"Ahh, Lillet Blan," Advocat murmured nostalgically, gently swirling his wine glass as he watched the woman seated primly in his over-stuffed, red velvet plush chair. The wine, as with most things involving Advocat, was more fiction than truth; he could barely even taste the drink, but he believed in being a gentlemanly demon in all things, and image was a large part of that.
"Hello, Mr. Advocat," she responded warmly. "It's good to see you again."
And he could feel her sincerity. She was genuinely glad to be in the devil's lair, hands cupping the delicate china of a teacup he had poured for her. Such an unusual woman, Lillet Blan. Most everyone who knows him inundates him with fearful respect - as they should, to a devil of Advocat's power and standing! But not her. The mad mortal seems to see him as an ally. She did not precisely lower her guard around him - the power of her runes was always drawn about her like a cloak, elves and ghosts and chimera and even demons ready at her beck and call - but she trusted him despite his nature. In anyone else, Advocat would believe their lack of fear to be bravado, or naivete, but he had no doubt that the cunning woman knew him very well indeed.
He leaned back in his own throne-like red and gold chair and set his glass down, his hands clasped and long legs stretched out before him. He was clad in his usual red and black striped suit with lace at the throat, breast and wrists. Something nostalgic in her gentle smile made him think back, reminiscing about the first time she had come to the Archmage's tower. Such a pretty little mouse she had seemed then. But beneath her cute exterior lay a heart of steel. Little more than a child, she had crafted and set into motion a cunning and Machiavellian scheme worthy of any duke of hell. Everyone in the tower, student and teacher alike, moving like pawns according to her will. Even himself; to this day, she never told him how she had found or pilfered or won the Lemegeton from him, though he had his suspicions. And such interesting suspicions his agile mind and limber imagination provided him with. He had watched in glee as she masterfully played first Calvaros, then Grimlet. When she had tricked Grimlet into the choice of embracing God or being sent back to hell... the look on his face! Priceless! She had been magnificent. When had he last found such a cunning little soul? He thought he might be in love. She was comely, too, of course, her childish cuteness transforming into a more womanly charm in the last few years. But those who knew him might be surprised at how very little that fact had to do with his choices. She could be as homely as an old boot, and he would still value her more than any human still living. Certainly more than that dried-up old relic he had the misfortune to be contracted with, Gandledorf.
Within a year after the events surrounding the alchemist's stone she had left for the city, taking Chartreuse's greatest alchemical achievement with her. And within a few years she had become a Mage Consul - a truly powerful magician by any measure.
He dropped by every so often for tea, to catch up on news, leer at her roommate Amoretta, and try to tempt Lillet into a Contract. He knew her well enough to realize that she would never be so foolishly... mortal as to sell her soul to him, but his devil's pride insisted he try for form's sake, if nothing else. It was truly a pity: she would have made a marvelous devil.
"Indeed," he agreed with her, coming back to the present. "To what do I owe the... pleasure, of this visit?" He lingered on the word, investing it with dark and sinful meaning, trying to evoke one of her rare blushes. She just grinned at him fondly and slapped his arm in reproach. "No particular reason," she admitted. "But I was in the area due to my job, and felt like seeing you and the other professors again. You are a friend, you know."
He threw back his head and let out a genuine laugh at that. "Befriending a devil? Such a strange mortal you are, Lillet Blan!" he said, speaking aloud what he had been thinking mere moments ago.
She did not deny it. "Well, my best friend is an angel and mad scientist's experiment, and I'm on rather good terms with an elf, a necromancer, a deposed prince, a spy of a rival nation, a former minion of evil, and a talking lion. You fit in rather well among such company, I should think."
He was oddly touched by being included in her circle of friends, even if by doing so she had lumped him in with that oaf Bartido, Opalneria and her boytoy, and the immensely annoying Margarita Surprise.
"And speaking of young Bartido, how is your love life doing?" He segued, his eyes gleaming with a certain anticipatory light. Literally gleaming, in fact, glowing a bright gold that seemed to cast the rest of his face into shadow. In moments of emotion, or even only when his concentration slipped as it did now, some small portion of his true nature manifested itself. Advocat, as with most immortal beings, knew the old adage that knowledge was power. Even Chartreuse knew that truism, and the professor in lion form was as blind as they came, in Advocat's considered opinion. As such, the devil was an incurable gossip and spent much of his free time in the pursuit of information both magical and mundane, in both rat and human guise.
"It is not doing much of anything, truth be told. Bartido sends me love letters from time to time, but I've heard he was a real player," Lillet told him, long used to his peculiarities.
"Good, then it seems I will not have to murder him in his sleep, after all," Advocat murmured to himself.
"What was that?"
"Nothing of consequence, my dear," he responded cheerily.
Lillet went on, either not hearing or ignoring his murderous aside. "No one has shared my bed besides Amoretta, if you must know. I think my close relationship with her scares a lot of guys off."
"Oh?" the devil's perfectly manicured eyebrow rose. He lamented, "I certainly do not understand mortal men, if that is truly the case." He reached out and pressed her free hand with both of his, simple pressure and a brush of his lace cuffs, mindful of his claws.
"Though," he purred, "I have no problem whatsoever with Amoretta, as you know. And my skills in such areas are exceptional enough to sell your soul for. Literally."
There was that blush he had been looking for earlier. Quite delectable. She removed her hand from his, but he did not think it was his imagination that there was a slight hesitation there. Perhaps... it was a start. Quite beside the coup it would be to Contract such a promising young witch, she stood on her own merits, a giant among her stodgy and quite boring peers.
And if there was one thing the immortal Advocat had plenty of, it was time.