Mancela glanced at the alligator clip on her finger, its blood red color somehow coordinating with her dark violet eyes.
Celia opened the door to Her Highness's room. A eerie creak spread around.
"Your Highness," She bowed at the foot of Mancela, "It's time."
The princess grew a frightening grin and played with the clip on her finger. She sighed and laid back on the bed. "I'm not up for a ball."
The servant bowed lower. "But, Your Highness, it was your idea for a ball."
She laughed and stood up. Her black and red dress was cut extremely short in the front, but flailed out in the back, reaching her ankles. She had lace gloves that went from the thumb to the elbow. She wore knee-high, high heel boots. Her black hair was long, reaching her lower back. Tonight, it was down, but she had a small red hat attached to a headband on. She was rather stunning, with her deep violet eyes, but rather frightening as well. Her teeth were straight, but unnaturally sharp at the same time.
"Alright Celia, you've talked me into it." She placed her long, pale finger under Celia's chin and pushed her face up, bringing it close to hers. "But I promise to repay you for it later." As she removed her finger, her black nail scraped Celia's chin, leaving a minor cut behind. Celia sighed and stood.
Celia looked over towards the door, which was half open, with Mancela holding onto it.
"How many what, Your Highness?"
She sighed, leaned her head on the door, and closed her eyes. "How many suitors?"
Celia walks towards the door and gestures Her Highness into the hall.
"Twenty-six, Your Highness."
Mancela picked her head up and looked down the black hallway. "So many men to please," She said with obvious disappointment in her voice. "And so little heart to give."
Celia looked towards Mancela, the Princess Delia. She had a duty to fulfill, and her duty was nearly over.
"Is your heart almost empty, Your Highness?"
She nodded, not saying another word, and started down the hall.
Mancela gracefully walked down the grand marble stairs to the ballroom. She had her hands poised in front of her and her face was emotionless. After all, she thought, I am close to dying after this ball.
She lifted her head high as the twenty-six suitors came into view, in two lines of thirteen on both sides of the stairs.
They bowed. "Welcome, Your Highness," They all said in unison. They all wore different suits. They were all from different colonies. They all had their own story.
She paused at the bottom of the stairwell and curtsied. "Welcome, boys." She put on a smile, though she was sure it looked fake. The men just stood up straight and smiled back.
Music filled the ballroom as food was brought out on long, black tables. She walked through the line of men and made her way to the table. She picked up a cookie and bit into it. It was full of sugar and bright flavor. She grabbed a plate, placed the cookie down, and walked away, not having another bite.
A thin man, with blonde hair and brown eyes the color of the chocolate chips from her cookie walked towards her. She was immediately disgusted by his eyes but kept the thought to herself and smiled. He was the first to approach her out of all the man. How brave, she thought. And how stupid.
"Your Highness," the man squeaked, "May I have this dance?" He put his hand out, waiting for her to give herself to him.
She placed her hand in his and made her way to the dance floor. She wasn't ready to lose heart energy so early in the night, but it was her duty as Princess. And it must be fulfilled.
Though the man was thin and shy, he was very good at dancing. He didn't mess up one, never squeaking his shoes. He looked at her the whole time, which freaked her out just a little.
The song finally ended and she curtsied again. "Thank you," she murmured and walked back to the buffet table. She decided to go with a fruit tart, which was both tart and sweet. She decided to keep eating, ignoring all the men in the room who were staring at her with fascination.
"Your Highness?" A man taps Mancela's shoulder, causing her to shudder.
She turns around to see a man in a dark blue suit and rust orange hair standing before her. "Yes?"
He leans into her ear. "I'm here to help you, Princess Mancela. I know about everything. I am here to help you." He glances down at the alligator clip on her finger, then at her heart.
She backed away, dropping her tart on the floor. "I think I misheard you, sir."
He shakes his head and steps forward, holding out his hand. She noticed gloves on his hand, which prevents him from draining energy from her heart. "Please follow me, Princess."
Thoughts raced through Mancela's mind. Do I follow him? Do I run? Do I turn and act like I didn't hear anything? Do I call Celia? Do I slap him, in self defense? Mancela decides to follow her draining heart.
"Of course, Sir." She puts her hand in his and is guided out the door.
He walks out the grand doors into a hallway lit by candles and a maroon carpet going as far as she can see.
"Can you show me to an unoccupied room, Princess?" The man speaks again.
She rolls her eyes and drops his hand. "I don't know who you are. But, I'm currently hosting a ball. Can this wait until after or is it so urgent that I have to interrupt my duties to attend to it?" She replied sharply.
The man seemed hurt by the comment, but quickly lost the expression. "Princess, these blind men can't see it, but I can. You're draining yourself too quickly, Miss. I am here to help you." He puts a hand on his heart and closes his eyes.
Mancela put a hand to her gaping mouth, dumbfounded by how much this stranger knew.
She quickly regained her courage and closed her mouth. She pulled on the back of her dress. "What is your name?"
He smiles and bows. "Sir Elden Mactree, here to help." He opens his eyes and looks straight up at her, not getting up from his kneeling position.
She leaned down and whispered, "Can this wait until ten?"
The man smiled and nodded. "I'll meet you here at ten, Princess."
Concluding her conversation with Elden Mactree, she made her way back into the ballroom. As she walked, she questioned trusting this man who seemed to know everything, but truly knew nothing.