Okay, so maybe this was just a bit too much pressure.
The three of us were standing outside, or should I say I was standing facing the other two, watching their expectant faces.
I hadn't shifted completely in a few weeks, and it was suffice to say the transformation process was unpredictable.
"You guys might want to step back a little." I suggested, scratching the back of my neck with a sheepish smile.
They moved a little and I coughed, gesturing for them to keep going.
When we were separated by a good fifty yards, I breathed deeply and took the talisman in my hand.
Here goes nothing.
My skin buzzed with energy and I turned so that I was no longer facing the others, wanting to spare them the horror I often found came with witnessing how I changed head-on.
Within moments I fell to my knees as silver scales rapidly sprouted over my body, grabbing fistfuls of sand as my hands turned into glistening claws.
The ground moved away from me rapidly and I knew I was growing to my other size, about as tall as a house and as long as three schoolbuses end to end. My hair grew into a mane of white feathers that ran down my spine and my face morphed out into a snout, a forked tongue and fangs filling it.
My tail grew thick and long, the end also sprouting feathers, and my arms and legs became stout, armored supports that kept me on all fours. Everything I had been wearing was incorporated into the change-a leather band ran around my neck and held the talisman in place and spikes ran down my crest that I had not possessed before I wielded the swords. I could never understand how it worked, but what could I say, it was magic and it was convenient.
As I neared the end of my metamorphosis my senses sharpened by a thousand times and I could both hear and smell my two friends.
I turned my head to face them and blew a couple massive smoke rings their way for kicks.
"So," my now gravelly, serpentine voice rumbled, "What do you guys think?"
I was met with looks of both shock and awe. Now for the best part.
Sure, I didn't want to spook anyone, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up. I reared my head up to the sky and roared, sending tremors through the ground, and blew a column of spiraling fire a few miles long straight up.
Okay, maybe that was going to contribute to global warming but whatever, it felt awesome.
After swivelling my satellite-like ears towards Sky and Sam and still not getting a reaction, I smiled a toothy smile and crouched to the ground.
After a few minutes, I coughed awkwardly. Any day now.
I could finally hear their tentative steps and watched them with my liquid silver eyes, hoping that I didn't look too scary.
When they were beside me they had to crane their necks to look up at me, both with mouths agape.
"Hmm..." I rumbled, "Now how will you get up here..."
Aha. I moved one of my arms toward them, stretching it out like a ramp.
"Try to climb up."
Sam went first, using my scales as grips and footholds, and managed to hoist himself right behind my head. Sky nimbly followed, sitting just a bit further.
"Get ready for take off!" I called, before dashing forward as quickly as my somewhat stubby legs would let me and jumped up into the air.
Sky screamed a bit as I zipped higher, holding on to a scale for dear life, and Sam let out a cry of surprise.
I slowed down best I could and soon enough the two were whooping and cheering rather than freaking out. That was good.
As soon as I reached a good altitude that was still warm enough for my passengers I shifted so that I was moving forward rather than up, gaining speed to get us to Israel in time.
"Be prepared to get a little wet." I advised, liking the wind in my feathers, "Once we're out of the Outback we'll be going directly through cloud cover to stay hidden, so that we're not in plane sight."
I could swear I heard Sky muttering darkly but was too busy enjoying myself and the joke to notice what exactly she was saying.
"And please," I chuckled, "If you feel nauseous at all-don't do anything on the scales. Enjoy the flight."