“Do you know why I asked to you to come and see me privately during my office hours?”
The blonde freshman sitting herself down before Professor Nagisa Tamaki glanced around nervously.
“I really don’t know at all, professor,” she replied eventually.
A thin smile came to Professor Tamaki’s face. Like most freshmen, Miranda wasn’t used to being alone with a professor. She was uncertain. In Professor Tamaki’s experience, that would make it all the easier to add her to her collection.
“I wanted to talk to you about your grades,” the professor lied. “I have some concerns, you see.”
“My grades?” Miranda’s pretty face was scrunched up in a look of confusion. “But, professor, I’m getting As in your philosophy class.”
“Barely,” Professor Tamaki replied curtly. The young professor sat down on the couch, a little apart from her student. She crossed her legs slowly, noting the way Miranda’s eyes glanced down at her long pencil skirt, and the black tights underneath. She was only 30, and so she always made sure to look professional. It helped to make sure that her colleagues and students took her seriously. She did, though, always pair her long pencil skirt with a nice, tight blazer and blouse, to show off her large chest. She wanted to look professional, but she also enjoyed making it clear that she had assets.
She noticed Miranda glancing at those, too, and wondered if the girl was a already a lesbian - not that it really mattered. Soon, her sexuality would be whatever Professor Tamaki wanted it to be.
“There are a few Bs mixed in with those As,” Professor Tamaki noted, peering at Miranda severely over her glasses. “Frankly, I think you could be doing much better. I’m concerned you’re not applying yourself in my class.”
“Professor…” Miranda sagged, suddenly looking weary. “Look, um… I don’t mean any disrespect, but you know that I’m a chemistry major, right? I’m taking philosophy because I need the Gen Ed credit. I’m glad I’m making an A, but even a B would be fine with me.”
“Hmm.” Professor Tamaki pursed her lips disapprovingly, letting Miranda stew for a moment. “Miranda, I’m not trying to be a nuisance. I simply think you have a very, very bright future ahead of you - one I’m keen to take an interest in. As an educator, I believe it’s my duty to take a student under my wing, if I believe she has real potential to be nurtured.”
That wasn’t exactly a lie, Professor Tamaki thought to herself. It was simply that her motives were far, far less altruistic than she was pretending.
“Oh.” Miranda softened, blushing faintly at the effusive praise. “Um… what exactly do you mean, Professor Tamaki?”
“Well,” the professor continued smoothly, making sure her face didn’t betray her lurid eagerness. “I’d like to give you just a little bit of extra tuition. Though, you’ll have to forgive me. My methods are a touch unusual. In my experience, most students like you suffer, first and foremost, from difficulties concentrating. I know just how to help with that.”
“Something to help me focus in class?” Miranda asked, still confused. “That does sound pretty helpful.”
“Indeed.” Professor Tamaki smiled, reaching up briefly to make sure that her silky, black hair, cut in a nice, neat bob, was still immaculate. “Then, why don’t we get started?”
Miranda blinked. “Right now? Professor, I have cheer practice later…”
“It won’t take too long. And I don’t believe in wasting time.”
Professor Tamaki leant back a little, and as her student watched, slightly wide-eyed, she unfastened the top button of the white blouse and reached a hand down her front, retrieving a small, golden pocket watch, held on a chain around her neck.
Professor Nagisa Tamaki’s academic interests weren’t restricted to philosophy. Though she didn’t advertise it widely, she was an exceptionally confident hypnotist. And though she didn’t yet understand what it would mean for her, Miranda was about to become her latest subject.
“Surprised?” Professor Tamaki asked, reading the look on her student’s face. “It’s unusual, I know. But in my experience, the benefits of hypnosis are unmatched. Think of it like guided meditation. A clear, calm mind makes for a studious, successful mind, Miranda.”
“Well, um, if it’s not going to make me late for practice, I’m happy to give it a try!” Miranda answered brightly. She shifted in her seat, clearly still off-balance, but her eagerness to please was plain.
“Excellent.” Professor Tamaki sat forward, dangling the pocket watch by its chain in front of her student’s face. Miranda’s eyes immediately latched on to the second hand, moving around the clock face in a regular, clockwork rhythm, making a small, audible ticking noise as each second passed. “Do you know anything about hypnosis, Miranda?”
“Not really,” the blonde student replied, her voice already a little spacey. Professor Tamaki allowed herself a small grin. It was always a pleasure to deal with such a suggestible girl.
“That’s just fine. Simply follow along with my words.” She was already a professor. Her students were already conditioned to listen to her. Guiding them into trance was child’s play. “I want you to watch the second hand as it ticks, Miranda. I can see you’re already doing so, and that’s very good. Make sure you’re focusing on it nice and hard.”
“’Yes, professor’,” Professor Tamaki prompted firmly.
Miranda’s eyes widened slightly at the unexpected imposition of authority. “Yes, professor.”
“Perfect.” Professor Tamaki carefully made her voice soft and soothing, keeping it just a little curt and professional at the same time to convey experience and intelligence. “Now, as you watch, I want you to relax. Relaxation helps us focus, after all. When we let everything else in our minds and bodies settle comfortably, it’s often so very natural to let our attention fall on whatever we need. So, Miranda, you’re going to focus on your breathing now. I want you to think about how your chest is rising and falling. I want you to count the moments between each breath. Use the second hand. Watch it tick. Count.”
The professor watched as the gentle rise and fall of her student’s chest became steadily more pronounced. It was a pleasant sight. To say Miranda was busty would have been an understatement.
“Good,” Professor Tamaki continued. “Now. Let those moments stretch out. Let the space between each breath become longer. Slower. A nice, steady, relaxing rhythm. One second. Two. Three. Whatever feels natural and comfortable. Yes, just like that. In. Out. In. Out.”
Miranda’s breathing started obediently slowing, and as it did, her eyelids started to droop.
“You’re doing very well,” Professor Tamaki encouraged. “And all you need to do, Miranda, is to keep breathing just like this. Lean back. Let yourself sink into this nice, comfortable couch. Breath slowly. And remember. Focus on the watch. On the second hand. You can do that, can’t you?”
“Yes, professor,” Miranda replied slowly. Professor Tamaki noticed her shifting around a little, settling comfortably into her seat. Wonderful. This was proceeding excellently - not that Professor Tamaki had been worried. She’d done this dozens of times.
“Of course you can. It’s easy. Simple. Especially for a girl like you.” Miranda nodded. She was hanging on her professor’s every word, and with each soothing, calming syllable, she seemed to sink a little deeper. “You’re such a good student, after all. So diligent, and with such an eye for detail. So, as you watch the second hand, I’m going to give you a little task. And you’ll do it for me, won’t you?”
“Excellent, Miranda. That’s all you need to say. Just keep saying ‘yes, professor,’ to me, just like that.” Miranda was too focused to find that strange. Her eyelids were hanging heavy, and her body was limp. “Now, see my hand here.” Professor Tamaki held up her hand. “I’m going to lift my fingers, one by one, second by second. I’m going to do that, over and over again. A nice, steady, clockwork rhythm. And all you need to do is tell me whenever the rhythm of my fingers deviates from the ticking of that second hand. Understand?”
Miranda’s brow furrowed slightly, but she said: “Yes, professor.”
“Then, let’s begin.” Just as she had described, Professor Tamaki started raising the fingers on her left hand, one by one, carefully timing her movements to match the way her pocket watch counted the seconds.
And then she simply watched as Miranda’s mind started to unravel.
The task she’d assigned sounded simple. It sounded effortless. It wasn’t. Within moments, Miranda’s eyes were darting back and forth endlessly between the pocket watch and her professor’s hand, desperately trying to keep track of two rhythms at once. It was almost impossible. With each second that passed, the poor girl was asking herself: were they still in sync? Or had the rhythm of her professor’s fingers deviated? Had something changed?
The effort was exhausting, and with how relaxed she was, Miranda was no longer up to the task. Her eyelids were starting to droop dangerously, even blinking closed for a moment, here and there. Her pupils were becoming unfocused. Her head was starting to loll from side to side. Her breathing just kept getting slower and slower. The task Professor Tamaki had given her was the only thing keeping her awake. To make things even harder, the philosophy professor started to gently swing the pocket watch from side to side, like a pendulum. The effect was mesmerizing. Miranda couldn’t help but follow the motion with her eyes, and it became just one more rhythm to follow, one more rhythm gently lulling her into trance.
Professor Tamaki let her struggle for a few minutes, keeping up a nice, steady rhythm with her hands. When Miranda seemed to be on the verge of losing consciousness, though, she spoke up again.
“Miranda,” she prompted. “Keep paying attention. Now. Do you remember what we were talking about in class today?”
“Y-yes, professor,” Miranda replied slowly and sleepily. “It was… free will.”
“That’s right. And what was our definition of free will?”
“It… um… I…” The poor girl looked like she wanted her mind to give out, as through her drowsiness, she tried to summon up the memory. “It’s… when you… do what you… want.”
“Good girl.” Professor Tamaki no longer had any reason to keep the grin from her face. Miranda was almost hers. “That’s very close. Yes. You have free will when you can act on your desires. And what was the challenge to that definition?”
“W-wha… um…” Each time she spoke, Miranda’s voice was weaker. She was utterly transfixed by the pocket watch. “What if… someone else could… influence your desires…”
“That’s right,” Professor Tamaki praised. She was trembling. The moment of her victory was so close, and she always loved to win. “If someone else could manipulate your desires, you’d be ‘free’, in a sense, but they’d be in total control of you. Can you imagine that, Miranda? Can you imagine someone else’s voice in your head, whispering to you, telling you exactly what you want? How would you resist? You couldn’t. You wouldn’t even want to. You’d be their plaything. Molded into whatever form they chose.”
Miranda just grunted weakly. There was so little of her left.
“But does that really sound so bad?” Professor Tamaki pressed, her voice soft, urgent, commanding. “It would be effortless, don’t you think? To let someone else be in control. To let someone else make all the decisions. You wouldn’t have to think for yourself. Everything would be so easy. You agree, I’m sure?”
Miranda nodded desperately, invigorated by the very suggestion. To her, it seemed like a lifeline.
“And it’s so close.” Professor Tamaki was leaning forward as she seized on Miranda’s eagerness. “It’s just a snap of my fingers away. I’ll snap my fingers, and all this will be gone. You can close your eyes. You can stop counting. You can stop thinking. You’ll be in a trance. It’ll be effortless. You can do that for me, can’t you, Miranda?”
Professor Nagisa Tamaki snapped her fingers.
It was like cutting a puppet’s strings. Miranda slumped utterly, her eyes closing and her face going completely slack. She sank back into Professor Tamaki’s couch, thinking of nothing. She was in a hypnotic trance, and her mind was completely open and defenseless.
Professor Tamaki slowly lowered her pocket watch, savoring the raw, pleasurable heat racing through her. No matter how many times she felt it, it never got any less satisfying.
And she’d felt it many, many times before.
Miranda was simply the latest part of the professor’s collection. She loved to collect. She loved to make people hers. Especially people who could be useful to her. Women with bright, promising futures, or women from wealthy, influential families. One little private trance session, and those futures, that wealth, and that influence all belonged to her. Some people would have been content with a professorship at such a young age. Nagisa Tamaki wasn’t one of those people. She wanted more. She wanted the world, in the palm of her hand.
And soon, she’d have it. Already, some of her seeds were beginning to bear fruit. The thought of her little, entranced network spreading throughout society over the years to come left her unspeakably aroused, and delightfully pleased.
But that wasn’t what Miranda’s future held in store.
Not all of Professor Tamaki’s desires were quite so long-term. Miranda was certainly smart enough to make for a useful puppet, but that wasn’t what had attracted Professor Tamaki to her. No, she’d been attracted by Miranda’s blonde hair, her proud, curvy hips, and her big tits. The freshman was on the cheerleader squad, and the uniform left little to the imagination.
All in all, especially in that miniskirt and top, Miranda looked like a classic bimbo. And Professor Tamaki had such a fondness for bimbos.
Her now-hypnotized student was far too intelligent and diligent to qualify as a true bimbo, of course. But all that would take to fix was a little conditioning.
“Listen to me, Miranda,” Professor Tamaki began. “I’m going to tell you a few things about yourself, and because I’m your professor and because you’re in trance, you’ll know that they’re true.”
“Yes, professor.” Miranda’s voice was empty of all emotion.
“Good.” Professor Tamaki smiled a thin, dominant smile, already dreaming of all the fun she could have with her newest toy once Miranda was thoroughly bimbofied. “Now, the first thing is, you don’t really like the name ‘Miranda’. You like being called ‘Miri’. In fact, you’ve always liked being called ‘Miri.’
Professor Tamaki quickly checked the time on her pocket watch. True to her word, she didn’t want to make her her bimbo cheerleader late for practice. But fortunately, she had plenty long enough to plant the seeds of obedience and bimbofication nice and deep.
“The professor will, um, see you now!” came the vapid voice from outside the professor’s office, followed by a high-pitched, tittering giggle. Every time Professor Tamaki heard it, it put a smile on her face.
Miranda - or Miri, as she was now universally known - had come so far in the year since Professor Tamaki had first met her.
Physically, she hadn’t changed much, of course. Her appearance hadn’t changed much, except for her newfound proclivity for wearing her cheerleader uniform whenever she was on campus. The skimpy miniskirt and tight-fitting, flattering crop top was far too good of a look for Professor Tamaki to want to see her in anything else.
Although, she certainly enjoyed seeing the cheerleader take her uniform off, too.
Mentally, though, she’d changed almost beyond recognition. Miranda, the bright, brilliant student, was gone. Miri, by contrast, was flighty, airheaded, and of course, unbelievably dumb. Just the way Professor Tamaki had made her. As Miri opened the door, beckoning Professor Tamaki’s guest inside with a peppy smile, the professor looked into her bimbo student’s eyes. They were glassy and vacant, without a hint of intelligence.
“Um, thank you,” came the slightly perturbed voice of Eunji, one of Professor Tamaki’s other students, as she allowed herself to be led inside. Professor Tamaki’s smile grew wider still. A day on which she got to add a new girl to her collection was always a good day.
Eunji Hwang was a new freshman, a philosophy major, and she couldn’t have been more different from Miri. Unlike the busty blonde, she was short and petite, with dark hair. Her brown eyes reflected a deep, thoughtful intelligence, and her aptitude in Professor Tamaki’s class had immediately marked her out to the professor as a winning prospect. She wouldn’t end up as a bimbofied sex toy, Professor Tamaki had decided. Whilst she was sure that the freshman had some pleasant curves under her modest clothing, Professor Tamaki had much, much greater things in mind for this one. A girl as smart as her could go far - and once Professor Tamaki got into her head, the professor was sure to reap all the rewards.
“Take a seat,” Professor Tamaki said to Eunji, indicating her couch. And then, to Miri: “That will be all.”
“’Kay!” the brainwashed student replied brightly, before bouncing out of the professor#s office, shutting the door behind her.
“Thank you for coming to see me.” Professor Tamaki settled on the couch, a short distance from Eunji.
“Oh! It’s no trouble at all, professor,” Eunji replied. She was, in Professor Tamaki’s estimation, a shy, timid little thing. She was generally quiet in class, except when called upon, and she appeared to have few friends.
In short, ideal for being controlled.
“Um, may I ask you something?” Eunji blurted out suddenly. Professor Tamaki cocked her head curiously.
“That girl…” Eunji indicated outside, where Miri was sitting at a desk, like a secretary. “She’s your… TA?”
“Something like that,” Professor Tamaki answered. “It’s for a work-study program.”
“Is, um, is she really a philosophy student?” Eunji asked. “I know that’s rude, but, well, she seemed… a little…”
“A little ditzy?” Professor Tamaki smiled. She wanted to make sure Eunji was at ease. All the better for hypnosis. “She’s a chemistry major, actually. A sophomore. Though, I believe she might switch majors to business soon. That might be more suited for her. Or, maybe she shall drop out, and become my full-time secretary. It hasn’t been decided yet. She isn’t really the academic type.”
“I see…” There was still an insistent curiosity in Eunji’s eyes, but she didn’t press the issue any further.
“Now,” Professor Tamaki continued smoothly. “Do you know why I’ve called you here?”
“Extra tuition?” Eunji guessed immediately. “People say you like to pay attention to special students. And, well, I know my grades are good enough for it.”
“They’re right. And yes, they are.” Professor Tamaki was impressed. Eunji was just as sharp as she’d hoped. “I believe in nurturing potential, you see.”
Eunji blushed faintly. “Oh, Professor Tamaki, thank you! I’m really flattered. I mean, your lectures are always so sharp and clear, and-”
“Thank you,” Professor Tamaki cut in insistently. Eunji looked embarrassed, and fell silent. “If you’re interested in being one of my ‘special students’, as you put it, I have some study techniques I’d like to impart.”
“Good.” Professor Tamaki smiled as she retrieved the pocket watch from its place around her neck. The student’s eagerness would make this so very simple. “Eunji, have you ever heard of hypnosis?”
“Hypnosis?” At that, a strange look came over the student’s face. She tilted her head, and the corners of her mouth started to twitch, almost as if she was about to burst out laughing. There was an unusual, knowing impishness in her eyes, and a flavor of delight and amusement that Professor Tamaki couldn’t quite discern. “You could say I’ve heard one or two things.”
Her reaction was almost suspicious enough to give Professor Tamaki pause, but she soon dismissed it. Most likely, she was simply the kind of person who believed hypnotism was nothing more than a childish myth. Fortunately, that would be no defense.
“Well, I’m a huge proponent of it,” Professor Tamaki continued smoothly, making sure her voice was clear, curt and authoritative. “In my experience, the biggest obstacle young students like you face to accessing their full potential is difficulties concentrating. Hypnosis can be a wonderful tool for sharpening one’s focus. Think of it like guided meditation.”
Eunji nodded. “I see! If you say so, Professor Tamaki, then I’d love to give it a try.”
“Wonderful.” Better and better. This would be child’s play. “Then, I suggest we get started right away. There’s no time like the present. Please get comfortable, and turn your attention to my pocket watch.”
“Yes, Professor.” Eunji leant back, settling herself, and let her eyes fall on the pocket watch as Professor Tamaki held it up in front of her face.
“Good. All you need to do next is relax. That’s all. Relax, and let my words guide you.” Professor Tamaki made her voice soothing and quiet, just as she’d done many, many times before. “Look at the second hand. Watch it slowly, as it ticks around the clock face. A nice, slow rhythm, don’t you think? A nice rhythm to match your breathing to. In, and out. In, and out.”
“Yes, Professor,” Eunji replied quietly. “A nice, slow rhythm. Perfect to match your breathing to.”
Professor Tamaki nodded. “Breathing every three seconds, perhaps. Then, every four. Whatever feels natural. Whatever feels right. It’s natural for your breathing to slow a little, as you relax. As you fill your lungs with each breath, letting your chest rise and expand, and as you empty them each time you exhale.”
“Filling your lungs each time you breathe,” Eunji echoed, her voice every bit as quiet and soothing as her professor’s. “Emptying them each time you exhale. Nice and slow.”
“That’s right. Nice and slow.” Her student really did have a pretty voice, Professor Tamaki mused. It was nice to listen to. Melodious, almost. “Count the ticks of the watch. Count your breaths. Let those numbers spiral up in your head. Follow them, as long as you can.”
“Count your breaths,” Eunji repeated, her eyes following the second hand of Professor Tamaki’s watch. “Nice and slow. Letting the numbers spiral.”
Professor Tamaki nodded agreeably. She was feeling unusually calm. Eunji seemed like such a perfect subject. She was able to simply get comfortable on her couch and relax as she watched another student fall under her hypnotic spell. As she noted the way Eunji’s chest was rising and falling, she couldn’t help but think a little about her own breathing too. It was one of those annoying little things - once you started noticing it, you just couldn’t stop. Professor Tamaki tried to settle her mind, deliberately breathing nice and slow.
“Professor?” With a start, Professor Tamaki realized it had been a long time since she’d said anything.
“I… am simply giving you a moment to settle.” Professor Tamaki shook her head, suddenly frustrated with herself. Somehow, she’d lost her train of thought. That had never happened to her before. Perhaps she ought to leave hypnotizing Eunji for another day. No. That was ridiculous. The professor had absolute confidence in herself. “Breathing nice and slow, yes. How are you feeling, Eunji?”
“Oh, I’m feeling very relaxed,” Eunji said slowly. “Like I could just sink into this couch. You know the feeling, right professor?”
Professor Tamaki nodded. She knew it very well. It was easy to imagine. A pleasant, satisfied smile came to her face. Clearly, she had nothing to worry about. Everything was going just as planned.
“I can’t stop focusing on the sound your watch is making,” her student continued. “It’s so… so entrancing. Don’t you think, professor? Once you start thinking about it, you just can’t stop. The nice, steady, even rhythm just keeps echoing in your head. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It never stops. It just keeps going, and going, and going. It’s so relaxing. Don’t you think, professor?”
Professor Tamaki just nodded again, momentarily lost for words. The gentle ticking of her pocket watch seemed to have become louder, somehow. It felt like it was all around her, and inside her head too. It was simply impossible not to pay attention to it. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Professor Tamaki didn’t know why she was feeling so absent-minded. Maybe she hadn’t had enough coffee. Fortunately, Eunji was describing exactly how the professor wanted her to feel. There was nothing to worry about.
“Only, professor…” Professor Tamaki’s ears pricked up a little. “Are you sure your watch is working correctly?”
The sleepy professor frowned. “Excuse me?”
“There’s a flaw,” Eunji continued, her voice wonderfully soft. “A tiny little flaw. Perhaps you didn’t wind it up properly this morning, professor. It’s running a little slow. Can’t you hear it?”
“I… I’m not sure.” Professor Tamaki was immediately skeptical. She always took proper care of her pocket watch. Always. It was so vital to all her plans, after all. But, then again, she was clearly a little scatterbrained today. Perhaps it was possible…
“It’s subtle. You’ll have to listen very, very closely.”
As it so happened, Professor Tamaki’s attention had already been drawn to her watch. But at her student’s encouragement, she started listening closer still, trying to count the moments between each tick of the second hand. Was it slow? It was hard to tell, especially when she was so sleepy.
“Can you hear it?” Eunji didn’t seem discouraged when Professor Tamaki shook her head. “It’s so very subtle. You really have to feel the rhythm to notice it. Focus, professor.”
Professor Tamaki was trying as hard as she could. As she listened, it was as if every other sound in the world was fading away. Everything was silent except for the ticking of the watch, and Eunji’s voice.
“Why don’t you close your eyes?” Eunji suggested. “It’s always easier to focus that way, don’t you think? Like when you’re listening to music. You can just let the sounds wash over you. Nothing else matters. Just listen.”
In truth, for Professor Tamaki it was almost a relief to let her eyelids fall closed. They’d been getting so heavy. Eunji was right. It was much easier to concentrate that way.
“Good.” Eunji’s voice was just like music. It washed over her. “Your watch is so mesmerizing, professor. Maybe now, you can hear it. Maybe now, you can notice the way that gentle ticking seems to be slowing, bit by bit, little by little, but more and more with each second that passes, and with each breath that you take.”
And Professor Tamaki finally heard it.
Eunji had been right all along. Her watch really did sound like it was slowing down. It was subtle, but it was there. The rhythm was changing. Slower and slower. Bit by bit. Now that Professor Tamaki was really focusing on it, it shocked her that she’d been unable to notice it before. Now, it was all she could think about.
“Slower and slower,” Eunji urged, with gentle, irresistible confidence. “That’s it. There it is, professor. Feel that rhythm. Isn’t it strange how heavy it starts to feel, now that it’s slowing down? Feel it flowing through you. Your breathing slowing. Your heart slowing. Your thoughts slowing. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.”
Eunji drew her words out longer and longer as she spoke, and the rhythm of Professor Tamaki’s pocket watch slowed to match it. So very slow. Everything was getting so slow.
“And you’re getting slow too, aren’t you?” Eunji soothed. Professor Tamaki’s only response was a low, affirmative grunt, and a slight nod of her head. “Because you’re focused on this watch. So very focused. And you know what happens when people focus on that watch, don’t you? You’ve seen it so many times before, I bet.”
Oh, that was right, Professor Tamaki thought to herself distantly. She was already too far gone to care. When people focused on the watch, they got hypnotized.
“Yes,” Eunji continued, a hint of triumph slipping into her voice. “They go into a trance. You know that so very well, professor. So you know that all I have to do is snap my fingers, and the rhythm of the watch that’s ticking inside your head is going to stop. And you’ll be asleep for me.”
Professor Tamaki said nothing. Asleep? That sounded wonderful. She was so sleepy.
Eunji snapped her fingers.
To Professor Tamaki, eyes closed and entranced, the sound was deafening. It cut through everything else, immediately drowning out the gentle tick and tock of the pocket watch. And just like that, there was no more sound at all. Just an empty, blank void, around her and within her.
She was completely hypnotized.
“Phew!” Eunji exclaimed, audibly relieved. “You know, Professor Tamaki, I really wasn’t expecting that! I guess it’s lucky for me that hypnosis is a great interest of mine, huh? Oh, and don’t worry. Your watch is fine, by the way. You’re just more suggestible than you probably thought.”
Professor Tamaki said nothing, thought nothing.
“So.” Professor Tamaki heard Eunji stand up and start pacing around her office. “What was this about, huh? Kinky professor has the hots for hypnotizing her students? Why?”
It didn’t even occur to Professor Tamaki not to answer. “I wanted to collect you.” Her voice sounded to her like it was coming from very far away, and there was no emotion in it at all.
“Collect me?” Eunji giggled. “What does that mean? Tell me about your collection.”
Professor Tamaki’s heart didn’t miss a beat as she revealed her deepest and most damning secret. “I’ve hypnotized a lot of students. Smart girls. Rich girls. Useful girls. I’m going to use them to get whatever I want.”
Eunji giggled louder. “Wow! I never thought I’d meet someone else like me.”
Professor Tamaki twitched slightly.
“Well, I guess I got my start a little earlier,” Eunji mused. “In high school. I had all my teachers wrapped around my little finger. Grades, days off, letters of recommendation - I could get whatever I wanted. Sex, too. How about you, professor? Sex too?”
Professor Tamaki nodded. It was easier than speaking.
“So… Miri? Your assistant? Did you do her? I’m guessing she wasn’t always such a bimbo.”
“No,” Professor Tamaki confirmed. “I made her that way.”
At that, Eunji whistled appreciatively. “I guess I should be glad I got you before you got me, huh? Hmm… well, I don’t know about world domination, or whatever you had planned, but a little network of my own does sound nice.”
The implications of that managed to penetrate Professor Tamaki’s deep mental fog. She stirred, eyelids fighting to open. “N-no… mine…”
“Hey, shush, shush,” Eunji chided. “Remember the watch’s rhythm, professor. Slowing, always slowing. Can you hear it?”
Professor Tamaki’s thoughts all melted away as the second hand ticked once more, and her body went still.
“Much more suggestible than you probably thought,” Eunji commented. And then, with a self-possession that Professor Tamaki would never have thought possible from the quiet, shy, nerdy girl who always sat in the front row of her class: “Anyway, no. It’s going to be mine now. I promised myself not to cut too many corners in college but it sounds way too useful to pass up on.”
The declaration would have been chilling, if Professor Tamaki hadn’t been too entranced to think about it properly.
“And as for you?” Eunji mused. “Well, I think some turnabout is fair play, if that’s not too hypocritical coming from me. You did such a lovely job with Miri. I think I’ll give you the same kind of treatment.”
With her head full of the sound of a ticking pocket watch, forever spiraling down slower and slower, resistance had become far more than Professor Tamaki was capable of.
“What was it you said? No time like the present, right?” Eunji sat down again, right next to Professor Tamaki. “So, professor. Don’t you think that it’s been getting harder and harder for you to think lately?”
Professor Tamaki frowned slightly. “I...”
“Yes,” Eunji told her firmly. “You have.”
Professor Tamaki shivered. She had?
“It keeps happening,” Eunji continued, and Professor Tamaki’s mind was an open, empty vessel for her to fill. “You keep slipping a little, here and there. Your head is always so fuzzy. You keep losing your train of thought. It keeps happening, and it’s going to keep happening.”
The hypnotized professor could do nothing but passively absorb these new truths.
“You might even say you’re becoming kind of an airhead.” Deep beneath the surface of Professor Tamaki’s mind, her subconsciousness was hard at word, drawing on all the connotations and associations of Eunji’s words as it made them a reality. “Think about how smart you are right now. If you could picture that level of intelligence on a dial, it would be a ten. As high as it goes. But we’re going to turn that number down now, professor. Down to… hmm… let’s say an eight, for now.”
Professor Tamaki could picture it vividly. A big, circular dial that represented her mind, and the needle on it gradually sinking from ten to eight, taking her intelligence with it.
“Not that you’ll really notice very much,” Eunji added. “And you certainly won’t worry about it. All you’ve really noticed is that running your little, hypnotized network is getting harder and harder. It’s easy to forget things. It’s stressful to make sure everyone is being managed properly. But that’s where I come in. That’s why you called me here, in fact. To help you.”
The professor nodded as memories warped and formed around this new idea. A vague sense of relief was starting to wash over her. Yes, it had been getting so stressful. But now that Eunji was here, it would all be easier.
“You decided I’d make the perfect protégé,” Eunji explained. “So you told me everything. You asked me to help you take care of things. And why? Two reasons, professor. Firstly, because I’m so very smart. Much smarter than you.”
Professor Tamaki’s lips parted slightly, as a sudden sense of admiration and relief washed over her. It really was lucky that she had such a clever student.
“My ideas are always so wonderful. I always seem to know what to do. Whenever you listen to me, everything works out great. You love listening to me. You love following my ideas and my suggestions. You trust me implicitly.”
Those words all echoed and compounded in Professor Tamaki’s head, becoming a rhythmic, insistent mantra. She started to nod, at first slowly, then eagerly. That was right, she loved listening to Eunji. Of course she did. Eunji said so.
“And secondly,” Eunji continued, a smile audible in her voice, “because you have a crush on me.”
At that, Professor Tamaki started to sway from side to side, a dizzying array of emotions all springing to life within her. A crush? Her? And on a student, no less? It was unthinkable, and yet with each passing moment, it became more and more real.
“Is all that understood?”
“Yes.” The answer to the question forced itself from Professor Tamaki’s lips.
“Good.” Eunji giggled. “Time to wake up, Professor Tamaki.”
She snapped her fingers.
Professor Tamaki blinked, and was momentarily dazzled as light returned to her eyes. Had she fallen asleep? What was going on?
“Professor?” Eunji asked, eyes wide and guileless. “Are you alright?”
“I’m… y-yes, of course.” Professor Tamaki blushed faintly and reached up to make sure her hair was neatly in place, suddenly self-conscious in front of her pretty student. But what had they been talking about? There was a worrying gap in her memories. “Um, what was I…”
“You had just finished telling me about your network,” Eunji prompted.
“Oh! That’s right.” Professor Tamaki smiled, shaking her head ruefully. She’d forgotten, and right in the middle of a conversation! That was just like her, these days. “And I was, um…”
Suddenly, she realized that she was holding up her pocket watch, almost as if she’d been hypnotizing someone. Professor Tamaki frowned, confused.
“And you were showing me your watch!” Eunji supplied helpfully.
“Right! Of course.” Professor Tamaki remembered now. She swiftly tucked her pocket watch back into her clothing. After a little helpful prompting from her favorite student, it was all falling back into place. “So, are you willing to help me?”
Something about asking that made Professor Tamaki twitch, as if she was instinctively rejecting the notion that she’d need help from someone else. But she pushed the feeling aside.
“I’d love to, Professor Tamaki!” Eunji answered at once.
“That’s wonderful.” Professor Tamaki smiled, relieved. Eunji would be such a perfect assistant.
Eunji smiled too. Her smile was eager, but it kept growing wider, until she was showing teeth. It took on a certain wolfish, cunning quality. It occurred to Professor Tamaki that Eunji’s expression was truly perfect for a hypnotist.
“From now on,” her faithful student assured her. “You can leave everything to me.”