Part 2: The beginning of something captivating
The young elf Rilliana quietly climbed out of her bed after her friend Trisha the feline Shifter finally fell asleep. She sneaked to a window with a large hole in the wall that offered her an unobstructed view of Leon's Keep. Light-footed, she climbed onto the table in front of it and sat cross-legged on it, overlooking the city. No one was to be seen on the dark streets, and she could only hear the wind and the gentle sound of the river beating against the harbor walls. Rilliana brushed her blond hair from her face and closed her eyes. A lot had happened yesterday, and they had both barely escaped with their lives after a bumpy start. If Trisha had not been there, then probably only ash would have remained of her, but without the Shifter she would never have gotten into this situation. But all that did not matter at the moment. They had escaped and Faluden thought they were dead. Now all they had to do was lie low and wait for the dust to settle.
Hours passed while Rilliana meditated to recover from the strain. She blinked as the first rays of sun warmed her face and stretched. Rilliana heard something move behind her, and she heard a soft yawn.
"Morning sleepyhead, how's your paw?" she asked, turning to the Shifter who was rubbing her eyes.
"Oh, it will be fine," Trisha mumbled sleepily, raising her arm to shield herself from the sun's rays that flooded the small room after Rilliana slid down from the table and joined her in bed. Trisha put her arms around the elf and snuggled against her. Rilliana returned the hug and suppressed a giggle as the Shifter tickled her. Quietly, the two lay in each other's arms, enjoying the silence.
"Hey are you actually hungry?" asked Rilliana, looking down questioningly at Trisha.
"A little bit…" mumbled Trisha and her statement was underlined with a loud growl of her stomach. Rilliana laughed and Trisha smiled sheepishly.
"Let's see what I have left." the elf said and rolled back out of bed and opened her rundown closet. A box of cookies was the only thing in it.
"Aha! We're in luck!" exclaimed Rilliana, reaching for the box. As she lifted it, she bristled. The cookies were heavier than she expected. She shook them gently and heard a squeak.
"Oh come on Tabasco? I told you not to touch my food!" said Rilliana, pulling her mouse Tabasco out of the box, which had eaten its way around the cookies. "Did they at least taste good?" The mouse squeaked in agreement and scrambled up her shoulder over her arm.
"You didn't tell me you had a pet," Trisha said.
"Well, between the side street you robbed me on, to the number in the cage, to the wildest night of my life, I haven't found the time to tell you about Tabasco," said Rilliana, taking the mouse off her shoulder to show Trisha.
"Don't worry, I won't hurt you, little one," said the shifter and gently stroked the mouse's head. Tabasco sniffed the girl's paw and, after a brief pondering, climbed up to get on her shoulder.
"I don't suppose you can walk yet, can you?" asked Rilliana with a worried look at Trisha's bandage on her hind paw.
"Let's give it a try," she replied, swinging her legs out of the bed and trying to stand up. Trisha's mouth opened into a silent scream, and she wrenched her eyes open. "SHOULDN'T THIS BE BETTER AND NOT WORSE?" she screamed as Tabasco slid off her shoulder in shock and scrambled under the covers.
"Let me see," murmured Rilliana and began to undo the bandage. Under it, the wound had become infected. "You need medicine," Rilliana concluded, carefully wrapping a new bandage around the paw, "I'm afraid I don't have anything here… I'll get you some before it gets worse." Rilliana put on her everyday clothes, shouldering a small bag and turning to Trisha.
"Take care of yourself Rilli," said the shifter, holding out her arms to the elf.
"I will," said her friend, returning the hug and kissing Trisha.
"Get some rest, don't let it get worse," said Rilliana gently as she broke the kiss and broke away from the embrace.
By now the streets of Leon's Keep were well filled and more than once Rilliana had to squeeze between the crowds to get any further. The delicious smell of buns filled the whole street.
"Morning Rilliana." the baker greeted when he recognized her.
"Morning Eric," she said, admiring delicacies in front of her, "Could you give me four of those," she said, pointing at the buns.
"Sure if you pay," he laughed.
"Of course," she said, rummaging in her shoulder bag for some coins.
After the exchange, Eric leaned down to her and Rilliana listened up. "Could it be you've pissed off the wrong people?" he whispered softly in a serious voice.
Rilliana bit her lower lip. "Could be. Who's asking for me?"
"Some guy looking for a blonde elf."
"You know that half of the elves in Leon's Keep are blond, right?"
"But one who is supposed to have stolen from him?"
"Well, that narrows it down a bit more. Thanks for the warning."
"Take care of yourself," said Eric. Rilliana nodded her thanks to him and disappeared into the crowd.
After buying an ointment and medicine for Trisha at a nearby apothecary, she made her way back to her hiding place.
She opened the door and stepped into the dusty hallway. She froze. Something was different. Every day she went out and back through this narrow dark corridor, but now with the warning Eric had given her… Something made her uneasy. She could easily see the opposite closed door with her eyes, so at least in the corridor no trap had been laid. As quietly as possible, she let her bag slide to the floor. Rilliana herself slowly sneaked to the door ready to overpower anyone who was behind it. Without further thought, she kicked the door with all her might, and it immediately burst open.
Rilliana rushed into her hiding place and could hardly believe her eyes when she saw Trisha lying on her bed, unconscious, and bound. Ropes stretched from her wrists to the head of her bed. Her ankles were also tied and firmly anchored to the foot of the bed. With a glance, Rilliana could see that the intruder had taken advantage of Trisha's injury and bound her so tightly that if she struggled too much against her bonds, she would feel incredible pain in her injured paw.
Without thinking further, she rushed to Trisha and tampered with the knots.
"Trisha! Wake up! What happened? Who did this?" she asked in dismay, fumbling for her daggers. Unfortunately, Faluden had taken them from her yesterday, so she feverishly worked on untying the knots. Too late she noticed that someone had crept up behind her, hiding behind the door. A muscular hand grabbed her by the neck and pushed her to the ground. The next moment her eyes went black again as her head hit the floor.
Rilliana's head throbbed with pain as she came awake. For the second time in two days she had lost consciousness through a stone wall.
She tried to moan, but something blocked her from speaking. Rilliana tried to remove the object in her mouth with her hands, but they did not obey her commands. Only now did she suddenly realize that her hands were tied and opened her eyes only to see nothing but absolute darkness. A blindfold had been pulled tightly over her eyes. Only now did she notice that her legs were also tied together at the ankles and above and below her knees.
Annoyed, she screamed into her gag to draw attention to herself.
She could hear a soft whimpering coming from Trisha who was still tied to the bed above her.
"Ah, you're finally awake," said a rough male voice, and Rilliana felt someone sit down on the floor next to her. Rilliana blindly tried to crawl away from him only to make acquaintance with another stone wall.
The stranger chuckled as he pulled her away from the wall and back to him.
"Listen, I mean you and your little friend no harm. It's just that you stole something from my client, and he would like it back. I would prefer it if we could solve this as non-violently as possible, don't you think?"
Rilliana just nodded.
"Good. Let's get down to business," he continued in a suddenly cheerful and friendly voice, "I was told that a thieving blonde elf was prowling around Leon's Keep and stole something valuable from my client yesterday. You wouldn't happen to know where I could find his possessions, would you?"
Rilliana just shrugged and mumbled into her gag.
"Oh sorry, I forgot, my lady," the stranger said and untied the knot in her neck to remove the gag. Rilliana breathed in relief too and carefully moved her jaw to get rid of the stiffness that had slowly formed.
"Will you let us go when I tell you?" the elf asked. She tried to sound brave, but she didn't believe herself.
"You have my word, so where is the purse you took yesterday?" the man asked again this time a bit more energetically.
"The bag is in the pile of clothes, in the corner by the window!"
Rilliana felt the stranger get up and walk to the window.
She could hear him searching a bit in her clothes until he yelled out happily.
"I think that was good work by all of us!"
He came back to Rilliana and sat down again.
"You're lucky, little one. My client is one of the good ones. He just wants his family heirloom back, so you can keep the rest." He said and emptied the bag over her. Coins showered down on her and rolled across the floor and under the bed.
"Tell me, how limber are you?" he asked suddenly.
Puzzled, the elf turned her head in his direction as he suddenly lifted her legs with another rope and connected them with her hands so that she now lay in a tight hogtie on the floor.
"I thought you were letting us go?" asked Rilliana in horror, straining at her bonds.
"I am. Here," he replied, tossing a metal object into the corner, "your key to freedom, and before I forget…” He was about to gag her again when she turned away.
"Come on, almost there," the man said, disappointed but waited to hear what she had to say.
"Please wait… My friend is hurt, could you give her some medicine before you go, it's outside in the hall" Rilliana pleaded and prayed to all the gods that the man really had a heart.
Sure enough, the man got up and went out into the hallway. Shortly after, he came back and administered her medicine to the whimpering Shifter and even spread the ointment on her injury.
"You owe me for that, little one," the man said, stuffing the gag back into her mouth which this time she accepted without resisting.
"Well then ladies. Goodbye." He closed the door with a flourish.
Trisha groaned in relief as Rilliana tried to crawl towards the blade while her body rubbed badly against the floor and the coins.
Three weeks later
"Finally, this stupid bandage can come off," Trisha sighed with relief and fell back into bed while Rilliana removed the bandage.
"Now you just have to be careful not to strain your paw too much." Rilliana said and lay down with her friend.
"Aww come on, I've been resting for… Probably a month!"
"Three weeks and yes, I'm serious." Replied Rilliana.
"You expect me to walk around town on all fours like a common cat?" asked Trisha incredulously.
Rilliana turned to Trisha and grinned.
"No," Trisha said, trying to back away from Rilliana, "NO, NO, absolutely not!"
"Come on it wouldn't be for long either," said Rilliana and scooted behind her.
Trisha felt the edge of the bed under her and was about to fall off.
"Didn't you just tell me to take it easy?" she asked as a last resort, trying in vain to suppress her curiosity that begged to find out what exactly Rilliana was up to.
The elf saw the glint in Trisha's eyes, and she knew she had won if she just played her cards right.
"Yeah, you're probably right," Rilliana said, standing up, "and we don't have enough room for it anyway," she moaned artificially.
Trisha bit her lower lip.
Trisha muttered something.
"I said, we could go to my place!" she said aloud only to cover her mouth the next moment as if she had said something wrong.
Rilliana smiled. Since finding out three weeks ago that her friend liked being tied up (in a safe environment), Rilliana had practiced diligently.
After it had taken Rilliana almost the entire night to find the knife and free herself, she instantly went to Trisha and removed her gag and blindfold. But instead of begging Rilliana to get her bindings as soon as possible, Trisha asked to be tied to the bed a little longer and just wanted Rilliana to lie down next to her. At first Rilliana didn't understand what it was all about, but after a few days she started to like being hugged by ropes.
Rilliana slowly turned to Trisha.
The hairs on the back of Shifter's neck stood up when she saw her friend's lustful grin.
Rilliana opened the door to the street and looked around nervously.
While the whole thing was her idea, she still didn't feel like explaining to the city guard what she was doing in the middle of the night on the street with a Shifter.
"All clear, come on." whispered Rilliana, walking through the door and gently pulling on a rope in her hand.
Hesitantly, Trisha stuck her head through the door and looked anxiously up and down the street.
A simple gag made of cloth ensured that she could not voice any concerns, and so she had no choice but to follow Rilliana.
The rope in Rilliana's hand was attached to a belt around Trisha's neck and served as a leash. Her arms and legs were folded at the joints and tied with the rest of the rope so that she could only walk on her knees and elbows. Soft cloths were wrapped around her so that she was not in direct contact with the hard streets.
"How is it that you were able to find a hiding place in the upper city?"
Rilliana asked in a low voice to mask her nervousness.
"Iff yuu had'n gaggd mme I wuu'd hee yuu!" She replied through the gag.
"You always sound so cute when I gag you," she said, tickling Trisha between the ears.
Trisha found herself liking her situation and began to purr briefly until a gust of wind hit her, and she remembered where she was, outside, in the middle of the street and absolutely helplessly bound.
Rilliana noticed her panic and quickly pulled Trisha into the shadows.
She knelt down next to her bound friend and began to gently stroke her.
"Hey you don't have to worry, we'll be fine, and I'll always take care of you. I promise," she said, looking into Trisha's eyes with confidence.
The Shifter hesitated, but nodded and scrambled ahead.
They stopped at a corner near a tavern. Loud laughter and the singing of drunks filled the street. Questioningly, Trisha looked at Rilliana.
"Www haf hu haah hhe hafeen," said Trisha, anxiously peeking out from her cover to check if anyone was on the street.
"You sound cute, but people still don't understand you. We have to go by there?"
Rilliana felt Trisha trying to kick her and took a look down the street herself. She recognized an abandoned house at the end of the street, which had an entrance through the underground passages of the city. This would allow them to bypass the tavern.
"Come this way Kitty," said Rilliana, gently pulling on the leash. As fast as they could, the two friends ran across the street and Rilliana started looking for an entrance in the ground as soon as they were hidden in the shadows again. Quickly she found the grid she was looking for and lifted it aside. Carefully Rilliana climbed down and stretched her arms to lift Trisha down.
"Man, you're heavy!" said Rilliana as she descended into the hallway with Trisha in her arms.
Trisha hissed loudly and tried to bite Rilliana through the gag.
"Off! Bad Cat!" shouted Rilliana, giving her a light slap on the butt.
Rilliana smiled when she saw her friend blushing.
"Watch out down here there are bigger mice than Tabasco… Although actually the mice should be watching out, right? Here, as a little reward," said Rilliana, untying the rope from Trisha's collar. Hesitantly, Trisha took a few steps forward and then looked back at her friend.
"Nah come on let off some steam before we have to sneak right back through town and don't worry no one is using this hallway."
Trisha didn't wait for her to tell it twice and ran off on all fours as if she had never done anything else. She looked more like a puppy that was happy to get out after a long day than a tied up Shifter.
Rilliana found that Trisha had learned to move amazingly fast. Was it maybe because Shifter and cats were very close relatives or because Trisha's tail helped her to keep her balance? Rilliana made an inward note to ask Trisha about her adventures.
"Hey Trisha! Catch!" shouted Rilliana suddenly, and the Shifter whirled around to face her.
The elf had taken a ball from home and tossed it to Trisha.
Beaming with joy, Trisha rushed towards the ball as it rolled towards her, narrowly missing it with her arms, and the ball rolled further under her into the darkness. Awkwardly, Trisha tried to turn on the spot and chased after the ball.
Rilliana was about to run after her when she tripped over a protruding rock and fell to the ground.
She cursed softly and caught herself just in time.
"That was close, wasn't it Trisha?" she asked, but Trisha was nowhere to be seen.
"Trisha?" she asked again. No answer.
Cold sweat ran down her neck as she imagined what might have happened to Trisha. Immediately she struggled to her feet and ran down the hallway. Tears streamed down Rilliana's face, and she suppressed a sob.
"Trisha!" she called again and this time she heard soft footsteps.
Rilliana came to a screeching halt in front of an intersection as Trisha stood in front of her with the ball over the gag, looking at her questioningly and anxiously. Immediately, Rilliana took her friend in her arms.
Her voice cracked as she tried to explain herself.
"I… I thought something had happened to you. I fell and… And you were suddenly gone… I would never have forgiven myself!" she sobbed, hugging her tightly.
Trisha let it wash over her and nudged Rilliana with her nose.
"Let's leave it for today," said Rilliana between her tears and was about to untie her when Trisha resisted and squirmed out of her grip.
"Hey what's that all about?" asked Rilliana, following her.
Trisha dodged her and shook her head.
"You really want to go through with this?" asked Rilliana in disbelief, wiping tears from her face.
Trisha nodded determinedly and looked up at the elf defiantly.
Rilliana didn't know if she should laugh or cry.
"Come here you!" she said and sat down on the floor.
The Shifter beamed, lay down next to her and rested her head on Rilliana's leg.
Rilliana stroked Trisha's back until she began to purr.
"May I untie your gag?" the elf asked cautiously and Trisha nodded after a moment's hesitation.
Rilliana untied the knot and removed the gag from Trisha's mouth.
The Shifter moaned softly as she moved her jaw to regain feeling in it.
"Trisha… These last few weeks with you have been the best I've had in a long time… And… When I lost sight of you just now… I panicked, you know? I …" again tears rolled down Rilliana's face as she struggled for words.
Trisha looked at her friend compassionately and lifted an arm as best she could and placed it on Rilliana's.
"You don't have to say anything… It was stupid of me to run so far forward and burden you with so much," said Trisha, smiling at Rilliana.
"You're burdening me? Which one of us turned the other into a helpless kitten?" asked Rilliana, wiping away her tears.
"I gave you all the responsibility and didn't give you any consideration, and I'm sorry for that," said Trisha seriously, moving a little closer to Rilliana.
"But I lost sight of you, it's my fault," said the elf.
"Both our fault …" Corrected Trisha.
Rilliana didn't look convinced.
"Besides, I have a bit more experience in this field I would say," Trisha added, trying to pick herself up again, "Come we must arrive before it gets light. We have a cozy bed waiting for us."
Trisha didn't leave Rilliana's side until they arrived at a hole that led into the basement of the ruin. With the tavern behind them, the two friends made their way to the wall that separated the upper town from the lower town.
"Are we there yet?" asked Rilliana, looking nervously at the moon, which was already dangerously low.
"We're here." replied Trisha, breathing heavily, and disappeared behind a pair of bushes. Rilliana pushed aside some branches and stood in front of a heavy gate. Which blocked their way.
"And now?" asked the elf.
"Push that stone there," said Trisha, pointing with her arm to a stone with a small cat symbol on it, but which Trisha could not reach in her situation.
Rilliana pressed the button and the grate slid a little to the side so the two of them could squeeze through. They walked down another corridor until they stood in front of a wooden door.
"Take my key," said Trisha, offering Rilliana her butt. Rilliana gave her a smack and Trisha jumped in shock.
"I MEANT MY APARTMENT KEY!" Snarled Trisha as her pulse skyrocketed.
"Couldn't let the opportunity pass." Replied Rilliana, grinning broadly as she searched for the key. Quickly the door was opened and Rilliana's jaw dropped when she saw what Trisha called home.
A red carpet had been laid throughout the room and a four-poster bed stood against the wall. Several closets no doubt filled with countless garments lined the opposite stone wall interrupted only by a door.
"Make yourself at home Rilli," said Trisha, trying to climb onto the bed. To no avail.
"What, how? Why?" asked Rilliana in shock, pushing her friend up onto her giant bed.
"Can these questions wait until later? I'm a little tired already."
"Yes… Yes. Of course." Rilliana said, still confused, sitting down next to Trisha.
"Who… Are you?"
Asked Rilliana, looking anxiously at her still-bound girlfriend.
Trisha just rolled her eyes.
"Get me out of these ropes, and I'll explain!" she requested, trying in vain to turn onto her back.
She grunted with exertion, wriggled briefly, and then just lay there breathing heavily.
"A little help please!" she whined, looking up at Rilliana pleadingly.
"Of course, here."
Rilliana helped her turn over and began untying the knots.
A little while later, the two of them were lying under a cozy blanket, warming each other up.
"So…?" Rilliana finally asked, curiously waiting to hear what Trisha had to say.
"So…" Trisha said, seeming to struggle for words, "Where do I even begin? Basically, it's like this… You and I are very similar in the way we grew up. The only difference is that I was adopted by a wealthy man from Goramag. He raised me to be a thief even though this was not necessary as we lacked for nothing. Only later I learned that he was a kind of underworld boss who had countless lackeys under him, but I did not mind. I was grateful that he had adopted me and supported my talent. Now and then he gave me an order to steal this or that.
He treated me like his own flesh and blood, and we traveled all over the country, ate and played together…" Trisha fell silent for a moment as if she needed to collect herself.
"Nevertheless, I kept asking myself where my biological parents were… Why had they left me alone…? And so it happened that my father helped me to gather information, and we found out that a rival, Faluden, probably had something to do with the disappearance of my parents or at least knew something about them. However, I was caught by him. He was impressed with my abilities and wanted to recruit me, but as you know, I refused." Trisha raised an arm and pointed to the rich furniture in the room.
"This is what my father set up for me so that I would have a place to live in Leon's Keep while I was dealing with Faluden. He has good relationships with architects, guards, mages, and even the upper class of Leon's Keep that has made a lot of things easier." Trisha finished her story and waited to hear what Rilliana had to say.
She only looked at her with an expressionless face.
Trisha was getting nervous.
"Please… Say something."
Rilliana opened her mouth, but immediately closed it again.
"Trisha… What do you want me to say? Do you think I would judge you or turn my back on you because you are the daughter of an underworld boss? I have my contacts in town, too, and I'm far from being an innocent. Come here," she said and embraced Trisha. The Shifter returned the hug and breathed a sigh of relief.
"You'll have to show me around later. I bet there's lots of fun we can have here."
"If you knew," she replied, closing her eyes, ", but please let me get a few hours of sleep."
"Of course…" said Rilliana, trying to close her eyes herself to sink into her meditation.
Rilliana blinked, still lying in the four-poster bed next to Trisha who was breathing quietly and calmly.
The elf smiled and carefully slipped out of bed without waking Trisha. She put on her leather pants and slipped on her undershirt which laid loosely over her body.
Trisha won't mind if I look around a bit, will she? Rilliana thought and opened one of the closets. There were countless pieces of clothing in different colors. The other closet had dark clothes that were perfect for stealing at night. All that was left was the door that was set between the two pieces of furniture.
Rilliana opened it a crack and took a look inside. A corridor appeared with two doors on the left and two on the right.
Rilliana looked at Trisha who was still fast asleep.
"She will not mind." Rilliana whispered and disappeared behind the door. Immediately she opened the first door to her left and found herself in a large room with countless books and a large sofa. A desk was placed in the corner of the room and a dozen scrolls were piled up on it.
Rilliana couldn't believe how big Trisha's apartment must be and how many resources her father had used to make it all happen. Hastily, she closed the door and opened the opposite one instead.
Rilliana's jaw dropped when she found Trisha's bathroom, the largest she had ever seen. Everything was decorated with white stone slabs and a bathtub stood in the corner where at least four people would have found room. A toilet and a sink completed the picture. Rilliana wondered if she should take a bath, but stopped herself. She would rather take a bath with Trisha when she woke up. She left the room and went further down the hall. Rilliana opened the left door again and found herself in an empty room. A plaque was attached to the opposite wall with symbols engraved on it.
Rilliana couldn't read the strange writing, but her curiosity got the best of her, and she went to it and turned a knob, but nothing happened, so she pressed one of the symbols.
Immediately it began to glow and blink. Hesitantly, Rilliana pulled her hand back and wondered if she had just messed up as the light began to flash faster and faster. Suddenly, the door slammed shut and Rilliana was locked in.
"Trisha?" asked Rilliana fearfully, but there was no answer.
The room lit up so Rilliana put her hands in front of her face to protect her eyes.
Once the glow disappeared, Rilliana heard a beeping sound as if the room was telling her that it was finished.
Rilliana lowered her arms, and again she didn't know what had happened. Throughout the room, coin-sized holes had appeared in the walls, crisscrossed. A number flickered on the closed door and slowly counted down. Seeking help, Rilliana turned to the panel, but the symbols still told her nothing.
Rilliana became frightened and huddled in a corner.
When the number zero appeared, nothing happened. But suddenly a rope shot out of one of the holes in Rilliana's direction which narrowly missed, and it got stuck on the wall.
"What's going on?" she asked, and ducked under another rope that was jumping towards her.
She noticed another number that had appeared on the door and her heart sank when she saw a 179 that wasn't counting down, at least not by the second.
"You're not serious Trish…" said Rilliana, frantically trying to figure out how to get out of here.
She ran to the door and tried in vain to open it. After several pulls she realized she was stuck and hurriedly let go as more ropes shot in her direction and attached themselves to the door. By now there were ropes stretched all over the room like a spider web and Rilliana didn't want to find out what would happen if she touched one, let alone got caught in them.
She managed to narrowly dodge one more time, but then her luck ran out. A rope shot just past her head and she ducked again. Rilliana noticed too late that another one was shot at her from the door and it hit her so hard in the back that it swept her off the ground and sent her flying unimpeded into the jungle of ropes. It happened as she had feared and from one moment to the next she was helplessly tangled in the ropes. The room continued to cheerfully shoot ropes in her direction to minimize her chances of freeing herself. Rilliana struggled as hard as she could, but every movement seemed to make her situation even more hopeless. Suddenly she felt a rope being tied between her legs and she immediately stopped her escape attempts and blushed.
The only thing she could move now was her head, and so she had no choice but to watch helplessly as she was suspended like a marionette from the ropes a hand's width above the ground,
Arms and legs sticking out from her body at different angles.
"Trisha?" asked Rilliana again nervously as the rope between her legs pressed deeper and deeper into her leather pants.
Just in time she noticed another rope being thrown at her head and lifted her head. The rope whizzed just past her nose and she felt that she had to sneeze. With all her might she tried to resist the reflex, but it was a hopeless endeavor as she finally sneezed and her whole body shook.
Rilliana shrieked loudly as the ropes tightened around her and the rope between her legs sank deeper into her. The rope at head level wrapped around her head and pressed over her eyes.
"Trisha!" Rilliana yelled desperately, afraid the next rope might wrap around her neck.
She groaned in relief when she finally heard her girlfriend's footsteps.
There was a click as the door opened behind Rilliana and a load fell from her heart.
"Rilliana? Are you in there? I can't open the door all the way. Please tell me you didn't touch anything." came Trisha's nervous voice from the door that was blocked by the ropes.
"Well let's put it this way… I touched something, and now I'm hanging out here for a bit. What do you need a room that shoots ropes at you for?"
Trisha laughed out loud.
"That's my training room. I can adjust all kinds of things in there. Why do you think I was able to defeat you so easily?"
"And when can I get out of here?" asked Rilliana, annoyed.
"Depends. What number is on the door right now?"
"I don't know. The last time I saw it, it said 179," said Rilliana nervously, fearing the worst.
Trisha laughed again.
"So you managed to set up my training room to tie you up and not let you go for the next three hours. Respect!"
"Three hours?" asked Rilliana in horror, "can't you get me out of here sooner?"
"Well yes, but then I would have to go across the room and go to the tablet, but unfortunately I still have to" spare" my paw a little and I don't feel like hanging next to you for three hours because of one little slip-up. I'll come back later. Have fun!" said Trisha, laughed again and closed the door.
Rilliana was again at a loss for words. She was about to shout something after Trisha when a rope tightened around her mouth, effectively gagging her.
With her last strength she somehow tried to free herself, but the room had other plans and Rilliana gave up as the ropes tightened around her even more.
Annoyed, she puffed out her breath.
"Well, if I can't get out of here, at least I'll try to enjoy it a little," she thought and slowly began to rock her hips forward and backward.
Trisha shook her head with a smile and went back to the bedroom.
She briefly panicked when she didn't see Rilliana anywhere, but then she noticed the open door to the hallway and heard the blonde elf calling her and whimpering.
"Best idea ever," she murmured and snuggled into her blanket.
The Next Morning
Rilliana had a dreamy look on her face after Trisha finally got her safely out of her training room. She laid motionless on the floor and barely reacted to Trisha, picking her up off the floor and bringing her into the bathroom. The tub was already filled with hot water and foam was rising above its rim. Carefully, Trisha undressed her friend and slid her into the tub.
"I'm in heaven," she said softly, sinking lower into the water.
"Not quite yet." Laughed the Shifter and climbed into the tub herself, lying down next to Rilliana.
After her last adventure, there were clear rope marks all over Rilliana's skin. Trisha admired the marks and stroked her fingers over one of them. They adorned the elf like ornaments.
"You look amazing," she said and started massaging the elf.
Rilliana bit her lower lip and enjoyed the closeness of her friend and the warmth of the water.
The two friends had their eyes closed and Trisha had her arms wrapped around Rilliana from behind.
"Can you train me? Teach me how to fight like you?"
Trisha opened one of her eyes.
"I looked over what you did in my training room…believe me, I'm not that good," she said.
"Still, when we first met you made me look like a rookie."
"Yes, that was quite an embarrassing performance you presented there."
"Oh, come on," Rilliana said, breaking free of the embrace and drifting to the other side of the tub, "I wasn't that bad."
"Don't answer that. I get it. Can you teach me or not?"
"All right, have it your way. We'll start today," she said, grinning deviously, "But be warned it could be dangerous," she added, standing up and raising her fist as if she wanted to go to battle. The water that had settled onto her skin splashed back into the tub and onto Rilliana.
The elf looked up at her friend and bit her lower lip as she saw the Shifter in full glory before her.
"Trisha? I don't think I'm ready for this!" expressed Rilliana. And glanced nervously at the apparatus Trisha was tinkering with. She herself could only sit there and wait to see exactly what Trisha was going to do with her. All the way out of the city, into the forest and to a small uninhabited hut, Trisha had said nothing, although Rilliana pestered her with questions. Now she sat tied to a chair, visibly nervous.
"I thought we were practicing fighting Trisha?" she asked, watching Trisha adjust a needle back on the device.
"Remember what I told you when I pushed you against the wall?" she asked, nodding briefly at the device and turning to her friend.
"That I let my emotions control me too much?"
"Right, I now want to see how you react under pressure to give me a picture. Emotions are good in a fight, but too many of them, and you will lose," said Trisha, pointing to the device.
"This device activates as soon as the tower clock of Leon's Keep strikes. After that you have one hour to free yourself, or it will detonate and well there will be a bit of a mess."
Rilliana's blood froze in her veins.
"You're not serious, are you? Trisha, get me out of here now!" demanded Rilliana, looking frightened at the bomb.
"Don't worry, Rilli, I have complete confidence that you will be able to free yourself and disarm the bomb. You just have to press this button here," she said, pointing to a big red button on top of the bomb.
Rilliana looked down at her body and examined her bonds.
Her hands were fixed behind the chair and a rope led from them to her feet so that she did not touch the floor. Other ropes were wrapped around her body and pressed her against the back of the chair.
In addition, there was a rope that Trisha had fastened through Rilliana's crotch and connected to the rest of the restraints.
In disbelief, Rilliana looked up at Trisha who was now walking to her.
"Trisha can we nmmmh, hmmhh!"
"Naaahh don't worry about it." Trisha interrupted her and put a cloth in her mouth which she sealed with another one and fastened in Rilliana's neck.
They both listened as the bell of Leon's Keep rang seven times.
"See you in under an hour then," said Trisha cheerfully, walking to the door and waving goodbye to the elf.
Rilliana looked after her with a mixture of anger and fear, but there was nothing she could do now but try to accomplish the almost impossible task.
The bomb started ticking and immediately panic gripped Rilliana's heart.
First she tried to tear the ropes and struggled against them with all her might. But they seemed to only get tighter, just like in the training room, and again she became aware of the rope between her legs.
Her head ran red as it pressed into her pants.
"MMHHMMAAA!" she shouted through her gag, but the Shifter did not show her face.
Outside the hut, Trisha had made herself comfortable under a tree. She yawned loudly and watched Rilliana through the windows of the hut.
Inside the cabin, Rilliana was waging a futile war against the ropes. Every tug, every twist, and every rise of her body was punished with a tug between her legs. Exhausted, she let herself hang in the ropes and glanced at the bomb. Fifteen minutes had already passed, and she had no progress to present. Sweat ran down her face and tickled her. Annoyed, she shook her head to get rid of the drops but to no avail.
"I need another strategy…" she thought, trying to calm herself down. Trisha would never put her in danger, would she?
She started to scan her bonds and felt if she found any knots somewhere.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she felt one.
"Mmmmh?" she said, trying to see the knot over her shoulder. The knot was pulled tighter than she had ever experienced. "I'm such an idiot." thought Rilliana, and began to untie it. Her wriggling had pulled the knot, and so she feared all the others were also pulled so tightly that they were now rock hard, and she could hardly find any weak points with her fingers to loosen them. Nevertheless, she did not let herself be distracted and tried it further until it loosened at some point. She exhaled in satisfaction as one of the ropes came loose and glanced at the bomb. She froze, another quarter of an hour was gone.
The previously hard-won calm was gone in one fell swoop as she again feverishly searched for a knot now that she had more room to move.
With each new loosened knot she could move more and more until she had to loosen only her hands and her legs.
A chime sounded and a wave of fear rolled over Rilliana.
"One!" she counted in her head and continued to struggle with the ropes after all the movements, these ropes had pulled particularly tight.
"Two! Would Trisha come in and save her?"
"Three! Just a little more and I'll be free."
"Four! Done! I can untie the legs later!"
"Five! She tied my legs to the chair in addition?"
"Six! Trisha, please!"
"Seven! Made it! Now just to the button!"
Outside under the tree, Trisha sat with a diabolical grin, counting aloud each chime.
A loud bang swept through the forest and birds took to the sky in droves. The door flew open and white foam poured out of it.
Trisha could only hear the soft popping of the foam bubbles, then, "TRISHAAA!"
A figure appeared in the doorway covered from top to bottom with foam and if you strained you could see the outline of Rilliana.
Trisha could not hold back any longer and started laughing loudly which echoed throughout the forest. She slammed her fists into the grass and rolled across the ground.
Rilliana raised her arms and freed her face from the foam.
"Was this all just a stupid joke to you?" asked Rilliana angrily.
"What? No," Trisha said, trying to calm down which proved difficult as Rilliana looked hilarious," well not just!" she added as Rilliana continued to look at her with very little amusement.
"Come sit down. I'll explain."
Grumbling and cursing, Rilliana walked up to Trisha and brushed off the foam.
"Now I'm curious!" said Rilliana with suppressed anger and sat down.
"Basically, this was a repeat of our fight…only less bloody, but you didn't make it for the same reasons you did then. You acted rashly and pulled the knots so tight that you only made it harder for yourself. In addition, you did not keep an eye on your surroundings, otherwise you would have been able to see that there was a knife behind you the whole time. You could have just tipped the chair over and freed yourself with it. For a moment I thought you saw him, but… Oh, well."
Rilliana felt like a fool.
"But that's what we're practicing for. So you can make your mistakes in a safe environment."
"And me, making a fool of myself is just a very small bonus, right?"
"Haha!" said Rilliana, lying down on the grass.
Trisha stifled a laugh as foam from Rilliana's back pressed to her left and right.
"Not a peep!"
"I'm not saying anything."
"Come on, you deserve something delicious to eat. How about fish?" said Trisha, standing up and patting the dust off her clothes.
Rilliana's mouth watered. When Trisha prepared fish it was always a feast.
Immediately her anger was gone and she went ahead.
"Rilliana didn't you forget something?" said Trisha and pulled firmly on the rope in Rilliana's crotch.
The elf cursed loudly as her legs gave way under her, and she fell to the ground with a bright red face.