You mulled over Diane's advice, thinking back to the forum posts and how they'd commented about ways to reinforce obedience and how to link it with pleasant situations. That left plenty of options. You just had to think of a good place to start, maybe not go the full nine yards but go baby-steps?
"Let's start simple and work our way up." You sighed heavily, quite aware that though the description of the effects of the taming cycles was left as 'dazed', you really hadn't seen to what extent or exactly how this worked. "Take me somewhere private but out in the open."
Leading the way, the nurse took to the streets and held a dutiful pace about her, not so much teasing or flaunting herself but almost as if she were a guided missile. It didn't take her long to reach a rather solitary corner of the town that seemed forgotten by the world. "This place should be devoid of activity until nightfall, Master." Diane spoke.
"Thanks, well... time to release Monica." You glanced at the nurse. "Anything I should be prepared for?"
"She went through a level four, Master, if she isn't stunned and drowsy, then recalling her to put her through another level 4 would be best." She explained, her fingers moving to touch your hand as you grasped Monica's capture sphere. "Also, you can immediately recall her before she poses a risk to you, I will make sure to buy time if that is the case, Master."
There was steel in those words, you nodded, took a deep breath... and released Monica.
In a flash of light, the feline materialized appeared before you, just how you remembered her but not quite. Her appearance was immaculate compared to how you'd remembered her in the forest, no dirt or twigs, her hair even lustrous as if she'd come out of a shower. But past that were the parts that grabbed your attention the most, she was standing still, her gaze unfocused and distant, her jaw slightly slack, she looked half-asleep. "Monica?"
"Riiiiiiiick." She drawled, lips only barely twitching upwards as she stayed where she'd been summoned, not moving an inch.
You glanced at the nurse, she relaxed slightly. "Level four instates that the monstergirl is not to act unless told to act. That aspect will wear off with the dazedness, but it is a safety measure."
A nod. "Come here." You ordered Monica, and as you spoke she began to move, her steps far steadier and surer than her half-lidded eyes would've led on, coming to a complete halt in front of you as Diane had moved out of the way.
"Master." The nurse spoke in a low voice. "Reward for obedience?" She reminded you.
"Oh, right." You hesitated a second, placing the sphere on your belt before you reached up to caress the feline's ears, scratching slightly and stroking her hair. The feline had taken it unmoving, the only reaction a slight twitch of her tail. "Did you like that, Monica?"
"Like." She mumbled half coherently and nodding softly.
The nurse noticed your surprised look at Monica's comprehension. "Level 4 cycles instil a series of ideas and concepts into the girl, it shouldn't be surprising they taught her some words in the process, otherwise she wouldn't be able to understand the orders to follow in the first place."
Made sense. "I guess that means... I order her around and reward her."
"That would be the most reasonable course of action."
A deep breath. "Monica, kneel." The feline flowed down to her knees, keeping her eyes steadily ahead. You turned her head to you, caressing her head again, moving to her tail as well. "Stand." Obedience, caress. "Go there and come back." Though her eyes were eerily unfocused, her body moved with a languid fluidity that told you Monica's body moved on instinct. You rewarded her again.
Still, as you continued ordering her around with menial things, watching her move, a growing sense of oddness permeated Monica's every action. The more you stroked her soft fur, gave her chocolate, caressed her body. And yet, she kept barely reacting to much anything that wasn't directly stimulating her and in the moment, and only ever the order. Monica was growing hot, her breathing laboured, but she would not so much as twitch unless you were directly touching her.
"It tapers off as time goes on. If it didn't, the bond might break." Diane explained, she looked just about as worked up as Monica was. "It shouldn't mean the lessons were any less effective." Breathily, she leaned against you. "See how far you can push her while being like this, Master."
Though the nurse was not a feline, she'd nearly purred.
"You... enjoy this?"
"I like the sight of my Master being all commanding." She winked.
"You sure this wears off?"
"Yes, only a day or three." The nurse reassured you. "It is best we take full advantage."
You had to nod and focus on the task at hand, opting to move forward and start testing the limits of Monica's trance-like state, her vocabulary, and mental capabilities. It took well over two hours, but you determined that:
A) She had little memory, any order you give her had to be in the moment as her retention was bad enough she'd forget an order after a couple of minutes unless it was something active like walking in circles or doing some other action.
B) Her concentration was only able to be on one simple thing at a time, and she would do things passively at best, not reacting to stimulus unless it was somehow deemed to be dangerous in some sense.
C) She could still be very easily distracted and just remain standing there dazed until told to do something else.
D) The closest thing to 'resistance' to orders was a delay in carrying them out, as shown when Diane gave a command rather than you.
The next surprising thing was her vocabulary, it had been greatly extended compared to when she was feral, though nearly all of them were in relation to possible commands tamers would give. 'Come here' 'Go there' 'Attack' 'Stop' 'Eat this' 'Rest here', and so on. So with the remainder of the time left you taught her a word that hadn't been in her new vocabulary 'Copy'.
It was meant so that you could give a command and Diane would do what you expected Monica to do in turn.
It took you an hour and a half of repetition, over and over and over, before the not-quite-there Monica caught the meaning. Another hour to push in the notion that she was to do the thing Diane had done whenever given the same order, and not just to copy her at that one time. It was clear Monica was slower than she was as before the level 4, her mind wasn't all there. It was to be expected and it still pained you to see how she struggled so hard to comprehend new ideas or concepts as if she was a completely different person. Even the incentive of food or pampering didn't seem to get much of a reaction at all.
Even with Diane's reassurances, you really hoped this was temporary, it felt somewhat unnatural, and your chest tightened at the sight of those distant unfocused eyes. But you'd made this decision and you were going to carry it through. If you half-assed this, you could very well end up needing to do it again, better not.
"Don't worry, Master, she will come back in a day or so. This is why we must teach her well." Diane spoke once more, she looked at you with softness. "This is perfectly normal, Master, it will not change who she is and it is for her own good."
You didn't really feel like chuckling even though you tried to imitate the sound.
The nurse placed a warm hand on your shoulder. "Rehabilitation is a process that is extremely painful depending on the circumstances, but it is needed for the patient to be able to be healthy."
"I guess... you're right, I just hope not to have to do this again." You scratched the back of your head, making a face. "Think the room is available now?"
"Certainly, Master." She nodded.
You returned the gesture. "Monica, follow me." Might as well take the chance to test how Monica reacted to crowds. Even though you were sure this state of mind she was in wouldn't cause risks, you still had the sphere in hand, ready to recall her just in case.
You needn't have worried.
Even through the crowded areas, Monica kept close behind you. Though you'd had to remind her to keep following you after you'd stopped twice to check on things. Still, she didn't react to others, her focus remained on you, and you made sure to reward her the same way you'd been doing throughout the past handful of hours.
Finally, you reached the medical centre, and the black-haired receptionist was nowhere to be found. Diane led the way to the taming room.
Stepping inside, you had to pause and take it. In a single word, the room was intimidating.
A singular large cement box coloured light purple with no windows and only one singular thick metal door being the only point of entry and exit. The walls were decorated at regular intervals with heavy-looking metal hoops organized in four rows, one at four meters, another at three, another at two, and one last one just shy of the floor. The metal pieces that held those hoops were had some thick looking pieces of rebar ensuring they would never fall off of the wall.
"Wall restraints are rated for up to a mark ten." Diane explained with a little grin in her voice. "Very very few breeds could break those off."
"There's monstergirls that can?" You had to ask in astonishment, the hoops looked like they'd take explosives to remove.
"Yes, but if a tamer comes in with one, we give them the specialized room." She replied.
Your eyes remained taking in the room, coursing through and stopping at the rack that was held on the wall opposite to the entrance. On it you saw tools, whips, rope, wires, paddles, spikes, and so much more, some looking like something meant for torture.
"We make sure to disinfect everything after each visit." The nurse reassured.
You weren't feeling the issue was sanitation. "This looks like a torture room."
The nurse hesitated. "It... is meant to teach discipline." She said. "What should a tamer do if the feral they caught isn't bonding?"
That made you shudder. "What's... what? I don't..."
"Sometimes there are ferals that will not bond without being worn down first." She said. "Using fear and pain are not the most effective tools, but... they are there if all else fails."
"What sort of bond...?"
"Of servitude, Master." Diane spoke. "Not of empathy, warmth, or shared mutual enjoyment. When a tamer needs to take the whip to help the feral form a bond... then the monstergirl's relationship to her Master will be that of a slave. In full." A little pause, her hand touching your chest. "In time they can learn of other ways, but breaking them out of the feral state is a priority, they are ill, insane, and sometimes one must hurt to help heal."
You looked around with a sense of awe and dread.
The room felt sterile already, the floor was padded near the walls, but the rest was cold hard marble, with several drains throughout the centre. The walls themselves were smooth in an eerie kind of way. Normal cement didn't settle without some tiny little bubble here or there, these walls were perfect. Next to the door, there were two hoses, one with "Cold" on it, the other with a temperature nob, and right next to that was something that looked like an intercom and a big red button.
"Panic button." The nurse explained as she realised what you were looking at. "You press them and the room will be completely inundated with CO2 gas, everyone inside will suffocate." She made a face. "It's the only effective way to subdue a monstergirl fast enough to be able to rescue the tamer, a rescue team is 24/7 ready to jump in and teleport the human out." Her eyes glanced at you seriously. "Only press the button as a last resort."
You nodded numbly, now turning towards the last two items in the room. First, the bed.
It sat on the corner farthest from the hoses, four meters by four meters and its mattress wrapped in some latex-like material that, upon closer inspection, you realised was way softer than it had any right to be but that was definitely every bit water-proof. The sides of the bed had those heavy-duty metal rings, the frame itself sturdy and solid. Metal, it seemed.
Then there was a glass box next to the bed, it had a soap and shampoo dispenser and a shower-head. Within the glass box and right next to the shower was the toilet and a washbasin. Frankly speaking, the shower felt like the most normal thing in the room.
One more look around. "The..."
"Don't worry, Master." The former nurse spoke up, caressing your arm to draw your attention. "The rules are rather simple, you needn't worry about cleaning after yourself, the staff will handle it."
You nodded, sitting on the bed and looking around again, then at Monica and Diane, and trying to organise your thoughts.
"I always wanted to try it." As Diane grabbed your dex, she drew your attention towards the door, as soon as she'd stepped away from it, there was a hydraulic hiss and a definite 'clack' that made you feel like it was suddenly no longer possible to escape. "I'd always wished to play in this room with my Master, though some of these might be pain..." She winked, gesturing at one of the less intimidating looking paddles.
"...yeah..." You had to breathe in, readjust yourself, yeah, you had a job to do didn't you? A pause, a nod. "Let's get started." You spoke a bit more firmly. "I wanted to get Monica to fight temptation and all that, but..."
"Why not?" Diane asked as she sat on your lap, looking at the feline that stood in the middle of the room. "She's going to be retentive, teaching her to wait until ordered seems best now that there's nothing her mind could be drawn to and we could repeat it every so often as she slowly regains her senses."
"Guess... that's one way to go about it." You said with a nod. "Keep in mind we're going to have to take shifts, I want to completely exhaust her as often as I can manage."
"It should also help her more easily accept me as alpha." Diane now beamed from ear to ear.
You blinked at her. "Because we'd be training her together... right."
"Is there a problem, Master?" She hesitated, nuzzling against your chest.
"No, it's... just I hadn't been thinking about it." You replied. "But you're right, I'd like her to more easily accept you as my right hand in things, so... let's get started."
Over and over and over, three hours worth of repetition, stopping and going, your voice had begun to get hoarse by the time you'd finally opted to participate yourself to reward the feline along with the nurse. After that, you recalled Monica and laid down on the bed with the nurse in your arms, feeling like your head was spinning from so much talking and so many barked commands.
"I know Master only has so much energy to use." Diane whispered. "I will help you relax, Master."
"You're going to need to sleep a bit more than I will." You told her, hugging her close, feeling the warmth of her touch.
You feel asleep.
Half an hour later, your dex woke you up, the nurse wanted to accompany you but you told her she needed to relax and sleep while you worked the feline so she'd have her turn later. A pout, but she complied.
Grabbing a bite from the portion of food the other's bought and given you, you shared some with the still unfocused Monica.
Diane was recalled, put through a healing cycle, and left in her sphere so you wouldn't interrupt her sleep. So that meant you could also fully focus on the feline. Bit by bit, you kept pushing Monica, order, reward, and specially focusing on commands she would've absolutely never complied to. The hardest were to make her stop whenever food was just within reach or you were within her reach.
Over. And over. And over.
You were certain that, bit by bit, the feline was becoming more reactive, showing a little bit more eagerness, her movements regaining just a bit more of that predatorial fluidity. Perhaps it was just your tired imagination.
When you collapsed, releasing Diane, warm hands greeted you. She'd moved to lay down with you on the bed, grasping your face and kissing you. "Well done, Master." She spoke softly. "Now I will help you sleep so you may recover your energy."
You nodded, her hands glowed a dim blue, the warmth spread through you, the aches vanishing one by one.
Everything went dark.