Rowana and Keira were having dinner together as per usual. However, the normally noisy table was gripped by a heavy silence. Only the clatter of silverware and the odd chewing and gulping noises could be heard throughout the house. It was hardly unexpected, given the circumstances, but the elf could not bear it any longer.
“So… tomorrow’s the big day, isn’t it?” she said, not even trying to hide the worry in her voice.
“Yeah, it is,” replied Keira with a flat voice.
The elf couldn’t bear to see her normally energetic girlfriend look so lifeless and subdued. Even if the catgirl’s lips were curled in a faint smile, the distant look in her eyes proved it wasn’t genuine. It was plainly obvious the beastkin was trying to keep her feelings in check, and was failing miserably. She was typically the kind of person whose thoughts floated onto her face without her noticing, so her attempts at putting up a front fell flat, to say the least. And yet Rowana was hesitant to call her out on it, because she wasn’t sure which one of the two Keira was trying to reassure with that flimsy facade.
“You don’t…. You don’t have to go, you know,” said the elf after a few minutes. “I know that conscription is mandatory, but there are exceptions…”
Keira stopped raising the spoonful of stew towards her mouth, and slowly lowered it back into her bowl. She moved her gaze away from her meal, looked directly into the elf’s eyes and spoke with a level voice.
“No, I’m sure of it! I’m certain there was a clause in it about immigrants and-”
“Rowie,” she interrupted, “not that. I know I can get out of it somehow, maybe make a run for it. But I won’t. I have to be there.”
“But why?! Why do you have to go off and join a war so suddenly!”
“Because I already-! … I don’t want anyone else to suffer at the hands of those who think might makes right.”
The elf fell silent as the catgirl averted her gaze and stared off into distance, beyond the walls of the cozy little house.
“My parents… They were hunters. Good ones, you know. They often brought back so much meat and fur that they didn’t know what to do with it. They’d usually trade it for other goods at the village market, but they always made sure to get some fresh salmon whenever possible.”
Keira’s face softened into a nostalgic smile, the first genuine one she had shown all evening.
“My mom, she’d steam it especially for me since I didn’t like it grilled or in a stew like she and dad did. We didn’t have much, but they spoiled me at every chance they got.”
The catgirl turned to face Rowana, who was listening intently.
“They hunted a lot at night, you know. Said the best game came out after the sun set. They weren’t adventurers or anything like that, but they still handled themselves okay. Those two would be fine even in that pitch blackness… It’s something I believed in with all my might...”
The catgirl’s face turned scornful in the next instant.
“What… what happened?” asked Rowana with a shaky voice.
“Imperial patrol killed my parents, that’s what happened!”
Keira suddenly started yelling in a rage.
“Said they mistook them for bandits out in the woods! Claimed the two of them came at them in the middle of the night and tried to ambush them, so they fought back! Fucking lying bastards! My parents would never do something like that!”
She was practically shaking at this point. However, Rowana did not believe it was due to something simple like anger.
“I’m certain those monsters attacked them on purpose! They knew full well what they had done and didn’t show even the tiniest bit of remorse! I saw- I saw what they’d done to my mom! They- they- they- they-”
Rowana instantly left her seat and went to hug the hyperventilating Keira. She held her tight against her chest, stroked her hair and tried to soothe her as much as she could. The beastkin broke out into full-blown sobbing shortly after as her bottled up sorrows overflowed like a dam that had burst. And the elf accepted it all, waiting patiently for the troubled girl to let it all flow out. She didn’t know what to think, other than she had to be here for her.
It took several minutes for Keira to calm down before she resumed her tale.
“I couldn’t- *Sniffle* I couldn’t do anything about it. None of the other villagers cared and those soldiers denied everything. They just did whatever they pleased simply because they had the uniform and their victim wasn’t ‘their kind!’ They’re the absolute fucking worst kind of scum!”
She rubbed the tears from her face.
“I’ve… Those people, they’ll do unspeakable things if we let them, Rowie. I know I haven’t been here long, but this country is my home. Our home. I can’t let anyone else suffer like I have- like my family has. I have the power to protect people now, Rowie! I don’t want- I don’t want to run anymore!”
The elf realized how selfish she had been as she gently rubbed the upset Keira’s back. The upset beastkin was right. This unjust war was something bigger than either of them, yet all Rowana could think about was how she didn’t want to lose her girlfriend.
“You’ll… have to kill people, Keira.”
“You could get hurt, or killed…”
“... I know.”
A few more minutes passed as Rowana steeled herself. Her sweetheart was determined to do what was necessary for what she believed in, so there’s no way she could send her off with anything but a smile.
“I won’t stop you, but… You have to promise me something. You come back to me, you hear?! I don’t care if we win or lose this, but you come back to me safe and sound?!”
“That- That’s obviously a given!”
“Fufufu, my shy little kitty has become quite reliable lately, hasn’t she?”
“Hey! I’m always reliable! I’m a full-fledged Ranger, you know!”
“Then care to explain why I got a bill from a certain innkeeper for roof repairs a few days ago?”
“... This and that are unrelated.”
The two shared a light chuckle, as the heavy atmosphere from awhile ago steadily dispersed.
“You know, sweetie… I have a bit of a selfish request.”
Rowana was well aware this might be the last night she and Keira might spend together. The ‘full-fledged Ranger’ group was being sent out to the border tomorrow morning, so the elf wanted to make it truly special.
“Would you go on a little midnight stroll with me?”
“Of course, Rowie! Anything for you!”
The two of them got dressed and exited the small house. The elf led the catgirl up the walkway to the overhead street-sized branch, which was more or less deserted at this time of night. However, rather than stop there, she kept walking upwards, much to Keira’s surprise. There were a few sparse, cheap houses like Rowana’s further up, but that branch was pretty much the highest inhabited area of this particular Hylt tree. And yet the pair kept steadily climbing until they reached the absolute highest point they could on foot.
The place they arrived at was an old, wooden platform. It was likely intended to hold a large treehouse, but had been abandoned for one reason or another. Rowana reached into the large bag she was carrying and brought out a few blankets. She draped them onto the wooden planks and lied down on her back, motioning for Keira to do the same.
“I used to come up here whenever I was feeling down,” said the elf as she gazed skyward. “This view was one of the few things that could really soothe my soul. Fufufu, I haven’t really needed to visit here ever since I met you though ~♡!”
Above them, was a peculiar gap in the Hylt tree’s canopy, that allowed a clear, unobstructed view of the heavens amidst the countless branches and leaves that normally got in the way of it. It was as if someone had opened a small window into the cosmos. The distant stars twinkled with all their might, their light only amplified by the surrounding wall of blackness. Almost as if they were jewels in a small bag.
“So shiny…” muttered Keira.
“Yes… it is…”
However, Rowana wasn’t looking at the sky, but at the sparkly-eyed Keira. The elf was enraptured at the sight of the faint moonlight that illuminated the catgirl’s face. Her yellow eyes shone like jewels, her crimson hair glistened like a deep flame and the smooth, tanned skin glistened like porcelain. She gently caressed Keira’s cheek with the back of her hand, causing the two to lock eyes. Their faces naturally drew closer to each other, as Rowana’s entire attention was focused on Keira’s thin, moist lips. A soft, quick kiss rapidly developed into a passionate one. They embraced, feeling each other’s body warmth and quickly, almost unthinkingly disposed of their bothersome clothes. They brazenly and unabashedly began making love in the open, lonely space where anyone could see them.
And someone was indeed watching.
Drea, who was climbing down from the canopy after a successful hunt, had happened upon the two lovebirds. Well, in truth she had merely come to investigate the moans of pleasure they were raising in the dead of night, but she still found them nonetheless. The thought of ‘desert’ passed through her mind before she recognized one of them as her Master, and the other as its cover. And since her standing orders for the night were pretty lax, she allowed herself to watch them go at it. She had, of course, seen them in the act before, but witnessing it in person was something else entirely. The intensity was on a completely different level. In fact, she even picked up on the lust-inducing pheromones that Boxxy was releasing as they were thrown about by the breeze.
It was then that Drea truly, for the first time in her long life, felt her body flush with arousal. She didn’t know why or how, but her breathing had become ragged, her eyes glossy and her skin flushed. Having never felt this way before, she had no idea what to do with herself, but she felt she had to do something.
Looking on from a distance and attached to the side of the tree with her back towards it, the stalker did something she hadn’t even considered before that point - she decided she would try and pleasure herself. Unfortunately, her body was ill-equipped to handle such things. She had none of the sexual organs that mortals did, so her attempts at caressing the area between her legs were futile. She briefly thought about playing with the spinneret hole between her butt cheeks, but she knew that would only bring her pain. And she most definitely didn’t have Snack’s infamous fetish, so that was completely out of the question.
However, watching Keira and Rowana caress and suckle on each other gave her an idea, and Drea’s clawed hands moved to her ample breasts. She gently groped and stroked them as best she could, but the carapace that covered most of them was in the way. So she decided to get rid of it. Her clawed finger poked at the space where the hard surface gave way to the pliant boob flesh, and slowly but surely peeled off the black-and-yellow breastplate that kept her cleavage in place. Well, it would grow back in a few hours, so she didn’t think removing it was a big deal, but she was unprepared of just how profound of an effect her actions would have.
“Haah, haah, haah.”
The heightened sensitivity of the now-exposed purplish skin of her mammaries caused her to pant quietly. Just having those globes of fat sway freely back and forth in the breeze fed her sensations she never even knew her body was capable of. Using the enraptured couple’s carnal acts as a guide, she then proceeded to grope and massage her own tits, being extremely careful not to harm them with her clawed hands. She squeezed and played with them, rubbed them against each other and even craned her neck to lick at the area where her nipples would be if she had those.
She had no idea what she was doing anymore, other than it felt good. And although some part of her was worried about what would happen to her body, she most definitely didn’t want to stop. She kept going for a good three or four minutes, her newfound lust gradually rising until it reached the single, inevitable conclusion.
She let out a harsh whisper that was halfway between a screech and a growl as her mandibles clacked together incessantly. Her body shook in the throes of her first orgasm. Her generous chest heaved up and down as hitherto unknown waves of pleasure washed over her. Her mind barely even processed the fact that her precious webbing discharged itself from her backside, splattering all over the tree behind her in a sticky lump.
Drea came down from her orgasmic high a few moments later, feeling strangely refreshed and light-headed. She then realized both the mess and noises she’d made just now were more than a little conspicuous, and hurriedly looked downwards in a panic. Much to her relief, however, those two kept going at each other and didn’t even seem to register her presence.
Feeling a pang of relief wash over her, the stalker let out a quiet sigh while unthinkingly putting a hand on her still-sensitive breasts. It sent another, unexpected bolt of those newfound sensations through her, causing her to almost yelp in surprise. Well… she did it once already so… a second time wouldn’t hurt… right?
And after the second time, she came a third. Then a fourth, and so on.
Before she realized it, the voyeuristic stalker-turned-stalker had ended up using nothing but her breasts to pleasure herself for the better part of an hour. She ended up finishing for the 9th time just as Keira and Rowana gave a unanimous, unrestrained cry of joy as they scissored each other to a simultaneous orgasm. Well, one of those wasn’t exactly real, but that still marked the end of their session.
And while the two lovebirds wrapped themselves in the soaked blankets and proceeded to cuddle without caring about their surroundings, Drea was made thoroughly aware of the extent of her own mess. Her entire backside, including much of the tree she was attached to, was now coated in lavender-colored splotches of webbing. She’d have definitely fallen off the sheer, vertical surface if it wasn’t for that sticky stuff keeping her in place. And now that she finally calmed down enough to think clearly, she broke out in a cold sweat. Even if her standing orders gave her a lot of leeway, this was clearly not the way she was supposed to be ‘producing Demon Silk’ that Boxxy intended. Not to mention she was completely exposed, and in more than one way.
The stalker started cleaning up the mess she’d made in a panic. The 6 scythes attached to her moved like a blur as they collected all her webbing into a neat little ball, determined not to leave behind even a single trace of her shameful display. And as she worked, she became even more frantic and worried about what’s she’d just done.
Just why did she have to go and do that in such an exposed place? So many times, too! What the heck was she thinking?! What if the Boxxy Show picked it up and it was broadcast across the entire Beyond?!
A stalker! Masturbating in public?! It was outrageous! Scandalous even! She’d never hear the end of it if word got out!
No, no, it’s fine! she reassured herself. The view was focused on Master, so I’m sure I was out of range of the shot! Haha, yes, yes, that was probably it! Yes, nothing to worry about at all! Hahahaha! Haha… I should probably check… Just in case...
The demoness hid herself completely out of sight on top of a particularly wide branch, and reached out into the Beyond as she mind-dialed the soul number of one of her younger sisters.
“H-Hello?” came a shaky, childish-sounding voice.
“Hey Zolmegnara! It’s Dreaheath!”
Zolmengara Uniolphial Maramakartor was almost as big a fan of the Boxxy Show as Drea was, not to mention she was currently uncontracted. In other words, there was no way she wouldn’t be watching it right now.
“Oh! My! God! Sis?! It’s you! It’s Claaaaaws! Claws just called meeeee!”
And it sounded like she was way too excitable whenever the topic came up, as per usual.
“Calm down, Zolmegnara! Look, this is urgent so hear me out!”
“Ah! Right, yes, of course! What is it?!”
“You’re watching the Boxxy Show right now, yes?”
“I am, yeah! I’m so jealous of you right now! I mean, even more than usual!”
“Yeah! You looked like you were having so much fun!”
Dread washed over Drea’s entire being.
“... I did?”
“Oh yeah! The Progenitor shifted the view to you halfway through the action, so I got a real good look at you! I didn’t even know us Stalkers could do that stuff! You’re so lucky you were born as a Hornet with big boobies! Us Longlegs don’t even have those, you know! Ah, do you think maybe something would happen if I tried rubbing that spot anyway?! Argh! I need a physical body right now! Contract, gotta go find a contract!”
The excited demon on the other side of the line kept prattling on excitedly, while Drea was practically in tears. She wanted to crawl in a hole and die. No, wait, that was a terrible idea! If she did that, then she’d have to face all her fellow demons in the Beyond! It was honestly a good thing that only Demons ‘R’ Us were authorized to soul-dial familiars in the physical realm, otherwise she was sure she’d be getting all kinds of horrible calls right now!
Hanging up on the still-squealing Zolmegnara, Drea made a silent resolution. She would do absolutely everything in her power to make sure she was never sent back to the Beyond ever again! Haha! Yes, that was it! A brilliant plan that had no way of failure!
She let out a long sigh while drooping her shoulders.
This could not possibly get any worse.
“Claws,” came in Boxxy’s telepathic communication.
“I don’t care what you do during downtime-”
“-and I know stockpiling that webbing isn’t much of a priority right now-”
Anything but that!
“-but make sure you hide yourself better next time.”
It was at that moment that the stalker simultaneously disemboweled and beheaded herself in shame.