A Talk With Yuna
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She was on the ground, sitting on her heels, hunched over and squeezing the pokeball in both hands. Faye might have wrecked their Bond, but that didn’t mean the raw emotions weren’t still there. If I’d paid a little more attention, if I’d been more responsible… I wondered how things might have changed.

Well, there wasn’t any changing the past. The question was what I could do for them now.

“Want to spend the night at my new place?” I asked.

Yuna looked at me with a mouth open in disbelief. “After what I just went through… are you really…?”

“Huh? What? No. No! I meant…” I scratched the back of my head, then sat down cross-legged across from her on the grass. “I want to help. I don’t think I can fix everything…” Hell, I didn’t know if I could fix anything. “...but if you two are both pokegirls now, that means that someone could come along and claim ownership of both of you, right? And they might be a creep.”

“Hmph.” Yuna wiped at her runny nose, breathed in deeply. “Yes, well, whoever they might be, they’d be hard-pressed to do a more terrible job, wouldn’t you say? And the two of us would prefer a feminine trainer if any. You… you’re even more of a hulking brute than when we first met.”

<As if it even matters. Faye and I won’t be together much longer no matter what we do.>

“I didn’t say anything about being your new Trainer. I’ve already got more than enough girls to worry about. I just want to help out for now. Until things settle down, the two of you are vulnerable.”

<After everything she… we did…>

Yuna stood up, turned around. “Excuse me for doubting your intentions. But I’m perfectly capable of protecting myself and—”

Yuna was cut off mid-sentence as I’d grabbed her pokeball and sucked her up back inside, Faye’s dropping back to the ground. I let her stay in there while I gathered the others and stored them away in my pack, then let her out.

She came out livid, fists clenched at her sides. “H-how dare you! If you think that this proves anything, you are sorely mista—”

{Apologize profusely.}

Immediately, Yuna went from standing to prostrating, sitting on her knees and bending over to put her face to the ground. “Forgive this worthless slave, Master. She has thoughtlessly disrespected your incredible self, and deserves whatever harsh punishment you might inflict on her. Nothing she can do would ever—”

{Stop that.}

Yuna twitched on the ground, staying in position for a moment before rising back up to her feet and dusting herself off. “You… you…!”

For a moment, I thought I was about to see the Ice Arrow move Faye had been so confident would take me out, but Yuna relaxed. “You have made your point. Very well. I’ll accept your protective custody. For tonight.”

We started walking back to my new dorm. There were few lights on the path, and there was only the sound of the wind through the trees and our footsteps along the way. After a few minutes of silence, Yuna spoke up.

“We’re sisters. Half-sisters,” she said.

“Huh. That’s kind of…” I remembered Lina and just how far into taboo I had drifted. “...perfectly normal?”

“It is. It’s almost unheard of for a male trainer to breed only one woman. The problem was… Faye’s mother was human, while mine was a pokegirl.”

“That sounds… awkward.”

“It was.”

Faye didn’t continue after that, and as we passed a vending machine, I stopped to get us both a drink. Ice coffee for her, apple juice for myself. We sat on a bench in silence for another long moment.

“I don’t know if this is usual or outside the norm, but Faye’s father… did not view himself as mine. He viewed me as the offspring of my mother. A burden.”

“That’s a big oof.” Yuna pursed her lips at me. “I mean… that’s real shitty of him.”

“It was. Living in that house. Her father never abused me, but he never praised me either. Treated me as though I were a friend of Faye’s that was staying over for eighteen years. I was… tolerated. Faye’s mother… she saw me as… I don’t know. Proof that she wasn’t enough for her husband. Competition for her daughter. She wasn’t an evil stepmother or anything, but…”

<Why did she have to take everything out on me?>

It was a tortured thought, heavy with pain and thick with terrible memories. Pain so deep I shied away from it; I couldn’t help reading her surface thoughts, but even I wasn’t going to peer too deeply without permission. “No, no. I’m sure she was a total cunt.”

“Heh.” Yuna wiped at her eye. “Yeah. She is. And my own mother… I didn’t get to spend much time with her. Most of the time, she was sealed away in her pokeball. Sometimes, I’d hear her at night in his bedroom, but Faye and I weren’t allowed inside during those times.”

Yuna paused, took a long drink, and closed her eyes. <How could Mother love a man like that?>

“Faye was the only reason I ever got to spend time with her just talking. Telling her father that she wanted to practice with a real pokegirl. She’d bring her out, just the three of us. But her Bond with him wasn’t the best. She loves him, the way a puppy loves its master, and he… encourages it. He keeps her mostly Corrupted. Smart enough to follow orders, dumb enough to not think for herself. When we’d play together, she was more like… a little sister.”

When Sabrina told me that a Bond was based on love and trust, that hadn’t been the whole story. Just because there was a strong Bond, that didn’t make the relationship healthy.

Yuna crumpled up her empty can of iced coffee, then tossed it towards the bin, where it bounced off the rim. She kept sitting, not making a move to pick it up. “Faye’s not a bad person. She’s always been there to keep me safe. We loved each other. And when that love became, ah… something more, she would take the submissive role. Since my mother is a pokegirl, my transformation was always something of a foregone conclusion, but she did everything she could to try and make me feel dominant and in control.”

Yuna sighed, leaned her head back to look at the stars. “Mindreaders make terrible, incredible submissives. They cater to your every desire, anticipate all of your needs. Pamper you like a baby. I never told her this, but she didn’t really manage to make me feel as though I was the one actually in control.”

<She was too kind for that.>

“After you… after I triggered your transformation. Why did she go through all of this? Why not focus on the Bond between you two?” I had to ask.

“Heh.” Yuna brought her head down to look at her lap. “Because that’s the only thing she could do. Because it’s too late for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“When Terri transformed, ownership transferred over to Faye. It’s not uncommon. Trainers are free to Register themselves with another Trainer in case we’re Corrupted. It makes sense, right? You wouldn’t want to just end up the slave to some stranger. And if it’s a pre-existing relationship, it’s easier to form a Bond.”

Yuna sat up straight, stretched her arm out, and pointed a single finger towards the discarded can. An icicle formed in the air just past her fingertip, slowly rotating, as flurries of snow fell around us. There was a loud SNAP like a whip being cracked, and the can was pierced through, the icicle vanished, and a hole the same diameter of the one in the can had been carved into the sidewalk.

“As the offspring of his pokegirl, Faye’s father has me Registered. I’m just a pet being trained for her Master now. I’ll be transferred over to him at the end of the semester.”