Author's Note: Welcome to my very first fanfic. This has a bit of history behind it. When I originally tried writing a Monster Girl Quest fanfic, it was essentially a rewrite of the original game to suit my own preferences. I wrote various snippets covering scenes from all three chapters, but this only led to the realisation that what I was writing simply wasn't interesting. I couldn't continue writing and dropped the idea for several months. Then the second chapter of Monster Girl Quest: Paradox came out, with a rather significant revelation. That revelation became the inspiration for this story.

This is the first time I'm writing for a major audience, so any feedback is appreciated.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Monster Girl Quest series. No profit is intended from this work.

UPDATE 30/12/17: Made minor changes to the prologue

Within a cavernous room, two people stood face to face.

One was a young man. He had short purple hair and wore a brown tunic and red cape. Though still in his early twenties, years of hardship had taken their toll on him, giving him the bearing of a seasoned veteran. The primal energy of the four elements filled the man. He was cloaked in a roaring gale, the might of the earth reinforced his flesh, his mind had the serenity of water, and his sword was ablaze with crimson flames.

The other was a blend of woman and countless grotesque organs. Most of her body consisted of a colossal mound of purple flesh that rivalled a house in size. The mound was a chaotic orgy of movement, covered in mouths, arms, legs, wings, tentacles, even vines and roots, in all shapes and sizes. At the very top of the mound was what appeared to be the upper half of a human woman. She had pale skin, straight blonde hair that reached her waist, and haunting red eyes. She wore a blue and white dress that seemed to be tailored for a young girl, sharply contrasting with the rest of her appearance. An overpowering aura of dark energy flowed from her body, seemingly causing the very stone of the floor to warp and shift.

Human and monster faced one another. The human had a look of utter seriousness, sword raised, body in a stance that would let him either charge forward or dodge an attack. The monster, on the other hand, seemed to be treating the situation like one big game. Her face was perfectly casual, even friendly, as though this intruder to her castle was a welcomed guest. Her numerous organs writhed about ominously yet made no move to attack. Her human half did not prepare to cast any kind of spell, not even a simple reinforcing enchantment.

The monster was the first to break the silence.

"Welcome to my castle, human hero. You've managed to defeat quite a few of my cute subordinates. It's been fun watching you fight your way here, but now your luck's come to an end. Now that you've run into me, the one and only Monster Lord, there's no way I'm letting you go."

The monster's voice was highly dissonant: her tone was childishly playful, yet it was as deep as a mature woman's, and it also possessed the air of someone with an aristocratic upbringing.

Despite his aggressive stance, the hero did not take the opportunity to make the first attack. It still took a few moments for him to answer.

"Cut it out, Alice," the hero said eventually, in a quiet voice that was nearly drowned out by the wind. "There's no one around to hear."

"Still, it would be a horrible waste to just kill someone as cute as you here," the monster continued. "Oh, I know! If you manage to last at least a minute against me, I'll think about keeping you as my toy. You'll be like Beary here!" She suddenly pulled out a teddy bear from underneath her dress, shaking it so that the bear seemed to be waving at the hero. "It'll be fun! We'll go on walks together, and have tea parties every day, and the three of us will sleep in the same bed…"

A decidedly unchildlike smile appeared on Alice's face. She crawled, slithered and oozed closer to the hero, tentacles twisting about eagerly.

The hero clenched his fist but did not attempt to fight. In fact, the elemental power that surrounded and filled him began to rapidly subside. Soon, he looked no different from a normal human.

"Enough," he said.

A few seconds passed, then the façade cracked. Alice let out an exasperated sigh and said, "Really, Heinrich? You could at least play along for a bit."

"It's been a long day. I'm not in the mood for playing around," Heinrich replied.

"What, do you really think you're the only one who's had a long day?" Alice said, annoyed.

When Heinrich didn't respond, Alice sighed in an exaggerated manner. Her lower body began shrinking, the various organs seeming to melt and fuse together. Eventually, Alice only had a pair of humanoid legs underneath her dress. Alice ran right up to Heinrich and leaped forcefully at him.

The two wrapped their arms around each other in a loving embrace.

"Honestly," Alice mumbled into Heinrich's ear. "Do you have any idea how long I was waiting?"

"Who was the one who abandoned me outside the castle, again?" Heinrich retorted.

"I don't remember anything like that happening,"

"Of course you don't."

The two of them remained like this for a while, simply enjoying each other's presence again. Eventually, Heinrich broke the silence.

"Well, it's been a long road getting to here, but it's finally over. Now, we can relax again – "

As he said that, Heinrich felt a faint but unmistakeable trembling. He looked at Alice, concerned.

"Ah, I just remembered," Alice said quietly, her eyes downcast. "There's still one more thing you have to do. It isn't over yet."

"What?" Heinrich said. "I don't understand. Don't tell me there's more?"

Alice shook her head, then looked directly at Heinrich, a sad smile on her face.

"It's simple. You still need to kill me."