A young man with crimson hair spiked and tied in a ponytail stood before him, but Mr. Z stepped forward. "I'll take this one, thank you, Leroy." Murmurs of surprise spread among the crowd. Ellis stood bashfully in front of Mr Z, who closed his eyes and Moved his hands around a few inches from his body, as if he were feeling an aura. "Hmm, lots of conflicting energies here, but the sense of physical power, the removal of obstacles, is strongest. We'll put you under the auspices of the bull for now, OK? Repeat after me: επιτρέψτε μου να πηδούν πάνω από τα εμπόδια , όπως εάν το άλμα πάνω από τη ράχη ενός ταύρου." "'E-Epitrépste mou na pi̱doún páno̱... apó ta empódia ... ópo̱s eán to álma páno̱ ...apó ti̱ ráchi̱ enós táv̱rou.' What does it mean?" Mr Z smiled. ""Let me leap over obstacles, as if over the back of a bull.'" He held his hands outstretched, index fingers like horns, then brought them close to his body, pressing his hands in a v shape, fingers outwards. "This is the sign of your pact. Learn it well." Mr. Z made the sign and Ellis bowed, returning it, feeling a whoosh of energy like wind, before stepping aside. He nearly collided with a glowing, floating crystal that flashed in apparent annoyance. "Excuse me..." What seemed like ages later, Mr. Z stood n and the other staff stood onstage before the assembled students as did Rio, Leon, and Ellis, all clad in new garments. Ellis's was a metallic loincloth marked with the head of the bull. a.. He fidgeted nervously, feeling the eyes of the crowd upon him— a crowd made up of all sorts of beings, some seemingly human, others with the heads of beasts or octopoid monstrosities. There were glowing crystals like the one he'd had a run-in with, balls of rock with craggy crystalline mouths surrounded by glowing "eyes' on four corners,, flying snakes and lizards; two creatures made of brown, meaty orbs and long, pale filaments slapped noodly appendages in something like a high five, their eyestalks seeming to smile.. Mr Z cleared his throat, and began. "Welcome all, to the Bara Institute of Godhood! Some of you are returning students,; others take their first steps on a path that will change their lives forever." He smiled at Ellis. "Each of you has been assigned a pact, a link with an animal or being that symbolizes your qualities. Before you stand examples of each: The Eagle" he flexed-"representing leadership and wisdom; the Bull" —he nodded at Ellis—" with the solidity and strength of Earth; the Salamander-" Rio smirked-" with the flexibility of water, and the Wolf, with the passion and drive of Fire." Leon threw back his head and howled. "...Very nice. The hearts and souls of gods are a mystery, and you may well turn from the path you walk on to another. For now, rest secure in the knowledge that you are protected and guided by those who have guided man before you. In many ways you are still yet men. In time you may gather enough power to make worlds by your own hand alone, but for now, you must work together." He shot a look at Rio. "Let not arrogance and pride be your downfall, as did many before you. Keep an open mind and heart; learn the connections between man and nature, and between gods and man. " He bowed his head. "Happy hunting. Let the journey begin!" A mixture of cheers, whoops and howls filled the air. The tension in the crowd relaxed. Mr. Z spoke quietly to Ellis. "Now we'll introduce you to your pactguides and-" He looked at Ellis, who was flushed and fidgeting nervously. "Are you all right?" "W..warm.. burning up..." Rio raised his eyebrows." Another surge? You just had one yesterday!" Mr. Z. frowned. "It might be Surge Fever. We'd better quarantine him and whoever was nearby yesterday>." Rio Frowned; "That was most of us.." Ellis collapsed in pain and fel; to the floor. "Gather up those who were the closest while i deal with him." MR Z stretched out his hands, making a field of darkness that encircled him. Ellis felt it surround him, aware of how the cool wave of darkness encircled his burning body. He closed his eyes. He wasn't sure, afterwards, whether what he experienced next was real, a vision, or delirium. He was floating in space, black emptiness streaked with lights like stars at warp. It was cool, but his body was hot, so hot, like a glowing star. He shuddered as he felt a wave of growth run through him, then another, then a third... each one building on the last, expanding him ever larger. Spasms of force ran through his body as it expanded beyond his wildest imaginings and kept on going; bigger than a skyscraper, bigger tuna a mountain, bigger than a planet.. bigger than anything he'd ever felt before. The power was overwhelming and arousing, like burning fire. Larger and larger, stronger and stronger, hotter and hotter , a wild mix o pain and pleasure shooting through every fiber of his body.. his cock had long ago passe th point of hardness and was throbbing wildly. HE was titanic, immeasurable... suddenly, in a great pulsing spasm, he shot.. but it was not cum. A white-hot beam of energy shot out of his cock, blasting into the empty space before him concentrating into an infinitesimal point of energy that got hotter and hotter and finally exploded. Exhausted, Ellis sank down, the energy leaving him, sinking, smaller and smaller, into normal space and time .... Blackness. "Hey Dude," rumbled a voice, " You awake?" Ellis opened his eyes. "Hmm?" He looked over to find Rio staring at him. "Glad you joined us, big guy." Ellis looked down at himself, seeing his broad, powerful muscles and increased height. He was six-and-a half, nearly seven feet tall and powerfully built. He felt his jaw line and realized it was wider, more like a young man's.... and his cock was what, 18 inches? His gaze returned to Rio, noticing changes in him too; his eyes were red, his canines sharp; muscles were thicker and denser, but he still had the sense of wiry and dancer-like flexibility that seemed natural to him. His wings were more feathery, almost leaf-like, and a tail twitched behind him. And in front.... Ellis broke into a smirk, "Hey, Tropius!" Rio raised his eyebrows "Do I look like a Pokemon to you?" "Well, you have leafy wings and a biiig banana...." "True, True." Looking around the room, Ellis saw Bolt and Leon. Bolt was broader and taller, and his hair shimmered with golden highlights; his lats extended out wards like things of a giant bird.. Leon's powerful body had a wildness to it, with an almost vulpine cast, flaring nostrils, sharp teeth and nails, and yellow eyes like a beast, and was carpeted with hair the same orange as on his head. Ellis frowned and reached up , half expecting to find horns growing from his temples, but there were none. "Whatever you did," Rio said," it pushed us up to the next level level, and brought some interesting traits. " Elis frowned. "But Rio, why snake? Aren't you a salamander?" Rio Shrugged. " Didn't I tell you? I'm related to Quetzalcoatl." The door creaked, then opened. MR. Z entered. "Good! You're all recovered." He threw them some togas. "Follow me , please." HE led them into large room marked with few book shelves and sat down a desk, upon which there was a tube of pink liquid with a small black ovoid, floating within. It had a ring and dot within, giving the impression of a seed or egg. Ellis thought it somehow seemed familiar, as if he knew it, was connected to it... "New paperweight, Mr .Z?" "Something like that, Rio. Now... Whatever It was Ellis had, it wasn't Surge Fever- or at least didn't display the usual symptoms. As you can see, all of you were affected to some degree, amping up your power; it's also left you all a bit more .. unstable. There's a risk any or all of you might surge without provocation and more often than usual. As such, I've decided it's best if you all share quarters so I can keep an eye on you to some degree. Go back to Bolt's quarters and rest. Classes start tomorrow."