I would like to thank Savu Cezar, Flameblue, and Kushar Dipesh for joining the patron family. Thanks for the support!
"Mine!" Nik hissed as he observed Ray's hands nearing the little fluff of fur stuck in between his tunic with her face out. Her silver fur was physically cool and calming to skin and unlike a few naughty sun kittens, this one seemed especially obedient, the best type of felines, in summary. Dubbing the species as a Moon Kitten since there was no record about this cute little being within the library. Depressed, Ray turned to his Sun Kitty and rubbed its furry golden head while it yawned and purred gently. "But yours is... silver... I am curious~" To Ray's chime, Nik smiled smugly, "I thought you didn't want to do anything with petting, hmm? What changed your mind aside from these glorious forms? Have you finally realized your wrongdoings and agreed to become a follower of my path?"
"Please... stop talking like that!" Ray sighed as his fingers gently played with the sun kitten's soft furry ear as Nik pursed his lips before realizing the err of his manner of speaking. "Sorry," Nik replied with a soft exhalation that tickled Moon's head as she wiggled in between Nik's tunic while her furry paws patted against the fabric. Her glowing blue eyes looked around as she would occasionally lick her whitish lips. She even sported a cute white nose that was soft to touch but after an annoyed mewl, since she would sneeze every time, Nik was forced to stop... temporarily.
"Anyway... this doesn't feel bad. Maybe... just maybe, I can get on this petting train..." Ray whispered as the duo reached the camp, making Nik smile. He really wanted to pick a sun kitten, too, but avarice for pets of similar nature would one day turn into obsessiveness. Satisfied with an elegant silver-furred beauty, Nik continued smiling and offered his thanks to Ray's understanding. Once they reached the camping site, the duo was met by a strange sight of the girls all huddled together in an uncharacteristic manner with their faces completely hidden. Klas washed away the clear water from the last bucket and turned around to give a helpless look to Nik only to feel astonished by the cute thing in between her master's clothes.
"What are all of you"
All the girls turned around with a loud shout that made the two kittens in between Nik's and Ray's clothing yelp in surprise as they instantly retreated into their 'owner's' clothes, inflating the abdominal region of Nik's and Ray's clothing as the two adventurers looked at the unexpectedly fresh-faced, and to Nik's eyes, completely unblemished girls. The recipe of this medicinal bath, in reality, was one of Nie Li's treasure he excavated from one of the ruins he chanced upon. The only reason Nik felt confident in his plan to refine the quality of the physique of his girls was due to this recipe since this broken bath could incorporate any amount of medicinal ingredients. The only thing needed is to revolve one's spiritual energy in an orderly fashion. In a way, this could be considered the peak of this world's alchemy, at least, according to the note in Nie Li's dreams. If Nik wished to attune his body to resistance to poison then he only needed to dump slow-acting poisons on the weaker ends of strength and work his way through. Alas, the 'resistance,' as a concept when it comes to bodily functions for beings formed from flesh and blood is completely useless.
If he attained heat resistance, he'll also need the cold resistance to feel 'no' temperature. Either of these two alone would be counterproductive. However, should the day come that he becomes something other than flesh and blood... he'll instantly start to stock on resistance skills.
Right now, since Nik used the herbs to detoxify the bodies of the girls, they looked fresh and 'spongy.' Of course, they loved the feeling. Alas, Nik had something 'harder' for tomorrow's bath.
"H-hey... what were those?"
Shen Xiu inquired, easily smitten by the simplest of the shadow of fluffs as Lanruo, who is studious, identified the sun kitten easily but looked towards Nik with a look of confusion that was surprisingly solved by Gojira as she tilted her head in surprise. Her relationship, including every single girls', was somehow exposed to the three innocent maidens that took it hard. Korra did apologize for her outburst of wishing Nik to 'enjoy' the bath together. So, the moment Gojira spoke familiarly, aside from a soft blush, the three 'proper' students of Nik remained silent.
"Nik... why did you bring that defect alongside you?"
"Defect?" Nik inquired as he gently pulled the hem of his tunic and hugged the silver furball with his other hand before bringing her closer to his face and letting her small tongue lick his cheek. In some ways, Moon proved herself to be a treasured doggo. "Yea, a failed natural mutation, if you must say. This kitten sleeps for the entire day and if I am not wrong, the silver furs within the group of Sun Kittens are extremely attractive to spirit beasts due to their sweet scent."
'That explains the predatory desires on Gojira's and Ryu'er's faces... but who cares.' Nik shrugged as he placed Moon over his head. Her soft, unblemished paws, credits to Nik's [Purification] settled over his head and she lowered her body in a languid position and mewled softly, instantly attracting the soft purrs of the Sun Kitten named Sunny.
"Well, no worries about any defects. Everyone, meet Moon." Nik grinned and introduced his latest catch as Klas walked over to Nik and whispered softly, "Master, this kitten... doesn't suit your head. Let me take it-"
"Nope! Non!" Nik shook his head and took a firm position. Sure, he never touched the core ideals of his partners but even he had a few beliefs matching his l.u.s.t and desires. Unfortunately, the desire of owning pets was the foremost so his slightly stern gaze shook Klas while he made it clear to everyone within the group with even the slightest of ill intentions towards Moon.
"Moon will stay with me, sleep with us, and live with us. Nobody gets to hurt her, but if you wish to pet her, you must ask Moon's permission first. If she purrs once, then go ahead with the petting, if she shakes her tail, then do nothing and retreat. Is that clear!"
Everybody blinked. For the first time, aside from the night activities, Nik actually took charge with a firm conviction that allowed the girls to see a completely new... albeit immature side of their man. Strangely, however, this seemed to relieve them. After all, they now understand Nik's personal flaw and this fact was music to their ears. Slightly suppressed through his gaze, Gojira's eyes twinkled as she let out a hot and audible sigh of relief that raised the alarms of every girl in the vicinity as Ryu'er could even smell her mother's overflowing scent.
"Anyway, you guys must have also felt the increase in the pace of absorption of your spiritual energy. Instead of any pills that artificially adds to your spiritual energy, we will work on ways to increase your speed in cultivation itself. Now, for the rewards for all of your hard work... I'll be cooking."
Strangely, Ziyun felt like her master had already thought out of every possible requirement during such a situation as he instantly set up a campfire even without any spiritual abilities. Though mundane in his actions, Ziyun felt slightly amazed by her master's dedication to act in a manner that truly made her feel like she was camping. Had she visited for such a recreational activity with her family instead, they would still treat her like a princess. Ziyun was sure that her butt would be placed upon a soft mattress instead of a hard but perfectly smoothly cut rock and instead of enjoying the sight of her master waving the kitchen knife around and placing the shredded manticore meat into the rather large pot filled with water and balanced over the bonfire using two thick branches of the stonewood trees as the vertical balance and another thin branch going through the loop of the pot and settled over the fork ends of the two erect branches.
Sprinkling a few spices collected from the banks of the lake as if to give the dish itself a natural feel, testifying to the depths of Nik's research, a stomach twisting aroma wafted out of the boiling pot. Next, her master crouched below and took out long roots of garden ginseng for the taste of myriad vegetables within the broth, and once finished, he placed a lid over the pot. This time, Korra's voice pulled Ziyun out of her trance, and seeing that her neighbor, Ning'er also showed a dazed expression before looking towards Ziyun in panic, both of them blushed.
"Teach! I hear that a manticore's knot is nutritional to men! You gonna add it to your diet?"
"Korra," Ziyun once again felt enchanted by her master's deep voice, "As a man, I feel offended by the comment. I have no need for additional stamina... that a few guys cannot handle. So, I cut away its tool and threw it away." Her master's words sounded completely reasonable to Ziyun but the moment she understood the undertone of her master's statement, Ziyun instantly retracted her agreement! She felt blessed that her master did not have any need- 'Ah! What am I thinking?! Dirty Ziyun!' Ziyun admonished herself while Xiao Xue looked around and actually found herself observing the similar reactions on everyone besides Ray, Ning'er, and Ziyun. Just the thought of Ryu'er being in the same 'league' as her senior sisters made Xiao Xue... a little complicated.
She was already engaged and the thought of even remotely feeling such emotions made her feel incomparably 'traitorous.' The conflicted looks on Ziyun's and Ning'er's faces did not help Xiao Xue since this conflict suggested the inner conflict of them willing to throw their names for the higher league or not, or so Xiao Xue believed. But the moment the pleasant scent of her new master's cooking reached her nose, for a moment, Xiao Xue eagerly decided to place all her contradictory thoughts behind her head.
"Umm, when did you learn to cook... d-dear?" Xue Yin inquired with a stammer as she felt Ziyun's gaze focus on her, much to her embarrassment. But knowing that Nik would give all his special candies to her in a heartbeat, Xue Yin felt incomparably stupid to not being able to even own up to their relationship until now. Once Xue Yin tasted the slightly thin broth without a single piece of vegetable but still being able to provide the taste of multiple vegetables at once, she felt blessed and also found her inhibitions lowering by the second.
Hearing Xue Yin's inquiry, Nik smiled and continued to cook. A single serving already finished the entire pot and knowing that it was far from enough, he prepared for another round until they finished the bowls in their hands. This serving would use the remaining manticore meat. The third serving would probably utilize the skewers of the six-hundred-year-old romanji snake. "Oh, you know, just picked this skill from an old man," replying with a smile, Nik chuckled as he saw most of his girls already finishing the bowls in a few breaths before placing it down and looking at Nik with a focused gaze.
This time, Pen Hua, hummed softly before speaking, "Ehm, Dear," her words instantly slipping the arrangement and direction on how to call Nik for the rest of the night, and quite possibly, the entire camping trip, "I can help you out. You should eat, too." Denying the help, however, Nik smiled as he placed a bowl of broth in front of the languid Sunny and the excited Moon who kept moving in circles over and over again until she took a whiff of the contents in front of her, "Just enjoy. I don't usually cook, but... it is refreshing. Even though the medicinal bath should provide enough nutrients, what kind of trip would this be if the host does not prepare something special with the most common ingredients present?"
Although, the flesh of the hundred-year-old tier beasts was by no means common, Nik let his point slip away and started describing how the duo stumbled upon the group while training. Of course, though the girls felt the novelty of keeping the pets, if they truly would have thought of it, they could have obtained any pet of their liking after requesting the elders of their families. Their upbringing simply didn't leave a room for any pets at all. During the event, Gojira inquired a few details that seemed slightly peculiar but once she heard the estimated number of the kittens within the group, she nodded in satisfaction.
"The higher the number of the kittens, the greater the chance for them to attract one of the ten savage beasts Rotten Owl. Though devious and slightly troublesome due to its affinity with shadow, the owl is pretty much harmless... but it has the worst scent ever," Gojira's explanation reached his mind as Nik nodded and continued to chat with all the girls participating despite their reservations. The food, the cook, and the surroundings were just that good that the three girls would have felt slightly guilty and naive to not even enjoy themselves. Even Ray giggled happily since, despite the innate laziness during the night time, Sunny dragged his body towards Ray and finally plopped over his lap with a content mewl, firmly shaking the roots of the understanding of the girls around him.
And the moment Moon jumped, targetting Nik's head but elegantly missing the landing spot before almost falling over the pit of flames right before Nik caught her and hugged Moon as if she was the brightest treasure of all, the girls finally felt their resistance to pet chip away ever so slightly.