It had been a few weeks since Magnolia and Lily had been on an actual date. Magnolia was extremely busy, preparing for some huge conference her business was having to celebrate a valuable merger they'd finalized. Lily's mind shut down the moment she tried explaining the fine details, not being able to comprehend things so complex. They always were immediately mocked and laughed at for being so stupid. That left them no doubt as to why their Mistress kept bringing it up to them.
So, left to their own devices, Lily was preparing for the regional tournament. They spent their evenings practicing their character, along with some secondary characters Rye had recommended for their playstyle. The motions and actions had started to become second nature to them. Their brain might not learn things easily, but their body did, and they'd gotten consistent at executing inputs that only left you a fraction of a second of leeway. They consistently beat the veterans at the cafe, and were close to overtaking Rye as top seed, although they still thought he was the better player. New players would ask them for tips, which was a very strange experience. Why would someone ask them to teach anyone anything? But they did, and Lily did their best to oblige. They'd even worked up the confidence to ask the organizers to change their name on the tournament rankings from Delta to Lily, and people had accepted that with a lot less hassle than they'd feared. Their art was improving a lot, too. When they weren't playing Pokken or working out, they spent their time practicing drawing with watercolors. Their more recent pieces haphazardly covered the walls of the apartment, and Magnolia had even hung up a few of their pieces in her office, much to Lily's embarrassment. It's to remind me that you obeyed me when I told you what to do with your life, she'd explained, which, mind you, is a very nice feeling.
Thankfully, Magnolia's conference was only for a weekend, and she had planned a date for Monday evening. She had booked tickets for a screening of some fancy movie, and planned to spend a nice walk in the nearby park afterwards 'like a normal romantic couple.' Lily blushed at the idea of the arrangement being romantic... not that they could describe it in any other way to most people.
The taxi came over around 6:15, which was a bit later than they would have liked. The movie was at 6:40, and they didn't know how far the theatre was from their apartment. They spent the ride fidgeting, nervous energy coursing through them at the idea that they would get there too late - rush hour was an absolute nightmare around there. And they didn't want to get punished again for someone else's insolence... not punished punished, at least. They had sent Magnolia a text to let her know they were on the road, but they hadn't gotten a response.
Lily got out of the fancy taxi outside the theater, wearing the elegant dress that reminded them of how well their Mistress understood them, to have picked out something that somehow didn't feel wrong on their body. Smiling at the thought, they glanced around as their taxi drove off, then frowned as Magnolia was nowhere in sight. Had they gotten the destination correct? This was the right movie theater, right? They stepped out of the street lights into the shadows of the theater building. Unwanted attention was the last thing they needed when they were stressed like this. It wasn't the time she had told them to be there by, so they couldn't panic yet.
They waited, and waited, past 6:30, the time she'd given. Certain, after checking their texts, that they were in the right place, they grew increasingly nervous. Magnolia was late for a meeting with them, for the first time ever. Why? If she wasn't there, would Lily be alone, taken again, dropped into-
Thankfully, before the panic could set in, a limousine pulled up beside them, and their Mistress stepped out, throwing her winter coat over her with a huff. She always did seem to feel the cold more than Lily did. They stepped back into the light, looking at her expectantly.
"People are useless," was all Magnolia said by way of explanation. "So, so useless."
She walked up to them, nodding approvingly at their attire. They were surprised as she pulled them into her chest, giving them a soft kiss on the forehead, a show of affection far too loving for someone like her.
"Did... did something happen at work?" Lily asked, though they were afraid of the answer.
"Yes," Magnolia sighed. "And now, I have to stay up even later to fix the mistakes of my subordinates. I swear, it's as if I'm their mom, and my whiny children are in their damned rebellious phrase."
Lily hid a smile at the idea of Magnolia as a parent. She had her hands full enough dealing with Lily, who could be an idiot sometimes. Why would she ever put herself through raising someone less competent?
"I'm sorry," Lily said, unsure what else to say.
She sighed. "Again, with your constant apologies," Magnolia groaned. "I'll have to break that habit out of you, too." She grabbed Lily's bicep as she said it, a threat - or a promise - of what she would do later. "It's not your fault, you poor, wonderful idiot. So just focus on making me feel better. Understood?"
Lily nodded. "R-right. Yes. I will, Mistress." They shook their head to reorient themself, and it took a surprising amount of will not to apologize for apologizing. A change of topic was in order. "So... what movie are we seeing?"
"It's a French movie titled La Limace. It means 'the slug.'"
Lily blinked, then looked at Magnolia with surprise. "You... you know French?"
"I studied it extensively. It does help when one is living in France for two years," she chuckled. Lily blinked again. Why the hell had they not known Magnolia had lived in France for two years? She noticed their surprise. "Don't look at me like that, plaything. I don't tell people about my past for a reason."
But did that have to include them? Lily now knew precisely three things about Magnolia's past. That she had been kicked out by her parents for being trans, that she had gone to a prestigious business school that she wouldn't even let them know the name of, and now that she had lived in France for two years. Although... Magnolia didn't know much about Lily's past either. But Lily couldn't blame her for that. They were in the same boat there.
They dragged their thoughts away from that uncomfortable topic, and the darkness that brought with it now, returning to the present moment as they followed their Mistress to the ticket counter. "Is... is the movie entirely in French?"
"Oh, yes," she smirked. "But there are subtitles, I believe. For at least some parts of the movie. Not that you're smart enough to understand it, anyways."
Lily flushed, embarrassed even though they knew she was right. "W-well, what's it about then?"
"It's an experimental film. It doesn't necessarily need to have a subject. It's more about the experience, rather than a plot or characters, you see. It was made by a film school graduate who went to college in this area." Lily glanced around the theater as she talked. Unusually for their outings, it wasn't what Lily would call fancy, although it certainly wasn't low-class. Instead, it seemed... well, experimental. Like some art student had decided to make the building as a side project. Lily found themself liking it. "Our tickets include a semi-private Q&A with the director. I'm sure you know better than to embarrass me by asking stupid questions."
Lily gulped, worried that they would anyways. Maybe it was just better to be silent and not pretend to understand the movie than to humiliate their Mistress. "I-I won't. I promise."
As predicted, Lily did not understand the movie. Or anything the director had to say about it. And the subtitles did not help. So they didn't even try to ask questions, letting their mind wander as the French movie played, and just nodding along when the director spoke to the small Q&A group. Magnolia, of course, asked many questions, which made sense to Lily, considering she actually knew what to ask about. They didn't even try to understand the questions she asked, or how they related to the movie. Magnolia being able to understand even something so strange wasn't particularly surprising to them, though.
They were also wondering what the hell the movie had to do with slugs. There weren't even any slugs in the movie, though they figured it had something to do with how slow and boring and utterly pretentious the movie was. The director's French, although Lily didn't know the language enough to say for sure, sounded about as broken as someone who had learned to speak it only months before. What was the point of that?
They walked out of the theater, Magnolia humming in satisfaction, Lily still struggling to understand what infernal demonic influence could convince someone to make a movie that weird and boring. Not once did she try to engage them about the movie, and didn't even try to explain what it was about. Lily could practically hear her silently laughing at them for their lack of comprehension, probably with a comment about their lack of brain cells.
And honestly. If someone was going to make a film like that, did they have to include such graphic, slowed down violence? Surely that had to be considered poor taste.
Though they had agreed beforehand to take a walk in the park, the questions had run long, and the sun had been setting even before they'd gone in. It was a new moon, so they were left in near total darkness. So, instead, they found a bench under a lamppost, sharing in each other's presence, relaxing into the feeling of safety the other provided - not that Lily could do much to protect Magnolia. Even if they were strong, they doubted they could ever actually fight.
So instead, they just talked. Slowly, teasingly, Lily got small details of her life, and they returned the favor with whatever they could remember. It felt like the kind of conversation old friends would have, not a pair as abnormal as a Mistress and her property. Although, it was normal to them, and wasn't that what mattered?
Despite not understanding the movie at all, the time hadn't been wasted. Magnolia had been excited, and that made them happy to see. They were with someone they cared about - and someone they were pretty sure cared about them, as well.
Lily had begun explaining some of the things Rye had been explaining to them, the tips that were more about psychology than the game itself. They weren't sure Magnolia actually cared about it anyway, but that was fine. At least she pretended to be listening, as she kept running a hand up and down Lily's thigh, under their dress, her fingers occasionally latching onto their panties, tugging them down the slightest bit to tease them. They could have sworn some of the other people in the park noticed, by the looks some of them gave the two of them. The embarrassment that brought only made them talk faster, their words speeding up right until Magnolia leaned in to whisper in their ear.
"My lovely, loyal Lily..."
In their trance, Lily heard a familiar voice. It wasn't Magnolia's, but it was certainly someone they knew. They were too deep to respond, though they could hear the confusion and panic in the voice. But what was there to be panicked about?
"What the fuck, dude? Wake! Up!"
The voice was more demanding, demanding answers from Lily, demanding their attention. They couldn't help but follow the command - they opened their eyes, the sudden waking-up leaving them a lot more disoriented than normal. A part of them worried Magnolia would punish them for waking up without her explicit permission, but another part of them argued that she would want them to be safe, and to find out who the voice was.
Lily's eyes finally focused on Rye, who was staring at them in a mix of shock and horror.
Lily took a few moments to reorient themself, the gravity of the situation sinking in. No one knew about their arrangement with Magnolia, other than Jenn. So far as Rye knew, they lived alone, and did commissions with their art to get by. It wasn't that wrong, after all, since they did the art for their Mistress. But on the best of days, he didn't understand their gender situation, just was kind of confused at it - how in the world would they get him to understand something like Oh yeah, this person bought me at an auction, but I love them, so it's all cool. And she was toying with her control over my mind in public, but it's fine?
"...Oh. Rye," Lily managed, yawning. "How... are you tonight?"
"How am I- what in the hell are you doing, Lily? How the fuck are you?"
Lily rubbed their eyes. Their muscles ached, and their heart's pounding just made it harder to think. They just stared helplessly at Rye, unsure what to say.
"Lily, who is this?" Magnolia, thankfully, saved them from having to reply. Her voice wasn't demanding, but Lily knew she wanted answers ASAP.
They gulped, then breathed out deeply. "This... is Rye. He runs the gaming thing I go to." Magnolia never listened to anything about video games, but she knew about Rye, and that he was their friend.
"So this is the mentor, then," she said, sizing him up.
"And you're... what? Lily's girlfriend who's, like, ten years older? Or is this like a sugar mommy arrangement? I did not know you were into that kind of shit."
Lily blinked. "How... how did you..."
"You were talking in your trance, saying things that were perhaps... too open," Magnolia confessed, looking almost ashamed. "As... was I."
Looking back and forth between Magnolia and Rye, Lily tried to think of a way to explain it that wouldn't sound weird. They couldn't. They'd never seen Rye panicked like this, and even in the bad light, they could tell Magnolia's face was quickly turning into a scowl, as Rye insulted Lily. That was her job.
"Like... I knew you were weird, because of your weird... they-them thing, but I... I didn't expect this," Rye spat. That stung. Showing that he only tolerated their gender was one thing. Showing that he didn't want to understand it was worse. But making them feel awful for something they had no idea how to even explain? "Is this some sort of weird BDSM thing? Are you into humiliation or something? Wow, I... didn't know you were... like that."
His words finally started to hit Lily, along with embarrassment at their friend seeing them like this. "Please don't be mad," they whispered.
"Listen, dude, I'm not mad. I'm just... wow."
"That's enough," Magnolia huffed. Suddenly in a crossfire, Lily's eyes nervously darted back and forth between their Mistress and their friend. "I won't have you talk about Lily like that. Surely you're an intelligent enough person to understand the concept of, ahem, 'letting people have their own lives?' Or am I mistaken for that?"
"Letting people have their own lives? Well, that's kind of not doable if you own theirs," Rye growled. "I mean, you called them your property. Even if that's just a weird sex thing, it still makes you a hypocrite."
"I can assure you," Magnolia gritted her teeth, "that no one is getting hurt in this arrangement. Don't try to cast judgement on things your small, feeble mind clearly cannot comprehend."
"Small, feeble mind? Big talk from someone who needs to control someone to keep them around."
"I do not. You need to listen..."
"P-please, d-don't fight..." Lily whispered, loud enough that both of them turned to look at them. At least it looked like Rye genuinely was concerned for them, then. But both of these people were important to them, and Lily didn't know how to end up with everyone happy.
"You could rip the bandaid off, and get him focusing on what he'd probably see as a bigger issue," a voice suggested.
Not helping, Kassandra, they sighed back.
Needless to say, they had a lot of explaining to do - to Magnolia, for being friends with someone who had the audacity to lash out at her, and to Rye, for... everything else.
"So. You just kind of... allow this to happen?" Rye asked. "Like, you're fine with this arrangement? Being someone's toy. Someone's property?"
"If they wanted to leave, they were fully capable of having done so long ago," Magnolia responded. "In fact, I've made sure they were comfortable at every step."
"Maybe you don't know them as well as you think you do. Or do you make a habit of being utterly unaware of everyone around you?"
"Rye, l-listen..." Lily tried to explain, but words failed them.
"Actually, I've heard enough," he growled. "I think I'll take my leave, Miss Whatever-Your-Name-Was, Not-That-I-Care."
"Good to hear," Magnolia scoffed. "I hope to never see you again."
Lily wanted to say something to stop Rye from leaving, to somehow get them both to get along, and not to hate each other - and not to hate Lily for liking the other. But he left too quickly for Lily to even begin to form an argument, not that they were a quick thinker in the first place. And now, Lily was left to deal with having to explain Rye's actions and words towards them and their Mistress.
"So," Magnolia raised an eyebrow, "that's who you spend time with while I'm away?"
"I... I had no idea he had that sort of thing in him," Lily said, trying to think of an excuse as they avoided Magnolia's glare. "I'm sorry he-"
"Don't even think about going tomorrow. In fact, forget they exist until I give you permission to go again, if I do."
That was that. They obeyed. Lily couldn't say they hadn't expected a response like that from her, though. Hopefully they'd be able to get their mind off of it. Hopefully she would forget soon.
"Yes, Mistress. I understand."
Lily somehow managed to convince Magnolia to let them go to the Pokken tournament the week afterwards. They weren't sure if they had the courage to face Rye again, though. But it wasn't like they had anything better to do. Magnolia was only coming over much later that night. They needed the practice, too - after all, they were still going to the national...
They put their stuff down on the table they usually sat at while waiting. Pierre greeted them happily, along with a few of the others. At least they didn't have to face Rye first thing.
Rye saw them, and then immediately looked away. That sent a spear through Lily's heart.
Lily played for a few rounds, but they weren't playing at their normal level, and Pierre told them they didn't have to push themself. Lily had no idea how to respond to that. Everyone there knew Rye, but they knew him as a friend, even if he was a bit oblivious. They didn't know the side of him Lily saw last night. And even if they did, they couldn't explain what it was about.
Were they crazy, though? Maybe Rye was right. After all, who the hell would fall in love with the person who had literally purchased them? Somehow, the oddity of that fact had never struck them until recently. It had just felt natural to love her.
Towards the end of the session, Rye finally caved in, approaching first. Lily tensed up, even as they felt relief that they didn't have to make the gesture.
"Hey, Lily. I... could I talk to you somewhere a bit more private?"
Well, at least he wasn't trying to let everyone know. They followed him, sitting down at an empty corner of the cafe.
"So... I'm sorry. About the other night. I said things that I shouldn't have, obviously. I was just so surprised, you know? I had no idea that something like that was your situation," he sighed.
"Oh, you sweet summer child, you'd think that's their situation? You don't know the half of it," Kassandra cackled.
Lily interrupted Kassandra and Rye. They didn't want to hear any more. "It's really fine. I... I don't think we should talk about it more."
Rye looked down and bit his lip. "Actually, I think we should."
"And we should give him the time of day... why?" Lily ignored her.
"So... just... explain it to me. Who is that woman? Is she... your girlfriend?"
"...kind of," Lily said, considering. "I... I guess that's the best term, yeah."
"Okay, so you're gay. That's cool. Whatever." Kassandra bristled, mouthing curses under her breath. "And she... owns you."
Rye sighed again, putting a hand on his forehead. "And the way you two talked about it, it sounded kind of literal. God... you do both know that that's illegal, right? A person can't just own another person. Am I the only one who knows that? Or cares?" Lily couldn't respond. He was right, and they knew it. "So how long has this been the case for you?"
"Um... about half a year, now."
Rye stared at them in shock. "Half a year. So... before you started coming here, even."
Rye put a hand to his head, as if trying to take this all in was giving him a headache. “Is she why you changed your name, too? It didn't fit with the gender stuff, so I thought it was weird, but...”
Lily bit their lip. He'd notice their gender when it suited him, apparently. But only to accuse them? Either way, their silence was answer enough.
"Why haven't you left? Like, I would have housed you while you ran away! I have a lawyer! Well, I mean, it's my family's lawyer, but you get what I mean!" Lily flinched.
"I-I... I didn't want to leave. I don't want to leave."
"Well why the fuck not?" Rye hissed, although he kept his voice down.
Lily had no good response to that either. "I... don't know."
"Okay. Cool. Anyway... there's another reason I wanted to pull you over to... to talk." Lily perked up. Unfortunately, it wasn't a change of topic. "I'm worried about alarming people if they find out about your... situation, at the regional. It's a pretty big event, since our region is the largest in the league... And I'm worried that she will do something to ruin things. That'd be awful PR for us, if they found out you were being fucking trafficked, and I knew, and we did nothing about it." He took a long pause.
"I also am concerned because Asher will be there," Lily's heart dropped. "And, suffice it to say, you didn't get along too well with him."
Kassandra raised an eyebrow. "Understatement."
Please, Kassandra, stop it.
"Fine," she grumbled.
"But... I can promise I'll keep quiet. And in exchange, I just want you to do something for me. You're my friend, right?"
Hope returned to them for a brief second, until Rye immediately crushed it. "I want to have sex with you."
"What?" Lily choked on the word.
"Okay, so I didn't say that as well as I would have liked," Rye said, holding up his hands. "But I've always been attracted to you. And besides, it's not like you haven't had sex with random people, right?"
"Are you... are you blackmailing me?!"
"No! Well... no. I'm just doing something really nice for you, by smoothing this all over. Don't I deserve something in exchange? This is the only way I can justify funding you going to the tournament. Otherwise, I'm pulling you out, and sending the fifth seed instead." He paused, suddenly painfully aware of how much his proposition shocked Lily. "So... what's your decision?"
Lily paused, but not to consider. They just... how were they even supposed to reply to that? There was nothing to consider. Not only were they not going to sleep with someone without permission, but they weren't going to sleep with someone who was blackmailing them. It wasn't an exchange.
"No," they snapped.
"Fine," he responded. "Then I can't promise to keep your secret."
"But... but you don't have to tell-"
"You should leave," he interrupted them. "The event's almost over, anyways. I'm packing up and going home. Think about it, will you?"
No response came to them. What could they possibly say? How could anyone even think what Rye had just said was okay? But... he threatened to tell someone. That wouldn't just hurt Lily. It would hurt Magnolia, too. Should they have just... no.
They had never known it was so easy to lose a community they loved.
At times like these, Lily really wished they had Kassandra to keep them company, instead of just making comments on a whim and fading away again.
Rye's words replayed over and over again in Lily's head. Implying their gender was a bad thing, kicking them out of the tournament because of what he'd seen of their situation... kicking them out because Asher was there, and somehow, Rye preferred him over Lily now. Hadn't he been teaching them because he wanted them to kick Asher's butt?
But perhaps the most hurtful thing was the revelation that Rye had always wanted to sleep with Lily. He'd never seen them as a friend. He'd never seen them as someone to tutor. He saw them as a sex object, some way to put in kindness and get out gratification in the bedroom. But... wasn't that what Lily was? Just a toy, meant for people to use and abuse however they want? That was how Magnolia saw them, at least at first, and anyone she made them sleep with. Right?
In fact, I've made sure they were comfortable at every step.
No. If she'd been telling the truth, she only did that because they wanted it. It seemed like such a strange notion, but... she had said it, not them. This... this wasn't for their sake. Just for his.
And somehow even that paled in comparison to the fact that Lily wasn't going to the regional anymore. They had been so happy to have found a community in their new life all that time ago, one where they were welcomed and appreciated... or at least, they thought they were. Rye was probably going to tell everyone some bullshit rumor that would get everyone to avoid Lily. Maybe one or two of them wouldn't believe him, but those few wouldn't want to risk being seen with a social outcast. Now, they pretty much only had Magnolia to latch on to. And maybe Jenn, though they hadn't seen much of them lately.
Maybe they should have slept with Rye. Maybe it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Were they just being ridiculous?
Lily lay down on the bed and clutched their pillow, holding it to their face and groaning. This was too much for their stupid, small brain. They hoped Magnolia would come over soon and get their mind off of Rye's 'deal.' They needed someone who would stand by them. Someone to help them.
The doorbell rang, and they mouthed the words 'thank fucking god,' words that were very unbecoming of the dopey, worthless idiot they were.
Learn to have some faith in yourself, Delta...
They mechanically got up, moving to the door to greet their Mistress. Magnolia just walked in silently, shrugging off her jacket, and barely acknowledging her plaything. Words hung on Lily's mouth as they tried to figure out a good way to greet her. She seemed... preoccupied.
"Um... hello, Mistress," Lily said hesitantly. "Are you... are you okay?"
"Bring me some tea, plaything," Magnolia responded, still not looking at them. Lily nodded and went to do as they were told. Nothing was said as they did. Magnolia didn't even seem to care that they hadn't responded with 'yes, Mistress.' Both of them weren't at their best.
Lily waited as the water boiled, then poured it into the steeper with some scoops of the calming tea Magnolia liked after work. They drained it into a floral ceramic cup, then handed it to her. She took it without so much as a thank you.
"So... um... is there anything I can do to help you feel better?"
Magnolia sighed. And then, bizarrely, she laughed. "Plaything, if it is in your power to cancel all my obligations so I can spend every second of my life fucking and pampering you, then by all means, please."
Lily blinked. That... didn't seem cruel. Or angry. Just... beaten, and tired. She must have had a long day too. "Well... um... you have a lot of money. If you have enough saved up, you could probably... live on that."
She laughed again, a bit softer. "I really did pick a good toy to buy," she smiled warmly, "one that can amuse me with their idiocy." Lily blushed, looking down to fiddle with their hands. "Yes, you're right. I could live quite lavishly on what I have. But I don't work that way. I don't know what I'd do with myself if I wasn't managing people, honestly. I'm too high-functioning for that, unlike you."
"I'm... I'm sorry, Mistress."
"No, no, it's alright." She was really tired, if she was saying that. "I have to take a business trip next month," she sighed. "Some bullshit conference that my secretary signed me up for without my permission. All it's going to be is a weekend of hearing people who don't know how to run a business tell us how to run a business. He didn't even sign me up to be a speaker. At least then, I could have made it useful, inspired some rising entrepreneurs. And besides that, it means I get to spend less time with you. I'm sure you can see why I'm annoyed."
"Ah... oh," Lily stammered. "Well, c-can you... cancel?"
"So close to the deadline? Oh, no. That would mean just losing money, far more than the time would be worth. Not to mention, I would lose credibility. I'd sooner breathe carbon fibre than waste either of those things."
"Ah... I see, Mistress." Breathing... what?
"No, I'm sure you don't," she laughed softly, her normal cruelty returning. Somehow, though, hearing the angry edge to her voice felt comforting. "Get into the bedroom. Be sure to be lying on your back when I'm there. No clothes."
"Yes, Mistress," they responded, thankful for the opportunity to distract themself. They immediately did as she asked, getting on the bed to wait patiently - or impatiently, they supposed.
And now that they were alone again, they remembered the tournament. They groaned, then realized Magnolia probably wouldn't appreciate it.
"Are you upset about something, plaything?" Magnolia asked calmly as she entered the room. Lily's heart dropped, aware of just how loud their frustration had been.
"N-no... I... just have something on... on my mind." They immediately realized that would have the opposite effect.
"Oh? You still have some brain cells to think? Please, share," Magnolia sat down beside them, clad in a silk black and red dress, smirking tiredly at them.
Lily looked away, biting their lip. They got a sharp slap to the cheek for that.
"It'd do you well to answer me when I ask you a question, Lily."
"S-sorry, Mistress," Lily whispered, their voice shaky. They took a deep breath. They really couldn't hide anything from their Mistress. It was almost as if her piercing eyes could read their thoughts, that she could see right past any lies they tried to put between them. They were in sync with each other, in a way, although it was rather one-sided.
"I got kicked out of... going on a, um, a trip to this... um, this competition for the game I play," they explained, trying to keep things in terms Magnolia would understand.
"Why? Was this because of what that self-righteous asshole saw?"
Lily gulped. "Um... sort of." Magnolia's glare urged them onwards. "Rye... the person you met... said that if I didn't sleep with him..." Magnolia growled softly. "That h-he was going to tell people."
"And what did you say in response?" Magnolia asked, voice unnaturally steady. The tension in the room could have been cut with a knife.
"Um..." Lily hesitated. "I... I said no."
"Good," Magnolia sighed, that tension draining from her face into a relieved smile. "That was the correct answer." She ran a hand down Lily's cheek, where it still stung from the slap. "You know better than to sleep with anyone without my permission, if you know anything at all." She paused. "If he thinks I'm your girlfriend, does that mean he was trying to get you to cheat? I like him even less."
Lily shook their head, still biting their lip. "N-no, he... guessed the property thing. The real one, I mean. That it wasn't just play. He said... you must have had me sleep with other people. Which is right, isn't it? Although I know it's not like that. But... yeah. That's why... that's why I got kicked out."
"Hmm," Magnolia hummed. "Quite a shame. I would have loved to see you beat the daylights out of that brat. Of course, I know nothing about this game, so I'm not entirely sure how that would work."
"You should have come to the tournaments," they smiled bitterly. "I beat him three times out of ten. I don't know if I could do better than that, though. He's really good at adapting to my strategies."
"Really? You don't think you could beat him? Not even if I ordered you to?" she smirked.
Lily blushed, clenching their teeth. "Um... maybe that would help?" they whispered.
"Of course it would. You're so obedient, you wouldn't dare lose if I told you not to," she laughed. Lily laughed too, not sure what else to say. She was right, although it felt strange to Lily too. But being ordered not to lose would give them motivation. They weren't one to disobey orders. Obedience was pleasure... and pleasure didn't have to mean sexual, did it? Because they would definitely find it pleasing to send Rye home with a participation trophy.
"Tell me, plaything. Where and when is this little... tournament?"
"Not little, I don't think... but it's four weeks from today. It's at the end of the 801 train line," Lily responded, confused why she would ask.
"Ha!" she cried out, doubling over as she began to laugh wildly. Lily felt more than a little unnerved.
"Interesting," she chuckled, after she had calmed down. "Interesting indeed... That is the precise weekend and location of my stupid conference," she laughed, and Lily gasped. "What? Are you expecting something?"
Lily's face fell. "Ah... no."
"That's a shame," she said. "Since I would love nothing more than for you to keep me company and ruin that boy's dreams at the same time."
"Wait, really?!" Lily's face lit up, and they couldn't help but smile like an idiot.
"Yes. I will take you, on two conditions."
Lily flinched, remembering the last time they'd heard something like that.
"Oh, don't worry. I'm not going to be so crass as your 'friend' was. The first one, I'm sure you'll find agreeable. You are going to win. That is an order, and an absolute condition for my taking you."
Lily knew that it wouldn't be that easy, but a little extra motivation could go a long way. They would take back what was theirs, and teach Rye a lesson, and knock Asher out of bracket while they were at it.
"I'm... I can do that. What's the second condition?"
"Well, why don't you just meet it tonight?" Magnolia suggested with a sly grin. "I think your friend had the right idea, but he was hardly the right person. You just..." she sighed, running a hand down Lily's body, "... need to know the right way to ask." Her hand reached into their underwear, and Lily shivered. "I'm going to take something very fun and important away from you for tonight, do you understand?"
Lily nodded, their face red even though they didn't know what that could mean. "Yes... yes, Mistress."
"Good, good." Her fingers began to rub at Lily's clit, earning her their heavy breaths and groans. She started with slow circles, slowly ramping up both pressure and speed as she went. Lily's gasps became moans as they arched their back, convulsing and clutching at the sides of the mattress.
Magnolia used her other hand to grab Lily's hair roughly, tilting their chin upwards. Keeping her other hand on their cunt to continue the constant assault of pleasure, she began biting their neck, leaving distinct marks. Marks that declared Lily was her property, now and forever. Even when the marks faded, they were hers. Even though Lily had parts of their life that were their own, it didn't matter. Anything that Lily owned, Magnolia owned by extension. They were her property. She bought them. They were hers.
"Are you getting close, plaything?" she asked.
"Mmmmmm," was all Lily could manage. They groaned, desperate for release. And then, the touches on their clit became light, slow, all at once, an agonizing drop from the heights of moments before.
"You really thought I was going to let you finish so easily," Magnolia teased. "Fitting, though, for someone so dim-witted. You can't guess or read my mind. You're hardly smart enough for that. I'm sure that you'd mistake my anger for happiness, and I'm certain you've mistaken it the other way around."
Lily moaned, trying to gather their thoughts to speak. Even though Magnolia was slowing down, her words were enough to keep them going.
"I know you like being insulted so much. But what if I praised you? Would you like that, too?"
"Y-yes..." they moaned, pressing into her as she sped up again again, and then immediately slowed down, slapping them with her other hand.
"Idiot. I'm not going to praise you now. You haven't done anything to earn my praise," she growled, moving down to leave another mark with her teeth on Lily's neck. This one, high on their neck, straight in the center.
"Good luck hiding that one," she laughed as her fingering increased in speed again. "I wonder, Lily. If I edge you enough times, will you still be able to talk? Or even think?"
Lily tried to respond, but all that came out was garbled words and muffled moans. Magnolia just laughed.
"Wow. You never cease to amaze me with how weak and pathetic you are," she mocked. "You're still not thinking of going over, are you?"
"N-no..." they whimpered.
"Good. Because you're not allowed to." Magnolia began alternating in speed rapidly, keeping Lily on the edge of finishing and on the edge of the bed as the whiplash shredded their every conscious thought. Their legs couldn't stop shaking, and they were beginning to find it difficult to breathe, they were panting so hard.
"You know, it's funny," she mused. "I could just permanently take away your ability to cum. Forbid you from doing so ever again." The blood drained from Lily's face. "Hm, hm. With hypnosis, there's always the chance that your body could override your mind. So instead, I could special order a chastity belt for you, and make you wear it forever. Wouldn't that be nice?"
"I... I... um..."
"Oh? Are you saying it wouldn't be nice?" Magnolia got her face close to Lily's, a dangerous glint in her eyes. "Are you saying you wouldn't be grateful?"
Lily managed to shake their head, and mumble out a "no, Mistress."
"Oh, thank goodness." Her face returned to her usual cruel smile. "I didn't think your mind would break that easily. Not after all I've done before to your poor two brain cells!"
She began dragging Lily back to the edge again, fingering faster and faster, although Lily's brain had stopped being able to tell how fast she was going long ago. Their eyes rolled back in their head, and they mouthed words that meant nothing as their mind practically melted.
They were at the edge. They were going to finish, permission or not. They almost asked her to stop so they wouldn't disobey, but Magnolia piped up first.
"Are you close, plaything?"
"Well, guess what?" she asked playfully.
"We're done!" she sang, taking her fingers off of Lily. Lily's eyes flew wide open, dreadful clarity returning in a moment at the idea. Was she serious? After bringing them to the edge at least a dozen times, closer and closer... just... nothing? They knew she was cruel, but not that cruel, right? She cared about their pleasure, right? Their head fogged, that clarity fading away as their body's aching need called louder.
Magnolia gave them a dangerously sweet smile. "What's with that face you're making? You're not complaining, are you?"
"N-no," Lily responded, shaking their head, though their wide eyes spoke a different story. "You're... you're really... going to...?"
"Yes," their Mistress laughed. "I'm giving you the pleasure of going to your little gaming meetup, and not having to pay a cent, or - god forbid - sleep with gross boys to do so. So, in exchange for the pleasure you asked for, I'm taking another pleasure as payment. Isn't that fair?"
Lily wanted to respond 'no.' They really did... did they? They didn't want to disobey their Mistress, though, or speak back to her. Even if she wasn't in a bad mood, they obeyed, and not just because obedience was pleasure, but because it was what they did.
"I... I see," they finally said.
"Let me ask you a question, since your feeble mind clearly forgot. Do you want to cum?"
Lily opened their mouth, closed it, then opened it again. "N-no..."
"Good plaything. And why not?"
"Because... because you haven't given me permission."
"Correct! You just needed a small reminder." She lay down next to Lily, stroking their hair lovingly. Lily almost felt themself instinctively purr from the contact, their scalp feeling nice, very different from how the pain of it being pulled had felt good.
"Does this make me a crazy cat lady? Oh, never mind. Well, I'm not even going to fuck you tonight," she sighed, smiling. "I'm not even going to give you that. But you know what I am going to give you?"
"Um... what?" Lily asked, unsure what she was fishing for. She was so unpredictable sometimes. Tonight was only the latest example.
"I'm going to take care of you, like the kind and loving Mistress I am," she chuckled. "I'm going to keep stroking your hair, since I know we both enjoy it, and be right here next to you. I'll even read you a nice story, in that soothing, hypnotic voice of mine, for you to fall asleep to. Doesn't that sound nice? Are you going to thank me?"
Lily breathed out. That did sound nice, especially in contrast to what she'd just done. "Y-yes, Mistress. Thank you, Mistress."
"Lie down facing me. I want to see your cute eyes flutter asleep while I speak to you." Lily obeyed, turning around to have their face looking towards Magnolia's, face flushed at being called cute.
"Good, good," she cooed, stroking their hair again. Lily smiled a bit. Their eyes already were struggling to stay open. There was something hypnotic about their Mistress' eyes in and of themselves. Not a conditioned response, or at least not a deliberate one. Looking at her was just relaxing. Lily may have been denied, which made it harder to calm down, but with her... they felt safe.
"Just listen to my voice," she breathed, reaching into her pocket and pulling out her smartphone. "Wait just a moment, plaything..." She scrolled through her library to find a good story to read for them, eventually landing on one and beginning to read.
"Alright," she said, slipping into that soft rhythmic voice that felt as familiar as their own heartbeat. "One sunny day, afternoon..."
Lily stopped paying attention to the words after a while. Sinking into that warmth, they drifted off to sleep... denied, yet calm.