Potion of Flight

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There are no Knights of the Round Table in this story, but there is a Round Knight. I hope you enjoy it.

Shalla, ordained Knight of the kingdom of Jaed, felt that she was nearing the end of her quest at long last. Her lord, King Althues, had bade her last spring to seek out and put an end to that vile enemy of the crown, the wizard Karrathan. She had spent many months searching far and wide for news of where the miscreant dwelt, to no avail. She had been so long away from home that her golden hair had grown very long and unkempt, and the frugal rations had caused her already-svelte figure to slim considerably.

Last week, while snatching a welcome night's rest at a small inn after a long day's ride, Shalla had finally found the news that she was looking for: two frightened farmers had told her in hushed tones that the wizard Karrathan dwelt in a dark tower a few hours ride to the south. Overjoyed to hear this news, Shalla had set out for the south upon first light. The road had not been easy; her path took her into the heart of a mountain range and she was very weary as she forced herself to ride her steed higher and higher into the hills. At long last, two hours past noon, she reached the peak of her side of the mountain and was stunned to stillness by the view that the peak presented to her! The other side of the mountain rushed down into a deep and verdant valley, lush beyond belief compared to the barren slopes she had spent the day climbing. Most important of all, in the center of the valley, a dark tower rose from the valley floor. It quested upward like a black, clawed finger reaching for the sky and Shalla had no doubt that she was looking at Karrathan's domain at last. She rode down into the valley posthaste, anxious to confront the wizard at long last.

When Shalla rode up to the foot of the tower, she looked about in consternation. There was no way to enter! No door, no gate; as a matter of fact, the sides of the tower were completely featureless. Nothing but smooth, quarried stone met her eyes as she looked up upon its black surface...there was not even a single foothold she could use in an attempt to scale the spire. The balcony high above seemed to taunt her; she had come all this way, within the view of the wizard's fortress, and now she could not confront him as her King had commanded. This was too much for her Knightly pride to bear. She dismounted, sat down with her back against the impassable wall of the tower, and wept bitter tears. At length, she heard a voice call, "Hoi! My Lady, My Lady...whatever is the matter?"

Shalla's head snapped up immediately, blinking the tears from her eyes. An almost comically short man in a hooded cloak stood before her, with a cart and donkey not far off behind him. Shalla thought it most odd that she had not heard the man ride up and dismount, but she determined that she must have not heard in the throes of her grief. The man's bright eyes twinkled from under his hood, even while focused on her in concern. She rose, standing into a posture befitting a Knight, and said "Thank you for your concern...I am at the end of a long journey, but I feel it was all for naught, I wept with disappointment."

The odd little man looked about fearfully and said, "M-My Lady, I fear that if this place was to be your journey's end, you would have been better off never leaving home."

Shalla, surprised, said, "You know of this place? Tell me."

"All that live in this region know of it my Lady! It is the domain of...Him," the short man whispered cryptically.

"Karrathan?" Shalla asked, fearlessly. The tiny man seemed almost afraid at the sound of the name.

"S-So it is as my Lady says," he stuttered, casting a fearful glance at the tower reaching toward the sky.

"How do you come to be here, if you fear him so?" Shalla asked.

"F-Forgive me, my lady, but I am a poor wandering peddler. I made no sales in the last barony I visited, and needed money very badly, for I was hungry. My Lady may not know this, but all in this region must pay Him tribute. The master of that Barony from which I come fears Him much, and bade me that if I brought his yearly tribute here for him, he would reward me greatly with gold. My poverty overwhelmed my fear, my Lady, so I have brought the Baron's tribute here."

"I see," Shalla replied. "You would seem to be in the same situation as me...we both need entrance to Karrathan's tower, but there is no way in." The odd man seemed panic-stricken at this.

"I-I, my Lady? Surely not...it..it is the practice merely to leave the year's tribute at the foot of the tower, and depart. He allows NONE to see him," the munchkin quavered. Shalla gritted her teeth in anger.

"I MUST find a way up to the wizard's balcony," She growled.

"My Lady, that would be certain death, even for a knight!"

"I do not care! My Lord has bade me to come here and slay Karrathan, and by my Honor and my Sword I shall!" Shalla said fiercely. A change seemed to come over the small man at these words...a glimmer of hope seemed to come through amidst the peddler's nervousness.

"If...if my Lady is truly serious, perhaps I can help. I do not deny that we would like to be free of His rule."

Shalla said in surprise, "How can you help me?" The peddler began to rummage in his cart.

"If it pleases me Lady, some time ago I acquired a mystical potion from an herbalist far to the east...I was told that it would allow the one who drinks it to fly like a bird. If you could use it to ascend to His balcony and confront Him, we would all be most grateful." He returned from his cart, carrying a yellow glass bottle filled with a viscous green liquid. Shalla took the bottle and clenched it triumphantly.

"I shall! My dear peddler, when I am victorious, it will be known to all far and wide that you, yourself, played not a small part in vanquishing Karrathan! You have my thanks, and the thanks of the King!" Shalla cried. The tiny peddler bowed low.

"Y-you honor me, my Lady!"

Shalla drew her longsword with her right hand, and with her left brought the bottle to her lips, removing the cork with her teeth. Spitting the cork aside, she drank the green brew in four rapid swallows. She cast the bottle away and stood ready at the foot of the tower, waiting.

An astonishingly loud gurgle issued from Shalla's trim belly beneath her armor, and a wave of nausea swept over her, causing her to clap a hand over her mouth.

"OoooOooooOo," Shalla moaned. The old peddler merely watched her, eyes twinkling. Another, louder, gurgle came from Shalla's middle. A sheen of sweat broke out on her forehead, and her sword clattered to the ground. "What...what have you done to m-" she began, but was interrupted by an even louder gurgle that nearly brought her to her knees. The peddler smiled.

"I would not dream of spoiling my Lady's surprise!" he exclaimed.

"Ugh...hurk..." Shalla managed. She let out a soft but unladylike belch involuntarily, and then seconds later another burst forth from her. A sudden feeling of fullness came over her, rapidly increasing. Within moments, she felt as if she had just been through a feast day, and then seconds later the fullness was beyond anything she had ever experienced. Her armor began to feel tight, and retaining straps began to cut into her flesh, especially around the waist. The sounds of creaking leather and complaining metal joints slowly rose to a louder volume than even the continued gurgling noises within Shalla's middle. Just when Shalla thought her breastplate would pinch her in two, several leather straps gave way and the plate burst off of her, clattering to the ground. Finally released from its prison, her belly surged forth. She was as large as a woman very great with child, and she was still growing. She had a sudden flashback to her youth, watching the baker's bread rise in the oven of the castle she had grown up in- for her belly seemed to grow in just the same way. Moments later her breasts began to follow suit, followed by her upper arms and thighs. One by one, her straps burst, her seams popped, and laces snapped until she was standing naked and hugely round by the side of the tower with her armor and clothing littering the ground around her. And still she grew! The gurgling sound had risen to a hissing and churning, like a kettle on the boil. Shalla felt hugely swollen and tight, her formerly svelte figure stretched and ballooned beyond anything it had been meant for. The peddler chortled at her.

"Well, my dear, you're getting to about that point...let's lay you back before you do anything foolish that might cause you injury!" He stepped forward and gently but powerfully lay her flat on the ground. She yelled and raged at him, trying to break free of his grasp on her massively swollen body, but her swollen limbs did not allow her the leverage to fight him off. She now lay with her massive and still growing belly pointing skyward. Her distended belly and breasts had begun to take on a bright sheen in the light of the sun, like the hide of wineskins that were massively overfull. Over the frightening minutes to come, Shalla felt herself grow larger and tighter, until the pressure within her caused her eyes to screw shut and her cheeks to puff out like a doormouse. She felt sure that she must resemble nothing so much as a ball now, with her massive torso and swollen limbs narrowing down to impossibly tiny hands and feet. Her drum-tight breasts ballooned from the swollen roundness of her torso, almost rising into her face. Through the valley between her wildly inflated breasts, she saw that her navel had popped forth from her belly, pointing directly up at the sun. The peddler stepped back to her side then, and poked her several times in her ballooned side, as if testing her for firmness. His finger felt alarmingly sharp to her hugely distended side, and she cried out. "No need to worry, my dear," the peddler said.

"What have you done to me!" she cried.

"Kept my promise!" he replied, with a twinkle in his old eyes and a huge grin creasing his mouth.

Just then, Shalla felt her back lose contact with the grassy floor of the valley as she began to rise into the sky. Her long, blonde hair trailed down behind her like a waterfall of liquid gold. "Noooo!" she yelled. She rose slowly, but as her gigantically inflated body filled with more and more of the mysterious substance that was distending her, she began to rapidly accelerate.

The old peddler shielded his eyes from the sun as he watched Shalla's round form rocketing higher into the sky, growing larger as it went. He merely beamed a wide smile up at the rapidly rising Knight, and her yells, threats, and pleas echoed down at him. At length, she vanished from sight, having risen up into the clouds where his vision could not reach. He brought his gaze back to earth, and surveyed the area around him at the foot of the tower. The peddler's cart and donkey burst into colorful smoke, and the peddler himself seemed to straighten and grow taller. Suddenly, where the peddler once stood, a dark figure of flowing shadow and light stood in his place. The menacing figure glanced at Shalla's horse that still stood nearby the tower, and it gave of whinny of alarm before bolting back the way it and its master had come earlier today. A sudden odd chuckle shook the dark figure, seeming highly out of place. The figure spoke to itself then, and it was the peddler's voice, but deeper and seeming to echo out of a deep cave. "Hehehee....I haven't had so much fun since I was an apprentice! " the figure said. The figure reflected back to the fun pranks and so forth that were often the mark of youths attempting to learn magic...he could still hear the voice of his old master scolding him: "Karrathan, it is NOT acceptable to conjure five hundred gallons of milk inside of your fellow apprentice Wendissimi!" The wizard Karrathan laughed at the old memories, and reflected upon the fact that the alchemical gas Helium had been a great improvement upon the milk he'd conjured into that cute apprentice from so many years ago! The floating was such a nice effect! He resolved to come up with something even more creative for the next Knight that happened along. He snapped his fingers, and Shalla's armor that was littering the ground vanished. "After all," he said to himself, "Wizardry isn't all blasting fire and calling down blizzards! Sometimes you have to have a sense of humor about things and just blimp a girl up for good measure!" At that, he opened the secret door in the base of the tower, and began the long climb to his laboratory, whistling a happy tune that seemed almost comical to his shadowy appearance as he went.

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