The pen moved fast and elegantly over the paper, landing, and lifting in one fluid motion. With a final flick of the wrist and the form was completed, orderly, and pristine. Cleo moved the form over to the completed section and stretched, letting out a short yawn in the process. The nametag on her collar made a tiny *pling* and Cleo felt her heart warm up at the sound…what had she ever done to deserve this fate?
In a couple of hours, she could go home to Mistress…or maybe Mistress would come and pick her up, figuratively and literally. While she would doubtlessly enjoy being carried home in the softest vines the universe had, going home by herself would not be bad either. Her body felt fresh, unblemished, unburdened, energized…enjoying that feeling when it had been denied her so long, admittedly often by her own efforts, was pristine. Not that she could ever be sullen by mistress carrying and cherishing her, it was Her right, and her pleasure.
The rest of the office was as usual filled with the low hum of a hundred pens or inscription devices. With all forms of crisis abating, her planet secure in the affini’s control, the pace had slowed considerably. Part of her had to admit there had been something strangely intoxicating with the deadline rush and cooperative scramble that the Centhian bureaucracy thrived off. But the other part of her also knew this domestic form of labor was far more sustainable, and while not as exhilarating, far more enjoyable in the long run. The long-awaited vacation was coming soon…Cleo let out a light chuckle, vacation from what exactly?
Just as she was about to return to work and grab another form from her rapidly depleting pile, a message beamed itself inside her mind without needing her to give permission. That could only mean one thing….Mistress!
[RestlessAnnoyance]: hello my little kitten, how are you doing?
Like Mistress could not instinctively tell her emotional state at all times, still, it was polite to ask. Also, she had a sneaking suspicion, her instincts might be blunted and smoothed over but far from gone, that her owner had something more hiding behind this benign inquiry.
[Littlekitten]: I am doing great Mistress! Only got a few more forms to fill out before I am done for the day. How are you?
[RestlessAnnoyance]: You know I am doing well now that I can talk to you. So nice to hear that you are having fun at the office, but have you remembered to do all your tasks as we talked about yesterday?
Cleo blinked….tasks?....Of course, her tasks! How could she have forgotten to do them? No matter, there was still plenty of time to fulfil her role. She was so lucky to have such a wonderful owner to remind her.
[RestlessAnnoyance]: And I am so very lucky to have an obedient adorable floret like you, now get to it pet. Love you
[Littlekitten]: Yes Mistress, love you too
The connection with Mertha ebbed into the low hum that it usually was at, and Cleo refocused her mind on the task at hand. She made a quick sweep of the office with her eyes, the first target was identified within seconds.
Pline Haliva, third bloom was still working on their form with an obsession Cleo could identify all too well. The hyper-fixated affini had not gone to lunch an hour ago, claiming to not be hungry. The slightly downturned flowers and faded color revealed that to be a misjudgment. Not a big deal, but she had a responsibility, and this was exactly the type of case for her to deal with.
After making sure her desk was moderately tidy Cleo got up and left the office, heading for the cafeteria. On the way she was stopped only twice by affini requesting to pet her, requests she accepted gracefully and gratefully. She was not one of the florets whose life was just waiting for the next headpat…but that did not mean she could not understand them to a certain degree.
The cafeteria was almost empty, and the staff looked to be readying food for those that would eat dinner. Cleo walked up to one of the affini and tugged gently on a loose vine “excuse me, could you make me a portion of mineralized water…maybe with extra potassium?” A few cute blinks and an overwhelmingly innocent expression were applied for maximum effect.
The affini looked down and their eyes filled with that adoring sparkle “yes of course little one, ~aren’t you just the cutest little thing~” Two dozen vines began to shuffle through the shelves bringing out a large bowl, water, spice canisters filled with pulverized minerals, and a strange stirring implement. As the myriad of vines began to work in a flurry of motion, two were spared to give Cleo some attention in the form pats and scratches. The affini was so confident in their craft that most of their attention did indeed seem to be transfixed on the floret, cooing, and taking a few pictures for posterity.
When the water was finished the pats regretfully ceased “all done…would you like for me to carry it for you? it might be a bit heavy…" Heavy? The size and content of the bowl would indicate so, but too heavy? Not that likely, and these were her tasks after all.
“I can manage.” The affini gently lowered the bowl of water into her arms and placed a lid on top…mmmm, okay maybe a bit heavier than she expected. “Thank you so much!” She gave a brief bow and core-warming smile before leaving the affini behind.
The walk back to the office was sped up considerably, out of concern for her arm's capabilities to hold the bowl for too much longer. It gave her a brief nostalgia for striding through the office mazes of the Centhian bureaucracy with Nora close behind…fresh anticipation for the upcoming vacation surged through her the last couple of steps.
Once inside the office, Cleo made a beeline towards the offending bureaucrat who needed her services. Pline did not notice at first but after a soft clearing of Cleo’s throat, the affini looked down “is there…what is…oh it's for me?” The affini’s slow realization was cute but also inconvenient.
Beads of sweat had begun to build on Cleo’s forehead, her arms were beginning to hurt “you need to eat, take the bowl.” A subtle touch of iron to the voice was all that was required for the affini to obey without any further questions.
Some of the other affini had noticed and Pline’s eyes took on a deep shade of purple embarrassment “this is very kind, but you didn’t have to-“
Cleo rolled her eyes and her tail swayed back and forth sternly “I am just doing my job, and so should you. But not at the cost of your health. Now drink your mineralized water and take a break.” The affini’s eyes darted from side to side, making contact with a few of the other bureaucrats.
They sighed and relaxed in the chair, smiling while extending a vine to give her a pat “thank you, you have a very lucky owner.” Cleo leaned her head into the approaching vine and gave an affirming nod.
With her first task complete, the next one made itself obvious. The noise levels in the room were far from equalized. One desk especially made far more sound than the others, and who could be the source other than her rival Chaeno? The disheveled form, the frizzy flowers, the curled-up vines at the bottom; were all clear signs of an affini pushing themselves too hard.
There was only one cure for this, a millennia-old and empirically sound one: cuddling a floret. She strode up and tried to get the large affini’s attention…no dice, their eyes were fixed on the contents of the desk like a horse’s targeting system. A soft auditory cue was just as fruitless, if anything it made the proof of her need to intervene even more potent. “Chaeno?”….no response “Chaeno, I need some help….” Nothing. More severe ammunition had to be used, Cleo looked up at the affini with large floret eyes and made her voice as soft as could be “could I get some pets?” That had to work.
Without even looking down from her desk Chaeno answered “Not right now.” The tone of voice was so monotone, so uninterested….Indignation welled up in Cleo’s heart. How could Chaeno brush her off in such a nonchalant manner? It was unheard of, it was downright insulting, how dare this plant deny her of all florets?!
This would not stand! Retribution had to be sanctioned upon such an act. Cleo sent a request to Mertha, she only needed a bit of help to make Chaeno rue the day they bloomed. The response was almost instant.
[RestlessAnnoyance]: I knew you would have problems with them, but I am fully confident you know what to do.
Cleo felt it a moment before it happened, like a buzzing sensation across her skin. Plant matter merged out of her arms and engulfed them in fluffy paws, the same happening to her legs. She was prepared and landed on the floor on all four…now was the time for action.
Mistress certainly enjoyed watching her fumble around on her paws, with no clue on how to operate the still-new limbs. This time however She had given her mind access to the full muscle memory required to fulfill her task. Her legs felt powerful, stronger than any limbs she had possessed, like springs charged with the power of a railgun.
Cleo looked up at the huge desk in front of her, easily above her height even when standing on two. It was not tall enough. Her back paws prepared, her tail moved into position, and then when everything felt ready she unleashed the power and jumped upwards. It was a magnificent feeling of weightlessness and freedom, physical exhilaration as well; none things she was all that familiar with.
The important result was that she landed on the edge of the desk without incident, and like she had predicted this part was clear of any documents or objects. Stars, Chaeno had not even noticed her…serves them right.
With elegant steps Cleo walked across the desk, Chaeno retracting their vines in surprise. Before the affini could even respond properly Cleo walked across the six documents they had been working on…and then promptly lay down upon them without a word. She began to purr, giving Chaeno a good indication of what to do.
Disappointingly enough Chaeno did not take the hint “Cleo? What are you doing, I need to work.” Nonsense, nobody needed to work, at least not as much as Chaeno did.
A retort to that was below her, so instead Cleo turned around and stretched adorably. The first cracks in the offender’s armor began to show, alien hunger in their eyes. But they were still holding back “seriously, I can pet you later but right now I need to work…I have a reputation to uphold.” Reputation? Who did this affini think they were?
Cleo looked Chaeno straight in the eyes with a look that would send shivers down the spines of 20% of the total human population “reputation is a tool of control, to keep your allies in line and make your enemies second guess their every move. It is the invisible force that keeps your subjects awake at night or dreaming feverishly of the consequences should they go against you. It is not for your affini tea parties. Now pet me.” Chaeno hesitated, the temptation was growing stronger.
But they would not give in “but…” What a shame…Cleo had hoped she would not have to commit such measures. Her left paw touched the leftmost pile of documents on the desk, the ones closest to the edge “Cleo…what are you- no!” It was too late, with a small push the stack tumbled over the edge and scattered on the floor <dirt…>“…why did you do that?” Chaeno grumbled something more in affini before moving to pick up the documents that had dispersed like large snowflakes on the floor and covered it white.
For an affini, it would not take long to get up and organized but Cleo had already picked out three other prime targets for destruction. The towers would tumble until the affini conceded that they would not be allowed to work and gave her the pats she rightfully deserved. A new rhythm approached “what is going on here?” the curious tone of Hepatica was slightly amused.
Chaeno’s decidedly less so “it is Cleo, she won't stop pestering me….I need to get these documents done by today, could you help?” There was some satisfaction in hearing the desperation, Chaeno trying to gain an ally was an interesting strategy…not that it would succeed.
Hepatica nodded “I understand, give me a moment and I can bring something to deal with her. you just get those documents up from the floor, I won't be long.” some tension left the overworked bureaucrat’s form….fool.
They shot her an irritated look “there are plenty of others who would love nothing more than to give you attention…you are trying to interrupt me from practicing for the next championship, aren’t you?” What a ridiculous accusation, that was in fact not her goal…but a worthy side prize to her real task.
Hepatica returned, a large fluffy and green pet bed in vine, it had the shape of a large flower with red petals. “This should do nicely.” Hepatica lifted her up by the stomach without any effort, before placing the pet bed on the desk and lowering her down onto it. Giving her a few scratches behind the ears as Cleo got comfortable “awwww, such a good girl.” Fuck…asking for the nerve clusters behind her new ears was the best decision she made since asking to become Mistress floret.
Chaeno’s momentary look of relief had been swept away by confusion “wha….” How adorable, did they think she and Mistress did not have allies?
Hepatica gestured for Chaeno to sit “I will give the documents to some others, you have been working too hard lately and we can't have that. That is why our new morale officer here has removed your work permission until she is satisfied.” It was a nice title…not that it meant anything formally, she was not allowed to hold any public office after all….but formality and power only walked hand in hand when it was convenient.
With the overseer leaving Chaeno was left with only one option, sitting down and finally giving in. The affini began to pet her, Cleo rolled around and with immediate compliance, Chaeno began to rub her belly as well. The game was checkmate so now Cleo could fully relish her victory and the affection, beginning to drift away ever so slightly. An expression of realization crossed the beaten affini’s face “Mertha put you up to this, didn’t she?”
Cleo gave the affini a wry smile and gestured for the affini to scratch her at the base of her tail “maybe, you needed this either way…a bit higher…a bit…mmmmmm, that’s the spot.” Each touch of the hands and vines sent sparkles of pleasure up her skin, then she felt a wonderful warm sensation spread from the back of her neck.
[RestlessAnnoyance]: well, done pet, you have done all of your tasks. Enjoy the pets until I come and pick you up.
The warmth was a now familiar reward of class-A, multiplying the sensation of each touch tenfold. The trigger was turned off and the want to return to her desk emerged once more. Cleo tried to send a message back but failed. Chaeno had noticed her increased sensitivity and exploited the opportunity “~such a good kitty you are~ So talented at receiving pets and being pampered…morale officer huh? I can’t deny it fits you….I suddenly got a wonderful idea. What if we do this more often?” What? But her work “I need to work of course but keeping you under my desk in this bed while pampering you all the while sounds wonderful. I will have to ask Hepatica, but I am sure she will agree. Do you want that?” No….She couldn’t just….her documents….
Cleo tried for a few more seconds to respond, to deny this reckless idea…but the pleasure and comfort were too much, she was too used to surrender to it now. The last embers of resistance were ruthlessly crushed.
[RestlessAnnoyance]: say yes pet.
“yes, please….mmmm….” A wide predatory smile spread on Chaeno’s face, and they added another two vines for cuddling her into submission. Several weak and pleasure-filled whimpers and moans later and she was a blissful puddle in the affini’s fast and skillful vines. One of the few thoughts Cleo managed to conjure was that maybe neither of them would win the next championship.