Lily rubbed her eyes, using her other palm to shield them from the assault of the sun’s first rays. The shafts of light massaged her body with a gentle warmth, signalling the arrival of a new dawn. She could have installed curtains over her open, East-facing window, but she considered it a good practice to rise with the sun. The earlier she woke, the more work she would be able to do throughout the day. She slowly sat up, pulling aside her blanket. A cooling breeze ran across her nude body, the result of the temperature management devices she had installed throughout the house – they released cold air in the Summer, and warm air in the Winter, keeping the interior of the house at a comfortable temperature throughout the year, a refuge against the seasons.
“Good morning, Lily.”
Lily turned her head in the direction of the voice, whereupon her lips were met by Iris’ waiting lips. The first time Iris did this had been a pleasant surprise, but by this time the action had become a part of their daily routine. Iris was kneeling on the bed next to Lily, wearing an expensive set of town clothes that Lily had bought during one of her visits to Riasode. It was a black blouse and skirt combination, which had lacy white frills along the square collar and the openings of the sleeves and skirt. The skirt was mischievously short, falling to just the middle of her thighs, protecting her dignity while constantly threatening to undermine it. Her midriff bore a black corset of leather, bound with three leather belts, fastening the blouse securely to her skin and accentuating her figure, granting her a beautiful and seductive appeal. The look was completed by her usual pair of black silk thigh-high stockings, the skin that showed in the gap between the hem of the skirt and the top of the garters drawing the eye as her skirt threatened to reveal a forbidden garden. The outfit was rather bold, for what was essentially casual clothing. If not for her youthful, teen-aged appearance, she would have looked every bit like a habitually seductive temptress.
Of course, Lily knew that Iris’ youthful appearance hid a person who could act in extremely seductive ways, and so disregarded said appearance: currently kissing her was a habitually seductive temptress.
Lily pulled away from the kiss and stroked Iris’ hair, as she had done every morning since the day Tate had left the house. Iris quietly allowed her hair to be played with for a while, then pushed herself off the bed and picked up a tray of white bread and honey that had been set on the bedside table, presumably placed there while Lily had still been asleep. She passed the tray to Lily, who took it with a nod of gratitude and turned away from Iris, easing into a sitting position on the bedside, feet on the ground, tray balanced on her lap. She tore off a bit of the bread, dipping it into the honey and chewing on it while Iris combed her hair. As Iris worked, humming, Lily found herself occasionally angling her gaze backward while eating. The object of her gaze was, understandably, the thin line of flesh that lay between Iris’ stockings and skirt.
As she ate, Iris abruptly stopped combing. Lily turned her head back to see if there was anything wrong, and was promptly greeted by the sight of Iris’ backside, placed squarely in front of her face. It wiggled playfully, and Lily immediately jerked her gaze away, trying to calm her beating heart. It quickly proved to be a futile endeavor, hindered by Iris leaning in close to Lily and blowing into her ear.
“You know, if you wanted to look so badly, you could just ask.”
Lily blushed bright red as Iris returned her attention to Lily’s hair.
“N-No, it’s fine. I’ve seen it plenty of times.”
“Oh? Does that mean you’re getting bored of it?”
“I thought so.”
Even though Lily and Iris made love to each other practically every day, there was no way Lily could be bored with the act. Even without taking into account the immense love she bore for the android, the fact that both of them had metal limbs which could be easily altered and adapted meant that every session was slightly different; just the previous night had seen them exploring the many different uses of metal cables – some of the marks were still faintly visible on Lily’s skin.
Thinking of the previous night caused Lily to become even more flustered, eliminating any possibility of being in a state of mind to use wit and words to divert attention away from her rapidly reddening face. Lily decided to change tactics and began to eat with greater fervor, tearing off larger chunks of bread and wolfing them down. Iris, seeing Lily’s desperate attempt to cover up her embarrassment, could not help but giggle.
Lily finished her meal at roughly the same time as Iris finished straightening out the knots in her waist-length hair. Although Lily had maintained it at knee length for a good amount of time, she found that it kept getting caught on parts of her devices, particularly after she started working with gears, so she had trimmed it to a more manageable length. Lily passed the tray back to Iris, who laid it back on the table, then got off the bed, stretching to eliminate the last vestiges of sleep. Letting out a large yawn, she held out an arm, upon which Iris passed her a dress. She raised an eyebrow. She didn’t wear dresses. They didn’t fit her aesthetic, and they were largely impractical. The last time she had worn a dress was when Roan’s wedding dictated it. She looked at Iris, whose grin showed that she was thoroughly enjoying Lily’s confusion. Lily sighed and asked the question which Iris was likely waiting for.
“So what’s with those clothes?”
“To seduce you, of course. Aren’t they cute?”
Iris giggled and twirled on the spot, causing the skirt to flare outwards. As Lily suspected, the skirt lifted just enough to offer the promise of a glimpse, without ever crossing the line into voyeurism. Lily gave her a pointed look and answered drily.
“Please. I know you. You don’t seduce me by wearing clothes. You seduce me by taking them off. Besides that doesn’t explain why I have a dress as well.”
The moment she heard the first half of Lily’s statement, Iris immediately moved her hands to her midriff, making a show of loosening the belts. Lily sighed.
“Seriously. Seven years of living with you and I never realised how much you enjoyed teasing.”
Iris giggled and took her hands away from her corset.
“Well, that’s because I didn’t really have any sexual desires until about a year ago, when I became complete. You have only yourself to blame for being so fun to tease.”
Lily could give no answer. She enjoyed Iris’ teasing, though admitting as much would take some of the fun out of it. She tried to divert the conversation back to her initial question.
“So what’s the occasion? Why are you wearing town clothes, and why did you set out a dress for me?”
“Do you remember what day it is today?”
Lily glanced at the bedside calendar, a clear pane of glass that magically updated the date every 24 hours. It was a convenient invention that removed the need to remember to manually change the date. The glass pane showed that it was the 22nd day of the 8th month. The start of the weekend. Something about the date seemed familiar. Lily racked her brains. It was the start of the fortnight, so it meant Tate and Prei would be home today – that was always a cause for joy, but it hardly warranted dressing up like this. In that case, what was special about this date. As she thought, she happened to glance at the frame of lilies that adorned the sides of the glass pane, Tate’s signature pattern. Her glasswork had been getting better, and she had apparently started experimenting with glass shields – shields which were centered around a magic stone, and which would magically reconstruct themselves when shattered, allowing them to take on different forms depending on the user’s needs, or even providing a weapon in a desperate situation…
The answer came to Lily as she thought of Tate and Tate’s accomplishments. The 22nd day of the 8th month. That meant that today was Tate’s birthday. Now she understood the reason for the dress. Back when Tate had lived with them, birthdays had been minor things, celebrated with a cake and a small party. Now that Tate was living apart from them, however, it would not do to have only a small celebration – Lily wanted to create memories that would stay with Tate even as she lived and worked within Riasode. Clearly, Iris felt the same way. However, Iris got one detail wrong.
Lily grinned and folded the dress neatly, returning it to Iris. Iris looked at her with confusion. Evidently, Lily had realised what day it was, so why was she refusing the dress…?
“Lily, could it be, you intend to just have a small celebration, as usual?”
Lily chuckled and shook her head.
“Certainly not. But you see, while I’m sure Tate would love to see me in a dress, I think there’s something else she’d much rather see me wear.”
Lily opened the drawer that was built into the bedside table and removed a necklace with a lily-themed pendant. Iris’ look of confusion immediately changed into a look of understanding as she watched. Lily took the accessory and placed it around her neck, feeling the biting sensation of the cold metal against her nude flesh. She closed her eyes and Extended into the pendant, feeling the many threads of magic that she had spent days crafting. The she Extended outward, following these threads. A wave of fatigue washed over her as the item tapped into her mana, fueling the taxing process of shifting magically connected objects through a pocket dimension to overcome spatial distance. In her workshop, the pieces of armor on a mannequin vanished, reappearing over Lily’s body. When the process was completed, Lily was dressed in a complex coat of plate armor, gleaming in the light of the sun.
This was the armor Tate had constructed specially for Lily. They had worked together on this project for years, constantly changing it and improving it as they each made progress in their fields of research. It was a symbol of the united power of magic and metallurgy, and it was also the strongest symbol of the friendship and mutual trust shared by Lily and Tate. Lily believed wearing this armor would make Tate far happier than the dress. She turned to Iris for confirmation, and was answered with a nod.
“You’re right. She’ll definitely like this better.”
Lily grinned and began to walk out of the room. Tate and Prei would arrive by evening, and if they were to have a big celebration, preparations needed to be made. She knew without looking that Iris had begun walking beside her, so she spoke up in an attempt to get back at Iris for teasing her earlier.
“Oh, and to answer your previous question, Iris, I do think you look very cute in that getup. Extremely so.”
This time, it was Iris’ turn to blush, her non-red eye flashing pink as she desperately tried to avoid tripping over herself in panic.