Xora - Whose Body Is It, Anyway?

by Brandy Dewinter

- with an illustration by Tarsis
- provided for use on SirJeff's Ponygirls.
- do not use without the author's permission.
- c 1999, all rights reserved.




Chapter 9 - Games Practice


I was hustled to the preparation area, finding there yet another cell, though this one had a waiting attendant, female. The guard quickly removed my restraints, but just as quickly locked the cell door behind him as he left.

"Strip," the woman ordered as soon as the door closed behind me.

"What?"

"We don’t have time for this," snapped the woman. "Either you take your clothes off, or I’ll have some of the men take them from you."

"Uh, turn around," I requested. Something in my eyes must have promised the attendant my compliance, because she turned to the wall.

"I’m not hearing clothes hitting the ground," the attendant claimed, turning back to face me. What she saw was a nude woman, the remaining portions of her red jumpsuit vanished into thin air, along with her tall boots.

"Where’d your clothes go?" she demanded.

"Uh, I’m from the Federation, and we have some tricks for things like that."

The attendant clearly wanted to know more about those tricks, but time was pressing her as badly as it needed to press me, so she just nodded abruptly and reached for a tangle of leather.

The various straps and buckles were quickly placed in position and I found my arms locked securely behind my back, fingers touching opposite elbows. A thin bit of material cradled my oversized bosom and I hoped it would keep "me" from bouncing too painfully.

*I told you these boobs were too damn big!* I complained.

*Trust me,* Titania reassured me. *Once you get running, I’ll keep them under control. You’ve still got your corset on to support your back, don’t you?*

*Do I?* I asked, but I realized the constriction I had become used to was still there even as I thought my question.

The next stage of dressing was to put on a tangle of straps that mostly went below my compressed waist. Some bits of the leather were led up to my upper body harness, while others secured two large buckles at the widest point of my hips.

"Next," the attendant said, consulting a note that must have had my sizes on it and then reaching for some knee-high, spike-heeled boots.

They fit surprisingly well, but then, this sort of "Game" was an important part of Machovian life. Well-fitted boots, or more significantly, poorly-fitted boots might make the difference in a race that had quite a bit of money riding on it. It paid to minimize the variability in things like that.

They were also much lower in heel than I had been wearing when Titania set the height. It was almost like walking flat-footed. So much so that I felt an immediate pull at the backs of my ankles.

*Be careful,* Titania cautioned. *You could pull an Achilles tendon really easy right now. It’ll help when you run though. If you stay on your toes, the heel on these boots won’t even matter.*

So far, though the Machovian fascination with restraining women had long since lost any interest for me and so all bondage was hateful, this particular set of bondage wasn’t all that bad. That situation changed when the attendant brought out the last bit of harness.

It was a head harness, with a bit gag. After the bit was forced between my teeth, straps were fastened around my cheeks and chin and neck and even my forehead. Despite the intense bondage of my stay on Machovia, this was the first time something had been placed in my mouth and I found it wildly irritating. I tossed her head trying to dislodge the thing, prevented by the already-attached arm restraints from doing anything more effective. I had this momentary image of myself, strangely reminiscent of a true pony, struggling with the first touch of reins.

Though I hadn’t actually felt any reins, yet. There were another couple of large buckles near my ears that were the obvious eventual anchors for that particular part of the harness.

"There we are. Finished just ahead of schedule," the attendant smiled, patting me like I was the simple animal that harnesses were truly intended for. She rapped on the door for the guard, then together they ushered me out of the prep room and back to the main arena. My champion (and wasn’t that an interesting phrase?) was waiting for me beside a lightweight, two-wheel cart.

"Champion Eryx, your ponygirl is ready."

*So that’s his name,* I now remembered hearing the announcement.

"Have you ever pulled a cart before?" Eryx was asking.

I tried to shake my head, but the head harness fastened to my shoulders and all I could do was rotate my entire upper body.

"Well, Palomino has, so you’ll have to learn quickly. We can practice for just a bit before the race."

Eryx noticed the question in my eyes, and smiled, "Palomino is Bellio’s big blonde runner. He’s entered her again, just because I entered as a sponsor. He intends to win, but I don’t intend to let him. *We* won’t let him."

Eryx was quickly fastening me to the cart, or the cart to me, whatever. In short order he was taking his seat, carefully balancing so that there was little vertical load at my hips. Taking the reins in his hands, he picked up a light, short-tasseled whip.

"Now, this won’t really hurt," he promised.

*Yeah, then let me use it on YOU!* I snarled to myself. But no one else seemed very concerned about my thoughts.

Then I felt the light sting of the whip on the exposed globes of my ass and jerked.

*Titania!*

*I’m on it. I had to calibrate so that you can tell when he taps you, otherwise it would look suspicious.*

*Taps me?! That was hardly a tap!*

*Actually, it was. I think he truly intends not to hurt you.*

*He’s got a damn funny way of showing it!*

*Well, this is a strange world,* Titania agreed.

I felt the sting again, muted but distinct, and then heard Eryx’s voice, "When I do that, you move forward."

He did it one more time, and I did indeed start moving forward. Eryx spent the next few minutes guiding me by means of the reins and a few verbal clues. The reins turned my whole upper body, so their intention was too obvious to need much explanation. The problem was learning to maintain a smooth gait when twisted. However, the lower heels on the running boots were enough of a relief that I felt as comfortable as could be expected after a few minutes, including a couple of brief, warm-up trots.

"Carts for the 6-furlong special please report to the starting line!" the announcers voice rumbled.

"That’s us," Eryx confirmed cheerfully, guiding me smoothly into position. It was actually easier for me if I just accepted his guidance, using what concentration I had on how to place me feet. That was about the only choice I had to make, since even the direction I looked was constrained.

I got my first good look at the Palomino girl as we neared the starting grid. There were only three carts entered, the rivalry between Bellio and Eryx having scared off the lesser competitors. The third cart was pulled by a dusky-skinned girl with amazingly long legs, though she had none of the confidence exuded by Palomino.

*Okay,* Titania spoke in my ear, using casual tones and words that were meant to be reassuring. *You can win this race, because we will cheat.*

*What?* I asked in shock.

*I can absorb oxygen through our entire surface. You’ll be getting twice as much air as the other racers. And your feet are not going to get tired at all. As long as you keep on your toes, and that will actually feel more comfortable to you, you won’t have any trouble beating unassisted women.*

*Oh, right. I hadn’t thought of that,* I mused, feeling confidence for the first time.

*Then it’s a good thing you’ve got me along,* Titania replied, still working, effectively now, to reassure her host.

There was a bit of jockeying to get things exactly ready, then a starting gun sounded and we were running.

And just as quickly, I was losing.

The blonde girl was incredibly fast. Despite her heels, she was taking long, bounding strides that moved her forward further in a half a dozen steps than I managed in ten. The dusky-skinned girl with the really long legs was keeping up with her, actually running at least as quickly. Yet she kept missing her stride just a bit every 15 or 20 paces as a heel caught slightly. This motion caused her to surge forward, then lose ground, then surge forward again.

I just trailed. Eryx’s whip stung my cheeks, first one side and then the other, but he seemed to be able to tell I was doing my best and he contented himself with reminding me to keep it up.

*Ti, can you help?* I pleaded.

*I’m trying,* Titania replied. *I’ve exuded a wider surface at the heel of these boots. You should be able to put your heel down without worrying about turning your ankle. Stretch your stride out a bit.*

I did as I was told and found that by letting my heel contact the track first, I could indeed gain in length in my stride. I still wasn’t bounding as far in each step as Palomino, and in fact my own step rate had reduced slightly as my stride lengthened, but at least I wasn’t losing any more ground. I was maybe 30 or 40 feet behind the leaders; a distance that seemed tremendous, but one which we were actually passing every second or so.

"Good girl, Xora, you’re doing fine now. Just stay strong," Eryx called to me. It was oddly . . . comforting to have his approval.

*I told you, he’s the one,* Titania smirked.

*Oh, be quiet, and help me win this race!* I snapped, but a part of me was wondering what made Titania so sure.

The distraction of Titania’s comment had caused me to miss the fact that we had actually gained a little on the leaders. The course was, as best I could tell, three times around the oval of the arena. We had already completed one lap and were well into the second when I had started to keep up. By now, the end of the second, I was actually regaining lost ground. Would one lap be enough to gain the rest?

We were only a dozen feet behind now, actually overlapping the carts ahead of us. It was clear that Bellio and the dusky-skinned woman’s driver had forgotten about us, dueling between themselves for the lead. Bellio crowded his opponent just a bit to the right to force him to take a wider path. Eryx led me to take a path to the left and I started to stretch out just a bit more. I could hear Palomino’s breathing, great gasping gulps of air, yet her legs looked as strong as ever.

The other runner was clearly tiring. Her missed strides had become more frequent, her recoveries just a bit slower. She had lost half a cart length to Palomino and was in fact no longer any measurable amount ahead of me.

Something must have caught Bellio’s eye, for he looked sharply to his left and saw Eryx nearly even with him. In his surprise, he jerked his reins and Palomino tossed her head in confusion, veering even further to the right. The other sponsor had no choice but to pull his runner up even as the crowd yelled their anger at the foul.

In the end, it didn’t matter. There were over a hundred yards to go when Palomino hit her stride again, and she was now the one who was half a cart length behind. That distance lengthened inexorably as I, now faster than at the start, pulled away from the slowly fading Palomino.

I started to pull up as soon as I crossed the finish line, only to feel the sting of the lash once more on my bare cheeks.

"Don’t stop yet, girl, keep going until you cool down properly," Eryx ordered.

*Like I have any choice,* I grumbled, but I kept pulling the cart at an easy trot, slowing gradually during our victory lap. I was at a walking pace when we finally got back to the starting grid and Eryx pulled gently on the reins to get me to stop. As soon as I was at rest, he was out of the cart and carefully running his hands over my legs and ankles to ensure that there were no injuries. It was dispassionate, and therefore infuriating.

*He’s treating me like some animal!* I wailed to my symbiont.

*Well, at least he’s treating you like a valued one," Titania chuckled.

Silently complaining was about all that I could do. My arms were still useless. My body was still strapped to the cart. Eryx had even looped the reins around the cart pole so that I couldn’t turn my head. And my legs, well, Eryx’s hands were on my legs.

*Dammit, Titania, you’re doing it again!*

*Doing what?* she asked innocently.

*Screwing around with my body, that’s what,* I snarled. *Just because he’s got his hands on me is no reason to start my juices flowing.*

Titania was silent for a second, then said, *I’m not.*

*Don’t give me that!*

*I’m not doing anything except helping with your cool down. I promise!* Titania swore.

*Well, my damn tits are so hard they feel like they’ll pop, and I’m about to leak all over this harness!*

*Yes, I can feel it, too.*

I shouted in my mind, *Then stop it!*

*My partner, I tell you that I am causing none of this. I can inhibit it, if you insist, but I am *not* the cause.*

*Then what *is* causing it?" I demanded.

Before Titania could answer, Eryx finished his inspection and stood up. "You seem all right. Do you feel all right?"

I nodded, tossing my head to try and let Eryx know I wanted out of the harness. Whether he got her message or it was just time, he started to release me from the cart. The same attendant who had put me in the harness before the race was waiting and took me back to the preparation room.

"There is a shower in that portion of the room," the attendant said, pointing to a hole in the floor and an overhead nozzle.

She turned away to clean the harness while she expected me to take care of necessary business. I did just that, though not in the way the attendant would have expected. I ran the shower (still only cold water) for a few minutes and emerged clean, beautifully made up, and dry even as the attendant turned back around.

I was also fully dressed, or at least as fully dressed as the current laws allowed, in my abbreviated, legless jumpsuit and my towering boots.

"How do you *do* that?" the attendant asked. This time it seemed like she would wait for an answer.

"Am I free, now?" I asked instead.

"Well, sort of," the other woman answered.

"What does that mean?"

The attendant blushed for a moment, then answered, "Well, traditionally what happens now is that you go to your sponsor, and he frees you after you do him a favor."

"What sort of favor?" I asked, suspiciously.

"Well, whatever he asks for, except, if he were your Protector it couldn’t be anything of sex, nor would it if you were married. Are you married, even offworld?"

"No," I admitted as I thought of the implications of this "favor".

"Then I expect you’ll have to see what Champion Eryx has in mind," the attendant said with a dreamy sigh. Obviously, she wouldn’t mind owing the handsome man a favor, sexual or otherwise.

The woman swept the door open for me to exit. For the first time in a day and a half I was free and unrestrained. I started to walk toward the waiting men, noting that Magistrate Herne had joined Eryx’s entourage. The closer I got, for some reason the looser my walk became until by the time I was close enough to speak it seemed that once again my skeleton had taken a vacation.

The conversation among the men in the group petered out as I approached, diminishing as one by one they saw me and lost their train of thought, not noticing that they had done so. Only two of the men seemed untouched by my motion. Eryx maintained his amused nonchalance, while the glint was back in Herne’s eyes, triumphant though his prisoner had apparently escaped whatever had been planned for her.

Before either man could speak, though my forwardness caused a gasp of shock to circulate through those nearby, I said, "Champion Eryx, I understand I have you to thank for my freedom."

Then my already low voice dropped into an even more sensual register as I asked, "Is there any way that I could repay you? Any way at all?"

My internal thoughts were not nearly as calm. Once again I was accusing Titania of playing with my responses. Once again Titania was steadfastly claiming innocence.

Once again, the argument went unresolved as we were interrupted, this time by a grinning Eryx. "I haven’t had an offer that enticing in a very long time." Then after a pause that seemed to stretch forever, he continued, "However, I think all I’ll claim is a kiss."

For an instant I could feel an impossibly fetching pout form on my full lips, though I couldn’t have told you what disappointed me. Or wouldn’t. Then I found myself being gathered into the arms of my benefactor.

To be interrupted by the gloating tones of Magistrate Herne, "Just a moment, Champion, if you please."

Eryx turned to look at him, though he still held me in an embrace that felt both steel hard and deliciously soft all at the same time. I was trying to understand that strange sensation and almost missed the next interchange.

"Would you happen to know the time, Champion?" Herne asked, incongruously.

"The time?"

"Yes, would you happen to know the time?" the judge repeated.

"Not precisely," Eryx replied. "A bit after noon, I suppose."

"Are you prepared to say that it is definitely after noon?" Herne pressed.

Instead of answering, Eryx looked at one of the men in his party.

That man looked at a watch and reported, "It is 7 minutes after noon."

Eryx nodded his thanks and then looked once again to me.

"Your pardon, Champion, but I must interrupt," Herne declared with false courtesy.

"What now?" Eryx demanded.

"Since it is after noon, I must see that this criminal is taken into proper custody."

"What criminal?"

"Why, that one you have captured in an excellent show of civic duty."

With that, Herne motioned to two waiting Enforcers and they moved quickly forward to place the hammerlock cuffs on me once again. In another moment they had the hobble chain on me and were leading me away.

"Wait a minute!" Eryx demanded. "What is this all about?"

"As of noon, this woman is in violation of Ordinance 27-102-7. She is to be taken into custody pursuant to trial," Herne announced smugly, turning to follow his Enforcers.

I looked over my shoulder at the fuming Eryx, but his eyes told me to go along with it, even as he was moving to follow.

 

(continued in part 10)

 

 


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1999 by Brandy Dewinter. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.