Alaksi’s foot started tapping the cobbles as he checked his phone, nervously watching the seconds tick away. In 7 minutes and 32 seconds, his second year at Sinslar Graduate Academy of Magic would come to an end, and the dreaded Third Year would begin. The year where each student would either become a Magus… or a familiar. Currently at rank 11 in the class, there weren’t a whole lot of people he was afraid of being challenged by, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t anxious. One person whose challenge he wouldn’t mind, was the current rank 10 student, and Alaksi’s girlfriend, Orianna Asherah.
Despite only one of them being in the coveted Top 10, Alaksi and Orianna were surprisingly close in terms of both magic and grades. Over the past two years they’d often swapped places, trading good grades like Pokemon cards. Alaksi had lost count of how many of their practice duels had ended in draws.
It had been Ori’s idea for the two of them to duel originally, as a way to deal with her boyfriend’s anxiety. Either Alaksi won the duel and joined the Top 10 students, or he lost and became her familiar; someone he already knew cared about him, and that he trusted with his life. It was the perfect plan. So why was he only going to follow half of it?
Truth be told, the future scared Alaksi. Having to finish his studies, graduate, and find a job was a terrifying process, and that didn’t even include pressure from his family about succeeding and joining high society. And having a familiar was even scarier; having someone so dependent on him, that he had to provide for, who bent to his will. Having that much control (and responsibility) over another being sounded exhausting. Alaksi had never been able to keep his pets alive growing up, what was stopping the same fate from happening to Orianna should she enter his care? Just because she trusted him didn’t mean he trusted himself.
It was 11:58 when the door to the girls’ dorm and Ori rushed out, taking the steps two at a time as she bounded down to the pre-arranged courtyard. Alaksi watched her hair flounce about as she ran toward him, allowing himself a small smile during the moments of seriousness.
“Hey hot stuff,” she greeted him, standing on her toes to give him a quick peck. “Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find a prefect anywhere.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure everything will work out,” Alaksi reassured her, though a nagging voice in the back of his head listed all the possible ways things could go wrong. “Ninety seconds left, you ready?”
“Yes. No. Kind of?” Ori flashed a nervous smile. “Think I’d be more ready if we weren’t doing this in the middle of the night, though.”
“Hey, it was your idea to do this as early as possible, and protections end at midnight,” Alaksi pointed out. “Speaking of… Five. Four. Three.”
“Happy New Year!” Orianna smiled, leaning in for another kiss as the clock tower above them chimed 12. The very hint of a breath of wind moved between and around them as they embraced each other, and both Apprentices knew; the protections had been lifted. Official challenges could be issued. Alaksi rested his forehead against Orianna’s, and she looked at him with eyes full of concern. “You sure you wanna go through with this?”
“No,” Alaksi answered, “but I’m sure I don’t want to not do this. I’d rather be your familiar than let you be someone else’s, or have some rando as my own.” She didn’t need to know that he’d rather be her familiar than have her as his, or even a whole lot of other scenarios. The idea of ceding all control to her, to someone whose life was so much more on-track than his, was incredibly tempting. She could give him the life he’d always wanted, always dreamed of, and instead of paying out his ass for it, and fighting tooth and nail, he’d just have to weather a few minutes of pain. “So. You wanna challenge me, or should I be the one to challenge you?”
“Actually…. I had an idea…” Orianna said. “Look. I’m tired, I know you’re tired too, and frankly, an actual duel between us would potentially attract attention you said you don't want.”
“So what’re you proposing instead? I just immediately surrender and submit to you?”
“Not necessarily,” she smiled, “though I like that’s where your head went. No, I’m saying we leave it to chance.” In one hand she held up a gold coin, and immediately the wheels in Alaksi’s brain started turning. A coin flip would certainly be faster, and less energy-consuming than a duel, but more importantly, it could be rigged. His wand was in his pocket, he could subtly influence the coin to go one way or another, and Ori’d never know. She’d be able to tell if he tried to throw during a duel, but he could lose a coin toss without arousing any suspicion, easy.
“So what, ‘heads I win tails you lose’ kinda thing?” Alaksi asked, unable to keep a smile off his face. Leaving something so huge up to a 50/50 chance like this was absurd, but he loved it. He loved her.
“No, no, nothing so insidious,” Ori laughed. “Just standard coin toss rules; I throw, you call in the air, if it lands on what you call, I surrender. Otherwise, you do.” Alaksi pretended to think about it for a moment, but his heart already knew the answer.
“Sure. Sounds good to me,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets. One closed around the maple handle of his wand and he adjusted his stance. He watched as Orianna flipped the coin over their heads, calling “tails” as it reached its peak, but making tiny movements with his wand to ensure it actually landed on heads.
Which it did, naturally. (He wasn’t sometimes in the class’ Top 10 for nothing, after all)
The sound of metal hitting stone rang out across the otherwise silent courtyard, and though the coin impacted the ground harder than it maybe should have, even accounting for Alaksi’s nudging, he paid it no mind. After all, it wasn’t the coin’s airtime that mattered; just what it landed on. Which was heads. Meaning Alaksi would become a familiar. Orianna’s familiar. Both apprentices stared at the little engraving for a second, before Ori was the first to break the silence.
“Do you have a preference for what animal you want to be?” she asked. Alaksi looked up, only to find her still staring at the coin. It was rare for a familiar to be able to pick their animal form, even among pre-arranged surrenders like this one. That might’ve been part of why he didn’t have anything in mind. Another part might’ve been that all his favorite animals weren’t good familiar candidates; it was a lot harder to cuddle with a snake than something like a cat, and squids were confined to bodies of water, like the ocean.
“No, ma’am, no preference,” he mumbled his answer. Why was he suddenly being so submissive to her? She didn’t actually have any power over him, no challenge had been issued, he wasn’t bound to her will… yet.
“Okay.” Orianna’s voice was similarly quiet, and she still refused to look away from her coin, center of the slightest crater where it landed. “I’ve always been fond of rabbits, if that’s OK with you?” Alaksi blanched at the suggestion.
Among familiars from Sinslar, certain animal forms came with certain implications; cats, by far the most popular animal, were known for overall being “cute” and “submissive”, with different hair/fur colors typically indicating different personalities. White cats were often the most loyal and obedient, following orders from their Magus without so much as a second though. Black cats were said to be more magically powerful, allowing them to even slightly resist commands and come off as mischievous and bratty. Orange ones were usually stupid and airheaded, but loving, particularly boys for some odd reason. They were often joked about being the smartest apprentices in their classes, so it was only a matter of time before higher ranked students would joke about turning each other into orange cats, stripping away each other's will and intelligence.
The only other animal that was close to felines, in terms of both popularity and inferences, was bunnies, who were known for little more than sex. Where Magus-familiar relationships that became sexual were far from uncommon, if a familiar was given a bunny form, there was a 99% chance (if not higher) they would end up fucking their Magus within a week.
And while that would’ve sounded great to some guys, potentially becoming Orianna’s sex slave, the thought terrified Alaksi.
He and Ori had been dating for over six months now, but they’d never slept together! Well, okay, they’d slept together, in that they had slept on the same bed (or couch) more than a few times, but the two of them had always been fully dressed, and nothing “untoward” happened. That’s part of why he liked her, she never pressured him into something he wasn’t ready for. She hadn’t even seen him naked, for crying out loud! And now she wanted him to be her bunny familiar? What was he supposed to say to that? ‘Hey I know I just said I want to be your familiar and I trust you, but actually no’? That would be cruel.
On the other hand, if Orianna was his Magus, whether or not he was ready wouldn’t even matter. She could just take all his anxieties and self-consciousness about his body away, in addition to giving him his ideal form. So really, was there any other reason as to why he could object to the choice of rabbit? Not that he could think of.
“Okay with me.” Alaksi took a deep breath. “Orianna Asherah, I challenge you, under the watchful eye of Sinslar and the sanctity of the Circle, to the Duel of the Binding of Souls. May the worthy mage win, and claim the other as Familiar.”
“I accept your challenge. May the worthy mage win,” Orianna returned, staring deep into Alaksi’s eyes and taking his hands in her own. That was it. The challenge had been put forth and accepted; there was no going back now. “So all we need is a prefect now, to confirm the challenge, right? And witness the ‘duel’?”
“Mhm,” Alaksi nodded. Looking over her head (stupid height difference), he saw the purple robes of a prefect exit the library across the courtyard and start moving toward the dormitories. “There’s one now.”
He regretted it almost as soon as he pointed them out. Ori turned and darted off to them instantly, leaving her soon-to-be-familiar to jog after her.
“...so my gi– boyfriend! My boyfriend and I need you to report our challenge, and witness the results of our duel!” she asked as Alaksi caught up. Normally, he would’ve been a little pissed that she let something slip, but honestly, they were so close, he couldn’t blame her. In just a few minutes, everything would change.
“Okay,” the prefect responded, a brunette with a sleeping black cat draped over her shoulders, “give me your names, and I’ll get back to you guys about scheduling in the morning, sound good?” Alaksi and Orianna exchanged a look, Alaksi wordlessly pleading for some kind of help, though his girlfriend merely shrugged. Looks like it was up to him to salvage his plan.
“Um, actually,” he began, “we were… kinda hoping we could just… get it over with, tonight?”
“What, now?” the girl asked, incredulous. “It’s like, after midnight already! I don’t know about you two, but I’ve got a test in the morning, and little Ellie here,” she held up a finger to scritch the top of the cat’s head, “wanted to go to bed two hours ago. I’m sorry you two, but I just don’t have time to watch and officiate a full-length Ritual Duel tonight.”
“But it won’t be a full match!” Alaksi protested.
“Really!” Orianna joined in. “He’s just going to surrender, it’ll be over quick! 10, 15 minutes, tops.”
“Why are you guys so determined to do this tonight?” the prefect asked, crossing her arms. “Especially if it’s a prearranged submission, like what gives?”
“We… or rather I, I guess…” Alaksi began, his hand receiving a reassuring squeeze from Ori, “I don’t want people to see. If they see what I want to be, what I am, they’ll hate me. But I’m tired, of everything. I’m tired of waking up every day in a body that isn’t mine, talking with a voice I hate, and leading a life I never wanted. I’d rather they just see me before and after than know whether or not this was my choice, let them make their own decisions about why she changed me the way she did.” His words hung heavy in the air as both girls watched him, concern evident on Orianna’s face. He’d never been great with words, and talking about his… situation certainly wasn’t easy, but he hoped he got his point across.
“Alright, fine, I’ll do it,” the prefect sighed, and the two apprentices let out breaths neither realized they were holding. Together, all three students walked over to the large circle inscribed in the courtyard’s cobblestones, each step feeling monumental to Alaksi. “Leave your bags with me, then you may take your positions outside the Circle.”
Alaksi’s heart was racing as he stood in the small Challenger’s Circle. Across from him, Orianna took her place in her own circle, flashing him a reassuring smile when she caught him watching.
“Names?” the prefect called, pulling a notepad and pen from her sleeve.
“Alaksi Monchlan, rank 11.”
“Orianna Asherah, rank 10.” She held his gaze as she spoke, a pillar in the sea of emotions flooding his brain. Her grin was so warm, and loving, and infectious, that before long Alaksi found himself smiling back at her, though much less confidently.
“Oh shit, it’s you two? Damn, Ellie’s little brother really wanted to see your guys’ match,” the prefect commented. Alaksi finally tore his eyes away from Ori’s eyes to say something, but the prefect held up her hands to stop him. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell him, and I’ll make sure she doesn’t either.”
“Thank you,” he whispered, and she nodded.
“Are both challengers ready?” she asked. Both apprentices nodded. “You may begin!”
In sync, both Alaksi and Orianna took a single step forward, entering the larger Ritual Circle. He flinched as he felt a magical barrier go up just behind him, the energy crackling and fizzling in his ear. Were he to reach out and touch it, he knew it would be solid and unyielding, but the idea of being electrocuted still wasn’t fun. Regardless, he and Orianna both continued walking forward, until they were mere feet from each other in the center.
“So, how should we do this?” he asked. “Like should I get down on one knee or something?”
“Like a marriage proposal?” Ori snorted, “No thanks. Both knees would be better though, in case it gets too much. Let me take care of one thing first.” Alaksi watched as she withdrew her wand and pointed it at the ground, murmuring an incantation that caused soft moss to grow up and cover the stones between them. Plant magic had always been Ori’s speciality, and he wondered what she had in store for this ceremony. The bright green moss looked so soft and inviting, and within seconds Alaksi confirmed those observations as he sank to the ground, his knees digging into the greenery.
The comfort didn’t last long, though, as Orianna reached out to lay a hand atop Alaksi’s head. It wasn’t the hand itself that was uncomfortable, it was what it triggered that scared him. He could feel the Ritual priming itself all around him, magical power building just outside his perception. It coiled around him like a snake, readying an attack to break and reform his mind and body in one fell swoop. At least Orianna was giving him a moment to prepare himself before she started draining his energy, allowing him to brace for the incoming pain.
“This will hurt,” she warned, “and not just the Ritual itself. But we’ve practiced this, and you know what to do.” Without waiting for a response, her hand atop Alaksi’s head began to glow purple, the siphoning spell taking away his mana. Alaksi steeled himself as he did during their practice sessions, the pain flowing from every part of his body and coalescing in his head, where he was connected to Ori. His hands balled into fists in this lap, steeling himself against what he knew was coming.
Looking up, he saw a green energy collect in Ori’s free hand, forming a perfect, glassy sphere half a foot in diameter for the briefest second, before deflating and cascading down from her hand to the ground. The mist rolled over the stones when it hit, spreading outward from the couple and seeping into every crack in the cobble it could find. From those openings, flowers began to sprout up and bloom, creating rings of color around the two Apprentices. The nearest ones were pure white, practically gleaming in the pale moonlight, before bleeding into a bright pink several circles out, with the outermost rings a light blue, reminiscent of a cloudless sky.
“Really?” Alaksi managed to ask, “You picked those colors?”
“Sorry that I’m proud of my girlfriend,” Ori teased. “You’re the one who said it was the best flag.” She had him there, he did say that.
“Wha—nngh—whatever,” he mumbled through clenched teeth. His reserves were only about half full now, which meant the Ritual could kick in at any moment. For the most part, he wanted it to hold off for a bit, but some tiny, submissive part of him deep down just wanted to get it over with. Not that he would ever admit it, but there was something appealing about becoming Orianna’s familiar. As a Magus, the future would only hold pain, turmoil, and suffering for him. Sure, there would be ups and downs if (when) he belonged to her, but his average quality of life would still just be so much better.
As if picking up on this train of thought, Alaksi felt a pulse ripple through the surrounding magic. Half a second later it struck, an overwhelming pressure suddenly constricting him from all sides. His eyes widened as he doubled over, his mouth open in an attempt to scream, though no sound came out. He could feel the old magic taking inventory of his body, seeing what it had to work with before it started making changes. Surprisingly, the pain so far wasn’t as bad as he expected it to be, although not really much had happened yet. Even in pre-arranged submissions, the Ritual was not known for being kind, dumping waves of incredible pain and nausea on even its most willing victims, moreso on those who tried to resist. Alaksi was more in the former group; he didn’t want to experience the pain of the Ritual, but it was necessary for what he wanted. For the changes he needed, the ones that had started to happen before his very eyes.
Had the first wave not capsized his brain, Alaksi would have seen the moss-covered ground appear closer than it had before. Brown hair appeared on either side of his vision and grew until the tips just brushed the ground, straight but swaying with his every move. He’d taken leave of his senses as an attempt to escape the pain, and he had no idea his screams filled the courtyard, mixing with the sounds of bones snapping and reconnecting, flesh moving and reshaping. His body began to change in a myriad of ways; hands and feet became smaller and daintier, limbs lost muscle mass, even his skin was softening and smoothing over. Flesh shifted away from his waist and to his chest and hips, shaping him into an hourglass figure with a full ass and breasts somewhere between B- and C-cups.
Even then, muscle still collected in a ball just above his butt and grew soft, dense fur, tickling his newly oh-so-sensitive skin as the tail connected to the base of his spine. His ears migrated from the sides of his head to the top, before changing in shape and growing to an easy foot in length.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” a voice cooed, and Alaksi looked up to see Orianna kneeling next to him, gently trying to coax him into her lap. “Everything’s gonna be alright, I’m here.” Her voice was so soothing, so reassuring, Alaksi couldn’t help but lean into her, only dimly aware as she picked him up to cradle him against her torso. The briefest flicker of a thought told him he must’ve lost a lot of weight for that to even be possible, but it was flushed out by the next wave of pain and nausea. He curled further into his partner– his Owner –as she stroked his hair, whispering affirmations into the back of his head.
“You’re beautiful, you know that?” she asked. “My beautiful, perfect, little bun-bun.” Her words provided instant relief to the changing boy, filling his heart and giving him a moment of respite from the tempest wracking his body.
“Ori– I– My– My voice!” he cried, one hand immediately going to his throat. His voice was so much higher-pitched, so much lighter than he remembered it being, it was hard to believe. It would’ve taken so much of his own magic and power to change it even a fraction of this much, and here the Ritual had done so, in the blink of an eye, and gone farther than he could’ve ever on his own.
“It’s not too high, is it?” his Owner asked, a hint of apprehension in her voice. “I tried to match the one from your spell the other week, but I might’ve overcompensated a bit…” Alaksi shook his head.
“It’s perfect,” he whispered. Of course it was, Orianna was his Owner, she could do no wrong. Tears began to prick the corner of his eyes as he smiled up at her, clinging tightly as nausea once again flooded his body.
“Shh, shshshshsh, I know it hurts,” she told him, “but you’re so close to being done. Your body’s almost ready, and then it’s just the mental changes.” She paused for a moment, seeming to think. “Do you have a name picked out yet? I can’t keep calling my pretty little bunny by her boring gross old boy name, can I?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking a lot ab–nngh –about the name Jasmine lately?” the familiar gasped through convulsions. “J, A, S, M, I, N, E.”
“That’s a beautiful name. A pretty name for a pretty girl,” Orianna cooed. Jasmine beamed at his Owner’s words, even as a shudder passed through him. The Ritual must’ve started with the mental changes, because suddenly he couldn’t refer to himself with his old name, and seconds later he couldn’t even remember the name, much less say it. Her past, her old life was changing, disappearing inside her own mind and– Oh. Pronouns. Her pronouns were she/her, not she/her! No, she/her sounded right. Orianna must’ve made it impossible for her to even misgender herself!
“I especially like the last bit where it spells out ‘mine’,” Orianna continued, either not noticing or ignoring the euphoria flooding her familiar’s brain, “because that’s just what you are. All mine, and I’m not sharing you with anyone else.” Her words sent shivers down Jasmine’s spine, though not out of fear or apprehension; she belonged wholly to her Owner, and any reinforcement of that fact seemed to have a direct link to her arousal, turning her on more than she thought possible.
“I’m yours, Madam,” she blurted out, earning a grin from her Owner.
“‘Madam’, huh? I actually quite like the sound of that,” Orianna chuckled. “You might have to get used to calling me that, my little bun-bun.”
“Yes, Madam,” the bunny familiar responded demurely, rewarded with another, smaller wave of heat and arousal flashing through her body. It might’ve been something her Owner had done through the Ritual, linking obedience and pleasure inside Jasmine’s mind, but there was also the distinct possibility that she’d always been so submissive, even before her transformation. The thought might have been scary at one point in time, but now, staring up into the eyes of her Madam, it was only exciting.
“Good girl,” the Magus whispered, and Jasmine had to fight to not pull her new ears down to cover her face. If Orianna’s smirk was anything to go by, her face must’ve been absolutely scarlet, and not without good reason. She was incredibly turned on, desperate for release and needing her Madam. Except, she was surprised to realize that her feelings of arousal were… familiar almost. While some parts were new, she unfortunately did recognize the growing tightness in her pants.
“Um, Ori?” A raised eyebrow. “Sorry. Madam, I… I still have my dick? I thought you said you were gonna get rid of it for me?”
“And I will,” her Madam promised her, “just not yet.” One finger came down to boop the bunnygirl’s nose, making her entire face scrunch up. “I wanna take it for a spin first. Or two or three… That doesn’t bother you or anything, does it?” From anyone else, the question may have sounded threatening, but Jasmine knew her Owner was genuine in her words. She’d always been considerate of Jasmine’s dysphoria, and now seemed to be no exception.
Before becoming a Familiar, Jasmine had always hated that part of her body. She’d loathed it with every fiber of her being, and refused to interact with it any more than strictly necessary. That was a significant part of the reason she and Ori had never had sex, her general bodily dysphoria another.
But what had triggered crippling anxieties and depressions just half an hour earlier were now not even minor inconveniences. Sure, there were still minor differences between what her body was and what she felt it should be, but they didn’t hold any actual meaning to her. The observation that she still had her dick was just that: an observation. It didn’t cause her any distress, didn’t give her any dysphoria, it just… was.
“Um, no Madam, that’s fine,” Jasmine mumbled.
“Good girl,” Orianna said, smiling as she scratched behind one of her Familiar’s ears. Jasmine’s leg started twitching at the stimulus, but it (unfortunately) stopped as the movement drew her Owner’s attention. “Hm, these clothes don’t really match who you are anymore, do they? What do you say we slip you into something a bit more ‘you’, huh?” Jasmine nodded, watching with wide eyes as her Owner began tracing a spell with her wand before bringing it down to tap her clothes.
Perhaps out of habit, Jasmine had picked her standard Anti-Dysphoria Outfit to wear to her duel, a baggy black hoodie and loose black jeans. Aside from her dreaded school uniform, the combo had become one of the few things she was willing to leave her dorm wearing, and was certainly her preferred option. Part of her wanted to keep the hoodie for posterity’s sake (and her new tiny body would look absolutely adorable in the oversized clothing), but her Madam could always buy her a new one, she supposed.
Her old one was currently shimmering with magical potential and energy, shrinking and changing around her body. Sleeves retracted into shoulders that eventually became nothing but thin straps as the hood folded back and sank lower and lower, exposing more and more of Jasmine’s back to the night air. The hem widened and tumbled down to the ground, hiding legs once covered by jeans that were now rapidly fading out of existence. The fabric tickled the bunny’s skin as it thinned and changed color, black giving way to a pastel pink before splitting into two layers, a thicker, solid one beneath a sheer material of the same color. Below the flowing, floor-length dress, Jasmine watched her boring boys’ sneakers transform into a pair of strappy rose-gold sandals, complete with heels that were intimidatingly high, given her lack of experience with them.
“You like?” Orianna asked, and her familiar could just hear the smirk on her face, but was too busy admiring her new outfit to actually see it.
“Yes, Madam!” Jasmine cried, throwing her arms around her Owner and nuzzling up to lean against her cheek. “Thank you so much, I love it! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyoutha–”
“Alright, I get it, you can let go now,” Orianna said, trying (and failing) to stifle a laugh as she did so. “We should probably get going, though. Can you walk?”
“In these heels??? Not a cha–aah!” Jasmine yelped as she was picked up by her partner and carried princess-style out of the center of the Circle. Amazingly, the flowers just in front of them would recede until Orianna passed through, then grow right back up behind them, retaining the perfect concentric rings. She briefly wondered how that was possible, until she realized her girlfriend was a fully fledged Magus now. She had far more power and magical prowess than she did even just an hour ago. “I love you,” she whispered just before leaning up to give the Magus a peck on the cheek.
“I love you too, honey-bun,” the Magus answered back, pressing her own lips to the smaller girl’s forehead.
“Ooh, she’s pretty,” a voice cooed, and Jasmine looked up to see two girls walking toward them; the prefect from earlier, and a shorter, raven haired girl with triangular cat ears atop her head and a matching dark tail thrashing the air behind her. The cat had disappeared off the prefect’s shoulders, so Jasmine presumed this new girl must be her familiar, Ellie, or whatever her name was.
“You think every girl is pretty,” the prefect responded, shooting her familiar a Look.
“And you know I’m right about that,” the girl with the cat ears shot back. She turned to address the bunny familiar. “Anyways, congrats on the gender. I’m guessing this was a planned thing?” Jasmine and her Owner shared a glance before nodding.
“How’d you know?” she asked.
“You’re not the only one who used the Ritual as a free and easy way to transition,” the cat responded, before getting lightly shoved by her Magus.
“Oh bullshit,” the prefect called out. “You didn’t even know you were trans until at least a month later! And even then, I was the one who first thought you might be, based on your own damn feelings.” She looked at Orianna, her eyes screaming ‘My Familiar is an idiot sometimes’, before glancing at Jasmine. “I’m gonna guess your name isn’t ****** anymore, is it?” She shook her head.
“I go by Jasmine now,” she said.
“I should probably make a note of that…'' the prefect mused, though she waved the thought aside a moment later. “Nah, administration won’t care about your identity post-Ritual; just which two students entered a duel and who became a Magus. Alright, guess I’ve got everything I need for my report then. You’ll be announced as the year’s First Duelists sometime tomorrow, so keep an eye on the bulletin boards for that.”
“Oh I wasn’t planning on either of us leaving my dorm tomorrow,” Orianna said, and her enthusiastic smile made Jasmine blush and look away, the implications too embarrassing.
“Wait, you’re the first Familiar of the year???” Ellie exclaimed, bounding up to get a closer look at Jasmine. “It’s supposed to be a good omen if the first Familiar is a rabbit, lots of powerful Magus supposedly. By the way, did you know that bunnygirls have sex, on average, over 7,000 times a year?”
“S– seven… thousand?” Jasmine asked, incredulous. What a role for a literal virgin like her to be thrust into. She blanched at the idea, and even Orianna seemed surprised at the large number.
“She’s making that up, it’s actually, like, not even 500,” the prefect was quick to butt in, pushing her Familiar away from the younger couple. “Stop being mean to the poor girl, she’s had a long night! Fresh off the Ritual, and I’m sure you remember what that felt like,” she scolded the catgirl. “You thought you were going to die!”
“I didn’t think I was gonna die to the Ritual,” she protested. “I thought I was gonna die because someone set my cloak on fire and didn’t put it out until after I’d already lost!”
“How many times have I told you, I didn’t see it! I doused it as soon as I was aware of it!” the prefect countered. This seemed to be an argument they’d had many times before, and both Jasmine and Orianna were too intimidated to move a muscle. She didn’t know about her Owner, but Jasmine was suddenly very glad they hadn’t actually had a full duel. She’d also never been a huge fan of conflict, but it seemed she was even less so now as a Familiar. She breathed a sigh of relief as the other couple started walking back towards the dorms, their argument fading with distance.
“So… just the two of us out here now,” Orianna said. “Can you stand? My arms are starting to get tired.”
“Probably, yeah?” Jasmine answered, lifting a leg to get a look at her feet. “I think I can stand fine, it’s just walking in heels I’m not great at.”
It took a second for her to find her balance once her feet touched the ground, adjusting to both the heels and her new body. Her weight was distributed differently now, the most noticeable difference being that her breasts tended to shift her center of gravity forward. The fact that the cobblestone beneath her wasn’t totally even certainly didn’t help matters, but eventually she found her stance and was able to look her Owner in the eye.
She could look Orianna in the eye.
Before the Ritual, she’d been a whole head taller than her girlfriend, annoyingly able to rest her chin atop the shorter girl’s head. Now their eyes were level. Orianna’s shoes didn’t even have heels! Jasmine was just that much shorter. Unless Ori had grown? Was that even possible from the Magus side of the Ritual? She knew that some minor transformations could occur that way, but they were hardly the kinds she wanted, so she didn’t know much.
“You ready?” her Owner asked, and Jasmine nodded. Her heart was beating so loud in her chest that she was sure Orianna must be able to hear. Ready for what, exactly? “Good, because I wanna show you something.” Jasmine cocked her head to the side in confusion, but obeyed nonetheless as she was turned back toward the Circle. One of Ori’s arms snaked around Jasmine’s waist and she leaned into her Madam, watching with rapt attention as she raised her other arm and snapped her fingers.
Jasmine felt the magic ripple through her body and reverberate around the courtyard, focusing and concentrating on the Circle before them. The moss clearing in the center faded, offering but the briefest glimpse of the cobblestones beneath before more white flowers grew to take its place, the Ritual area now a solid carpet of bloom. Black vines began to weave their way through the petals, drawing shapes on the blank canvas. First it was just two lines branching out from the couple, both moving forward but one to the left and the other to the right, but as they approached the edges of the flowers, they began to gently curve inward and away. Just beyond the center, the two rejoined in a point, completing a large love heart, dead in the center of the courtyard. The outline completed, more vines started to sprout inside the shape, one to the left and one to the right, and it didn’t take long for them to be recognizable as two letters, a ‘J’ and an ‘O’, respectively.
“Who’s Jo?” Jasmine asked.
“Noooooo,” her Madam scolded her. She snapped her fingers and more vines sprouted in the center, crossing to form a plus sign. “It’s us, dummy; J and O, Jasmine and Orianna.” Her grip tightened, and for the umpteenth time that night tears sprang to Jasmine’s eyes. Not out of pain, but out of sheer joy and raw emotion. She could finally be her true self, without worrying about what others would think. She’d made it through the Ritual of the Familiar, and come out of it even better than when she’d gone in. She had an Owner who cared about her, who she would do anything for. She was alive, she was real, but most of all, she was loved.
“I love you,” she sobbed, throwing her arms around her Madam’s neck.
“I love you too, bunny,” Orianna cooed, tears beginning to form in her own eyes. She pulled her Familiar into a tight embrace, holding her still, comforting her, as she let her emotions out.
They stayed like that for a while, Jasmine wasn’t sure how long, before something occurred to her.
“Um, Madam?” she said, pulling back slightly. It was only fair she mention this, having practically forced it upon her partner with little discussion beforehand. “There’s something I need to tell you.” Orianna nodded, and she took a deep breath to steady herself. “I rigged the coin flip earlier.”
“What do you mean?” Orianna’s voice was curious, but she didn’t sound mad, which was good.
“I– I had my wand in my pocket when you did it, and I used it to make sure the coin landed on tails.”
“But you called heads.”
“Yeah, I–” Jasmine paused. Did she want to admit this? No. But she had to. She needed to be honest with her Madam. “Yeah. I wanted to lose. I wanted to become your Familiar. I thought that even with the pain, it would be so much easier to get my body, my voice, me this way. I’d have to work so hard otherwise, and people would hate me just for being who I am, and I don’t want to have to deal with that. And I guess even if I didn’t really know it then, I just wanted to belong. Well maybe ‘belong’ isn’t the right word, but–”
“You wanted to be owned,” Orianna finished, and she nodded. What was weird was that her Madam was smiling. “Well, I guess that explains why my coin got stuck in the ground, if it had two people making it land tails.” She chuckled as Jasmine’s eyes widened. “Yeah. I wanted you to be my Familiar too. That’s why I suggested the coin flip, so I could rig it. Truth be told, I’ve been on a bit of a dominant streak lately, and I always thought you’d be cute as a bunny.” The admission made Jasmine blush, and she averted her eyes. Hearing Ori wanted her that way was a lot, but now it turned her on. The feeling was almost addictive… she had to know more.
“Um… just how long have you been feeling particularly domme?” she asked hesitantly, fearing the answer.
“How long have we been dating?” Orianna countered, “Six months? Since before we came to Sinslar.” Oh gods. The response only turned Jasmine on more, and she squirmed from the discomfort. Had Orianna had her eye on her for that long??? Two years? The implications made her head spin. Orianna must have noticed the gears trying to turn too fast in Jasmine’s brain, because seconds later she stepped forward to put her hands on the bunny’s cheeks and kissed her.
The two of them had kissed before, of course, but this time was different. This one was soft, it was warm, it was electric, it turned Jasmine’s heart and mind to fireworks. It felt right. This was what she’d been missing out on for months, but now she had it. This was the best kiss of her life, and she knew they were only going to get better from here out.