The ballroom is filled with people in their most elegant clothes. For them this is the chance to meet the new king and impress him. Nobody knows the feelings he harbors for someone else. And nobody has to.
Siobhan observes from the shadows. Out of sight, invisible, as if she isn’t there. Not even Kristoff can tell where she hides. Only Cobalt could ever feel her presence. And he’s not in the ballroom yet. A grand entrance, they say, for a grand occasion. She has two goals: find intel while protecting Cobalt. She knows Cobalt will be more focused on finding out about his father’s death so she will distance herself from him to gain other intel but still close enough to stand by him if need be.
Kristoff is conversing with the marquess of Lauton, his father-in-law. Beside Kristoff is his pregnant wife, Lady Miriam. Two years ago, the marquess would have Kristoff inherit his title as Lady Miriam is his oldest child. However, Kristoff remains loyal to the king. Lady Miriam’s younger brother Sir Marcus suggested he take over. Too young but without a better option, the marquess agreed. Now, the old marquess advises his son, the new marquess, Lord Marcus. Lady Miriam bears the child of the captain of the guard, Sir Kristoff.
Rowan taps his glass with a fork to call everyone’s attention. The band stops playing and everyone’s gaze turns to the royal adviser. “Welcome the new king, King Cobalt.”
Cobalt enters with his own fancy garments. This time he wears the crown that the king before him wore. Everyone’s eyes are on him. He stands in the center of the dancing area.
“Welcome to Kingdom Draega,” Cobalt greets. “I am the new king, Cobalt. Please enjoy yourselves tonight. Have a pleasant evening.” He nods his head.
Everyone goes back to their conversations but this time whispers of Cobalt’s name can be heard here and there, the band starts playing music again and some of the girls contemplate whether to ask Cobalt to dance now.
A girl approaches Cobalt. Princess Caeda of the Castanho Kingdom, Cobalt recalls. “I’ll break social norms and ask you to dance with me, your majesty,” she holds out her hand.
Cobalt takes it and he places his other hand on her waist. They waltz to the music. He remains chivalrous and maintains eye contact.
“You’re quite bold,” Cobalt comments.
“And you’re too quiet,” Caeda returns. “Are you trying to be the silent and mysterious type? It doesn’t suit you.”
“Maybe it’s not for you.”
“Oh, but I thought the point of this party is to get you to meet potential suitors.”
Cobalt doesn’t say anything. He forgot the main purpose of this ball. He kept his mind of finding intel on his father. He has to hide the fact that he likes someone else too. He spins her around.
“What’s your story then?” Cobalt asks.
“You know, sister of the queen, just a spare, but still pressured to marry royalty to expand our ties.”
“You know that these things have debriefings. I know that your family has no son; the queen, your sister, married a duke from a land so far you have to take a ship; your parents want you to marry royalty as well to have connections and leverage. Aside from the basic education they give you as a princess you requested to learn archery. Tell me something I don’t know.”
Princess Caeda smiles. She can see that Cobalt isn’t looking for a romantic partner. So is she. She only aims to follow her parents’ wishes. Love is a trivial matter for her and she thinks Cobalt thinks the same way.
She leans towards his ear and whispers, “I have information about the old king’s assassination.”
She bows then leaves without looking back. Cobalt’s gaze follows her. He has to make sure it won’t be a waste of time. It has to be something he doesn’t know yet.
A servant approaches Cobalt offering small sausage rolls. Upon closer look, he realizes it’s Siobhan. So that’s how she remains in plain sight.
“Follow her. I’ll look somewhere else.” She whispers.
Cobalt takes a roll and nods as thanks. Siobhan takes her leave and Cobalt goes the opposite way towards Caeda. He sees her taking a glass of wine from a servant. He approaches her as she takes a sip.
“Careful not to get drunk,” He smiles.
“Glad to see you back,” She smiles back.
“Care to go somewhere private?”
“Playing favorites already? I haven’t even finished my first glass.”
“I would like to get to know more about you. Our dance ended so abruptly.”
“Of course, your majesty. Lead the way.”
They were both careful with their words. Rather people think that Cobalt’s taking a liking to her than people thinking they’re talking of conspiracies.
They go to the balcony where Cobalt leans on the edge, looking over his kingdom. He’s letting his guard down to make her trust him.
“Be honest. You don’t care much for this party, do you?” Caeda asks.
“Some things are more important right now,” Cobalt answers.
“You already like someone else, don’t you?” She presses.
“I asked you to come with me to tell me what you know.”
Caeda chuckles. She notices he’s avoiding talking about himself. Sure, he wants to appear defenseless but he doesn’t trust people easily.
“All right. I’ll cut to the chase.” She starts. “Everyone knows your father was obsessed with dragons. Someone thought he knew how to open the portal but knowing him, he will never just share it. He took his secret with him to his grave. And whoever had him assassinated is probably looking for a way to open the portal without your father’s knowledge.”
Cobalt listened intently. Someone took his father’s knowledge of dragons seriously enough to kill him for it. If it happens to be one of the royal families then they’re most likely gonna use it for evil purposes. However, there was one thing he couldn’t get his head around.
“How did you know it was an assassination? He was poisoned and it took a week to take effect.”
“You’re not the only one with royal spies, King Cobalt.”
He suddenly stood straight. There was probably a spy near them right now. He wonders if Siobhan notices. He hopes Siobhan doesn’t see what he’s about to do. Despite being alone, they could still be seen from the inside. They have to pretend they’re doing their part in this gathering. Cobalt takes Caeda’s hand to his lips as he bids farewell and goes back inside. Caeda returns to her drink.