You whipped around to face the young man.
The scowl in your face caught him by surprise, startling him into taking a step back. There were bags under his eyes, and he looked barely able to stand let alone summon too much outrage. Still, he had managed to create some, which had faltered the instant his gaze met yours. But for only a second, he took a step forward, and beside him, Freya had knocked an arrow.
Monica sensed the aggression, looking confused before she focused her gaze on Freya.
Tomas was the first to snap out of the glare, realizing what things might devolve into. "Let's just all... take a step back. Ok? No need to get violent." He raised both his hands in a show of appeasement, glancing at his elf. "Come on, Freya."
You hadn't moved an inch, the glare firm as you watched him turn.
"Rick?" Monica's tone had concern in it. You growled, turning around and shifting your focus towards Diane.
The nurse was still unconscious, dead tired no doubt. You closed your eyes and focused- what had the nurse told you to do if she was ever in this situation? A pause. Recalling the nurse would put her body in stasis, but it wouldn't get the chance to recover from exhaustion even if her mind woke back up.
"Monica, carry Diane," you ordered.
She obliged, carrying Diane with a very careful bridal carry. The feline still looked concerned though. "Safe?"
"Safe," you nodded, breathing. "Angry."
"New word," you nodded, pointing at your face. "Angry."
Monica imitated a snarling sound that made everyone jump awake. The feline quickly looked back at you for confirmation, looking only curious.
"Yeah, like that," you muttered, deflating a little further. "Rick angry."
Ignoring Tomas and Freya as they stored the tent, you got the milktits to help pick everything else up. There seemed to be something about the way you moved about that urged them to move quickly and quietly.
"Just what the fuck happened?" Was all Kat asked before earning enough glares for her to decide to shut up.
Which was for the better.
Tomas quietly led the way, the Milktits keeping close to him. Kat did so too once you made it clear you were in no mood to tolerate anyone right now. You stuck to the rear and gave them a very very long distance ahead, the less you looked at him the better. He hadn't released Rachel, which was good. You didn't need another reason to feel pissed off right now.
"Master?" Diane mumbled, opening bleary eyes.
"Drink." You handed her one of the Milktit bottles.
She caught your gaze and shame crossed her expression. "I failed, I'm sorry Master," she muttered, nursing the milk bottle like it was a bottle of rum.
"Diane... I don't even fucking know what happened," you growled. "I don't know what's going on, why Rachel's doing what she's doing, and frankly speaking, I'm not sure if to kiss you over the thing you did with her tail."
"It worked?" She muttered, a little hopeful.
"What did you do?" You asked, shaking your head. "No, scratch that, I want to know exactly what Rachel did to end up fucking you and Monica when I woke up."
"Rachel sex good."
"Not... not now Monica." Your patience was thin, your eyes on the nurse.
"When I woke she was already fooling around with Monica," Diane groaned. "I just offered her to help her with a taming, nothing too odd." Her eyes closed. "Then she told me about how I could please you better, that she could teach me, then... things got better, so intense I..." A tightness in her lips. "I should've known better, by the time I realized she was toying with me I couldn't stop, so I just..."
A deep sigh followed.
"So I tweaked with her tail."
"I increased the pressure and pain receptor response sensitivity of the neurons on her tail." There was an impish grin on her lips as she looked at you. "Did... it work?"
You sighed, stopping, feeling yourself deflate. With a gesture you stopped Monica, leaning down to kiss Diane. "I take back what I said, you did well."
"Thank you, Master," she spoke in a low mumbled tired voice but a very happy smile. "If I may ask, did you...?"
"I kept yanking her tail," you said. "Told her I'm not fucking anyone who isn't one of my girls." A growl followed. "Tomas recalled her after." A small pause as you looked at her. "How... how often do monstergirls fuck one another?"
Diane's smile widened to the point she almost seemed to be sparkling, an incredibly pleased grin crossed her face. She was practically beaming.
"You said you'll only fuck your girls, Master." She sounded like she was just about ready to spontaneously sprout cat-ears and purr.
"Is that... weird?" You couldn't help but ask.
Diane fidgeted. "It sort of explains last night and the Milktits..." She did a little giggle. "But I'm happy to know Master is this cute." A little yawn followed, her attention moving to Monica. "Could you put me down?"
A shrug, and the feline opened her arms.
The nurse shrieked as she fell, hitting the ground with an 'oof'. A glare was thrown at the confused looking cat.
"Here." You offered a hand to help her get up, which appeased the glare a bit. "Now, about that question I asked."
"...which... ah, monstergirls taming one another?" She giggled a little. "Perfectly normal, more so for a Succubus. It's always best to help keep each other from going feral, and it strengthens unity. Even if a bond doesn't form, having the familiarity can aid if a need ever arises. But for a Succubus it also serves as their main way to feed since they need it to survive." A little pause. "I just thought that offering Rachel would help alleviate some of the pressure she puts on Mister Tomas."
A long pause followed. Returning to your walk, Tomas' group had moved further ahead, not that you really minded getting some extra distance. Your thoughts certainly kept bouncing around, trying to figure out what to do, what to say. It was clear the cultural context from where you were coming from was not the one that was being used in the situation.
"Did Rachel do anything wrong?" You couldn't help but ask with a sigh. "When I saw how she was playing with you two I saw red. I even tried to choke her for a second there."
Your words startled the nurse; she reached out to grab your hand and squeeze it. "Rick, we weren't in danger," she said, solemnly. "Rachel was toying with us, it was a rude thing, but we weren't in harm’s way."
"So what? I can only get angry if you're being actually hurt?" You growled. "She was humiliating you. Making a show of dominating you."
"No Master. You're absolutely right." She recoiled, shame and apprehension clear as she shrunk, going quiet.
Looking at her you felt like groaning. Deep breaths. You reached out and grasped her hand. "Diane, could you help me understand? What I saw this morning was Rachel taking advantage of my girls, having used her powers to abuse, humiliate, and rape them." You took a moment to add the rest of the details of what had transpired.
Your words startled her, and she became white as a sheet of paper. "No Master, she wasn't raping us. Definitely not. Even if she'd toyed with us all the way into sex." A quick shake of her head, her hands grasping yours. "She was being mean and taking advantage, but we're monstergirls, she didn't rape us." A pause and a moment of hesitation. "But... her asking you to fuck her was definitely a step too far. Her Master was right there, that was incredibly rude of her."
Her choice of words didn't go over your head, and you frowned slightly. "Do you think I went overboard? How do you think I should have handled it?"
"It's not my place..." Diane had just about begun to speak when she saw the expression in your eyes. Her lips thinned a moment, and she bowed her head. "I think a better course of action would have been to recall Monica and myself and leave Rachel there to talk with Mister Tomas about the situation. As his monstergirl, it is his prerogative to determine how to punish her."
You chewed on that. "And what I did was wrong?"
A hasty shake of her head. "Master opted to publicly punish the monstergirl with the use of one of his own. No real harm was done, no wounds inflicted, no sex occurred. You were perfectly within your rights."
Again, the choice of words. You were within your rights. But you'd also be within your rights if you entered a parlour shop and began screaming into the waiter's face. Just because you had the right didn't mean it wasn't rude or overboard. "Thank you, Diane," you commented, trying to hide your frustration.
It was clear there were things monstergirls felt should not be said or told out loud. The Master had the last word, the ultimate word, and displeasing the Master was a taboo.
It was going to take you some time to work Diane into opening up about these things.
You thought back to the way Rachel had looked at you, even after Monica had made her eat dirt. The look in the Succubus' eyes had had some lingering anger, but there was so much more in that gaze. Why was it gnawing at you? You walked, and your mind kept bouncing back, trying to more carefully review what Rachel had done. Her actions felt lacking in logic, but you had little doubt she had an objective in mind. What context was she using for her actions?
You trusted Tomas enough not to have blabbed about being otherworlders, so she shouldn't be aware of that.
So what would make sense were Rachel thinking of you as a tamer of this world?
Why drain Tomas so openly and obviously? Why would she tell you how powerful she was during the doggirl mission? Why ambush you in the city? She also humiliated Tomas and insisted you were to go with her to tame the ferals... and now this.
And she didn't go back on her word.
"Nothing it's..." You muttered. "I feel this is going to be a headache."
Diane looked confused but acquiesced, following along as you sped up to catch up to the others.
Your approach didn't go unnoticed, as Kat had clearly spotted you and gave mention for the rest to slow down. Tomas obliged but didn't look very much pleased about it. His eyes turned to you and there was a clear frown on his expression. Freya at his side was growing tense as she kept her eyes on Monica more than anything else.
"The farm's just over that hill," Kat broke the ice before it could form. "We should be there in an hour or so."
"Great," you muttered, glancing at Tomas. "Think you could let Rachel out?"
"So you can have Monica attack her again?"
Right, Tomas first.
"You let her approach my girls and then let her have her way with them."
"It's normal," he replied, weary but irritated. "That's what people do."
"And my reaction was also normal considering someone else's monstergirl went over a line with what's mine," you replied cooly. "I was in my right to do a lot more than what I did, in fact."
"Rick, dude," Kat frowned. "You had Monica attack Rachel."
"Rachel incapacitated my nurse and I had Monica pin her down." You gestured at Tomas. "Bring her out, if she's hurt Diane will heal her and I'll apologize for Monica having gone overboard."
Tomas’ irritation vanished as he hesitated, glancing at you and then at Kat. The young woman shrugged, and he reached for his belt. With the release trigger, Rachel was let out. The Succubus did not look pleased, but she paused as she looked at those gathered. "What's this?"
"Just going to check if Monica hurt you," you replied.
"What? No, I wasn't hurt from that." She looked confused, scoffing.
"Moving on, then," you said, returning your glance at Tomas. "As I said earlier, Rachel incapacitated Diane. Do you plan to apologize for that?"
"He doesn't own me," Rachel growled.
Tomas hesitated for a second, now becoming nervous. "Look, it's clear things should have gone differently. Rachel, you went overboard with-" He paused as she turned to look at him firmly.
Freya had an arrow knocked.
Rachel huffed, turning back to you. "I was hungry, I hadn't had much to eat yesterday."
"The three ferals?" You quirked your brow.
"Ferals are shit food, too easily overwhelmed, not enough focus. It's like trying to drink mud." She placed her hands on her hips. "Your girls offered, I took my fill." A little grin spread across her lips. "Shame I couldn't get some out of you."
"I only fuck my girls," you replied with a shrug.
That clearly annoyed the Succubus, and she snorted loudly as she crossed her arms.
"Speaking of." You glanced at Tomas, raising your dex and scanning him. You hit the big red button. "I challenge you to salvage, for Rachel."