Taking a quick breather, you sat up, taking a good gulp of water out of the bottle as you watched the sleeping Arachnae.
"Put her comfortably against the wall, Diane, I guess you know how to handle this?"
"Yes, Master." The nurse cheered up past her exhaustion. "Even if she shifts into her combat form, her head and arms won't, so prioritizing restraining those will ensure everyone's safety."
"Good to hear," you nodded, moving to go for the backpack.
Rummaging about, you pulled out a single piece of chocolate and some of that chow. You quietly watched as Diane, while instructing Monica, moved the spider monstergirl so she'd be restrained against the headboard, arms held at a cross, neck firmly locked by a thick piece of metal. The monstergirl’s legs were also chained but to the opposite side of the bed. The visage of her body form restrained like that, while asleep... It set off some alarms inside your head that you opted to ignore.
This monstergirl could very well eat you alive if you weren't cautious.
You took the piece of chocolate and approached, sitting next to the spider monstergirl and breaking off a little piece, placing it against her lips.
Then you saw Diane's grimace as you felt the arachnid suckle on your digit.
"Finger," she said, opening her mouth and then clacking her chompers.
You tactfully pulled the finger away, grabbing a little more chocolate and, this time, leaving it on the monstergirl's mouth. The Arachnae was clearly waking up, slowly opening her eyes and blinking into consciousness. The first reaction was a mild panic at being restrained, and her body trembled as she fought against the restraints for only a split second before her eyes focused on you and she frowned.
"Hey," you greeted, carefully raising the piece of chocolate and showing it to her. "Want some?"
A little moment of hesitation, gulping. "Water, please," she muttered.
That startled you. "You can talk?" You bumbled, pulling out the water bottle and getting it close to the monstergirl's lips.
"Yes," she muttered, closing her eyes, all six of them, and taking several long gulps of water, coughing a little but emptying the whole bottle. "More?"
"Sure," you said, gesturing at Diane, the nurse bringing you another bottle.
Watching the monstergirl drink up all the water, you took a long moment, watching her grimace against the restraints but not really struggling against them.
"Sorry, I can't let you loose yet."
"Where are we?" She asked, looking at you with a slight frown. There was an accent to her words, but you couldn't really place it. "Where are the others?"
"Others?" You were about to speak but stopped as you saw Diane as she looked at you.
At your gesture, the nurse sat opposite you, at the right of the Arachnae, and carefully looked at the spider. Her face had turned into one of calm professionalism. "Could you tell us what it is that you last remember?"
"We were on a boat, there was a storm," she replied. "I fell." A slight shake of her head. "That's it."
"Did you know any Tarantellas?"
"No." She shook her head.
"Who was your owner?" Diane spoke with a soothing soft voice.
The question revealed a look of pain, her lips curled. "I went feral, then..." Her head hung low, breathing in with an edge of dejection. "I was owned by Hiroshi Raven-Oujou, of the third Mado merchant fleet. We were sailing near Tropic when we were hit by a storm." Her lips twisted. "I take it we're in Tropic?"
"Sunrise," you replied.
"Ah." That pushed further disappointment. "Then I must have drifted and gone feral before I reached the shore. What year is it?"
"303 AS," Diane replied.
"AS?" You wondered.
"After Sukebe's fall," she said.
That appeared to catch the Arachnae's attention a little- not the year itself, but the fact that you'd asked. Her eyes glanced at you for a moment. "The year of the storm was 301," she declared, clearly looking distraught. "I must have spent two years feral, then." Her brows knitted together slightly as she looked at you. "Have I killed any humans?"
"No, not as far as we can tell," you said, watching the spider sigh in relief. "Seems she's been feral longer than you guessed." You glanced at the nurse.
"Killing a human wouldn't matter either way," Diane quickly spoke up, ignoring your little jab. "The laws of this land don't hold you responsible for your actions while feral."
"That is certainly good news." The spider relaxed, her focus returning towards you. "Are you my Master? Will you keep me?"
"That, we're unsure of," you replied calmly. "Would you mind giving us a minute?"
The look she gave you was of befuddlement, blinking as she then looked down at her naked and heavily restrained body.
Diane let out a chortle.
"Right," you muttered, standing from the bed. "Diane, mind releasing her? I'll wait outside. Monica, guard."
The feline pouted, being interrupted from her tongue bath only momentarily.
The look the nurse gave you was one that looked slightly confused until she noticed you were practically at the door by the time she was reaching for the restraints. It took her a split second before she nodded at you as you stepped out. The Arachnae's pokeball was in your hand; you'd been ready to recall her in case of anything.
Waiting for several seconds, you relaxed when you saw Diane step out and close the door behind herself.
"The door is soundproofed," she said as confirmation, looking up at you with a slight nod. "What are your thoughts, Master?"
"Well, she's not feralborn," you said. "Which is better and worse." You glanced at her as the nurse frowned. "But you're thinking something different than the usefulness to the harem."
"She said she was on a boat," she replied, pausing, looking at you as you... didn't react. "Ah, sometimes I forget." She shook her head. "There is a terrorist group called Limbecs, composed in their entirety by monstergirls." She paused for a second. "Any suspected members of the group are, by law, to be thoroughly interrogated."
"And if they don't like the answers?"
"Execution by level 5, both confirmed cases or those where one cannot fully confirm innocence," she replied.
"Guilty until proven otherwise... great," you sighed, reaching up to scratch your head. "Anyway, I think we're keeping her at least for the time being."
"But..." The nurse hesitated, looking at you. "She could be a Limbec."
"And she could not be," you replied. "So far she said she was from someplace called Edo, and hasn't shown anything to really hint at anything else." You glanced at the nurse as you crossed your arms. "Besides, even if she were anything at all, so long as she's useful to us, what does it matter?"
That certainly startled the nurse a little.
Opening her mouth, she closed it immediately after, then grimaced. "Is... Master sure?"
"Yes," you said. "Honestly, I think it's a good idea to follow. It doesn't matter what their past is, if they're useful and loyal? I don't have a reason not to keep them." A little shrug of your shoulders. "We'll just have to keep an eye out. I certainly don't plan to be alone with her anytime soon."
That made the nurse relax slightly, but not by much. Closing her eyes, Diane took a deep breath, holding it in, and then letting it out. "I understand, Master."
Her words gave you a moment of pause, and you got closer to her. The nervousness flashed across her face as you moved to pin her against the door, holding her hips firmly in your hands. "Diane. Did you know my past when you healed me?"
"Of course not, Master," she replied, looking confused.
"And had my past been a bad one, an inconvenient one, or an ugly one, would you have done anything less than your best to patch me back up?"
That got a shake of her head. "No, Master, I'm a healer, I could never allow a patient to die. It is my duty."
"Well, think of this as my duty," you said. "Any girl I take in, I have a responsibility to her. In exchange for her loyalty and obedience, I give her what she needs and wants within reason." A little pause, you leaned down to kiss her forehead. The tender gesture cued her into the tone of your words, and she relaxed, hugging you. "Does that seem reasonable to you?"
"I..." A troubled sigh. "I understand, Master, I do." She squeezed a bit emphatically. "You are the doctor, we are your patients."
That made you feel a little relief; the last thing you needed was to have Diane undermine a new recruit's potential loyalty due to her own personal biases. "Well, you're also my favourite sexy nurse," you said, patting her head and making her preen. "Let's go back inside."
"Yes Master," she chirped, happier.
The nurse stepped in first, taking a moment to confirm before gesturing at you to follow. The Arachnae monstergirl was still inside the shower, and Monica was near the door back to giving herself a full tongue bath. Your eyes glanced at the monstergirl, noticing there was neither steam nor fog- she was using cold water? It clearly seemed to be the case. Her hands moved with a sense of mechanical thoroughness that felt almost ritualistic.
There was little in terms of sensuality or showmanship. The soap moved down the arm and then between each finger, then back up, and back down again, repeating the motion three times before her arm was entirely scrubbed well over. And the same happened with every nook and cranny of her body, inch by inch.
Done, rinsed, she stepped out, using the towel to dry off.
Her eyes lingered on you, moving to Diane before closing, and the Arachnae took a deep breath. The arachnid approached you, coming to a halt in front of you and, slowly, lowered herself to her knees. Her head hung low as her back straightened. "I await your judgement."
You had to blink. "Is this... normal in... Mado?"
A slight hesitation and a nod. "Yes, Great Master."
"Let's go with 'Rick'." You scratched your head.
"Yes, Master Rick."
Pausing for a long second, you felt like you wanted to sigh inwardly. The question over what they did to monstergirls over at that other country bounced around your head for a while. You'd have to figure that one out on the go it seemed. "I want to keep you, for several reasons, but I'm going to wait on your thoughts before making the decision."
"Thoughts, Master Rick?"
"Hear me out," you said, raising a hand. "I've got a Succubus, fresh, and in need of discipline," you said. "The reason why I had been considering keeping you was because of your combat power and the silk. The Arachnae entry states that it is incredibly durable."
"It is, Master Rick." The monstergirl bowed her head slightly. "With proper weaving, it can serve to restrain a monstergirl with a rating of seven or lower. Clothes made out of it, if done properly, can also serve as light armour."
"And do you know how to do these?"
"If I have the proper tools, yes." A lower bow of her head.
A little hesitation, tools, those might be expensive. You kept quiet on that point for the time being. "I'm a wandering tamer currently, would you rather I sell you to someone else?"
The moment of hesitation became apparent as she looked at you, then at Diane at your side. "I will serve until you need me no longer, Master Rick." The response felt... strained.
There was little doubt about it. Just like how you couldn't trust being alone with her, she couldn't trust this wasn't some sort of trap to find an excuse to put her through a cycle. But that was going to be as good as it got for now it seemed. You held back from showing the slight disappointment.
"If that's the case, then I welcome you to the team." You nodded then hesitated. "We... have a custom of renaming monstergirls when joining a harem. But if it's uncomfortable then I can keep your original one." You sensed displeasure from Diane as she looked at you once you'd said those words.
You'd talk to her about it later.
The Arachnae bowed low. "I thank Master Rick for his kindness, and I will be eager to serve," she said with the sort of monotone you'd expect out of someone who rehearsed the phrase a thousand times. "If this monstergirl may be allowed a selfish request, my former Mistress' name was Raven, and would desire to carry that name in her honour."
"I... don't see why not. Welcome to the harem, Raven."
"Thank you." She bowed again, slowly moving to stand. Her red eyes looked upon you for a long moment.
The silence was rather awkward. You weren't too sure what to do now, and you scratched the back of your head.
"Master?" Diane piped up from her position next to you. "Since we are going to be taming the Succubus soon, would it be best for Raven to start weaving her silk?"
"Ah, yes," you nodded, looking at Raven. "Erm, this is Diane, my alpha. And she is Monica."
Said feline perked up at being mentioned, glancing at you.
"It is a pleasure, I will be in your care," Raven nodded, taking a moment to look around the room, and turning towards the far corner, moving to it and taking a moment. "Would this be an appropriate place for me to weave?"
And just like that, her lower legs had been replaced by the body of an arachnid. You felt slightly startled, would've even jumped, had it not been for Diane squeezing your arm slightly as she watched closely. The Arachnae turned her attention away from you and towards her own lower abdomen, moving to stand upon the ceiling of the room before bending herself so the back legs reached for the tip of the spider back-end.
The legs began to move, and silk began to rope out of it.
"I should have enough for a set of ropes, Master Rick," the monstergirl commented, turning her focus towards her silk. "It should not take me more than an hour."
Nodding, you went to lay on the bed, bringing Diane along.
"If we're going to tackle Kiara, I need some rest," you muttered, closing your eyes just as you felt a certain someone hopping on to the bed. "No Monica, no sex."
You didn't see the pout with your eyes but you could imagine it easily enough. A deep sigh escaped you, one that became deeper upon the warm sensation of Diane's hands on your chest. The feeling spread across your body like a calm soothing oil stain. It seeped and grew, moving through you, growing.
A slight jolt reached your spine, and you twitched, opening your eyes to look at the slightly startled Rapha.
"I'm sorry, Master," Diane spoke hastily.
"What...?" You frowned. "What was that?"
"I was tweaking your thyroid gland a little, it caused a little-"
You gripped her hand, frowning. A cold dread ran down your spine. "What do you mean thyroid gland? Mine?"
"Well, yes, Master, I-"
The order came out harsher than you'd thought. Your throat tightened as you moved to pull the nurse out of the room, ignoring the looks from Raven and Monica. The instant the door closed you spun around with a glare aimed straight at the nurse, and she shrunk on the spot.
"Slowly," you said. "Explain. What have you done?"
"Just tiny tweaks, Master. Nothing major, just a boost to-" She fidgeted.
"What kind of tweaks?" This came slow, cold.
"Just adjusting the hormonal balance in Master's body so he can more easily adjust," she replied. "A little boost in testosterone to match the human average for people from this world, also making sure TSH levels could-"
"Thyroid-stimulating hormone," she replied. "It can stimul-"
"Diane." Your grip on her wrist tightened, your eyes sharpening into a glare. "Have you been messing around with my body?"
"It was standard-" As she began to speak you tightened further, she froze, swallowing and lowering her head. "Yes, Master."
"Did you ask?"
"No, Master." This time she was answering fast, shrinking.
"Did you warn me?"
You took a deep breath, fighting against the feeling of...
What should you do? Had you been back in your own world, you'd have ended the relationship, here and now. Messing with your body chemistry without asking? Without warning? You thought back, every time her warm hands touched you, every time she helped you relax, that heat that suffused into your muscles, into your body. How many tweaks? How many changes? How many tiny little imperceptible alterations?
Biting back your tongue, you scowled- you wanted to tell her to leave, now, for good.
Sucking in a sharp breath, you forced yourself to think past the anger. You didn't have funds, Diane was the healer; without her things could go ugly fast, so you couldn't afford to treat this as some sort of human on human relationship. You were her master- you HAD to make this work your own way.
Another deep breath. What would a Master from this world do? What was expected of you? How could you make sure this never happened again? The answer was simple, clean, direct.
"I'm going to punish you," you stated, looking at the nurse wince as if she'd been struck. "And if you can't regain my trust in you..." Your eyes narrowed. "I'll give the alpha position to someone else."
The look in her eyes told you your words hurt more than anything else you could've done to her.