“Negotiations?” What was Nora talking about? The anxiety she had felt was quickly replaced by confusion.
The floret was trying to look serious, but it was obvious she was finding the situation very funny. “Yes, Miss Hansen is awaiting your presence so the negotiations can begin. I would advise you to freshen up first, you don’t want to look ragged for such a momentous occasion.” Cleo….that little schemer seemed to have pulled one over her again. Of course, the committee meeting was tomorrow. She would not have let Cleo work the same day. What was her little kitten up to?
Mertha took a moment to smooth her ruffled flowers and rearrange her vines into a better flowing form. She did not need to study Nora’s biorhythm to notice her excitement, perhaps she could gain some information from the girl “care to tell me what this negotiation is about?”
Nora smiled gently “you will know soon enough, are you ready?” So, she would have to go into this unprepared. Mertha spent a few more seconds ‘freshening up’ herself before giving an affirmative nod to the floret.
Nora opened the door and gestured for her to enter first with an outstretched arm and a slight bow. Mertha walked inside, the room was far darker than usual. The meeting room looked entirely different from what one would expect. There was a large carpet on the floor that covered most of the generic white tiles. Instead of the ordinary conference table, there was a large, ornate, and likely handcrafted wooden table. It was half-covered with a red woven cloth and on her side of the table, there was an elegant affini-sized chair. Above the table, there was a large crystal chandelier, as the only light source in the room it mostly lit up the table and the small area around it.
On the other side of the table, sitting elegantly in a similar but far small chair, was Cleo. She was clad in a form-fitting and flowing crimson red dress that sparkled lightly in the light from the chandelier. Cleo had a confident smile and her eyes burned with determination. She looked absolutely stunning…For a moment Mertha forgot what was going on as she stared at her human, then she shook her vines slightly and moved forward.
While Cleo did indeed look confident, the slight tapping of her fingers revealed that she was nervous. Mertha sat down, Cleo looked up at her and smiled “I am glad you finally made it. Hope the message did not make you too anxious.” At the point when Cleo lifted her head to look up, Mertha noticed that she was no longer wearing the collar, a golden necklace adorned her neck in its place. A week ago, Cleo had hanged onto it for dear life….now she had removed it….
Mertha felt the regret and anxiety from earlier this very evening emerge once more “what is this about?” Cleo opened her mouth about to speak, then she closed it again.
Her ward wagged her finger playfully “tsk, tsk, tsk. Did I not tell you that one should not discuss important matters on an empty stomach?” Cleo nodded to Nora who was standing next to the door, the floret walked out and returned a moment later with a large bowl of mineralized water that was then placed in front of her on the table. Nora walked out and returned holding a plate with a steak and some oven-fried potatoes, it was the same meal Cleo had eaten their first dinner together back on Centhia.
Cleo smiled fondly as she prepared a knife and fork “It took a good amount of advice and a few attempts for me to make the blend correctly. I also got some intel about what you like from a few informants, so please enjoy.” Mertha felt conflicted about the situation. On one vine, Cleo wanted to ease into whatever was about to happen and that made her even more anxious. On the other hand, it was adorable how much effort she had put into this little endeavor, she could not reject it, that would be cruel.
She split off the vine she used to consume and dipped it into the bowl….it tasted good “you made this yourself?” Cleo nodded with her mouth full of food, the fact that her kitten was eating herself was slightly upsetting.
Cleo swallowed and smiled adorably “luckily, mineralized water is more of science than art. It only felt right that I made you something after all this time.” The human cut another piece of food and held it up with her fork. “Human food however is not within my capabilities, so I had someone else make it. It is very good…but not as good as what you make.” Cleo then ate the piece of meat and made no effort to hide her delight.
Mertha could not help feeling a surge of her own delight at the sight alone “you have had help from more than just Nora and Serla?” Those two were the obvious ones but there were signs from a lot of different vines upon the situation.
Her little schemer nodded proudly “Nora and Serla helped with setting this up and then getting you here. Hepatica made sure I could use the room and helped with a few amenities. Pinopheny helped me make the food and Betul fixed the furniture, she also gave me this necklace. Laburnum helped me carry a few things and even Trexal helped in their way.” Trexal was involved somehow, which was not very reassuring.
Cleo probably knew what she was doing, but what could Trexal have even helped with?….either way “are you telling me, that you have been breaking the rules these last three days?” Mertha made her voice slightly stern. She needed to equalize their positions, or Cleo would have too many advantages when the ‘negotiations’, whatever they were, started.
The question did not have the intended effect as Cleo just looked even more proud “oh, I would never break the rules. A few convincing arguments, perhaps some promises of future cuddles, but no lies. And you already stated that manipulation was bad when done for individual control, based on that, I have done nothing wrong. In fact, I think that lies are a slightly outdated tool here in the compact, being cute is far more effective.” That development was at least pleasant to hear, but Cleo’s ways of being cute could be just as manipulative as any lie.
A sense of finality struck her, Cleo would not have planned something like this if it was not important. Was this Cleo’s way of telling her she wanted to be independent? Were the negotiations about how they would live once Cleo was no longer her ward? Or was it the opposite?...No matter what Cleo had planned, their relationship would change very soon. Mertha needed to say this now “you have been a wonderful ward to take care of.”
Her little kitten smirked, “despite me being a stubborn fool with no sense of self-perseverance or basic grasp on good mental health?” Despite the macabre nature of the joke, she could not help but chuckle along with her human.
The pride and joy dissolved all the anxiety and doubt like fog before sunlight “there have certainly been challenges. When you arrived you carried so much fear, guilt, and stress…seeing you bloom into the happy and wonderful girl I knew was hiding underneath all that….It was, and still is the most beautiful transformation I have seen during all of my existence. I am very proud of you.” And she was the luckiest affini in the universe for having the privilege of seeing it happen and guiding it along.
Cleo’s voice was slightly choked with emotion “I don’t think I would have made it far without you. The amount of patience you have shown me….All the compassion you have given me….all the love….What I am trying to say is thanks, you’re a wonderful caretaker.” A few happy tears trailed down her human’s cheeks, a part of her wanted to give her a big, long hug but that would have to wait.
Her bowl was dry, and Cleo’s plate was empty, it was time. Nora came and took the plates away, flashing an excited smile as she did so. The floret returned “will you have dessert now, or after the negotiations?” The suspense was already too high to delay it any further.
Cleo seemed to agree “we will have dessert afterward. Please bring us what I requested for the negotiations.” Nora seemed to almost jump in place yet somehow managed to nod seriously. After Nora left there were a few moments of tense silence….
Then Nora returned with Serla behind her, both of them were carrying large stacks of documents. The documents were put down on the table in neat towers, Serla looked like she was enjoying this just as much as Nora. Cleo looked at the documents seeming slightly confused, she then looked up at Serla “where is the…rest?” There was a tinge of desperation in her voice.
Serla smiled teasingly and retrieved a single piece of paper from her chest which she then deposited on the table. it took only a second for Mertha to realize what it was: a domestication contract! Nora retrieved Cleo’s collar from a compartment in Serla’s leg and put it on top of the contract. Mertha sat there for a moment, was it finally time? She had waited so long for this…was it was finally, actually happening?…it almost felt unreal.
Serla picked up Nora “I guess you two want privacy time for this final round of negotiations.” Before the pair left, Serla leaned in and whispered, voice dripping with satisfaction <she is finally yours, you don’t need to hold back any longer.> The predator in her core surged forth and this time, there was no reason to deny it. Cleo would have her negotiation, but there was no way her human would leave this room without the collar firmly attached around her neck.
The door closed behind Serla, she and Mertha were alone. Cleo could feel the anticipation in her stomach, like an uncomfortable pit of conflicting emotions. She had imagined this moment several hundred times at this point, every part of her plan had gone according to her wishes. The next part was executing the final stages and obtaining the goal she had worked towards, she would not let nerves stop her now.
Mertha’s expression and posture had changed from before, her affini seemed far more relaxed and somehow more energetic at the same time. A wide predatory grin had spread on her warden’s face “you are the most adorable little sophont in the universe, aren’t you?” Cleo suppressed the blush her face wanted to form.
This was the most important negotiation in her life “did you imagine I would simply bow down and submit?” She had to maintain her dignity.
Mertha’s words were filled with predatory anticipation “only a few dozen times. This, however, is much more your style.” Cleo made sure to avoid her affini’s gaze as she tried to maintain her composure.
She had to press on or Mertha undermined her concentration completely “before we start, let's have some clear rules. No triggers, no use of hypnotic eyes or trying to influence me with your biorhythm, no lies, and no dishonesty. Just the truth and whatever it leads to.” This decision had to be pure, and honest, unlike almost all the other choices she had made in her life.
Mertha nodded affirmatively and leaned forward, her eyes were serious and focused “once again you were the one to call for negotiations, what is it that you want?” the plan had been for her to ask that question first, but now she was at a disadvantage.
Not that she did not have an answer “I want to be happy, cared for, fulfilled, content, and loved.” It was a daunting set of demands, the ultimate prize.
Mertha did not seem daunted in the slightest “I am providing you most of that already, you want something more.” She did…..
Mistress gave her time to collect her words “I want to live with you, listen to your song while we cuddle, look into your eyes for hours on end. I….I want to be yours, completely and forever.” She felt a bit out of breath, she had finally said it, finally admitted it.
A great smile spread on Mertha’s face, her voice was so enticing “I will be more than happy to accept all of your requests….as long as you accept my demands.” Her mouth felt dry, usually, the first rule to negotiations was to keep control of the conversation, but she had lost that as soon as they had started.
Mertha looked larger than usual, her very presence pressing down on her “I demand that you become mine, in every way. You will be my beloved pet, my most treasured possession. Because you will become my possession, my property, and you will love it. Once you agree you will not ever have the chance to regret it, I promise you that.” The words, promises, and demands entangled themselves in her mind.
Cleo shook her head, she needed composure “your…terms are acceptable…should we move on to specifics?” The different specifications and additional terms she had prepared might give her the upper hand once more.
Mertha tilted her head slightly “which documents here are the necessary ones and which ones are yours?” Cleo looked at the stack closest to the middle of the table, she had already filled out most of its requirements. a finger tapping on the table brought her attention back to Mertha “and the others are yours?” She only had time for a brief nod.
Then several vines moved up onto the table….wrapped themselves around the other stacks of documents….and pushed them all onto the floor. Cleo stared at the scattered papers in disbelief “what are you doi-“
A vine coiled itself around her neck and forced her to look into to mistress’s eyes “such a silly idea, you have come so far, but still, you hold on. If you want to be mine, you need to believe that I will take care of you in a way that makes you happy. You need to know that I will do what is best for you, in every situation. You can’t try to hold on to control, a pet does not need control, you need to give all of it to me.” Somehow her voice was both domineering and warm at the same time.
Her work allotted quota, her schemes to retain some dignity, her plans to review the future changes to the contract….all of it was strewn, discarded on the floor. The vine around her neck coiled a bit tighter, it was impatient for a response “I….I...mmmm…” Most of the additions were just minor plans, the main plan held priority “fine, but I need some additions to the contract for the agreement to be made.” Most could be sacrificed, but not all.
The vine slithered away from her throat, leaving it feeling uncomfortably naked once more “how many is the least amount you will accept?” Usually, it would be wise to start high, but the rules were made for honesty.
Cleo took a moment to regain her footing “two, what about you? Do you have any conditions?” With her plans for negotiating a myriad of additions to the contract dashed she would need time to formulate a counterattack.
Mertha lifted the collar gently off the contract with her left hand, the predatory energy in her eyes was unrestrained “I do not need conditions, you are already giving me everything. But there is emotional importance to them, so I have one.”
She began to write on the blank space of the contract “you, Cleopatra Verina…for that will soon be your name, accept that you are a pet and therefore do not have responsibility for anyone or anything, with exception of your responsibility to your Guardian/Owner/Mistress.” Mertha made sure to pronounce every syllable with domineering force as she wrote it down.
Cleo tried to ignore the comment about her name “no responsibility for anyone or anything? That is ridiculous, if a situation occurs I will always have the responsibility to do the right thing.” It was almost beyond even affini arrogance to claim that she would lose ALL responsibility.
Mertha smiled playfully “I don’t want you to do anything bad, and good actions are always welcome. But, as my pet, you no longer have responsibility for any, and I do mean any, of your own decisions. If you do something bad then that means I will have to train you to behave better. If you act well then I will reward you and be proud. How you act will be my responsibility, not yours.” She was losing moral responsibility as well? Her affini seemed deadly serious despite the playful tone, could she accept this?
Before she could formulate a reply Mertha continued “You will still have a responsibility, it is to me as your owner. When I ask you to do something, you will do it. When I want you to behave a certain way, you will do so. I might even allow you to help others, but you will do so because of your responsibility as my pet, not any other reason. Understood? This point is non-negotiable.” That had worked before with ending The Game….
Cleo swallowed and nodded “Yes misst….I can accept that demand, no other conditions?” A dangerous slip-up, she still had to be controlled until these negotiations were over.
Mertha chuckled slightly like she had just seen something very cute and wanted to hunt it down and pin it-Enough of that! “No, as I said I do not need any other conditions. Now, what about you? you had two, did you not?” Right, time to consolidate and take charge of the situation.
Mertha had given her the perfect opening “correct. The first stipulation states that you, my guardian, will accept that you are a wonderful and competent person as a consequence of taking ownership of me.” Finally, her warden’s expression changed, she looked confused and clearly off balance.
“You can’t do that….right?” Now Cleo could chuckle at Mertha’s uncertainty.
She had the initiative and the high ground of expertise “I have asked several seasoned bureaucrats, and while none of them had heard about it happening it is entirely within bureaucratic power and precedence. Most of them also thought it was very adorable, but that is beside the point. I can and I will, if anyone challenges this I will fight it to the core-world bureaucracy and beyond.” Mertha seemed to buy the legal argument but did not look convinced.
She looked more irritated if anything. “While very sweet, my wellbeing is not your responsibility, did you not just accept that?”
Cleo grinned slightly “once this contract is signed then that is true, for now, I have the right to be as responsible as I want. I will not budge from this point.” She and Mertha stared each other down for a few seconds, Mertha relented first.
Her affini sighed and then grinned, the predatory expression was back “I can tolerate the addition to the contract…As long as you sign an addition where you accept that you are a good person, a good you-know-what and that you make me and those around you happy.” She was on the back foot again, Mertha’s counter-proposal was not unreasonable…
It would have to do “fine, that is a workable compromise. I will write them both down now.” She uncapped her pen and wrote beneath where Mertha had added her addition. There was no way that she made everyone around her happy, but soon that would have to become her new truth.
The negotiations were going well, so why was she feeling increasingly nervous? It was probably just nerves, she needed to stick to the plan. The words stuck to the back of her throat, she looked down at the contract “m…My second…request is rather simple…” her mouth felt so dry, she had to say it now “….I want you to have….control over my….ambition.” The room went deadly silent, she looked up.
Mertha’s expression had changed again, a familiar concern colored her eyes “I don’t understand, I will already be responsible for your actions, and I promise you won't ever be in a situation that might make you hurt people.”
She needed her to understand “it's not about my actions…it's about me. I simply can't trust myself to control my ambition, it's stronger than me. When it burns the strongest I will find justifications for harming myself and manipulating others. Even if you control me, that ambition will control me as well. I don’t want it gone, not anymore…it is a part of me and can be good, but only when controlled.” She could feel a few tears run down her cheeks.
The words kept coming “I can’t be trusted to control it, but there is no one I trust more than you. I want you to control the strength of the fire, that you control when it will blaze and when it will ebb. Some days I want to feel the need to change the constellations to my will….While other days I just want to be happy, truly content with what I have…can you do that?” The words ran out like sand and silence dominated the room once more.
Finally, Mertha spoke, her voice filled with compassion “I understand. It saddens me that you are still afraid, but it is overshadowed by the joy I feel from having your trust. I accept the condition, once the implant has grown I will control your ambition.” Cleo dried away a few tears, luckily none of them had landed on the contract.
A few seconds with her pen later and the contract was complete:
Above all else, you, Cleopatra, must obey your Guardian, Mertha Verina, Second Bloom in all things. This is for your safety, wellbeing, and care. ☐
Your Guardian, Mertha Verina, Second Bloom, owns you. You are her property. You do not have political rights in the Affini Compact. ☐
You do have a guarantee of your wellbeing, as defined in Section 57 of the Human Domestication Treaty. ☐
This guarantee of wellbeing does not preclude your Guardian from disciplining you, as outlined in Section 61 of the Human Domestication Treaty. ☐
As the property of your Guardian, she may add, remove, or modify conditions of your ownership at any time for any reason within the limits established by the Human Domestication Treaty. ☐
Your full name is Cleopatra Verina, First Floret from this moment forward. ☐
Below this line are additional terms that you, Cleopatra Verina, and your Guardian, Mertha Verina, Second Bloom, have stipulated.____________________________________________________________________________________
Sign here to acknowledge your understanding and acceptance of these terms_______________________________________________________________________________
- You, Cleopatra Verina, accept that you are a pet and therefore do not have responsibility for anyone or anything, with exception of your responsibility to your Guardian/Owner/Mistress. ☐
- You, Cleopatra Verina, accept that you are a good person, a good girl, that you make your Guardian happy and fulfilled, and bring happiness to those around you. ☐
- By agreeing to take ownership of you, your Guardian, Mertha Verina, second bloom accept that she is a wonderful and competent Guardian/Owner/Mistress. ☐
- Your Guardian is to have full control over your ambition and can manage it as she deems right. ☐
It was beautiful and elegant, the first standard six points completed so perfectly by the four that were theirs. Mertha looked at her expectedly “is that all?”
She would give up everything and get everything and more in return. “The agreement looks…perfect, I have nothing I would like to change.” The final plan was almost completed just a few more steps.
Her soon-ex warden positively thrummed with anticipation “neither would I, ready to sign?” Cleo remembered that during their first round of negotiations she had disliked how tall the affini were, how tiny they made her feel…Now, with Mertha towering over her…it felt good, it felt right.
She noticed her hand shaking slightly as she took up the pen once more. it was not the pen from the presidential office, it was the one she had obtained here, one of the many symbols of her new life. Signing her freedom away with it only seemed fitting.
The first box was ticked without any problems. Obeying Mertha was second nature at this point, even if it was fun to be underhanded sometimes.
The second box was a bit more difficult, no longer would she hold any high office or be able to stand as an equal. But that was nothing next to Mertha’s love, she ticked the box.
The third box she ticked without hesitation. Even if she had not read the whole of section 57 she would still have signed, and she had read it four times for good measure either way.
The fourth box fell like the last, filled in by a flick of her pen. She had read section 61 as well, though only once. Cleo was sure that whatever mistress would need to do, would be for the best…and she would likely enjoy it as well.
Number five was an uncertain one only if she did not trust Mertha. She did, so the box was ticked with her consent a moment later. Someday they could renew the contract with some new fun stipulations, until then Mertha could handle it.
Cleo hesitated for a moment, the moment dragged on…She looked down on the sixth stipulation, signing it would discard the last part of her old life. Hansen, a name spoken in fear, loyalty, hatred and so much more….beside her last name there were also the scars, but Vonzin would remove those with little effort. Soon her new life could start for real, Verina was a prettier name anyhow, she ticked the box.
As she reached the seventh stipulation she felt a bit of resistance flare up against it. A large hand grabbed gently around her shoulder “go ahead.” Mertha was standing right behind her, for some reason she had not even been startled. The resistance died out in a puff of smoke, mistress watched as she ticked the box denying her any future responsibility.
With a tiny force of reluctance, she ticked the eight box, though she had no illusions about how long it would take for Mertha to make her accept it fully. ‘It was better to be feared than loved’….sound strategic advice and probably said by someone who needed more love in their life.
Cleo looked up at Mertha with a playful smile, her affini gave a slight nod and she filled the ninth box. There was now bureaucratic proof that her soon-to-be owner was a wonderful person, a truth that had long needed to be documented. If mistress ever had any doubts about her own competence, Cleo would not hesitate to use this as one of many pieces of evidence to prove those doubts false.
Then it was the tenth and final point: the subjugation of her flame, the controlling of her ambition. It was necessary for her safety, happiness, and future growth. The flame would still be there, ready to burn so beautifully in her owner’s safe vines. With thanks to the ancient one, she ticked the final box upon the document.
The hand around her shoulder tightened its grip, vines began to snake their way from her shoulder and over her body. Larger vines moved gently over her main limbs, tiny vines almost like green blood veins as they spread out and covered her. The vines did not exert any force at all, they were just there as mistress entwined herself around her. Mistress made her look like an old overgrown statue, it was nice to feel her so close.
Cleo looked down at the last part of the contract
Sign here to acknowledge your understanding and acceptance of these terms
Despite her young age, she had likely signed as many forms as the average affini, this felt different. She moved her hand and with every spec of Mertha’s attention upon her, placed the pen on the line……
Nothing happened, her hand did not move, not because her body could not but because her mind still resisted. Why? This was the moment she had worked towards, she had engineered this situation so this would not happen. So why did her mind not give in!? This was the final, ultimate victory, an end to the struggle….please….
The vines around her constricted, only so much that she noticed they were there “having trouble?” the question was nothing more than rhetorical, she still nodded. Mistress’s words were so tender “This is what you have fought so hard for, even before you knew what you were fighting for. You have worked and struggled so much, you deserve to let go.” A few of the vines that had spread across her face dried the tears as they appeared.
Mertha was right, she did deserve this, she wanted it more than anything else, she needed it, she could have it….so why could she not just pen one more signature? She had resisted giving up the struggle so many times, kept on fighting, all so she could finally be here, where the struggle was no longer needed. She was ready to rest, ready to never have to take another forced step into the future. But her mind would not let her, the struggle would not let go, she was not strong enough.
The vines around her right arm and hand tightened “do you need help?” But she did not need to be strong, not anymore.
Cleo nodded “please…” Her hand began to move.
It was not just Mertha’s vines, her hand moved by her command as well. Together, her new name began to take form upon the page. Each letter was easier than the last, the final parts of her old thoughts and resistance cracking like old concrete and being swept away by the wind. When she reached the last few letters she did not even need the vines' assistance. She finished the contract with a final, delicate movement of her wrist.
Her first name she had received from mistress during her recovery on class-J, after She had allowed her to find her true self. Her last name was now shared with mistress, proof of their connection. Even her title was given to her by mistress, and for once it was a title that did not carry guilt or responsibility. Mertha had given her a completely new name, a completely new life…both were equally as beautiful.
Sign here to acknowledge your understanding and acceptance of these terms
________________Cleopatra Verina, First floret_____________________
The vines tightened around her strongly, her movement made impossible by the constricting plant. Cleo could feel Her wanting to claim her, but the legal part was not yet done “we still have a few documents to sign.” The vines loosened but not by much.
Mistress was impatient. “I trust that you have already filled out most of what is needed, show me where I need to sign.” With the movement that mistress allowed her, she picked apart the paper pile on the table and showed where She had to sign. The pen was taken from her hand and with rapid strokes, the document was filled with its final components. There was only one more thing she needed to do.
Cleo opened the purse and took out the stamp “Hepatica allowed me, and it took a lot of paperwork to get it done, to be ‘temporary overseeing secretary’ for today.” She brought the stamp down onto the bottom part of the contract with a satisfying *thunk* “and now I am not anymore, as I have just lost the right to hold such a position within the Affini Compact.” lifting the stamp revealed the pleasing symbol of the compact upon the paper, it was done.
The vines coiled tighter, lifted her up, and turned her around to look into Her eyes. Mistress was unwound, her form spread out as more and more vines entangled around her limbs. She looked so large, Her eyes so powerful, her presence so easy to submit to. Cleo could not help but feel lucky to be owned by such a beautiful person.
“We still need to register biometrics and file it wi-“ Vines surged forward and covered her mouth.
Mertha’s voice dripped with predatory satisfaction, one of Her hands caressed up her right arm “No. You are mine now. No force in the universe, not even paperwork, will stop me from owning you. You are mine, my pet, my property. In mind and body, fully mine, forever.” The hand stopped as it reached her neck.
A finger trailed around her neck “Now you need to look the part, right pet?” Vines still prevented her from speaking so she nodded and mewled through the muffle. Mistress smiled and then the collar was in her right hand, dangling in front of her. The name tag was new “I have waited for this moment for so long, this time the collar is not coming off.” It read ‘Cleopatra Verina’ in beautiful handwriting, on the other side ‘first floret of Mertha Verina’ was written in affini.
Cleo was about to beg for the collar, she needed it more than air itself, but a single gaze from mistress silenced her. Mertha talked with so much love, warmth, and domineering force “you don’t need to beg or thank me for this pet, it is already yours.” With a single fluid motion, a few vines opened the collar, wrapped it around her neck…then fastened it, before a soft *click* sound confirmed that the collar was locked around her neck, as it should be.
Cleo looked into Her eyes, the vines retreated from her mouth “thank you for letting me give you the satisfaction. I love you mistress…” the vines finally moved her into a proper embrace, tightly secured in mistress’s arms.
Mertha looked down at her with those loving eyes she had gotten so used to, there was not a hint of worry in them anymore “thank you for giving me the satisfaction. I love you, my pet.”