A whirling air blade sent to Theresa from her left, immediately followed by a slightly faster one from her right, so they should hit her at the same time.
Heath spends a second longer than he should powering up the fireball to go directly down the center, giving her just enough time to get out of the way. A smaller, quicker one would’ve hit her for sure, but that’s not what Heath wants.
“You’re not usually this greedy Heath, you feeling alright?” Theresa taunts him from across the dueling circle, before sending a giant stone fist his way. A quick charm and it instantly turns to magma, falling to the ground a few meters short of its target. Heath answers with a volley of three fireballs in quick succession, each exploding harmlessly against his opponent’s earthen shield.
“Never better!” he calls back, leaping several feet in the air and hovering to avoid the ring of stones suddenly erupting around where he had been standing. He alights on one of them after taking a few moments to deem it safe before turning back to his target and summoning his own ring of fire at her feet. It won’t do much to hurt her, but it serves to keep her in place while he charges another powerful spell. Not that it should hit her, but it will fit with the story he wants to tell. “Just trying to get this over with quickly, before the dining halls close and I have to pay for food.”
“Oh, it’ll be over quickly, all right,” Theresa responds, and Heath is actually surprised when a pillar of earth rises beneath her feet, keeping her safe from the fire and making him shift his aim. Her practice has been paying off. “But you won’t be making the decisions about what to eat.” Heath’s attack goes high and wide left as Theresa’s pillar tactically falls to the right. There’s no pause as she steps off the top and immediately flings a section of pillar toward him, and he has to dive to the side to avoid it. Coming out of the roll, he summons an updraft to separate her from her power, but her feet remain rooted on the ground and he has to use a powerful blast to block the next boulder thrown at him. She stomps her foot and jagged cracks appear in the ground, speeding toward Heath as he blows himself to one side. He counters with a sustained beam of flame that Theresa summons a wall to block, and it appears perfectly intact when he drops his attack.
Suddenly the entire wall starts coming at him, and he starts using small air blasts to chip away at the edges. He can hear footsteps from somewhere, but he’s too focused on protecting himself to see which side her next attack will be coming from. When the wall finally crumbles in a cloud of dust a few feet in front of him, he immediately starts looking from side to side, readying another block.
Only to take what feels like a tree trunk to the gut, which sends him sprawling to the side.
Lifting his head with a groan, he blinks through the pain just in time to see the stony boot fall off Theresa’s leg.
“You picked up a new trick,” he groans, slowly standing up.
“You like?” she asks. “Thought it up a few months ago, but I had to hold off using it so it’d have the greatest effect.” She’s panting, the match is starting to wear on her too. Unfortunately, Heath knows he has more stamina than her, even when they’re both tired like this; he’s not Number 1 in their class for nothing. He’ll have to end this soon, maybe he’ll “fail” to dodge her next attack.
“I do,” he says, fighting back a smile. Theresa’s better than he thought, he’s had to fake less than he expected to. “I didn’t realize how much you’ve been practicing.” Before she has a chance to respond, he taps the rune tattooed on the back of his neck, his clothes suddenly rippling in the wind that appears around him. All it takes is a quick movement of his arm for several fireballs to appear between the two apprentices, but Theresa seems unfazed as several chunks lift out of the ground, one for each fireball. A larger chunk rises up behind her as the others move forward, blocking the flames as the larger one is crumpled an pressed into a perfect, dense sphere.
Heath sees it coming but does nothing before it hits him square in the chest, hiding his smile as he crumples to the ground. It’s over. He lost. He’ll become Theresa’s familiar.
Cobblestones turn to quicksand around each of his limbs, and he feels himself start to sink. A couple tugs reveals he’s totally secure, helpless and unable to move as his new owner stalks over to him, a cat admiring her wounded prey.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen,” she crows, squatting down to look him in the eye. “And the top Apprentice is no more. I confess, I don’t know what animal I want you to become, but otherwise I’m very excited for your transformation.”
“Guess we’ll find out together then,” Heath jokes, and Theresa ruffles his hair. He can feel the Ritual priming itself, power surging through the ground, and he can’t tell if he’s more scared or excited for the coming ordeal.
Every apprentice at Sinslar has heard horror stories about the Ritual of the Familiar and the pain caused by going through it, but yet, some students actually look forward to the forcible reshaping of their minds and bodies. Heath is one of those students. There isn’t a masochist on campus who doesn’t know the story of Ambrosius Hycort, the lucky Familiar whose Magus let him re-experience the Ritual every so often, but few end up with one so kind (or cruel). Theresa has a reputation among third years for being something of a sadist, but–
Heath’s train of thought is derailed instantly when the Ritual itself begins proper; he’s hit by Theresa’s stone-encased kick again, only this time tenfold and all over his body. He coughs once and his vision swims as a small splatter of blood appears on the ground beneath his face. His insides twist and contort in both pleasure and agony as his skin feels like it’s set ablaze, but he can neither scream or moan because his throat tightens up. The quicksand refuses to let him go despite the fact that he can feel his body shrinking, muscle mass disappearing from limbs as his spine shortens.
“Oh, you’re gonna be so cute when I’m through with you!” Theresa coos, and Heath shudders. He’s always liked praise, the gentleness contrasts well with the rough pain, but now he doesn’t have the werewithal to temper his reactions. “Oh you like that, do you? I can’t wait to see all the adorable noises you make.” The light swat she delivers to his ass feels more like the crack of whip, and he can’t help but let out a strangled moan.
By the time his body has stopped changing, Heath’s uniform is practically hanging off him. While most of his body has slimmed down, his hips are a lot wider than they used to be (at least relatively) and his chest is a bit… puffier than he remembers. It’s clear Theresa wants a more feminine Familiar, but she hasn’t removed his dick, only shrunken it a bit.
His dick… her dick?
Pronouns are hard.
But as the mental aspect of the Soulbond gets clearer, Casey (!!) realizes the ultimate truth. They are the property of their Mistress, she determines their gender, can change it at will, whenever she feels like. They’re nothing without Mistress, they deserve whatever she gives them.
“You lost on purpose!?” Mistress hisses, careful to not let the spectators hear her. Evidently she’d been eager to look into her new plaything’s thoughts.
“Y– yes, Mistress,” they hesitantly mumble, almost scared to meet their Magus’ eyes.
“Get up,” she commands, herself standing and turning to walk away. “We’ll talk about this later.” Casey is left to stumble after her in their oversized clothes as she stalks out of the circle. It doesn’t take a Soulbond to know their Mistress is pissed at them, and even the prefect she’s talking to seems scared when they catch up. He looks at Casey with pity as their Mistress walks off toward one of the Magus dorm buildings, unaware of how much they’re looking forward to the punishment that’s surely coming.
“Alright, strip.” The order comes before the door to Mistress’ new dorm has even closed all the way, but Casey still complies eagerly, shucking their clothes into the corner their Mistress gestures to. Almost instinctively they drop to their knees as she circles them, a shark closing in for the kill.
“You threw our duel,” she accuses. “Why?”
“I’m sorry Mistress, I–” they start, but a slap to the face cuts them off.
“I didn’t ask for an apology,” Mistress scolds them, “I asked for an explanation. Try again.”
“Yes Mistress, sorry Mistress,” earns them a glare, bu she doesn’t chide them again. “To be perfectly honest, I threw because I really wanted to experience the Ritual. I’ve been the top duelist in our class for over a year now, the only way that would happen is if I lost on purpose. I’ve also kinda been… obsessed, I guess? with pain for the past year and half or so, and naturally being at Sinslar the Ritual was like always there in the back of my mind, and it just kinda seemed like the perfect opportunity? And at some point I put two and two together, that I’d have to throw somehow.”
“And how long ago did you realize this?” Mistress asks, taking a seat on the sheet-less bedframe. Her anger seems to have abated some, but hasn’t fully disappeared. “A day? 36 hours?”
“About 6 months, Mistress.”
“Oh. That’s… a lot longer than I expected…” she mumbles, almost looking bashful.
“Mistress?” Casey asks, looking up with pleading eyes. They know something is bothering their owner, but the Soulbond isn’t telling them what. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m… sorry I got so mad at you,” she says, “When I found out you threw the match, I… assumed the worst in regards to your reasoning.” She pats the mattress next to her and Casey crawls over, but remains kneeling on the floor. The wood is hard on their knees, it’s what they deserve for upsetting their Mistress. “I’ve been training my ass off for the past week in preparation for challenging you and then our duel, and then when I found out you lost on purpose, I thought it was just to spite me. A final ‘fuck you’ in that all that extra practice I put in was in vain, all I went through was just… for nothing.”
“No, Mistress, I could never!” Casey swears, sitting up to nuzzle Mistress’ hand.
“Well I know you couldn’t now,” she teases, caressing her Familiar’s face. “But I guess I didn’t really know you before I challenged you, if you were that much of a masochist. You were just the 1st-Ranked apprentice, and it was my duty as 2nd to challenge you.”
“Nobody knew that about me Mistress, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it,” they reassure her, but she laughs it off.
“I’m just glad to know now that you were already looking forward to the pain I’m going to inflict on you.”
“M–Mistress?” Casey’s eyes widen and they try to lean back, but Mistress’ grip on their chin prevents that.
“After all, all those bruises I got from my unnecessary extra training, I think it’s only fair you get to feel them too, don’t you? Since the outcome was already predetermined?”
“Of course, Mistress~”
“Wait, he threw your duel?”
“Mhm,” Mistress nods, taking a bite of her sandwich. It’s been three days since their duel, and Casey and her Mistress are at a picnic table on the Sinslar campus with some of Mistress’ friends, eating lunch under the shade of an oak tree. In that time, Casey has realized she no longer knows her Mistress’ name, only ‘Mistress’, and been told that even if she did know her name, she wouldn’t be permitted to use it. “Was planning to lose before I even challenged him.”
“But why?” Mistress’ friend Cordelia asks. She’s the only other one at the table with her own Familiar, a grey and white ferret that’s curled up in her lap. “Why would he even want to lose, he could’ve had anybody in our class as his Familiar.”
“Casey, you wanna answer that one?” Mistress asks and she nods, standing up from where she’d been kneeling next to her owner’s seat. “Why don’t you show them your new mantra? What are you?”
“I’m a boy, I’m a girl, I’m both, I’m neither,” she begins to recite, the words burned into her memory. “Gender is a fuck, but the only thing thing that matters is I’m Mistress’ masochist Familiar painslut.” As she speaks, she lifts the hem of her top and lowers the waistband of her skirt to show off the myriad of bruises she’s received in the past few days. She treasures every single one, each a cherished memory that her Mistress has granted to her.
“Good girl,” her Mistress praises and Casey blushes as a leash is clipped to her collar at one end and Mistress’ belt at the other. “Yeah, apparently Heath was secretly a huge masochist and he specifically wanted to experience the Ritual from the Familiar’s side, I just happened to get to him first. Isn’t she just the cutest little thing now though?” The conversation drifts away from her and Casey’s mind starts to wander, her gaze eventually settling on the coiled whip hanging from Mistress’s belt, directly next to her leash. There’s so much for the two of them to experience, and she’s looking forward to every step of the way.