The soft lighting up against the vaulted ceiling made the dungeon look cosy. Quiet music could be heard whenever the whips and floggers paused or were put down. Someone in the room moaned and gasped.
Octavia and Artemis were chatting at the bar, wearing similar floral dresses, when a small woman in a blue onesie with stars and rainbows on it walked up to them. "Excuse me, Octavia. Are you still available for questions about hypnosis?"
Octavia smiled. "Hello Indigo. Feel free to ask. Between Artemis and myself, we can probably answer your question." And Artemis nodded in agreement.
Indigo let out a sigh. "I've been doing hypnosis with my partner and they are a beginner at this, but so am I. I feel like it's just as much my fault as theirs when it doesn't work, you know? Maybe I'm doing it wrong, maybe I'm worrying too much but hypnotic inductions are so complicated and daunting."
"What's happening that makes you feel like it doesn't work?" Octavia asked, leaning towards Indigo to listen intently.
She shrugged in the onesie, making the stars sparkle in the overhead lighting. "I don't flop. I don't feel hypnotised. I feel like I may be complying with the commands because I want to please them, not because it's automatically caused by the hypnosis."
"This is actually very common among beginners." Artemis said with an understanding nod. "Most of us expect hypnosis to feel magical, like we've seen in the media. But the real thing is so much more subtle and that causes us to doubt ourselves. I have often worried that I was doing it wrong."
"You have?" Indigo's eyes were large and eager to hear more.
"Let me ask you something, Indigo." Octavia tilted her head and reached out to her. "Would you give me a concrete example of something you've done with your hypnotist?"
She nodded and took Octavia's hand. "They hypnotised me and told me that my hands would be stuck to the wall like they were glued there."
"And how did that feel to you?"
Indigo shrugged. "I guess my hands felt kinda sticky against the wall, but that could just be sweaty hands, you know?"
Octavia smiled. "Did you at any point during that scene manage to unstick your hands from the wall?"
"I kinda felt some resistance when I tried to move them," Indigo replied. "But I also felt like I was doing it for my partner, you know? Like I could have moved my hands if I wanted to."
"But you didn't." Octavia raised a finger at her. "You obediently did what your Dominant partner told you to do. Factually, as far as anyone could tell, your hands were stuck to the wall, correct?"
Indigo thought about it for a moment, running her hand through her short, dark hair. "Correct." And then she smiled bashfully. "Obedient is such a good word."
"It really is…" Artemis gave Octavia a delighted smile.
Octavia nodded and said: "So, for all intents and purposes, your hands were stuck and the hypnotic suggestion worked. You did a great job being hypnotised, and maybe what you're feeling is just some insecurity. Which is valid, you're new to this. Maybe you just need your hypnotist to reassure you more that you're doing it right?"
"Maybe?" She seemed to be thinking it over. "I just often feel like inductions go so fast with so many suggestions, I can't understand and obey all of it."
"If you like, I could give an easy demonstration and show you how well you're doing." Octavia made an open-handed, inviting gesture.
Indigo giggled, hiding behind her hand. "That would be lovely!"
The three women moved from the bar to a couch, where some other people curiously watched them, but they could at least sit down together. Indigo sat in the middle and gave Octavia a shy but expectant look, while Artemis got a little crochet project out of her pocket and started to work on it. Octavia glanced at the small audience over on the other seats for a moment before she focused all of her attention on Indigo.
"So, this is an induction I learned from a hypnotist from Tennessee." She smiled. "I'm certain you can follow along easily because the steps are very simple."
"Ok." Indigo nodded as she looked at Octavia, her eyes full of anticipation.
"Make yourself comfortable," Octavia said, her voice already going soft and smooth. "Don't strain your neck, you don't need to be looking at me. Just sit with me and listen and obey. Nice and easy."
With another nod, she turned to sit on the couch as if she was watching tv with Octavia, who leaned in for an almost-snuggle.
"Now we can focus on the induction together. It consists of four easy steps, and you can just follow along as I name them for you here. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Let that breath out, long and nice and easy. And open your eyes again. That's all there is to it."
Indigo blinked for a moment. Taking a deep breath and letting it out like that was calming, and Octavia's voice was soothing. She was comfortable as she sat there and listened, staring into the space in front of them.
"I realise that was hardly a trance at all," Octavia continued. "But this is a process, just like your scenes with your partner are a process in learning to do hypnosis. And just like what we're doing here together, the first few times the effects may not be impressive, but as you keep practicing, doing it over and over again, it gets easier and deeper, and you get better at it. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Blow that breath out, nice and easy. And open your eyes again."
Sagging against Octavia on the couch, Indigo closed her eyes and her mouth fell open as she let out a deep sigh. When she was told to open her eyes again, she blinked heavily and her eyes looked dull.
"Still not feeling deeply hypnotised, I'm sure." Octavia said softly. "Just a little more relaxed than before, a little more open. Feeling reassured because all of the steps are easy to follow and you're good and obedient. This is a process. You are learning it and getting a little better at it every time. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Blow that breath out, nice and easy. And open your eyes again."
Another deep sigh and Indigo's head drooped forward. When she opened her eyes again, her eyelids fluttered and struggled and her head swayed on her neck.
Octavia smiled. "And I wonder what you're noticing in this moment as we are following the steps that guide you deeper into trance. I wonder how you're feeling as you notice that every time we do it again, it goes a little easier and you go a little deeper. Maybe you are starting to notice little tells, little signs that tell you that you are in fact going into trance. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Blow that breath out, nice and easy. And open your eyes again."
Indigo seemed to sink into the cushions of the couch this time, hear head drooping forward even further, and very slowly and haltingly lifting up again when she was told to open her eyes. Her look was vacant and a little cross-eyed and there was a little moan somewhere in her breath.
"Take a moment to bask in this feeling," Octavia said with a happy nod. "Notice how your body feels as you follow along and obey. Notice how quiet your mind is now that you are in trance. It's easy to let go of your worries about doing it right. Just blow them out with your breath. Inhale deeply. Close your eyes. Blow that breath out, nice and easy, sinking even deeper."
Indigo slumped against Octavia on the couch like a rag doll. She looked so quiet and peaceful now.
"And it's ok if you don't want to open your eyes anymore. It's ok for us to just sit here together. I'm so proud of you for obediently following along. You did all the steps right and here you are, comfortable and hypnotised. I want you to remember this moment whenever you need a little boost. You are learning hypnosis. You are getting better at it every time you do it. You can follow suggestions easily and let your partner guide you into trance. Take a deep breath and as you breathe out, just sit with these good feelings for a moment."
A dreamy smile formed on Indigo's lips and she let out another soft moan.
"Now, the next thing we're going to do is just as easy. Take another deep breath in as as you do so, you can start to notice they way you're sitting here on the couch. You start to take in the sounds around us here in the dungeon, and the smells. That deep breath is giving you the energy to sit up straighter and notice the light on the other side of your eyelids. Your thoughts are waking up and when you decide to open your eyes, you are feeling so much more awake again. Refreshed and alert and happy. There you go."
Blinking heavily, Indigo sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Huh… Wow…" She muttered in a soft, breathy voice. "That was… Thank you, Octavia. That was wonderful."
"You're welcome." She smiled at Indigo, grabbing her hand as she got up from the couch. "Take it easy for a little while. Maybe go have a drink or take a break. Talk to your partner about this. Give yourself some time to process this little scene before you do anything else, ok?"
Indigo nodded. "Yes, I'm off to find my partner. Thank you." And she walked off into the dungeon.
Artemis scooted closer on the couch and put her little crochet project back into her pocket. "That was lovely, My Lady."
Octavia smiled contently. "I hope they have lots of hypnotic fun together."
Among the people sitting close by, watching Octavia hypnotise Indigo, was a man wearing skinny jeans and a brightly coloured tie-dye top. Seeing Indigo leave, he rose from his seat and approached the couch with a smile. "I'd like to talk to you, Octavia. That was lovely to watch." He played with the beaded necklace he was wearing as he started to ramble. "You know I've been to a hypnosis workshop once. The hypnotist said that I would be able to hypnotise someone at the end of the class. I guess I felt performance anxiety. I want to learn more. I want to connect with people, with women, and explore what else is possible, you know? Women usually find me very attractive, and I would like connect with you. Talk about hypnosis and sexuality and kink, you know?"
Octavia frowned at him. "No thanks, I don't know you."
"But I want to get to know you." He immediately replied.
Artemis got up from the couch and crossed her arms with a disapproving look. She was more than a few inches taller than he was, and it made him back up a step.
"You didn't even introduce yourself." Artemis said. "Octavia gives workshops in hypnosis. That doesn't mean she wants to get to know you and hear about how attractive you think you are, and talk about sexuality with you. If you can keep a proper distance, she might teach you something about hypnosis, but not if you come on to her like she's the stripper you just saw dancing in the cage, and now you're trying to get with her for free."
He took another step back. "Wow, that was not what I meant at all. I was just being open, trying to connect with another human being, you know?"
"You were being far too familiar." Artemis looked at Octavia for a moment. "I hope I'm not overstepping?"
Octavia massaged her forehead and temples. "Thank you, it's all good. I don't have the energy to deal with this right now. And you're saying all the right things."
The man walked away, looking a little confused, and Artemis sat back down. "I get a little protective sometimes, My Lady."
Octavia nodded and snuggled up against Artemis on the couch. "Thank you, my dear."