Lillet Blan gently ran the brush over and through Amoretta's long, ash-blonde hair in soft strokes.
"You don't have to do this if you don't want to, Lillet," the other girl said in her light, breathy voice.
"I like taking care of you," Lillet said. "It's fun. And you have such beautiful hair."
Amoretta blushed faintly; Lillet could see the pale roses in her cheeks.
"But you shouldn't be wasting time on me; you have your final exams to study for."
"Amoretta, the exams are just a formality, really, to justify why I'm going to be graduating in under a year. I know all of the basic Runes by heart. And today's even is Necromancy, so I don't have to worry about any subtle little games on the test. Mr. Advocat had some unexpected surprises, but Ms. Opalneria is a very direct person."
"That is true," Amoretta granted.
Lillet set the brush down on the dressing table and picked up a short length of black ribbon. She lifted Amoretta's hair, letting the silken strands flow like a river between her fingers, before gathering them together so she could tie them up in Amoretta's usual topknot-style ponytail.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how pretty your hair is, though. After all, Dr. Chartreuse was making his 'ultimate homunculus' when he created you, so I'm not surprised that he gave you a body that was as beautiful as he could make it."
Amoretta tipped her head to one side, curiously.
"Do you think so?" She pressed her hand to her chest. "I know this body is considered because of what people tell me, and the way they look at me, but I'd never thought of it as being deliberate. Creator does not consider beauty particularly important, and he never offered me love, or even intended to, so I wouldn't think that it was something he would have spent his energies on. But you're right; it couldn't be an accident. Why?"
Lillet tapped her lip thoughtfully.
"If I had to guess, I'd think it'd be more about his pride of craftsmanship. You were his greatest creation, a life crafted around the spirit of an angel and able to exist in a human form separate from your flask. He'd want everything about you to be perfect, even your appearance."
"Oh, that does make sense."
Amoretta rose from the chair and turned around, giving Lillet a good look at her. It made the young magician think, since her mind was already on the subject of Amoretta's appearance.
"Lillet, are you all right? Your expression looks so strange." Worry flickered in the homunculus's eyes.
"I—I was just thinking."
"It must be something important if it made you make such an odd face. Can you tell me?"
"Well...it's something that I've been wondering about since we first met, but it's kind of personal."
"Lillet, you can ask me anything, you know that."
That was true enough; the homunculus didn't really have the same kind of personal boundaries that most people did.
Lillet pursed her lips while she tried to think of the best way to phrase things without hurting Amoretta's feelings. Then, she decided that Amoretta would react best to simple, direct honesty without any beating around the bush; the homunculus was just that kind of person.
"It's just...well...why do you dress like that?"
Provocative didn't cover the half of it. Amoretta's outfit was more costume than clothing, with a barbaric magnificence to it. She had on something that was like short white pants to cover her from waist to upper thigh. Over that she wore a knee-length black garment that was more coat than dress, having no sleeves and falling in two strips down the front. She had on nothing else under it, and while the cross-lacing from large silver buttons kept her breasts covered in technically decent fashion it also emphasized them. Since the coat was sleeveless, she wore separate sleeves of soft gray silk, slashed so that the skin of her arms showed through and tied with black ribbons. There were also black leather knee boots with heels that emphasized the sleek curves of her legs when she walked, and the ensemble was completed by a sword whose scarlet sheath, hilt, and belt made a bright splash of color.
It was an outfit that in every way emphasized desirability rather than just beauty, and it was completely at odds with Amoretta's manner and personality.
Amoretta neither blushed nor hesitated with her answer.
"I enjoy it."
"You mean, because when people look at you it feels a little like the love that you need to exist—but no, that can't be right," Lillet cut herself off, realizing the flaw in that idea.
"Yes, love and desire are two very different things, although they do go together well for the right kind of love."
"And you never, ever flirt or act provocatively towards people the way humans who dress that way do," Lillet observed.
"As I said, I like the clothes that I wear. That's all. I don't have an ulterior motive," Amoretta replied, a faintly chiding tone in her voice.
"Well, I suppose neither an angel nor a created life would necessarily have any kind of taboo about showing this part or that part of your body," Lillet considered it further, "and you do look pretty dressed that way."
"Thank you. You see, an outfit like this was the first thing that I truly owned for myself in this world, and the style has become part of my identity in my current life."
"Oh, I see. Did you pick it out, then?"
"No, Creator gave it to me on the day I was born."
Lillet blinked, surprised.
"Dr. Chartreuse did? But that doesn't make any sense. He doesn't even think about sexual attraction. He'd never design clothes in a style to inspire it. I can't imagine what he could have been thinking."
Then she remembered that Chartreuse Grande hadn't been alone in crafting Amoretta.
"Ooooh, that...that lech! I'm sure it was his doing."
"Bartido Ballentyne!" she huffed.
~X X X~
A/N: I've thought that about Amoretta's outfit from the game for about two years as of this writing, now!