The crowd was cheery and everybody was dancing in the hall. The musicians were doing a great job and creating a wild and happy atmosphere.
Many ladies and gentlemen forgot their usual responsibilities and woes and completely let themselves be swept away in the mesmerizing tune. Faint sounds of cheer and laughter were heard everywhere as the waiters were busy serving the drinks and snacks to the restless guests.
In some corner, there was an unusual couple that people took no notice at all.
One was a tall and slender lady dressed in a traditional Empire-style grey magical robe and the other was a very adorable little girl whose chestnut colored hair reached her shoulders. She was dressed in warm clothes fitting for cold regions, but her attire didn’t lack style, though wasn’t fitting in among the evening dresses and suits. Their clothes disregarded the dress code and they looked very much out of place.
They were dancing and enjoying themselves, like everyone else. They swayed to the wonderful melodies, completely ignoring the rhythm and making a complete mess out of their dance. They looked atrocious from the onlooker’s perspective but neither of them seemed to take any notice of this. What was even stranger, none of the guest’s seemed to see the two, as if they were ghosts.
The little girl began to sing along with the main singer on the stage, her voice melodious, loud and out of tune, as expected
“-Exchanging glances! Won-”
All the while, the tall lady grabbed the little girl and span a circle around, making the little girl’s singing to break away from the rhythm even further (the girl continued to sing regardless of the circumstances)
After the tall lady spun around, she didn’t put the girl down but began swaying to the sides to the melody, but with the little girl hugged closely to her chest.
“-Duba duba di-”
The girl still sang, now leaving the singer on stage behind by half a minute.
This continued for a dozen minutes more. After the music faded into the background, the two collapsed into the chairs that appeared near them only god knows when.
The tall lady immediately drained a glass of champagne that she picked up from the round table that certainly wasn’t there a moment ago, dyeing her pale face with a blush; the little girl drained a glass of water, her face was tired but satisfied. She whispered “Thank you” sweetly and fell asleep on the chair immediately.
The tall lady smiled warmly, snapped her fingers, making a blanket to cover the sleeping figure, put her elbows on the table and her chin on her hands and looked at the little girl sleeping peacefully.
After an hour or so, she sighed, her sigh seemed to melt the world around them into a soft blur until the two figures stood in the middle of a snowy forest instead of the large hall. It was deep in the night and there were two children nearby who were also sleeping peacefully.
The woman kept her eyes on the sleeping little girl and frowned. Then she suddenly remembered the children.
The tall woman turned and looked at the two of them, her usually ruby-red eyes that radiated warmth that the little girl was used to seeing dimmed into a dull and flat grey. Her smile was very compassionate: it indicated goodwill and pity, but her eyes were so flat and emotionless that the smile’s reliability index dropped to a firm zero paired with them.
She crouched down, looked at the two children attentively and her smile turn somewhat mischievous. The woman looked very enchanting with this smile. With the dead eyes though, the smile still got no chance to be appreciated.
The children woke up, quite startled, and the first thing they saw was the discomforting mischievous smile but before they could even make a single sound, the woman made the “hush” gesture and the two found that they couldn’t speak or move at all.
They were terrified and their eyes were shaking madly. The tears would flow but the strange spell the woman cast on them forced them unable to cry. Even their breathing was perfectly even and their eyes were the only parts of their bodies that they still had a little control over.
They used their eyes to convey their terror to the woman, which the woman most certainly received.
As her smile turned more playful and mischievous and her eyes more dead, cold and grey, the children’s eyes became more and more afraid.
The dead eyes met the terrified eyes, the children began hearing strange tapping and booming in their ears and soon their terrified eyes became first dizzy and then they became as cold and dead as the eyes of the woman.
The woman stood up, the dead eyes following her, her own pupils obtained their warmth and red color again. She waved her hand lightly and the spell binding the two children disappeared. She looked at the children, her red eyes showing expectation but as the two figures continued to lie down with no response. She clicked her tongue, waved her hand again and the children’s eyes came back to life. Though, before they had the time to come to, they fell asleep immediately.
The woman’s warm eyes turned to the sleeping girl, a frown on her face, and the warmth in her eyes slowly turn as hot as the flames from the deepest pits of Hell…
Like this, she stood at the same place and in the same pose for many hours until the first Sun began to rise and illuminate the black sky.
Jennifer was woken up by Lachersia. The morning Sun of Ulte, Antess, rose at last.
Looking at Lachersia, who looked even warmer and more reliable than before, Jennifer remembered yesterday. Because Jennifer was depressed, Lachersia used her magic tools and spells to bring forth a series of powerful illusions, recreating scenes and experiences from her memories to cheer Jennifer up. This amount of care warmed Jennifer’s heart and she felt very grateful to Lachersia for such consideration.
She was incredibly lucky to have met Lachersia. Without her, Jennifer wasn’t sure what she would do. She was certain that she could deal with the kingdom and many troublesome things, but it would certainly come at a cost hundreds of times of the village she sacrificed yesterday. And it would be very troublesome too…
Stopping this line of thoughts, she returned her attention to Lachersia and the children.
The first plan of the plan was over, now she could only hope that Duke Laras would pay as much attention to his children as she inferred he did.
Certainly, the resources and the effort and the care that went into ensuring the children’s livelihood were great and the effort behind the Duke’s attempt to conceal their existence bordered on paranoia. But what value did they have to him? Duke Laras had 13 children officially. According to Jennifer’s investigation, he also had 29 children he hadn’t recognized In the face of the law, though only the 2 that were in her hands now were cared for by the Duke.
The two didn’t seem particularly remarkable and their mother was apparently an already dead commoner too. Their mother had been dead for seven years already, so it was strange. Could it really be the sentimental value the two represented?
She decided to simply wait and see.