“Miss Senna of Hednes, and le Comte et la Comtesse du Fromage,” bellowed a voice, announcing their arrival at the palace.
The palace itself loomed upwards into the sky, being a bastion of pale grey stone and a smattering of warm, glowing windows. The sky was a deep midnight blue as it wasn’t entirely nor utterly dark yet, and was pricked with glittering stars while being framed with green-black greenery nearly lost in the night.
At the entrance, cast entirely black against the yellow backlighting of the indoors, was Fangline. It wasn’t until Camilla lighted to the top of the stairs that she saw his details, which were impeccable.
Fangline was always a remarkably fantastic dresser. He had a way with fashion; always being miles ahead of everyone in style and mode. It was only too bad in Camilla’s mind that he insisted on wearing green all the time, but she allowed herself to forget it for a moment in order to leave her appreciation of his form unsullied.
Tonight he was wearing deep green, with his overcoat made from light velvet. It was cut perfectly to his torso and was long, extending nearly to his knees. At either hip was a slit, and a pair of delicate golden chains hung lopsidedly, carelessly, around his waist. At the casually open neck was a high-collared shirt made of stiff crinoline that was patterned gold and ivory like brocade, and his knee-high boots were sable against his ivory breeches. He wore his hair pulled back in a queue and fastened with a dark velvet band.
He wore all of this in a very casual way, as one shoulder was leaned against the frame of the broad palace entrance, and might have been wearing a sack of broadcloth for all he seemed to care. Despite his apathy, everyone would look eagerly to see what Prince Fangline would wear to the ball.
Camilla also knew eyes would be on the Fromages, as well. The Duc and Duchesse would be arriving in half an hour, she figured, in order to be fashionably late, but Camilla had to maintain some semblance of punctuality for the benefit of the impatient prince.
It was Al’bert Fangline greeted first. Al’bert, who nearly matched Fangline’s finesse with fashion, but not quite, nonetheless looked marvelous and heroic in his overcoat of rich purple and silver embroidery with a white undershirt to set off the darker shade of his skin, and the rest of him was clothed in various dark grays and black. Camilla felt Al’bert looked best in extreme sorts of colors; black, white, red. However, he preferred purple above anything else, to bring out the unusual blue-lavender hue of his eyes. He was vain, but then again, so was she.
“Al’bert,” Fangline said, shaking Al’bert’s hand and smiling, which didn’t happen very often. “There you are. I was wondering if you’d decided there was a better party to go to tonight.”
This was a joke in and of itself, because everyone in Schloeffelonia wanted to be at the spring ball.
“I’d considered going down to the Rusty Barrel, but then, I realized your feelings would be hurt, so we turned around.”
“I am a man of feelings, to be sure,” replied Fangline, very dryly, and then he noticed Camilla.
“Camilla,” he said, intently, as a greeting, and as a way of pondering her and her attire.
He had a way of making her wonder what he was thinking and what sort of deductions he was making about her as he was doing so. She gave him her most oblivious smile and curtsied lightly. “Prince Fangline.”
He drew a breath after a moment and said:
“Yes, well. I suppose we should go inside.”
After this, he offered her his arm.
As the four of them made their way into the palace ballroom proper, Al’bert and Fangline talked and entirely ignored Camilla and Senna. Camilla didn’t mind, because she was completely embroiled in making mental notes over the location of everyone at the ball and who they were talking to, dancing with, and in some cases, who they were not talking to and not dancing with.
The ballroom was a lovely place, only mildly rococo in style and with very airy architecture, and the entire room was a palette of gold and ivory in all of their varieties. As they entered the room, she made note of the King, who, being a reserved man, wore what was traditional for his station: a white overcoat with a pale blue sash. His sister beside him wore gold and a similar sash.
Camilla didn’t linger long on the royal family, which she found to be admittedly very dull, except for Fangline who came up beside her and asked her to dance.
Fangline was, in fact, a very good dancer, and he did all sorts of extra things while dancing with a woman which most men don’t think of. He seemed to enjoy it, as long as he could find something new to do with it, but he had a tendency, as were most things with Fangline, to grow quickly bored and end it all abruptly. Camilla attempted to belay this inevitable ending with conversation.
“How is the palace these days?” she asked him.
He turned his vibrant green eyes on her and said, “Fine.”
That certainly wasn’t working, so she looked around her to see Prince Sangwine dancing with Hope, and they seemed to be having a giddy time. He was dressed in royal blue, and she in pink. They really looked like they’d been cut right out of a ray of sunshine.
“Your brother certainly spends a lot of time with that fairy,” she said.
Fangline glanced over his shoulder at his brother, who, due to a stumble or something similar had fallen into laughter with Hope. He rolled his eyes.
“He prefers her company over anyone else,” he said. “Except Father.”
“You don’t think they-“ she began, but he chuckled at her.
“Of course not,” he said. “First, he’s far too oblivious to notice she’s female, and secondly, she’s a fairy.”
He had a point. Unfortunately, at that moment Fangline got distracted and quit dancing with her, rudely leaving Camilla in the ballroom floor so he could follow the object of his distraction, which happened to be the Royal Chief Mage.