A/N: This story is written in the form of an RP, by Amb and Lex of Amblexis.
If the flow seems a little off, or if any part of the story seems at all unclear, please review and let us know so we can fix it quickly.
A small cat-like creature scrambled its way under bushes and branches, claws digging into the moist rainforest soil. It panted and made panicked noises, forgetting for a moment it was the only red panda left in these parts of the forest. He rolled into the open roots of a tree, skidding to a halt under its safe branches. His yellow eyes shone in the darkness, but not as brightly as the thing coming out of the bushes. He had made it safely today from the panther, but what would keep him from dying at its massive paws the next? The only reason he had survived this long was because of his secret.
Ried was a human. But only half the time. He could transform into the creature known as the red panda, and he enjoyed it, for the most part. All the village kids thought he was adorable, and gave him free food, it was also a lot easier to hunt in the forest for his meals than pay for them.
The only problem was the main predator of the rainforest, the panther. Ried always seemed to be around when the panther needed a meal and Ried usually only barely escaped.
The panther breathed heavily as he stared down through the roots sheltering his prey. He'd been after that damned Red panda for the last three years. He'd managed to get all the other ones; their tasty, succulent meat a favorite of his. Unfortunately, the last one he'd caught had been over a year ago and to say he was craving red panda would be an understatement. He snarled and scratched at the roots, trying to fit his massive paws between them unsuccessfully, which only infuriated him more. With a last growl at the trembling creature he turned and began to stalk the perimeter of the tree, trying to assess the situation.
Ried was confused, the panther had never been so persistent before. He'd usually give up and tried again the next day. Ried was a little afraid, maybe evolution was kicking-in in that stupid animal's genes. He looked around for an exit, none at all. Ried scratched at his forehead in a very human-like manner and sighed exasperatedly.
"God, you stupid panther, go snack on someone else," he grumbled, even though he knew the panther wouldn't understand.
The panther turned abruptly and growled sharply. "What did you say to me morsel?"
Ried jumped. "Y-You understood me? What the hell?" He sniffed at the air, he sure smelled like a normal panther…
The panther approached the creature's sanctuary and eyed him suspiciously.
Ried backed up further in his den, trying to look tough before the prince of the forest. "Uh…a-are you…human?" he tilted his head. "Can you…become a human too?"
"Why don't you come out here and I'll show you?" he grinned, baring his sharp white teeth.
"Fat chance!" Ried spat, fur standing on end. "Just 'cuz you might be human doesn't change the fact that you've been trying to EAT me!"
"Oh relax." The feline purred, amused. "I would not eat you if you could prove to me you really could change. For one, you shifters have a funky taste and two, it's against my morals." He sat back on his haunches, seemingly peaceful for the moment, and licked at a front paw. "However, you are not the first creature to try and outsmart me with a little English." He paused in his cleaning to stare straight into the red panda's eyes. "You would have to prove it."
Ried thought for a moment, felines always seemed to be outsmarting their prey and were shifty creatures. But if he was human…the panther's 'morals' might be the thing that saves Ried from running. Ried watched the panther carefully and slowly crept from his cavern. He headed out the furthest away from the panther he could and then began to morph, changing into a fit, shaggy-haired boy about twenty years of age. His signature reddish-brown hair covered his oddly honey eyes, a feature which had gotten him chased out of some villages.
The panther looked slightly startled, then smiled that same amused smile. He eyed the man before him, taking a moment to look him up and down and without reluctance padded towards him. He brushed against his legs and brushed his hand with his tail, purring lightly. He lifted his bright blue eyes to meet the twenty's yellow ones.
"Say, what is your name, morsel?"
Ried jumped back, startled by the sudden friendliness of his predator. He stammered, unsure of what to say or do.
"U-u-u-uh…R-Ried, it's Ried." He mumbled, stretching out a hand to touch the panther's glossy black fur. "And yours?"
The panther stepped lightly out of the man's reach, and disappeared behind him. Then, quickly and quietly, as to not alert the man he transformed, wrapped his arms around the shorter boy's neck and whispered into his ear.
"They call me Nakul."
Ried flushed and turned quickly, backing away from the panther's muscular and seductive human body.
"A-ah, oh is that so?"
Nakul flashed his sideways grin once again. It seemed his prey was still uncomfortable despite his "friendliness." At 6'5" he was nearly six inches taller than Ried and because of his active lifestyle sleek muscles defined his trim build. He had short black hair which hung partway into his eyes, and under the light of the day they seemed to almost have a blue tint.
"You do not still feel threatened by me, do you? After all, it seems we are not much different…" He let his ice blue eyes trail once again down Ried's body.
"Well you kinda were about to eat me," Ried said with a nervous laugh glancing away. "Th-this is all v-very interesting, but…I gotta go…" Ried had backed up enough that he was just below a low hanging tree. He reached up and swung himself up onto it, transforming and sprinting off, jumping from tree to tree.
Nakul's eyes narrowed, a deep growl escaped him and he was completely transformed before his front paws hit the ground at a full sprint. He could hear the fire fox leaping through the trees above him and he navigated the forest floor subconsciously, so as not to lose the chase. The sounds of scurrying, much easier caught prey came from all around him, but nothing could satisfy his craving. Nothing, but the fleeing panda he pursued.
Ried fearfully sprinted away from the oncoming beast, panting hard from panicking. He had been right; the panther was going to eat him! He stole a glance at the frightening beast which was running with a look of full-out hunt mode on his face. Ried looked ahead of him again, just slightly too late to notice a knot in the tree, which he tripped upon and was sent sprawling on to the forest floor.
Before Ried could even open his eyes, Nakul had a paw at his throat.
"Think you could run from me, morsel?" he snarled. His eyes were burning from the hunt, and his nostrils flared with the effort of breathing and restraining himself. It was instinct he was fighting when he denied himself the pleasure of the kill.
"N-n-n-no! N-n-not at all!" Ried wheezed under the weight of Nakul's massive paw. "N-no way!" He was nearly trembling in fear before his long-time predator. This is it…he thought.
Nakul growled again, bringing his razor teeth dangerously close to Ried's neck.