[A story I just lost the will to write. Plus, after the second part I started working on Stranger in a Strange Land. Very Little chance I’ll ever revisit this story without a massive rewrite.]
I sat up in my bunk and stretched. I picked up a piece of chalk and made another mark on the wall next to the sink. I counted up 20 marks on the concrete wall. It had nearly been three weeks in this hole. I stood up and moved to the toilet, I quickly did my business, brushed my teeth in the sink, changed into a fresh uniform, tidied up my cell and lastly pulled back my makeshift curtains in front of the bars. I spent a few slow minutes placing yesterday’s trays by the cell door. Right on time as a guard came by with a fresh tray of food for me. I slid the old trays out under the door before she pushed the new food under. She gave me a small smile that I quickly and politely returned. My captors were beautiful and powerful women from another dimension. Monster girls, they called themselves. The woman bringing me food was some kind of tiger woman, a jinko, maybe. It wasn’t hard to get on their good side, monster girls seemed completely agreeable and friendly as long as you were friendly back, even if I was in their jail.
Five weeks ago now, monster girls came streaming out of their portals and into this world. I was content with bunkering down and waiting out the storm. Somehow, trouble found me anyways. Two weeks in, monsters broke down my door and arrested me. I was jailed for crimes I never commited. My jailers quickly realised this too, but because of legal bullshit, I’ve been held for nearly three weeks. Once they catch the guy that really did it, I’ll be free. Either that or get married off to monster girl to get all charges removed. Unfortunately, unlike the guy the cell over that I made friends with, no monster had come forward to claim me, strangely though, rumors had been making the rounds that one girl in this complex has her eyes on me. I wondered what that man was up to. He was also falsely accused of a crime but got out about a week ago. He left me a few parting gifts, the curtains for some privacy and a little portable plastic radio.
As I finished my breakfast, I turned on the radio. I grimaced as I turned through the radio stations. Sabbath members screamed about ‘big brother’ destroying their hymen over loud, thrashing black metal. Hellhounds sing the blues about having to take baths over smooth blues and soft brass. Harpies chirped about their husbands being incredibly handsome along with acoustic guitars. I sighed with relief as I stopped at one of the few remaining pre mamano radio stations. Progressive rock and pop from the eighties and nineties streamed soothingly through the tiny cheap speakers. I stood up and leaned against the iron cell bars, watching the guards mill around and talk to their favorite inmates.
“Morning, Anon!” A cheerful voice greeted me as she neared my cell. Poppy, a cute, tiny, light brown kobold stopped in front of my cell. She was one of the direct subordinates of my jailor, a woman usually just referred to as the commander. I had interacted with the commander on a few occasions, accompanying her as she went on walks and aided her in simple tasks. Poppy wore grey fatigues and shiny black boots and wielded her usual clip board and metal pen. She checked on me nearly every morning.
“Hey,” I sighed, “They lettin’ me out today?”
She chuckled, “Not yet. You know how it is.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.”
“There is that woman that has her eyes on you~” She smiled at me, “She’s been busy lately but we’re almost done pulling out of here. She should be available soon!”
I looked around at the other open, empty cells. I could count maybe four or five other prisoners in this area of the prison. I had heard that the other side of this prison was a real hellhole. Those were the real criminals and terrorists. Everyone on this side seemed relatively innocent. The few times I had seen the other side of the prison I watched a man get pulled kicking and screaming from his cell and taken down a dark hallway. I feared for them, unsure where they were going. No one, not even Poppy would tell me what happened to them. She would merely tell me, ‘They’re fine,’ with a smile. I shuddered, “Well, I hope I get to meet her soon,” I wasn’t opposed to marrying a monster girl, especially with how loving and caring they seemed to be towards their husbands.
“Well, you already know her,” The kobold chuckled as she made some marks on her clipboard. I took another momental pause as I thought about who it could be. It couldn’t be Poppy, she was already married. I remembered an ushi oni from when I first got here that watched me sleep, but she hadn’t been keeping an eye on me for two weeks now. I didn’t have a clue, “You ready to get out and stretch your legs, Anon?” Poppy asked, tearing me from my thoughts.
“Yeah. I’d love to get out.”
Poppy fumbled with a keyring, looking for the key to my cell. Her ears perked up as a distinct clacking sound reached my ears. I knew what the sounds preceded. A gorgeous woman walked into view. The tall, lithe and tan anubis looked around the room, her elegant and long black hair falling graciously over her shoulders. Her golden gaze eventually fell to Poppy as she started to saunter over in her form fitting black captain’s uniform and pumps, “C-commander Lynette!” Poppy stood at attention and saluted her.
“At ease, Miss Poppy. Good morning, Anon,” She gave me a slight nod and revealed her hands from behind her back. She held her usual riding crop in her hand. She pointed it at the kobold, “Well? Are you going to let him out?” She leered at Poppy.
“At once! Sorry commander!” Poppy furiously fumbled fruitlessly and frantically with the key ring. I turned back to the radio and shut it off as Poppy triumphantly found the key to my cell, “I was just about to take him outside for a little exercise.”
“I will handle it,” Lynette waved her hand, “You have been working hard. We need you at your full strength tomorrow. Go get some rest.”
Poppy stood dumbfounded as Lynette finished praising her, “Y-yes, ma’am. Thank you ma’am,” The kobold gleefully wandered off down a hallway on the far side of the room.
“This way,” I followed the anubis through the concrete building and through the tight hallways. Two guards pulled the metal doors open for us, letting us into the fenced off area. There were a few other men and monster ‘sponsors’ out here. Anyone that had a monster willing to follow them around and keep an eye on them pretty much had free reign in any area we were allowed. It always felt weird walking with the commander, every guard and staff member halted and saluted her no matter what they were doing. Her commanding presence and glare demanded respect and even fear from all who gazed upon her. She carried her like a queen amongst commoners. She shot me a glare as she usually did as she stopped at a bench. I shuddered as her gaze tore through me, “The sun is quite nice this morning, hm?” She asked quietly, her gaze softening.
I took a seat on the bench next to her as she patted it, inviting me to sit down. I took a moment to let the sun’s warmth wash over me and soak into my scratchy, uncomfortable orange jumpsuit, “Yeah. Its nice. I’m just glad to be out of my cell.”
“But you get out every day,” She teased.
“I know,” I chuckled nervously at the gently smiling woman.
The smile left her face and was replaced by a frown, “Orange really is not your color, dear.”
“Yeah… This thing is so itchy.”
“How about you go take a walk? Take your mind off of it. I would follow you but these shoes will kill me,” She poked at her high heeled boots.
“Then why wear them?” I chided jokingly.
“They make me taller,” She proudly told me, “As well as the distinct sound they make when I walk. I never have to discipline my guard when they do not salute me. Now go,” She slapped her riding crop against the ground, “Walk or jog a few laps for me, dear. Chop, chop,” Lynette gave me a small smile as she brandished the crop. I stood up and got to walking.
I returned to the Anubis, panting slightly, “Is that enough laps?” I was thankful I did as many laps as I could around the small track every time I was let outside just to build up my stamina for the few times the commander took me outside.
“Mmm. Perhaps,” Commander Lynette gave me a smug look, “Are you hungry?”
“If I say yes, can I stop?” I joked.
“Are you hungry or not?” She repeated with a crack of her whip.
I shuddered, “Yes. I’m hungry,” I sighed, not too excited for the pathetic sandwich I was usually fed at lunch. I didn’t have a lover slipping me sweets and home prepared lunches.
“I was just about to go have lunch myself if you wish to join me.”
“J-join you?” I echoed, “Um, sure, if you’ll have me,” A change of food sounded wonderful.
Lynette attempted to hide her excitement by turning away from me as a smile spread across her lips, “Wonderful. Come along now,” She stood and turned, not even checking if I was following her. We walked back into the cool building and out of the hot sun. I followed her down passage ways I usually was not allowed and into the staff area. Anyone that we passed stopped whatever they were doing to salute the anubis. I was led into a secluded room and closed off from the rest of the facility. For the first time, I really felt like I had some privacy, even if Lynette was still here. I sat across from her at a simple wooden table on a comfortable chair. Lynette leaned forwards and lit a few candles with a match, “I wanted someone to eat some regional cuisine with me. Someone entrenched in the culture and familiar with the food. This will be my first time eating something like this,” She rang a small silver bell.
The door burst open as a maid rushed in, “Lady Lynette,” She gave her a quick curtsey. She reminded me of the minotaurs I had seen acting as guards. Her body was less toned and her face was much softer and kinder. Her hair was mostly black with the bangs part being white and much smaller horns than the minotaurs’. Her hairy legs that ended with hooves were colored white with black splotches. A cow woman. A cow woman with cow sized breasts hardly concealed by her black and white uniform.
“Camille,” She nodded at the maid.
Camille glanced at me, “Is that him!?” She asked excitedly.
“Yes, that is Anon. Yes you may interact with him.”
“H-hello sir,” Camille bounded over to me, gigantic breasts bouncing around, “A pleasure to finally meet you, Anon! I am Camille, and I look forward to serving you in the future!” I frowned, unsure what she meant by that last part.
Lynette cleared her throat, “Will lunch be ready soon?”
“Yes! I am nearly done. The others have stayed at the manor today to prepare for your grand return tomorrow. So, I am working alone,” She sighed.
“When your lunch duties are finished, feel free to retire for the day. I can manage dinner on my own,” I was surprised with how well she treated some of her underlings. A few guards had murmured before about how mean she could be some times.
“Thank you, ma’am. I will make sure you will not be disappointed upon your return tomorrow.”
Camille left, leaving me alone with the anubis once more. Lynette was staring at me, “She is wonderful to have around. Such a good cook and maid. Oh!” She suddenly blurted out, “I have good news for you. One of my sisters, the army general one, I think I told you about her a while ago. Anyways, her army caught him, the man who set you up.”
“Wait, really?” I tilted my head at her. That meant I had a free ride out of here if he admitted to it. I had never considered the possibility as I never would have expected it to happen.
“Mhm,” She gave me a smug smile, “He is being transferred here right now. We will deal with him as we have the other degenerates.”
“So…?” I prompted her to tell me more, praying she would say I could go home.
“Of course. You and the rest of the ‘good boy block’ will be discharged and released into the arms of your new monster wives.”
I had forgotten about that part. I didn’t care at this point. I just wanted my computer back and the freedom I had been deprived of. I was going to have to find a new job, but that didn’t matter much. I sighed, defeated with a smile on my face, “Alright. But she better be pretty.”
Lynette chuckled quietly, humoring me, “Of course, Anon. I believe our meal is just about ready. I can hear Camille stomping around.”
Right on time, the door burst open once more as the woman entered carrying a tray in both hands. She set it on the table and quickly handed Lynette and I our meals. A cheeseburger, fries and a tall milkshake. I stared at the food, it was the greatest thing I had ever seen, “Dig in you two!” Camille stood nearby, eagerly awaiting for us to take a bite.
The burger presentation was flawless. It was presented in a little basket lined with wax paper like in a diner. The burger had a toothpick through it, keeping the whole juicy thing together. The milkshake was topped with whipped cream and a cherry, just begging to be drank. My stomach rumbled painfully as I looked at my food. I glanced up at Lynette as if I needed her approval to eat, “You look like a starved animal!” She laughed heartily, “Go ahead, Anon. Eat.”
I graciously took the burger in my hands and brought it to my lips. It didn’t matter to me what was in the burger. The only important thing was that I ate as much as I could. I took a massive bite, savoring the taste of all the ingredients. I couldn’t taste any tomatoes, thankfully, “How is it?” Camille prodded.
“Do you really need him to answer? Look at his face!” Unwilling to go a second without burger in my mouth, I merely gave the maid a thumb up, a nod and a big smile. She returned an excited grin. Lynette was watching me gorge myself as I savored every bite. I held the burger in one hand and grabbed a few fries, stuffing them into my mouth as I had hardly finished swallowing my previous bite, “He’s like an animal,” The commander gasped in awe. The fries were wonderful, perfectly salted and crispy. I turned to the milkshake, taking a long sip to wash down the food. It was a little thick but still creamy and delicious.
“My lady? Your food will grow cold if you merely watch Anon eat.”
I sat with a wide smile on my face as I panted, content with my meal. Camille beamed at me, proud of her cooking. Lyndelle had a small smile on her face as well. She stood, “Thank you, Camille. Wonderful cooking as always.”
“Only the best for you, Lady Lyndelle,” The maid smiled as she collected our dishes.
“As much as I would love to have you around, Anon, I have some important work to attend to. What with that high profile prisoner on his way here now.”
I gave her a dejected look, “Back in the cage?”
“Afraid so,” She gave me a reassuring smile, “But you are out tomorrow. I will do you the honor of walking you back to your cell myself.”
“Oh, thank you, my lady,” I said mockingly. I turned to Camille, “Thank you. That was great.”
“Of course, dear!” She grinned at me before vacating the room.
“Hurry along now, Anon,” Lyndelle reminded me, “You seem in much higher spirits.”
“That burger was damn good,” I sighed, wishing I could have more.
“I will let her know you said that. Your face said more than words ever could, though.”
I was led back down concrete corridors to the familiar cell block. I was brought before my still open cell. I turned to the patiently waiting anubis before getting locked in my cell, “Uh, thanks,” I was quiet, pretending like she wouldn’t hear me. I tried to duck into my cell.
A firm, fluffy hand grabbed my wrist and pulled me back. She gripped my chin and pulled my head close to hers, forcing me to stare up into her eyes. Her cold, blank expression slowly changed into a small smile, “You are very welcome, Anon,” She released me and watched me stumble into my cell with a grin on her face. She gripped the door of my cell and hesitated as she went to close it. She shook her head and slid it into place, locking it, “See you in the morning, Anon. Get some rest.”
I nodded, picking myself up from the floor. Lynette slowly walked away, the loud clacking of her feet just a little softer than usual. I sat on my bed and grabbed the radio, ready to daydream the rest of the afternoon away with a full belly.
“No! Stop!” Shouts yanked me from my slumber. I hurried and jumped off my bunk. I threw on my clothes and threw back the curtains. I watched as three guards dragged a man I didn’t recognize into the middle of the block. He was forced to his knees and bound with rope. He whimpered and looked around, terrified.
A familiar clacking came from down a hallway. My heart pounded, terrified what kind of demonstration was about to take place, “Anon!” She shouted in a tone that sent a shiver down my spine. I pushed myself against the bars, nervously awaiting what she had in store. Lynette stood next to my cell, staring at me. Poppy quickly took a place next to her, “Open his cell.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Poppy was undeterred by her commander’s tone.
The cell was opened for me. I looked at Lynette, too nervous to step out, “Anon,” Her demanding tone was intimidating enough to suppress my fears. I stepped out of the safety of my cell. She walked over to the fearful tied up man and turned to me, “Do you recognize this man, Anon?”
“N-no,” I stammered, looking around the room. Every other cell was empty. Multiple guards milled about, watching the show.
She took him by the hair. He looked greasy and sweaty, “This horrid wretch is the man that set you up. He is the reason you are in prison here, Anon.”
She gave me a stern look, dropping the man and returning her attention to me, “Do you not hate him? Do you not harbor ill will towards him?”
“I guess I do. It looks like you already tortured him enough.”
She cupped my face in her hands, making me jitter and shift nervously, “Oh, my dear Anon,” She sighed and shook her head a little bit, “Let your hatred out. Cut him down.”
She let go and took a sabre from a guard, “W-what?” I shuffled nervously as she approached me, offering me the blade.
“Take the sword, Anon. Cut right through him.”
She forcefully put the blade into my hands. I examined it, the metal was of a slight pinkish hue, similar to the weapons that all the guards carried. She pushed me towards the man, hands on my shoulders, “L-Lynette–”
“Are you disobeying orders, Anon? That will not do if you are to be my future husband.”
The realisation set in. She was the mystery woman that had her eyes on me. Why did it have to be her? “I-I-I–” I stammered.
“You would not want to displease me, would you? After everything I have done for you? Just unleash your hate… Take it out on the man that deserves it most,” I looked into the man’s pleading eyes and he looked into my tired, restless eyes. The anubis’s hands moved to my chin and she began whispering encouraging words in my ear, “Would you rather go where villainous people go? That horrid place that we left? Anon… Please? For me?”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. Lynette took her hands off of me, disappointed. I took a firm grip on the sword as the relief washed over the man’s face. I brought the sword up and swung it down with all my might into the man’s shoulder. He cried in pain as he slumped to the ground. I breathed a sigh of relief as no blood was spilt.
“Good boy,” Lynette whispered as something tightened around my neck. I tried too late to fight back as the soft leather was fastened to me. I pulled at it, fiddling with the strap to take it off, “Get rid of him. I am looking forward to my vacation. I will contact you all when we have a new assignment,” She walked away, towards the exit, “Anon! Come!” She commanded. Like a lost child, unsure of what to do, I waddled over to her, “You look so upset,” She frowned as she turned back to me, “None of that. You should be happy. You are finally getting out!” I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I had just slashed a man and had a collar slapped onto my neck. I couldn’t take it off no matter what I did. I kept tugging at it and trying to get it off as I gave her a thousand yard stare, “Is it too tight? Here,” She swatted my hands away and loosened the collar for me. It rattled around and the little tag jingled as I moved around. I was led outside. It was overcast that day. She kept marching forward, glancing back at me to make sure I was still following her. She waited next to a horse drawn carriage for me to catch up. The driver got down from where she sat and opened the door for us. I was loaded in first with Lynette right behind me. I sat on a seat next to a pile of my clothes. The stuff I was arrested in. Underneath the clothes was my little plastic radio.
The carriage driver poked her head in, “The ride will be a little longer today, Lynette. I apologize in advance.”
“No matter,” She huffed, “I trust you to get us there in a timely manner.”
She left, leaving me alone with the commander. The cart rattled as it began to move, headed down a gravel path. She sat across from me, arms folded and legs crossed, “Are you alright? You look sick.”
“I-I feel a little sick,” I admitted.
“Come,” She pat the spot next to her for me to sit next to her. Desiring any sort of comfort, I hesitantly sat next to her, my eternal jailer, “You may rest your head on my shoulder, dear. Rest.”
I nodded, putting my head on her shoulder. I quickly fell asleep, praying I would wake up from this nightmare. I had been so close to my freedom, only to have it yanked away from me again.
I sat up in my bed and stretched. I got up, looking for my piece of chalk. I touched the walls, confused by the lack of concrete walls. The walls were painted a calming blue on modern wooden walls. I frowned as I ran my fingers over the bumpy surface. I had no idea where I was. I turned around and glanced at the cardboard boxes scattered around the room. The white carpet was plush underfoot. The bed was familiar, almost exactly like the one I had back at home. New sheets, new more comfortable mattress but the same old comforter and pillows. My wall mounted TV was mounted over my dresser in front of my old, scratched up couch. I turned to the light wooden desk, opening drawers and digging through the contents of them. I found familiar things, old gift cards, miscellaneous papers and other tiny trinkets. I closed the top drawer and went to the bottom one, looking for something specific. I jiggled it open and peered into the custom foam casing. My handgun was gone. My precious Beretta had been taken from me. No magazines, no combat knife or extra rounds. All that remained was my trusty flashlight. I frowned and hopped up, the collar jingling as I moved. I tugged on it, trying to remove the annoying thing, fumbling with the strap as I once more tried to take it off. The way to remove it was definitely there, but nothing I tried did anything. I sat on the floor, defeated by the soft leather band. I was in my underwear, my old prison jumpsuit nowhere to be found. I looked around my room some more. My bookshelf was barren, the objects on it had been taken down when it was moved, probably. The nightstand was on the wrong side and the lamp wasn’t even plugged in. There were three doors and a big set of windows stretching across one wall. I gingerly pulled back the curtains on a window, afraid of what I would find. I was two floors up. I was overlooking a large garden, past that was a treeline of evergreen trees. The morning sun beat down on the greenery giving the view a nice, serene feeling. I watched as groups of three patrolled the grounds in their heavy armor.
I turned my attention to the doors. Both were heavy looking and brown colored. One had intricate carvings on it of a tree and lion while the other was plain. I tried the intricate one first, it led out into a clean hallway lined with dark red wooden flooring. The walls were cream colored. The doors in this area, four of them, were spaced wide, each with different carvings on their brown surfaces. I closed it, turning the bolt to lock it. I looked to the other door and gently opened it. I peered into a large walk-in closet. I shook my head, closed the door and wandered to the third door. I found myself in an elegant bathroom. There was a sink with a huge mirror behind it, marble countertops, white tiling and a large bath. The shower was around the corner with an all glass front and slick interior. The toilet was across from it in a little alcove with another window in between the two looking out over the same garden as the bedroom had. I scrunched up my face as I smelled myself. I must have been sweating profusely last night to smell this bad. I frowned as I decided it would be best to take a shower in this foriegn, yet comforting, place. I was just thankful I wasn’t trapped in the Resident Evil manor. Especially without my trusty Beretta.
I tore open the box labeled ‘clothes,’ and dug through it. I had been left the bulk of my clothes, a few shirts were missing, the older graphic tees with small holes in them that admittedly were a little small on me. I frowned, those were some of my favorite shirts. I found a pair of nice black slacks and threw on a red polo. I put on socks but decided to forgo the shoes. I doubted whoever maintained these halls would appreciate me stomping around in my dirty sneakers. I started opening other boxes, searching through my things, “Are you finding everything to your liking, sir?”
I had to swallow a scream as a voice asked me a simple question. The shock made me fall on my face. I rolled onto my back, staring up at where the voice came from. A woman stood, heels together and hands clasped together in front of her. She wore a maid uniform with a high skirt and low collar revealing the top of her breasts for all to see, white tights, black shiny pumps with little white bows on them, her long black hair was pulled back in a ponytail with a black bow and a black mask covering her face from her chin up to her nose. I blinked at her, “Uh, yeah,” I stood up and folded my arms.
She smiled at me behind her mask as her long, thin black tail swayed back and forth. The tail ended in a heart shaped point. Her long, pointy ears wiggled slightly, “Good… Good… You may call me Miku. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Anon.”
“Yeah. Nice to meet you too… Uh… Miku.”
“Would you like some help unpacking? You have quite a few things that need to be put away.”
I frowned. I could use a little help but I had more pressing matters on my mind, “Where am I?” I pressed.
“Lady Lynette’s manor. The west wing. Second floor. Your bedroom. Any other questions?”
I blinked. My own bedroom in a manor. A manor owned by my jailer. I looked up at the demon woman, “What are you?”
“Got it,” I sighed, returning to my box of clothes. Miku stood nearby, waiting for me to ask her something or give her a task, “I guess I could use some help unpacking.”
“I will put your clothes away for you. Shoes and shirts in the closet and pants in the dresser?”
I nodded, “How did you know I like my clothes put away like that?”
“I was there when we packed up your things to bring here. Specifically for this situation. Most things from your apartment are sitll in here. I hope you are not upset that we did not bring the items in your kitchen with us. Please, allow me to take care of your clothes,” She went to another box of clothes, drew a kunai and spun it in her hand before slicing through the tape in one quick movement. She seemed very pleased with herself as she began pulling clothes out and quickly putting them away. I dug through my other boxes, looking for a few specific things. I found my books, all nicely organised in a smaller box, and my computer peripherals were all in a single box. I couldn’t find my consoles or video games. I pulled out my monitors, thankful they were in good shape. I grabbed my other computer parts out and set them next to the desk, “Lady Lynelle will be glad to hear that you are settling into your place here.”
I snorted, “I guess she conditioned me to just accept my imprisonment by her hand.”
“Oh, come now. You will find serving our mistress to be very rewarding,” I could see her smiling beneath her mask. I grunted and returned to the sorting of my items.
There was a crackling, static noise suddenly prompting Miku to grab something from beneath her skirt. A little radio, “Hello~?” She asked.
“Hi, Miku!” It was Camille speaking through the radio, “Is Anon with you? Is he hungry?”
Miku looked at me for an answer. I shook my head without looking at her, “He is fine. He will wait for lunch, it seems. I am helping him unpack.”
“Can I come help?” A third, peppy voice chimed in.
“Are you finished mending his clothes, Ann?” Camille asked.
“I did! I’ll show you!”
“If you are done, just bring it to his room,” Miku sighed.
“Okay!” I heard a thump almost immediately after she finished speaking through the radio. I rolled my eyes and turned around, hardly surprised that people were teleporting now. There was now a little girl in my room wearing a maid uniform as well but wore a black, wide brimmed and pointy wizard’s hat. The uniform was covered in bows as well as bows in her hair. She had long blonde hair with pigtails and bright blue eyes, “Here you go, Anon!” She approached me with a stack of clothes in her hands.
I took one off the pile and shook it out, taking a good look. It was one of my old shirts. It was a bit bigger and looked brand new, “Oh, wow. Thank you,” I gave her a small smile, “How did you do this?”
The little girl, Ann beamed at me, “A witch never reveals her secrets! Can I help you with anything else, sir?” She seemed eager to work.
“Just… Take these books over to the shelf, please. Place them on the shelf if you feel like it.”
“Okay!” Ann struggled to shove the box over to the bookcase.
Miku chuckled, “That should keep her busy,” She took the newly patched clothes from me.
I went back to my computer, taking a moment to dust it out. I watched Ann start pulling out books, taking a moment to thumb through each one. After she was done scanning a book, she would wave a wand and the book would float onto the shelf, She turned to me, “Do you want them sorted alphabetically?”
“Sure,” I shrugged as I went back to setting up my computer and digging through my belongings.
I stood and arched my back, popping it loudly as I looked around the room. All the boxes were unpacked, my computer was plugged in and set up, my shelves were full of books once more. I nodded approvingly at the work that Ann and Miku had done. The only thing wrong with everything I looked through was none of my weapons, my shotgun and pistol caliber carbine and small collection of knives as well as my ammo, all of it was missing. Ann beamed at me while Miku gave me a stoic look. I folded my arms and sat on the bed. I didn’t have nearly enough things to actually fill out the large room, much less the spacious bathroom, “Anon?” The door was pushed open by Camille, “I brought you some fresh towels for your bathroom as well as some other toiletries.”
I gave her a small smile, “Thank you.”
The cow woman was followed in by a fourth woman. Her heels clacked lightly on the hardwood floor, “Good morning, Anon,” Lynette gave me a smug smile.
I frowned at her, “Morning,” I grunted.
“Leave us,” The maids nodded silently and left me alone with the militant anubis. She removed her heels. She was wearing a gorgeous and revealing black dress. She approached me, her claws gently scraping on the carpet, “Is your room to your liking? Nice and spacious, hm?”
“Its a lot bigger than where I used to live, of course,” I admitted, “A little intimidating with how big it is.”
“Are you feeling well? You seem quite troubled.”
“What’s with this collar?” I asked, “I couldn’t take it off to shower.”
“Oh ho ho,” She chuckled haughtily, “Is it not comfortable? It was made for comfort. I would not want my precious man to be uncomfortable.”
“You’re dodging the question,” I growled, “Why does it not come off?”
“You are just no fun,” She groaned, “Magic, of course, boy. Do you know nothing? It was of Ann’s design.”
“So… It just jingles gently and I can’t take it off?”
“It does so much more, my sweet!” She lunged forward, gripping my face with her claws as she pushed me onto the bed. She rubbed my cheeks as if I was a child and pinched my cheeks teasingly.
“Stop that!” I growled, I tried to push her off of me, but my muscles would not move. I couldn’t do anything against her. She stopped as my angry expression turned to shock.
“Do you see now?” She whispered, “You are defenseless against me,” She panted on my neck, sending hot air uncomfortably down my neck. She chuckled as I lie still, running her hands up and down my chest. She put her fluffy hands on my neck, caressing it gently as she tugged on the collar.
“Why are you doing this?” I begged, “I did my time.”
She stopped touching, pulling her hands back and climbed off of me, “Anon. Please do not look like that. That look of intense defeat and sadness… It does not suit one such as yourself. Not this soon.”
“What do you mean ‘not this soon’ you ffffffffff–” I couldn’t even swear at her.
“Perhaps I will tell you later,” She couldn’t bear to look at me, “Is there anything you want?” She changed topics, “Anything at all. Name it. Its yours.”
I was still lying on my back, moving my neck to look at my captor, “I want another one of Camille’s burgers,” I grunted.
“Fries and a milkshake too.”
“Is that all?”
I paused, deciding I might as well take advantage of this, “I don’t know if this ssshh– Hole has any internet. If I’m gonna be living here and doing my work again I need a router and a good internet plan.”
She pouted, “You have no need to work. If you could not tell, my family is very well off. I will be the, as they say, breadwinner for you. All you need to do is look cute and come when I beckon you. I will still get your internet for you. You enjoy games, right? I do not understand technology much but I know that this internet thing is important,” She looked at me expectantly, “Well?”
I shuffled nervously, “T-thanks.”
“Good boy,” She gently put her hand on my shoulder, gripping it tightly, “You may explore the manor today. I will give you the day to do with as you please.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I mumbled sarcastically.
She grabbed me by the collar with a look of anger flashing across her face. She suddenly composed herself and let me go, “Mind your tone.”
She stood and collected her shoes, slipping out of my room with her tail drooping behind her. I stayed sitting on the bed, unsure what to do with my time. I stood, hoping I could find something to do by wandering the halls of this manor. I stepped into the hallway and started looking around. I quickly locked my bedroom with a key I had found on my nightstand. I knew at least one of them had to have an extra key. This wing had four bedrooms. The only one occupied seemed to be mine. Each had bright, soothing color schemes and was equipped with not much more than a bed. I wandered down to the east wing, stopping at every door I passed to poke my head in. The first room that was still on the east wing was locked. I frowned and moved on. I opened a glass door as I continued down the hall and stepped out onto a deck. I took a deep breath as I let the comforting sunshine wash over me. At least I could come here and get sun whenever I wanted. There was a nice glass table and a few chairs around it out here. There were multiple potted plants blooming with colorful flowers.
I went back inside and kept checking rooms. The next room had a large TV against one wall and a few seats before it. I wandered in and tore open the single cardboard box in here. I found my game consoles and video games for them. I sighed with relief, glad that Lynette didn’t throw them out. I left the room, noting to come back and set it up when I got the chance. The room was mostly unfurnished except for those few things, perhaps she expected me to guide her in furnishing it.
I went to another door. Across from it was an offshoot hallway with two doors down it. I pushed open the first door and found myself in a huge library. Less than half the shelves were stacked high with old, dusty tomes. I pulled one off a shelf and thumbed through the pages. I didn’t recognize the language it was written in. I purposefully put the book back incorrectly, swapping it with another similar sized book on another shelf. I grunted with smug satisfaction and checked the other exits of this room. One door took me into a bathroom and the other led to a sunny reading room. I went down the small offshoot and opened the door at the end of the hallway. I walked into a humid tiled room. A massive bathroom that prominently featured a grand bath. I assumed this was Lynette’s private bathroom. Attached to this room was a large opulent bedroom. I didn’t stay there long as I assumed Lynette would not approve of me digging through her things.
That was every upstairs room. I headed downstairs and immediately saw two doors. This floor’s hallways were nearly the same as the second floor in looks. The door on the left was a brightly lit, fully stocked room. I spotted a familiar form on the other side of the room as she checked over gear like swords, spears, shields and armor, “Poppy?” I called out to her.
She jumped and glanced back at me, tail wagging, “Anon! Hey!” Poppy strutted up to me, “Getting settled in?” She was wearing casual street clothes, jeans and a saggy grey hoodie.
“Yeah,” I answered with a touch of exhaustion in my voice. I shot a glance at the guards that were on break. They gave me a small wave.
She chuckled, “I’m sure you’ll learn to love it here.”
“I’m here against my will, Poppy,” I somewhat politely grunted.
“W-well… At least you’re not in a concrete hell hole, right?”
“I fffffff– I guess so,” I frowned, unable to swear at all.
“I guess that collar isn’t any fun, huh?” Poppy smiled at me. I stared at her with the look of a murderer. Surprisingly, she laughed, “I wish I could help you, Anon. You definitely don’t deserve this.”
“Come on, I’m just trying to make you feel better!” She gave me an infectious smile, forcing me to smile back.
“Thank you, Poppy. I’ll be fine, I think. Especially if people like you are around. I’ll let you get back to work,” I nodded at her.
“See you around, Anon.”
I left Poppy’s comforting presence slowly. Across from that armory was a laundry room. IT seemed like most clothes and linens were washed by hand. I shrugged and left, not too keen on being roped into chores. Near the laundry to the right at a T intersection was a door leading out to a back patio, furnished with a few outdoor seats and lights, and another leading into a sort of storage and workshop. Ann was here, toiling away over a small table. My murderous thoughts towards the small, childlike lady faded nearly instantly. I couldn’t bring myself to harm her, or was the collar suppressing my thoughts? I shook my head.
“Hey,” I announce my presence nonchalantly.
Ann shuddered and turned around. She glared at me, “You scared me! Be more careful!”
“S-sorry. I-I’ll go,” Her growling and rage terrified me. I had no idea what this tiny witch was capable of.
“No, no,” She sighed and wiped her hands, “I contained it. What did you need, sir?” Her earlier childish and playful tone had been replaced with a serious and adult one.
“I was just exploring.”
“Oh! Are you finding everything alright?” Her childish attitude returned suddenly.
“If you are struggling to learn the layout, try creating a map for yourself,” She reached into a little pouch and pulled out a folded up piece of yellowed parchment. She unfolded it and presented it, “See? I made myself one!” I reached for it but Ann snatched it away, “This one is mine! Make your own,” She pouted.
I pouted back at her teasingly, “But I want yours.”
“W-well,” She frowned, “You can have it if you really need it,” She seemed genuinely sad.
“I’m joking. I’ll make one later.”
“Oh,” She sighed with relief, “Thank you. Can I help you with anything else?”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll let you get back to work.”
“Okay! Come back and chat some time!” Ann gave me a smile that I returned.
I nodded and left, feeling a bit calmer after hearing the kind words of two of the staff. I continued my quest to see every room in the manor. As I continued down the hallway in the east side first floor, the sound of music reached my ears. Some kind of violin played softly down the hallway. I started to tiptoe towards the sound, “You should wait until she is done with her practice,” A voice whispered, sending a chill down my spine.
I turned to see Miku, standing with her hands folded in front of her, “A-alright,” I nodded slightly.
I found the woman intimidating. She was silent and handled a knife like a killer, “Wandering aimlessly?” She asked as I began down the hall at the front of the manor.
I peeked out the windows by the front door at the small garden and front deck, “Not aimlessly. I’m trying to learn the layout.”
“Wonderful. Do not let me keep you,” Miku walked off after giving me a small curtsey. I could still feel her gaze in my back as I kept moving, as if she was shadowing me.
I shook myself and ignored it. Across from the front double doors was a door that opened up into a lounge with an in house bar on one side, and a raised stage on the other. Plush couches were scattered around, most had a good view of the stage. There was a piano on the stage and musical equipment all around. The one other door led into a nice restroom. I got to the east wing where I peeked into the dining room lined with massive floor to ceiling windows, a grand wooden table and overhead chandelier. The kitchen was just off this room. Camille was here, slaving away over a hot stove. She glanced over her shoulder, “Hello, Anon!”
“Hi,” I smiled.
“Lunch will be ready soon. I will find you when your meal is ready.”
I caught the intoxicating scent of grilling meat and cooking oils before leaving to check what little remained of the manor. I found another bathroom next to the kitchen and the last room I found was an indoor pool and gym area complete with a decent sized hot tub. The restroom here contained a shower to rinse the heavy scent of chlorine from your body. I stood by the large windows, staring out at the grass as I asked myself what I should do now.
“Sir Anon?” Camille called as she poked her head into the room, “Lunch is ready at the dining table.”
I set the glass down with a satisfying clunk as I finished the milkshake, “I could eat that meal everyday,” I grinned. I was a little disappointed that some magical force was making me eat much more slowly, but it didn’t matter to me that much. I was just really happy to eat some more damn good food.
“I could arrange that if you so desire, sir,” Camille smiled as she began to take my plates.
“You don’t need to call me sir.”
“A-are you sure?” She looked horrified as I nodded at her, “If you say so, si– Anon. I hope you forgive me if I refer to you as sir when Lady Lyndelle is around. I shall let the others know your wish as well.”
“Any other plans, Anon?”
“Relax for the rest of today,” I grunted.
“Perhaps you should check in with Lady Lynette? She would not stop talking about you earlier. I believe she’s incredibly worried and sad about something.”
I frowned, “Alright. I’ll go speak to her,” I hesitantly agreed, “Just because you asked.”
“Thank you, Anon. She should still be in her office.”
I stood from the table and made my way to the other side of the manor. The soothing sounds of violins were gone and were replaced by the clacking of wood on wood. I took a deep breath and pushed open the office door. Lynette stood at an ornate wooden desk with a map lain before her. A small record player hummed a string filled song while an unknown language mused in a sad tone. I watched her pick up a wooden piece from the map and move it before turning back to a monitor, “Did you need something, Anon?” She asked me in a disinterested tone without looking up. I could tell she was upset and trying to distract herself.
“I just came to see you,” I gave her a small smile.
“…Just to see me?” She echoed, pulling her out of her concentration. She tapped the monitor and gave me a confused look, “Are you… Well? Did you hit your head?”
I shrugged, “Maybe I huffed too many chlorine fumes from that pool.”
Lynette blew a little bit more air than normal out of her nose, “Hilarious. Well, take a seat, make yourself at home. Welcome to my personal study.”
I looked around her office as I moved to a deep leather couch. The curtains on the floor to ceiling windows were drawn closed. The overhead chandelier was on and a large leather office chair sat behind the desk. She surprisingly had a computer set up. I looked at the map, it was of the world. She had a lot of artwork and cerimonial looking swords around the room. She unpaused whatever she was staring at. I watched her move different colored wooden pawns around the map. There were four main colors, one large piece and multiple smaller ones around it as the pieces moved around different countries, “What are you doing?” I asked as she moved around a fifth color near the main ones.
“Come, come,” She waved me over, “I am mapping my sisters’ conquests all over the world as well as other high level commanders. Technology is quite amazing. I have some live updates as to their status. These largest ones are my sisters’ locations and the smaller pieces are their soldiers. This fifth color is enemy forces. Its hardly a fight, to be honest. Your world is completely unprepared for hand to hand combat.”
“Huh,” I grabbed a smaller piece of the fifth color and placed it roughly where the manor was on the map. She gave me a confused look, “Its me.”
I felt a little bit of relief as Lynette actually chuckled as a smile crossed her face, “Are you my enemy?” She gave me a tiny smile as she went back to her little game. I went back to sitting on the couch, resting my eyes as I listened to the music that was playing. The clacking of wood stopped as the anubis sat next to me. I could feel her hands placed upon me. A hand gently grabbed the collar around my neck and pulled me so I was leaning on her, my head on her shoulder. She ran her claws across my scalp and breathed on my neck, “Are you comfortable? Do you enjoy it when I touch you?”
I grunted, “Yeah I’m comfortable.”
“But do you like it when…” Her fluffy hands touched my face gently, “I think that small smile speaks volumes,” She chuckled at me. I grunted as she suddenly forced me onto my back, my head resting on the armrest of the couch. It was incredibly comfortable and the leather was warm. Lynette draped herself over me, her head on my shoulder, “Thank you for coming and seeing me,” Her arms wrapped around my neck as she continued to caress the back of my head. She was lying still, letting me just listen to her breathing for a time. I was startled when she lightly kissed me on the chin before sitting up, still on my lap, “You need to shave that stubble off,” She berated as she returned to her militant tone.
I rolled my eyes, a little disappointed her loving moment was over, “Then I need a razor.”
“Did you not check the toiletries Camille brought you earlier?” She frowned at me.
“N-no,” I admitted.
She huffed smugly, “I already provided you an electric razor. Go and shave before dinner as well as set up that media room, if you would, dear. I was sure you had some special way you wanted it set up so I left it next to barren for you. If you want any furniture purchased, let me know.”
“Alright…” I grumbled.
Lynette grabbed my chin, forcing my eyes to her, “Watch your tone.”
“Give me an apology.”
“…Sorry,” I said genuinely.
She stopped gripping my chin and ran a claw through my hair, “Good boy~” She stood up, “Would you pick out a movie for tonight as well? I am curious about this world’s media.”
“Dinner should be ready at six. Oh, here’s this back,” She went to her desk and slid a drawer open, “Your cell phone. I wanted to go through it, but you have a lock on it,” She pouted, “Give me your phone number, Anon.”
I gladly gave it to her, really happy to have my phone back. I had tons of texts and missed calls. I needed to speak to a lot of people, “I assume you will message me when dinner is ready?” I looked at my phone as it vibrated. She had already sent me a simple message of, ‘Hello’.
“Yes. I know I said you would have today free, but I really want to see a movie. Feel free to collect Ann or Miku to help you.”
“She has her duties to attend to.”
“What about Poppy?” At this point I was trying to annoy her.
“Anon, you have no command over her. Nor any of my guards. Ann and Miku do not have to listen to you either, but I have instructed them to help you if they ask. Do you have any other questions?” She said it like a threat or even challenge.
“Just one. Where’s my guns and stuff?”
She blinked at me, “Come now, Anon. Do you believe you need those things?”
“Well, they’re mine. I would like to have them. Maybe go to a range sometime soon.”
Lynette sighed, “Fine. I will have Ann cast a hex on them to allow them to work once more. It will make you happy, hm?”
I had forgotten that mamano magic had disable numerous technologies to let the monster take over occur smoothly, “Yes, th–”
“Kneel and thank me,” Ann gave me a stoney faced glare.
I sighed exhaustedly before getting on my knees and looking up at my jailor, “Thank you, Lynette,” I put on a fake smile and peppy tone.
“You are very welcome, sweetheart. Be grateful I am not making you beg for it and kiss my feet,” She turned away from me, tail wagging at an incredibly high speed. I stood and brushed myself off, “I appreciate you not attempting swearing, Anon.”
I moved to the doors and slid one of them open. I turned back to her, “Fffff– That,” I grinned as I left the room. Lynette sighed, defeated by my childish antics.