Deep within the hollow part of Ambrosia’s tree lay a certain chamber. Its walls had been fortified against all known forms of intrusion, be they physical, mystical or spiritual. Very few beings even knew this space existed, and fewer still were granted entry. The room was perfectly still to the point where not even random gusts of air were permitted to roam around, lest they spread dust over the priceless treasures held within.
Yet dust inevitably found itself accumulating inside the well-lit chamber. Though its walls were of smooth and hardened Ironbark, not even the powers that preserved it could stop the living, breathing wood from shedding microscopic particles everywhere. It was why a certain flower-girl had been given the crucial task of making sure the room’s contents were as spotless as feasibly possible. A dull, menial, repetitive task, but one that Lavender nevertheless carried out with a smile on her face and a hum in her throat.
Today as well she was busy painstakingly polishing the hundreds of articles that lined the chamber’s walls and mannequins. Whether it was plate or leather, bladed or blunt, magical or mundane, the sheer variety of arms and armor on display was enough to make any aspiring adventurer’s head spin. It was a collection that certain individuals would not hesitate to sell their soul for. Which still wouldn’t be enough seeing as how the hoard’s current owner cared not for such un-shiny things.
As for Lavender, she was practically deaf and blind to the extravagance that surrounded her as she carefully and slowly polished one of the dozens of metal shields next to her. The disc-shaped item was resting on top of a workbench, with three layers of soft cloth between it and the hard, flat surface. Next to it was a bottle of Boxxy’s handmade metal polish, which the alraune was currently applying to its surface in meticulous, circular motions. Though she was smiling sweetly, a single glance at her eyes made it clear she was completely absorbed in her work. It was as if bringing the shield to an absolutely flawless mirror-like shine was the only reason for her existence.
“Oi! How come you never polish me that hard?!”
She didn’t even notice the brutish disembodied voice yelling at her from the side.
“Leave the fair flower-maiden alone, Jack!”
Another, far more dignified voice echoed across the otherwise silent chamber.
“Leave her alone?! I haven’t even done anythin’!” the first one complained. “Not yet anyway, heh-hah!”
“Vile abomination! It boggles the mind why the Lord would keep you around!”
“Oh? Feeling a smidgen jealous, Virgil?”
“Of course not, you vile fiend!” the second voice yelled defensively. “To even imply that one such as I could ever be jealous of a charlatan like yourself is heresy! Heresy, I say!”
“Is that the best you got, Virgil? I’ve seen butter knives with more edge than you!”
“At least a butter knife can fulfil its purpose, unlike a forgotten piece of scrap rusting away in a dark corner!”
“Now, now. There’s no need to project your insecurities onto me.”
“The only thing I’m going to project is your accursed self! Right into the blasted sun!”
“As if! You can barely lift yourself, you corroded relic!”
“I’ll have you know, the fair flower-maiden is very attentive and gentle when she tends to me,” Virgil responded scathingly. “Tell me, when’s the last time you had a thorough shine, Jackie-boy?”
“Oh, it’s on, old man!”
Lavender, having finished the task at hand, had finally loosened her focus enough to notice the ongoing conversation. The look of serene concentration on her face was replaced by one of worry and unease. She was still unused to dealing with those two, and all this shouting was going to be difficult to tune out now that she started listening to it. Stopping the quarrel by herself would be no easy feat either. Though she really didn’t want to, she ultimately decided it best to request aid from her owner through the dungeon core’s private communications channel.
|Lavender: I’m super sorry to bother you Boxxy, but Jack and Virgil are at it again.
Boxxy: What? Didn’t I tell you to separate them?
Lavender: I did. They’re on opposite sides of your armory but they still keep shouting at each other.
Boxxy: No, you pollen-brained moron!
Boxxy: Separate them as in put them in different rooms!
Lavender: Ohhh! Yeah, that would probably stop them from bickering for good.
Boxxy: I’m sending Snack over to transfer Jack to storage room four. You get Virgil to calm down.
Happy to have received that sagely advice, Lavender carefully placed the freshly polished shield back in its rack and sauntered over towards where she had left Virgil. If this had been a few weeks ago, she would’ve just teleported herself to his location along with her massive purple flower. However, that was before she had a Laborer Job to Level Up. Footwork was an integral part of that process, so she had been forced to get used to using her legs. She didn’t mind though, as returning to her massive purple flower to relax after a hard day’s work felt absolutely divine.
After expertly navigating the weapon racks, armor stands and display cases that dominated the room, she eventually found herself standing in front of a mithril sword with an eye in its hilt.
“Oh, greetings, my dear flower-maiden,” the weapon greeted her. “Did my attempts to silence that ruffian pull you away from your duties?”
“Yeah, they kinda did,” she nodded.
“My deepest apologies. I tried my best to remain silent and not escalate things, but it is…”
“And your smith was a whore!” Jack’s voice rang out in the background.
“… Difficult,” Virgil added.
“Boxxy will take care of him, so please stop raising a fuss?”
“Oh, I see. Lord Morningwood has finally decided to rid the world of that accursed existence. Most excellent.”
The talking sword had had something of an ongoing rivalry with the one called Jack. The offending article was a sentient weapon much like Virgil, though with two main differences. It was an axe instead of a sword, and it was also cursed. The two of them had gotten… acquainted over the many decades since their respective creation and always seemed to bump into each other every now and then. That said, this was the first time that Virgil and Jack had the same owner.
Well, that wasn’t entirely accurate. If one had to be technical, what Boxxy owned were a pair of Artifact-grade items with a Personality Matrix enchantment. One of them was Vigilance, a mithril blade with an automatic parry and MLG-like detection functions that the shapeshifter had acquired from the Phantom Auction. The other was The Ripper, a one-handed war axe that used the blood it spilled to nourish and empower its wielder. However, it also cursed them with a maddening bloodlust that was potent enough to turn honorable men into deranged psychopaths.
Virgil and Jack, on the other hand, were the artificial personalities that inhabited the aforementioned sword and axe, respectively. The two of them had many reasons to absolutely despise one another, though the main cause was the axe’s curse without a doubt. The only reason Boxxy even kept Jack around was because he could be used as a handy tool to sow discord and distrust. The corrupted weapon held the power to turn one’s political enemy into a murderous lunatic that had to be put down by force by local authority. This would not only remove the person from the picture, but also permanently devalue whatever ideals they held in life.
Or at least that was the theory. Boxxy hadn’t gotten the chance to actually test it out, but it liked having the option. That was why it had Xera move the offending weapon to one of the storage rooms rather than disposing of it permanently. After all, if a psychotic axe started yelling about wanting to kill things, but nobody was around to hear it, would Boxxy give a crap? No, no it wouldn’t.
Virgil, on the other hand, was going to prove to be far more useful in the future. According to the information from the Phantom Auction, the sentient sword had been through multiple Dragon Festivals. As a result, the weapon had become something of an expert on the Shattered Isles. Or at least that was what Virgil claimed, though it would appear his memories were a bit… rusty. Either that or there truly was such a thing as a ‘backwards dragon’ that flew butt-first and upside down. Jen was unable to corroborate that ridiculous story, so Boxxy took Virgil’s words with a pinch of salt.
Still, if nothing else, at least the blade inhabited by the slightly senile sentience was an exquisite one:
A mithril longsword given sentience by its creator, Bonne Stonebreaker. An excellent weapon and veteran of hundreds of battles, Vigilance serves as ally, mentor, and protector to whoever it recognizes as its rightful owner. It does not appreciate being stolen and will rebel against anyone who tries to take it without its current wielder’s express permission, but has no problem being sold, gifted, or claimed through honorable combat.
The sword also possesses the ability to perceive absolutely everything within twelve meters and relay this information to its wielder, though this feature requires a constant stream of MP in order to operate.
Enchantments: Self Repair, Increased Sharpness, Personality Matrix, Bound By Blood, Swing Assist, Parry Assist
The ‘A+’ attack rating was exceptionally welcome, as it meant the weapon would be more than capable of damaging dragon scales should the need arise. Well, perhaps not those belonging to elder dragons, but that was not an existence Boxxy would ever think to fight anyway. The Swing Assist and Parry Assist were features that only sentient weapons could possess, and allowed Virgil to bolster his wielder’s offensive and defensive swordplay. The mithril blade could also be used in conjunction with all of the shapeshifter’s Blade Dancer techniques, though that was suboptimal since Vigilance was not a rapier.
In fact, none of the eighteen Artifact weapons in Boxxy’s possession was a rapier. Plenty of swords, sure, but none of them were thrusting weapons that were best utilized with finesse. It did have a pair of excellent twin daggers called Daybreak and Nightfall, but those were too short to use Deadly Dances with. Another item of note was the Jackblade, not to be confused with the axe that called itself Jack. It was a weirdly shaped one-handed blade that was simultaneously treated as an axe, a sword, and a dagger as far as Skills and Martial Arts were concerned.
Still, Boxxy couldn’t help but grow infuriated at its lack of specialized high-grade equipment for its Blade Dancer Job. It wasn’t as if the Masterwork rapier that it used as Keira was bad, it just wasn’t an Artifact. All things considered, the monster’s grievances were akin to a wealthy merchant complaining that he made a profit of ‘only’ three hundred thousand GP last quarter. Yet the shapeshifter ranted and bitched about the ‘issue’ for hours on end should the topic be brought up.
Then again, it didn’t take much to set Boxxy off as of late. It had been over a month since it last tasted Honeydew, and its withdrawal symptoms were starting to pick up like never before. Not to mention that Kora’s demonic taint was still there and aggravating its condition, despite the monster’s best efforts to find a way to get rid of it. The general consensus on the matter seemed to be that one simply had to resist the corruption’s influence until it disappeared entirely, but that clearly wasn’t working in this case. It contemplated putting off dealing with the drug addiction until later, but time wasn’t on its side with the Dragon Festival coming up and Ambrosia about to wake from her nap.
In the end the shapeshifter had no other recourse but to grit its teeth and bear the discomfort, at least for the moment. Thankfully it had managed to distract itself by focusing on its Artificer and Alchemist Jobs, though the withdrawal making its various appendages shake wasn’t making things easy. Both occupations required precise and steady movements, which meant that Boxxy’s current state made it much more difficult to produce gadgets and mixtures of sufficient quality.
Yet that was precisely what the monster did. Sure, it took an immense amount of focus and an unhealthy dose of persistence for Boxxy to manage that, but it had plenty of those in spades. Especially when it came to Artificer, which the shapeshifter had a natural affinity for. After all, was growing a bushel of eyeballs on one’s skin all that different from assembling a drill-tipped pole weapon? No, it certainly was not. At least not as far as Boxxy T. Morningwood was concerned.
And it was precisely that sort of thinking that, when combined with the sheer amount of time and effort that the monster put into its work in the past few weeks, would inevitably lead it to creating great things.
You have created a Thermo-Accelerated Drill-Lance of Masterwork quality.
Boxxy barely even acknowledged the message as it grasped the finished weapon and applied its only active Artificer Skill to it.
The drill-tipped mechanical spear shook violently for a few seconds as its internal mechanism was ever-so-slightly tweaked, though not necessarily for the better.
Your Upgrade was a major failure!
Thermo-Accelerated Drill-Lance offensive capability decreased from A to B+.
Thermo-Accelerated Drill-Lance is now Superior quality.
The creature took a deep breath, then hurled its latest creation against the workshop’s wall with all of its strength. It hit the steel-plated surface hard, producing a loud gong and a mild rattling noise. The gimmicky weapon then clattered onto the floor, its internal motors no doubt mangled by the impact. At least it wouldn’t be lonely, as there were about ten more similarly failed projects strewn around the room.
“Upgrade didn’t work out so good, huh?” Fizzy remarked from the side.
“No,” the shapeshifter grumbled. “No, it did not.”
“Careful there, your mask is slipping.”
The doppelganger had momentarily forgotten that it was supposed to be maintaining its public persona right now. Keira had fed Rowana some sappy made up story about how she still felt guilty for not being here to help prevent her father’s death, and that she may have indirectly caused the Collapse to happen. The catgirl had claimed that she needed to go someplace quiet where she could keep her hands and mind occupied while she coped with all this. However, their house and the workshop within were still being rebuilt. This gave Boxxy the plausible excuse it needed to spend most of its time at Fizzy’s place, which was where it was currently at.
Unfortunately, while the aforementioned coping mechanism was indeed helping it deal with its withdrawal problems, it was by no means perfect. Its previous outburst was evidence enough of that, as it had acted and spoken in a very un-Keira-like manner despite wearing her form. Thankfully Fizzy was there to remind it that, though her workshop was as private as a building could get, the shapeshifter was still technically in public. It didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks, so it took a minute or so to calm down and fix the crack in its Facade.
“There, better?” Keira asked in her usual sweet voice.
“Uh… I guess?” the golem shrugged. “To be honest it still creeps me out how you can change personality like that on a whim.”
“Practice makes perfect,” the beastkin-shaped monster coldly said.
“Mhm. Speaking of practice, is there a reason you’re so obsessed on this drill design?”
“I’m trying to refine a delivery system for the Dragon Thorn,” Boxxy replied as it turned its attention back to the workbench. “The device itself worked great when I used it on Erena, but I need a way to make a hole big enough for it to be effective.”
“And your solution is a drill on a stick?” Fizzy asked dubiously.
“No, an exploding drill on a stick.”
“Again with the explosions?” the golem shook her head. “With a one-track mind like that, it’s no wonder you can’t get to Artificer Level 50. You need to diversify your-”
“Oh, I actually hit that earlier this morning,” Keira casually informed her.
“What? Why didn’t you say anything?!”
“It… slipped my mind.”
Fizzy had to forcibly stop herself from pursuing the topic. Nagging about Boxxy not giving her enough attention would be useless at best, and rage-inducing at worst. She had taken on the un-tasty task of monitoring the shapeshifter and making sure it doesn’t slip up during withdrawal, so she needed to put its needs ahead of her own. True, it was still wearing the HERPES underneath Keira’s tanned skin, but machinery could always fail. So, she tried to suppress her own annoyance and steer the conversation towards a more productive direction.
“I take it you’ve already made arrangements to get the Job advanced?”
“Yup,” the catgirl confirmed. “Though… you probably won’t like them.”
“What? Why wouldn’t I…” the golem’s voice trailed off as realization dawned on her. “Oh sweet Josephine. Mimi’s coming over, isn’t she?”
“In about an hour,” Keira pointed at the clock on the wall.
“Fan-freaking-tastic,” the golem threw her hands in the air. “And you couldn’t have told me this sooner?”
“I’m telling you now, aren’t I?”
“This is not good… I need to clean the place up!”
Fizzy, like any career artisan, saw her tools and workplace as an extension of herself. Not literally, of course, but her narcissistic and prideful personality told her it was unacceptable to greet a visitor with anything less than a spotless home. She rushed over to where her mithril golem shells were kept and brought three of them to life with Animate Armor. Fizzy, Plus, Minus and Null then proceeded to organize the tools, arrange the materials, put away the schematics for the prototype doomsday device, sweep the floors and generally tidy the place up.
Thankfully she ended up having plenty of time to get everything ready. It wasn’t until about an hour later at two in the afternoon that the old warehouse’s front doorbell was rung, informing its occupants that their visitor had finally arrived. Fizzy and Keira went over to greet their colleague just as Plus was pulling the heavy metal door open to reveal two people standing in front of it. Both of whom were young and beautiful fox-eared women.
“Yo!” the blonde one greeted them. “I see you two are still as sexy as ever!”
“Really, Mimi?” her purple-haired companion exclaimed. “That’s the first thing that comes out of your mouth?!”
“I’m just stating the facts, Sarah,” the other one shrugged. “Calling these two anything short of pants-wettingly ravishing would be doing them a horrible disservice.”
Sarah couldn’t help but cringe in discomfort at her partner’s ridiculous line. Yes, Keira was pretty despite the oil smears on her cheeks and clothes, and Fizzy’s Service Mode certainly had some attractive curves. However, one was a notoriously ruthless adventurer that was already engaged while the other was a living lump of metal. Yet Mimi had just openly admitted to being sexually attracted to both of them.
“I’m terribly sorry about this,” Sarah stepped forward. “I don’t know what came over this dumbass.”
“Don’t worry, we’re used to it,” Keira reassured her with a strained smile. “I don’t believe you and I have met before, though.”
“Ah, no, we, uh, haven’t been formally introduced,” the girl awkwardly replied. “I’m Sarah, Sarah Loather.”
“Oh, the ‘White Knight,’ right? Your nickname suits you.”
The moniker in question could be taken literally, as the female foxkin was wearing a set of mithril-plated armor, consisting of a breastplate, shoulder pads, gauntlets and greaves. The loose-fitting thick leather trousers and long-sleeved chainmail shirt underneath provided an extra layer of protection. She was also carrying a kite shield with Zephyra’s holy symbol on her back, a straight longsword on her hip, and an open-faced helmet in her left hand. Gear aside, she had yellow eyes and tanned skin similar to Keira’s. Her hair was short, straight, and styled in a helmet-shaped bob. It was also dyed a dark shade of purple, as were her perky ears and the long, bushy tail dangling behind her.
“You’ve heard of me?” the girl asked, her eyes wide.
“Mimi mentioned you in a letter.”
“Of course I did, silly,” her promiscuous companion declared. “You’re my trusty bodyguard.”
She then leaned over and playfully slapped Sarah on the butt, prompting a surprised yelp to escape her lips.
“Or should I say bootyguard?” she added with a coy smirk.
“Could you not, right now?!” Sarah complained.
“Whatever do you mean, honeybuns?”
“I mean stop groping my butt. Or I will break your arm.”
“Fine, fine,” the other woman reluctantly complied. “Spoilsport.”
“Honestly, why are you always like this?”
“Uh, duh? Because this is just who I am.”
While Sarah both looked and behaved like a proper adventurer should, ‘proper’ was the last word one could use to describe Mimi Flickerbutton. The blonde-haired, yellow-eyed, poofy-tailed foxgirl was as open regarding her sexuality as a person could be. She would relentlessly and shamelessly hit on any woman that struck her fancy until she either got a slap or a kiss, sometimes both. Sarah was no different in that respect, as she had been seduced into becoming the butterscotch sexpot’s forty-fifth ‘conquest.’
In short, Mimi was a total slut, and her attire suggested as much. Though she wore some baggy trousers with plenty of pockets and straps for her tools and ammo, the only thing covering her upper body was a tube top wrapped around her full breasts. Well, other than the work gloves on her hands and the red-tinted goggles strapped to her forehead. Bottom line was that she looked good, and it was obvious she wanted to show off as much of her curves and assets as much as foxily possible.
“So are you two going to flirt all day or can we get down to business?” Keira finally butted in. “I don’t have all day.”
The barely contained temper in her voice was all the hint Mimi needed that she was pushing her luck. She stopped wasting everyone’s time and obediently followed Keira through the front door, up some stairs, and into the room labeled ‘Office.’ It was really just a storage space for Fizzy’s paperwork, filled with cabinets and shelves that were overflowing with old documents. Thankfully Null had been the one responsible for organizing all this, so the space looked neat and clean. Or dull and sterile, depending on the point of view.
Keira and Mimi took a seat each while their companions waited downstairs. Apparently, Sarah had never met a Champion of Chaos before and was interested in asking Fizzy some questions as a fellow Paladin. The golem was quite eager to talk about herself, so she agreed, resulting in the other two getting some privacy. The idea of spending ‘alone time’ with someone as famous and ravishing as Keira appealed to Mimi greatly, though she knew better than to try and flirt with an engaged woman.
After all, she was a fun-seeker, not a homewrecker.
“So what’s all this about?” the visitor started the conversation. “Don’t get me wrong, I was excited when I got your letter, but it was a bit vague, even for you.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I wasn’t sure when or even if it would reach you. You need to settle down already.”
With how much Mimi traveled around the continent looking for inspiration, money, materials, and/or casual sex, her getting here just eleven days after Keira had sent for her was nothing short of a miracle.
“Nah, being a wanderer is way too much fun,” the foxgirl brushed her off. “Besides, unlike you, I don’t have a smoking hot wife to come back to.”
It wasn’t like the thought hadn’t crossed her mind, but the foxkin genuinely believed she wouldn’t be satisfied with just the one lover, nor did she believe polygamy could work. As such, she completely avoided anything to do with marriage or long-term relationships. Even the thing she had going on with Sarah was never going to be anything more serious than bodyguarding with benefits, and both of them were fine with that.
“I’m not talking about starting a family,” Keira interrupted her train of thought. “I’m talking about getting a permanent gods-damned address. I had to issue a Quest to get that letter delivered. A freaking Quest! You’re an adult, start acting like it!”
“… So did you actually need me for something, or did you call me over just to bitch at me?”
Mimi’s tone and words made it abundantly clear she took offense to being lectured like that.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you,” Keira hurriedly apologized. “I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately and haven’t been able to blow off steam. And I swear to Churchill you better wipe that smirk off your face before I do it for you. Anyway, the reason I called you here is that I recently achieved Level 50 Artificer.”
“Wait, what? Already?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Aren’t you, like, eighteen?!”
“Nineteen. What of it?”
“That’s freaking amazing!”
“It’s not all that impressive,” Keira shrugged it off. “Fizzy hit her Level 50 when she was around my age, too.”
“Yeah, but she was born a Fizzlesprocket! She’s had lightning in her veins long before the golem thing made that metaphor real! And you’ve been at it for only like three years!”
“Yes, yes, alright, I’m amazing and brilliant and wonderful and all that,” the catgirl’s sarcasm oozed out. “Can you tone it down and hear me out, already?”
“Sorry! Can’t hear you over the sound of me freaking out!” Mimi excitedly declared.
Once the excitable foxgirl calmed down a minute or so later, Keira was finally able to explain what she wanted from her.
“I need you to introduce me to someone who can make me into a Flamespitter Artificer.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured that out, but is that all you wanted?”
“For now, at least.”
“Shame,” Mimi sighed in disappointment. “I was hoping you gals had another giant magnetic gun in the works or something.”
Mimi Flickerbutton was the specialist that Fizzy had hired to design the combustion engine for the self-propelled rail cannon she had developed last year. It was how she got acquainted with the golem and the catgirl in the first place.
“Whatever happened with that thing, anyway?” she asked.
“Mmm,” Keira pursed her lips. “Long story short, the military guys liked it and were about to order more of them. Then they realized just how expensive the weapon was to operate and maintain without a Fizzy around.”
“Tell me about it. The Horkensaft Kingdom would be full of those guns by now if each of them came with a Fizzy.”
It would take a crew of at least twenty veteran military engineers to match that one shiny woman’s technical expertise alone. Then there was the fact that she was a walking power generator that could ‘heal’ metal objects with her magic. Or that her personal might alone meant there was little need for extra security or bodyguards. Frankly speaking, even describing her as indispensable to the weapon’s operation would be putting things mildly.
“But yeah, I can formally introduce you to my Flamespitter instructor,” the foxgirl returned to the topic at hand. “I should warn you though, old Redbolt fancies himself something of a mad scientist though, so be prepared for, ah, research opportunities.”
“I survived two Overlords fighting each other with me in the middle, I think I can handle some nutty geezer,” Keira stated confidently. “So where is this Redbolt of yours?”
“Now hold on there, I haven’t agreed to anything,” Mimi said coyly. “If you want this favor from me, then I’m going to need one in return.”
Boxxy had somewhat expected this turn of events. Acquiring an advanced Artificer Job without being related to one of the big gnomish families of Horkensaft was extremely tricky, so it was only natural that Mimi would want to put a price on it. She was slutty, not stupid. That said, it wasn’t as if it was impossible for Boxxy to get its tentacles on the Job without her help, but it would be a colossal pain in the lid. Which, considering the shapeshifter’s volatile state of mind, could prove to be disastrous in a lot of ways.
“Alright, but keep it clean,” Keira cautioned her. “Fizzy still hasn’t forgiven you for that ‘body wash’ stunt you tried to pull last time.”
Using the promise of a thorough hand-shine so she could grind her lady parts against the golem’s mildly electrified frame had been, in a manner of speaking, a cunty move on Mimi’s part.
“Oh, gods, no,” the foxgirl exclaimed. “One full-powered zap to the groin was enough for me.”
“Uh-huh,” the redhead crossed her arms.
“No, seriously. What I want from you is your help with procuring some rare materials for a project of mine. You collect all kinds of weird shit and know a bunch of weird people, so I’m fairly certain you can help me out.”
She then pulled out a slip of paper and a pencil from one of her pockets, wrote up a list of demands and handed it to Keira, whose eyebrows nearly attained liftoff when she started reading through it.
“Force-infused volcanite plating?” she exclaimed. “Ground up magmite spikes? And scourged orichalcum?! You trying to blow up a mountain or something?! What in Rupert’s flying meatball could you possibly need all this dangerous stuff for?!”
“Hehe, that’s my little secret,” the blonde winked coyly. “So can you get the stuff or not?”
“Not sure. Some of it is going to be really difficult. Like this ascettle extract. Isn’t that a seaweed that only grows near underwater volcanoes?”
“I dunno, might be,” Mimi shrugged. “I just heard it does things that I need to have done, so I want it.”
Keira sighed dejectedly as she set the list down on the nearby desk.
“I’ll be honest, you’re asking for a lot here. It’s going to take me at least a month to gather everything, assuming I manage to do it at all. I’m not about to waste so much time and coin on something that might turn out to be for naught.”
It was all lies, though. If Boxxy wanted to, it could instantly fulfill the request just by fetching the stuff from its stores. Much like its visitor had said, it did indeed ‘collect all kinds of weird shit,’ though she was clearly unaware of just how much of said ‘weird shit’ the Hero of Chaos hauled in on a weekly basis. It was times like this that being a habitual hoarder and career kleptomaniac really worked out in the shapeshifter’s favor.
Unfortunately, a lot of it was ultimately not the sort of stuff that Keira would just have lying around for no good reason, so it had to pretend the job was going to a lot of bother. On the upside, this gave the monster an angle it could use to get what it wanted right now instead of in a month.
“So, tell you what,” the catgirl continued. “You get me to that teacher of yours and help me convince him to advance my Artificer Job, and I promise I’ll do my absolute best to get you everything on this list.”
Boxxy felt this would be good enough, as it was a well-known fact that Keira’s word was as good as gold, even if she did have some weird rumors surrounding her personality. Mimi herself seemed to have some reservations, however.
“Hmm… Will you be bringing anyone else along?” she asked after a moment’s hesitation.
“Yeah. I’ll need to bring quite a few people with me, actually.”
It had to keep an eye on the nephilim triplets, so taking them on the trip was mandatory. Having their tutors tag along might be good, too. Ah, and Rowana might also demand she come along just to be with Keira.
“And Fizzy is going to be one of them?”
“Well, obviously. She’s my Artificer teacher, would be quite disrespectful to leave her out.”
“So what you’re saying is that if I agree to your proposal, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to oil her up, right?”
“Seriously?” Keira’s voice cracked. “Weren’t you saying something about not wanting to get zapped in the groin again?”
Boxxy was honestly having trouble understanding what it was that drove this loose woman to so vehemently chase after its shiniest of shinies.
“Well, yeah, but it should be fine if I only use my hands when I fondle- I mean, clean her. Right?”
“Works for me!” Mimi cheered. “When do we leave?!”
The mimic-minded monster was crystal clear on one thing regarding her attitude, though.
It did not care for it.
Not one bit.