The next month passed without much event. Literally. Lily didn't go to the Pokken League in the weeks before the regional. They couldn't gather the courage to face Rye again, and they definitely didn't want to risk him telling anyone. They did see Jenn a few times, but Jenn seemed to be busy with their new job. They were working on self-sufficiency, since they weren't sure how much further Magnolia was willing to help them.
Lily still had the suitcase from when they were first bought, and they spent some time every day the week before the tournament making sure they'd packed it with all the necessities, and still had space for their controller, console, and art supplies. It was just a weekend trip, so they figured they should try not to overpack. Enough to keep them occupied, sure, but not enough to be a pain. They brought their nice dress as well. Even if they weren't told to, they wanted to wear it just to see the confusion on Rye's face.
Kassandra never came out, except to make the occasional comment. It had been almost two months since she'd done anything more substantial than that. Lily was a bit grateful for the silence, but it still felt lonely without her. They missed when she would hang around and nag them, as strange as that was. Although it was preferable to be alone, when the other option was... well, not being alone, when they didn't know who that might include.
That other alter still terrified them. What had made them? What trauma had pulled them into existence? Did it even work that way? It did for Kassandra... They avoided thinking about it further. It hurt to consider, and as long as it wasn't causing trouble, it could wait.
They were excited for the trip, though. Especially since they were flying there - and not a commercial flight, but one on a plane that apparently Magnolia and other rich people owned. Lily had never even considered that was something you could even do.
"I don't want plebeians to bother us," she had scoffed. "I value my privacy too much for that."
Lily couldn't argue with that. After all, she had taken months to tell Lily her real name, so it was easy to see her getting annoyed at random flight attendants bothering her on their flight. And they couldn't even imagine how she'd deal with random passengers.
The good part about having a private flight to the tournament was that they didn't have to wake up at bullshit o'clock, and could spend the morning relaxing just a bit. Well, not relaxing exactly, since they had to wake up early to cook breakfast for both of them. Magnolia had ordered them to do it with only an apron on, so she could admire her property. They normally enjoyed making breakfast for her, but they just wanted to rest until they had to leave.
Once they'd both finished their breakfast - with no less than three groping sessions while they ate - they got in the limousine and made their way to a small, private airport in the middle of nowhere, where the plane was to pick them up. Magnolia let Lily play Pokken on the way there, for once. She'd said they needed all the practice they could get, so they could fully obey her order to win. The drive was silent, the time blurring together as Lily threw themself into the familiar movements.
The jet itself was elegant - smaller than they'd expected, but not by any means small. Its outside was painted deep red and black, with simple but clean strokes. Lily had never seen a private jet before, but somehow, this had surpassed all their expectations. They boarded the plane, and after a couple of minutes, they were in the air. Lily ran to the bathroom immediately, trying not to throw up on their Mistress or their clothing. Planes had never sat well with them.
Once she'd made sure they were alright, Magnolia had them join the mile high club, though the turbulence of the plane made it less impressive than advertised.
The flight only took about half an hour, and they landed gracefully. Magnolia had let them drink on the plane - But not too much, since you still have to win - but they could barely feel it even by the time they'd touched down. Lily was stuck carrying all of their luggage, from the airport to the taxi and the hotel.
They were staying at what Magnolia had described as the most fancy hotel in the area, in one of their executive suites. It was only about five in the afternoon when they arrived, though the sky was already dimming, the reflection of the sun casting orange glows across the view from the room. Lily was busy setting up the hotel room, getting their Mistress's business clothes ready - while their tournament wasn't until the next day, her conference was starting tonight, and rather soon at that. Magnolia was relaxing in a plush chair that might as well have been a throne, sipping sparkling water while Lily did all the hard work.
"Alright, well, um... Your outfit is here. I suppose I'll just stay in the room until you get back, then," Lily mused, fiddling with their hands behind their back.
"Why?" Magnolia asked, looking confused. "I have places to be. And so do you, don't you? The tournament might not be until tomorrow, but there was a meetup today, no?" Lily blinked. They hadn't said that, so how did she know? "Preregistration is always a good idea. You don't want to have a hassle with no time to spare. Not to mention, we're in a big city with, well, things to do, sights to see, places to go. Don't lie back and be lazy, plaything." She stood up and quickly, methodically undressed, changing into the clothes Lily so delicately laid out for her. Lily couldn't help but stare as she did. "We will... reconvene tonight. I expect you to tell me everything you did, in detail."
"Um, yes, Mistress," Lily stammered, trying to figure out what they'd do. Of course they were going to spend some time at the tournament venue, but they would need to bolt if they saw Rye... or worse, saw Asher.
"I'll be off," Magnolia said, hanging an ID badge from her neck. Lily had to hold back a giggle when they saw that the name on the card was just 'Ms. M. Anderson.' She really didn't give out her name easily, did she? She walked over to them, handed them a neat bundle of cash, blew them a kiss, then gave them a real one, gave their chest a squeeze 'for good luck,' and then left.
Lily sat on the bed, then pulled out their phone, trying to figure out where they might go. They sat for a good thirty minutes - the meetup had already started, but it wasn't a formal thing, and they didn't need to be there at any particular time - lying down while their mind wandered. They couldn't lie and say they weren't nervous, but a part of them felt at peace at the same time. But that stupid fog still filled their brain all the same.
Forcing it out, they sat up on the bed, slapping their cheeks to wake themself up. They grabbed a light backpack, placing their Switch, their phone, their room key, and the roll of money inside. Their nerves felt like razor wire as they headed out of the hotel into the big city. The moon was shining, now, which just reminded them of Darkrai, and therefore, the tournament. Once again, they remembered Magnolia's order, drawing confidence from it. They were going to win.
They took off, trusting in their phone to lead them to the convention center. Thankfully, it wasn't far from their hotel, only about a half mile walk - and they were used to doing five mile runs. They barely even noticed the distance. The venue itself was bustling as they went to preregistration and picked up their ID card - they hadn't seen anyone they knew quite yet, though they did see a few handles on some people's tags that they'd talked to on Discord. Of course they had to introduce themself. Making new friends was key at these things, right?
There was also an extremely overpriced merch shop - the hoodies alone were over $70. If Lily didn't have a Mistress who was rich enough to spend $300,000 on them, and possibly even more, considering what she did for them... they wouldn't have even considered it. Though they needed to save money for food later on. Convention prices could be brutal. And if they met a group from the Pokken Discord, maybe if they were lucky, they would be invited out. They popped in anyways, more out of curiosity than anything else. Keychains, pens, t-shirts, and more lined the walls, and the line at the register went out the store.
A thought crossed Lily's mind. Maybe they should get something for Magnolia? Would she even like any of this stuff? Probably not. Would she scold them for being silly enough to get something for her, or would she just laugh at them? A part of them hoped for the latter. It was probably more likely she would get frustrated with them for wasting money.
Perhaps there was something they could get that would have meaning, even if she didn't understand the images. Such as... two necklaces that matched, maybe? They glanced around the store, finding something that matched the description - two necklaces that formed a heart when put together. There was even one with the two characters they used the most. Their mind bounced between 'get it' and 'don't get laughed at,' but they eventually decided it was worth it. They wanted it too, after all. And would getting laughed at be a bad thing?
So they found a couple of other things they wanted, paid, and then left the gift shop before they could spend any more money on impulse.
A group of six players they knew from the Discord eventually found them. The seven of them had been affectionately referred to as 'the Gender Gang,' and besides Lily, were from the opposite end of the region. The leaders of the group - another nonbinary person, Bobbi, and a trans man named Rox - welcomed them warmly. Lily didn't tell them anything about how they got into Pokken, obviously. They'd gotten enough flack about it from Rye, and they didn't need more to worry about.
Thankfully, Rye hadn't told everyone like he'd threatened. At least, not yet. Lily dreaded the moment he would - if you'd asked them weeks ago, they wouldn't have thought he had it in him... but they didn't know anymore.
Lily played a few friendly rounds with the Gender Gang in one of the lounges, and won ten to two. Even though it wasn't the tournament, every little bit of reassurance helped them to feel more confident, more able to follow through on their Mistress's orders. Bobbi and their girlfriend Esper - "An adorable name," Lily had gushed when they heard it - gave them some good tips on where they went wrong against them.
"You sure you're okay with giving help to an opponent?" Lily chuckled.
Esper had just winked. "It's no fun if it's not a fair fight, right?"
They let Lily tag on for dinner with them, going to a nearby pizza restaurant. Lily almost wanted to pay for the group, but would that seem weird? They really didn't know how normal people dealt with money. They felt bad about it, though, since they did enjoy helping people.
Bobbi asked them some questions about their history with the game, and the others joined in, since they didn't tend to talk about themself much online. Lily did their best to answer without giving too much away, slowly feeling comfortable with the quirky group, as if they'd been hanging out in person for months.
Eventually, though, someone had to ruin it. Jay, another member, brought up DreadKnight. A name they'd quickly learned to avoid, when he joined the Discord, and introduced himself as... Asher. He'd apparently won the regional last year, so a lot of people were raring to go. Lily just prayed they wouldn't have to interact with him.
Their phone vibrated at one point, and they checked, expecting it to be from Magnolia. Instead, it was Rye.
So I heard you made it, the text read. Their phone buzzed again. Did your sugar mommy pay for the plane and everything?
Lily decided not to respond. It wasn't worth it. If he pressed further, they would just say they were busy - and after all, the Gang could vouch that they were doing something.
Soon after, their phone buzzed again, and they looked at it with dread. Thankfully, it was from someone they were significantly more excited to hear from.
You are to be back at the hotel in an hour. Again, I expect a full report of your day.
"Sorry, everyone. I'm kinda tired," Lily said, standing up. "I figure I should get to bed early, be rested for tomorrow. Thanks for hanging out with me."
"Of course," Rox said, and the others chimed in with goodbyes and see-you-tomorrows. Lily smiled as they ran off, back to the hotel, in an attempt to get back on time - or better yet, get back early.
Running helped, too. It let them forget their worries, their anxieties, and just run. And yet, it didn't help as much as it usually did. The fear was too strong. Who were they going to be up against tomorrow? Were they going to lose? Would their Mistress like the necklace they got for her? Uncertainty was never something they dealt with well, but there was no way to get answers until it actually happened.
So they just kept running, hoping their mind would eventually clear.
It didn't. And it only got worse when they got to the hotel room and saw no one there. It struck them again how huge the room was. It was practically like an apartment unto itself. Sitting down on the king-sized bed, they looked at their player card, proudly declaring them as Lilypad from the northern part of the region. Grateful wasn't exactly the word to describe how they felt. Sure, they were happy that they got the chance to go without having to sleep around to get it. But they didn't really belong there. After all, Asher had so much more of an impact on the scene than them.
They still couldn't figure out how in the world they knew him. It was in that twisting darkness they couldn't see through, the time they were sure Kassandra remembered, now, but refused to tell them anything about.
Their phone hadn't vibrated for a while, but they looked at it anyways. Rye's text stared back at them. They dismissed the notification, then set their phone down, groaning.
The door buzzed, and Lily stood at attention to greet their Mistress. Magnolia walked in, quickly moving the do-not-disturb to the outside as she closed the door. Lily looked at her appearance, which, far from the perfection of the morning, was in complete disarray. Her hair was disheveled, her maroon lipstick was a tad smeared, and the expression on her face was one of exhaustion.
"Um... did you have fun?" Lily asked, unsure what else to say. They immediately regretted it as Magnolia's mask of fatigue shifted to a glare of frustration. She stomped over to Lily, grabbing them by the neck and slamming them down onto the bed face-down.
"Idiot," she growled. "First of all, that's no way to greet your Mistress. You should know better, unless your tiny mind forgot that too." Lily was shaking and panting, caught in a conflict between anxiety and excitement. "Second, of course I didn't have fun. Do you have eyes? Did you bother to look at me and think?"
"I-I'm sorry, Mistress," Lily mumbled shakily. "I... I guess I didn't think..."
"Of course you didn't," she laughed, cutting them off. "How could I have had fun there? It was a bunch of old cisgender men telling me I was wrong and they were right. Even the ones who spoke sense tried to make it sound like I wasn't doing it correctly, whatever that was supposed to mean. As if they had even a fraction of my success! As if they didn't know who they were talking to! The nerve..." Lily didn't think Magnolia noticed that she was squeezing their neck tighter as she ranted, although it wouldn't surprise them if it was intentional. "Every lecture that I went to was about things I already knew, and only one in ten actually made sense. And the fucking networking event, some seventy-something-year-old gross man had the gall to flirt with me! I gave him a piece of my mind, of course. And to think, I have to deal with this tomorrow, too. My secretary is going to have to explain why he thought I should attend. It's as if I'm just another name to throw on their guest list. They aren't even grateful I'm there."
Lily gulped. While it was exciting in theory to be with Magnolia when she was this mad, the terror of not knowing how much she would take it out on them was paralyzing. They tried to think of something they could say that would calm her down.
"Um, I'm glad... you're there," Lily squeaked, saying the first thing that came to mind. When they realized Magnolia was processing what they just said and how stupid they must sound, they continued. "Um... thank... you?"
Silence. Lily wondered if that was the right thing to say. Probably not. Yet still, Magnolia couldn't help but burst out laughing. "You adorable idiot," she cooed. "That was so sweet, so cute... and so very stupid. It made my heart flutter just a bit, to hear such vapid adoration."
"Um... thank you? You're welcome?" Lily was beginning to struggle to breathe, and Magnolia's eyes widened as she noticed it, and she released their neck. Instead, she grabbed their sides, turning them around to face her.
"Being here with you is the sole redeeming factor of this trip," she grinned. "You make me happy, plaything."
A dopey, nervous smile spread across Lily's face. Those words felt so, so nice to hear. "You... you make me happy too, Mistr-" Lily cut off as Magnolia grabbed their hair and pulled them in for a rough kiss. As they made out, she grabbed their shoulders, digging her nails into them, wanting more from them, needing more.
Lily returned the kiss as hard as they could - they needed her, too. To calm their nerves, though their scenes were usually anything but calming, they were a kind of release. Magnolia clawed down Lily's shoulders to their breasts and grabbed them roughly, and their face felt like it was on fire as they tried to keep from squirming. They were so lost in themself that they stopped kissing back as hard. Eyes rolling back, they remembered the events leading up to them being there, and the pressure on them to win.
They were forced back to the present moment by the force of a sudden slap against their cheek. They yelped as their Mistress grabbed their chin, turning them to look directly into her eyes, which were burning with her characteristic intensity.
"I know you're nervous about tomorrow," she said softly, and Lily was surprised by the sympathetic tone. "But when you're with me, you focus on my pleasure, and my pleasure only. Understood?"
"Y-yes, Mistress, I'm sorry," Lily quickly responded, nodding their head.
Magnolia grinned. "You don't want to focus on anything else, anyways," she laughed. "Your primary purpose is serving me, which means I'm the most important person in your life. And if I say something, what does it mean?"
"It... it means it must be true," Lily said hesitantly, unsure what she was fishing for. It wasn't like she was wrong, per se. Magnolia was the most important person in their life right now, not to mention the one who let them have a life in the first place, not even considering her saving them from a much crueler fate just months earlier back.
"Say it back to me, your little mantra, now."
"Obedience is pleasure... and pleasure is obedience."
"Good. Well done, plaything - looks like your pathetic mind can at least hold onto the most important things." She pecked Lily's lips again, and Lily leaning in, then stumbled as their Mistress suddenly stood up. Lily sat up, watching her curiously. She walked towards her suitcase, going into a compartment of it she had ordered Lily not to look in. They wanted to ask what she was doing, but they didn't want to sound impatient.
Their body froze in anticipation as they watched Magnolia pull out a toy Lily had never seen before. It was a wand massager, and a particularly large and fancy one at that, with gemstones on the handle. Lily could have sworn the handle was made out of gold, too, but that would be silly, right? The top of it was huge, too. It was probably big enough to cover half of their cunt, and they could feel themself getting wet just looking at it.
Magnolia walked back over to the bed, slowly showing the toy off. "Do you like what you see, slut?"
"Y-yes, I do. It's very... pretty." Lily couldn't help but be honest about that.
"Pretty? Well, I suppose it is. Though I know you like it for other reasons. It cost me quite the pretty penny, actually. I had to get the highest quality, for such a high quality plaything." She chuckled, seeming to be almost proud of herself for spending what must have been a small fortune on a sex toy. Lily wanted to reach for it, they wanted to use it right then and there, but Magnolia, noticing this, put a finger to their lips.
"Plaything, I'm not going to give it to you that easily," she smiled. "You're going to have to earn the right to use it."
Lily remembered, with a mix of horror and anticipation, that they couldn't cum. She had ordered it. So instead, they were going to be teased to the point of their mind breaking, past the point where they could handle any more pressure. Magnolia turned the toy on, and even on the lowest setting, that hum was nearly irresistible. But they couldn't give in. Magnolia had simply put it to the side of the bed for Lily to gawk at. They needed to suppress the urge to reach for it until she gave the order.
"Are you thinking about disobeying me?" Magnolia asked, watching their eyes drift to the toy, wanting to grab it and use it without permission. Lily paused. No. They obeyed. They shook their head violently.
"Good," Magnolia chuckled. "Get off the bed."
Lily obeyed, standing up and stepping away from the bed even as the vibrator continued to hum. They couldn't help but watch it like a hypnotic focus, almost drooling out their mouth. Their Mistress followed at their gaze, almost hungry as she watched their eyes track the vibrator. Was she going to use that as a focus? If so, tonight, or when? Then, she sat on the bed where they had been, and began to take off her belt, then her work pants, and then everything else, leaving her naked from the waist down
"Worship me," she ordered, and Lily immediately moved to comply. "That is all you are to focus on right now. None of your little games, or your friends from it, and certainly not your enemies. Pleasing me is the only thing you have to do right now."
Magnolia grabbed their hair only a few kisses in, roughly pulling them away. She pulled backwards, tilting their head up, gaze meeting hers, and scoffed at the drool and their enthralled expression.
"You have five minutes to make me cum, plaything," she ordered, giving Lily's hair a rougher tug as she spoke. "If you don't, then I think you're at least smart enough to know what the consequences will be."
"Yes, Mistr-" Lily was cut off as Magnolia forced their face back into her inner thigh. They resumed their worship gladly. The time limit, though, was stressful. Their Mistress was wrong - they weren't smart enough to know what would happen if they didn't succeed. But they were certain it would be something they wouldn't enjoy.
They tried to think of what to do. Obviously, the most important thing to take into account was their Mistress's mostly-hard cock. The sight of it always made their cheeks flush, even though they should be used to having it shoved in their face - and other places - at this point. They began to worship it, leaving kisses all around the base, moving up it towards the tip, which was already leaking. Taking a moment to prepare for suppressing their gag reflex, they took it in their mouth, as deep as they could get it.
"Oh!" Magnolia exclaimed with delight. "I didn't even tell you to use your mouth. And yet here you are." She laughed, which was only turning Lily on, making them suck on it with renewed effort. "You just see a cock, and need to hold it, or have it in you. I shouldn't be surprised, though. A needy, worthless cum slut like you wants and needs nothing more than to please whatever is thrown in their face."
"Mmf," Lily moaned around their Mistress, the degradation filling their mind with molten need, only compounded as they continued to hear the sounds of the vibratior. They choked just a little as they went further.
Magnolia pulled out her pocket watch, though not to hypnotize them, this time. "Oh, look at that. You've wasted a minute and thirty seconds." She grabbed their hair again, and forced them down, making them choke again briefly. "Get to work, if you don't want to face what I'm going to do to you if you fail," she growled. Lily complied.
They continued to worship her cock, bobbing their head and sucking and licking all around, knowing to pay special attention to the tip. The time seemed to flow by, as they put all their focus into that singular task. Magnolia seemed rather bored at first, but got more into it the more work Lily did. That in and of itself was a nice reward, pleasing their Mistress. She began thrusting into their mouth with more and more force. Lily worked harder in return, appreciative that they didn't have to do all the work anymore. They had long ago learned to enjoy the salty taste of her precum.
Magnolia pulled out the pocket watch again. "You have thirty more seconds, plaything," she informed breathily, but it didn't matter. Lily knew she was close. They just had to give a few final pushes. They were counting down the seconds in their head, and their heart pounded faster as they redoubled their effort.
"Ten... nine... eight... seven... siii-fuuuuck..." she groaned, dumping her load into Lily's mouth in thick, long strands. Lily's eyes widened, and they forcefully suppressed the instinct to pull back as she finished down their throat.
Once she was done, she grabbed Lily's head and pulled them back, grinning at the faintly white-tinged drool from their mouth. "You know what to do with all that," she cooed, and Lily nodded, swallowing almost greedily. "Good. You've learned well."
Magnolia looked at the watch one final time, nodding. "Six seconds left. Your time has improved," she laughed as Lily finished swallowing.
"Stand up, toy." Lily obeyed, standing up to face her - despite her sitting and Lily standing, Lily's head was only barely above hers. "As I promised, you've earned a nice reward."
Magnolia stood up, reminding Lily how tall and imposing she was. She grabbed their shoulders and pushed them down on the bed, face up towards the ceiling. She pulled their panties down, revealing their dripping cunt, then grabbed their thighs and spread them out to reveal it further. "Keep nice and still like that. I can guarantee you're about to enjoy what's going to happen very much."
"Y-yes, Mistress," Lily nodded, focusing all their effort on sitting still and not closing their legs.
Magnolia grabbed the vibrator that had been a background hum during the blowjob. She turned it off, and they cried out in silent agony as only then she started to grind it against Lily's cunt. Lily groaned, pushing back into the toy, wanting and needing more.
"Wow," Magnolia chuckled, "you really are proving yourself to be a needy slut. Greedy, too. I'm using the toy like you wanted, and you already want more? How brainless and selfish." As she continued to thrust the toy against them, she leaned in with a wicked grin.
"Well, beg for it."
"P-please, Mistress, please turn it on," they immediately pled. "I need it so, so bad."
"Really? What are you planning to do for it?" Magnolia smirked.
"Any... anything," Lily gasped.
"Anything? Even to give it up for the night, only for me to give it to you god-knows-when?" she laughed.
Lily didn't even hesitate. "Y-yes. Anything. I'll do anything for it."
"My god, how shameless! So shameless, asking for degrading pleasure." She clicked her tongue. "Well, fine. Even I can't deny you when you've been so good to me."
Magnolia turned it on, again to the lowest setting, and yet it was enough. They let out a long, warbling cry of pleasure as it started, their body pressing all of its weight into the toy. Their cunt throbbed against the vibration, soaking the head of it as they moaned louder and louder.
The intensity turned up one notch, and then another, but they barely noticed, they were so far gone. They thrust their hips against it, unable to stop themself, which only caused Magnolia to laugh harder. And of course, being laughed at didn't make it any easier for them.
"I'm going to give you a new mantra," Magnolia suddenly ordered. "Say the words, 'I only serve Mistress.'"
"I only serve Mistress," they echoed.
"Say it again, louder."
"I only serve Mistress! I only serve Mistress," they repeated, nearly shouting as they said it with conviction, burning it into their mind over and over again. They only stopped when their Mistress grabbed them by the neck to choke the last words out of them.
"Thank god for soundproofing," Magnolia muttered. "Tell me, Lily," she said more clearly, pressing the toy further in as she leaned into their face and pressing her fingers closer to Lily's neck. "Do you want to cum?"
Lily's body tried to say yes, but they knew that wasn't the answer.
"And why not?"
"Because y-you haven't given me permission."
"You are so lovely, Lily..." she cooed, and Lily quivered from the praise. "I will allow you to finish. Go. Now."
Magnolia turned the toy to the highest setting, and Lily couldn't hold back a moment longer. They screamed in pleasure, their cum covering the head of the toy. They couldn't stop shaking. They instinctively grabbed the edge of the vibrator and pushed it up harder, even though they'd already reached their peak - their mind soared away, leaving them blank and empty, open, hers, mindless. As soon as they hit the top, they crashed back down, their shaking flowing into mild shivering as their Mistress shut the toy off and put it to the side.
"Good plaything," she said with a kiss, pulling away to change into her nightclothes. Lily laid on the bed, panting and trying to gather themself.
Once they were back to reality, and out of the mindset of being a worthless slut, they remembered something.
Rye. Asher. They were both still a problem, and just being with someone Lily loved wasn't going to change that.
Magnolia, as usual, spoke up, seeming to read Lily's mind. "You're not telling me something," Magnolia scolded, glared into their eyes. "What are you daring to hide from me, my Lily?"
Lily froze, looking around helplessly. But... they couldn't hide Asher any longer. Those thoughts plagued their mind, especially since coming here, and hearing about him from the rest of the Gender Gang. They had needed to tell Magnolia about Kassandra all that time back then. They had to tell her this too.
"There's... someone here I know. At least... I think I know them."
"How can you think you know someone? You either know someone, or you don't," Magnolia said, looking somewhat concerned.
Her response only made Lily feel more awkward. "Well... um. I met him at the cafe a while ago," they mumbled, biting their lip nervously. "I felt something... spark in me. Kind of."
"Something spark in you? How so?"
"Well... Kassandra came out." That got Magnolia's attention. "This was, um, a few months ago. On my birthday, I think. But it was weird. Usually when she sees a threat, she... well, she wants to fight back. When we saw him... she wanted to run away."
Magnolia didn't take her eyes off of Lily, and they couldn't help but feel uncomfortable. Her stare was so intense, demanding answers about something Lily didn't want to, couldn't share.
"And you do not remember how you know this person, and Kassandra would not say," she mused, and Lily shook their head. "Quite unfortunate. I don't expect she'd be willing to tell me?" Lily paused, then shook their head again as Kassandra gave an answer, then faded away again. "I expect you to tell me when your small brain figures it out."
'Small brain' wasn't quite the right phrase for it. 'Fucking insane and broken brain' was a better fit. Their brain was, by definition, the source of their problems. They hated not being able to remember anything, and being a foggy mess all the time. Not to mention, even though Kassandra was helpful sometimes, and they'd started to appreciate her, she was still a reminder of trauma they couldn't even remember. At least their mind was good for being made fun of.
"Well, if she was worried... Hm. I do hope he doesn't bother you tomorrow," she sighed. "After all, that would get in the way of you obeying me."
Lily hummed in agreement. They didn't have much else to say to that.
They sat up straight as they remembered something. They moved to get out of the bed, but Magnolia stopped them by grabbing their arm.
"Where are you going?" she demanded. "I haven't given you permission to get up."
"Ah... um. I'm sorry. Can I get up?" they asked, and although they expected her to say no, she let them continue. "I... got something for you. A present," they said, voice softening to a whisper.
"A present," Magnolia echoed, taking a moment to think. "Go get it for me."
Lily got up, almost collapsing from the intensity of earlier. They walked over to the bag they had from the gift store, reaching into it and fishing out the paired necklaces. Only then did it hit them how embarrassing this was, how monumentally stupid of a decision this was. But they knew their Mistress was waiting to see what they'd gotten. They had nobody to blame for this but themself.
They turned around, keeping the necklaces behind their back as they spoke. "I, um... got us... matching... necklaces..." they whispered.
"Necklaces," Magnolia repeated, raising an eyebrow. "Show them to me."
Lily nervously walked over to the bed and revealed them to her, hands shaking. Magnolia took them, and Lily stood, frozen in fear, as she examined them in uncomfortable silence.
"These are the... characters you use?" Magnolia asked. "In the game?"
"Y-yes... I... wanted to get you something, and... um... I wasn't sure..." Lily stopped, knowing she wouldn't appreciate them trying to come up with excuses.
A chuckle escaped from Magnolia's lips, her smile curling upwards. "You must know, plaything, I won't be able to wear my side anywhere. It's not exactly what I would describe as good for my image... though I suppose you wouldn't know something like that." Even as she scolded them, she was smiling, and at least Lily got to see that.
"S-sorry... I guess I should have gotten you a pen or something..."
"Oh, don't get me wrong," she corrected. "I adore it, just as I adore your lack of intelligence for not thinking this through more carefully."
Lily looked back up, the shame dissipating as they gave a sheepish grin.
"I love it."
"I'm... I'm glad," Lily sighed, letting the tension bleed out of them.
"I'm sure I can find some way to wear this. Inconspicuously, of course." She shifted, putting the necklaces on the night table beside her side of the bed. "Now that you've amused me, you are to get back here. Turn off the lights on your way."
They complied immediately, stepping up to the king sized bed and laying down, curling up against her.
"Go to sleep," Magnolia yawned. "You... will need to rest... if you expect to properly serve me, tomorrow." She shook her head, as if surprised at her own fatigue.
"Do not try, Lily. Obey. You will fall asleep for me," Magnolia corrected softly.
"Uh, y-yes, Mistress," Lily sputtered. Though, their eyes were no less tired than they were before, and they feared they wouldn't be able to properly play tomorrow, as worried about Asher and Rye as they were. They could try to count sheep, but they lost track after counting only a handful. How would they manage to sleep, when their thoughts were -
"Good night, my lovely, loyal Lily." And with that, they let go, gratefully falling into Magnolia's mist.