The Swapping Circus, a place of distinct curiosity and odd situations. No one really knows who cast the enchantment upon this place, and nobody really cares all that much. However, one young woman was morbidly curious. Stephanie was an adventurous girl, and she wanted to find out more about the circus then just common knowledge. The circus appears out of nowhere for a few months at a time. It'll tour a different country or place every time it appears, but will vanish after several months. Stephanie wanted to know the forgotten truths of the circus, through any means necessary. She left her home at night, thinking that the circus' night-show may shed some more light on the peculiarities of this place of business. She knew that the establishment wouldn't give up it's secrets so easily, but that didn't deter her. After she grabbed her wallet from the kitchen table, she threw on her coat and opened the door. The brisk night air rustled her air, as she strode forward into the night. She threw open the door to her vehicle and hopped in, as she started it up and sped off.
She was determined to uncover the truth tonight, no matter the cost! She continued to drive along the road, as she eventually found her way to the big open tents of the circus. After exiting her vehicle, she strode up to the ticket booth and was immediately let in. She had been at this place before, last time she had switched bodies with a lioness. This time, she wanted to simply see what makes the magic of this circus work. Normally she wouldn't have time to go gallivanting around to the circus at this hour. Luckily for her, she was on vacation for the next two weeks. So, she had all the time in the world to scout this place out. Once she entered the midway she looked around to make sure no one was following her. She was planning to sneak off while everyone was busy with the Ringmaster's show, but those plans soon changed.
As she wandered about, she suddenly felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned around abruptly, and found herself face to face with the magician. "Oh, it's you again." The magician smiled and tipped his hat, "A pleasure evening to you as well, Miss. I'll tell you something, you won't learn anything about this circus' magic going that way." Stephanie frowned, once again being annoyed by the magician's strange ability to read her mind. Last time Stephanie saw him, he correctly guessed her age of 23. This man was not natural anyway you look at it, there was something truly bizarre about him. The way he looked, the way he dressed, the way he always knew what you were thinking. Just like the rest of this circus, this man was an enigma.
"Listen, I'd prefer if you stayed out of my brain! I know you won't tell me much of what I need to know, but at least tell me this: Who is the Ringmaster?" The Magician whistled, as he tapped his shoe against the ground. "The Ringmaster is unlike anyone else who works at this circus. The man isn't even human, but a strange entity that exists within the circus itself. That's what I'm told, at least. Supposedly, he chooses his form before each show and will swap bodies with someone in the audience. That person will forced to watch the show from the Ringmaster's body, while the Ringmaster does his performance in that person's form." Stephanie was beginning to understand it a bit better now, the Ringmaster was some kind of non-human entity. "Which kind of form does the Ringmaster usually choose before each show?" She asked, as the magician began to hum. "He'll take a human, or non-human force. He could be a woman, a genderless alien, a kangaroo, an android, or even a monster. No one really knows what he'll appear as." Stephanie smiled, maybe she could use this to her advantage. If she could find out what this entity is actually here for, maybe she could have the newspapers run an article on it.
Right when she was about to run off, she heard a loud booming sound erupt from the main tent. "Oh, it's starting! Let's get going!" The magician grabbed Stephanie by the arm, and chanted a spell. Within moments, a green tuft of smoke formed around them as the outside world became foggy and hazy. Stephanie couldn't see anything through the smoke, no matter how hard she tried. Through the massive amount of smoke Stephanie could hear cheering and applauding, she had no clue where it was coming from. The smoke began to clear, as Stephanie found herself in the middle of the main tent. She was already seated, and was strangely confused by this whole situation. She turned to see the magician sitting right next to her holding a bag of popcorn. "I apologize, but it was the quickest way to travel!" Said the magician, as he quickly dug into his popcorn. Stephanie was annoyed by the fact that was being forced to watch this show, but she had a feeling she may learn something about this crazy circus while she was here. After a few minutes of waiting, the lights began to dim. Two spotlights beamed their light onto the center of the arena, revealing a magician's hat on top of a table.
The hat had a purple line near the bottom, and it was accented with a red bow that had an old-fashioned stop-watch attached to it. It was a rather odd looking hat, Stephanie had never seen a magician's hat like this one before. The crowd looked at the hat, small wisps of purple smoke began to billow out from the top of it. The purple smoke filtered out of the hat, slowly but surely. Suddenly, the mist began to pour out of the hat at an alarming rate. The audience watched it and began cheering, as the smoke began to coalesce and form into a single being. The smoke formed into the shape of a human, one with an undeterminable gender. The smoke creature came to life, as glowing green eyes appeared on where it's face was meant to be. The smoke creature took a few steps, and bowed to the audience. The room was notably ecstatic about the creature, but Stephanie wasn't buying it. She had a feeling that the creature was all smoke and mirrors, and that the Ringmaster was the one pulling the strings. "Hello, ladies and gentlemen, I am the Ringmaster! It's been far too long since I have taken the stage!" Exclaimed a loud booming voice. The smoke monster looked around at the audience, and took notice of Stephanie in particular. The creature had special plans for Stephanie, plans that would allow it to attain it's true goal.
Stephanie didn't think much of the being, she just thought it was some special effect created for the audience. The creature reached for his hat, but found that he couldn't quite pick it up. His smoky hands would phase right the hat, it was as if it was a ghost. The misty creature began to laugh, as he turned back to face the audience. "It appears as though I've chosen a very awkward form! Would anyone from the audience allow me to use their body?" Everyone in the crowd looked at each other. They thought it would be cool to see their body perform magic tricks, but they didn't want to switch places with a smoke monster! No one really wanted to become a creature of that calibre, and no one was willing to raise their hand. Stephanie looked around at the cowardly people, and sighed at their cowardice. She knew that this puff of smoke wasn't a big deal at all. Stephanie decided to raise her hand, she had a feeling that this smoke creature was really just a special effects nightmare. Little did she know, she was playing right into the Ringmaster's smoky hands. "Very well! It has been so long since I've taken the form of a woman!"
A cloud of black smoke erupted from under Stephanie's seat. She found herself once again covered in smoke, as she rolled her eyes. She knew it was only a parlour trick, the Ringmaster was pulling a fast one on her! As the smoke cleared, she found she was in the center of the entire circus. "Hello." Said the Ringmaster, "I hope you're excited, it's not every day someone gets to swap bodies with a being made out of smoke." Stephanie laughed at the Ringmaster, she couldn't take him seriously. "Yeah right! This smoky form is just lights and magic! Besides, it's impossible to swap bodies with something made out of smoke! It's just not possible!" The Ringmaster began to laugh at the young woman's comments, she had no idea what she was getting into.
"Very well, if it is indeed impossible like you say, how about a little wager?" The Ringmaster asked, as the clouds of purple smoke forming it's body to coalesce together. "What kind of wager?" Asked Stephanie, as she tapped her foot against the dirt. "If I can't swap bodies with you, then I'll tell you everything you want to know about the circus and I mean everything. However, if I prove you wrong swap bodies with you, you're body will be mine for the rest of this week and the next. Do we have a deal" Stephanie nodded her in head in response, "It's a deal. Just try to do your special effects and we'll see what happens." The Ringmaster began to laugh, as his body began to drift upwards. It's body formed into a large cloud of smoke, as Stephanie began to panic. She thought this was fake, but it seemed so real! She should be brave and standing her ground, but it was far too frightening for her.
The cloud of smoke moved towards her, as wisps of the cloud began to waft in through her nostrils. As the smoke entered her being, she found that her body was completely frozen and immobile. The Ringmaster had her at it's mercy, as the smoke began to circulate through her being. She found that she was slowly losing control of her body, as he fingers and legs began to move on their own. The smoke was soon forced out through her mouth, as she once again was free to move. The smoke formed back into a person, as it stood in front of the girl. To the untrained eye, it would seem as though the Ringmaster was correct. However, the smoke creature soon began to shout and holler as it looked down. Instead of seeing the body of a young woman, Stephanie now found herself looking at a mass of moving smoke.
Her body was hard to control, as even slight drafts of wind would push her form all over the place. The smoke forming her being was hard to control, Stephanie found it even a challenge to maintain a human-like form. She had a pair of piercing green-lights for eyes, and a voice that sounded like it came straight out of a horror film. She looked over at her body, who had it's eyes closed. The eyes of her former body slowly opened, revealing purple colored pupils. Stephanie screamed, she couldn't believe it! She was actually in the Ringmaster's body, as it was now in her body. The Ringmaster looked down at her new body. She ran her supple hands through her luscious blonde locks, as she admired her feminine arms. She took a few steps to get used to the feeling of walking as a woman, it had been far too long since she had been female. The crowd looked on, as they watched the bizarre act of two people getting used to their new forms.
While she was admiring her form, she took notice of her baggy jeans and orange blouse. "This is far too plain for an entertainer of my calibre!" Exclaimed the Ringmaster, as she waved her hands and began to chant. The smoke comprising Stephanie's form began to break up and form into a thick cloud of mist. The mist encircled the tent, and blinded everyone. The dark-purple haze shrouded the Ringmaster from sight, as she prepared to made a grand re-introduction. After several minutes, the smoke drifted away from the audience and back towards center stage. The audience was once again able to see, as the smoke slowly formed into Stephanie's misty body once more. To the shock of everyone in the audience, along with Stephanie, the Ringmaster had undergone a severe clothing change.
She wore a red ringmaster's coat, that had purple tassels along the shoulders and matching purple cuffs along the sleeves. coat had golden straps, purple shoulder-pads, and had bits of gold-colored rope along the outside of the uniform. She wore a black one-piece underneath her coat, that was accented with a pair of black fishnet stockings. She had a pair of silky white gloves, one of which was holding a magnificent jeweled staff. The staff in question bore a purple crystal atop it. Her feet were adorned by a pair of black high-heeled boots, that accented her silk gloves. Her hair was the most peculiar thing about her, it was something that Stephanie immediately took notice of. The Ringmaster had short purple hair, that was the same shade of purple as her eyes. The Ringmaster walked back towards the table in the center, and gripped the hat tightly in her gloved hands. She took the fancy looking top-hat and placed it atop her head, completing her image.
The crowd immediately gawked at her beauty, the Ringmaster had gone from a cloud of smoke to an enchantress! The men stared at her curvaceous legs, which her exposed by her fishnet stockings. They marveled at her magnificent regalia, and her truly fancy hat. Stephanie couldn't help but feel angry about the whole situation, she was downright furious! Her body had been stolen by some strange monster, and it was being paraded around like it was show-horse. Stephanie looked at the fishnet stocking, and the purple hair. She was mad that her body was dressed so provocatively, but at the same time she was rather surprised by how good her body looked in the outfit. She considered buying an outfit like that for herself, but mainly for Halloween and a costume party or two. After all, she wouldn't want to dress like that all the time.
The Ringmaster stepped into the spotlight, and began to twirl her cane around in the air. "Wasn't that astounding? I guess when I'm in a different body, I can't go by the same name I did before. I feel like borrowing someone's body is enough that I don't need to borrow that person's name as well. I shall go by "Mana", The Ring-Mistress!" The crowd cheered, as Mana raised her cane to the audience. The jewel at the top of the cane began to glow blue, as a magical light began to bathe the audience in a luminescent glow. "For tonight's final trick, I shall perform the largest body-swap this circus has ever seen! All at once, everyone here shall swap bodies with any animal in the vicinity." The crowd began to cheer, until their cheering was drowned out by various animal sounds.
Within minutes the light had worked it's wonders, and every person in that was now inhabited by the mind of an animal. People walked around on all fours, as they grunted, snorted, and even buzzed in delight. The sight was rather impressive, but Stephanie could really care less at the moment. She simply wanted her body back, to the point where she decided to throw a punch at Mana. Stephanie decided to throw all her force into the punch, but it merely phased through Mana's body. "Is there a problem, buddy?" Asked Mana, as she smirked at Stephanie. "I want my body back!" Mana laughed and removed the glove off of her left hand. "We had a bet and you lost. You're body is now mine for the next two weeks!" Stephanie couldn't believe this! She could probably stomach being an animal for that long, but not an incorporeal being!
"I want my body back now! I demand you give it back to me!" Shouted Stephanie, as she floated around Mana. "Geez, I thought you'd be a little more calm after seeing that spectacle. For a couple hours, I'm going to have to put you in timeout." Mana took out a tiny flask from inside her coat and popped the cork out of it. Suddenly, a rushing wind began to suck Stephanie inside. "Oh no!" She screamed, as her misty body was pulled into the tiny little flask. Her entire form was drawn into the beaker, as panic filled her being. After Stephanie was pulled inside, Mana put in the cork sealing her away. The only thing visible inside the flask was a small amount of constantly moving purple smoke.
"I apologize, but I really need this body in particular. Since you're already on vacation, it shouldn't be too much of a problem." Mana heard footsteps approaching her, and turned to the magician. "So you do exist! And here I thought this was a prank the troupe was pulling on me!" Mana smiled and twirled her cane, "I don't believe we met. You must be the new magician and hypnotist at this circus. Do you have a name?" Asked Mana as she walked towards the magician. "I can see that you can't find my name hidden inside my mind's eye. I apologize, I took extra care in completely forgetting it. You may refer to me as "The Hypnotist", or, "The Magician". Either name works fine for me!" Exclaimed the magician, as stared into Mana's purple eyes.
"Very well, I shall humor your request. I shall call you the magician. I'll be honest, I have yet to meet a human who managed to forget his own name. Your mind is harder to read then a Lord Of The Rings novel." The magician drew closer and tapped Mana on her top-hat. "May I be so bold as to ask you a question? Do you really plan on keeping that girl's body for a full two weeks?" Mana shook her head in response, "Four days at maximum. I have to draw in someone with a charade, and this form will be required for it. I'd tell you more, but I think it's time you joined the audience." Mana took her cane and tapped it across the magician's head. He fell onto his hands and knees, as he began to growl. "What a strange man that magician is. I'll try to find out who he is later, for now... I have to deal with that accursed writer! James will rue the day he wrote that adaptation of beloved circus!" She cried out, as she raised her cane to the sky. She knew that her new form would allow her to enact her revenge properly on that man.