Keira and Rowana were currently out on a stroll. The lovebirds were walking side by side with the elf’s arm around her girlfriend’s shoulder and the catgirl’s arm around the elf’s waist. They were hugging each other tightly in a way that could only be described as exceptionally intimate. The way the redhead affectionately rubbed Rowana’s hip over her long winter coat was also an extremely clear indication of the kind of relationship they were in.
Needless to say, they attracted a good deal of attention as they walked down the street. Not because of the same-sex relationship though. The people of the capital had gotten surprisingly accepting of the concept as of late, so the most such displays of affection garnered was a quick curious look. The reason these passers-by stared rather unabashedly had more to do with the fact that they couldn’t help but recognize Keira. The spunky catgirl had become the city’s de-facto mascot by this point, as evidenced by how certain merchants were reaping serious profits by selling dolls and paintings of her.
Boxxy wasn’t about to complain about the popularity of its Facade, but it did make a mental note to kindly inform those entrepreneurs that the use of Keira’s likeness was subject to boxing tax.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Rowana asked suddenly.
“Hm? Nothing’s wrong?”
“Then why do you have that calculating look on your face?”
“Do I have one of those?”
“Yeah you do. Your furrow your brows, pout, and your eyes sort of stare at a random point on the ground. It’s the same face you make whenever you count coins in your head.”
“Huh… I had no idea.”
It would appear that the elf was a lot sharper than Boxxy gave her credit for. Then again, it was only natural she would be able to read Keira’s micro-expressions after spending so much time together. Especially during the past few weeks, as the catgirl had been around a lot more than she normally was.
That was only to be expected considering the shapeshifter’s circumstances. With Edward dead and eaten and having made peace with the Foundation, Boxxy had very few troubles as of late. It decided to give itself a well-earned vacation, which it spent mostly by idly enjoying the things it already had. It would probably go off searching for new taste and shine sensations eventually, but it was fine with taking things slow for the moment. It truly was amazing how soundly it slept now that it it no longer had to worry about the Spymaster’s shadow looming over it.
The only two loose ends, if they could be called as such, were Zone and that Necromancer VIP it failed to kill for Mortimer’s Quest. The latter involved going all the way over to the southern continent, but it had almost an entire year to chase after her, so it would get around to her eventually. The issue with the former was that Boxxy had been unable to confirm the angel’s demise. It was possible she somehow survived that point-blank Demonate, but she wasn’t that big of a threat by herself. Her past deeds and affiliations made it so nobody would believe her if she revealed the true identity of the Hero of Chaos. And if she attacked Boxxy to seek revenge or for some other foolish reason, then it would just crush her. That was assuming she was even able to get this far into Republic territory without Gilded Hand support. Zone may have been working for a clandestine organization, but subtlety clearly wasn’t her strong point.
So long story short, while there were still a few potential problems, there was nothing on Boxxy’s mind besides enjoying life. Well, that and maintaining its Facade. It didn’t go through all that trouble to secure Keira’s secret identity just so it could let go of it for no reason. The catgirl was so well entrenched in her position here in Azurvale that it really took very little effort on its part to do so.
“So what were you thinking about?”
Speaking of which, it was probably a good idea to get back to doing that.
“Nothing much, Rowie. Just wondering how much longer I can afford to slack off like this.”
“Oh? Is the call for adventure pulling you away already?”
“More like the need to put food on the table and clothes on my back. No offense, but your apothecary salary is just barely enough to cover both our living costs, and I’d rather not be a freeloader.”
Officially speaking, the couple were not in the best financial situation right now. Rowana wanted to be self sufficient as much as possible, so they couldn’t just ask the Slyth family for handouts. Keira had also spent a good deal of money preparing for her made-up trip while Boxxy was hunting the Gilded Hand. The catgirl had declared said adventure to have been nothing but a waste of time, effort and resources, which only contributed to the depletion of the two’s savings.
“Shouldn’t be a problem to get some decent work after the winter passes though,” she added.
“Technically it’s already passed,” Rowana said casually. “Weather may not look like it, but it’s officially springtime according to the calendar. The snow should begin to fade away in another month or so.”
“Heeey… Wait a minute! Keira, isn’t your birthday coming up? You said you were born in the spring, but I don’t think I ever got the exact date from you.”
“Yeah, I did say something like that, didn’t I?”
“What’s with that dispirited attitude?”
“I don’t think it’s anything worth fussing over.”
These were Boxxy’s true feelings on the matter. It knew people celebrated the occasion, but it never saw a reason to care. As far as it was concerned, it was just another day of the year just like Aurora Eve. Granted, it did get to see a shiny sky that night, but it didn’t need to dress up or go to someplace special to enjoy that view. Now the upcoming Tender Hearts Festival - that was a holiday to look forward to. It wasn’t sure what it was about just yet since it’d only heard about it in passing, but it sounded absolutely delicious.
“Of course it’s worth fussing over!” Rowana insisted. “It’s the day you were born! That’s much more important to me than any other celebration!”
“Fine, fine. It’s actually four days from now.”
This technically wasn’t Keira’s birthday, but the day Boxxy would officially turn one year old. It had been an exceptionally turbulent first year to say the least, but the monster was much stronger for having lived through it. As for why it presented Rowana with its real birth date, it just saw no reason to lie about such a trivial thing.
“So soon?! You should’ve told me earlier! Now I won’t have nearly enough time to pick out a present!”
“Maybe some clothes? Or jewelry? You do like jewelry. Ah, but our living expenses… Oh, I know! Wait no, the season’s not right for that. Maybe something homemade?”
“Hm? What is it sweetie?”
“The one for your birthday, of course!”
“… I get presents on my birthday? Like, for free?”
“Of course you do! You’ve had birthday parties before, right?!”
“I haven’t, actually.”
“What?! Why not?!”
“I… didn’t have a lot of opportunity to celebrate as a kid.”
“Oh. Oh… Keira… I’m so sorry…”
The elf stopped and gave her girlfriend a tender hug. How could she forget all that Keira had been through? She had spent most her childhood as a destitute orphan, so of course she wouldn’t have had any of those.
“It’s alright Rowie, you don’t need to feel upset.”
“Nonsense! This is a injustice that must be set right! Don’t you worry, I’ll give you a birthday party that will make up for all those lost years! I’ll be back later, I have some serious planning to do!”
The elf practically jogged down the street, leaving Keira behind with a rather confused look on her face. A look that turned to one of unrestrained glee the instant Rowana was out of sight. Birthdays equaled free stuff? If Boxxy knew of this, then it would have given Keira one much, much sooner. It was obvious it still had a lot to learn about holidays and celebrations in elven culture and civilized society as a whole. If such events could be exploited for its own gains, then perhaps it was time to do some serious research into all the gift-getting opportunities the calendar year offered.
Its enthusiasm would diminish significantly once it realized that gift-giving was also involved, but for right now it had something else to deal with.
“What is it, Arms?”
“I think your weird vegetable is hatching.”
“… Are you talking about the alraune sprout?”
“Already? I thought it wasn’t due for another three weeks?”
“Well, it’s all pulsating and changing colors and stuff, so I think it’s happening right now.”
“What about Snack? Is she with you?”
“Yeah but she’s, uh, taking a breather. We got a bit too enthusiastic watering the thing. I don’t think you’ll be getting a reply from her anytime soon.”
“Alright, I’m on my way.”
The timing was rather convenient since that elf ran off on her own, so Keira was free to disappear into an alleyway and make her way over to the Dryad’s Domain. She slipped into the sewer system and entered the dungeon from below, at which point the shapeshifter adopted a more spider-chested form. Once it was able to, it used Nexus Access to arrive at the little garden it had set up near the dungeon core.
Then again, ‘garden’ might have been too strong a word for it. In reality it was just a circular planter with a diameter of about three meters, in the middle of which stood a single plant. It looked like a column of overlapping green leaves, sort of like a tall cabbage. It was barely a meter tall and about forty centimeters wide when Boxxy last saw it earlier this morning, but its height and width had doubled since then. Its coloration was gradually turning purple from the ground up and the entire thing was shaking slightly, so Kora’s assessment that it was about to ‘hatch’ was understandable.
“Yo, boss!” the archfiend waved at Boxxy. “That was fast. How’d you lose the bint?”
“Nevermind that, how long has the sprout been like that?”
“I dunno. Like, five minutes? Six tops.”
Boxxy quietly studied the plant as it shook and rustled. There was something humanoid-shaped inside, so there was no doubt the mountain alraune was about to be born. However, the monster seemed to be struggling to escape its leafy egg. Its movements gradually grew slower and weaker, almost like it was getting tired. It probably needed a bit of a boost to bust out of there, and Boxxy had a pretty good idea how to give it one.
The shapeshifter took a quick look around, easily spotting Xera in a wet mess on the dungeon floor. She was panting heavily and erratically, her naked and sweaty body twitching and spasming every now and then. Come to think of it, it had been several hours since Boxxy had departed its lair and left the two demons to tend to the plant. If they’d been at it for that long, then it was no surprise Xera was in this sorry state. Kora had the stamina and perseverance to satisfy a literal goddess, so the djinn was hardly a match for her when it came to endurance.
Unfortunately the blue-skinned tramp still had work to do, so she would not be getting any rest just yet. Boxxy told Kora to stand back while it picked Xera off the floor via a quartet of tentacles. It stretched its spider legs, lifting its chestacular body off the ground until it was as tall as the sprout, then held the delirious demon squarely above it.
The tricky thing about raising a mountain alraune was that it needed more than nutrients and water to make it grow and blossom. If it was to become a splendid specimen of a demonic plant, the sprout needed to be infused with copious amounts of a succubus’s demonic essence. Granted, Xera was a djinn now, but hers had still proven to be quite adequate. And the more essence the budding alraune absorbed, the bigger and stronger the resulting monster would become. That was why Xera had been tasked with looking after the plant whenever possible, and it was also why she was strung up above it right now. It seemed the unborn alraune needed a bit of extra encouragement to come out, and Boxxy would gladly oblige.
And so, without further ado, the shapeshifter began expertly violating the ex-succubus with its tentacles. The renewed assault on her senses caused Xera to start screaming and wailing. She had already been more or less fucked silly, so she stood no chance of keeping her wits with Boxxy’s multi-purpose appendaged scrambling her insides. Her voice actually made Kora a bit frustrated, as she never screamed like that whenever the two of them were doing it.
As the djinn’s already flooded nether regions were being mercilessly drilled, they began to spill out copious amounts of a sticky transparent fluid. Droplets of the lewd liquid splashed over the towering plant, but rather than bounce off it or evaporate into nothingness, they were instead soaked up as if the pile of leaves was the world’s thirstiest sponge. This was because ‘infusing the sprout with demonic essence’ was just a fancy way of saying ‘feeding it the love juices from a succubus’s lower end.’ Xera was able to handle that task on her own initially, but that began to prove challenging as the sprout grew. That was why Kora had to help ‘water’ the thing lately, as the demoness was unable to produce the copious amounts required to satisfy the budding flower by herself.
Unfortunately even the towering rape-machine wasn’t tall enough to pound Xera while holding her over this thing due to its significantly increased height. That was why Boxxy stepped in. It didn’t have the seemingly limitless stamina of an archfiend, but it more than made up for it in skill. It knew all of Xera’s sweet spots, so it had no difficulty turning her into a perverted sprinkler.
The mountain alraune sprout seemed to like the tiny waterfall of lewd juices quite a bit, as it once again became lively. Its leaves began turning purple in earnest and rustled intensely. This carried on for another minute or so, until the sprout had completely abandoned its old green hue. At that point it suddenly burst open, its large leaves - now more akin to petals - spreading out in every direction. This forced Boxxy to take a few steps back while it idly tossed its moaning watering can in some random direction.
An incredibly sweet aroma instantly filled the air. It was so appetizing that Boxxy instinctively began drooling, though it made sure to keep its composure. The source of that smell was the small pool of nectar residing in the middle of the alraune flower that was now in full bloom. And standing in said pot of honey was the creature herself.
The mountain alraune had all of the traits one would expect of a succubus, or perhaps even more so. Her breasts were clearly bigger than her head, and her thighs, hips and butt did not lose out in girth. It was honestly a miracle her tiny waist didn’t snap immediately with such excessive features. Her human-like skin was pink, silky smooth, and just the tiniest bit oiled up. Oddly enough she was only mostly naked, as purple and pink petals decorated her wrists, shoulders and legs while also covering the naughty bits between her legs and on her chest. Yet more of them ran down her scalp like short hair, with a single purple flower atop her head. Her beautiful face, full lips, red eyes and pointed ears were oddly reminiscent of Xera’s. Hardly a surprise considering the djinn was, for lack of a better term, the plant’s mother.
The newly born monster blinked her eyes rapidly as they adjusted to the brightness of the world. She gazed up at the glowing yellow dungeon core with a thoroughly vacuous expression. Her confused instincts were unable to determine if that shiny ball was the sun or not, so she eventually gave up on pondering that conundrum for the moment and looked around. Her eyesight passed over Boxxy and Xera as it almost immediately centered in on Kora. Or more specifically, the twin meat rods that were poking out of her outfit and standing at full attention. She smiled coyly and beckoned the fiend over with a wink and a ‘come hither’ hand motion while her other hand slowly peeled back the petals covering her crotch. Her attempts at seduction were rather amateurish since she was barely a few minutes old, but her ridiculously proportioned body was more than enticing enough on its own.
“Bob-damn!” Kora exclaimed. “Would you look at those jugs! I expected her to be a mega-slut, but this something else!”
“Don’t even think about it.”
“What?! Come on, boss! Look at her pleading face! She’s practically dying to be penetrated!”
“She’s a Level 1 with only 30 HP. You so much as lay a finger on her and she just might die for real. In any event I don’t need you right now, so off you go.”
Kora and Xera were both forcibly dismissed so they wouldn’t get in the way. The alraune was visibly saddened to see her first potential victim disappear into thin air. She was then abruptly startled when a howling bellow of ‘Ambrooosiaaa!’ came out of the wooden chest next to her, only to be surprised once more when the dryad manifested herself in front of her.
“Thou called-? Oh my! Milord! Why didn’t thou tell me this exotic flower was about to bloom!?”
“Sorry. It kinda caught me by surprise too. She’s a bit premature, but looks quite, uh, well-developed, wouldn’t you say?”
“Indeed! She is even larger and more vibrantly colored than the one I encountered during our excursion into that dreadful ice palace! Thank thee so much, milord!”
The confused flower-girl let out a dumb voice as she tried to mimic Ambrosia’s last word.
“Ohhhh!” the dryad squealed while cupping her cheeks. “She is most adorable! Milord, would thou mind if I kept her?!”
“Go right ahead. The whole purpose of her being here was because you asked for one, so feel free to do with her as you fit.”
“Verily!? Then I shall not hold back!”
The dryad skipped closer to the alraune, inspecting her from all sorts of angles while the newborn just sort of stood there. She seemed to be showing a surprising lack of hostility even though she was operating mostly on instinct at the moment. No, it was more accurate to say those instincts were why she was so docile. They told her these two strange creatures were plant monsters on a level that was completely incomprehensible to her tiny mind. Like an ant facing a tornado, they were so far above her that overwhelming awe was the only response she could muster.
“Oh, I am not even sure where to start!” Ambrosia squeed. “Should I teach her to read and write? Ah, no, surely speaking must come first! I wonder if she’ll be good with numbers? And a name, of course! I simply must give her one! Ziya, perhaps? Or Astra? No, Lavender! Yes, Lavender is perfect!”
It would seem the dryad’s own instincts were also firing on all synapses. The difference was that hers were of the maternal variety while the alraune’s were survival ones. As for Boxxy, it had the perfect answer to the dryad’s conundrum.
“If you’re wondering what to do, then why not start with that cross-pollination thing you were telling me about?”
Admittedly it was a selfish one since the monster eagerly wanted to find out how delicious this new and improved dryad nectar would be, but it was an answer nonetheless.
“An excellent suggestion, milord! It will be a perfect way to get ourselves acquainted!”
Ambrosia stepped onto the alraune’s petals, causing the flower-girl to pull away slightly. She didn’t struggle much though, as the dryad embraced her from the front. Their collective breast-shaped plant-flesh was pressed together as Ambrosia planted a deep kiss on her fellow sentient vegetable.
The alraune’s confusion deepened only further, but she soon began to melt in Ambrosia’s arms. This quickly developed into full blown cross-pollination. Which was the plant kingdom’s equivalent of mating. And since both parties had extremely well-endowed female forms, the resulting scenery was just as lewd as one would expect. Boxxy just sat there and watched the action unfold in a bored manner, as if a cook waiting for the bread in the oven to rise.
Regardless of its reasons, the fact that the shapeshifter was watching this unfold meant that the entirety of the Beyond was doing much the same. Lewd content was hardly anything new on the Boxxy Show, but seeing a dryad and an alraune go at it was a first for literally everyone involved. Including Kora, who was left feeling strangely frustrated by the erotic display. Being denied access to that sweet honeypot was one thing, but watching someone else partake in it was giving her a serious and figurative case of blue balls.
Deciding she’d better distract herself somehow, and since she was in the Beyond for the first time in a while, the fiend proceeded to check her unread D-mail messages. And lo and behold, she almost immediately spotted a welcome one among them.
Please come visit as soon as you have a few hours, I really need to see you! It’s urgent!
Teresa, Goddess of Truth and Justice, Patron deity of humanity
It would appear that her high-and-mighty-ness was in need of another pipe cleaning. A really thorough one, by the sound of it. Needless to say, the frustrated archfiend was more than happy to oblige. She got in touch with Carl and, after going through some special channels and back doors, materialized in Teresa’s divine space already raring to go through the goddess’s own back door.
“Ah, you are finally here,” the curly-haired blonde said, turning to meet her visitor. “Took you long enough.”
However, though she was stark naked, Teresa was far less… amorous than Kora was expecting. There was also something else that was off about her.
“Hey, hammer-tits. What’s with the bloated belly? Trying out a new look?”
“No. I’m pregnant. With triplets. And they’re yours.”
“… Ahhh-haha! Gonna have to try better than that, blondie! I may not be the sharpest glove in the saddle, but even I’m not stupid enough to fall for that one.”
“Hello, Kora? Goddess of Truth and Justice here. Got a message for you from reality. It wants you to stop ignoring it.”
“… Holy shit, you’re serious.”
“But-! What-?! How-!? Why-!? I have so many questions!”
“Then ask them, and I shall answer to the best of my ability.”
The flabbergasted Kora genuinely didn’t know what to say though. There were so many things she didn’t know, and yet more things she didn’t know she didn’t know about. Her face changed expression every other second as her less-than-agile mind tried its best to parse the implications of what she had just heard. Her many hands assumed one position after the next, as if playing out the chaotic internal debate she was having. It was the first time she’d had to seriously worry about things that went way above her head, and she clearly had no idea how to deal with this situation.
After a solid ten minutes of flailing around both mentally and physically, she was finally able to reach some sort of conclusion. All of her shoulders dropped in a defeated manner with a heavy sigh. They then rose in a triple shrug, accompanied by probably the last question Teresa was expecting to hear.
“So do I get to fuck you in the ass or not?”