first seen Chris. I waited impatiently but saw no signs of him. There were a couple of young women nearby, but no wimpy little bitch named Chris.

"Hey you," I called to one of the girls, "have you seen a guy... about this tall." I held my hand up to indicate Chris' height. "He's got brown hair and a puppydog look..."

"Oh yeah," one of the girls snickered, "I saw him trying to pick a fight with some guy awhile ago." She frowned, "He was back that way..."

"You might want to hurry," a second girl shook her head. "He looked like he was about to get his ass kicked."

I nodded at that and then went in the direction they'd indicated, not bothering to thank them. I got what I wanted from them and saw no point in wasting more time with them. Instead I focused my attention on Chris. As I walked away one of the girls muttered, "What a stuck up bitch," though I ignored her and kept going.

A few minutes later I found Chris, sitting on the ground with a bloody nose and what was sure to become a black eye. I wasn't sure whether to laugh at the sight or scowl since I knew very well what had caused it. Crystal was angry and bitter, going after men for whatever the cause. Chris continued doing the same thing, but had found out that guys are willing to take a lot more of that behavior from a woman than a guy, no matter how short he is. I couldn't exactly feel sorry for him, nor did I want to.

"There you are," I snapped as I walked up to him.

Chris stared up at me with wide eyes, using the same expression that he had before. This time however I recognized the expression for what it was. There was a lot of lust and attraction in that look, proving that the game had made him interested in women the same way it had made me interested in men. But more than that, there was awe and envy. I understood this now and why. After all I was everything that Crystal wanted to be and everything that Chris wanted to fuck, all in one. I felt smug at that realization.

"It's Dylan, isn't it?" Chris asked meekly.

I backhanded Chris, hitting him hard enough to knock him back. I felt a surge of power from that action and smirked down at him. "It's Diane now," I told him, earning a look of fear and desire all in one. I could see from the bulge in the front of his pants that I'd just turned him on too. Then on impulse, I told him, "But you can call me Mistress."

Chris gasped, his eyes going wide. I could see the conflict running across his face. Thanks to the game he was highly submissive towards woman and I was undoubtedly a woman. But at the same time he hated men and was well aware of my true identity. The struggle between these two facts warred in his mind, making me laugh with delight. I smirked down at him, enjoying the irony of the situation. Chris noticed the irony as well but wasn't nearly as amused by it as I was.

Finally Chris lowered his head and meekly told me, "Yes Mistress."

I felt a surge of triumph at those two words and stared down at Chris with a cold grin. "You lied to me about who you really were," I told him, neglecting the fact that I had been just as quiet about my own true identity. "Now you have to pay."

"Yes Mistress," he responded again, his expression a mixture of submission and excitement. I was really turning him on with this, which was good for him since I was doing it for my own benefit. "I'm sorry..." Then he quietly added, "You're different than yesterday..."

"Yeah," I smirked, "and don't you forget it. The Game will do that to you." Then I thought of something. "Where have you been staying since you started playing?"

"I have a studio apartment just off campus," Chris told me quietly.

I thought about it for a moment and nodded, "Good... That will give us some privacy. Now show me where it is."

Chris led me the short distance to his apartment, admitting that this was where he'd been going before his violent encounter. I didn't care much about that though and urged him to speed up, annoyed at any delay. Of course he was limping a little, and slowing us down only annoyed me more.

When we arrived Chris let me in and then stood to the side without a word, silently waiting my approval or condemnation. It was a small apartment, not much bigger than the dorm room that I shared. However Chris had it all to himself... or at least he had.

"It's acceptable... for now," I stated simply.

I looked around, thinking that as pitiful as this place was, it was certainly better than sleeping on Jill's couch. Of course I could always chase C.J. out of my dorm room, but I liked the privacy of this one better... not to mention the fact that it came with a live in servant. I rather liked the idea of having my own servant.

I sat down in a chair and snapped to Chris, "Get me something to drink."

"Yes Mistress," he responded as he eagerly rushed to obey.

I leaned back and enjoyed the attention, spending the next several hours giving Chris a variety of orders solely for the pleasure of being instantly obeyed without question. I even had him start rearranging the apartment to suit my needs. The fact that I probably wouldn't be there long was irrelevant. I wanted what I wanted and I was damn well going to get it.

While I watched Chris scurrying to obey my orders, I couldn't help but admiring his small but shapely physique and remembering last night. I smiled at the memory and decided that I wanted more of it. And what Mistress Diane wanted she got.

"Chris," I told him, standing up again to make our height difference more noticeable. I smirked down at him, silently thankful for the extra height my heels gave me as well, "it's time for you to please me in a more physical way..."

Chris stared at me for a moment with that strange expression of his and nodded, "Okay... I mean yes Mistress..."

I slowly undid my clothes and dropped them to the floor, standing there in all my magnificence, so Chris could admire me with that look of near worship. Only then did I finally let him begin pleasuring me. He definitely knew what he was doing though and exactly which buttons to push, creating a great deal of pleasure and proving his worth. The fact that he knew a woman's body from the inside out was more than apparent now that I thought about it, making me quite pleased with my decision to claim him as my own.

Once we were done I ordered Chris to clean up and begin making my dinner while I just sat back and savored the sensations he'd created in my body. I also considered my new situation, knowing that it was all due to the Game. I was well aware that it had changed me again, that it had done something to my mind and behavior to make me more confident... to turn me into some kind of dominatrix. But I didn't care. Or more accurately, I didn't mind. In fact I rather enjoyed what I had just become. For the first time in my life I was in complete and total control and I absolutely loved it.

"You know," I mused to myself with a cruel smile, "getting rejected from the game and being permanently left like this might not be such a bad idea... Not a bad idea at all..."

* * *

It was Monday morning which meant that everyone had to go to classes again. Of course I didn't care about that and slept in until I felt like getting up and going. I arrived at Professor Cole's class just as it was about to start, earning odd stares from other students as well as the instructor.

I took my seat, feeling pleasantly refreshed. It was the first time I'd been able to sleep on a real bed in about a week and I had definitely taken advantage of that. Chris was a little less enthusiastic about my taking his bed, but he hadn't complained about it. Somehow I had a feeling that he couldn't really complain anymore, at least not to a woman. If it had been a man on the other hand... I grinned, knowing very well that Crystal's old hostilities towards men remained in him, in spite of the fact that he had become one himself. That somehow made his situation both more tragic and more amusing at once.

"Give me that," I said, snatching the pen from the hand of another girl when I realized that I'd left mine behind. She stared at me in surprise and looked like she was about to argue but I raised an eyebrow and asked, "Do you have a problem?"

"No," the other girl nearly squeaked out, not wanting a confrontation.

I just smirked and turned to taking my notes, ignoring the several students who kept staring at me. Sure I ignored it, but it was still something of a compliment. Over the last week I'd gotten used to the attention and didn't know what I'd do when it was gone.

Things were fairly normal for most of the class, but when it ended Professor Cole asked, "May I see you for a minute Ms. McKenna?"

I frowned, about to tell him to 'fuck off'. Then I thought twice about it, deciding I was curious about what he wanted. And he had asked instead of trying to order me, which would have really pissed me off. "Certainly," I responded with a faint smirk.

Once everyone else was gone, Professor Cole gave me a strange look. "I see that you are still progressing in your initiation."

"Yes," I told him, watching him suspiciously.

Professor Cole nodded faintly. "I noticed the way you were interacting with the other students. You might consider guarding your words and behavior a little more carefully. It can sometimes have unexpected consequences."

I snorted, annoyed at this waste of my time. "I'll try to remember that," I told him, my voice thick with sarcasm. "If you don't mind though, I've got to be going." And with that I turned and walked out, not waiting for him to excuse me.

"What an ass," I sneered in derision, wondering where he got off telling me what to do.

But with a shrug I changed my thoughts to something a little more interesting, such as the delicious dinner Chris was going to make for me tonight. It was going to take a lot of work making what I'd ordered, but he was going to do it anyways. I absently considered changing my dinner plans, just to mess with him, but decided against it. I was rather looking forward to what I'd already told him to fix.

As I was walking to my next class I suddenly noticed Gecko walking with another boy. Gecko had changed again from the last time I'd seen him. He was back to being pure goth, even more than he'd been when I first saw him. His skin looked so pale that it was nearly white, while his face had all sorts of extra piercings on it. I briefly wondered what other changes he might have gone through, but then turned my attention to the other boy he was with.

"Jordan," I exclaimed as I recognized the skinny white boy who was in reality a skinny black one. He hadn't changed at all since the last time I'd seen him, at least not physically. I knew very well though that the Game could do more than just mess with your body. "I wonder..."

I stared at those two, a little surprised that they'd ended up apparent friends, though not too much. After all I ended up talking to Alexis and fucking Chris. Of course my relationship with Chris was a little more complicated than that. As I was constantly reminded, things got weird when the Game was involved.

When lunch came I went to the cafeteria and found Jill and Anna sitting in our usual spot, though there was no sign of either Delilah or Rebecca. I wasn't too surprised though since those two were often absent from the lunch time gathering.

"There you are," Jill exclaimed when she saw me. "I was worried when you didn't come home last night."

"As you can see," I told her as I took my seat, "I am perfectly fine."

"I can see that," Anna said with a note of sarcasm.

Jill scowled, then demanded, "Where were you?"

"That's none of your business," I snapped at her.

Jill gasped, looking hurt. "Fine. I was just trying to be helpful..."

Anna nodded, "She was worried you know. Since you're staying with her, the least you can do is tell her when you're not gonna be there."

I glared at Anna, annoyed at the guilt trip she was trying to lay on me. "I think it's time I stopped staying there then."

"What?" Jill blinked in surprise.

"I found somewhere else to stay and I won't be needing your couch anymore," I told her calmly.

"What?" Anna asked with a frown. "You fixed things up with your roommate?"

"No," I scowled, "I've moved in with Chris... my date last night."

"Isn't that kind of fast?" Jill asked skeptically. "I mean, you just met the guy."

"I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions," I told her in an icy tone that brooked no argument.

Jill stared at me for a moment with a scowl, "You still have some of your things at my place..."

"Of course," I shrugged, then told her, "bring them by my new place about seven tonight."

"You're perfectly capable of coming and getting it all yourself," Anna snapped at me, "I mean, who the hell do you think you are?"

I stood up and glared at Anna, pissed off that she would dare talk to me. "Don't you dare use that tone with me," I hissed at her, glaring at her with a look of menace that made her cringe.

"I can't believe you," Jill gasped. "I mean, it's one thing to take my bed and make a mess all over it, but now you treat me like this?" She stood up and turned to walk away. "C'mon Anna... I don't think I like the company here anymore..."

Anna and Jill both hurried away from the table, leaving me there myself. I scowled at the then shook my head, "Who needs those stuck up little bitches anyway..."

I finished my lunch quickly, or at least ate what I wanted and threw away the rest. I glared at anyone who looked at me with an icy fury that made them back away and leave me alone. I didn't want to deal with Jill at the moment but didn't want to just leave my belongings at her house either. I guessed that I would just have to send Chris over to fetch my things later on.

My classes continued much as they had before, though the teachers and other students all got on my nerves much more than before I started this stage of the Game. I couldn't believe how stupid and foolish everyone else seemed anymore, proving to me that they definitely needed more guidance. I was more than willing to provide that guidance myself, though I doubted most of them were smart enough to accept it.

"There's time for that later," I told myself on several occasions, deciding that most of these people didn't even deserve my help.

Then came the class where I normally met up with Alexis. I looked for her more out of curiosity than anything else, though I hardly recognized her once I did see her. Alexis had transformed yet again, this time turning back to Caucasian, but becoming short and heavily overweight. This time she even had bad acne as well. It was all I could do not to laugh when I saw her and how pathetic she had become.

"Hello Alexis," I greeted her with a slightly patronizing tone.

Alexis looked up at me in surprise. "Diane?" She stared at me in disbelief, obviously stunned by my change in style.

I smirked. "Of course. I see that you've been back to the Game..."

"Yeah," Alexis blushed. "It's a bit uncomfortable but I'm managing..."

"I'd imagine," I told her. Then I grinned, "I noticed you at the party last night with Bill Forman. What does he think about your new changes?"

Alexis blushed. "I haven't shown him yet... But he's a really good guy..."

"So you think he's just going to immediately accept you like THIS?" I laughed.

Alexis winced, looking dejected, which only made me laugh harder. "It's only temporary," she said, sounding more like she was trying to convince herself than me.

"Well good luck with that," I laughed as I turned away. "And good lucky with Bill."

I went to my next class, still laughing at Alexis and feeling smug that I'd come out like this instead of like that. I had definitely come out ahead while she had been... Well, I doubted that her new boyfriend would be happy to see her as a short fat slob. I just wished I could be there for that encounter.

Eventually the classes ended for the day and I was able to start back to my apartment. I no longer considered it as belonging to Chris though his parents were still paying for it. The truth was, Chris was mine so everything he had was mine. It made perfect sense and I knew that he would immediately agree if I asked him. Of course I wasn't going to waste my time by asking him something like that. His opinion just wasn't worth it.

I smirked as I thought of Chris and just how I could use him tonight. The more I used him and abused him the happier he was. The very of being ordered about and humiliated only seemed to turn him on more. Of course the Crystal part deep inside resented this, but the Chris part was completely in control at the moment and just couldn't get enough.

"Maybe I should get some whips and chains," I mused to myself, rather enjoying the idea. Then I paused, suddenly noticing Rebecca walking a short distance away. "Oh Rebecca," I called out, trying to keep my voice sweet and innocent as I walked towards her.

There were a lot of things about the Circle and the Game that I still didn't know, especially since the members of the Circle were keeping them all secret. I'd decided that it was high time I had more information and that Rebecca would be a good person to provide it. I gave a sweet smile as I went towards her, determined that she was going to answer my questions.

Rebecca saw me and began to back away, a nervous expression on her face. "Delilah warned me to avoid you," she said with a scowl. "She said to keep away from you for now."

"Come now," I told her, the edge creeping back into my voice, "are you going to do what she tells you... or what I tell you?"

"What do you want?" Rebecca asked cautiously, her eyes darting around nervously and making me excited. I couldn't explain exactly why but I rather liked the way she was intimidated by me. It gave me such a feeling of power.

"I just want to ask you some questions," I told her with a grin. "I want to know more about the Circle..."

Rebecca frowned even more intently. "You'll have to pass your initiation to find out."

"But what if I want answers now?" I asked quietly, a note of menace in my voice.

Rebecca's eyes widened for a moment, then she glared at me with a look of determination. "Then I'd say you'll have to live with disappointment." She shook her head. "I like you Diane... or Dylan... or whatever name you're going by now. I just don't much like who you are at the moment. I'll talk to you when you're done."

With that Rebecca turned and casually walked away, leaving me to stare at her back with a growing fury. How DARE she turns her back on me. I started to go after her, to grab her and force her to do what I wanted... but I couldn't. It was as though my feet were glued to the ground, unable to move. I struggled to move, to step forward, but it did no good. All I could do is watch as Rebecca got further away and eventually turned around the corner and was out of sight.

"Damn it," I exclaimed viscously, suddenly finding my feet free again. I ran to where Rebecca had gone, but when I turned the corner there was no sign of her anywhere. She was completely gone. "Fuck!"

I remained where I was for nearly a minute, my fists clenched in rage. Then I snapped around, deciding that someone was going to pay for my bad mood, and I knew exactly who that would be. It was time to go home and see my little pet Chris. I could barely wait.

* * *

It was Wednesday afternoon and I had just finished my last class of the day, but I was scowling in annoyance as I left the classroom. I couldn't exactly say why I annoyed at the moment, only that I was. It was an emotion that I had been feeling quite frequently since my latest stage of the Game had started on Saturday.

One girl saw me coming towards her and jumped out of the way while another wasn't quite fast enough. "Move it," I snapped at her, getting the desired response as she immediately jumped out of my way as well. I smirked at that, enjoying the intimidated looks.

Ever since Saturday I had been getting that kind of reaction more and more frequently. People were treating me with respect now... or at least fear. I didn't really see a whole lot of difference, except that fear made them do what I wanted even faster. I didn't even have guys pestering me with requests for dates anymore since they knew that I'd tell them exactly what kind of losers they really were. It was great, giving me a feeling of absolute power to have half the campus terrified of me.

"And the other half doesn't know me yet," I smirked.

Even my so-called friends seemed afraid of me now and avoided me whenever they could. I just snorted, reminding myself that I didn't need that bunch of prissy traitors. In fact I didn't need anyone and was perfectly happy with that. After all needing other people was just weakness and I was anything but weak. At least I wasn't anymore.

"But if I go back," I sneered, thinking of that wishy-washy little wimp I had been before I started playing the game. I wasn't going to go back to that even if I had to intentionally get myself thrown out of the Game. I just had no idea of how to do that. But since it had been over three days since I'd been last transformed and there was no sign of being called back to the Game, I thought that I must be close. I certainly hoped so. "I'm perfect just as I am."

I couldn't help wondering about some of the other initiates who were playing the game though. When I'd seen Alexis a few hours ago, she looked almost obscenely sexy... like some kind of stripper or porn star. I think that she now had the libido to match since she'd been flirting with every guy she came across and looked as though she was on the edge of orgasm the entire time. It was definitely better than being the short and fat slob she'd been a few days ago, though I didn't know if it was much better being a bimbo slut.

I didn't really know how everyone else was doing in the game, though both Gecko and Michelle seemed to have completed it and joined the Circle. Chris was still the same loser submissive that he had been, much to my relief. I would hate to lose my pet like that since I knew how difficult it would be to replace him. Short guys with strong submissive sides weren't exactly easy to come by, especially not ones like him. As for Jordan, I had no idea of his current status, since I hadn't seen him in nearly two days. For all I knew, he could have been kicked out of the game the same way Ed had.

"I wonder what ever happened to that punk," I mused, knowing that he was still a little kid but not much more than that. Delilah had told me once that the Circle was going to make sure he had help, but she wouldn't say more than that and I no longer cared enough to find out myself.

Just then I was walking past several girls who were standing in the courtyard smoking when one of them distracted me from my thoughts. She held out her pack of cigarettes and asked, "Want a smoke?" She gave me a look as though hoping I'd join them, perhaps becoming their friend and letting them leach off my reputation around campus.

"If I wanted a cigarette," I snapped at her, giving her a cold glare, "I'd already have my own..."

"What a bitch," one of the other girls muttered, wincing as I turned my attention to her. Before I could give that snotty little bitch a verbal lashing, I suddenly noticed Delilah coming my way. I frowned, feeling a little surprised. She'd been avoiding me completely since Sunday and had been warning the other girls to do so as well.

"What do you want?" I demanded.

Delilah paused, looking uncertain. "I wanted to talk to you," she said slowly.

"Well, go ahead," I snapped impatiently. I glanced at my watch, not wanting to waste time on something silly.

"I have something I need to tell you," she said simply, "something important."

"And I have places to be," I scowled. "Hurry it up or shut up."

Delilah took a step back, blinking in surprise. "There's no need to be rude, no matter what the Game has done to you. I am your friend you know."

"I don't need friends," I glared at her.

Delilah shook her head sadly. "Well, I am your friend whether you want me to be or not." I stared at her for a moment, then gave her my most pleasant smile... which I assume didn't come across as I intended since she took a step back and stared at me warily. "A real friend would tell me more about this Game. Such as, how does a person get rejected from it?"

"Damn," Delilah scowled, looking me with disappointmen. "I obviously can't talk to you right now."

"Of course you can," I told her, losing my patience. "Now what the fuck do you really want?"

"I guess it's not important," she told me grimly. "You'll just have to find out later... maybe."

Delilah turned and walked away, glancing behind me briefly, and then speeding up. I remained where I was, watching her leave and wondering why she'd wasted my time like that. It was really annoying. I finally muttered, "Little bitch," before I continued back to my apartment.

While I was walking I caught sight of Gabe in the distance. I glared at him with intense hatred though I made no move towards him. He was far enough away that I couldn't catch up with him without more effort than I was willing to give at the moment. However that didn't mean I was about to forget him or forgive the way he'd insulted me on our little date.

"I wonder," I mused, thinking of all the ways I could ruin Gabe's life. I could have Chris attack him from behind, something which I was sure Chris would be more than happy to do for me, especially after I told him about how Gabe acted. But I shrugged that off, deciding that Gabe deserved something worse. "Maybe a few accusations about sexual harassment..."

That seemed pretty weak but I'd also seen how effective such things could be, true or not. After a few minutes I decided think about it for a bit longer. After all there was no reason to hurry since there was plenty of time and they did say that the best revenge was cold revenge, or something like that.

The apartment was empty when I arrived there, though I wasn't surprised by that. I'd given Chris a list of errands to run after classes were over and he'd be kept busy with those for awhile yet. For now I had the place entirely to myself, without even having a pet to keep myself entertained with.

I sat back in the chair and turned on the TV, flipping through the channels for just a minute before turning it off and throwing the remote against the wall. "It's all crap," I snapped in annoyance.

I would have ordered Chris to retrieve the remote... or at least the pieces of it, then to pleasure me into a better mood. However Chris wasn't home so that left me to find other ways of amusing myself. There was homework of course but I immediately discounted that. I hadn't bothered doing any but the most basic work in days and had no intention of starting now.

After a minute I got up and went to the mirror on the wall, admiring my sexy but dark reflection with a pleased smirk. I did so love the way I looked, dark edges and all. It practically screamed that I was not only sexy but a bitch that you didn't want to cross. I just couldn't understand why I was sitting around the apartment when I looked like that. It was irritating.

"I am a very lucky woman," I smirked to myself, posing a little and absently wishing that I had someone there to admire my perfection.

Things certainly had changed drastically since I'd accepted Chuck's invitation to apply to the Circle. I had been a weak boy, an indecisive doormat who let other people walk all over him. I'd been stuck with an obnoxious roommate who seemed to live for the sole purpose of making my life miserable. And I seemed to live in a world that was outside my control, like being on a lake without any oars to guide my boat, helpless to do anything other than flow with the current. I had even been too ignorant to realize just how weak I was. But now... Now everything had changed.

"I'm a stone cold fox," I proclaimed, once again admiring my sexy reflection in the mirror. But more than that, I was no longer week. I was confident and the courage to decide what I wanted and then take it. Nothing stood in my way or stopped me from getting what I really wanted now. Nothing and nobody. I wasn't afraid of other people and what they thought of me, nor was I afraid of telling them exactly what I thought. For the first time in my life, I truly felt like I was in control and I loved it.

Then after a minute I grimly asked myself, "So why isn't it enough?"

It wasn't until now that I realized that it wasn't enough. I was constantly annoyed at everyone and everything and something seemed to be missing though I couldn't tell what. That fact only annoyed me even more. I snarled, wishing Chris were here so I could take my frustrations out on him. He was good for that.

"What could possibly be wrong with me?" I sneered arrogantly, unable to imagine a single thing that could possibly be improved.

But in spite of that the answer slowly came to me, trickling in from the back of my mind. I was lonely. I was confident and got what I wanted... but I no longer had any friends. All I had was Chris and he certainly didn't fit that description. He was good for sex and taking out my frustrations on, but not a whole lot more. I certainly couldn't imagine having any kind of friendship or relationship with him.

I knew very well why I didn't have any friends now, why they were all gone. I didn't even have to think about it. I was so good at getting what I wanted now that nothing else mattered. I didn't care about anything or anyone, about what they wanted or cared about... only what mattered to ME. Most people wouldn't want to be around someone like that, other than a few rare cases like Chris.

"I don't need them," I sneered, thinking of Delilah, Jill, Anna and Rebecca. "I don't need anyone..."

At the same time though I couldn't help but realizing that this wasn't completely true. If I didn't need anyone else, I wouldn't be feeling this emptiness inside. I wouldn't be feeling this loneliness. If it was true, I would be perfectly happy with things as they were instead of talking to myself like I was.

I sat back down in the chair, feeling depressed now instead of angry. It was ironic that the one thing I now wanted was the one thing I couldn't get. The same confidence and attitude that let me get my way with everything else was now the very thing that kept me from having this.

Suddenly it hit me, a strange sense of relief and the certainty that I had to go back to the Game. I thought about refusing to go, about staying here and continuing as I was. But then I sighed and stood up, realizing that as much as I'd enjoyed my current life, it was time to move on.

I reached the Circle house a short time later and marched straight to the door, pounding with the door knocker as loud as I could. I stood there impatiently, annoyed that they'd leave me waiting at all. Then the door slowly opened and Delilah stood there, staring at me for a moment before breaking out with a broad grin of relief. "Come on in," she exclaimed, "I was getting a little afraid you wouldn't be making it."

With a nod I stepped inside, tempted to snap at her for taking so long, but biting my tongue. It wasn't easy, but I kept quiet as I followed her to the secret passage and down to the hidden chamber. Once there I saw that Peter was already there, along with Gecko, Jordan and some girl I didn't know.

Gecko looked almost exactly like he had before he'd begun the game, but there was something different about him. He stood there with a grin, somehow seeming less sullen and rebellious. Instead of the selfdeclared outcast he had originally been, he now seemed happy and confident. I knew he had completed the Game and wondered what kind of reward it had given him, though I didn't ask.

Jordan looked like he had before starting the game as well. He was back to being a skinny black guy but his anger and resentment seemed to have vanished much like Gecko's had. Instead the two of them were happily chatting away as though they were old friends.

"They've both completed their paths in the Game," Delilah told me with a smile. "Jordan just came in and finished his a half hour ago."

I just nodded at that, not trusting myself to speak at the moment. I had a feeling that if I did, I might very well start snapping at these people which I had already decided not to do. It wasn't easy keeping myself under control but I managed to do so.

"Come on," the strange girl who was standing beside Peter told Jordan, "I'll show you to your new room. "

"Wait till you see everything upstairs," Gecko told him with a broad grin, "it's wicked...."

Peter turned to look at me, his expression somewhat guarded. He looked at Delilah and nodded, finally allowing a smile to form. "Welcome back Diane." It was clear from his tone that he hadn't been sure I would be coming back.

"Thank you," I said in an icy voice filled with annoyance. I grimaced and walked to the Game, looking over the board and noticing that there were only two figurines left on it. There was mine and someone else's, though I didn't know who.

Delilah noticed where I was looking and suggested, "If you'll take your turn..."

I nodded and reached out to touch my figurine. A moment later it moved a short distance to where the path abruptly ended in a circle. I stared in surprise, sure that the last time I was here the path had continued for a much greater distance.

"What the fuck?" I snapped, eyeing the Game suspiciously.

"Congratulations," Delilah grinned. "You've just completed the Game."

I stared at the center of the Game but instead of words the flat space started to form strange symbols which made no sense to me. They all moved around, changing and reforming until they suddenly took the form of a large circle. An instant later I was awash in the familiar green glow. I gasped as the strange energies flowed through my entire being, making me tingle when my body began to change again. I braced myself for whatever was happening as my body once again began to transform. Though I had no mirror to see the changes, I could feel them happening and knew exactly what they meant.

The first thing I noticed were that my breasts were deflating, though I quickly noticed countless other changes occurring at the same time. My finger nails were pulling back. My hair was becoming shorter. Hair was growing along the back of my arms. And of course I could feel a pressure in my groin as my male equipment grew back.

Once the changes had finished and the green glow faded, I staggered where I was for a few seconds. A single look was all I needed to know that I had been changed back to my old male form. I back to normal again, even wearing normal clothes. Gone were any sign of the sexy woman's clothes, much to my relief. I would have looked extremely silly wearing that kind of thing as a guy.

"I... I'm normal again," I said slowly, my old familiar voice sounding slightly strange to my ears.

"So that's what you look like as a guy," Delilah exclaimed. "I hadn't really paid much attention before."

I just nodded at that and gave her a faint smile, amazed by just how sexy she was. I was startled to feel myself reacting to her, having forgotten just what kind of effect she had on guys. It was quite obvious that my sexual orientation had been returned to normal along with my body. I was definitely into girls again.

Then I slowly became aware of something else. Something was different now... very different. I quickly looked over my body but couldn't see what it was. It took a moment longer before I realized that it wasn't anything physical that was off, it was something else entirely.

I gasped as I suddenly realized that I could turn into Diane again. I could somehow feel it inside of me like some sort of mental switch. I wasn't sure how I knew this, only that I did. I knew it just like I knew I could now do other things as well.

I took a deep breath and flipped that mental switch, only to feel my body beginning to tingle and transform again. There was a green glow around me but it wasn't nearly as powerful or overwhelming as before. Instead it seemed almost comfortable... a part of me. I just stood there motionless as my flesh transformed, reversing the change it had just gone through a minute earlier.

"You can change back and forth," Delilah exclaimed. "That's fantastic..."

"It's a fairly common ability in the Circle," Peter told me proudly while I stared down at my growing breasts. "I can do it myself. My original form is big and muscular, though I'm not very smart I fear. I prefer to stay in this form since I may be smaller but I'm the smartest person on campus, with the possible exception of one or two other Circle members."

I just nodded absently, more interested in my own transformation than Peter's musing. When the transformation was complete I was back to being the same sexy blonde Diane that I had been. No, I immediately realized that I wasn't the same Diane. I was Diane... but not quite like any of the Diane's I'd been before.

"I'm different," I mused calmly, realizing that the differences weren't really physical. Physically I was back to being the same I had been during my last several turns. The real differences were in the way the Game had been manipulating my emotions and perspective.

I took a deep breath and looked over Delilah and Peter, noticing that I was once again attracted to men as opposed to women. It seemed that this would be the case whenever I switched back and forth, which I knew I could do quite easily. I still felt feminine and sexy, but I also felt confident. It wasn't the same arrogance I'd felt as a dominatrix, but more the calm confidence that came from being a sexy woman and knowing it, as well as for having passed through the Game. I knew without a doubt that after this I could handle anything that was thrown at me regardless of whether I was currently male or female.

Then I realized something else, something about myself which completely stunned me. That domineering bitch personality... The Game hadn't just created it from nothing but had only brought it to the surface and given it strength. It was a part of me that I never knew... never even imagined existed. It had been buried and repressed... but it had always been there.

"Oh shit," I whispered in realization.

That domineering bitch personality hadn't just faded away now that I'd completed the Game either. That dark part of myself was still there, waiting just under the surface for a chance to emerge again. It was a part of me that I could no longer deny, especially since it had grown stronger from being expressed in the open. Sure, it wasn't as strong as it had been over the last few days and no longer controlled and defined me, but I had no doubt that it was a part of me and always would be.

"Are you okay?" Delilah asked me gently.

I took a deep breath and then grinned, "I'm fine... Better than fine..."

Along with this greater understanding of myself came the knowledge of my new abilities. Just as I knew I could switch back and forth between being Dylan and Diane, I also knew I could do other things. These were the rewards of completing the Game. It was unleashed my magical potential and gave it focus... giving me powers and abilities I never would have imagined.

"So," Delilah asked me as though reading my mind, "what else can you do?"

"Besides having an instant sex change?" I asked with a grin. When she nodded, I mentally went over the abilities which I instinctively knew I now possessed. "I can change my clothes like you did..." I gestured and my clothes rippled and transformed, becoming a sleek and sexy dress. Then I concentrated and they changed again, this time into a sexy outfit that would be perfect for clubbing in.

Delilah grinned, "That's one of my favorite to use. I use it all the time. You wouldn't believe how much money you can save when you don't have to keep spending it on wardrobe."

"I can read a book just by touching it," Peter commented as though trying to impress me and failing.

I just nodded in agreement at Delilah's statements. If I was going to be spending any time at all switching back and forth between being Diane and being Dylan, being able to change my clothes would be a lifesaver. There was no way I'd be able to afford two complete wardrobes.

"Let's see," I mused, trying to get my thoughts back on track. "I can also knock people unconscious at will, erase short term memories, and I can even make people do what I want."

"Wow," Delilah gasped. "That last one is a doozy."

"Yeah," I grinned evilly, the dark part of me sparking in interest though I clamped down on it. As fun as it could be making everyone do what I wanted, I just couldn't bring myself to do that to people. I knew too well what it was like having no choice and didn't want to do that to others. It was a dangerous ability and I'd have to be very careful about using it.

"Some very decent gifts," Peter nodded with a smile.

"Does... does everyone in the Circle have abilities like this?" I asked him in amazement.

Peter nodded. "Yes, though we all have different abilities. However you'll have to keep them hidden to protect our secrets."

"I understand," I said solemnly.

After a moment I turned and looked back at the Game again, looking at the path my own figurine had taken. I saw at the last fork in the road where I'd had four options and suddenly understood exactly what each of the others would have done to me. I'd chosen the path that intersected with Chris', turning me into a dominatrix and his mistress. The other three paths would have held entirely different fates. One would have made me very focused and ambitious, setting me on the path to become the ideal business woman. The second would have made me much more athletic and competitive, even turning me into some kind of near amazon. The last of those three would have made me maternal and concerned with children, like a mother or teacher.

"Interesting," I whispered at the possibilities I had nearly experienced. I couldn't help but wondering what things would have been like in any of those other paths. Then I remembered that there were earlier options I'd been given.

Another look at the Game revealed that if I'd taken either of the other first options I'd been given, I would have remained male and followed completely different paths. I didn't look at them too closely but I somehow sensed that I could have become either a big jock or scrawny nerd. And after just a little consideration I was more than happy with how I had turned out.

Finally my eyes landed on the last figurine. "Whose is that?" I asked.

"That one belongs to Alexis," Peter told me with a slight smile. "I'm very confident she will successfully complete her initiation sometime tonight or tomorrow."

"What about Crystal?" I asked, looking her now empty path.

Delilah gave me a sad look and quietly admitted, "That's what I tried talking to you about earlier today." She stared at me for a moment, "She failed..."

"What?" I blinked in surprise.

Peter nodded sadly. "Crystal... Chris was unable to expand his perspective and move on. The Game finally rejected him."

"Shit," I whispered, feeling sorry for Chris. The idea of Crystal losing her own identity and being stuck like that forever... And to think, just an hour ago I would have thought that was hilarious. "What's going to happen to him?"

"He'll stay as he is," Peter stated simply. "He can no longer go forward in the Game or back. The Game will protect our secrets though. I've seen it before. Crystal... Chris will slowly forget everything about the Game and the Circle. He may eventually even forget who he used to be entirely."

"So he'll stay Chris for good," I said grimly.

Then I realized that this might not be such a bad thing, at least not for me. I felt the dark part of my psyche stirring at this and getting excited. After all Chris would remain submissive to women and I knew just the woman to take care of him. I grinned to myself, knowing that my domineering bitch side would need a safe outlet and Chris would provide the perfect one. We'd both benefit that way. It would be like a symbiotic relationship. Thinking of it in those terms rather appealed to me.

"What are you thinking?" Delilah asked with a suspicious look.

I gave her an innocent look back, "Just that Chris could use someone to help him out."

"And you're gonna be that someone?" Delilah shook her head in amusement.

"Who else?" I asked with a smile.

Of course I couldn't go see Chris as Dylan since he'd hate me on sight and wouldn't interest me anyway, but I hardly saw that as a problem. It just gave me another excuse to spend more time as Diane. I rather liked being a sexy woman and wasn't in any hurry to give it up for good.

After a minute though I thought that maybe I'd had just a little too much time as Diane lately. I let out a sigh and then willed myself to transform back to Dylan. The changes hit me faster and more easily than they ever did when the Game had transformed me, much to my relief. It would certainly make the transformation a little easier to keep going through.

Peter watched me change back with interest and a little disappointment. He obviously liked looking at Diane, though I decided not to make a deal out of it. Delilah just gave me an amused look.

"You should take your figurine," Peter told me, gesturing to the Game. "It's keyed to you now and will change shape however you wish." He reached into his shirt and pulled out a necklace with a green stone. "It's a symbol of your membership in the Circle. Any other member will recognize it."

"And they make great jewelry," Delilah grinned, holding out her arm and revealing a bracelet that I'd always thought was jade before.

I carefully picked up the figurine and held it for a moment, sensing the strange energies within. It wasn't just a stone, but an actual piece of the game. Somehow I knew it. It was a link to the game. I smiled and wondered how I could get it to turn back into the sphere it had first appeared as. The mere thought seemed to be enough because it immediately began to melt and pull back into a sphere.

"Wicked," I grinned, knowing that this could make a nice bracelet or necklace for Diane. As for Dylan though, I didn't really know what I was going to do with it.

"You don't have to keep it on you all the time or anything," Delilah laughed at my expression. "You just need to make sure you don't lose it since it's your official badge of membership and can't be replaced."

"I'll make sure to keep it safe," I told her with a smile, shoving the sphere into my pocket.

"Now that you're officially a member of the Circle," Peter said with a proud grin, "I think it's time we showed you around. We've even got your room ready for you."

"A room?" I blinked, having almost entirely forgotten about my original reason for coming to the Circle in the first place. I'd been so distracted since the initiation started.

"Yeah," Delilah grinned, "everyone has their own room and they're all bigger than the rooms you share in the dorms. Trust me, this is a hell of a lot better."

I grinned at that, thankful that I would never have to deal with that obnoxious C.J. again... except when I moved my things out of the dorm room. Of course I still had the apartment I'd been sharing with Chris, but I couldn't very well stay there anyway. There would be way too many problems associated with that, though I could still show up on occasion as Mistress Diane. I knew that Chris wouldn't mind.

"I'll give her the tour," Delilah told Peter, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the steps, "Come on..."

Delilah led me back to the main entry room, but instead of leaving the building through the heavy wooden door like I had every other time, she took me up the stairs instead. Everything looked so grand, so fancy and expensive. Since the Circle was able to do the things they could, I didn't have to wonder too much about where the money for all this came from. For all I knew, someone could literally conjured it out of thin air.

When we reached the second floor we walked right past Michelle, which had changed yet again. She was still recognizable as Michelle, but she was certainly not the petite Asian girl she had started out as. She was taller, curvier and more athletic looking, though not nearly the size she'd been when I saw her as an amazon.

"Some people get permanently changed as part of their reward," Delilah told me, gesturing to Michelle and then herself. Then she added almost as an afterthought, "But I think she also has the power to grow a lot bigger and stronger when she wants to."

"That would be cool," I grinned.

Delilah agreed and continued showing me around the building, revealing a lot of very nice looking rooms which showed that the Circle members lived in virtual luxury. The strangest thing however was the fact that people were using strange and magical abilities in plain view, not caring if anyone else saw them. Some of them were even showing off what they could do.

I gasped in amazement as one girl floated several feet off the floor, having a lively conversation with what looked like a pixie. The pixie was only inches tall and was fiercely arguing about some philosophical fine point.

"This is why we don't allow outsiders in here," Delilah told me with a grin. "It's the one place we can truly be ourselves and not have to hide what we can do."

"I can see why," I agreed, finally understanding why the Circle kept so many secrets. For one, no one would possibly believe the truth unless they saw it for themselves.

"You've got that right," Delilah laughed. "By the way, we're having a pizza and movie night at Jill's on Friday and were hoping Diane would show up."

"What?" I gasped in surprise. Then I sighed, feeling guilty as I reminded her, "I really don't think Jill or Anna are gonna want me around after the way I treated them."

"Don't worry about that," Delilah shrugged. "I've already explained to them that you were having major family problems and were under a lot of stress. Just apologize and everything will be fine."

I stared at her in disbelief, sure that it couldn't be so easy. Not after the way I'd behaved like a complete bitch. Of course the bitch Diane never would have even considered apologizing to anyone for her behavior, but I wasn't her. I nodded, "I can do that."

"Good," Delilah grinned as she continued the tour, eventually ending up at a door where she announced, "This is your room." She dropped a key into my hand. "It's all yours. Go on, open it up."

I stared at he key for a moment, then unlocked the door and stepped inside. I gasped at the sight, guessing that the room was twice the size of the one I had been sharing with C.J. And of course like everything else in the Circle house, it was much more impressive. It was fully furnished with a queen size bed, desk, large wardrobe closet and a variety of other things I could use.

"If you don't need anything," Delilah told me, "we can have it moved to the storage rooms."

"Wow," I gulped as I looked the room over. "Thanks..." This was better than any place to live I'd ever imagined getting. Certainly better than any of those cheap places I had been looking for advertised in the school paper.

Delilah nodded and said, "Oh, one more thing..."

"Yeah?" I asked.

"I have a friend who just broke up with her boyfriend," Delilah explained. "And I wanted to set her up on a blind date to help her get over it. Would you be interested?"

"A date?" I blinked in surprise.

"Good," Delilah exclaimed with a broad grin, "I'll tell Jill you'll pick her up tomorrow at six."

"Jill?" I blinked again. "You're trying to set me up with Jill?"

Delilah frowned slightly, "Do you have a problem with that?"

I thought about Jill for a moment, taken a bit off guard by Delilah's matchmaking attempt. I hadn't really thought about it while I was Diane, but now that I was a guy again I realized that she really was very attractive. Sexy even. And her personality... Jill was friendly, nice, and a lot of fun to be around.

"No," I finally grinned at Delilah, "I don't have a problem with it at all."

"Good," Delilah grinned at me, then turned to leave my room with a wink, "you two will make a great couple..."

Once Delilah was gone I shook my head in amazement, hardly able to believe how things were working out. I remembered the last time I thought things were great though and tried to think if there was anything truly wrong with this. But after a minute I couldn't think of one. I was a member of the Circle, I had magic powers, a great place to live, and a possible girlfriend. What more could a guy want?

Then I reached into my pocket and pulled out the stone, smiling faintly as I stared at it. It was the proof that I had successfully passed my initiation and joined the circle, something that two others had failed to do. I carefully set it down and then flipped the mental switch, moaning in delight as my body quickly rippled and transformed back into Diane.

"Oh yes," I smiled as I looked down at my incredibly sexy body. "Very nice." I was definitely going to enjoy spending more time as Diane.

I saw a mirror on the wall and slowly made my way to it so I could admire my reflection a little more. I smiled in delight at just how gorgeous I looked and even more as I thought about how great it felt. I was a walking wet dream for nearly every guy I met and the target of envy from most women. I was a total package with magic powers, a submissive guy to satisfy my darker urges with, and I was about to get back my best friends. It was a perfect day.

"Oh yes," I purred as I cupped my breasts then ran my hands down my body, "what more could a girl want?"

The End


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