Emma was texting me as I rode the bus on the last stretch to her house on Friday. “Man-slave! Why aren’t you here yet?” I explained how the bus driver failed to excessively exceed the speed limit, despite my urging him to the greatest haste so that I might once more bend my back to do her bidding. After hitting send, I spent a moment considering the ramifications of the message. Perhaps I shouldn’t be feeding her master-slave thoughts regarding me, but I had too much fun writing the message to truly care. “Though I appreciate your attempts to get here quickly, I expect results, man-slave! Be here soon. I’m thirsty.” Talking with Emma over the past couple days had helped me relax. I didn’t tell her about Nathan, but I hadn’t told anyone about that yet. Something about Emma’s playful nature was refreshing to me. The girl definitely had a way of making me smile. “Man-slave??? Where are you???” was the next text. I was only lost in thought for a couple minutes. I replied with “Throwing a slave rebellion! Beware the army I lead to your doors!”
I was barely off the last bus when her reply came. “Too early in the day for a rebellion. I expect them to be shirtless and modeling after they arrive.” Laughing, I sent “What if not all of them are guys?” I knew I definitely shouldn’t have sent that one the moment I did. Sure enough her reply stated, “I’m counting on that. 😀 No, you are not allowed to leer at them. That’s my job.” Despite the lack of witnesses, I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. The purple eyesore that was Emma’s home seemed quite inviting to me, knowing that she was inside. I let myself inside as she had told me to do and heard her a moment later. “Man-slave! Coke! Fridge! Now!” I took off my shoes and retrieved a couple Cokes out of the fridge. “Anything else, empress of the bedroom” I called into the other room. “Keep calling me that, and people will get the wrong idea! Or are you finally revealing your true intentions toward this poor, injured girl?” I felt my cheeks heat, so I paused for a moment to relax before entering her room.
When I walked into her room and saw the tight black shirt she wore above a thigh-length, black skirt laced with purple ribbons, I knew the pause wasn’t enough. My face surely flushed with the thoughts suddenly entering my mind as my eyes took in her bare leg. The cast on her injured leg was the only thing that broke the spell over me, replacing lustful thoughts with a wave of anger. The anger dissipated the moment Emma spoke. “So.. umm.. do I get my Coke, or do you have something more pressing on your mind?” Her tone was filled with a false innocence that didn’t help any comeback come to mind. I handed Emma her Coke and hopped onto her bed. “Oh, so you are Mr. Presumptuous today, aren’t you.. Shouldn’t my man-slave be begging for the honor of sitting beside me, especially after failing to bring in the promised army of topless slaves.” I shook my head and restrained a laugh, so I could say “The order to disrobe caused enough distraction amongst the troops that the men and women ran off together into the woods. Alas, you successfully staved off the insurrection this time.”
“Now how should I punish this disobedient slave who, after being resistant to even making an appearance this day, thought to rouse others against his rightful master.” I gave her a look which I hoped would pass for incredulous. “First off, I truly hadn’t realized that I wouldn’t have school today. Second, whoever told you that I was your personal slave? Man-slave for hire, remember?” She hit me with a small teddy bear that I hadn’t noticed. I really needed to pay more attention. “I am paying you, man-slave, with my attention. What greater payment than my company could you ever desire?” There was no winning this fight. I had entered unprepared, so a change of strategy was in order. “How would you feel about a rematch on Tekken to settle this?” Emma grinned impishly, and I wondered if playing her a game at which we were so well-matched was remotely wise. She wouldn’t likely go for anything where I had an advantage, but maybe there was a better choice I hadn’t considered.
“If you win, what precisely are you asking for, man-slave?” I lounged back against one of her pillows and put on a facade of deep thought. “Well.. First, you’ll no longer get to call me ‘man-slave,’ since you’ll be my slave for the rest of the day. Second, you let me buy lunch today.” The impish grin never even faltered. “When I beat you, you’ll be going shirtless the rest of the day.” By the heat rushing through me, I was certain that I was redder than a ripe tomato. “In addition, you’ll not only buy lunch but feed it to me as well. Chinese. With chopsticks.” I very much felt like backing down already. Then I realized I might have a way to make Emma blush. “You know that you’re only feeding me ideas. Next time, we may be betting your shirt.” She just shrugged and grabbed a controller. I couldn’t find any hint of embarrassment on her face when she tossed me the second one. In fact, she seemed to be grinning even more. Prior matches saw Emma choosing Alisa primarily. This time she went straight for Lili, a classic character over one new to the game.
“Best of three,” she asked before we started. I agreed and the match ensued. I had underestimated her abilities at Tekken last time we played. She wasn’t just good. Emma was insanely good. I couldn’t help wondering if she had held back at other games we played, in person and online. Surely she wasn’t holding back when we lost to TheTinyDragon, but I couldn’t honestly be sure with this girl. I was getting destroyed on our second match, having already lost the first, when the strangest thing happened. The game paused and literally stated, “A Challenger Appears.” Then a child’s voice came over the speaker. “You two look so scary!” Emma let out an exasperated sigh and said, “Ugh.. she has the worst timing ever! Man-slave, headset’s on the floor. Get it for me.” I plugged her headset into her console and handed it to her. “We had a bet going! Let us finish.”
A small child with a tiara in her long, black hair walked onto the screen, and our characters knelt before her. “Emma. What is happening?” She pointed at the screen and said, “That’s TheLittlePrincess whom I told you about before. She says we can’t finish unless we defeat her, which is hopeless.” I tried unpausing the game to no avail. “Let’s try it. How do we get the game going again?” Emma rolled her eyes and told the girl on the mic to start. To my even greater surprise, our health bars tripled in size, stretching out in rows beneath the original. The whole format for playing the game was different. Our characters had their typical attacks, but we were moving around a three-dimensional environment unlike anything that should be in the game. Over the next couple hours, we solved puzzles, fought random monsters I recognized from other games, and sat through a tea party before finally fighting TheLittlePrincess.
Emma was right in her assessment of fighting the girl. Neither of us were really accustomed to the new movement controls or had any idea what to expect. TheLittlePrincess didn’t use any flashy spell attacks or other ranged attacks in fact. She moved around with incredible speed and attacked us on whim, easily avoiding every single attack we attempted. Before actually finishing either of us off, she declared we weren’t being any fun and walked away. The screen flickered and we found our characters back where they had been before she appeared, save that Emma’s character was almost dead and mine was full on health. I didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation and finish her off. “That is sooo cheap, man-slave!!! I can’t believe you did that!” I shrugged. “All is fair in love and war, except TheLittlePrincess.” Emma’s laugh was so beautiful that I was distracted long enough for her to get several attacks off on me before I peeled my eyes away from her and looked back at the screen.
“Off with the shirt, man-slave!” I started to protest, telling her that the interruption should’ve nullified the bet. “Man-slave, your shirt is still on. This is not acceptable. Do I need to take it off you?” Emma’s grin made her seem more pixie-like than ever, a playful creature who knew her prey was cornered. “Fine-fine! I’ll do it,” I said as I moved back from her reaching hands. I took a deep breath and slid my shirt off, scooting myself to the far end of the bed. I should have known that I didn’t really have to worry about Emma trying anything physically. Instead, she was taking a picture of me with her cell phone before I could cover myself. “Emma!? What are you doing!!??” She winked at me and said, “How could I possibly miss that opportunity? My girlfriends are going to love this picture!” I stuttered before getting out “Girlfriends? Wait. What!? With whom do you plan to share that?” I was so very off-balance that she managed to grab my shirt from me and shove it beneath her.
“What do you think you’re doing, man-slave? You’re stuck shirtless for the rest of the day, remember? Plus, you still need to buy me lunch.” Emma was all smiles as she teased me through our lunch and the rest of the afternoon. She continued texting TheTinyDragon, who was apparently someone that received a picture of me. By the time she gave my shirt back, which she had protected all too well using my modesty against me, I was feeling quite harassed to put it mildly. I was also completely unable to get her body out of my head. Focusing at work tonight was going to be extremely difficult with how my morning went. Hopefully, I would find someway to manage it. I was suppose to help my client’s seventeen-year-old daughter create a dance routine for an upcoming competition, since her instructor had taken ill. This could be an interesting night.