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"Don't worry, the girls can handle one spring cleaning without you doting over them."

Emma whimpered slightly as Tarja tightened the hood's lacing at the nape of Emma's slender neck, continuing down the last few pair of holes before tying it off. Leaving the petit maid's head encased in tight black leather, except for the open part from her brow down to just below her button nose.

"Besides, B is overseeing it. Well, overseeing the girls at least. Which I guess doesn't help much with the cleaning come to think of it."

Emma gave up a groan from behind the hood, snugly pressed over her lips and keeping her jaw closed up.

"None of that now, for once its not your responsibility, not today missy! Today you are helping me test my latest getup, and that is that."

Tarja brushed a strand of hair from Emma's face as it peeked out from inside the hood, then unzipped the long zipper running over her mouth, from ear to ear. Allowing Emma to open her mouth again.

"Right?"

Emma flexed her jaw before answering.

"If you say so..."

"I do, so relax... Fretting isn't going to help you now. Not when I'm done strapping you in."

Emma whined a bit and fidgeted with the new skirt Tarja had given her. Straightening it and fingering the lacing running down its back to the lower hem.

"And no more muttering, or I'll stuff your mouth before closing it back up."

Tarja stopped for a moment. Looking around her workshop that was littered with tools and discarded scraps of leather.

"It is quiet though. Everyone is busy someplace else today, so its just you and me. Its been a while since I had you all to myself. Not since the armbinder fitting."

Tarja patted a lone stool by the big workbench and wandered off to rummage through a shelf full of assorted bindings and restraints.

"...and pie tasting, as I recall."

Emma said, as she sat down on the stool. Again straightening the slim skirt. But more absentmindedly this time.

"Right, Nina's rhubarb pie craze, how could I forget."

Tarja sarcastically remarked over her shoulder.

"I quite like rhubarb."

Emma patiently watched her friend go through a mess of things that Emma had finally given up on trying to sort out.

"Bit too tart for me though, so is Nina for that matter..."

"Come now love. There you go being bitter again."

Emma interjected, unusually assertive.

"You're right. I've just been a bit tense lately."

Tarja sighed and shrugged.

"But I know you do like to revel in bitterness dear..."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Tarja turned back with a frown, holding up a harness made out of black leather belts.

"Bitter ale, bitter chocholate..."

"Was that a joke? That's rare. You must be in a good mood today."

"I am now."

Emma smiled.

"Arms to your sides now, I want to see if this harness is too short."

Tarja commanded, not with a smile back, but her usual steely gaze had melted away. Tarja, who could send shivers down anyone's spine with a mere glance. Now had an air of the first warm wind of spring around her. As opposed to the queen of ice, with the promise of a storm looming over her.

Emma knew the softness in Tarja's eyes was as good as a smile.
Just as Tarja was not afraid of anything, Emma never had anything to fear from her friend.
If Emma was the mother hen of the lair, Tarja was the mother bear to her cubs.

The harness had a belt connected in a wide loop which Tarja pulled over Emma's head. It fitted over her shoulders and around below her neck.
A strap then led from it down the front, to a metal ring. From the ring where attached belts, that continued outward in a cross shape. Belts from the ring where strapped above her breasts and brought around her upper arms to connect behind the back.
The last belt attached to the ring then went in between Emma's breasts. In the same fashion another set of belt straps were secured snugly under her boobs. Two sets of belts now held Emma's arms pinned to her sides, the lower ones just above the elbows around the upper arms.
The whole contraption framing her breasts while keeping her upper arms pinned tightly to her sides.

Emma flopped her lower arms around a little, while Tarja inspected her work with great scrutiny.

"Try reaching for that black ball gag on the shelf. No, the one straight ahead."

Emma went over to the shelf in question, leaned back slightly and fumbled for the gag, stretching to reach the high shelf. Normally it wouldn't be very high. But now anything above waist height became somewhat of a challenge.

Tarja looked on critically then produced a leather string from a box of scraps. She tied it around the lower belts, in between Emma's side and arm, tightening the grip of the belt around her arm a bit and then pulled the string down to a belt around Emma's waist keeping her skirt up. The string now pulled the arm down and prevented Emma from shifting it back and forth. Now her arm was held more strictly at her side.

"I'll need to come up with a better, permanent solution. But that will do for now."

Emma awkwardly, yet elegantly put her hands almost together and gave a little clap.

"Maybe a new belt could be fitted and anchored around the upper thigh. About here..."

Tarja slid her fingers over Emma's skirt, down towards her crotch.

"Oh... That could work."

Emma said, nodding and blushing slightly.

"Now, time to tighten you up a bit more."

Tarja traced her hands around to Emma's pert little behind, that was unashamedly hugged by the slim skirt. Moving down to just below the butt, where a wide slit connected by lacing ran down to the bottom of the skirt.
She started tightening the loose lacing, from the top, loop by loop. Gradually forcing Emma's legs together until her knees met.

"It does a good job showing off your thighs."

Tarja said, matter of factually.

To this Emma just nodded discretely and then jumped slightly as Tarja gave her butt a teasing slap.

"Walk for me, up to that horse over there."

Tarja pointed over to a wooden horse in a back corner. Standing silently in the shadows, waiting for a rider to grace its narrow back. Luckily for Emma, her outfit made riding that thing quite impossible at the moment. It looked uncomfortable and menacing as it stood there, looming.

Emma hobbled forward in the now completely form fitting skirt, though while only able to move her lower legs she shuffled along rather gracefully. She was no stranger to working in restrictive gear. If anything her movement was that of a professional in her element. What most girls would find exceedingly awkward, Emma instead took in stride. Almost like a swan rhythmically swaying along as if gliding on water.

Tarja grudgingly mused over this as she pondered how she could possibly make a dress any more restrictive. The gears in her mind milling over this just as an architect would when facing the challenge of constructing the world's tallest building.
But she resigned to Emma's disarming smile as she turned around, having reached her destination. Even doing a little curtsy, bending her knees with one foot slightly put forward. With such good posture even a trained ballerina like Nadja would approve. If anything this gave Tarja the idea to try the outfit out on the redheaded pixie next.

Nobody could make a fetish getup look adorable like Emma could. The innocence and earnestness in her face made it impossible to resist her polite charm, regardless of how ridiculous the situation might seem. As Tarja gave up a slight sigh, Emma's eyes only shone more brightly. Emma delighted at making people content. Like a reverse Lamia, injecting soothing calm instead of sucking your blood.

"I have one last thing to complete the outfit, then we'll take a break."

"Would you like me to bring you a little snack?"

Emma suggested.

"No, that's alright, I need to keep..."

"How about one of those dark chocolate and hazelnut brownies we had last movie night?"

Movie night was one of Emma's favorite lair traditions. Snuggling up in the big sofa with all the gang to watch some sappy heartbreaker or whimsical anime. At least if Emma got the pick of film. Which she did at times, after some convincing that yes, this time it was indeed her turn and no, 'what would you like to see?' was not a choice.

Emma took Tarja's suddenly stoic silence that followed to mean she agreed. Tarja watched her diet with the practical sensibility of an athlete. But couldn't bring herself to deny Emma's brownies. Just the one couldn't possibly hurt.
Just in case though, Tarja closed the zipper on the hood back up over Emma's mouth. Lest the maid was given the chance to make one too many suggestions. Tarja faced the risk of ending her days like a fattened holiday pig in the loving care of the lair's head maid and her snacks. For Emma teatime was always right around the corner.

Tarja soon composed herself though and continued where she left her last train of thought. Putting down brownies as an inevitable part of life.
Then she brought out a white brimmed leather collar. It looked sturdy and had a steel ring bolted to its front. Above the ring there was a slight V-shaped notch for the chin in the brim.

Emma raised her head slightly, as much as the hood would allow. As Tarja approached and patiently let her friend fit the collar around her neck.

Tarja took a step back and gave an approving nod as the collar made a good match with the thin hood and chest harness. Completing the look of a perfectly helpless servant girl. Ready for her master's bidding.
Straight and proper with just the right amount of freedom necessary for simple tasks. Nothing more.

Like fetching a tray of brownies from the kitchen while Tarja finished up re-drawing a final design for the harness.
Emma complied with a little 'mmmpfh' and a blink of her eyes, as she could now hardly nod properly with the hood and collar combined. Before setting off towards the kitchen.

On the way Emma shuffled by Tracy's den to make sure she was also properly provided with snacks. Emma always made sure Tracy was not forgotten. As the resident hacker rarely strayed outside of her little dark cave. Her safe fortress of geek-ness.
And so another day passed. With Tarja and Emma spending most of it together.


At the end of the day. Emma had returned alone to her own room. Now free of any trial bondage accessories.
For once she was looking over her bookshelf without a duster in her hand. Her fingers brushed over the titles of books as her eyes fell on an old diary. It had belonged to her great grandfather. As her finger stroke down its humble, nameless back, she remembered a certain passage. Where her great grandfather had noted down the words of his own father.
'Greatness is found in the service of others. Kings and queens may know to command. But they do not build walls. They do not sail ships. A ruler is only as powerful as the will and duty of their servants.
Even as regents themselves die and their names fade. Cities and trade routes remain down the ages. For a servant's work is the true legacy.
So work my child. Find comfort and pride in that work and it will shine bright in the sight of the world.'
Ever since then, the family motto had been 'Greatness in service'. Emma had been schooled as a maid since she was a teenager. She had been mostly home-schooled. By her grandmother. A stern, but dignified woman. Always watchful, often scolding. But supportive, in her own way. No matter how clumsy or wayward Emma had been. Old Mrs. Granny was always there to help her back on her feet. Granny had always pressed the importance of doing a good job. But Emma felt that behind that proud face, in Granny's heart, family came first.
Tradition had always been important in the family. Butlers and housekeepers by trade. Living in an old castle on the lush British countryside. As Emma grew up though, the family way had become somewhat archaic. Finally, the lords lost their fortune in an investment fiasco. Her father then lost his job and Emma lost her home. After that Emma no longer had a place in the world. Her carefully honed skills where scoffed at. Her polite demeanor looked down upon wherever she went. She was not needed.
Emma had long lost sight of the world of honor and empire of her family's stories, when she met her prince. He had the confidence of a conqueror. The tone of his voice had told her he was ready to make the world his own. A fool. But the bravest fool she ever met. She was a waitress at a BDSM club in the backstreets of London. Ever since Emma was little, damsels in old cartoons had intrigued her. She had always been drawn to that notion. To be sized by a strong villain. Held, prized, then rescued by the brave hero.
But she was not happy there. At that club. It was not home. It was a place of strangers. She tried but could not really fit in there.
Then a customer came one night. From the moment he stepped in he could not let his eyes off Emma. But he was not staring at her chest, or her but like others did. He was admiring the way she carried herself. The way she served the drinks. The sincerity of her greetings drew him in.
In a way it was almost as if she held a leash to his heart, attached to her apron. Tugging at him as soon as she walked away. He came up to talk to her. Emma was used to being talked at, or over. But not really spoken to in the way he did.
Before she knew it she had blurted out things she never talked about with anyone. How she didn't like her job. How she was struggling with rent. He then gave her his card, just in case she needed some work on the side.
It was a weird card. It had an outrageous fake name. No address. Just a phone number and the title 'Scoundrel extraordinaire'.
Emma never called the number. But she kept the card.
He kept coming back to the bar. One night the 'scoundrel' had left without paying his bill. She followed him out to the parking lot, bill in hand. She found him as he was getting into this huge black limousine. He turned around, smiled and waved for her to come in.
Before she knew it Emma was sitting next to him on a leather seat as they drove off. A little voice in the back of her head told her she had just been kidnapped. Her heart started beating faster. Since the moment she stepped into that car. The world behind her, the one that she thought was sad, but made sense. Was now gone. Before her was a world that was crazy, but one that made her happy. It was almost like she had awoken from a long sleep, into a dream. Her prince was the man that took her away that night and at the same time, the one who finally set her free.
As Emma started working for this man, she had a feeling she was his captive. Yet she never asked to be returned. She had come to a strange place, that felt like home. That was confusing to say the least. At times she doubted if she should really be there, but as she saw the bright smile of her prince as she did the work she was told, she was comforted. He did a lot of shady things, but his smile was always honest. Emma knew early on that he did outright criminal things. But he did it with a twisted sense of honor. When he stole something, it was always from someone who could afford it. Or if they didn't, he eventually returned what was stolen. Even giving things away, not because he needed to. But because he could. Apparently he had a lot of money, yet he was also aware of the fact he had more then he really needed. But that was not the reason she stayed with him. Emma felt appreciated, like she had not been in a long time.
The prince was something of a slob though. He stayed at hotels, but refused cleaning service. Probably because he was paranoid. So she kept the place tidy, turning chaos into order. She was needed. She didn't mind cleaning. Not because she was trained to, it was not that she enjoyed dirt and mess. But the satisfaction of seeing the end result. Leaving things clean and straight. Better than she had found them. That always made her feel good. Maybe that feeling was the greatness her great, great grandfather had spoken of with such noble words. Could it be something that simple? Perhaps. But be that as it may. Emma still slept soundly that night. Happy to be home. In the castle under ground.

THE END
- Bgagger
Part 14, A look closer at Emma and Tarja's relationship. Also a bit of a delve into Emma's backstory and how she ended up in the lair.

Thoughts and critique is welcome.

For the beginning of the series, go here:
bgagger.deviantart.com/art/A-d…
(Note that I started writing this series 9 years ago now. So the writing quality can differ. Hopefully turning for the better.)

Character overview:
bgagger.deviantart.com/art/B-G…
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