The foyer of the Rosethorn Hotel is deserted. A crisp white letter addressed to "Mm. Iron" sits on the front desk. There are no other signs of life.
"I would say that I'm one of the more traditional new experience seekers, here, including the standard losing virginity component thereof. As you might be able to tell, I'm not exactly the loosest person, and that has made this an... awkward experience. I wish I knew more about what exactly to look for, beyond the more obvious indulgences, and whatever items seem to show up. That Passivity is... uncomfortable, in some ways, and I'm not sure how to shake it."
"I'm a bit tense too. I'm used to much more formal settings, not... casual gaming. I'm trying to loosen up enough to actually proposition someone but it's not going well."
"I'm sure the Escort catalogue will have someone suitable to your tastes, and well..."
She raises her eyebrows and waves her hand down across her chest.
"I would expect that the infamous Rosethorn Matching Service is attempting to link the two of us together, all things considered."
"Seems likely. Are you inclined to, ah... try that, or would you prefer not to?"
"I am, though I think it would be appropriate to talk somewhat more, first."
She takes a deep breath out.
"And I suppose we should do this in a more... 'casual' venue - perhaps the Venusian Baths for the atmosphere?"
"That would be lovely. If you'd lead the way?"
She gently takes her hand, and walks in a random directly 'towards' the baths, 'til she passes through the arches leading outside to the iddylic garden itself on a stone path to the classical-designed bathing building.
"I might as well review the game experience..."
"I'm a little struck by how swingy it is - it seemed rather easy, or at least manageable and then you were digging for win conditions and I needed a very particular card in my deck to get victory. I'm sure I only won because I had those precautions and traps ready, as well. You did rather nicely, I'd say, and it makes me want to look into more such games - is it part of a franchise of similar 'simulations'?"
"It really is quite swingy. Cthonia can blow out a win very easily if you have poor name security. But in my opinion that makes it fun. There are others like it by the same company, but Namer's War is definitely the best."
She stretches her arms above her head, then takes Iron's hand again. "What did you do before coming here?"
"Yeah - there's something to be said for the battle of wills and minds and such, but unfortunately I've never been an adequate Exalted game player, considering the company I keep, and I like the feeling of having options up my sleeve - both as an underdog and steamroller."
"By trade I'm a metal elementalist - which in practice tends to mean that I do weapon, armour and bunker fabrication, but I've served in more traditional 'adventuring' roles upon occasion, or even as a diviner - it can expedite an adventure greatly if you can sense where all the precious metals are - as a horde or simply integrated into electronics - and can manipulate many unshielded projectile and melee weapons to harmlessness."
"OTC exec, on the planetary level. I've been told by my therapist that I need to take some time off for mental health reasons. I'm... a bit of a workaholic. You kind of have to be, to exist that high in the corporate structure. But doctor's orders, so I finally used some of my vacation time."
"I have to say I'm always skeptical about... 'always', in this world."
The gardens glisten with the light of the midday sun, the flowers blossoming beside the path in colors so vibrant that it's difficult to believe they are truly real.
"There's always ways to buy more threads, more time, more delegation, more efficiency. Which isn't to say that you aren't using such things already, but there's a limit to how much you can reasonably push someone vital before it makes sense to make compromises on some dimension to reduce the risks of that sort of burn out or vulnerability. It's not exactly desirable for someone who is expected to lead in a crisis to be living on the razor's edge of mental health, even beyond the normal considerations for why you should care about your own, you know."
Her hand squeezes hers gently.
She squeezes back.
"Yeah. I just feel like I'm letting people down if I'm away from my desk even for a moment. It's... difficult to lose. Even here I'm playing strategic games like Namer's War because I like the feeling of control."
"I can understand - that being said... have you looked into getting some sort of spirit-bonded automaton or familiar for that? It doesn't nesscarily need to be exactly, fully you for it to do many a thing as you, I find, and it can let you feel the there-ness, if you need it."
They are coming close to the bathhouse, now.
"Not my style to trust my work to somebody else. There's already enough people who can be almost me, in this world. If I didn't want to do the work I could just get a fork, you know?"
She sighs. "- I know, beside the point. I've looked into getting a raven familiar to handle some of my more basic work in my stead. It's going well. But it's new."
"I understand. I think a lot of the reason why this is important is for you to get a chance to become used to the idea, beyond just letting you relax more conventionally."
The doors shimmer out of existence for a moment, letting them see the opulent baths before them. They're in a quieter section - a luxurious jacuzzi bordering on full on swimming pool with no one close enough nearby to hear or disrupt there conversation.
"I'm comfortable bathing nude, but if you have anything else in mind, I can do that instead."
"Most likely. Sunaira is sneaky like that."
December shrugs out of her suit-jacket. "The water looks lovely. And I don't mind bathing nude either."
She smiles softly, and takes a moment to make a bit of a show of shucking off her thin shirt and let her pants fall to the floor before she sinks into the pool and sighs warmly.
Morning-Glory watches appreciatively as she shucks her pants and dress shirt. It turns out she has a cock, just like Iron does. She follows Iron into the bath and lets out a little sigh herself.
"What do you know," she says. "I'm relaxing."
She smiles broadly, and lets herself float backwards, resting back with her head just above the water, cock and floating balls faintly visible below it.
"I'm glad. It's always nice to just... feel the license you can get when trying something new and pleasant that you didn't realize you could before - I've already bathed today, but there's a convenience enchantment that means I don't need to worry about my skin shrivelling up from it so I can just... enjoy, which is quite lovely."
"Yeah. And... being nude with you feels natural. It doesn't make me blush. It's just kind of a fact. That's nice."
She smiles, and rolls her head around, letting her hair float around her face.
"Yeah. It's also nice that if I want, I can be aroused, at least faintly, and that doesn't change it. I'm in the Rose Bowers with someone els who is similarly naked, and that's all the reason I need for me to have that extra bit of emotion inside me, and that doesn't fundamentally change anything."
Slight smile. "Yeah. I have the sudden impulse to hold your hand, may I?"
She floats down into a position where she can, standing on the floor, and holds her hand.
Morning-Glory blushes and grins.
She just sits there in the water for a while, holding hands with Iron with a huge smile.
She smiles back at her, still holding her hand firmly, softly gazing just beneath her eyes.
Her free hand reaches up to her face, moving to brush her hair back before pausing.
She quietly asks.