Rachel was a very determined lioness. No turning back, not now that I've run out of water she thought to herself. It's find the oasis or die of dehydration time. Rachel had been intrigued by the legend of the oasis in the Australian desert, with water so pure a single drop would quench even the most terrible thirst. According to the legends it was also the home to the very first gum-tree, the oldest one in existence. Some of the gum from that tree could be worth a small fortune.
Rachel continued trudging forwards, one paw after the other on the hot sand. Closing her eyes she thought of the Aboriginal guide she had asked and what he had told her.
"The gum-tree oasis? That is the sacred grounds of the gods!" the short Koala man said, his face-paint cracking from the expression of fear he had. "Why would you seek such a place, no-one who has tried has come back the same."
Superstitious fool. I fully intend to come back changed, I intend to come back rich.
Opening her eyes again, in the distance she can make out a large tree, standing tall above a small reflective surface. "The Gum-Tree Oasis!" she exclaimed loudly, as she started dashing madly towards the pool of water. As she got closer it became clear the tree wasn't merely large, it was enormous, and the oasis pool was like a small lake in front of it. Falling to her knees at the edge of the pool, she looked into the clear reflective surface, looking into her own deep brown eyes and feline face with short brunette hair. Twitching her ear happily she dipped her face to the water and lapped a small amount up, instantly feeling her thirst completely quenched.
Goodness, that truly is remarkable water, I wonder if the trees roots help to purify it. Taking out her canteens she refilled them from the oasis before making her way slowly around the edge of the pool towards the huge gum tree. "Remarkable" she whispered in awe. If the gum of this tree lives up to the legend like the water did, I am going to be one very rich cat. Kneeling down by the lake again she removed her pack and started rummaging around for a tap to collect the sap from the tree with.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you" a squeaking chirrup of a voice said from above her. Startled she looked into the reflection of the pool to see a small crow sitting on a branch of the tree above her. Turning to look at the crow, tapping equipment in hand as her heart slowed down after the startling pronouncement whispered to herself "Only a crow, I'm sure someone taught it that to scare off fortune seekers, that's all."
Taking the equipment up to the enormous trunk she started looking for the ideal spot to drain some gum from, just as she was about to screw in the tap the voice spoke again, this time much more deeply and from right behind her. "I did try to warn you Rachel, but since you didn't heed my warning, now I get to have some fun."
Rachel screamed, dropping the tapping equipment as she spun around to face not just a small bird, but an anthromorph like herself. The tall crow had feathers so black that they seemed to suck the light from his surroundings, his dark beady eyes seemed to glow as if all the light he absorbed was radiated from them. The talons on the end of his feet were sharp and lethal looking. His wings doubled as arms and ended with dexterous hands. He had a mischievous smile on his beak. "My name is Waa, you might have heard of me, trickster god?" Rachel merely whimpered a little at being in the presence of one of the gods that the guide had tried to warn her of.
"Hmmm, now what to do with you." He mused out loud, "You seemed so very interested in the gum from this tree a moment ago, I think I know just the thing to start with." As he finished speaking a flash of light seemed to extend from his eyes and hit Rachel. Suddenly she felt very strange, her shoulder-blades felt like they were pressing against the back of her shirt and pulling it tighter. "You may want to remove that shirt" Waa chuckled. Rachel quickly did so as the sensation on her back intensified, pulling the shirt off over her head and twisting her head to try and see what was happening.
As soon as the shirt was off her new wings quickly grew even larger, feathers spreading out from them and down her arms. "W-what are you d-doing to me?" Rachel stammered. The changes continued, feathers spreading over her torso and up her neck, she fell to her knees again looking into her reflection in the pool as her face began to change, her muzzle pushing out into a big sharp beak and her fur and hair being replaced with more feathers. "I thought if you liked gum so much perhaps you should be something appropriate for it, Kookaburra just seemed too perfect." Waa calmly remarked as this was happening.
"P-please, s-stop." Rachel whimpered through her new beak. "Stop? No, I don't think so. You are the one trespassing on sacred ground, obsessed as you were with finding something mythical and making a mint." Waa lilted. "However, I don't think I will turn you entirely into a Kookaburra either, perhaps given your starting form a more... fittingly mythical outcome could be achieved. But it will need some more additions I think."
At these words Rachel felt an odd sensation on her belly, looking down she was stunned to find an opening forming, her fur becoming a slightly lighter tan colour as a pouch formed there. Her legs started pressing outwards against her shorts as they thickened even more, adding muscle, her shorts tearing as this combined with a swelling in her tail stretched the fabric beyond its limits. Her paws started stretching out longer as her legs stance altered slightly, becoming better suited for a hopping gait, her tail thickening till it became suitably thumpy, while still retaining the lionesses fur-tuft at the very end. "Yes, I think adding a bit of Kangaroo will make you the hopping-est gryphon around don't you?" Waa chuckled at his own joke.
"W-why did y-you d-do this t-to me?" Rachel stammered. "Why?" Waa replied. "Because this is sacred ground, and you trespassed with the intention to take what was not yours to take. Well, that and I am a trickster and I do so love playing tricks. On the bright side, your new form will make it easy for you to find your way back, you'll be able to hop and glide such long distances with those legs and wings of yours. And if you want to make it back to civilisation before dark, I'd suggest you get to hopping."