[Vol. 2 pt. 18]
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2/2

Split up into two releases since it was one week's worth of content put into two smaller chapters.

Posted later than I planned on this week, but that was because I was obsessively tracking hurricane Dorian as it approached due to: one, being a hobbyist storm tracker; and two, potentially being hit by it since I'm in a SE state.

Aside from that, it's that time of the month again! Pledging one dollar to Patreon will immediately unlock next week's chapter for you not only for this story, but for all of my stories. The five-dollar tier unlocks the next 5 chapters for each story for a total of 25 chapters. Beyond that is the ten-dollar tier which gives you the next 10 chapters for each story for a total of 50 advance chapters. If you read even just two or three of my stories, you get more weekly content per dollar than what you get from any other web novel Patreon! More importantly, pledging ensures that I can continue doing this for a living. I know that I can get pretty spammy with this, but Patreon is my sole source of income at the moment. Until I start self-publishing on Amazon later this year, I've got to be annoying with these ads to make sure that my income stays steady. Especially until I move to somewhere that isn't stupidly expensive.

And if you don't want to pledge to me, please consider donating to help the victims of Dorian in the Bahamas. They need all the help that they can get right now after having a category 5 hurricane parked on top of the northern islands for 24 hours.

That was…

I feel like I’m melting.

I don’t even care if she’s floating me on my back now while covering everything but my head in bubbles. She can do whatever she wants to me after that.

Nothing else matters now.

My mind is clear.

Any previous stress I felt is just… gone.

That might have been the best I have ever felt in my entire life up until now.

I had no idea that Elanah’s hand is so skilled.

She seems really happy with herself, too. She’s been smiling and humming ever since she stopped, swaying from side to side a bit, too.

I feel great and she looks so damn happy.

This is a win-win situation.

No matter how my pride might have felt at the beginning of that, this is worth it.

This is also the cleanest I’ve ever felt. And probably the nicest.

These bubbles are actually kind of nice.

Seriously nice.

“Ehehe, you’re so cute, Woofen,” Elanah says, reaching out to poke my nose.

I don’t even care. I said that she can do whatever she wants to me and I meant that.

She can poke me as much as she damn well wants until I’m no longer pokable if that’s what she wants.

Fuck, even being a puppy can’t stop me from melting under any women who knows how to touch me.

That belly rub was just way too fucking amazing.

Everything else she did was amazing, too.

The way she rubbed all the way up and down my legs. The way she focused on the tip of my ears. The way she kneaded my chest and back.

I might have just fallen in love.

I’ve never, even as a human, been given such an extensive, full body massage.

And the way she kissed all over my head while she was doing it… was actually kind of relaxing on its own. I haven’t felt such a sweet action like that in… a really long time.

It was the kind of sensation that makes me wonder what life would be like if I settled down with her as a wife somewhere. I could work the fields while she takes care of the brats and cooks for us. Then we’d spend the end of every day in each other’s arms and—

Wait, wait wait wait.

Alright, I shook that weird thought out of my head.

Elanah? My wife? Having kids with her and being all cuddly on a couch at the end of a day?

Hah!

That’s hilarious, you stupid fucking puppy!

There’s no way that I would have settled down with anybody as a human, and there’s no way I’ll ever do so as a puppy! Especially as a puppy!

Wait, what’s this burning feeling?

My eyes are watering and…

I got some of the fucking bubbles in my eyes from shaking my head!

“He-hey! Woofen!” Elanah shouts as I thrash around in the water, rolling over onto my front and suddenly struggling to stay afloat.

Fortunately, she lifts me out of the water and stands me back up where it’s shallow.

“Are you okay? What happened?” she asks me while Snow looks over here as well.

Damn it, this is embarrassing.

My eyes are all watery and probably red and all I can do is shake my head and try to rub them.

Yeah, I’ll just rub my eyes against the top of my arms to…

I’m fucking rubbing my eyes against a bubbly-soaked, furry leg!

Damn it, this hurts even more now! I seriously feel like my eyes are about to catch on fire! Didn’t Zurie give the damn board a warning about that shit?!

“O-oh. The bubbles. Zurie said to be careful…. I think she said it’s bad if they get in your eyes,” Elanah says.

Damn it!

Damn it all!

Fucking tell me before I catch my eyes on fire, you board! You anvil! You might be good for belly rubs, but you’re not fucking good for anything else!

Shit!

[Skill Acquired!

Chemical Resistance |R1|

+1 VIT

Increases your resistance to chemical substances.]

One, that’s a thing? How the fuck is it any different from venom resistance or something?

Two, it still fucking burns!

“Wash it out,” Snow suggests. “With water.”

“Good idea,” Elanah says.

Yeah, good idea, so hurry up and fucking do it!

Elanah scoops up some water into her hands while I tilt my head back for her, trying to keep my eyes forced open so that she can flush them with the water.

There aren’t any bubbles in it, so – wait, whatever chemical was used to make the bubbles is probably diluted into the—

Elanah drops the water into my eyes.

[Chemical Resistance increased to rank 2!]

I’m going to kill every single last fucking pink ball that I ever see for the rest of my life.

Not even bubbles themselves are going to be spared from me.

Fuck my conquest for a throne of bones. I’m going to exterminate every last bubble in this world.

 

Alright.

It took about fifteen minutes… but the burning is finally going away.

Shit, my eyes seriously hurt after that.

“Wo-Woofen… I’m – I’m sorry… your eyes are so red,” Elanah whimpers.

She better fucking feel sorry.

I don’t even get to check her out while suffering this much because of the fucking bubbles covering her chest.

Snow’s body is covered in bubbles, too.

I hate everything.

I hate absolutely everything.

This world deserves to burn beneath flames just as hot as the ones I felt in my eyes.

Today marks the beginning of the end of the world.

“Here, does this help?” Elanah asks, handing me my sword.

My bone.

I immediately bite onto the handle and start chewing on it.

I’m still pissed off, but maybe not as much as before, damn it!

Damn, this bone is always so good tasting no matter how much I chew on it…

I’m pretty sure I can hear the board whispering something about something cute something, but I don’t care.

I just want to chew on my bone.

Bones are all that are righteous in this world.

I’m sorry, bone. I never should have said that I would give up on my conquest for bones and a throne made of them.

You’re all I really have.

Bones are the only thing in this world that has never fucked me over in some way.

Well, there was that one time I almost choked on a bone when tearing into some chicken as a human… but that was my fault. I could never blame that stupid mistake on a bone now that I know just how perfect bones are.

Wait, what was that thudding sound?

Elanah clicks her tongue and stands up… grabbing her daggers?

I can barely see shit still. It hurts to keep my eyes open, and when I do have them open, everything is blurry.

“This is the treasure you were hiding from us?” some rough voice says.

Shit.

It takes a dozen blinks just to make my vision a little bit clearer, and it sounds like something is going on where I’m going to seriously need to be able to see.

Somebody else whistles.

“Worry not, ladies! We would never do anything to such beauties,” a different voice shouts, one that is still a man’s but not as deep.

“Oi, shut up. You’re going to give them the wrong idea,” the first man says.

“But I was serious.”

“You didn’t sound like it. You think you’re ever going to find yourself a girl when you say rapist-sounding shit like that?”

“Fine, fine. I’ll admit that I was having a bit of fun there. But hey, you girls, we seriously aren’t going to do anything like that. We’re respectable folk, you see.”

“Ru-run!” Vysan shouts.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Would you stop with that already?” the first man asks.

“What do you want?” Elanah asks.

I hope she still has bubbles covering her.

Also, I’m surprised that she didn’t just offer Vysan over in exchange for safety.

He must have grown on her.

“For fuck’s sake, I’m starting to get pissed off,” the first man says before taking a couple of deep breaths. “Alright. Sorry. I relaxed. Now then, we do not want anything. We were just trying to come through to look for the gathering zone when your friend here got in our way and refused to let us through. We’re hungry and tired, so we really didn’t want to deal with that sort of thing. Your friend here didn’t believe that. Now, I realize that he was just trying to be a noble little boy protecting some naked girls. I understand that. I even appreciate and respect that. But we are really tired and did not know that beforehand. So, if you don’t mind, we’re going to let your friend here go and go claim that corner of the gathering zone.”

Huh.

He actually sounds pretty reasonable.

He has the kind of voice that makes me think he’s some sort of big and burly bandit type who swings around a giant axe and wants to pillage girl’s bodies, but he seemed pretty—

The second man speaks up again. “Though, if either of you beauties want to join me in that corner, feel free to come and—”

I don’t see it, but I definitely hear it.

The sound of somebody’s head being smacked.

“Alright, alright. Sorry…”

“Apologies for my apprentice.”

Neither Elanah nor Snow say anything, and it sounds like Vysan has stopped his worrying.

I’ve got to hand it to him. If he really did try to defend these girls from two guys trying to break through him, that’s kind of respectable.

Even if he failed.

At least the men he failed against don’t seem to be complete shitbags.

For now.

Can never trust anybody to stay true to however they come off at first. I mean, Elanah started off as a cold killer… and ended up being some puppy-obsessed anvil.

I don’t know what I like better. Board or anvil.

I’m already used to board, so I’ll stick with that.

“Wait… you guys were serious?” Vysan asks, finally speaking up again.

“For the last time, yes. Ask me again and I might have to kick you,” the first man says. “I’m really, really trying my best to be patient here.”

I think it’s less about trying to be patient and more about being naturally, extremely impatient.

“Hey… is that a hellfire pup?” the first man asks.

And… now Elanah is being defensive again. I might not be able to see that clearly, but I know that it’s her legs now standing between me and the source of the voice.

“Relax! Fuck! What is with you people? I’m asking a damn question. My big bro used to have one, but it died. I’m just fucking feeling nostalgic is all,” he explains.

“It died?” Elanah asks.

“She was a tamed beast. His first. Managed to make up to a hellfire hound before… why the fuck am I talking to you about it?”

His voice sounded softer at the start of that but wasted no time going back to sounding rough and deep.

Tamer’s first tamed beasts rarely survive from what I know, so it’s easy to tell where that story is going.

All sorts of men and women came into the tavern in tears after losing their first beasts in the tower or while out adventuring in the forest.

The bond might be the strongest between a tamer and their first beast, but the tamer’s inexperience tends to result in a few deaths before they find a beast that survives with them for the rest of their lives.

It no longer becomes a question of when the beast will die on its own and more of a question of when they’ll die together.

But to think that somebody managed to get up to a hellfire hound with their first tamed beast…

Must have been one of those lucky bastards. Probably the type who beat me at cards some night.

That pisses me off just thinking about it. Some bastards have all the luck.

“How… how big are hellfire hounds?” Elanah asks.

Hey, she’s actually sounding not like a cold woman for once to a new guy. She’s even trying to get some useful information for me.

Or…

Does she just want to know how big I’m going to be for her own reasons?

“How big? I remember being shocked at the difference. Normal pups don’t evolve into such big dogs, but his girl must have gone from being the size of your pup there to being the size of a wolf in an instant. Was crazy to see happen live,” the man explains.

Elanah is drooling, isn’t she?

But if I’m going to become the size of a wolf in a couple of levels… I might just start drooling, too. Not for the same reason as Elanah, but because I’ll finally stop being a puppy!

“Just be careful,” the man warns. “Something changed in her after she evolved.”

“Like what?” Elanah asks.

“She got real aggressive. Even bit him a few times, but never hard enough to draw blood. There was a time when she pinned him down and held her fangs around his neck after he tried petting her in her sleep. Scared me real good, but big bro laughed it off and gave her a few smacks after that. Told him he needed to be more careful. Never was. But, I guess I was wrong in the end. She never hurt him and ended up dying for him. I miss that girl.”

“Sorry,” Elanah says.

Wait.

Did Elanah just fucking apologize to some guy? Some guy who she doesn’t even know?

Is… is Elanah capable of actually feeling bad for bastards who aren’t little kids or me?

Huh.

“Sorry to ask this,” the man says, “but can I pet the pup? He looks just like she did. Brings back a lot of good memories, and my hand is itching for it.”

That’s kind of weird, but okay. I guess men are just as tempted as girls to touch fluffy things.

Wait, I’m not even fluffy right now. My fur is all wet and gross feeling.

I’ll just try to shake this off real quick.

“Hah. He even shakes like her. Damn cute,” the man says.

I’m pretty sure that all dogs shake the same, so that isn’t exactly a comparison worthy of pointing out.

“Alright,” Elanah says before bending over to pick her clothes up.

“We’ll turn around until you two are done dressing. I figure you don’t want to wear bubbles forever,” the man jokes.

The other man speaks up again. “Though, if you would allow us permission to watch you dress, it is something we would be eternally grateful fo—"

Another whack.

 

I’m finally able to see some more by the time the girls are done getting dressed.

The new guys look just like how I figured they would.

One of them is an absolute behemoth in size, standing tall and wide to the point where it’s a miracle the bastard was even able to squeeze through the tight passages on the way here. He’s also got an orange beard reaching down to his gut, his equally-orange hair in locks and reaching down his back with metal rings tying it, and a big damn hammer on his back.

Then there’s the other guy.

He’s half the first man’s size and has a bow strapped around his torso with hair that looks like he tries way too hard to keep it in good shape.

How the fuck is this guy the apprentice of the big guy?

Well, whatever. I’m not going to judge.

I’m also not going to say that the big guy can’t pet me now that I know how huge he is.

If a guy with a hand bigger than my whole body wants to pet me, he is damn well allowed to pet me.

There’s also the fact that I’m just happy I can see again without my eyes being on fire.

Now, the big guy crouches down and slowly lowers his hand toward me.

“Don’t worry, little pup. I promise no harm,” he says, his voice soft again like it was earlier.

I’m still not sure I trust this guy. He’s…

He’s petting my head.

Fuck, this feels just as good as when the girls pet me.

Alright. Maybe this guy is trustworthy after all.

“What’s his name?” he asks.

“Woofen,” Elanah answers.

“Woofen, huh? That’s a good name. I like it. Well, nice to meet you, Woofen.”

It’s weird being treated like this by some guy who looks like a massive barbarian who looks like he belongs in a burning village covered in blood.

Being a puppy seriously brings out the weirdest in people.

“The name’s Strism. Tristan Strism.”

“Strism?” Vysan asks.

Strism?!

There must be more than one family with the Strism name. That’s only natural to expect.

Right?

The man nods.

“From the blacksmith family?” Vysan asks.

“Have you heard of any other families with our name?” he asks.

This bastard must have missed the fact that different families can have the same name.

“Seeing this pup’s fur up close,” the other man pauses, “too bad there isn’t more of it. It’d make for a great coat.”

Elanah, Snow, and… Tristan, all turn to look at the annoying guy with daggers in their eyes.

I’m kind of offended that Vysan doesn’t look just as enraged at the thought as the rest of them are.

I was starting to like that bastard.

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