Lily needed to process it all. This was just a sudden influx of new information and events that transpired. Lily had to try her best to think through the thick haze of Silwey ’s sedatives pollen as the idea of being conquered sank in. She was a Terran, This corner of some odd 200 systems in the Milky Way galaxy was all but theirs and they were the most dominant species in it. Yet now… she was expected to accept her new conquerors.
“Everything okay, darling?” Silwey asked, looking slightly concerned seeing that disconnected expression.
“Why do it?” Lily asked.
“Why do what you do? You gain nothing from it.” Lily slowly spoke, unable to come up with a good explanation.
“Oh sweetie, I told you already. We’re the universe’s guardians to maintain peace and safety of all life is our goal. The only thing we get out of it are lovely pets. That is our satisfaction.” Silwey spoke.
Lily looked sceptical. It’s gonna take a lot of convincing for people to come around to the idea of being owned. Not to mention to be under another race in the galaxy. While Lily could be swayed with words many diehard Terrans wouldn’t exactly see this as a good turn of events. “It’s gonna take a lot to convince people to come around to such an idea. A-and I don’t think it’s even something for me…”
“You think domestication isn’t something you’d be interested in if you had a choice?” Silwey said.
Lily’s head turned to face the Affini. “IF I had a choice? What do you mean?”
A wry smile curled up on Silwey’s face. “Normally. You would. However, you were armed and not to mention harmed an Affini. Without a doubt that would mean we’d send you straight to domestication.” She spoke, being careful not to say too much.
Lily’s lips were trying to form words that failed to even reach her vocal cords. “B-but...” She voiced out trying to say something, fearing for her well being and what it is they would do to her.
“Buuuut~ Due to you showing non aggressive behaviour in the present moment and your self defence justified while still under conquest. There is still some... leeway.” Silwey chimed, leaning her head in now close to Lily. “Not to mention that luck of yours. The Affini you harmed is willing to wave the transgression IF you choose to cooperate with the Compact.”
Lily looked on as Silwey explained her situation. On a scale of one to ten how royally fucked was she? “I…” She made an attempt to speak out but Silwey was already ahead of her.
“If you don’t. I’m sure there’s someone out there more than happy to take you in as their pet~.”
Lily looked away. No amount of chime nor rhyme of that melodic voice would be able to calm her nerves now as she was presented with her two choices. “T-Truth be told… I-” She began to breathe faster, that nervous twitch coming back to get. “I don’t remember what I did… it’s all just a blur right now I-”
“Shhhh shhhh it’s okay~. You’ll be safe regardless. All will be forgiven. It was a valiant effort in attempting to protect your kind.” Silwey’s vine slowly came up to brush over Lily’s cheek, wiping away what little residue there was from Lily’s crying.
“S-s-stop it! Stop! Nnhh! F-fine! Fine, I'll help! I agree to help!” Lily cried out, backing up into a corner as she felt how that dangerously soothing touch brushed up against her cheek.
Silwey simply observed the adorable reactions she was getting out of her captive and chuckled. “I shall make the necessary arrangements then~.” She chimed.
The Affini stood up and slowly walked towards the door. Lily however was desperately trying to hide those burning cheeks and wipe away the tears while trying to determine what by stars just happened. Her eyes went wide just as the door slid open.
“W-wait! I-I need to go right now tho!” Lily said, suddenly remembering something. “I-I have a cat at home… she’s probably hungry by now… I need to go.”
Silwey simply gave off a warm and kind smile. “I’ll see what I can do. I’ll be back soon, little one~.” she said giggling to herself.
Lily hit the bed again. The moment of solitude granted her a chance to release everything that built up. Deep sharp gasps for air as panic sank in. She felt as if she was drowning yet there was no water in her lungs. Her deep seeded emotions poured out as her mind tried to separate reality from her own fiction. ‘This was crazy. This was mad. This was abysmal!!! What was she doing?! Laying in a bed on an Affini ship! Being told by a beautiful woman she might turn into a pet for someone. Did they really fail? Was Brypso 3 37 A5 really that easy to besiege? … Wait…’ Lily needed to back up for a second. What did her thoughts just glance over? Her eyes stared profoundly into the ceiling of the room she was in and as the realization came, her cheeks burned up red like never before.
‘No, no, no, NO!!! This can’t be happening! Did she really think of an Affini as beautiful?! NO! She would not have this. It wasn’t the time, place, nor race even to think about!’
“Snap out of it.” She told herself out loud. “This is the drugs talking NOT you!” Lily tried her best to convince herself of this. This lapse in memory kept spinning around in Lily’s head. It was simply not true how could it? None of it made sense. How could she be attracted to those bright and beautiful rose gold eyes?
Her body squirmed again as she tried to shake off those thoughts.
Lily’s internal monologue came to a grinding halt as someone cleared their throat, or at least produced the sound, in her immediate vicinity.
She jumped. And she’d swore it felt like she jumped two feet on her bed just by the surprise alone. “I wasn’t doing anything!” She protested before anything could be said further.
Standing beside the bed with an obvious and rather large grin was Silwey , who seemed rather amused by her actions. “I’ve talked to the high command. You’re free to go but technically as you are still our captive a guard is to accompany you.” Of course Silwey would never tell Lily of how many vines she pulled and how the rest of her comrades only pushed her into doing this to spend time with the Terran. ‘Word got round quickly…’ She thought to herself mentally rolling her eyes at nurse Bilvara. “Shall we get going, child?”
Lily’s cheeks burned brighter than Brypso 3 37 A. How was it she was so useless around this plant? Not to mention even now she was to be accompanied by her as well?! “I- y-yeah… I-. We can…” She finally found her set of words that made sense before getting up.
The walk back home was something else… With every radio, news outlet and TV broadcast announcing Brypso 3 37 A5 defeat, civil unrest began to run rampant. People were on the streets, naturally outraged at this news and the Affini as well as law enforcement officers were on their feet trying to calm down the masses. However what Lily saw was the aftermath of the whole encounter. Litter on the streets, odd cars smouldering from being set ablaze, random pedestrians observing the damage done to their city by the people themselves. And who was cleaning it all up? Affini?! Lily was shocked and dumbfounded. This strange efficiency of how things were being cleared up and the streets cleaned. By the stars! Even potholes were being repaired. She supposed it was less awkward now to be followed by one. Or rather. To be doted over and asked a to z questions about what certain things were and why Terrans did them that way.
Lily was surprised at just how inquisitive Silwey Anul was. Were all Affini this curious about life on other planets? She was definitely getting strange glances from others. The people of this town definitely had a mirage of expressions to give her as some wore angry looks of believing she was a traitor while others only threw glancing stares of curiosity. This was a stark contrast compared to the Affini however as each one they passed greeted them with a smile on their face and a polite greeting as they passed.
“Are all Affini this kind or is this just a show of discipline?” Lily asked, looking up at Silwey. Her bright blue eyes met the gentle rose luminescence the tall being possessed. And possessed was the right word to use here. It was very hard for Lily to tear her gaze away from those pretty glowing eyes. The sparkly insets of black dots that made the nebula inside just that more enchanting to watch.
“As per procedures and whatever happens on planets we take care of the damage that was dealt. We’ve become quite good at it if our track record is anything to go by” Silwey said as she smiled with pride. Of course. One of her guilty pleasures was to observe xenos in awe at how efficient the Affini were. “You’re staring sweetie.”
Lily, thought reluctantly, tore her eyes away from the large woman accompanying her. Her cheeks turned bright with embarrassment and shame of being so star-struck over this Affini. “S-Sorry!” She squeaked out and quickly skedaddled ahead to keep Silwey in her blind spot.
Finally! They were at Lily’s apartment. She had to stop for a moment and just stare. The building didn’t seem like anything much but Lily’s thought process began lapsing again. It was home. She thought she’d never see it again after today. The thin footprint it has crammed between two other skyscrapers. How the beige colour made the four story building look just a little more bland than it was. The old facade cracked and chipped away telling of the building’s apparent age. Intricate designs of its time all but crumbling apart displaying the gravel concrete underneath it. Lily just stood there with a soft smile, happy she was back home.
“Your home?” The Affini asked with a somewhat concerned look debating on whether or not this building was even following one xeno standard of living clause of the Affini Compact.
“Home.” Lily replied with a smile walking right on in. “It’s a bit old but it's the best I can do while I’m still in college.” she added slowly walking up the old wooden spiral staircase.
“Mr. Reynolds is on the first floor, and Mrs. Webster is on the second. Both of them are seniors in life. I live on the third floor since it's the cheapest apartment to rent.”
“Such… tiny accommodation…” Silwey spoke softly as the door didn’t fit her rather large size. The woman opted to instead simply flow right in reshaping and readjusting herself to fit herself in. “I was under the impression you owned this whole building for yourself.” The Affini added as again she began to use her velvety vines to latch on to the stairwell and slowly ascend through the gap.
“Uhh… I wouldn’t be able to afford it. The apartment is expensive as it is on it’s own.” Lily replied back. As she passed the second floor. “Good afternoon Mrs. Webster!” She chimed, giving a soft knock on the door before passing it.
“I take it your relations are adequate with your neighbours?” Silwey kept on with her curious questionnaire while her form finally settled on the third floor awaiting for Lily to enter.
The poor Terran was starting to look at Silwey with an unamused expression. “You’re starting to sound like my mom.” She rolled her eyes, twisting the lock to her door and kicking it open to her apartment. “Bella?” She called out already looking around.
The Affini was rather surprised by the lack of space in Lily's apartment. Rather. She was surprised by the amount of things littering the place. The small one bedroom apartment had barely enough space to resemble a dog house to her. The living room and kitchen were crammed into the same room while two doors facing the street announced the existence of a bathroom and bedroom. There was a random assortment of things Silwey had no idea what to call. Scattered about the room and unorganized. Clothes littered up the place. Over the two chairs and one tiny sofa, on the floor, the windowsills, the kitchen table, dishes both clean and dirty were clogging up the sink while a strange amount of crumpled up tissue paper decorated every surface of Lily’s apartment. The Affini could barely make out the shape of a carpet underneath it all as she tried her best to make her way in while needing to physically bend to fit the accommodation.
“You live in… this?” Silwey asked, taken aback at the sight of this place.
Lily froze up realizing her mistake of inviting literally anyone over to her place. She wasn’t the neatest of people, displayed clearly by the mess she had presented Silwey with. “I-I u-umm, umm… I-It’s home?” She tried to save face by playing it off as an innocent Terran just getting by.
“I imagine your functionality at your job resembles this place as well?” The tall woman simply stated, wondering if Lily was even taking care of herself properly.
The poor Terran paused. Ouch… It seemed like everyone had an agenda towards her today… that brief pause most likely told Silwey all she needed to know before Lily quickly dashed onwards looking for the missing feline.
“Hmm… I can’t seem to find her anywhere…” Lily said as she looked through an open window to the emergency stairwell that was on the side. “She must be at Mrs. Webster’s apartment.” The girl claimed as she danced around Silwey to make her way back out of her apartment and down the stairwell to knock on the old woman’s door.
“Mrs. Webster? Is my cat with you by any chance? I wanted to check up on her, didn’t know if she was with you or not.” Lily called out through the door waiting for a response. Silwey wasn’t very far behind poking her curious head out from Lily’s apartment to observe life in this most unusual building.
“Mrs Webster?” Lily called out again now a little concerned. “That’s… strange she’s not the one to leave her home for anything. She would have definitely told me if she had an appointment.” Lily muttered to herself as she kept on knocking.
“Perhaps the Terran is asleep?” Silwey chimed in as she now flowed her vines down to the second floor to accompany Lily.
“... Perhaps it’s not the best for her to see you right now, but… I don’t know… it’s about 5 p.m. she’d be up for her favourite-” Lily paused as she heard noise coming from the apartment. Meowing? It was Bella. But why was she so loud? “... Mrs. Webster?!?” Lily now more frantically knocked on the door realizing what might have happened. Why was she so stupid?! There was a whole ass invasion. This planet was absolutely stomped on in a show of power. “Mrs. Webster!?!?” She shouted again now more frantically kicking the door.
“Stars damn it, William Pine!! What the hell are you making all that noise for?!” A sudden voice shouted from below. It was Mr. Reynolds from the first floor waving his cane around, completely pissed off. The audacity for someone to raise their voice in this building. He surely wouldn’t have it.
Lily didn’t bat an eye at his cursing; she didn’t much as give care for the old man in the moment as her full attention was now on the door. “Mrs. Webster!? Answer me please!!” She frantically called out as she began to bang on the door with more force.
“Pines! There better be a good fucking reason for waking me up during my nap. And what the hell is up with all these vines?!” The old man shouted up clearly not up to speed on what had happened just this morning.
Silwey was starting to get irritated. The frantic violence Lily was displaying irked her so, while the man below them only contributed to her ever thinner patience to play nice. With a swift movement one of her vines curled up to meet the old man’s face before a pinkish coloured flower opened up it’s petals and blew a dusty cloud his way. His yelling quickly subsided and the Affini now turned her attention to the panicked Lily wishing to do the same for her.
“Stand aside!” Lily said moving some of the vines out of the way before she mustered up all her strength and slammed her foot into the mechanical lock.
The door splintered and flew open allowing Lily to bolt inside before the plant woman could even get her chance at intoxicating her in the sedative fumes as well.
“Mrs. Webster!?” Lily called out again, twisting her head around the small apartment of her neighbour. Her attention quickly focused up as she heard more meowing coming from another room. “Bella?” The girl quickly dashed after the sound.
Silwey was taken aback. The panicked sound Lily made felt… like something. She couldn’t put a vine on it exactly but it felt saddening. She slowly followed along making slow progress as it proved to be a challenge to squeeze through such a small living space without completely losing that Terran like shape. When she finally caught up however, the scene saddened her even more. She was crying. This wonderful little Terran was shedding even more tears now and another Terran was laying on the floor, motionless.
“No. No! NO! You can’t! You just can’t!!!” She heard Lily shout in protest as she did her best to check the old woman’s vital signs.
Oh… Dirt. Silwey came a little closer to the two before she produced a little device from somewhere among the mass of all her vines. “<I’m going to need medical support for Terrans at my location please.>” She simply said. Before gently placing a vine on Lily. “Sweetie?”
The poor thing couldn’t see two feet in front of her. The sadness in those eyes Silwey would never forget. A deep rooted sadness holding that poor heart hostage. She thought she’d seen it all in her life yet at this moment, all that felt like irrelevant noise. Her only concern being this child’s well being. It was almost on cue as a ship came rushing in and landing in the street below. Affini doctors were already coming out and Silwey needed to do her job.
Vines slowly wrapped around the unconscious woman and some, as reluctant as the girl was about it, around Lily keeping her at bay. Silwey slowly moved the woman through the open window where new vines were already waiting to collect Mrs. Webster. She saw how Lily turned her head away. She supposed the girl couldn’t watch as her dearest neighbour was taken away in such a poor state.
“She’s going to be alright sweetie. We have the best doctors in the known universe.” She said with a calming chime trying to assure Lily of those words. It most definitely made the girl only wallow in sadness more. Silwey didn’t know what had changed in her, time spent here in this galaxy felt like any other yet now… Words could not describe how much she wished to make this one Terran happy. Her vines gently wrapped themselves around Lily, making sure to be gentle, slow but deliberate in what she wished to do.
Tucking Lily close, the Affini began to gently humm. “Shhh~ Hush little one. It’s okay. Things are going to be alright.”
Every little sob only spurred Silwey’s vines to tighten just a little bit more. Keeping the Terran safe and sheltered away from the outside world. “Sometimes it’s okay to cry for those we care about.” She quietly muttered to herself. “Sometimes it’s okay…”
It took some time but eventually Lily’s storm of emotions calmed down. She was still desperately trying to wipe away the tears and worry and with Silwey’s presence by her side, it felt like a valve slowly trickling out bad thoughts.
“I take it you care deeply about that Terran, what was it, Mrs. Webber?” Silwey finally asked, still slightly charmed by the small apartment.
“Mrs. Webster, Y-yeah… S-she’s like a grandmother to me…” Lily replied sniffing away some more before looking at the Affini. How those light green vines slowly swayed around and grabbed Lily’s attention. The pretty autumn and pinkish leaves rustled as the woman brushed them over. The bits of bark only highlighted her features more.
Lily needed to look away. She was starting to have intrusive thoughts, ones that she couldn’t explain. The question of why she was paying so much attention to the Affini woman would only nag at her more had she not said something to stop the racing train of thought. “T-thank you… by the way. I don’t really know how to repay you for everything you’ve done.”
The Affini smiled as a tentacle brushed over Lily’s cheek, inciting another flurry of sparks to run around her body. “Nothing that we haven’t discussed already. Assistance as we get this planet back on it’s right track.”
“Right… umm well I still have my job… and when I’m not on break I have college to attend to.” Lily spoke, doing her best to brush off the vine that was trying to give her affection.
“And that’s what I want you to do sweetie. We’re here to assess standards of living for Terrans and other xenos alike. Things may change, they may not. However, know that the Affini Compact does all this with good intentions.” Silwey replied back, slightly disappointed that Lily was brushing away her vine.
“Hah… Best of luck with that.” Lily gave a short but saddened giggle wondering about every little thing that would need fixing. She sure had her doubts.