Ambrosia was lying back in an armchair made out of vines and leaves. She had an utterly content smile on her face, while a child-like, black-skinned, yellow-eyed humanoid was sitting in her lap and suckling from her breast. Boxxy was somehow able to lie, excuse and apologize its way back into her good graces, but only under the condition it drank all of Ambrosia’s nectar. The dryad had, for whatever reason, also demanded it do so in its base form, which was why it had to somewhat regretfully abandon its chesty visage. Not to mention it had better things to do than waste its time on being nice to a vegetable.
However, any and all misgivings it had with the arrangement disappeared the moment its vertical mouth latched onto the dryad’s left nipple. The nectar that flowed from Ambrosia’s impractically large mammaries was completely different from the unripe stuff it got out of Cyrilla. The flavor was intoxicatingly sweet and tasty, to the point where it nearly rivaled the delicacy that was a fresh human heart. It was so thick and rich that Boxxy subconsciously tried to chew on it. Not only that, but it also satiated both the Mimic’s thirst and hunger at the same time. It also served a practical purpose as well.
A special action has been performed. AFF +1.
Such notifications popped up every now and then, but Boxxy failed to pay them much attention. All that mattered was the heavenly golden liquid pouring down its gullet at alarming speeds. It gushed out of Ambrosia’s incomprehensible breasts with a steady stream that showed no sign of running dry no matter how much Boxxy chugged.
Actually, just how much of this stuff was in there!? The Mimic had already consumed at least 20 liters of the stuff! Realizing something strange was going on, Boxxy decided to ask the dryad herself.
Without letting go of that nipple, of course.
“Is something the matter, milord?” she answered with a blissful smile.
|Boxxy: I know I said I’d drink all of your nectar, but just how much of it do you have in there?|
The dryad tilted her head and looked around the spacious cavity inside her trunk. It was so tall that the Mimic couldn’t even see the ceiling.
“Hmm… Enough to fill half of this space, I guess?”
“You what?!” shouted Boxxy.
That answer was so ludicrous that it unintentionally let go of her nipple while looking up at her, causing her boob to jiggle slightly in response. There was no way this vegetable’s absurd words were fact, right? No, such a thing was more than likely considering the one who casually made that claim was this anomalous creature.
“That’s only the left one though. The right one is actually slightly fuller!” she proudly declared, completely shattering all versions of Boxxy’s common sense.
“Nononono, this is impossible!” it complained. “Just where are you keeping all that stuff?! No, more importantly than that - there’s no way I can drink that much at once! I’d drown in it!”
“I am well aware of that.”
“... You are?”
“Of course. Even I realize such a thing is impossible. However, I never said thou had to drain mine bosom in a single sitting.”
Come to think of it, it wasn’t like she gave the Mimic a deadline or anything like that. In other words-
“As long as milord samples mine nectar at regular intervals, then I shall forgive thy transgressions,” she said with a coy smile.
“I see. That’s fine, then,” replied Boxxy, much to Ambrosia’s delight.
It’s not like it was against this arrangement. Not only was that nectar one of the tastiest things to ever cross its tongue, but it also steadily increased its AFF, which in turn increased its HP due to the associated Nature’s Bounty Perk.
“However,” it interjected, “please keep in mind I am a busy box. I may have to be away from the city for weeks, maybe even months at a time.”
“Understood, milord. In such cases I shall make sure to prepare plenty of mine nectar for thy return.”
“... What do you mean ‘prepare?’”
“I am constantly making nectar, milord. ‘Tis a slow and arduous process, but worry not, for I have copious amounts of it at hand.”
Ambrosia then lifted a ludicrously proportioned boob in each of her slender hands as if to make a point. Now that Boxxy was looking at them both, it realized that the left one it had been working on seemed to have actually grown slightly larger. Well, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doubted whether it would ever truly drain her breasts of that tasty stuff. On second thought, it didn’t really need to go that far. It just had to keep her complacent until some circumstance or another forced them to part ways. Until then, she would serve as both a loyal guard dog and a source of near-limitless tastiness. Not to mention it wouldn’t need to murder people in order to feed itself.
It would still go out and hunt for them, though. Boxxy had an itch at the back of its throat that could only be scratched by fresh meat dripping with blood. Not to mention that growing too reliant on the dryad was not a good thing. It also had to make sure this nectar of hers didn’t have any addictive properties like that psychoactive Honeydew stuff. Hylt sap was supposedly one of the main ingredients of that drug, so it wouldn’t be strange if prolonged consumption of nectar had some side effects.
“I see,” said Boxxy after putting its thoughts in order. “Then, is this enough for today?”
“Mmm, it’s never enough, milord,” she said with another coy smile while licking her lips.
Is… Is she seriously coming onto me,? it realized. Why? How? What?! Charlie-dammit! These dryads are all insane!
This rather harsh assessment was coming from a murderous box that caused an average of 1 massacre per month without so much as batting an eye. However, whether that invalidated or strengthened Boxxy’s opinion on the matter was in the eye of the beholder. Which was unfortunate, because there wasn’t a beholder around to give a final verdict. Ambrosia’s mental health aside, the Mimic excused itself from her lap and quickly transformed into its favorite spider-chest form. Honestly speaking, it had gotten so few opportunities to use it lately that it was starting to feel nostalgic. Therefore, it decided to stop what it was doing, get comfortable and just relax for a while.
After chesting around for a good hour or so, Boxxy finally got around to doing the thing it decided on doing ever since it returned to the dungeon. It used Nexus Access to teleport to a random wall in the upper reaches of the cavernous Hylt tree’s cavity and activated Terrain Sculpting. First, it carved a huge room into the timber surface, with the dryad’s permission of course. It then flattened the floor until it was smooth enough to slide on and created a square hole that was 25 meters long on each side and 4 meters deep. Finally, it used the dungeon core to create a dozen or so magical lamps and attached them around the floors and ceiling, illuminating the area from multiple angles. Those were not of any practical use, but then again, their purpose was hardly what one would call ‘practical.’
Once Boxxy was satisfied with the site, it opened its Storage as wide as it could and began evacuating its contents into that wooden pit. Countless golden coins flowed out like a river. Precious gems and jewels glittered beautifully in the light. Decorative weapons and armor forged out of precious metals were buried under the avalanche of money. Hundreds of valuable miscellanea such as ornaments, plates, statues, trinkets, crystal shapes, magic staves, even that solid gold skeleton and the cursed goblet that created it kept piling into the huge pit.
Watching the remaining empty space filled the Mimic with both longing and motivation. After all, Boxxy’s vision of a treasure room would not be complete until it filled this pit to the point where it was positively overflowing with shinies. And once that was done, it would merely make another room. And then a third, a fourth, a fifth, and so on and so forth.
However, at that moment in time Boxxy didn’t have nearly enough treasure to fill up the first room, let alone a second. The respectable hoard it unloaded just now was its entire collection - everything even remotely shiny that the Mimic had picked up on its travels - ended up filling barely a quarter of the pit’s capacity. Well, truth be told, it didn’t throw literally all the shinies in there. It still held onto items of critical importance that it needed to have easy access to, such as the Voidcaller staff or Keira’s rapier and rings.
As for why the greedy monster took the time to create this space in the first place - well, it had two very good reasons. Number one was because its Storage was sizable, but not infinite. The Skill’s 1,000 cubic meter capacity was getting dangerously close to being completely full. If Boxxy didn’t do something about it, it would eventually find itself being forced to choose between throwing away either shiny things, tasty things, or useful things in order to make room for new things. This was a choice it really did not want to make. The obvious solution was to deposit the vast majority of its inventory somewhere that was secluded, secured against intruders and was guarded by someone it was absolutely sure would not rob it blind. And the only place that met its criteria was the dungeon known as Dryad’s Domain.
The second reason for its actions was something far simpler. It had nowhere else it felt was safe enough to let go of its worries and enjoy its collection to the fullest. And now that the dryad was more or less pacified and had returned to doing tree things, Boxxy gleefully jumped into its predominantly golden hoard and started wholeheartedly playing with it. It dug as deep into the pile as it could, almost as if it were swimming. Enveloped completely on all sides by glittering shiny things, feeling both their weight and touch with its entire body - it was bliss. The Mimic always dreamt of taking a literal golden shower, but later realized that pouring molten gold onto shapeshifter flesh would probably kill it. Ultimately it had to settle for a money bath like this one, but the result was extremely satisfactory. It just wished the alluringly shiny Fizzy was around to serve as a centerpiece, but the golem had already been redeployed to the central front.
After convincing itself that the absence of that exquisite mithril existence couldn’t be helped, the Mimic resumed rolling around in its ill-gotten gains. It juggled rubies, wore various bits of gilded armor for no reason, made forts out of gold coins and relentlessly dragged its tongues along anything in reach as if to mark it as its own. It even filled its mouth cavity to the brim with gold and jewels, then just sat still for a while as it savored the satisfaction acting a true treasure chest for once.
Somewhere along the way it got the notion of ‘bathing’ in a mixture of gold and nectar. However, it wasn’t sure what that potent liquid might do to its precious shinies. Permanently tarnishing or otherwise damaging them would be a terrible shame, after all. It would need to run a few experiments to determine if the long-term effects of that nectar on both itself and its shinies, but it didn’t have to do that right away. It was currently preoccupied with frolicking around like a child surrounded by a sea of toys.
“Master, are you not going to return to the house?”
Snack’s sudden telepathic communication put a serious damper on Boxxy’s mood.
“It’s too early for that,” it declared with an annoyed tone.
“But Master, it’s already dawn. Isn’t this normally-”
Boxxy quickly dug through the treasure pile until it found that silver-plated clock it stole from the pawnshop and confirmed it was indeed early morning. According to this, the Mimic had been fooling around for a good 4 hours already, and not 30 or so minutes as it had thought initially. Boxxy had heard on several occasions that ‘times flies when you’re having fun,’ but it failed to comprehend its meaning until right at that moment. This was somewhat a problem, as the Mimic didn’t feel like getting back to ‘work’ in the slightest.
But I don’t wanna leave! Just look at all the shiny things! And Ambrosia can just give me that tasty milk of hers whenever I want it! This is bullshit!
It silently grumbled to itself, but it knew better than to allow itself to sink into depravity and complacency. The world was full of incomprehensible threats, and it had to make sure it was powerful enough to either fight them off, or at the very least flee from them. Preparation was one of the most important aspects to survival, so slacking too much now was sure to catch up to it eventually. It had to keep developing all of its Jobs - Doppelganger, Warlock, Artificer, Ranger and Blade Dancer. Those were its weapons, and honing and sharpening them had to be a top priority. Well, it also had to get rid of the Rogue Job and look for a way to get rid of the Cat Job. Not to mention that having Keira suddenly disappear without a trace would throw months of work down the drain, and it really hated the thought of that.
“Snack, prepare for transfer. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Boxxy mournfully climbed out of the golden pit. It then meticulously collected the bits and pieces that had spilled out of its playpen and placed them back inside. The Mimic then lovingly reclaimed several handfuls of gold coins to use as spending money. Finally, it used Terrain Sculpting to completely seal the Treasure Room and casted Transfamiliar, finding itself inside Rowana’s house. It quickly morphed into Keira and lay down next to the unsuspecting girl, waiting patiently for the sulfur-like smell of that Spell to dissipate before waking her up. Otherwise the shapeshifter ran the risk of the elf’s unnaturally sensitive nose picking up on it. Thankfully, it was the byproduct of magic, so it only took about a minute for that incriminating scent to disappear completely. Boxxy closed its eyes and took a few deep breaths as it mentally prepared itself to assume Keira’s persona.
The catgirl’s bright yellow eyes flew open and her scowl instantly became a bright smile. She pulled Rowana into a tight hug while tenderly kissing her neck and stroking her naked back.
“Mmmh…” moaned the elf as she gradually woke up. “Huh? What’s- Oh, Keira!”
Rowana had momentarily forgotten that her girlfriend was no longer away.
“Hehehe, good meowrning Rowie!”
“Good morn- Hey! Watch it! That tickles!”
“I can’t help it! Rowie is too soft and warm! Especially this part of you!”
“Hahn! C’mon sweetie! It’s far too- Nngh! -early for that sort of thing!”
“Why? Do you have somewhere else you’d rather be?”
“W-well, no, but-”
“Then it’s settled!”
Following Keira’s declaration, the two of them fooled around for a few rounds before finally making it out of bed. Rowana got busy preparing breakfast while her girlfriend incessantly clung onto her from behind. It would seem that as much as she missed the catgirl, Keira missed her ‘Rowie’ even more. Eventually they settled around the table and started eating.
“Good to see you’re feeling better,” commented the elf.
“Yeah well, I had a lot of people try to cheer me up. They helped a bit, but Rowie is the absolute best after all!”
“Fufufu, I’m glad.”
Even if Rowana said that with a smile, she still wasn’t convinced Keira was really okay. Not only was it impossible to recover from all that trauma in a few days, but the catgirl was acting a bit more reserved than normal. If it was the old Keira, then the two of them would probably still be rolling around the bed and staining the sheets.
“So… any plans for today, Rowie?” asked the beastkin with an expectant glint in her eyes.
“Ah, uhm… I… kinda have to go to work…”
“I’m sorry, love. I just… you showed up so suddenly that I didn’t get a chance to-”
“I’ll be fine, Rowie,” said Keira reassuringly. “I have some things to do and… I think it might be best if I did those on my own…”
“Alright. Just… You know you’re not actually alone, right?”
“Of course I do.”
The two of them shared a light kiss before returning to their plates in relative silence. The unasked question regarding visiting Rowana’s parents hung over the elf heavily. It wasn’t like her mother specified when and where, so she one-sidedly decided to put it off until Keira was back from that stupid war for good. If she was going to run the risk of being disowned or maybe even run out of town, then she wanted to be sure the two of them had a future together. That, and the thought of confronting her temperamental father was extremely frightening, even if her mother was an ‘ally.’
Once breakfast was done, Keira got dressed in casual clothes, put on a thick coat, threw the heavy leather bag she brought with her yesterday over her shoulder and went to leave the house. Rowana scolded her, reminding her that it was cold out and she should stop walking around barefoot, but the beastkin insisted she would be fine. They had a slight argument, but ultimately the catgirl left the house wearing a spare set of the elf’s boots.
First things first, Keira dropped by a few places and shops mostly to say ‘hi.’ She also made sure to let Lia’s father know that his daughter was still safe and sound, at least for the moment. Afterwards, the catgirl swung by the Hidden Arrow guild’s headquarters to drop off a ceramic jar containing Faehorn’s ashes. Condolences were passed around and she was informed the funeral ceremony would be held in the day after tomorrow, which she obviously promised to attend.
Having fulfilled her obligations, she dropped by Fizzy’s guild - the Hammers of Horkensaft - where she put in an order for Artificer parts and tools on the golem’s behalf. Leaving the Central Consortium behind, she made her way towards a guild-recommended fletcher’s shop and put in an order for a new, lightly enchanted shortbow and 1,000 steel-tipped arrows. After that was settled, she dropped by the leatherworker next door, where she was measured for a new set of gear that would keep her warm during the harsh winter. She also made a point to immediately purchase some cute boots for herself since Rowana’s didn’t fit her right.
As for the expenses involved, Keira had received both a regular salary as a soldier and a stipend for her exceptional performance. She officially had more than enough money to afford all that stuff, not to mention her guild membership sometimes got her a discount. Therefore, not only was shopping in that form perfectly acceptable, but it was also more convenient.
The final stop on the catgirl’s shopping spree was a magic item emporium. There she bought a short brass wand that could be used by anyone to easily start a campfire, as well as an amulet that provided 10% cold resistance. The purpose of these items was not to act as a cover for Keira, but to actually help combat the incoming winter. Acting aside, that season’s supposedly deadly temperatures were a genuine concern for Boxxy. It had never been in a situation where it was subjected to extreme weather conditions, so it wasn’t sure how well its body could handle them without magical assistance.
After the shopping was done, Keira once again dropped by the inn run by Lia’s family for a late lunch. The food was supposedly worse and more expensive than an actual restaurant, but being surrounded by familiar faces and steadily earning Doppelganger XP was more important. After chatting about inconsequential things while eating her fill, Keira went on a long walk around the capital. Eventually, she came to a small and rather desolate park. The autumn season had already made the various trees lose most of their leaves, although the stubborn Hylt canopy far overhead was still the same luscious green it always was. The catgirl smiled solemnly to herself, sat down on one of the benches and began staring off into the distance, well beyond the horizon.
Strictly speaking, Boxxy’s behavior throughout the day was quite odd considering its true nature. Usually it would have ducked into an alley or sewer before sneaking off back to the dungeon, where it would indulge in either relaxing or tinkering in peace. Either that or it would have hunted down some homeless people due to various reasons, maybe even perform some petty theft on the side. In short, sitting alone in a windy park while seemingly contemplating something was not something this man-eating monster would ever want to do. However, this ‘normal’ behavior was perfectly in line with Keira’s personality and circumstances.
Which was exactly what Boxxy wanted to show the two people that had been tailing it since morning.