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Heading towards the medical centre, you had to admit the training had paid off, Monica followed the order to trail behind you, but you could tell her attention was everywhere, her eyes and nose and ears twitched and turned as she took in plenty of what was available to her.

"Sex? Pounce?" She would ask every couple of minutes, seeming interested in several different monstergirls and clearly asking for permission to engage. There was an eager edge in her voice.

Each time you told her no she'd pout but continue following you.

Monica was still Monica, it seemed.

Reaching the building, you spotted a familiar someone.

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It seemed that she had, somehow, modified Tomas' shirt into part of her new gear. "Freya?"

"Sir." She nodded, her eyes moving to Diane but locking on Monica, there was a slight tension that appeared on her shoulders before she looked back at you. "Master asked me to wait here and tell you and the others that he would be taking one of the shareable rooms, number 05."

"Oh, thanks."

"Diane." She nodded at the nurse, then glanced at the feline.

Monica looked back, tilted her head. "Pounce, Rick?" She asked.

"Don't pounce her." You replied.

Another pout, still, the nearly two and a half-meter tall woman leaned very low, chest pressing against the tense elf's head, before she took a good long sniff of the air around the elf. "Tomas." She spoke, apparently recognizing the scent, she straightened then moved to you, hugging your side as her face buried in your hair. "Rick mine."

"I belong to Master Tomas." Freya nodded, looking slightly bemused. "I have no interest in Rick."

"Tomas good, Rick good good good."

The elf's lip curled a little even if there was a hint of confusion in her gaze. You could practically feel Diane quietly glow in smugness.

You pinched the nurse's rear before she could throw a quip, your focus staying on Freya. "Your new clothes look good on you, Tomas must be proud."

"Ah, yes. He liked them too." She nodded albeit slightly hesitatingly as the tall woman looked from you to the elf and back.

Monica made a weird expression. "Her good?"

"Uh... yes, she's good." You muttered, not quite sure about Monica's angle here.

Monica nodded, moving towards the elf, and patting her head. "Good Kitty."

The diminutive monstergirl leapt away in a little shock. "I-I-I'd appreciate if you didn't do that."

Diane let out a choked up chortling sound, she was holding her sides trying not to burst into laughter.

"Sorry, she's... feral born and tamed not that long ago." You apologize for her, glancing at the confused looking Monica. "Come over here." Your hand went to pinch Diane before the former nurse could say anything else.

"Yes." Monica nodded firmly.

She moved to stand beside you, straightening up. Your attention returned to Freya. "So how did the hunt go? Tomas mentioned catching four ferals."

It was clear the elf had to take a moment to calm down before she spoke, her expression looked troubled. "It was... the new girl." All pride left the elf, and you noted how she sighed with slight dejection. "A pack of boobisaurs stumbled onto us while I was still making some clothes, and she subdued them before we could react."

"She seems strong."

"Rachel... is. Very much." There was some bitterness in those words. "If sir doesn't mind, I'd rather not talk about her."

"Don t worry, you'll get stronger, that's what evolution is for, right?" You spoke, trying to cheer her, you racked your brain, trying to think up something else to talk about. "Tomas mentioned you having to find a tree for a bow. Did you get that sorted out?"

It was clearly the right course of action, Freya brightened up. "Oh, yes." She nodded. "I found a good tree to sing my bow and arrows from, I'd been worried because my previous bow was... burned."

"Sing?"

"It's... a kind of magic." Freya hesitated, trying to find the words. "We elves can create a weapon from trees, if the tree is willing. They are always better than human-made, so elves will prefer to sing their own if given the opportunity."

"Seems... important."

An empathic nod. "Very much so, to us, the weapons we sing from trees are a dear partner, a part of us in a perhaps not completely literal sense." She explained, showing the bow in question but keeping it very close to her person.

You eyed it, the surface was smooth, a minimalist design, devoid of decorations... except a singular piece of white cloth wrapped around one of the tips. That made you focus on it a bit more, opting to take a wild guess. "That's Tomas' shirt?"

"A bit of what was left to spare after I adjusted it." Freya nodded proudly, slinging the bow on to her back before showing the clothes she wore. "I am already making some for my Mast-"

"Oy, flat-girl, Master is calling to check if any of-." A voice called out from the building.

Your brain began to sound an alarm as you could recognise that voice.

"So you were a tamer after all." It spoke smugly, you turned.

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You could practically feel Diane bristle beside you while Monica looked without giving any signs of a reaction, appearing to focus on the succubus with a bit of curiosity in fact. Freya however, had shifted from an amicable smile to a stony indifference that was clearly meant to hide what she was really thinking right now.

You recognized Rachel as well, she was the succubus from the restaurant.

"I became one recently, actually." You replied calmly, taking a moment to go over the succubus entry, the breed was well known over their pride regarding their sexual prowess... hm. "Still, Tomas managed to make a succubus submit to him? He has quite the talent."

That impassive expression of her doesn't so much as twitch, but you feel like she did it, felt it in your soul. "It's more of a partnership of convenience."

"You don't say?" You prompt, all saccharine... and holding Diane's shoulder, the nurse looked positively ready to jump the infernal monstergirl, though you couldn't quite be sure as to why. Whatever the case, the nurse was far more pissed than the others.

"Until it stops being convenient..." She turned towards Freya. "Master wants to talk to you. Go."

The order in her voice was a slap to Freya's pride, the elf managed to stare daggers for only a moment before turning towards you and bowing. "It was a pleasure, Master Rick." She followed into the building, vanishing from sight.

No sooner had the door closed did the succubus switch from impassive into a glare. "Talk, why are you here? You followed me?"

A scowl followed you. "Cut the crap, I've had to deal with children smarter than you and Tomas is my student." You say flatly, feeling no need to hold back now that Monica was right next to you and Diane looked just about ready to tear a new asshole if you let go of her shoulder. "Ferals attack and you happen to show up to wipe them out? Who are you trying to fool?"

She flinched, face turning into clear displeasure now. She was about to open her mouth but then snaps it shut. "It was pure coincidence."

"No, it wasn't." You reply, time to twist the dagger. "And though I'm no mind reader, I am fairly sure that what you're trying to do is crawl back and beg for what you didn't get the other day at the restaurant."

Displeasure twists into furry, she raised her hand but stopped as soon as she heard Monica growl. The sound sent chills down your spine and you weren't the focus of her anger currently. "Pounce?" Monica asked with a seething low hiss.

Your eyes moved to refocus on the succubus, who'd taken a moment of hesitation before slowly lowering her hand. Her expression calmed, moving from impassiveness into a pleasant smile that didn't reach her eyes. "I don't know what you are speaking of, sir, after all, my one true interest solely lies in the lap of my Master and what's found therein."

There's a definitely haughty 'harumph' as she turned around to leave.

A heartbeat after she was gone, you glanced at your monstergirls. "I take it you know her?" You ask Diane.

"She's come up to get healed, she's... not been very nice." She commented with an undertone of things far worse than 'not nice'.

"How bad?"

"I'm sure someone would've 'accidentally' popped her ball into the level 5 sooner or later." She spoke coldly. "A wild one like her is never welcome."

"Wild one?" You frown.

"Not feral, but not really owned either, not in the true sense past the technicality." Diane spat. "Girls like her are the reason Mao got where she did and killed as many as she had, we're better off without monstergirls like her."

You could only arch an eyebrow, feeling like the words towards the succubus may have come from more sources than just the infernal's behaviour. "Tell me what she did." You asked Diane, rubbing the bridge of your nose as you considered the future troubles this girl could give you. "And I mean exactly, what is the worst that she did that you have confirmation of."

There was a heartbeat of hesitation as Diane appeared to remember you didn't have the context clues she'd dropped. "Oh, uh, ah..." A moment of hesitation. "I only heard about it from the others, but apparently she gave her tamer a tongue lashing and had him give her away to another."

"What?"

"She threatened her tamer." Diane's face scrunched up as she shook her head, finding her anger again. "Abused his kindness and left him for another. She was so lucky to have someone who wouldn't punish her for such crass actions and even then, she betrayed him."

"Oh." You scratched your chin, not quite sure how to respond. "Anything else?"

"As Master has seen, she is not very pleasant to get along with." Diane pointed out.

Nodding, you took a moment to consider, maybe best to clear out some of the new doubts that had just popped up. "And who's this Mao you mentioned?"

"A betrayer, a tiggress." The nurse's exasperation was apparent. "Around sixty years ago or so, a monstergirl named Mao Shin Mao betrayed her tamer, killed him, and began a rampage, killing other tamers and their loyal monstergirls while recruiting others like herself in an attempt to destroy the Sunshine." A growl escaped her. "It's thanks to that whore that the government had to tighten control on monstergirls and reduce a lot of the rights and privileges we had, because otherwise, the bad monstergirls would just start slaughtering innocent humans again. As if there aren't few enough of them already."

There was an angry hiss as she said, this, the nurse reached out to touch your hand in what was clearly a sign of reassurance, the last bit of her statement being clearly aimed in your direction.

A moment of thought, you nodded absently at the little tidbit of history, scratching the back of your head and slowly coming to understand some of the opinions you've seen so strongly prevalent throughout the tamers and monstergirls. Eyes drifting towards Monica, you realize it had been those very opinions that had insisted time and again to put this monstergirl through a level 4 cycle. Had it been a mistake? No, you'd touched her shoulder, the feline focusing on you and relaxing.

"Rick." She smiled at your attention, and you relaxed a bit in turn, it wasn't as if you'd erased her, right? And she did show a remarkably higher degree of self-control now.

After a moment of consideration, you sighed. "I'm... going to go talk to Tomas." You were now quite sure that the conversation had to happen sooner than later. "I'm going to recall you girls for a bit."

"But!" Diane's eyes widened all of a sudden.

"I'm not going to put myself in needless danger." You reassured her, patting her head before kissing her.

That made her nod slightly. "Yes, Master." She took a step closer and hugged you. "But if anything happens, let me out first."

A nod from you as you moved to recall Monica first, placing her ball on your hip.

As you were about to recall Diane, the nurse grasped your hand for a moment, looking into your eyes. "What will Master do?"

A wry smile.

"Someone's gotta be the adult in the room from time to time."

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Ravnicrasol

Bio: Got into writing English fiction out of practice.

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