Purple Fire Lady heated some wine, passing it from her mouth to his, tickling his tongue with hers. Hsi-Men Ch'ing, thirsty for another wine, knelt and pressed his tongue deep into the purple cup set in alabaster. A magic cup! The more he drank, the more it filled. The tongue he found lacked eloquence in words, but not in sighs. The maid had left a lamp on the table. In the game called claws of the Dragon, Hsi-Men could look down and see red enter white hard enter soft. Again and again, in the game whose end is dreaded and yet longed for, the pattern was repeated: until Purple Fire Lady, noisy from both mouths, became quiet and turned her autumn glancing eyes to him.