Monstrous Ranch

Chapter 22

by GigglingGoblin

Tags: #cw:CGL #cw:noncon #breastfeeding #cooing #cowgirl #drugged #intelligence_play #monstergirl #sheepgirl #bondage #catgirl #D/s #dom:female #dom:male #enslavement #f/f #f/m #fantasy #furry #honey #humiliation #indirect_reference_to_p_doph_lia #kinda_actual_racism_by_villains #kitten #lactation #lamia #multiple_partners #petplay #plantgirl #pov:bottom #pov:top #puppy_play #siren #sleep #slime #sub:female #sub:male #trigger
See spoiler tags : #bad_end_(ambiguous_and_not_horrible) #colonialism #prison_industrial_complex_vibes #violence

Fair warning: This chapter gets a little dark, and does not contain a ton of sex. We're entering the final chapters, here, and things are gonna get rocky. cw for explicit mentions of rape and slavery, as well as some minor violence/gore.

Jerrod, Senya and Merisi stood in a triangle, each at an equal distance from the other, in the midst of a 'chicken coop' that contained as many plush throw pillows as feathers. Buxom women with the wings and talons of chickens lay all around, their eyes glazed over, paralyzed within the confines of a trigger with limited duration.

Aside from a few scraps of lacy lingerie worn by the hen harpies, everyone within the coop was completely naked. Somehow, that was, by far, the least awkward aspect of the standoff.

"I dunno what you mean, Boss," Jerrod said coolly, turning away to look over the nest boxes—searching, no doubt, for something to wear that wasn't frilly and pink. "We should prob'ly get moving. You ain't yourself."

"I..." Senya gritted his teeth. "... Don't do that."

"Do what?"

"Talk to me like I'm an invalid!" Senya stomped his foot into the soft carpet, feeling his face heating up. "It's what you've been doing this whole time!"

And there it was. Senya stared up at the hulking figure of Jerrod, back turned to him, and gathered all his strength together. After weeks lost to the licks and kisses and caresses of the Ambrosia Ranch, there wasn't much. Keep it together. Keep focused. Have to keep my mind working.

"Well, how 'bout you try actin' like an adult, then?" Jerrod snorted. "We're just lookin' after you, Boss."

"Oh, yeah? You mean like not mentioning that this Ranch shouldn't even legally exist?" Jerrod didn't react. "Yeah, I thought so. Did Bobbin even tell you about that?"

"It's true," Merisi said, her eyes darting toward the exit—clearly, she was eager to leave. "The Gokuri Forest peoples never opened access to Lacratians."

"Huh. Weird." Jerrod leaned back against the wall, pinching the bridge of his nose. "And what am I s'posed to do about that, Boss? I'm just..."

"Doing your job?" Senya's head tilted. "How much does this Ranch make in a year?"

"Enough to keep expenses."

"What expenses?" Senya flung his arms wide. "The fey handle the expenses! Dryads keep the fruit fresh, we put fairies to work picking crops, the hens look after the chickens for us—what expenses, Jerrod?"

"Ugh." Jerrod let out a hissing noise through his teeth. "Boss, now ain't the time or the place. Why don't we go talk this out with Bobbin?"

"And let her mindwipe me again?" Senya shook his head, almost choking on fear and anger. "How many times has she done that? Jerrod, do you really trust her?"

Jerrod's eyes narrowed "I trust that she knows how to run this place. She's not the one who let the wards break down, Boss."

"How much does she pay you?"

"Aside from room and board?" Jerrod shrugged. "A little, I guess. Not as much as I bet you'd expect. We didn't get paid in much money at Market Day."

Senya stared hard at Jerrod, searching for a lie. And then it struck him—Jerrod didn't need to lie. "Ha." He gave a smile he couldn't make un-crooked, shaking his head ruefully. "Ha! Of course. You don't need to get paid much. Why would you? You live like a king here!"

"And you don't, Boss?"

Senya felt Merisi's dark eyes on him. He swallowed. "I—I didn't want to! I didn't want any of—I didn't want to control anyone! But Bobbin—" He recovered himself a little, taking a step towards Jerrod. "Jerrod, this Ranch isn't a prison. It's a business. We're intruding on foreign lands, we're raping fey—"

"Half the time, they want it," Jerrod said simply.

Senya's blood boiled as Bobbin's words echoed from the ex-pirate's lips. "And the other half?" he snarled.

"If you don't want to take advantage, you don't have to!" Jerrod was clearly getting annoyed now. He stalked around towards the back of the coop, where several large branches were stuck between the walls for the chickens to roost on.

Merisi sucked in a deep breath. "Okay, so, uh—"

"I know I don't," Senya said, his voice shaking, his words coming out as distorted as his thoughts, "and maybe I never do, maybe I even make you never—a-and even Bobbin—but what about the next Master? Who deserves this kind of power?" His voice rose. "Jerrod, we're brainwashing them! You know who else does that to their 'undesirables'?"

Jerrod rolled his eyes, idly kicking at one of the branches until it fell out of its place. "Lemme guess: The Chosen."

"Hey," Merisi repeated, "listen—"

"Yeah, the Chosen!" Senya spat. "Western Plains barons! Evil fey, Jerrod! So where the fuck is the difference?" He gave a manic laugh. "And that's another thing! Half of these fey? I-I can't see a thing they did wrong! What could Valina have done to deserve this? And the fairies! And these harpies, for that matter!"

"That's none of my business," Jerrod said, his voice terse and brittle. He stooped down and broke the branch over his knee. "Boss, we're here to do the job, and—"

"Guys!" Merisi shouted. Jerrod and Senya both fell silent.

Senya heard a faint mumbling. He froze, realizing that the hen harpies were drifting out of their frozen state, slowly getting back up to their feet. We should have had a full half-minute left! he thought, his heart pounding. The triggers... gods, everything's falling apart.

The hen harpies were giggling. Senya started to sweat, realizing most of their eyes were on him. He exchanged a look with Jerrod, whose expression remained cool and calm—unaffected by the growing babble. Jerrod had his amulet back. Their control wouldn't touch him anymore.

Merisi immediately went back to playing her flute, stepping between Senya and Jerrod and jerking her head furiously towards the exit. Senya felt the babble's effects mercifully leave his mind. But he knew it was time to go. Already, hen harpies were moving behind him, blocking off the exit. Without Merisi, they would be truly trapped. At least, Senya would be.

He took a step back, looking at Jerrod plaintively. "Jerrod," he said, his voice softer now, "you have to know this is wrong."

"Let's get back to the farmhouse, Boss." Jerrod's tone was dull. Bored, almost. But there was a definite irritation.

Senya clasped his hands together. "Jerrod, there has to be a better way, a better way than just putting all the wards and triggers and stuff back to normal. Please. We have to do the right thing. You and I—we can make this right. Get to the bottom of it. There's something in the basement. We're gonna go..."

He trailed off, seeing Jerrod's tired expression.

The stockman gave a low sigh, shaking his head. "Boss... look, okay." His voice was heavy, but there was an undertone of something else. Something Senya couldn't remember hearing from Jerrod before. Was it... guilt?

"Boss." Jerrod cleared his throat. "Here's what I'll say. Here's the thing. I get that y—"

He swung the heavy broken branch upside Merisi's head.

A horrible crack resonated through the coop.

Blood dripped from a cracked jaw as the bard fell backwards. The branch was broken in two. The flute slipped from hooked, trembling fingers.

It was as if Senya's lungs had just been crushed like paper in a mill.

Merisi fell back onto the floor. The bard was wheezing, gagging, clutching at her throat, her bloodied jaw. Her eyes were wide, wild, terrified. Jerrod towered over her, hefting the remnants of the branch, his head tilted to one side.

She managed one choked scream, at perfect pitch. Her form seemed to melt down, her skin turning brown and porous, until she was the size of a large brown newt. The newt, its head still horribly bloodied, scrambled away from Jerrod. It was already morphing again, growing fur, its face twitching, forelegs stretching like taffy.

The battered bat flapped noisily out of the opening in the roof, shifting once more into a broken-beaked mockingbird as it escaped into the open. Merisi, Second-Class Bard of the Bardic Orders Postal Service, zoomed out of the coop, a thin trail of dripped blood and a broken bamboo flute the only signs she had been there at all.

Senya still couldn't breathe. He stared at Jerrod in shock, bile rising in his throat.

The stockman hefted his makeshift club, raising an eyebrow. "Sorry, Boss," the slaver said, sighing. "It's nothin' personal. It's never personal. But a man like me's gotta earn some kinda honest living. An' I just haven't got as much patience for all this."

"A-are you..." Senya cast about for a weapon, still in a daze. It was a pathetic instinct, beneath Senya even in his panic. Of course he couldn't fight Jerrod off. But he couldn't escape, either.

"Don't be stupid, Boss." Jerrod gave a lopsided smile. "You'll be fine in a little while. I'm just gonna let you have a li'l... breather."

Senya blinked. And his eyelids fluttered as the mesmerizing babble started to filter in.

He couldn't even pinpoint any particular comment the hen harpies were making—it was all just gibberish. Giggling and filler words and inane chatter all roiled together in his bubbling brain. His panic started to subside, and that terrified him more than anything in the world. Everything just felt so hard to understand. It almost felt easier to give in to the daze.

"No," he muttered, taking another step back—but the hen harpies were there, they had him surrounded, there was nowhere to run—"N-no..."

Jerrod, protected by his amulet, only smiled as he started climbing up the remaining chicken perches, heading for the very hatch Merisi had fled through. "Everyone's got their price, boss," the ex-pirate called down. "For me, it's comfort. For that bard, it's living. And I'm startin' to gather that for you, it's getting' to submit to these little—"

A talon shot up and grabbed his ankle.

The stockman paused. "Huh?"

A hen harpy was clinging to his ankle, flapping to keep her balance. She giggled at Senya. "Run for it, Master!" she sang.

Jerrod's eyes bulged. "What the f—"

"Run for it, Master!" chanted the hen harpies, swarming around the stockman. Jerrod snarled, and Senya flinched at the blunt impacts as the stockman started brandishing the club wildly, climbing desperately for the roof. "Do the right thing! Do the right thing! Go on, then!"

Senya stared numbly as Jerrod lost his grip and tumbled to the ground among the pillows and blankets. But he wasn't down for more than a second before another horrid crack rang out. One harpy fell to the ground, a cut opening in her forehead. Senya's stomach heaved.

He turned and ran.

They wouldn't hold Jerrod long. Jerrod was too strong, too cruel, and without their mind control, all they had was numbers. Jerrod would escape. He would come for Senya, and do whatever it took to... to what?

Senya had to get out of here. Had to get to the farmhouse. He knew he couldn't fight the stockman, knew he couldn't resist Bobbin or the fleece sprites, but he also knew he was going to do something or die trying, and damn it, that put him miles ahead of Merisi or Jerrod as far as he was concerned.

He ran to the gate and practically crashed out, falling to his knees and tumbling in the grass. He lay there for a moment among the wildflowers and buzzing honeybees, gasping for breath. He tried to rise—

"Ooh. Well, hello, there, little Master."

Senya's breath caught. The queasiness in his stomach instantly dropped away entirely, replaced by a familiar thirst.

He looked up, still on his knees, at the voluptuous woman standing over him. She smiled fondly down at Senya, her chin cupped in one hand, shaking her head sadly. He licked his lips.

"Hello, Mommy," he whispered.


"It's happening." Glam giggled excitedly, zooming in complex spirals in the air. "I can feel the wards slipping! I bet I wouldn't even cum from saying good g—"

"Don't push it," Val said. The dark-skinned fairy reached up, brushing shoulder-length pink hair from her eyes. "We're not out of the woods yet, and some of those triggers are strong. They need to get to you-know-what first."

"I still don't like letting the cat and cow handle that," Ora growled. Her long green hair trailed behind her in a plump braid, almost like a tail. "We don't even know what these people did to the nymph to make those stupid Wills work."

"Scarlet will be there, too," Erie said, sparkling brilliantly. She winked at Ora. "You know, your girlfriend."

Ora went bright red—with anger or embarrassment, Val couldn't tell. Probably a mix. The fairy's encounter with Scarlet, long before either of the two had been captured, was a very sensitive subject.

"Let's stay focused, girls," Val said firmly. "We're just here to make sure the Thriae are doing their..."

As she spoke, they emerged from the chilly clouds, and she momentarily busied herself rubbing over her body to brush off the condensation.

And then she noticed the scene down below.

Four scarecrows, two Thriae, and one furry house fey were gathered in a messy pile, licking and kissing with wild abandon, all singularly focused on one aim: Making that hob cum as many times as possible. Judging by the hob's shrieks and moans, they were doing quite well at it.

This was expected, and it did not faze the fairy. What did was what was happening to the slight southeast of them.

"Bitch!" Val burst out, and entered a steep dive.

"Wh—" Glam blinked as she exited the fog and saw the same. Glancing back, Val saw her eyes mist slightly at the sight, and the blonde fairy bit her lip, but the fog of lust quickly cleared and she took off after.

Had she not been so occupied in anger, Val might have regretted neglecting Glam so much today. The trouble was, Glam really was useless for hours after cumming, and they needed her knowledge of this area if they were going to be ready when the crows got here.

But Val was very focused on what lay below.

Because Sylvia, the Thriae artificer, was currently in the process of transforming the kitsune captive into a beastfey honey sprite. Honey was spilling from the kitsune's open mouth as she moaned and drank, her eyes a shimmering gold, her whole body twitching and wriggling as Sylvia gently rubbed her pussy and cooed sweet nothings into her tufted fox ears.

"Sylvia!" Val called, her voice resonating with fairy magic. The Thriae looked up and gave a start, seeing the four shimmering fairies drifting down towards her. "Oh, Sylvia!"

Sylvia bit her lip.


Bobbin was lost in stupid, stupid, wonderful bliss. She could barely think straight. She could barely think. In fact, only one solitary thought was still pounding into her mind: Need control need CONTROL NEED control need control need CONTROL—

But she couldn't even control herself, much less her scarecrows, and much less Lata and Lala. She moaned and squealed, eyes squinting with pleasure, as Lata slowly teased another torturous orgasm from her tingling pussy. They weren't even bothering to kiss her anymore. They didn't need to—she couldn't muster a single word regardless.

Well, aside from...

"Yes!" she squeaked, wriggling excitedly as Lala tenderly kissed her nipples, worshiped her breasts, lavished honeyed love allover them. "Yes yes aaaahYES!"

And the Thriae giggled in glee. In triumph. Bobbin hated it—hated not being in control—but it just felt so, so good to be theirs...

And trying to trigger them just made them speed up, just made them torment her worse. The orgasms flowed like water, surging out of her, unbearable in their intensity. Fey never got tired of orgasms. They just got hornier and hornier and hornier.

And Bobbin was very, very horny right now.

She had been cumming for hours, it felt like. Only the burning need to dominate was saving her mind from total submission, and with every squealing climax, a bit of that need seemed to melt beneath the Thriae's teasing tongues and tantalizing fingertips.

"Little slut," Lala cooed, wetly kissing each of her breasts in turn. "Little—mm!—little bitch. Who's—mmwah!—Master now, huh? Mm!"

"AaaaahAAAAH!" Bobbin's eyes were teary as the pleasure crashed into her poor, needy body. She felt like a leaf in the river rapids. "Oh—ohnnnnuh—"


The two Thriae froze mid-lick. Bobbin's immediate, irrational mind made her whimper, squirm needily, thrusting her pussy towards their messy faces, but they didn't notice. They exchanged uneasy looks, glancing up at something colorful in the sky.

Bobbin followed their gaze, and saw four vaguely familiar fairies—oh, right, the four that Coryl caught that one time—drifting down towards Sylvia. Sylvia, she saw, was currently in the middle of pouring the entire contents of a little Thriae pitcher into the future scarecrow's open mouth.

As she saw that—even as the scarecrows kept kissing her—Bobbin's eyelashes fluttered. As the licking ebbed, her mind turned steely with precision, and several facts rapidly clicked into place.

1. The wards were likely breaking down, since the triggers and commands were losing power. 2. The presence of the fairies suggested some sort of organized revolt. 3. Nobody was licking her clit anymore.

"Scarecrows," she husked, shuddering, "tackle them."

Lata and Lala's eyes shot back down to her. Lata's eyes widened. "Wait, d—"

Bobbin's button-eyed servants hesitated. But only for a second. It only took a second for the remaining charms the Thriae had laid upon them to shatter. Bobbin was their Master.

They released Bobbin and moved as one, diving at the two Thriae. The Thriae squealed and shrieked, but Bobbin had made her scarecrows strong. They wrestled the two wasp fey to the ground, giggling, pinning them against the grass—and immediately started licking at the Thriaes' sweet bodies.

Bobbin rolled her eyes. Well, as long as they were being held down.

"Take them to the cottage," she growled, climbing to her feet. Her head was still buzzing, and her head swam for a moment as she straightened.

She glanced over and saw Sylvia entranced by the three fairies, her tongue lolling out slightly as she swayed in time with the spiraling little fey. Behind her, a fourth fairy with hot pink hair was helping the kitsune to her feet.

As Bobbin watched, the fairy pointed off towards the woods. The golden-eyed kitsune gave a dazed nod and took off running.

Bobbin pursed her lips. Unfortunate.

But she had bigger problems.

"F-Fourteen," she said, "go get Sylvia while she's distracted and take her back to the college. Six, Twelve, Five, like I said, get moving. Leave them locked in there. Alone."

With little whimpers of disappointment that Bobbin couldn't help but privately agree with, the scarecrows hastened to oblige. The Thriae struggled, but with their pussies being licked, the basic programming was taking over. Bobbin would have to hope it held.

She shook her head ruefully as she watched the scarecrows escort the Thriae up. Their cottage was built with particularly strong wards, and would dampen the Thriae's drive to rebel. That, coupled with the deadbolts, would hopefully hold them—at least for the day. She would have to think of better solutions later.

This had been a close one. A very, very close one. Bobbin clenched her fists. So this is the game they want to play? Then let's fucking play.

She made one more mental list. There was a certain set of priorities now in place. First, she had to find Senya and make sure he was safe. Get him with his puppy sprites, if possible. They would keep him nice and safe while Bobbin handled things.

Second, she had to work out who was free and who remained bound. The holstaur, Brigitte, Scarlet and the nymph were of particular consequence. Especially the nymph.

Third, she had to find a way to restore the Master's at any cost. She bit her lip. She knew exactly what cost it would be.

As the cottage door was barricaded shut, Bobbin rubbed her eyes. I feel like I'm forgetting... oh, right.

She glanced up and spotted the four fairies zooming off into the clouds once more—off to inform their brethren, no doubt, that the straw boss was free.

She sighed, and reached up with one furry hand.

With a crackling like fracturing ice, the clouds above slowly began to take on a blueish, crystalline quality. The magic suffused and froze the vapor to form enormous snowflake fractals. For a moment, they hung suspended there, a bizarre mass of strange icy formations in the sky.

The "ice clouds" began to plummet. The chill spread across the sky in all directions like a virus. As Bobbin held her hand out, more and more of the clouds froze this way, crackling and spitting in a tremendous cacophony.

Bobbin heard four muffled screams. Her hand dropped back to her side.

She didn't check for the bodies as the last low-flying cloud in the sky shattered on the ground below, sending sharp shards of ice everywhere. The deed was done.

The straw boss pursed her lips as she stooped, retrieving her clothes, and began to get dressed.

They had hundreds of fairies to spare, and very little time.

Still, it was unfortunate.


Kitten was a good girl.

Kitten is a good girl, Kitten thought.

"Who's a good girl?" cooed the puppy sprites as their tongues lapped eagerly at her slick pussy. "Who's a good girl?"

But Kitten was well past words at this point. The dark-haired catgirl could only mew, and whine and whimper, and wiggle and wriggle, in the hopes that the puppy sprites would lick her faster.

Even though she couldn't cum. Even though she would never cum. These five gorgeous demonic fey would hold her here and melt her mind into goo beneath their tongues until all she ever wanted was to be lost on the edge to eternity.

Edged forever. It sounded... heavenly. Kitten panted, the numb smile she had plastered on her face becoming positively worshipful as the sprites' long, wonderful wet tongues lapped all over her body.

The puppy sprites adored her. They adored their kitten. They would keep on licking her, their heads bobbing, their tails wagging happily, and never even think to wonder why she never came, why she only ever gasped and mewed. This was all they wanted. It was all she wanted.

Kitten was a good girl.

Kitten is a good girl, Kitten thought. She beamed idiotically at her idiot 'mistresses'. Kitten adored her puppies.

And then, without warning, Kitten... came.

It was like she'd been in a house in the middle of a tornado and had just opened the window. A house at the bottom of the ocean, and she'd just opened the front door. Her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped, and she gaped up at the ceiling in stunned wonder.

And Kitten began to scream.

She heard the puppy sprites giggling and cooing and praising her, and this glazed the blissful feeling within delicious obedience, but their words did not matter. Nothing mattered except



The catgirl writhed like a woman possessed, like a rag doll, her tongue lolling out, squealing and mewling in wild, brainless glee. She was drooling. She was reduced by this orgasm to a drooling, whining, mindless slut, and she didn't care.

Because she was cumming. With no command, no Master's praise, no submission at Bobbin's feet.

She was cumming, and golden pleasure suffused her whole body like a feather in a rainstorm, made her quiver and cry and beg silently for more, more, more.

And the orgasm did not end. Kitten lay there, suspended at the peak, screaming and squealing herself hoarse as the pleasure went on and on and on. The lust sprites kept licking her lovingly, lapping up her juices, and it was all she could do to lie there and take it.

It was almost too much. It was too much. She couldn't take it.

She was going to take it.

That stupid, empty-headed glassy-eyed smile was back as she felt the climax wiping out her thoughts like chalk on a slate. Well... not exactly wiping the thoughts out. It was more like something had dripped on the slate to smear them. Something viscous. Something slick and wet and tingly and needy and oh fuck oh fuck oh FUCK

Kitten babbled out a whimpering attempt at a kitten's yowl as the climax took her mind, body and soul and melted all three into ooey-gooey bliss. She was nothing. She was a puppet, a doll, a toy for her own pleasure.

She couldn't begin to understand what was happening here, why the trigger had failed to restrict her orgasm. Sh couldn't begin to care. The catgirl lay among floppy-eared, swishy-tailed puppy sprites and welcomed their long, wet tongues with a helpless delight she hadn't felt in years.

Kitten is a good girl, she thought, tears of overwhelmed joy streaking down her cheeks, Kitten is a good girl, Kitten is a good girl, Kitten is a goo gyah goo aughhh yesn yes sdggdfshsgoodneedkittenlickyesyesmmommyYES

Kitten was a good girl.


"It almost seems a shame to 'wake' her," sighed the holstaur, sauntering into the kitchen. She cast Senya back a sly grin as she opened the icebox.

Senya looked up at the ceiling, nibbling nervously on his knuckle. "We can't just leave her there," he said, his voice shaky.

It felt so surreal to talk to Mommy—to the holstaur on equal footing. He had no idea how long it would last. Was this real, or was it more mind games?

He didn't know. He didn't know much of anything. But what he did know was that until he knew more about what was going on, he was not exactly going to do any work to try (and fail) to capture her. And if she really did plan to explain to him what was going on...

"No, I suppose not." The holstaur bit her lip. "We all must serve a purpose, Se... Sss... Master." She grimaced, slamming the icebox shut. Senya jumped at the brisk gesture. "And I will want the kitten's sword when the time comes."

"You... you want her to help fight Bobbin?"

Her lip curled. "Well... I suppose that's one use for the wildcat." She cast him a lazy smile.

"So it's going to be a battle."

Mommy giggled. "It always has been!" She reached forward and stroked Senya's hair fondly. "Your blood's control over me is not nonviolent, even though it might seem so. I think you know this."

Her eyes sparkled into his. Senya swallowed, forcing himself to pull his head away. "S-so, can you... order the sprites off her?"

The holstaur stared at the tiles, pouting. "... no," she muttered. "No, I cannot control them. They would... it would not work."

Senya blinked. "So... am I supposed to do it?"

"Oh, no." The holstaur flashed him a grin. "But I believe Kitten left a little whistle in the sitting room. And while I might not be terribly gifted at occupying the sprites' attention... we know someone who is. Wait here, Master." She took him by the hand and guided him into a chair, patting him on the head as she turned to the kitchen door. "This will only be a moment."


Senya noticed Mommy snapping the whistle as she exited the kitchen. He stared quizzically at this, and she gave him a wry grin. "All done, baby! The cupid was a bit reluctant, but..." She giggled, wiping at a slight lipstick stain on her cheek as she stopped beside him. "I persuaded the darling."

"Um... great." Senya bit his lip, getting to his feet. "So..."

She took him gently by the hand and led him toward Bobbin's bedroom. "They'll be on their way down," the holstaur whispered conspiratorially. "I already blew the whistle. The cupid will keep them busy for us."

Senya shuddered, but did as instructed.

A moment later, as they took shelter in the straw boss's bedroom, they heard bounding feet and hands rushing down the stairs. Senya stiffened slightly as he felt the lust aura drifting near, and his mind turned just a little bit to mush.

Without thinking, he gave a slight whimper. Mommy shot him a wary look.

Luckily, the lust sprites did not appear to hear him. He heard panting, squeals of delight, and then the slam of a door.

Senya poked his head out, biting his lip at his own eagerness. The room was empty. The kitchen door mwas shut.

"Up the stairs," said Mommy, eyes narrowed. "And quickly!"


"What are you doing here?"

Valina stared up at them, her eyes glassy and dull, as they entered Senya's bedroom. Senya felt his head swim slightly as he entered it, as if the room itself was solely associated with half-sleepless nights beneath the puppy sprites. He gnawed on his wrist nervously.

The catgirl was a bedraggled, wet mess, glistening with sprite saliva, her jet-black hair mussed and wild, her eyes heavy-lidded, her lips stuck in a confused half-smile as she gazed across the room at her 'saviors'. Her fingers idly toyed with her sex right in front of them.

Senya glanced at Mommy uncertainly. The holstaur smiled, but said nothing.

Senya swallowed, and turned back to Valina. He hesitated, searching for the words.

Valina spoke first.

"I didn't hurt anyone." The catgirl's voice was weak, and wispy, and cracked like a stale cookie someone had pounded their fist into. "I-I didn't kill. Didn't rape. I... did nothing. Th-this Ranch is perverse. It is evil. I tried to put steel in the gut of its owner."

She was quiet a moment, examining her own hands, rubbing them idly.

"It did not work," she said, appearing to marvel at them. "I... can't remember the last time I was able to say this. There was so much fog." Her eyelids fluttered. "I feel so clear. And yet... so muddy. There was so much fog."

"Is it... gone now?" Senya's voice was hoarse, halting.

Valina looked up at him, eyes narrowed. "No. Less. The triggers are fading. I think Kitten is dead at last." She reached up and fidgeted with her collar. "But I am still a prisoner. We have to get to the gem."

Senya took a deep breath. "Okay. What is the gem?"

"Most magic requires a mage," Mommy said, taking him by the hand and gently guiding him out the door. The busty fey held out her hand for Valina to follow. "That is why triggers are so much trouble. Maintaining that control over another's mind makes your own mind vulnerable. The powers of the Ranch are channeled through a... a sort of gemstone. At least, we believe so. The gem holds the powers of servitude and domination. It also keeps the wards on the walls going."

Senya blinked. A gemstone. The verdant star. Brigitte's strange riddle seemed so distant now. Was this what she had referenced 'beneath the hearth'.

"Without that gem," Kitten said, taking Mommy's hand, "the strain of the struggling fey would crack, and no power could contain them." Senya must have looked skeptical, because she scowled at him. "This place is not natural. Mortals were not meant to master fey for personal profit. It goes against the Primal Code; the way we're built."

They made their way down the stairs. Senya nodded numbly.

"So, Master," Valina said, and he could tell how bitterly she used that title, "you are free-minded. I know you aren't soulless like that stockman. What side are you on?"

Senya swallowed a cricket in his throat, turning to face Valina as they reached the bottom of the stairs. He heard squealing and wet kissing sounds coming from the kitchen, and tried to ignore the faint tinglings this aroused in him, the longing to rejoin the pack. "I don't know enough about this," he said, voice shaking slightly, "but I... I believe you, Valina. So... for now, I guess I'll follow your lead."

"Always following." The catgirl's voice was mocking, but also contained a note Senya wasn't sure he recognized. Was it fondness? Or something darker? "You can't be passive forever, you know. You will have to do something. Have to make a choice."

"Doing nothing is a choice, too," Senya said with flippancy he didn't feel as they came to the basement door.

"Is it yours?" Mommy asked, twirling a bit of silver hair around her finger.

Senya glanced between the two fey, then, with a shiver, reached for the basement door.

"I don't think so. But it's been a while since I've gotten a choice about anything. I... I think I'm going to think this one out."


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