The room was just as Wyn had described. The screen that split the two parts was folded partially back.
There was another door on the parallel wall and opposite corner, which was much more ornate. That would be where the esteemed guest entered.
The guest’s side of the room was decorated with a little nondescript shrine. There were two cairns of stones and a magical trickle of water flowed down each one, filling the room with the soft sound.
The staff side of the room had a shelf of cubbies which were full of candles, incense, glass jars, and all manner of other accessories. There was a default setup, of course, but each esteemed guest could request customizations that were arranged for them before their arrival. There was no bed in this room, just a segmented bamboo mat rolled out across the floor.
The light was dim and orange. Cozy. A clearly labeled cluster of levers on the wall controlled the color and amount of light by sliding various filters over the source.
Linza took a moment to slide all of them back, curious about both the mechanisms and the source of light. The brightness of the light was nearly blinding. She confirmed that the source was a perfectly round gem, radiating a steady light from its core. The magic could only be wrought in a flawless gem, but once it was it would shine eternally.
Linza was so overwhelmed by taking in even the small room that it was a long few minutes before she noticed the piece of parchment in the middle of the bamboo mat on the floor. It was folded into a tent with her name in curling script on the front.
She picked it up and on the inside was a letter.
My name is Tanyth (they/them pronouns, please) and I will be helping you get acquainted with the house. I know it’s a bit odd to leave you just a note, but if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling totally overwhelmed at the moment.
Your first goal is to simply keep coming to this room — and, if you’d like, IN this room 😉 — every night until you no longer feel nervous to be here. It may take a long time, or no time at all. When you’re ready, you may deliver a letter addressed to me to the madame’s assistant. I’ll then be waiting to meet you the following night.
Linza’s heart was beating in her throat. She was already eager to meet Tanyth! Such beautiful writing could only come from beautiful hands, she was sure.
But, she was sure it was the same as when the madame had insisted that she spend a night considering her terms of employment.
As eager as she was, she appreciated Tanyth’s thoughtfulness.
Yet, how in the world was she supposed to not feel nervous?
Her eyes darted back to the winking face in the letter.
She could do as they’d suggested… though, was she really so bold? But, why not? That was the whole point of the place, wasn’t it?
Yet, she’d never been here before. That could be worrying… or exciting.
Linza checked the doors. Both locked with a bolt. Some small magics could open simple locks like this, but she expected that was by design. The locks were meant to prevent accidental entry, not all entry. That would be necessary for the safety of the staff.
That thought sparked a little flicker of anxiety. Just how dangerous could this line of work be? The terms of employment had talked at great length about security and safety measures. Should she be worried?
Then again, the professors who gave the longest lectures on safety always had the fewest accidents in their laboratories. She expected that the same principal applied here.
And, she understood Tanyth’s advice. She was feeling overwhelmed. She agreed that she’d learn little until her nerves abated.
So, Linza settled in. She took six candles and arranged them in a ring, then lay a stick of incense on a tray between them. She lit each of them with a brief arcane chant and a snap of her fingers. She stretched out on the bamboo mat and let her whole body relax for a few minutes. Then, she sat up and pressed her feet together and practiced the gestures for her favorite spells, which was as meditation for her.
As her hands traced the shape of the spell for a minor illusion, her memory wandered back to her activities of the previous night.
Arousal rushed over her like heat billowing out of a cracked oven.
She could do that again. Or, she could do something different.
She traced the shape and the crystal at her throat hummed.
A visceral moan unfolded in the air around her. Then, another.
A shiver ran down her spine and pooled between her legs, a quivering tingle in her sex.
She thought of the way that the madame’s assistant had smelled. The way that she might fold into his field of stars. It felt a little bit naughty, to indulge in that. Like Wyn had said, a little bit like lusting after a professor. Might she, like Wyn had imagined, be able to learn from him? From the madame herself?
Linza was sure she could not imagine what they would teach her.
The luxuriant moaning that she had summoned brought her back to awareness of her body. She flicked her fingers to renew the spell, and it continued.
Her sex ached, but she did not yet touch herself.
Her breathing quickened, her blood ran hot.
And Tanyth, what were they like? What would they teach her? Were there any staff here that would not make her into a blushing, stuttering mess?
She undressed all the way. Her flicker of shyness died in the wake of the next illusory moan.
If she could be naked here, masturbate here, that would go a long way towards making her feel more comfortable.
She lay back on the bamboo mat, the panels smooth against her skin. She stretched and felt the ridges all along her spine, her arms, her ass, her calves. The room was the perfect temperature to lay like this.
Soaking in the needy, visceral moans of her illusion.
She plunged her fingers into the depths of her arousal and nearly screamed with delight. She had stopped herself, because she thought she might be heard.
But, wasn’t the point to be heard? To make herself as comfortable as possible? To be as shamelessly vocal as the sounds of pleasure she so often summoned for herself?
Linza withdrew her fingers, letting the anticipation build. She waited until her legs were trembling and her sex was clenching and her breath was shaking.
As she touched herself again, she moaned. The sound started at the very depth of her arousal and vibrated inside of her before escaping from her throat. It was as if she were a lute and her fingers plucked the strings of her pleasure.
She played her favorite song all the way up to the crescendo.
Just before the crest, she stopped.
Linza gasped and growled. Why was she torturing herself like this?
It was because the next time her fingers touched her folds, they felt so good. Every time she edged herself, her pleasure redoubled.
After the fourth time, she couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted, needed, craved the climax. She was quivering and begging for relief.
This time her fingers did not stop and this time the song swelled to its final crescendo, a scream of abject pleasure.
Linza moaned as the aftershocks coursed through her. The illusory moaning quieted. Her breathing slowed. The candles burned softly next to her.
Linza had not meant to fall asleep there in the little room. But, she had been so thoroughly relaxed, so totally comfortable, that she drifted right off into dreams of suns enveloping moons.
Linza awoke in the dim light of the little room, sure that it was a bit late in the night to be walking home by herself, but also optimistic that she might be able to find some other employee recently off shift that might walk with her.
She wiped herself with a towel from a cubby and cleaned the room as best she could. If she’d interpreted Tanyth’s letter correctly, this room was set aside for her training and so she didn’t need to worry too much about protocol just yet.
She dressed without hurry and opened the door.
The bright sun of late morning crackled in her eyes.
She was going to be so late for work!
She collected herself as best she could and listened for music. True to the assistant’s word, this brought her back to the main street and she hurried towards the exit of the estate and the trolley stop out front.
Linza swore as she waited for the trolley to arrive, then cursed at its slow progress, then muttered hexes towards herself as she jogged the last few blocks to the laboratory.
She took a deep breath and stepped inside, trying to look nonchalant. She’d prepared a fib about getting on the trolley going the wrong way that she hoped would be convincing.
Linza was soothed and yet perturbed to find that nobody had noticed. She spent the rest of the day kicking herself for kicking herself and also debating whether she was ready to meet Tanyth.
She finally decided that the curiosity was going to make her nervous in its own way. She’d write her letter that night, deliver it on her way to the room, spend just the evening there this time, and then meet them the following night.
Linza did as she had planned. That night, she bought dinner at the estate, tiny pastries of roasted vegetables and meats. The smell of it filled the little room and intensified the flavor.
Given her day’s rough start and her wariness to lose track of time again, she simply ate, burned a single stick of incense, and then left.
She hadn’t spotted the madame’s assistant on the way in, and so she wandered the estate for a bit with her letter addressed to Tanyth.
However, she became distracted and stopped to listen to a bard play a sonata on a massive harp.
“How are you finding everything?” The assistant was suddenly standing directly next to her.
Linza nearly jumped out of her skin. “Oh, I was looking for you!”
He looked down at her with his knowing, noticing eyes, as if to say I know.
She gulped and handed him the letter. “I-It’s for Tanyth.”
He nodded. “They will receive it tonight.”
Unsure of what to do with the intensity of his gaze, her eyes flitted back to the bard. She searched for something to say. “Do you think they—”
But as she turned, she found that the assistant was already gone.