Elizabeth woke up cradled in Aleina. As she looked up at her distinctly calmer eyes she couldn’t help but blush, remembering the dream she had. Was it even one? it had all seemed so vivid, Aleina had been throwing the ball and she had chased after to fetch it and Aleina had given her those wonderful berries and… The blush somehow got worse. “Are you doing okay, little one?” Alaina's eyes were much calmer than earlier, more like a soft guide than the dominant leader through the darkness she remembered from her… Elizabeth blushed. She knew the darn affini wouldn’t reveal if it really was a dream or not, especially when she lifted her up and squeezed her, “gosh you’re just the cutest I can’t!” Elizabeth whined with that ever so slight, yet strangely nice pain of a just too tight hug.
Elizabeth didn’t know what to answer the earlier question and that was fine, because Aleina seemed content with the deep blush and dumb smile on the terrans face. “Let’s go! We still have plenty more on today's agenda!” Elizabeth got pulled by the arm after the overenthusiastic affini, moving just too fast for Elizabeth to keep up easily, causing her to half run, half stumble after her affini.
Reaching the edge of the park Aleina pulled Elizabeth into what her older self would have referred to as a commercial area. Tailors, groceries, offices, specialty ‘stores’ and restaurants on one side, with the park on the other. But comercial obviously wasn’t right. There was no commerce under the Affini Compact. Instead these were all services offered freely by the compact, or personal passion projects by those who wished to give back to the community. When this was first explained to Elizabeth she found it perplexing. This was the exact type of system she had been thought could never work in reality. Yet here it was. Everything from essentials to personalized ‘luxuries’ produced and handed out for nothing but the love of the craft and the joy of everyone around. It might have been her still somewhat dazed mind talking, but Elizabeth was amazed.
Aleina pointed out some of the places they walked by, a tailor, who made personalized outfits in the style she was wearing. Floret accessories, a large building run by a couple affini who loved to craft custom collars, cuffs, toys and other items to help affini take care of their pets and personalize their florets looks. She also pointed out DeeTwelve, a tabletop cafe, and pet’s and snuggles, a not yet open petting cafe. What exactly an affini petting cafe involved, especially for a terran girl, was not clarified.
However, before Elizabeth could ask for a clarification, they were past the cafes and standing in front of a large building with a sign reading ‘VR experience’. “Sadly we couldn’t put what I am in need of aboard Andropogon. But this should do the job!” Aleina smiled, and led Elizabeth inside.
The inside of ‘VR experience’ was a nice, calm, yet colorful lobby, it was currently empty, but as a little bell rang to signal their arrival an affini came floating out of one of the many rooms. Elizabeth watched as they and Aleina embraced, entangling their vines and speaking in a language far beyond her understanding. Learning some of the Affini language, or as they called it the local Affini dialect, was on Elizabeth's list, but so far it had ended up behind ‘figuring out this whole domestication deal’, ‘settling into her new home’ and obviously ‘going on a date with my favorite affini’.
Finally the new arrival turned to Elizabeth and greeted her with a wide smile. “We are excited to have you as our first Terran guest, Elizabeth! I am Puturina, and I have been working on some exciting new tech just for cuties like yourself! me and your... ‘Friend’ here have a wonderful few hours planned out for you!” Gosh, affini were touchy feely. Both of the plants were all over her with their vines as they spoke. Elizabeth noted she could easily feel the distinct difference between the two of them. Aleina was fuzzier, softer, more familiar and definitely more comfortable. Puturina was fine, but she wasn’t her affini.
“Let’s just slip this on you!” Puturina declared, as she slipped a large plant tech headset over Elizabeth's head, instantly blocking out the world in its entirety. She could still feel Aleina picking her up as the touch of those vines were unmistakable, and soon a soft sky filled her vision and a calm, swishing song played in the background. When it started she did not know, it might have always been there.
Suddenly the voice of Aleina broke the near silence. “Puturina is going to give you a dose of something, precious, it’s specially designed for our excursion. Is that ok?” Elizabeth nodded, and soon felt a little sting in her side, her body slowly growing numb, as her mind became less aware of the world outside, and more aware of the world that had been created for her. She was lying in a field, looking up at the sky. “Such a good girl! Just relax now, my precious flower. I will be there with you soon.” She could hear Aleinas voice, even when the feeling of her touch slowly faded away. Yet the smell of her flowers remained, the same flowers growing all around her giving comfort and helping her relax.
Elizabeth didn’t know how long she stayed there, smelling the flowers and listening to the music. But it couldn’t have been long before her friendly plant hand helped her back to her feet. “How are you doing, little Pup? Everything feels right? Are you experiencing the world I am creating for you?” Elizabeth nodded, staring up into those wonderful eyes once again filled with a universe of its own.
“Yes Mistress.” Elizabeth smiled, not even thinking about where a greeting such as that came from. It feels more natural than anything. Aleina rewarded her by pulling her close and ruffling her hair.
“I have a surprise for you, little Eliz. Turn around for me now.” As Aleina guided Elizabeth to turn around the terran girl found that the ambience shifted. The calm swooshing of the grass replaced with laughter, the far away chirping of birds replaced with screams of fun, and the smells of flowers replaced with that of greasy food and sweets. Nothing too overwhelming on her senses, and everything in tune with that wonderful song that always remained in the background.
Elizabeth and Aleina were standing in front of the entrance to an amusement park. Shock was obvious on her face and Aleina looked down at her, bemused. “This is a traditional Terran date, is it not?”
Elizabeth stuttered, but gathered herself and answered. “Well, yes mistress! But How…? Everything feels so…” Aleina laughed, her laugh so melodic, in perfect sync with the world around her.
“Don’t think too much about it, petal. We are here to enjoy ourselves.” Aleina reassured the confused girl, as she took the lead into the park.
The experience was nothing short of amazing, and everything felt so real! She could taste the cotton candy tasted amazingly sweet, if tasting a bit more natural than what one might expect. The roller coasters were all just the right amount of forcefull and smooth as butter. She never felt nauseous from the rides or like she had eaten too much, it was simply a day at the amusement park with all the edges filed off.
What made things even better was Aleina. The affini led Elizabeth from attraction to attraction, gushing about everything. They were far from alone in the park, but the other guests were never of any bother to them. Nobody was ever too loud, or forced Elizabeth's attention away from Aleina. They simply provided a nice background noise to help set the tone for the whole experience.
After a couple rides on both the wooden and steel coaster, as well as a selection of flat rides, Elizabeth found herself following Mistress along booths and stands, finally stopping in front of a ball throwing stand. “Three balls please” Aleina declared, and was handed them without paying anything, obviously. “I’m going to win you that big bear, my precious flower.” She declared, and Elizabeth moved closer to get a better look.
The three balls flew one after the other, and soon all 9 stacks of boxes were now on the floor. Elizabeth gasped, impressed. The whole thing might be a bit childish, but her Mistress was showing off for her, and she was getting a big bear, playing along came easy. The man at the booth happily handed over the large bear with congratulations to Aleina, who swiftly handed it to Elizabeth, who hugged it tight like she would have bumble, even though the bear was somehow bigger than her favorite beeple.
“Are you ready to head back, my loveliest? We still have a couple more activities on the agenda.” Elizabeth hugged close to Aleina, holding her bear as they made their way towards the front gate, the sun was going down over the park and Elizabeth found herself wondering how they would have time for two more things before the end of the day. She really didn’t want to rush any part of this experience, but she was sure she would soon feel very tired. Even if it hadn’t hit her yet.
The two of them returned to the hill where the trip had started, and Aleina guided Elizabeth down to the ground. Subtly moving her body into the right position with her vines wrapped around her and the bear in her hands, whispering sweetly into her loveliest ear. “You have done very well today darling, such a lovely girl. It’s time to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let go of this experience, let yourself return to me, let yourself return to Andropogon.”
Elizabeth found it easy to do exactly as Aleina ordered her, closing her eyes, letting her focus drift, and letting the song that had accompanied this entire excursion fade away, except it could never fade fully. It had been with her before she realized, and it would be with her once…
Elizabeth felt the headset slowly slide off her head and blinked as the light came in. She was in a room that could only be described as soft. Plant tech adored the walls, floor and roof, but all of it was covered in soft pillows or plant matter. The second thing Elizabeth noticed was that she was still holding the bear, the very same bear she had won inside the… simulation? She wasn’t entirely sure what she had just experienced. But it sure was something.
As the feeling of touch kept returning to her Elizabeth still felt a little woozy, but not exactly tired. In fact her mind felt incredibly clear, like she had just awoken from a long nap feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. Even if her body was still shifting out the drugs they put her on. “How did you even do that?” She finally managed to ask.
“I am sure Puturina would love to tell you all about it, but I’m afraid it may go over your head sweetie. So, simply put. It was part VR, part movement simulated by me, but most of all, it was this thing right here.” Aleina poked Elizabeth's head with one of her vine fingers. “Working so wonderfully with me to give you a one of a kind experience. You were such a good girl for me Eliz!” Aleina held Elizabeth close, rocking her back and forward until all the feeling had returned to her body.
“That was something else, but where did the teddy bear come from?” Elizabeth laughed as Aleina helped her back to her feet, slowly regaining her balance.
“I had it compiled while we were preparing you for this experience.” Aleina smirked, and gave herself a few trying steps, before finally trusting her feet once more. “Obviously, we would be able to make it even better, even more realistic, if you had an implant.”
“Implant?” Elizabeth asked, having never heard talk of an implant before at all.
“I suppose we never had time to go over that during your brief introduction to domestication. To put it simply every pet receives an implant made out of their owners plant matter. It helps their owner manage their health, xenodrug regiment, and monitor their emotional state. I am sure Tortolin would love to teach you everything about it.” That gave Elizabeth something to think about, even if her current state didn’t allow for too much worry. Another thing to figure out what was up with. She knew she usually wouldn't be comfortable with a part of someone else inside her body. Her father and some of her older coworkers had always kept snagging up young blood and kidneys. But the idea had always freaked her out. But if it was Aleina… Maybe she could make an exception. She had never used recreational drugs before either and xenodrugs had changed her view dramatically.
“I see, I’ll make sure to ask him the next time I see him.” Elizabeth said, pondering what was going on, while approaching her affini again.
“Good Girl! Now, are you ready for a trip to the movies?” Aleina said with a smug grin, leaving Elizabeth to wonder what she had in store.