“Kikimora”

I THINK this turned into ‘The Black Cat’ but I’m not entirely sure.

	I waited anxiously for the mistress to finish her incantation. Her slow murmuring of the magic words was excruciating. I had just had to watch her scry her own favorite human from this other dimension. I shifted nervously, what had he been up to? I had been wanting to see him for two weeks now, the wait had been tortuous. Mistress got to view her man nearly every day, fawning over him as she had me bring her more wine. 
	“It is finished,” The mage whispered, handing me the silver mirror. 
	“Thank you, mistress,” I set the tray down and gently took the mirror from her. I gazed at him, sitting at his chair staring at that glowing object, using his fingers to make rhythmic noise on a glowing slate covered in letters, moving a softly glowing rock to make things happen on the object he stared at. I didn’t understand it, but he seemed to enjoy himself.
	“He seems very inactive,” The mistress commented. 
	“Yes, but as you said, your spell has found the perfect man for me,” I politely reminded her.
	“I still cannot believe I have to live without you being there to bring me more wine while I labor over a cauldron.” 
	“You will be fine,” I smiled at her, “You’re the smartest woman I know.”
	“Oh, stop it, Svetlana. You have almost been a sister to me all these years. Your husband will be extremely lucky to have you.”
	“What about you? A powerful magi being tamed by a mere human man?” I joked with her.
	“A bit sassy for a kikimora, hm?” She smiled and shook her head.
	“A small quirk I picked up from you,” I watched as my man got up from his seat and stretched. He rubbed his face as he turned off the glowing device. My mouth hung agape as I watched him change out of his day clothes into his sleep clothes. I watched him slowly prepare to head to sleep.
	“I love that excitement on your face, Svetlana.”
	“I can’t wait to be with him, mistress. Not too long until the invasion, yes?” I looked at her with hope in my eyes as my man climbed into bed, a sort of sad look on his face. I longed to be with him and make that frown disappear. 
	“Soon, my friend. Soon,” She put a hand on my shoulder and gave me a reassuring smile.

	“All packed?” The mistress asked.
	“Of course, mistress,” I gave her a small curtsey in my best and cutest uniform. 
	“Do not call me that any more. Its just Julianne now, Svetlana. You are my servant no longer, just my friend. Or, dare I say, my sister.”
	I gave her a smile, “I am honored you would call me such.”
	There was a small noise from her crystal ball. She looked at it and got excited, “It has started!” She sang, “The barrier between the worlds has weakened!” She hastily threw the rest of her items into a bottomless pouch, “Ready to leave?” She asked.
	“Of course! What is the plan?” I asked, picking up my three bags. 
	“We will go through to portal with everyone else, then teleport to your man’s home. I will leave you there and head to my husband’s.”
	“You seem so confident that this will go flawlessly,” I commented before Julianne teleported us to a field where other monsters waited to go to the other world. We both looked around at the crowd. Groups of monsters stood together chatting excitedly. My heart was pounding as I tried to get a view of the front, unfortunately my view was blocked by a family of onis. I looked at Julianne, she was jittery and glancing around, “Are you alright?” I asked.
	“What if he doesn’t like me?” She asked quietly.
	I laughed at Julianne, “I am sure he will! Besides, you will surely be able to charm him in some way.”
	“I hope so... Oh, it looks like they are starting. Let’s get in line.”
	“I still cannot believe that it is finally happening,” I whispered, helping Julianne carry her bags. 
	“Moving all monsters to a new land to conquer for ourselves? A hurting world without magic for us to save from themselves?” 
	“You sure love to romanticize a military takeover. Hopefully there is no bloodshed,” A large purple portal opened at the front of the crowd. Cheers rang out from the crowd. 
	Julianne and I stayed as calm as we could, “I am sure there will be very little. I did aid in the creation of spells to make this as easy as possible,” Julianne reminded me.
	“I know. Just be careful, steel is still sharp.”
	She laughed, “Primitive technology is no match for magic, dear.”
	“Well, be careful of their advanced technologies at least,” I warned as we started moving towards the portal.
“You do the same, Svetlana. Best of luck to both of us, hm?” She gave me another nervous smile as we neared our turn to go through the portal. 
“Of course my friend. May we both start a wonderful family!” I took a deep breath as we stepped through the purple void. The teleportation sent us to a between realm, a purple stone pathway in an unknown void. We slowly trudged through, alone with our own thoughts. It was only about fifty feet before the other side. The question Julianne asked me earlier creeped into my mind, ‘What if he doesn’t like me?’ I shook it off quickly. He was going to be perfect and we were going to be happy and start a family and everything. I stepped through the other side, taking in the air of this other world. Officials corralled us through a checkpoint where we were swiftly issued IDs before being let loose on the new world. I didn’t have much time to take in my new setting before Julianne grabbed hold of me and waved her staff in the air, teleporting the two of us away. 
I stood in a cramped hallway, white walls, white carpets, and humming lights on the ceiling. A brown door stood before me. Without hesitation, I went for the handle. Locked. Julianne smirked and waved her magic staff around again causing a loud knocking sound as the door unlocked. I tried the handle again and pushed the door open. I saw him. Standing across the room staring out the window. He turned around quickly, surprise on his face, “Hello!” I called without thinking, walking into the room. 
“A... maid?” He asked himself in disbelief, holding a small object next to his face.
“You two have fun!” Julianne called before teleporting herself away. 
I glanced around the room. I walked past a bathroom to my right and into the whole of his home. A small kitchen on the left, a small table near that, a couch, a queen sized bed and his usual seat with all the light up equipment next to the window. He looked away from me for a moment, “I’ve gotta go. I’ll call you later,” He took the glowing object away from his face and set it on the bed. He looked at me expectantly. 
I set my bags on the floor and did a quick spin, letting my frilly uniform fan out before turning to him and curtseying, putting all the charm I could into my introduction, “Greetings, master. I am Svetlana. Your wish is my command,” I looked at him, hoping to see a wide smile. 
His brown eyes stared at me with confusion, “Master?” He asked, “You must have the wrong guy,” He turned back to the window to watch the sky. 
“Most certainly not!” I spoke out of turn, stepping closer to him. The bed still separated us in the small space, “I am here for you. To serve you.”
He turned back around, a frown on his face, “Do you have a reason for picking me?” He asked.
“Destiny!” I explained, he looked more confused, “A powerful spell told me that we are meant to be.”
He laughed darkly, “Anime becomes real and takes over the world and a beautiful maid breaks into my home to tell me that she wants to be with me because magic,” He put a hand on his forehead and shook his head, “I must be dreaming,” He flopped onto the bed and stared at the ceiling.
“I assure you, master. This is reality.”
	“Bull. Magic isn’t real, dog people aren’t real, and no one wants me.”
	“Dog!?” I gasped at the hurtful words he had said, “Theodore, I am a kikimora!” I regained my composure, “Master, I beg you to not call me such.”
	“Theodore... No one has called me that in a while,” He paused and looked at me, “How do you know that name?”
	“I know much about you, master. You prefer the nickname Reece, you spend much of your time at that seat,” I pointed to his chair, “You spend a lot of time in this room. College graduate, working from home, small group of about five friends, an older brother, a younger sister... Do you require more examples?”
	Reece sat up and shook his head. He ran his fingers through his brown hair and sighed, “I’m sorry I called you a dog.”
	“I forgive you,” I put a hand on her shoulder  “In response to what you said earlier, I want you,” I put my face close to his, hoping for a kiss.
	“Look, I--” I silenced him by pressing my finger against his lips. 
	“Just relax, master. I will take care of everything for you. Do you wish for anything?”
	He looked down at his feet, his face glowing red, “No. I can’t think of anything I need.”
	“That is not what I asked,” I pressed, “What do you WISH for?” I cupped his face with my hands and brought his eyes to mine, “Anything you want.”
	“M-my shoulders hurt a little bit,” He confessed, avoiding eye contact with me, face becoming even more red.
	I climbed onto the bed behind him and sat on my knees, “Relax, master,” I gently pulled his shirt off and ran my hands up the sides of his body. I felt his ribcage, I could see his bones through the skin, “You are so thin!” I commented, “I am going to have to fatten you up a bit, hm?”
	“I just don’t eat much... Sarah, was it?”
	“Svetlana,” I started massaging his shoulders.
“Sorry.”
 	“I understand. You have a poor memory. No need to apologize,” He sat silently for a time, letting me knead the muscles on his back with my hands. I did my best to avoid tickling his back with the feathers covering my wrists.
“I don’t know how comfortable I am with this. We just met and you’re already being intimate with me,” He explained quietly.
“Do you wish for me to stop?” The disappointment must have been obvious in my voice.
“No... My brain says no but my body, heart and soul want this so bad.”
“Do you wish for me to take it very slow for you? I understand after your previous relationship if you feel that is necessary.”
He sighed, unpleasant memories of his past being dredged up, “Svetlana. I don’t know if I’m ready for this after... after...” He struggled to come up with the right word.
“That harlot hurt you. I understand,” I finished his sentence for him.
“Yeah...”
I used my elbows to rub the tight muscles, “How do your shoulders feel now?”
“They feel great, thank you.”
“Good! Oh, master, you never answered my question. Do you wish for me to not act as your wife at the present time?” I sat next to him on the edge of the bed and gently ran my hand across his back. 
“My... wife?” He asked in disbelief at the reworded question. I nodded to affirm his thoughts, “I just met you Svetlana,” He rubbed his eyes, “I don’t know about this.”
“Think of me as nothing more than a flirtatious maid for now, master,” I gave him a smile as I stood up and looked around the room again. Clothes were strewn about the room, dishes piled up in the sink, papers, tomes and books sat on the furniture and I could see a fine layer of dust on almost everything. I sighed and looked at my master who had a guilt stricken frown on his face, “I am going to start cleaning. Do you require anything else before I begin?”
“No, but you’re my guest. I should be the one cleaning, Svetlana,” I stopped him from standing up.
“It is my job, master. Rest. I insist.”
He did not fight with me on it, thankfully. He watched me as I worked. I began by moving my bags to the bed to be unpacked later and picking up the clothes from the floor. I placed them into a laundry hamper as the master instructed. I then turned my attention to the dishes. The master instructed me on how to operate the indoor plumbing and showed me where the soap he used for the dishes was. I rolled up my sleeves and hummed a tune as I worked. My master stood nearby a frown still on his face, “What is wrong, master?” I asked without putting any dishes down.
“I feel bad having you do all the work,” He told me.
I let out a small laugh, “Master, I enjoy cleaning and working. I thank you for your concern, but I can handle it.”
“Well...” He trailed off before digging through a drawer in his kitchen. He produced a small cloth and began drying the dishes next to me.
“Master!” I exclaimed, stopping what I was doing.
“What?” He asked, laughing, a small smile spread across his face.
I regained my composure, “Thank you,” I said quietly, getting back to work, “You do not have to help me, you know,” I reminded him.
“I know,” He gave me another smile. He continued to work alongside me as we quietly made conversation, “So, where do you come from?” He asked after a time.
“I believe it is comparable to the magical fantasies that your world dreams up. Like a romanticized medieval Europe with magic and monster girls? I believed that is how Julianne described it, having read literature from this world.”
“Magic and monster girls, huh? Wait, monsters are only female in your world?” 
“Yes. The current demon lord willed it to be so. We monsters are all part succubus.”
“That’s... really interesting actually. Not something I’d use in a Dund game, but still interesting.”
“Dund?” I asked, I was sure he was making up words now.
“Oh, Dungeons and Dragons. If you’ve been watching me through magic, I’m sure you’ve seen me and the guys playing it at some point.”
“Is that where you roll dice in the dark and narrate a story?” I guessed. He did play that often, but I didn’t watch much of it. 
“Yeah. We mostly just hang out and make jokes, not too much actual roleplay.”
“You... roleplay with other men?” I gasped.
“You say that like-- OH! Not like, sexually!” Reece quickly explained, “Its just acting!”
I nodded and calmed down, “You worried me for a moment, master.”
He chuckled nervously, “Hey, look at that. Done with dishes. Uh, what’s next?” 
He was right, I washed off the last dish before handing it to him to dry and put away. I looked around again and decided what to do, “These tomes and papers need to be cleaned up before I can wipe everything down.”
“Throw it all on the bed, I’ll deal with it.”
“Are you sure? I should be doing all the housework for you,” I urged.
“Once you learn where everything goes I’ll leave it to you,” He told me. He picked up some larger books and tomes and took them to the closet containing clothes. He slid the door open and slid the books onto a shelf with other similar books. Smaller books went on a bookcase with other books in the same series. Most of the loose papers went into the trash while a few others went into a folder then a drawer, “I really should just keep the place clean,” He thought aloud.
“Then what would I do all day?” I replied, “Be as messy as you need to.”
“Do you just exist to clean?” He joked.
“I can also cook, do laundry and anything else that may take up your time, master. I am to be the perfect housewife and make sure you do your best everyday!” My feathery tail wagged back and forth as I proudly told him my duties, “I can also do other-- services-- that you may ask for,” I could feel my face glow red as I wrung my hands.
He looked at me with confusion on his face for a few moments. His face got red as well when he realised what my innuendo had meant, “I-I see.”
I gently touched his arm, “How about we finish cleaning? Then we can chat more. Do you have a broom I may use?”
“Oh, I’ve got something better,” Master went to a second closet and produced a large round object, “This little guy should be able to clean the floor for us!” He set it on the floor and pressed something on the top. A light glowed and the machine scooted across the floor picking up debris.
“W-what is that monstrosity?” I gasped, shocked that my master would allow such a device to exist in his domain.
“Its just a roomba. Its a little robot that cleans,” How could he be so nonchalant about this?
	The machine scooted close to me. It touched the hem of my dress, “Away, cretin!” I hissed, my ears flattening against my head. I kicked the device without thinking. It flipped onto its back. Small wheels on the bottom rotated in a panic with a small whirring noise.
	The master burst out laughing, “You-- you really don’t like it, huh?” He kept laughing as my face got red from embarrassment. He collected the device and stowed it back in the supply closet, “How about this?” He asked, producing another device and attaching a cord to a hole in the wall, “A vacuum.”
	“How does this... ‘vacuum’ work?” I said the name of this contraption with contempt in my voice.
	“You turn it on and it sucks up all the dirt. It has these detachable tubes to get the hard to reach places,” He held his finger over a button on the handle and looked up at me, “Its a little loud,” He warned.
The machine was turned on with a click. It made a horrible loud noise as it functioned, “Turn it off!” I shrieked. I fell to my knees and tried to cover my ears. The noise ceased. 
My master knelt before me, “Are you alright?” He asked quietly. 
“Why do you have such horrible devices?” I cried, trembling slightly.
“They’re supposed to make life easier... but I guess you do the same thing and are way cuter.”
“You think I am cute?” I stared at him in disbelief.
“Did I say that out loud?” He blushed, “I’ll get rid of those soon. Uh, you want a broom and mop, right?”
I grabbed his wrist as he tried to get up, “Master, may I request something?” He nodded slowly, “Can you call me cute again?” 
“Are all monster girls like this?” He asked. 
“If I was any other kind of girl, you would be tied down on that bed and I would be having my way with you. Lucky for you, I am not that kind of girl~” I teased before planting a swift kiss on the cheek, “Is the broom in that closet?”

	“Will you explain to me how that works?” I asked my master as he sat across from me at the small table. I pointed to his usual seat.
“My computer? Uh, sure,” He continued to eat the food I had made-- simple sandwiches. I was proficient at crafting exquisite dishes! Unfortunately, master had very little food on hand. I would have gone out, but officials had demanded we stay inside. I playfully rubbed my leg against his, “That shoe feels weird,” He mumbled.
“That’s my leg,” I whimpered, quickly pulling away from him.
“Really? Can I see?” There was a sparkle in his eyes. I nodded begrudgingly and stood before him. I lifted up my uniform so he could see only my feet, “Oh, its like bird talons. Your tail is feathered, you have ears that stand straight up on your head and feet like a bird’s talons. Bird talons with built in heels. Absolutely wild... Thanks for humoring me.”
“Mhm,” I looked at him expectantly.
“And you’re cute,” He said after looking at me.
I gave him a warm smile, “Thank you, master!”
He sighed and went back to eating, “Can I thank you in any way for cleaning up?”
“We can figure something out,” I winked at him, gently touching his foot with mine.
He quickly finished his food, “Oh, uh, I’ll show you the computer now,” He led me to his seat and sat me down in it. He looked at the handheld device again, “Internet is still out. I’ll just go over basic operation, I guess,” He pressed a button on a black monolith resting on the floor. The machines around me sprang to life, startling me. The lights came on, glowing red.
I jumped out of the seat and hid behind my master, “Why are the devices angry with me?”
He chuckled, “Here let me fix that,” He quickly calmed the devices down by moving the glowing rock and having it make a clicking noise. The devices changed to a soft glowing blue-green. I was sat back down on the leather chair, “Alright. I’ll go over basic operation. Look at the keyboard in front of you.”
“Keyboard?” I looked at the slate of glowing letters and the rock. 
“With the letters. The other thing is the mouse. You use these to interface with the computer system. Look at the monitors and find the little white arrow.”
He spoke quickly and passionately. I slowly looked at the bright ‘monitor’ as he called it, “Uhm... what am I looking for again?” The monitors displayed a picture of a city from this world at night. On the left side was a collection of smaller photos with captions underneath them such as ‘Steam’ or ‘Spotify.’
“That,” He pointed to a small white triangle that looked like it was part of the picture, “Move the mouse.”
I moved the mouse. The small white triangle on the picture moved, “Moving pictures!?” I exclaimed.
“Uhuh. You can move the arrow over icons to open applications by clicking on the mouse. You use the keyboard to...” Everything he was explaining was going over my head.

	“I think that’s enough for today,” Master told me, “You did a good job today,” Even though I was exhausted and my eyes were strained from staring at the monitor, his praise made me incredibly happy. 
“I apologize that I am not learning quickly,” I moved to the bed, eager to get away from the glow of the computer.
“I didn’t expect you to,” He slowly looked around his home with a frown on his face. 
“What is wrong, master?” 
“I don’t have a second bed. I’m trying to decide if I want to sleep on the floor or the couch.”
“You will be sleeping in the bed,” I informed him. 
“I don’t want to make you sleep on the couch!” He turned to me.
“Master, this is the one part of our lives I will not allow you to fight with me on,” I took hold of his arm and pulled him over to the bed, “The bed is yours. I will manage.”
“But--” 
	“Master,” I said firmly, “Please. I will be fine,” He sighed and sat on the bed, weariness preventing him from putting up much of a fight, “I am going to go change, be back in a moment,” He nodded, still deep in thought. I quickly changed into my nightgown in the restroom. I called to my master through the cracked door, “Are you finished changing?”
“Yeah,” He told me. I returned to my master. The only thing he had changed was his shorts. He was sorting through a drawer. 

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