Preface: Greetings, all! This story is the sequel to “What You Don’t Know,” also located on this site, although it features a mostly-different cast of characters. This particular work is long enough to be broken into chapters, however. Like its predecessor, this story is slightly dark at times, though, as always, I prefer happy endings. The main monstergirl in this work is an orc, though it features many, many others in various roles, including a dullahan, goblins, an alraune, a cyclops, and many, many others. There is indeed sexual content in this story, eventually, so know that will be coming before the story’s end.
And, to conclude with a standard disclaimer: The monster girls featured in this tale, and many elements of the setting, are based off of the works of Kenkou Cross, and as such this work is intended to be a tribute to his creativity. The characters, however, are my own. Pray neither sue nor steal; I have very little to take, but I love that which is mine.
Chapter 1 – Monster in the Bedroom
When Roger Miralis opened his eyes, he knew that he was not alone. There was a monster in his bedroom.
He could see next to nothing, the indolent dawn sunlight scarcely drifting past the thick blinds of the bedchamber. No, it was his ears that had alerted him to the presence of the figure looming over him; the hastened, excited breaths that raced far enough to dance across his cheek, the rustling of his sheets as a questing hand navigated their labyrinthine twists, the soft creak of protest from the bedframe under the weight of a knee as his expectant assailant leaned in closer. Roger felt the tension hang thick in the air like dense fog, a moment stretched thin waiting for the inevitable pounce.
“Good morning, Priscilla.”
The figure above him jerked as if it had been shocked. The bedframe creaked in relief as she straightened, chuckling in self-conscious faux-innocence. “Oh, you’re awake! I was worried you were going to oversleep again, so I was going to wake you up.”
“Mm-hmm.” Roger sat up in bed, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as Priscilla swiftly moved to open the blinds, the kindling sunlight flowing into the room like oil. His unusual roommate ignored the blatant suspicion in his utterance, instead busying herself with straightening her sheets, her curled tail bobbing in time with her movements. He didn’t have the heart so early in the morning to remind her that she was hardly disconnected from his fitful rest; her snoring was prodigious, and in her sleep she tended to wrestle the bed so ferociously that, on at least one occasion, she had launched her pillow into the nearby hall. It made him glad that her bed was across the room from his, though, he noted with some trepidation, it seemed to scoot a few inches closer each day.
Still, he silently chastised himself, it wasn’t entirely her fault. Just like him, his new orc roommate was more used to living alone.
“I’ll be out for most of the day today,” Roger announced, swinging his legs free from the entrapping sheets and resting them on the cool floor. “Just need to pick up supplies from Mari and Rosa’s shops, enough to last through the week. You can hang the sign if you want to go out; I should be back sometime after lunch.”
“Alright,” she responded, uncertainly. He didn’t doubt that her concern was more towards the specific shops that he was visiting than the fact that he didn’t trust her to run the store in his absence. That was hardly her fault; after all, being a mere novice who could hardly tell foxsglove from feverfew meant she had little business running a chemist’s shop. Instead, she was likely more concerned that the shopkeeps he had mentioned were both single monsters, not that such mattered to him.
“I’ll go visit Bronda, then,” she announced disconsolately, her porcine ears drooping against her pale brown hair. He watched her walk towards the hall with concern, her uneven gait much improved over the past week and a half, though still worrisome enough.
“Will you be alright to walk that far?” he asked, hardly surprised when her next couple of steps emphasized her limp. She turned back towards him, examining her injured leg with exaggerated diligence.
“I should be okay; the poultice you’ve been applying has kept the swelling down, and it doesn’t hurt as much as it did a few days ago. Still…” her eyes flicked toward him under her drooping bangs, “It might help to change the bandages and rub on fresh salve…”
“I have time to do that, at least,” Roger conceded, and she happily rushed to plop down onto his bed while he stood to gather the supplies he would need to tend to her wounds. It took a jaunt downstairs, to the store’s main room, to gather the materials he was searching for, and he soon fell into a familiar rhythm as he collected them. Each day he had repeated this ritual, washing and dressing her wounded leg, watching it heal over the weeks that had passed since the incident that had brought them together in the first place.
As he returned to the bedroom, he found her sprawled on his bed, her face flushed as she nuzzled his pillow, inhaling deeply. She sat up with a blush, and he said nothing, merely busying himself with the jars of medicine as he fought the heat in his own cheeks. She mutely presented her leg, and he followed his now-familiar routine, checking the fading bruises, now green and yellow, and searching the shallowing cuts for the redness of infection. As a chemist, his training had veered more towards the medical than the experimental, and treating wounds of this caliber had only been a challenge in the days right after he had first pulled her from his cart and laid her down on the floor of his shop, her blood staining his clothing.
His inspection and treatment quickly completed, he bound the wounds once more, protecting them from the dirt and grime she would face outside his home. She offered him her usual smile and gratitude, and he nodded, reminding her he would be back after lunch. He quickly headed downstairs, knowing his tasks would take long enough that he could hardly tarry if he wanted to return in time to complete the customers’ orders he had yet to fill. Still, he paused just before the door leading out of his shop, his eyes passing over his shelves packed with jars and vials, a sight familiar yet one that felt remarkably changed over the course of just a few weeks. How different would it be once she left, and this place was his alone once more?
He tried to remember what it had felt like before, but instead he could only remember the day things had changed drastically for them both.
“Your money and your life.”
Roger sighed as he looked up at the figure standing in the middle of the narrow mountain path. His eyes and focus had been on the ground before him as he had struggled to avoid muddy potholes or rain-loosened rocks that could upset the heavily-laden cart he pulled behind him, so he had forgotten all of the warnings the townspeople had given him about the bandits that preyed on travelers in this region. As he stopped his cart, his hand slipped to the cudgel he had concealed under his thick cloak, though he had little confidence that he could use it to fend off anything more ferocious than an aggrieved kitten.
Unsurprisingly, the woman ahead of him was an orc. Many of the travelers who frequented his friend Mithal’s tavern had warned of a band of orcish bandits that had recently settled in the mountains and fleeced any merchants they chanced upon. For that reason, all of the men of Goslar had sworn to avoid that road, even though it was the easiest route to the nearest town of Glockensburg, leaving such travel to their monstrous neighbors. Unfortunately, Roger’s haste had won over his caution, and he had decided that the recent heavy rains would be enough to keep any brigands in their lairs. Apparently not.
It was surprising, however, that the orc confronting him was alone. He had heard that the bandits moved as a pack, led by a ferocious high orc. Her armor, too, looked poorly-kept, scarcely more than frayed leather straps and a few mismatched pieces, and the pale skin it largely left bare was dirty, as was the pale brown hair matted by mud to her head. The weapon she extended towards him was similarly filthy and unkempt, little more than a rough melon-sized rock tied to a heavy stick with leather bonds, but he had few illusions it was any less dangerous than the smooth-sanded cudgel he was fumbling to slip from his belt.
“Ah ah, you don’t want to make this difficult,” she warned, her eyes gleaming dangerously. “Just give up and come with me, and bring the stuff in the cart.” She glanced curiously around him, trying to discern what could be hidden under the lumpy tarp that had shielded the cart from rain. “What do you have in there, anyways? Is it food?” The desperation of the second question was underscored by an echoing rumble from her stomach.
“Listen, I don’t have anything that would be of use to you,” he responded honestly. “It’s just alchemical catalysts and herbs that-”
“You listen!” she bellowed, taking a threatening step forward. Her progress was interrupted as a rock fell from the steep cliff wall above them and bounced across the path towards the ravine on the other side, followed by a deep rumbling that was more terrestrial than intestinal.
In retrospect, Roger admitted to himself, the men in the tavern had also warned him about rockslides, but he hadn’t listened to that either.
He watched, paralyzed, as larger and larger stones cascaded onto the path, falling just behind the orc, then where she had just been, but she was rushing forward-
Roger was sent tumbling back by the collision, upending his cart and sending delicate glassware crashing to the ground in a shattering cacophony that was mostly muted by the roaring thunder of falling stones. That was over almost as immediately as it had started, a few clattering rocks echoing through the deafening silence as Roger struggled to regain his feet, pushing off his toppled cart. The ringing in his ears was the worst he had suffered, but he hadn’t been the closest to the rockslide.
A short distance away, at the edge of the rubble and where Roger had just been standing, lay the orc. Fortunately most of the rocks had rolled on past the path, but a heap of them lay atop one of her legs, while others were casually strewn atop and beside her. Her unconscious groaning announced that she had survived, but he could already see thin blood beginning to seep into the sodden dirt of the road.
She had, just moments before, attempted to rob him, and worse. Roger had grown up in one of the great barrier cities in a family well-connected to the Church of the Holy Martyr, so he had been well-educated on the fate of those taken by orcs. Had the rockslide not interrupted, he likely would already have been well on his way to her cave home, where he would suffer abuse and slavery for the rest of his short, brutal life. Anyways, she may have pushed him clear of the falling rocks, but he had no way of knowing if she had meant to, or if she had merely been trying to save herself and just ran into him. He would be better off to just leave her where she was and get as far away as he could before she woke up, just in case.
And still he found himself kneeling beside her, pulling the rubble from her body, throwing the stones clear. He quickly freed her leg, finding that swelling had begun to bloat her ankle and bruises were already spreading like spilled ink, though thankfully no bones appeared to be broken. He dashed back to the cart, yanking the tarp free and using a broken vial to start a tear in it. He could at least bind some of the more serious gashes, but he couldn’t clean the abrasions here. Were he in his shop, he would have medicines for poultices, ways to wash the wounds, but here he had nothing. His shop was back in Goslar, over two hours away, and he knew he couldn’t just leave her there while he went and returned – night would fall soon enough, and she would be completely defenseless in the meantime, nevermind the possibility of another rockslide.
The thought of more stones tumbling down to bury her wrung viciously at Roger’s stomach as he bound her worst cuts, and he knew there was only one thing he could do, as absurd as it was. Even if her wounds were treated, she would not be walking easily on that leg for a while, and she had looked to be in bad enough shape from the instant he had first seen her. He knew his sleep would be tormented forever if he left a girl, monster or no, in the wilds to starve, or be prey for wolves, or to be deformed by infection. No, he had to take her with him to Goslar.
He couldn’t imagine how he would answer the questions of the guards outside the town. Monsters were as common to Goslar as human men, but orcs in particular were rare, considering their ill reputations. He couldn’t imagine what he would do with her after he treated her wounds, considering he could hardly send her back into the wilderness immediately. He couldn’t even imagine what would happen when she woke up, though he feared it might involve her resuming her earlier intentions.
It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t leave her there alone.
He gingerly inspected her leg again, making certain as best he could that it was not broken. Feeling sure enough to risk it, he returned to his cart and righted it, scooping up the shattered vials and casting them into the ravine, leaving a bed of now-commingled herbs at the bottom of the cart. He returned to her side, stooping and gingerly lifting her from the mud, staggering a bit as he carried her back and laid her in the cart. As he secured her leg as best he could, he noticed with a blush that her attire had been dislocated by his efforts, one prodigiously-large breast freed from the leather strap that had bound it in place. With a virgin’s exaggerated delicacy, he reached out to adjust the strap, brushing against her smooth, firm flesh with his knuckles and thoroughly embarrassing himself. “Sorry, sorry,” he muttered as he fought to force the restraint over her nipple, his cheeks flaring incandescently. When he had succeeded only enough for it to remain in place for a moment more, he turned from that task and took his place again at the handles of his cart, trying to force uncomfortable thoughts and fleeting-yet-intense sensations from his mind.
The path was clear enough for him to make it past the fallen rocks with a certain amount of weaving and delicate balancing, so it took him only a brief while to resume his previous pace, even though he was more encumbered than before. As the path began to slope downward, he knew he would soon be back on familiar streets, and hope began to flutter in his chest. Maybe this could work out; after all, in the middle of the crowded mining town, she could hardly assault and abduct him. Surely he would be safe from attack within the confines of his own home.
Shaking his head, he pressed himself onward even as his muscles began to burn, uncertain what his actions would lead to yet determined to see his course through anyways.
The dawning sun was still struggling to ascend over the eastern hills, and already the wide streets of Goslar were bustling. This didn’t surprise Roger overmuch; he had only come to the mining town in the past year, but in that time he had learned that work there rarely ever stopped. Miners were accustomed to living somewhat disconnected from the whims of the sun, which they usually only saw en route to their homes and their way back to work, or on the days they had off. Working as a miner in Goslar was prosperous enough for the luxury of resting days; considering the steady stream of ores flowing from the iron and silver mines in the mountains ringing the town, most of the workers enjoyed a stable income, and that wealth spread to those who offered service to the miners, himself included.
He was in particular appreciative of the business he had been getting recently from miners working the later shifts. While many of them came from monster races that were nocturnal, others struggled to adjust to that schedule, and so his shop had seen a steady stream of customers seeking a way to sleep through the sunshine hours. His supply of soporifics had started to dwindle, which was the cause behind one of the day’s errands: a visit to a nearby herbalist who provided the components for his most-used recipes.
Both she and the other shopkeeper he intended to visit were monsters, like most of the female inhabitants of Goslar. This was a fact he still had difficulty adjusting to, considering how different it was from the city he had grown up in. His family had been prominent in one of the great barrier cities, and the magical barriers ringing them naturally repelled all monsters, so he had only seen orcs and goblins and such creatures in books while he had lived there. He supposed their presence here was part of the very freedom that had drawn him away from his family’s estate and from what his parents and brothers considered civilization. His parents, were they still alive, would be horrified to see him living among such ‘savages,’ and he would only sometimes admit to himself that that thought pleased him. The notion that he would be cohabitating with one of them, no matter how innocent it was for him, would have made them disown him, even before his eldest brothers had forced him away from their inheritance.
Things were different here in Goslar than what he had been raised to expect, he was forced to admit to himself. He had always heard that monsters had an innate drive to attack humanity, stemming from ancient times when they had been created to prey upon civilization, before they had all been changed into more human-like female forms in the days of the Holy Martyr. Here, though, they seemed little different from their human neighbors; they ran businesses, struck up friendly conversations with their neighbors, even married human men in the town’s humble chapel. Roger would admit that he had been harassed more than a few times by monsters, but never physically; instead, it tended more towards lewd propositions that sent him fleeing with a blush.
Roger slipped past strolling miners returning to their homes and bustling hawkers setting up their stands for the day’s trade, turning down the street that led away from the foundries and forges that fed on the unearthed ore carted down from the mountains and produced weapons and armor that would be sold around the continent, even to the Church of the Holy Martyr. Instead, he headed into a more commercial district, home to grocers and cobblers and other tradesmen. It was one such building he was making his way towards, a plain-faced single-story shop, sooty from ash that fell constantly from the smithies down the road, with windows that displayed brightly-painted wares.
Clay chimes rang out as he opened the door into the store, and a cheery voice responded with similar tones. “My, a customer, so early?” Roger scanned the shop for its proprietor, his eyes running over crowds of jars and pots of infinite sizes and shapes, before finally spotting a shock of red hair peeking above the tall counter. He tracked its progress until its owner arrived at what he presumed to be a set of stairs leading to a platform that allowed the store’s owner to gaze above her counter.
The face that popped over the counter was childish in many ways: the size and the shape and the unrestrained smile. The devilishness twinkling in her green eyes, however, was evidence that she had nefarious goals in mind, but such was typical for Mari Muckflinger, goblin proprietess of ‘Pots and Stuff.’ He had met her early during his stay in Goslar, and quickly found her to be the most reliable potter and ceramist in town, which was important to someone who went through as many vials and jars as he. Her craftwork more than made up for her craftiness, he had decided, though sometimes he revisited that choice, especially during visits when she had a gleam in her eyes like the one she wore now.
“So, if it isn’t my favorite potionboy! How’s it going?” Her too-sharp teeth shone in the light that fought to penetrate the dusty air. “Come for more vials, or something else? Love advice, maybe? More piggy-business than pottery?”
Roger rolled his eyes, shaking his head. She was even more energetic than usual, and it was first thing in the morning. “I came for the shipment of stoppered glass bottles, and to check on the delayed-release diffusers we discussed a month ago.”
“Oh, yeah, those toys! I left them around here somewhere.” She hopped down from the platform, rustling around in containers concealed behind the counter. “They’re in a box about this big. They might be out in the store somewhere, help me look.”
He didn’t have the heart to tell her that he had no way of seeing how big ‘this big’ was over the counter that separated them, nor that his diffusers were hardly toys, but possibly the next big thing in sleep aids. Instead, he began to fruitlessly search, checking inside vases and around jugs, all but lost in the store’s maze of aisles. How she or any customer were supposed to find anything in such chaos was a mystery to him, but it hardly surprised him that Mari had trouble stopping her creative impulses long enough for buyers to catch up with her supply.
A chill ran up his spine as he passed one particularly-large jar that stood to his waist, and his ears perked at the sound of the wooden lid scraping on the ceramic surface. “It’s in here,” whispered a baleful voice from within. He glanced back, and swore he could see the unnatural shine of amber eyes peering at him from the shadows of the jar. “Check inside, and you will see that what you seek is here.”
“No it isn’t,” he replied flatly, continuing on without hesitation.
“I promise. Hey, come back. I swear, just look inside, and-”
“Djennifer, get out here and help us look for his toy-doodad things!” Mari bellowed from somewhere deep within a storage room nearby. The only response was the sound of the jar’s wooden lid sliding back into place.
“Wasn’t she in a jug by the window last week?” Roger asked, still looking for any box that showed signs of having been moved in the past year, though it seemed absolutely everything in the store was inevitably coated in a thick layer of clay dust from Mari’s backroom workshop.
“She moves whenever I decide I want her to work to pay rent,” Mari explained absently. “You’d think a jinn would appreciate living in a place like this, but nooo.”
“You keep trying to sell me,” hissed Djennifer’s voice from, Roger could swear, a completely different jar.
“Then you could bother someone else’s customers! I mean-, wait, I know where I left it!” Mari proclaimed loudly, her pattering footsteps racing back towards the counter. She bounded back up the stairs to her platform, and reached for a box atop the counter, not far removed from where she had started her search. Throwing open the lid, she quickly fished out a small, fist-sized clay ball. “What do you think? Aren’t I awesome?”
Roger walked quickly to the counter, accepting the object from her. Much like his specifications, the diffuser was small and unobtrusive, with four vents atop its rounded surface. The bottom was flat enough to allow it to rest on a table easily, and a seam ran horizontally around the circumference. Gripping the two halves, he twisted, and it split along the seam, the top half coming free to reveal mechanical components. He scanned over the pieces, smiling to himself as he did so. It was perfect.
“Sooo… whaddya think, hunh? Is it diffusery enough for you?” Mari demanded, preening for compliments.
“You’re the best, Mari,” he responded, so giddy he reached out and mussed her wild red mane. “If the components my friend sent me work, then this will be perfect. I’m going to be selling so many of these here that you won’t have time to make anything else!”
She giggled at his uncharacteristic glee. “Told you I was the best in town. There’s nine more in the box, like you ordered. Of course…” Her voice losing its elation and turning towards regret, she shrugged, shaking her head helplessly. “It did take more time than I had expected; those metal bits are really hard to fit in perfectly. I’ll have to raise the price on this batch a bit to compensate for lost time, unless…” She trailed off, her face a mask of perfect casualness.
Roger raised his eyebrow. “Unless?”
“Well, I mean, you could help me out in some other way. You don’t have to, but…”
Were these words coming from any other monster, Roger would have felt decidedly uncomfortable. He had grown accustomed to Mari’s eccentricities, however, and knew exactly what she was seeking, and despite the betrayal it entailed, he was willing to pay her price. “So what do you want? Information, or for me to mention you at lunch today?”
“Both!” The words exploded out of her mouth, and those following matched their pace. “I mean, my sister Meri has already started working with him, and Muri is making new kettles for him, and he sees Mori every day since she’s a grocer. I just need an idea about something I could make to get his attention, you know? But mentioning me would be nice. Only good things! I want to be his favorite!”
Roger chuckled, silently whispering an apology in his head to his friend Mithal. His friend had taken on a job as the cook for one of the busier inn-and-taverns in town, and was attempting to save up for his own restaurant. Somehow along the way, he had attracted the attention of Mari and her sisters, and now the goblins were in the midst of a vicious sibling war over who could claim the chef first. Mari had once explained that they were less particular about the order after that, though Roger had swiftly changed the subject, not wanting to imagine how much trouble his friend was in for.
“I don’t know… I would hate to ruin his trust in me…”
“The price we agreed on, for all of them from now on, no additional labor,” Mari countered.
“I mean, he is one of my only human friends in this town…”
“I’ll throw in a free pot,” Mari offered, pointing to a towering clay jar. The lid extended enough for a tongue to extend out, accompanied by an echoing rude sound. Roger directed a flat stare at Mari in response, internally wondering how she could always find the jinn, and Mari shrugged. “It was worth a shot.” She sighed deeply, shaking her head in defeat. “Half off the price of your next order of vials.”
It wasn’t a huge victory, but it was enough for Roger to finally win one over the canny goblin merchant. “He really likes swans. He said, when he finally gets his own restaurant, he wants to have a swan motif to make it look more high-class.”
“Mooo…teef…” Mari repeated, her brow scrunched as she tasted the unfamiliar word.
“Decorations. He wants swan decorations.”
“Oh! I can do that!” Mari cried triumphantly. “Swans, though. Those are the long-necked duck things, right?”
Roger forcibly restrained a snicker at the exuberant goblin’s expense. “That’s right. Just make a long-necked duck, and you’ve got it.”
“Yeah!” Lights twinkled in Mari’s eyes as she immediately lost herself in imagining what grand creations she could gift Mithal with, and what his reaction would be. It was when she began laughing in a low, ominous tone, lost in her own fantasies, that Roger knew it was time to leave. He dropped his payment on the counter and promised to return later for the other items, and hefted the box of diffusers under his arm as he headed for the door, wishing both the goblin and the jinn a good day while carefully dodging the hand that reached out of a jug near the entrance to pinch at his rear.
As Roger stepped out into the now-brilliant sunlight, he braced himself for the long journey ahead of him. His next stop was well outside of the town’s confines, at the edge of a forested glade that had persisted despite the logging efforts that had fed the growing town’s need for lumber. He knew that carrying Mari’s box all of that distance would be tiresome, so he decided to swing back by his own shop to drop it off, wondering if Priscilla had already left for Bronda’s smithy.
He was so focused on his next destination that he paid little attention to the other people passing him on the street, ignoring the lumbering ore cart rolling past, the werewolf haggling with the lamia selling meat at a roadside stand, even the cluster of armored knights riding past, carrying amongst them a banner that bore the icon of the Holy Order of the Purifiers.
Continued in “Not Alone, Chapter 2“
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading this far into the second of my Monster Girl Encyclopedia tales! As noted in the preface, this story is long enough to be divided into chapters. As I have something of a head start on composing this tale, with 6 chapters already written and proofread, I will be posting a chapter every couple of days until I am caught up; I apologize for spamming.
For the background behind this story’s creation: after “What You Don’t Know” sat, mostly lost to me, in the archives of MonsterGirlUnlimited, I had given little thought to writing its sequel, even though I kept up with the Encyclopedia. One day recently, however, as I was forced to proctor a state examination at the high school I teach at, with all of the dreadful lengthy periods of silence that entails, inspiration struck, and I spent my silence with ideas whirling through my head, until this story solidified as a storyboard quickly scrawled following lunch. Some of my greatest works have come in such bursts of creativity, so I decided to fling myself at finishing this tale, and have made good progress since. I can only pray to continue along such tracks, and, if so, this work should be done in short order, being no longer than nine or ten chapters in total. At least, thus I predict…
Anyways, I thank you again for listening to my blathering, both here and in the story above, and hope I have earned your readership for the chapters yet to come. If you did enjoy, pray let me know; commentary, whatever its content, inspires me to the keys like nothing else, and I deeply appreciate it.
Forgive me, though. I have only recently stirred from my slumber, but my eyes hang heavy, and I need to nap some more. Now, I must sleep…