A lone Hylt tree stood steadfast amidst the snowed-over Clattering Plains, situated south of both Fort Yimin and Bitterhold. It was once a temporary base of the Sandman during the war, as the masked mercenary had seemingly made allies with the dryad within. The plant-woman was nowhere in sight this morning, nor did it seem like she wanted to show herself. Which was a good thing, because this was the meeting spot that Boxxy and Silus agreed on six days ago. It was arguably the site of when the Republic and the Sandman first joined forces, which made it rather symbolic for what was about to happen.
Boxxy had agreed to partner up with the Foundation, as both shared the common goal of hunting down and eliminating Edward Allen before he became an even bigger threat. Both sides had to make their own preparations for the mission, so it was decided they would meet up here four days after the ‘tour’ at Bitterhold. Today was that day, and Silus had arrived to see the Sandman already waiting for him.
Except that Boxxy had brought along additional company.
“Well, this is rather surprising,” said the elf. “I was not expecting to see the Rustblood Juggernaut here.”
“Better get used to it, meatbag,” Fizzy replied in a casual manner. “I’m coming with.”
“… Could I ask why?”
“Those bastards threatened people I call friends on the most sacred day of the year. That’s already more than enough reason, isn’t it?”
“And you’re okay with the idea of working with a monster?”
“Last time I checked, golems were monsters too.”
“Well, yes, but you were a person once. The FIB already confirmed there used to be a gnome bearing your name who disappeared from the city of Erosa a month or so before you arrived here.”
“Oh? Did your research also tell you that I was unjustly imprisoned and was condemned to work like a slave to fuel the Spymaster’s ambitions? I’d probably be rotting away in a cell right now if Boxxy here didn’t free and look after me until I was strong enough to handle myself. I owe this guy my life, and I owe that dickhole Edward a beating, so I’m coming with no matter what.”
Bringing the mithril golem along and revealing her connection to both Boxxy and Edward were decisions Fizzy had made for herself. She judged that if she and the Mimic were going to continue working with the Foundation, then it was best to get this topic out of the way now, lest it become a problem later. The problem was that it somewhat put Keira’s identity at risk, which was why Boxxy didn’t want to go through with it. However, it had agreed to treat Fizzy as an equal, so it had little choice but to trust her judgement on the matter.
“Hmm, I see, so that’s what it was,” mused Silus. “The FIB always suspected there was some sort of connection between you two seeing as how you arrived in Azurvale at relatively the same time. I must say though, it bothers me that young miss Morgana is surrounded by such individuals. That girl might one day be a national treasure, so I can’t help but feel uneasy that you two have decided to get close to her.”
Boxxy threw Fizzy a look saying ‘I told you so,’ then turned its attention towards addressing the elven spy’s worries.
“Do not fret, mister Underwood. I have no intention of bringing harm to her. Just the opposite, in fact. As you said, she will one day become a national treasure. A person of power and influence. Though she herself might not appreciate such things, she will not hesitate to use them to protect those she considers allies. Especially if they were comrades she made before being thrust into the public eye.”
“I see, so you found out she was a Hero long before we did and decided to worm your way into her good graces. That’s also why you singled her out during the early stages of the war, to expedite her rise to fame. And considering that she considers you two to be reliable allies, I daresay your plan worked. I always thought you were careful and meticulous, but only now do I realize I have been underestimating you. Well played, mister Morningwood. Well played indeed.”
It would appear that little chat that Keira and Nao had in front of the FIB agent had proven to be for the best. That was the only time the catgirl had given her opinion on the Sandman to anyone who wasn’t a confidant, and the only time she used the words ‘reliable ally.’ As for Keira, she had already left the capital in secret under the guise of ‘an urgent mission from Jonathan.’ Rowana naturally raised a bit of a stink, but that elf had already been trained to accept everything her ‘lover’ did without doubt or worry.
“What about yourself, mister Underwood?” asked Boxxy. “What is warden Stain doing here?”
Just like the shapeshifter, Silus had also brought unexpected company of the female monster variety.
“Oh my, you could tell?” she cooed in response. “And here I was hoping to string you along at least for a little bit.”
At a glance the elf’s companion appeared to be a female elven agent buried underneath several layers of winter clothing. However, though it looked like some minor underling on the surface, beneath that gear was a gelatinous pink mass coated in a thin layer of fake skin. It would appear Stain was unable to morph her insides to resemble those of people. Seeing the self-proclaimed ‘slimetator’ like this made Boxxy glad it chose to become a doppelganger rather than a queen slime when it was offered the choice. Otherwise any passing beholder would immediately be able to see right through its Facade.
Not that it needed an MLG to figure out this woman was Stain. Though she wore a hood that concealed most of the face, one could still see the mismatched silver-and-blue eyes and strands of pink hair poking out from underneath. It was unthinkable that there would be two beings with that unique combination of colors. Indeed, anyone who had met the warden of Bitterhold in person - be it her real self or her paper-thin Facade - would be able to recognize her based on those features alone.
“Well, there’s no helping it now, so I don’t see a point in hiding any longer!”
“Stain, please don’t undo your disguise out here,” said Silus in a tired voice. “I would appreciate it if you acted as if you were being watched at all times.”
“Hmpf. I think someone needs some more disciplinary action!”
Those words made the elf’s face twitch for a moment, but he stood firm.
“Do something like that again, and the Foundation will reduce your wine shipments by half for the next three months.”
“Tch. Fine. Let’s just get going.”
“Going? So she’s coming with us?” asked Boxxy, its voice oozing with doubt.
“No, she’s coming with you,” clarified Silus. “Stain will be going as the Foundation’s representative. She’s been briefed about everything there is to know regarding our mole within the Gilded Hand and will use that information to help you track down and eliminate their leadership.”
“The enemy has a gifted Psionic at their disposal, the most powerful one on this continent. A spy like me will just become a liability in-”
“That’s not what I meant, mister Underwood,” the Mimic interrupted. “Why would she agree to risk her life for your sake?”
“My reasons are my own,” Stain claimed. “Suffice it to say, I too have a personal stake in seeking out those naughty children. Besides, I am not ‘risking my life.’ The body you see before you is one I have specially prepared for this mission, but it is not the only one. My consciousness will live should it perish. However, that isn’t to say I will be slacking off, as it will take me a few years to completely recover.”
“Huh. I wasn’t aware something as simple as a slime could have such a convenient ability. I was certain your kind were only good for playing around with various fluids.”
“Do not lump me in with the plebeian puddles you may have come across. I am absolutely certain the only one in this world who possesses Hyper Division is me!”
“So you have an Ultimate Skill called Hyper Division, huh? Good to know.”
Silus sighed and put a palm over his face while the proud-looking overmind slime slowly realized she had given away one of her biggest secrets for no good reason.
“Come on, Stain!” the elf complained. “We talked about this! You can’t let your guard down around this guy!”
“What are the drawbacks, then?” Boxxy continued, ignoring the elf. “Does splitting your body reduce its abilities? It must be something like that, seeing as how you seem a lot more in control than you did when you met with Snack. You’re far calmer and haven’t licked your face even once. I also detected sixty eight cores floating around inside you as opposed to the seven you had back then, so the power of the body must grow in proportion to how many of those it has. You must have ‘let go’ of quite a few of your ‘subjects’ to pool that many resources into one place, though I’m guessing you have a way to reclaim them later. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t have done it.”
“Heh. To be able to determine that much about me already, you must truly be as extraordinary a specimen as I was told,” Stain said with a bemused tone.
The doppelganger’s educated guesses had all been spot on. It was no small feat to reach such conclusions, especially the parts about the prisoners. The slime’s personal brand of ‘mental conquest’ left her victims irreversibly brain dead, reducing them to literal meat puppets with the overmind slime pulling the strings. Another way of saying it would be that the soul had been evicted even though the flesh lived on, meaning that it was far too late for them to be ‘released’ from Stain’s control. The people in question were currently in a comatose state, kept alive through magic until their owner returned to reclaim them.
“I almost feel like claiming you for myself right here and now.”
Stain leered somewhat disturbingly towards Boxxy as she said that, causing Fizzy to step forward, pointing her makeshift blunt weapon at the slime.
“Try that and I will reduce you to a steaming puddle of crap.”
Miniature bolts of lightning arced out of her, melting the snow beneath her feet and causing the gluttonous goo-girl to shrink back. She was a shapeshifter like Boxxy, so it was highly likely she shared its Bane. She would therefore be unwilling to tangle with this electrified golem. Especially since she felt the presence of not one, but three distinct wills within Fizzy’s shiny head. She wasn’t sure how such a thing was possible, but she had to accept it would be immensely difficult to conquer such a mind, even with her Legendary Mentality.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I must insist we speed this along,” said Silus.
“Is it absolutely necessary we bring this… liability along, mister Underwood?”
“This is not Stain’s first mission, nor is she a stranger to armed combat. I assure you she will not be a hindrance. If anything, I’m more worried about your own companion, mister Morningwood.”
“Fizzy may not look it, but she has a good deal of combat experience already. Not to mention it would take significant effort to harm a body forged out of pure mithril.”
“I am not questioning her ability as a fighter. It’s just that it’s likely the Gilded Hand would relocate if they catch wind of our intentions, and she does not strike me as the stealthy type.”
Saying Fizzy was unsuited to clandestine operations was like saying exploding volcanoes were a bit of a nuisance. Her tread was heavy and loud, her frame was excessively shiny and her electrified bits practically glowed in the dark. Silus could see the gleam of her mithril armor long before he was able to confirm who it belonged to. Her personality was the biggest problem though, as she was the type to intentionally draw attention to herself all the damn time.
“You let me worry about that,” stated Boxxy. “I got her out here without you realizing, didn’t I?”
“Fair point,” conceded Silus. “I suppose I have no choice but to trust your judgement on this. It may not be ideal, but you and Stain are still our best bet at taking down that bastard.”
Though the Foundation’s informant helped the FIB set up a trap for the Gilded Hand’s officers, they had unfortunately failed to capture or kill any of them. They helped thin out the rogue organization’s manpower, yes, but they had shown their hand. Now that the enemy knew there was a traitor among them, it would only be a matter of time before they were exposed. It likely wouldn’t be any time soon, but it was important to move quickly while they had the opportunity.
Unfortunately, the Gilded Hand’s main base was located somewhere in the city off Watford, deep within the Empire’s territory. Neither the Republic’s Legions or the FIB could intrude on foreign sovereign soil without stating their intentions, which would undoubtedly tip off Edward’s bunch. Alternatively they could hand this information over to the Inquisition, but they seriously doubted those people would be able to do anything. Their intentions were just and their cause righteous, but their means and methods were woefully inadequate for the realm of espionage.
The Foundation couldn’t sit tight and do nothing, either. Thanks to the input of a couple of beastkin Heroes, they now strongly believed replicating the Calamity of Monotal was Edward’s end goal. Allowing any one man to hold so much power was a terrifying prospect, so this secret mission, codenamed Operation Just Cause, was authorized. The next problem was that recent events had left the Foundation severely weakened. They did not have the right ‘people’ that could pull off such a job. Nor could they seek the aid of Ranker adventurers like Hilda and Imiryl, as those public figures were no doubt being tracked by the enemy. Any suspicious movements on their part would surely compromise the mission, and that was even if they agreed to the Foundation’s dubious methods.
So, with no other options, the decision was made to send Boxxy and Stain as ‘monster mercenaries.’ It was a gamble, yes, but one that they only stood to benefit from should the shapeshifters stop that madman before he obtained a weapon of mass destruction. Even if they were to fail, the outcome for the Republic would have been no different than if the Foundation did nothing. Which, at this point, seemed like the only other feasible alternative.
All of this had been explained to Boxxy prior to today’s meeting. Though it didn’t completely trust those words, they certainly explained why the Foundation was so eager to bury the hatchet. Especially since the Sandman had shown himself to be an enemy to the Gilded Hand. It seemed the elves were thinking something along the lines of the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ which Boxxy didn’t quite agree with. In its humble opinion, the enemy of its enemy was its enemy’s enemy - nothing more and nothing less.
However, working together to take down a common adversary was something it could get behind and it really wanted Edward dead, so it ultimately agreed to have Stain tag along.
“So, what’s the plan?” the Mimic asked once Silus had left.
“For now we head towards Watford,” the slime answered. “You know where that is?”
“It’s the one that’s on the southern edge of the Oculus Sea, right?”
The sea in question was the massive body of water that took up the heart of the continent, so named after the eye-shaped imprint it left on the map. It made up the entirety of the Empire’s northeastern border, and Watford was the most infamous settlement that rested on its banks. It was rumored to be a cesspool of moral bankruptcy and a hotbed of smugglers, thieves, and slave traders. It was almost the perfect place for Edward and his cohorts to hide out in.
“That’s the one,” Stain confirmed. “You have a way to get us there quickly?”
“I do, but you’re probably not going to like it.”
The Sandman raised an arm to his side and opened up the Storage portal.
“You and Fizzy hop in here for a little while. After that I teleport us to a new position where we will wait for my MP to recover. We then repeat the process.
“Ugh, in there again,” groaned Fizzy.
“What? It’s not like you need air to survive.”
“No, but how can you behold my glorious mithril frame if I’m stuck in some dimensional pothole?”
“Don’t be like that. It’ll only be for ten, fifteen seconds at a time.”
If Boxxy had to transport the golem’s full weight, then the MP cost of the Transfamiliar Spell would nearly double. The same could be said about the slime, even though she had seemingly only sent a portion of her total biomass.
“Fine, fine,” she conceded. “I guess I’ll bear with it.”
“What about you, Stain?”
“I don’t mind so long as we get there quickly,” she replied with a shrug. “We will get there quickly, won’t we?”
“Should take about three days.”
Technically Boxxy could make it in two if it rushed, but it needed to preserve its stamina. It was also unwise to use up all of its MP in one go when dealing with an unknown quantity like Stain.
“Good enough for me.”
“Ok then, in you go, both of you. Oh, and don’t flail around in there, or terrible things might happen.”
Though it was possible for Storage to contain living things, whoever or whatever was trapped inside could easily force their way out. All they had to do to escape the pocket dimension was apply enough force to its inner boundaries. A hole would then rip open, causing Boxxy to take some backlash damage while the offending entity was ejected into the waking world. This was something it learned the hard way when it tried to confine Wardrobzilla in there, shortly before the mutated house mimic ended its life.
“I know, I know,” said Stain while waving her hand around dismissively. “This isn’t the first time part of me was stuffed in an Item Box.”
The two monstrous women entered Boxxy’s Storage. A black, oppressive void overtook them while they bumped into the various items and supplies already inside. They were released a short while later, finding themselves on the edge of a snow-covered pinewood forest about sixty kilometers south of their old location. Fizzy stepped out of the pocket dimension none the worse for wear, though the same could not be said about Stain. The slime queen had, for lack of a better word, poured herself out of the spatial distortion as her pink goo struggled to keep itself together. The gelatinous mass staid as a bubbling puddle in the frozen ground for one or two seconds before a half-elf half-slime woman rose out of it.
“Ugh, that was unpleasant,” she groaned as she continued to reconstitute herself. “What the balls did you just do? It felt like I was ripped apart into a thousand pieces and put back together.”
“Yeah, that happens with the Transfamiliar Spell,” grumbled Boxxy, who had reverted to its base Hylt creeper form. “I’m surprised it affected you inside there. Or at all, for that matter.”
“Just my luck. I’m working with an idiot who doesn’t even know how its own magic works.”
“We could always walk, if you want to risk being seen.”
“Oh, and delivering us in the middle of a forest like this is secure?”
“Of course it is. My familiars have already swept the area. There’s nothing within three kilometers of this location but trees and gnolls.”
“I see. You secured it as a fallback point, did you?”
“Of course. There’s no way I’d meet with the Foundation without first preparing an escape plan. Or three.”
“I guess you’re not a total amateur, at least. Now if you’ll excuse me, I should probably rebuild my disguise.”
Stain began steadily shrinking as she forced her body into a more condensed and solid state. It wasn’t anywhere near as large as the one she had during the ‘tour,’ but she still struggled with it quite a bit. The winter clothing that was still floating around inside her floated to the surface and wrapped around her while a layer of pseudo-skin wrapped her up completely. It took her about half a minute, but the slime’s Facade - flimsy as it was - was successfully recreated.
“Wait, you’re done?” asked Fizzy once the transformation ended. “What about your eyes?”
“What about them?”
“Shouldn’t you change away from that freaky silver and blue combo?”
“Oh, darn! I thought I did!”
Stain closed her eyes and focused for a few seconds before opening them back up.
“Now it’s blue and silver. Swapping them doesn’t really solve anything.”
“Well, I can’t help it. Eyes are tricky. Besides, it’s not like I need this form all that much.”
Stain very rarely got visitors, so it was only natural that her people skills were practically non-existent. In fact, Xera was the first in about six years. Well, aside from her Foundation contacts, but she didn’t need to hide what she was in front of those guys and gals.
“So what happens now,” she asked.
“Now, we wait,” Boxxy answered. “I need to recover my MP a bit and resummon Snack, then send her on ahead.”
“That tasty morsel? How will she aid us in our travels?”
“Transfamiliar works by swapping places with a familiar. Snack can fly and turn herself invisible with magic, so she will go on ahead in my stead. Once she gets far enough ahead we swap places, then I repeat the process.”
Aside from the djinn, Boxxy could also use Claws. The webstalker was always good at traversing terrain, but her recent Rank Up had made her even nimbler. She could keep up with Snack’s flying speed, and her demonic constitution meant she did not get tired easily. However, it was important to keep her by her Master’s side as much as possible. Just in case Stain got any ‘bright’ ideas. That was why she had been lurking around the meeting spot prior to their departure, and why she hitched a ride on Boxxy’s back during Transfamiliar. She was much lighter than either Fizzy, Stain or Boxxy, so she was hardly even a burden on the monster’s MP pool.
As for Arms, she was currently on standby in the Beyond until Boxxy brought her out with Voidcaller in case of an emergency.
“Seems like a needlessly roundabout way of doing things,” the slime complained. “Why not just use a Gate Spell?”
“Because I do not know the Gate Spell. Besides, doing it this way lets me scout out the destination before going there. It’s not ideal, but it’s still faster and safer than just walking. It also helps me make the most out of the time I have. Speaking of which, Fizzy and I have work to do, so if you’ll excuse us...”
“Work? What work could you possibly have to do?”
Boxxy paid no attention to Stain’s question as it opened up its Storage and spit out a small table, a bunch of tools and a couple of toolboxes. The Mimic and its ‘trophy wife’ immediately began assembling an explosive device each. The self-proclaimed slimetator did not appreciate being ignored so brazenly, but at the same time she found herself strangely captivated by their work. This was her first time seeing an Artificer at work - let alone two of them - and it was hard to deny it was something of a spectacle.
On one hand there was Boxxy, who was using a total of six snake-like limbs instead of arms. Various metal bits and pieces were being added onto the device in front of it at dizzying speed. Bolts were tightened, amounts measured and parts soldered together all at once. As something of an expert on the subject of multitasking, Stain found it curious the Mimic could do that much. It was, of course, nowhere near as impressive as single handedly running an entire mithril mine, but it was still admirable.
As for Fizzy, she was a lot less hands-on. Her heavy armor covered every part of her, including her hands and fingers. This made precision handiwork exceptionally difficult, so she was using her Geomagnetic Grip Skill to manipulate the various metallic components into position. The task seemed to take an immense amount of concentration, given how she was staring at the floating parts in front of her while being completely and utterly motionless.
Still, even if it was a sight to behold, Stain couldn’t help but give voice to her curiosity.
“What it is you are making there?”
“Special items for the upcoming fight,” Boxxy replied. “I’ll be using them to try and counter or at least hinder the Gilded Hand’s operatives.”
One of them, for instance, would disperse a bronze-laced dust in a large area. The metal’s magic disruption properties would make it easier for Boxxy to track Edward through its Mana Locator Gland. The man had the Obfuscate Skill, which hid the wearer and his equipment from most forms of magical detection. However, the magic disruption properties of that bronze dust would make it possible for the Mimic’s supernatural sensory organ to easily detect his presence. Sort of like smearing a bucket of bright paint onto an invisible target. It wouldn’t be possible to tell any minute details, but it would be simple to see there was ‘something there.’
At least in theory. Boxxy hadn’t had the chance to test this out properly yet, but it had high hopes for it. The other trick grenades it was preparing included one that would pepper the area with needles laced with a powerful hallucinogenic. Another payload would produce a blinding flash that would momentarily petrify whatever it shone upon, an item called the ‘Basilisk Flashbang.’ There were a plethora of fragmentation explosives as well, but the Mimic needed to be prepared to have its ordnance bounced back towards it. That was why it stuck to things that would not inconvenience it terribly.
“And you are making these now?” asked Stain. “Why did you not prepare adequately for the mission before we left?”
“This expedition was short notice and, uh, procuring the necessary materials took time.”
Also an exorbitant amount of gold and gems, but Boxxy was trying really hard not to think about that.
“Hmm, better late than never, I suppose.”
“What about yourself? You’re not just going to stand there staring, are you?”
“As a matter of fact, I am. Even though I am out here, I still have a prison to run. Besides, I alone am all that I require.”
“Suit yourself, then.”
Boxxy turned its full attention back to the task at hand while Fizzy continued pouring all of hers into an experimental device she had been designing inside her head for the past week or so. When detonated, it would violently pull all ferromagnetic metals towards itself. And considering a lot of equipment, weapons and armor had iron in them, it was sure to make quite the impact during armed conflict. At least that was the theory, though it wouldn’t be long before she was able to field test it.
You have created a Mag-pulse Grenade of Poor quality.
A new invention has been born! Arclight Artificer experience increased.
Proficiency level increased. Electromagnetism is now Level 2. INT +5. END +3.
Fizzy let out a cheer as she picked up the amalgamation of copper coils, exposed wiring and iron fragments.
“Look, Boxxy! It worked!”
“What, already? I thought you said you’d need at least a few more days before you perfected it.”
“I did, and I still stand by those words. This one is just an initial prototype, so don’t expect much from it.”
Though it was an item of Poor quality, it was the most one could expect under the circumstances. No matter how talented Fizzy was, she still needed to fine tune and improve upon the design after some field trials. She didn’t even bother making a casing for it yet since that was the easy part. It also lacked an internal power source, meaning that the dynamo golem would have to charge it with her own electrical output. That was by design though, as it would be impossible to make it so compact otherwise. What mattered was that Fizzy’s creation was functional enough to be recognized as an original invention.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” stated Boxxy. “Making something original work on your first try is incredible. I know for a fact how hard it is to make an original idea into a reality. I always knew you had the shiny mind of a genius, but I see now I had been sorely underestimating you!”
Those words of sincere-sounding praise made the golem’s core buzz with delight. As expected of the monster that made her into what she was today, it knew just what she wanted to hear.
“Hmm? Where’s that Stain woman gone off to?”
Now that she had allowed her concentration to slacken, Fizzy noticed their slimy escort was nowhere to be seen.
“Oh, she got bored about an hour and a half ago and said she was off to get some food.”
“Hour and a half?” The golem paused for a second while she consulted her internal clock, courtesy of the Tick Counter Skill. “Holy shit! I’ve been at this for almost five hours?!”
Not having any of those pesky biological functions made it terrifyingly easy for Fizzy to lose track of time, especially when she was engrossed in her work. This was a problem, because they had to act fast if they were to catch up to the Gilded Hand before the Foundation’s mole was exposed. And considering it would take about two hours for Xera to secure a new transfer point, this meant that they were already behind schedule.
“Why didn’t you say anything?!” she protested.
“You look especially shiny when you’re concentrating, so I just let you be. Time may be of the essence, but spending a few extra hours on preparation is not a bad thing.”
Back when the Gilded Hand attacked the Aurora Eve party, they had caught the Mimic woefully unprepared to face them. This time around, however, was different. This time, the monster would be the one to have the drop on Edward and his posse. And it would descend upon them with the full martial, mystical and monetary force of Boxxy T. Morningwood.
The chest-at-heart then abruptly curled up into a ball and encased itself in wood and steel as it retreated back into its ‘safe space’ of a plain-looking treasure chest.
“Boxxy? What’s the matter?”
“… Nothing. I just got a little depressed when I remembered how much money I’ve been spending recently.”
A little over fifty thousand gold pieces, to be precise. Materials, potions, elixirs, oils, enchanted armaments and jewelry - all of the highest quality it could obtain. The entirety of Boxxy’s Storage was filled to the brim with a private arsenal vast enough to outfit a fifty-man platoon of elite soldiers. It was pulling out all the stops for this, but understanding that it was a necessary sacrifice did little to ease the pain from the gaping hole in its private treasury.
“There, there, it’s okay,” said Fizzy while gently stroking its lid. “You still have me, and I’m all the shininess you’ll ever need.”
She couldn’t comfort the sulking box of greed for long, as she heard a rustling noise from behind. She abruptly turned around and aimed her Magitech Cannon in the direction of the disturbance, just in time to see a pack of over thirty gnolls emerge from the treeline. She held her fire, however, as she noticed that each of the canine humanoids had a pink blob attached to their heads. And sure enough, these creatures’ new owner could be seen sloshing alongside them in an extremely casual manner.
“There you go, Boxxy,” she declared with a triumphant tone. “I caught quite a few of them for you.”
The pink mini-Stains leapt off their victims all at once as they rushed to reunite with the main body, allowing the gnolls to fall into the snow like puppets with their strings cut. The murder-box leapt from its sitting position and pounced on them, devouring them one by one with a sort of zeal Fizzy hadn’t seen in a long while.
“Wow, look at it go,” commented the queen slime as she backed away from the feeding frenzy. “Must have been hungrier than I thought.”
“That definitely isn’t hunger,” Fizzy chimed in. “Boxxy already gorged itself before we left for the meeting. I think this is just stress eating. It’s willingly headed into a life and death battle for the first time in its life, so the pressure is probably getting to it.”
“Oh, I see. I must admit, I too am prone to binge-drinking when faced with a troublesome problem.”
“You seem quite relaxed right now, though.”
“Of course. I have the benefit of a backup body in case this one falls. I have only committed as much of myself to this endeavor as I feel comfortable losing. I daresay the same could not be said about your box-boss.”
The two monstrous women continued watching Boxxy splatter blood all over the place as it tore into the gnolls like a ravenous beast. It even went so far as to lick up the red snow, as if not to waste a single drop of this offering.
“Come to think of it, how come you did this for Boxxy?” Fizzy asked after a while.
“I had some time to kill,” Stain shrugged. “Also, I was offered something in return.”
“… Dare I ask what that is?”
“Boxxy has promised to share its Snack with me. It is something I am looking forward to. *SSSSLUUURRRP* Immensely.”
“Oh, I see. Good for you.”
Though the golem said that outwardly, inside her head was a different story altogether.
Looks like Boxxy caught another one, she grumbled inwardly.
“She does seems like a bit of a pervert,” commented Plus.
“Definitely a pervert,” Minus agreed. “That creepy tongue movement just now made my spine crawl. And I don’t even have one of those!”
One-sidedly branding Stain as a sexual deviant was perhaps one of the quickest unanimous decisions the trio had reached yet. Hardly a surprising one considering Boxxy’s track record. First it was the depraved demonic duo of Kora and Xera, then the twisted lich-bitch that shall forever be known simply as ‘Nasty’. Fizzy thought she had seen it all with the dryad that had a breast-feeding fetish and the strangely obsessed stalker, but even Keira’s girlfriend was apparently becoming more and more lecherous by the day. The irony of a genderless creature with zero sex drive somehow surrounding itself with all manner of lewd women was so thick that one would probably need to dig through it with a pickaxe.
And yet despite knowing all that, all three of the golem’s personalities failed to recognize that getting excited from walking around naked in broad daylight was not exactly a wholesome attitude either.