Wisp takes a deep breath, looking at the door to their habitation unit. They lean down, doing little stretches as they wait for the door to open, knowing better than to say anything to their owner while they wait for the hunt to start.
Alistor grins and stands by the door. “Alright, you get half an hour head start, and if you evade me for 3 hours, you will win. I do expect you to be home no later than 5 hours from now. That should give you plenty of time to enjoy your victory. If I win, well, we will figure that out later.” He holds up three vines. “On your marks” He lowers a vine. “Get set” He lowers another vine. “And GO!” He lowers his third vine as the door opens.
Wisp immediately bolts forward, looking around at the hallway that they find themself within. There’s a flower mural tracing the ground that leads to the different doors. “Oh, Nix mentioned these!” They turn on a dime, heading to the right, and following the largest of the vines towards the first opening.
Breaking into the hallway, Wisp glances from side to side. Their collar jingles around holding a red tag on the front with a large AA on it. “Maybe one of Nix’s friends can help me… if I can find them?” They groan, rushing randomly forward tracing their gaze over each shop trying to find anything that’s recognizable.
As they run, Jason walks out of the Class J cafe, dressed in his delivery outfit. As Wisp rushes up, he looks over and smiles. “Oh, hello Wisp, I’m just doing a delivery, how are you doing?” He gives them a little wave.
“I uh… I’m in a little bit of a hurry, Alistor is doing the whole hunting thing today.” Wisp bounces from one foot to the other, occasionally glancing back where they came from. “You wouldn’t have any clever hiding places you’d recommend would ya?”
Jason nods and points out behind the cafe. “Well, you can hide back there, but that may be too easy. I’d recommend going to the park north of here, then there are some bushes which hide the way to a back alley, and from there there is a club. They are slow at this time and could give you some help.”
“Alright, thanks for the advice!” Wisp immediately runs in the opposite direction, assuming that Alistor will in all likelihood arrive and ask Jason what direction they went. Which means all of the ways that Jason had just thought of are off the table.
The most difficult part of the run by far proves to be the affini, mostly due to concern about a floret running through the halls unsupervised. Costing them several minutes of explanations and showing off the tag on their collar.
Suddenly, their collar lets out two sharp beeps, informing them that Alistor is now going to be roaming the ship. “Crap…” They look from side to side, trying to come up with a good hiding spot.
Directly next to them are both an arcade, and a restaurant. Shaking they bolt towards the arcade, figuring that given they’ve never talked to Alistor about enjoying them he shouldn’t suspect them to be hiding within.
Running up to the counter, Wisp takes a few deep breaths. Looking over the three terrans running the establishment, each having a very distinct hair color, one girl with bright orange hair, a boy with blue spikey hair, and a sophont who has hair as red as they’d want to get eventually. “Heeey, you wouldn’t mind directing me to a more private part of your arcade would ya?”
The red head grins and nods back to the corner. “Sure, we have our Dance Dance Domestication games over there. The lights stay low. With that collar on, no affini other than your owner should pester you.” They grin and give a thumbs up. “Name’s Blinky, now go have fun.”
“Thank you so much!” Wisp gives a little bow before rushing into the back of the arcade, seeing the DDD machine sat entirely alone. Luckily the arcade is mostly empty due to how early in the morning it still is, giving them a chance to walk up and turn it on. “Alright… guess we’re just going to figure out what the hell kinda game this is.”
The machine speaks out. “Please, select your body type!” And it would show several kinds of sophont bodies, the most selected one being the two legged bipedal. The whole time it is showing a little video example in a window to the side of various sophonts dancing and pressing the buttons with their feet to the arrows on screen.
Wisp sighs, tapping two legs and starts to shuffle through the different song options. Grumbling as several of the songs are far too cheery for their tastes, eventually just giving up and going over to the chip-tune song selection. Which had been a recommendation from Nix.
The first song is almost a joke in its ease, Wisp keeping immaculate pace with all of the arrows. Making them feel a bit silly for picking the minimum difficulty to start off, of course it was going to be super easy, this game’s for florets!
Blinky walked up and gave a nod. “You did pretty good, but I wouldn’t recommend this level unless you are on some kind of impairing xenodrug. If you want to have a fun challenge, you should try a two or three star. I’d wait a while to get to five star though.”
“Got it, thanks for the advice…” Wisp peaks over towards the doorway. “And hey… if you see a red affini with black vines running across his body in a poor imitation of a suit… Could you give me a sign? I’m kinda hiding from him right now.” They chuckle lightly, selecting the same song on a higher difficulty figuring that moving up like this would lead to the easiest practice and progress.
“Sure thing, red affini with black vines imitating a suit. I’ll do my best to signal you while delaying him. Have fun and if you have any more questions, my colleagues and I are always happy to help.”
Wisp grins, giving a small thumbs up as they start the game yet again. Having to pay a lot more attention during this round, as the notes come much faster and also have combinations rather than just being one at a time.
The biggest issue is still their wooden leg, despite not lagging behind as much these days. It can still prove to be a bit stiff in regards to the more complex movements that the game requires.
Eventually they end up leaning back on the railing of the station, grabbing it and trying to adjust to using that as a balancing point to allow them to move faster. Eventually finishing the song up to three star difficulty, having to take deep breaths to catch themself after this many plays and all the prior running.
Wisp would soon hear Blinky talking a bit louder than he needed to. “Hello sir, how may I help you?” accompanied by the familiar sound of Alistor’s voice, though they couldn’t quite hear what Alistor was saying.
Wisp tenses up, making sure to shut the game down rather than simply abandoning it in the middle of the song. After all, something that is out of place would immediately attract their owner.
Once the thanks for playing screen is out of the way, Wisp very carefully crawls behind the machine. Making sure not to mess with any of the roots as they make their way to the opposite end that they entered from, hoping that if Alistor gets sent deeper in they can simply work from behind the games to sneak out and run for it.
Alistor is over with Blinky, looking at the basketball hoop and skee ball games while looking around on occasion. The pink haired employee casually walks up and blocks some vision while appearing to work on something. She gives Wisp a little wink as she continues.
Wisp takes a deep breath, kicking off of the ground and keeping their footsteps light as they break out of the arcade and head once again into the halls of the ship. Deciding to head back towards where Jason had likely directed Alistor initially, figuring that he shouldn’t check the same place twice.
Alistor glances back and chuckles. “Oh what a sly little flame. Thank you for playing into our game, we will return later with friends for a play date.” He pets Blinky a few times before strolling casually out of the arcade.
Wisp pivots as they arrive at a nearby park, looking around the trees and gardens for a good place to hide. Eventually locking eyes with a small hedge maze, electing to instead of going inside of it, make several stomps on the pathway in to make Alistor think they’d gone in, before turning and moving lightly to go and hide behind a nearby tree.
Alistor soon walks through the park, casually looking around as he approaches Wisp’s hiding spot and the maze. He hums as he looks down at the maze entrance, closely examining the foot prints. His head turns towards their hiding spot, staring for 45 seconds…before steadily strolling into the maze.
Wisp exhales as Alistor disappears into the maze, making sure not to move too quickly as they leave the garden. Heading backwards towards a clothing store, considering grabbing a new outfit to try and blend in with random Sophonts.
Fiddling with their collar they briefly consider the possibility that Alistor is cheating by using the tracker in their collar. No that would be too easy and boring for his tastes, there has to be another way he’s figuring out all these spots.
Walking into the clothing shop, Wisp quickly heads over to the independent section. Electing to find a large jacket rather than switching out of their entire outfit, after all Alistor would be upset with them for throwing out his favorite dress to put them in. They quickly grab a gray duster that buttons all the way up, throwing it on, and flicking the hood up to hide everything other than their hair.
One of the employees smiles and walks over. “That looks really nice on you. At first I was going to come say I didn’t think the dress and duster went together, but I think you really pull it off.” They begin to motion towards a few other articles on hangers. “Would you like to try anything else out?”
“No this is all I need, I’m currently… hiding from someone.” Wisp chuckles a bit, glancing over and noticing a collar around the employee’s neck. “Playing hide and seek with my owner, so I’ve gotta get moving before he shows up looking for me. You wouldn’t happen to have a secondary exit in here would ya?”
They giggle and nod. “Oh that makes sense. Also we have a back entrance.” They begin leading Wisp to the door before hearing a little jingle from up front. “I’ll be right with you.” The give Wisp a little pat on the back before leaving them to the door and going to see who came in.
Wisp casually walks towards the back exit, making sure not to run or move too stiffly in case Alistor was the one who just walked into the shop. Despite this, the second they are through the doorway, and in a new, even more unfamiliar part of the ship, they burst into a sprint. Knowing better than to let themselves rest while in a hallway with nowhere else to hide in it.
At the end of the hallway, Wisp would see Jason knocking on a door, and smiling while holding out a bag with food. After receiving a few pets which he wiggled at getting, he turned and started to move down the hall away from Wisp with a little skip in his step.
Wisp starts walking behind Jason, keeping their head down as they give him a light tap on the shoulder. “Hey Jason, just keep walking. I need to follow you back to the cafe… I think that if I make it there I can run out the rest of the clock without Alistor seeing me.”
Jason nods lightly and smiles. “Alright, just keep pace, and don’t try to rush.” He casually strolls back towards the cyber cafe, ready to continue his work day while helping Wisp. Once back, the cafe was a little less than half empty, Anthurium wiping down some tables.
Wisp sighs, flicking the hood back down as they head towards the back of the shop. “Hello Miss Anthurium, you wouldn’t mind helping me and Jason hide me from Alistor would you?” They give the affini a wry smile, rubbing their arm as they peek backwards in case they can see Alistor.
Jason looks a little confused. “Why hide me? He is after you.” Before he can continue, one of Anthurium’s vines slides down and covers Jason’s mouth.
“You can hide in that corner booth, I’ll need Jason to stay in the kitchen for a little while.” She points at a corner table, it looked to be very difficult to tell if anyone would be sitting there, especially a non-affini.
Wisp nods slightly, taking off the jacket that they are in as they walk over to the booth. Sliding into the underside and curling up, tossing the duster over them to help with blending in that little bit more. “Alright, and now… we wait.” They take a deep breath, running their fingers along the collar hoping the chimes of victory will come sometime soon.
Fairly soon, someone approaches the table and sits down, their vines draping down as they look over the menu. “So, you have given me quite the run around our section of the ship.” Alistor leans back. “So, have you thought at all what kind of treat you want? I think you have earned it for giving me so much fun.”
Wisp tisks, looking over at the side of the booth, considering if they can make that dash to escape yet again. Reminding themself to not play into Alistor, given he explicitly said that this game would not end until they end up in his vines.
Taking the duster, they look at the opposite end of the table. Bundling it up, and getting ready to throw it and bolt at the same, hopefully tricking him enough to allow the barest chance to escape.
In a split second they toss the jacket so it will unfurl, billowing slightly and making it look slightly like them running. At the same time, they spring forward out from under the booth.
Alistor’s vines wrap around the duster, bundling it back up as he bursts out after Wisp. A grin on his face as he casually follows his fleeing floret. “Oh you are not getting away my little flame.”
Wisp gulps, doing their best not to look back and just focus on running. Only making it to the doors as Alistor fully unfurls, his vines shooting out, and pinning Wisp down onto the ground, not even leaving enough room for them to squirm under the grip. “FUCK!”
“Now now, language.” Alistor tisks lightly, lifting Wisp up and pulling them into his chest as he returns to the booth they had. “So, it was very clever, everything you did to throw me off. Honestly I took what I got out of Jason, and did the opposite, figuring you would do that. Also did you have fun with the DDD game?”
Wisp grumbles, wiggling around under Alistor’s grip as they are returned to the table. “I will have you know, I did…” They look down slightly, mostly trying to hide their blush at the fact that they’d decided to play games, rather than trying to get even further away. Figuring there couldn’t be much longer before they would have won. “I guess I don’t get that condition on my wardship.”
“Well, you did a good job, and I had fun. So, how about we have a good meal, and I’ll talk to you about that condition and how we will implement it. Besides, you made it so close, I figure I can give you it in a form.”
Wisp grumbles a bit, letting themself be curled up in Alistor’s vines. Letting themself calm down from the chase, taking deep breaths, the weird soreness in their human leg contrasting against the cool numbness of the wooden one. “Fine… can you give me something to relax at least?”
Alistor smiles and an injection slips into Wisp’s human leg. “Of course, I want you to be as comfortable as possible, my little flame.” He begins to brush Wisp’s hair before showing them the menu. “So, do you see anything that sounds good? I’m just getting my water of course.”
Once the injection goes in, Wisp lets their body go limp in Alistor’s vines. Their eyes fluttering slightly, as they roll over to nuzzle more into Alistor’s vines, little sparks of warmth spreading across every inch of their form. “Pancakes pleeease, that and pets.”
Alistor grins and looks over at Anthurium. “A good stack of pancakes for my little flame here please, and then some nutrient water for myself.” As he says this, his vines begin to pet Wisp in slow gentle strokes, and a few more begin to massage her human leg, working to relieve any strain.
Wisp lets out a slow soft groan, their hands wrapping around each of Alistor’s available vines. Each of their owners movements working out the most tense spots along their leg. As he passes over one of their more sensitive spots, Wisp lets out a little whimpering moan. Trying to be quiet enough to avoid drawing attention, despite how nice it feels to just relax into the affection.
“If I may, that is one way I tracked you. I don’t think you noticed, but your human leg has been shaking a little, slowing you down and making noise when you meant to be silent. It’s not by too much, but I think we can do some more physical therapy regarding that. The couple of times I found you due to that, I will admit I gave you a chance to get away, it didn’t seem fair.”
Wisp can’t help but giggle a little bit, shaking their head and nuzzling their way deeper into Alistor’s vines. “Thank you Master, it’s actually why I decided to hide here for the end of the game, I didn’t wanna fall over and hurt myself by accident.”
“Good little flame.” Alistor scratches at the back of Wisp’s neck lightly. “Playing a game, even for something you want is great, but I never want you to hurt yourself doing it.” He chuckles and shifts Wisp up as the plate of pancakes are brought over. “Time to eat.”
“Yaaaaay.” Wisp squirms lightly at the gentle scratches, tilting their head to the side and allowing Alistor to take care of all of the complexities of eating. One tap, open, two taps, closed, leaving plenty of time to simply bask in the taste of the chocolate chip pancakes.
Once finished, Alistor lightly wipes Wisp’s mouth with a napkin, before bringing them juice with a straw to sip from. “I can see why Celosia suggests coming here so much. It is quiet enough to relax while having good food for cuties like you. That and occasionally we get to have fun with Anthurium and Jason.”
Wisp slowly sips their drink, giving little nods in response to Alistor. “Yeah…” They let out a long yawn, flopping backwards as they finish up the last of the juice. Letting their gase drift upwards towards Alistor’s head, unable to help letting a small dopey smile slide onto their face. “I love you Master…”
Alistor lets a smile grace his face as he looks down at Wisp. “And I love you my little flame.” He lifts them up and plants a small kiss on Wisp’s forehead before gently rubbing the spot with a vine. “Now, how about we get back to our hab and get fully relaxed.”
Wisp nods, letting Alistor bundle them up for a short nap during the walk home. The mixture of warm contentment, alongside the soothing sound of Alistor’s rhythm, guiding them to fall asleep nearly immediately. Arms hugging the bundle of vines pressed against their chest.