Character(s): Dante/Roze, Lust
Prompt: a thousand martyrs I have made
Word Count: 5287
Summary: She smiled and cleared her plate for her caregiver, her protector.
(Euphemism for owner.)
Author's Notes: mindfuckery, Dante isn't nice, Roze is not herself, and Lust has never been nice.
The baby wasn't crying. (No, no, that was wrong. He must have been crying.) Roze's door opened slowly, Dante walking into her room, holding the little boy in her arms, the child swaddled and blissfully asleep.
There were no bars on the windows. When Dante had gotten the old house, she had explained, almost every window (but not the oaken room, no, not with the newspaper birds) was barred. That wasn't good for safety, now was it? (static again. staticy mess, interference, couldn't think, what was Dante saying?) What if there was a fire?
Bars or not, she felt much safer in the woman's company. The baby boy (shouldn't he have a name?) was placed in the antique crib and she looked at the bars keeping him from toppling out. (What if there was a fire? Could she manage to remember to save him from his crib? See euphemism for prison.)
There were plenty of stairs in Dante's mansion and when she wasn't eating or socializing or playing dress up with the woman (what do you do with a broken doll?) she was free to roam the entirety of the mansion, armed with just her keys. Keys... She had keys to all the rooms she had found, save Dante's and the newspaper room.
"You slept late," Dante said, pulling out a pink, frilly dress. "With the nightmares you had last night (violins, cellos, a French horn) I thought it would be appropriate for you to sleep in a bit.
"You've been losing weight again," Dante frowned, tying the dress tightered. "You don’t want to lose that perfect figure of yours, do you? That beautiful body..."
She had always been afraid of the stairs that went down, past the floor where Dante's room was (the ground floor?) and into what looked like darkness. (bright flash, pictures, dark alley, dress ripping, fear, flutes and fiddle)
She calmed down, her eyes, full of candid fear one moment, glazed over again, emotions deaf to the (orchestral) world.
Down. She went down into the darkness, not knowing what to expect any longer. (Slip on an old stair and smash your porcelain face!) But no, it didn't seem so dark anymore, once she had reached the bottom. No, there was a faint glow coming from under the door at the bottom of the steps. Shaky fingers tried the doorknob, but it was locked.
She fumbled for her keys, wanting to see if any opened this new ash door, carved with intricate designs (static, but the wood-winds quickly took over). It was a beautiful design, she thought simply.
But before she could try any key, the door creaked open, flooding light into the whole staircase.
Breakfast was pleasant. They had waffled with whipped cream and strawberries and raspberries on top. (Where was the baby?)
Small talk, about the maid and cook, but of course, Roze returned none of it, just smiling and nodding as Dante talked.
"You know, we should teach you to read and write," Dante decided, finishing the last of her waffles and poking Roze to finish her food.
(No, there was something wrong, don't eat anymore, just don't lose weight just...)
She smiled and cleared her plate for her caregiver, her protector.
(Euphemism for owner.)
She stumbled into the room, her dainty shoes getting messy with some dark coagulated substance (Blood, China Doll, Blood). At first, she thought she was alone, almost blinded by the light, but then she heard, "Can I eat it?"
The question wasn't directed at her (about her), but to a beautiful, yet frightening woman (she had seen before?). "No you can't eat the pretty body Hohenheim's son likes so much," Lust told Gluttony, patting him on the head. "And besides, you just ate." The rotund sin, stuck his hand in his mouth, just wanting something to chew on.
(She was standing in the remains. A mess of blood and the few guts the squat man hadn't been able to lick up.) Roze immediately pulled out her notebook, writing in childish handwriting, "Are you playthings, too?"
"Oh! Dante did say something about her being mute!" Lust seemed to be overcome with mirth. Some emotion (feeling, sensation) arose in Roze, but she couldn't place it (the music was slow and sweet now). "No, we're not playthings," Lust corrected the girl. "Unlike you, we cost quite a bit more to come up with. I guess you could call us martyrs."
Roze was confused for more than just a moment, her fuzzy mind parsing the words slowly. "To what cause and effect?" she managed to write, her head starting to feel clear.
Lust shrugged. "The selfish benefit of a selfless service of vanity," she offered.
Newspapers. Doors that should be locked to rooms that were never cleaned. Selfless service. But selfish benefit. Martyrs for her cause. China Dolls for her act. She had the pieces, it was just putting them together that was so difficult.
"Can I eat it?" Gluttony interrupted her thoughts with, the man apparently extremely impatient.
"No," Lust repeated. "We don't eat sacrifices."
China Doll sacrifice, porcelain broken on the floor, shattered, fancy dresses too tight, newspapers clippings, martyrs, too expensive to simply replace, blood staining her pumps in a bare cellar, chilling her to the bone.
There was no music. No static. No violins, oboes, tubas, French horns, cellos, violas, flutes, or harps. Everything was just so clear.
The door was open downstairs, and Dante could see the light coming up from the cellar. She daintily walked down the steps, wrinkling her nose at the vomit trailing down the stairs.
And there she was, vomit on the collar of her dress, eyes as sharp as ever, but standing like she was frozen, immobile.
Dante just watched as Roze knelt, her joints seeming stiff, slicking her fingers in blood and simply writing on the bare concrete wall, "Why?"
There was a look on Dante's face and this time Roze recognized it. Understand, and then fury.
"Why?" the woman repeated, Gluttony cowering against Lust. "For selfless service. A thousand martyrs I have made, or perhaps more, each costing me dearly, but a price I was willing to pay. It's not always equal, you know!"
Fingers dripping with blood, her body heaving, Roze simply wrote Lust's words on the wall. "Selfish benefit for a selfless service of vanity."
"Is that all you think?" Dante snapped, and this time her demeanor was cold. She motioned to Lust and claws, claws to Roze's surprise shot out of the woman's gloves, pinning her frilly dress to the wall; she couldn't move at all. "Vanity? Would any woman so vain want this?"
Struggling with her ties and knots, Dante yanked the bodice of her dress off, the already beginning to rot flesh a stark contrast to her creamy complexion. "I keep things alive, secrets, wisdom, and in exchange, I get this. You call that vanity?"
"That's not why you do it," Roze scowled, ripping her sleeve from Lust's claws to express herself, her entire hand crusted with quickly drying blood. "Do you do it for love. For him.
Dante was shocked, but again, that emotion quickly turned to anger. "You don't understand love, pet," she hissed. "So, drugged or willing, I will make you love this body, flesh healed or not.
Roze raised her hand to write something on the wall, but suddenly, she swayed, her free arm waving for a moment before her eyes rolled back in her head and everything went blank again.
"Let her go," Dante said with a look of disgust on her face to Lust, watching the girl fall into the pool of blood, her own mixing into it now.
"A thousand martyrs I have made," Dante repeated slowly, cruelly, watching Lust turn the girl over so she wouldn't choke on the blood. "And a thousand more I will make if that is what it takes to tame her."
"You'll be in your lab?" Lust asked, Gluttony pawing at her dress. She ignored him for now, even his small cries, "Lust, Lust!"
"I'll be in my lab," Dante confirmed.
Where was the baby? Roze looked around her room blearily, wondering why she felt so sticky. The crib was empty and the windows were barred. Dante took such good care of her (martyr, sacrifice).
It wasn't long before Dante came into the room. (She always had a knack for knowing when she woke up.) Roze stared blandly at her, mouthing words of nonsense.
Dante took her by the wrist, smiling at her (no, that was a cold smile). Bath? Roze wondered, her dress coated in a sticky, heavy brownish-red mess (blood), so it would be natural for Dante to want to clean her up, make her pretty again.
(Broken doll, smashed on the steps, picked up by an orphan who fixes you, China Doll. But you are dropped again, and maybe there will be better toys? What use is a broken doll?)
They passed the newspaper room with the rich carved oak door, and Roze couldn't remember why she called it that. She didn't like the static (violins, tubas, trumpets better) and she didn't like being confused, so she didn't dwell on it long.
She just knew she didn't have a key to the newspaper room (or that ash door, China Doll, blood on your dress). Must to her surprise—though she didn't show it—she was led past the area where Dante normally bathed her.
Maybe the maid was in there, Roze thought. No, I'm not the maid. Where's the baby? She turned her head to look behind her, to look for the piece of her that was missing, but all she saw was darkness (and feral slit eyes). Dante would know where the baby was. What was his name again? (Static.) No, Dante loved her (owned her) and would know where he was. She had to (serve her own best interests).
Another ash door, but this one burned with an odd symbol. To her, it meant "Dante's Room," but it always made her think of red fabric, which in turn made her think of white feathers. (Staticy phonograph, stuck again. Feather fall, feather, feather, feather...) It took her dulled mind a moment to realize what this all meant.
Dante was letting her in her room.
Dinner was quiet, but then again, only Dante talked. She ate her steak mutely (what was in it this time?) happy to just spend time with the woman.
She traced her fingers idly on the marble table, cool to the touch, then warming up. Just like her caretaker (owner.)
Eventually, Dante daintily set down her fork, wiping the corners of her lips. Roze did the same after she had finished her meal, knowing that pleaded Dante (keeping her under control). Table manners were one of the first things she could remember. A fancy party in the dining room, but there were only five guests (hadn't she seen two of them again? Oh, the static gave her such awful headaches. She only wanted the memories that fit. Quiet! Just make life easier and submit! Use the euphemisms, truly love Dante, drugs or not, sacrifice or martyr. It was all that was left for a broken porcelain doll they wouldn't even put on the pawn shop shelves).
Roze smiled at Dante, placing her napkin in her lap. "Remember that dinner we all had?" Dante asked, her voice graceful, full of manners.
Roze couldn't find her notepad, so she just nodded in agreement. (Left it in the cellar, China Doll. Can't you let it go? Are you saying ignorance is bliss, Ornamental?) She nodded again, though Dante hadn't said anything more, so she wondered why she was nodding.
"Well, some of them are coming for a visit," Dante said, watching Roze's glazed-over eyes carefully, wondering what the extra nod was for. The drugs were working, weren't they? "So it won't just be the maid, the cook, you and me anymore," Dante continued. "Sloth will be here occasionally. And Pride, when he can make it. You know how hard his job is..."
Roze nodded to that, just wishing she had her notepad so she could write everything down. (Shouldn't be going places that are forbidden then. Oh, how the music was a welcome relief to the voice, the voice she shouldn't listen to.)
"Oh, and we have a new addition to the family," Dante said, oddly stonily for such tidings. "His name is Wrath. A child, to tell you the truth." Child. Where was her baby? Why wasn't he crying for her?
It was hard to count in her fuzzy head, and she didn't even question the names, just accepting them as if she had said Edward (red fabric, static) was coming to dinner. So 3 houseguests so far. Well, no two. It was unlikely Pride would come often at all.
"Lust and Gluttony will be joining us as well, and I promise you the man (demon) is under better control now.. You'll be safe around him," Dante said with an assuring smile. "And naturally, Envy will be accompanying us."
So five houseguests.
"The one I'd be worried about is Wrath (Envy)," Dante said, as if talking about the gossip of the neighborhood. "He really acts like an unruly child."
Roze just smiled and nodded, her child pleasantly at the back of her mind. The orchestra was beautiful tonight.
She was in Dante's room. There were no bars on the window, of course; couldn't Dante take care of herself? The bedspread was an exquisite purple with gold stitching.
Dante sat her down on it, kneeling, so she was about the level of the bed, looking up at Roze. "I taught you table manners first," the woman said, expecting no response from her doll, placing a hand on her cheek. "Then I taught you how to dance and carry yourself like a lady. And lately, I taught you how to read and write." Dante looked up at Roze expectantly (sternly) and she felt fear climbing, not knowing how to respond.
The silence was tangible, electricity between them, Dante's hand sliding down Roze's body, bringing it to rest against her other palm, visible energy crackling there. There was no response from her China Doll, and no obvious effect from the alchemy.
"Now," Dante said finally, Roze's head pounding and her fists sweating from fear. "I'm going to teach you how to love (serve)."
Roze looked at Dante confused, wanting to tell her she did love her, but as always, the words didn't come from her lips, just a soft, confused noise escaping her throat.
"Unconditional love," Dante said softly. (Repair the porcelain doll and you have an antique slave.) "You have moments of doubt, beautiful. You should love me like Edward Elric, Hohenheim of Light's son, like Kain, your boyfriend, like that priest in Liore, blind, understanding that I do everything for your care.
Oh! Dante must have been intentionally trying to confuse her with memories she couldn't remember... The woman's hands pressed against her chest and she felt like her body was flooded. She just couldn't remember. Kain (feathers), priest (prophet of the sun, she, the Holy Mother), but Edward... Edward she remembered clearly, no static, no orchestra, just a cocky grin, a bit of advice, his red cloak (that symbol) fluttering as he left town. Her heart fluttered slightly. She had looked up at him once from under a hood. Edward Elric. He seemed to be her only clear memory, even if they were fragmented.
"He'll be coming here," Dante assured her. "I will have something he wants... or maybe I already do. And when that time comes, I want to know that you love me more than him. Remember this, if you can remember anything: He left you, your town in shambles, with only a line of cryptic advice. I took you in and sheltered you, protected you. When I know you love me, more than anything in the world, I will give you keys to every room in the mansion and take you for a night of dancing. Then you will know you love me unconditionally."
(How do you teach a dog to love? Offer it a treat and it keeps coming back... best interests in mind. I love her. She loves me. If being useful to her as a sacrifice denotes love, surely.)
Oh! She had a headache again and was confused, static and loud horns playing at the same time, her ears pounding. Dante seemed to notice her pain and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close. "But to love me unconditionally, you must love all of me," Dante whispered in her ear, but Roze had heard Edward's voice and felt Kain's touch.
She needed to love Dante. The woman was never wrong.
Dante led the girl slowly back to her room. She caressed Roze's wrist as they walked, the dark flesh so temptingly beautiful. The girl Hohenheim's son loved. Oh, how she craved the body. But temptation would have to wait.
"So fragile, my China Doll," Dante said soothingly, and Roze didn't think twice about the nickname, just wanting to know if she had pleased the woman she yearned to love or not.
Once they were in the room (so clean, the maid must have cleaned up...), Dante undid the dress. (Pink, frilly dress, coated in blood, cleaned while I was...?) Dante stroked the pure, pink fabric lovingly, placing the dress to the side, looking over Roze's body with a leer in her eye.
The girl had definitely lost weight, baby fat, perhaps, and there was something so deliciously tempting about her angles. But this wasn't time to explore them.
Dante pulled a pale blue nightie over Roze's head, tugging on it to make sure it was secure, then froze, taken aback. Roze was kissing her, almost moving into her lap, her tongue vying for space in her mouth. Oh, the girl was indulging her, and she let the kiss linger, pulling back eventually, stroking the girl's flushed cheek. "Good night, Ornamental," she said, snuffing the candle.
Roze didn't know what to call the feeling she was experiencing besides disappointment. She couldn't even bring her lips, her throat, her voice to say, "I love you," to her caretaker (lover, master, prison guard, conductor of the symphony)—all she had was her actions. Which in her mind, would never lead to enough. What was a passionate bedtime kiss but a cloak for... lust without a whispered sentiment of love?
Dante had given her reason. And now she just felt empty, not even a symphony in her mind to soothe her.
She had staticy memories of Dante touching her like a lover, even one hazy notion she had brought her to ecstasy. Her memories from the mansion were starting to clear up, but her other memories... they faded further away. All of them, but Edward. She was certain, though, that the alchemist had never undressed in front of her before. It didn't seem odd to her befuddled mind; what confused her was the fact that the woman was stripping now.
When Dante turned around, she had stripped completely, tossing her panties to the side with her foot. Her caregiver had said she needed to love all of her... Roze's bleary eyes focused on Dante's naked skin, sadly regarding the blemishes that were seemingly spreading across her chest and torso. Roze had always regarded Dante as an extremely beautiful woman—still did—and it pained her to see such a beautiful body, of a woman she cared about, struck with such an ailment.
She cautiously touched the blemish between Dante's breasts, the flesh almost feeling dead below her fingers. It hurt. It hurt so much knowing that the woman who cared for her, who loved her was the truly ill one. A small noise escaped her mouth, a cautious noise. No wonder Dante wanted unconditional love.
What else could Roze offer? Her soul had every right to be Dante's and Dante's alone. For her sake, she needed to love her above all others and show the woman who had given her nothing but affection that her kindness had not been overlooked.
(bars on the windows)
Silently, she would show the woman who treated her so gently that no matter what she looked like, Roze was hers. The gentle lover's touches from before came to the forefront of Roze's mind unbidden, and she strayed her hand from the center of her caretakers chest, her fingers experimentally stroking a pale pink nipple, her eyes focused on Dante's unblemished navel.
Dante licked her lips, amazed at how willing Roze was to suggestion. She owned the girl. And the girl was more than happy to please Lyra's decaying body.
Roze could tell Dante was pleased with her, almost feeling the emotion herself, and she pinched the now erect nipple, Dante's soft pant giving her more happiness than anything could. It was as if they were somewhat connected, Dante's pleasure her own, and her own, Dante's.
Her mind felt heavy and fuzzy suddenly and then Dante wasn't standing, but hovering over her, the alchemist's hands flat against the bed on either side of Roze's head, the girl's mouth suckling hard at one breast, her hand circling Dante's perfect navel. Dante's breathing was erratic, and it was taking a toll on Roze visibly, the girl seemingly losing control of her inhibitions.
She moved her fingers down lower, not knowing how she knew what to do, not knowing when Dante had moved, and truly not caring, caught up in the emotions between them and the fact that she was pleasuring Dante, she was giving back for all that the alchemist had given her. She tangled her fingers in Dante's pubic hair, eliciting a shiver from the older woman, consequently causing her to shiver in pleasure and suspense as well. Dante lowered down onto her frilly, still-clothed body, dress stiff with blood stains, claiming the lips that were, by any right, hers, a breathless kiss, their tongues tangling in wild abandon.
For a moment, after the kiss, Dante just stared at Roze in wonder, that perfect body, making the girl blush. Dante rolled off her, onto her side, still tracing Roze's body with her eyes greedily, but Roze only had eyes for Dante, the dead flesh not deterring her need to please Dante in the slightest.
She caressed down Dante's side lovingly, hand skimming over flesh both dead and alive. She kissed Dante, short and chaste then traced her lips to the cleft of Dante's chin, knowing, innately, what the woman wanted.
And what Dante wanted was all she could want.
Before she even knew what she was doing, she had pressed Dante back, spreading her legs, her mind blissfully ignoring the rot that had spread to the woman's inner thighs as she pressed a soft kiss to the dead flesh that couldn't feel.
As she pressed her nose up against Dante's arousal, she was shocked at the pleasure that ran through her. Dante's moans and whimpers were quiet, but Roze could use her own arousal to gauge if the woman was enjoying her ministrations, her panties now soaked and threatening to stain her stiff dress with more than blood.
It was her teeth accidentally grazing over Dante's clitoris, her tongue penetrating the woman, that brought them both over the edge, Dante whimpering quietly, wondering who the last person since Hohenheim had even looked twice at her rotting body. Not even Greed's whores, male or female, would sleep with her, so revolted.
She stroked Roze's hair, the girl's body just as sexually deprived as hers.
Roze was actually crying, quiet tears streaming down her face. She had come without one touch from the woman, just so connected to her that the pleasure translated over.
A voice she hadn't heard in forever shakily said, "I... love you."
It took her a while to recognize the voice as her own. Dante's fingers in her hair felt magnificent. And right.
"I am yours."
"What are you doing in my lab?" Dante snapped at the sin, though truthfully s he felt more alive than she had in a while, amazed at what Roze had awoken in a body she thought already dead.
"What are you doing in that tacky dress?" Lust countered coolly, not even looking at Dante.
"It's all I could find in my haste," Dante said, annoyed at the sin's arrogance, not sure why she was even answering.
"So things didn't go as well as you hoped?" Lust asked, finally looking up at her master with a grin and a leer.
"No," Dante answered with a grin. "Everything went perfectly. I think she's really committed to me. Her body should last much longer than this one I had to throw on in haste..."
"Taking care of this one, are we?" Lust asked idly. "She's just a body, you know. Listen to yourself. Wasn't it just this day you said, 'a thousand martyrs I have made?' Why so soft? You can't actually care about the girl..."
Dante laughed, a cold, long laugh. "Oh, but I have to. I want her to last, Lust. For as long as possible. Until Hohenheim's son finds us, I want every moment to make her feel more committed to me, more indebted, more mine, so it won't rot so easily, rejecting me.
"I want her to love me and know I am her only salvation in this cruel, cruel workd. I'll need you for that, Lust. I need her to know pain and remember it and remember that comfort only lies with me, for she is my China Doll, my Ornamental, my possession to do with as I wish, to play with."
"Isn't Envy better suited for that job?" Lust asked, as if she was bored, looking at her nails. "And going after his son... isn't that a little like substituting the goods? Though, I will say he's better looking."
"Hohenheim is a fool," Dante spat. "A fool who gave up on his dreams long ago for a simple human emotion. The same one that I mildly induced in Roze, planting the seed, so that her body can become something so much more than human. And while it's not your place to question me, I will answer your questions."
Lust frowned, dropping her hand to her side, letting out a huffy breath as she watched Dante rant.
"Envy, though he is wonderful at causing pain, would be the worst person for the job. All he wants is to hurt Hohenheim's offspring, because they were the ones that 'lived.' They were the chosen sons. If you can call being abandoned chosen and being made half out of metal in one case, and completely out of metal in the other case living." Dante paused, smiling. "He has no other want besides that—to hurt and destroy the Elrics. To torment and anguish them. For me to inhabit Roze's perfect body would be heaven for Edward, once he realizes what he can have, what we can have. And how little he would have to give. Only humans are hung up by this time cycle of life and death that I can help him escape, all the while giving his precious little brother an everlasting body of flesh and blood. That, that would be the last thing Envy would ever want."
"Why not Sloth then?" Lust complained.
"She has other duties and you know that," Dante snapped, grabbing a book from the shelf and opening it up. She took a sheet of parchment from the inside cover, and grabbed some purple ink as she began writing. "I need you to do this."
"Fine," Lust said grudgingly, knowing she couldn't really resist Dante's orders if she tried anyway. "What'll I get out of it?"
"That humanity you've been begging me for," Dante said idly, waiting for the ink to dry. She opened a desk drawer and pulled two envelopes out, one already sealed, the other open. She folded the letter, placing it in the second envelope, placing a lump of red wax, clapping her hands and touching it, smiling at the perfect seal.
Her greatest desire, tossed out like a bone onto the ground while Dante idly wrote letters. She couldn’t' say no. She couldn’t say no to Dante anyway. "What do you want me to do?" she asked bitterly, crossing her arms.
"After dinner, and after she falls asleep, put this on her nightstand," Dante said, handing the two envelopes over to Lust. "I'll give you more instructions tomorrow."
"Fair enough," Lust said, looking at the flamel wax seal. "After dinner and you've put her to bed."
Roze blinked in the darkness, meandering over to her barred window. The sun had just begun to rise, and she watched its beauty for a moment, amazed at how clear her memories of the day before were (except between breakfast and lunch).
The warmth of another body... she found herself craving it more and more. No, not just another body, she corrected herself. Dante. Her lover.
She stood at the window until light began to seep into the room. Then, she turned around, going to pick up her notepad from her nightstand when she saw two envelopes sitting there that hadn't been there before.
The first one was heavy, and to her surprise, it contained three keys. An old, silver, tarnished key with a flamel embossed on the handle first fell into her hand.
The key to Dante's room.
Two smaller brass keys fell out as well, simple and unadorned, almost impossible to distinguish. She added all three keys to her keychain, Dante's words clear in her mind:
"When I know you love me, more than anything in the world, I will give you keys to every room in the mansion and take you out for a night of dancing. Then you will know you love me unconditionally."
She was elated. She was half-way there to giving Dante everything the woman deserved.
All she needed now was a night of dancing and she would feel complete.
She picked up the second envelope, breaking the wax seal and pulling out parchment. In purple ink, Dante had written her a letter—
Dearest of all Dolls,
Here are the keys you are missing from your collection. The silver one, as you probably deduced, opens my room, while one of the brass ones unlocks both the old master bedroom and the cellar.
The last one? Well, you'll find that out eventually.
I want you to remember that I love you more than anything. If you ever need anything, physical, or just soft words and comfort, I am here for you. Such a beautiful porcelain doll should never be chipped! We were meant for each other, Ornamental. If you could not feel that connection between us last night, I don't know how else to explain it.
I can't wait for the day I can ask you to dance with me. My heart aches for it every moment. All I want from you, my Doll, is love and devotion. And I can provide everything in return.
A thousand martyrs I have made, just so I can inhabit your being.
What bigger sacrifice is there?
The letter was unsigned, but Roze knew who it was from, her heart pounding with alchemic drug-induced girlish pleasure. Folding the note, and tucking into her busom, she went to go check on her baby boy, stroking his hair softly.
To a love-induced mind, the last two sentences were romantic sentimentality. But to the alchemist, they meant something different entirely.