There Can BE Only One

There Can B.E. Only One
A Mercynaries Story from

Stan groaned as he rubbed his temples. Another long night at the office filing insurance claims and paperwork. He'd like to tell himself that he's at least doing important work, but Stan didn't like to lie. He looked around the office, devoid of any other human life and lit only by his small desk lamp that he had to bring in from home, and thought of the Stan that once had dreams and aspirations. The Stan that was destined for greater things than moving paperwork from green folders to purple folders and being yelled at by customers that didn't read their coverage guidelines. But there was no sense dwelling on such matters, so Stan gathered his messenger bag, switched off his lamp, and proceeded to trip over the chair he forgot to push in.

The one benefit of working late nights was that the roads were clear of traffic by the time Stan drove home. He counted those small blessings as he navigated the empty city streets, both ruing the dull city for closing down once the 9-to-5ers ended their shifts, but thankful that it gave him a nice quiet ride to relax during as he made his way home. A quick burst of light caught the corner of Stan's eye as he turned a corner. It was supposed to be a pleasant weekend and the weather report hadn't mentioned any lightning. Stan slowed down and looked up at a sky far too clear for a storm. He stuck his head out the window but couldn't see anything more or feel any rain. Off in the distance, Stan could hear metal striking metal with an occasional louder clang. Perhaps it was for petty reasons, but Stan smiled at the thought that some construction workers must still be on the job and that they were working later than he had. A few moments passed with no other signs of bad weather, so Stan pulled his head back into the car and looked into the rear-view mirror. The road was still empty, but the bags under his eyes were getting worse. Maybe on Monday he could talk with his manager about taking a few vacation days, he'd earned that! Still gazing into the mirror, Stan pressed down on the gas pedal just as a loud thud slammed down in front of him and bits of gravel and road debris sprinkled his windshield. The sudden shock surprised Stan and caused him to press down on the gas more, causing the car to lurch forward over a bump with an unsettling crunch.
Stan panicked.
“Oh God! Oh God, oh God. I hit something!”
Stan gingerly opened the car door and stepped out. “H-hello?” The headlights glistened off something by the front of the car. Stan crept forward to find a sword in the middle of the road and he could see another metal object off near the sidewalk. It was an axe with a long handle that Stan had seen before in a movie, but the name escaped him now. Maybe it was a halberd? Or a poleaxe? What was the difference? One might have been pointier and- Now was NOT the time to be thinking about this! A wet puddle steadily crept from under the car and towards the sewer grate. Stan steeled his nerves and slowly bent down to peek.
“OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!” Stan clutched at his chest and breathed heavily. “I killed somebody! Oh no, no, no.” His shaking knees gave way and Stan dropped to the pavement. This helped Stan steady himself, but the closer vantage point allowed him to see that there were actually two bodies under the car. Stan tried to both gasp and scream at the same time, but all that came out was a pitiful squeal.
“Harrumph!” A voice sighed from behind the car.
Stan spun around to see a figure, but the headlights prevented him from getting a good look at the witness. He flopped onto his back and crawled away towards the sidewalk. “I- I- I-...” Stan stammered with a thousand rambling sentences but still at a loss for words for the grisly scene in front of him. “I don't know what happened! I-”
“Hit them with a car,” the stranger matter-of-factly stated. It moved its arm to its side and Stan could hear the sound of metal sliding and a soft click.
“Who are y-” Before Stan could finish, he felt the sting of a shock in his side. He spun to face the car and saw trails of white lightning snaking and crackling toward him. Before he had a chance to move, a bolt struck out and hit him square in the chest, lifting him off the ground and knocking the wind out of him. Stan couldn't move or speak as the lightning poured through his heart. His skin felt alive. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling, just something Stan had never felt before and wouldn't have been able to explain. As his body filled with the strange lightning, Stan felt full and like something inside him was twisting and churning. Then, the feeling changed. The power inside him was trying to push its way out, testing him, pushing in some places and pulling in others, all while Stan's head swarmed with unknowable thoughts and laws. At the mercy of something so magnificent, so powerful, all Stan could manage was a weak grunt. The last thing Stan heard before collapsing in a heap was a soft curse word from the stranger.

Stan woke slowly. He may have been asleep for a few hours or for weeks, he had no bearing on time or place. He was unable to move his body but his vision came back to him first as a blur, but finally settling on a clear picture of a beige ceiling and plain beige walls. The air was stagnant and smelled of a too strong but cheap perfume or cleaning supplies. It was the universal smell of an affordably priced hotel room. That meant Stan had at least two of his senses working and he probably wasn't dead, so he was off to a good start. He closed his eyes again and breathed deeply to calm himself. He could hear rustling and shuffling. There was somebody else in the room! Stan tried to speak up, but all that dribbled out of his mouth was a gurgling moan.
“Oh, you're finally awake,” his rescuer, or kidnapper, calmly said.
Stan struggled to sit up and speak, questions raced through his mind, but his body was on pins and needles and tingled all over. The person saw his struggle and sat next to him and leaned over.
“Stay calm, you've been through something big. Much bigger than you. You'll adjust soon.”
She was a woman. A cute one! She had straight, shoulder length hair that was so light. It was either a light cyan or a silver, but Stan couldn't tell if his eyes were playing tricks on him. She wore a simple gray sweater and as she leaned in, Stan could see that she was rather shapely and- No, Stan! Focus. There are far greater matters at hand than those.
Noticing the conflict in Stan's eyes, the woman pulled out a small bottle from a bag next to the bed. “If you're still in pain, drink this.” She poured the bottle down Stan's throat and he immediately felt a chill move through him. Before he could react, Stan fell asleep again.

The next morning, Stan woke with a start. He was still in the hotel room, but things were clearer. His body felt heavy, but he could move his hand and arms again. Joyed with the reveal that he wasn't paralyzed, Stan ran his fingers over the bedspread. It was soft and sent a tingle up his arm. Patting up the bed, Stan touched the light cotton of his shirt and then his soft but firm stomach. Stan stopped. While he wasn't overweight, Stan spent his life behind a desk at a computer and wasn't fond of the gym, despite the company's generous fitness reimbursement. He hadn't had a firm stomach since high school. Stan patted his side again and could feel the sensation in his fingers and stomach, so he was sure that was him. He sat upright and immediately felt his body shift and weight pull him forward. Stan was ready to panic again. The hotel bed was hard but Stan felt a cushiony softness in his seat and he looked forward at two long, smooth legs with dainty feet at the ends. Stan assured himself that it was completely appropriate to panic more. He patted his hands higher and quickly came to feel a full, firm but soft swell at his chest. As Stan struggled to get a grasp on the situation, the woman from before walked out of the side room. She saw Stan struggling on the bed and immediately raised her palms towards him.
“I need you to stay calm,” she said softly but with authority.
“I- I- Wh-”, Stan said harshly and with bewilderment, his hands still clutching the foreign objects on his chest.
“Sir, stay calm. What's your name?”
“I- I- S-Stan. I'm Stan,” he forced out, but the words sounded foreign and wrong.
“Okay, Stan, I'm going to explain everything, but I need you to relax. Please sit down, Stan.” He complied, awkwardly and slowly, so the woman put a hand on his shoulder and gently pushed him back to the bed. “There was an incident you were involved with. Two warriors in the city-”.
“The accident! Oh God, I h-hit somebody. We have to get help and-”
“Stan, be calm. I took care of it. I cleaned up the site, removed the bodies, and destroyed the evidence.”
“Evidence? Bodies!?”
“You're going to be calm, remember. I took care of it. It wasn't entirely your fault. They never should have taken the fight to the city and gotten you involved.”
Stan looked around the room in a panic, now even more desperate to understand the situation. His gaze hit upon the mirror above the dresser and the confused woman gaping back at him. Stan clumsily latched a hand to his face and watched the woman in the mirror copy him perfectly. Her face was undeniably similar to his, but softer and with more youthful vigor, and she shared the same haircut Stan had been getting since college, but the rest of her was not right. The person in the mirror should not have such graceful fingers and toned arms. Her dress definitely shouldn't hang daintily at her thighs and tight on her chest and hips!
Stan shook his head and pawed at the outfit. What he before thought was a long shirt was actually a simple white dress. He gaped at it and then over to the woman, then back to the dress.
She nonchalantly nodded towards him. “Well I couldn't leave you in your old clothes. You fell into a pile of blood and that would look a bit suspicious.”


“What's going on!? Who is SHE? Where am I? How are-”
The woman put her palms up towards him again, this time with more force, then motioned to the bed. “I will explain. Sit! Stop with the questions and let me speak.” Stan did as he was told. “You have been accidentally pulled into an ancient contest between Amazonian warriors.” Stan raised a hand to interject but a stern look from the woman kept him quiet. “It is a no-holds-barred battle to the death between the tribe's top warriors to decide who rules our lands. Only the strongest warrior is suited to be our queen. Once an Amazon has chosen to enter the contest, she chooses her weapon and must defeat the other warriors, absorbing more power with each enemy slain. One of those warriors escaped to your city to try to hide, but she was tracked down and combat commenced. Through your involvement, you have taken the Amazonian power and this has caused the change you're experiencing now.”
“You can't possibly expect me to believe that. This is ins-”.
A steely glance from the woman cowered Stan and he shrunk back. “As fantastical as this sounds, look no further than your own body for proof. The night of your accident, you struck two warriors when they fell to the ground in their battle and you have taken their power and are now part of our contest.”
“Well I don't want it! Take it back. Just, just take this power and make me normal again!” Stan pounded his fist to his chest to emphasize his words, but winced at the new sensation of pain in his breasts.
“I'm sorry, Stan, but it doesn't work that way. The power is transferred upon the death of the warrior. Your best hope is for me to keep you safe until I find a way to remove you from the contest.”
“Are you saying I'm stuck like this!?”
“For now, yes. But if you work with me, I will train you to avoid the other warriors. The fact that you are an outsider may anger the others. In all our time, our queen has never been a non-Amazonian.”
Stan clutched his head and tried to process what was happening. One routine trip home from work later and he had lost his body and was on the run from a tribe of characters he previously thought were fictional and they wanted him dead. “So who are you?”
The woman nodded and brushed her cyan hair back gracefully. “I am Mina. I am a referee among the Amazonians to ensure the contest is held with honor.”
“Referee?” Stan grumbled under his breath, “You suck at your job.” Mina pretended to not hear that and walked over to the dresser.
“We will spend one more night here for you to recover and then you will start your training.”
“No, no. I have to get back home. I have to call in at work. I have bills to pay. Newspapers must be piling up at my apartment. How long have I been out? I need to go home!”
“No!” Mina planted her feet and blocked the door. “You must cut ties with your old life. You cannot go back to it! If one of the warriors were to find out who you are or they saw your vehicle and got your information before I disposed of it, she would be surveilling your home, waiting to ambush you. It's not safe to go back.”
She had a valid point and Stan wasn't in the mood to go into the particulars of how tech-savvy a group of Amazonian warriors were but figured that if they knew enough to come to city and hide among average people, they could probably figure out a phone directory and find his address.
Mina returned to packing the clothes from the dresser. “The city will provide us some protection and cover, but we will move regularly. Other warriors will come to hunt you.”
Curling into the fetal position, Stan stuck to the bed. “Why am I like this?”
“You have Amazonian blood and power now. The warriors absorb the power from their defeated rivals to grow stronger and physically change to signify their standing. Once the contest is over, the woman to be queen strikes an imposing and beautiful figure and all that look upon her know her power.” Stan screamed internally. “But this power will be an asset. You will be faster and stronger than a normal human. You will heal quicker and learn to harness your power with great skill.”
“My power? You mentioned the Amazons choosing a weapon too.”
“Yes, they are related. Each warriors chooses a weapon to use in the contest and her skill with it grows with each victory.”
“So I killed those warriors with my car. Accidentally! Does that mean I'll get better... at driving?”
Mina shook her head and faced Stan again. “No, your vehicle was simply the tool you used. You claimed your victories through shear dumb luck. But that luck will be a powerful ally. You will need all the luck you can get to stay safe. For now, get some rest and we will start your training in the morning.”

Stan's training was difficult, but Mina's words were true and he learned quickly. They started with simple physical exercises in the hotel rooms to acclimate Stan to his new body. He grew used to the weight and pull on his chest (although he wasn't happy about it), the way his hips moved now, and the difference in his stride thanks to his longer legs. They soon graduated to more rigorous exercise and sparring in the fitness rooms of the nicer hotels. Mina never held back so Stan was thankful for his advanced regeneration and healing. He was also greatly thankful for sports bras and anything that reduced the bounce in his chest now ranked among mankind's greatest inventions. Training his “powers” took the most physical and mental toll. Mina was determined to find the true extent of how much his luck powers could do and frequently took to throwing objects at Stan to see how many would miss. Much to Stan's chagrin, the power didn't kick in for the lottery tickets he occasionally sampled. When Stan was able to run across a busy road in rush hour traffic, they both agreed that showed an acceptable mastery of his physical form and a good degree of luck.
While the physical training was progressing well, Stan struggled with the mental side of things. Being a man trapped in the body of an Amazonian warrior was not a concept that Stan's life had previously led him to ever ponder or prepare for. Taking care of his outerwear was simple enough since his figure was fairly close to Mina's. However, her curves were a little more pronounced, leaving Stan to purchase his own underwear. He had bought gifts for girlfriends in the past, but he always had the advantage of being able to sneak a peek at her existing clothes to get the sizing rather than trying to figure it out himself. He stuck to department stores where he could find the most cover among people and be bothered the least, but that had the drawback of not having somebody help to fit him. Rather than return the purchases, Mina told him to save them for later. The wording of that note displeased Stan. Everywhere he went, he felt that all eyes were on him and that the world knew he was wrong and an “other”. Stan was almost pleased for the change the day Mina came bursting into their hotel room.
“They're here!” She panted.
“Room service?”
“No! Other warriors! I felt one's presence in the city today. They must be looking for you.”
Stan panicked and ran to his suitcase.
“No, no.” Mina stood resolutely. They're too close and they know you're here now. Running will only offer a minor delay. You have to take the fight to her. It's the only way to get peace.”
Stan trusted in Mina's advice, nodded silently, and then went to the bathroom to be sick.

The park was empty and quiet at night and the trees provided cover, so that's where Mina brought Stan for the fight. They arrived earlier than the opponent and hid in the trees to scope Stan's new mortal enemy. The waiting was nerve wracking and intense, and Stan silently hoped it would be the worst part of the fight, even though he knew much better than that. Some time had passed but the pair eventually noticed a figure cautiously enter the park. Stan's jaw dropped. The woman had a cartoonishly hourglass figure. Her enormous breasts swayed with each step and her curves seemed to rebel against the very clothes she tried to confine them in. She had light brown skin but red hair that seemed to glisten in the moonlight. Once Stan could pull his eyes away from her figure, he saw that she had a bow in one hand and a quiver of arrows slung to her back. The strap nestled between her mountainous- Focus, Stan!
Mina whispered to Stan, “I know she looks daunting and she is most certainly a powerful opponent, but her strength will be her weakness.”
Stan swallowed hard and stammered. “I-I'm really having second thoughts on this. Let's just-”
“Outsider!” The warrior bellowed to the park itself. “I know you're here, so stop hiding! Why have you defiled the contest?”
Stan jumped down from his hiding place in the trees and meekly addressed the woman. “Now, I know this is intense, but if you'll listen and let explain, I think we'll all agree that-” An arrow whizzed by Stan's head and embedded itself in the tree. Stan looked up at Mina in a panic.
“Go, Stan. Defeat her and take her power!”
“I don't want to look like that! I can barely handle this body!”
“Her power comes from multiple victories, you won't absorb all that from just one battle.”
Stan looked back at the warrior, now confidently striding towards him. Stan called upon all of Mina's training to prepare and assess the situation, threw all of that away, and ran as fast as he could. After a few moments, he looked back over his shoulder and saw the wisdom in Mina's earlier words. While the warrior's curves signified her strength, they also slowed her down. She'd covered half the distance Stan had and had to use one of her arms to steady her bouncing chest. This gave Stan a glimmer of hope, but while he could run all night, he was sure this woman would follow and track him down. He ducked behind a tree to think of a plan wiser than cowardice. With a quick peek, he saw the Amazon raise her bow and notch an arrow. Again her chest befuddled her as she had to bend her arm around her curves to aim the bow straight. Stan saw that as an opening. If she was a ranged fighter and put her power into her bow, maybe he could win the fight if he got close enough. Stan bolted to the next tree and could feel the arrows zip past him. He credited his skill and training rather than thanking his luck for the near misses and made his way closer one tree at a time.
Once he was close enough, Stan ran right at her as fast as he could. She pirouetted around him and landed a hard punch between his shoulder. Stan stumbled and rolled on the ground. This wasn't going the way he thought it would.
“I will right the contest and bring honor back to our tribe. Goodbye, Outsider.” The woman nocked another arrow and Stan jumped up.
“Please, please. I don't-” He felt a sharp sting in his side as the arrow cut through him, causing Stan to reel back and slam into a tree with several cracks resounding through the quiet park. Stan clutched at his side and steadied himself on the dead, rotting tree, a metaphor he thankfully didn't have time to ponder. He rushed forward, but a swift kick from the warrior knocked him back into the tree with a resounding “snap”. Stan was perplexed for a moment. Aside from the pain in his side, it didn't FEEL like any bones were broken, so the snap... Before he could investigate, a heavy rustling came from above, followed by a large branch collapsing towards the ground but taking a detour in its journey to smash into the side of the Amazon's temple and drop her to the ground. Stan collapsed to his knees and screamed internally again.
“Amazing!” Mina sounded almost joyful. “What are the odds that she would keep missing and then when she does strike, it knocks you into a dead tree just waiting to lose a limb. Your powers are exceptional, Stan.” Stan responded with a whimper and groaned while clutching his side.
Small sparks started to fizzle from under the tree limb and arc around the warrior's dead body. The lightning again forced its way into Stan, but now his Amazonian power and blood could contain it. It lifted him off his feet and coursed through his heart once more. As it subsided, Stan dropped to his knees. He steadied himself and touched his side only to find that the only evidence of his injury was a tear in his shirt.
Mina spoke while moving the branch and mentally taking note of all the arrows in the park now. “Stan, return to the hotel quickly. We will discuss this later, but I need to clean up here. Go!” Stan silently agreed and hurried off towards the park's exit.

Back at the hotel, Stan stood in front of the mirror and removed the torn shirt. He ran his fingers over where the cut used to be but it was now clean and spotless. Looking into the mirror, Stan took an inventory of himself. His hair was still a dark brown, but now it looked shaggier, like he hadn't had it cut in a few months. Were his breasts bigger? They still fit well in his bra, but were they fuller? He turned to the side and noted that his bottom definitely stuck out more. And looked rounder. Stan shook the thoughts from his mind and a leaf fluttered down to the table. A shower would make everything better. That would wash off the grime of battle and help clear his thoughts. Stan threw his dirty clothes to the foot of the bed and walked into the cramped hotel bathroom.

The shower helped calm him and by the time Stan was done, Mina had returned to the room. She grinned and clapped her hands once. “You did well! An unconventional victory, but still a victory!”
Stan muttered some thanks as he slipped into his pajamas.
“We'll move again tomorrow, but tonight you can revel in your first intentional win.”
“When will it end? I can't do THAT every night.”
“Tonight will buy us some time, but now that your presence is well-known, other Amazons will come for you.

True to Mina's words, it wasn't more than a week later when the next opponent found Stan walking home from the store one night. She seemed younger and less sure than his first opponent and Stan could tell by her figure that she was not as experienced. The green-haired Amazon was cautious and gave Stan a wide berth, despite wielding two daggers as her weapons. Stan wasn't sure if this meant she was testing him or had some misplaced fear of his combat skills. He again tried to plead for sanity and an end to the fighting, but the woman didn't appear to speak or understand his language. When he reached out to offer his hand in peace, the warrior jumped back, slipping on a piece of loose soil and falling backwards down the rocky hill. One peak over the edge was enough to confirm Stan's suspicions and he counted no fewer than six wounds to her head and a number of bloody rocks on the way down. A call to the hotel room later and Mina was on the scene. The warrior's lightning had already done its thing and Stan was back on his feet when she arrived. With a clap on the back and hearty praise, she sent him back to the hotel with the groceries. Stan was sure the eggs would have broken when he dropped the bag. As he made his way back to the room, there was no denying that his body had changed more after the fight. His bra was tight and the straps dug into his shoulders. He could feel the tickle of his hair against his neck and the bizarre sensation of a sway and bounce in his hips as he walked. Back in the room, Stan dug through his suitcase for the clothes Mina told him not to return and found some new underwear. The buttons on his dress shirt now bulged out, so there was no sense dragging them from hotel to hotel, and while his other shirts were now tight, Stan felt like that gave him more support up top and he would live with it for now.

The battles were coming so regularly that it no longer made sense to stay on the run and change hotels after each fight. That very weekend, Stan was assaulted by a team of warriors. The duo wielding swords and far outmatched Stan in fighting prowess. His body was laced with cuts as he was knocked around, up until the pair were ready to land killing strikes when Stan collapsed, falling under their blades and the two warriors decapitated each other. Stan tried to run from the outcome but was struck by twin bolts of lightning from the warriors and pulled back to their bodies. The twin surges of power made the changes immediately perceptible and Stan could feel his body growing and changing. The seat of his pants split and the neckline of his shirt tore to relieve the pressure from his expanding curves. Long, darker hair that gave off a hint of purple in the sunlight swayed in front of his face and down to the small of this back. Stan rushed back to the hotel, avoiding every person he could, and sheepishly asked Mina to go out to get new clothing for him. To his dismay, she returned with several dresses. He tried to protest, but Mina successfully argued that the skirts would give him more room and wouldn't split like pants. While that was true, Stan still tried to cover up as much as he could with sweaters on top of the dresses.

Due to a combination of the constant fights and his now extreme looks, Stan dreaded ever leaving the hotel. He placed his entire trust and faith in Mina running errands for him and only ever left when she had gone to consult her ancient tomes and he was alone to fend for himself. The stares and comments from strangers taxed him, but Stan was confident in the strength of his powers and questioned whether he could even lose a fight after a particularly harrowing fight against an Amazon wielding a flintlock pistol. After gaining an upper-hand in the battle, the warrior pressed her weapon to Stan's head and pulled the trigger, only to have the gun backfire, ignite her shirt, and instantly consume the Amazon in flames and destroy any evidence a battle took place. No, Stan's true battles were against his cursed body. He pleaded with Mina to cure him, but she apologized and explained that the rules of the contest were arcane and difficult to parse. There had never been an outsider like Stan before and the Amazon's strict code of honor decreed that once you enlist in the contest, you see it to the end. Stan would have curled up into a ball on the bed again, but the feeling of his breasts pressing against his legs unnerved him now.


On another venture for clothes that fit, Stan was dejected. He'd tried all the normal department stores but the sizes they carried didn't go up to his new levels of bustiness. The largest bras he could find stopped fitting comfortably two fights ago, so he was going to have to start going to specialty stores. That felt like a special kind of humiliation to Stan and on level different from the fact that he was actually wearing a bra. He could at least buy them like a regular woman before. Making his way back from the shops, Stan could feel the presence of two people following him. He wasn't dressed to run, much less fight, so he walked as swiftly as he could and ducked down the alley and through a series of corners. He heard the footsteps of the people running after him, but they eventually stopped in the alley. Stan stole a peek at them from his hiding spot. One was a tan woman with long bright blonde hair. Judging from her figure, she had been the victor in several fights. Her partner was a more peppy, and hippy, redhead with twin pigtails flowing out from her head. They appeared to be bickering and the redhead frequently gestured to the strange white and green glove she wore. The pair exuded the strength of the Amazonian warriors, but something about them seemed different. Stan cursed himself, swallowed, and shouted from his hiding place. “I don't want any trouble.”
The duo spun around, scanning the alley for where the voice came from. The redhead threw her hands in the air. “It's cool, it's cool. We don't want to fight!”
“Who are you? Identify yourself!”
The two women turned and addressed the spot Stan was hiding behind. The red-haired one gave a small wave and smiled. “My name is Mercy and my partner here is Ruth. We're here to help.”
Stan poked his head out from the cover, overjoyed at the prospect of help but still cautious.
“We're kind of like bounty hunters for people in your situation,” the blonde explained. “We just want to fix you up and be on our way. It's kind of a thing, but it's what we're here for.”
Stan's heart raced. “How can I trust you? Maybe this is just a trick and you're here to kill me!”
Mercy laughed. “Oh, if we wanted you killed, you'd already be dead, buster.” For some reason, she menacingly pointed her gauntlet at Stan.
“Mercy! Oh my god, shut up. How does that help?!”
Ruth slugged Mercy in the shoulder and the two started to create a combination of bickering and bantering back and forth. If they were warriors, they were certainly different from the previous Amazons. Stan sat back and let them argue each other tired before approaching them. The group compared their notes and briefings on the contest for leadership and what Stan had been through. The duo made terrible attempts at not staring at Stan's chest, but he could hardly blame them and would have done the same in their positions. Not that they weren't both cute in their own ways, but Stan had had enough of sex appeal to last him awhile.


After the explanations were over, the team set on fixing Stan.
Ruth nodded sagely, “So all we have to do is transfer your power off without you dying. Seems easy enough.”
Stan sighed. “No, Mina said we can't. Once the contest starts, it won't end until I die or win. She's been trying all this time to find a way out for me but hasn't been able to.”
Mercy plumbed her mind for that name. “Mina? Who is that?”
“She's been helping me in this whole situation. She's a kind of referee for this contest.”
The women looked confused again and Ruth leaned in. “Our briefing and your own story says that this contest is a lawless free-for-all. Why would there be referees?”
Stan opened his mouth to respond, but a reason didn't come.
“Did any of the other Amazons have partners?”
Stan thought back again, but shook his head. “N-no. But you can't possibly be blaming Mina! She's been helping me this whole time.”
The redhead motioned to her chest “Yeah, I can see you have heaping mounds of help you're carried around.” She mentally high-fived herself for the comment but felt guilty when Stan glared back.
The blonde rolled her eyes in a way that signified she'd heard such “wit” frequently. “Maybe she's not helping you. Maybe she's using you.”
Stan shrunk back in the seat and thought over the past weeks' events. “We need to talk to her.”
The duo followed Stan back to the hotel.

That night, Mina returned to the room in high spirits. “I did some more searching, but couldn't-”. She stopped in her tracks when she saw the two new women talking to Stan. Mina immediately pivoted and dove to the bed, grabbing for the sword she had hidden behind it.
The redhead smirked and pointed to her partner, who was leaning on the weapon. “We thought about that.”
Mina backed up to the wall. “Who are you two!?”
Stan stepped forward and tried to look serious, despite the exaggerated wobble in his chest. “We need to talk. I want some answers, Mina.”
These two new women were a threat that Mina didn't care for. They exuded some kind of strange aura that she couldn't place. She could take down one, maybe do damage to the second, but Stan appeared to be on their side and he could stop her. They were positioned to block the windows and the only door out, so Mina composed herself. “I was hoping for some more time.”
Her change in tone hit Stan like a punch to the gut. “So you were using me...”
She nodded. “I was mad at first when you scored those initial kills the night we met, but then I realized what an opportunity it was. Your dumb luck proved to be an amazing power and one I could harness to reduce my competition. You would thin out the ranks for me and you trusted me so much that I could easily have finished you off in your sleep once we were the last warriors left. Best of all, you were the one absorbing all the changes meaning I could be queen after only a few kills and not have to rule with such a ridiculous figure!”
As much as Stan hated that ridiculous figure and how angry he was about being used, that last comment alone was too much. It was her fault he carried around that weight! Stan jumped forward, but Mina dodged to the bed. The blonde grabbed forward but Mina countered with a knee to her jaw and brought the woman down. This greatly angered the redhead, who responded by hurling the hotel room chair. Mina barely had time to twist and take the blow on her shoulder and arm, but the force of the hit knocked her to the ground. She was about to roll back to her knees when Stan dropped down on her and knocked the wind from her.
“Gack!” Mina crackled. “You weigh a ton!” Perhaps, not the best thing to say, as Stan rocked back and put the full weight of his prodigious behind on her chest. Mina gasped for air, until the redhead walked over and hit her with a glowing blast from her gauntlet.
Mercy sighed. “Okay, Stan, you can get up now.”
Stan did as he was told. “Did you shoot her? Is she dead?”
“Hell no! I don't want to take a chance, kill her, and wind up giant – Ah! Hey, Ruth, are you okay?”
A groan came from the side of the room. “Ahm okah. Ah bit mah tung.”
Stan looked around the room, lamented the no doubt lost deposit on the room, and turned to the redhead. “What do we do now?”
Mercy shrugged. “Talk to the old queen, I guess?” Before Stan could reply, a glowing green doorway appeared from the woman's gauntlet and the pair were dragging Mina into it.

Once the green glow faded from his eyes, Stan stared in awe at the world around him. They were in beautiful temple surrounded by a dense jungle. Stan was slightly embarrassed that despite this whole ordeal, he had never bothered to actually do any research on the Amazon. Pillars of an opalescent material made up the walls of the temple with statues of beautiful women adorned with glittering jewelry formed a pathway to a throne. Stan spun around as he heard the clacking of heels on the marbled floor.
“Who dares enter my-”. The woman stopped upon spying Stan and struck the ground with the butt of her lance. She looked him up and down with a faint sense of recognition but was unable to place the specific face or strange outfit. Stan gawked back at her. She had a figure like his, but where Stan attempted to hide his curves with ill-fitting clothing, she wore them proudly in regal dress. Locks of blue hair gracefully flowed to the floor. “Who are you? Are you one of my Amazons?” Stan was too transfixed to answer.
“Hey there!” Mercy piped up.
The queen swung her head over to the two and the unconscious warrior they were dragging with them. “Mina! What have you done?!”
Ruth threw her hands up, dropping Mina to the floor with a thud in the process. “We come in peace. Authorized emissaries of the Divine!”
The queen looked the two up and down and seemed to recognize the gauntlet Mercy wore. She motioned back towards the throne and asked for an explanation.

Stan's story poured out from his mouth, but the queen simply nodded as he rambled. Mercy and Ruth added comments and details when the story came around to involving them. Once all was said, the queen rose from her throne and motioned to the back of the hall. The newcomers turned to see that the hall had filled with guards during their tale, but they sheathed their weapons at the queen's request.
The queen strode over to Stan and put a hand on his head. “Quite an ordeal.” The queen motioned to her guards once more and two stepped forward to carry off Mina. “She will be placed in custody for her actions. While she may not be responsible for initially bringing you into this, she took no actions to remove you from the contest or report this to us. Involving outsiders is strictly forbidden.”
Stan stumbled closer to the queen. “Please, please, please fix me! I can't handle these,” Stan pleaded as he did his best to cup his breasts. “I don't want to be a queen, just make me normal!”
The queen laughed heartily. “You, a queen? Dear, you may have bested some warriors, but if you ever thought you could take me on...” She hit the ground with the butt of her lance again and proudly pushed forward her chest. Stan felt vaguely offended but felt it wasn't best to speak up.
“Excuse me, your highness?” Ruth stepped forward. “If you could just fix him without killing him, that would be a big help for all of us.”
“If that is what you so desire. Guards, please bring an alchemist to us.” Two guards broke off from the pack and rushed out of the temple.
The queen returned to her throne and the group awkwardly waited.
“Sooo...” Mercy offered, gazing at the statues. “Queen of a tribe of busty hot ladies. That's got to be pretty awesome, right?”
The queen glared back. “Maybe you should remain quiet.” Mercy gave a meek thumbs-up and complied with the royal decree.

The guards soon returned with a woman dressed in flowing red robes. She held in her hands a small empty vial capped with a radiant clear crystal. “For you, liege.”
The queen bowed slightly. “Thank you, my alchemist.” She turned towards Stan and removed the crystal. “Breathe deeply.” The queen pressed the crystal to Stan's heart and it glowed with a purple light. Energy poured from Stan into the crystal as it glowed more vibrantly. Stan jerked and then relaxed. He was unable to move, but he felt the electricity leave his body and the sense of pressure and fullness fade with it. With each breath, his body contracted and he felt more at ease. The power flowed out, while Stan felt his self return to him and the great weights lift from his chest. As the crystal dimmed, the queen returned the cap to the vial and it filled with the glowing purple electricity. Stan felt invigorated. He ran his fingers through his short hair and patted down flat chest. He'd miss the toned arms and abs, but that was a small loss for gaining other parts that Stan was more fond of.
Mercy whistled off in the background. “I need to get me one of those stones.”
Ruth nodded in a agreement but figured that they better not push their luck and bother the queen more. “Enough adventure for today. Let's get you home.”
Stan joyfully ran over to them, clutching his now loose clothing. The duo shrugged off his thankful hugs, bowed to the queen, and opened another green gateway home.

Stan materialized back in the hotel room alone. He looked around for the two women, but figured they left for their own worlds and he sighed in relief. Stan pulled up his suitcase and gleefully started throwing out the ridiculously oversized bras that dominated his luggage and pulled out the least feminine shorts and shirt he had with him. Mina was the one that had reserved the room, so he figured he could sneak out in the morning without being questioned or forced to pay damages. He'd go home and then- Stan paused. How would he get home? He wasn't entirely sure what happened to the car that had gotten him into this whole mess. Stan shrunk back more. He hadn't been to work for weeks and now that his career prospects no longer included “Amazonian Queen” he desperately hoped he hadn't been fired. He probably had been. Stan slumped to the ground and sighed. As he rolled over, he noticed something under the hotel dresser. Somebody had dropped a five dollar bill under there. His lucky day!

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