A Hill Where Love Grows
Translated from the Japanese by OtherSideofSky (othersideofskytranslations.blogspot.com)
The eyelid-piercing light of morning shook him awake.
Sunshine poured down into the room out of the blue sky without regard for the thin curtains, dispelling the dark. Outside the window, birds chirped their joy at the beginning of a new day.
Inside the room, however, it was still cool. Possibly some of the night air still lingered there. It was well past dawn, but still early. Most of the townsfolk would still be in dreamland. And while some might be awake, hardly any could be properly active yet. It's just that hard to overcome one's attachment to a warm blanket.
It was no different for this young man, lying here in his bed. He stirred under the sheets and let out a groan. He was awake, but his eyes were still closed. He groaned again, and pulled the covers over his head, like an insect that hates the bright sunlight. Once his head was covered, a warm softness enveloped his body. The young man let out a contented sigh, and abandoned himself to the bed once more.
His cheeks slackened with contentment as he let himself doze. He felt something springy, yet soft and gentle, pressed against them. It was giving him peace, tempting him into a deep slumber. He felt like he was falling forever, but there was no unease. On the contrary, he felt safe and secure. Just as the young man was about to fall completely back to sleep, however, an odd sound reached his ears. It sounded like someone breathing deeply in their sleep.
It was puzzling. A doubt emerged in a corner of his brain and began to grow, pushing aside his drowsiness. At the same time, a sense that something was out of place — which he hadn't minded earlier — came to the forefront. He was lying face up, so his pillow ought to be under his head, but this springy fluffiness was on either side of it. And he was sure his usual pillow wasn't this big.
"And was that cheap pillow ever this soft?" he muttered, shifting his head. As he did so, the odd sound came again. The doubt continued to grow.
Wait a minute. I feel like I remember hearing that sound somewhere be...
Before the young man's waking mind could come up with an answer, something lukewarm brushed his cheek. He let out a cry of surprise, but whatever it was didn't seem to mind; it came back for another pass. For a moment he panicked, but he soon realized that there was nothing hostile about the way it touched him, and regained some composure. Besides, he had a feeling that he remembered the soft touch on his skin, as well as the sound.
The young man slowly let out his breath, relaxed his mind, and opened his eyes. All the tension went out of his body; he felt foolish for having felt it in the first place. In front of his eyes, so close that their noses were almost touching, was the face of a girl happily rubbing her cheek against his.
He sighed, and looked at the girl lying beside him. Shut eyes adorned with long lashes, softly curved cheeks, a slightly downturned nose and a little mouth. She was breathing peacefully in her sleep. The description "truly adorable" fit her perfectly.
The girl's most notable, however, was her hair, and the wool that covered her body, shining pale gold in the sunlight. A pair of large, curled, sectional horns emerged from amid her hair. The ears that peeked out of it were, likewise, shaped just like those of a sheep.
"...Merry. I knew it."
"Merry" was the name of the sleeping girl snuggled up beside him. She was another of the house's residents. As her appearance suggested, she was not a human, but a beastman with the characteristics of a sheep — a type of monster known as a weresheep.
"What am I supposed to do with you, sneaking into other people's beds practically every morning? Honestly..."
The young man stared at Merry with a look of resignation, and prodded her cheek. The weresheep girl twitched her ears at that, and let out a little moan, but she showed no sign of waking up. Deep sleeping was another weresheep characteristic. They were always, and once they did fall asleep, they didn't wake easily. It was partly due to the sleep magic in their wool.
"At least it looks like she's having a nice dream."
"Ehehe... More..." Merry muttered in her sleep, as if in answer to the young man's words. She rubbed his cheek again, still wearing a blissful look on her face. Then, as if to say that that wasn't enough, she rubbed her whole body against his, and held on tight. The bed was narrow, so, naturally, they ended up pressed close against each other. The young man felt the pressure of two bulges, which asserted themselves in spite of their fluffy covering. His cheeks reddened. The touch of Merry's full breasts made him wonder vaguely if this was what was meant by "sleep makes a child grow."
Be that as it may, he couldn't stay like this forever. If he didn't get up soon, it would get in the way of his work on the farm. He'd gone to the trouble of waking up early, so he wanted to avoid wasting time.
"I want to, but as things are..." The young man muttered, unable to extricate himself from the tight embrace. He let out another sigh.
"Mmm... You got me..."
Merry was a sleepyhead at the best of times. It would be a while yet before she woke up. Besides, when he saw her looking so happy, he couldn't help feeling that waking her would be a bit of a shame. Of course, part of that was also his desire to enjoy more of the comfort of her touch. The young man was briefly at Merry's mercy, agonizing over what to do, but not actually doing anything. It was then that another doubt suddenly rose in the back of his mind.
"Come to think of it, Merry being here means..." He started to wonder aloud to himself. At almost the same time, another sound — not from Merry — came from right by his ear.
Even that little sound was enough to make him half certain. Quietly prying loose Merry's clinging limbs, the young man slowly turned his head to look at the side the voice had come from. He saw what he had expected to see. A bit of wry humor crept into his voice.
"I see you're here too, Riko."
Next to him, on the opposite side from Merry, was the face of a girl puffing up her cheeks and glaring at him reproachfully. Riko. She was cute in spite of her expression, but it only took a glance to see that she wasn't human. Like Merry, she was a monster. To be more precise, this girl called Riko was a monster with the characteristics of a cow called a holstaur. The most visible proofs were the furry ears — patterned with black spots on a white ground — peeking through her hair, and the little, pale-yellow horns that parted her short bob. Incidentally, her breasts, although they were currently hidden from sight by the covers, were even larger than Merry's. That was another characteristic of the holstaur species.
...They sure are something.
The young man remembered the times he'd touched them, and his face grew even redder. Riko, meanwhile, was making no attempt to hide her displeasure as she stared at the young man. He stared back, but It made him feel just a little uncomfortable.
"Don't glare like that."
The drooping jade-green eyes beneath her characteristically white-and-black hair wavered. There was something gentle about her features that reassured anyone who saw her. Now, however, there were faint tears pricking in the corners of her eyes, and the corners of her lovely mouth downturned in a frown.
"B, but..." Riko muttered, pouting. She was normally as calm and gentle as she looked, but her expression tended to get serious when it came to this young man. Especially when Merry was involved. Apparently she felt something like jealousy toward the weresheep, who, despite being a latecomer to the household, was always snatching the best moments for herself.
"Oh, don't cry first thing in the morning. Come on."
The young man roughly scratched his own head, then gently brushed Riko's tears.
Riko seemed taken aback for an instant, but soon she smiled. The effect was like a flower blooming.
"Hey," she wheedled, "do you mind if I hug you?"
"Sure. Go ahead."
No sooner had the young man given his permission than she squirmed up to him under the blanket, and wrapped her arms and legs around him. She was now squeezing him for the opposite side as Merry.
"Honestly. Talk about calculating. A certain somebody who was crying a moment ago is all smiles now."
"Tee hee hee."
Riko disregarded the young man's exasperation, and squeezed even tighter. Her tail was almost certainly wagging under the covers.
"Mmm... I just can't get enough of this."
Riko wriggled herself even closer. Her body heat reached him even through her clothes and fur. It was a comfortable warmth, in a different sense from the warmth of the blanket.
On the other hand, the young man could feel his face rapidly reddening. The barely-contained teats Riko was shoving against him were the cause. The sensation of her springy breasts pressing on him gave him almost violent pleasure. He was in danger of losing his reason. In fact, any normal man would embrace his primitive instincts in the face of that.
"I get it, but..." The young man muttered, feeling the ample chest that could almost be called the proof of a holstaur's identity.
I see. Her milk must be so delicious because it comes from these breasts, the young man thought, half avoiding reality. Just then, something soft pressed against his back. The sensation resembled Riko's breasts, but it was subtly different.
He turned his head to look, wondering, and there was Merry, cuddled up against him. Unusually for the lackadaisical weresheep, her expression was pouty. Merry glared at the young man, making a soft noise like a fretting infant. Apparently she'd sensed the other two flirting, and woken up. A shade of reproach could be seen in her now-open eyes.
"Just Riko's no fair! Me too! Me too!" Merry demanded, pouting, and hugged the young man as well. Soft wool enveloped him, and weresheep man soaked his body, lulling him to sleep. A sense of comfort filled him, like, and yet unlike, the one Riko gave him.
"Hey! No cheating! Just look at me, dear."
Riko, seeing the young man's eyelids droop, put a hand on his cheek, and gently turned his face back toward her. His eyes widened in surprise as she smiled, and pressed her lips to his cheek.
"Hey! I want a lick too."
Merry, who had been forced to watch the scene at close quarters, reacted fiecely.
"No. Kissing is just for me," Riko declared. She hugged the young man's head, and busied herself intently running her tongue over his cheek.
"Mmm... Dear, you're so... mph... tasty."
Riko stared at Merry as she announced triumphantly, her cheeks flushed. Merry, in contrast, stared back with a mixture of jealousy and just a little vexation on her face.
"Oh... Fine then!" Merry muttered. She had been watched what Riko was doing for a little while, but now released her hold on the young man, and slipped under the covers as well.
The young man wasn't sure what Merry intended to do, but he soon found out. Once Merry had wormed her way in under the covers, she pulled down his pyjama pants.
"Hey, wait! What do you think you're doing, Merry?"
Riko broke off her kisses at the young man's sudden panic.
"Wait, you can't... Hey!"
Merry, however, would not hear his call for restraint, and shoved her hand further into his underclothes. He soon found himself remorselessly stripped of his underpants as well. The young man frowned with the unease and embarrassment of being half naked, even under the blankets. He soon guessed her aim, however, and opened his mouth to shout that it was out of the question.
"You can't be... Wait! Stop tha... Oo...!"
The words the young man had been trying to speak were cut short by the pleasure that coursed through his body.
He felt something warm touch and crawl over his other self. Its sticky progress from the root to the tip of his pole made him tremble.
"Ah! Merry! Don't do that!"
Riko guessed what was happening from the change in the young man and yanked off the blanket, but her shouted reprimand was too late. Under the covers, the weresheep was already sucking on his penis with glazed eyes, holding it in her mouth and running her tongue over it.
"Mmm... Ah... I love thish..."
It appeared that a slight touch of the young man's member had been all it took to send Merry into full arousal. She continued her caresses with fingers and tongue while letting out feverish moans. Every touch of her silky fingers and soft wool on his sensitive organ ran through the young man's body like an electric shock.
"Mph... Slurp... Sho tashty..."
Every time the young man let out a groan, the weresheep's ears swayed so as not to miss a sound. Merry went on sucking his member with a look of heartfelt bliss.
Riko was too shocked to do anything but stare dumbfounded at the indecent scene unfolding before her eyes. At last, however, her shoulders began to tremble.
"Rrrr... F-Fine, then; me too!"
She suddenly looked up and declared her refusal to give in to her rival. Before she finished speaking, Riko was lined up beside Merry and extending her tongue toward the young man's cock.
"You too, Riko? Hey, wait a... Ah...!"
The two monstergirls competed with each other to service his cock. The pleasure they brought about more than doubled, growing seemingly without limit. The young man was no longer capable of resistance.
The girls seemed to realize that, because a note of triumph entered their bliss as they licked and sucked. They looked like female beasts in heat, fully deserving of being called monsters.
"Ah, mmm, mph..."
"Slurp... Mph... Ahn..."
The young man's cries echoed at the growing intensity of their activities. It looked like it would be another lively day.
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
The hoe, swung with a shout, sunk into the earth with a gratifying noise.
He gripped the handle with greater force and dug up the surface of the ground, exposing damp soil. Earthworms, dislodges from their comfortable situations, wriggled away in panic.
The young man felt a little apologetic toward them, but went on turning the earth into a fine ridge. He repeated the operation and before long reached the edge of the edge of the field, where he paused to wipe his sweat and let out a sigh.
He turned around, leaning his weight on the hoe as if it was a walking stick. Behind him, the soil was piled into a row of more than a dozen neat hillocks. It wasn't much compared to the big farms, but he had made a decently sized field. A field on a gentle slope partway up a hillside. Combined with his efforts on previous days, he had finally had it ready to grow crops.
"Yeah, this'll do."
Nodding in satisfaction at the fruits of his day's labor, the young man surveyed the field.
Of course, this wasn't the end. On the contrary, after all his efforts, this was finally the starting point. He would need to put in still more time and labor before it became like the adjacent field, thick with verdant leaves.
The first step was to sow the seeds. He could grow ordinary vegetables for eating, but it might also be a good idea to take advantage of this being a monster realm and grow a little more of the local "specialties." The crops favored by monsters fetched a high price for their excellent flavor and nutritional value, or as ingredients in drugs or tools.
"Hmm... What should it be?"
He already had fruits growing elsewhere, and this was a field, anyway, so something more suited to the place—vegetables, for instance—would be better. Herbs or mint might also be work.
Now that he thought of it, he had heard about a strain of mint that was popular among monsters from a merchant of his acquaintance. He had a feeling the merchant had said something about starting to stock up on it, so it might be interesting to ask for more information next time they met.
"Anyway, I can't take a break forever."
The young man roused himself, finished his rest and walked off with the hoe over his shoulder. He had a mountain of other things to do. He had to make a circuit of the other fields and maintain them. They were frankly short of hands, so he wanted to get as much of the inspection done in the morning as he could.
On top of everything, he had started work later than usual. Mostly because of those two.
"I sure hope they're doing their jobs," the young man muttered, thinking of the holstaur and weresheep.
There was nothing unusual about his asking them to help with field work. Because he'd left the house so late that morning, however, he had entrusted each of them with a different field.
Still, he had only asked them to see to watering and so on, so the work itself wasn't difficult. The tasks were time-consuming, but given time, anyone could do them properly. Or they should be able to, but the young man felt oddly uneasy.
"...I'll go check in on them," he muttered and set off around the hill, shaking his head. Going by order of proximity, he turned his feet toward the field he had entrusted to Riko first.
"It really is nice and cool in the morning."
It might be later than usual, but a farmer's day still started early. The grass growing by the footpath was wet with dew and traces of night lingered in the chill air. The cool felt good on his body hot from exertion.
Looking down from the hill the fields were on, he could command a view of a gently flowing brook, a forest of dense trees, damp with morning dew, and a little town with rows of brick-roofed buildings. Most of the townspeople must have still been asleep, because the streets were quiet, without a person to be seen. He liked the lively daytime town, but he also enjoyed looking down on the silent morning streets from the hill like this.
Still, when he looked out on the verdant scenery, he found himself forgetting that this was a monster realm.
"To be honest, I couldn't believe it at first."
The young man didn't know all that much about it, but apparently not all "monster realms" were full of eerie, hair-raising scenery, even if they were all called the same thing. There were also plenty of places like this one, which appeared no different from human lands at first glance.
Be that as it may, monster realms were still monster realms. The area was brimming with mana and bore monster realm crops. According to the monsters Riko and Merry, while it might look like a human realm, its livability was entirely different.
It appeared that, walking deep in thought, he had reached his destination without realizing it.
On a gentle slope lower down the hill than the field he had been tilling stood rows of short trees. A few weeds were sprouting on the ground among them, but there was not a fallen leave or bit of waste to be seen and the plot was obviously well cared for.
Looking up while treading the soft earth beneath the trees, bows laden with luxurious foliage and fruit covered the sky. The shafts of sunlight that shone in through gaps in the leaves were dazzling.
He could see white and black hair and a coat with black spots on a white ground moving amid the trees.
"Oh, there she is. Hey, Riko!"
Ears covered in black and white hair pricked up at the young man's cry.
The holstaur girl's face lit up as she turned and caught sight of the young man. Her hands stopped gathering fruit and, still clutching her basket, she approached him at a trot.
"I'm happy to see you. Are you finished over there?"
Riko stared at the young man's face with a smile. There was something happy about the leisurely waving of her thin tail.
"And you went out of your way to come here?"
"To see me?" Riko asked, her eyes shining.
The young man grinned. They had only been split up to work for a few hours, but she looked as happy to see him as if they were long-distance lovers who hadn't met in years.
"That's right. I came to check in on you and make sure you aren't slacking off."
"You're awful. I never slack off."
Riko puffed out her cheeks at the young man's teasing. She lifted the basket at her side and thrust it out toward him. As he peered inside, she proudly declared:
"See? I've been working the whole time."
Inside the basket was a heap of juicy, freshly picked fruit.
The pink "prison fruits" were one of the fruits unique to monster realms. Their soft flesh was visible beneath their skins, which were thin almost to the point of transparency. They were among the best known monster realm produce, popular with women for their beautifying properties even more than for their succulent flavor and high nutritional value. As for what would happen if a human ate one, you should be able to guess that from their name.
"Oh, these are plenty. Great job."
Riko giggled bashfully, but happily, at the young man's words. Her cow ears flapped. She responded to praise like a child. The gap between her appearance and her manner was undeniably charming.
"Well then, we'll send those on later, so leave everything you picked in one place."
"OK," Riko nodded and started carrying her basket off to the hut used for shipping.
She stepped lightly, but the basket loaded with fruit was actually quite heavy. A grown man would have struggled to lift it, but Riko showed no sign of strain. She might look like a woman, but as a monster her physical strength outstripped any humans. On top of that, although the young man had just teased her about "slacking off," Riko was far more dependable than her easygoing attitude would suggest. She did what was asked of her seriously and she was attentive to details. To be honest, the whole farm was more than the young man could manage alone. Her willingness to lend a hand like this was a tremendous help to him.
"Still, I'm a little jealous of her strength," the young man muttered, thinking of how much effort just tilling a field had cost him and contrasting that to how easily Riko handled her basket.
"Well, it's no use dwelling on it," he sighed and shifted his thoughts into other channels.
"Hey," Riko called out to him, still clutching her basket, "there's still more fruit on the trees. Are you sure I shouldn't pick more?"
"I guess..." Riko's words prompted him to examine the nearby fruit trees. He thought for a moment, then nodded. "The shipping people should come by in the afternoon as usual. It would be a waste to leave them until they get too ripe to sell."
"OK, pick a little more. Can I leave it to you?"
The words were barely out of Riko's mouth when she took her now-empty basket and began plucking prisoner fruits off branches. Not only that, she carefully selected fruits from overburdened branches and even spread fertilizer at the roots of less fruitful trees. The brisk manner in which she set about her work was beyond reproach.
"Sorry, but can I ask you to take care of the rest?"
Riko answered the young man without interrupting her work.
As a matter of fact, in the mana-rich earth of a monster realm, crops would grow even if they just sowed seeds and left them to their own devices. No elaborate attentions were required for a harvest. Even so, the quality of crops raised with care and those left to grow wild were as different as heaven and earth. One bite was all it took to make the gap in flavor and nutrition obvious.
"I'll head back to the house once I'm done here, OK?"
The young man waved a hand with Riko's voice at his back. He left the orchard and resumed walking the track that skirted the hill. His thoughts turned to another monster girl.
"Now, I wonder how Merry's getting on..."
Frankly, he wasn't entirely confident about leaving Merry to take care of a field by herself. Still, he'd only asked her to see to the watering and it wasn't such a large field. It shouldn't take her that long, even on her own.
"Even Merry should be fine," the young man told himself as he walked. Making a half-circuit of the hill, he arrived at a field positioned exactly opposite the flower garden.
The field was planted with several crops and rows of lush-leafed vegetables covered its surface. Some stood taller than a grown person, so that he could not spot Merry from outside.
"Deeper in, maybe?" The young man muttered, passing into the field through a gap in the fence. Glancing to the side of the entrance, he could see a little spring. Clear water gushed up, accompanied by the occasional bubble which disturbed the surface.
Incidentally, this spring was artificial; they had asked an elementalist from the town to make it for them when they had made their home and fields here. A little undine dwelt in the spring as its caretaker, and the gushing water never ran dry, even in the worst drought.
"Hm? Where'd that tiny undine go?"
The little undine ordinarily put in an appearance when the young man came by. Today, however, there was no sign of her. Elementals were essentially the natural elements themselves, so she wouldn't normally leave the spring. Where could she have gone?
The young man wondered about the water spirit's absence as he walked on. Ears tipped the rows of vegetable stalks he passed by. He began to hear the sound of splashing water.
"What's going on?"
The young man felt a growing unease as he hurried toward the source of the noise. When he reached it, pushing aside the verdant stalks, the sight of a frantic undine and a weresheep standing stock still with a watering can in her hand leapt to his notice. A puddle that could be mistaken for a small pond had formed on the ground and the droplets that scattered from the watering can were making ripples on its surface.
The young man couldn't suppress a cry at the disaster in front of him.
The agricultural watering can in Merry's hand was fairly large and its capacity was greater than it looked. That entire capacity seemed to have been dumped on the ground, turning that corner of the field into a soggy mess.
The little undine, being a water elemental, must have become unable to bear the situation and left her spring. Sadly, it appeared that all she could do without an elementalist was panic.
"Hey, what the hell is going on here?"
The young man approached the weresheep, taking care not to get his feet stuck in the mud. She still showed no response.
"What in the world do you think you're..."
Merry's unresponsiveness prompted even the young man to take a harsher tone.
Before he finished his sentence, however, he noticed that Merry's head was moving slightly. When he strained his ears, he could hear the sounds of regular breathing.
"Don't tell me she's..."
As if in answer to the young man's unconscious mutter, the tilt of Merry's head grew even more pronounced. An instant later, the weresheep girl gave a start and slowly lifted her eyelids, letting out adorable little groans as she blinked sleepily. The young man could tell at a glance that she had been sleeping on the job. And judging by the amount of water she had spilled, she must have lost to drowsiness almost as soon as she began watering.
"Oh, of course... Still, I'd though I understood about weresheep, what with living together and all."
Merry always looked sleepy and she would indeed nod off if given half a chance. It was no wonder she could fall sound asleep on her feet. He cursed his own carelessness for sending her to work alone in the early morning.
Merry yawned endearingly with a sidelong glance at the dumbfounded young man. It seemed that the cause of the disaster had yet to take in either his thoughts or the scene before her.
Merry looked inquiringly at the young man, who shrugged his shoulders and sighed. He thought of saying something to her, but he no longer had the energy.
"It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
He let out another sigh, then turned his eyes to the weresheep girl. On closer inspection, he could see that water was still dripping from Merry's coat as she stood dazed. She'd probably splashed in on herself while she was dozing.
"Oh man, your wool's soaked."
Ordinary clothes could just be changed out of, but what covered the weresheep wasn't clothes; it was her own wool. She couldn't exactly take it off to dry. She could use mana to make it disappear temporarily, but her getting buck naked in the field would pose its own problems.
"Sorry, but I'm going to leave you to figure that out. I've got to do something about this mess first."
The young man surveyed the sodden field and steeled himself. Fortunately, there was no damage to the crops themselves, so everything should be alright if he could just do something about the water.
"Hmm...? Mess?" Merry repeated, already beginning to doze off again. Judging by her drowsy eyes, her mind was already half in dream land.
The young man pointed to a corner of the field that had escaped the ravages of Merry's watering.
"Listen, Merry. All you have to do is stay somewhere you won't get in the way."
The young man watched Merry trudge off rubbing her eyes, then crouched down and spoke kindly to the little undine, who had watched over the proceedings with an anxious expression.
"I'll take care of the rest. You go home to your spring."
Even after hearing the young man's words, the little elemental still looked around worriedly, but eventually she vanished, presumably back to her spring. She must have wanted to help, because most of the puddle vanished with her, for which he was grateful. Even so, he would still have to shore up the ridges and stalks that had collapsed from the excessive watering by hand.
"Alright then," he muttered resignedly and began repairing the damage closest to hand.
After a while of muddy labor that brought sweat to his brow, the young man finally repaired the last ridge and rose to his feet.
"Well, I managed that somehow. Thank goodness that at least the vegetables themselves weren't spoiled."
He sighed in relief, wiping the sweat of his brow on his arm. The ground was still muddy, but the water had receded considerably. It should dry within the day.
"I should really warn Merry about this."
This field was essential to the young man, Merry and Riko's livelihoods. It was also land that had been entrusted to them by the village mayor. Luckily it had been alright this time, but if all the crops had been spoiled, not only would they lose their income, but they would also be making trouble for the business that shipped their crops and a host of other people. That was why he had to give her a talking-to about what had happened to make sure she wouldn't repeat the same mistake.
Not that it will do much good with Merry, he thought as he made to leave the field, when a voice called out to him.
It was a familiar, drawn-out voice. Merry's voice. He thought it sounded a little different from usual, but he supposed that must mean she wasn't completely oblivious to her recent failure.
"Yeah? What is it, Mer... Hey!"
No sooner had the young man looked over and seen Merry than he let out a startled cry for the umpteenth time that day.
That was only natural, because the weresheep girl in front of him was completely denuded of the wool that normally covered her well-rounded hips and bosom. The healthy pink of her skin was on full display. The wool on her hands, feet and crotch was still there, but that only made her look more indecent.
"What do you think you're...?"
"I got soaking wet, so I stripped," Merry answered as if that was perfectly natural, ignoring the young man's shock.
She must have used mana, because the sopping wool had indeed vanished from her chest and hips. But the wool on her arms was still wet and the wool on her legs was mud-spattered. More importantly, stripping just because you got wet was crazy.
"Wait! You definitely have the wrong idea about something! Calm down!" The half-panicked young man shouted at the weresheep, who was sidling toward him for some reason. She paid no attention to his words, however, and went on advancing on the young man one step at a time.
"Come on. I got naked, so... you know?"
"What do you mean, 'you know?' Wait, Merry! Leave the wool on your crotch!"
The young man's protestations were in vain. Merry's crotch wool vanished into thin air. Having her privates seen must have excited her, because her tight-shut vulva quivered for an instant. The throbbing pleasure in her nethers brought an ecstatic sigh to Merry's lips.
"Aah... You saw..."
In stark contrast to her words, Merry did her best to show off as she came forward. Her cheeks flushed redder and her breath hotter with each step. She was unmistakably in heat.
An instinctive shiver ran down the young man's spine. It was close to the instinctive terror that an animal feels when faced with a predator.
"Damn! Where did this come from? Wait, stop! Don't push me down...!"
The young man struggled to fend off the girl bearing down on him, but the fundamental difference in strength between human and monster was too great. His desperate resistance was in vain; he was conquered in the blink of an eye. He was pressed to the ground and held still.
Merry looked down at the young man, straddling him with a smile on her lips. Her eyes blazed with lust. Love juice dripped from her sopping crotch, as if to say that she could not wait.
"Alright, let's do it."
"Wait! When did you get my pants off? Why are you only fast when you're stripping me?"
The young man's questions went unanswered. Merry's hand gently closed around his member. Even that was enough to overwhelm him with intense pleasure and wring a cry from his lips.
"Oh, it twitched."
Merry cheerfully guided the young man's cock to her slit with a smile on her flushed face. The girl's back shivered. A faint, wet sound reached the young man's ears. Silently and without the slightest hesitation, Merry began to lower her hips.
Despite the lack of foreplay, her wet slit swallowed his member to the base. Even in insertion, the girl's vagina squirmed like a creature with a will of its own, greedy to extract essence. The pleasure was so intense that he threatened to ejaculate at any moment.
Moaning through clenched teeth, the young man struggled to endure the ecstasy. He let his gaze wander, hoping to distract himself even slightly from the endless bliss imparted by the soft flesh enveloping his cock. It was then he noticed that Merry's hand was clutching something.
"Wait... What are you holding?"
"This? It's a leaf that was growing over there," Merry answered, planting her hands on the young man's chest and raising and lowering her hips. The vibrant green thing visible in her hand could be a flower petal, depending on how you looked at it. Actually, however, it was, as she said, a leaf.
More importantly, there was something worrying in what she had said.
"Aah... Growing...over there...?"
As Merry moved, the sensations she caused grew more intense. The young man bore up against it and mobilized his remaining reason to consider the object in her hand in the light of her previous statement.
Oh, yes. The leaf she was holding did match a vegetable newly planted in a corner of this field.
"Don't tell me that's...wrapping vegetable?!"
Merry responded to the young man's exclamation with a blank stare.
Wrapping vegetable. A friendly merchant had warned the young man about the oddly named plant's effects when he first bought the seedlings. While the wrapping vegetable possessed potent beautifying effects, it also had somewhat dangerous properties.
While it was generally eaten for its leaves, its heart was technically edible as well. In contrast to the lush, pale-green leaves, the red heart had a sweet, fruity flavor that some apparently preferred. But anyone, human or monster, who got carried away and ate the heart would go into heat without fail. Even worse, as a side effect, it would, true to its name, arouse an irresistible urge to remove clothing, fur and anything else that was wrapping their bodies.
At the time, the young man had laughed off the merchant's warning as ridiculous. He had never expected to fall victim to it himself. Looking at Merry, fully aroused and shaking her hips on top of him with the wool gone from everywhere but her hands and feet, he could think of no other explanation.
"Merry, that's that thing I planted a little while ago! The wrapping vegetables! You ate it, didn't you? Didn't you?"
"What...? What's the matter...?"
Merry continued moving her hips in the face of the young man's flustered questioning. Her thrusts were growing stronger even as she watched him with lust-stained eyes and her hot breath tickled his chest.
"Hey! Why are you making that 'why are you angry' face? You..."
The young man couldn't help shouting at Merry's expression, which made it clear that she failed to understand the gravity of the situation. He was unable to finish, however, because the pleasure assaulting his lower body had grown too intense to speak.
A particularly intense thrust forced a groan from his lips. It might have been due to the arousing effect of the vegetable, but Merry was thrusting unusually hard and her hole was almost painfully tight around his cock.
Each time the young man moaned, Merry smiled happily and thrust with increased vigor. Every sway of her body sent her breasts bouncing and sweat flying. The excessive force of her thrusts splattered mud from the ground, dirtying her body, but she was too engrossed in what she was doing to care.
"Ah, mmm... Hey," Merry asked, staring at the young man without slackening her pace, "do I feel...good?"
Her flushed cheeks and lustful eyes were so captivating, so unlike the usual, gentle Merry that he could not look away. The young man, his mind clouded with pleasure, found himself nodding instinctively.
"Mmm, hehe... I'll do...a lot more, then..."
Merry's smile broadened at his answer. She continued thrusting in an effort to create even more pleasure. The unending stimulation washed over the young man in waves and he, tossed on them, could do nothing but continue to let out disconnected moans. In no time at all, Merry's ceaseless onslaught pushed him over the edge.
"Oo, nnn... Aaaa...!"
The sensation of something that he could no longer contain bursting forth drew a hoarse cry from his throat. It was immediately followed by a jet of cum from his cock. Merry took the gushing essence inside her with a look of ecstasy and reached her own climax.
"Ah, it's coming... Ah, ah, ooooo!"
Even as she quivered with orgasm, her vagina twitched and squirmed to squeeze every last drop of essence from the young man.
At last all of the cloudy fluid was expelled and the young man's body went limp. Merry also collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut and lay smiling on top of him.
"Aah... Hehe, you sure came...a lot..."
"Yeah..." Was all the young man could manage. His whole body felt heavy. He would have liked to put off thinking about anything and fall asleep on the spot, if he could. As he thought that, his eyelids slowly began to droop.
The next instant, however, another girl's voice filled his ears.
"I thought you were taking a long time, and when I come to check on you...!"
He returned to wakefulness instantly, as if he had been doused in cold water. Snapping his head in the direction of the voice, he saw a girl with black and white hair standing in the entrance to the field.
The young man's voice faltered in spite of him. He was currently lying on the ground with his lower body exposed and Merry on top of him. Merry's flushed face and ragged breathing, and the odor of sex hanging in the air around them left him with no room for excuses.
The holstaur girl advanced on them slowly, step by step, her face crimson and her quivering fists clenched. The tears pricking in the corners of her eyes threatened to spill over at any moment. The sight of her inspired a feeling of guilt that left the young man at a loss for words.
"W-Well, you see..." Was all he could manage by the time Riko was right in front of him.
That must have been the trigger. Riko raised her head, which had been hanging low, and shouted:
The young man instinctively covered his ears at the loud noise so close by. Merry, who was still straddling him, shook her head dizzily, slower to react.
"You just did it with Merry again! It's not fair! Do it with me too!"
Riko went on stamping the ground and repeating, "No fair," ignoring the pair stunned by her bellowing. She was the spitting image of a petulant child. It could even be amusing, depending on the point of view.
The young man, however, could not afford to take it so lightly. Big tears spilled from Riko's eyes and plopped to the ground.
"No, you see... This was, well, unavoidable, so..."
Riko was deaf to the young man's excuses. From her perspective, it must have seemed obvious that Merry had stolen a march on her. Of course she wouldn't listen, the young man thought in one corner of his brain, as if it was someone else's problem.
In any case, he needed to do something to repair the situation.
The young man was wondering what he could say to soothe Riko when Merry, who appeared to have finally recovered from the shock of the shouting, casually chimed in:
"Join in, then... Let's do it together..."
The young man looked up, flustered by the unexpected suggestion. The girl who had dropped the verbal bombshell wore her usual placid smile and looked back at him as if to say, "Good idea, isn't it?"
"Once isn't enough, anyway... You can still go, right? Hehehe."
"Th-That's true... Let's all do it together. I'd really rather it was just the two of us, but beggars can't be choosers..."
Merry smiled cheerfully. Riko blushed and mumbled. For some reason, looking at the two of them gave the young man the feeling that he was in the presence of carnivorous beasts. Weresheep and holstaurs were supposed to be monsters known for their gentle demeanors.
He was all too aware of the cold sweat dripping down his back. He instinctively tried to run, but as Merry was already pinning him down, he struggled in vain. His hands only clawed fruitlessly at the earth.
Laughter was the only recourse left to the young man. A bead of sweat rolled down his cheek.
"Let's get started."
The weresheep and holstaur leaned over him as they spoke.
"Please, consider my position...at least...a little..." The young man begged with the last of his strength as he felt a kiss on each cheek, and then relinquished his grip on consciousness.
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
A short while after the coupling in the field, the thoroughly ravaged young man finally regained consciousness and succeeded in disentangling the two monstergirls clinging to him and putting an end to their frenzied feast.
That done, he had pushed his exhausted body to finish examining the remaining fields and then returned home. He had just changed out of his muddy clothes and was at last able to wholeheartedly relax. He lowered himself into a chair, drained a glass of water and let out a long sigh.
"...Man, I'm beat," he grumbled to no one in particular.
"Did something happen?" Riko asked from the doorway with a puzzled expression.
"Oh, no. It's nothing."
He noncommittally waved the question away. He couldn't very well say, "I'm worn out because of you two."
A question suddenly occurred to him.
"What about you, Riko?"
Riko opened and closed her mouth, blushing and shooting glances at the young man's face. Eventually, she continued in a quiet voice, sounding embarrassed.
"You see, my breasts are kind of, well, swollen, and they hurt..."
He stifled and exclamation. His reaction made Riko's cheeks flush even redder.
Fear that she still wanted more rose in his mind, but he quickly realized that that wasn't the case.
"Now that you mention it, you still haven't been milked today, have you?"
As a holstaur—that is, a monster with the characteristics of a dairy cow—Riko could produce milk even without giving birth. Flavorful and nutritious, holstaur milk was in high demand both as a drink and as an ingredient for cooking. High-quality holstaur milk could fetch a high price. It was an important source of income for their family.
On the other hand, if holstaurs weren't milked regularly, the accumulated milk could cause pain in their chests and, in severe cases, even affect their health.
The young man, of course, had no intention of putting Riko through that. She meant too much to him for that.
"Sorry. I'll milk you right away."
Riko set a pail she had gotten ready for the purpose on the ground, turned her back to the young man and placed her hands against the wall. Her black and white tail waved to and fro.
The young man approached Riko from behind and reached his arms around to her chest. He gently lifted her shirt, and her breasts tumbled out, recalling ripe fruits dangling on a heavily laden branch. The young man gently lifted them. Each breast was too large to fit in his hand.
He found Riko's ticklish moans endearing as he slowly massaged her teats. Each time her breasts deformed in the young man's hands, she let out a little cry and a shiver ran through her.
"Oo... nh, ah..."
"Oh, I think it's about to come out," the young man murmured, judging by the feeling on his palms.
He put a little more force into his fingers pinching her nipples and his hands massaging her breasts, and a white fluid oozed and dribbled from their tips.
"Not much, huh? I'll go a little harder, then," he whispered in Riko's ear and squeezed a little harder.
Just as the intense stimulation drew a moan from Riko, milk gushed from her nipples. After a number of repetitions, the pail began to fill. A distinctive fragrance filled the room and tickled the young man's nose.
"It smells nice."
"Mmm... Does it? I'm... glad..."
The words whispered in Riko's ear brought a look of genuine happiness to her face. The quality, flavor and aroma of a holstaur's milk could vary considerably depending on her mental state. Put simply, milk produced in times of joy or sexual arousal was of extremely high quality.
Of course, the young man wanted Riko to feel good regardless of such considerations. He enjoyed her reactions as he continued to massage and milk her breasts. He was starting to feel funny, but he held it in check.
He looked at the big pail on the floor in an effort to distract himself and found it filled to the brim with milk. It would be at least enough to sell.
"That should about do it," the young man muttered and began to stop his hands.
"Uh, um... You know?" Riko began to talk over him. He peered questioningly at her, and she let her eyes wander nervously, seeming to want to say something.
"Hm? What's the matter?"
With the young man's encouragement, Riko made up her mind to speak. She must still have been embarrassed, however, because she mumbled under her breath.
"Well, you see, I was just thinking... it might be nice if you'd milk me a little more."
"Oh, sure. I don't mind."
He acquiesced, a little hesitantly, to Riko's coaxing. He had already squeezed enough for one day, but if she really wanted, it didn't feel right to refuse.
"Oh, wait, also... You know?" Riko continued, stopping the young man just as he had returned his hands to her chest and was about to start moving them. Her face got even redder as she shot a glance at her lower body.
"Um, not just my chest, but..."
Riko turned her toes inward and rubbed her legs together. The gesture was enough to tell the young man what she wanted.
He stepped back from her and removed her lower garments and underclothes. Upon closer inspection, one part of her fur-covered lower body was already sopping wet. In no time at all the scent of a female animal in heat had begun to waft around the pair. It brought an unconscious grin to the lips of the young man, who proceeded to extricate his already-erect member from his trousers and rest it against Riko's crotch.
"I'm putting it in," he whispered briefly in the girl's ears, which quivered with surprise.
He shoved his cock inside her as he spoke, spreading open her vagina. His cock rubbed against the walls of her passage, creating pleasure that made both of them tremble.
His hands unconsciously latched onto her breasts and squeezed. The milk that spurted as a result stained the wall. When Riko had swallowed his shaft to the base, the young man let out a slow sigh and whispered to her.
"It's all the way... in."
Riko nodded even as tears welled up in her eyes. Her love juices overflowed from the link between them and dripped to the floor.
Before long, they both started moving together. His hands squeezed her breasts to the rhythm of their hips slapping together. Her spurting milk seemed to give off an even stronger aroma than before.
"Ah... haa... aah! More! Harder!"
Riko quivered with pleasure as she shouted for still greater stimulation. At the same time, she tightened around his cock. The young man gritted his teeth and put more force into his hands and hips.
"Nh... aah... aahn... Yes...!"
The pair's arousal grew with each thrust and squeeze, spurring them on to rougher action and producing more delicious milk. The seemingly inexhaustible milk filled the pail as its aroma filled the room, lulling their rational minds to sleep.
The activity the pair chose to call "milking" went on and on until they finally came to their senses and realized that the pail was overflowing.
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
"I think everything's finally taken care of," the young man sighed, sinking into a chair and leaning back.
It had taken him into the afternoon with a short break for lunch, but he had managed to finish all the work he had planned for the day. He sighed, looked around the room and spotted Merry dozing on the sofa. The sight of the girl's sleeping face, which looked as if she had not a care in the world, brought a wry smile to the young man's lips.
"Good grief," he muttered in exasperation, "how much does she have to sleep before she's satisfied?"
"Hee hee. Merry can't help it. She is a weresheep, after all," an aproned Riko answered the young man with a smile. "By the way, would you like something to drink?"
"Hm? Sure, I'd love something."
"Coming right up."
She withdrew into the kitchen and returned with a cup on a tray, which she offered to the seated young man. He glanced into the cup as he took it and saw that it was full of a pure white liquid. It was apparently well-chilled, because droplets of condensation had already formed on the cup.
He looked up and his eyes met the smiling Riko's. She looked from the young man's face to the cup in his hand and laughed.
"Hee hee. It's the milk you helped me with earlier."
"Thanks. Bottoms up."
"Go right ahead."
The young man gave the seemingly proud Riko a little smile and raised the cup. Once its chilled rim met his lips, a faintly mellow flavor began to spread through his tired body. He must have been more parched than he'd thought, or else the milk just tasted that good, because he practically drained it in a single gulp.
He wiped his lips on his arm and set the empty mug on the table. Riko took that as her cue to ask a hesitant question. She had been carefully observing him as he drank, apparently anxious about the taste of her milk.
"How was it...?"
"It was delicious."
There was genuinely nothing about it to find fault with. Their trading partner would certainly be satisfied.
Riko's face lit up at his words.
Riko responded to the young man's praise by clasping her hands to her cheeks and twisting from side to side. Her large breasts bounced and the hem of her apron leapt with each swing. To a stranger, it would probably seem like an overblown show of joy over the quality of milk, but that was to be expected. To monsters like Riko, a word from someone they loved meant more than anything else.
Then Riko's ears, which had been fluttering with joy, suddenly snapped to a standstill.
"What's wrong...? Oh, they're here."
The young man's confusion was momentary. Horses' hoofbeats and the sounds of cart wheels soon became audible from outside. The sounds grew steadily louder and then halted directly beside the house. Cart horses whinnied and footsteps approached the house. After a brief pause, there was a knock on the door and a charming, carrying voice rang out.
"Good afternoon! Clarid Company calling."
"Hello! I'll be right there," Riko called back and made for the door. The young man rose from his chair and followed her. By the time he reached the entryway, Riko was already unlatching the door.
The door opened to reveal a lanky man.
"Douglas, come on in."
Upon seeing Riko, the man called Douglas smiled broadly and nodded a greeting.
"Hey there, Riko."
Douglas was roughly the same age as the young man. He wore an easygoing smile on his narrow face and a pair of silver spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose. There was nothing out of the ordinary about his clothing, except perhaps for its many pockets. He managed the Clarid Company's shop in the nearby town.
The young man had known him since before turning to farming. The pair were old buddies who seemed stuck with each other for life. Of course, in addition to being friends, they were also trading partners. For example, the Clarid Company purchased the young man's produce to sell in their store. They also assisted the trio's living in a variety of ways, such as supplying farming implements and raw materials and cultivating new trading partners. The Clarid Company was, in other words, indispensable to the farm.
"Are you here to pick up?"
"Yeah, I'm here for today's shipment. You got it ready?"
"No need to worry; everything's in order," the young man cut in from behind Riko.
Douglas turned to the tired-looking young man with a grin.
"What's got you looking so worn out? Been eating well and working up a sweat?"
"What's that supposed to mean? Anyway, I've been taking proper care of the fields."
"That so? Well, it'd be trouble for me if you weren't," Douglas laughed. Going by his flippant attitude, few people would take him for the proprietor of a business, but he was actually quite skilled. As his trading partner, the young man was well aware of that.
At that point, another voice rose from beside Douglas.
"Um, excuse me! I'm here too, you know!"
A girl emerged from behind Douglas, hopping as she protested to him.
"You don't really mean that!"
The girls puffed out her cheeks in indignation. Douglas remained utterly unruffled.
The distinctive horns sticking out of the girl's red hair marked her as a species of monster called a goblin. Her stature was as short as a child's, but she was nevertheless a full-grown adult.
"Oh, you're here too, Ruruna? Welcome."
"Oh, hello Riko. Honestly, sir, don't go forgetting me like that!"
"Sorry. You're out of sight, so you tend to slip my mind."
"You two certainly haven't changed," the young man muttered in exasperation at the accustomed back-and-forth.
"What? You jealous of how close we are? I think you guys have us beat on that score. You've been making sweet love all day, right? I can tell just by looking at you."
"Ah..." Riko blushed at Douglas' words, presumably remembering her earlier activities.
"Ha ha. Intimacy is a beautiful thing, you know?"
The young man felt an urge to punch the undeservedly smug look off Douglas' face, but decided that acknowledging it would only lead to exhaustion and cut straight to the main business at hand.
"You didn't come here just to talk nonsense, did you? Come on, get to work. The goods are over here."
"Man, you're no fun."
The young man pushed past Douglas and went out by the door. Douglas followed him, grumbling. The pair of them left the path in front of the house and headed for the shed where the goods to be shipped were stored.
Douglas asked Ruruna to bring the cart around and Riko followed to lend her a hand. As for Merry, she had shown no sign of waking throughout the exchange in the entryway. She looked so contented sleeping that everyone felt it would be a shame to wake her, and in any case there was no real need to, so they had left her as she was.
The young man waited in front of the storage shed and unlocked the door when he saw Ruruna approach with the wagon. A distinctive odor struck his nose as soon as he stepped inside. He surveyed the dim room crammed with baskets and crates of produce.
"Wow, you've really been keeping busy," Douglas whistled, impressed as he surveyed the mountains of fruits and vegetables.
"Come off it. How's your shop going?"
"Swimmingly, of course. I've got excellent help."
Douglas shot a glance to the side. The young man looked as well and found Ruruna swelling with pride, apparently pleased with the compliment. There was something charming about her, like a child brimming with confidence.
"So, what are you shipping out this time?"
"Well, I guess everything here for starters."
"Hmm... Prison fruits and holstaur milk, plus fruits and vegetables?"
"Yeah. Pretty much the same stuff we always send out."
"Well, that should be fine. We don't have any special orders on our end."
Douglas examined the baskets, crates and milk cans as he conversed, jotting down their number on a sheet of paper like a good merchant. Once he had finished taking inventory of the shipment, Ruruna and Riko began carrying it all outside and piling it on the cart. Once it was all packed, Douglas handed the piece of paper he'd been writing on to the young man.
"OK, I've taken charge of the goods. I'll pay you in full later, as usual."
"Also, let me know if you need anything. I'll get it in by next time."
"Let me think... Oh, let me know if you get any new kinds of seeds in."
Douglas looked confused.
"I just got done enlarging the fields," the young man nodded. "I was thinking I might try my hand at growing something new."
"Got it. I'll keep an eye out."
Their business concluded, the pair soon lost themselves in small talk. The topic wandered aimlessly from recent events, to the state of the city, to who had started dating who. Douglas, being a merchant, was well versed in all of the above, but there was nothing particularly noteworthy.
That just goes to show how peaceful things are, the young man thought.
When they came to a break in the conversation, the young man realized that neither Riko nor Ruruna were participating. He looked around and saw that they had vanished without his noticing.
"Hey, where did Riko and Ruruna go?"
"Huh? Now that you mention it, they're not here."
Douglas had likewise only just noticed their absence.
"I'll go look for them."
"Thanks. I've got to get going soon. If you see Ruruna, tell her to head back."
The young man nodded to Douglas and doubled back toward the house, looking for the two as he went. There was probably nothing to worry about, but they were at his side so constantly that he found himself worrying when they were out of sight. His cheeks flushed at the realization that he depended on Riko and Merry as much as they did on him.
"Man... Not very manly of me..."
The young man shook his head as he walked, masking his embarrassment, and soon found himself back at the house.
Suddenly, girls' voices reached his ears on the wind. He couldn't see them, but they seemed to be close.
"Maybe in back?"
He circled around the house and found Riko and Ruruna standing around talking. His cheeks reddened again at the realization that he had mentally heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of them. He shook his head to cool it and stepped forward, intending to call out to them, but Ruruna caught sight of him and spoke before he had the chance.
"Is anything the matter?"
"Oh, no. I was just wondering where you went. Oh yeah, he said to head back because he'll be heading out soon."
Ruruna looked surprised at the young man's words, as if she had only just remembered Douglas.
"Oh no, I got totally wrapped up in our conversation. Bye, Riko."
"Sure. Sorry for rambling on so long," Riko bobbed her head.
"No, no, I had a great time. By the way," Ruruna hesitantly asked the young man, "was the boss angry?"
"He didn't seem angry. Still, I think you'd better hurry back."
"Y-Yes... I'll do that."
Ruruna nodded and was about to run off, when she suddenly paused in mid-step.
"Oh, that's right."
The young man approached, curious about her sudden stop, and Ruruna produced a cloth-wrapped bundle from her sack. She held the bundle in both of her little hands and proffered it to the young man.
The young man remained nonplussed as he took it. Based on its shape, weight, and the feeling of liquid sloshing around inside it, he guessed that it was some type of drink.
He quietly unwrapped the cloth and, as he had expected, a corked wine bottle emerged. The label bore a brand that even the young man had heard of. If he remembered correctly, it was made from "intoxication fruit," which grew only in monster realms, and would command a fair price at the shop.
"Umm... This is actually a sample that we ordered to give out at the shop..." Ruruna began, seeing the young man inspect the contents of the bottle. She looked just a little embarrassed. Her eyes wandered as she continued. "But we stocked a little too much, so...we ended up with a lot leftover. It's a free sample, so we can't sell it, so we weren't sure what to do with it. You all drink, don't you?"
The young man nodded, guessing the gist of what Ruruna was trying to say. Riko, standing next to him, looked confused and appeared not to understand, but it was probably an offering in exchange for helping to conceal the evidence of Ruruna's mistake. The goblin girl's next words confirmed the young man's guess.
"Consider it a gift for always helping us out. But don't tell the boss, OK?"
Of course, Douglas had probably seen through her slip-up already, but that was better left unsaid. The young man kept the thought to himself as he dropped his gaze back to the bottle in his hands.
Free sample or not, its contents were unmistakably fine wine. Neither Riko, Merry, nor the young man were normally big drinkers, but he was intrigued by the thought of a wine they wouldn't normally have the chance to try. If Ruruna was offering it, he would accept it gladly.
"We'll drink it tonight. Thanks, Ruruna."
"Think nothing of it. Well then, the boss is waiting, so I'll be on my way."
"Bye bye, Ruruna."
"Goodbye, Riko. Until next time."
Ruruna bobbed her head to the young man, waved to Riko, and then raced off back to Douglas. When she was out of sight, the young man returned to the house with Riko. Feeling the weight of the bottle clutched to his chest, he muttered:
"Well, since we have it, we might as well all drink it together tonight."
As if in answer, the wine sloshed loudly.
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
The sun had long since sunken below the horizon and it was time for night to blanket the world. The animals must have already gone home to their dens, because silence filled the area.
The young man and his companions had finished their evening meal and each was passing the time as they pleased. The long, full day was over. The only thing left to do was tumble into bed.
There was a mountain of things to do the next day, starting with tending to the fields. Going straight to bed would be the best thing to rest a weary body.
"Man, what a day."
Lying spread eagle on his bed, the young man closed his eyes. The blankets, made of the wool Merry took such pride in, were imbued with weresheep mana. Their soft touch and gentle warmth promised to lead him straight to dreamland.
"Oh, wait, first..."
As darkness closed in on his waking mind, the young man suddenly recalled the events of the day. He shook his head to combat the blankets' magic and, once it was clear, slowly raised his upper body.
He shifted his gaze and saw the wine bottle and glass arranged on the sideboard by the bed. He didn't have to look at the maker's name on the label illuminated by the lamplight to recognize it as the bottle he had received earlier from Ruruna of the Clarid Company.
"Might as well try a glass before I drop off."
He reached out and picked up the bottle. No sooner had he unstoppered it with the corkscrew he'd kept ready for the purpose than a rich aroma filled the room. It was not, however, strong enough to seem unpleasant—it's perfection spoke to the wine's high quality.
"Hmm... She said it was a free sample, but this must normally go for quite a price..." He muttered to himself as he tilted the bottle. He swirled his glass, gazing at the deep reddish purple color of the liquid that poured into it. The lamplight refracted off the wine's rippling surface, making it sparkle like a jewel. It was so beautiful to look at that it almost seemed a waste to drink it.
"Still, I can't not drink it... Alright."
The young man set the glass aside and turned his face toward the door, which stood slightly ajar. He looked at the black and white hair and fluffy wool visible through the crack, let out a little sigh and spoke.
"Stop hiding over there and come out, you two."
The sounds of someone jumping in surprise came from the other side of the door. After a brief pause, Merry and Riko poked their faces out from behind it.
"Tee hee hee..."
The pair put on awkward, embarrassed grins. They remained standing in the doorway while their eyes wandered from the young man to the bed to the wine. That was enough for him to guess what they wanted to say.
"Geez... No, it's fine. You two go grab glasses from the kitchen."
"We'll be right back."
The two made for the kitchen, accompanied by the pitter-patter of their footsteps, and returned shortly, each with a glass in her hand. The young man tapped the bed he was sitting on, and the pair bashfully seated themselves on either side of him.
"If you wanted to drink it, you could have just said so."
"But I was just so anxious..."
Merry made embarrassed excuses. Of course, spending time with the young man was probably her real goal; begging for wine was just the means. The same probably went for Riko.
"Don't drink too much, OK?" The young man warned as he poured wine into Merry and Riko's glasses.
"Yes, we know."
Absentminded grins spread over both their faces as they breathed in the newly thickened aroma.
"It smells lovely..."
"We'll have to thank Ruruna."
They savored the aroma for some time before anyone raised their glass.
The young man made a toast. The three glasses touched with a refreshing clink. They each quietly put their lips to their glass, tilted it and let the red wine flow.
A sparing sip. That was all it took to fill their mouths with a rich, full-bodied flavor. Liquid made from fruits steeped in nature's bounty and monster realm mana was running down their throats and seeping into their bodies.
"Mmm... That's good..." Riko murmured with a contented sigh.
Its mouthfeel was excellent and its flavor was just right, neither too sour nor too sweet. That was high-class wine for you—even girls who rarely drank seemed taken with it.
For a while, they all savored the fine wine in silence. When their glasses emptied, they unthinkingly reached out to the bottle for seconds, and then thirds. They only had one bottle to start with, and it was soon empty.
"...You sure end up wanting more once it's gone, huh?" The young man muttered regretfully as he tipped the last drop into his glass. Beside him, Riko nodded her agreement with flushed cheeks. He couldn't suppress a smile at the sight of her and considered splurging on ordering another bottle from Douglas.
"That was lovely."
Merry slumped against the young man's shoulder as she set down her emptied glass. He turned to her and found her staring drowsily at him with half-lidded eyes.
"Aah... I feel wonderful..."
It looked at first glance like her usual sleepy expression, but the flush in her cheeks and the gleam in her eyes were obvious even in the dim lamplight. There was something bewitching about it. The sighs escaping her lips sounded more erotic than usual.
Her breath on his face was oddly sweet, possibly due to the wine.
The familiar weresheep seemed somehow more attractive than usual. Maybe because we're drunk, the young man thought vaguely with his dulled wits.
"Hey, give me a kiss..."
Merry's voice dragged his hazy thoughts back to reality. He turned to look at Merry and found her puckering her lips with a pouty expression. She had apparently grown dissatisfied with his continued silence.
Merry took advantage of the young man's moment of mental paralysis to touch her lips to his cheek. Before the flustered young man could react, she planted a second and a third kiss, as if to say that one was not enough to satisfy her, then wrapped her arms around his next and ran her tongue across his cheek.
Riko could hardly sit back and watch such a display in silence.
"Wait a minute! Merry...?!" The young man cried out, finally realizing his predicament. Contrary to his expectations, however, no cry of protest came. He wondered about that for a moment, but before he could turn around, a different shock diverted his attention.
Hot breath struck his skin. Something soft touched his other cheek, followed shortly by a warm caress.
Even so, it was rare for the jealous Riko not to say anything. The young man had just begun to wonder about that when a realization flashed into his brain.
"...Oh, of course. That's why."
He mentally nodded his understand at the empty wine bottle visible out of the corner of his eye. It must be the effect of the intoxication fruit the wine was made from. Douglas had once told him that those fruit, which contained a dense concentration of mana, were not only highly nutritious, they also befuddled the wits of whoever ate them and filled their heads exclusively with thoughts of their beloved.
The wine was probably taking its effect, causing the girls to completely forget their feelings of rivalry and jealousy for each other and focus only on the object of their affection. The young man supposed that that went to show how much they cared for him, as well as how fortunate he was.
Perhaps it was because he was thinking such things, or perhaps it was because of the wine, but he found himself hugging to two girls close before he knew it.
The girls pressed themselves against him with short but happy exclamations. He could feel warm body heat from the full, perky holstaur teats and soft, wool-covered weresheep breasts on either side of him. The young man, wanting more of the sensation, squeezed his arms tighter around their slender waists.
"Hee hee, mmm..."
With each pull or push of their bodies, the girls let out pleasured moans as their chests squished and distorted. That spurred on the trio's shared arousal and caused their movements to continue to intensify. Riko's tail waved with joy, beating out a rhythm on the mattress.
"Ah... My chest... More..."
In search of greater sensation, the girls began pulling off their clothing and withdrawing their coats of animal hair to expose their skin. The young man gently massaged their sweat-slick breasts, which stuck to his hands, as he pressed his lips against theirs. Their saliva-drenched lips and tongues made sloppy, wet sounds as they met and parted.
When he rolled their erect nipples with the balls of his fingers, Merry squirmed and Riko leaked milk. Riko's face flushed with embarrassment as he licked the white droplets that came away on his fingers.
"Mmm... N-No... Yes...there..."
"Ah...ooo...aah... My breasts are...leaking..."
The young man continued to run his hands over the girls, charmed by their reactions. The girls, for their part, continued to soak in the pleasure and let him do as he pleased.
"Mm, oh... Isn't it...about time...?"
"Don't just...mmm...use your hands..."
The girls whispered in the young man's ears with rapt expressions. They released their grips on him, exchanged looks, nodded, and tumbled onto the bed. They both spread their arms wide, their eyes shining with arousal and expectation.
"Please...come to me..."
The pair called to the young man in enraptured voices.
The sight of them in the lamplight was more than enough to blast away his reason. He hurriedly stripped off his trousers and underclothes and seized them in a wild embrace.
The pair's bodies gave a jolt the instant the young man touched them. Just a tinge of something that could have been fear or could have been nervousness flashed in the girls' lust-filled eyes. The sight sent a thrill running down the young man's spine.
He pressed his cock against Riko's intimate parts as if driven on by his arousal, his breathing growing ragged. Even without foreplay, her dripping wet slit opened slightly and an electric shock ran through her whole body from her sensitive sex.
"Riko, I'm putting it in...!"
He thrust his hips without waiting for her answer. His hard rod was burying itself deep inside her passage.
"Ah... It's...inside me... Oo... It's so...good...!"
Riko moaned with the pleasure of insertion, even as her tongue lolled sloppily and tears welled in her eyes.
"Ngh, oh... So tight..."
He'd done it with Riko more times than he could count, but her vagina gripped his cock as tightly as their first time. The young man moaned at the pressure squeezing down on him as he pushed deeper and deeper inside her.
"Oh, no fair... Mmm..."
Beside them, Merry complained as she clung to the young man and rubbed her crotch against him.
Soon, his cock was buried in Riko to the base. He looked into her dewy eyes and panted:
He saw her nod, took a breath, and then began to move. He went slowly at first, but gradually picked up the pace. As he did so, the increasingly intense sensation burned away his reason.
"Mm, ah, ah... It feels...incredible... Mmm...!"
Dirty, wet sounds, the creaking of the bed and the girls' moans filled the room. A mixture of sweat and love juices dirtied the sheets.
"Aahn... Come on...do me...next... Mmm..."
The young man responded to Merry's pleading and pulled out of Riko. As he did so, his cock rubbed hard against her walls and searing pleasure assailed both of them. Riko arched her back as she achieved a light climax.
"Ah, ah, aaaahn...!"
For an instant, an intense tightening assailed the young man. He struggled not to climax in spite of himself and immediately thrust his dripping member into Merry. A cry that was half moan and half shriek escaped Merry's throat.
"Ah... So rough..."
He grit his teeth against pressure and heat that were every bit a match for Riko's and thrust his hips forward.
"Ooh... You're...amazing too..."
Once he was all the way inside her, he paused to take a breath and then began to thrust. The girl's body swayed, scattering sweat.
"Ah, ah...aah, ah, aaaahn."
He listened to her broken moans as he thrust doggedly on. Merry stared up at him with teary eyes and smiled joyfully.
"Ha...ha... Riko...I'll put it...in you next..."
"Yes... Come here..."
At that, he pulled his cock free of Merry and stuffed it back into Riko's slit. He touched her breasts with his hands and her lips with his as he thrust even harder than before.
There were no more words. The young man thrust his cock in and out of Riko and Merry in turn. The three occasionally shifted positions, tangling together as they did it all over again. Pleasure alone was in command. Their intimacy went on and on as they followed their instincts like insatiable beasts.
Before they knew it, the girls were embracing each other, rubbing their wet slits together, kissing and wrapping their arms around each other. The young man's cock repeatedly slid in and out between their tightly pressed bodies, sometimes plunging into one slit or the other as the trio abandoned themselves to the ever-increasing pleasure.
That too, however, came to an end. The three's movements sped up as they sensed the approach of climax.
Then came the finale. As the young man's cock rubbed forcefully against the place where Riko and Merry's intimate parts met, it passed its limit and a cloudy white shower exploded from its tip.
A shocking volume of semen poured down, staining the pair's skin. The heat of it led Riko and Merry to orgasm with their loudest moans yet.
Taut strings snapped. As their cries faded into empty air, the girls fell back limply onto the bed. They quivered and drew in ragged breaths as they basked in the afterglow. The sight of them, their flushed skin damp with sweat and spattered with semen, was both beautiful and obscene. It possessed a truly devilish charm.
"Aah... So much...white stuff..."
"Mmm... What a smell..."
The young man looked down on Riko and Merry, drunk on wine and essence and muttering deliriously, and heaved a big sigh. Panting, he too collapsed onto the bed beside the girls. He felt exhaustion clinging to every inch of him as his eyes closed.
But that was only for a moment. He reopened his eyes at the feeling of the pair's gazes on him. Their faces were right beside his and turned to face him. Their still-flushed cheeks and the evidence of their tears appealed to him.
As the young man looked at them, the girls hesitantly began to speak.
"Let's do it again..."
The pair wriggled their inner thighs as they looked at him with eyes full of expectation. The monsters' expressions said that what they had just done hadn't been enough to satisfy them. Those looks were enough to make the young man feel his member regaining its stiffness. He sighed, disgusted with himself, but he was forced to admit, with a wry smile, that it hadn't been enough for him, either.
"Can't we...?" Riko asked nervously.
The girls' faces beamed when he hugged them to him in lieu of an answer.
Geez. I guess I won't be getting any sleep tonight, he thought vaguely, sandwiched between Merry, who was rubbing her cheek against his, and Riko, who was guiding his hand to her chest.
It seemed the night was far from over.