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/elit/ - Erotic Literature
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Felicis Felinae Orphanotrophium Anonymous 23/07/21(Fri)20:14 No. 27884 ID: d0356a

Inspired/influenced by another of the greatest masterpieces of our time comes another story of "Young man arrives at a new place and must establish a harem of cute, young animal-eared girls in a medieval setting."

Tags: medieval fantasy, kemonomimi, interspecies romance, M/f, harem

I'm honestly not sure if it is yet worth posting, or ever will be, but considering the slow state of this board, it might be better than nothing. Ideas, suggestions, and comments are welcome.

Story will be super slow and so will updates. No sex yet.


1 post omitted. Last 50 shown.
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Chapter 2 Anonymous 23/07/21(Fri)20:17 No. 27886 ID: d0356a

-... land-locked province in the south. One of the more affluent regions of the Kingdom, the regional capital of Novioda has for centuries been a center of trade and commerce, especially in garments and clothes. To the south-west of Novioda is found the Igniferi mountain range. On the mountainside closest to Novioda is an ancient castle that used to belong to the Durand dynasty, but since the beginning of the peaceful times it has laid dormant with only occasional inhabitants. A stream of water flows from the mountaintop and past the old fortification, and the water has been said to …
HISTORIA LOCORVM ALBESCIENSIUM


I don’t realize that I have arrived at the last stop before the final leg of my journey until the coachman halts the wagon, disembarks from his seat, and walks around to open the door to my cart. At first I thought that we had to make an unexpected stop in the middle of the road for some reason, but as I raise my head I begin hearing the sounds of a bustling city. People walking, people talking, people… existing. Bad news for my head.

While I’m feeling pretty sick, it’s not yet bad enough that I am incapacitated. I step out of the cart and look at my surroundings. I’m in the city of Novioda, the regional capital of the region of Albescia. My castle isn’t too far away from here, just half a day's travel from Novioda. But before I set out for my new property, I have some business to do: I must register my purchase at the regional chancery.

Just as arranged, the coachman has dropped me off as close to the regional administrative offices as he could. After paying him his wage for today, he sets off to a nearby inn to arrange for my accomodation for the night. Then he’ll finally take me to my castle tomorrow, but before that… I need to get the paperwork in order. I’m eager to get it over with, but my poor head… I can feel that I need to take a break after the bumpy ride. Even though it’s pretty cold - it’s late in the autumn - I just need a moment.

I step over to the nearest building and lean against it, wrapping my cloak tightly around my body. It’s funny how your body gets tired after being immobile for several hours, you would think I’d be full of energy after sitting still for most of the day. But I’m not. While I’m waiting for my limbs to be ready to carry me down the street to the office buildings, I figure I might as well get my brain used to its new surroundings as well.

Since the chancery is located close to the center of Novioda, I’m standing at a pretty busy intersection. The street is full of people, and carts are coming through from time to time as well. It’s rather noisy and unpleasant, but I force myself to take it in. This probably won’t be the last time I have to come here. It’s the largest city in the vicinity of my castle and the regional capital, so I will likely be forced to come here from time to time.

Looking at the colorful wooden buildings with their steeply pitched roofs and timber-framed walls, it doesn’t look too different compared to the cities from back home. Well, I’m still in the same country after all, just another part of it. I then switch my attention to the people walking past me, and they don’t seem too outlandish either. Since this is the central part of Novioda where all the high-class establishments are located - the governmental offices, trade guild headquarters, residences of rich merchants, and so on - the pedestrians here are likewise rather stylish too.

That is where I spot the first real difference compared to my home region. The clothes. Ah, yes, I remember that Albescia is the region of the Kingdom most famously known for their tailoring and fashion. While I’m wearing the finest wool cloak and leather boots that I own, the men walking past me are sporting silk doublets and velvet breeches and… Items of clothing that I don’t even recognize. The women, too: Fine dresses belonging to ladies who obviously do not need to burden themselves with any type of labor.

While the styles of this city’s clothes are slightly foreign, it’s not weird that the upper classes are fancily dressed. No, what’s weird is that… Their servants are, too. Much more than I have ever seen back in my home region. While there was the occasional eccentric lord or lady that liked to dress up their favorite servant in a pretty dress now and then, this is on a different level. The amount of servants following behind their owners is surprisingly great, too. They are easy to spot, due to the ears sticking out on top of their heads, and the tails that are prominently sticking out through holes in their clothes. Many have silk dresses that almost seem to rival those of their mistresses, and many of them are adorned with delicate and decorative ribbons. It’s a sight to behold.

One thing seems to be the same here as in the rest of the Kingdom, though: The servants are primarily catgirls. Oh, over there is a foxgirl, and on the other side of the street is a doggirl, but… that’s it. No wolfgirls at all. Despite being only one out of the four sub-human races, catgirls here too seem to account for eighty percent of the servants. I wonder why, actually. As far as I know, it’s not like the other races are inferior servants in any way. My family, too, have only ever had catgirls.

Well, no matter. While it could be fun to stand here all day and look at the pretty servants walking past me, I have stuff to do. I’m also sure to develop a proper headache if I stay in the middle of this bustling street, so I get a move on to find my way to the chancery. The instructions I received from the coachman prove to be correct, so it only takes me a few minutes to find the building that contains the regional chancery.

Closed.

They’re… closed.

This building houses several other administrative functions, but the chancery is not open today. The attendant informs me that, without a prior appointment, they are only open two days a week. He is very confused why I don’t have an appointment, if I am really here to get a deed to a castle validated. I sigh. I don’t have the patience to deal with bureaucracy… Well, in the end it won’t matter. When I arrive at the castle tomorrow with my deed in my hand, the staff and the servants will recognize me as their new master. Everything will be fine, I’ll just have to take care of the paperwork another time. They won’t be open tomorrow either, so I’ll have to return to Novioda at some later point.

I leave, and have to take another break to counteract the stress from having my plans go wrong. I might as well head directly to the inn now. I’m spent and need to lie down in a dark, silent room. The coachman also gave me directions to the inn, and that’s also only a short walk away. I should be able to manage that… And then I can crash into slumber and recover before the trip to the castle tomorrow. It’ll be nice to be sheltered from the cold weather, too.

To spare myself from the noise of the main roads, I stick to the smaller streets while I walk through the city. The coachman had instructed me in the general direction I should go to reach the inn, and I’ve always had a good sense of direction, so I’m not afraid of getting lost. I’m also thankful that I don’t have to be afraid of wandering through side alleys and narrow passages in a foreign city. Crime has been virtually non-existent for centuries.

I’m not completely alone either while I walk through the twisting and turning streets. To my surprise, there are also plenty of servants here - again, still mostly catgirls. But they seem… Different from the ones walking on the main streets. First of all, they’re not as nicely dressed as the ones who were accompanying their masters over by the administrative offices. These ones are wearing much simpler clothes - plain and dull dresses and tunics. They don’t have any bows in their hair, their hair is actually… Kinda dirty. So are their clothes.

Even more puzzling is how most of them are just… lingering around. Sitting in the shadows, huddled together in the corners, or… just sitting on stairways with a blank look in their eyes, their unkempt tails wrapped around their waists and their ears, which for catgirls are usually always fluttering and moving, immobile. Some of them are really young, too. Tiny little kittens. Maybe they are done with their household chores already? With this many servants around, perhaps they don’t have a lot of work to do and therefore spend a lot of their time idle. But it’s weird that they’re just loitering around outside, especially when it’s this cold.

After a brisk but cold walk, and only having to ask for directions from the local townsfolk three times, I arrive at my destination. It’s a completely average inn, a deliberate choice even though I could have afforded a more elegant establishment. I don’t want to attract any attention until I am firmly rooted in my new home. I go inside and immediately appreciate the warm air. Since it’s pretty late in the day by now, it’s also pleasantly quiet. I immediately feel better.

A single wolfgirl is cleaning some tables by the bar. She doesn’t look impoverished compared to the ones I just saw on the streets, and her ears immediately turn towards me. After a quick glance my way she returns to her work, but her ears are still pointed my way. I step over to the innkeeper to confirm my booking. Or… I guess this is the daughter of the innkeeper, since the bar is manned by a girl who can’t be much more than sixteen. She has slightly curly hair that reaches her shoulders, its brown-beige color almost identical to the hue of her apron. She peps up as I approach, having obviously waited for me.

“Hi!”

I lean against the counter, again needing a moment to collect my thoughts. Just a short moment, though - I don’t want to look like a weakling in front of strangers.

“... Hi. There should be a reservation for me.”

“Master Lundberg? Yes, we’ve got a room ready for you. Is this your first time in Novioda?”

They were expecting me? Oh, of course… The coachman must have checked in around an hour ago and let them know that I would come.

“Yes. It is. But not my last, I’m sure.”

“Oh?”

The girl’s voice is actually quite pleasant. Some people have a grating voice that immediately pierces my brain, but this one doesn’t. I could probably survive having a short chat with her. I straighten my back and put on my most impressive smile.

“Yes, indeed. You see, I’ve acquired some property in the vicinity of this beautiful city, and I am now moving my residency there.”

“Oh?”

Hah, she actually sounds impressed. She’s staring at me wide-eyed and mouth slightly agape. I’m too slow to come up with my next line, though. Damn my worn-out head.

“Have you bought one of the farmsteads outside of the city, Master Lundberg?”

I only now realize that I revealed why I’m here. Oh well… Even though I hadn’t been planning on making it publicly known that I had bought the only castle in the vicinity of Novioda, I’m sure it won’t be a problem letting this girl know. Or… Well, to be honest, I just want to impress her. What can I do… I’m an unmarried guy in his twenties, after all.

“No, not exactly. I will be moving into a truly spectacular establishment. An old castle, actually.”

The barmaid’s eyes widen even more in surprise. Oh yeah, she’s obviously impressed.

“Castle? Oh, you… You bought Emberhold Castle…?”

What…? How does she know? Did the coachman tell her? Well, no matter. She seems like a nice, honest girl. I’m sure it won’t become a problem that someone in Novioda knows that Emberhold will soon have a new resident. I nod and straighten my back again, basking in the look of awe on the barmaid’s face. She really seems flabbergasted… But of course, it’s not every day that a man in his twenties comes around and buys a whole castle.

“That’s right. I just arrived here in Albescia, and I’ll continue on to my castle first thing in the morning tomorrow.”

“Oh…”

She looks unsure of what to say. Just the same, I’d like to get up to my room now. After shifting her eyes away for a few seconds, she speaks again in a soft voice.

“Well… I hope you’ll… Enjoy your new castle.”

“I’m sure I will. Now then, I’ll have to excuse myself. I’ve been traveling all day and need to rest.”

“Of course, Master Lundberg.”

She can probably see in me how tired and worn-out I am. She hands me the key to my room, and we give each other a nod before I go upstairs to retire. The room, while much more basic than the lavish chambers I’ve been used to, is perfectly fine for what I need, and I quickly undress and get into the bed. Ahh, finally… This feels nice. I managed to lie down before my head began aching too bad, so my headache will probably be gone when I wake up. Looking forward to arriving at my new home tomorrow, I fall asleep.

The excitement makes the final part of my trip almost bearable. It only takes a few hours to go from Novioda to my castle. It is located on the slope of what I was told is called the Igniferi mountain range, but it’s not so far up that it can really be said to be on the mountainside. The mountain peaks are visible from Novioda, and the closer we get the more I can make out of them. After a while, I’m able to see a village through the window of the cart - Cindervale, I’ve been told it is called. It is quite small and cozy, located in a shallow valley between the farmlands of Novioda and the beginning of the Igniferi mountain range. From the looks of it, we’ll be going straight through it. Then, above the roofs of Cindervale and above the treetops beyond the village, it finally appears.

Emberhold Castle.

Even from afar, it looks just like I have been picturing it in my mind. The nobleman explained how it is actually not really a castle. It’s more like a palace, or a manor, with a couple of defensive elements. It wasn’t built to be a fortress, but a grand summer residence and hunting lodge of a prince many hundred years ago. Even though it’s quite ancient, the noble I bought it from assured me that it had been kept in good shape throughout all those years. That suits me perfectly. Due to my fragile body, I need a functional and well-kept residence for me and all the cute servants who are currently waiting for their new Master. I wonder what species they are? It might be nice with a mix between the four species, since it’s said that they are each good at different things - with catgirls being the best at traditional housekeeping, of course.

I almost disappear so deeply into daydreams containing fluffy ears and tails that I almost miss out on the fact that we’ve entered the village now. I press my face against the window again to take a look at it. It seems like a completely unremarkable grouping of homesteads inhabited by people living off the land, with a simple village square housing a market where the villagers trade their goods. I’m relieved - I don’t see any signs of poverty or misery. It seems like a quiet place with hard-working farmers and honest craftsmen.

I lose sight of Emberhold when we exit Cindervale and enter the small strip of dense woodland that lies between the village of my castle. After another thirty minutes of traveling, the trees thin out enough for it to appear again and I watch Emberhold grow larger and larger as the cart draws nearer. After fifteen minutes or so we’ve come so close that I can make out the details of my castle. It looks absolutely huge against the rugged landscape of the Igniferi mountains, the turrets and towers protruding from the colossal stone walls looking like the whole structure has been frozen in time for centuries. The gray walls are dotted with stained glass windows, their colored lights glittering in the afternoon sun. The roof is made of copper, shining brightly green from oxidation. Even here from a distance, it actually has a very romantic style to it.

The nobleman told me that it has been built in a style that varies slightly from what I’m used to back home. Emberhold is built as a single grand construction, and is not surrounded by walls or a moat like they were thousands of years ago. With the breakout of permanent peacetime, I think castles were primarily built as palaces for the rich and powerful, and not as defensive fortifications. From here, I can make out the main hall and the smaller series of corridors branching out from it, containing what must be the living quarters, library, dining hall, as well as the parts of the castle that houses the various ancillary functions that were required in its heyday. I’m looking forward to exploring it all, whenever my stamina will allow me.


>>
Chapter 3 Anonymous 23/07/21(Fri)20:18 No. 27887 ID: d0356a

-... their lives in conflicts, of which the grandest were known as “wars”, and more shockingly, were regularly executed by their peers as punishment for crimes. Even more gruesome were treatment of other species, which were viewed as inherently lowly enough to slaughter at will, primarily to be consumed. Beasts of burden and beasts of service were counted as nothing but possessions, with no repercussions for abuse and murder. The initial shift of dogmatics argued that having any kind of living beings in service of humans should also be forbidden, but it became evident that to maintain order in the world some species were meant to serve, particularly …
REVOLVATIO MORALIS


Not only is my castle in itself pleasing to the eye, but this whole area is actually pretty breathtaking. Even though we are still passing through the fields, there is a beautiful vista of the Igniferi mountain range. Tall, snow-capped peaks extend both left and right. To the west, the sun is just beginning to set, casting a warm golden glow over the mountains and the rolling hills below. Ah… If only I could have taken Sophie with me. I’m sure she would have liked this place. The only thing I can complain about is the temperature - it’s cold. That is to be expected since we are only a few months away from winter, but I didn’t expect it to be even colder up here than in Novioda.

We finally drive into the main courtyard in front of the castle. I gather my strength and stagger out of the cart, stepping down onto the barren gravel road. I’m not doing too bad, the long trip considered, there’s just a slight discomfort in my joints. I am upset by an emotional discomfort, however, when I lay my eyes on the grand structure in front of me. Now that I can see the building up close, it becomes obvious that the nobleman had over-promised a bit when he said that it had been kept in a pristine condition.

It’s a dump.

From the outside, at least, it is obvious that Emberhold Castle has seen better days. I tell myself to limit my usual pessimism; it’s probably only the exterior that needs an overhaul. The rest of the castle has surely been kept in a much better condition. The coachman doesn’t look impressed either - I had already asked him if he knew anything about the castle, but he had never even heard of it before. Well, I had never heard of it before I met the nobleman who sold it to me either.

I’m confused, and I take a look around while the coachman disembarks and unloads my trunk. I don’t see anyone coming out to greet me. I didn’t expect much, but surely some of the servants should come out here to welcome their new master. Alas, it is deadly quiet, and the windows all around me are pitch black. Not a single sign of life. I’m starting to get seriously cold, so I ask the coachman to help me carry my trunk up the five steps of stairs to the main door of the castle. He is just as puzzled as to the lack of a welcome party, but his job is now done and he has to return to Novioda before it gets dark. He wishes me good luck and disembarks.

I can feel the familiar pain building up in my head. The physical strain of handling my trunk, combined with the confusion of the situation, are pushing my vitality to its limits. With a heavy, ominous feeling in my stomach, I sit down on my trunk and breathe heavily for several minutes in an attempt to prevent, or at least delay, a debilitating headache. What is going on? What happened - have I arrived at the wrong location? Did the nobleman accidentally give me directions to a different castle? I can’t make sense of it.

I quickly begin to get seriously cold, my legs twitching as my muscles try to produce some heat. I have to get inside. I just need to gather my strength before I can move on. Once I pass through the door in front of me, I will surely be met by some kind of caretaker who will show me the comfiest bed in the castle where I can lie down for an hour or two. I ate the last portion of the bread I had brought with me on the trip here, and I was looking forward to getting something proper to eat when I arrived. Yes, that’s what I need… A hot meal, a warm bath, and a soft bed. I know that all of that is waiting for me on the other side. Just a few more steps…

I stand up, put my weight down on the handle of the great, oaken door, and open it to peer inside.

Darkness. Only the gray light streaming in through large, but dusty windows in the stone walls illuminate the interior. I’m met with a grand lobby, extending a full three stories up into the building. No burning lamps or torches or candles or fireplaces. And even worse… Silence. It’s even more silent inside than it is outside.

“Hello?”

I yell loudly into the building, wincing at the sting of pain I feel in my head from my own sudden sound. My voice echo back to me, and then nothing. I sigh. Where are all the servants? Assuming I am at Emberhold Castle, did they all have to relocate temporarily somewhere else until I showed up? I really want some answers, but I can feel that that will have to wait. First, I need to find some food, and somewhere where I can recover from the headache that is at this point inevitable.

I drag my trunk inside, feeling my head get even worse, and close the door. It is… pretty eerie. I have to reassure myself that I am unlikely to be met by any burglars or bandits - there are no signs of intrusion anywhere, and while I can’t exactly see any valuables in the lobby, it doesn’t look like anyone has searched for any either. What it does look like, though, is that I actually am at the right place. The lobby is flanked by two large, swooping stairways that go up to the upper floors, and the marble of the mezzanine in the middle has the words CASTRVM IGNIS TENETIS inscribed in it. Castle Emberhold.

At least it is warm and dry in here, which feels unnatural considering how… Abandoned the castle seems to be. I close the door behind me. Since I no longer have any hope of meeting anyone in here, I’ll have to explore my new home by myself. Just a quick walk around - the dull pain in my head is clearly telling me by now that I needed to rest. There are random objects strangely scattered around in the lobby. I can see that I need a light if I want to venture further into the castle, and after searching around for a minute, I find a rusty lantern with a candle still inside. Next to it is a crude box containing flint and steel. A tinderbox, I think… How do they work again?

With a few tries, impeded by my hurting head and my cold fingers, I manage to light up the candle. I take the lantern and proceed through the nearest open door, only hoping to find a bedroom of some sorts at this point. My mood sinks even further as I walk through a couple of dark, dusty rooms and hallways. This place is truly in as bad a condition inside as it had looked like from the outside. It doesn't make any sense - the nobleman told me he had lived here until a few months ago, but this place looks like it has been abandoned for years, or even decades. I am also puzzled by how it is still warm and dry in here, not cold and damp like I would expect from a derelict castle. I don’t see any moisture or mold anywhere, but I can’t figure out where the heat is coming from.

The silence is suddenly broken by the faintest hint of a sound echoing towards me. I freeze. What the hell was that? Another series of three or four sharp, but muffled sounds bounce against the walls. The echoing distorts the noises, making me unable to tell what it is, but it’s obviously something living. But… Surely, I’m alone here. I’m still not afraid of running into bandits, so it’s probably just a bird or a bat, or perhaps a deer that has gotten lost in the hallways, or… Worst of all, the tax collector. With my heart hammering away in my chest, I follow the sound through another dimly-lit, empty hallway. Only the faintest orange glow is streaming in through the windows from the setting sun. Good thing I brought the lantern with me.

I reach the end, where I find three closed doors. I stop and listen, but I hear nothing but my labored breath. I’m feeling quite sick by now. I check one of the doors, but it doesn’t budge. About to turn back, I look at the other two and notice that one of them is actually not closed, but slightly ajar. Stepping over to it, I cautiously open it and peek inside. This room is pitch black. I’m now further inside the castle, and this room doesn’t seem to have any windows. Holding the lantern in front of me, I take a step forward to let the fire illuminate the space.

It seems to be some kind of storage room, with old furniture stacked together near one of the walls - chairs, tables, dressers, and so on. I take another step inside and swing my lantern over towards the other side of the room, finding a couple of shelves with tools of various sorts. I’m about to turn around, but then I notice… something, down on the floor by the shelves. I stare at the things for a second, but I’m too far away for the candle to really illuminate anything but the general shapes of whatever I’m looking at.

Then the things move.

My head is pulsating with pain by now, and my eyes are beginning to hurt too, so I initially think that it must have been the flickering of the flame. I take yet another step forward, and become able to recognize the shape of the stuff on the floor.

It’s humans. Not just one, but three of them. Three small children.

No, wait… They’re not humans. They have cat ears on the top of their heads, all three of them. They are huddled together on the floor, clinging on to each other and staring up at me with frightened eyes, their tails wrapped around their thighs. Gosh, they’re tiny. Two small catgirls, and one slightly older catboy. I’ve stopped dead in my tracks, not believing my eyes. The kitties are also frozen in place, almost looking like one big, detailed statue of three creatures staring right up at me. But there is no doubt about it. They’re real.

One of the catgirls suddenly contract in a fit of coughing, snapping me out of it. After recovering from the shock of discovering that I’m alone in the castle - my headache returning in full force to let me know that my brain is working again - I begin to panickedly think it over. Have I finally found the servants that live in the castle? If so, why did they hide in here instead of coming out to greet their new Master? Hmm… looking at them, I wonder if they really are the servants of the castle. First of all, their clothes are in tatters. It’s hard to make out, since the lantern isn’t giving out a lot of light, but I can see that the two girls are wearing simple, sleeveless linen dresses, while the boy seems to be wearing some kind of equally simple shirt. None of them are wearing shoes or anything else.

Second of all, it’s not only their lack of proper clothes that worry me. They themselves are a sad sight to behold. Their hair is messy and dirty, and their bodies are nothing but skin and bones. Lastly, they’re too young - the girls can’t be more than ten years old, while the boy is perhaps around twelve. A bit too young to be employed as maids or housekeepers. Maybe the previous servants had been bred and had given birth to these children? If so, why had they been left here? From what I’ve seen of my castle so far, it’s been lying dormant for quite some time. No, they must have arrived here while it was still empty.

Well, what better way to find out what is going on than to ask them? It’s not like catgirls can’t speak. Despite my still worsening physical condition, I instinctively take a step forward and open my mouth.

“Hey, what are yo--”

I’m instantly met with a loud hiss from the catboy, who bears his fangs and glares aggressively up at me. The two girls cower and try to hide themselves even more against their older companion. The girls have their ears flattened against their head, while the boy’s are at an angle to pick up any sound I might make. I stop, actually getting a little scared. While I probably won’t have any trouble fending off an attack from such a small catboy, I’m too weakened by now to want to take any risks. I slowly walk backwards, my eyes locked with the boy as if we had already entered a fight to the death.

Nothing happens, though… And this sudden stress is more than my body can take. Even through the adrenaline, I can feel that I’m now reaching my limit. I keep backing away until I bump into the wall opposite the kitties. With barely any strength left in my body, I slump down to sit on the hard floor up against the wall, just like the kitties are sitting up against the shelf. I miraculously managed to not drop my lantern, so I place it on the ground as well. Its orange flame is just barely illuminating the room, allowing me to make out the outlines of my feline companions.

I still can’t make any sense of it. Why has the splendid castle I bought turned out to be such a dump? Where are all the servants who should be living here? And… Why does the stone wall feel so warm against my back? The kitties are watching me intensely, though they seem to have calmed down a little now that they can see that I haven’t come here to harm them. I expect them to get up any time and run away from me, but for some strange reason they don’t. They stay immobile.

And so, we sit here. In silence. None of us makes a sound, except for one of the kitties, who coughs again every now and then. Sitting down is making my head feel a little better, so that’s always something. I use the time to study the three kitties sitting across from me at the other side of the room. I only grow more and more confused the more I look at them. Why haven’t they run away? While they are not staring at me anymore, the boy is still eyeing me suspiciously with regular intervals, his ears flickering every so often. If they are so scared of me, why are they staying? What catpeople might lack in wit and intelligence, they more than make up for it in agility. They would have no problem running out of the storage room, especially not now that I am sitting on the floor far away from the door.

It’s a shame that the kitties are so dirty and downtrodden. Even though I still can’t tell whether they are intruders in my castle or not, I begin to feel sorry for them. How could I not? They were just little kitties, after all. And the two girls look quite cute too, despite their grimy looks. They have semi-long hair reaching down to their shoulders, and it would probably have been all smooth if it had been taken care of. Due to the monotone and dim light from the lantern, I can’t really make out the colors of their hair and fur, but one definitely has darker features than the other.

Then there’s the boy. He definitely has a very light hair color, and it has been a while since he has had a haircut, since it is actually a bit longer than my own - and my hair is slightly longer than appropriate, with my bangs falling over my forehead and ears. I begin studying his face, something he clearly notices with annoyance. He has a hard look in his almond-shaped eyes, glaring at me occasionally as if frustrated that he can’t shield himself from my gaze. He has a surprisingly pleasant face too, with a small, pert nose and a round and still childish head shape. He is actually… kinda… cute.

Wait a second…

Is he really a… she…?

I can’t tell… Maybe there’s a way to find out.

“Hey.”

No answer. He… Or, she, simply glares at me again, obviously frustrated that I attempt to speak to them once more.

“What are you doing here?”

Still no answer, except for another series of coughs from one of the girls. Are they sick? Are they mute? The girls don't say anything either, but are simply looking at me while still clinging to the older one. All catpeople learn to talk, they are no different from us humans in that regard, so I’m sure that they could understand me.

“How long have you been here?”



“What’s your names?”

Finally, one of the girls - the dark-haired one - opens her mouth.


>>
Chapter 4 Anonymous 23/07/21(Fri)20:19 No. 27888 ID: d0356a

- … that differs from man in three major ways: having a furry tail, having their ears on the top of their head and likewise covered in fur, and possessing an inferior nature of the spirit. Servants are most often found employed in families of status and wealth, though it is not uncommon for individuals to also have bonded with a single servant. When harming and killing all living creatures indiscriminately was outlawed, so was the practice of slavery. However, it soon became clear that the sub-human species needed to be …
REVOLVATIO MORALIS


“It’s--”

“Quiet! Don’t talk to him!”

She is immediately and harshly silenced by the boy. Except now I am pretty sure that that isn’t a boy. While the tone of her voice hadn’t exactly been pleasant, it sounded too soft to be that of a male.

“What? Why not?”

I try to get a conversation going, but without success. The smaller, dark-haired girl follows the order from the white-haired one, and doesn’t reply to my question. They all three just keep staring apprehensively at me. I sigh and give up. I don’t have the mental energy for this.

Sitting still like this for a couple of minutes, fiddling with the handle of the lantern, helps me recover and I eventually feel myself being able to think straight again. While I’m starving at this point, I still primarily just want to find somewhere to lie down and sleep. I can’t do it here, on the hard stony floor without anything to keep me warm. And I can’t just go to sleep right in front of these catgirls either. While servants acting violently is unheard of, I… Don’t know if I can trust them to not mess around with me. They seem to be pretty feral.

There has got to be a bedroom around somewhere, with a door I can lock or barricade. I just have to find it. All four of us lock eyes while I slowly stand up and exit the storage room, the ears of the kitties laying flat against their heads in fear of me moving again. I take the lantern with me, feeling a little guilty of leaving the girls in the dark again, but I know that their eyes are way better in the dark than mine. I leave them behind and go back to where I came from, and decide on a different hallway which takes me further into the depths of the castle. It is deadly quiet again..

Messy rooms behind half-closed doors… cobwebs… Dirt, and the occasional piece of furniture here and there. There really isn’t much of value in this building. I can’t tell if the place has been looted, or if the nobleman sold as much of his belongings as he could before selling the castle to me. Well… I doubt that the nobleman actually lived here at all.

I try to remember where it looked like the residential chambers should be, from the view I had of the castle in the cart. I don’t find rooms that contain as much as a blanket, however, but I find something else. Swinging yet another big, heavy door open, I realize I’ve found the castle’s kitchen. I’m more hungry than I remember ever being in my entire life, so I step inside to take a look around. It’s just as sad and empty as the rest of the rooms I have seen. No sign of food anywhere, there are only a few pieces of cooking utensils and tools scattered around.

At the far wall is a closed door behind which I assume is the pantry. My headache is returning now that I am moving around, but if I’m lucky, there might still be something in there I can eat. I make my way over to the door, noticing that it is hanging slightly crooked on its hinges. No matter, as long as I can get it open. I give it a push, and… Nothing. I can’t get it open.

Dammit.

This can’t be happening… It’s not like I’m in any danger of dying of hunger just yet, but I really don’t want to starve tonight - or tomorrow either. I take a step back and launch myself at the door. With an awful screeching sound that hurt my ears, it budges slightly open. The crookedness is making it scrape against the stony floor. I give it another hard push, but even when using all of my strength - and now with great pain in my head - the bottom part keeps getting blocked by the floor. Alright, I’ll have to do this the hard way. I begin alternating between repeatedly kicking and slamming my shoulder against the door, and centimeter by centimeter I force it forward and into the darkness of the pantry.

It hurts my shoulder, but I keep doing it. It’s not like I have any better options if I want to find some food around here. And finally, after slamming myself against the door more times than I can bother to count, the top hinge suddenly breaks loose and the door abruptly pivots open, swinging on only its bottom hinge to fall forward into a shelf behind it, creating a gigantic racket from all sorts of jars and boxes falling down onto the floor. My ears now hurt as much as my head, but I got it open! Regaining my balance, I pick up my lantern and step into the pantry.

I almost begin crying tears of joy when I see that my hard work hasn't been for nothing. It isn’t appetizing, but the pantry still contains dried and salted foods of various kinds. Grindgreens, chewstalks, savorshoots… It’s the most basic of foods, but most of it looks edible. I remember learning as a child that after the War some foods were cultivated to, if conserved correctly, be edible for decades. I’m just about to decide which one to try first when I hear the echoes of a voice bouncing between the walls of the hallways behind me.

“Ari…!”

Startled, but remembering that I’m not exactly alone in the castle, I spin around and see a face peeking out from the hallway through the kitchen. It’s one of the younger catgirls, but it wasn’t her voice that just yelled out. It came from somewhere further away. She’s looking at me with a scared, but also curious gaze, one of her ears turned sideways and her tail sticking straight down towards the floor from underneath her dress. The voice from before repeats itself. I can hear the fear and desperation in it.

“Ari! Get back here! You don’t… argh!”

The stern words are interrupted by a painful cry. Ari, which is apparently the name of the curious catgirl who had followed me here, turns her head around and looks over her shoulder. I slowly walk out of the pantry and into the kitchen, unsure of how to interact with my unexpected stalkers. I’m not surprised that Ari could sneak up on me, since I remember Sophie also being very agile and able to move silently around. I can hear some very faint sounds of discomfort coming from the hallway, and Ari is still looking at whoever is making them, her ears flickering as if they can’t decide whether to have their attention towards me, or the hallway. Ari then opens her mouth.

“Maaya…! He managed to get the door to the pantry open!”

I stand still, waiting to see what happens. But… Nothing happens. After a few seconds, it sounds like whoever is in the hallway is having great difficulties moving around, but they don’t say anything. After a few more seconds, Ari turns her head to look at me. She doesn’t look that scared anymore, but rather like she’s unsure of what to do, her tail more relaxed and swaying slightly from side to side.

Wanting to see what is going on, I slowly approach Ari but walk past her to peer down the hallway, holding the lantern out in front of me. Six meters or so away from us, I can just barely make out that the older catgirl is half-kneeling on the floor and leaning against the stone wall. She stares at me with reflective eyes that are at once full of fear, anger, pain, and embarrassment. She tries to make another step towards me and Ari, but stumbles and cries out again. She is obviously in great pain.

“Maaya…?”

The smaller catgirl rushes over to her friend, whose name must be Maaya, and drops to her knees next to her. She puts her hands on her shoulder, but she’s obviously unsure of what to do. I also slowly make my way over towards them, my approaching figure making Maaya scramble around on the floor. I want to know what is going on. This is all very unusual behavior of catgirls. Maaya is now holding both of her hands around one of her ankles, and even with the dim light from my lantern and the last rays of daylight coming in through the dusty windows, I can see that it doesn’t look good. I’ve never seen an ankle that swollen before.

“Ari, get… get back to Isa!”

Maaya stops moving and almost hisses at me while at the same time trying to speak to Ari, but the smaller catgirl doesn’t move away.

“But…! He got the pantry open! I can smell food!”

Huh, I couldn’t smell anything from the preserved food I was looking at before, not even when I was standing inside the pantry… Maaya looks up at me, and the pieces start falling into place inside my tortured brain. These girls didn’t have the strength to get that door open, so… They’ve probably been starving. That’s also why they look so thin. I can see the two of them a bit more clearly now that we are out of the dark storage room. They really look dirty and frail, I’ve never seen someone - humans or servants - in such an unkempt condition.

Ari stares bewildered at Maaya, and Maaya stares at me with clear hostility, and I stare back at the two of them. We are all silent. What the hell should I do? They’re most likely trespassers and squatters. At least, I’m sure they’re not servants that used to live here back when Emberhold was still inhabited. This place has been deserted for longer than these kitties have been alive, and since they haven’t been able to get into the pantry by themselves, they must have gotten here somewhat recently.

But I can’t just grab them by the hair and throw them outside either… They’ll freeze to death. They’re weakened enough as it is, and the older one, Maaya, barely seems to be able to walk. Even when I approached her just now, she tried to scramble away from me but gave up with another look of pain on her face. She is still clutching her swollen ankle… Weird. Catgirls are agile, it’s rare for them to hurt themselves. It must be because she’s weakened by starvation. Her ears are flat against her head again, while Ari’s are pointed towards Maaya.

I’ll have to think of what to do with them later. My head is killing me, and I almost have trouble walking around myself at this point. I’m also starving, and getting some food into my stomach would help. I stagger away from the two catgirls and back through the kitchen to get to the pantry. It’s gonna be a sad dinner for me tonight, but at least I’ll get some sustenance. I take some dried savorshoots and chewstalks out of their jars, looking at them for a moment. This isn’t right… I’ve got all this food for myself, basic as it is, while there’s those two kitties sitting out in the hallway, probably starving even more than I am. And the third kitty somewhere else.

I pick up as much dried food as I can carry in one arm, I head back to where I left the two girls. It’s quite difficult handling the food while still having to carry the lantern in one hand, but I manage it. They’re still there, kneeling down on the floor. I feel a sting of pity in my heart… I think that the older one is unable to move any longer, and the younger one doesn’t know what to do. They instantly have my eyes on me again, still being on guard. I kneel down in front of them, with Maaya backing slightly away, but their eyes light up and their ears perk up when they confirm what their noses are probably telling them. I’ve brought them something to eat.

Once I show them the food, I can almost see on their faces how their hunger overcomes their fear of me. But it doesn’t completely go away. It’s not that easy to win over a feral pair of stray kitties, it seems. Well, that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m just being considerate to animals, as I’ve been brought up to be. I offer them the chewstalks and while Maaya is hesitant, Ari slowly reaches out and accepts it. Leaning back, she sniffs the long, dark-green vegetable and gives Maaya some. Once the older catgirl also validates the editability of the food, they shove it into their mouths to devour it. It’s gone within seconds.

“Wow, you must be really hungry.”

They look at me again, still unsure of what to think of me. I show them that I’ve got more food, and their faces light up again. I smile softly, trying to show them that I don’t mind sharing. Their ears have become slightly more relaxed at this point.

“There’s plenty of food in the pantry. You can have some more.”

Ari leans forward and accepts it again - she has an easier time moving around than Maaya - she shares some with her friend. Then Maaya turns her head towards the younger catgirl.

“Go get Isa.”

That must be the third catgirl I saw. Ari nods and stands up, and runs down the hallway while simultaneously eating a savorshoot. Maaya turns her attention back to me, large eyes and fluffy ears still cautious towards me. I can’t blame her - I’m much larger than her. I move a little closer so I can hand her a savorshoot as well, and our fingers briefly touch once she takes it from my hand, one of her ears flickering. I put one in my mouth to eat myself, and we keep our eyes locked as we both begin to chew the dried food. Like two animals that are still ready to fight or flight.

The savorshoot is entirely palatable, despite the taste being far away from the food I’ve been used to eating. It’s still better than what I could have hoped for, considering my situation, I guess. While I still got a terrible headache, it does feel good to get some food into my stomach. After a few savorshoots and chewstalks, I even feel my head clear sufficiently to make another attempt at talking with the catgirl in front of me.

“... This place is a dump, huh?”

She doesn’t say anything, but keeps her eyes and ears on me while she eats a chewstalk, albeit slower this time. I try again.

“Good thing I got the panty open. We might all have died of hunger otherwise.”

While I would have been able to walk down to the village and get some food somehow - perhaps by selling some of my clothing - I would probably have just laid down to die before degrading myself to that. Maaya, for the first time acknowledging my words, nods slightly. It’s now pitch black outside, and from the yellow glow of the lantern I can just make out how her tail has started swaying slowly behind her.

“Have you been here for long?”

Maaya stays still for a couple of seconds, and then shakes her head. While she’s still suspicious of me, at least I’ve got a line of communication open now. Sharing a meal with someone really brings people together, huh. I can use this opportunity to introduce myself; that’s the first thing you should do when trying to get to know someone, right?

“So, uh… My name is August. I’ve… I bought this castle. I don’t know why you girls are here, but… I just arrived, and… Then I found you.”

What am I doing…? I’m usually better with words, but my aching head is making it difficult to articulate myself properly. Oh well, I might as well give up any act of trying to look like someone who’s his things together. I probably look just as much like shit as I feel like shit. And what does it not say about me, that I’ve been tricked into buying this goddamn ruin and are now bumbling around it like an idiot in the dark. Oh well, at least we’ve got something to eat.

Or… I had something to eat. We finished the food I brought with me from the pantry. And with perfect timing… Because there comes Ari, bringing the third catgirl - Isa - back with her. Ari looks hungry and Isa looks scared, holding on to Ari’s hand. Isa breaks out in a fit of coughing, holding her other arm up over her mouth. So she’s the one who must be sick. Maya is keeping a watchful eye on me, her ears twisting and turning, probably nervous that I’m gonna do something bad now that they’re all three together again.


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Shadow 23/07/24(Mon)00:05 No. 27889 ID: 11f6e3

I would say it's worth posting. You've taken some time to do some proper world-building, some of which our protagonist isn't aware of. I like that while he's self-centered, it's because of his upbringing. He's a good person at heart, just woefully ignorant of how the world works. Partly because of said upbringing and partly because of how his illness treats him (migraines before medication must have suuuuuuuuuucked). He's had one rude awakening so far, and I'm looking forward to more as he learns and expands himself. Also looking forward to learning more about the girls and seeing their relationship develop.


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I like where this is going. 322 23/07/25(Tue)05:12 No. 27891 ID: 890a58

As shadow said, good foundation giving us life to his world. So far I'm enjoying the plot and it's promising. I think we've got the idea now he's hurting and we might not forget it, ever. ;). All of them are in dire straits so do they have a rescuer on the way or are they going to tough it out together?


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Anonymous 23/07/27(Thu)03:04 No. 27892 ID: cbfee9

Definitely worth continuing. Good world building and character construction. The castle has a certain House of Hammer vibe with catgirls instead of damsels in distress. MC isn't super smart and worldy wise, unlike many Mary Sue characters. Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan is the only crippled MC I can think of and he is a genius and super manipulator as compensation.
Underpeople stories have had a following since Cordwainer Smith wrote The Ballad of Lost C'Mell. He was a glowie's glowie, State Department from birth and the president of China was his godfather. You are wearing his shoes well.


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Chapter 5 Anonymous 23/07/29(Sat)22:49 No. 27893 ID: e7fdd6

… far back as written sources exist, with some of the earliest descriptions being in NECESSITVDINEM DESIDERII which mentions a particularly resourceful lord, Orlando, and his several servants of which his most precious was a vulpes. While vulpes (and their related species, canis and lupus) are still occasionally seen in some households, the servants most often encountered today are feline. The original meaning and etymology of these words has been lost to time, and today they are …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


“Where’s the food?”

Ari lets go of Isa’s hand and steps closer to me, sniffing the air. She can probably smell that I’m not carrying anything anymore. We might as well all go back to the pantry and eat there, so I stand up and raise my arm in the direction of the kitchen.

“There’s more in the pantry, we can… whoa…!”

Dammit… I stood up too fast. I almost pass out, and have to crouch slightly down again to get my blood pressure under control. Damn my head. Ari and Isa take a step back. I just need a moment…

There. I stand up straight.

“I’m okay, I just… Anyways, I’ll show you the way.”

I immediately feel stupid - Ari already knows where the pantry is. Whatever. I take a step down the hallway but the three catgirls don’t move. The two smaller ones are staring at Maaya, who then slowly tries to stand up on her feet, still leaning against the wall. But she doesn’t even get halfway up before she lets out a pained grunt, and then plops back down on the floor with a painful cry.

Ouch… It’s almost painful for me to look at too, I can see that she must really be hurt. Did she crawl all the way here from the storage room? There is a mix of frustration and embarrassment through the painful distortion on her face, her teeth gritted and her eyes tearfully staring down at her tiny hands pressed against the floor, ears drooping down in sadness. She must really be injured somewhere.

Ari and Isa - coughing a few times - rush over to her, but it’s obvious that they have no idea what to do. They just keep quietly saying Maaya’s name while staring helplessly at her. With how injured Maaya is, it’s probably impossible for her to lean on her small companions to walk. I watch the three of them for a moment. I don’t owe them anything, but… They’re starving. And one of them is seriously injured, and another one is sick. I can’t just ignore them.

Summoning the bit of strength I still have, I step over to kneel down next to Maaya. She glares up at me with fear overruling the pain in her eyes, her tail becoming straight with apprehension. She likely feels completely defenseless, something I know catgirls hate. Ignoring her hostile attitude, I look down over her legs. She’s pressing both of her hands onto one of right knee. That must be what’s hurting. Further below, her ankle also looks… Bad. The skin has scar tissue after a recent and big scratch, and her tiny, bare foot is slightly swollen as well. No wonder she can’t walk.

Without saying a word - I don’t even think I have the mental capacity to speak anymore - I forcefully put an arm around her shoulders and an arm underneath her knees to pick her up. She immediately becomes frightened and begins to struggle, but stops almost as quickly and grits her teeth in pain again. Oops… This is what happens when I can't think straight. I shouldn't touch her leg if it is injured.

Almost by instinct, I try to shush her while readjusting my grip to something that won't put pressure on her leg. The only way to get that to work is to put my arm under her butt, and then hold her up against my chest. Just like you would carry a little child. Well… I guess this kitty is still a child. She is certainly small, compared to my grown physique. And lighter than I had expected. Even with my pulsating headache, I have no trouble carrying her like this.

I don’t know if she can sense the care I am taking in holding her, but she stops resisting and accepts being carried. Good, I would have given up trying to help her if I had to do it by force. Standing up, I slowly carry her to the kitchen with the other two kitties following close behind me, the bare soles of their feet clattering against the warm stone floor. The light from the lantern is strangely following us, and when I turn my head around I see that Isa and Ari are working together to carry the lantern with them, looking up worried at their older friend. Maaya herself is keeping her head down, probably still ashamed of her vulnerable situation. I carry her through the kitchen to get into the pantry, wanting to put us as close to the food as possible. Good thing we didn’t have to go that far, I feel like I am about to pass out. I carefully set Maaya down on the stone floor, before almost collapsing right next to her.

I’m not super happy that we have to degrade ourselves to sit on the bare, dusty floor. Through the pain in my head, I notice that the stones beneath us here are also comfortably warm. I sense Ari and Isa being in the pantry with us, and I sluggishly instruct them to bring something to eat for both me and Maaya. A pair of small hands gives me something I don’t even register what is, and I bring it to my mouth to eat it. It’s not exactly good, but it’s not bad either. I’m given another one, and then another one. Tap tap tap, small feet keep pattering around me and Maaya. Once my stomach is full, I lie down on my side.

I’m completely done.

I can’t do anything more at this point. I can only hope that the catgirls aren’t gonna slit my throat, and that I’m not gonna throw up and choke on my own vomit. My headache is worse than I’ve ever experienced before. But it’s nothing compared to how utterly destroyed my mental state is.

It’s over. I’ve been had.

I expected to arrive at a beautiful castle where an abundance of cute servants would tend to my every whim. A true paradise. Instead, I’m now laying on a filthy floor in a derelict ruin that is only inhabited by a couple of young, semi-feral catgirls. I traded almost everything I had for this. I gave it all up, and there’s no going back. I feel so bad, so stupid, and so ashamed of myself. The mental and physical pain I’m in almost makes it feel like I’m dying. I might as well.

I pass out.

Losing conscience is a funny thing. It’s not like sleeping, where you do in some way sense the passing of time. When passing out, everything quickly fades to black and you then immediately recognize that you are conscious again, no matter how much time has passed. I have no idea how much time has passed just now. I feel… Extremely weakened and sluggish, of course, but also… Surprisingly comfortable. Where does this pleasant feeling come from? Is it from the heat of the stones underneath me? Partly. After an indeterminable amount of time, I become able to tell that it actually comes from the back of my head. My head still hurts pretty badly, but not as much as before. There’s something warm pressing against the back of my head, and it’s not the floor. It’s much softer. It’s… skin.

The signals from my eyes slowly begin making sense to my brain. I’m looking up at a familiar face. Oh, if it isn’t… Sophie? My cute little friend from my childhood. So, I must have died, and gone to heaven. I’m back in the garden, having napped while resting my head on Sophie’s lap. But… Something looks off. Why is Sophie’s hair not pink any more? I blink a few times, and notice the two other Sophies in the periphery of my vision. Those Sophies also look weird. I blink a few times more. Why do they all look so… worried? They are all observing me. I blink a few times again, my short-term memory returning.

Oh, right.

I’m in Castle Shithole, or whatever its name is. And these three faces staring down at me aren’t cute, obedient servants belonging to my family, but run-away catgirls that are squatting in the ruin I’ve been conned into buying. I close my eyes again, wishing I could fall back into the nothingness. I can’t. At least I’m somewhat comfortable. Maaya’s thighs are nice and warm. I am only allowed a moment's respite, however, as my headache suddenly registers in my brain again. God, it hurts. I can barely stand it. Why couldn’t I just have stayed unconscious?

The pain makes me restless, but my body is too broken and exhausted to do anything but rest. The only thing I manage to do is open my eyes again. I find myself staring up into the pair of eyes above me, the cat-eared face of Maaya hovering above my head. Grey… She has beautiful, almost sparkling grey eyes. In the golden candlelight, they are so brilliant that they seem to radiate a light from within. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a pair of additional flames providing illumination. The smaller kitties have probably found some more candles in the kitchen, and brought them here. It’s not as dark as before. I can now see the features of Maaya’s face more clearly.

She’s super dirty. Her skin is almost as dirty as the dusty floor. But she has a cute, round face, with slightly plump lips and long eyelashes. Her locks of hair are flowing over her forehead and the top of her neck, but I can’t say it’s very pretty. I still can’t really tell its real color, since the candlelight is bathing everything in orange, but it seems ashy-grey and messy. Even so, it feels like it is an angel that is looking down at me from above. Her triangular ears are standing straight up from the top of her head, her attention fully on me. I return my gaze to the almond-shaped eyes. They are super-focused, staring at me, but she does not seem to be scared of me any more. Rather, she seems to be looking at me with… worry.

There are so many things I try to think about, so many questions I want to ask. But I can’t. My headache is killing me. I find myself beginning to drift away again, floating off to sunny grassy fields and pink, fluffy hair. But another ache of pain pulls me away from that too. I am not allowed any respite. I’m afraid. I’ve never been this sick before. Almost in a delirium, I pry my dry lips apart to unconsciously mutter something.

“Can you… Can you do me a… favor? … Can you… lift your shirt up for me?”

I register a slight flutter of Maaya’s ears. Her bright grey eyes frown slightly, and I can see the confusion on her face. What the hell did I just say? I can even show that I’ve immediately regretted my words. I’m too weak. Maaya is just staring down at me. She must think I’m crazy. I probably am - the headache has finally driven me insane. But then… She slowly begins moving, and I look over to see that she has gripped on to the hem of her shirt, and is now pulling it upwards. She is… Actually doing it? I turn my head towards her torso. She is wearing a skirt in addition to her shirt, but it’s not that long. I look up, and I can see her belly button, her pronounced ribcage, and then… I see the fabric of her shirt going over two, dark spots on her chest. A very, very small chest, I might add.

It looks lovely, though, bathed in the soft candlelight. I’m only a couple of centimeters away from two tiny, but beautifully defined breasts, their budding roundness standing out from Maaya’s bony torso. I barely even register all of this, because all of my focus is on one thing. The dark, round spot that is breaking the pale orange-glowing skin right at the tip of her right breast. It’s identical to the dark, round spot on the left chest, I probably just ended up focusing on the right one at random. I’m not thinking any more, and I realize my body has begun moving on its own. I’m slowly raising myself, but instead of sitting up, I shift my face closer and closer to Maaya’s chest. I briefly see that she is holding her shirt up to her neck while staring down at me, before returning my gaze to her nipple. It looks soft and almost completely flat, just an almost non-existent bump on the skin. I then close my eyes, and simultaneously close my lips around it.

Or, rather, I’m pressing my open mouth against Maaya’s bare breast. There’s not really anything to close my mouth around. But that doesn’t matter. I’m instantly… Calmed. At first, I feel nothing but the warmth of her naked skin and the slight, natural taste of bare skin. But then something begins happening. It feels like an explosion in slow motion of… Something. I can’t explain it. There’s definitely not anything actually coming out of her breast - I make a check by running my tongue across her nipple. There’s nothing. But I can feel it. A calmness spreads from her breast and into me, and steadily envelopes my entire head. My splitting headache, it’s… Diminishing. Ever so slowly, I feel less and less sick. It’s… Just like I’m back in the secret hiding place in my parent’s garden again.

I heard Maaya take a sharp intake of air when I made contact with her skin, but otherwise she is completely silent and immobile, except for her breathing which has gotten slightly more pronounced. The poor girl must be frozen in shock. I can’t bring myself to break away from her, though, it just feels too… Good. On the contrary, I find myself putting a hand on her collarbone to gently push her down on the floor, following suit myself so that I do not break the seal my lips are making around her nipple. I don’t feel any resistance from her, she is probably confused about what I am doing. But this is much better - I’m now lying halfways on top of her, my mouth firmly pressed against the tiny amount of flesh of her right breast.

The calmness is still flowing through me, and bit by bit my headache continues to dwindle. I can even feel an effect when I, by instinct, begin lightly sucking on her nipple. That also seems to have an effect on Maaya’s body, as I can then tell that her nipple begins to swell. It’s not much, but it eventually becomes just a bit harder, standing out from her breast to clearly make itself noticeable by my tongue.

After several minutes, my headache is gone and I can even feel that life is slowly returning to the rest of my body as well. A couple of more minutes pass in silence, save for the occasional coughing fits from one of the younger kitties, before I slowly break away and sit up right. Maaya, laying on her back, is still staring up at me with her piercing silver eyes, her mouth slightly agape. A bit of my spit is glistering on her breast, and the nipple I was sucking on is now a bit more pronounced compared to the other. I sit back against the wall, and breathe a sigh of relief. I’m still super tired, but… I almost feel completely fine now.

“... Thank you.”

Maaya nods hesitantly and slowly sits up as well, letting her shirt drop down over her body. She then carefully feels around on her right breast through the fabric, looking down over herself in slight confusion. I’m not sure what just happened, I just know that… Whatever it was, it helped with my pain. I glance over at Isa and Ari, who are huddled together at the opposite wall. They are staring at me with innocent curiosity, having watched the whole thing play out right in front of them. Isa coughs again. She really sounds sick. But I have no idea what to do - whenever any of my family’s servants became ill, they just took her to the veterinary. I don’t know the slightest thing about catgirl health.

Maaya eventually ceases her examination of her chest, and - with difficulty - scoots over to also sit up against the wall next to her friends, knees drawn up to her chest. And so, we’re almost back to square one. We sit here, in the dirty pantry, in silence. At least there’s a bit more light for us now, thanks to the candles the kitties had lit up while I was out. I wonder how long I was unconscious for. I feel like it was for a long time, like several days. Or a few hours, at least. But thinking it over, it was probably not more than a couple of minutes. It’s still dark out in the kitchen and hallway, and there is no reason the kitties would have been sitting here with me for very long. I sigh deeply, remembering my situation. The clarity that the disappearance of my headache is bringing me is not doing me any favors.

Looking at the three catgirls, I can only describe them as a bunch of ragged outcasts who have given up on life. Even though I’ve made some food available to them now, they’re just… Sitting there. Staring blankly ahead. I close my eyes. I feel like giving up too. I gave up everything - I traded all I had for this. And this is… Nothing. Nothing… is all there is left for me now.

Nothing.


>>
OP!T1tXaJv9os 23/07/31(Mon)07:52 No. 27896 ID: ade356

..... go on.

I like the world building so far.


>>
Chapter 6 Anonymous 23/08/01(Tue)16:24 No. 27898 ID: 477c5b

… species differ in some specific areas. Like their fellow beasts, they enjoy increased senses of hearing, sight, and smell, especially to a much larger degree than humans. Furthermore, their bodies possess both more strength, dexterity, agility, and flexibility than do man, though only to a small degree. This is ultimately useful in helping servants complete their tasks, as it allows even small and slender servants to perform physical labor with more success than a human of the same weight and size would be able to. This does not mean that servants are used as laborers in that sense of the word, but instead …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


Unfortunately, my body does not agree with being content with nothingness. As long as I am alive, it still has something: Needs. I realize that I am terribly thirsty. I don’t want to, I honestly don’t care anymore, but the feeling of thirst is so primal that it gradually overshadows everything else. I need something to drink.

I look around. I doubt there is anything drinkable here in the pantry. The foodstuffs might have been able to keep edible for this long, but any stored water would have either evaporated, or gone bad. I doubt that the kitties have been able to refill the kitchen’s water barrels with fresh water. But then… What have they been drinking? Opening my eyes again, I think it over. I think and think and think, but the only thing I can think of is that I’ll have to ask them. They didn’t want to talk with me before, but maybe they’re more willing now that we’ve helped each other out, and now that I’ve… Um… Had that moment with Maaya. In any case, I should warm them up with some smalltalk, before I start making demands.

“Hey…”

All three of them immediately look at me, their ears perking up in synchronization. Isa coughs.

“... How long have you been here?”

Maaya narrows her eyes in suspicion, and her tail starts swaying ever so slightly. She still doesn’t really trust me. But then she and her younger companions exchange some glances, the ears of Isa and Ari fluttering a few times. Maaya turns her head back to me.

“Almost a week.”

We are both keeping our voices down, probably by habit since it is the middle of the night. I nod.

“... And you haven’t had anything to eat until now?”

Maaya shifts her gaze up at the boxes of chewstalks on the shelf beside her, then looks back at me and slowly shakes her head with a defeated look in her eyes. Her ears droop down.

“Good thing I got here, then, and got the pantry open.”

“... Mmhh…”

She just hums in agreement. Isa coughs; both she and Ari are watching the conversation between me and Maaya with guarded curiosity. We’re silent for a few seconds before I speak again.

“... In return, may I know your names now?”

I’ve already figured them out, but I think that a proper introduction is in order if we are to… Work together. It seems like I will be stuck with them until morning, at least. Maaya takes a deep breath, then talks in her soft, low voice.

“I’m Maya.”

“Maya?”

I twist my head slightly in confusion. All three of them have a slightly different accent than what I’m used to - the same that the barmaid had in Novioda, almost melodic, but Maaya’s pronunciation of her name just now was different from how her two friends have been saying it.

“I thought it was Maaaya?”

I draw out the first syllable to highlight how I’ve heard Isa and Ari say it. Maaya rolls her eyes slightly, one of her ears fluttering in annoyance.

“That’s just how those two say it. It’s MAH-ya.”

“Oh. Okay.”

I turn my gaze over towards the two smaller kittens. One of them immediately lights up, now that she can tell that she is finally allowed to talk to me.

“I’m Ari!”

“Ari, huh.”

Ari seems friendly enough, and is actually smiling. I smile back and then look at the last kitty - the sickly one.

“And what about you?”

Isa coughs and straightens her back, but she still seems nervous.

“I’m… Isa… It’s---”

She’s interrupted by a another cough, but then continues.

“It’s short for Isadora.”

“Okay… So we’ve got…”

I look at all three of them.

“Maaya, whose name is actually Maya, and Isa, whose name is actually Isadora. Then what about you, Ari, what is your name really?”

Ari just stares blankly at me for two seconds before shrugging.

“It’s just Ari.”

I facepalm and sigh loudly. I can feel my headache returning. No matter - I’m making progress. I’ve finally broken the ice with these three small kitties. I regain my composure.

“Well… As I think I’ve already said; my name is August Lundberg, and I’ve--”

“Augus?”

Ari cuts me off. I hold up a finger to show that she pronounced my name wrong.

“August.”

“Auguss?”

“AuguST.”

“Augus!”

I sigh again.

“Yeah… Sure… August. And I’ve… Well… I bought this castle. All of this…”

I wave an arm out towards the kitchen.

“Everything here is now mine.”

Ari and Isa doesn’t really seem to understand what that implies, but Maya clearly does. She’s staring at me with confusion.

“You bought… This place? This… Ruin?”

“... Mhm.”

It stings. Yeah, I bought a ruin. I have no reason to admit that I was swindled into doing so, though.

“Why?”

“Well, you know… I… I…”

Dammit. My headache is beginning to make it difficult to talk. Coming up with lies is not me at all, and having to strain my brain to do it is wearing it out. I wave my hand to dismiss the question.

“Anyways, I am here now, and I will have to make the most of it.”

She’s not buying it… Even though I am trying to keep my cool by looking off into the distance, I can feel Maya’s silver eyes piercing me. Strange. She’s not like any other catgirl I’ve ever known. I’ve never heard a servant question the reasons and motives of a human. Well, whatever. I think this is enough chit-chat; my thirst is killing me.

“You said you’ve been here for almost a week. What have you been drinking? I need some water.”

Maya breaks her stare and looks down at the floor.

“We… We found a place in the basement where there is water, but…”

Ari suddenly chips in.

“It’s scary! And it smells funny.”

Isa nods and coughs again. Maya shrugs her shoulders, and glances down at the scar on her ankle.

“It… It is strange down in the basement below this… Castle… It is where I slipped, and…”

Her voice trails off, but I get it. There’s somewhere down below with water, likely a well, and the floor got wet and she slipped and hurt her leg. But that doesn’t make sense to me. Catgirls are too agile to let some slippery rocks get the better of them. In any case, I’m going to have to go down there. I don’t want to die of thirst. I stand up, getting dizzy for a second due to my head. My goddamn head. It’s not used to all these hardships.

“I… I’m going to go down there. I need something to drink.”

I step out into the kitchen, but it’s pitch black. I remember the maze-like halls I went through to get here; it’ll likely be a maze to find my way to the well Maya mentioned too. I need a guide. I turn around and see that Ari has moved over to shake Maya’s arm.

“Maaya…! I’m thirsty too!”

Maya has put her hands on the temples of her head, bowing her face down between her knees, her ears pointing downwards. Is she ignoring the pleas of her younger friend? I’m puzzled again - servants are always attentive to the needs of others. Ari keeps bugging Maya, and Isa keeps coughing, and Maya tries to make herself smaller and smaller. I step back into the pantry.

“Hey. I need someone to show me the way to the water you found. Then you can get a drink too.”

Isa and Ari looks up at me with excitement, and Ari begins to rock Maya back and forth with an increasing amount of pleas to her older friend.

“Maayaa..! I’m thirsty! Let’s show Augus the way!”

Maya slowly lifts her head, first to look at me, then at her leg. Oh, right. She can’t walk. She looks like she is about to cry. I take a few steps towards her, and motion for Ari to give her some space.

“Why don’t I carry you again? Then you can show me the way. And Isa and Ari can follow us.”

Maya sits up straight as I come near her, and I can see how she tries to suppress her emotional state from me. She then gets a look of annoyance on her face when I lean down to pick her up again, her silvery eyes locked with mine. She doesn’t want to be held again. Hmm. Despite the now constant, dull pain in my head, I get a bright idea. I turn around and kneel down, and pat my lower back.

“Here, see if you can climb onto my back.”

Looking at her over my shoulder, I see Maya thinking it over for a couple of seconds before hesitantly nodding once, her ears perking slightly up. This will probably make her feel less vulnerable, and it will also be more convenient for me. I scoot back to get closer to her, and she slowly grabs onto my shoulders to hoist herself up. I reach around in an attempt to grab her legs to support her, but she immediately hisses into my ear.

“I don’t need any help!”

Right, how stupid of me. Catgirls are good at climbing. And I immediately get to feel that for myself, since it doesn’t take Maya long to pull herself up and wrap her arms tightly around my neck. I even find myself to be surprised at her sudden nimbleness. She has quickly latched onto my back, with her legs - even the injured one - wrapped around my stomach. I stand up, thankful that she is lightweight. Isa and Ari are staring up at us with awe, their tails curled upwards, and I smile softly down to them.

“Can you two help each other out and carry the lantern again, and light the way? Then we can all go down and get something to drink.”

They nod and Isa gets on her feet, stifling her coughs. I can feel the warm air of Maya’s breath on my right ear, her head peeking up above my shoulder. This actually feels pretty weird. It’s like I’m wearing some kind of heavy and warm rucksack, a bag that slowly expands and contracts against my back ever so slightly as it exhales and inhales. She has got a tight grip on me, leaving my arms free. Isa and Ari pick up the lantern again, but Isa has to let go when she’s overcome with another coughing fit. It looks like Ari, with some difficulty, can carry it alone, but I’m worried about her friend.

“Isa, are you okay?”

Isa pitifully tries to clear her throat and then nods, but I can see on her drooping ears and tail that she is not doing too good. Through the corner of my eye, I can sense that Maya’s gaze keeps shifting between me and the other girls. I consider asking Isa to stay behind instead of coming with us, but I don’t want to split the girls apart either. Catgirls - along with doggirls, I have heard - are very social creatures, after all, and don't like being alone.

“Tell us if you need to get some rest, okay? We’ll all go together, slowly, down to the basement.”

I think all four of us need some proper rest, honestly, but we also need to get rehydrated. I leave the pantry and pass through the kitchen to enter the dark hallway again. It’s dead quiet. Maya tightens her grip around my neck slightly, and almost whispers into my ear.

“.... Left.”

I nod and set off, making sure to walk so slowly that Isa and Ari - carrying the lantern - can keep up with us. Moving slowly also lessens my headache, which is gradually becoming worse and worse again. Dammit. I just have to bear through it, though the added weight of Maya on my back - even though she doesn’t weigh much - isn’t exactly making it better.

This place is really like a maze. It probably wouldn’t be too bad if we weren’t wandering around in the middle of the night. Maya keeps muttering directions into my ear, and I can hear, and feel, that she is on her guard too. Isa has grabbed onto the hem of my shirt, being more scared than her friends, her tail having wrapped around one of her thighs. Ari is thankfully doing a good job of lighting the way for us, though the lone candle in the lantern doesn’t shine its light very far.

I’m eventually directed to a large and wide stairway going downwards. I hate to admit it, but even I am beginning to get a little scared now. Who knows what we might find in the cellars of the castle? I have never done anything like this before - the most dangerous exploration I’ve ever done was in the dull woodlands near my family’s estate, and always in the middle of sunny summer days. Sometimes together with Sophie. This is the exact opposite. I take a deep breath, and take a step down the stairs. I have to be extra careful - it’s dark, and I’ve got the weight of a small girl clinging onto my back. I have to keep my balance, despite my frail body.

We all go down together, and I stop at the end of the stairs to take a break. Just as I had expected, there are more dark and stony hallways waiting for us down here. But my other expectations of what a castle cellar should be has not been proven right. I had imagined dusky, damp air and a cool temperature that would make the moisture in the air condense on my skin. But it’s still warm, and… Even comfortable. The stones of the wall I am leaning a hand against are warm too, just like they were at ground level. Weird.

Maya shifts her weight a bit, but is patient in letting me gather my strength. I check on Isa and Ari, and while Isa is still coughing, they look okay too - as okay as a pair of starved, dirty strays can look.

“Let’s move on.”

“Mm.”

Maya hums into my ear, and she resumes giving me directions. I’m impressed with her memory of the place; I would never have been able to memorize the route we are taking if I had only been here a single week. We don’t have to travel far down here, though, and after a couple of more warm, empty hallways, I’m standing in front of another staircase going down, though this one only has six steps or so. At the end is a large wooden door, slightly ajar. Here the air is actually pretty damp, but also warmer.

I get Ari to come a little closer with the lantern, and with its orange glow I see the source of the moisture: The bottom of the stairs are covered in water. It looks like this part of the cellars are flooded, with around a meter of water covering the floor of the small landing in front of the door, and probably whatever is behind it too. Maya takes a deep, nervous breath, looking down at the blank, still water. I turn my head towards her.

“Is this the water you were talking about?”

She nods, and tightens up when I take a step forward.

“C-careful! This is where… This is where I slipped.”

I look down at the steps. The moisture has not only made them slippery, but also covered in… Something. It looks like some kind of milky-white mineral deposit. I better be careful indeed. Taking a closer look, it seems like the walls and ceiling around here are also glistening with the white residue. Weird, I have never seen anything like this before. The white growth becomes more and more pronounced the further down I look, almost like it is originating from behind the door. I’ll have to examine that later: I’m so thirsty that I don’t want to do anything but get down to the water right away. I turn so that I can go down the stairs sideways, keeping my hands on the wall for balance. It’s also warm, but likewise covered in dampness and white, powdery residue. I look at the door. I really want to know what is on the other side.

“Do you know what is behind that door?”

Maya shakes her head. Ari is also slowly making her way down the steps, while Isa has resorted to getting down on all fours to crawl after us, feet first.

“N-no… We just quickly drank from the water at the bottom, and then went back up. That’s when I slipped. It…”

I sense her sniffing the air.

“It smells… weird, down here.”

“Weird?”

I agree with her, but I would have expected a flooded section of an underground portion of a derelict castle to smell weird. It doesn’t smell unpleasant to me, though.

“Yeah… Not in a bad way, just… Strange.”

Even though I am moving extremely slowly and carefully, I almost slip. The white stuff on the steps is not solid at all, and it easily scrapes off on the soles of my shoes. No wonder Maya injured herself here. I stop when I reach the final step before the water. The last two steps are submerged. I did not think this through… It wouldn’t be a good idea to try to kneel down on these slippery slopes to get down to the water, so I’ll just have to move on and get my feet and trousers wet. Expecting the worst, I step down into the water.

“Whoa…!”

It’s warm. I had expected to set my foot down into icy cold water, but it’s actually really warm. Almost as warm as the walls. I continue until I’m standing in the middle of the landing, in front of the door, a space roughly two meters by two meters large. The warm, clear water is reaching up to my waist. This is all very weird.

“It’s… hot…!”

“Mmh.”

Maya hums in agreement again. What the hell is this place?!


>>
Chapter 7 Anonymous 23/08/02(Wed)14:25 No. 27899 ID: 477c5b

… with servants is their inherent lack of modesty. Like human children, servants are not born with shame or embarrassment regarding their body and will happily (temperature allowing) remain undressed unless disciplined to cover themselves. This does not change even when reaching sexual maturity, and it is said that in some households in countries to the south, servants are simply never given clothes. Of course, this is rarely an issue in the Kingdom as all households instruct their servants to cover themselves, and the climate also …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


I’m so thirsty. I’m waist-deep in water, but I’m having second thoughts. How safe will it be to drink from water that has flooded the deepest part of a derelict castle? But looking down at it, it’s not like it seems uninviting or anything. It’s clear and I can easily see the floor. But it’s really warm - so warm that I feel entirely comfortable standing in it. It simply feels wrong to drink warm water.

I think it over. The kitties have drunk from it before, and they seem fine, right? Except for Isa. I turn to her, watching her crawl the last few steps down to pause when she dips her feet in the water. She stops and coughs, her ears twitching.

“Isa, you drank from this water too, right?”

Isa looks up at me and nods. Ari, having set down the lantern on the last steps above the water, jumps down to join me and Maya in it. It reaches all the way up to her torso. She looks up at us, probably waiting for Maya’s blessing to drink the water. Isa does so, too. Their tails are slowly swaying from side to side underneath the water.

“Did you get sick--.... I mean, did you start coughing before, or after, you drank the water?”

“B-before.”

Hmm. So it’s not the water that made her sick. That wouldn’t make any sense either - if the water had been bad, it would have affected her stomach, not her lungs. I glance sideways at Maya, and then at Isa and Ari again. Screw it, that’s good enough for me. If they survived drinking from the water before, it can’t be that bad. I carefully get down on my knees, letting my upper body become submerged again, and then greedily start drinking by cupping my hands and bringing water up to my mouth. Maya slides off of me to sit almost fully submerged on the last step of the stairs. She also begins shoveling water up to her mouth, and Isa and Ari immediately follow suit. I wasn’t the only one who was feeling like dying of thirst, it seems.

I feel so degraded. This is far removed from the comfortable, semi-luxurious life I had been living until now. Here I am, kneeling down to drink stale water from the ground like some animal. I am even doing it together with semi-animals, the three catgirls around me messily swallowing down big gulps of water as well. It’s a sad situation, but above all, I’m relieved that I get to satisfy my thirst.

I drink until my stomach begins hurting. I stand back up. Damn, that felt good. It felt unnatural to drink warm water, though, and it had a weird taste. I wouldn’t exactly call it unpleasant, and it was entirely drinkable. Much better than dying of thirst, that’s for sure. Ari and Maya also finish drinking, but Isa isn’t done yet. Her movements are slow - she likely can’t drink as fast as the rest of us if her throat hurts. That’s okay, we can wait.

I grow more and more curious as to what is behind the door that is right besides me. Now that it is silent once more - only Isa is coughing every now and then while she drinks - I think I can hear something coming from the other side of the door. It sounds like… Water. Duh. My headache is again making it hard to think straight. But I can now definitely tell that there is the sound of running water on the other side.

“I want to see what’s in here.”

Maya and Ari perk up, Maya out of worry and Ari out of excitement, watching me wade over to the door. It’s also covered in the white powder. I pull it open, only able to do so very slowly due to all the water it has to push out of the way. My blood freezes when I realize that there is a light beyond the door. Is there someone else down here? I stop and listen, but I can only hear the faint sound of running water coming from the room in front of me, and the silent splashing of the three girls behind me. I pull on the door again.

I am utterly in shock when I finally open the door all the way and get to see the room beyond. A large space is bathed in a bright, silvery light. Three of the stony walls are illuminated, but the fourth one, the wall to my right, is broken up by a series of large, black plates, and on the far one is placed a round, bright white lamp of some sort, lighting up the whole room. What sort of lantern can be so large and shine such a brilliant shade of silver?

I take a step inside, and my pained mind finally realizes what I am looking at. Those are not black plates on the wall, they are windows. And the round lamp is the moon. What? But we are underground. How can this be possible? I narrow my eyes, and become able to see the twinkling stars in the sky and the outlines of trees on the mountainside in the distance. The only explanation I can think of is that we are at the far end of the castle, where the terrain is dropping sharply downwards into a valley of some sorts.

I hear soft splashing behind me, and turn around to see that the kitties are following me to join me in the moonlit room. I can only describe their motions as floating, since the water reaches all the way up to their chests. Even Maya can move by her own here, kicking off against the floor with her healthy leg. The slippery floor - the stones underneath our feet are almost pure white with the strange residue - is not a problem for the girls now that they are submerged in the water, but I still have to be careful not to slip myself. The kitties look around with curiosity, except for Ari, who is using all of her strength to carry the lantern above her head. I immediately wade over to take it from her, much to her relief. She speaks up with excitement.

“Augus!! What is this place?”

“... Hmm..”

I take a closer look around the room. It is huge, and like most of the rooms at the upper level, largely empty. Some big, heavy tables are lined up at the wall opposite the windows, above which several rusty iron bolts poke out. I slowly walk around, and at the other end of the room I see what looks to be a huge oven of some sort, and in front of it, a large anvil standing up from the floor. Everything, except for the top of the oven, is submerged. Apart from where we entered, there is another closed door in here too.

“I think it’s a… Workshop of some sorts? This looks like a forge.”

“What’s that?”

All three girls slowly float towards where I am standing, probably wanting to keep close to me. I only now notice how it is not only the girls themselves who are buoyant in the water, but so is their clothes. Both Isa’s and Ari’s loose dresses are floating around by their waists, their long white legs visible under the water. The same goes for Maya’s skirt. The surface of the water has too many reflections and refractions from the small waves the girls are making to let me clearly see anything in detail, but for a moment it looks like all three girls are… Not wearing any undergarments at all.

After I recover from the initial shock of being presented with so much bare skin, I become able to tell that they are wearing something. It looks weird, though; They are not wearing the traditional puffy bloomers that girls and women, both humans and servants, wear where I am from, but some sort of skin-tight fabric that is tightly clinging to their bodies. I look away from the white undergarments with a slight embarrassment.

“Uhm, It’s-- it’s a place where you make tools out of metal, and… stuff like that.”

I’ve got other things to think about than what the kitties are wearing under their clothes. But this room doesn’t make any sense to me. This feels more like a giant bathtub than anything else; how can the water be so hot? It’s pretty much the perfect temperature for us to wade around in. That reminds me - where is all of this water coming from? I can hear it trickle down somewhere, the room quietly echoing with the noise of a stream of water. I go past the anvil and, swinging the lantern around, find the source. From high above me on the wall, a steady stream of steaming water is coming out from behind what must be gaps between the stones. It runs down over the wall towards the floor. I reach out to touch it.

“Ow!”

I immediately retract my hand, scaring the girls who recoil back. The water coming out of the wall is almost boiling…! I wave my hand around to cool my fingers, trying to make sense of it all. But I’m stopped again by my headache. It’s gotten pretty bad at this point… Too many new impressions, too much stress. None of this is making any sense to me, and I’m unable to think things through. I take a step back and give the kitties a pained smile to show them that I’m okay. They become relaxed again, floating peacefully in the water.

The moon is sure shining bright. And with its silvery light mixing with the orange glow from my lantern, I can finally get a good, proper look at them. As I know from my childhood, it doesn’t hurt my brain to look at cute catgirls.

Maya’s eyes are still standing out, having an almost metallic shine to them in the moonlight. The moonlight and the lantern are combining to fill out enough of the color spectrum to let me see that Maya’s hair color is actually… No, nevermind. Her hair still looks grey.

But wait… It didn’t have two different shades of grey before, did it? The last couple of centimeters of the hair around Maya’s neck is now a much lighter shade than the rest. I begin wading closer to her, wanting to shine more of the candlelight on her. She looks at me with slight hesitation, but doesn’t shy away.

“Maya… Keep still for a second, please.”

She observes me quietly with her bright eyes. She is keeping almost all of her body submerged, only the top of her shoulders above the water. I lean closer, trying to make sense of the two different colors her hair and the fur on her ears now displays. My headache is getting pretty bad, but I think I know what has happened. I cup some water into the palm of my free hand and bring it up to Maya’s head. She immediately closes her eyes tightly, but obeys my command to keep still. I bring my hand up and let it splash down on the side of her head, just below her left ear. Yes, it’s just as I thought. It’s the water that has rinsed the dirt out of her hair.

I do it again a few times, giving one half of Maya’s head an impromptu washing. The difference the water makes to the shade of her hair is… I can only describe it as unnatural. The dark ashy-grey color is being replaced by an extremely light, almost pure white, shade of grey. It is even lighter than the silver in her eyes. Isa and Ari are just as dumbfounded at me, staring at their older companion with mouths agape. I look over at them, and we all stare confused at each other, Maya having opened her eyes again. She is the most confused out of the four of us, since she hasn’t seen the change in her hair yet.

“Maaya…! Your hair…!”

Ari speaks up, and Maya turns her head in a silly attempt to look at her own hair, but it is too short. She then leans forward to look at her own reflection in the water, and her confusion turns into the same degree of surprise that the rest of us are experiencing. She brings up her hands to feel around on her head, the wetness only washing even more of the dirt out of her hair. Was she really just that dirty, or is there something about… this water…? I look down over her body, trying to ignore the fact that I can still glimpse her underwear. It is not only her hair that is being washed clean; a clear difference has formed on her neck, with the skin that has been submerged under the water has become a much lighter color than her still dry face.

Is it only Maya that the water is having this effect on? I wade over to Isa and Ari, who are sticking close together next to us. Their hair is longer than Maya’s, and most of it has gotten wet already. The same thing has happened to them: The top of Isa’s and Ari’s heads are still dirty and grey, but the bottom half of Isa’s hair is now a beautiful light-blue color, while Ari’s is a deep dark brown, not entirely unlike my own, but hers has streaks of autumn orange in it. They have already figured out how the water is making the colors of their hair come out, and they have both grabbed onto the locks of their hair to swirl it around in the water. Just like with Maya, the skin of the two small kitties are also being washed into a very pale white.

Funny. Now that I am able to get a proper look at the catgirls, it is striking how colorful the younger ones are compared to Maya, whose features all fall within a band of white and grey shades. I can now tell that both of the small catgirls have fiercely colorful eyes. Isa’s are a dark opal green, while Ari’s are an intense copper orange. They are actually a pair of really beautiful, young kitties. But they are also still very childish - they splash more and more around, trying to pour as much water onto the top of their heads to wash the dirt out of their hair. Maya is doing the same, albeit at a more controlled pace. Even though they are servants, I guess they are the same as human girls - they want to be pretty.

“Oohh..! Isa!”

Ari suddenly stops and stares at her friend with a huge grin.

“Look!”

Ari reaches under the water to grab the front of her tunic, and pulls it up into the air. She twists the fabric to wring the water out of it, and we can all see the discovery Ari has made: The water is not only washing our hair and our skin clean, but also our clothes. While still worn out and scruffy, the fabric is almost pure-white again. I’m still so amazed at all of these changes that I barely register that Ari is revealing even more of her body. Isa’s eyes light up, and she whispers in an excited tone.

“We can wash our clothes!”

Ari nods frantically, and they both simultaneously begin pulling their tunics up over their heads. For some reason, I’m stuck wondering if my clothes could do with a cleaning too when Maya snaps me out of it with a harsh voice.

“August!”

I turn around, worried that there’s a problem with her leg again. But she doesn’t seem pained, she is looking up at me with a stern look and… Is that a blush on her face?

“I… I want to see what else is down here!”

“Huh?”

Why does she suddenly want to explore more of the castle? She puffs out her cheeks in a cute pout, floating over to me.

“Carry me over to… Over to somewhere else!”

She really sounds determined, her ears sticking straight up from her head. Arguing with her would only worsen my headache, so I better do her whatever favor she is asking of me. I turn around so she can climb up on my back again, which she does with ease despite the extra weight from the water her clothes have absorbed. She lightly kicks the side of my stomach with her heel to signal that I should get going right away. What am I, a horse?! What’s the hurry?

“C-come on!”

“What? Where? Where do you want--”

“Anywhere, just… just go!”

I grunt in annoyance and quickly take a look around the flooded workshop. It would be easiest to go back the way we came, but… Maybe I should see if I can get the other door open. This room has already blown my mind; maybe I will find another piece of incredible architecture behind the closed door too? I try to take one last look at Isa and Ari, who are both fully occupied with their tunics, but Maya forcefully puts her hands on my head and makes me look away.

Oh, I get it now. She doesn’t want me to stare at her half-naked friends. But that’s weird… Servants do not care about being seen without clothes on, as far as I know. They’re not humans, so why should they? Sophie surely didn’t care, and Isa and Ari don't seem to mind me being here either. It feels like pure madness for me, a human, to be taking orders from a servant, and a stray one at that. But madness is the only thing I have known ever since I set foot in this damned place.


>>
Chapter 8 Anonymous 23/08/03(Thu)10:17 No. 27900 ID: 477c5b

… compromise was found in regards to the master-servant questions of how humans and the sub-humans species should co-exist. As it is written into the law of every civilization today, and as is in agreement with the inherent nature of the world, servants who belong to a household or an individual must do their every bidding and follow their every order (within the permissibility of the law). However, servants are allowed to proclaim their freedom and independence if they so choose, though this is extremely rare due to their inherent loyalty and desire to serve and be part of a social family or group, as well as the fact that this effectively renders them homeless which is …
REVOLVATIO MORALIS


This girl…! Doesn’t she know how much my head hurts? No, probably not. She keeps squirming violently around on my back, trying to steer me away from her friends. I wouldn’t mind doing her a favor as repayment for showing me the way down here, but who does she think she is, ordering me around?!

“Hey, stop it! You have no right to--”

“I said let’s go!”

“Alright alright, I’m going, but you can’t--”

“Don’t tell me what to--... aah!”

I try to resist her attempt at controlling me while we argue, which only makes her even more aggressive in trying to get me away from Isa and Ari, which only makes me even more stubborn in trying to stand my ground until she calms down, which only… results in Maya making me lose my balance. My foot suddenly slips on the white stuff on the floor, and I skitter around on the slippery, submerged stones. Incredibly, I manage not to fall over. After regaining my footing I stand still, panting heavily. My headache has now almost returned to full strength. My entire body is tense, my fingers holding the handle of the lantern hurting from how tight I am gripping it to keep it above the water.

“Maaya?”

Isa and Ari are looking fearfully up at us. Maya has stopped trashing around, and are instead clinging to my body tighter than ever, holding her breath. She got as much of a scare as I did. While it wouldn’t have been dangerous for me to take a fall, since the water would have cushioned me, the same can’t be said for Maya if she had been so unlucky to somehow land on her injured leg again. Ari, holding her tunic in her hands, take a step over to us.

“Maaya? What are you doing? Why are you being mean to Augus?”

“N-nnhh…”

Maya hides her face against my neck and groans in embarrassment. I take a deep breath.

“It’s okay. It’s okay, Ari. I just lost my footing. We’re gonna go over and check that other room out, alright?”

Ari nods slowly, seemingly not understanding what made Maya react the way she did. I do kind of understand it, though. I can’t deny that it’s a very delicate scene in front of me: Two young, cute catgirls are standing in the moonlight in only their skin-tight underwear, their completely flat chests poking out of the water. While they don’t seem to care about being half-naked in front of me themselves, I respect Maya’s wish and turn around to head over to the door. My headache is not allowing me to find any enjoyment in watching their skinny bodies float around in the water anyways.

Maya calms down and lets me wade through the water to get over to the other end of the workshop without throwing any more hissy fits. Even though I am taking the lantern with me, Isa and Ari should be okay. There is plenty of moonlight in here, and as catgirls, they have an excellent sense of sight. Just like the walls around it, the heavy wooden door is covered in the white stuff too. Its handle has almost rusted away, but there is enough of it left for me to grab on to. With Maya watching what I am doing, I slowly open the door, expecting to find… Anything and everything. I fully expect this castle, this crazy funhouse of madness, to give me another puzzling room to explore. But I open the door, and find… Nothing in particular. Just another small room, likewise flooded.

I am again immediately proven wrong. A wave of extremely hot air suddenly hits us. It is like opening the door to an oven. I brace myself, and Maya does the same by hiding her face against my neck again. What is up with this madhouse of a castle?! Has it been built on top of the fiery pits of Hell itself? The built-up temperature quickly dissipates into the workshop, and both me and Maya open our eyes to look into the dark room again.

“W-what was that?”

She is still clinging tightly to me, but nothing else happens. While I can still feel warm air coming from the room, it doesn’t seem like there is anything dangerous in there.

“I don’t know… I don’t know what is going on at all down here. But let’s have a look inside.”

Maya hesitantly nods, and I step forward. This seems to be another kind of… Workshop of some sorts. It is much smaller, approximately the same size as the storage room where I found the kitties earlier. Only half of this room is flooded, though. The middle of it is divided by three steps, leaving the other half at a higher level. Maybe the geological foundation below us forced it to be built this way? In any case, that means we can go up to get out of the water. The white mineral-like powder is in here too, covering almost every surface. I swing the lantern around as I go up the steps, both me and Maya looking around. While it seems I let most of the hot air out when I opened the door, it is still considerably warmer in here than in the rest of the castle. It is actually almost uncomfortably hot. My trousers, and Maya’s skirt and shirt, are clinging to our bodies.

“What is this place?”

This room is not as empty as the others. Like the workshop, the walls are lined with heavy tables, and what looks to be a form of large stone altar occupies the middle of the raised half of the room. There are several shelves on the walls as well, some of them broken and tilted downwards. Most importantly, the tables and the shelves and the altar are all littered with items. I go over to let Maya drop down to sit on the altar - while I don’t mind carrying her, my body is almost at its limit again. We both look around at all the artifacts littering the room - there are old, dusty mortars and pestles, glass vials, chunks of different kinds of rocks, thick books which have been eaten away by moisture… On the walls are also blackboards where, through the white powder growing on them, astrological charts and arcane symbols are still visible… I sigh loudly and facepalm.

“Alchemy.”

“What?”

I set the lantern down on one of the tables. Maya is looking at me in confusion, her tail swaying behind her.

“This room looks like it was used for alchemy.”

“What’s that?”

I lean against one of the tables, accidentally knocking over some old candles. My head is spinning with confusion and a throbbing pain, and my body is dead tired again. That’s understandable - it’s been a long day for me, and we’re wandering around here in the middle of the night. I haven’t gotten any sleep yet - the time where I was passed out probably doesn’t count for anything.

“It’s… An old belief that you can magically change one kind of material into another, and stuff like that. It’s all… Fake. It’s not possible. All of this in here is bullshit.”

Maya watches me in silence. I must look absolutely pitiful now, I can barely keep myself upright against the table. But I don’t care about trying to look my best in front of the kitties any more. This is all too much for me now. Empty mazes, flooded basements, rooms used for pointless pseudo-magick… I’ve had enough.

“Goddammit…! I should never have come here. This place is worthless. Worthless! There is no way I can live here…! No way… No way…”

My voice trails off. Maya’s ears flutter, and she is visibly worried at seeing my despair.

“Can’t you… Can’t you go back home? To where you came from?”

I smirk and shake my head.

“No… Not exactly.”

“Why not?”

“I… I…”

I gulp and look down at the floor. I might as well be honest with her. There is no use keeping up a facade any longer.

“I didn’t exactly leave my family on good terms.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was… Well, to make it short, I had always felt like my family looked down on me… So when I had the chance to leave them and go to this place, I… Said some things… I…”

I don’t really want to remember the way I departed from my family’s estate a few days ago. I can see now how arrogant I was. None of my family members thought that buying this place was a good idea, but I let it get to my head and thought that I was gonna show them, that I was going to go out and become successful and never needing anything from them ever again. Ugh.

“Let’s just say I’m not exactly welcome there any more.”

“Oh…”

“... And now I’m stuck in this dumb place… This cursed pile of rocks…! Ughhh…”

I bury my head in my hands. I almost feel as bad as I did in the pantry earlier. There is nothing but regret left in me. I’m about to lie down on the dusty floor and wait for everything to end when I notice a faint sound of sniffling. I raise my head to look up, and see that Maya has, almost like I just did, lowered her head and put her hands against her temples again. Wait a second… Could it be that she also suffers from headaches? I have never heard of anyone else with the same condition as I have. No, wait… I don’t think she’s in pain. Rather, she’s silently crying.

“Maya?”

I push myself off the table and take a step over to her. Maya begins shaking her head slowly from side to side, and she speaks out in a shaky, sad voice.

“We’re… Also stuck here… it’s all my fault…”

Of course. I’m not the only one stuck in a terrible situation. Arguably, Maya has it even worse. She is just a child, and can barely move around on her own. But what does she mean by saying it’s her fault? I realize that I still have no idea how these three little kitties ended up in Castle Emberholm.

“What do you mean…? What happened for you to end up here in the first place?”

Maya sniffles loudly and glances briefly at me with red eyes before looking down at the floor again, lowering her hands to hold on to the altar she is sitting on. Now that she has seen me at my worst, it feels like she is also beginning to open up to me.

“We… We belonged to a large household on the outskirts of Novioda… There were a lot of other servants, but… We… We were not treated very… We were treated really…”

Her throat tightens up, unable to end the sentences. Whatever she has gone through, it has obviously hurt her. I look in shock at her.

“What…?! But it’s illegal to… To hurt servants in any way, or to… To not provide for them.”

Maya shakes her head slowly, still trying to keep her emotions under control. I can’t believe it. I have never heard of servants being abused in any way. But then again… I have never met any other servants than the ones we had in my household. Maya’s ears are drooping down, and she loses the battle against her tears. She begins silently crying, closing her eyes tightly.

“There was… There were some other servants who were younger than me… Another catgirl, and a foxgirl… I tried taking care of them, but they were sold off… I…”

Hmm… Selling your servants to another household is not illegal. Technically, you are being paid to transfer the status of employment of the servant. The servant can choose to refuse the transfer, but I don’t think that ever happens. They never have any reason to… Or, so I believe. But from the sound of Maya’s voice, I’m beginning to think that things might be different in this part of the Kingdom.

“I then began taking care of… of Isa and Ari… And when they were about to be sold off too, I took them and… And we ran away. And we walked and walked and walked… But…”

She shakes her head in frustration, tears spilling down over her cheeks.

“... It began getting cold, and… Isa started coughing. We ended up here, to find shelter, but then I fell and hurt my leg, and... We… we can’t go anywhere now. We’re…”

Her story is breaking my heart. I thought II had it bad, but it’s nothing compared to what these kitties have apparently been through. Maya is still struggling to speak, and to not break out into outright wailing. Her voice drops in volume even further.

“We’re… gonna die here… I’m so scared… I’ve been so scared…!”

She suddenly starts hyperventilating, her eyes opening with a panicked look in them. Seeing her like this almost pushes my headache completely out of my mind, and I am suddenly able to think very clearly. I step over to her and put my hands on her shoulders, looking down at her. She tilts her head backwards to look back up at me, her silvery eyes swimming with fearful tears.

“Hey…! Hey, calm down… Here, listen…! Listen. Can you hear that?”

Maya’s ears flutter, and I lean my head back to make it look like I am listening for some distant sound. After a few seconds, Maya whispers out.

“W-what?”

“Just listen.”

The laboratory we are in is completely silent, but from behind me, from the workshop, the faint sounds of splashing water is echoing against the walls to reach us. Maya forces her breathing under control, and we become able to hear the voices of Isa and Ari. It sounds like they are quietly, but almost playfully, talking to each other while splashing around in the warm water of the flooded workshop. I smile down to Maya.

“They’re doing fine. They’re doing just fine. It’s alright. You have nothing to be scared of.”

It’s not something I’m just saying in an attempt to cheer Maya up. I somehow sincerely believe it. I opened up the pantry to provide them with food. We have water to drink down here, even if it’s hot and tastes weird. I can carry Maya around. And if it comes down to it, I can protect the three kitties from any dangers we might face… Or so I believe. For some reason, I feel like I have to protect them. Maya listens to the sound of her friends, and she begins to calm down. With a heavy, but still sad sigh, she leans forward to press her face against my chest. I reach up to stroke her almost-white hair, giving her a moment to calm down.

“Hey… Can you also hear that?”

Maya leans back again to look at me once more, tilting her head in confusion.

“W-what is it now? I don’t hear anything.”

“... Exactly.”

“Huh?”

Her ears are twisting and turning, trying to pick up any sounds there might be, other than the girls wading around in the water behind us.

“Hasn’t it been a while since Isa has coughed?”

Maya thinks it over for a second, then nods slowly. I just now realized that Isa stopped her constant coughing soon after we entered the workshop. I have no idea why, but… That’s a good thing, right? We need to count every last we can be happy about, right now. Maya nods again, and it seems like she has almost fully calmed down now. Everything is good again. Aaaand with that, my headache returns. Like a hammer hitting the side of my skull. Wow, it’s bad. It’s just like it was in the pantry. The sudden change makes me stumble, and I have to brace myself against the altar. Maya looks scared at me.

“A-august? What is it?”

I grit my teeth and shake my head in frustration.

“It’s… it’s my damn head again. It hurts…! Dammit… I… It’s always been torturing me.”

I take deep breaths, but it doesn’t help. I’m going to pass out again if I don’t do something. I’m still standing right in front of Maya, leaned slightly in over her to hold onto the altar she is sitting on to keep my balance. I inadvertently lower my eyes to her torso. I don’t really want to do this, but… I can’t think of anything else. I look up into her eyes again. She looks really worried about me.

“Maya… Can you… Can you lift up your shirt for me again?”

We keep our eyes locked for several seconds. She doesn’t seem to be disgusted or repulsed by my request, but more like she can’t understand the connection between my headaches and her breasts. I don’t understand it either, all I know is that I’m desperate for any relief I can find for the pounding pain in my head. The orange candlelight is making her eyes shimmer with a mix of silver and gold. Just like her younger companions, she is actually a really beautiful catgirl. Finally, she bites her lower lip softly and reaches down to grab the hem of her shirt.


>>
Shadow 23/08/06(Sun)23:59 No. 27901 ID: ccee3d

Curiouser and curiouser. I have ideas about what this white substance might be and why it cleans them, but everything I come up with would hurt their stomachs. Then again, that has yet to be seen. This slow burn continues to intrigue me, and with some character and relationship building added in, I'm looking forward to more.


>>
Chapter 9 Anonymous 23/08/07(Mon)23:26 No. 27902 ID: 477c5b

… of the sexes of the sub-human species. Through selective breeding, nineteen out of twenty servants born today are female as their submissive nature makes them better suited to being employed as maids, housekeepers, nannies and such. Male servants are thus a rather rare sight. Though many male servants excel in professions that require manual dexterity, such as tailoring and jewelry, and in roles that require prolonged exposure to the elements, they are …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


I’m not as mentally incapacitated as the last time Maya pulled her shirt up, and while I still only have the dim light of the lantern, I’m able to take in the sight of her bare stomach and chest in much more detail now. Well, not that there is a lot of detail to take in, really. Her skin is white and smooth, and still glistening with the moisture from the warm water she was bathed in just a while ago. She’s got a cute little belly-button above the hem of her skirt, a drop of water running down over it. The water really washed her skin clean, it looks super soft and pure. I’m again struck by how awfully thin she is, though. We better head back up to the pantry when we’re done down here.

But first, I need to take care of my headache. I move my attention up and across her clearly visible ribs to take in the view of her bare breasts again. Either she is at that age where they have just begun to grow, or perhaps her body hasn’t had enough sustenance to put anything but the bare minimum amount of tissue into them, but in any case - there’s really not much there. It’s pretty much only because of the how the lantern, placed directly to our left, is making her mounds cast shadows over her skin that I am able to tell there is anything else than a flat torso at all.

I wonder why I am stalling… Well, it’s probably because this is really the first time that I’ve been able to look at a pair of bare breasts for the first time since those summer days with Sophie. I obviously never had much luck courting a lot of women in my youth, due to my sickness. The only girl I’ve seen naked was Sophie, and that was back when I was just a little boy. Sophie’s chest wasn’t any different from my own back then, so I did not find it interesting in the slightest. I do now, with the pair of breasts I now have in front of me. I’ve heard my elder brothers and cousins talk among themselves, boasting about their escapades and the enjoyment they have found in the curvatures of the girls they have been with, but I didn’t really get it back then. I get it now. Maya’s chest, even if it is tiny, is absolutely beautiful to me.

She is watching me again with a curious, but still slightly guarded interest. She takes a deep breath and holds it once I finally move in to place my mouth against one of her nipples. It immediately has the same effect on me as it had back in the pantry. She’s warm, and her nipple soft. I can slightly taste the weird taste of the weird water, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. A serenity streams into me, and I have to limit myself not to let my greed take over and suck hard on her nipple. After a few seconds of light nibbling, I hear Maya slowly exhale, her torso shrinking slightly. She then begins breathing in a slow, calm manner, almost as if she is… relaxed…?

I take this as a sign that I can continue. I was worried that she doesn’t like what I’m doing. It is pretty weird, after all, but I’d rather be weird than be in deliberating pain. I give her nipple a light suck, and soon enough it’s grown hard and firm. I’m now so relieved of my headache that I get the thought that I should switch to her other breast, so that I will not… Well, I don’t think I can wear her nipple out, but I would figure that it would be best to balance things out. I shift over and quickly get her other nipple hard as well. Maya’s breathing becomes more and more relaxed, and I then feel her putting her hands on the top of my head. I expect her to pull me away, but… she doesn’t. Instead, she is more like… Cradling my head.

“Au--… August.. Wait…”

Nevermind. She does want me to stop, after all. Dammit… I’m still not fully healed. I lean back to look up at her, worried that I had gone too far. But she doesn’t seem to be mad.

“It’s… It’s too hot.”

Oh. Well, it really is hot in here, yeah. For some reason, this laboratory is much warmer than the rest of the castle. It is no longer the water from the workshop that is running down over Maya’s bare skin, but sweat. I’m sweaty too. Maya looks down at her shirt, the front of it still bunched up under her neck. It’s soaked from when she was submerged in the workshop. Oh, right. The wet fabric must be super clammy against her skin. It’s the same with my trousers, and the back of my shirt from when I carried Maya to go in here. Our wet clothes are conducting the heat into our skin, making the temperature in here affect us more than what it otherwise would. We look at each other for a bit, probably both thinking of what to do.

Maya takes the first step. I can’t tell if she is blushing, or if it is just the hot air that is making her face fill with color, but she slowly grabs her shirt again and pulls it all the way up over her head. She drops it on the space beside her, the soaked fabric making a wet sound against the altar. She is topless now, and we both glance down at her skirt. It’s a simple piece of clothing made of linen. Grey and unremarkable, and also soaking wet. It can’t be comfortable for her either. I’m not comfortable either. My own clothes are wet and clammy as well… Wait, why am I still wearing them, then? My stupid headache is still making me unable to think straight.

I take a step back, and without saying a word, begin stripping myself of my shirt and undershirt. I breathe a sigh of relief from freeing my upper body from my soaked clothes, the warm air actually feeling nice against my moist skin. It shouldn’t take long for us to dry like this. I push some rocks out of the way on one of the tables, and spread my clothes out on it.

The table is rather dirty, but I don’t care that it will sully my clothes. I am far beyond the point where I care about appearances. If I had the energy I would wash my clothes in the water like Isa and Ari did with theirs, but I’m too tired and… I’m still weak. With some difficulty, I strip out of my shoes and trousers and spread them out on a table as well. I’m then forced to lean heavily against the table out of fatigue, and I put my hand on my head due to the remaining headache still lingering within. Maya is looking at me a little funny, but I can’t tell if it’s because of my pitiful condition or if it’s because I’m standing in only my underwear before her now.

“August…?”

I turn around to glance at Maya. She has tilted her head slightly, looking worried at me.

“Your head… Does it still hurt?”

“... Yeah…”

I nod in frustration.

“Why does it do that?”

I shrug and shake my head at the same time. Maya’s big, silvery eyes blink with worried curiosity, her tail swaying back and forth in the air behind her. It probably needs to dry off too.

“I don’t know. I’ve always had it. If I have to move around and do a lot of things, it begins to hurt. Really bad. There’s no cure, and nothing I can do about it. Nothing helps, noth-...thing…”

My eyes come to rest on Maya and her naked upper body. Her small breasts are still glistening with moisture in the warm glow of the candlelight. Her nipples are just two dark, hard points on her chest. She follows my gaze downwards for a second, her ears twitching.

“Does…Does it really help when you… When you…”

We stare at each other in silence. My headache isn’t critical, but it’s still pretty bad. I want it. I want relief. I want… I slowly nod. Maya glances down at her chest again, then back up at me while biting her lower lip.

“I-if… If you’ll do me a favor, I’ll let you… Um…”

I know fully well that it’s not normal, what I want to do. Not that there is anything morally wrong with it, it’s not illegal, it’s just… Odd, I guess. And doubly odd that it works the way it does. But it does. I’ve experienced it two times now, tonight. I hate the pain. I hate it. I want to make it three times. I nod again. I’m almost ready to agree to favor Maya might ask me. I’ll do anything, as long as she will… help me again. Maya looks down at the floor, obviously uncomfortable at having to admit that she needs the assistance of a human.

“It’s… Warm upstairs too, but not enough for us to… For me and Isa and Ari, to… You know…”

“Huh?”

Maya glances at me, frowning at the fact that I don’t understand. She reaches up to run a hand over one of her fluffy ears, and then makes a flick with her wrist to send several droplets of water flying. Ooh.

“We have to get dry before we go back up. Our… Our clothes too.”

“Uhuh? Yeah?”

I still don’t see where she is going with this. I’m in the same situation. She looks down at the floor again.

“We can’t… I can’t get through the workshop without getting wet again. And our clothes will get wet again. So… Will you…”

She raises her head to look at me with pleading, but also anxious eyes.

“Will you carry us through the workshop when we’ve gotten dry? Me, and also… Isa and Ari?”

What? That’s it? I almost break out into laughter at the banality of her request. I really thought that she would ask something big of me, like… Paying for a cart to take them somewhere far away, or something. I raise my arms in a big shrug, smiling at her like she is crazy.

“Of course…! Why are you making such a big deal out of something as small as that?”

Maya’s silvery eyes narrow slightly in confusion, one of her ears making a twitch.

“But… But… We’re just… servants.”

“So what? Yeah, sure, servants usually, well, serve humans and work for them. But if someone asks someone for a small favor, it doesn’t matter what race you are. You help each other out. It’s the law in most cases, too. You have to assist others, if they would otherwise suffer any harm.”

“But…”

Maya moves her head a little bit, staring hard at me. She really can’t believe that I don’t care about carrying the three of them a couple of meters through some water. I can’t believe that it is so shocking for her.

“... No human has ever… Helped us out like that before. I thought you didn’t…”

Her voice trails off. I have to put a hand on my head; the pain is still there, and I want to finish this strange conversation so that she will agree to make it go away. I’m super tired too, and just want to lie down.

“That sounds crazy to me. Of course I’ll help you with something as small as that. I helped you with getting the pantry open too and carrying you into there, right?”

“M-mm… Oh, your head…!”

Looking at me being in pain makes Maya remember what I need her to do. She’s still visibly embarrassed about it, but she glances down at her torso and slowly arches her back to stick out her chest, signaling that she’s making her breasts available for me. I stagger over to her, and lean in over her again. Ugh, it’s an uncomfortable position, though. The altair Maya is sitting on is too tall to allow me to kneel on the floor, and standing bent over like this isn’t relaxing at all. I need to be comfortable if my headache is to completely go away.

“Can you… Move down here?”

Without waiting for an answer, I wrap an arm around Maya’s torso and one around her hips to pick her up. She yelps in surprise, but doesn’t struggle. I carefully, using the last of my energy, lie her down on the floor. The stones here are just as hot as I would expect, so Maya should have no issue with laying with her bare back against them. I get on top of her, my head above her naked chest, and immediately put my mouth over one of her breasts.

The relief is instant. I find myself lightly sucking on her nipple again, the pain in my head fading away once more. Maya sighs and just lies there in the beginning, but puts her hands on my head again after a couple of seconds. I guess she wants to feel like she can still be in control - to pull my head away if I go too far. But I don’t. I switch to her other breast after a while and close my eyes, and we lie there in silence for a minute. The room is quiet, and only the faint splashing of Isa and Ari can be heard. Their splashing then begins drawing closer, and I hear them enter the laboratory. I don’t lift my head or get off of Maya, though. I want to get as much relief out of her as I can.

“What are you doing? Are you making babies?”

I recognize the voice as Ari’s. Maya tenses up underneath me, and I feel her gripping onto my hair.

“We… We are NOT making babies! August’s head hurts, and… it helps when he does this.”

“Oh.”

One of the kitties shakes her body and head to get dry, sending a sprinkle of water down my back. I don’t care - the room is so warm that any water on our skin dries pretty fast. I don’t bother getting up, but Maya scolds Ari briefly for getting water on us and then tells them both to spread their clothes out on the tables to dry. They sit down next to us afterwards. Isa asks what kind of room this is, and Maya tries to repeat the explanation I gave her. After a while, Maya lightly taps the side of my head. I realize I am about to fall asleep, resting my head on her chest with my lips still pressed against her breast. I shift around slightly.

“Hnm…?”

“August….? Is your head okay now?”

Maya asks softly, and I nod my head sleepily. I’m about to sit up, but she quickly holds me back down against her body.

“W-wait… Please.”

I’m sleepy and a bit confused. I can’t see anything from how my head is positioned, but I can hear the soft, steady breaths of Isa and Ari right next to us. It sounds like they have fallen asleep too.

“I have… I have another favor to ask of you.”

“Hnn… What is it?”

Maya takes a deep breath, her bare chest expanding and contracting underneath me. She still doesn’t like asking me for favors.

“I asked Isa and Ari to dry their clothes. They… Their underwear needs to get dry too.”

“... Uhuh…?”

Okay… The two small kitties are naked right now. Alright. Maya gulps.

“... My skirt and my… Underwear… I also want to get them dry.”

“Okay…”

It sounds like she is having a hard time making another stupidly simple request. But I better be polite and hear her out. Maya continues speaking in a low voice.

“Can you… Can you take the lantern and go over to the other end of the room, and… If you’re going to sleep, put out the light?”

“Mm… Sure.”

That’s not an entirely unreasonable request, I guess. Maya still doesn’t want me to see them naked, for some reason. They’ll probably be fine without the candlelight, while it’ll prevent me from getting to look at them. I nod and slowly get off of Maya. My headache is completely gone. I’m still sleepy, but my head feels fine. It really works. Putting my lips to Maya’s breasts really makes the pain go away, just like it did with Sophie when I was a child. Even though my head doesn’t hurt anymore, I still want to go back to sleep. It’s still in the middle of the night - I can see the reflection of the moonlight through the doorway to the workshop.

I stand up, and only look at Isa and Ari to take note of their location. Just as I thought, they are now naked. To honor Maya’s request I turn away from them and give Maya a nod, as if to say good-night, and I take the lantern to sit myself down at the other end of the laboratory. Me and Maya glance at each other one last time before I put out the candlelight. It’s time to get some real sleep.

I follow the girls’ example and take my underwear off, laying them out on the warm floor so they can get dry. Through the darkness, I can hear Maya take her skirt and underwear off to do the same. I then lie down, wanting to go back to sleep. It feels terrible. I’ve always slept in comfortable, luxurious beds. Now I have to sleep on the hard floor of a dirty laboratory, white powder rubbing off on my naked skin. No matter. I can wash it off tomorrow. That is the last though I have before I fall asleep.


>>
Chapter 10 Anonymous 23/10/21(Sat)19:32 No. 27924 ID: dc5094

… of selective breeding. Not only does their docile behavior point to this; so does their physiology. For instance, they do not grow a single hair anywhere on their body except for on the tail and on top of the head, including on the ears. This greatly increases hygiene and decreases the infection of parasites. More obvious is the fact that the development of their bodies slows down sooner than that of humans. While the physique of humans continues to develop until around twenty years of age, the bodies of servants cease growing once they reach sexual maturity at around twelve years of age. Even when reaching twenty years of age, they will seldom have developed anything but a delicate and slender body, and even henceforth does age seem to impact them. Just like with humans, this is partly due to the fact that after it was made illegal to consume animal flesh, it is extremely …
PROCREATIONE ET SALVTE REPRODVCTIVA SPECIERVM SUBHOMINVM


Sun… Moon… Grass… Shadows… Sunlight. Fluffy pink hair. Fluffy, light dresses. Light skin. Bright skies. Fresh air. Soft grass. Hard tree trunks. Hard stones. Stars. More moonlight. It’s bright. The ground isn’t soft. I’m not standing on the ground, I’m standing in water. My limbs hurt. Hardness. Softness. Hardness.

Hardness…

It’s hard underneath me. But also warm. It’s dark. I can’t tell what I’m looking at. Grey stone walls. The air is hot. What is this place? I’m not alone. I turn my body. It’s hard… Literally. I feel stiff. I’m lying on a bare stone floor. The stones are warm. There are voices. Quiet, but close by. I turn my head. There’s a girl… Slowly spinning herself around. Oh, a catgirl. Long, sky-blue hair and fur on her ears and tail. She is holding onto her white dress, spinning in place. Another catgirl, short-haired and sitting down, is watching her. Yet another is lying on the floor, just as I am, still sleeping.

Oh… Right. I come to my senses. I don’t want to, but I do. I keep still. I don’t want to… to do anything.

“... how pretty it is. I’ve never seen clothes this white…!”

The catgirl standing up is trying to keep her voice down, despite being rather excited about something. The catgirl sitting down… Maya, that’s what her name was. I shift around. This floor is so goddamn hard. I can’t get comfortable. I groan and sit up. It’s still pretty dark in here, there’s no windows. Isa and Maya immediately freeze in place, having noticed me, and they now stare cautiously at me. I wonder how long they have been awake. They are both dressed in their clothes - Ari too, still sleeping - while I am naked. Not that it really matters - humans have no reason to cover themselves up in front of servants.

But these are not normal servants… Or, at least one of them isn’t. I remember that Maya, for some reason, doesn’t seem to be entirely comfortable with nudity. To prevent a potentially awkward situation getting even more awkward, I slip on my underwear and undershirt. I then send Maya and Isa a tired smile.

“Hey.”

“Augus!”

Isa brightens up at seeing that I am awake, her tail lifting upwards. She is smiling shyly to me, and begins swishing the front of her dress around. The fabric is surprisingly white and pure, even here in the semi-darkness.

“Look!”

“Oh, yes, it’s very pretty.”

Maya watches us in silence. Isa suddenly stops moving and looks at me with a worried expression, as if she suddenly remembered something.

“Augus, I’m… I’m hungry.”

“Oh… Yeah. Me too. Oh, have you been awake for long?”

I have no idea how long I’ve slept, or for how long the catgirls slept. Isa shakes her head.

“Nuh-uh. Well Maya might. She doesn’t sleep for v--”

“Isa…!”

Maya cuts her off with a harsh voice, and Isa’s ears drop down. Hmm… I don’t understand why Maya is so harsh with her two companions. I’ve gotten quite friendly with the three of them now, I’d like to believe, but… Well, what do I know. I stand up, feeling my own hunger, and grab my shoes and the rest of my clothes. Everything is dry and crisp… and pretty dirty. Eh, I don’t want to bother washing them. Unlike the girls, I fortunately have spare clothes I can wear. They’re in my trunk, which is still sitting in the lobby. Dammit… I can already feel my head worsening. There’s so many things to take care of, so many things I have to think about. Food, water, clothes, finding a proper place to sleep, finding out if there’s ANYTHING of worth at all in this damned castle…

I finish buttoning my shirt and take a look through the doorway to the workshop. Instead of moonlight, there is now a gentle shimmering of early sunlight being reflected in the water. The sound of the stream running down over the wall is constant as ever. I notice Maya moving around next to Ari’s sleeping body. The poor girl still can’t walk, so she is crawling around on the floor. Her ankle isn’t that swollen anymore, but the skin is still red and lightly scarred. Maya shakes Ari awake… Or tries to, at least. Not even Maya raising her voice gets her up. I step over to them, slightly worried. Isa was sick before. Could there be something wrong with Ari now?

“Is she alright?”

Maya exhales deeply and glances up at me.

“She’s just a sleepyhead.”

“Oh. Well, it is quite early, I guess.”

“Mmm…”

Maya hums in agreement. She then raises her eyes to look up at me again, a hint of uneasiness in her silvery eyes.

“You… You’re still willing to… Carry us through the workshop, right?”

I snort in amusement at the fact that Maya is still in disbelief that I don’t mind helping them out.

“Of course. Don’t worry. You help me out with stuff too, right?”

“M--... Mmm…”

“Let’s go back up right now. I’m starving.”

“Mm… Yeah…”

She’s still not entirely comfortable with having to rely on me. But I give her a smile, and then turn towards Isa who has been standing still, listening to us. She’s a pretty quiet one, that girl.

“Alright, who wanna go first? Isa, how about you?”

“... okay.”

Both Isa and Maya agree, and I kneel down so that Isa can climb up on my back, just like how Maya held on to me yesterday. Maya is still unnecessarily worried, even though I have no problem stepping down into the warm water with Isa on my back. Remembering how I almost slipped yesterday, I’m being extra careful now. Damn, I had forgotten how hot the water is down here. It still doesn’t make sense to me… The stream of almost-boiling water coming out of the wall in the workshop shouldn’t be enough to keep the entire body of water flooding these rooms this hot. It’s weird.

“Be-- be careful, okay?”

Maya stares at us, still deeply worried, while I slowly make my way out of the laboratory. While I don’t want to fall either, I don’t understand her anxiety. Both me and Isa would probably be fine landing the water if I lost my balance, the only problem would be our clothes getting wet again. We enter the workshop and I make a small detour to go over to the windows. Maya was light but Isa is even lighter, so I’m not afraid at all of getting worn out from carrying her on my back. We both take a moment to take in the view of the landscape outside.

What looked like a valley last night is actually just a small but flat plateau. I narrow my eyes while they get used to the sunlight, and become able to spot… Yes! There’s definitely a creek, or a stream of water, snaking through the rocks of the grassy grounds down below, just a few meters away from the castle. No more drinking this warm basement water! Except… Maybe it’s where the water from the flooded rooms up here drains to. It is actually weird that these rooms can stay flooded when we are above ground level. Beyond the other side of the stream, the mountainside resumes its climb towards the skies. While the rising sun is bathing everything in a sharp light, there are also a lot of huge, dark clouds in the sky. It’s beautiful.

“Augus…?”

“Hm?”

I turn my head to look at Isa, her long, light-blue hair flowing down across my shoulders.

“Are you going to stay here?”

“What? No, I’m just looking out through the window for a bit. I’ll go over to--”

“No, I don’t mean here. I mean… In the castle.”

“Oh…”

I begin slowly wading over towards the doorway leading to the stairs. I shouldn’t take too long, or Maya will get worried. Isa is keeping her voice down, for some reason.

“Yeah… This is my home now.”

“... Can we stay here too?”

Hmm… I hadn’t thought about that. Ever since coming here yesterday, I have been forced to take care of my most immediate needs - food and water. Things that I have had servants take care for me my whole life. Now I have nobody to take care of anything for me… In fact, the roles have been reversed. I certainly haven’t had the chance to think about the future at all so far…

“Let’s talk about that when we’re all upstairs again, okay? I’m sure Maya and Ari also have something to say about that.”

“Okay…”

Isa sighs with sadness.

“... I want to stay here.”

But this is a dump, I think to myself. We reach the stairs, the hallway above us still cast in darkness. Man, I’m tired already. I don’t feel rested at all… Sleeping on a hard stony floor didn’t do any wonders for my body. I grunt at the stiffness in my joints when I take the first step up, but I manage to ascend the slippery stairs far enough for Isa to slip down on dry ground. She crawls another step up and then turns around to look worried down at me. I probably, just like yesterday, look like shit.

“Augus…? Are you okay?”

“Yeah…! Yeah, it’s nothing, it’s just… It wasn’t exactly comfortable sleeping on the floor down there, was it?”

I give Isa a crooked smile while I arch my back to stretch it out. Isa still looks worried. I can barely see her in the darkness.

“No… We’ve always slept like that, though.”

“What? Really?”

I look at Isa with horror. That is illegal. She glances off to the side, folding her hands behind her back while her ears droop down.

“We’re used to it… so…”

“Aww… We’ll find somewhere today that’s nicer than sleeping on the hard floor, okay?”

“O-okay.”

“But first I need to go back for Maya and Ari, and then we need to get some breakfast. Go up to the top and wait for us, alright?”

“Okay.”

I like Isa. She is soft spoken, and easy to deal with. We hesitantly smile at each other before I turn around to return to the laboratory. As soon as I enter, Maya tries to stand up but is quickly reminded by her leg that she is not able to do that. She lets herself flop back down on the floor, staring at me with worried eyes and a tail rapidly swishing from side to side.

“What took you so long? Is Isa okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, relax…!”

I sigh quietly at how nervous this catgirl is. It’s very unlike their nature… as far as I’ve known them. Ari is now standing up, a bit behind Maya, swaying back and forth with half-closed eyes. She almost still seems to be asleep.

“It takes time to walk through waist-deep water while being careful not to slip, alright? Come here, Ari, your turn.”

Maya nods with hesitation before turning around to tug at Ari’s dress. The sleepy catgirl drags her feet over to me, and I turn around and bend down so she can climb onto my back. She does so slowly, but without any problems, and I carry her through the workshop and over to the stairs. She gets off and goes up to Ari, and they both wait obediently while I go back to get their older friend. Maya almost seems relieved that I came back to her and didn’t… I don’t know, run off with her two smaller companions. Carrying my shoes and trousers with her, she crawls up on my back and… Holds on to me really tightly. It’s not even because Isa and Ari are a few kilos lighter than Maya that I can feel a sudden difference, she is really gripping onto me.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“M-mm…”

Maya hums quietly into my ear, and presses her chin against my shoulder. I can feel her breathing on my neck. I assume she’s just afraid that I will slip on the slippery white stuff again, so I don’t mention it. We pass through the workshop and get up the stairs to join Isa and Ari, and Maya gets off so I can use my shirt sleeves to dry off my feet and legs, and put my shoes and trousers, on before crawling up on my back again. It feels great to be back up here again. While it wasn’t unpleasant down in the workshop and laboratory, the humidity and hotness was getting to me. Back up here, in the first level of the cellars, it’s comfortably dry and warm.

But it is also… Dark. I sigh and lower my head.

“What is it?”

Maya asks softly into my ear.

“... We forgot the lantern. I can’t see.”

“Oh…”

There is barely any light coming up here from the windows in the workshop. I’m so tired… I just went back and forth through the workshop three times, and I’ve had enough of wading through the water and being careful not to slip. I don’t want to go back one more time, but I guess I have no choice. I’m about to turn around when I hear Isa and Ari move.

“Augus…! There is a torch over there! I saw it when I was waiting for you and Maya!”

“What? Where?”

I recognize the energetic voice as Ari’s. Sounds like she has fully woken up now. Maya’s grip tightens around me, and she points to somewhere down the hallway.

“Over there. I see it.”

“Yeah! It’s over here!”

I follow the sound of Ari’s voice. I can just barely make out where she is. Walking very slowly through the darkness, I come over to a lone torch hanging on the wall. We must have passed it yesterday. But it’s no use, I don’t have anything to light it with. I don’t have… Wait a second. I check my pockets out of habit, and find something in them. It’s the tinderbox I found yesterday. When did I…? I must have put it in my pocket by instinct. I manage to get the torch lit, and take it down from the wall. I have obtained the power of fire once again.

“Thank you, Ari. I have no idea which way to go now, though.”

Maya easily takes care of that. She tells me where to go, just like yesterday, and we soon walk up the other set of stairs to reach the ground floor, and then through the empty hallways to get back to the pantry. Finally, we’re back. At last. I breathe a sigh of relief.

Maya has been clinging tightly on to me the whole way here. I don’t understand why - once we had gotten away from the stairway leading down to the workshop, there hasn’t been anything on the stony floor that could make me slip. But she was pressing her thighs against my waist and her arms against my torso the entire time. Even now, once we’re back in the pantry again, she seems… Almost reluctant to let go of me to slip off. But she does, and after fixing the torch to the wall I sit down next to her, tired and in need of a break.

Isa and Ari prove to be good kitties again. Pattering around in the pantry, they bring me and Maya some chewstalks and starleaves for our breakfast. After giving us our portions, they sit down right in front of us to eat. While it’s the worst breakfast I’ve had my entire life, I’m… Actually feeling kind of happy, for the first time since I first laid my eyes on Emberholm yesterday. Unlike last evening, where I sat far away from the catgirls while we ate, we’re now sitting huddled closely together in a small circle.

It feels good to get something to eat, but we still have the same problem as yesterday. There’s nothing to drink here in the pantry. I groan, feeling my thirst while I chew on my food. Why didn’t we take a sip from the water in the basement before going up? I don’t want to go all the way down there again already… And I don’t want to drink that hot, weird water again either. None of us seems to have gotten sick from drinking it, but I’d rather have some fresh, cold water… Like the water from the stream I saw from the workshop, hopefully. While I have no idea how easy it is to get down there, we’ll have to find a way to go down to there.

“Hey…”

We’ve all stopped eating by now, with the exception of Ari. Isa and Maya look at me.

“Isa, remember that stream we saw outside? Have you been down there?”

Maya’s ears perk up, and Isa looks upwards while she thinks.

“No… We followed the road up here, so… we haven’t been outside at all or know what--”

She’s interrupted by a sudden, violent cough. Dammit, she’s still sick. It looks like several hours worth of pent-up coughing is forcing its way up through Isa’s throat, and even Maya looks scared. She leans over to repeatedly slap Isa hard on the back, and after several seconds of coughing, she finally gets it under control. She’s catching her breath, and we all wait a few seconds before Isa speaks again. She’s being brave and trying to push through it.

“... we didn’t even know there was a stream behind the castle.”

Maya moves back to her spot, and I notice that she sit herself down a little bit closer to me. I ignore it and go back to the topic at hand.

“Okay. Well, I don’t want to drink the basement water anymore. I want to go down and check that stream out.”

I stand up. It’s still early in the morning, but it’s not like I have anything else to do. Ari immediately jumps up on her feet.

“Take me with you!”

Isa slowly follows after, coughing before speaking.

“Me too…!”

I guess these kitties don’t have anything else to do either. I nod, but notice Ari and Isa are looking at Maya, their ears and tails tense. Maya doesn’t look happy at all, and she slowly shakes her head.

“N-no… No…”

Isa and Ari don't say anything, they just keep staring at Maya. Her eyes flicker back and forth between the three of us, and I can even see how the fur on her ears rises up a bit.

“No…!”

Maya manages to move up on her knees, having a sour look on her face. Isa and Ari move closer together, but they don’t back down. They must be as thirsty for fresh, cold water as I am. Maya becomes more and more upset.

“You’re-- we’re not going outside! It’s dangerous! There… there might be people!”

Isa and Ari are still keeping quiet, but I can see that Maya has the final word in regards to those two. I’m confused. Why is Maya so much against going outside? I really doubt we’ll run into anyone out there. We’re rather far away from everybody and everything, as far as I know. Maya’s voice grows more and more panicked.

“What if someone sees us?! What if someone falls and gets hurt again? What if the water is… is… What if--”

I feel sorry for Ari and Isa. Maybe I can get Maya to change her mind. I kneel down next to her, cutting off her bewildered speech by speaking in a low voice.

“Hey… Hey! Relax. There’s not gonna be anyone out there. We’re just gonna go out and check out the stream, okay?”

Maya’s eyes and ears flicker nervously, and her breathing quickens.

“But…! But…!”

“I’ll be there and I’ll take care of it if anything happens, okay? Besides, I… I need your help.”

“My help? For… what?”

I came here to be independent, but I already have to admit to someone that I need to rely on them. But I can’t afford to be embarrassed by my own weaknesses. I reach out to grab onto Maya’s shoulders, staring into her eyes. She is breathing so fast.

“I need you to be there if I… If my head starts hurting again.”

“But… But we might…”

“I’ll look after you. We need to find some proper water to drink. Maya, I need you.”

Maya stares back into my eyes with a hard look on her face, and we are quiet for a few seconds. She glances quickly at a point behind me, probably at Isa and Ari, and then looks back at me. I don’t break eye contact. Eventually, her breathing slows down and she determinately nods her head. She understands. I breathe an internal sigh of relief and try to smile, and I gave her shoulders a comforting squeeze.

“Thank you. Let’s all go out and help each other out, okay?”

“O-..okay.”

Maya nods again. I smile even more and move a hand up to pat her head. To my surprise, she immediately recoils away with a look on her face as if I am about to hurt her, her eyes shut tightly. How strange… It wasn’t unusual for my family’s servants to enjoy a pat on the head now and then. Maya doesn’t move away - her injured leg is probably preventing her from doing so - so I carefully continue until the palm of my hand makes contact with the top of her head. After a few soft strokes, she gradually opens her eyes again to look at me with slight confusion. I’m confused too, but I mentally shrug it off. I don’t want to waste any more time in this dark and warm pantry.

I look over my shoulder to check on Isa and Ari, who have been watching us in silence. I give them a nod to signal that everything is okay, and that we can get going. I then turn around so that Maya can climb up on my back again, which she does without any fuss. She’s not holding onto me as tightly as before, but she is still… Really hugging her body in against me, much more than she needs to. She is probably just worried about falling off and landing on her injured leg. With my thirst urging me on, I grab the torch and leave the pantry together with the three catgirls.


>>
Chapter 11 Anonymous 23/10/21(Sat)19:33 No. 27925 ID: dc5094

… similar, and quite different from that of humans. This is thought to be the natural result of the fact that male servients are so rare, so that when breeding happens it must be guaranteed to be productive. Firstly, sub-human species seem to have much greater sensitivity in their reproductive organs than do humans, and the climaxes of females especially come easily and with great intensity. Secondly, females seem to have developed a chemical sensitivity to seminal fluids, and react strongly when …
PROCREATIONE ET SALVTE REPRODVCTIVA SPECIERVM SUBHOMINVM


Passing through the kitchen, I get Isa and Ari to find a bucket each in case we will really be able to get drinkable water from the stream outside. Even though Isa is coughing again, she is still willing to do her part. With the ascending morning sun casting its light in through the windows of the hallway, I extinguish the torch and leave it in the kitchen. With a little help from Maya, we then find our way back to the lobby and venture outside. No headache so far, thankfully. It’s a crisp autumn morning, and a cool breeze immediately makes me worry that my feline companions will not be able to keep warm if we stay out here for long. I’m also worried about their bare feet, but Isa and Ari were admandant on coming with me, staying close to my sides. Walking down the steps - these ones are thankfully not slippery at all - I look out across the courtyard. With Castle Emberholm to my back, there is only an unspoilt forest beyond the courtyard in front of me, with the path my cart took yesterday leaving a small gap behind the trees.

I’m almost blinded by the daylight, after fumbling around inside the dark castle for so long. Now that we are blessed with the full spectrum of light, Isa’s light-blue and Ari’s golden brown hair, ears and tails really stand out against their snow-white tunics. Anyways, ogling the pretty catgirls next to me is not the reason we went outside. I close my eyes and think. I try to remember the view I had from the workshop. There should be a way to get down to the plateau that is behind the castle, right? I suddenly shiver. It is cold up here in the mountains. It’s colder than what I’m used to. But my back is warm. Maya is warm. Despite the added weight, it actually feels nice having her cling to my back.

Isa coughs, and it snaps me out of it. I can’t afford to stand around here all day. I lead the way while we follow the rugged wall of the castle. It doesn’t take long before we turn the corner and are standing in front of an ancient set of stairs leading downwards. I look out into the distance. It’s a funny landscape to me - I’m not used to mountaneous regions. It is not exactly a valley, but more like a great, empty basin. At the bottom of the stairs, I can just about make out the small stream of water snaking through the plateau. It looks like a giant, shallow bowl has been dug out on the side of the mountain, with Castle Emberholm sprouting up on one of the slopes, and the mountains climbing up on the opposite side. The ground is a mix of rocky soils and grassy slopes as far as I can see, with some sparse pine trees here and there., and I begin to understand how what I thought was the cellars are not so much underground, just at a different level due to the shape of the landscape.

I take in the view while we carefully descend the stairs. It truly is beautiful out here - the majestic mountains are in the distance, and large clouds are casting their shadows down on a landscape that is as scenic as it is barren. While grassy, the ground is also very rocky with an occasional bush or tree here and there. While it is very picturesque, it is also a very sad sight for me. I have yet to see any fields or arable plots of lands, like I was promised there would be near the castle. We are too far up on the Igniferi mountain range to have any soil to farm. Another lie. I feel so stupid again… I feel so… I feel…

“August…? What’s wrong?”

Maya speaks softly into my ear, and I stop walking. I shake my head.

“Nothing, I just need a short break.”

For strays, these are actually rather well-behaved kitties. Isa and Ari don’t run off on their own, they give me a moment to rest without complaining about it… something I’m not used to. My family was always impatient with me, which is one of the reasons why… Ah, this isn’t the time to think about that. I’ve got something to do. We proceed to go down the stairs next to the wall of the castle until we reach the bottom. I focus my eyes on the stream of water flowing only a few meters away from the foundation of the castle, and head towards it with Isa and Ari following after me. Their hair and their dresses are flowing in the cool wind, but they still don’t make any complaints. Maya isn’t complaining either, even though she is as lightly dressed as her two companions, she just keeps… Squeezing herself against my back. Fine with me.

The sound of running water is music to my ears, and I feel Maya perking up as well. It’s very rocky down here, with barely any vegetation. I kneel down by the water and motion for Maya to get off of me, which she does. The stream is crystal-clear and runs rapidly over the stony ground. The three catgirls watch intensely as I extend my hand down towards the flowing stream. Remembering the burning sensation from the water that scalded me in the workshop, I’m being a bit more cautious now. If this is from the same source as the water flooding the castle, it’ll probably be pretty hot too.

“Ow!”

I dip my fingers into the stream and immediately recoil back. This time I didn’t get burned; quite the opposite. The water was icy cold. It must come from melting snow high in the mountains. The catgirls looks worried at me, and I smile to them to tell them I’m okay.

“It’s really cold. It should be safe to drink.”

Ari, being the more curious one of the three, is quick to kneel down and feel for herself. Her ears and tail stand up once she feels the icy temperature for herself.

“Yeah! It’s cold!”

I help Maya into a position where she can reach down as well, and we all cup our hands into the water to drink it. It is uncomfortably cold, but fresh and delicious. There’s no weird taste in it, as there was in the water in the castle. We all drink and drink, and I only stop once my fingers have gotten so frozen that I can barely move them. One by one, we move a couple of meters back to sit on the rocky ground, our stomaches full of delicious alpine water. Not even comparing it to the warm water in the workshop, this was the most delicious drink I have had in my entire life. It didn’t seem to do any good for Isa, though, as she is still coughing.

I let my eyes rest on my three companions. They’ve all been careful not getting their white clothes dirty, but I’m reminded again that it must be freezing for them out here. We better go back inside soon. Maya is visibly on her guard, scanning the slopes all around us. But I think she is beginning to accept that we really are all alone up here. It’s serenely quiet, with only the sound of the stream, the wind, and the occasional bird chirping flowing through the crisp air. A large cloud rolls underneath the sun, softening the light around us. It’s all very nice, except… Yeah, you can probably guess it. My damned head. It’s not bad, but it’s beginning to hurt. I better take it easy. We found what we were looking for - a fresh source of water.

“Isa, Ari? Can you see if you can fill the buckets with water, so we can bring it back to the pantry?”

Almost as if she is happy to be given something to do, Ari jumps up and eagerly accepts her task. She and Isa scoots back down to the stream and begins fiddling around with their buckets before Isa tells Ari that they should clean them out before filling them up. Maya is keeping a watchful eye on them. The clouds in the skies rolls away from the sun, and I’m almost blinded for the second time of the day from the sunlight reflecting off of Maya’s short, slightly messy hair. She looks so out of place, sitting on the ground with her knees drawn up to her chest, rubbing her arms for warmth. A little cat-eared girl with pure white skin, shiny white hair and fur, only wearing a brilliant white shirt and skirt. Like an angel that has fallen down from the heavens.

“Hey… What will you do once your leg gets better? Are you-... are you gonna stay here?”

Maya turns her head to look at me. Her silvery eyes are sharp, and also slightly sad. She then gets a hard look on her face, her ears turning out to the sides.

“No…! We’re moving on as soon as I can walk again.”

“What?”

I’m actually surprised. Maya lowers her eyes, but still looks bitter.

“I’m just waiting for a few… A few days until my leg is healed.”

“And then you’re planning to leave?”

“Yes.”

“But… It’s autumn. You’ll be walking right into winter… Without knowing where to stay, or where to go?”

“I don’t care!”

Maya almost hisses at me, probably trying to keep her voice down so that Isa and Ari doesn’t hear her. Those two are busy trying to fill the buckets, which looks to be more difficult than I thought. The stream is pretty shallow, so Ari is trying to… Dig downwards with some stones she picked up to increase the depth, or something. I turn back to Maya. Has she not learned anything from the fact that the three of them would be starving right now if I hadn’t shown up?

“Why don’t you want to stay in the castle? At least until spring arrives again.”

“B-because…!”

Maya raises her head to glare at me. Her eyes are full of hate for a split second, before she softens again.

“Because you are here!”

Maya must recognize the look of shock on my face, since she forces herself to calm down again. She looks down at the ground once more, bitterness on her face.

“I… I’m thankful that you are helping us… August… You’re not like… the others. But I HATE humans…!”

The silvery eyes glows with anger at the words others and hate.

“As soon as I can walk again, we are… we… I… I promised myself I would never aga--”

A sharp scream cuts through Maya’s voice, and we both snap our heads to see what happened. Maya yells out.

“ARI!!”

Ari is splashing around in the middle of the stream. She probably slipped while trying to dig her hole. She gets up on all fours, and even though the water is too shallow to present any danger of drowning, Maya is scrambling like crazy. She is in full on panic and trying to get up, but her injured leg only allows her to yelp out in pain while she frantically yells Ari’s name. Isa is frozen, kneeling down next to the stream. I take a deep breath and stand up, and wade out into the water. Holy fucking shit, it’s cold…! It feels like a thousand tiny needles press against my feet and lower legs. I reach down to put my hands under Ari’s shoulders, and thanks to her small stature I easily lift her up. She immediately clings to my body, soaking me with more icy water. I wade up from the stream again.

“Are you okay?”

“Y-y-ye-ye-yea-yea-yeah, I-I ju-j-just fell, I di-di-din-din’t hurt mys-s-self an-an---”

She’s not injured, but the situation is almost as bad. Her entire body is shivering and shaking like crazy. I begin shivering as well, but what I feel must only be a quarter of the freezing coldness that Ari is experiencing. I look down at Maya, but she has become paralyzed. She is just staring right back up at me with panicked eyes.

“It’s okay, she’s okay. She’s just cold. We just need to… to…”

I try to think straight. I realize that my head is now being pounded with pain. I groat, but force myself to ignore my headache. I look up at Castle Emberholm. The windows of the workshop are right up there, only three or four meters above the ground, along with several other windows of rooms we have not explored yet. Underneath some of those windows is a large set of doors, even bigger than the one at the front of the castle. I just need to get Ari in there, and find our way to the workshop so she can get warm and dry.

I take a few, controlled breaths. Ari is panting rapidly against my neck, her teeth clattering non-stop. I shift her around so that she is hanging onto my chest, and then kneel down next to Maya.

“Get on. We have to go back inside.”

“What? No, just… Just go! Just leave me and take Isa with you! Just leave me here!”

“Are you crazy? It’s enough with one of you getting frozen out here! I don’t want to come back and find you with frostbite all over!”

Maya and I have a battle of will for a few seconds, staring hard at each other. She then grunts and climbs up onto my back. I steady myself and slowly stand up. Oouucch… It’s not bad carrying one catgirl around, but now I’ve got the full weight of two of them hanging on to me. The physical strain is multiplying my headache. I take one step, and then another. I can do this. I have to do this. We reach the wall of the castle. I turn my head to check that Isa is coming with us, which she of course is. But she is carrying both of the buckets. Granted, they are only half full, but that is still a lot of weight for such a small catgirl. She coughs, obviously strained from the weight. Just like I am.

“Ari… Ari…”

Maya keeps chanting Ari’s name, fear and desperation in her voice. I don’t think Ari is in risk of freezing to death anytime soon, but she is shivering non-stop. We follow the wall until we come to the huge doors, and I find myself begging that I can open them. They look old and immobile. I grab onto the large iron rings that makes out their handles, and pull on them.

“Please… please… please…”

I pull and pull, and then I push and pull again, but they don’t budge. I can’t put a lot of strength into it, due to the two catgirls hanging on to me as well as the ever-increasing headache that only gets worse the more I pull. It’s no use. We have to go back all the way around to the front. With a heavy sigh, I turn around and head back towards the stairs, with Isa in tow.

Just one step at a time. Damn these stairs. Just one more step… And then one more step… And then one more step… I can’t think at all anymore. I have to get the girls back into the castle before I pass out. Just one more step… There, flat ground… Then more pained steps across the courtyard. Then a few steps up to the front door of the castle. I’m seriously worried my brain is going to implode at any moment now. Maya says something into my ear. I follow her directions, but I’m not even conscious of what she is actually saying. At least it’s warm in here. But it’s not enough. Both me and Ari are shivering. Isa is coughing.

Darkness… Maya is leading me down to the cellars again. Down to the workshop. It is almost pitch-black, but just enough of the sharp sunlight is being reflected through the stony hallways to let me move forward. Maya has no trouble seeing, and before I know it we are standing in front of the stairs leading down to the workshop. I seriously hate stairs at this point. And now I have to go down the worst of them - the slippery ones. I realize Maya is hyperventilating with stress, pressing her face against the side of my neck.

“Please don’t fall please don’t fall please don’t fall August please don’t fall---”

I concentrate harder than I have ever done in my life. These girls are getting heavier on my body by the second. One step at a time, I manage to descend the stairs without slipping. This damned, white powder. These damn stairs all over the place, and all this damned slipping. All my negativity is washed away once I step down into the warm water. Ahh… I was getting seriously cold. This strangely hot water is a bizarre luxury considering all the hardships we have to deal with. But I can’t relax just yet, and my head is still killing me. I take a few steps to enter the workshop, and then lean down to release poor Ari into the water. Maya also slips off of me, and Isa is still following along as well. I think she put the buckets down somewhere once we got inside, but that’s not important right now.

All three of us look at Ari, whose face slowly melts into a blissful smile. Maya says something in a relieved voice, and Ari answers back, but I can’t make sense of it. I can’t make sense of anything at all any more, there is nothing but a pounding pain in my head and a tiredness in my body. I groan and stumble, having to balance myself against one of the submerged tables.

“August…!”

Maya rushes over to me. She says my name again, but I can’t respond. She puts her hands against my chest, and says my name again. Shit… I can’t pass out here. Not in the water. I’ll drown for sure. Maybe the girls can… I don’t know, float me over to the stairs, or something. I begin to lose my vision. I then feel Maya’s small fingers pulling at my clothes. Her voice keeps ringing in my ears, keeping me grounded. She uses me to hoist herself up to sit on a table, and I’m then pulled in towards her. She is tightly holding on to my head, pressing my face against her chest. The table has put her at just the right height, and she has already pulled her shirt down from her shoulders and down to her stomach.

I instinctively let one of her small nipples into my mouth. I immediately feel better. She’s so soft, she’s so warm… A different kind of warmth than the air and the water in here. A much better kind. My consciousness slowly returns, and I sigh with relief. The roundness of her breast, the curvature of her petite flesh, the subtle pointiness of her nipples… Maya’s chest is the only thing I care about right now.

“Augus…!”

Someone forces me to think about something else, though. I’ve only been healed by a tiny amount, and I only manage to turn slightly around before Ari practically crawls up on me to hug me tightly.

“Thank you thank you thank you!”

Ari plasters my face with countless quick kisses. They don’t feel as good as Maya’s breast, but… They don’t feel bad either. Maya shusses on Ari to get her to stop, which she does.

“Ari, easy…! August’s head hurts again.”

“Oh..”

Ari looks worried at me, but I shake it off with a smile.

“I’m fine, never mind me. More importantly, are you okay?”

“Yeah..!”

Ari nods energetically. She almost seems to be back to her usual, peppy self. She then looks down at her hands, which is clutching onto the front of my shirt.

“Oh..! I got your clothes dirty.”

“You only got them wet. They were dirty before.”

“We should wash them! Now we’re down here again!”

That’s right, I think… It hasn’t even been half a day and we’re right back where we started. A flooded workshop with two catgirls doing the laundry in the weird water, and another catgirl who helps me with my headache. It’s surreal. This place is surreal. At least the warm water feels good after our trip outside. And a bright sunlight is beaming in through the large windows, making the water cast a shimmering reflection on the walls and ceiling. Isa floats over to us, slow and graceful. She’s not coughing anymore.

“Ari, your dress got dirty too… You should stop being so clumsy.”

I let go of Ari to let her drop back down in the water. She narrows her eyes and crosses her arms.

“I’m NOT clumsy, I was just trying to get water into the bucket.”

“And we even just washed our dresses last night…”

“It’s not MY fault that the--”

“Girls, girls, please…!”

I cut them off before they begin arguing for real. My head can’t take much more.

“If you two want to, you can give all of our clothes a quick wash again, okay?”

Isa and Ari agree, and I begin stripping. I don’t really understand why having clean clothes is such a high priority for us given our situation, there are surely a thousand more important things we should take care of. Maybe the catgirls belonged to a household like my own, where you were taught from an early age to keep up appearances. It might also be a good thing that there is something for Isa and Ari to do, while I carry Maya over to the laboratory and… make use of her body. It’s not like I will be able to do anything more for today until my cursed headache goes away. I glance over at Maya with a pained look. She softly bites her lower lip and nods. She can see that I need more healing from her.


>>
Chapter 12 Anonymous 23/10/21(Sat)19:34 No. 27926 ID: dc5094

… come with limitations. The authority of many ancient institutions were disbanded, and with it the taboo of many harmless activities such as blasphemy, usage of enhancing herbs, and intimate relations outside marriage. However, inter-species physical relations are still frowned upon, today most evident by how servants are only allowed to fraternize with human children but must be separated from them when their playmates reach adolescence. This does not always happen, and as long as …
REVOLVATIO MORALIS


I let my clothes float around in the water while I take it off one article at a time, and I hang my dripping wet shoes on the hooks on the walls. Ari takes her dress off as well, and then Isa does the same. It is admittedly pretty annoying to be wearing clothes while you are half-submerged in water. Then, to my surprise, Ari yanks down her undergarments seemingly without a care in the world. Isa glances briefly at me, then does the same. The water is again obstructing my view of the parts of the girls’ bodies that are below the surface, due to all the reflections coming from the bright sun streaming in through the windows. But I do get a brief view of a pair of tails sticking out just above their slender, narrow butts before I force myself to look the other way.

As for myself, I have kept my own undergarments on. I don’t exactly want to let it all hang out right in front of the kitties, and washing my dirty underwear is not something I want to make Isa and Ari do. Maya, likewise, seems hesitant about undressing for a moment. It’s not like she has much to lose, though; with her sleeveless shirt bunched up around her stomach her small chest is on full display, and even though her skirt is keeping her thighs and crotch covered, the white fabric has become transparent from being submerged in the water. With a small frown and a flutter of her ears, she removes both pieces of clothing and lets them float in the water too, leaving her in her undergarments just like me.

While Isa and Ari are busy washing all of our clothes, I get Maya to climb onto my back so that I can take her to the laboratory. The lantern is still down here, but now I don’t have anything to light it with. Thankfully, the sun is at an angle where its sunlight is being reflected directly in here, casting an even stronger shimmering of light on the walls and floor than in the workshop. I climb out of the water and get down on the floor, Maya laying herself down on the stony tiles. I lay down next to her. Damn, it’s hot in here. But the warm stones underneath us feel nice against my wet skin, even though they are uncomfortably hard.

It feels kinda weird, all of a sudden. I’m laying down on my side next to a small catgirl laying on her back, looking expectantly at me. We are both almost naked, and I take a moment to let my eyes run across her body - her small bare feet, long skinny legs, narrow boyish hips, thin waist, and her slender torso with only the smallest pair of breasts on her chest, the white skin only broken by two dark, tiny nipples. Her silvery-white tail is laying flat between her butt and the floor, and is half-curled around one of her legs. I’ve never laid with a woman in my entire life, and I never expected I will. Of course, it’s not that kind of laying we are about to do right now. But it almost feels like it. I lean over and scoot down until my head is level with Maya’s torso. My head hurts. And I want it to stop. With Maya watching me, I put my hands on her torso and bring my mouth over her breast once again.

Seconds pass. Minutes pass. Maybe even hours pass, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m in heaven. Just like yesterday evening, we can hear Isa and Ari chitchat while they wash our clothes, and I notice again how Isa isn’t coughing anymore. There is a slight taste of the weird water on Maya’s skin, but otherwise I do not register anything but serenity and calmness gradually replacing my headache and exhaustion. Both of Maya’s nipples have gotten hard at this point, and I switch between them with regular intervals. Not because the effect of sucking on one of her breasts diminishes after a while, but so that I don’t… Wear one out, I guess. Maya doesn’t move much, but I notice her occasionally squeezing her thighs together now and then. Her breathing has also gotten slower.

Eventually, my headache is completely gone. It’s nothing short of a miracle yet again. How does she do it? The headache I just had would normally have knocked me out of action for the rest of the day, but I feel completely fine now. I move back a little to rest my head on my arm, lying on my side with my face right next to Maya’s chest. I bring a hand over to the breast right in front of my eyes, cupping it softly while I admire its subtle roundness. I can feel the nipple poking against the palm of my hand, still hard. I’m not even thinking about how I’m actually groping the breast of a young catgirl, and Maya doesn’t protest either. I only wonder how in the world her chest has the effect it has on me, and… How such a small body, with such a small heart, can harbor so much… hate. Hate for humans.

“Hey…”

“Hmn…?”

Maya hums in response to my voice. She sounds almost… Relaxed. And when I glance up, I see that she has closed her eyes.

“Why do you… Hate humans so much?”

I feel Maya tensing up for a brief moment, and after some grumbling she slowly replies.

“I’ve… I’ve never met a human who was nice to us… Except for you.”

“Is that why you came up here? To the mountains? To get away from…”

“M-mhm…”

Maya nods faintly.

“I just… Looked at where the humans were, and then turned around and went the other way.”

“But then you ended up with a human coming up here to find you anyways, hah.”

“... Mm..”

I think some more, idly fondling Maya’s soft breast while we relax in the silent, hot laboratory. I think about why no one has shown any kindness to the kitties, wherever they were before running away. They might be… a little odd, at least compared to the servants we had at my home. They are not as docile and obedient as catgirls are supposed to be, and I would have never imagined one talking back to me like Maya has. But they’re cute, and mean no harm. On the contrary, Maya has the ability to repel the harm that occurs inside my head… I absentmindedly give her breast a soft squeeze, causing her to gasp and sit halfways up, resting on her elbows so she can look down at me.

“What are you doing…? Does it help with your head when you… do that?”

“Huh? Oh, no no… My head is fine now.”

I lower my hand to rest it on Maya’s stomach. For some reason, I want to keep touching her. While the effect is nowhere near as strong as putting my lips to her breast, just having my hand on her bare skin calms me.

“August…?”

“Hm?”

“You… You don’t mind that I hate… humans?”

Maya looks at me with a hint of vulnerability on her face, her ears sticking straight up from her head to hear my answer. I half shrug and shake my head.

“I get the feeling that you have your reasons. As long as you don’t hate me, I won’t complain.”

“Oh…”

A few seconds of silence pass before Maya speaks out again.

“What do you think about… Us? Us servants?”

I chuckle slightly, being able to hear from the tone in Maya’s voice that she would normally expect a human to hate her kind too, just like she hates humans. I shake my head again.

“That’s not really something I’ve ever thought about. I liked the servants that were at my family’s estate… All of them.”

“You… didn’t think about it? Even though you were living together?”

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

“You just lived together, humans and servants, without…”

Maya’s voice trails off, and she’s looking at me with disbelief and confusion. Is it really so unbelievable that humans and servants can live together under one roof in peace and harmony? Maya must have grown up somewhere really bad… I am suddenly flooded with the feeling that I need to protect this little catgirl. And by extension, Isa and Ari. But I am especially reliant on Maya to heal my headaches. I am not going to make it in this derelict castle if I don’t have her by my side. I can’t let anything happen to her, which reminds me… I slowly sit up and turn my attention to Maya’s leg. The knee is still swollen and scratched up badly, but not as bad as I would have expected. While there’s not enough light in here to really let me get a good look, the scratches don't look infected or filled with pus at all.

“How is your leg?”

“It’s… okay. It doesn’t really hurt, as long as I don’t put any weight on it.”

“That’s good. It doesn’t look infected or anything.”

“... Mmm…”

“How did you get around before I got here?”

Maya looks down at the floor in shame.

“... limped… around… and crawled… around…”

“It’s probably helping that you are not doing that anymore. It needs to be allowed to heal.”

I look up and lock eyes with Maya.

“I don’t want you to try walking around until it’s fully healed, okay? Just let me know if you need to go anywhere, and I’ll carry you.”

Maya narrows her eyes in slight displeasure from having to be dependent on me, but she doesn’t say anything. She probably knows that that would be best for her. I turn my attention back to her leg, and reach out to lightly run my fingers over her shin.

“It’s only your knee that hurts, right?”

Maya flinches briefly at my touch, but quickly relaxes again.

“Y-yeah…”

“That’s good.”

I’m lucky - or rather, we’re lucky that Maya isn’t injured anywhere else. I only have the most basic knowledge of medicine, and wouldn’t have been able to treat her in any way. It’s good that all she needs is being carried around. That I can at least do. While I think, I absentmindedly run my fingers up over her knee and over her slender thigh. I can’t help it, her skin is smooth and soft and nice to touch. I’ve always had a weakness to things that feel good against my hands. I realize where my fingers are going, though, and I stop before they reach Maya’s hips, my fingertips just a centimeter below the legband of her underwear. That’s right, I think, she’s wearing some weird kind of super slim undergarments. That’s why my hand ended up all the way up here, they would have been stopped mid-thigh if she had been wearing regular bloomers… or so I tell myself, at least.

“Hey…”

Maya blinks and looks hazily at me.

“What’s the deal with… With these things you girls are wearing?”

Maya tilts her head slightly, confused by my question.

“It’s just… They’re so small and… revealing. I’ve never seen undergarments like these before.”

Maya squeezes her thighs together in slight embarrassment, but I can’t help my stare. Maya’s underwear is nothing but a seemingly single layer of tight, white fabric that only covers her crotch, leaving her thighs completely bare. I can easily make out the shape of her body, and especially the shape of her… of her area where two slightly puffy mounds are divided by the hint of a straight line between her legs. In addition, the white fabric is semi-transparent since it is still wet with the water from the workshop. She might as well not be wearing anything at all; I can almost see everything.

“You haven’t…?”

“No… Back home, girls and women wears big, puffy bloomers”

“Oh…! Those old-fashioned things.”

Maya snorts to let me know what she thinks of the traditional female undergarments.

“Only old ladies wear those here in Albescia. These are called panties. They are easy to move around in, and easier to keep clean, so that’s what all servants are given.”

“Huh…”

I don’t know why I’m suddenly so interested in Maya’s underwear all of a sudden. Admittedly, I’m probably more interested in what is underneath them. But I’ve never really thought about girls like that, because every time I do my heart starts pumping and something begins to grow bigger, both of which are immediately followed by a headache. But I don’t feel any headache now; Maya has just taken care of that. And while she seems a little shy with me looking at her like this, she isn’t saying anything either. I know perfectly well what I’m looking at… At least in theory. I bathed naked with Sophie when we were very young, so I know what girls look like down there. From listening to my older brothers and cousins talk amongst themselves, I also know the basics of what is what and what is where and what it does and what you do to it, but that’s all.

I’m about to shift my hand up to the waistband of Maya’s underwear, these so-called panties, when she suddenly freezes for a second followed by her ears beginning to panickedly twist and turn.

“Where is Isa and Ari?! I can’t hear them anymore!”

I listen for a few seconds. Sure enough, it has become eerily quiet. It has actually been quiet for some time. No more splashing or talking can be heard coming from the workshop, the only thing I can hear is the stream of hot water running down over the wall in there. Maya sits up completely and clumsily tries to stand up, but I quickly grab her waist to prevent her from straining her leg. I shush her and soothingly stroke the side of her bare torso.

“Relax, relax. I’ll go look for them, okay? Stay here. Your leg gotta heal.”

“But…”

Maya has a big frown on her face, and she’s obviously not happy that she can’t go look for her friends herself. But after a reassuring smile and gentle squeeze on her shoulder, she nods and sits back down. Funny, I think to myself while I step down into the water and wade through the laboratory and workshop. Ari also followed me to the pantry on her own yesterday, resulting in the same panicked reaction from Maya… I guess it has only really become a problem that Isa and Ari wander off after Maya hurt her leg. I make my way over to the stairs, and… The white growth on them is gone. What…? I’m sure it was there when I carried the girls down here just a few minutes ago. Or was it a couple of hours ago? I lost track of time while I was laying with my face against Maya’s chest.

With the help of the light being reflected in the water behind me, I can see on closer inspection that the white stuff has been scraped off to the sides. In the corners between each step and the walls are now surprisingly large piles of white slurry. I test the first step above the water with my bare foot and sure enough, it’s much less slippery than before. Ari and Isa must have done this… Good girls, I think to myself. I wish I had something tasty I could give them as a reward.

“Ari? Isa?”

I call up into the dark hallway at the top of the stairs. No answer. I sigh - without any lights and without a pair of kitty eyes, it’ll be difficult for me to find my way around once I get up there. I ascend up the stairs and call out again once I’m at the top. This time, after a few seconds, an answer echoes towards me.

“Augus…!”

That’s Ari’s voice. I then hear a pattering of footsteps echoing between the walls, getting closer and closer.

“Ari…?”

“Augus!”

I can only see a couple of meters down the hallway, and suddenly Ari appears from the darkness and rushes directly into me, giving my waist a hug.

“Ooumph..!”

At first I’m worried that something bad has happened again, but looking down I can just about make out that Ari is smiling up to me. She is not naked, but wearing… Something. I can’t tell what, though. She is also dried off, even her hair.

“Augus…! Where’s Maaya?”

“She’s still in the laboratory. What are you two doing?”

“Takin’ care of our clothes! Upstairs!”

“Oh…?”

“Come on! It’s much nicer upstairs than down here.”

“Wait, wait, I have to go get Maya.”

“Oh, right! Bring her back up once you’re done suckin’ on her bewbs!”

“I’m not--...”

Ari has already broken off from me and disappeared into the darkness again. Compared with Maya’s controlled, measured movements, she sure is fast. I take a deep breath and go back down to the workshop. Maya is still sitting on the floor in the laboratory, and her ears perk up once she sees me.

“I could hear you talking with Ari. What happened?”

“Nothing, they’ve just… Gone upstairs. They couldn’t float around down here all day, I guess… By the way, how long have we been in here?”

Maya slowly shrugs.

“Let’s go up then… Um…”

She shyly presses her thighs together, and raises her arms to cover her bare breasts.

“I… I’d like to have my clothes…”

“Me too. But…”

I’m just as naked as Maya is, only wearing my underwear.

“I didn’t see any of our clothes in the workshop. Isa and Ari must have taken it all with them.”

“Oh…”

“Let’s go up and see what’s going on, okay?”

“... Mmm..”

Maya hums and I kneel down so she can crawl onto my back. She hugs herself tightly against me. Our skin is already dry, and hers feel soft and warm against my body. I then carefully step back down into the water. This will be the fourth time I will be carrying a catgirl through the flooded workshop today… Hopefully we won’t have to go down here again any time soon. Once we reach the top of the not-so-slippery-anymore stairs, I grunt in annoyance.

“I can’t see. And this time, I really don’t have any lights.”

“... I can guide you. Put your hand on the wall.”

With Maya’s help, I’m able to navigate the dark hallways to get back to the stairs leading up to the ground floor. It also helps that I’ve gone back and forth here a couple of times by now. It’s surprisingly not uncomfortable being in this state of undress, considering the cold temperatures outside the walls of the castle. Even my bare feet aren’t getting cold against the warm tiles of the floor. Once we are back up at the ground floor, Maya sniffs the air and wriggles her ears around. She is then able to guide me towards wherever Isa and Ari are, and before long I am able to hear them too. Sadly, the first thing I hear is Isa coughing again. I then become able to tell that she and Ari are having an argument.


>>
Anonymous 23/10/26(Thu)21:27 No. 27927 ID: ac4cfe

Thanks for the chapters OP. Glad to see you're still writing this. Really liking it so far.


>>
Big fan Anony 23/10/31(Tue)06:27 No. 27928 ID: 762ac3

Yea i love it so far too! Hope there's more exposure to the slavery aspect of society.


>>
Anonymous 23/10/31(Tue)16:43 No. 27929 ID: 477c5b

Thank you for your comments. It's critical to know that I am not just writing to nobody.

>>27928
There is only going to be a tiny bit more about the "slavery" of the world, or of the broader society outside of the castle in general. That would make this too similar to Hiraeth, which I am trying to avoid.


>>
Pondering Anony 23/11/12(Sun)08:03 No. 27930 ID: d5ca9c

Well if the universe is already built around it, don't shy away just to be different, write what needs to be written. Just two cents from random fan lol


>>
Anon 23/12/15(Fri)03:00 No. 27934 ID: 847a35

Hey buddy are you okay? Just checking up on you. Hope you have fun holiday plans.


>>
Anonymous 23/12/17(Sun)01:05 No. 27935 ID: 477c5b

Thank you for your concern. I just recently finished writing the next three chapters, but they are in a very rough state. I think it will take until january before they are ready. Progress is extremely slow due to a variety of boring reasons. On the bright side, now that the boring parts of describing the castle is finished, the story is finally beginning to heat up with the relationship between the two main characters beginning to really develop.


>>
Anonymous 23/12/18(Mon)02:54 No. 27936 ID: 5b7270

Good stuff! waiting for more.


>>
Chapter 13 Anonymous 24/01/08(Mon)16:04 No. 27944 ID: 477c5b

… with servants is frowned upon due to its effect on them, primarily how it makes them less engaged in performing their duties. While humans are not able to produce offspring with a sub-human species, the procedure and effects of the act itself is the same as when two servants copulate; to increase the chances of conception, females become extremely relaxed and content after breeding. Furthermore, their bodies understand the receival of semen as a sign that the servant is in a situation suited for producing offspring and thus increases the servant’s desire for breeding repeatedly. Therefore, the more they …
PROCREATIONE ET SALVTE REPRODVCTIVA SPECIERVM SUBHOMINVM


"... obviously a pourpoint. Just feel this fabric!"

"You idiot, with that cut it's clearly a doublet."

"A doublet? In velvet?!"

Isa coughs before answering, her tail swaying annoyedly from side to side.

"What do you know about fabrics? You thought the braies were chaussees even though they are made from hemp. You've got the head of a simpleton, and I--"

Ari's and Isa's voices have led me to a room where a most unexpected situation is playing out. It doesn't seem to be that unexpected for Maya, since she immediately sighs tiredly into my ear when she sees what is going on. The two young kitties have turned the castle’s great chamber, the room normally used for leisure and relaxation, into a… laundry chamber. It looks absolutely comical with our clothes having been spread out to dry on the old, dusty couches and low tables arranged around in the room. A large fireplace adorns one of the walls, unlit.

The kitties themselves have stolen a shirt each from my trunk, which they have dragged in here. My shirts, oversized on their tiny bodies, almost function as nice dresses. They would be covering everything up, if only they had bothered buttoning them up properly. Only a few buttons have been done across their chests, leaving their lower halves to be exposed to varying degrees whenever they move around. And they quickly spin around as soon as they notice me and Maya, making me able to see that they have only borrowed my shirts. My underwear wouldn't have been able to sit on their small hips anyways.

It takes a few more seconds for Maya to also realize what is going on, but when she does, she suddenly tenses up and begins whispering frantically into my ear as much as she can while she tries to hide her face behind my shoulder.

"August, please don't be mad at them…! Please…! Please don’t be mad please don’t be mad please don’t be mad please--"

Realizing from Maya's anxious reaction that they have apparently done something bad, Isa and Ari stay quiet with their ears folded down in shame while I try to think of what it can be that I am supposed to be mad about. But I can't think of anything.

"What? What's wrong?"

Maya is almost hyperventilating, and she swallows heavily before speaking out in a shaky voice.

"But… But they took your clothes…? Without asking…?"

Yeah, they did. But they needed to put on something - while the air inside the castle is warmer than the cold air outside, it isn’t warm enough up here to not be wearing anything at all.

"Well… I don't mind."

"...?"

Maya relaxes a little bit, and out of the corner of my eye I can sense her confusion. She really thought I would have gotten angry at Isa and Ari for diving into my trunk to find some clothes to cover themselves up with while their tattered dresses are spread out to dry. But this is better than if the two kitties had come into the laboratory to get their clothes dry there while me and Maya were… Wait, speaking of my trunk…

I slowly step over to kneel down in front of my luggage. I turn it over on its side, at first barely noticing how Maya slips off of me, but my bare back quickly feels the effect of not having her warm body against my skin. I had even almost gotten used to her nipples poking against my shoulder blades, but I have something else on my mind right now. I grunt annoyedly.

"This is verdura leather… It was a gift from my brother…"

Just as I had feared, the bottom of my poor trunk now has long scratches from being dragged across the stony floors of the castle. I run my fingers over the torn leather and think back to my family. My siblings, my cousins, my parents… Home… My old home, that is. My thoughts are then interrupted by a cough from Isa, but it sounds different. Like she is trying to hold it in as much as possible. I look up, and see that Maya has scooted away from me with a cautious look in her eyes, staring at me. Isa and Ari are kneeling down behind her, trying to hide themselves as much as they can while also staring scaredly at me.

I sigh… Now all three kitties are frightened, all three pairs of ears turned towards me. What am I doing? I've arrived at what I thought would be paradise, but am now instead struggling to keep myself alive in a derelict old castle… and then I worry about some scratches on a piece of fancy designer luggage? What kind of useless trunk gets this messed up by getting dragged across the floor anyways? I force myself to think about what is important, and give the girls a smile in an attempt to ease the tension.

".... Thanks, Isa. Ari. For, uh, taking our clothes up here to dry. Oh, and for cleaning the stairs down there too."

All three catgirls tilt their heads slightly, almost in perfect sync. Isa coughs again, more freely now, and Ari cautiously speaks out.

"You're not… angry?"

"What? Over this?"

I slap the side of my trunk and shrug.

"Nah. It's just a… thing. It doesn't matter how it looks. Besides, it's not like I'm going to be using it anymore, right?"

I make a bittersweet smirk, looking down at the luggage with all my belongings. Everything I was able to bring here.

"It's not like I will be using it again any time soon. I'm not moving out of here, out of… My home."

The kitties relax, Isa and Ari standing up again. I feel that I'm starting to get cold. Castle Emberholm might be warm, but it really is not warm enough to let you comfortably sit around in just your underwear. I find another shirt in my trunk and slip it on, and then remember that Maya is in the same situation. She is sitting on the floor with her arms crossed across her chest, only wearing her panties. That type of weird underwear can’t provide much warmth, though. Not only do they lack any fabric for the thighs, the waistline is extremely low on the body as well. But that must be to accomodate for the girls' tails.

"Do you want a shirt too?"

Maya nods, and I throw her one. The last one I have. She puts it on, and then wriggles around with her hands underneath the fabric. Right, good idea. We should put some dry undergarments on. Maya slides her wet underwear down and off her feet and flings them over to the side, letting me catch a glimpse of a thin line between her legs. I then do the same, and deposit my undergarments on the floor next to Maya's - we'll have to remember to give them a wash later. I then go back to my trunk and get a fresh pair of undergarments, putting them on. My shirt should likewise be long enough to cover myself up, though it's not like I care if the kitties get a glimpse of my jewelry below. They are probably not interested either.

"Let me get you a new pair for you too. Where do you keep your spare clothes?"

Maya's ears flatten slightly, and she lowers her eyes.

"... We don't have any."

"What?"

Maya glares briefly at me, annoyed at my surprise. Then I get annoyed at myself too… Of course they don't have anything.

"... Are you gonna be okay like that?"

I look at all three kitties. My shirts should more or less be as warm for them as their own tattered clothes were. All three nod with indifference. I put on some pants, socks and shoes, thinking to myself that they will surely need something more once winter arrives. Being up in the mountains, it will probably only be a couple of months before the temperature seriously begins to drop. We have a lot of work to do. I stand up straight, and try to smile reassuringly to the girls.

"Alright. Ari, Isa, I like that you decided on your own to help out with making the castle a better place for us, by making the stairs down there safe to climb. Let's keep that up, okay?"

Isa and Ari eagerly nod, their ears perking up with happiness at being praised, with Maya nodding a bit more unenthusiastically. After getting Maya up on my back, we then go back to what we were doing before Ari's little accident - making Castle Emberholm hospitable. Isa shows me where she left the buckets with the water from the stream, and I carry them to the pantry where we also have some lunch. More unappetizing preserved vegetables, but it's all there is and it does the job of quenching our hunger. After eating, and after fifteen minutes with my lips glued to Maya's breasts, we get back to work.

I figure I better take stock of how much food we actually have, and I finally have some good news to share with the girls. There's actually quite a lot - at least several months worth. That makes sense, I suppose; Emberholm has likely never been able to produce any foodstuff on its own, and being semi-isolated up here in the mountains made it necessary to have an emergency supply of enough food to keep all of its inhabitants alive during periods where, for example, bad weather would make it impossible for supplies to arrive. Being heavy and of low monetary value, it probably only made sense to leave the emergency supplies behind. So that's good, but on the other hand… there's only food enough to last us several months. We'll likely run out sometime in the middle of winter. I'll have to figure something out… Eventually.

But for now, I would like to find a nice place to sleep tonight. My body is still sore from sleeping on the hard, stoney floor of the laboratory down below. The kitties don't have any suggestions - they barely got to explore the castle before Maya hurt her leg, so they have been sleeping in that storage chamber where I initially found them, with nothing but their dirty clothes and the warm floor of the castle to keep them from being cold. With a hint of sadness in her voice, Maya explains that she valued sleeping somewhere safe over sleeping somewhere comfortable. I tell them that now that I am here, we can afford to set up some sleeping quarters somewhere more inviting than a rustic storage room. Maybe it will also help dampen Isa's constant coughing.

The morning's events have left me with quite a limited amount of energy for the rest of the day… Or, more likely, I probably never had that much energy to begin with. I've spent my whole youth mostly in an effortless and comfortable - whenever I didn't have a headache - solitude, and now I have to carry a small catgirl on my back while exploring an old castle.

There’s not that much we are able to explore, though. A lot of the deeper rooms and hallways on the ground floor are closed off behind locked doors, and almost none of them are in as bad a condition as the one to the pantry were in. I don’t want to risk injuring myself or giving myself an incapacitating headache by trying to force my way through one of the locked doors. I need to save my strength to fetch water from the stream, that’s not something the kitties alone can handle by themselves.

None of the rooms we are able to get into have even the slightest degree of the same mystery as the flooded rooms in the basement does. On the ground floor, we can’t access much more than the pantry, the chamber with the fireplace, and a couple of other chambers filled with nothing but old, dusty furniture.

The upper floors are even more closed off. I optimistically ascend the grandiose stairs in the lobby together with the girls, but the second floor is completely sealed off by sturdy, locked doors blocking all of the hallways. We can only make a circle around the gallery balcony encircling the lobby. The third floor is a little more open, where one door has seemingly been forgotten about. Surprised that I can push it open, the four of us peek into a long, dark hallway. Maya squeezes herself against me, and Isa and Ari both grab onto the hem of my shirt.

The walls are broken up by a symmetry of doors, all of them closed. We try to open some, but they are all locked. Some of the doors are in bad shape, just like the one to the pantry, and I could probably get them open if I could afford to suffer the consequences. We proceed down through the hallway, and while I’m testing the strength of yet another door Ari lets go of my shirt to peek through the keyhole of the door opposite it. After only a second, her ears perk up.

“.... Hey! Hey! Look!”

Isa goes over to look as well. I can feel Maya becoming curious, as am I, but with her on my back, I can’t really bend far enough down to put my eye at the same level as the keyhole.

“What? What’s in there?”

“Beddings!”

Ari beams up at me with joy.

“Sheets and duvets and blankets and pillows and --- and---”

Isa takes a step back, and coughs. I go over the door to test it, but it’s firmly locked. I give it a hard push for good measure, and… it actually budges. I give it another push. The wood squeaks loudly against stone. I consider sacrificing my remaining vitality in an attempt to burst it open, but I decide against it.

“The warmth of the castle must have prevented it from withering away from mold. It’s a shame that we can’t get to it.”

“Oh…”

Both Isa and Ari’s ears droop down, and I hear Maya sighing with disappointment too.

“Maybe I can force the door open another day.”

“Why not today?”

Ari looks up at me with hope. I smile down to her and shake my head.

“I don’t want to cross the river to fetch water.”

“What?”

“It would be a shame using all of my power trying to get this door open, if it turned out there is an unlocked room somewhere else that also has beddings.”

“Oh…”

We move on. The chamber at the very end of the hallway is double the size of the others. It doesn’t have any beddings, but the furniture in here looks rather sturdy. I test out a chair, and confirm it can support my weight without any wobbling. Meanwhile, Isa and Ari have run over to examine a large, full-body mirror in the corner of the room, only a single crack breaking up its smooth surface.

Through large windows, I can see that we are at the far end of the castle. Looking down, we have a majestic view of the stream of water and the landscape beyond. The chambers up here must have been the living quarters for the castle’s servants, with this larger chamber reserved for the oldest. If we could get a couple of rooms cleaned up and properly furnished, they could make for nice bedrooms for us.

Oh, wait…

The kitties are not going to stay here. They’ll be off as soon as Maya is fully mobile again. My heart drops into my stomach, but I force myself not to think about it. I force myself to think about how the large chamber could make a nice bedroom for me.

Ultimately, we don't find anything interesting or useful, other than possible fuel for the fireplace. Speaking of which… I can feel the temperature dropping. Day is turning into evening. We still haven’t explored the basement, that will have to wait until tomorrow.

We didn't find any beddings or anything else to keep us warm, and I don't want to go down to the cellars to sleep again. Hopefully the fireplace’s chimney isn't blocked. I tell the girls that I want to try sleeping in the main chamber and get a fire going to keep us warm through the night, and we spend the rest of the day gathering as much broken or splintered wooden furniture as we can, breaking them up to bring the pieces back to the chamber.

It's a simple task, but it is difficult for us. The girls, small and malnourished, do not have a lot of strength or weight to break things apart or carry them to the fireplace, and Maya is of course barely able to help in any way. I likewise try to limit myself, in order to spare my head. It lightens my mood that I am treated to the occasional flashes of bare little kitty butts, though.


>>
Chapter 14 Anonymous 24/01/08(Mon)16:06 No. 27945 ID: 477c5b

… enchanted me from the first moment. "You must have the world's loveliest ass," said he, drawing me to him and burrowing his hand beneath my skirts. His hand went directly to my behind. "I am a connoisseur, and girls of your figure and general look almost invariably possess striking asses. Why, look here, didn't I tell you so?" he continued, after briefly palpating the object, "how fresh and round it is!" And nimbly turning me around as with one hand he lifted my skirts to my waist and with the other fondled the article, he fell to work examining the altar to which he addressed his …
DIEBVS CXX SODOMAE, VEL SCHOLA LIBERTINAGINIS


We settle down in the evening with only a dull pounding in my brain. Isa and Ari go fetch some food and water from the pantry while Maya and I work together to get a fire going in the fireplace. It was beginning to get chilly in here, so the heat from the flames feels good on my body. The four of us eat in front of the fireplace, sitting on the floor huddled together.

There is something about sitting together with someone in front of a fire while the rest of the world around you darkens into a cold, quiet night. There is something about sharing a meal with someone. I haven't done any of this since I was a small child… Once my illness began being a real problem, I stopped dining with the rest of my family. They were too many and too loud and too… not understanding.

But this is different. I feel fine sitting in front of the fireplace together with Maya, Isa and Ari while we eat our bland, tasteless dinner. They don't talk much, and when they do their melodic accents are pleasant to my ears. We are… starting to get along. So much so that when Isa, who is sitting to my left, begins to doze off she ends up leaning against me. Maya stares at us for a few seconds, ears at attention, but she then turns her eyes back to the fire in acceptance of her two friends getting comfortable being in my presence. I yawn… Maybe going to bed isn't such a bad idea.

I had hoped to find a nice, soft bed somewhere in the castle, but we'll have to make do with what we have. Using the last bit of strength I have left for today, I pull all three couches over to form a half-circle in front of the fireplace. If I keep the fire going throughout the night, we should be able to stay warm. I can also drape some more of my spare clothes from my trunk on top of me, and I tell the kitties they are free to do so as well.

I just need one last thing before going to sleep… I would like my headache to go away, even if it's a small one. I ask Isa and Ari to dust off two of the couches while I carry Maya over to dust off the third. When I set her down on it, I can see that she already knows that that's not what I actually have in mind.

"Maya… I…"

She nods, her tail curling slightly around her hips. It's like she can see it in me. Only wearing my shirt provides me easy access to her chest, as she only has to unbutton the upper half of it. I revel at the sight of the bare skin that goes from her neck to the top of her panties for a few seconds, and we then lie down on our sides, my head level with her breasts. I put my lips to her nipple.

The relief is immediate, and I hear Maya sigh while I spend a few minutes enjoying the softness of her body. She even wraps her arms around my head, and puts her tail across my waist, almost cradling me. My headache wasn't too bad, so it doesn't take long before sucking on Maya's boobs has extinguished it. As if sensing that I have been satisfied, Maya speaks to me in a low voice.

“Why didn’t… you get mad?”

“Huh?”

I tilt my head to look up at her.

“When they took your clothes to wear without permission. And when you found out they ruined your trunk.”

“Oh…”

Maya continues before I have had a chance to think of a response.

“Any other human would have gotten mad. That a servant had done those things.”

“... I guess I’m not like the other humans, then.”

“...”

I lower my head again, and then I feel… Maya pulling my face back to her breast. Well, don’t mind if I do. But I also don't want to take advantage of her healing powers, so I only suck on her nipple for a few minutes more before I thank her and help her over to one of the couches. Isa and Ari have already tugged themselves in on a couch, their small bodies allowing them to lie next to each other in opposite directions. They are closely snuggled together, eyes already closed. Cute. I make sure everybody has some of my spare clothes to cover themselves with, put some more pieces of broken furniture into the fireplace, and then go to sleep myself.

…..

This… isn't what I wanted… this isn’t the life I wanted at all… It wasn't supposed to be like this… at least… at least the kitties are cute…

…..
….


Warmth… Coldness… Warmth.

Loneliness…

I’m standing somewhere in the castle, somewhere up high. I’m looking out through a window. Isa and Ari are playing around outside. Maya then appears by my side, and we talk. Maya, who otherwise rarely shows much emotion, is almost crying. I'm making her cry. But it's not… It doesn’t feel bad. It’s not a bad dream. It’s…

I’m awoken by shushed voices. I lie still, listening. It’s the kitties. They sound upset, straining to keep their voices down. But I can still hear them.

“... please! Maaya, please!”

“No! I said no…!”

“Maaya…”

Ari whines softly. Maya continues, her voice harsh.

“We’re not staying! We… We just can’t!”

“But-- but-- but we--”

“No! Now be quiet!”

The kitties become silent, except for Isa who coughs, and Maya who is… almost hyperventilating. I keep my eyes closed… I don’t want to start my day like this.

…..

….



My first two days in Castle Emberholm were quite eventful, especially compared to what I am used to. The following days are in contrast pretty dull - which is a good thing. Now that me and the three kitties' immediate needs - food, water, and somewhere to sleep - are taken care of, we can use our time to improve the state of the castle, especially the basement. The first thing I want to do is to find the door that opens to the plains behind the castle and get it to open. That will save us a lot of walking when we have to go get fresh drinking water from the stream.

We thus start exploring the basement, beginning with me fetching the lantern from the laboratory. It is a bit annoying to get my feet and legs wet again, but at least the stairs down to the workshop aren't slippery anymore thanks to Isa and Ari. With the light to compensate for my insensitive human eyes, it doesn’t take long to tour the rest of the cellars. There’s a much smaller system of hallways and rooms down here than above. Perhaps the rocky earth on which Emberholm was built is too hard for anything but the bare minimum being dug out. To my relief, there are no dungeons or prison cells or any of that sort. Everything is very peaceful down here too.

Apart from a couple of empty chambers, we also find a set of wide and long stairs that leads to a large set of heavy, closed doors. This must be the door to the outside that I couldn’t get open, and sure enough, it is barred shut from the inside. Well, that should be easy to fix… One headache-inducing feat of strength later, I get the bars off and the heavy doors swung open. Yep, outside is the stream of water where Ari fell in yesterday. Even with the pain in my head, this is great! This will make it a lot easier for us to get fresh drinking water. And we do just that - we step outside and kneel down by the stream to take a sip again. This time, without any accidents.

During the next couple of days, we settle into a somewhat regular schedule - getting water from the stream, eating meals together, carrying Maya around on my back most of the time, and gathering wood for the fireplace. This all puts a strain on my body and my brain, so I lie down with Maya around noon and again at night most days to let her breasts make the pain go away.

Even though Isa is still coughing, Ari still a bit clumsy, and Maya still requiring me to carry her everywhere, they are really helping me out. I’m so thankful that I’m getting along with them - especially with Isa and Ari, who by now have become completely comfortable and even adorned with me. Maya is still… Well, to be honest, I can’t really figure Maya out.

Whenever I am carrying her, or making use of her chest to make my headaches go away, she is very clingy and almost affectionate, and I can feel her becoming relaxed whenever we are close together. But she is otherwise always on her edge and always watching me intensely, especially when I interact with Isa and Ari. When I look at her, it feels to me like she is… thinking a lot. Which is weird, for a catgirl. But I’ve become used to the fact by now that Maya is not an ordinary catgirl.

She is slowly becoming more trustful of me too. I guess that is to be expected when she spends around an hour or two every day with my head pressed against her bare chest, and several hours more in close physical contact with me while she rides on my back. She wants to come along because Ari and Isa almost always follow me around wherever I go, but I don’t think she is distrustful of me, she is just protective of her younger friends.

She is also not so concerned with Isa and Ari’s varying degrees of nudity anymore, of which there is… plenty. Both due to our precarious garment situation, and due to the fact that we have begun going down to the workshop almost every day - to wash our clothes, to wash ourselves, and to enjoy the hot water.

The white powder that Isa and Ari scaped off the stairs are plentiful, and only a small amount of it is needed to clean our clothes and hair and fur and bodies. There’s plenty more of it on the floor and walls in the workshop and laboratory, I don’t think we will ever run out. It is also very enjoyable for the girls to soak their bodies and relax in the warm water since their tattered clothes are not keeping them comfortably warm now that the temperature is dropping, with winter creeping ever closer. It’s also good for Isa, since she is barely coughing whenever she is down there.

It’s a bit weird to admit it, but I’ve begun to unashamedly enjoy the sight of the girls’ bodies. Their frail yet cute figures, their beautiful and colorful fur, their graceful movements when they float around in the water… and yes, to be honest, I enjoy the sight of their adorable little pantyclad butts. It feels weird because, well… They are servants. And they are so young.

But they are cute, and ogling them is pretty much the only enjoyable thing I have these days. It’s not like I have ever had the chance of getting to see half-naked girls before either thanks to my illness, so now that I am able to hang around with cute girls regularly wearing almost no clothing, I’m not holding back.

Not all is well, though. Isa is still coughing, though slightly less than in the beginning. At least it’s not getting worse. And Maya’s leg is taking a long time to heal, even though I carry her around everywhere. I’ve come to understand that it is not only Maya’s physical condition that is in a bad state. Isa and Ari, their situation considered, are in quite good spirits and spend their time equally playing around, equally having arguments, and equally doing their part with making Emberholm a better place for us. They can talk and laugh and play jokes, but Maya… I have yet to see her smile, even once.

One morning, she was especially melancholic. So far, she has always woken up before me, but this time I rose to find her still lying on her couch, one of my thick sweaters wrapped around her upper body and head. The smoldering remains in the fireplace cast an orange glow over her silvery hair and her ears, which are lowered out to the sides.

“Maya?”

No response. She isn’t sleeping, I can see that her eyes are slightly open. But she is not looking at anything in particular.

“Maya..? Are you sick? Does your leg hurt?”

I go over and gently shake her shoulder.

“Nnhhhgg…”

She grumbles, and I can hear that it’s a ‘no’ to my questions.

“You still sleepy? You don’t wanna get up and have breakfast?”

“.... Nhhmmg…”

Another grumble in the negative. I begin to get worried.

“Maya…? You okay?”

“Nhg…”

Maya blinks slowly, without raising her head. Her tail is passively lying flat down over her legs. I look over at Isa and Ari, who have been watching us from a distance. They look slightly saddened at Maya’s state of inactivity, but they are not alarmed in the slightest. I assume it is not the first time they have seen their older friend like this. I let Maya know to speak up if she needs me, and go on myself with my daily chores.

I check on Maya every now and then, but she doesn’t get up until the next day. She just stays on the couch, mostly lying in a tight fetal position. Out of consideration, I do not make use of her body for the first time since I got here. By being very careful, I prevent myself from getting a headache. Maya is up against the next morning, almost as if nothing had happened. I don’t press the matter to ask what was troubling her yesterday. It was just one of those days, I guess.

We all have those days, don’t we? I sure do. This is a hard and uncomfortable life, and I still feel so depressed that I have left everything behind to end up like this. I only have a few small things to enjoy… The cuteness of the kitties, the warm baths, when we eat our meals in front of the fireplace… When I get too depressed I go up to the third floor, to the large chamber with the mirror and the panoramic view of the Igniferi mountain range. Sometimes I look up at the sky, sometimes I look down at the ground. I feel so bad about everything… I wonder how far up I am. It wouldn’t be impossible for me to break one of the windows. It wouldn’t be impossible for me to…

At this height, if I land the right way, I would probably…

“Augus…?”

I spin around to see Isa standing in the doorway. Since when has she…?

“Wh--”

She coughs.

“What are you doing?”

“... Nothing… Just enjoying the view.”

“Oh…”

She walks over to stand next to me, and I turn back around. We both look out at the mountains in silence. I then feel Isa leaning over to lightly nuzzle the top of her head against the side of my chest. I raise my hand to stroke her hair, and give her a soft scratch behind an ear. She murmurs happily in response.

Maybe…

Maybe it’s not all so bad after all.


>>
Chapter 15 Anonymous 24/01/08(Mon)16:07 No. 27946 ID: 477c5b

-... of trade, Novioda is now a prosperous city and is the location of the regional government. The flourishing trade set its mark on the city in multiple ways: The booming population required both garments and servants, and logically garments for their servants as well. The large number of servants makes Novioda one of the places in the Kingdom with the highest prevalence of male servants, which are employed in tailoring and related businesses. One can thus find many articles of clothing in Novioda not seen anywhere else in the kingdom, and lately fashionable garments from the East have become …
HISTORIA LOCORVM ALBESCIENSIVM


The days go by like this without anything special happening, with both Maya and I having both good days and bad days, until we one day find a small wooden box of sewing supplies while breaking an old dresser apart to get fuel for the fireplace. Needles, thread, scissors, thimbles… It feels like an odd little box of, I don’t know, memories of a household where people once lived their lives.

Isa and Ari are very interested in what we’ve found and they immediately begin talking about wanting to patch up their clothes, their ears twisting and turning with excitement. Understandable - their tattered dresses are not getting any less worn by the day. But before Ari snatches the box out of my hands, I grab onto the scissor. It might be small, but there’s something I want to do with it. My hair is now so long that my bangs fall down over my forehead and mess with my eyes. I desperately need a haircut.

“You can have the box, Ari, but I hope it’s okay I hold onto the scissors for a bit.”

“It’s fine, we can just bite through the thread! Look!”

Ari tilts her head upwards towards me and bares her fangs. Being a catgirl, she does indeed have a sharp pair of canines. Isa, meanwhile, is looking at the different rolls of threads in the box.

“Blue, brown, grey… This will look weird on our white clothes.”

Ari, her attention always shifting around, turns towards Isa.

“Who cares! I just want to repair my dress before it falls completely apart!”

Isa looks at Ari with an arrogant look on her face, her tail swaying behind her.

“Just because we are fighting every day for our survival doesn’t mean that we can allow ourselves to look unfashionable doing it.”

Ari grits her teeth in frustration, her ears shifting around.

“You are always SO obsessed with our clothes, it’s SURELY more IMPORTANT to--”

“Girls, girls, please.”

I sigh and send Isa and Ari a pained look. They know what it means by now; shut up or go somewhere else. They have a tendency to get a little loud sometimes, and while I have figured out that their arguments are harmless, their raised voices will still trigger my headaches. But they are thankfully very understanding of my condition, and I only need to let them know that they should go somewhere else if they want to be noisy, and they’ll obey.

Maya, again, seemed surprised at first at Isa and Ari’s willingness to do as they were told by me - a human - but she has also gotten used to it by now. Speaking of Maya… While Isa and Ari run off with the box of sewing supplies, minus the scissors, she looks expectantly up at me. She can’t do anything else, really, she is still dependent on me to move around.

“Hey…”

I gaze into Maya’s silvery eyes. One thing I haven’t gotten used to since coming here is her stare - even now, it is as intense and piercing as it was the first time I came across the three kitties. She doesn’t shy away no matter how much I stare back, she has her full attention on me whenever she looks at me. I hold the small sewing scissor up, and run my other hand through my hair to show what I need from her.

“I really need a haircut. Can you… help me out?”

She shifts her eyes between the scissors and my head a few times, her tail curling slightly in the air behind her. We haven’t really spent any time alone, just the two of us, so far. I guess she could insist on being carried over to watch over Isa and Ari while they fiddle with their clothes, but those two are beginning to do more and more things on their own.

So far Maya has always told them to stay within her sight, or at least within range of her hearing and of her, uh, nose. But now I’m requesting that she comes upstairs together with… me. A human, the race she hates so much. She looks at me, not with hate, but with… Doubt. After a few seconds, she slowly nods her head.

Thankful that she has become more trusting of me, I carry her up to the chamber with the mirror and sit down on the floor in front of it. Maya’s leg is slowly healing up, and she is now able to stand upright on her own by putting most of the weight on her uninjured leg. She carefully brings the scissor to my hair, and begins cutting away. While she is giving me a haircut, I decide to tell her of something I’ve been wanting to tell the three kitties for a while.

“Maya… I have to take a trip to Noviograd soon.”

“What…?”

I can immediately hear the worry in Maya’s voice. She keeps cutting my hair, but she glances at me through the mirror, ears perked up in focused attention.

“Emberholm… I haven’t registered it with the royal magistrate yet. I have to go to Noviograd to do that. Otherwise, if someone else showed up… If another human showed up and claimed the castle, I would have no legal way to defend myself.”

“Oh…”

Maya’s face grows even more worried, just as I had expected. The three catgirls are beginning to feel safe and secure in Emberholm, even despite my arrival, and having more humans show up would ruin that. She pauses cutting my hair to listen to me.

“I’ll probably only be gone for a few days, and then I’ll be back. I hope the three of you will be okay.”

“... M-mmm… okay.”

Maya doesn’t seem happy that I have to go away, but it can’t be helped. She finishes cutting my hair to a short and neat stature, and I smile widely at the result.

“Thank you, I like it! It’s important to look presentable in front of the magistrate.”

“Mmm… Well, it’s good that I was useful for something...”

Maya’s voice is suddenly thick with bitterness. I look at her through the mirror, confused.

“Huh? What do you mean?”

Maya winces and looks off to the side with regret that she let her emotions show. Her tail curls down to wrap around one of her thighs, just below the hem of her skirt, and her ears are flattened against her head. But she continues.

“I… I feel like such a burden. Isa and Ari can help out, carry stuff and walk around on their own… I can’t… I can’t do anything, I’m just something you have to carry around all the… all the time. A burden… I’m just--... I’m just a-...”

Her voice cracks, and she blinks with wetness forming on her eyes. I get a sudden flashback to when we went out to the stream for the first time, and Maya told me how she feels about humans. Several of her words just now contained the same emotion… Contained hints of hate. She… Does she hate herself?

“Maya…”

I slowly raise a hand and put it on top of the hand Maya has placed on my shoulder to keep her balance. I don’t want her to feel like this, I want to show my appreciation for all she is doing for me. She gets visibly shy and lowers her eyes to the floor, her bangs falling over her face. She then begins moving her fingers, and thinking she wants to remove her hand I ease the pressure mine is putting on hers, but instead her small fingers begin to softly twirl around mine.

“Maya… Listen. You’re… You’re important. To all three of us. I NEED you.”

I squeeze her hand, and she raises her head to shyly look me in the eyes through the mirror, her ears rising up a little. A streak of midday sun is beaming into the room, but her pale face is almost hidden in darkness behind her silvery hair. Maya’s hair has been growing with an unusual speed, and it is by now long enough to almost reach her shoulders. The reflection of the sunlight in her hair, combined with the way her intense eyes shine through the bangs falling down over her forehead gives her an almost… ethereal look. Beautiful, but… Small and vulnerable. Strong-willed, but with a weak body. It’s… admirable, in a way. I squeeze her hand harder.

“You’re not a burden. Far from it.”

Maya lowers her eyes again, but I can see that she’s calmed down. This feels… Nice, in a way. Even though we’ve just had a difficult conversation, it was another step of Maya opening up to me. I’ve haven’t had a personal conversation like this with anyone for the longest time, or the physical closeness we now have. The castle is quiet. I can’t even hear Isa and Ari, who are probably somewhere downstairs busy with the sewing kit. After a few seconds, to avoid an awkward silence I guess, she raises her other hand and circles her fingers around in my freshly cut hair, as if inspecting her work.

“You… you have nice hair, August. You look… you look nice like this.”

I feel a strange swelling inside my chest… I think this is the first time Maya has said something nice to me. I keep looking at her silvery eyes through the mirror. She still has her hand on my shoulders to keep her balance, and I feel her digging her fingers in against my skin a tiny bit when our eyes meet.

“Really? It must be all thanks to your skills with the scissors. See, you help me out more than you realize.”

“M-mmm… Ah, your scalp and your ears are full of hair now. You should go down and wash yourself so you don’t get hair all over your couch tonight.”

“Oh... Yeah…”

I wrap my fingers around her hand to give it another squeeze.

“Will you come down with me to the workshop? Then I don’t have to bother getting the lantern lit to light my way through the basement. And you can also take a bath.”

Maya widens her eyes and bites her lower lip, and then raises her eyes to meet mine with a nod. I’m about to get up, but she motions for me to stop.

“Wa--wait… Could… Could you cut my hair too? It’s getting long again.”

Why does she want a short hairstyle…? That is very uncommon for girls, at least where I am from. Her hair being longer now makes her look more feminine, she no longer has that boyish look she had when I first met her.

“Are you sure? I think you look cuter with longer hair.”

I only spoke nonchalantly, but it seemed to have an effect on Maya. She blushes ever so slightly, and brings a hand up to feel the length of her hair. The silvery strands shine brilliantly in the sunlight.

“R-really..? W…well… I guess I can let it stay like this for a while longer…”

“Yeah, I think that would fit you.”

“Hmn…”

“Hasn’t it been growing really fast? Is that normal?”

Maya’s ears flicker slightly, and she half-shrugs.

“It’s not normal for others… but it’s always been like that for me.”

“Huh, strange. But I like it. You have really beautiful hair.”

“N-nhhm…”

Even though Maya is a servant, she is also a girl - she still cares about her appearance. So does Isa and Ari. Despite our situation, all three of them are very keen on keeping themselves and their clothes clean. It’s funny… The flooded workshop and laboratory began as bothersome mysteries when I first arrived here, but they are now our favorite spots in the entire castle. The entire workshop is basically one huge bath, so why not make use of it?

I’ve even strained myself hauling a couple of benches down to both the workshop and the laboratory, an activity that necessitated the use of Maya immediately afterwards. We can now sit in the water in the workshop to relax, and in the laboratory we can now sit in the hot air to get dry. I would even say that warming our bodies down here has become our favorite thing to do, especially since the weather keeps getting colder. So far, we haven’t gotten naked down there, though. We have always kept our underwear on in front of each other.

I get Maya to climb onto my back, and I stand up. If I had to take a guess, I think being carried by me has almost become Maya’s second most enjoyable thing to do since she arrived here. She hasn’t said anything about it, but I can feel it - literally. She again really squeezes herself against my back, pressing her thighs and her crotch against me and sometimes nuzzling her chin against my shoulder. She becomes relaxed every time she is on my back, her thin arms hugging around my neck. She’s doing it again now, even harder than normal, and I even sense her taking a deep breath once she has settled herself.

We go down and check on Isa and Ari who have sat down in front of the fireplace, and find them only in their underwear - their so-called ‘panties’ - messing around with their dresses and the threads and needles. I have got to give some credit to those two, they are very eager to do what they can to improve things. We let them know that we’re going down to take a bath, and for once they’re too preoccupied with what they are doing to not want to follow us. That means that we will be split up again, with me and Maya being alone together. I had actually counted on the two small kitties to accompany us, they like bathing very much too.

I feel Maya tense up when she also realizes that we will be alone down in the workshop. She then, before becoming relaxed again, squeezes her thighs around me. I turn my head a bit to try to look at her, and I can sense that she is a bit worried. I’m sure she’s just worried about Isa and Ari being alone again. She always gets uneasy when they are out of their sight, but I managed to convince her a couple of days ago that nothing is going to happen to them as long as they stay within the walls of the castle.

We go down to the cellars without saying a word, and I stop to let her get off of me once we are at the top of the stairs going down to the workshop. I have also hauled some benches over here for us to deposit our clothes before we descend down into the water, and we both strip down to our underwear. Maya then climbs back up onto me so I can take her down to the workshop. Her bare skin feels nice and warm against mine. But I can also feel that she is a little tense again.

It’s early afternoon, so a calm but bright light is streaming in through the windows, illuminating the walls and the ceiling with the shimmering reflections of the water. Maya lets go of me to float away as soon as we are submerged, and we both sigh in pleasure at being warmed up by the hot water. I make sure to clean my freshly-cut hair and the rest of my head by ducking my head under the water, massaging my scalp with my fingertips. Maya, likewise, scrapes some white powder off of the floor and uses it to wash her body, her hair, her tail, and her ears.

She gets annoyed when she tries to wash her lower body, though. Catgirls, being very neat creatures, obviously want to keep the area between their legs clean and tidy at all times. But Maya’s panties are in the way, and she has to battle against the fabric by trying to shove her hand down under her underwear. It’s not the first time I’ve seen the three girls struggle with their underwear like this, when we have bathed together. Honestly, I think it’s silly. And today, I’m going to let Maya know.

“Hey, just take ‘em off. I don’t mind.”

“Wh-... what…?”

Maya stops and looks up at me, slightly nervous. I tug at the waistband of my own underwear to let her know what I mean, and shrug to show her that I don’t care about us wearing them.

“There’s no reason to keep these on down here. Hey, I’ll even take mine off.”

What better way to show that I don’t care about nudity than getting naked myself? I casually pull my underwear down and kick them off my feet to let them float away, standing in front of Maya completely naked for the first time. The water is reaching up to my waist, but I’m sure she can still make out the shape of my stuff. Maya stares hard at me for a couple of seconds, her eyes fixated on my manhood. There is not much to see, though, as I am quite flaccid. After a couple of seconds, she slowly nods. Through the shimmering of the water, I watch her bring her hands to her hips and hook her fingers under the waistband of her panties.


>>
Chapter 16 Anonymous 24/01/08(Mon)16:07 No. 27947 ID: 477c5b

… hugging turned into kissing. It was almost euphoric to feel her softness again, and I greedily sucked on her lips and tongue. I was so ready to take it further, but we both knew that Josie needed to be entertained as well. We couldn’t all three just go straight to my bed - while Mika and I could easily lose ourselves in the pleasures of our flesh right away, Josie would think it would be weird and boring to just skip straight ahead to that. Besides, I had plans for …
CONCLVSIO: ARMAMENTA NAVARCHORVM SVNT FORMOSA


I only just now realize what is about to happen. I am going to see Maya naked. The only other girl I have ever seen naked was Sophie, back when we had been very young. The past few days, I’ve caught glimpses of Isa and Ari whenever they’ve washed their underwear while still wearing their dresses, but only enough to confirm that girls really don’t have anything down there.

I’ve never had a girl stand in front of me, fully naked, without anything covering herself. I involuntarily hold my breath, my eyes locked on Maya. The white piece of fabric on her hips is slowly pulled down over her thighs, her knees, and she then bends down to step out of them. Her panties float off in the water. Maya stands back up, completely naked, arms crossed over her stomach while she shyly looks off to the side.

Her tail has crept between her thighs, and is snaking up over her abdomen to hide the middle of her crotch. But the effect is almost just the same. My heart is racing. I don’t understand it. She’s a… She’s a servant. What am I getting so fired up about? She’s a servant… And a very young one, at that. Still a little girl, a few years away from being a woman. But I can’t deny it.

I’ve previously thought that Maya is a beautiful girl, and I can see now that that was an understatement. It might be because I haven’t seen any other girls fully naked as an adult, so I don’t have anything to compare her to. I just know that from somewhere deep within me, I immediately feel a strong attraction towards her. As much as I don’t want to stare, I can’t bring myself to pry my eyes off of her.

It almost seems crazy what such a little difference can do - I have by now seen Maya many times without any clothes on other than her panties, and have casually enjoyed looking at the curvatures of her skinny legs, thin arms, narrow waist and hips, and the barely noticeable roundness of her breasts. The only difference now is the removal of that tiny piece of fabric that usually covers her crotch and butt. Maybe it’s also because she no longer looks starved, thanks to the regular meals she has been having since I got the pantry open. We are both standing still, so even through the water, and even with the grey fur of her tail in the way, I can quite clearly see that she really doesn’t have the same equipment as I do down there.

I suddenly feel a headache coming, and it’s coming in fast. Extremely fast. Holy shit, this hurts. I put a hand on my forehead and lower my eyes. Dammit…! What is going on, why right now?! Then I see why. I have an… Well. An erection. A raging boner. A hard-on like I’ve never had before. And it’s making my heart beat fast and hard. My heart beating like this means that my head will hurt. Shit… Through the pain, I hear Maya stepping closer towards me.

“August…?”

She sounds almost scared all of a sudden, her voice quivering. I look at her, and see that she is cautiously staring at the rod that is standing up against my stomach with her eyes wide open and her ears turned directly towards me. She keeps glancing up and down between my penis and my head, uncomfortable and unsure of what to do. I don’t know what to do either, my headache is preventing me from thinking of anything. Eventually, she slowly floats over to me to put a small hand on my forearm.

“August, is it your head?”

I nod with a frustrated sigh. I don’t want Maya to feel bad in case she thinks that… I don’t know, that her naked body is so unpleasant to behold that it brings me pain. It’s the complete opposite. I keep trying to think of what to do, while Maya stands in front of me with her eyes still glancing down at my hardon as if it is a snake that might snap at her at any moment. I’m about to say something when I feel her sliding her fingers down over my arm to take my hand.

She tugs on me and brings me over to one of the benches, her movement through the water jagged due to only being able to kick off from the floor with her healthy leg. I sit down, eyes half-closed in pain, but my headache is calmed down a bit by having my body becoming submerged up to my chest. My headache is then calmed even more by Maya, standing in front of me, leaning forward to put one of her breasts right in front of my lips. I gratefully accept, putting my hands on her waist to support her.

After only a minute, Maya speaks out with a slightly strained voice.

“August… I…”

“Hmn?”

I pull my head back from Maya’s chest, and look up at her. Then I look down over her body. I’m mesmerized for a few seconds at having her nudity up so close, even though she is still hiding her privates with her tail. I then understand what must be bothering her; she is standing on only one leg, and it must be getting tired.

“Oh… Um…”

We glance at each other, both of us trying to think of a solution, her eyes still flickering down towards my penis with an uneasy expression on her face. But I have other things to think about than why she might be scared of my nakedness. Now that I’m not sucking on Maya’s nipple anymore, my headache is returning fast due to Maya still being naked, even though her thighs are pressed together with her tail coming out from between them to - just barely - cover her vagina. The sight is still making plenty of blood flow to my penis. I need more of the salvation her breasts gives me.

“Here… Come. Sit down.”

I need her so badly. I can’t just cut my healing off halfways like this, and I gently pull at her to get her to sit down in my lap. Maya looks worried at me, both distressed by seeing me in pain, and distressed by the prospect of sitting her bare butt down on my equally bare lap. Taking a deep breath of air, she finally accepts that she has to do so. She sits on my lap with her side towards me, legs pressed closely together and her tail still snuck tightly down across her butt and back up between her thighs. I don’t waste a single second, and immediately dive back in. Lowering my head, I bring my mouth to her breast again. My headache is immediately relieved.

Even though my concentration is on making the most of the feeling of having Maya’s nipple in my mouth, I’m still well aware of the situation we are in. I’m naked. Maya is naked. And she’s sitting in my lap. My manhood is still standing hard and firm up against my stomach, and it’s only a tiny distance away from… that place on Maya. The side of her butt is pressed against me. My penis is actually touching a girl. Sure, she might just be a servant, but… Ah, I better try to not think about it. It’s only making my heart beat faster.

After a short while of sitting still with my lips firmly attached to her chest, I finally feel Maya begin to relax. She even gets so calm that she begins running her slender fingers through my hair. She’s probably checking out her handiwork again. Once again, it feels… nice. I’ve had plenty of physical contact with her before, with all my boob-sucking and carrying her on my back, but it was always pretty one-sided. Now Maya is giving me some physical attention, of her own free will.

“... You’ve still got some hair you didn’t wash out. In the back and behind your hairs.”

“Hmnh…?”

I stop sucking on Maya’s breast and let my lips part from her skin with a soft plop. I don’t raise my head, since she is still inspecting my apparently less than stellar work of washing my scalp.

“I’ll clean it out for you. You have to look presentable in front of the magistrate, right?”

“Oh… Yeah.”

Maya slides off of my lap and kneels down to scrape some of the white powder off of the floor. She then crawls back up to sit sideways on my lap, only pausing for a second to check that my manhood has still not become a dangerous monster. She then raises both of her arms to rub the white stuff into my hair. While this puts her breasts right in front of my face again, I don’t go back in to suck on them.

With my head lowered in order to give Maya better access while she cleans me, my eyes are looking straight down at her crotch. She is still keeping her tail pressed up between her legs, and while I can’t see the part of her body underneath the fur, I’m mesmerized by the view. Thanks to having just made use of Maya’s breast, I only register a slight tinge in my head. I’m even able to think straight, straight enough to be able to say something.

“You’re… really beautiful.”

I don’t know why I want to tell her that, but… she is beautiful. Now I understand why my brothers always talked so passionately about getting into bed with the ladies. Both Maya and the smaller kitties are really a treat to my eyes. But… At first, Maya didn’t want me to see them naked. Why not?

“Hey… Why were you so against me seeing you three naked before?”

Maya slowly stops washing my hair, and lowers her hands to rest them on my shoulders. I lean back up so that I can look at her, but she is staring blanking at my chest.

“I… I was scared.”

She is speaking in an almost inaudible tone, her voice full of embarrassment and her ears lowered in shame. I look surprised at her.

“Scared?!”

“... Mm…”

“Scared… of me?”

Maya hesitates, then slowly nods. My heart sinks. I know that I had frightened the kitties when I had first found them, but that I had also been making Maya afraid even after we had begun helping each other out…?

“Why…?”

Maya lowers her head to look down at the water, her voice still faint.

“I… I didn’t know if you would… would…”

“What?”

Maya inhales sharply.

“Where we were before, the… The masters of the house… The humans-

Her voice briefly gets harsh with hate.

“... They… They didn’t always… control themselves, when they saw a servant… naked.”

“... Ohhh… Oh. Shit.”

I know what she means. I know that sometimes happens… in some households. It’s illegal to do such things against the will of your servants, of course, but it happens. They are powerless to fight back against the strength of a grown human. Maya nods and continues, her voice almost a whisper.

“I didn’t know if I could… Trust you… But…”

Her voice dies out. We sit in silence for a few seconds. She then slowly raises her head back up while running her fingers down from my shoulders to my chest, circling her fingertips idly around on top of my skin. I take this as a sign that she trusts me now. I almost… I almost can’t believe it. This catgirl… Who was so hostile to me when we first met, hissing at me… And has such a deep-seated hate for my entire race… I now have her sitting in my lap, gently touching my bare body, while she herself is completely naked. I feel so relieved. I don’t know how many weeks it has been, but I’ve finally gained her trust.

But still… She has said that she wants to leave Emberholm. I…

I don’t want that.

“Hey… Are you still planning to leave once your leg gets better?”

After a couple of seconds, and without looking at me, Maya nods determinedly. I sigh.

“Where are you even planning on going? Where… Where do you, in the end, plan to live?”

“I don’t know… I just know it has to be somewhere without… humans. I… I can’t live with them. I’ll never fit in, I’m not… I don’t think I can ever be a normal servant. I don’t know if there will ever be a place for me. I…”

“But Maya, there are humans everywhere. You can’t find somewhere to live without us being around, you will have to--”

“No!”

Maya cuts me off with a loud shout. She tenses up, her hands frozen against my chest. I can see that she is gritting her teeth, she looks as if she is on the verge of crying out of frustration.

“From… from the moment I was born, it has always been about humans! Always having to do what they say, always having to be careful around them, always having to… to… I… I HATE THEM! As far back as I remember, I have been asking myself, ‘Why me? Why do we have to be treated like this!? Why are we below them?’ And no matter how much I tried, it was never good enough, I was never good enough, it never mattered what I… what I…”

I’m stunned by Maya’s sudden outburst, and I sit still while she lets it all out. I had never imagined that a catgirl could speak like this, that a servant could be so… angry, and filled with hate. Maya’s voice trails off, but it then resumes in full force in another loud yell.

“I HATE THEM! I hate humans, I hate them! I hate them! I hate--...”

She suddenly jerks her head back to look straight up at me, her chest expanding and contracting from her rapid breathing. Her eyes are burning with rage, her face contorted into a hostile grimasse. She looks like she is ready to kill, her tail sticking straight up into the air behind her. And she’s staring right into my eyes, into the eyes of one of the humans she hates so much. She had stopped talking, but she opens her mouth in an attempt to continue despite her almost hyperventilating at this point.

“I--... I…!”

I don’t flinch away. I just look back down at her. But I don’t have anything to say. I know nothing about what she has been through. I have no defense for my race. I can only look back into her narrowed, silvery eyes in silence. My erection is long gone. Her voice trails off yet again, but she still has the look of enraged loathing on her face. But then, her face slowly grows softer, and little by little she becomes more relaxed.

We don’t break eye contact, and I watch her transform from being consumed with hate to returning to her usual, passive and slightly saddened self. My brain hurts. It hurts like hell. Maya notices, and I see her grow worried. It is suddenly like the last ten seconds had never happened.

“... How… how is your head?”

I suddenly can’t look at her any longer. I turn my head to the side, frowning.

“It’s… It’s okay. Don’t worry.”

I suddenly don’t want to have Maya make my pain go away. I don’t want to take advantage of her. But it hurts so bad… I close my eyes. Just don’t pass out… don’t pass out…

“August…! Please, I… I can see you’re in pain…!”

I can’t answer her. I just shake my head. She must hate me… Deep down, deep inside of her little heart, she must hate me. I’m a human. I don’t want to be another human who does bad things to her. I no longer want her to stay at Emberholm for my sake. I don’t want to---

Maya suddenly jerks her entire body upright, and I feel her grab onto my shoulders with surprising strength. The water around us violently splashes around and I open my eyes to see that she is struggling with all of her might to raise herself up. She’s gritting her teeth and has a pained expression on her face, probably from putting weight on her injured leg. I want to tell her to stop whatever it is she is doing, but I’m forced to concentrate on keeping my own body from collapsing into the water from having Maya pulling on me to get herself up.

It feels like a complicated struggle, but it probably only lasts a few seconds. Maya manages to stand up with her shins on my lap, which puts her chest right in front of my face. I try to turn my head away again, but she tightly wraps her arms around my head and literally squishes my face against one of her breasts. My headache is so bad that I’m unable to resist, and I part my lips to let her warmth flow into me. Feeling this, she loosens her grip on my head a little, but keeps it locked in position. I realize I have also wrapped my arms around her, just above her hips, and I use them to support her.

I suck on her nipple as softly as I can, my eyes closing again. I don’t know how to feel, or what to think. After a minute, Maya begins to stroke my hair. It’s almost as soothing as having her nipple in my mouth. Then, she speaks out in a soft, comforting voice.

“August… I… I don’t…”

Her chest is expanding and contracting against my face, her breathing slightly nervous. I nod. She doesn’t have to say it… I can feel it. I can feel it from within her.

What I feel has nothing to do with hate.


>>
Shadow 24/01/14(Sun)23:55 No. 27949 ID: 1ee31f

Nice to have you back again! Hope you had some nice holidays. And so we get some progress with actually making the castle livable, and start to confirm some suspicions I had about Maya. It's still complicated, but it's nice to see the trust that the two are slowly building. A trust that will be put to the test while August registers at the magistrate; a process that also has the possibility of thickening the plot. Thanks again, good sir!


>>
Anonymous 24/03/08(Fri)11:55 No. 27959 ID: 47c854

This is really great. I hope you will continue. I just read it and it was a gripping read the whole way through. Continue writing about the improvement of the castle would be good or anything else you wish as so far it's great story. Thanks..


>>
Chapter 17 Anonymous 24/04/04(Thu)23:02 No. 27971 ID: 95648a

... do you mean there are no more ancient texts to refer to?". I sighed loudly, looking at the grimace of the archivist. I am getting real tired of this guy. "There are plenty of more texts, but they are more suited for a... later time." His grimace becames even uglier. "What do you mean?" "They are all related to... You know." "No, I don't know!" "The time will come. It's an insult to the reader to keep wasting their time with meaningless filler. Just wait." I have done my part. I spun around, and immediately headed for the nearest tavern where...
COMMENTARII SICVLI DIODORI


I decide to wait a couple more weeks before going to Novioda. I really don’t want to go, but I have to get my ownership of Emberholm registered. The weather has turned quite bad… Lots of cold and rainy days. I can’t wait too long. I have to go before winter arrives. I don’t know if Emberholm gets snowed in being up here in the mountains. But I would also like for Maya’s leg to heal up so that she can walk around on her own again, to lessen the burden on Isa and Ari while I’m gone.

While I wait, we slowly but steadily make progress with improving our living conditions. One day, I save up all of my strength to break down the door to the chamber containing the stockpile of beddings. Isa and Ari quickly rush in to check on what we have obtained, and then swoon me with hugs and praises of my amazing feat. Honestly, the door was in a pretty bad condition, but I’ll let them believe I’m actually super strong.

Maya is standing behind us, having limped over to lean against the doorframe, and I turn my head to look at her. She isn’t smiling, but I can still sense on the perky twitchings of her ears and tail that she is also excited about the possibilities all this fabric gives us. Previously, everything in this chamber would have been trivial and worthless to me, but I can now feel how significant even the tiniest increase in material wealth is when you are as poor as we are.

I’m… poor. The very thought almost makes me nauseous. I glance at Maya again, and immediately feel better. She narrows her eyes slightly and blinks to me in response, showing me that she understands what I’ll need her to do for me in a little bit. My head is pounding. But first, I want to get an overview of everything we can loot from this chamber. I’m excited too. Apart from the beddings, we find something else that will come in handy: A large satchel bag. It’s old and worn, but seems sturdy enough.

The weather doesn’t improve, but I’m running out of time. And we are also running out of food. I have no idea what to do. Dammit… Unless I think of something, we will run out in the middle of the winter. What should I do? Should we try foraging in the area around Emberholm? Should we go to the village nearby, Cindervale I think it was called, and beg for food? Or go to Novioda, and become beggars living on the streets? I think back to the servants I saw sitting around in the alleyways… I think I would prefer to starve to death than sink that low. And I know that Maya would flat out refuse to go back there too, back to where all the humans are. I… I can’t think of a solution.

…..

After another week or so, Maya has become able to limp around with the help of one of her friends. Good enough - I have to get going before winter sets in. One early morning, I pack the satchel bag with the few valuables I own - some small jewelry and the rest of my savings, only a few coins - as well as the documents I’ll need at the magistrate. The kitties follow me to the main door of the castle to send me off, and they quickly become much more emotional than I had expected.

“Augus…! You really have to go?”

Isa and Ari are clinging to me, looking up with quivering lips and flattened ears. I nod, and pat their heads.

“Yeah, unfortunately. But unless something comes up over there, I should be back tomorrow evening.”

“You promise?”

“Mhm.”

I nod again, not really knowing what to say. I’ve never seen servants becoming distressed or clingy when a human has to take a trip away from the household. Isa coughs, and I give her some extra headpats.

“Take care of Emberholm for me while I’m away, alright? And take care of Maya. And be careful when you get water from the stream, and warm yourselves up in the workshop if you get cold, okay?”

“Y-yussh…!”

The kitties nod and try to be brave. Maya is standing by the doorway, leaning against the wall while watching the three of us, her tail swaying slightly behind her legs. After I’ve gotten Isa and Ari to calm down, I go over to her. She looks up at me with her usual, worried look in her silvery eyes, and her voice is softer than I’ve ever heard it before.

“... You… You’ll… be back, right?”

“Yes. I will.”

I try to smile reassuringly, but Maya is still uneasy. I put a hand on her shoulder.

“This is my home. I just have to go take care of some business, then I’ll come back. I’ll return home.”

“M-mm….”

Maya nods slowly, staring up into my eyes with a serious expression on her face. Despite a stinging feeling in my heart, I keep smiling.

“I promise.”

“O-... okay. Um, we… I asked Isa and Ari to…”

From having kept it hidden behind both of her folded hands, Maya holds up the small box of sewing supplies we found some time ago. I tilt my head in confusion, and she opens it. Inside are no longer threads and needles, the box has been filled to its brim with the white powder from the workshop. Maya closes the lid again, and averts her eyes away.

“You… You said it’s important to look presentable in front of the magistrate, right? You might get, um… You might need it, after the journey, I thought…”

“Thank… Thank you. That is very sweet of you.”

I reach up to pat Maya’s head, and she flinches briefly before the palm of my hand makes contact with her hair. I carefully rub the area behind one of her ears, and she half-closes her eyes.

“... Mmmm..”

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice Isa and Ari staring wide-eyed at us. I retract my hand and take the small box from Maya, and put it in my satchel. Maya opens her eyes fully and nervously folds her now empty hands in front of her stomach.

“August, t-… take care.”

“You take care too.”

I turn around to go down the stairs to the courtyard, feeling ominous about leaving but strangely optimistic about the trip. The kitties stay by the door, watching me until I disappear between the trees as I follow the road away from Emberholm. I’m then hit with an unexpectedly heavy heart while I walk away from these girls whom I have had around me at all times ever since I arrived at Emberholm. At least I’m doing fine physically. My head doesn’t hurt at all. While it’s cold, the forest is quiet and serene. Everything’s going to be fine.

…..

….



Many, many hours later, I am standing in front of the chancery in Novioda. I’m completely devastated, both mentally and physically. It’s not so much my head. I’m just exhausted. And more humbled and humiliated than ever. I don’t know what I was thinking… The walk from Emberholm to Cindervale was much, much longer than I had prepared myself for. I had not brought anything to drink or eat with me. It must have been the most bizarre thing to see for the villagers; a lone noble staggering into their village, thirsty, starving, and barely able to walk another step.

I…

I begged them. I literally fell to my knees in front of the first farmer who approached me, and begged him for food and water. I’ve never felt so humiliated in my entire life, but I knew what position I was in and how much I relied on their alms. I begged them. If my family had seen it, I think they might have outright killed me on the spot.

Well, the good citizens of Cindervale were kind enough to take pity on the new lord of Castle Emberholm, and they offered me some rest, some water, and some soup. More importantly, one of the farmers had planned to travel to Novioda tomorrow to deliver the last crop of this year’s potatoes, but upon hearing my story he offered to make the trip today, and let me ride along in his cart. I didn’t even have the strength to sit next to him, so I had to lie down on top of the potatoes. I offered to pay for their hospitality, but upon seeing how little I had with me, they refused. I’ll have to pay them back later. What an awful way to formally meet the nearest neighbors to Emberholm, but that’s how I got here… Man, I’m so thankful the kitties didn’t see any of this.

Some servants in the village did see me, and it must have been the strangest sight to them too. Oh well, whatever. It was all terrible, except for the soup, but I made it. I made it to Novioda, I made it to the magistrate, and I can finally get my business done and get this over with. I feel like shit, but I’m so close. I take a step towards the chancery, almost getting deja-vu from remembering the last time I was here, and…

Closed.

The magistrate is closed.

Of course. Not only is today not one of the days the magistrate is open, it’s also evening now. I spent the whole day traveling from Emberholm to get here. I sigh loudly and lower my head. The opening hours are posted outside, and I curse myself for not having written them down the last time I was here. I just hope…

Yes!

They’ll be open tomorrow!

Finally, luck smiles upon me. The magistrate being closed today will make no difference, I’ll just go here first thing in the morning tomorrow. It shouldn’t be a problem to get everything sorted out before I have to join the potato farmer to return to Cindervale around midday. A two-day trip, just like I had planned. It’s fine. This means I’ll also be able to take a bath and clean myself before my meeting, like Maya had suggested. I turn around and head towards the inn. Yes, the same inn as last time. I’m choosing to spend my money on the same inn as last time I was here, even though I could probably find something cheaper. But I feel sick and I want to spend the night somewhere familiar, somewhere I know I’ll be comfortable. And I can even remember how to get there.

I follow the exact same route as last time, and as soon as I break off from the main road and enter the alleyways, I see them. Homeless servants. Sitting on the ground, or on staircases, or literally lying in the dirt. Mostly catgirls, with a few wolfgirls and doggirls. They glance at me briefly as I walk past them, and then look away to either close their eyes, or stare blankly into the air in front of them. I feel awful. They are just like Maya and Isa and Ari, owning nothing but the tattered clothes on their malnourished bodies, and I… I just walk right past them. I feel sympathetic to them, I’m not doing too well myself, my head might be hurting, but… Unlike them, I’ll have a nice place to sleep tonight.

Speaking of which; some of them seem to have already gone to sleep. In the dim light from the buildings around us, I spot the bare legs of a young catgirl lying on her stomach near the stairwell to a basement. I slow down and step a little closer, wondering how she can sleep out here in the open. It can’t be very comfortable, her legs are bent in what looks like a pretty unnatural position. Then it hits me, I realize she isn’t sleeping. She’s…

I quickly turn around and hurry on before I puke. I have to get out of here. A few servants scarridly tense up when I rush past them, but I barely even notice them. I can hear Maya’s voice echoing in my head. Why do we have to be treated like this!? Why are we below them? But I can’t do anything about the kitties I pass by. I can’t. I can’t do anything until I save myself first. And there’s so many of them, and I have nothing. I have to save myself first. I…

I make it out onto the main street, remembering how to retrace my steps from last time. It’s early in the evening, so as soon as I’m back on the main streets I’m met with a lot of traffic. A lot of traffic means a lot of noise, and it means that, unlike my peaceful walk in the forest this morning, I’m suffering the stress of navigating crowds and carts and carriages. I feel more and more sick. And I also feel myself becoming… angry. There are all these people here, and there are all those homeless servants just a few streets away. And nobody seems to care. There are literally small catgirl children dying in the streets of this city, and all these people in their fancy clothes and bags full of wares do not have a care in the world. All these… humans. I hear Maya’s voice in my head again. I hate them! I hate them!

Maya…

I keep thinking about her to keep my mind focused on something else than the chaotic city around me, all the way to the inn. I step inside, quickly take note that there are only a few other patrons peacefully eating or drinking, and immediately feel better. Dead-tired, I make my way over to the bar, but there is nobody behind it. I sigh, which makes an elderly man sitting by the bar to glance at me. He then turns his head towards the doorway leading to the kitchen, and yells loudly.

“KRISTINA!”

He then nods reassuringly to me before turning back to his ale, and I nod back in confusion. I guess he’s a regular here. Only five seconds later, the girl I talked to last time appears from the kitchen, wiping her hands in her apron. She looks just as tired as I probably do.

“... Oh! Master… Lundberg, right?”

“Yes. Hi again.”

“Hello. Sorry to keep you waiting, I was doing the dishes. Glória is sick, so I don’t have anyone to help me tonight.”

“... Glória?”

“Yes. Our servant.”

“Ooh.”

I recall the wolfgirl I saw cleaning the tables last time. She’s nowhere to be seen tonight. Kristina, who I still assume is the innkeeper’s daughter, sighs loudly and crosses her arms over her stomach with a frown on her face.

“My father had to take her to a veterinary. She said that Glória probably got sick because it’s getting colder. It’s nothing serious, she’s just too weak to get out of bed. Master Lundberg, I’m telling you, if you ever get any servants of your own… Oh!”

She suddenly lights up, staring intensely at me. I raise my eyebrows and wait for her to continue.

“It was you with Castle Emberholm, right? You must have several servants there… right?”

“Uh… Yes…”

I nod nervously, and Kristina puts her hands on the counter and smiles up to me like a teacher giving advice to a small child.

“I’m telling you, Master Lundberg, make sure their living conditions won’t make them sick. It’s SO expensive taking them to the vet if they become ill.”

My heart drops into my stomach. I immediately think of Isa, constantly coughing. And of Maya, and her injured leg that is taking forever to heal. And of Ari, who… who is a bit clumsy, and has already fallen into the icy-cold water of the stream once. I nod very slowly. I can see that Kristina cares very much about the health of the inn’s wolfgirl, but I’m not sure if it’s out of real compassion, or because of the vetenary bill they’ve had to pay. I stutter for a bit before I become able to form a sentence, wanting to avoid revealing the real situation we’re in up in the mountains.

“U-um… Do you have any tips on how I should… Take care of them? So that they won’t get sick?”

“Mhm!”

Kristina nods.

“You basically just have to, like, make sure they are warm and well fed and properly dressed for the weather and that they regularly bathe and clean themselves.”

Well… At least some of that is already taken care of. She continues.

“And it’s best to take them to regular check-ups at a good vet. You know what they say! Prevention is better than treatment.”

“Uh… But didn’t you say that it’s expensive?”

Kristina narrows her eyes slightly.

“It shouldn’t be expensive for a lord that owns an entire castle, should it?”

I try to keep a cool face, and nod nervously.

“O-oh, yes, well there’s also the issue of… Of the location. I doubt there’s any vets nearby up there.”

“Oh, indeed. Hmm. Your servants, they are all girls, I assume? Then, ideally you would have your… wife…?”

I shake my head hastily.

“I don’t have a wife… yet.”

Kristina shifts her eyes away, suddenly getting a slightly embarrassed look on her face.

“In… In that case, you would have to do it yourself.”

“Do… what?”

“Give them… Regular physical check-ups. So you catch it early, if they are getting sick, instead of having them suddenly collapse while working.”

My mind goes blank. This is something I would have never thought of, but… Of course. Kristina shifts her weight around, sharing my embarrassment. I clear my throat, and look at her.

“And how would I, um… Uh… What should I check?”

“Well...”

Kristina shrugs and nods.

“The only thing you can do, really, is look for infections. Check their ears, and their eyes, and their mouths. Oh, and listen to their lungs, too. And… Um…”

She becomes even more flustered, and lowers her head. While glancing up at me, she also lowers her hands to place them on her lower stomach.

“And to be on the safe side, you… Um, nevermind. I don’t know. No, that’s everything.”

What was she about to say? Hm, whatever. I’m so tired. Wanting to put an end to this conversation, I thank Kristina for the information, pay for a room, and pay for a meal. I receive it, and sit down at a table, and… Oh god, it’s the best food I’ve ever had in my life. After a month of subsisting on nothing but the preserved vegetables in Emberholm, the soup in Cindervale was a welcome change of pace, but this bowl of harvester’s pie beats anything I’ve ever tasted. But I can’t dwell on how nice it is to eat a proper meal. My headache is by now head-splittingly painful. After eating, I immediately retreat upstairs to collapse into a nice, well-made bed. I’m immensely relieved by lying down in a real, civilized bed, but it’s not making my headache go away.



Maya…

God, I miss Maya. It has now been almost twenty-four hours since I last had my lips to her breast. My brain is aching for the relief she gives me, but… She’s not here. I wonder if I’m having… withdrawals, or something like that. God, I wish she was here. Maya…

…..



.


>>
Chapter 18 Anonymous 24/04/04(Thu)23:03 No. 27972 ID: 95648a

My head hurts. Even after a full night’s rest, it still hurts… I become aware of this before I become aware that I’m awake. My body feels heavy. With difficulty, I sit up. The room is bright, the sun shining through a layer of clouds outside.

Shit…! What time is it?!

I can’t stay in bed all morning, like I’ve been doing almost my whole life. I don’t know how long it will take with my deed, and I also need time to do some shopping afterwards. If I’m late for my ride home, I risk getting stranded here. I take the box of white powder with me to the washroom and, with gritted teeth, hastily wash myself without heating the water. Emberholm might not be a fancy place to live, but at least it can offer you a warm bath. Thankfully, the white powder proves to be effective even with cold water, cleaning off all the dirt and dust I accumulated among the potatoes yesterday. Thank you, Maya.

As soon as I’ve rinsed myself, I put the box down on the floor of the washroom and hurriedly dry myself off, get dressed, and grab my satchel bag so that I can get going. I hate being in a hurry. I check if everything is still in my bag: My spare clothes, the deed and the key to Emberholm, my birth certificate, my jewelry and money... Yep, all there. I check out of the inn and rush out on the street, but decide against following the usual route to the magistrate. Even though it’s a small detour I… I don’t want to go through the back alleys again. I just… I…

With only a slight headache, I navigate my way through the busy streets of Novioda. The morning traffic is so chaotic and noisy, I find myself longing to get back to Emberholm. Yes, I can barely believe it… I miss my dilapidated ruin of a castle. After a tiring walk, I finally stand in front of the consulate. For the third time. And… it’s…

Open!

Yes!

I reach out to open the door, but then freeze. Out of the blue, I think of something.

All the lofty promises about Castle Emberholm being a luxurious place, filled with obedient servants, was a lie.

How… How do I know that the deed in my bag is real? What if it’s fake?

What if… What if I don’t own Emberholm at all?

If I go in there, and am told that the document in my bag is a forgery, then… It’s all over. It would be illegal for me to live there. I would… be homeless. I would have to go back to my family. Then it hits me.

I can…

I can turn around and go back to my family right now. I don’t even have to suffer the embarrassment of having the magistrate tell me that the deed I have given everything I owned for is fake. I can just… Quit it all.

Sure, it would be the most humiliating thing I’d ever done. What I felt yesterday wouldn’t even be close. I’d have to sell everything in my bag and still beg for someone to take pity on me to take me back to my home province, and then I would have to, probably literally, come crawling back to my mother and father. And ask for forgiveness. And if it was granted to me, I don’t think I would ever be able to do anything on my own ever again. I probably wouldn’t even leave my room ever again. But I would be taken care of, I would be fed and warm and have a nice bed in a nice house. I could get all of that back. I can just turn around, and… and…

Maya…

Isa and Ari…

I would never see them again. They would…

They would probably die.

I…

…..



.

I’m… sitting in front of the magistrate of Albescia. He is young for his position, I think, around forty years old, but his face is as tired and wise as that of a grandfather. His bespeckled eyes shift back and forth while he analyzes my deed to Emberholm, while I myself am concentrating on preventing my body from shaking out of pure nervousness. After around twenty seconds, he stands up and goes into the adjacent chamber where he asks a secretary to find another document. The magistrate comes back to sit in front of me, and I try to make a bit of small-talk while we wait.

“Novigrad is a really busy city, huh? It’s larger than what I’m used to.”

The magistrate nods in acknowledgement of my subtle praise of his city, but sighs with irritation.

“Yes, it’s a great city, but it’s not like it used to be.”

“Oh…? How so?”

“There’s, well, too many servants around now. Many of them, homeless.”

“W-what…? Why?”

The magistrate leans back in his chair, and adjusts his glasses while looking off into the distance.

“A few years ago, we were going through a period of great growth and prosperity. A lot of families made a lot of money, a lot of people became… very wealthy, in a very short period of time. All those families with new money imported and bred a lot of servants. They paraded their dressed-up catgirls around, almost like it was a fad.”

“... Oh…”

I can feel that this is not really an appropriate topic for a public servant to indulge in, but maybe he hasn’t had anyone to share his frustrations with yet.

“The, well, the bubble has, sort of, burst. Albescia hasn’t entered into a recession, or anything. But during the past few years, a lot of families have had to dispose of a lot of servants, and… Now they are out there, in the streets.”

“Yes, I’ve seen them… But… Surely, they are not left to be out there on their own, right? Surely, there must be some kind of community that will take care of them, or… Society will take care of them, right?”

The magistrate scoffs, briefly looking at me like I’m stupid. I… I do feel stupid. I’m in an unfamiliar part of the country, and it shows.

“Society? There is… no. Such. Thing. As society. For those servants.”

“...?”

I look at the magistrate in disbelief, and he leans forward to continue.

“Why should human society care about them? They are a burden. Do you know that despite being only thirteen percent of the population of Novioda, servants comprise fifty percent of the filth and poverty? It is an eyesore and a drain on the city’s resources, they keep getting sick from living like they do. If it were up to me, they wouldn’t even be counted as a part of the popu-.... Oh, thank you.”

The magistrate’s rambling is cut short by the secretary entering the room. He hands the magistrate two pieces of documents, one of them my deed, and then leaves. The magistrate scans them both with his eyes, as if the previous conversation never took place. I feel sick to my stomach.

They are out there, right outside his door, there are literally catgirls dying in the streets of his fancy city, and he doesn’t care. I want to say something, to protest loudly, but I hold my tongue. Making a scene here will not do me any good. If there’s one thing my upbringing taught me, albeit indirectly, is that you should be on friendly terms with your local government. No matter the cost.

Finally, the magistrate nods, with his facial expression becoming a bit more relaxed.

“Very well, Master Lundberg, congratulations on your purchase of Castle… Emberholm. We will register its registration into the royal register.”

He writes something on the second piece of paper, and I feel my pulse briefly spike to an unprecedented level as I fully realize that the deed is genuine. The magistrate speaks again, his tone a bit more formal now that he is aware that he is dealing with a real, genuine lord.

“Your deed and birth certificate will have to be copied and notified by the royal registry. The processing time is approximately three to fourteen weeks, please send someone to come back at a later time to pick it up. Then Emberholm will officially be yours.”

“Wait… What?”

The magistrate puts my deed together with the second piece of paper and motions for his secretary to come take them away. I watch my deed disappear into the convoluted bureaucracy of the system, while the magistrate turns back to me with a “Is there anything else I can help you with?” look on his face. I try to keep my cool, but I hope that I misheard him.

“You want me to come back here… Again?”

“Yes, as mentioned, a copy needs to be made of your deed, and since the property falls in the largest category of estates in the province, the change of ownership needs to be approved by the relevant authorities. Just a formality, really, but it’s an entire castle, after all. You can’t just trade it like you would a loaf of bread.”

He is speaking quickly and calmly, like reciting sentences he has delivered hundreds of times before. I look at him in disbelief. Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm…

“No… no… You don’t understand, it is a LONG way here from Emberholm. I… Is there no way to get everything sorted out today?”

“You are not the only one buying and selling property in Albescia, Master Lundberg. From the documents you have submitted, I have no reason to escalate your case… To allow you to skip the line, so to speak. But I don’t see the problem, really. As a lord, you can surely afford to send a servant here in a month or so to pick up the deed. To be honest, I don’t understand why you’ve come here in person here today in the first place.”

“I… But… Can’t it be sent to Emberholm, then? By courier?”

“Neither we nor any couriers can accept the responsibility of transporting such important documents. It is the deed to your home, and your birth certificate we are talking about, my lord. They will only be returned to someone from your household in person.”

I lower my head and grit my teeth. I’m almost about to cry out of sheer frustration. I can’t believe it…! I have suffered so much to come here, and I will have used most of my savings on this trip by the time I get home. And now he’s telling me that it’s not enough, that I have to make the trip again. Dammit… I know that he is just doing his job. Without the right status, and without the right connections, there’s nothing I can do. I’m powerless. I have to follow the rules. I thank him, and leave the consulate.

Outside, I look at the clock on the tower of the town hall. My hurry this morning paid off, I still have time to spare. I go to the local market to sell my jewelry. They were worth less than I thought, and it pains me to the core at how poor I have become, but now I am able to repay the villagers in Cindervale for the help they’ve given me. I can also afford my next trip to Noviod - though it’ll probably be in the back of a potato wagon again - and I can afford another stay at the inn. While I don’t know if it’s a good idea, I also buy a few small trinkets at the market. It’s a terribly busy and noisy place, and I’m happy to leave. I go to the agreed time and place to meet up with the villager from Cindervale, and immediately collapse in the back of the now empty potato cart.

Finally. I want to get out of here. I want to get out of this terrible city.



The journey home is just as painful as the trip yesterday. Fuck, I hate traveling. I hate being away from home.

Home…

Castler Emberholm is my home. And I’m going back there. I’m going back to…

To what?

The kitties. They…

They are probably not there any more.

Maya wanted to leave. She wanted to leave really badly. As soon as her leg had healed up. Maybe… Maybe she actually has been fine for a while, and has just been pretending to still be in pain while waiting for the right opportunity to slip away. I sigh. I don’t blame her. Saying goodbye to the three kitties would have been weird and awkward. Better to just leave while I’m away. I fully accept the thought of coming home to a completely empty castle.

It seems to take forever, but eventually we arrive at the village. I thank the villager and give him a little bit of money to share with all the people who helped me yesterday, and then walk the rest of the long way to Emberholm. The journey is over. And I’m home. It’s already dark, but I’m back on the front steps of Castle Emberholm. It’s quiet. I go up the steps and open the front door, and hold my breath.

I immediately hear footsteps. Someone is running towards me, fast. I don’t even manage to step inside before Ari flings herself at me. I guess that the kitties’ keen sense of smell, or their hearing, had let them know I’m here.

“AUGUUUUSSSH!”

“Whoaa, hey…! Easy now, I’m pretty tired.”

Ari is too excited to take it easy, but I don’t mind. I’m immensely relieved that the kitties are still here. Or that Ari is here, at least, I assume Isa and Maya are too. Ari is jumping up and down, so happy to see me that you’d think I had been gone for months.

“Augus! We, we, we’ve almost finished with the clothes we’ve been making from the beddings from that room! That’s good, right?! It’s gonna be winter soon, right? And yesterday Maya, she tried to sew some of the fabrics too, but then she pricked her finger on the needle, and had to give up, but me and Isa kept sewing, and then I pricked my finger on the needle, and Maya helped me, and--”

The words come out of Ari’s mouth like a waterfall. I try to listen, but… Where is Isa and Maya? I then see them. Maya is dragging herself towards us, with Isa supporting her on her other side. I feel bad to see Maya still limping, but… Compared to when I first got here, she is getting better. This is an improvement. And more importantly, they’re all still here. They didn’t leave yet. I’m not gonna be alone. It’s gonna be alright. It’s…

It’s good to be home.

“It’s good to be home. Hey, look here, I got you something in Novioda.”

I reach into my satchel bag, and with glimmering eyes Isa and Ari watch as I show them three pairs of plain wooden hair clips, as well as a hair band. I almost feel bad for giving something so crude to the two kitties - I didn’t dare spend any more money than absolutely necessary - but they accept them into their little hands, cautiously at first, but they quickly become excited about their gifts. Isa coughs, but it’s not as bad as before.

“Augus!!! Thank you! Isa, there’s the mirror upstairs!”

The two small kitties quickly dart off to try out their new accessories, leaving me alone with Maya who has been left leaning against the doorframe. I slowly step over to her, but she seems a little… cold, and distant. She only glances briefly at me, keeping her eyes turned down.

“You… you came back.”

“Of course. I told you I would… Emberholm is my home.”

“... M-mm…”

“... How have you been keeping up? How is your leg doing?”

Maya shrugs slowly.

“It’s getting… a little better.”

“That’s good.”

It’s awkward. I don’t know why I too act like I’ve been gone for long. We’re silent for a few seconds, before Maya speaks again.

“That… That was really nice of you. Buying gifts for Isa and Ari.”

“Oh… Well, yeah. Actually…”

I reach into my bag again.

“... I’ve got something for you too. Just a small… well, here.”

“For… me? What…”

I hand a tiny glass bottle filled with liquid to Maya, and she stares at it with her eyes wide open.

“It’s, uh, perfume. I couldn’t figure out what to get for your hair, since it’s kinda short, so…”

Just like with the hair accessories, I feel a little ashamed about the perfume. It’s the cheapest bottle I could find, and I know my sisters would rather drop dead than wear it. But I couldn’t think of anything else, I… I just hope Maya likes it. After turning it around between her fingers a few times, she frowns in obvious disapproval.

“You… You shouldn’t have wasted your money on… On something this stupid.”

Oh…

After struggling a bit with her slim fingers, Maya opens the bottle and slowly brings it up to her nose.

“You really should be more wise with your money, August…”

Sniff. Sniff.

“You shouldn’t… Waste it…”

Sniff. Sniff.

“...Lavender… Mmm… Really, you shouldn’t buy this kind of…”

Sniff. Sniff.

I’m surprised at the sensitivity of her sense of smell, but she is a catgirl after all. She keeps cautiously smelling the aroma rising from the bottle, her eyes lowered and a concentrated look plastered on her face.

“... Cloves… It smells… Nice…”

Huh…? Little by little, Maya’s facial expression changes.

“Really, you shouldn’t waste your money… Mmm… Rosemary… It smells… Nice…”

For the first time I’ve known her, Maya…

Smiles.

It’s tiny, but that’s definitely a smile. It almost looks weird, but… It also makes her even more beautiful. She keeps sniffing.

“It smells nice… Rose petals… It--”

Her voice suddenly cracks, and her lips begin quivering.

“It… It smells… Nice…!”

I don’t know what to do. Tears begin flowing from her eyes, and her smile gradually becomes distorted as she struggles not to cry. Suddenly, she jerks her head backwards to look straight up at me. Her large, silvery eyes are shining with wetness, and her voice is croacked and shaky.

“I’ve… I’ve never been given something like this before… It smells… it smells nice…!”

A thousand thoughts and feelings rush through my pained head. Maya is looking at me with a vulnerability I have never seen before, like she has no idea what to do with herself, her hands clutching the bottle of perfume to her chest. I don’t want to see her like this, I… I want to see her smile again. She looked so pretty. I don’t have anything to say. Instead, I do the only thing that comes natural to me. I take a step forward and tightly hug her.

She gasps, and her whole body tenses up. I almost prepare myself for her to fight back, but she then hugs me back and buries her face against my chest. She makes a couple of hiccup-like sounds while she prevents herself from beginning to bawl her eyes out, and I slowly stroke her smooth hair while I patiently wait for her to relax again. After thirty seconds or so, her breathing begins to calm down and after another thirty seconds, she slowly leans her head back a little. She avoids my eyes, and bites her lip before whispering up towards my ear.

“....Th… Thank you…”

I nod, and keep stroking her hair. She lets me. I’ve stroked her hair before, but not for this long. Maya is actually letting me… pet her. I like it. I like… hugging her. I like that she is hugging me back. She has hugged me every time she has been riding on my back, but that was mostly because she just wanted to hang on tight, right? But now, she is simply… Hugging me. I don’t want to let go. But… Ugh, my head… I wanted to hide my exhaustion and pain in front of the kitties, but I can’t do it any more.

“Maya… Do you think we could…”

Maya looks at me, and then nods her head. Thank god. She stops hugging me, and whispers again.

“... Pick me up.”

She tugs on my clothes to signal that she wants to get up on my back, like usual. I help her up, and we step inside. I was getting cold standing out there, and the warm, dry air of Emberholm’s lobby feels good. Having Maya on my back again feels even better. It’s only been two days, but it feels like it’s been weeks. I carry her to the living quarters, where a small fire is burning in the fireplace. Isa and Ari are nowhere to be seen, or heard, they are probably still upstairs. We lie down on our sides on one of the couches in front of the fireplace, and Maya slips the straps of her top down from her shoulders and pushes the fabric down over her chest. My impatience gets the better of me, and I immediately move in to suck on her nipple.

Oh… god…

I’ve missed this.

Within seconds, every negative emotion and every tinge of pain has been wiped from my very existence. I am at peace. And so is Maya, who is breathing with relaxation against my hair and tenderly rubbing my head. It feels good. Having my lips against her breast feels so good.

I’m…

I’m home.


>>
Chapter 19 Anonymous 24/04/04(Thu)23:04 No. 27973 ID: 95648a

It’s ridiculous. I’ve only been away on a one-night trip, but the next day I’m still so spent that I can’t do anything more than eat some breakfast, and then go down to the workshop together with the kitties to sit in the hot water to recover from my excursion. Man, it’s good to be home. We undress down to our underwear at the top of the stairs like usual, and descend together to soak ourselves in the hot water of the workshop. The sun is already shining brightly in through the large windows, making the walls and ceiling shimmer with reflections.

Everything is as usual for a moment, the four of us beginning to wash our bodies. Again, the kitties are bothered by their underwear being in the way, and I notice Maya looking back and forth between me and her two small friends a couple of times. Then, while keeping eye contact with me, she speaks slowly and carefully to Isa and Ari.

“It’s… It’s easier if we take it all off. It’s okay.”

Isa and Ari stops what they are doing, and stare at Maya who lowers her head while reaching down to push her panties off of her hips and legs. Her lower body being submerged in the water makes it hard for me to really see anything, but I’m pretty sure her tail creeps up again to cover her crotch. After a little while, Isa and Ari mirror their senior and remove their own underwear. With them, I’m able to see their tails still floating in the water behind them, they apparently don’t care about getting completely naked in front of me. Well, almost completely naked - Isa is wearing the headband I bought, her light-blue hair held tight against her forehead, while Ari has put two of the hairclips in one side of her golden brown hair to keep it away from her face. But still, it’s no big deal.

I… I shouldn’t care either. To show that this isn’t a big deal, I remove my own underwear too and sit down on one of the benches I’ve dragged down here, making an effort to not show any interest. I am interested, though… A tiny bit. Maya glances at me, but doesn’t seem to mind that I look at them. For a brief moment, I expect my body to react to the fact that I have three cute, naked catgirls right in front of me, but… I think I’m still too tired to get an erection.

The kitties scrape some white powder off of the floor and begin washing our clothes - they brought almost all of it down with them. Isa coughs, and is then relieved of her duty by Maya. We don’t own enough clothes anyways, Ari and Maya are easily able to handle it all. Floating idle around for a few seconds, Isa then moves herself over to me and, without asking permission, crawls up to sit sideways on my lap.

I’m startled for a second, but… It feels nice. In fact, this… This is heaven. Piping hot water up to my neck, no noises except for the soft splashes the kitties make while they bathe and the soothing sound of the water running down over the wall, and… Well, the eyecandy.

Man, catgirls are sure cute when they are naked. I can easily see the exact spot where Isa’s tail protrudes, right above the valley of her buttcheeks. On the opposite side of her body, I have a close-up view of her flat chest and stomach, and below, a tiny, straight line between her legs. Isa glances at me, Maya occasionally looks over at us, but… That’s it. We’re just naked together - nothing weird about that. Isa is just sitting on my lap, her head resting on my shoulder, ears slightly spread out to the sides. That’s all.

I’m flattered at how much the smaller kitties have come to like me, though, and I can’t deny that I have come to enjoy my increasing skinship with all three of the girls. Maya and Ari finish washing our clothes, and then take them into the laboratory to spread them out to dry, leaving just me and Isa alone in the workshop. We sit still, enjoying the warm water together. It’s all very peaceful and serene… Until Isa coughs again.

Dammit, I think to myself. She’s still coughing… But not as often as she used to, at least. She used to cough every fifteen minutes or so, and this one wasn’t that bad either. I hope that means that she is getting better… My mind goes back to Kristina, and how she advised me to check up on the girls’ health. Well, even if Isa’s cough is going away, it’s still sound advice. I look down at Isa, and inspect the ear that is pointing straight up in front of me. It seems… Normal. I have no idea what an infected ear would look like, but I can’t see anything out of the ordinary. Just a large, regular cat ear, with a bit of fluffy fur inside. I better check the other one too, so I raise my hand to gently put it on the back of Isa’s head.

“Hey, sweetie, can you turn your head the other way?”

“...?”

Not saying a word, Isa lets me turn her head around so that I can inspect her other ear, her eyes looking puzzled up at me. Her other ear looks fine too.

“I’m a little worried, since you’re still coughing. So I thought I wanna do a little check-up on you.”

“Oh.”

She becomes relaxed again, but keeps her eyes on me with obvious intent to follow any further commands. Some servants are just naturally obedient.

“Just relax and sit still, okay? Tilt your head back a little.”

Isa does as she is told, her tail casually swishing around in the water beneath her, and I bring my fingers up to carefully peel the eyelids of her right eye slightly apart. Her opal green eye gazes right back into mine, and again, I see nothing amiss. I do the same thing to her left eye, and then take a quick look at her nose. I wouldn’t even know how I would know if there was anything wrong with her nose, but at least I tried.

“Doing good so far. Alright, now open your mouth wide up.”

Isa opens her mouth as wide as she can, tilting her head a little further back to let me see inside. The light in the workshop isn’t too good, but the sunlight lets me see two white rows of teeth, including a pair of fangs, a little tongue, the roof of her mouth, the back of her mouth… I still don’t see anything out of the ordinary.

“Looks good.”

I pat her back to let her know she can close her mouth, and she does so with a little smile now on her lips. It’s clear she likes the attention. Well, she’s gonna get a little bit more of it, we’re not done yet. With Isa it’s especially important I do this next step, since she’s been coughing for a while now. I try to hide that I take a deep breath before speaking.

“One last thing, I have to listen to your, uh, lungs, okay? Just relax.”

“Okay.”

I glance down at Isa’s chest. Her torso is small, her breasts even smaller… Or more correctly, she doesn’t have any breasts whatsoever. Only two tiny, pink circles on her chest. I lean forward to move my head down to their level, and then press my ear against the middle of her chest.

“Alright, take a deep breath.”

Isa exhales and then begins taking a deep breath, but a sudden cough interrupts her. The contractions of her body sever the connection from my ear to her skin, and once she’s done, I put my ear back to her.

“It’s okay sweetie, try again. You’re doing great.”

Isa clears her throat, and then obediently draws air in again. This time she doesn’t cough, and once her torso has expanded to its maximum size she slowly exhales. I don’t hear anything unexpected, just the smooth flow of air. I wonder where the issue is, but I’m happy that she doesn’t have trouble breathing.

“Alright, that’s good… Hm…”

That should be all, right…? What else could there be… Her heart? I move my head back a little to position my ear to where I expect her heart to be, feeling my chin come to rest upon her nipple. I ignore it, and force myself to listen. Dunk dunk, dunk dunk, dunk dunk… It’s a little fast, but otherwise sounds fine. Now, there’s only one last place to check, I think. One other place I think girls can get an infection. But to check there, I would--

My train of thought is broken by the sound of splashing water, and I slowly sit back up straight to see Maya moving towards us from the laboratory. She is staring at me and Isa with a piercing gaze, her silvery eyes reflecting the white sunlight.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m… I’m checking up on Isa. I’m worried, since she’s still coughing.”

Maya makes her way over to us, standing next to me. Isa just gives her a brief smile, and then turns her head to stare up at me in anticipation. I give her a reassuring smile.

“Everything looks, and sounds, just fine. How are you feeling?”

My totally professional diagnosis makes Isa smile widen, and she looks up to the side while thinking.

“... Fine, I guess.”

“What about your coughing, is it getting better?”

She thinks for a few more seconds.

“Yeah… It’s slowly going away… I think.”

“That’s good. I’m sure it’ll disappear completely after some more time.”

“Mmh…!”

Isa nods, and reassured by my assertion rests her head against my chest. I glance at Maya, who seems to have been put at ease.

“Where’s Ari?”

“She’s spreading the clothes out in the laboratory to dry. I… I couldn’t really climb out of the water to get up there.”

Maya turns her head to the side, frowning with annoyance at her handicap.

“I better give you a quick check-up too. First, how is your leg? Is it getting better?”

Maya looks up at me with confusion in her face. She nods slowly.

“Y-yeah…”

“That’s good.”

I’m genuinely happy that both kitties are healing up. We would be in deep, deep trouble if Maya and Isa were getting worse, instead of better.

“Okay, I’m gonna do the same thing I just did with Isa. Come here. Turn your head a little bit.”

“N-nhg…”

Maya hesitates, her confusion turning into displeasure. I realize what kind of situation I just put us all in: I, one of the humans Maya hates so much, has just given her an order. To follow it right in front of Isa, she would display that she is giving me power over her. The last time I did it - when Ari had fallen into the stream, and I forced Maya to crawl up on my back - it was justified, since the well-being of one of the kitties was at stake. But that’s not really the case here. Maya isn’t sickly, and she’s old enough to notice any infections in her body. Strictly speaking, she doesn’t need me to check her orifices. Alright, I’ll accept it if she refuses. I can understand if--

My train of thought is broken by Maya stepping closer, and then standing up straight. The buoyancy the water gives her makes her able to do so, water droplets running down over her skin. She still doesn’t look too happy, but she accepts my examination of her. Alright. To help her, I reach down to put a hand on her hips to keep her balanced. I look into both of the ears on the top of her head, and again I see nothing abnormal behind the metallic-silvery fur. I then bring my other hand up to peel her eyes open, like I did with Isa. Maya seems slightly uneasy about the whole thing, but Kristina was right. I better do what I can to make sure the girls are healthy. I gaze into Maya’s left eye, and…

I don’t know…

There’s… Nothing wrong with it. No pus, no swollenness, no unusual redness, no nothing.

Just… I’m looking directly into Maya’s widely opened eye, and it’s like she is just… Staring straight into my soul. The greyness of her iris seems almost illuminant, circling a slightly oval pupil that is pointed straight at me. It’s almost overwhelming - my breath is taken away, but I manage to shift over to also inspect Maya’s right eye. The effect is the same. I force myself to break off, briefly look at her nose, and then get her to open her mouth to confirm that everything is good in there too. I take a deep breath.

“Next, I’m going to listen to your body. Okay?”

I slide my hand up from Maya’s back to place it on the side of her torso, my thumb resting just below her nipple. I feel the flesh of her breast a little bit, rubbing the tip of my finger back and forth before sliding it directly up over her nipple. It’s completely soft. Maya draws a sharp breath of air, but stands still with her hands firmly pressed against her thighs. Oh, that’s right… This isn’t the body part I should examine. But I’m a little mesmerized by the subtle feeling of Maya having something up there that Isa doesn’t. Isa herself seems to have lost interest, and is drowsily observing me and Maya.

Enough playing around - taking care to not push Isa off of my lap, I lean forward to put my ear to Maya’s chest.

“Breathe in.”

Maya takes a deep breath, holds it for a second, and then slowly exhales. Nothing. She does it one more time. I then shift over to listen to her heart. Dunk dunk dunk dunk dunk… It’s… a little fast. Faster than Isa’s, I think. But probably not something to worry about. While I listen, I come to think that the view I have of Maya’s body in this position is very familiar to me by now. Obviously, my mouth is very close to her breast… Man, it’s so tempting. But that’s not what we’re doing right now - I don’t need it either. I lean back, and then make eye contact with Maya. We look into each other’s eyes for a few seconds, and she then… Arches her back a little bit, making her boobs stand out even more clearly on her chest.

Wait, was she thinking what I was thinking? Does she really… Is she really offering me to suck on her breasts right in front of Isa? I thought that was a little… private thing we had going on. I glance over at Isa, and see that she has closed her eyes. She’s not asleep, just really relaxed, but I don’t know what she would think if she opened them to see me sucking on the nipple of her friend. Well, maybe I’m just overthinking it. Maybe I can allow myself to--

“HEY!! What are you all doing?!”

The loud and energetic voice of Ari echoes through the workshop, followed by loud splashes while she half-swims, half-runs over towards us. We all look startled at her, but Ari got a big smile on her face. She is probably just excited about what is going on, even though nothing is going on. She hates missing out. Maya and I glance at each other, with Maya slightly biting her lower lip. I give her a pained smile, and whisper to her.

“Later, okay? Everything looks good, by the way.”

Maya leans back, but stays close. I’ve moved my hand to her back, which probably helps. Ari pushes her way through the water to get over to us to stand by my other side, pushing her body up against Isa’s back with her small hands grabbing onto my arm and leg to steady herself.

“What are you doing? What are you talking about?”

I smirk at her silly excitement, and shake my head at her.

“Not really anything. I’m giving Isa and Maya health-check-ups. Here, let me do you too.”

“Okay!”

As I had expected, Ari enjoys the attention to the fullest. I check her ears, eyes, nose and mouth, and listen to her lungs and heart. All is good, I tell her so, and she beams with pride of her healthy body. I’m actually a little bit envious. Both me, Isa, and Maya have issues with our health. But Ari seems to be in full working condition. The check-ups done, I remember the other thing I have to do.

“Oh, I actually have something to tell you all.”

“...!”

Ari becomes excited again, and Isa and Maya too look up at me with anticipation. I hate to do it, but I force myself to frown to dampen their expectations.

“It’s… It’s not something good, though. Not exactly bad either, just…”

The six ears surrounding me droops a little bit, and I change my frown to a tired smile.

“I wasn’t really able to finish all my business in Novioda. I’ll… Have to go back there, again.”

“Eeh..?”

Ari sounds disappointed, Isa looks a little sad, and Maya… Maya gets an unnaturally hard look on her face, her gaze shifting to stare into nothingness. I nod in agreement to their disappointment. Ari shakes my arm lightly to show her displeasure with my announcement.

“But why?!”

“They have to do some paperwork, about the castle. And I have to go back to pick it up..”

“Hmmnnff..!”

Ari pouts angrily, yet hilariously cutely, at the fact that I have to take another trip.

“I don’t want you to go! I missed you, and, and, and Maya also missed you so much that she--”

“ARI!!!”

Maya yells with the loudest voice I have ever heard her make, glaring at Ari with outright hostility painted on her face. I have never seen a servant this angry before. Both Isa and Ari get outright frightened, Isa shrinking herself and hiding her face against my neck, Ari hiding herself behind Isa.

What the… what the hell is going on? I turn my head from side to side, looking at each kitty in turn. We are all silent. I have… I have to break this up, so I continue talking.

“... It’ll be the last time I have to go. Then I’ll have the deed to the castle, and everything will be alright. I’ll never have to go anywhere any more.”

I begin to softly rub both Maya’s and Isa’s back, switching from Isa to Ari after a few seconds, hoping to calm them all down. Damn, why do I only have two arms when there are three kitties? Isa cautiously turns her head to look up at me again.

“You… You promise?”

Dammit, that last part about never having to go anywhere ever again was a lie. I probably won’t be able to stay locked up in Emberholm for the rest of my life… But, the kitties will not be here for the rest of my life. I can probably live up to such a promise until they leave. I nod, smiling warmly down to Isa.

“Yes. I promise. After that final trip, I’ll stay here.”

Ari looks at Maya, who is now watching me with a slightly puzzled expression on her face. I’m just happy she has calmed down, and Ari has become relaxed again too.

“August… Would you really be able to not have to go anywhere again for the rest of your life?”

Dammit, Maya…! Young catgirls do not usually think that far ahead. But wait, what? Why isn’t she thinking the same thing I was thinking? She’s smart enough to realize that I can’t lock myself up in here, but not smart enough to think that they’ll be gone before I have to break my promise? Or…

“But… But won’t you be… Leaving?”

Maya suddenly looks like someone who has just had a giant lie exposed. She’s staring at me with wide eyes, and Isa and Ari are looking at her in confusion too. Dammit, this was such a nice, peaceful moment, why did it have to become this intense and uncomfortable? I like being surrounded by three cute little kitties, butt-naked and pressing themselves up against me. I don’t like difficult conversations. To put an end to it, I pat Ari’s back.

“Hey, why don’t we go up and you two show me how far you’ve come sewing those beddings into something usable?”

“... Yeah!”

Isa and Ari’s smiles return. Isa jumps off my lap, and both kitties begin wading over to the stairs. My idea worked. I rub Maya’s back one last time, smile to her as if trying to say “It’s okay, don’t worry about it”, and then stand up to follow after Isa and Ari. I look over my back to make sure that Maya is coming with us too, and after a short hesitation, she follows after me.


>>
Anonymous 24/04/13(Sat)16:48 No. 27976 ID: b35664

>>27972
Great story so far OP, at first I was a little bit reserved about how slowly things were developing, and I have to admit the MC telling us about his headache every 5 minutes was sometimes giving me a headache, but I have grown to these characters so much it surprised me.

I almost forgot all the mystery you Setup to focus on the things the MC is focusing on, without giving it a second thought.

For some reason, the main character is the same as in Amnesia: Dark Descend. They both are nice young aristocrats, both suffer from severe headaches throughout, and both explore an abandoned castle in a creepy alternate word with alchemy, the only difference is one has a monster coming to kill him and yours has cute cat girls.


>>
Anonymous 24/04/14(Sun)01:01 No. 27977 ID: 477c5b

>>27976
Thank you for the feedback. Your criticism is very valid, and something I myself think about a lot:

1. Slow development - Yes. I knew from the beginning that it would take a while before getting to any real action, but I am actually flabbergasted and unhappy with just how long it is actually taking. It just goes on and on and on and there's no sex whatsoever yet. I probably wouldn't have accepted this as a reader myself. I've even rushed things forward to happen earlier than originally planned. The main theme of this first act is proving to be this story's biggest weakness, and I don't really know if I can do something about it without ruining something I think is important. My plan right now is to skip as quickly ahead as possible in the next batch of chapters, then clean things up and post it on A3 and see what people say there, and then take a long break to think about what to do.

2. Too many headaches - Yes, will probably be toned down in the clean-up. The point is to hammer it in how dependant August is on Maya, and being in her good graces. It will be toned down now that they are entering into a rutine.

3. The A:TDD castle is actually one of the primary inspirations for Emberholm, just warm and comfy instead of wet and scary. One of the things on my long to-do list is to mention how they are setting up warm lightning to make it homelier.

4. Alchemy - This will be removed, the laboratory will be turned into something else. The only reason I made it into an alchemy laboratory was to have the option of August finding valuable minerals and artifacts to sell when he went to Novioda, but I didn't end up using it. There will not be any other magic than that of the white powder (I should give it a name soon...) and the, well, magic happening between August and Maya.


>>
Shadow 24/04/21(Sun)22:06 No. 27980 ID: 11b525

>>27977
I also enjoyed this update, and I understand the need to speed up the storytelling a bit when the protagonist can only go so fast to get things done. But you did the setup well to establish how fast he can go to get things done.

As for the slow build up, I wouldn't worry too much. Yes, there is legitimate concern in getting to the parts you want to write before running out of creative energy. But good world and character building takes time. Elden Ring wasn't made in a day. Besides, it'll feel earned when we get to the action, as we are slowly getting through Maya's trust issues along the way. A slow burn can have one chomping at the bit at times, but you're doing it well so I don't mind the wait.


>>
Anonymous 24/04/23(Tue)14:13 No. 27981 ID: 9dd806

This is a really great story. I reread the first part again and then the latest. All of it very good. I know this is erotic lit but a good story is good story. Don't hurry the sex part up if it in any interferes with the great story you have going.

I hope you don't give upon this. Some of us here, myself included, really are dying to know how this all comes out.


>>
Chapter 20 Anonymous 24/05/07(Tue)21:16 No. 27983 ID: 03fe6d

- … extremely social creatures and display a primitive pack mentality. This has several benefits. Firstly, servants are most often extremely loyal to their household and their masters. Secondly, to maintain social harmony, jealousy and envy are concepts unknown to servants. Thirdly, they benefit greatly from co-operating with one another. Due to their social nature, it is ill-advised to only employ one servant in a household. For households that cannot afford to entertain the livelihood of more than one, it is recommended to let her socialize with servants from neighboring households. Indeed, in some neighborhoods there are often …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


The weather keeps getting colder. It’s not too bad yet, but… Thinking about the fact that I have to repeat my trip to Novioda all over again almost makes me dizzy. Depending on how bad the weather will get, I doubt I will be able to go there again before spring arrives.

Now that I know for certain that Castle Emberholm is mine, and that I am going to live here, I really have to make it livable. But before I make any long term plans, I have to solve the situation I’m in, together with these three kitties, right now. We are… in trouble. The food is going to run out. Well… If it comes down to it, I guess we can eat Ari. She is always full of energy, so her body should also… Nah, just kidding. The concept of death must be dealt with by making jokes.

I hope I’ll die sucking on Maya’s boobs.

Speaking of which…

One night, only a couple of hours after having fallen asleep, I’m woken up by someone gently shaking my arm.

“... st.”

“... whuh?”

“August.”

I turn around and open my eyes. The orange glow of the dying fire in the fireplace illuminates Maya, kneeling on the floor next to my sofa while looking up at me with a slightly pained expression on her face. I lift my head and sleepily blink my eyes.

“What…?”

“I… Um… I was wondering…”

I smell something… What is this scent? Lavender…? Maya’s eyes shift away from me, her voice almost a whisper. One of her ears make a flutter.

“How’s… how’s your head? Do you need… Um… Do you need…”

What? She woke me up just to ask if I have a headache? That’s nice of her, but…

“Uh… No. Not right now.”

“... Oh…”

She looks dejected, her ears drooping. I’m too tired to understand her intention, but after a few seconds she speaks again, still without looking at me.

“I’m… I’m cold.”

Oh. Yeah, it is pretty chilly in here. I glance over at Isa and Ari; they are sharing a sofa, and always sleep close to each other, so I guess they are able to keep warm. But me and Maya sleep by ourselves. The pieces start falling into my head. I nod, and lift up my makeshift blanket.

“Alright, come up here.”

Maya quickly turns her head, and we look into each other’s eyes. It suddenly strikes me that that might actually not be not what she wanted. Maybe she just wanted me to put some more wood in the fireplace. And even worse, what I just said could have sounded like an order. A human, giving an order to a servant.

But we only stare at each other for a brief moment before Maya proves my doubts wrong by nimbly crawling up onto my sofa. She quickly positions herself next to me, and wanting to shield us both from the cool midnight air, I pull the blanket over us both. I’m only wearing my underwear and an undershirt, while Maya is still wearing her skirt and shirt. She doesn’t undress to sleep, probably in an attempt to stay warm.

The smell of lavender, as well as rose petals and other scents, fills my nostrils.

We’re on our sides, facing each other. Looking at each other. And Maya looks… she looks so vulnerable. Her lips are slightly parted, her eyes focused on me as in anticipation of my next move. Well, she said she was cold, didn’t she? I’m feeling a bit cold too. While we look into each other’s eyes, I slowly wrap my arms around her small body and bring us close together. I can immediately feel her warmth, and I see that Maya feels it too, becoming more relaxed. Our faces are so close to each other, the warm light from the fireplace reflecting off the stony walls of the chamber to re-reflect dimly inside Maya’s silvery eyes. After a few seconds, I whisper.

“Actually… My head hurts a little bit.”

It doesn’t. I don’t think Maya believes me, but she slowly nods. I scoot a little bit down, she scoots a little bit up, and after she has pulled her shirt up to her armpits, my lips graze over the warm skin of her breast again. This time, I don’t pull back and Maya doesn’t go back to her couch. This time, I fall asleep…

…..



.

I wake up to a dull midday light illuminating our sleeping chamber. The air is cold, but I feel… Refreshed. I feel good. I quickly sense that there’s someone nearby. I open my eyes and almost become spooked by Isa, who is standing right next to my couch. She is staring down at me in astonishment, mouth slightly agape.

“... whhh?”

I’m still too sleepy to form any actual words. I then notice that Isa is not staring at me, but at something next to me. I look down. Maya is fast asleep by my side, curled halfways up into a ball with just the top of her head sticking out from underneath my blanket. I’ve… I’ve never woken up before Maya has. She has always already been awake when I have woken up in the morning. I’m almost as surprised as Isa. I look back up at her, and whisper.

“She, uh… We both got cold last night.”

“... Oh.”

Isa whispers back, and seems to accept my explanation. Even though we were both quiet, Maya wakes up and turns around to briefly peer up at Isa. She then quickly scoots away from me - as much as she can without falling off of the couch - then turns away from me, realizes that this makes her face Isa, turns back to face me again, and then hides her face underneath the blanket. What is going on…? I shrug up to Isa, and she seems to think for a moment before she shrugs back. Then she turns around and simply walks away. Hearing Isa leave, Maya sighs and after a slight hesitation moves back to press herself against my body, her tail sliding over to rest against my thigh. It’s still chilly in here, so I accept her approach and softly stroke her hair.

Now that Isa is gone, my sleepy mind is hit with the realization of the fact that I have spent the night with a girl in my bed. Well, technically a sofa, but still. And she’s still in my bed-- I mean, on my sofa. She’s curled up against me. And…

And it feels…

It feels so damn…

It feels incredible.

I have never experienced anything like this before. Her warmth, the softness of her hair, the almost inaudible sound of her breathing, the slow, tiny expansion and contraction of her torso next to mine, the occasional movements of her ears… How can Maya be this adorable, just lying there? God, I wanna hug her so bad, but… I don’t want to risk scaring her off, so I don’t move a muscle.

Another fact then hits me. Not only have I spent the night with a girl, but with a… servant. And that’s not normal. That’s weird. Humans and servants are never, ever this close or friendly with each other, except perhaps while they are small children. This is crazy… Maya has pressed herself against my body, and is resting her face against my bare chest, that is just… I don’t know. But I do know that… I like it. I love it. I love what I’m feeling right now.

I suddenly get a strong urge. Much stronger than the hunger in my stomach. My body is waiting for its usual breakfast, but all of a sudden I have an urge to nibble on something else than chewstalks. I don’t have a headache at all, but through my sleepiness I hear myself speak softly down to Maya.

“Hey… Can I…”

With my hand on her back, I give her shirt a little tug upwards. She glances up at me and faintly nods. We don’t need a lot of words between us. We repeat what we did last night; I move down, Maya moves up, her clothes are pulled up over her breasts, and I put my lips to her nipple. Warmth and pleasure streams into me, calming me down while at the same time making me feel energized for the day ahead. Maybe I’m just making up for how I couldn’t do this during my trip to Novioda, but man, I love Maya’s breasts. I love the relief she gives me, I love the feeling of her, I… I love…



Some time passes before I pull away and decide that it’s time to get up to start the day. I neatly pull Maya’s shirt back down and sit up, feeling great. Maya shifts around a little, but doesn’t get up. I give her a light shake.

“Hey, let’s get up and get some breakfast.”

“... Nmhhh…”

Maya grumbles and lowers her head to hide her face underneath the blanket again, her ears limp and lifeless.

“Maya? Come on, lets’--”

“Mhhnnnhh…”

She curls up into a ball while simultaneously pressing herself harder against me. I start to become nervous.

“What’s wrong? Is it… Is it what I just did?”

Maya immediately shakes her head no. Hm… It’s just one of those days for her, I guess. I stroke her hair in an attempt to soothe her.

“Okay… You can stay here, but I need to get up, okay?”

Maya takes a deep, deep breath and then makes a deep, deep sigh, and after a few seconds she lets go of me. I give her head one final pat before I crawl across her to stand up, after which she immediately hides herself deeper underneath the blanket. Hmm… I really do hope this isn’t because Maya spent the night with me. I choose to believe that it really just is one of those days.

One of those days… I have them too. But I can’t let it show. The kitties depend on me… At least while they are guests in my castle. But, to be honest… They don’t feel like guests. They have been making themselves at home here as much as I have. For example, our blankets were old and dusty when we found them, but after having been thoroughly washed and dried by Isa and Ari, they are now perfectly usable. Their current project is making the duvets we found usable, to further upgrade our beddings in preparation of the coming winter. Apparently, the filling has clumped together too much to be usable as insulation, so now they want to cut up some other fabrics to… Ah, I’m losing myself in the details. They’ve got it under control.

Not everything is bleak, though. Maya’s leg is finally all healed up! She has gone from limping around with the support of one of us, to limping around on her own, to walking around with a tiny limp, to… Well, she now is as agile as a catgirl should be. She proves this by testing herself one day, leaping from couch to couch and jumping up against the wall to land down on both her feet, after which she briefly sprints around the perimeter of our sleeping chamber. She is just as fast as Ari, and even more graceful. She ends the test of her body by vaulting across the back of a couch, after which she stands up straight and proud and sends me a big smile, her tail swishing happily in the air behind her.

Maya… Smiled again. I smile back. I’m genuinely happy for her, even though… I’m going to miss carrying her on my back.

Isa seems to have gotten better too. She’s almost completely stopped coughing. My best guess is that our time spent soaking in the water in the workshop is making her better. We do all spend a lot of time down there. The more the temperature drops, the better it feels to soak in the hot water. We’re also down here a lot because, frankly… There’s not really much else to do around here. There is not a lot of resources, and none of us has the physical endurance to really make any big changes.

Not to say that life in Castle Emberholm is outright boring. It certainly would be, if the kitties weren’t here keeping me company. I am getting along more and more with them, especially now that I have begun performing my regular physical checkups of them. They are all getting used to being in close physical contact with me, though there is one funny difference between Maya and her two younger companions.

Initially, Isa and Ari found it fun to have their ears, eyes, mouths and lungs examined by me, while Maya was apprehensive and shy. Gradually, Isa and Ari lost interest, and it truly became a routine for them to have me look at their orifices and put my ear to their bare, flat chests. But Maya… Maya continues to be an enigma. Just like how my sucking on her breasts started out as an emotionless task she passively let me do, but is now something I’m certain she secretly enjoys almost as much as me, my check-ups of her body have also changed.

She was hesitant in the beginning, but she has come to enjoy her check-ups. She won’t admit it, I’m sure, but I can tell. She silently, but obediently, follows my commands when I ask her to twist and turn her head so I can inspect her ears, and she readily bares her chest for me, whether to allow me to listen to her body, or to let me relieve one of my headaches. I usually check the kitties during bath time down in the workshop, since that is where we are all naked anyways. Most times, I do Isa and Ari first before having Maya climb up in my lap. And she usually stays there, sitting with my arms around her. She likes… Actually, we both like the closeness.

It’s a little awkward, but I think she… Or, I think we…

We…

But… She’s a servant….!? Humans and servants are not supposed to… To…



But Maya is so warm… And the outside world is getting so cold. We keep throwing old and broken furniture into the fireplace, we’ve almost cleared out the parts of the castle accessible to us. There’s still entire sections of the castle we haven’t explored yet, locked away by sturdy doors. But it will have to wait. We’ve got to survive the winter before I make any effort on unlocking the rest of Emberholm. Miraculously, the castle is still keeping us from freezing. I think it can provide enough warmth for us throughout the winter. But while there is an endless supply of heat coming from below, the other thing Emberholm has been providing us with is unfortunately very limited.


>>
Chapter 21 Anonymous 24/05/07(Tue)21:17 No. 27984 ID: 03fe6d

I’m standing in the pantry, re-counting the jars and boxes of preserved vegetables to calculate one more time how long our supply will last. We’ve just emptied one of the wooden crates of preserved savorshoots, the timber now destined to be broken up and thrown into the fireplace. Looking at the crates left, it’s… It’s not gonna last. We’re going to run out of food. We’re going to starve.

I grit my teeth. I can almost feel the weight of failure crushing me. I’m supposed to be the one who takes care of things, but I still haven’t done anything about this problem. I have no idea what to do - my family hasn’t had to worry about where the next meal would come from for generations. I really want to do this, I really want to create a life in this castle, but I’m failing. I’m failing. I’m--

“Augus?”

Ari appears from the kitchen, and casually strolls into the pantry to look up at me with an innocent curiosity.

“Augus? Are you hungry too? I know we usually eat together, but, but, I also sometimes sneak in here to grab a snack, even though there’s not a lot of--”

I immediately force a smile, trying to hide my distress. I shrug at Ari’s suggestion that we snack on some of the dried chewstalks, and out of habit stroke her long, dark brown hair. It’s getting a little curly.

“It’s alright, maybe another day. It’s almost dinner time.”

“Hmmnn…!”

Ari pouts. I let her take a single chewstalk before I usher her out of the pantry, glancing at the door still hanging on its broken hinge before following after her. Maybe I should get it fixed…

After dinner, during our evening bath in the workshop, I decide to tell the kitties about our food situation. I have to be honest with them. We go through the routines of me checking the insides of their ears and mouths, and of me listening to their hearts and their lungs, before I ask all of them to gather around me. Ari hops up to sit on my lap, Isa half-floats in the water while resting her upper body on my other leg, and Maya stands behind Ari with her hands on her shoulders to keep her balance.

I’m still not entirely used to all this nudity - even through the shimmering water, I’ve got a perfectly clear view of two completely flat chests, one chest sprouting the earliest beginning of a pair of tiny breasts, as well as two tiny little pussies - Maya’s still keeps her hidden with her tail. But this is no time to relish in having three young, naked catgirls crowding me. They are all looking up at me in anticipation, their ears homed in on me.

“I… I have something to tell you.”

I try to keep a smile on my face at first, but it quickly fades away when I see that the girls can immediately tell that it is not something positive I am going to say.

“We are… We’re running out of food. So… To ensure that we can get through the winter, I will begin rationing what is left in the pantry. I think that if we--”

I involuntarily gulp, cutting off my speech. My throat is tightening up at what I’m about to say.

“... If we… Halve the amount of food we eat each day, we should be okay.”

The reaction is immediate. Ari’s jaw drops to the floor, and she stares at me in disbelief. Isa’s face becomes pained with worry and sadness and fear. Maya… Maya simply lowers her eyes, blankly staring down into empty space. The… The same kind of lifeless stare that the homeless servants in Novioda has. I take a deep breath, and try to put some confidence into the next thing I’m going to say.

“So, I was thinking…! Tomorrow, we should all go outside and see if we can find anything edible to eat. Maybe there’s some roots growing in the earth, or maybe we can find some mushrooms…? Then we won’t have to s--... Then we will have something to eat!”

My laughable optimism lightens the mood a little bit, with Isa and Ari looking a little hopeful. But we’re all still tense. There’s no denying it… It’s not looking good for us. Cutting our daily meals in half might not even be enough to make it last through the winter, and even if it is, it is sure to leave us severely malnourished. or… Worse. I really hope we will actually be able to forage something edible in the forest outside, even though I have absolutely no idea how to find edible roots or mushrooms. I might even get us all killed by making us eat something poisonous.

The next day, we follow through on my plan and venture outside in search of something to eat. I still try to radiate an aura of confidence, but I am doubting this whole thing from the very beginning. It’s cloudy, it’s windy, and it’s cold. I’ve got warm clothes I can wear, but the kitties only have their tattered dresses, patched up with colorful threading. Nevertheless, they obediently follow me out into the forest, and we rummage around in the fallen leaves covering the earth beneath us. We find nothing. We go down to the stream behind the castle, find a place where we can leap across it, and climb upwards over the rocky stones. We find nothing. Exhausted, I sit down on a large boulder.

Isa and Ari keep searching, nimbly leaping from rock to rock. At one point, Ari ventures a bit too close to the stream, balancing herself on a boulder next to it. Even though it looks to me like she is keeping her balance, Maya loudly yells that she should get down. She is a bit too overprotective of her friends, I think… Still mindful of her leg, Maya then walks over to me to stand by my side. I can’t face her. I know she is cold. We all are, but the kitties are suffering more than me. I bury my face in my hands. What am I doing… What am I--

“Augus!!”

I raise my head, and within a couple of seconds Ari has already leapt her way over to me. She proudly holds out her hands, showing me and Maya a couple of mushrooms she has found.

“Wow…! Good job!”

I take one from her outstretched hands. It’s a small and dark-gray mushroom, attached to a very large stalk. I don’t know anything at all about mushrooms… How do you test if it’s edible again? It certainly doesn’t look inviting at all. Isa comes over too, and all three kitties looks at me in anticipation. Again. They depend on me. They’re counting on me. Slowly, I bring the mushroom to my mouth and take a bite. I chew. It tastes… I don’t know, it doesn’t have a lot of taste. But the faint taste it does have is… Bad. And it feels slimy in my mouth. I turn my head to the side and spit it out. I immediately feel the collective disappointment of the kitties.

“Sorry, I don’t think those are safe to eat.”

Isa and Ari are both hugging their arms against their stomachs, and they have wrapped their tails around their thighs. The wind is ruthlessly making their tunics flutter against their thin bodies. What the hell am I doing? I sigh, and try to smile up to them. I’m so ashamed of myself.

“We tried, okay? Let’s go back inside.”

Isa and Ari immediately nod.

“... I’m gonna try looking around a bit more, okay? You can go on ahead.”

They nod again, and then run off. I’m sure they are headed right for the warm water in the workshop. I want to follow them, but first, I… I…

I lower my head, and bury my face in my hands. I think back to the inn in Novioda, to Kristina, I think her name was, instructing me to make sure my servants don’t become sick from being too cold. Isa has just stopped coughing, yet I needlessly led her out here even though she is only wearing a simple tunic. What am I doing…? My torso shakes a few times while I try not to cry. Maya is standing right next to me. A human, showing weakness in front of a servant…? No, no, no, this is all wrong. I focus all of my willpower on suppressing my emotions. I don’t want to face the fact that I have failed again. That I have failed the kitties. I can’t let it show. I have to be strong. I…

I suddenly feel Maya wrapping her arms around my head. She cradles me, and moves closer. We both shift around until we are hugging each other tightly, my face buried against her neck. I’m still fighting the urge to cry. She can tell. She accepts it. She strokes my hair, calming me until I’m not shuttering any more.

“... I know you’re trying.”

“...”

I nod. Maya keeps comforting me, the wind sweeping around our embracing figures. Once I get my emotionals control, I move my head back. We look at each other. Maya looks sad, but her gaze also shows that she is worried about me. It’s strange… The world up here in the mountains is beautiful, but harsh. Maya’s deep, silvery eyes are staring at me. Her bright, gray hair and her white clothes are fluttering in the wind. Behind her are the dark gray slopes of rocky ground leading upwards towards a light gray blanket of thick clouds in the sky.

All these layers of grayness come together to form a brutally beautiful scene in front of me. Maya does not seem like a mere mortal right now. She looks like she has been birthed by a bolt of lightning connecting the sky with the ground, as if the world brought together all the warmth and life contained in the area around Emberholm into a small divine, living being. And here she is, standing in front of me and holding me, like an angel. Soothing my soul.



This angel… Maya, she leans forward and whispers into my ear.

“Let’s go back inside. Can you… Can you pick me up and carry me, like you used to?”

I nod, and Maya moves around to nimbly crawl up to attach herself to my back again. Just like she used to. It feels so good having her cling on to me again. I stand up, and slowly walk back to the castle. I feel bad about myself, I’m so ashamed, but… I can feel that I’m not alone. Maya is here with me. She is there when I need her, and she doesn’t go away when I’m sad. I don’t think I could keep going without her. She, along with Isa and Ari, is what keeps me up.

Maya clings on to me much harder than necessary. Again, just like she used to. I realize she is shivering, and the skin of her thighs are not as warm against my hands as they usually are. I quicken my pace a little, and turn my head to speak to her.

“You must be freezing… Let’s go down to Isa and Ari in the workshop.”

“M-mm…”

Maya hums quietly in agreement, a slight shiver in her voice revealing that she really is cold. Thankfully, since I managed to unblock the back gate of the castle, we don’t have to go up and all the way around to the front of Emberholm just to descend down to the basement again. I cross the stream and the plateau, we enter the castle, and Maya directs me to the stairs leading to the workshop. We are immediately greeted by Isa and Ari, stark naked, ascending up the stairs towards us, water dripping from their slender bodies. Thankfully, they don’t look any worse for wear.

“Oh, hey. You’re going up already?”

“Yeah, we just needed to get warm.”

Ari replies in a normal tone of voice, and the two kitties grab the makeshift towels they have fashioned out of left-over fabrics we now keep down here and begin drying their hair.

Maya and I glance at each other. We’re going to be alone down there. Isa and Ari quickly dry themselves off and begin to get dressed, while I set Maya down so the two of us can undress.

“Isa, Ari, how are you feeling?”

“Hmn…?”

I’m still worried that they got sick from being outside in the cold. Maya watches us closely while she slips her panties off, her tail again creeping up to hide her private area. Ari thinks for a moment, then puts her hands together and looks up at me with pleading eyes.

“Augus…?”

“What?”

“I’m… Hungry.”

Isa nods to show she is hungry as well. She joins her friend in staring up at me, both of them making just that kind of face that tugs at my heartstrings. I sigh, and nod my head. At least they didn’t get sick, or anything.

“You can go up and eat something. Just not too much, okay?”

“Okay!”

The two of them run off, leaving me alone with Maya. We face each other. We are both completely naked. Maya shyly lowers her eyes, and then holds her small hand out towards mine. I take it, and we begin going down the stairs. They are not slippery anymore, so… Why did she want to hold hands? She is probably still just being careful with her leg.

Once submerged in the heavenly warm water of the workshop, we wade over to the benches where I plump myself down, tired and defeated. We’ve let go of each other’s hands, but Maya then puts hers on my thigh and… pleadingly looks up at me. Almost the same way Ari just did before. I nod down to her, and she climbs up to sit sideways on my lap. She is suddenly acting very childishly, I think, a stark difference compared to the otherworldly aura she gave off outside.

Being warmed up by the water cheers me up a little bit. We’re quiet for a few minutes, the only sound in here being the constant trickle of water running down over the wall. Maya then awkwardly shifts around before speaking out.

“It… It was nice of you to allow Isa and Ari to get food for themselves.”

“Oh, yeah… Well, I trust them.”

Maya turns her head, and I see her ears flutter immediately after I say the word trust.

“You… You do?”

“Yeah. They are really good girls, I’m happy they’re here.”

Maya’s ears twitch again. I only sense it out of the corner of my eye, I can’t look directly at her. I’m too ashamed of the failure of our food searching operation. Maya shifts around once more.

“M-mmn… They… They have begun to act like they are servants here… Like, they are… They are your...”

I exhale deeply, lowering my eyes.

“I’m not worthy of that. I can’t provide for them. I’m not… I don’t…”

The frustration wells up inside me. With no one else to turn to, I find myself looking into Maya’s eyes. She is staring straight into my soul. My voice becomes almost a whisper.

“I don’t know what to do. What… What should I do?”

Maya takes a deep, and very slow breath. Her torso expands and contracts.

“Are you… Are you asking me... What to do?”

I understand Maya’s bewilderment - I am acting strange right now. A human, asking a servant for her opinion on something? Asking for her advice? Humans never ask servants what they think, they mostly just give them orders. Maya is staring at me with equal parts wonder, and equal parts surprise. I nod down to her, which makes her look off to the side. After a few seconds, she bites her lip.

“I… I trust in you, August. I trust that you will find the right thing to do.”

Maya takes another deep breath, and still not looking at me, speaks again in a soft tone.

“How is… How is your head?”


>>
Chapter 22 Anonymous 24/05/07(Tue)21:19 No. 27985 ID: 03fe6d

“Hmm…”

I tilt my head a little. Weird… It doesn’t hurt at all.

“It’s alright. I think. But… Maybe, I’d still like… to…”

Better safe than sorry, right? Maya nods. I run my hands down to place them on her hips, supporting her weight while she stands up right in front of me. She seems a little more tense than usual, and then I notice why. When standing up, she… relaxed her tail. It has drifted back to calmly float in the water behind her. She is standing before me in all her naked glory, her uncovered body visible to me with only the slight distortion the water creates. Down below, a few centimeters below Maya’s naval, I can see a… Well, I don’t know what I had expected. Something spectacular, I think. But there isn’t really anything. It’s just like with Isa and Ari - a thin, straight line between her legs.

We briefly glance at each other. She really does trust me. She knows what she is doing, the relaxed positions of her ears and tail showing me she feels safe. The sun has broken out of the clouds, and the bright rays of light are illuminating her shiny hair and eyes with a metallic fire. I lean closer, and with my hands on my hips I pull her closer. With me still sitting down, she’s just at the right height. I put my lips to her breast, my tongue pressing against a tiny, hardening nipple. Maya sighs with relaxation.

We stay like this for a while. Maya has put her hands on the top of my hand, nuzzling my hair, while I let my hands roam lightly around on her body. I don’t know why I begin do to that, it’s… It’s just tempting. While I suck on her chest, I feel up her slender legs, her bony hips, her thin waist, her smooth back, and I then… Without thinking, I then slowly let my fingers slide down to the base of her tail.

“Wha… What are you…”

Maya’s reaction is immediate. She briefly tenses up, curling her fingers to lightly pull on my hair. I stop for a moment, but she doesn’t move. I give her nipple a suck, and feel her relax again. I know I probably shouldn’t touch her down there, but… I’m curious. I’ve never touched a servant’s tail - not even Sophie’s. For catgirls especially, their tail is a private and intimate body part. I even think I’ve read somewhere that it’s… What was it called, an ergonomic zone, or something like that. I’m not sure what that actually is.

“August, why… N-nnmhh…~”

Knowing this, I’m very careful while I feel around where Maya’s tail protrudes from her body. She keeps standing perfectly still, gripping onto my hair while my lips are still attached to her breast. I slowly curl three fingers around the base of her tail and run my hand down over the length of it, as far as I can reach. Being submerged in water, the fur feels soft and smooth and provides almost no friction against my skin. Maya barely moves her tail while I stroke it, but the rest of her body occasionally twitches lightly.

Finally, I let my hands return to her hips. Maya makes a small sigh, perhaps relieved that I didn’t go further. Go further… I wonder if she would let me. I shouldn’t do it, she’s a servant, but she feels so delicate. Like something I mustn't be too rough with, but… also something I want to be rough with. I want her. I want as much of her as I can get. She is already allowing me to suck on her breasts, but I…

I…

I suddenly feel something unfamiliar. My… Thing. I realize it is aching, straining, pulsating. I break off from Maya and look down. My penis is standing hard and firm against my stomach. Maya looks at it too. She then glances at me with a worried face. She is probably worried that my erection is making my head hurt again, like it did last time. But it doesn’t… Wait… Searching for it, I do sense a slight tinge of pain. I sigh. I assume that it is only because I was just making use of the healing power of Maya’s breasts that it’s not worse.

Maya backs away, my hands slipping off of her hips. She begins to cover her crotch, becoming uncomfortable with the apparently obvious signs that I am hurting. She really can tell quite easily now, and she really… She really cares. But I don’t want it to be like this…! Just like last time this happened, I don’t want Maya to feel bad, thinking that she is making my head hurt. Just as she is about to float further backwards, I reach forward to forcefully grab her hand.

“Maya, no…!”

“Wha..?”

“It’s… it’s okay. It’s not too bad. It’s… not you.”

“...”

Maya takes a step back to me, watching me intensely while I keep my head down wishing that the pain doesn’t grow stronger. I feel Maya softly squeezing my hand. At least I’m not repulsing her.

“It’s… It’s your… Thing, right..? It’s because it needs… to…”

Sounds like Maya knows the basics of the male physiology. But I’m not going to do… That. I’m not going to make myself ejaculate right in front of her. I just want the pain to go away.

“Let’s… Let’s just go up and…”

With my head lowered, I can only see Maya’s body, not her face. I can’t look her in the eye right now. I’m trying to focus on getting myself under control, but Maya is right in front of me, without a thread on her body. Her tiny breasts are just peeking up above the water. Below is her flat tummy, and underneath is a narrow set of hips which frames a heavenly constellation of thin lines where her thighs meet just underneath her girlhood. Then, just above, I notice one of Maya’s hands sliding down over her stomach to come to rest on her lower abdomen.

“August… Your headache… Maybe it would help to… to…”

Maya’s voice is almost a whisper. I can’t focus… I don’t get it. I love this moment, and I hate it. Maya is so beautiful, but this feels so… Strange. Parts of my body are yearning for pleasure, parts of my body are struggling with an increasing pain. I slowly stand up, water cascading off of my shoulders and chest.

“I think we’ve been sitting in the hot water for too long, let’s go up and check up on Isa and Ari.”

“.... Nmh…”

Maya grumbles a bit, and slowly removes her hand from her lower stomach. Her other hand is still holding on to mine, and together, we wade over to the stairs to exit the workshop.

…..



.

We haven’t talked about it, but I no longer believe that the kitties will actually leave. At least not any time soon. Winter is almost here, and there are days where it’s seriously chilly outside. The girls would freeze to death in a matter of days if they left. As selfish as it is, I’m happy that they are forced to stay. They are a great help to have around, and Maya is keeping me warm at night… though soon, she won’t be enough. We’ve almost burned everything flammable that we are not able to use otherwise. We are using up all of our resources. That includes the food in the pantry… I venture outside multiple times, alone, but I still do not find anything edible in the vicinity of the castle. It’s useless.

We make do with what we have, even though we are all now suffering from a constant feeling of hunger due to me rationing the food. In anticipation of running out of firewood, we spend the next couple of days fixing up three of the sleeping chambers on the third floor - one for me, one for Maya, and one for Isa and Ari. The kitties also finish up on the duvets by filling them with cut-up fabrics they’ve pilfered from the furniture meant for the fireplace. Now we’ll all be able to keep warm at night, and Maya won’t have to sneak over to my couch any more. She has continued doing that since the first time she came over.

It’s not much, considering how many days we spent doing it, but it’s two more milestones for us. We now each have our own room, furnished with a bed and beddings. That should be a great thing, but… The first night, I go to bed in a rather sad mood. After eating dinner with the kitties, I bid them goodnight and we all go upstairs and separate into our chambers. I undress and lie down in my bed, and immediately feel lonely and cold. I had gotten used to cuddling with Maya at night, and I immediately miss it. I immediately miss… her. But humans and servants are not supposed to share the same bed. They are not supposed to sleep together. They are not supposed to… To…



Only a few minutes pass before someone quietly knocks on my door. I raise my head, and see Maya open the door just enough to slip inside. The moon is casting a bright light into my chamber, painting everything in a silvery white hue. I sit up in my bed, and Maya slowly moves towards me.

“August…”

She doesn’t have to say anything. And I don’t have to say anything to her. She silently slips into my bed, and I silently slip her shirt up to her armpits to bare her chest before me. Just as I have done the previous nights the last couple of weeks, I blissfully fall asleep with my lips pressed against Maya’s breast, and Maya falls asleep lovingly cradling my head. From that night onwards, Maya and I go to bed together. I’m not even sure she has slept a single night in her own chamber. We keep growing closer and closer, but… I don’t know… We also spend more and more time, both in my bed and down in the workshop, without any clothes on. She has become completely comfortable being nude around me, just like Isa and Ari. But we… I’m not sure… We can’t be actually… Right…?

…..



.

There’s a great view from my chamber. Even more spectacular than the view from the workshop, four levels below me. The peaks of the Igniferi mountain range soar towards the skies in the distance, their tops covered in snow. I find myself spending more and more time in my chamber. The lower levels of the castle can be pretty dark, and while Isa and Ari have now set their sights on creating torches and lamps to hang up in the chambers and hallways, I like the bright light that enters my chamber. Isa and Ari can also be a little loud sometimes, arguing over this and that, and now that I have somewhere comfortable to go to be alone, I often come up here.

Or, almost alone. As long as they are not noisy, I allow the kitties to enter my personal chamber as they please, something Maya found very perplexing at first. But she often makes use of my admittedly unusual lenience, most often when Isa and Ari are busy with something. While those two are becoming quite skilled with their hands, it’s like Maya just can’t get the hang of any real practical skills. And there are still days where she stays in bed all day - my bed, mind you - almost completely unresponsive. I let her. Whenever she can, she is still supportive of me. That’s actually the thing she does the most… Support me, both mentally and physically.

One especially cold day, I’m standing in my chamber looking out through the window at the mountains in the distance. I’ve come to often do this, finding the view to clear my mind and let it wander to think about this and that - all the things I have to do, all the things around Emberholm that need to be taken care of, all the… Responsibilities resting on my shoulders. During one such thinking-session, with Maya curled up in my bed behind me, I’m broken from my trance by the sudden appearance of… snow.

I know I’m repeating myself here, you’ll have to forgive me, but… It’s really beautiful. The endless skies, the mountains, the stream of water, now seen through an increasingly thick mask of slowly falling snow… It’s so peaceful, so serene.

Then the noise begins. It is coming from outside, so it isn’t bothering me. I look down, and spot Isa and Ari. They are fluttering around, childishly trying to catch the falling snowflakes with outstretched hands or open mouths. Ari is especially making an effort of running around to make snowflakes land on her tongue. They are having fun. Their hootering draws the attention of Maya, who rises from my bed and comes over to stand by my side to see what is going on. We quietly observe the kitties for a few minutes. Maya then takes a deep breath.

“Isa and Ari, they… They seem happy, here… Here, in this place.”

“Yeah… They do.”

“They want to…”

Maya gulps. I immediately get the sense that something is going to happen. She is acting weird. Maya tries to speak again, her voice wavy.

“They want to… Stay here.”

“Well, that… I would be happy if they stayed. They are some good kitties.”

“M-mm…”

Maya makes her usual hum that tells me she agrees. We keep watching Isa and Ari play around. I then hear the first sniffle. I slowly turn my head, and see that Maya is struggling not to cry. She raises her arms to childishly wipe away tears on her cheeks with the back of her hands.

“I should… I should just leave… They are happy here, and-- and you are much better for them than I am, you don’t yell at them, you, you, you can give them food and other things, and, and… While…”

Maya’s legs slowly buckle beneath her and she sinks down to sit on the floor, still wiping her eyes while her lips quiver. What is… What is going on…?

“You can take care of them while… While I can’t do anything, I took them from our home and led them here without thinking, and, and, they would have died if you had not shown up, and given them food from your pantry, and--”

Maya speaks faster and faster, her voice becomes more and more distorted, her movements becoming more and more distressed. I’m frozen. I’m watching Maya break down right in front of my eyes. She is hyperventilating, and gives up on wiping her tears to instead hug herself tightly, her eyes staring out into nothingness.

“I should--... I should just leave them here with you…! I should just go away! I should just leave, I should just leave, I should… I should just…”

Maya’s voice dies out, and at the same time she gradually raises her hands to her neck. She tightens her fingers around her throat.


>>
Chapter 23 Anonymous 24/05/07(Tue)21:19 No. 27986 ID: 03fe6d

- … reasons catgirls in particular are well-suited as household servants are their calm nature and demeanor. Catgirls are gentle creatures, and they rarely display strong emotions nor do they seldom run out of patience. Violent outbursts are unheard of, making them suited for taking care of children, of the sick, of the elderly, of the …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


Before I know it, I have rushed down on the floor to violently grip onto Maya’s wrists, pulling her arms out to the sides.

“Who is going to take care of ME if you leave?! How can I make it here without you?! No! No…! Don’t you ever go anywhere! I NEED you here! You make it all worth it! You make me… You make me happy! YOU! YOU make me happy!”

I stare hard into Maya’s eyes, her big, silvery eyes which are completely flooded with tears and panic. She opens and closes her mouth a few times before the words come out, almost a whisper.

“I… I make you happy…?”

“YES! You do! More than anything, more than anything has ever done in my entire life!”

I’m not lying. I’m not exaggerating. Maya has made me feel more alive than I even knew possible. Please listen to me, Maya! I can’t stand seeing her like this, I want her to be happy, and feel good about herself, and…

Maya slowly begins shaking her head, the sadness returning to distort her face. She lowers her eyes.

“No… No… I need to leave… I can’t stay here…”

“What?! Why?”

“There’s… There’s something else… I… I…”

Maya takes a big gulp, fighting the urge to cry yet again.

“I’ve… Never seen anyone--... Any human... Being so kind to servants before… Looking at you with Isa, and Ari, all this time, seeing you take care of them… I… I…”

Maya suddenly raises her voice, as if letting a final burst of pained, pent-up emotion out.

“I LOVE YOU! I’ve… I’ve fallen in love with you!”

I’m…

Speechless.

Maya begins crying. She is still fighting hard against it, but her whole body shakes while she sobs loudly. I let go of her wrists.

“I… I’m sorry…! I’m so sorry…!”

“What…?! Sorry about what?”

I stare at her, bewildered and confused. She tries to talk, but the words almost disappear in her cries.

“I’m… I’m a servant! You must be disgusted with me…! A-and after all those things I said, about humans, I still… I… Even though I know it’s wrong, I’ve fallen in love with you… Me, a servant… I’m sorry…! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I--”

Again, without thinking, my body moves on its own. I let go of Maya’s wrists to scramble forward, and tightly hugs her. She gasps loudly and I feel her entire body tense up, as if every single muscle is activated at the same time.

“Maya…! You don’t ever have to apologize to me! You don’t have to apologize, you don’t have to-- I’m not disgusted, I… I love you too.”

I feel Maya lose all the air in her lungs at hearing the last thing I said. As if her entire body involuntarily contracted again out of shock. I lower my voice, and turn my head to speak softly into Maya’s ear.

“… I love you too.”

“…!!!”

Maya begins bawling her eyes out. She hugs me tightly, tighter than I have ever felt before, and she just… Wails. Loudly. I can’t hold it back either, and I feel tears streaming down my cheeks too. I hold onto her small, shivering body with all my strength.

It feels… Unreal. Maya has all this time said she and the kitties will be gone as soon as the time would be right, but for the longest time I’ve known that that’s not what would be going to happen. And I’ve known that something has developed between us, yet… Hearing her actually say it is a shock. She has always said that she hates humans. But she loves me. She really does, with her entire body. I can tell. And I can tell that it feels right, and that I feel the same thing for her. Even if humans and servants are not supposed to fall in love with each other.

We sit on the floor for several minutes, our tears falling just as fast as the snowflakes fall from the sky outside. We can still faintly hear Isa and Ari play around outside. They have no idea what is happening up here… This feels like the single most important moment of my life. More important than when I signed the deed to Emberholm.

I let Maya cry, months of pent-up emotions spilling out. Perhaps a lifetime of emotions. Finally, she slowly pulls back and looks up at me with wet, reddened eyes. She is a mess… We both are. Maya then closes her mouth, and wipes her cheeks again. I can see she has more on her mind.

“You… You love me…?”

“Yes. I do.”

“T-then… Then… Can we all three… Stay in your castle?”

Her voice is still shaky, as if she is asking me a dangerous question. I immediately nod, smiling wider than I have ever done before. I’ve never been happier in my life… The kitties are going to live with me! I’m so happy, I’m so relieved, and Maya… Wait… Maya isn’t smiling. Instead, she takes a deep breath and scoots back to sit upright on her shins a meter or so away from me. I stare at her in confusion.

“Then… I hereby… And on behalf of Isa and Ari, I…”

She then slowly leans forward to reluctantly bow down before me, all the way down until her forehead presses against the floor, her hands outstretched in front of her head. With a violently shaky and raised voice, she speaks out in a formal tone.

“I… I sub--... submit myself fully, to be your loyal s-... servant… And to obey… you, and t--”

It then clicks in my head what she is doing… No!

No!

That’s not what I want!

For a second time, I rush forward without thinking. I grab Maya by her shoulders, and force her back up. She looks at me, at first full of fear, but her expression quickly turns into confusion. I shake my head while I smile brightly to her.

“No, no no no, no…! That’s not… That’s NOT how it’s going to be between us!”

Maya’s lips are parted in bewilderment, and she slowly whispers.

“... W-What…?”

I shake my head again.

“That’s not what we’re going to be. That’s not how this is going to work. No, it’s… It’s just gonna be you, and me, okay?”

Tears burst forth from Maya’s eyes again. She slowly understands, and she begins smiling, but also crying. I slowly nod my head.

“Do… Do you understand? It’s not gonna be like (i)that(/i). It’s gonna be… It’s gonna be this.”

I slide both of my hands down from Maya’s shoulders, down over her bare arms until I reach her hands. I grab them, holds them up between us and intertwines our fingers. She squeezes my hands hard, and I squeeze back.

“Just you and me, okay? You, me, and Isa and Ari.”

We keep staring into each other’s eyes while I talk. Her smile grows wider, so does mine, and we both struggle to not begin crying again. Only this time, we would both be crying out of happiness.

“I don’t need-- I don’t need ANY of that servant crap! Do you understand? I just need… I just need you. I NEED you! I just… We…”

There’s no more words to be said. Nothing more I can say. Maya slowly nods. We are lost in each other’s eyes. It feels like the world is standing still. Then, Maya leans forward a little. I do the same. Then Maya leans even closer. Little by little, without breaking eye contact, we are getting closer to each other. As if we are both being guided by some power within us.

We both close our eyes, and our lips slowly meet. I immediately feel the same flow of warm energy that I’m used to getting from Maya’s breasts. The little tinge of pain in my head that has been building up from all of this is quickly washed away. It feels amazing. Tears begin to run down over our cheeks again. The kiss is awkward - it’s my first kiss, and undoubtedly Maya’s first too, and even though we are both sitting on the floor, the height difference between us is forcing Maya to tilt her head backwards to meet my mouth. After just a few seconds, we break it off to hug each other tightly instead. Then, after a little while again, Maya slowly leans back to look up at me with a serious expression on her face. We both wipe our faces before Maya speaks.

“August, may… May I ask something of you?”

I nod, a huge smile still on my lips. I can’t stop smiling. I’m so happy. But Maya has something important to say… again. I brace for the worst.

“If we stay here… Will you promise me that… Apart from you… No other human will never, ever, EVER be allowed to set foot in Emberholm?”

My smile fade away. Maya’s voice is dripping with… Hatred. She really does hate humans with all her heart. She is staring hard at me, her eyes burning with silvery flames. I sigh, look down at the floor, and then back up at Maya.

“... No. I can’t promise you that.”

“... What…?!

Maya stares at me in disbelief. Our hands slip apart. She looks like someone who has been betrayed in the worst way possible. I frown, and wave a hand out to the side.

“Castle Emberholm… If we are to make it our home, I… I won’t be able to do it all by myself. I might need workers-- stoneworkers, carpenters, masons or what have you, to come here and rebuild the castle. And we might need food and wares delivered, or land inspectors from the consulate might come by, and… And so on.”

Maya slowly lowers her head, gritting her teeth. She had really counted on me saying yes, but it looks like she understands my logic. I can’t honestly imagine me ever becoming wealthy enough to be able to hire workers to come fix up the castle, but… If I ever have to, then I don’t want to break a promise I have made to Maya. I put my hand on her shoulder.

“Maya… I really wish I could make that promise to you, but I can’t. I don’t want to ever make a promise that I will have to break. But I do promise you--”

Maya lifts her head to look at me.

“... I will only allow humans into Emberholm if absolutely necessary. And if I do, I will let you know so that you can avoid them.”

After thinking it over for a few seconds, Maya wipes away the last drops of wetness on her face and nods. She can accept that compromise. We are both slowly calming down, and I gradually begin to register that my body is beginning to hurt. It’s not my head this time - it’s my knees, legs and ankles that are aching from kneeling on the hard floor. I must look ridiculous; a grown man, messing around with a servant on the floor of a sleeping chamber. But Maya isn’t just any servant. I put a hand on her leg to get her attention.

“Let’s get up.”

I stand up, and then reach down to pick Maya up to hold her against my body. Carrying her like a small child… Just like the first time I picked her up. Thankfully, this time, I don’t have to carry her far. I take a few steps over to my bed and plop her down, and we both crawl up to get under the blanket. It’s winter, after all. We lie on our sides, looking into each other's eyes. Maya looks… Dreamy. Relaxed. She is so pretty.

“August…”

Maya narrows her eyes a little bit.

“Make sure to really tell me if you ever have to let another human in here, okay? I really… don’t want to…”

“Yes, I will. I guess you’re immediately gonna run up here and hide under the bed, huh?”

“Wha…!”

Sheesh, what am I doing? Teasing the girl I love? Thankfully, after a brief look of shock on her face, Maya pouts cutely and reaches over to lightly swat my arm.

“Hmnf…! Som--... Something like that.”

“Whoa…?! Did you just… hit me?! A servant, hitting a human?! I have never…!”

I can’t believe I’m able to mess around with Maya like this. She bares her fangs at me in a big grin, narrowing her eyes even further.

“If you’d remember, August, you just made a big show of how I’m not going to be your servant. So…”

“... So…?”

I fall right into Maya’s trap, and she hits me again.

“Hey…!”

That’s it…! I reach over in an attempt to grab both of Maya’s wrists, bu she easily evades me with her quick reflexes. We play-wrestle, with me trying to use my weight to pin her down. She puts up a hell of a fight, but eventually I manage to get on top of her and pin both of her hands above her head. She keeps struggling, but her grin tells me that she likes it.

“Human, you! You! You dare put your hands on me?!”

Who is this girl? This isn’t the hostile, closed-off catgirl I met the day I arrived here. Out of energy, we end up lying close together, panting for air, hazily staring into each other’s eyes again. I always seem to end up losing myself in Maya’s eyes… And before I know it, we kiss. Neither of us really knows how to do it, so we mostly just press our closed lips against each other. I let go of her wrists, and we cuddle. It feels so nice… And I suddenly feel how tired I am. Whew, falling in love is hard work.

After fifteen seconds or so of awkward kissing, we pull back a little to look at each other again. It’s still like the world has stopped moving outside of the space between us. It’s so quiet. I realize I can’t hear Isa and Ari anymore either. Oh, that reminds me… Thinking of those two…

“Hey… How are we gonna tell Isa and Ari? What are… What are we gonna say?”

Maya lowers her eyes, smiling with a hint of embarrassment.

“They… They know. They already know.”

“Huh?”

Maya half-shrugs.

“They… They can smell it.”

“Smell it?”

Maya raises her eyebrows, looking at me with slight disbelief.

“Humans can’t smell… How other humans feel about… Other humans?”

“... No.”

“Huh…”

… I still have a lot to learn, it seems. About servants… And especially about Maya. She is unlike any servant I have ever met. But it looks like this whole thing won’t be a problem in regards to Isa and Ari.

“Wait… If catgirls can smell things like that… Wouldn’t you have been able to tell earlier that I, uh… Has come to love you?”

Maya lowers her eyes again.

“... I… I told myself that I must be mistaken.”

“Oh… I’m… I’m happy you were not.”

Maya looks back at me with a slightly pained smile and nods. We’re quiet for a few seconds before she then gets a slightly serious look on her face, but it is not hard and cold like usual.

“Even… Even if I love you, you better treat us right, okay? If we are to stay here, as… As your…. not-servants.”

I nod, smiling. Maya… I will treat you better than I will treat myself. Yes, you are mine, but you aren’t just a servant. To me, you are something infinitely more precious than that.

Don’t give me any of that servant bullcrap. Maya is…

Maya is…

Maya is someone I love.


>>
Anonymous 24/05/09(Thu)07:21 No. 27987 ID: 8b0a00

>>27986
Very sweet. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.


>>
Shadow 24/05/19(Sun)04:17 No. 27988 ID: d9026e

A sweet moment between our protagonists, and I'm glad that August did assert boundaries as to the reality of humans coming in. Though I'm still looking forward to resolving the tension of how they're going to keep themselves fed. Still looking for Chekov's gun to return.


>>
Anonymous 24/05/19(Sun)16:27 No. 27989 ID: d0356a

>>27988
I'm afraid I have to come clean and admit that the solution I've ended up with for the food problem is going to be very lame and anticlimactic. Every other solution I could think of would add pointless filler that would delay the good stuff even more. I'm probably going to remove the whole starvation thing in the next version.


>>
Anonymous 24/05/29(Wed)14:36 No. 27992 ID: d3c89d

>>27989
As long as it makes sense that's totally fine. You have world built quite a lot so imo you have a lot of options (I am not a writer):
- he comes from rich family he can ask
- he is nobility so he can curry favors or borrow money
- the castle obviously has secrets we don't know about indicated by the basement, so wealth or a bigger secret pantry would not be totally out of this world

I think you are doing a great job so far and I to this date have an awesome picture of the catgirls and the whole castle layout including the basement in my head and that shows how well the story has been communicated (I also feel for the characters quite a bit)


>>
Chapter 24 Anonymous 24/05/29(Wed)23:21 No. 27993 ID: d0356a

... are in use as servants today is, apart from the rarity of males, the fact that females inherently do not harbor feelings of jealousy or envy. With humans, intrigue and conflict are to a degree unavoidable in all social settings where multiple individuals interact. Such problems are not encountered among female servants, not even in households employing five servants, or ten servants, or thirteen servants, or eighteen servants, or …
SERVITVTIS ENTIA


I’ve gone outside, together with Maya, to look for food again. It’s a cold, windy day, with huge and dramatic clouds blanketing the sky above us, darkening the world. We aren’t having any luck, and I’m tired and in pain and sad and frustrated. Maya is walking in front of me, and I begin having trouble keeping up. The distance between us increases. She then stops, and turns around to face me. She looks at me with a strangely… peaceful expression on her face.

The clouds parts, and the sun and the moon both illuminate Maya with a blinding intensity. I am suddenly able to see two huge outspread wings protruding from Maya’s upper back. The feathers shine like a thousand blades of polished steel, and like reflective prisms they mix the sunlight and the moonlight and set the world on fire. I walk towards her. The very essence of my being dissipates under the bright illuminance, I am released as it all evaporates, I…

…..

….



I wake up.

I carefully lift my duvet. Maya is sleeping by my side, half-curled up into a ball, her tail draped over my waist. She looks so peaceful… Just a little girl, deep in slumber. I think we’ve only napped for an hour or so. We both became sleepy after going through that huge outburst of emotions.

“Maya…?”

I give her a light shake. One of her ears twitches.

“Hnuh..?”

“We can’t lie here all day. Let’s get up.”

“Nyyooohhhh…”

Maya whines and snuggles closer to me, nuzzling her face against my arm. I’m still not used to her behaving like this - it’s like she has changed into another person now that we have set our feelings for each other free. I can’t deny that I like it. Actually, I… love it. I love her, after all. I love how she is seeking my touch.

Love…

I want to love Maya for the rest of our lives. But that might not be a very long time period. The threat of starvation is constantly on the back of my mind. As is our dwindling food supply, and my failure in finding other sources of sustenance, and the constant feeling of emptiness in my stomach. Maybe we won’t actually have a lot of time to love each other. I slide down until I’m at the same level as Maya, and pull the duvet up to cover us both completely. Maybe hiding from the world in here, together, isn’t such a bad idea. Just five more minutes…

…..



.

It’s late in the afternoon when I finally rise and go downstairs. I’m feeling a little… woozy. It’s like everything has changed… Even though it hasn’t. I’m still in Castle Emberholm, I still need to survive, and I still need to take care of the three kitties who are living with me. But it is all different now. I’m in love with one of them… Me, a human, in love with a servant. It’s unheard of. Preposterous. A scandal. Outright offensive. What would my parents think? What would my siblings think? The villages in Cindervale, the magistrate in Novioda, all the fancy-smancy gentlemen and ladies parading the streets there?

Fuck ‘em.

Fuck ‘em..!

They can all go to hell. There has never been any human who cares for me like Maya does. Not even my own parents. So right now, there are only two people whose reactions I care about… With my heart beating slightly faster than usual, I enter our old sleeping chamber. Isa and Ari are kneeling in front of the fireplace, getting a small fire started. I’m sure most people would say that it is irresponsible to let two ten year olds mess around with fire, but as I said to Maya… I trust them. Ari turns her head towards me, her ears perking up.

“Augus, did you see the snow earlier! Isa and me we, we saw it and ran outside and--”

“Yeah, we saw it from upstairs. It was pretty, huh?”

I move over to sit down on one of the couches in front of the fireplace. Ari nods and continues talking, while Isa tends to the small flame they have managed to get going.

“Yeah, it was real pretty! But then we got cold, and, and we went down to take a bath and warm up, but I slipped on the floor down there, it is getting slippery again, and then we--”

I let Ari tell me about what she and Isa have been doing today before I speak up.

“Hey, you two… I have something I want to ask you.”

Both Isa and Ari can hear that I’m being serious. They both come over to stand in front of me, and I reach up to lightly stroke the sides of their tummies. Petting them whenever they are in reach has become almost instinctual for me now. They both smile from my touch while looking down at me in obedient patience, their tails pleasantly swishing around behind them. It suddenly strikes me that I have barely talked with them today. In fact, I haven’t given them much attention at all lately. They are good at keeping themselves occupied, and I have mainly had my eyes on Maya the past few weeks.

“... Don’t you ever get scared, being alone in a big, dark castle like this?”

Isa and Ari stare at me for a few seconds before shaking their heads.

“We’re not alone…? What should we be scared of? We’re always together and you and Maaya are always nearby.”

While it’s true that Emberholm is a safe place, except for the white residue downstairs making things slippery, I’m surprised they are so comfortable here. Maybe the castle is less scary when your sense of sight, smell and hearing are top-notch. Isa nods in agreement with Ari’s questions.

“We like it here… Right, Ari?”

Ari nods enthusiastically.

“Yeah! It’s… It’s nicer here than where we were before.”

“Mhm.”

I’m genuinely touched by hearing how much these two kitties like living here. Castle Emberholm might be a broken ruin, but to Isa and Ari, it’s a place where they are happy.

“That’s good to hear. It’s great to have you two around, you’re really helping me out and doing a lot of good work around the castle, and… Well, I’m just really thankful to have you here.”

Ari grins widely from hearing my praise, and Isa smiles sweetly too.

“We’re--”

They briefly glance at each other, probably to make sure that they can speak on each other’s behalf. Isa continues.

“We’re also thankful that you are letting us stay here.”

My smile widens. I then lower my voice a bit, my hands coming to a rest on their hips.

“How would you two like to stay here, permanently?”

They both tilt their heads, almost in sync. Isa’s ears flutter.

“... That means… Forever. That you’ll get to live here, always.”

Their eyes immediately light up. But they then, again almost in sync, grow concerned.

“But… Maaya says…”

I smile reassuringly to them.

“I’ve talked it over with Maya. She will stay here too. You’ll all--... We’ll all live here. Together.”

Before I know it Isa and Ari have leapt forward and are hugging me tightly, both of them bursting with joy. I smile and ruffle both of their heads. They quickly calm down, after which Isa leans back with a thoughtful look on her face.

“But… But… Does that mean that we are going to be your servants? Should we… Should we call you Master?”

I had expected this question. Maya and I have come to an agreement of how things should be between us… Even though it might not be very clear. But with Isa and Ari…? I don’t think they are old enough to understand. And of course, I don’t have the same feelings for them as I do for Maya. I care for Isa and Ari very much, of course, but it’s not the same thing.

“Hmm… Well, that is not so important for me. What is important is that we all get along, and that we all help each other out, and work together to make Emberholm a good home for us all. Okay?”

Ari puts a hand on her chin and tilts her head, bewildered by what this actually means.

“But… But are we your servants? Or not? If we are, what should we call you?”

“Maybe, uh… Maybe you can think of yourselves as belonging to the castle itself. So you will be Emberholm’s servants.”

Ari gets more confused, her tail curling.

“But… Emberholm is your castle?”

“... Yes… I guess so.”

“So you’ll be our master, right? Master Augus…!”

I guess there is no escaping it. Technically, and probably legally too, I will become their master. I sigh, and shrug with a smile on my face.

“Just--... Just keep calling me August. Okay?”

Isa looks thoughtfully at me.

“... Augus.”

“AugusT.”

“Augus.”

“Au-gus-T.”

“...”

“...”

“... Augus.”

I sigh again.

“Anyways, listen, Maya is--.... She’s having one of those days where she wants to stay in bed. I’m gonna go back up to her, okay? Will you be alright down here?”

Both kitties nod. The fire is burning healthily in the fireplace behind them. They’ll be fine. The three of us hug again before I pat their heads and stand up. I swing by the pantry to grab some chewstalks for me and Maya. I go upstairs and enter my chamber, finding Maya sitting upright in my bed with my duvet wrapped around her body. Only her face is visible, and she seems nervous.

“... How’d it go?”

“Huh?”

I go over to sit down next to her, placing the food between us. She ignores it, keeping her sharp eyes focused on me.

“You… You talked with Isa and Ari, right? And told them that…”

“Yes. They were very happy.”

“So… What did you… Um…”

Maya’s eyes shift around. She can’t find the right words, but I can tell that she wants to know what sort of relationship I will be having with those two. I sigh and lean back.

“They… They think of themselves as my servants.”

“...!”

Maya stares hard at me for a few seconds before leaping out of bed, knocking the plate of chewstalks down to the floor. I only manage to reach out and wrap my arms around her because she is entangled in the duvet.

“Let me go!”

“Maya, stop! Stop!”

I lift her up and carry her back to my bed. She struggles at first, but I sit her on my lap and hold her tight to me, and she soon stops. I can understand her reaction - I have made it clear that things will be different in Castle Emberholm, yet Isa and Ari are voluntarily putting themselves in servitude to me. But I don’t want Maya to go down and yell at them.

“Maya, listen…! Please!”

We move a bit apart so we can look at each other. She has a hard look on her face, but she is listening.

“Maya, I want you to listen very carefully to me. There’s something you must understand. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for others. You have found what works for you[/ï]-- what works for US--”

I slip a hand between the folds of the duvet and find Maya’s, and intertwine my fingers with hers. She squeezes my hand.

“... And likewise, Isa and Ari must find what works for [i]them
. It might not be the same thing that works for you. And I want there to be room for such differences. Okay?”

“...”

Maya looks to be deep in thought, her eyes slowly drifting away from looking at me. In fact, she almost looks like she has just had her mind blown. I let her think, and after a little while she returns her gaze to me. She slowly nods.

“I… I just didn’t want them to-...”

Her voice is almost a whisper. I smile to her, and let go of her hand to instead stroke her hair.

“I know. But I’m not going to be like… Whoever you were serving in your previous household. I’m not suddenly going to start giving them commands or ordering them around. Okay? In fact, I don’t think anything is gonna change at all. Those two… They are too busy on their own. And they’ll be happy here. I can tell. Let’s let them be happy, however they choose.”

“M-mmh…!”

Maya nods and begins getting teary-eyed. Huh… It turns out that Maya is actually something of a crybaby. I keep smiling, and speak softly to comfort her.

“I love all three of you. It’s going to be alright.”

Maya lifts a hand to wipe her eyes, smiling at my words.

“I… I still can’t believe someone… Loves me.”

“... Here.”

I lean back to lie both of us down, adjusting my duvet to wrap it snugly around us. Lying on my side, I then hold Maya close against me with her face nestled against my neck.

“Trust what your senses are telling you.”

I hear Maya draw a deep breath through her nose. She instantly calms down, and we lie still while I let her bask in my scent.

“... It reminds me… It reminds me of all those times you were carrying me.”

“Oh?”

“M-mmh… My nose was always right up against your hair, or your neck. I always had your smell right-... right there.”

What a day… After calming Maya down, we have grown hungry enough to eat the chewstalks that had fallen onto the floor. I guess it’s pathetic, but we can’t afford to let any food go to waste. I might be poor, desolate and hungry, but… It’s all alright, because I fall asleep that night holding the girl I love in my arms, her smooth tail wrapped around my leg.

…..

….



I’m woken up by the bed suddenly moving. I recognize that someone is climbing around on it, and lift my head to see that Isa and Ari have jumped up to sit - Isa next to my legs, Ari directly on top of them. Maya too is awoken, but she only opens her eyes to briefly register what is going on before pressing herself against me. I sleepily look at the two small kitties.

“Master Augus…!”

“... Yes?”

“Are you not gonna get up?”

I peer at the outside world through the window. It’s not that bright, so it must still be somewhat early in the morning. I lie my head back down.

“No, it’s early.”

The kitties are quiet for a few seconds before Ari shakes my legs.

“Can we take some food from the pantry? We’re hungry.”

“Sure.”

The two kitties leap off the bed and disappear as quickly as they had arrived. I sigh and roll up on my side towards Maya, who now opens her eyes to look at me. Our gazes meet, making a tiny smile appear on Maya’s lips.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning sweetie.”

It feels good to stay in bed. Maya is warm. But being woken up early isn’t good for my head.

“Can you do me a favor? Lift your arms up.”

“...?”

Maya looks a little confused, but complies and raises her arms above her head. I reach down and grab onto her shirt - she slept with her clothes on tonight as well - and pull it upwards.

“Wha…?”

She lets me strip the fabric off of her, leaving her topless. She looks at me with a cute vulnerability, but I simply give her nose a kiss before I scoot down to the same level as her chest.

“Sheesh…”

She sighs with an overbearing tone, but arches her back and wraps her bare arms around my head. I take in the sight of her naked breasts, illuminated by the dim morning light, for a second before digging in. I attach my lips to one of her nipples, and begin sucking. Maya sighs again, and I slowly exhale through my nose. I gradually become filled with a warmth, peaceful sensation, the tinge of pain in my head quickly extinguished. The effect is even stronger than it was before, now that I have forged this special bond with Maya. We both snuggle closer to each other, and we spend probably ten minutes or so just lying still while I lazily suck on Maya’s breasts. I wouldn’t mind starting all of my mornings this way.

We finally rise and go downstairs. The rest of the day proceeds fairly normally, except for the fact that… Well, Maya and I are happy, being in love. It doesn’t take more than a mutual glance to make a tingling warmth swell up inside me, and from the way it makes Maya smile and her ears flutter, she must feel the same way. She smiles more and more often. I’m still not entirely used to it - in a good way - even though it is still only tiny, brief smiles. Of course, we don’t limit ourselves to just looking at each other. We find comfort and warmth in each other’s arms, spending almost every idle moment close together.

We also share a few kisses throughout the day. At first somewhat covertly, since Maya feels shy about kissing me in front of Isa and Ari. I can somewhat understand her, but I just can’t hold back. I keep insisting on going for her lips, even when we are right in front of Isa and Ari, and eventually Maya figures that it is pointless to try to hide our affection for each other now that we know that all four of us are going to be living together here forever. Besides, Isa and Ari don't seem to care much. They just glanced briefly at us the first time me and Maya kissed, smiling with a slight second-hand shyness - like when a child sees their mom and their dad kiss. Just like Maya said, they probably already knew about our feelings for each other.

I thought that would be it, as far as Isa and Ari are concerned. But during our evening bath in the workshop a couple of days later, something unexpected happens. I’ve just given Maya her physical check-up, after which we spend a few seconds making out while she is sitting on my lap. We have slowly progressed from just pressing our pursed lips together, to now opening our mouths to carefully let our tongues swirl around each other. It feels incredible, I love every second of it, I… Anyways. I call Ari over to me to give her her check-up, and she springs through the water a bit more eager than usual to get over to me, Isa in tow behind her. Maya slides off of my lap to make room for her companion. Once Ari reaches me, she jumps up to sit on my legs. Then, before I know it, she presses her lips up against mine.

“Mmhh?!”

I’m frozen for a few seconds before I manage to pull away. Whoa…?! Where the hell did that come from? Ari, recognizing my rejection of her kiss, looks dejected at me with sad eyes and drooping ears. I turn my head to look at Maya, and see her… Smiling? But seeing my reaction, she tilts her head a bit as if confused that I don’t want to reciprocate Ari’s kiss.

“August…? What is it?”

What….?! I don’t get why Maya isn’t telling Ari to knock off whatever she is trying to do. I would even have expected Maya to yell at her. I’m utterly dumbfounded.

“A-are you fine with this?!”

Ari, and Isa who has swum up to stand by our sides, are listening quietly. Maya still has an amused smile on her lips.

“Why shouldn’t I be…?”

“Because, we are… we are doing that-- that sort of thing!”

“... So?”

“So we… We shouldn’t do those things with anyone else!”

“Why?”

What…? While I might not have had any previous romantic relationships, I know very well that you do not cheat on your partner by doing intimate things with other people. But Maya, who is very much in a romantic relationship with me right now - even if we are not the same race - seems completely unfazed by the idea of me kissing with the other kitties. I stutter a few times while I try to think of how to explain my bewilderment.

“When-- When you love someone, you only show love to that person, so-- So that they know that you will keep loving them…!”

Maya lets her eyes roam around the workshop while she thinks it over.

“But… Love isn’t something that disappears when you give it away.”

“Huh?”

She returns her eyes to me.

“You can show love towards me, and then show love towards Ari. And then show love towards me again. It’s not something that is going to run out. Right?”

“.... Uh… I guess.”

I… Guess that makes sense, somehow. Maya raises her eyebrows, apparently becoming more and more amused at watching how confused I am.

“So you can kiss me. And then you can kiss Ari. And then there is nothing stopping you from kissing me again.”

I don’t really get it… But then, I think I do. Servants don’t form romantic relationships among each other. Servants don’t get married either. They don’t have to worry about having a partner in their life who might leave them and divorce them because they’ve fallen in love with someone else. Maya genuinely doesn’t see any problem in the two other kitties wanting to feel physical affection from me. It wouldn’t make sense to her that I might stop loving her because I’ve started to love someone else. Gosh, this is too confusing to think about. I slowly nod, and then turn back towards Ari. She is still sitting in my lap, with her hands on my chest, and she looks up at me with shy anticipation.

“Augus, you don’t want to kiss me? You don’t love me?”

“Uh, yeah, I do.”

“Then why don’t you want to kiss me?”

I look at Maya one last time. Seemingly delighted at how much Ari wants to show how much she likes me, she gives me a small nod of approval. I turn back to Ari. I lean forward, Ari closes her eyes, and we kiss. It’s… Almost the same as the first time I kissed Maya. We just press our lips together. I then pull back, and Ari opens her eyes with an almost giggly expression on her face. I look at Maya, and she just smiles at us. She… Really don't mind.

“Me too…! Me too…!”

Isa begins jumping up and down. Welp… I turn towards her, and imitating her friend, Isa kisses me too. I don’t want her to feel left out, and I do after all love her just the same as I love Ari. But it’s not the same kind of love as I have towards Maya, it’s just… Arrghh, I keep overthinking this. I pull back again, and just for good order, I look at Maya again. She still approves. Isa and Ari then hug me, and all is good. I tell myself that I need to calm down. I have maintained the harmony between the four of us. To top things off, Maya floats closer and kisses me as well. She kisses me much deeper than Isa and Ari. Phew… Looks like my lips are going to be busy from here on out.


>>
Anonymous 24/05/30(Thu)09:05 No. 27996 ID: 3bb7ea

Great new part. The only thing I regret is...it's not more.


>>
Shadow 24/06/03(Mon)01:45 No. 27998 ID: 1fdab9

Well, you were right about the food problem being anti-climatic, but it's anti-climatic in a way that makes sense and helps lends itself to August's frustration at being physically limited. And I didn't think they'd go straight to intercourse, but I'm not complaining. Though I can't remember if there will be any potential 'consequences', according to the little excerpts you've been including. Which I do appreciate for the world building.

Very interested in seeing where things go for part 2 and beyond!


>>
Anonymous 24/06/18(Tue)17:24 No. 28000 ID: d0356a

Chapter 25 and 26 retracted for the time being to fix accidental review note left in chapter 25, and to write a marginally better solution to the food problem.


>>
Chapter 25 repost Anonymous 24/06/23(Sun)20:21 No. 28001 ID: d0356a

… today, while the universal ban on violence was met with universal praise in regards to humanity, the extension of the concept of cannibalism to include all animals was initially met with much oppression. To appease the cravings of the masses to consume flesh, several vegetable foods were selectively bred to resemble animal meat in taste, texture and nutrition. While animal husbandry is still occasionally practiced today in order to obtain products such as wool and milk, the modern demands for animal welfare has made such substances luxury items. Instead, a number of alternatives has …
REVOLVATIO MORALIS


Indeed, this wasn’t just a one-off episode of Isa and Ari wanting to copy something they saw Maya do. That very same night, once bedtime arrives, we all go upstairs to our chambers. We bid each other goodnight, but before retreating to their room the two small kitties want goodnight kisses. They both stand on their tiptoes side by side, and I bend down with a slight hesitation to lightly give their lips a kiss. There’s nothing passionate about it, it’s nothing more than a brief display of affection. But still… It’s not normal to kiss your servants on the lips. When I climb into bed together with Maya, I can feel that I have to bring it up with her again.

“Hey… Are you actually really, really okay with, uh, me kissing Isa and Ari?”

Maya immediately gives me the same look she did in the workshop - a puzzled curiosity, as if I am behaving very strangely. But to be honest, I’m pretty worried. Things are suddenly moving so quickly between the four of us, and I don’t want any jealousy to tear apart the trust I’ve built with the three kitties over the past couple of months. Maya and I have declared our love for each other, but if she feels betrayed by me also showing physical affection for Isa and Ari, I…

I don’t want to lose her.

“What is it with you?”

“I don’t really understand how you can be fine with it, since we… Since we also, uh, kiss.”

“That again. Is that how it is for humans? You are only allowed to show love to one person, and one person only?”

“... Yeah.”

“... How weird. If you love Isa and Ari, I want you to show it to them.”

“Okay. Well, at least… I want you to know that it’s different when I’m kissing you.”

We are lying on our sides, facing each other. Is this the so-called pillowtalk I have heard my brothers mention? I’m still not entirely used to these intimate moments. Maya puts a hand up over her mouth to hide a giggle, her tail making a single sway in the darkness.

“I know.”

We’re quiet for a few seconds before Maya speaks out again, her voice now softer.

“I’m just… I’m just happy that you love all three of us.”

“Aw, of course I do. Come here.”

I wrap my arms around her and hug her tightly in against me. I feel her breathing quicken… She is suddenly becoming emotional again.

“I can’t believe we’ve found a home… Somewhere we can stay.”

“I’m happy that place is here.”

“M-mmm… I’m happy too…”

Maya’s voice is about to crack. I don’t mind that tears come so easily to her these days, though. She must have gone through a lot, she must have felt an enormous responsibility weighing on her shoulders while she was alone with Isa and Ari. It must have been especially hard after she hurt her leg, and they were starving… It’s a sad sort of irony that they are starving yet again. I now feel my own huge burden of responsibility for taking care of these kitties, and I…

Before I am overcome with guilt, Maya speaks out again.

“Can you… Can you hold me tighter?”

I increase my grip around Maya’s torso.

“... Tighter.”

I strain my muscles even more, and also wrap a leg around Maya’s. I’m beginning to worry I’m going to hurt her.

“Tighter.”

Her voice is almost a whisper. I squeeze her tiny body almost as hard as I can, and she finally breathes a sigh of relaxation. She is completely immobilized in my arms, but I feel her calming down. In turn, I begin to calm down as well. We fall asleep like this.

…..

….



I’m outside again. It is snowing lightly, and everything is covered with a fine and sparkling white layer. Even though I am venturing further out from Emberholm than before, I still do not see anything edible. The surrounding landscape is very monotonous, in an idyllic but barren sense. Thick forests, lifeless here in the winter, intersped with rocky and stony fields. Sloping cliff sides that lead to the mountain range in the distance. Tired, I return. I leap across the stream of water that is thankfully still flowing behind my castle, and take another look around.

While it is more important to find something for us to eat, I still haven’t solved the mystery of the hot water flowing through the cellar of the workshop. Where is it coming from, and where is it going? I scan the facade of the backside of Emberholm, the grey wall and the knightly round towers of each corner covered in a coating of dusty snow. The heat of the castle is coming from within, or from below, not from outside. That much is obvious. I wonder if the same is the case for the water.

I notice Ari passing by one of the windows. She notices me too, and waves energetically down to me. I wave back. I’m so thankful that Emberholm can keep the kitties warm. It’s cold out here, but I’ve got warm clothes to wear. They don’t. I turn my attention to the foundation of the castle. I don’t have the slightest idea about architecture or construction. The ground immediately encircling Emberholm is uneven, giving the entire structure an ancient and rugged appearance.

It looks as if Emberholm has shot up from the earth itself, breaking through the stony surface. If I had to take a guess, I would think that Emberholm was originally built up against a small ridge of the mountain range, which has since collapsed into the valley I am standing in now. The stream of water, both the cold one flowing out here and the hot one flowing in there, likely eroded the cliffside until it collapsed. The lower windows and door were likely added afterwards. This would explain the… unconventional design of the building.

I can only imagine that the answer lies in the ground. I go over to the wall, kneel down, and use a rock to scrape against the earth. I’ll need some tools. I take the shortcut through the lower gate and enter the workshop, only stripping myself of my pants and shoes. I am immediately warmed up once I lower myself into the waist-high water. I look around, and going up to the anvil, I grab the largest chisel from the scattered collection of dusty tools that is spread around on the shelves. I exit the workshop, dry my legs off as much as possible, put my clothes back on, and go back outside. The chilly air feels extra cold after having enjoyed the warmth of the cellar.

I pick a spot next to Emberholm’s wall at random, kneel down, and start digging. Man, I wish I had a shovel, but through all our searches of the rooms and hallways of the castle, we have yet to find any tools save for a few bent pots and crooked tableware in the kitchen, as well as the smaller ones in the workshop. I dig around in the hard dirt the best I can, even though I have no idea what I am looking for. Some sort of underground stream, I guess.

I stab the ground with my chisel, I stab it and I stab it and I stab it, and I suddenly hit something hard. I dig out a stone, and throw it to the side. I dig a little deeper, then a little wider, more stones being deposited around me. I then stab into something hard, but not quite as hard as a stone. I thrust my chisel against it again, and the dull edge of the metal makes a thin dent into the object. I dig it out with my stiff fingers, and brush the dirt off of it.

What is this? A ball of compacted soil? No, it’s solid. Feeling it between my fingers, I start to think that it’s… Some kind of plant. Some sort of root? No, that doesn’t make sense. There was no vegetation above it, only bare earth so stony that it borders on gravel. But… It’s too light and too soft to be a stone.

I take it over to the stream, and kneel down to wash the dirt off of it. My fingers hurt in the icy cold water, but I reveal a gnarly and irregularly shaped ball, the size of an egg. The surface is a washed out light purple color, and feels rough against my stiff fingers. My heart is pounding. Could this really be something we can eat? The always-lingering hunger in my stomach is making me impatient, so I slowly bring it to my mouth and dig my front teeth in. With a little bit of pressure, I’m able to bite off a small chunk. I immediately spit it out into my free hand.

The inside is almost the same hue, just a bit more reddish. I sniff it, but smell nothing. I put the small piece back into my mouth, and suck on it. I barely taste anything, just a tinge of an earthly, slightly sweet flavor. I chew. This is as much as I can do to test if it is poisonous, I think. I swallow. It’s definitely edible. If anything, it feels like some sort of mix between a potato and a beetroot. Now I’ll just have to wait and see if it will kill me. I’m fine with the thought of it, actually. I’ll die of starvation if we can’t eat it anyways.

I go back inside, both to not freeze to death before I find out if the… thing I’ve found is poisonous or not, but also to show it to Maya. I find her in the living chamber, sitting on the couch we have dragged in front of the fireplace, in which a tiny pile of furniture is burning. She is sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest, a blanket wrapped around her body. Isa is sitting next to her, cross-legged, concentrating on pulling out the threads of some upholstery. They both look up at me. Dammit, I had planned to only show this to Maya, I don’t want to get the hopes up of the two small kitties if it turns out this root thing isn’t safe to eat. Oh well.

I reveal the root, and tell Isa and Maya about how I found it. As I had feared, Isa wants to immediately go out and try to find more, driven by the painful hunger I know is in her belly. And as I had expected, Maya is as cautious as I am. She inspects the root closely and holds it up to her nose, and she agrees with me that it doesn’t appear poisonous. We talk it over, and I decide that I will wait one hour to see if I start feeling sick. If I don’t, then we will all go out and try to dig for more.

I sit down on the couch, and wait.

And wait…

Minutes pass.

I wait, being very attentive of my body. Maya keeps glancing nervously at me, while Isa has lost interest and has gone back to her handiwork.

I wait… And still don’t feel anything. Other than hunger. It’s been around an hour by now, right? Maya keeps looking at me more and more often. Finally, I give her a nod and a tiny, hopeful smile. She smiles back, relieved.

“Isa, go get Ari…! We might be able to find more of the food!”

Isa jumps off the couch and sprints off to find her friend. Could this really be it…? Could I have found a way for us to survive the winter?

A couple of minutes afterwards, all four of us are outside behind the castle, digging through the cold earth with whatever tools we could find in the workshop. The kitties still don’t have warm clothes to wear, but it should be okay for them to be out here for a bit, since we are sure to go soak in the workshop as soon as we’re done here. We dig and we dig and we dig, and before long Ari shouts with glee. She found one! I then find another one, and then Maya and Isa start finding them too. We wash them in the stream, and while I try to remind the smaller kitties that we still don’t know if these gnarly growths are safe to eat, their hunger proves too strong for me to stop them. They greedily eat a couple of them right away, barely chewing the hard, purple flesh before swallowing.

We dig out as many as we can until we are all shaking from the cold. There are not a lot of them in the earth, and our blacksmithing tools are very inefficient in digging through the ground, but we manage to collect a few dozen before we go back inside. I’m so relieved. I still don’t feel sick, and none of the kitties are complaining about discomfort either. I really think we’ve found something that grows around Emberholm that we can eat. They were even growing on the opposite side of the stream, so I don’t think they are limited to just the immediate area along the walls. Everything is going to be fine now..! We’re not gonna die! Everything is going to be okay, everything is taken care of, everything--- …

Wait, no. There is still one tiny thing. The deed. I still have to go to Novioda again to pick it up. But nevermind that. That’s just a chore somewhere far in the future. For now, everything-- …

No, there’s still something else. There’s still my head. I look at Maya. She senses it and looks back. She knows. And a few minutes later, she is taking care of it. She takes care of me. God, I love her. I suck on her breast until the pain has gone away. Everything really IS good.

As if the world outside is celebrating our discovery of the purple roots, we are blessed that evening with the most beautiful sunset. I’m standing in my chamber, looking out through the large windows again. It has stopped snowing. The skies above the mountains are a bright pink and orange. Maya is in a good mood too, laying on my bed while humming quietly to herself. Isa and Ari are in their bed, having kissed me goodnight a few minutes ago. I look out at the sky until it becomes almost black - it gets dark quickly now that winter is here. But the moon is out, bright and full, coating everything in an otherworldly silver hue.

“August? Aren’t you coming to bed?”

I turn around. Maya, laying on her stomach with my duvet pulled up to her neck, has turned her head to look up at me with a slightly worried look on her face. I smile down to her.

“Yes. I am.”

“... Is something wrong?”

That’s what I love about Maya. She cares deeply about us all. Now that I have broken the hard shell she was trapped in when I found her, she openly shows it to me. I shake my head.

“No… Quite the opposite! Everything is good… I think. We’ve found something to eat, we’ve got water, the castle is still keeping us warm. And you and Isa are all healed up.”

“Mmm~”

Maya nods and hums in agreement. But she keeps looking at me.

“... But?”

… She can really tell. She can really read me quite easily. I sigh, not wanting to show my frustration. Today is a good day, I want to end it on a good note too.

“Nothing, it’s-- It’s just the usual.”

“Your head?”

“... Yeah. I’m just… I’m so sick and tired of it. It’s always there, all the time, this… Sickness. I always have to be careful, or it’ll start to hurt.”

Maya rolls up on her side, and I begin pacing back and forth by the end of the bed while I let my frustrations out, even though I said I didn’t want to. At least I’m able to keep my voice down. I don’t want to wake Isa and Ari.

“Look, I’m happy that we have fixed our problems and can work on improving the castle, but… It’s happening so damn slowly! I’m not-- It’s not you or Isa or Ari I’m annoyed with, but myself! Things would be so much easier if I didn’t have this damned condition, if I could move heavy things around and move around freely, without having to rest all the time. It’s just…”

Having let it all out, I sigh.

“... I’m just so sick of it. I might even have tried digging in the ground outside the castle earlier. We could have found those roots a long time ago, we didn’t have to starve ourselves like this..!”

Maya is quiet for a few seconds before she rolls over on her back.

“It… It helps when you suck on my… Um, breasts… Right?”

“Yes, it… does. And I’m forever thankful for that. It makes it go away completely, at least for some time.”

I smile softly down to Maya, wanting her to know how much I appreciate what she is doing for me. But she still looks worried. Then, very slowly, she pushes the duvet off to the side.

“A-August… There’s something that I’ve been thinking…”

Huh? I come to a standstill right at the end of the bed. Still moving slowly and gracefully, almost as if in a dream, Maya pulls her shirt up over her head. At first I think she is just offering me to put my mouth to her chest again, and I’m almost about to climb up on the bed, but… Something seems off. Maya is acting strange, gazing up at me with a concerned, but also slightly dreamy look in her eyes. The moon is now shining directly into the chamber, and with an almost magical precision the angle of the moon and the shape of the window creates a rectangle of light that perfectly illuminates my bed, and the small catgirl on it.

Maya, still moving slowly yet deliberately, takes her skirt off. Both pieces of clothes are deposited onto the floor, disappearing into darkness. My eyes scan the black and white scene of radiant silvery light that is before me from top to bottom. Above, Maya’s silvery hair almost shines in the moonlight. Her hair has by now grown long enough to reach her shoulders, and it has become extraordinarily thick and voluptuous. Most of it is spread in a circle behind her head, almost looking like a halo. Thick bangs are falling down on both sides of her eyes, her deep, sharp eyes which are gazing intensively up at me.

I let my eyes continue downwards, down across her chest where the two dark spots of her nipples indicate the place that has given me relief and comfort ever since the first day I met her. Further down, I gaze upon Maya’s flat tummy, her small belly button, and with perfect timing, my eyes come to rest on her narrow hips just as she slips her thumbs under the waistband of her underwear. I feel my heartbeat quicken.

“August… If my breasts are able to make the pain go away… Then…”

With one smooth but slow movement, Maya draws her legs up to her chest, pulls her panties down, and removes the fabric from her body. We lock our eyes together before my gaze instinctively returns to her nether regions. This is the first time I’ve seen her naked with nothing in the way - no water, no clothes, nothing. Even with the dim moonlight, I can easily see the entirety of her vagina. Further down, her tail is innocuously bent out of the way, curling slightly up into the air next to her thigh.

With a slight nervousness, Maya then places both of her hands on her lower stomach, palms pressed against her skin. She touches the tips of her thumbs and index fingers together, forming a triangle right where her… Uh, where the core of her womanhood is. Her index fingers are pointing down at the top of her slit.

I understand what she means… I think I do. Though I can’t believe it. I can’t even imagine it. I… I must be wrong. Surely. She can’t really propose that we--

My doubts are dispelled when Maya moves again. She, again with a slow and graceful determination, spreads her legs up and out as far to the sides as she can, her knees still bent. I watch her labia peeling slightly apart, revealing just the hint of the flesh between them.

Then, to really make it clear what she is offering me, Maya brings both of her hands down between her legs to spread her vagina open with her fingertips. The ultimate display of submission. She takes a deep breath, and watches me for my reaction. A thousand thoughts rush through my head. This young catgirl, hostile and with a burning hate for humans when I first met her, is now showing me the most private, the most intimate part of her body. A place no man should ever see - especially since we are not of the same race. It’s absolutely abnormal. But…

What if she is right? What if it will work?

If I could be cured from this blasted illness that has plagued me my whole life… How could I resist that? The thought of never having to live through another incapacitating episode, never having to feel the terrible throbbing of pain in my head, never passing out of sheer discomfort, never having to limit myself and what I do, ever again… It would change… Everything.

I look up into Maya’s eyes. She keeps herself still in this position. Waiting. I can see everything down below - her outspread pussy, a small fold of skin at the top, the slight hint of an opening at the bottom. My body aches. I’m hard, harder than ever. And my erection brings with it the all too familiar and damned physical pain in my body. But I can… I can make it go away. Right now.

I step closer. I step closer again. Maya is breathing slowly but deeply, her chest moving up and down. I crawl up on the bed, and undress myself. Once I am just as naked as Maya, I move up to hover above her on my hands and knees, my crotch directly above hers. She is still keeping her legs spread underneath me, and is still keeping her vagina opened. I look down into her eyes.

“... Are you sure?”

Of course she is sure. Otherwise she wouldn’t remain in this position - completely and utterly open to me. She gives me a faint nod, and in her eyes I see a mix of nervousness, trust, excitement, and a tiny bit of fear. I nod back, and slowly lower myself.

We’re… Gonna do it.

Everything that has led me up to this point flashes through my mind - my headaches, my purchase of Emberholm, my first meeting with the kitties… Maya, so cold and hostile towards me in the beginning, slowly warming up to me, coming to trust me… This girl who hissed at me when we first met is now lying on my bed, offering the most precious part of her body to me. She has decided to help me. It has all come together in this attempt to cure me.

I had never thought I would get to lie with a woman. I only have the most basic idea of how it works, but that should be enough. I reach down to grab my manhood, bending my head to look down at what I am doing. Maya has shown me very clearly how she looks down here, so I surmise that I only need to target the midway point between where her fingertips are. I do so, and feel the tip of my penis brush against soft and slightly damp flesh. Maya patiently lies still, her breathing slow and controlled.


>>
Chapter 26 repost (no changes) Anonymous 24/06/23(Sun)20:23 No. 28002 ID: d0356a

… finale of the act. Each climax usually consists of strong vaginal cramping that can go on for tens of seconds, the goal of which is to transport seminal fluids up and into her womb. Understandably, the act of reproduction can therefore be relatively exhaustive for the female servant: A full act can have the female servant climaxing for up to a minute or more in total, causing great stress on the body. As mentioned, if not successful in conception a pair of servants can repeat this multiple times a day. This is why servants are always kept in celibacy (except for when their masters intentionally pursue offspring), as they seldom have the strength to perform their duties if they …
PROCREATIONE ET SALVTE REPRODVCTIVA SPECIERVM SUBHOMINVM


With a little adjustment, I feel my penis lie at Maya’s entrance, the tiny hole opened a bit by Maya’s pull on her labia. I give a push forward, which immediately makes Maya shut her eyes tight in pain.

“Ah…!”

Shit… I hadn’t thought of this. This is… Likely going to hurt. Maya is so small. She is just a small, slender figure underneath me. But I can’t stop now. Every single part of me wants to do nothing but move on. I have only slid the head of my penis inside of her, but Maya is already reacting strongly to it. Even while I keep still, I feel her vagina suddenly clamp strongly around my tip for a second, with Maya uttering a loud grunt. I wait a bit, watching her. She seems okay, so… I continue.

“Nnhhhgg!”

Maya arches her back up against me, her head rolling back while she grits her teeth in pain. I let go of my manhood, and instead put both of my hands on her shoulders. Maya likewise removes her hands from her crotch, and reaches down to grab tightly onto the sheet. I feel as much lust to plunge deeper as I feel bad for hurting her, hurting the girl I love. I pause, my shaft buried halfways inside of her body. I can feel my manhood being in a firm and wet grip, pleasurable pressure on all sides. We both exhale. Maya’s lower body then cramps up again, giving my penis another tight hug, Maya squeezing her eyes shut.

“Nnhhaaahhh..!”

I… I shouldn’t do this. Maya is obviously in pain. Even though she suggested this herself, I should stop. But just as I’m about to pull out, Maya suddenly wraps her arms and her legs around me. Her muscles twitch. What…? She opens her eyes a tiny bit, and gazes up at me with a hazy and longing look in her eyes. She squeezes her arms and her legs again to show me what she wants. She wants me to continue. She wants me to push deeper into her… Even though it is painful. I can’t deny that I want the same thing. I want it too.

“Ng-Ngghhhaahh…!”

Maya tenses up and closes her eyes as soon as I lower myself further, moaning painfully even though I can see that she tries not to. Is this normal? I don’t know. Maya is feeling this so strongly and intensely, much more intensely I am. This feels amazing for me, but I can still think straight while Maya is increasingly squirming around underneath me, her breathing getting faster and faster. We’re almost there… Maya hugs me with all of her strength, I wrap my arms around her torso to hug her back, and I pull us together in one final movement.

I enter her fully, and then lie still in the hopes of giving Maya some respite. And indeed, at first I’m relieved to feel her body begin to relax, but I then hear how her breathing begins getting faster and faster. With my head next to hers, I watch as she begins hyperventilating and before long, her entire body begins rhythmically tightening and convulsing. I feel it not only from her arms and legs around my body, but also by how the entire length of my shaft gets squeezed repeatedly, with a strength I would never have thought such a small girl could have.

“Ah… Ah…! Ah…! Ah!”

What starts out as gasps becomes moans, and they continue to build up while I am powerless to do anything but watch. I guess I could try to force myself away and separate the connection between us, but even if I wanted to, I don’t think I would be able to break Maya’s incredibly strong grip around my body. Even though I’m staying perfectly still, Maya’s body keeps reacting and her voice gets louder until she tries to shut herself up, shutting her lips tight together.

“Ah! Hah! Nhm! Nhhg! Nhhhg! ….. Nnhhmmggghhhaaah…!”

Within just seconds, Maya’s convulsions grow to a peak where it feels like every single muscle in her body tenses up, one last, drawn-out moan silenced by her throat clamping shut. She remains like this for a just second, her vagina tightened around me, before she begins convulsing rapidly. The muscles in her stomach and her legs contracts over and over. Her inner muscles contract as well, and I feel as if I am being milked by a series of strong squeezes on my shaft.

“Nhhg! Nhhg! Nhhgg!”

Maya grunts every time her body spasms, making my body shake with hers. Each convulsion last around two seconds before her body relaxes, only to tighten up almost immediately again. After one final, long stretch, she then goes completely limp. Her arms and legs only stay in position because our skin is sticking together. She has become incredibly hot and sweaty. I keep looking at her, deeply worried for my beloved catgirl, but she just lies there catching her breath.

“... Maya? Maya?”

Maya slowly turns her head towards mine, and almost struggling to open her eyes, glances at me. She can’t even focus, her mouth agape while she breathes.

“Maya?”

“.... Nhhhh…?”

“Maya…? Are you okay?”

“... Nhhmmlllhnnhhggmll…”

I’m only met with incomprehensible sounds. Maya seems to have been completely knocked out. I move a hand up to brush some of her sweaty hair away from her eyes, and then put my hand on her cheek.

“Maya? Maya…!”

Maya moves her ears around and blinks a few times, and then becomes able to focus. Meeting my gaze, she manages to give me a tiny, exhausted smile. I sigh with relief. She seems to be okay. Just worn out by whatever her body just put her through. I’m puzzled… But I also feel euphoric. Especially down below. We are still closely connected together, and I feel a stream of intense warmth and pleasure being transferred into my penis, from which it radiates up into my stomach to stream out through the rest of my body. My heart is pounding, but my head feels fine. No pain whatsoever. Maybe Maya is right…! Maybe this will be a cure to my ailment! But this couldn’t just have been it, right? We’re not done yet. I can instinctively feel that there is more to it. I still need to do something. But before I am able to think any further, another tremor suddenly goes through Maya.

“Nhhgg!”

It’s just like before - her stomach and vagina contracts violently, the convulsion making her shut her eyes again. I wait, but nothing more comes. Maya becomes relaxed again.

“Maya…?”

Maya barely has a chance to open her eyes before another tremor goes through her body. At least this one didn’t feel as hard as the others, this was more like an aftershock. I stroke her hair, and cuddles her lightly while I watch her. A few more aftershocks follow, each making Maya wince. But it doesn’t look like she is suffering. Every time I manage to make her look into my eyes, she smiles softly. It’s weird - Maya is always so perceptive and engaged in whatever is going on, but it’s like she completely lost touch with the world as soon as I entered her.

“Maya… Hold on, okay?”

Each contraction doubles the pleasure I am feeling, it still isn’t enough. My body is telling me what to do. Carefully, I move my hips back up. Maya draws a sharp breath. I then push back into her, causing her head to roll back once more. She moans loudly. God, I hope Isa and Ari don't hear this. I don’t want them to see Maya like this. What we are doing here, tonight, is something only for the two of us. Letting my body take over, I begin to thrust in a steady rhythm, penetrating the catgirl beneath me with determined, but slow strokes.

Maya immediately squirms and thrashes around again. The strength returns to her limbs, and she digs her heels into my lower back and hugs her arms around me, but I barely sense it. The stream of pleasure being transferred from her to me through our genitals are bringing me into an intense trancelike state, and I no longer register time or space around us. I can only keep going, I can only keep thrusting. My body has now too become damp with sweat.

Maya tosses her head back and forth, her muscles strain with random contractions, but she stays completely immobilized from the tight hug we hold each other in. I register several more episodes of convulsions building up in Maya’s stomach to peak in intense tremors, after which she becomes a bit more relaxed again, but I relentlessly continue my motions. I want as much of this as possible…! I want as much of Maya as I can get, I want to be healed!

I want--

I want to climax, I can feel it coming now, and even though Maya’s body is ravaged by one strong convulsion after the other, I keep going until I get what I want. My thrusts has increased in speed and I am pounding her hard at this point, but I suddenly stop and hug her as tightly as I can. I push my hips as far up against Maya’s crotch as possible, she gives a small yelp, and I feel everything disappear into whiteness. All this time, Maya had been giving me something, some kind of power had been flowing into my penis, but the flow suddenly reverses and I feel an indescribably big amount of something being forcefully ejected from my body, through my penis, and directly into the center of Maya. I feel it again. And again. And again.

Now I am the one whose body spasms, yet as in response to the twitches of my manhood, Maya likewise cramps her lower body together every time she receives my gift. And just like Maya whines out with held-back moans, I grunt loudly with every flash of euphoria. While they are strong, the intensity begins sharply dropping after just a few ejaculations, and I make a few last thrusts in a greedy attempt to keep it going. But it is mostly in vain. It is over. I become limp, just like Maya did before, feeling an exhaustion and relaxation I have never experienced before. From the very core of my being, I feel at peace.

“N-nh… Nhg… Nhhgg…!”

Maya begins clamping up again. Even though I’m laying still, another wave of contractions ripple through her, squeezing me even though the act is over. Once it has ran its course through her body, Maya exhales loudly and becomes relaxed. Then comes the aftershocks, smaller than before but still making her tense up in five second intervals. I feel it clearly every time, with my shaft still buried inside her. The frequency between each tightening increases, but they just keep coming.

Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze.

I’m being milked for all I’m worth. I still don’t know if this is how sex is supposed to work, but I’m unable to do anything. I can barely move an eyebrow.

I then remember that what we just did had a purpose. I didn’t give Maya a hard and rough pounding just for the pleasure it gave me. I carefully try to feel myself, try to feel how my head is doing, and…

Nothing!

I feel no pain..! No discomfort or sickness or anything! I’m tired, but I feel totally fine. Maya…! You’ve cured me! All I can do to thank her is giving her forehead a kiss. She responds with a happy mumble. This was… Amazing. And Maya is alright, even though she barely seems conscious. Maybe I should get off of her… I slowly push myself upwards, my penis leaving her vagina.

“Nnh…! Nnh!”

Maya whines and looks up at me with a pained expression, as if it feels uncomfortable to have me slide out of her. I also feel a few last cramps before the tip of my penis is practically pushed out by her quivering hole.

“Nnnhhhh…!”

She makes one last whine, and immediately shoots both her hands down between her legs. As I roll over to collapse next to her, she lets her legs dump down on the bed while pressing her hands up against her crotch. I really want to know what is going on with her, she is acting so strange, but I’m so tired… For the first time in my life, I’m actually physically tired. My body is exhausted, yet no pain lingers in my brain. I pull my duvet up over both of us, savoring the serenity. I then roll up against Maya, and I want to say something to her, ask her how she is doing, but… My eyes are so heavy… The last thing I register before I fall asleep is Maya turning around to spoon her backside up against me, murmuring happily.

…..
….


I wake up to a bright, cool room. The first thing I become aware of is that I feel… Awesome. The next thing I become aware of is the feeling of a small figure next to me. I lift my duvet a bit to reveal Maya, sleeping peacefully. I think back to last night, about how much she strained and labored, but she looks completely fine now. I brush a hand down over her hair, which wakes her up. She flutters her eyes open, twitches her ears, looks up at me, and then smiles the widest, happiest smile I have ever seen anyone make in my entire life.

“Good morning~”

Phew… Maya has regained the ability to speak.

“Good morning, sweetie. How, um… How are you feeling?”

Maya lowers her eyes a bit.

“... Sore… But… I feel good~”

She smiles up to me again. She looks truly happy.

“How… How much do you remember?”

Maya looks at me a little weirdly, one ear rotating to the side.

“... Everything?”

Huh… So she was actually conscious through it all. I’m still puzzled at how she, uh, began reacting as soon as I entered her. But maybe… That’s completely normal? Maya then begins smiling shyly, looking up to the side.

“... It--... It hurt at first, but then--”

Maya attempts to sit up, but something happens that cuts her speech off.

“Ah…!”

Maya looks down towards her body with a faintly uncomfortable look painted on her face. With the duvet in the way, I can’t see what is going on.

“Huh? What is it?”

Maya slowly turns her head to look at me, her ears flattening out in embarrassment.

“It’s… It’s leaking out…”

Ooh… I guess trying to sit up clenched some muscles together that put pressure on other parts of her lower body which made her… Well, I’m unsure about the details. I’m still a little worried, though. It was quite a gauntlet I put her through.

“Let me have a look.”

“W-what?”

Maya widens her eyes in worried surprise. I sit up myself and move down to the end of the bed, and drag the duvet off to the side to uncover her naked body. Maya’s tail has already crept up between her thighs, covering her crotch.

“I want to make sure you’re not hurt. You just had your leg heal up, I can’t have you getting injured again. Just think of it as a new part of your physical examination.”

“N-nnhh…”

Maya makes a slight sound of disapproval, but doesn’t protest the fact that I am able to take in the view of her nudity once again. She props her upper body up on her elbows to keep an eye on what I am doing, and slowly retracts her tail. I can now see the thin line between her legs, but nothing looks out of the ordinary. Only the top of her vagina is visible, though, they way her legs are stretched out in front of her.

“Spread your legs.”

“...”

Maya looks at me, vulnerable and shy. She then glances down at her legs, and spreads them out wide to the sides, drawing her knees up to place the soles of her feet on the bed. She looks back up at me, even more embarrassed. Just like last night, I’m treated with the sight of Maya’s labia peeling apart ever so slightly. But this time, she doesn’t have to spread her vagina further for me to see what is going on. A thick, white glob of liquid has escaped from the lower part of her slit, and has run down between her buttcheeks. I guess that is why she is embarrassed now, as opposed to last night. Her inner thighs are glistening as well. While it might be messy, it thankfully doesn’t look like anything is wrong down there. I don’t see any blood, or any bruises, or anything else out of the ordinary. Well, as long as you don’t count human semen leaking out of a catgirl’s pussy to be something out of the ordinary, of course.

“How does it feel?”

Maya narrows her eyes a little bit, her tail curling slightly next to her hips.

“It… Um… It feels… Good. Um… The… Um… Inside me.”

“You… You can actually feel it? That my, uh, stuff, is in there?”

Maya shyly nods and straightens her legs back out.

“M-mmh.”

I move back up to sit besides her, and put a hand on her tummy. It had felt like a lot had been deposited from my body last night, but it was only a single drop that had run out of Maya’s pussy. And the sheet didn’t look too wet either. I guess most of it is still inside her. Almost right underneath my hand.

“I guess you should try to keep it in there, then. If it feels good, it must mean that it is good.”

“M-mmhh… I think so too.”

Maya puts a hand on top of mine and smiles, looking at her tummy. Her hand looks so small compared to mine. I’m relieved that she is okay after what I did to her. And I’m happy that she has come to trust me so much that she will let me look at her most private place without protest.

After a few seconds, Maya tilts her head a bit to look up at me.

“... How about you? How is… Your head?”

I can hear the hope in her voice. I’m hopeful too… Could I really be cured from my sickness now? Maya is right, I should try to find out. I spring out of bed, my body full of energy. It’s an easy thing to test - I just have to push myself physically, almost like how Maya ran around after her leg had healed up. Putting some underwear on so that things won’t unnecessarily flail around, I dash back and forth in the chamber a couple of times. Easy. I then perform some squats, bending as far down as I can. No problem. I drop down to the floor, and push myself up as fast as I can.

Ow…

Fuck…

There… There it is.

Pain.

I wince, mostly out of disappointment and frustration.

“... Oh…”

Maya sees it too, her ears drooping down. I look dismayed at her and shake my head.

Dammit!

It’s still there…!

But wait… It’s only barely there. All the physical feats I just did would normally send me straight to bed with a pounding headache, but now there’s only a slight tinge.

It… It helped. What me and Maya did last night. I think. I move around some more, getting my pulse up. It only causes a fraction of displeasure in my head. It’s much, much better than what it was before. I smile at Maya.

“Huh?”

“I think it DID work! I feel much better than usual!”

“That’s great…!”

Maya smiles widely again, her ears perking back up.

“It’s not completely gone, but I feel much less pain than usual.”

Maya then slowly gets a slightly shy look on her face, and I see her move her hands around underneath the duvet. She must have pulled it back over her while I was wearing myself out.

“W-well… Maybe we would just have to… Keep trying to make it better.”

Huh? Oh.

Oohh…

Well… I wouldn’t mind if we did that. Man, I love this kitty… She is willing to go through all of what happened to her yesterday again, just for my sake. I look down at her, my heart swelling with compassion. Maya looks back up at me. I move over to the bed, feeling a sudden urge to kiss her, but I am interrupted by the door to my chamber being thrown open.

“Augus!! Maaya!”

Ari darts over to leap up on the bed, looking back and forth between us with an annoyed look on her face. The fur of her ears and tail are slightly puffy.

“Isa, she-- She keeps hogging our duvet all to herself! I pulled it back to me but then she just pulled it back to her, and then I told her to knock it off but then she said that it’s only fair because she did most of the sow-- of the sowing-- of the sewing, but then I said that I made most of the filling, but then she said, and she, and, and--”

Ari suddenly stops mid-sentence. She is frozen for a second before she begins sniffing the air.

“What… What’s that smell?”

She turns her head to look at Maya. She turns her head to look at me. She sniffs the air again.

“What is that smell?”

“Hey, uh, Ari. From now on, I want you to knock before you come in here, alright?”

“Sure, but… What is that smell?”

I don’t think Ari registered what she just agreed to. She keeps sniffing the air, her nostrils flaring out with every intake, while turning her head back and forth between me and Maya.

“What IS that smell?! What iiis iiit? What IIIISSS IIIITT?!”

Annoyed that she is not getting an answer, Ari’s voice grows more and more insistent. Maya slowly sinks down, hiding her face under the duvet.

Oh boy… This is going to be a long, long winter.



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