The quiet didn't last very long, hearing the sound of steps and your name being called out, you recognized the voice. "Over here!" You called, urging Monica off of your lap and dressing back up before you could be spotted. The feline, of course, pouted.
Diane was the first you saw, her urgent steps turning into a dead sprint, and boy was she faster than she looked. The nurse slowed just as she reached you; her hands were glowing, one pressed against your forehead, the other moved under your shirt and pressed against your chest. Rather than greet you, she closed her eyes in focus.
A tiny wave washed through you, and the nurse sighed.
There was a distasteful look on her face as she turned your head to the side, and her finger touched the wound you'd healed with the ointment. "Did Rachel do this to you?"
"The feral," you replied with a shrug. "Rachel tackled her to the ground though."
Diane's eyes narrowed before her finger pressed harder against your skin. "This is going to sting."
You flinched, as it felt like she'd poked into your skin with a red hot needle. The sensation was immediately followed by a soothing wave of coolness. "What did you do?"
"Reopened the wound so I could heal it properly and avoid scarring," she declared, still not looking very happy. "You did well on healing it, but if it's such a superficial scratch you could've waited rather than waste resources."
"I'd rather not smell of fresh blood out here in the wilds."
Diane flinched. "Ah, I hadn't thought of that, Master, sorry." She relaxed a little.
It was cute, you leaned in to kiss her forehead. "Thanks for worrying, where are the others?"
"Mister Tomas and Freya went to get the milktits, apparently Freya found a trail. Miss Kat should be reaching here soon."
"Let's get out of this forest since the plains are close. It's getting too dark for my tastes."
Just as Diane had promised, finding Kat was easy as she'd been headed in your direction. From there, the whole group turned back and left, the three ferals balled and contained. You didn't really relax until you'd left the forest, reaching the fields of tall grass. There was better lighting here, and you could see farther.
The sky was already turning deep purple, the western horizon with clouds that were coloured a deep orange.
If you focused, you were fairly sure you could see the first stars.
"Master." Diane pointed upwards, to a dot that was moving. You frowned a little, and it took you a moment to realize it was Rachel.
"Well, only Tomas and Freya left," you muttered, looking at Kat. "I think it's getting uncomfortably late to try and walk back to the farm. Better set up to spend the night."
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." She pointed at a spot further up the hill. "I'd rather get some extra distance, we should have better visibility over there. Who's going to use the tent?"
"Freya's carrying it, last I checked," you muttered. "So Tomas gets the tent." You paused, moving your shoulders a bit to reduce the strain, noticing Kat looking intently at you. "What?"
"Did you fuck her?"
Kat made an upward motion with her head. Rachel.
"Rick no fuck Rachel," Monica said. "No smell sex."
"I don't remember teaching her 'fuck'." You glanced at Diane.
The nurse shrugged, shaking her head.
"So you didn't do the do, huh." Kat appeared slightly surprised, scratching her chin a little awkwardly.
"You trust Monica's word?"
"Why would she lie?"
"Point," you sighed, lending a hand to Diane to spread out a large mantle above the tall grass.
Diane had brought out the long wooden stakes and was nailing them down so the mantle could be tied to them. It was still impressive to watch her hammer those things down by removing her shoes and stomping on them. You reminded yourself not to anger the strong nurse if you could avoid it; you had little doubt of just how soundly she could kick your butt.
Sitting down on the mantle, you had just about three seconds to settle down before Monica proceeded to sit on your lap.
"Pets," she proclaimed, again.
Kat burst into giggling.
"What's so funny?" You asked her.
"She's a seven-foot-tall plus change feline amazon. You might be six-foot, but next to her you're a manlet."
You frowned, opting to ignore her and just turn to brush your fingers through the soft tail furr.
"Don't worry, Master," Diane whispered as she hugged you from behind. "You're very handsome, just the right size in all the right places." A kiss to your cheek, her head leaning against your shoulder for a moment.
"I don't need ego-stroking, you know," you chuckled. "That's my job."
"It's still true," she replied with a rueful grin. "Would Master want some food?"
"Food?" Monica perked up.
"Food, pets, and sex," you chuckled. "Monica's three main interests."
"You say that, but mine are just about the same," Kat commented with a roll of her eyes. "Except Coco also loves napping, like, a LOT." She yawned a little. "I'll do the perimeter check with my girls, Tomas shouldn't take too long."
Releasing the Salalexis and Coco, Kat made a motion to be followed. You could see the monstergirl's eyes were still slightly unfocused. "Kat, did you put them through a second level four?"
"No, it's just taking them a while." She shook her head. "I was told to avoid doing level 4's or it might hurt their brains."
Diane nodded slowly, pulling out some of the pre-made sandwiches and handing each their meal.
You greatly enjoyed the nourishment and the fact that Monica left your lap to get hers. The nurse had taken the chance to occupy the seat though.
Upon noticing this trickery, Monica just stood and left. "Monica smell, safe," she said, leaving to check the area.
Just like Kat said, Tomas showed up not very long after.
Following him were five others, and even from a distance, you could see the absolutely miserable state those five were in right now, their clothes ragged and dirty, and their shoulders slumped. "Diane, I'd like you to give them a check-up when they get here."
"Yes, Master." She wriggled on your lap, nodding. "I expect they'll have some mild dehydration, minor bruises, and perhaps a concussion or two. Should I heal them?"
"A healing cycle should put them back into shape," she said. "But it'd take me time and energy."
Pausing as you watched them moving ever closer, you nodded. "It's just fields of grass to the farm, I don't expect we're likely to see a fight, leaving them at least able to move quickly without discomfort would be best."
The nurse nodded and waited.
Once the group had gotten close enough, the darkness was settling in all around. Diane had moved to greet the group of monstergirls and give them a checkup while you noticed Tomas was decidedly not getting close to you. The young man was busying himself with setting up the tent along with Freya, but you could tell he was avoiding your gaze.
You didn't really know how to approach him either.
So you just laid down on the mantle and sighed, feeling very much tired and wanting to get back on a bed soon.
Laying down, your eyes wandered to the sky above, the stars that were slowly emerging, mixing with the nebulas and the... everything. But you didn't really pay much attention even if it was amusing, your eyes were on the dark figure that was slowly circling downwards. Rachel. Your mind tried to piece together what was the deal with her. Out of everyone in the group, she was the only one that made you draw blanks when trying to think of what she'd do. That felt like a threat to the group, but you couldn't really bring yourself to mark her as such, not as a direct threat anyway.
Carefully you sifted through your thoughts until you realized what she was. A destabilizing element that needed to be brought to heel.
The infernal couldn't be allowed to throw the group into chaos, but you couldn't really act without pushing the group into chaos. Tomas was inexperienced and being taken advantage of. But Rachel wasn't disruptive enough you could step in and suggest he get rid of her for good. She was too valuable to the group.
Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but the day could come when something might come out of the wilds ready to kill you. You definitely were not planning to let your own discomforts get in the way of minimizing the chances of dying.
"Master?" Diane's words snapped you back to reality, and you glanced down at her. "The Milktits are in good condition, they only had some small injuries."
"Good to hear," You said, glancing at the one standing next to the nurse.
"Thank you for rescuing us, sir." She smiled widely.
"You're mistaking me for Tomas." You pointed at the young man as he was finishing up the tent preparations.
The girl shook her head. "We heard that you helped catch the ferals."
Diane coughed, grinning a little. "Marta was wondering if you'd want some of her milk, Master."
You looked at the nurse, and then at the bashfully blushing bovine monstergirl. You were pretty sure you could hear the echo of her words still bouncing within your head by the third blink.
"If it's a bother then..."
"No, don't worry Marta, Master is just not used to this." Diane pulled the bovine closer, urging her to sit next to you.
"Milktit milk is very nourishing," she spoke, shuffling through the backpack and pulling out some empty bottles. "And, if untreated, will cause monstergirls to lactate."
There was a look in Diane's eyes as she said this later part, a little grin that was thrown your way. It made you feel like you should react, but you were slightly too tired to think about that. "I... guess. Erm, how should we..."
The nurse let out a dark little giggle as she reached for Marta's overalls and helped her unbutton them, lifting the Milktit's shirt. "Like this, Master. Would you mind lending a hand?"
That gave you hesitation, and your gaze moved to Marta's flushed face.
"Please?" She asked.
"You'll have to forgive my Master's hesitation, he's old school, shy but very proper and serious."
"Diane new word? Food?" Monica prompted behind you, you could hear her sniffing.
"Oh, she must've smelt the milk." The nurse giggled, looking at Marta. "Would you...?"
"Not at all." The Milktit nodded with a smile. "All yours."
"Monica? Bite soft," Diane instructed.
It felt entirely surreal, so much so you had to leave them to it and take a good long walk to rethink things; you weren't even sure if you were blinking, watching Diane happily chatting up the Milktit like this was just a normal Tuesday.
The cherry on top came when you felt someone's gaze on you.
But you didn't turn to meet the eyes that were piercing into you.
Because you knew it was Rachel.