It had been almost a half-hour since she had gone off of the trail, but Magnolia's chubby feet were already aching. She felt as if she'd been walking for two hours or more. For a woman of her tremendous size, almost 350 pounds, walking so far on her own two legs was not the easiest of accomplishments. It was especially difficult when she was unfortunately gifted with being so belly-heavy, her great big gut constantly weighing her down. Leaves crunched and twigs snapped beneath the soles of her shoes, filling the silence in the stead of absent birds. She reached up and brushed some of her auburn hair back behind her ears, keeping it out of her face. There was a slight creak as her inner-thighs forcefully rubbed together, enacting strain upon her already-stretched stockings underneath her skirt. Magnolia had been following the directions to this certain person's house especially carefully, because she knew the danger it would put her through by taking her onto such an off-the-road path. She could only hope she'd make it there safely, instead of becoming the tasty meal of some woodland bear lurking about. Squinting, she could make out some kind of structure in the distance, but she didn't want to allow her hopes to rise just yet. She needed to get closer first.
Magnolia glanced downward for a moment. She could see, even with the added resistance of her blouse and corset covering it, that her belly was still jutting out far enough to block the sight of her own shoes. The obese woman sighed. For the past three years, she had been behaving like nothing short of a perpetually piggish glutton, starting from the early days of her marriage. She had let her own good fortune go straight to both her head and her hips, so it were. She'd met a man who was both well-off and well-dressed, her subsequent marriage to him leading to her becoming a rather complacent housewife, which then resulted in her putting on excessive amounts of weight; it was a piling on of action after action that caused her to eventually grow so big. With so much wealth to easily flaunt and so much food avaiable at arm's length, there was little reason for her not to splurge whenever possible. Her husband had even encouraged it at first, saying he enjoyed her softness in embrace. Lately, though, Magnolia had begun to fear that her ever-increasing weight was beginning to drive him away. He didn't touch her as much as he used to. She may have gotten a little too fat for his liking, and the disparaging remarks and looks of his family and her own parents proved that he wasn't the only one to dislike her growth.
If this risky course of action she was about to take did not result in her returning to her formerly svelte self, she may end up losing her husband and his money to another woman altogether.
It took over ten more minutes of breathless waddling through the forest to arrive. Drawing closer, Magnolia was pleased to discover that the instructions had not lied nor had she misread them. She had discovered the witch's cottage, located out in the middle of an open spot within the woods, surrounded by naked trees and piles upon piles of dead leaves. Curiously enough, behind the cottage was another building, longer and stretched. It reminded Magnolia of the dormitories at the private women's school she'd attended as a young girl, so that was what she assumed they were, but she did not understand why any witch would need a place to house a large number of people like that. That was not something for her to be concerned with though, she quickly decided. She came here for one thing and one thing only after all.
Magnolia looked over again the small satchel of gold coins she'd brought with her. She'd been told that the witch would only perform her magic for those willing to pay one hundred gold coins. That was a rather hefty price to pay, even for a woman of opulance like herself. If it had been one hundred bronze coins or one hundred silver coins, it may not have been nearly as frustrating, but gold was the most expensive type of currency available, and one hundred pieces could have been spent on a banquet or two for two families at least. Magnolia hoped her husband would not be too upset with her when she eventually told him. Then again, if she returned home to him with a thin waist again like she intended, he would likely be willing to forgive any price she paid at all.
Magnolia rapped her knuckle against the door.
"Hello? Is...is the witch Ephemera here?"
The door opened less than second later, causing the chubby woman to jump back, her fat jostling like rubbery goo inside of her tight clothing. Another chubby woman was standing in the doorway. She was dressed in little more than a plain brown shirt and pants, but the shirt itself was too small to properly cover the thick ring of flab encircling her waist. Magnolia winced, feeling a little self-conscious that she was fatter than the witch herself. She looked Magnolia up and down, then nodded to her.
"Mistress Ephemera is always here. You may come in."
Magnolia followed the chubby woman inside. She was surprised to learn that the one greeting her was not Ephemera herself. At first she was tempted to ask where the witch was, or who the one answering the door for her was, but when she was brought into the center room of the cottage, she became quickly aware of the truth. It was a sparse room for very good reason, with only several chairs and a number of candle stands. There were at least seven people she could see from one look around, four women and three men, all of them standing at varying levels of obesity, and they were all dressed in similar uniforms to the first woman. Some carried wet rags, some were busy dusting, and a few had plates of food in hand. However, all of them were surrounding the massive blob of fat and rolls that sat like a stationary mound in the very middle of the room. The witch Ephemera was humongous, completely immobilized by her own exceeding girth, but she wore a black sheet-dress over her abundantly ample frame, so at least she was kept modest for company. Her arms appeared unusable, almost completely swollen up inside their own rolls, and her legs were hidden beneath her belly. Magnolia had thought her own belly was a cumbersome blob of adipose, but each of Ephemera's sagging tits must have been the size of her gut on their own. A large rear rose high toward the ceiling from behind the severely overfed witch. Ephemera's stomach was so great, so round and so large, it took up the majority of her circumference, making her seem entirely shaped like a ball. Magnolia couldn't even make out the witch's face, only being able to tell she was talking from the sound of her voice and the way her belly broke out into quivering waves every time. The witch's voice was rather deep for a woman's, likely because of the numerous fat rolls that buried her throat. If Magnolia could see the fat witch's face, she would see that Ephemera had raven-haired crew-cut and full lips.
"Welcome to my humble little estate. I see you've already met Samandra, and now you've met the rest of my lovely friends as well. I can already tell as to what your purpose is for coming here."
Magnolia shook off her initial surprise and spoke up. "Y-Yes, I've come here, because I was told...in my town...that you would be able to rid me of all of this..." she made a gesture toward her stomach, prompting it to jiggle. She didn't feel nearly as self-conscious about her own weight when standing in front of a womanly blob such as Ephemera, but her easy wobbliness always unsettled her.
"I see. Your name is Magnolia Smitheard, is it not?"
"How do you know my name?"
"Was it this one who told you about me and my powers?" Ephemera asked, and a plump young woman with hair tied in a bun, large breasts and a rounded nose stepped out from behind the witch. Magnolia gasped.
"Yes, it was her! It was exactly her!" Magnolia cried. She was even more bewildered now, slightly terrified as well.
The round-nosed woman smiled bashfully, but Ephemera sent her away with the weakest of waves from her swollen hand. "Yes, that's good. I'd sent Madrie into town to see if she could find anyone who might be in need of my services. If you have come, then she has done a good job for me."
"So...you had intended for me to come here?" Magnolia asked, and her face considerably paled as she continued, "Was this all some sort of trap set to take me hostage from the beginning? Because I'm a rich man's wife?"
"What? No, no trap. I am still doing this to help you, but...as the leader of this small but loving community here, I wished to ask you a simple question before we began."
Magnolia gulped. "What...what is it?"
"Do you really wish to be rid of your fat?"
Magnolia stared at Ephemera's belly, as there was nowhere else she could possibly look.
"Whatever do you mean?"
"I mean what I mean. I wish to know if you truly want to rid yourself of your belly, your big rear, your plush thighs, your heavy breasts, your undeniable soft exterior? Is it really your desire to have it taken away from you?"
Magnolia was speechless at first. She could have sworn it was some kind of joke, but from the way Ephemera had been addressing her, and how her followers seemed to stare at her, this was a very serious question she was being asked.
Magnolia sputtered as she loudly replied, "O-Of course I wish to be thin! I don't...I don't want even a single pound of this ugly blubber holding onto my body anymore! I want my husband to be able to love me again!"
"Oh...I...I apologize for my inappropriate choice of words, lady witch, but I...no, I will not reconsider."
There was a moment of silence. The woman named Samandra seemed like she was ready to throw a punch. Ephemera sighed.
"I understand. So there would be no way of convincing you that there is nothing to be ashamed of? That you can still be big, beautiful and happy with yourself? That you don't need the appreciation and understanding of a man so vain that he would lose his love for you just because you became fat due to his own excessive wealth? It is your perogative on what you choose to do, and I certainly cannot make you do what I wish, but I am offering you one last chance to reconsider before we embark on this transaction."
Magnolia wished to not speak of this anymore. "I...I brought you the gold coins that you asked for," she said, holding out the stachel, "I want to be thin again."
"...I understand. Thank you for having answered my question." Ephemera replied.
"Why did you need gold coins? You want my fat, don't you? Isn't offering that to you enough of a payment?"
"I may live secluded away from society, but me and my lovely friends cannot live without society all the same. I am a very large woman, as you can see, so I need much more care, not to mention much more food, than the average person, as well as my followers all have needs to fulfill too. Money is important when you want to live in any sort of reasonable comfort. Anything and everything helps."
The satchel was passed over to Samandra, who eyed Magnolia with some blatant indignation as the bag traded hands. She shook the satchel in her hands thoroughly, listening to the pile of coins jingle, and then she opened the bag and eyed them herself.
"They appear to be real, Mistress Ephemera."
"Wonderful! Now, I suppose that we've gotten everything out of the way and we can finally begin. I apologize for asking such a personal question, but it is what I typically do with all visitors, as I cannot return the fat I take."
Ephemera prepared to cast her spell. Her followers quickly moved out of her way, some of them lighting the numerous incense candles that lined the walls. When the room was finally choked with the aroma of burning plants and oils, the elephantine-sized blob of a woman began to glow with an unearthly light. Her very skin was shining a deep cerulean blue, and the light only grew brighter and brighter. She raised her arms as high as she could lift them, which was not very high at all, but a pair of ghostly limbs began to extend forth from her wiggling fingertips. Magnolia stood perfectly still as she watched the transparent appendages stretch themselves past Ephemera's vast stomach and down toward her. She felt like she could trust what the witch was doing, but also the tremendous sense of fear helped keep her paralyzed in place. The spectral hands slipped through her dress and entered her stomach. Magnolia winced, it felt like her organs were being tickled with dozens of feathers. She could feel the fat being literally scooped out of her body by the handful. Magnolia watched, eyes growing wider and wider, as her engorged tummy began to recede. At the same time, Ephemera started to let out a low, rumbling groan, her entire body shaking like an earthquake.
"My...my followers...dears...please...if you could..." she gasped out in between gasps. Without a word, Samandra, Madrie and the others began tearing open numerous pockets all over the witch's dress, allowing the fat to come rolling out before it could become too constricted. Every pound that Magnolia had put on in the past three years was now being absorbed into the witch's body, making the latter woman even larger than she already had been. Like a snail lazily sidling its way across the ground, Ephemera's stomach lurched forward ever so slightly. Her groans became lighter as they warped into euphoric moans, and her voice turned even deeper. Magnolia's breasts and ass shrank while Ephemera's breasts and rear grew even bigger. It didn't seem right to have such an enormous woman get fatter than she already was, but it seemed that Ephemera wanted it this way after all.
When the spell finally ended, the ghostly digits slipped out of Magnolia's body and retreated back inside Ephemera, causing one last tear into the back of her dress, exposing an impressive amount of back-fat. The young rich woman was left over 200 pounds thinner. Her clothes hung loose like sheets on her smaller frame, but being so slim after three years made her feel so light, like she could just leap into the air and be carried away on a gentle breeze. The tiny flames of the incense candles swiftly flickered and died out. One of the followers climbed up onto his mistress and began dabbing her face with his wet rag.
Magnolia could barely contain her own giddiness as she looked herself over. "Oh my...oh my...you did it! You really did it! Ephemera, this is incredible!"
"It...it was my pleasure..." Ephemera wheezed between heaving gasps for air. Her belly was notably larger, and her near-useless arms flopped back to her sides. She was riddled with bubbles of pale fat sticking out of the holes opened on her dress, but it seemed to grant her relief that way. She sounded exhausted but satisfied at the same time.
"Thank you so much! Thank you! Thank you! I apologize for what I said before, for everything, I swear it!" Magnolia bowed.
"You've done your part, and I've done mine. Farewell." Ephemera said, and then she released a petite burp.
After thanking the witch one more time, tears in her eyes, Magnolia headed for the door. She overlooked the glaring daggers hurled into her back by the witch's followers. Magnolia couldn't wait to return home to town and show her husband how thin she was. He would certainly be willing to wisk her into his big arms and take her to bed like he used to. He just had to. There was no way he could possibly reject her, now that she was back to the way she once was. Not even her family, or his family, would have to turn away from her in disgust anymore. In fact, she thought she might be even thinner than she had been when her husband had first met her.
"A shame, though," Ephemera remarked after calming down, not long since Magnolia had made her exit, "Had she been more willing to hold onto her fat, she could have joined us. Maybe even convince her husband to become part of our community as well."
Samandra shook her head. "Mistress Ephemera, forgive me if I speak out of turn, but you deserve far better than her! Fat or not, she did not care about anything more than her appearance in the eyes of others! Why did you not try to press her further to teach her the right way?"
Ephemera corrected her follower with a curt shake of her own head. "No, we cannot hold her as someone unworthy of fat, because there is no one worthy or unworthy to begin with. If she did not wish to be fat, then that is her choice. We cannot make anyone do anything we want them to do, no matter how badly we would like them to do so. I have the power, but abusing such power would not work, or else we may be seen as something dangerous. I've watched other witches be burned alive in faux trials because they attempted to control and manipulate. A friendlier, more understanding approach is the safest way to live like this. We may not have been able to convert Magnolia, but we did receive our pay, and that is at least something. Who really knows though, my dear Samandra? The very next visitor could be a new friend just waiting to join us. Keep all of this in mind, I implore you."
"...Yes, Mistress Ephemera." Samandra hung her head.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Ephemera smiled, her fat cheeks lifting high and her big red eyes twinkling.
"Speak of the devil!"