Hello all! I haven't done this before, but I thought a brief preamble would be useful for this story in particular.

To start, some content warnings! This story is marked mature, and for good reason. It contains graphic sex scenes. For those who are squeamish about such things, they're lesbian scenes. And for those who are still interested, the sex is entirely between our main character Zhao Lian, and a prostitute she avails herself of at the start of the story. I'd say you could skip the sex scenes, but it wouldn't make much sense if you did so.

I'd like to think that the sex is just a natural expression of the characters as they exist at the point in time described, and that removing it, ignoring it, or otherwise messing with it would do a disservice to the characters. And maybe that's true! But maybe I also just wanted to write some smut. Can't hate someone for that, I hope.

The sex also a useful example for the world I'm building. Sex is an integral component of all civilizations, and how it's talked about, policed, and experienced by everyday people is an important portal into the lives of those people. It's also something a lot of fantasy doesn't do a great job of in my opinion.

Anyway, enough babbling, you've been warned! Hope you enjoy.

In the final decades of the Shan dynasty, the Shuli Go – magic-infused lawmen and women who had kept the peace for two thousand years – were disbanded as a caste. Turned sterile by the magic that gave them power, they struggled to find meaning in a world that no longer valued their talents, and valued above all else the families they would never have.

Zai 22, 3276 – Zhezhun Kingdom – One month after Wamai

Jiang Wan was happy – mostly in the alcoholic way – when he and Zhao Lian entered the doorway of the Golden Slumbers brothel, but when Lian offered to pay for his visit that night, he became downright gleeful.

"Really?" He asked as they removed their heavier robes. "This place is very good, but you know it isn't cheap, right?"

"I've never had this much money my whole life," Lian responded as the brothel's servants – scantily clad men and women – approached and took the heavy robes in hand. "And it's mostly thanks to you. It's the least I can do."

Jiang and Lian had just completed the trip up from Wamai and through the Weiwei Kingdom, leaving behind the bitter rains and cold for Yiwu – the Zhezhun capital – and its warmer climate. Even this close to the end of the year, Yiwu was relatively temperate and unbeholden to any one element. It was an old city undergoing a renaissance as the factory that turned the numerous minerals and materials sent from upriver into tools, weapons, and ornaments. But Yiwu had always had one thing: some of the best brothels in the Central Empire.

Zhezhun men and women had always been considered some of the most beautiful in the Empire: legend had it their Kingdom had been brought into the Empire specifically because one of the Bu Dynasty emperors had met the ambassador from Zhezhun and was so beholden by his beauty that the Emperor became obsessed with bedding as many Zhezhun people as possible. He invaded, conquered, and died of a cocktail of venereal diseases shortly thereafter. Since joining the Empire, the people of Zhezhun had retained and even cultivated the reputation for personal beauty. Lian knew it was mostly a lie – she'd travelled across the country several times and met just as many ugly people in Zhezhun as every other part of the Central Empire. But amongst the travelling bureaucrats, merchants, and officer-soldiers that decided these matters of taste and reputation, Zhezhun was the home of the most beautiful people in the Empire. Not because the citizens who lived, worked, and died in the Kingdom were beautiful – the wealthy taste-makers never met those people – but because the brothels of Yiwu and the other river cities in Zhezhun were filled with beautiful people.

And of all the brothels in Yiwu, the Golden Slumbers was the best. In the antechamber that Jiang and Lian initially entered the air had been perfumed, the fireplace crackled pleasantly, and bowls of complimentary wine and water were offered as soon as their coats were taken. Every corner was decorated in ornate gold set upon stone and brushed steel. The ceiling had been frescoed with a scene from one of the old epics involving a love triangle, except the genitalia of all the characters had been enlarged to unbelievable levels. And every face – from the barely dressed servants who took their overclothes, to the Madam who greeted them with a traditional servants bow, to the array of men and women arranged in full display on the staircase up to the rooms – was simply stunning to behold.

Lian had fought for her life more times than she could count, seen supernatural events unfold before her very eyes, and recently stood before a King and decided the path of his entire country, but the overwhelming beauty of the people in that room intimidated her far more than she wanted to admit.

"Well," Jiang stepped forward, bowed, and took the Madam's hand in his own, deftly depositing a small purse of silver coins into her palm. "If you are going to be that kind with your money," he said to Lian, "then allow me to cover our entrance fee for the evening."

The Madam rustled the bag in her fingertips, detecting each coin and confirming its weight and veracity with a practiced hand. It was five silver coins to enter for a night – more than a laborer made in three months, and more than Lian had ever parted with at one time except for when she'd been forced to replace her sword. She awkwardly gripped the hilt of her new Wamaian blade, the anxiety of many years poverty wrapped tightly in her memory.

You deserve this, she tried convincing herself, closing her eyes and taking a calming breath. And you can definitely afford one night of excess. In reality she had agreed to come to the place because of Jiang's insistence that this brothel was one of the true sights of the Empire, not out of any sexual fantasy. Although, she admitted to herself, it has been a while.

"Welcome to the Golden Slumbers," The Madam cooed to both of them. She was an older woman whose appearance had been carefully constructed to not distract from the beauty of the other, mostly younger women, even as she remained finely manicured and alluring. Lian had heard that many Madams in these kinds of brothels were actually owners, often having worked for shares in the business over the years, and this one had the well-practiced refinement of a woman acquainted with entertaining the rich and noble of the Central Empire. "I assure you," the Madam purred, "you will thoroughly enjoy your stay."

She then directed Lian and Jiang to head up the ornate staircase, upon which a varied array of male and female prostitutes were displayed on each step. Any one of them would have been worth whatever price they charged. Lian almost stopped to ask after the price of one man who's thick, muscular chest was visible under the parted folds of his robe and whose piercing, light brown eyes quivered her stomach, but Jiang stopped when she did and whispered into her ear: "These ones are just the window dressing – the real goods are upstairs." Lian stumbled up the next few set of stairs, wondering just how good the real goods could possibly be.

At the top, they came to a decision. One hall to the left was filled with men, bathed in red lantern light, arrayed diagonally down the hallway so that at least the outline of each of them were visible. The hall to the right was covered in a shimmering blue, like a dive into crystalline cold waters, with women every ten yards.

"So," Jiang rubbed his hands together as his eyes darted between the two options. "Which are you feeling tonight?"

Lian barely looked down the women's hall. The man on the stairs had called to her almost at once, and it was true that the men down the red hall were somehow even better looking. But then a memory came back to her of the last time she'd visited a brothel, in a small town in the Qi Kingdom just before she'd really plunged into poverty: there were no men available, and the one woman that was hadn't looked like much. But that woman had turned out to be one of the best partners Lian had ever had. Her heart and stomach were still lurching towards a man, but she forced herself to look down the blue hallway, and when she did, her eyes came upon a woman more beautiful than any she'd ever seen.

Lian's mouth went dry, and when she tried to say, "Blue," to Jiang, she only coughed instead.

"I think it's red for me…" Jiang wasn't paying attention or even talking to her, having caught sight of a particularly attractive target of his own. "Yes, um, that will do quite nicely."

He left Lian on the landing of the second floor, and then shouted over his shoulder, "Thanks again for paying Zhao!"

Lian finished her coughing fit, then looked back up and confirmed that the woman was both real, and still there. Lian wasn't even aware of the other women arranged every ten yards outside their rooms, despite each being more attractive than any other woman Lian had ever been with. Once she'd locked eyes with the one woman halfway down the hall, she was all Lian could see.

She forced herself to swallow deeply before she arrived in front of the woman, so she wouldn't choke again when she asked, "What's your name?"

The woman was the same height as Lian, their eyes fell upon each other naturally, and when she smiled to respond to Lian's question, the Shuli Go felt a slow trickle of excitement build around her hips and spread inwards in deep, pulsating waves. "My name is Mei, ma'am."

Mei. His name. Quan's father. At least, the name he gave her, the name he liked her to call him. Somehow the name only drew her in more. Perhaps, she stumbled around the thought, she was just drawn to Meis.

"A pleasure to, um… meet you," her voice stumbled as well. "Uh…" Her tongue caught, suddenly unable to bring up the discussion of money changing hands for sex. An experience she'd never found awkward in the past, seemed to debase Mei's beauty.

Mei, smile still on her face, filled the silence. "It's ten silver pieces for half an hour, fifteen for one hour, and twenty-five for two hours," she said, quiet enough for Lian to hear, but not loud enough to bring any further attention to the woman. Lian barely heard however, not because of the volume of Mei's voice, but for two other reasons.

First, she was struck by the absolute perfection of the woman's smile: curved just so, into a finely acute point, and featuring teeth so sparkling white they resembled the porcelain sculptures Lian had once seen displayed in the Imperial capital of Nianjang. Lian had never seen so flawless a smile.

Second, she didn't really want to hear the options. She knew exactly what she wanted.

"How much for the whole night?" She rushed out, the words almost merged together into an indecipherable mess.

Mei's smile shivered as she evaluated Lian in a new, more expensive light. Lian was well-dressed – Jiang had insisted on new clothes for them both when they first arrived in Yiwu the day before – but wore the restrictive layers of bourgeois wealth without any familiarity or comfort; her stumbling speech indicated she was no politician or bureaucrat; she was attractive, but not the staggering beauty of a rich man's mistress or wife. A woman like this did not often come along often, asking to replace the entirety of Mei's potential earnings for the night.

Lian read all this interpretation in the tiniest furrowing of Mei's eyes, the slight contraction of her smile. Only then did she realize it all about herself, and felt like a fool for being so abrupt and brutish with her question. But Mei once again saved Lian from embarrassment, replying calmly, confidently.

"One gold."

It was a lot of money by any measure. More than Lian had ever thought an actual price for something real people purchased. More than some powerful officials made in a year, officially at least. On the way from the tea house where Jiang had been getting drunk to the Golden Slumbers Lian had seen a board advertising a new set of apartments near the walls of the city, each one costing the same as a single night in Mei's bed. After all the bribes, taxes, and exchanges needed to transfer her Wamaian earnings into Imperial coin, Lian had been left with only fifty gold coins. Giving up one fiftieth of her wealth for a single night's bliss made her head swim almost as much as Mei's scent.

You deserve this, Lian repeated to herself, hoping the act of thinking it would make it true. Forty-nine gold coins is still forty-eight and a half more than you've ever had before.

Lian motioned towards the door and followed Mei into the room.

It was unlike any brothel room Lian had even heard of: a full ten yards wide against the adjoining rooms and almost twice as long, with a lowered middle rectangle of dark, rich wood standing out against the tiled stone floor all around it. To the left was a bathtub carved out of a single piece of marble, large enough for five people. To the right, a wide, long table with soft, finely embroidered chairs all about and an array of food and wine displayed on top. She could now see why a whole gold piece was required for the full night there – the furniture alone probably cost three or four times that. The only way in which it resembled any brothel Lian had ever visited was the prominence of the bed directly in front of her. Though even in that it dwarfed every other bed she'd ever seen, even the stately one she'd used in Wamai: easily eight feet in every dimension, it was surrounded by thick, redwood posts and curtains made of rich silks in intercutting patterns of red, blue, and purple. The sight of the bed sent another wave of excitement over Lian's body. Mei, however, had other thoughts.

"Since there's no rush," she spoke softly, as if every word was a secret she would only share with Lian, "would you care for a bath before anything else?"

It was then that Lian's Shuli Go senses returned to her, and she realized just how badly she stunk compared to the fine scents of the food, wine, and Mei herself. It had been a long couple of days ride from the Weiwei Kingdom into Yiwu, and Lian had insisted on staying in the cheapest inns on the way back, so that they could retain as much money as possible before they could exchange their Wamaian gold for Imperial. Even before that, there had been the ride from Wamai back into the Central Empire, and the days spent slogging through and around Three Paths to ensure they would not be harassed heading deeper into the country. It had been at least two weeks since she'd had a proper bath, and it showed, even through her new clothes.

"Yes, um," she again stumbled over her words, embarrassed. "Please. I'd appreciate that."

Mei stood in front of Lian and smiled again. "Don't worry," she said, her eyes twinkling reassurance, "we get much, much worse here." Lian chuckled anxiously, not really believing it, but appreciating the effort to relax her. "Please, have some food and drink. I will draw the bath."

Lian wandered over to the table, but was not hungry in the least and found there was nothing but wine and spirits to drink. Instead she spun around to watch Mei patiently hauling up hot buckets of water through a hole in the wooden floor, beneath which dozens of servants were running back and forth to provide for the whims of the guests and workers. Though the buckets were obviously heavy, Mei handled them with ease, and Lian just stood there, hands on the table, perched and watching Mei pour bucket after bucket into the tub. When Mei glanced in Lian's direction, Lian panicked and searched for something to say.

"Could I have some water, when you have a moment?" She stammered once again. "I, uh, I can't drink alcohol." At once she felt even more foolish and uneasy. Usually if she was not wearing her sword she would say "I don't drink alcohol" as if it were a choice, obscuring the fact that she was a Shuli Go. Here she'd revealed more than she intended.

If Mei noticed or cared though, she didn't show it. Instead she just whispered something to the help under the floorboards, and then asked Lian. "Cold water? With ice?"

"Yes, please."

Mei whispered again, then continued bringing up more and more water for the tub, until the large basin was full, steam hovering above it like a cloud, obscuring the air with a heavenly mist. She then waved for Lian to join her.

Lian did so, slowly and awash with anxiety. She made it to the middle of the room and the wooden floor, when Mei held up a hand to stop her. Lian froze as instructed. Mei stooped down and pulled up a serving tray through the hole. On the tray was a clear glass of water, filled with ice. She brought the glass to Lian and held it up for her. Lian drank, the cold quench of the water smoothing out the roughness that had been building in her throat. She handed back the glass nearly empty.

After Mei had returned the glass to the tray, she approached Lian and slowly pulled up the over-layer of the Shuli Go's new, awkward robes. Lian stood in the middle of the room, her anxiety and excitement rising in tandem as her arms, shoulders, and ankles were exposed, the heat of the bath sending faint trickles of warmth across her skin. Mei placed the top robe on a chair, then approached Lian and, giving a reassuring smile, began to untie the wrap that covered Lian's torso. Her hands worked smoothly and delicately, loosening the knot on Lian's left side and then pulling the fabric free. Lian fought the urge to cover her breasts as they too were exposed, a fight made easier by the fact that Mei did not stop to look – either in admiration or judgement – but simply continued undressing Lian, kneeling down and untying the knot on Lian's pants as well, pulling them down, and, the first time their skin touched, putting her fingers against Lian's hips to find purchase to drag Lian's underwear off as well.

Lian stood naked except for her shoes in the middle of the room. She slipped those off herself, but remained still, awaiting Mei's next instruction. She realized it was the waiting that was making her anxious: she was not used to someone serving her, doting on her every need. She usually took charge of any situation she was in – it was her way of navigating the world. At the same time as it made her uneasy though, she could appreciate the pleasures of the luxury. Her stomach fluttered in the mixture of joy and unease as Mei stood in front of her, looked her in the eye, and offered Lian her hand.

Lian took it, the excitement overwhelming the tension as Mei walked her to the bathtub and helped her in. The water was hot, almost scalding, and up past Lian's knees, but it wasn't unpleasant after the many days riding through the cold south. She felt the heat kneading through her chilled skin and warming the bones in her feet and legs. Mei kept a hold of her hand and asked, "Too warm?"

"No," Lian responded. "Just right."

Mei smiled and said, "Let me get your hair loose."

She untied Lian's long braid and gently loosened the winding strands of hair, fluffing them out and parting them onto Lian's back. Once her hair was free Lian sank into the water, letting the heat wash over her and the liquid to come up to her chin. She felt a wave of calm come over her as the water rendered her weightless, her hair floating around her and her limbs suddenly drained of tension. She closed her eyes to just enjoy the sensation, and when she opened them again Mei was staring at her from outside the tub.

"I'd like to wash you, if you'll allow me," Mei offered.

A small flutter of that same combination of excitement and anxiety came and went. Lian nodded.

Mei smiled, then began to undress on the edge of the bath, her eyes never leaving Lian's as she unwrapped her tight-fitting robes one at a time, until she was wearing just a loose drape of fabric over her neck and body. Then she peeled that away too.

It wasn't disappointment Lian felt, but the juxtaposition of an earlier memory. The woman in Qi Kingdom who had far exceeded Lian's expectations was preserved in Lian's memory mostly by the pronounced curves of her hips and the thick, full shape of her breasts. Mei was thin and lacked any such defining features – she was lithe and smooth, pale-skinned and taut. Lian had no immediate reaction at the sight of her naked body, and so it felt like disappointment in that initial moment. But then Mei stood still, displaying herself in front of Lian, and bundled up her long hair into a loose knot, stray strands of hair sticking in out in all directions and framing her face, drawing all of Lian's attention to it. And at once the disappointment was wiped clean and Lian was once again awed, immediately reconsidering the body that stood in front of her. Lian could not imagine a more feminine shape than Mei's in that moment.

Evacuating with the disappointment was any anxiety or embarrassment. She relaxed into the heat of the bath and watched as Mei joined her in the water, confident that wherever this temporary servant of hers took the night, it would be like her hands on the knot of Lian's clothing: smooth, delicate, precise. Lian gave in to the softness of the moment and let it flow through every inch of her body.

Mei produced a small bar of soap from a shelf next to the tub, and took to slowly scrubbing Lian with it, starting at her shoulders, then lifting each arm and diligently wiping clean the accumulated grit and grime of the many weeks' spent riding. She turned Lian to face away from her and began cleaning her back.

"What's your name?" Mei asked.

Lian couldn't believe she hadn't given it, but didn't sense any emotion about the fact from Mei, in any direction. It was just another aspect of the luxury of the place, that even the social faux pas were wrapped in something smooth and soft.

"Lian," she replied calmly, her mind quickly absorbed by the wonderful sensation of Mei's soap on her back and the slow, intricate set of circles the other woman was impressing on her skin.

"And where are you from, Lian?"

"I don't know," she replied too quickly and with more information than was intended or asked for. She was amazed at how quickly the woman was pulling awkward truths out from her. "I was an orphan." Lian clarified. "I grew up in Northern Shu though."

Mei pulled gently on Lian's shoulders to get her to rise and sit on the edge of the tub, then lift one leg so that she could clean there as well.

"I see," Mei said, the tone of her voice backing up the statement entirely: she saw, perhaps in that same knee and shin she was cleaning, more than Lian was used to disclosing. And she saw without judgment of any kind.

Lian had never had need of a sympathetic ear when she sought out the services of a prostitute – she had friends and confidants for that – but she knew that in a place like the Golden Slumbers it was probably expected: to be both lover and counselor, a respite for those wearied by weighty business and political decisions as well as those seeking a sexual release. Lian didn't really want a conversation, but she didn't want to close herself off to it either. She was committed to enjoying the experience – all its superfluous corners and edges included – as much as possible.

Mei put her one leg in the water and revealed the other.

"And you?" Lian asked. "Are you from Zhezhun?"

"I am, actually."

Lian's first instinct was to remark on her beauty and the Zhezhun reputation, but she knew it would sound silly. The moment for response passed and she stopped talking altogether and just watched the Zhezhun woman work.

Mei also fell into silence, before drawing Lian back into the water and going to work on the Shuli Go's hair, applying the soap in small batches, then rinsing the strand out. The whole cleaning process must have taken at least half an hour, and the water was sudsy and cool by the time she finished. But Lian felt incredible – relaxed, clean, and refreshed.

"More water?" Mei asked. "Some food?"

"No, thank you. I'm fine."

Mei smiled, then got up out of the bath and pulled a set of towels out from under the tub. She dried herself, a soft smile her only communication to Lian, then dressed herself again quickly, this time in just the thin layer of the under robe, and one more short-sleeved wrap of silk.

"Here, for your hair." She motioned for Lian to get up and offered a fresh towel.

Lian exited the tub and felt suddenly cold, but she dried her hair as Mei gently rubbed the water and residue off her body, and within moments there was a pleasant warmth in the room again. She noticed there was no fireplace, but saw small vents in various corners where a great furnace was blowing a stream of heat into the room, keeping it steady and pleasant. Not even the Wamaian palace had featured such extravagance. Jiang had not lied when he told her the Golden Slumbers was the best.

As Mei was finishing wiping Lian down, she made a remark. "Your muscles are very tight. I imagine you use them all the time as a Shuli Go."

"Yes," Lian was not surprised Mei had identified her profession, but was slightly impressed. "I suppose so. They're not like most people's muscles, either." It came off as bragging far more than Lian intended.

"Still, I know tense muscles when I feel them. Would you like a massage?"

Lian had to think for a second. "I don't know. I've never actually had one."

"Well then I insist," Mei joked, making clear she was not insisting. "I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

The word "enjoy" fired something inside Lian. A slow incendiary between her legs that she could already feel feeding on her insides. "I think I would too."

Mei took her by the hand once again and led her to the bed, then had her lay face down on one edge, which was surprisingly firm under the layer of silk sheets. She closed her eyes, breathing in the aroma the soap had left on her skin, and waited.

When Mei's fingers touched her back, Lian immediately became aware of the tension that the other woman had mentioned. Her back tensed and a cascade of other muscles flexed as well, painfully tightening her hamstrings and shoulders. When Mei pressed harder and harder into that same part of her back, Lian felt that tension build and build, her entire body repulsing this foreign pressure. But then Mei's fingers remained there, rubbing and kneading that same part over and over again, numbing it into a tingling farce of resistance. And finally, untold minutes later, Lian felt the muscles ease, there in the center of her, and a flood of that relaxation spread out, into those same shoulders and legs. And as it spread, so did Mei's zone of touch, her fingers spreading further, roaming further, pressing into the delicate muscles in Lian's neck, then across her sides and down further, into her hamstrings, her calves. Slowly, silently, Mei worked, pulling Lian's body out of its tension and dragging her mind into the same relaxed serenity.

There was a knock on the door, interrupting the quiet.

"I'll be right back." Mei told Lian.

Temporarily drawn out of her reprieve, Lian rolled on to her back to watch Mei go to the door. She spoke to someone through a small crack before returning to Lian's side at the bed.

"Your friend is asking for thirty five silver pieces," she informed Lian.

Lian had sunk too far into the comforts around her, she couldn't imagine getting up from the bed.

"In my over-robe, a small pocket inside, on the left. I have a half-gold coin. He'll pay me back the difference."

Mei nodded, and went over to the chair upon which she'd set Lian's clothes. Lian didn't even watch her – all thoughts of money and the speed with which it was emptying out of her purse had disappeared. She just closed her eyes and relaxed, awaiting the return of Mei's fingers and focusing on the ache the woman's touch had created within her: tense and awning, lapping at her like flames on a dry piece of wood. She could feel herself warming, igniting in tiny cinders.

The door closed and Mei returned to Lian's side. Lian remained on her back and Mei's fingers crept back into their motions, this time starting at her shins, then working up across her thighs. Part of Lian wanted Mei to push those fingers against her sex right away, but more of her was glad she didn't. Instead she continued up, rubbed her palms over Lian's stomach, then brought her fingers up against Lian's breasts. As she massaged them the line between relaxation and excitement blurred as Lian groaned involuntarily.

Mei moved on, massaging her shoulders and neck one more time, but afterwards took the invitation, and moved one hand back to Lian's breast and the other lower, to part Lian's legs. But Lian stopped her by grabbing Mei's wrist.

"No," she said, propping herself up to look Mei in the eyes. And just like when she'd asked for the full night, Lian knew what she wanted as soon as her eyes locked with Mei's. "I want your face between my legs."

This smile from Mei was different, the veneer of a demure servant broken by her own excitement peering through.

"Your beautiful, beautiful face," Lian murmured, spreading her legs and watching as that face delved down into her midsection.

The first touches were like oil on the already warmed surface of her desire, and it was only a few minutes between Lian first ignited with orgasm, her body twisting rigid and melting soft all at once, her hips buckling between the forces as Mei's experience and beauty combined to push Lian over the edge.

The first orgasm was explosive, driven by Lian's desire. But the rest were entirely up to Mei, as the prostitute brought her client to satisfaction again and again. Small, timid, delicate orgasms that felt like mere shudders compared to the initial one. But then built upon, growing stronger and further apart as Mei coaxed and teased every corner and fold of Lian's vagina with her lips, her tongue, her teeth. Lian was swallowed into a world where Mei's mouth brought joys more exquisite than any she'd ever experienced. When she was not in the throes of an orgasm she was looking down at Mei's face, mesmerized by its symmetry and the expressions it made as it brought her to a higher ledge of excitement, and then pushed her overboard.

The entire time, Lian never touched Mei or gave her any instruction – the woman was talented enough to draw out Lian's sexual excitement entirely on her own. But then in the final minutes Lian felt herself reaching a point she could not surpass, a point she wasn't even sure she could reach. She grabbed on to Mei's hair and pushed the back of the woman's head against her sex, urging her to work harder than ever. And Mei obliged, groaning into Lian's vulva and working some magic of sexual release to finally push Lian to her highest climax. A point so high Lian, for the first time in her sex life, screamed as loud as she could as her body spasmed: it was the only possible way she could embrace the moment and experience it fully.

She collapsed afterwards, a puddle of embers where her desire had once been.

Exhausted, sweaty, without any notion of time or place, she felt Mei crawl up alongside of her and then place her head on Lian's shoulder. Lian couldn't even move her hand onto Mei's back, she was so delirious. But she did enjoy the sensation of the other woman's hair against her chest, Mei's arm over her stomach and her leg draped over Lian's. She trusted the woman – with her purse, with her body, and now, after both were spent, with her nakedness and the combination of their scents and limbs into an amalgamated whole. Lian couldn't think of much just then, but she did think very clearly: I've never had a partner like this.

The two of them said nothing, both of them too tired to even move under the sheets, and Lian started to drift asleep with the softness of Mei's skin pressed against hers. She wandered between waking and sleep for what felt like hours but was really just a few dozen minutes. And then Mei's hand crawled up to her breast and began playing with it again, squeezing and teasing. And almost at once she could feel those burnt out embers kindling, fresh oxygen pouring over the surface, reigniting once again.

Lian moaned softly, near Mei's ear, and the other woman turned her face into Lian's neck, kissing and licking it, firing new sensations into the exhausted part of Lian's libido, reawakening it almost at once. Within a minute she was ready for more, and Mei delivered it, using her fingers to start this time, bringing Lian to one orgasm after another, then combining her fingers and face to once again raise Lian to her highest passions. And once again, at the very top, Lian screamed – the exhalation of air out her lungs vacating the space she needed to fill every nerve in her body with sexual joy.

After that, Mei pulled the sheets out from under Lian and covered them both in the cool blue silk that seemed to quench the fire on Lian's skin. Mei once again rested against Lian's chest, and they both succumbed to an exhausted sleep.

Twice more in the night one of them awoke to initiate the process all over again. The first time Lian awoke when she almost swallowed some of Mei's hair in her sleep, and in the act of brushing it out of her own face, pulled Mei awake enough for the woman to respond with instinct – a hand thrust between Lian's legs, rubbing and probing for the wetness she wanted to produce. Then she produced it.

The final time was early morning, the sun just starting to creep through the blinds Mei had never had time to close, as Lian slept on her side with Mei wrapped around her, their bodies enveloped in one another and the heat becoming too much for either to manage. Mei awoke in a sweat and Lian did the same, neither moving despite the discomfort, for fear of troubling the other. Then Lian guided Mei's hand, which was on her stomach, lower. Mei obliged, throwing the sheets off them and putting her mouth on Lian's sex one final time. By this point Lian's body – tough as Shuli Go bodies can be – was exhausted, and while mentally she wanted nothing more than one final experience with Mei, her body was slow to respond. She had been sexed out, and yet still Mei worked, using every trick in her book to please Lian. It took a long time, but eventually she penetrated Lian's other orifice, eliciting a surprised gasp, and finally, through the novelty of the sensation, she orgasmed again, hard and fast and with her last bit of energy.

They fell asleep again, apart except for fingers that brushed against one another as the sun beamed into the room.