Cleo woke up to the sound of Mistress’s biorhythm, that sweet and gentle music that seemed to fill every moment of her wonderful life. She made sure to snuggle well and good into the vines and with her eyes still closed, focused on listening. The rhythm was slow and steady, intertwined within the rhythm was a harmonic melody with several layers. One layer represented Mistress’s happiness, one layer her pride, one of her fulfillment, and the lowest of the layers that formed a solid foundation for the music was her love. Cleo did not know how she knew this, but she knew, she was a very smart pet after all.
Mistress brushed a bit of hair out of her face “Cleo, we are soon there. Are you going to wake up?” Cleo yawned and snuggled a bit further into the vines. The question was rhetorical, if Mistress wanted her to wake up, she would, if not….then perhaps she could relax here with the music a bit longer.
Mistress let out a soothing chuckle and then scratched her underneath the chin, Cleo tilted her head upwards to give the vines better access. The scratches intensified as the music got a bit more forceful, something Cleo delighted in. Far too soon it ended as Mistress put her down on the ground. Cleo looked around, still a bit sleepy, they were at the park again. Mistress attached one of her vines to the collar and began walking, Cleo made sure to stay close.
Cleo noticed something strange, there were far more people here, a lot of people. The last time they had been in the park there had only been a few but now the place was filled with them. Another strange thing was that there were very few pets compared to people, sure there were a few but not as many as there should have been. Cleo looked up at Mistress “why are there so many people? And why don’t they have pets?” Mistress was sure to know.
Mistress smiled knowingly “you remember that ship we saw? Most of these people are from there, or people that lived here before and are taking a vacation, just like you. They might not have pets yet, but I am sure most of them will find one soon.” That made sense, and probably meant that many of them were jealous of Mistress.
The day before yesterday Mistress had allowed her to explore the park by herself, but she felt too sleepy for that now. Instead, she followed Mistress as they walked through the park at a leisurely pace. It was nice to just be able to walk with no real direction or purpose, it felt unfamiliar but relaxing.
They continued the stroll until Cleo saw one of the large flower patches…..it was very tempting….she looked up at Mistress who looked down at her with amusement. The vine on the collar retracted “you can go, just don’t spend too much time, it is getting a bit late for such a sleepy pet like you.” Cleo hugged one of Mistress’s legs and then walked excitedly into the field of flowers.
Cleo looked around with careful consideration, she had to find nothing but the prettiest flowers for Mistress. There were a lot of different ones to look at, so each had to be considered carefully; their color, structural stability, petals, if they matched the other flowers, and size. All essential values that had to be figured out, and from that she could make the perfect gift for Mistress.
Each time she found one, she gently bit it off at the stalk and put it in her paws, making sure that she held them carefully. She had found around a dozen when something else appeared behind her “Hi there cutie, what are you doing?” Cleo turned around, the playful voice belonged to a person with long locks of yellow flowers for hair.
Cleo turned around, making sure that she gripped the flowers just tight enough so that they did not fall. “I’m picking flowers for Mistress!” she chirped proudly.
The person smiled and leaned down “awwww, are you not the cutest little thing. Do you think it is okay if I pet you?” oh no, Mistress was not here to make the decision…..but pets did sound nice….
Cleo did not like it, but she had to make a choice “okay….but could you hold the flowers, I don’t want them to get destroyed.” A vine took the flowers from her paws and then the figure began giving her pets.
Instinctively Cleo leaned into the hand on her head and the vines that moved over her back, she made a few pleased mewling sounds. Like every time she got pets, her mind soon drifted away as she focused on the bliss of the affection and touch. At some point she must have leaned too far into one of the vines and almost fallen over, the person caught her and soon she was in their embrace, receiving even more pets. The person sounded very pleased “such a needy little thing, awwww you like that?” Cleo mewled in approval.
There was some more movement quite close <Laburnum, what are you do….awwww, now where did you find such a cute little floret?> From the sound of their voice, it was another person.
Laburnum, as the one giving her the pets was named, sounded a bit embarrassed <she was just here picking some flowers….I couldn’t help myself, just look at her.> Cleo was still too busy being a good pet to really care what the people were saying.
The other person did sound enticed <well her owner should be around here somewhere. Also, if you are that starved for a sophont to play with, why not go to the adoption or pet cafes?...I don’t...okay, just for a bit.> She was handed off to the other person who also began petting her, being a pet was the best.
The first person sounded irritated <I have tried, but they are so full. I had hoped to get sent down to the surface, but instead, we are stuck here on bureaucratic duty….I just hope I can find myself a cutie such as this one soon.> Cleo leaned into a vine trying to lead it to that one spot on the back of her neck.
The person holding her used a vine to look at her nametag “Cleo? such a sweet name, what about your last name?” right, she had a last name……
She remembered, “I’m Cleopatra Hansen.” She should probably have introduced herself a bit before, but the pets were too distracting. The two people looked at her with a bit of surprise, a vine stroke at the lower part of her neck, just below the spot she wanted them to scratch.
Then she heard Mistress “Cleo? Cleo?” oh no, Mistress had told her to not be too long, this was why she was not supposed to make choices. The person who was not holding her, managed to get Mistress's attention. Mistress came over and she did not sound angry or upset “There you are. I wondered what was taking you so long.” Cleo made sure to look apologetic and was soon handed back to her Mistress, perhaps a bit reluctantly.
The first person spoke “I’m Laburnum Celian, 3rd bloom, he/they…sorry, if we distracted your floret. She is very cute.” He thought she was cute!
Mistress chuckled “I’m Mertha Verina, 2nd bloom, she/her. Don’t worry about it, she is quite the needy little sophont.” To underline her point Mistress began to pet her again and Cleo got distracted from the conversation again.
The second person sounded a bit confused. “I am sorry to ask this, but her last name does not match yours, and she does not have an implant. Why is that?” Mistress suddenly began to scratch her in that one spot on her neck, and everything else fell away.
The voice was far away and impossible to follow <she is in fact just my ward at the moment, but she has a certain….conception of our relationship while on class-J.> The people talked a bit more, there was a bit of laughter and after that, the scratches stopped so she could focus again
Laburnum handed her the flowers she had picked “don’t forget to give these to your Mistress, such a good girl!” she was indeed a very good girl, she made Laburnum happy!
Mistress and Cleo waved the two people goodbye and then set off towards the path again, Mistress sounded very proud “quite the little charmer, aren’t you? Perhaps I need to keep a closer watch on you to make sure no one steals you away.” Cleo blushed and hid her face in her paws, it was not like she had intended any of that…..she had just been offered pets……though Mistress keeping a closer watch on her did not sound that bad either.
Cleo was not let down until they came to a familiar bench by the pond, right next to a forest of tall reeds. Mistress sat down and placed Cleo in her lap, stroking her hair gently. It was indeed getting late, the lazy sun from the sky reflecting in the pond. Cleo felt a bit sleepy already, she was a sleepy pet after all. Suddenly Cleo remembered something, the question she had been asked last time they had sat here.
Mistress had asked her what she wanted to do, in case she was not a pet, that is. She had not managed to find an answer back then….she thought about it while she and Mistress sat there in silence. Cleo wanted to be a pet, of course, this was just a game that Mistress had given her. To her surprise she did find a lot of things she could imagine herself doing….but all of them seemed scary in one common way.
It was best to ask Mistress, she looked up into her enticing eyes “Mistress…do you remember the question you gave me last time? I think I have some answers.” It took a few seconds for Mistress to remember.
She smiled warmly “yes, I remember….” Mistress wanted her to continue, but Cleo felt a bit unsure.
But she pressed on either way “I want to make people happy…a lot of people. Does that make sense?” Perhaps it was arrogant for her to want so much responsibility, part of her really wanted it though…but….
Mistress’s smile faltered a bit “that makes perfect sense….I can sense that you are a bit scared, is everything alright?” It had been foolish to think that she could hide anything from Mistress.
She looked at her paws for a bit “….It is just…what if I make a mistake? or do something wrong? Or make things worse? Or fail and disappoint people?....” There were memories that she could not reach, shielded by the blanket in her mind. She knew they were bad and even if she could not reach them, just the fact that they were there, scared her.
Mistress’s music became louder, and she calmed down, one of the large hands kept stroking through her hair “shhh, it’s okay, everything is fine.” Mistress was right, everything was fine. Mistress tipped her head upwards again “you will figure it out, of that I am sure. You are a very smart girl.” Cleo felt the fear lose some of its hold, if Mistress believed in her then she would manage it.
Cleo suddenly remembered that she had yet to give Mistress the flowers. She presented them while holding them gingerly “I picked you some flowers….They are not as pretty as you, but I hope you like them. I love you.” Mistress grabbed the small bouquet gently with a vine and kissed her on the forehead. Cleo felt a tingling of love shiver down her spine.
Mistress looked at her with such care “so thoughtful of you, I like them a lot…but I like you a lot more. I promise I will love and cherish you forever, my little kitten.” Cleo leaned into Mistress's embrace, she was so lucky to have such an amazing Mistress.
Cleo yawned again, she wanted to figure out the answer to the question from before, but her sleepy pet mind only wanted to sleep. Mistress must have noticed “awwww…I hope this has been a nice vacation. Just relax and hold still.” Mistress took up a container of silvery clear liquid and injected it into her arm. As soon as she did, Cleo felt the sleep become irresistible. She managed to hold her eyes open just long enough to watch Mistress smile lovingly at her, and then she fell asleep.