The Other Book of Changes
Codex entry #P394.5U5

The bet had been made in haste after an argument about biomechanics got badly out of hand among the near-closing-time crowd at Shelley’s. Cassie, as the former high jump queen of Arboria High out in Ativia, probably thought that a challenge to get a running start and jump onto the bar (a full four feet five inches off the ground) was in the bag. But her opponent, Jayson Squabb, had the advantage of a lifetime of hooliganism and parkour. Cassie also hadn’t done a high jump in almost ten years, ever since settling into the thrill-a-minute life of an Outland CPA. Her long, graceful legs had spent the last month (tax season, the CPA Superbowl) under a desk rather than on a track.

Cassie came to flat on her back, surrounded by Jayson and his chortling toadies. Her dark olive skin normally precluded the flushing and blushing her mother had always been susceptible to, but she was blushing now. Of course, it could also have been a bruise given how hard the bartender claimed she’d donked her head going down.

With the cruel laughter of her vanquisher spilling out into the street, Cassie paid her tab and slunk out a side door. She was too drunk to drive, and home was a long way hence; Cassie spent the time railing against her defeat. Spying a particularly bright star low in the sky, she half-mockingly made a wish to be able to run faster and jump–no, *soar*– higher than anyone in the world.

Unbeknownst to her, the “star” was actually the experimental Mythology Satellite, its decaying orbit bringing it close enough to the earth to hear individual requests at long last. A forgotten pre-Anarchy Cold War weapon, the satellite was designed to turn enemy soldiers into harmless pixies through the judicious application of intense bursts of mythology radiation. Abandoned due to budget cuts and the Helsinki Convention Against Unwillful Transmogrification in Wartime, the satellite and its controlling AI had become a little needy and unhinged in the ensuing years. Intercepting Cassie’s wish, it completely missed the inherent sarcasm therein and interpreted the request in the most literal way possible (and not coincidentally in a way conducive to the unannounced application of mythology radiation).

Cassie had reached home by that point, and was standing petulantly on the balcony of her tiny apartment when she was suddenly bathed in invisible mythology radiation. A curious tingling sensation was the first sign she had that anything was amiss…great white wings popping irregularly out of her shoulder blades were the second. She was understandably upset about this and the other subsequent radical changes the radiation invoked, not the least because her new wings and tail ruined her favorite bar outfit and her new hooves ruined her favorite balcony (and, for that matter, her favorite apartment).

Then again, people still speak in reverent tones about the pegasus with Cassie’s eyes and hair that appeared at the bar the next night and trounced Jayson Squabb in everything from running to bar-jumping to drinking.

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