A man and a woman were walking through a particularly nasty blizzard. The wind was blowing so hard that the lumps of snow that pelted them seemed to be flying sideways. The fact that the pair were even able to tell which direction they were going was nothing short of miraculous, though it wasn’t divine providence that was guiding them. The man held a small magic compass in his hand, one that did not point north, but towards a specific predetermined location. This particular article had the designation ‘BH-01’ etched into the underside of its metal casing, though the meaning behind that code was revealed only on a strict need to know basis.
Such navigational equipment was something of a necessity for traversing the harsh Republic winter on foot, as was gear that would shield the wearer from the intense cold. That was why both the elf that was holding the almost-compass and the woman next to him were wrapped up like cocoons in thick white furs. However, the latter of those did not want to be bundled up like this. She quite relished the thought of once more experiencing what it was like to slowly turn into a slutsickle under her careless master’s orders, but her instructions this time around forbade it. Xera wouldn’t be able to serve as Boxxy’s eyes and ears if she was allowed to entertain her disturbing desires, after all.
The elf and the djinn continued traversing the blizzard for what felt like hours before it began to let up. The sky was still ominously cloudy and the wind was as strong as ever, but at least the snowfall had all but stopped. With visibility restored, the pair were finally able to lay eyes on their destination - a deep ravine that ran down an ice-covered mountain. Upon getting closer to the narrow canyon-like formation, Xera was able to spot a stone fortification of some sort built into the sheer rock wall. One that seemed more like a spike-covered burrow than a castle, and was completely inaccessible by foot unless one were stupid enough to risk climbing down the slippery cliff.
“This the place, huh?” mused the demoness. “Looks positively depressing.”
It was windy, damp, cold, and would only get a few rays of direct sunshine per day.
“I would certainly hope so,” Silus replied matter of factly. “Wouldn’t be much of a prison if it was a leisurely resort now, would it?”
“A prison? I thought we were going to a mine?”
Not just any mine, either. This hole-in-the-wall was one of the main sources of mithril and magical gemstones in the Republic, one of if not the most profitable government-owned facilities in the entire nation. It was located in the country’s western reaches, immediately north of the Clattering Plains where Fort Yimin resided. It was deemed such a valuable resource that the Republic were willing to throw away the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers and conscripts just to keep it out of the Empire’s hands.
“Bitterhold is both,” claimed the elf. “It’s where the government sends our worst, most irredeemable criminals. The kind that are so far gone that execution is too light of a sentence.”
“So you instead make them dig the earth so they can quite literally work off their debt to society, huh? What happens if they escape?”
“They don’t. Bitterhold has had zero escapees since its inception seventy years ago. Once a prisoner enter this place, not even their corpse is allowed to leave.”
“My, aren’t you people thorough,” said Xera, her voice oozing with sarcasm. “What I fail to realize is how bringing me to such a place will convince my Master of your intentions.”
If Boxxy and the Foundation were to team up to bring down the shapeshifter’s oldest nemesis, then it needed to know they were capable of working with a monster. Not through enslaving them, but actual cooperation. That was why Silus Underwood had brought Xera out here to begin with. The djinn was to verify the secretive organization’s motives and methods in Boxxy’s stead, yet she had been brought to a place that supposedly excelled at keeping people imprisoned. Not the best of first impressions to say the least.
“You’ll see soon enough. They’re expecting us so our ride should be here shortly.”
About a minute later, Xera began picking up the sounds of scraping stone coming from the ravine, just barely audible over the howling wind. She didn’t even get the chance to ask what that was before a duo of massive lizards climbed out of it. Each was easily twice the size of a horse and had six clawed legs attached to their flexible snake-like bodies. Their overall appearance was quite similar to that of giant geckos, apart from the extra limbs and the quad-horned heads.
“These creatures are called slecs,” Silus explained. “They’re domesticated monsters that are used to ferry goods and people in and out of Bitterhold.”
That would certainly explain the strange saddles strapped to them and why they didn’t show even the slightest hint of aggression. In fact, though their size was intimidating, they didn’t seem to be built for combat at all. Their bright green scales looked way too soft to fend off blows, and the claws on their feet seemed to be used more for climbing than ripping people to shreds. They had toothed mouths, of course, but those were filled with the molars of herbivores, not the fangs of predators. It was hard to imagine such ‘soft’ creatures would survive long in the wild, though looks could definitely be deceiving.
“And before you ask, these are not the example I mentioned over the Comm-crystal,” claimed the elven spy. “Come, let’s not keep the warden waiting.”
He and the djinn climbed aboard a slec each, after which the creatures began expertly descending the sheer cliffs. Xera wanted to just float down there on her own, but Underwood claimed that Bitterhold’s defenses had orders to shoot down flying targets on sight and without warning. As their mounts brought them lower into the canyon, she began to understand why. A line of eight massive golem-operated ballistae rested upon Bitterhold’s ramparts, and all of them were closely tracking their descent. This was in addition to the standard suite of defensive magical wards that prevented teleportation, scrying, invisibility and the like, all of which made sure that slecs truly were the only way in and out of the place.
Once they arrived at the platform that doubled as the main gate, they got off the massive lizards and were escorted further inside by a smiling guard. Xera almost immediately noticed an odd atmosphere in the place, as neither the security staff nor the inmates seemed to bat an eye at her passage. Her sensual curves may have been hidden beneath her winter clothing, but the head poking out of those furs was that of a blue-skinned demon with golden crown-like horns. Surely either her demonic features or jaw-droppingly beautiful face would elicit some sort of reaction from a bunch of rowdy men forced to live underground, right?
Wrong. Because every single person she passed by on the way to the office was smiling. Prisoners of various races, builds and ages were walking around with heavy loads on their shoulders and goofy grins on their faces without uttering so much as a grunt of dissatisfaction. They also had a hazy, blissed out look to their eyes, almost as if the hard labor was a vacation. Which it most certainly was not, especially when it came to the material they were extracting.
Mithril was only found in exceptionally unstable and dangerous places. Anyone who wanted to liberate the precious metal from the earth’s grip had to put in considerably more effort than something like iron or gold. Not only did the extraction process require special equipment and an immense amount of strength and endurance, but also included a variety of supernatural hazards. Subterranean monster attacks, pockets of toxic fumes and discharges of volatile magical energy when striking the ore were but a few of the obstacles involved. The worst among those was without a doubt the sporadic seismic activity that caused frequent cave ins, which was probably the cause of those distant ground tremors that crawled up Xera’s spine.
It was safe to say that mining mithril was a task better suited to adventurers than laborers, which was partly why it fetched such a high price even in its unsmelted, unpurified form. However, this also implied that the inmates here did not have their Jobs stripped away from them as the law dictated. It was impossible to do an adventurer's job without adventurer Jobs, after all. Nor would they be able to do that work if they were bound by mana draining shackles as one might expect in these situations. Nor did they seem to have any sort of meaningful oversight, as the prisoner to guard ratio was somewhere in the neighbourhood of thirty to one.
All things considered, the place was so suspicious that even a five year old child that was a bit on the slow side would be able to tell something strange was going on.
“Quite the sight, isn’t it?” Silus asked Xera while they were descending a torch-lit staircase. “As I’m sure you’ve guessed, all of this scum is being controlled through magical means rather than physical ones.”
“No, really?” she replied in a high-pitched sarcastic tone. “You mean it isn’t normal for ruthless criminals to happily perform hazardous and physically intensive labor for presumably no pay without trying to overpower these lax security measures? And here I thought they’d just grown to like this dark, gloomy place whose very name sounds depressing! I’m sure my Master will leap at the chance to join the festivities! Right after it rips out your heart and shits in your skull.”
“Don’t bitch at me, this place wasn’t my idea. Frankly speaking it makes me ashamed it even exists. Criminals or not, I would much rather see these people executed so their souls can move on rather than imprison them within their own bodies like this, but that’s not my call to make.”
“Is that why you seemed so nonchalant that my Master blew up your Foundation’s precious underground facility?”
“Something like that. My bosses were quite furious, but I was honestly relieved to hear that den of nightmares they called a think tank was gone. Relieved, but not surprised. The kind of ‘work’ that went on there was bound to blow up in the Foundation’s face sooner or later.”
“My Master wants you to know you should save your breath. It’s not going to believe for a second you truly feel that way about your colleagues.”
“It wasn’t as if I joined by choice,” he mumbled in response.
Silus Underwood had lost his life during the final days of the Calamity Conflict, just another casualty in the wake of Overlord Nagnamor’s rampage. This was not a fabricated lie, but the honest truth. However, the Foundation had revived him much like they had Boxxy, and Silus was thus ‘recruited’ into the group. He didn’t like the arrangement, but he was an FIB man through and through. Someone who understood why it was necessary to cross certain lines so that both the Republic and its people might prosper.
He understood, but that didn’t mean he liked it.
“What about this place?” asked the demoness next to him. “What sort of sick bastard’s in charge here?”
“You’re about to find out. We’ve arrived at the warden’s office.”
The elf and the djinn had been escorted to a small wooden building of some sort, more of a shack than a house. They entered through the plain looking front door, which creaked slightly as it was opened. Inside was a rather spacious office, though much like the rest of the facility, something was very ‘off’ about it. While there were indeed desks, chairs, cupboards and cabinets all over the place as one might expect, it was also home to hundreds of empty liquor bottles. Mostly wine bottles, judging by the stale stench in the air.
And standing in the middle of all that with a goofy grin on her face was the warden, a mature elven woman slightly taller than Xera. She wore a dark gray uniform bordering on black, with a long sleeved jacket on top and a tight skirt and dark brown leggings on the bottom. Her face was conventionally attractive and she was well stacked in all the right places, yet the feeling she gave off was more of a kindly aunt than a sensual seductress. She had long locks of oily, bright pink hair that rolled off her shoulders, but that was still somehow not her weirdest feature. Her left eye was an exotic silver color with a few speckles in it, while the right was a bright blue.
“Hello- *Slurp* -mister Underwood,” she said with a sloppy salute.
Okay, perhaps the strangest thing about her was the way she casually licked the entirety of her own chin with that abnormally long tongue of hers.
“Hello, ma’am,” Silus replied with a sharp salute of his own.
“May I ask who is your- *Slurp* -wonderful guest?”
“Warden Stain, I’d like to introduce you to one of the Sandman’s familiars. Miss Snack, this is warden Stain, the one who makes this place possible.”
“Oh, ‘Snack’ is it? *Slurp* You certainly know how to pique my interests!”
“My, quite the obscene woman you have here,” said Xera with a sneer. “Does she keep all these rowdy lads under control by using her mouth to pleasure them?”
“Hehehe… *Slurp* You’re about to find out, you sumptuous-”
“Stain, this demon isn’t a tribute,” Silus interrupted. “The Foundation is trying to recruit her and her master for a dangerous mission, but they need some reassurance my bosses will not go back on their word. That’s why I brought them here, where they can confirm your circumstances with their own eyes.”
“Oh-hoh! I see! In that case, I suppose I don’t need to pretend, do I?”
The warden didn’t even wait for the elf’s confirmation before she suddenly, for lack of a better word, dissolved. Her fair skin turned pink, goopy and partially transparent, her hair strands fused together to become a single gelatinous mess and her legs joined together into an amorphous blob. The uniform she was wearing sank into her torso and lower body, only to be replaced by a long princess-like dress made of bright red goo as her body expanded to about three times its previous volume. Her womanly curves remained more or less the same, as did her indecently grinning face and oddly colored eyes. Her arms extended downwards, growing smoother and longer while her hands and fingers merged into lumps of pink, resulting in her limbs looking like a pair of oversized strands of snot hanging off her shoulders.
It was immediately apparent this so-called ‘warden’ was a member of the slime family of monsters due to her gelatinous countenance. The presence of multiple pearl-like objects that floated around inside her that betrayed her higher species, as only queen slimes had more than one core. At the same time, however, there were far too few of them. A queen slime should have dozens if not hundreds of those, yet this one only had five.
“Mister Morningwood, allow me to reintroduce warden Stain,” said Silus. “As you can probably tell, she’s the queen slime around these parts. She’s an extremely rare variant, one that my organization hasn’t seen before or since coming into contact with her. Incidentally, she is over a hundred and fifty years old and has lived in these caves since long before the Republic built this mining complex.”
“Yet she’s also the overseer of a government-run high-security prison?” Xera asked with an accusatory stare. “Do you honestly expect me or my Master to believe you lot haven’t brainwashed her?”
“Let’s make something clear, you - *Slurp* - delicious-smelling morsel,” Stain interjected. “If anyone’s doing the brainwashing around here, it’s me.”
“It is? Wait, so all those people outside, they’re your doing?”
“That’s right. Every last one of those naughty children answers to me.”
The djinn knew just how difficult it was to maintain control of an enlightened mind for prolonged periods of time. The more one used mind magic on the same person, the more resistance each subsequent use would be met with. She didn’t even think long-term domination was possible until she learned of the Foundation and their Attitude Adjuster formula. Even then the process supposedly took weeks or even months to show any results. It was far from foolproof too, judging by how their pet project called ‘Zilla’ had been plotting to betray them for years.
Yet if everything Xera had been told was true, then that would mean Stain had been performing such a thing perfectly for the better half of century to hundreds of people at the same time.
“Come, step outside if you wish to see proof.”
The slime casually sloshed over to the door and went through it like it was the most natural thing in the world, with her two guests following closely after her. When Xera came out, she was met with the unblinking stares of a group of more than thirty people who had gathered outside without so much as a spoken word.
“Greetings, lovely Snack!” they yelled in unison.
All of them then reached towards their heads and placed a hand on their hats. Wait, were they always wearing hats? They must have been seeing as how their caps completely matched their clothes, regardless of whether they were prisoner rags or guard uniforms. So then how come Xera completely failed to realize they were wearing them? Thinking back on it now, she clearly remembered them being there on her way to the warden’s office. They just somehow seemed… not worth noticing.
“I am an overmind slime,” said Stain as she rolled around in front of the row of meat puppets. “Others sometimes call me a ‘People Tamer,’ which I think is rather apt, if not entirely accurate. You see, what I do is not mind control. I do not direct these children's thoughts or perceptions. I have conquered and devoured them, replacing them with my own. That is why, even though you see many bodies before you, there is but one mind.”
The slime paused while the gathered crowd then lifted their headwear all at once. This revealed that all of them had bald heads, and that each shaved scalp sported a fist sized blob of semi-solid pink goo with a pearl-like object floating inside.
“There are no prisoners, there is only Stain!”
The congregation shouted as one, after which they reapplied their perception-blocking headgear and resumed their duties as if nothing had happened.
“So yeah, I basically have this place entirely to myself. *Slurp* Most of the time, anyway,” said Stain with a tongue-like blob hanging out of her mouth.
“Fair enough, but that doesn’t answer my Master’s question. How do you know you’ve not been brainwashed by these guys and that Attitude Adjuster of theirs?” asked Xera.
“Because I have the Mind Affinity Skill, courtesy of my subspecies. My will is impervious to magical manipulation, no matter the source. Feel free to try it out for yourself if you doubt me. You’re a demon, so you should know one or two Domination Spells, yes?”
“Very well,” agreed Xera while placing a hand on the slime’s goopy forehead. “Sleep!”
And then nothing happened. Nothing at all. No Status messages, no notifications, not even the slightest flinch from that red-and-pink pile of sentient goo. It was almost as if the djinn was trying to put a rock to sleep. Indeed, the only evidence of her even attempting to use a Spell was the fact that a bit of her MP was used up.
“My turn. Sleep.”
The slime then returned the favor, and the former succubus instantly dropped to the floor. It wasn’t until she heard her Master’s telepathic nagging less than a minute later that she woke up to find herself back inside Stain’s office. However, rather than laying on the floor or resting on the sofa, she was instead buried neck deep within the creature’s amorphous lower body. She was then made painfully aware of the intense prickling sensations all over her skin, signaling that she was slowly being digested.
“Oh my, now this is unexpected,” said the slime, as she formed a head in front of Xera’s. “I must say, I didn’t expect for you to wake up so quickly. Your summoner must be quite gifted to have given you so much MNT.”
“Release me immediately,” the demon hissed, “or I will boil you from the inside out and smear you across the walls.”
“Aw, don’t be like that. At least let me - *Slurp* - enjoy your taste for a while longer.”
“My flavor is for my Master only. You are not worthy to even suck the dirt from underneath my nails. So either let me go, or I will make you.”
The now naked djinn was then unceremoniously spat out, though her exotically erotic and strangely shiny outfit reappeared moments afterwards.
“How did you even do that to me?” the demoness asked warily. “Sleep is a Domination Spell, it should have no effect on demons. Unless… you have Legendary Mentality?”
“Well, aren’t you full of surprises?” said Stain with a goopy smile. “I didn’t think you bound demons bothered with things like Perks.”
She would normally be correct, as familiar’s bodies were incapable of holding Perks. However, Xera wasn’t just any familiar - she was Boxxy’s familiar. Her master was a holder of both Legendary Intelligence and Legendary Endurance, so it was only natural it would seek out information regarding to other Perks in the ‘Legendary’ series. The Strength, Agility and Dexterity ones were all seemingly within reach, but Legendary Mentality was the one it was closest to from the advanced Attributes. And it was an extremely tasty one, to boot.
Description: A being whose power of will is the stuff of legends.
Requirements: Reach 750 Mental Fortitude (MNT).
Effects: Spells and Skills that affect the mind can be used on Golems, Demons and Undead at 30% effectiveness.
Reduces the duration of hostile mind control effects by 80%.
However, it couldn’t actively pursue any of those at the moment, not with the power creep problem looming over its head. At the very least it was able to confirm beyond the shadow of a doubt that Stain did indeed have the Perk in question. It was the only way the Sleep Spell would have affected Snack at all, even if its effects were greatly weakened. It was extremely unlikely that someone with Legendary Mentality, Mind Affinity, and the mental acuity to dominate over a hundred enlightened beings would succumb to the Foundation’s alchemical cocktail.
Speaking of which -
“My Master has a question for you, Stain. You did not bat an eye when I mentioned Attitude Adjuster earlier. Does that mean you are familiar with the substance?”
“Ah!” the slime exclaimed. “Well played, my dear. Well played indeed. Yes, I know of that knock off. They actually took some of my biomass to help refine the formula. Apparently this slushy goodness opens the door to all kinds of mindfuckery if used right.”
She swung her massive bust left to right for emphasis causing her waterskin-like breasts to bounce about, which led Boxxy to its next question.
“Why is it you take that particular form?” asked Xera.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“You look more like a succubus than a slime. It’s odd.”
All slimes - regardless of age, species or variant - typically had appearances similar to sentient puddles. And even if they were to take a humanoid form, surely it would be a more practical one that didn’t have all that unnecessary padding. Boxxy normally wouldn’t really bother with this question, but it couldn’t help but wonder why it was that so many monsters emulated forms that enlightened males would find sexually attractive. Succubi, alraune, dryads, and now even a queen slime? Did Terrania really need so many large-chested species?
“The naughty children are to blame for that, honey. You see, when I conquer a mind, I absorb it. Not just memories, but also thoughts, hopes, and wishes. And since most of the people the Republic gives me are morally corrupt men I ended up being affected by their adolescent fantasies of what a queen slime should look like. Things would be different if they had actually seen one of my kind in person before, but chances are they wouldn’t be alive if that happened.”
“So you’re saying you look that way because all men are pigs, and all your ‘subjects’ are men? Even though you can change into anything you want?”
“It’s a shapeshifter thing,” said Stain with a shrug. “I just don’t feel comfortable unless I take this shape.”
Well, Boxxy had gotten a fairly reasonable explanation, but it still wasn’t happy about it. Even if it grasped the concept, this evolutionary predisposition towards large breasts felt rather unnatural, forced even. It was almost as if some unseen force was subtly manipulating events to fill the world with an unreasnable amount of big-boobied monster girls. Such wild theories could wait for later, however. Right now it had more pressing concerns, so it ordered Snack to move onto the next question.
“So the Republic has you dig up their shiny rocks by using their undesirables as slave labor. What do you get out of it?”
“Alcohol, and lots of it. I absolutely adore the stuff,” said Stain with a borderline lecherous smile. “Elven wine made from fermented Hylt fruit especially! The first time I tasted that delicious brew made me feel like I had found my purpose in life! *Slurp* Have you ever had that sort of feeling?!”
Boxxy did experience something like that, actually. The shapeshifter still vividly remembered its first day after its Rank Up into a Greater Mimic, for it was the first time it beheld the wondrous splendour of gold. That event unlocked an unquenchable thirst for shiny things that rivaled its instinctive need for tasty things in intensity. That being said, it wasn’t like shiny things had completely absorbed its world, and it certainly wouldn’t agree to be a government workhorse because of them.
“There has to be more to it than just wine though,” said Xera on her master’s behalf.
“Oh, but there is! Though it’s a bit rougher, the kick of specialty dwarven liquors are quite enjoyable in their own way. *Slurp* Firebrand whiskey is probably my favorite among the Horkensaft Kingdom’s drinks, but that gnomish vodka I had a few years ago was quite memorable as well.”
“But you can acquire all that stuff if you worked on your own, yes? Granted, your disguise could use some work… make that a lot of work, but we fail to see why you would have to answer to a bunch of elves.”
“You think I haven’t tried working solo?” asked Stain, her bubbly voice replaced by a grim, raspy tone. “Every attempt I’ve made to get the things I want have been met with disaster. Whenever I tried to carve out a corner of reality to call my own, the pesky rabble banded together and evicted me. It was always caused by the smallest of things, too. One errant twitch, one slip of the tongue, one nosy little bitch who refused to break even after months of mind rape, and everything I’ve worked to build up would came crashing down in an instant!”
The slime had grown so furiously angry that her pink fluids were rapidly turning bright red in color, almost to the point where her ‘skin’ was indistinguishable from her ‘dress.’ Having noticed this, Stain took a moment to calm herself down until she returned to her regular coloration.
“After all that disappointment,” she continued, “is it any surprise I played along when the Foundation offered me a deal? Granted it was a rough few years initially, but it’s worked out wonderfully for me. They provide me with extra security and a steady supply of servants, good liquor and tasty food. In return I punish their criminals by making them dig out precious metals and gems the elves want. That way I get fatter, the government gets richer, and the rabble get to feel safe.”
It certainly sounded like a mutually beneficial relationship, so long as the Republic was able to keep those pesky morals of theirs in check. Which probably wasn’t hard, as it was unlikely any of the elected officials truly knew what was going on in Bitterhold. Even if some sort of official inspection showed up to check on things, there was any number of ways that Stain and the Foundation could handle them to maintain the status quo. All things considered it sounded like a setup that was too good to be true.
Which more often than not meant that it wasn’t.
“I doubt it’s as rosy as you make it out to be,” insisted Xera. “Aren’t you the real prisoner here?”
“Not in the slightest. I could leave anytime I want to. I just don’t want to. I don’t thirst for adventure or whatever, and the Republic lets me do what I want with their naughty ones so long as I meet my quota. Such a safe and comfortable lifestyle suits me just fine. They even give me extra resources to make sure I’m not disturbed by self-righteous morons.”
“So the security in this place isn’t there to hold the prisoners in, but to keep outsiders away?”
“Precisely. The Republic needs me to maintain this ‘profitable enterprise’ of theirs, so they wouldn’t want me to get annihilated even by accident. Say what you will about those Foundation types, but they know how to look after their assets.”
Meaning that if Boxxy could prove itself to be an asset, then it too would be looked after. Maybe it wouldn’t be as pampered as Stain was considering how much damage it did to them, but it didn’t need to be. So long as the Foundation stayed out of its way, then it wouldn’t mind taking care of a few loose ends for them. Especially if it meant it would get a shot at Edward. Ideally it would have waited for the Inquisition to catch up to and put an end to the ex-Spymaster, but that changed when one of his lackeys escaped with the truth of its identity.
Therefore, rather than waiting for that man and his goons to come after it, Boxxy felt the wisest course of action was to take the initiative. And if it could maybe forge a truce with the Foundation in the process, then that was just the eyeball icing on the liver cake. It was too good of a chance to pass up, and after confirming Stain’s circumstances with Xera’s eyes, it was actually looking forward to this… unlikely partnership.
There was one slight problem though.
“Where is mister Underwood? My master wishes that I speak with him right away.”
“Oh, him? You won’t be seeing him for a while,” said Stain while waving her arm-like appendage dismissively.
“Why? Where is he?”
“He got all noisy and annoying after he saw me knock you out, so I had him sent off for some- *Slurp* -disciplinary action.”
“You can do that? Won’t assaulting a government agent cause problems with your bosses?”
“I won’t kill or cripple him or anything, so it should be fine. Besides, I think you are still misunderstanding something. You see, you’re not in the Ishigar Republic.”
A loud, rhythmic thumping rocked the office, causing the plethora of empty liquor bottles to rattle ominously as hundreds of thralls slammed their tools against the ground in perfect unity.
“This is the Slimetatorship of Stain, and I am its Queen. You will do well to remember that.”