Rowana rolled over in her sleep to lay on her left side, causing her right hand to drape over Keira’s upper back. Or at least, that’s what would’ve happened normally, but the elf’s subconscious registered a distinct lack of naked catgirl in the bed next to her. Feeling distressed by this lack of luxury, she gradually began to stir.
Her green eyes fluttered open as she mumbled her lover’s name while patting down the other half of the queen-size bed. It was warm and the sheets had a bit of a stain from last night’s activities, but that was the extent of it. Now fully awake, she sat up quickly in a rush of panic, but was soon relieved to find Keira was still in the room. She was lounging on the plush carpet in the middle of the mansion’s guest room, basking in the first rays of the sunrise that entered the room through the huge window. A few of the many fluffy pillows from the bed were stacked up to support her upper back, her legs were crossed, and Minic was snuggled up to her side while she idly stroked its cover.
“… Hey, beautiful,” said Rowana while leaning forward with her elbows on her knees.
“Oh, good morning Rowie,” replied Keira in a casual manner. “Sleep well?”
There was a minute of silence in the room while Keira continued relaxing and Rowana simply watched her from the side.
“… Aren’t you cold lying on the floor naked like that?” asked the elf after a while.
“The room is magically heated. Besides, Mr Sun gives me plenty of warmth.”
“You missed sunbathing season by a few months, you know.”
“If you say so.”
And there was yet another break in the conversation. One that gradually made Rowana feel oddly left out.
“… I could give you all the warmth you want,” she offered.
“Uh no offense, Rowie, but if I cuddle with you, you’ll end up wanting to make love all morning again.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“I don’t feel like it right now, okay?”
And yet another bout of awkward silence that seemed to ever so slightly widen the gap between Rowana and her girlfriend. The elf had noticed Keira was growing steadily more distant ever since she came back from that wretched hole in the ground. She wasn’t sure what exactly happened down there, nor was the girl herself willing to talk about it just yet. Her slightly colder attitude was hardly the only thing that had changed, though.
“You’ve been spending a lot of time silently standing in the sunlight lately, you know that?”
“It’s just… It’s not very much like you.”
Keira has always been an active, athletic and outdoorsy person, but lounging in the sun, while certainly catlike, was not one of her habits until very recently.
“Yeah, well… I’ve gained a new appreciation for Mr Sun as of late.”
The girl was, of course, talking about her alter-ego’s newly acquired Hylt Metabolism. Boxxy always found it strangely relaxing and soothing to soak in the sun ever since it became a plant-based Doppelganger variant, but now it could quite literally eat sunlight. And it had deemed it to be quite tasty. Useful, too. It could feel itself gradually regain tiny amounts of its Biomass with every beam of sunlight, which had been all but depleted as a result of its death and subsequent imprisonment.
“It almost makes me wish I was the Hero of Solus, not Patrick. At least then I’d have a significantly lower chance of spending my life locked away underground.”
Naturally, the shapeshifter wasn’t just going to admit to that, and fed some made-up sob story to placate the elf.
Truth be told, Boxxy was actually feeling rather depressed. It had placed its Facade at the forefront of its worries, but as a result had to put off chasing after the things that belonged to it. That wasn’t to say it was wasting all this downtime, though. Since the Slyths demanded that Keira remain on the premises for her own safety, the Mimic had in turn taken full advantage of their hospitality.
It had them arrange for parts and materials to be delivered to the mansion so that it could continue further its Artificer Job, and had a trainer come in to advance its Blade Dancer Job. It also regularly perused their library, which was actually surprisingly extensive. Apparently Samulus was something of a bookworm, so his adventurer wife had collected all manner of exotic books in her wild youth as souvenirs. The resulting collection was not only impressive, but quite useful too, as it contained a lot of information that wasn’t available in the Central Consortium’s member-only knowledge base.
However, the more time it spent here, the less it could settle down. Boxxy was a monster, and that meant it had certain urges. While surviving on sunlight and people food as Keira was more than enough, it still felt the drive to go kill, maim, and eat something or someone. Anyone, really. So long as it got to squeeze the life out of their body and feast on their bloody flesh and shattered bones. And the only way it could do that was if it-
“What you really want to do is go back out there and get back to it, don’t you?”
“… Sorry, what?”
Rowana’s sudden question had left the Mimic momentarily flabbergasted, to the point where it showed a legitimate reaction of surprise. Had this girl somehow discerned its true motives?
“You want to return to a life of adventuring already, right?”
Okay, that clearly wasn’t the case. Still, that shot in the dark had been frighteningly close to the mark. Well, since she was the one that brought it up, Boxxy decided it might as well play along.
“Is it that obvious?” asked Keira with a guilty expression.
“Looks like dad was right on the money as usual.”
“Yeah. He told me many times what dating an adventurer was like. How you all had this… drive within you that demanded you go out there and live dangerously, to get stronger or to make a difference. And he warned me that if I tried to tie you down, you’d only resent me for it.”
Samulus had been speaking from first-hand experience, which was why his words carried extra weight. He probably intended to dissuade Rowana from getting too attached to Keira, but Boxxy had made sure it was far too late for that. The only thing his words of wisdom had done was give the shapeshifter that had ensnared his daughter a way out of its slump.
“I’d never hate you, Rowie!” insisted Keira. “Sure, being forced to live in this needlessly fancy place is a bit stifling, but it’s not all bad!”
“See?! You just admitted you think I’m forcing you to stay with me!”
It just needed to utter the right words to set the overly emotional elven woman off.
“I didn’t mean-!”
“Yes, you did! Argh, stupid Rowana! This is all my fault!”
The elf threw herself back down onto the bed and curled up beneath the covers.
“C’mon, Rowie, don’t be like that,” said Keira while standing up from her spot. “You haven’t done anything bad, you were just worried about me.”
“No… I wasn’t,” came the muffled reply. “Not really. You can handle yourself, I know that already. And yet I selfishly demanded you stick by my side at all times rather than do the things you want to do. And you complied not because you agreed with me, but because you felt you had to. Because we’re… lovers. I’ve been taking advantage of your feelings for me while ignoring your wishes. If that doesn’t make me a horrible person, then I don’t know what does.”
Boxxy did not hesitate to seize this chance. If the elf herself was offering a way out of this tedium without compromising its Facade, then all it had to do was take it. Which was why Keira climbed into the bed and embraced Rowana over the covers. The elf shuddered a bit in surprise, but settled down without too much of a fuss.
“I love you, Rowie, and nothing can change that. Knowing I have someone wonderful like you waiting for me back home is what kept me going through the war. It’s what helped me keep my senses when I was at the mercy of my captors. Sometimes… I wonder if maybe I don’t deserve you.”
The Mimic was laying it on so thick that if Arms were in the room, she’d probably vomit.
“Only sometimes, though,” it continued while stroking her head over the covers. “Besides, you were right to keep me here. Just because I don’t exactly show it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the break. I mean my back’s gotten much better and I feel stronger than ever.”
The Soulstone in Keira’s backside was already at about three quarters of its original size, much to the relief of those around her. Apparently the absorption rate was much faster than they anticipated, which was lauded as good news. The subject itself was less than reassured, however, as although the Resurrection Sickness had completely gone away by now, the Soulbound perk was still present in Boxxy’s Status. This continued to raise the question about what would happen to it once the alchemical gemstone completely dissipated.
However, the shapeshifter still knew next to nothing about it, and neither did Rowana nor Samulus, so it was feeling a bit lost in the dark. Thankfully, Reggie had said that his operatives had recently uncovered a promising lead on the occult item’s origins. If everything worked out, then the Mimic wouldn’t have long to find out exactly what was going on with its body. But if that plan fell through, then it would have to take more extreme measures to assure its continued survival. On the other hand, it no longer felt any weakness or discomfort, so it may all just be pointless worry.
Though whatever was going to happen would still take a month or two more, so the Mimic had some wiggle room in that regard.
“You-know-who has been really quiet lately too,” continued Keira, “so I’ve been able to relax and rest up for the first time since that stupid war started. Especially since I don’t have to do any more parades or speeches for the foreseeable future.”
A puffy-eyed Rowana peeked out from under the covers.
“So you’re really not mad at me.”
“No! Of course not… Okay, maybe a little. I don’t feel right having random servants handle my undergarments. And I got so bored around here that I had to turn to reading a book called ‘499 Ways To Prepare A Potato.’ I don’t even like potatoes! Would it have killed you to at least let me take a walk around town without getting your panties in a twist!? I mean, the only time I was allowed to leave the estate was for that award ceremony, and even then I was watched at all times! It’s like I was a prisoner out on a field trip or something!”
There was another break in the conversation while Keira reigned in the torrent of complaints by placing a hand on her mouth. Like a dam that had burst open, all the grievances that she probably didn’t even realize she had came flooding out. Or at least, that was the impression Boxxy wanted to leave behind.
“Sorry… I guess I went a bit stir crazy after being confined to this house for two weeks,” added Keira in a guilty tone.
It was important to validate Rowana’s concerns if she wanted to feel like ending this house arrest was her idea. Making her feel bad about it would also discourage her from trying something like this again in the future.
“I know… and I feel terrible for making you do that… Then if you feel you’re up to it, should we return to our normal lives?”
And it had worked beautifully.
“I would like that very much. To be honest, this place is way too big, and too busy. I’m actually starting to miss that cozy little shack we shared before. Sure, the bed isn’t as comfy as this one, but at least I could make you moan all I want without the maids giving me funny looks. Though watching you awkwardly try to explain yourself to them is kinda fun in and of itself.”
“Keira! You’re horrible!” squealed Rowana while trying to stifle an inappropriate laugh.
“Hehehe! I’ll show you just how horrible I can be!”
“What are you- MMmpf?!”
The catgirl planted her lips on the elf’s and then proceeded to pleasure her so much that she stained both her reputation and her bedsheets. This was her reward for finally doing something Boxxy agreed with. It often did this sort of positive reinforcement when training her, as it found out that Rowana was the type that reacted better to rewards than to punishments. Initially it thought that the tips and tricks contained in that Monster Tamer manual wouldn’t work on people, but it was glad it tried them anyway. Sure, it had to use a combination of Keira’s charm, the Charisma (CHR) Attribute and the Pheromone Control Skill to fill in the gaps, but it was steadily molding Rowana into the perfectly subservient puppet it wanted her to be. The type that would do the things that were expected of her without realizing she was being manipulated.
Congratulations, you are now a Level 36 Doppelganger! All Attributes +2.
And that hard work was gradually paying off, as by her third orgasm Rowana had finally pushed Boxxy’s main Job over the Level threshold. It had gained about half a Level from that award ceremony, which combined with the XP it got from murdering Zilla had left it with 93% progress towards Level 36. It had taken 6 days of interacting with the elf since then to reach this new point. This didn’t seem like much at first, but it was plenty when thinking about the long-term.
Statistically speaking, spending roughly 2 months feeding off of Rowana’s misplaced trust and affections was the equivalent to being cheered on and applauded by a crowd of at least 4,000 people. It wasn’t too bad a deal considering public events like those were really damned rare. This was all relative though, and the Mimic was still a bit peeved at how slow this Job had been Leveling as of late. It couldn’t be helped though, it was just the nature of its species, so it was simply making the best of it. It just had to tough it out until it Ranked Up again into a powerful combat-oriented Job, but that seemed to be far in the future. So far that it felt like it would take lifetimes from the perspective of the less-than-a-year-old monster.
Meaning that, while it was earnestly working towards the future, its main focus was very much on the here and now. Which was why Boxxy found itself in the abandoned sewer tunnels deep beneath the city of Azurvale on that very same afternoon.
“Greetings, my Master,” said Snack with a deep bow. “I have been eagerly waiting for you.”
“You’ve done more than just wait by the look of things,” it remarked as it took in its surroundings.
The spider-chest-shaped Mimic had found itself standing not in a ruined, mostly collapsed sewer tunnel, but in a well-lit luxurious hallway that looked like it belonged in a palace or a fortress. There was not a single sign of muck or dirt anywhere to be seen, the polished stone floor was covered in a luxurious carpet, and the walls adorned with various treasures. Statues of gold, silver and mithril adorned with countless jewels and gems glistened enticingly as if demanding to be held and caressed. Their combined radiance was so dizzyingly dazzling that Boxxy did not even know where to look.
“You did this for me?” it asked curiously.
“Yes, Master. Your servant has taken it upon herself to turn this despicable pit into a place worthy of your presence. I know it may be inadequate, but this is all that that I was capable of.”
Initiative like that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, the potential for this sort of proactive behavior was why Demonology-focused Warlocks were considered more flexible than Monster Tamers or Necromancers. Admittedly, having one’s minions be self-aware and have their own agendas opened up a lot of potential problems as indirect betrayal was a constant worry. Thankfully, one who had earned their familiars’ respect and adoration like Boxxy didn’t have to fret too much about that stuff most of the time.
But this wasn’t one of those times.
“You stupid cunt!”
The arachnid box opened its lid and a single tentacle shot out. It pierced the bowing djinn through the stomach, causing light purple blood to gush out all over the place. It then pulled on her, whisking her away from where she was standing and slamming her into the stone floor with a wet splash. With the mirage disrupted, the dazzling environment quickly shimmered out of existence, revealing the shithole of a tunnel that truly lied beneath the thin veneer of magic.
“I hate being lied to!”
“I’m sorry, Master!” apologized Snack while coughing up blood into the puddle of stale sewer water she fell into. “I thought it would cheer you up!”
“You thought wrong, you worthless pile of shit!”
While Boxxy definitely appreciated the sight of shiny things, it absolutely loathed the presence of fake shiny things. And it had instantly seen through the djinn’s Conjure Mirage Skill due to its Mana Locator Gland, so it was only understandable it would be pissed under normal circumstances.
“What makes you think you have the right to think for yourself!?” it continued yelling at her. “You’re nothing but a slut whose entire purpose is to serve your master’s wishes! You exist for my pleasure, so don’t you dare try to get any more of these ‘ideas’ ever again!”
It then speared her in the back with a second blade-tipped appendage, this one puncturing the area where her heart would be if she had one.
“Aaahnn! Yeesh, Mashter!” wailed Xera with her tongue lolling out of her mouth in an obscene way. “I’m sshoooryyy!”
“No you’re not! You’re incorrigible! A hopelessly lost cause! The only language you understand is pain and suffering! Luckily for you, I’m well versed in both, so prepare yourself for a lecture!”
Having said that, the Mimic dragged the heavily injured demon into its open maw. Once locked inside the living chest, Xera was subjected to all manner of torturous pleasure as it ripped apart her flesh and invaded her insides through every available orifice. And when it ran out of holes to stick things into, it made new ones, much to the perverted demon’s delight.
The ex-succubus wasn’t the only one enjoying the act, though. Her Rank Up had made her flesh even more delectable than before, and even the juices she squirted when she orgasmed were almost as sweet as nectar. It was like her body - such as it was - had taken on properties that best pleased her beloved Master upon her Rank Up. Or rather, that was precisely what had happened.
Demons were beings forged out of raw, unfiltered emotion, so the way they felt and their state of mind had a huge impact on how they developed. In other words, what the summoning contract aimed to do was to temper their psyche rather than their loaner bodies. And considering the types of thoughts that dominated Xera’s mind as of late, it was only natural she’d grow into a more sensitive body that was both tastier and shinier. That way she would not only solicit her Master’s undivided attention, but would also savor every last drop of it.
“Damn, they’re really going at it in there,” commented Kora from off to the side. “It’s still pretty weird watching them get so into this roleplay stuff.”
Indeed, this whole ‘disagreement’ was all but an act, part of Xera’s fantasies that Boxxy was knowingly indulging in. This was her big reward for diligently creating an opportunity where the Mimic could escape the Foundation with its life and Facade intact. Much like with Rowana, Snack also needed to be encouraged to do her best for the Mimic’s sake. At least with her it was much more direct and Boxxy was enjoying the tasty albeit not very filling treat, so it was definitely a win-win. It would’ve done this much earlier, but there simply hadn’t been a good opportunity to do so until now.
“Grrr, now I wanna do it too!” grumbled Kora. “Hey bug eyes, come here and let me stick it in your silk hole!”
“Hnn, hnnn, mmmm.”
However, the only thing she received in response was a stream of Drea’s muffled moans coming in from somewhere in the surrounding darkness. The Stalker had already given into her voyeuristic tendencies and was pleasuring herself in earnest, focusing on Xera’s ecstatic screams and moans while ignoring the fiend’s comments. Meaning that while the two of her co-contractors were enjoying themselves, the six-armed meathead was left with nothing but a pair of uncomfortable boners that she couldn’t take care of. She could theoretically self-service herself like Drea, but she wouldn’t be satisfied unless she busted a nut inside someone else’s ass. She was also remiss about asking Boxxy for help, as she would automatically turn into the bottom bitch, which was very much not on her to-do list.
“Hey, Koralenteprix. Carl from Demons ‘R’ Us here. Listen, you got another one of your, uh, special assignments waiting. I already cleared it up with your boss, so all I need is confirmation from you and you’re good to go.”
“Thank you, Alejandro!” she exclaimed in response with arms raised in the air.
“What about me, eh?” prodded the devil on the other side of the line.
“You too, Carl! I swear, you’re the best agent I’ve ever had!”
“I’m the only agent you’ve ever had.”
“Oh, don’t sweat the small stuff! Anyway, you can tell whatsherface I’m all set!”
Less than 3 seconds after Carl hung up, Kora disappeared in a flash of light and a small popping sound. This was the effect of the covenant formed between the Goddess of Justice and Demons ‘R’ Us, which facilitated the easy and energy efficient transfer of a very specific demonic entity into her divine space. Where said demonic entity proceeded to double-penetrate the Goddess and fuck her brains out.
Although it didn’t appear to be the case at first, this was actually a very important part of Teresa’s rehabilitation. If she was the amalgamation of her followers’ prayers, wishes, and thoughts, she was still her own person. As such, with the strife caused by recent events, she had been accumulating a lot of stress. Which was released by indulging in the time honored tradition of having her pipes cleaned on a regular basis. All for the sake of keeping her from relapsing and falling into her old habits.
As idiotic as it seemed at first to Jeoffrey, the God of Extenuating Circumstances, he couldn’t argue with the results. The Goddess was keeping to the straight and narrow, making sure to properly guide her flock back onto the right path. She was also being quite honest with herself as well, if the way she moaned and panted during her sessions with Kora was any indication. She had also recently rescinded the mandatory oaths of celibacy she formerly required of her servants, obviously as a direct result of the Archfiend’s twin-headed influence. And once she was done administering her ‘medicine,’ Kora would be sent back to the physical realm without inconveniencing Boxxy.
Well, other than being away from its service for an hour or two, but judging from how the Mimic was going at it, it would be a while longer before it needed her for the assault on the Dryad’s Domain anyway.