355: Laid Bare

on February 22, 2009 in Book 13

In Which Amaranth Gives Mackenzie The Cold Shoulder, Among Other Things

I stared at Amaranth, stung… she’d imparted as much vitriol into that one word, “stupid“, as one might have expected considering her feelings about it.

“I thought we didn’t call people that,” I said.

“I’m sorry!” she said, though she didn’t sound it. “I just don’t know how else to describe your behavior sometimes. How could you forget that?”

“I didn’t, exactly,” I said. “I just…”

“Didn’t care?”

“Didn’t think of it,” I said. “It slipped my mind, that’s all.”

“Slipped your mind,” Amaranth said, shaking her head. “What else has slipped your mind?”

“It’s not a big deal,” I said. “Callahan hates me. This will just give her an easy excuse for yelling at me… save her the effort of looking for one.”

“I know you take pride in your intelligence… don’t you get tired of disappointing a teacher?”

“She’d be more disappointed if she didn’t have a reason to beat on me,” I said. “And for that matter, I don’t exactly consider her a teacher.”

Mackenzie Jo Blaise,” Amaranth said. “She is a professor and you will treat her with the same respect you do any other instructor.”

“She doesn’t like being called a professor, so I won’t insult her by treating her like one,” I said. “That’s fair, isn’t it?”

“What’s fair is getting a failing grade for failing to make any effort to follow class instructions,” Amaranth said. “Are you doing so well in all your other classes that you can afford to blow off this one entirely?”

“I… I don’t see how it’s fair that a non-academic class can affect my academic scholarships,” I said. “They let the kids who are here for skirmish slide on academic stuff.”

“You know that for a fact, do you?” Amaranth asked.

“I know I’m not supposed to say ‘everybody knows’ stuff, but… everybody knows that,” I said. “Why can’t I get a pass on the physical stuff?”

“Baby, we have been through this so many times,” Amaranth said. “You need to learn how to defend yourself.”

“I know I do,” I said. “But I don’t think I should be graded on it.”

“And you think that should somehow happen without doing any work or listening to the teacher,” Amaranth said. She sighed. “I guess I’ll see if anybody has an extra one I can borrow when I’m working the dorms tonight.”

“Right, somebody’s just going to have an extra staff lying around,” I said.

“They very well might,” Amaranth said. “A lot of fighters train with multiple weapons, and even if it isn’t always feasible to have one of each, it’s not a big deal to have a quarterstaff tucked away. If you think about it, it’s a useful weapon to know, because you can usually find something to use as one in a pinch.”

“If it’s so easy to find something to use, why would people have one?” I asked.

“I’m just trying to get you out of trouble, missy,” Amaranth said. “If you’re going to say anything to that, I think it should be ‘thank you, ma’am’.”

“But it’s Callahan,” I said. “If she’s not on my ass for not having a staff, she’ll be on it for something else.”

“Don’t give her anything else, then,” Amaranth said.

“It won’t matter,” I said. “Even if I don’t do anything, she’ll just rag on me for not reading up on stickfighting like she wanted me to do.”

“Are you listening to yourself?”

“Of course I am,” I said. “I wish you would. I’m telling you, it’s hopeless. She hates me, she keeps singling me out and giving me extra stuff to do, and she’d probably fail me no matter what, so why should I bother?”

“This is the same thing all over again,” Amaranth said. “You came back to the dorm yesterday with an armful of library books. Why didn’t you just check out a stickfighting book then?”

“I was doing research for a history paper,” I said. “I have to do a ten minute presentation on the history of the region for Hart.”

“When’s that due?”

“Um… he hasn’t assigned a due date yet,” I said.

“And you gave it precedence over something for a class that was only two days away?”

“Don’t get mad at me for saying this, but… it’s not a real assignment,” I said. “Callahan didn’t even specify a book, she just said I should go to the library and read something on the subject.”

“Baby, can’t you see that she’s making things easy on you?”

“I can see that you’ve never met Callahan,” I said. “Last time she sent me after a book she at least told me which one to read.”

“Do you think she does that for very many other students?”

“No,” I said. “As far as I can tell, it’s just me… which is what I was talking about. She singles me out.”

“A teacher singling you out for individual attention in a class you’re behind in is not a punishment,” Amaranth said. “Clearly, she’s trying to meet you halfway but you don’t feel like even shuffling an inch closer to her.”

“Again, you’ve never met Callahan,” I said. “‘Close’ is not where you want to be, with regards to her.”

“Well… maybe it’s about time I did meet her,” Amaranth said. “Does she have office hours tomorrow? I’ll try to get you a staff, and we’ll go in so you can apologize to her for not studying, so that when you start class that afternoon you’ll be doing it on the right foot.”

“You want me to apologize for not doing her bullshit extra homework?” I asked.

“I want you to apologize for making her waste the time she spends on you, and promise not to waste any more of it,” Amaranth said. “From here on out, you’re going to listen to her… no, scratch that. From here on out, you’re going to obey her.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said.

“I am not kidding you, I’m ordering you,” she said. “And I want you to think about how much it disappoints me to order you to do something you should be doing on your own, something that you’re determined to fight me on even when I’ve made it clear that I think you should be doing it.”

“I… I… yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Maybe you do have a future and maybe you don’t,” Amaranth said. “But you definitely won’t if you fail out of college in your first year. Is that what you’re doing? Just being reckless because you don’t think it matters?”

“What? No!” I said. “It’s just… don’t be mad at me for answering the question, but it doesn’t seem like it should matter.”

“Well… I guess I can understand that,” Amaranth said. She sighed. “I don’t like fighting any more than you do, but being a nymph gives me privileges you don’t have… I’m free to sit it out, I can choose to ignore it, safe in the knowledge that most people will just leave me alone and those who don’t can’t kill me. But you aren’t a nymph, and you aren’t immortal, and I know that isn’t fair, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.”

“I don’t want to meet with Callahan,” I said.

“That’s not a punishment, baby,” Amaranth said gently. “It’s an attempt to salvage things, to patch things up a little before you have to see her in class. I think you’ll be better off if you do it.”

“I’ll go back to the library during lunch tomorrow,” I said. “I’ll get a book, I’ll look at some pictures, and then… if you find me a staff I can borrow… I’ll be set. I mean, I won’t be some master of quarterstaffing or anything, but she can’t be expecting much from two days, with no actual practice.”

“Okay, but… if you’re sick of her yelling at you, maybe you should take the first step in opening another line of communication with her,” Amaranth said.

“I’m not sure she has other lines of communication,” I said. “I think yelling’s pretty much it.”

Amaranth glared at me.

“What?” I asked. “I thought you were trying to understand my position.”

“Being understanding of your position doesn’t mean I have to condone your unrelated prejudices,” Amaranth said. “Think about her position. First, she’s teaching in an open field, with a large group of students. She’s got to speak loudly to be heard. Second, she’s a woman teaching a traditionally male-dominated subject. She’s got to show her students she’s serious or they’ll walk all over her.”

“Or… alternatively… she’s just insane,” I said.

“I’m done discussing this,” Amaranth said. “You get your book, I’ll get a temporary staff… we’ll get your own as soon as you can… and you start obeying Coach Callahan the same as you’d obey me.”

“Can’t I just obey her the same as I would any other teacher?”

“Apparently not,” Amaranth said. “Do me a favor and find her on the weave. I want to see what her office hours are. Even if you don’t want to talk to her, I feel like I should.”

“Amaranth, what are you going to do?” I asked. “I don’t think she’s going to talk about another student’s situation with you.”

“I just want to get a feel for her,” she said. “So I can see where you’re coming from… so I can tell if there is something more going on than what I’m seeing.”

“Okay,” I said, and I started gazing through the ball back to the university’s site. “I guess that’s fine… I just can’t help feeling it’s going to come around and bite me on the ass.”

“Well, you should enjoy it, then,” Amaranth said, ruffling my rain-matted hair.

“Here it is,” I said, skimming over it and reading the pertinent information aloud. “Office located in the fitness complex, lower levels. Office hours for Thursday are eleven to one… can usually be found near office or in the area of the arena when not teaching. No appointment necessary for those who don’t mind being stabbed.”

“Oh, great, I was worried I’d need an appointment,” Amaranth said. “Scribe out a copy out of that, and the map to the club, and then we’ll head… actually, maybe we should find another empty room. Two’s probably either sleeping or doing homework.”

“Homework,” I said. “Ugh, I haven’t even looked at the notes Bohd gave me on our written assignment… um, not because I’m not going to,” I added quickly. “It’s not due for another week. I was going to do it this weekend.”

“Well, make sure that you don’t forget,” Amaranth said. “Because we have got one and only one priority for Saturday now. Don’t go making anybody any promises, or setting up any dates… and especially don’t go signing anything else.”

“I won’t!” I said.

I made copies of the information from Callahan’s page and from the club’s. Amaranth put the papers away, took me by the hand, and led me out of the ballroom back into the lobby.

“Let’s just go back to the room we used this morning,” she said. “It should definitely be empty now.”

I wasn’t a big fan of that idea, since it meant wending our way through the throng of people around the bottom of the stairs, but I figured I’d used up my pointless argument points for the day. It wasn’t like Leda was going to magically start liking me if I didn’t cross through her field of vision again that night, anyway.

We went into the meeting room and Amaranth locked the door.

“Take off your clothes,” she said, and she turned around while I did. It was a little odd, not having her watch me while I got undressed. I didn’t know what to make of it, until she turned back around and was holding the little bottle and jar that Caron had given us. “I figured we’d give you your first treatments while we’re here.” She looked at the jar of depilating oil. “It says it vanishes along with the hair, without any mess. Hopefully it’ll be easy to use… it doesn’t look quite as thick as the unguent Celia uses.” She set the bottle of piercing elixir on the table so she could unscrew the lid of the jar. “Oh, but it smells nicer. Kind of like cloves.”

“Yeah, that’s just what I need: a little seasoning for my pussy,” I said. “That’ll do wonders for keeping Feejee off me.”

“I don’t think it will linger that strongly,” Amaranth said. She twirled her finger around. “Turn around.”

I obeyed, turning away from her. She came up behind me and pressed herself against my back, reaching around with her hands. I felt a bare, empty hand cupping my crotch, tracing lightly upwards with two fingers around the sides of my slit until she found the bushiness above it.

“You really don’t have a lot of hair,” she said, feeling. “More than me, but not a lot. I think bare will be a good look on you, but we’ll see if we want to keep it up after we give Caron her show.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. She hadn’t asked me anything or told me to do anything, but it seemed like a “yes, ma’am” moment.

I felt the jar… the cold glass jar… brush past my thigh, and then Amaranth was fumbling around right in front of my pussy. Two fingertips coated in viscous, icy goop buried themselves in the curly tangled nest. She moved them around, and there was some resistance as the hair stuck to them… but it disappeared quickly.

“You did some good things today,” she said, massaging around the top of my mound. The oil was so chilly to the touch, but it really did disappear without a trace, leaving only the impression of having been cold. “Like reaching out to Feejee, and submitting to the piercings. You did some bad things today. You did some things that weren’t very smart. You know what all those things were, don’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. I could feel the change down below… I didn’t go around thinking man, I can totally feel my pubic hair, but as it vanished, I could feel the difference. It was… weird. Not bad… not sure it was good… but weird. Different.

“It was very touching, the way you submitted yourself while I was picking out your jewelry,” Amaranth said. She recoated her fingers very lightly and then started smearing them around the inside of my thighs and across the whole area down there, picking up whatever stray hairs there were. There was a slight pulling sensation as the oil made contact with each one, and then it was gone. “I want you to know that I do appreciate that… but every time I think about it, what should be a beautiful moment in our relationship, I’m going to have to think about what else you did. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, as she worked her hand lower, sticking it literally between my legs. “Hey!” I squealed as she started to work her way back, away from what could legitimately be considered the region in question.

“Baby, you just have a few hairs in your butt crack that are going to look really obvious with the rest of you bare,” she said.

“It’s amazing how less sexy this just became,” I said.

“I’m trying to do a good job,” she said.

“Yeah… we don’t want to disappoint Caron,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“We really don’t,” Amaranth said. “But ignoring that, think about what a nice surprise it’ll be for Steff. She’s never liked your body hair.”

“She never said anything to me…”

“Nor to me, or anybody else, as far as I know,” Amaranth said. “But it’s true.” She patted on the butt with a finger that was mostly dry and warm. “You just got a whole lot sexier in her eyes… so if nothing truly bad comes of this, you can’t say that nothing good did. Now let’s do your breasts.”

She took the bottle and administered the clear, slightly acrid-smelling liquid inside it to my nipples and the area around, in much the same way as she had done the oil. Getting an around-the-front breast massage might have sounded like a better idea if it wasn’t for the, you know, open wounds on the most sensitive parts of them… but she worked her way into it so gradually and so gently that it felt more like good pain than bad. Whatever was in the elixir dulled the sharp pain of the raw piercing, leaving only the duller ache behind it.

“There, that should help keep the piercing nice and clean,” Amaranth said when she finished. “And now… punishment. I’m going to give you a spanking for your disrespect of Callahan and your disregard for your class, but not for anything else. If everything works out on Saturday, then I’ll start thinking of a punishment that’s suitable for what you did. If… somehow… it doesn’t… there is no punishment I can give you that’s worse than the one you’ll be facing. Do you understand?”

“So… my ‘performance’ on Saturday’s not going to be punishment enough?” I asked.

“That’s payment for the piercings,” Amaranth said. “You agreed to it. So… no. Also, I asked you a question… do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Good,” Amaranth said. “You’ve had your tenderness for the night, and your attitude towards Callahan is not something to be rewarded, so this is going to be raw punishment.” She pointed to my clothes, thrown on one of the chairs. “Bring me your paddle.”

I gulped, and went to retrieve it. Amaranth put me into position. I braced myself for the onslaught. She slipped her hand… warm and clean now… between my legs and felt her handiwork, now completely dry. The sensation of her fingers on my smooth skin was shudder-worthy in the best possible way, and I relaxed a little.

“Hmm… it’s almost a shame I already decided to just punish you,” Amaranth said. “But there will be other times and other nights.”

I didn’t have time to re-brace myself before the studs came down low across my backside. There was nothing particularly erotic in her technique. It was ten swift whacks with the metal side, with no time to adjust or react, no chance for the pain to build into pleasure until she finished and the stinging began to subside.

The afterglow of the pain, as it were, was arousing, but there was no more contact forthcoming, nothing to build on that foundation and bring me to a release. Amaranth went over to the chair, picked up my panties and handed them to me. When I had put them on, she handed my bra, and then my socks. When she handed my shoes next, I had a feeling about where she was going.

“Underwear isn’t naked,” she said. “You’ve gone through the student union in your panties before.”

“But Leda’s out…”

“Leda is not going to think any less of you for what you are or aren’t wearing,” Amaranth said. “And you shouldn’t care if she does. I’ll give your coat when we get the door and you can cover yourself up for the walk back to Harlowe. This is punishment. If you don’t like it, remember that the next time you feel like smarting off about Coach Callahan.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, ducking my head.

“And if you’re not going to go see her outside of class, I want you to apologize to her during it.”

“I don’t think she cares if students don’t come see her,” I said. “Considering that she threatens to stab ones who do.”

“I want you to apologize for not taking her class seriously,” Amaranth said. “And by extension, not taking her seriously. She probably gets enough of that from her colleagues.”

“Maybe she should stop dressing like a barbarian hooker, then,” I said.

“Baby… you know the binding spell means those piercings can’t come loose accidentally, and you being invulnerable means I don’t have to worry about them tearing anything,” Amaranth said. “So please remember that your strap can be used other places than your cute little boy butt.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“And I think I’ll hold onto your coat until we get back to Harlowe.”

“What?”

“Or until we get up to your room,” Amaranth said.

“It’s freezing out,” I said.

“And as I said before, cold won’t kill you… and it does seem to be something you respect more than you do your teachers,” Amaranth said. “Come along. You walk in front of me down to the front door.”

With the top floor deserted and silent, I had very little doubt that my yelps of pain had been audible to those on the stairs. I kept my eyes on my shoes as I headed down, past the snickers of Leda’s new friends. The burning in my face only seemed to accentuate the red hot strip across my butt and the two points of heat on my nipples.

Even while Amaranth had insisted that this was a punishment, it was horribly arousing… of course, the horribly might have been because she’d already declared tonight a work night, meaning I’d be alone in the bedroom with Two and no chance of a release.

In many ways, though, the march through the crowd of rain-refugees was like taking a step backwards to the beginning of the school year, when everything sexy had been fresh and new and more than a little bit dangerous. I supposed in some ways that was like a sneak preview of what I’d likely experience at the club on Saturday.

Realistically, parading around in my underwear didn’t give anybody a look at anything they couldn’t see with more normal forms of streetwear… except, of course, my underwear. That was more than enough… but somehow, it wasn’t quite too much. I reflected how lucky I was to have Amaranth, who could take my straightforward expressions of my limits and understand where the fine details actually fell.

I stopped when I got to the door, not sure how far behind me she was. I felt her hand on the small of my back almost immediately.

“Keep going, missy,” she said. No chance for a reprieve, then.

She took me by the hand and kept me walking at a leisurely pace through the icy rain, shushing me verbally when I cursed the cold. My new piercings were burning cold nipcicles by the time we got back to Harlowe, where Amaranth took pity and… possibly in deference to the transparency of my waterlogged panties… gave me back my coat.

At least it wasn’t dripping wet.

We parted company my room, Amaranth giving me a kiss and sticking her hand down the front of my panties to once again rub smoothly against the hair that wasn’t there.

“If you don’t want to take another walk like that again, remember: apologize to Callahan, and start treating her class like it is a class. I’ll be asking you about your behavior, if Steff’s not… able to observe it.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, and she gave me another kiss, this time on the cheek. “Um…”

“Yes, baby?”

“Could you make sure that you tell anybody whose staff you borrow, that you’re borrowing it for me?” I asked. “The way my life goes, chances are I’d end up fighting them in class tomorrow and have to explain why I have it.”

“Of course, baby… I wouldn’t borrow something on somebody else’s behalf and not tell the owner,” Amaranth said. “But I’m glad you thought of that. Go take a hot bath before you go to bed.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, blushing. “Thank you, ma’am.

“Goodnight, baby.”

“Goodnight, ma’am,” I said, and then I watched her walk down to the end of the hall and through the stairwell door.

She didn’t look back, but she walked very slowly.

Yeah, a bath seemed like just what I needed.


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11 Responses to “355: Laid Bare”

  1. Konso says:

    In which Amaranth gives Mack a proper correction, but her detractors stay silent.

    Current score: 12
    • capybroa says:

      Seriously. Amaranth gets way too much haterade from the fandom. She is by no means perfect, but episodes like this demonstrate just why Mack needs her around. If for no other reason, be glad she’s in this story just because she orders Mack to do things that the idiot half-demon would otherwise wuss out or flake out on, thus moving the plot forward.

      Current score: 7
      • Maesenko says:

        Personally, the biggest reason I currently dislike Amaranth is because all this public punishment stuff is only making things worse for Mack, who has very good reason to be less conspicuous at the moment.

        I actually found myself in agreement with Amy on the subject of trying to see things from Callahan’s perspective, though. That actually surprised me a bit.

        Current score: 6
  2. Rendia says:

    I wanted to smack Mack for the way she was talking about Callahan.

    Current score: 0
  3. Khalex says:

    Mackenzie is a self-righteous fucking idiot. I’d give quite a lot for the chance to put the little shit down in a fight.

    Current score: 0
  4. ISuigetsu says:

    Please remember that she can shoot fire from her boobs if she so chooses and it likely stronger than you. Also, she’s invulnerable. I don’t like your chances.

    Current score: 5
  5. jarsin says:

    I generally don’t get angry at fictional characters, but it is incredibly frustrating when they make obvious mistakes. You’d hope characters in a fantasy setting would be at least slightly genre-savvy in their lives, if wish-corruption is a part of their curriculum and the idea of “RFED” is sort-of common knowledge. I would love a rewrite of this where things go horribly wrong because there are competent antagonists or actually difficult problems, not because every character seems to have the decision-making capabilities of a toddler.

    I actually like most of the characters, which just makes it more frustrating.

    Current score: 2
  6. sanityoptional says:

    I am currently annoyed with almost every single character. Dee seems to be the only one who is able to see reality with any sort of consistency.

    And nobody listens to her “because she doesn’t understand”

    Current score: 1
    • Tuukka says:

      Agree completely.

      Current score: 1
    • Jimmy Joe III says:

      Nobody listens to her because she goes about it like Spock.

      Current score: 4
  7. Seanaiche says:

    Amaranth and mackenzie frustrate me so much. If reading about two makes me wish i was a golem sometimes, reading those two makes me sure that i could never handle a dom/sub relationship. My impulse to fight back against what i disagree with is way too strong.

    Current score: 0