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Mantis story for Anon

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"Five gold, not even a damn copper more!" The salesman crossed his arms, as you felt anger dwelling up. The fact that you have been hunting for this mushroom for two weeks to get some pebbles for it really irritated you. It felt like you could do a hook into his jaw right now, but somehow you managed to keep your calm.

"Hahh... Fine." You let out steam and grabbed the twenty gold coins with your callused palm. One thing was for certain, you'll never want to be some kind of mushroom hunter again, but at least it put food on the table for a few days. It still felt like your pride as a huntsman got stepped on.

"Pleasure doing business with you!" The salesman's face turned a lot more friendly as you left the shop. The bastard probably will sell it for three times more at least. To no one's surprise stuff from the demon, the realm was very profitable in more human-oriented territories. Order-influenced ones were even better, but of course, you had no means to smuggle like that, you weren't a lowly bandit either. You were a hunter, but as technology crept in agriculture became bigger and bigger basically making your job less needed. For food, there were farms, and unless someone wanted to eat wild meat, you basically were jobless. Thus you took on on odd jobs even, like this mushroom hunt. The said fungus was a strange thing too because it definitely resembled a penis... an erect one on top of that.

You had no idea what it was used on or even its name, you just named it dickshroom. All the man gave you was a paper on how it looked like and a tip on where to look for it, even he didn't really know what it was. This just confirmed that this bastard was a mere reseller. However, you heard the demand was even bigger in territories under Order control. The black market was huge there. Just like this punchable merchant, some people really knew how to play their cards right to sell questionable items. The rarity of the item also counted, stuff that could be only found in demon realms would fetch for a lot, but it took huge guts for a human to wander into there. You felt like you only had luck with these mushrooms, because they grew in non-demon realm territory. You deep down knew the scary fact: Sooner or later you either have to switch careers or wander into the monster territory.

' What to do...' You thought as you looked around the town.  Life here wasn't bad a few years ago, but now you felt like you fell between two chairs. You heard about the demonic territory consuming humans who never returned, but you weren't fond of being a farmer either.

'Shit, if only I was a hero or something... Maybe an adventurer.' You kicked a pebble away as you walked to your home with melancholy. Adventuring sounded great on paper too, but even that was oversaturated and downright dangerous. The monsters' behavior changed in the last few years, or rather the aggressively expanding ones became more active. While this little town was not an important spot for either the Order or the monsters you felt it in your guts. The war will eventually consume this settlement too, that's for sure. While you didn't harbor hatred towards monsters, you couldn't say you love them either. This was a purely human settlement with around 4 monsters in it, and those were super docile. Even more so than humans sometimes.

Humans stating their opinions were becoming more frequent about the question like choosing sides. While the Order's teachings reached here many started questioning them. A lot of news could be heard about how human settlements fell and obviously, people didn't want to choose the losing side. The Order seemed like it got pushed back, but your kind here still had the luxury of choice. On one hand, the town had a few wandering Order priests, and on the other hand, it had mamono too. They pretty much just found their husband and didn't really bother with politics. However, sometimes you get a wandering preacher from the Demon Lord's side. It was quite a sight to see the two preachers mock each other's beliefs, but it never really gone to a full-blown fight between them.

Slowly you dragged your heavy body towards your tiny shack. All this work for some dick-shaped mushroom... and it can't even cover this month's expenses fully.

'Next time I'll try to smuggle it into an Order city. I don't even care if I get caught, this shit is just miserable.' You opened the door and hopped into the chair. Reaching out to your pocket you fished out seven gold coins and tossed them on the table.

With a sigh, you wandered towards the fireplace, tossed some dry wood to start the fire.

'I wonder if the monsters have some magical mumbo-jumbo to make this process faster...'

This poor little house you worked hard did the job for you to eat and sleep here, but it didn't have anything extra. Sometimes you wondered about a wife too, but your current lifestyle wasn't very successful to be a breadwinner. You played with the thoughts of selling this whole thing along with property. This would kickstart your adventuring business, but the monster's expansion plummeted the price of land and houses into dust. This wouldn't be bad for the buyers, but of course, humans didn't really want to live in a place in fear, let alone in a place where war could break up any time.

'Shit... maybe I should join the Order army. Eh, but then... I don't want some asshole to tell me what to do.'

Indeed you were a free spirit who hated taking orders from others. While the nomadic lifestyle would fit you, you reminded yourself the constant fighting would be a pain in the ass too.

'Heh, I'll ask them when they overrun us how much they pay!'

You chuckled at the statement while rocking in your chair. You recalled the shopkeeper and wondered for how much did he sell it.

'Damn what if that merchant can sell them for five gold a piece? Or even more.' You shook your head. It was pointless to lament on it since the deal was done, and he gave you the tip where to search for it and how it looks.

'I should have kept one at least. Just to ask someone how much it is worth...'

Looking into the fire you got mesmerized by it.

'If only I was born as a hero... being applauded everywhere I go... or even a mage. I bet they don't have to do this every day, just chant some shit and be done with it.' Your daydreaming was cut off by the sound of your stomach demanding food.

At least you still had some meat. Smoked bacon and a few slices of pork meat. You could swear when you hunted this thing down it definitely put up more fight than usual. The animal behaved strangely too, it's very uncommon for the wildlife to actually fight back instead of just running away.

'He was slightly bigger too than the average pig...'

You began to season the meat while eating munching on the slices of bacon.

'What's gonna happen to humankind? Will we all become dinner for monsters or zealots?'

You poured a few drops of oil into a pan, then you put the pan next to the fire.

"There is fever wildlife too... maybe I'll just become a corn farmer or something." You put the meat on the sizzling oil while wondering about your own and the town's future.

One thing was for sure: neither looked very bright.

 

---

'Today's grand haul is... nothing. Absolutely nothing.'

With great disappointment, you returned back from your hunt. Not even a single herb that could fetch for some coins or at least a rabbit or something. There is no way this all happened by just some minor change.

As if the forest became more quiet than usual. There was always some kind of animal wandering around searching for food, but now? It's just too quiet.

Secretly you wished for some kind of apex predator showing up what you can hunt down. That would fetch for some nice amount of gold. While grumbling you slowly but surely returned to the town's outskirts.

The two guards you knew by sight were still there just like when you left. They probably saw you fuming as one of them shook his head. It was pretty unusual for them to have full-on metal armor equipped as if even the mayor started to feel some paranoia. Both of them got a weapon upgrade too it seems since their standard cheap spears got replaced by shiny halberds. You didn't really know these guys, but you exchanged a few greetings with them from time to time. One younger-looking one wore a kettle helmet, while the other one, who was a few years older didn't.

"Nothin'?" Asked the guard in a kettle helmet.

"Yeah..."

It was pretty much written all over your face. Luck was definitely not on your side, but you never guessed you were this readable.

"Ya 'now... this guard job ain't that bad."

"Yeah, yeah you know the deal, no one wants to do this either because while we are at peace right now, and no one knows when they'll attack!" Added the older guy wiping his forehead. You didn't want to know how it feels to wear full metal on a hot day.

It seemed like the older guard hit the nail right into its head. The younger guard just nodded, it was clear everyone was on the edge since the news spread.

"It feels like no one likes this place anymore..." The older guard sat down on a box while sighing.

"Yes. The situation is bad, you know the shite is coming to pour down when even merchants leave this place?"

This took you by a surprise. This was definitely bad news...

"Excuse me... can you tell me who exactly left?"

"The antique guy in a purple dress or something like that... damn that guy had a weasel-like face! The fat blacksmith who made these fancy new halberds left too."

Oh great... what little income you had left is now cut too.

"So did the cute potion seller." Added the older guard.

"Ah shite, just when we need the strongest potions... we might even go into battle!"

"Oh, you mean the girl? Some time ago a dark elf bitch tried to snake in! I caught her, we fought, and I had to chug one of that cutie's products. Damn, it felt like it almost killed me. She managed to escape..."

"Mre liek she let you live!"

The guards laughed as you forced a faint smile. You really weren't in a good mood lately.

"But we do have a visitor from Eros' cult, I honestly forgot her name, but she's legit."

"Hmm, maybe I can sell her stuff to her." You thought out aloud. This would be a good opportunity, who knows this cultist might even pay better! You were aware that for some reason a lot of demonic flora tends to have some form of aphrodisiac effects. You didn't really want to remember this since you gathered a little info from a few more docile monsters. Their replies were pretty much generally that 'You'll fuck harder!' as they would say. As for this eros cultist, she probably knew about various stuff growing out there... probably.

"Where can I find this... cultists?"

"I think she'll be probably at the inn. Also, call her a messenger of love... she said she doesn't like how cultist sounds."

You couldn't give less damn about what this person prefers, you needed money, and fast. The best option was to get as much money as possible and to leave this Chief God-forsaken place.

"Thanks." You nodded as you left the two guards and headed towards the infamous inn called End's Tusk. The name fits the run-down place too since this place already felt like the end of the world near the mountains. You weren't a regular here since the only time you wandered around here was when you needed supplies. As you pushed in the squeaky door you saw a sour-faced barmaid. She put down beer in front of a bulky, rugged man who was too busy with burying his face into his palms.

That is not a good sign, but it made clear that you are not the only miserable person here.

You got closer to the tired barmaid with not the cleanest-looking clothes.

"You want something?" She asked with the most monotone voice possible, while she blow some air upwards to clear her hair from her eye.

"I'm looking for an Eros cultist."

"Ah... you mean the cupid. She's currently out at the fountain and selling some weird shit..."

Well, at least you now know where she is. Maybe she's the ticket out of this hellhole. You nodded to the barmaid and quickly left the building. As you walked your mind tried to focus on what you should ask her, but your excitement got in the way.

You got closer and closer to your destination, the fountain was barely visible from afar. There were some onlookers gazing at the cupid's ware, you could hear a faint voice getting stronger. You got closer and closer and you finally saw her.

'Wow'...That was your first thought.

She definitely looked more beautiful than women you saw around here. Also, her outfit was a lot more provocative, with a lot of emphasis on the chest area. Her face belonged to an older, mature woman, whereas her pink hair with two braids by each side looked like it was glowing. She was surrounded by trinkets and potions. You noticed the small crowd was mostly female, also you spot one monster girl too. You didn't know her name but saw her on occasions walking with her husband. While you looked around realization hit you. You have been in this place for quite a while and yet you didn't make any friendship nor love interest here. You didn't know a single person here.

The cupid just made a deal, and you saw the happy woman running away with a huge smile on her face grabbing a bottle.

"Ah, an experienced hunter I assume, please check out my wares." The cupid said calmly with a small smile.

'Oh, I assume that's me.' You nodded while walking closer to the woman. You felt like you really had to try your best to not gaze at her half-exposed breasts.

"What do you seek, mister? I assume you are experienced with a bow."

"Huh? How did you know that?"

"Your hands... the calluses." Said the cupid with a very informal tone.

"Yeah, but I use a crossbow mostly now."

"Different folks different tastes."

You looked around, but nothing really met your fancy. You assumed if you were a woman you would love these baubles and whatnot. It seemed like it was the perfect time to ask about the business.

"Do you need any ingredients in the forest?"

The cupid seemed like she was wondering.

"Yes, I would need these two."

She turned around and showed me two papers. One had a drawn grape on it, the other one looked like from one fruit another one grew out... or the opposite, you couldn't really tell, but you definitely never saw either of those. One had "Intoxication" and the other one had "Couple's" written on them.

"They can grow on non-realm territory too, but I assume you would have a lot more success in the realm."

"How rare are these?" You immediately asked this. It was nice to know that it's even worth the journey.

"Not very, but you'll definitely have to search for them, especially for this grape-looking one."

You were contemplating a bit.

"I'll try my luck, how much you'll pay for them?"

"Thirty for the Couple, Fifty for the Intoxication. Per fruit of course."

Damn... you had to try your best to not bite your lips. Wow, that's a lot of money, even if you get two you can get out of this shitty town.

"I also want a mushroom type, but you'll probably not find any." She turned around again. This time you took a quick glance at her back asset. Nice.

"Undead grey." She said stoically and put the paper on the top of the two. "Three hundred per mushroom."

Holy fuck... You would hit the jackpot for this! Not only move out but even buy a smaller house with this. The "faces" on the shrooms looked disturbing, but that didn't hold your excitement back.

The cupid chuckled probably because of your sudden outburst.

"I'm sorry to say this hunter, this thing is native to the undead. Even there it's a rarity.

"Yeah, but I'll try."

"Good luck, keep the papers, at their back you can find some tips where to look for them."

"Thank you... cupid." You contemplated for a few seconds that calling another monster girl by her race was not very appropriate.

"Please call me Stefania. I'll be in this town for at least three weeks... You should head to the forest south and start your search there."

"Got it." You nod as you keep gazing at the papers and memorizing the plants' and the mushroom's form.

"It's still just a green realm... But be careful... Goodbye"

"Bye."

You noticed some kind of concern on the cupid's beautiful face. You immediately realized the place the cupid was referring to. There was a normal forest far away, but news reached your town too, that it turned into a lighter version of demonic realm. Nobody knew here really what this 'green realm' meant, but folks described it as a lighter version of a demonic realm. At least it was more friendly to humans, and not hostile. Luckily the more local forest you were familiar with had none of that strange stuff... except for the missing animals.

You felt as if you should be more chatty, but instead, you just nodded and left the woman. Now if you think about it, it seemed like both of you were these 'talk as little as possible' types.

Whatever. You sighed and put the papers away, your mind couldn't concentrate on the paper's content since it was filled with the reward. Three hundred gold. That is a lot of fucking money. You wondered what would you do with all of that gold on your way home, but your daydreams weren't over the top. After moving a fancy new crossbow wouldn't hurt, or even some delicate elven longbow would be cool too. Hell, you would even give hunting with that new booming-blasting thing a try. You remembered hearing that some monsters even used a strange wood with a tube on it to conquer towns and villages beforehand. The ones who managed to escape said those things were obnoxiously loud and a lot of smoke came out from them. The worst part was, that unlike an arrow the moment the thing made that exploding sound someone dropped on their knees. As if the monsters weren't scary already enough, now they had a new weapon too! Damn, it would be a very good time to get as far as possible from these things, but if they even target this town...

You tried to chase away these thoughts, but a few times it crossed your mind to which side to choose. It was hard. One side obviously painted the other one as the evil itself, you got radicals in the Chief God's army too after all. It seemed like being neutral for as long as possible was the best option. At least for now.

The familiar tiny shack was in front of you. Finally, you got home. As you entered you looked around while wondering what your new home would look like. All the animal pelts on the wall would be probably gone, after all, you can stay a low-life forever, right? Besides this profession is on its deathbed, especially if you remain here. Where the hell did all the animals go?

You wondered about the missing wildlife as you put on a kettle to brew tea.

"If only I would find these damned things..."

You looked upon the papers the cupid gave you. It was clear as day you have to go to some dangerous territory to obtain these items. The Order teachers specifically mentioned these in schools in your childhood too: do not wander around territories with abnormal things in them. Doing the exact opposite of that now seems weird, but it must be done. You have three weeks, which seems like a lot of time to succeed, but a lot of those will be just wandering around unknown territories. Seems like shifting the focus for that weird double fruit plant would be the best after all. The other one's paper says the top quality stuff is at the bottom of the tree, while the lesser quality is at the top? Weird. You expected the exact opposite.

It's time to pack belongings, the rations, and water most importantly. Then comes some survival stuff like a firestarter, and a good knife. Also a rope, one may never know when it's needed, small containers for the fruits and a tent. Then comes the most important one. The crossbow and its bolts. Everything is ready, but one very important thing... convincing a man to give you a ride into demonic territory as close as possible.

You scratch your head as you forgot this very important part.

 

---

'I wonder if they'll actually go there.' - You thought as you were waiting in front of a fancy building equipped with a big bag on your back in the early morning. Most folks were still asleep as you impatiently were standing in the front of the post office. Your plan was pretty simple: somehow convince a postman to give you a ride and drop you at the realm's border.

Finally, the familiar postwoman was coming towards your way. She was presumably around her sixties, slowly walking towards the office.

"Oh, hello, you... you are that quiet hunter guy! Up so early? I'll open right now."

"Yeah, I want to pay for a ride as close to the demonic realm in the south as possible." You said out flatly.

The granny trying to put the key into the hole missed it.

"Y-you sure about that?"

"Yes."

"Uh... well."

You expected this to happen, but you saved up a little just for this occasion.

"How much?"

"You are that type eh? Come in first, we'll talk about this inside."

The granny shook her head as she opened the door and gestured for you to get inside. There were two things in the tidy building immediately catching your eye. A pile of boxes and an older man. The man had a long dark blue postman suit. He also had a very distinguishing mustache. He scratched his head while looking at the paper he held then back at the pile of packages.

"Hey, you know where does this g- O oh a customer too, this early? Hello, what can we help you with?"

The man was presumably her husband, but you never really talked to the two.

"He wants to get into the southern forest..." Before you could speak the woman already opened her mouth.

"Buddy, you chose the worst place possible to go on camping." The man laughed.

"I'm serious. Will you drop me off or not?" You gave a cold stare at the man, who just sighed.

"Well... I could but..."

"Fifty coins?"

His concerned face turned into a happy one for a few seconds then it changed back. He rubbed her stache while wondering.

"Ah to hell with it. Deal." He reached out his arm for me, and I took the handshake.

"I don't think this was a good idea Brian... but have it your way."

"Hey... I won't go in there... I'll just drop this fella at the border! Buddy, you can come, but I tell ya, the moment I see some weird shit I'm going to be like mercury in a broken thermometer. I'm fucking gone! Do you understand?"

"Yeah... fine by me."

"Very nice! When do you want to go? Ah silly me I guess you want now right? Assuming your package and all."

"Will our good for nothing son deliver the packages then?" The granny raised an eyebrow at the man.

"So it seems... Fifty gold for a trip seems like a very good deal for us. I assume you want a return ride too!"

"Yeah, if it's possible, after two weeks."

"Okay, have it your way! Do you have something to take care of or we can move?"

"No, let's go."

The postman nodded, kissed her wife and you both left the building. The stables weren't too far away, with a big ass wagon and two horses in front of it. You gazed at the two animals who seemed like they didn't really like you.

"Relax... they'll tolerate it if you'll be inside the carriage. We will do no detours, but I'll have to stop in one village for a few minutes to drop off packages if that's okay to you."

"Fine by me."

"You are not the talkative type eh? Well, you'll have a lot of time inside the thing while I drive."

"..."

"Oh well, it is what it is, please step inside, this wagon is not the most comfortable, since it's rare for actual passengers to be in here."

The old postman was right, the interior was nothing fancy, in fact, it was pretty used. The seats weren't the best either, but you had to endure this.

He closed the door behind you as you sat down, hopped on the top, and with a loud "GYA!" the carriage started to move. It stopped after a few minutes and you were greeted by the familiar faces of the two guards. The older one stepped closer to the door.

"It's you! Ya leaving?"

"Yeah, but not permanently. Or at least not yet."

The younger guard fiddled around the carriage, then you could only hear his voice "PASS!"

"Okay, have a safe trip." The older guard nodded.

The guard left, and the carriage started moving again. Before you knew it the small empty forest you were familiar with showed up.

'I wonder if that thing which took all the animals still lives here.'

You sighed as you kind of wished to never return here to this forest and to this town even. There was nothing for you here anymore... maybe except for seeing that sexy cupid again.

The road was silent as the wagon wandered deeper into the forest. You felt like you could take a nap since the road will be a long journey.

Suddenly the horses gave out a very loud voice, as the carriage stopped, you felt like the left side of the wagon suddenly dropped. This caused you to lose your balance and you slid off to the left side. The old man let out a harsh cuss. What happened?

You look out of the window, but you saw nothing.

"Hey, Mr. Passanger! Come out and help!"

The panic from the old man's voice made it clear, it was an attack! You quickly ready your crossbow, while kicking out the door. Nothing. You felt the adrenaline started to pump in you, but you tried to stay calm. If you need to shoot you need to remain as calm as possible. That was the key to hit the target perfectly.

You didn't really want to go out, but you had to protect the old guy, so you jumped out with a crossbow ready. Still nothing.

"Hoo...hoo." The old man tried to calm down the two horses, as you still monitored the woods. You took a glance at the wagon, and it was clear why it stopped. The wheel was broken. Chiefgoddamnit.

"Stick close to me." You commanded the old man who immediately got close to you as you looked through your crossbow's sight.

You felt strange. Excited, yet calm. This thing held you back from your future to finally leave. You tried to chase away these angry thoughts to manage your calmness.

"What the hell could this be?"

"I don't know... not human for sure... there was no projectile... as if it sliced the wood."

The old man looked at you dumbfounded and then he looked around the passage. Only a few trees and nothing out of ordinary. Yet you felt its gaze on your back. It was watching you.

"I have a theory... this thing waits for a good moment to attack, possibly he wants to separate us."

"W-what should we do?"

"If it wants the carriage's containments he'll definitely strike. He probably wants to take me out first since I'm the dangerous one for him. Do you have a spare wheel?"

"Yes, but it may take some time to change it."

"Good, I'll cover you."

"Are you serious about this?"

"Yes, just do it."

"Okay..."

The man began to lift the carriage using wooden poles. You couldn't really see what he was exactly doing, just hear the noises, as your sight never wandered off the forest. What the hell did this creature, or human want anyway?

Cracking noises came from the procedure as the old man tried to catch his breath. What comes next? With this thing still waiting there, so it was more than clear your travel ended.

After a while with great inhaling and exhaling the old man stopped.

"It's done."

"I think we should part away?"

"Are you crazy?"

"I feel like I know this thing. It might be the cause why the animal population became so little here."

"Ah... well, there were indeed reports of sliced carcasses, but still... what if he attacks?" 

"I think... it wants me."

"W-what, did you really go nuts?"

"No... if it can attack this fast, I think it would already attack us. Especially if it wants the packages."

"Is that some kind of gut feeling of yours?"

"More or less..."

"Tch... Damn." The old man clicked his tongue.

"You go back to the town, I'll follow closely the cart to see its next move. Let's see how it reacts to this, instead of you running away. It also increases your chance of survival..."

"My chance... but what about you?"

That was a good question you had to admit... Did you even care? Your life became pretty shit anyway.

"Let's say I have some business with this damn thing."

Indeed you were one hundred percent it was the reason why you were stuck. You really felt like you should take revenge on it.

"Heh... you really have gone nuts." The geezer shook his head and hopped back on the wagon.

"Go slowly towards the town, when the forest ends switch to a higher speed."

"Okay..." The old man nodded and hopped into the top again. You quickly followed him too. He looked around and with a lower tone he commanded the horses to move. You were still redying your crossbow to fire at anything moving.

Every minute felt like an hour. The sweat swelling on your forehead got annoying, but you didn't even dare to wipe it off.

Your prediction was real. You felt your muscles tensing up. You felt like you actually wanted to be left alone with this thing.

The wagon finally reached the edge of the forest.

"Sonny, I currently have not enough money on me, to thank you for saving my life... but I can give you back yours."

"Keep it... at least for now, If I come back alive I'll probably need it."

"You are right... I'll pay you for this kindness."

You sighed and jumped down the wagon.

"Go!"

"Just stay alive... GYA!"

The man shouted at the horses who started running. You didn't see how the man disappeared since you didn't dare to took your eyes down. In fact, you didn't even care. You wanted this... you wanted to be left alone here.

"It's now just you and me..." You mumbled under your nose. Nothing moved.

"Are you taunting me?"

You started to lose your patience. This damned thing caused you to go nearly bankrupt and to be reduced for a mere mushroom picker.

"I'm not..."

Your eyes widened as you heard a low feminine voice. It came from the left direction to you, but still, nothing was on sight.

"Come out!"

"I won't unless you put that away..."

"Not happening."

"So you want the hard way..."

What hard way? You wondered as you heard something moving... from behind!

"FUCK!"

As you turned your crossbow was grabbed on by something... or rather someone!

"What the?!"

A girl was grasping your weapon trying to pry it out from your hands. What the hell? This woman had some green sword-like things attached to her hands... and two antennas! Damn it must be some kind of monster girl, but you have never seen something like this one. You didn't know what this thing was, but your eyes locked with hers... You couldn't read anything from her emotionless face either. You somehow only noticed now that the girl even had two eye-like things on her messy hair... it resembled the eyes of a bug. As you looked closely it also had two of them around her forehead, but much smaller. You didn't know if the real eyes were on the humanoid ones. She was around a head smaller than you, but still, she was powerful.

"What you want from me?!"

"Your seed."

The girl said this as if it was a completely normal thing to say. You made a huge mistake because this caught you off guard, and a girl could snatch the crossbow out of your hands. You tried to reach for the knife on your belt, but it was too late. The girl grabbed your torso and crawled on top of you. Then she put a piece of cloth in front of your mouth. You tried to pull her off, but you felt your strength fading.

"Crap..."

You inhaled something that you shouldn't.

The world slowly faded away.

 

---

You opened your eyes and the first thing you heard and saw was a cave's entrance. Something restricted your movement, as you were laying on the floor. or more precisely on some kind of rug. Your hands were tied.

"I'm sorry for this."

You heard the female's voice. you looked around and spotted the strange monster girl with antennas. Damn this woman, she captured you. She just sat there with legs crossed looking outside while she rested her chin on her palm. She was making uncomfortable eye contact with you.

"What do you want from me?"

"Like I said, your seed."

"Cut out the bullshit..."

"I'm not lying."

What the hell is this thing talking about... she wants your sperm?

"There is a time when my kind goes into heat, and we need a man to procreate." She said it emotionlessly while she tilted her head at the entrance and looked outside. "You are the man I choose."

You wondered how can she manage to say such a thing out so flatly.

"So... you want me to fuck you?"

"Yes."

Well, things certainly got into a weird turn. You were captured by a bug-looking girl who wants to bang you.

"How do I know you are not lying?"

"If I could kill you I would have done it." She showed her arm and you noticed a green scythe-like blade, while she turned back her gaze to you. You now realized that she resembled a praying mantis.

"Case on point... but I don't even know you..."

"The procreation would last only a few minutes. You are free to go afterward."

She made this sound like she was not even alive.

"Don't you want to do this with your lover?"

"Why would I need such a thing? I just have to calm my motherly urges."

This conversation didn't get you anywhere, you didn't know if its a good idea to trust her, but you didn't have a choice.

"So we just fuck and I can go, right?"

"Precisely."

Your mind still tries to realize what actually happened, but you decide to just give in.

"Fine."

For the first time, you saw the bug girl's eyes change. It seemed like she got excited.

"I'll untie you. If you run I can catch you."

"I won't."

She nodded and with a slash of her scythe your hands were free. Then what happens now?

"If you don't want me to slice up your clothes undress. Fast."

You gulped, this thing wasn't joking, as you quickly put your clothes down.

"Now lay down."

You nodded as you lay down on the rug. You wondered if this is her home, but the bug-girl got closer. She pulled down her black clothes freeing her two ample breasts.

"I'll now use my breast to stiffen your penis." She said in her flat voice and got on all fours. The girl became closer and closer. You could really get a full grasp on her, but now you could clearly see, she was a total looker. It crossed your mind that you might as well enjoy this. This was quite a view seeing her breasts hanging down. her skin looked soft, albeit she was a little dirty. The only thing that bothered you is that emotionless face, which was impossible to ignore. You kind of wished if she was more into this since she was pretty cute, but it can't be helped.
The mantis without any foreplay grabbed her breasts and locked in your member between them. The mammary prison was hot and squishy. Way hotter and softer than your hands. She spat on your dick which kind of surprised you, but you understood why, she used it as a lubricant. She put her own weight into it while squeezing your dick while alternating between her breasts which one was in a circular movement. You had to hold back to not let your voice slip out. It seems like she noticed your excitement, and instead of just squeezing her breasts together she started to move her torso up and down too.  It didn't take a lot of time for you to achieve a full boner.

"Oh, so this is how it looks like when it's ready."

The sudden stop really messed your brain up, you wanted more and you wanted to cum badly too. The mantis grabbed your dick and squeezed it.

"If you are about to release your seed, you can only do it inside me."

Your throbbing member ached for more, but it didn't need to wait for long. The girl stood up while her looking at you. Her crotch area was wet. Really wet. Her vagina was pink and looked very smooth. The only thing you could think about now is how much you want to put it inside her. The pheromones completely messed up your brain at this point.

"I'll now take your seed."

She clumsily tried to aim your member into her wet pussy. The inexperience was very clear from both ends, but she managed to do it. Even with just a tip inserted you bit your lips, but seeing her expression completely made you forget about your pleasure.

For the first time, you saw the mantis girl make another expression than her neutral one. Her tongue rolled out and she looked upwards. Your dick slid very slowly into her eventually reaching your crotch. You could feel a huge force squeezing your member. She was extremely tight, almost painfully tight. The girl was breathing heavily, as she leaned onto you. Her whole body was so warm...

"You... are you okay?"

"Y-yes... I just need... a little time."

The mantis was still gasping for air. You couldn't see her face, only the top of her messy chestnut hair. Something deep inside you got triggered, it told you to pamper her.

"It's okay..."

You put your hand on the mantis girl's head slowly stroking her hair.

The girl pushed herself up a little. It looked like every single movement take her a lot of effort. Finally, you could see her face. It was completely red! In fact, she looked like she was about to cry. She had a very painful expression.

She hugged your head while exhaling hot air into your face.

"Can you do that... thing you humans do with your mouths plea-?"

Without even realizing you instantly locked your lips with her. They were soft and squishy. You never thought a simple kiss will feel this good.
She suddenly broke the contact, released your head, and laid back on your chest.

"Can we stay like this... for a while?" She purred, as her antennas fidgeted around.

"Yes..."

You hugged her and let her rest on your chest.

Soon you could hear the girl's breathing more and more slowly. She fell asleep.

 

---

"I have to go back." Both of you were standing at the edge of the forest. She was clinging to your arm, burying her face into it.

"We didn't finish it..."

"I'm coming back to you, don't worry. Or you can come with me."

"Can I?"

"Yes, I don't see why not."

The mantis girl's grip tightened on your arm.

"I forgot to ask... what's your name?"

"Laurie."

"Will you come with me, then Laurie?"

"Y-yes!"

Her statement made your heart race. This sweet girl would be with you.

"It won't be a long journey, but we have to keep moving to reach the town today."

"Right."

It seemed like she'll be attached to you on the whole road.

You both moved at a slow pace. You wanted to say that you'll not reach the town today like this, but it seemed like it was better not to say that. Besides, you enjoyed her company quite much, even if both of you were completely silent.

Some time passed maybe around two hours, as you saw two horses coming towards you. Wait, that was the old man's carriage! You saw two people sitting on the top but they were too far away to say who they were.

Laurie's grip tightened again.

"Relax, they are probably friends."

"Okay..."

You felt the mantis girl was on edge and could use her scythes at any time.

The wagon pulled by horses became closer and finally, you could see who the two people were on top. The horses stopped and so did the carriage. The old man smiling at you, another one was the cupid on the top. The cupid had her longbow in her left hand with a strange heart-shaped arrow in her right.

"Yo, hello there Mr. Hunter." The old geezer welcomed you warmly.

"Hello...Oh my... it seems like I won't be needing this." The cupid put down her bow. "It seemed like this worked better than expected, it would have been a waste if you get caught by another monster than that cute mantis." She pointed at Laurie.

"Ah... so you did this?"

"Well mostly... I met with Laurie before, and she told me to help to 'get' you."

You looked at the girl being attached to your arm trying to hide her face. She was pretty cute.

"The wildlife... that was your doing, right?"

"Y-yes."

Her voice seemed to be pretty apologetic, but you didn't really care about that anymore.

"It's okay..."

"The girl was too shy to talk to you, but she was looking at you for quite some time." The cupid added with a small smile. "She reached out to me, and I helped her."

"I see..."

"Uh... I'm sorry I barge into your conversations, but there is something that you need to know Mr. Hunter. Our town... is going to capitulate. We received a letter from the radical faction that we either submit or they raid us, so... yeah we'll become a monster-controlled territory."

"Don't worry it's not bad." the cupid said calmly. "However you can leave whenever you want... you already have a lover after all."

A lover... With Laurie, you could actually start a new life?

"I... I don't know."

"Just hop inside the cabin, we came here to pick you up after all. You'll see how the town immediately began to change."

"Alright, then come with me, Laurie."

You kissed the girl on her forehead. You both stepped inside the carriage, as the mailman turned it and you headed towards the town.

Laurie never let you go even for a second during the trip, while she didn't spoke a word either. Neither did you.

 

---

"Soon we'll arrive!" The postman yelled cheerfully. It seemed like he wasn't so sad about the monster occupation at all...

The familiar plains entered your vision as the carriage stopped. The wagon arrived at the gate, but there were no guards. That was strange. No inspection, nothing.

What is going on?

The wagon arrived at the post office. You and the mantis girl stepped out.

"Oh, I forgot, your payment."

You looked dumbfounded at the old geezer who just jumped off... what the hell? Since when did he become so agile?

"Here! For saving my ass back then!"

She shoved a very heavy bag into your free hand.

"Now if you excuse me. I have... uh things to do!"

The old coot ran into the office as you just looked at the heavy bag.

"I'm glad I could help you two running to each other. Also those fruits and mushrooms. They are actually legit. You should check them out if you want to." The cupid smiled at you.

"Thank you." The mantis said with a low voice.

"You are welcome." The cupid jumped off the carriage too. "I'll be at my usual spot if you find those things. It seems like I'll be here for a while, as a 'guide'.

You nod as the cupid left you two alone.

"Let's go to my home."

"Okay."

"Oho! Wait for a second!"

You heard a female voice from above you. A strange creature landed in front of you and Laurie. The thing had a scary-looking tail with blades coming out of it. She had braided hair and a lion-like fur around her neck, accompanied by two cat-like ears. Her grin was hearty, which was the exact opposite of her imposing look. You noticed her feet also looked like a cat's... or dogs you couldn't really say for sure what the hell this thing was. She also had bat-like wings. What a weird creature. You however reached towards your crossbow.

"Hey, put that away... Damn, finally I caught up to you two and this is how I get greeted... eh... anyway Welcome!"

"Uh... hello." You were quite dumbfounded and so was Laurie.

"Hmm... I get that kind of confused look often, but since you didn't hear it I'll tell you the details. Now you are under monster-controlled territory! What does this mean? Well for you nothing really. It seems like you already found the girl you looking for!" She exhaled, while she spread her wings.

"Phew. Eh, I'm really bad at this official speech bullshit... so let's just stop with that here. Ann's better at that anyway. Whatever. Name's Sarah and I'm more or less the... uh what is it called? Embassador? Ambassador? Yeah, ambassador of the operation I'll be around the mayor's office if you need anything!"

"So... we are free to go?"

"Of course! Your town submitted instantly, we don't really care what civilians do. We'll stay here for a while then go back to resupply and whatnot. However, if you want to join our army, we are more than happy to see you in our ranks, now if you excuse me, I'll have some 'chat' with the local Chief God's preachers."

She bowed and flapped her wings flying off towards the town hall. That was quite an introduction.

"You knew her?"

"No."

"So this is what a demon army soldier looks like. She's quite scary."

"Yes..."

"Well... then let's go, Laurie. I'll show you my home."

"Okay."

You two walked in the night, but it wasn't very quiet. You could hear a lot of moans from the houses around you. As you both passed next to the tavern you heard the barmaid's voice yelling 'HARDER!'. You also noticed with your newly found girlfriend the two guards next to the inn. Both of them were too busy to even notice you. The younger one was kissing a woman whose legs looked like a cow's. The cow woman was flailing her tail around. She was quite big especially next to the guard, who had to be on her tiptoes to reach her face. The other one was a few meters next to him railing a woman while standing next to a wall. The woman was moaning heavily as the older guard didn't show any mercy. You felt like you saw that girl already... yes it was the one who ran off happily from the cupid holding something... However, you didn't remember the girl having fur on her forearms... You couldn't really pay more attention to them either since Laurie started to fidget again.

"Can we do it again?"

"Yes... if you want to."

You and the girl arrived in front of your house. You never wanted to see this thing again, but now... for some reason, you were happy you did.

Suddenly your body stopped in front of the door.

"Laurie... Thank you. You bought the joy back into my miserable life."

This took not only the mantis girl by surprise but you too. Why did you say it? Also, you felt like your face formed a genuine smile after a long time.

Laurie grabbed your face gently and kissed your cheek.

Maybe this place will not be as bad after all. You didn't know what the future holds, maybe you'll take that strange creature's offer, or be a mushroom hunter again.

Your mind didn't really bother with that however, the only thing that mattered was this girl who was still clinging firmly to you.

It's been a long time since you have been this happy.

"I'm sorry... I forgot to ask your name, your warmth was too distracting. I apologize." The mantis fidgeted as she looked down.

That was a strange apology, but you just smiled at her.

"It's Anonymous."

"Anonymous..." She looked up to you again. Her eyes were really beautiful right now as she looked into yours.  "I love you."

"Me too, Laurie. Me too. Let's get inside."

The mantis nodded, as you opened the door and both of you stepped inside the small house.

Somehow this run-down shack became more welcoming when you left too.

 

 

End.