Chess' eyes were shut tightly as he waited in front of the door, his eyes always seemed to wander when he opened them.
I can't afford distractions tonight, Chess silently told himself as he opened his previously shut eyes and let them wander to his sister, Grace.
She had always been one of the most attractive of his female siblings and tonight she was beaming in a pink gown with prim primroses embroidered all around the hem and collar of the dress,
she never would have admitted being one of the most polite siblings, but she was the most beautiful tonight.
She stared at him now nervously with her gray eyes and absent-mindedly fiddled with an unruly lock of hair which had rebelled against her neatly braided sandy hair her ladies
in waiting had braided.
He smiled at her weakly, both his mind and eyes finding their way towards the door which would reveal millions of party guests if ajar.
Briefly, he composed himself and anxiously glanced at his sister.
Grace too had found her gaze to his at that moment with worrisome thoughts swirling like gray storms in her eyes.
Chess sighed, knowing both would have to attend the party unless they wanted a steely glare from their annoyed mother and a punishment from their unbeloved father.
"Do we really have to go," Chess wondered aloud.
As children both had escaped fancy parties by hiding in the maze of hedges in front of the castle though they had been trimmed recently and unless they wanted to crouch the whole time
they'd have to attend the celebration within the door in front of them.
Grace gifted him a gentle smile that faltered when her eyes met the door.
"It's like horrible tasting medicine," She observed. "You have to take the medicine though it tastes horrible, don't worry the taste will eventually wash off your tongue."
Chess rolled his eyes with a sort of irritated vigor and tried to find a reply to comfort Grace. "It's not going to the party that's the problem, it's the tux I have to wear!"
Grace's laugh echoed around the hallway, she smiled causing Chess to feel pleased and teasingly pointed at the checkered suit Chess had chosen.
"If it helps, I think if not all the girls are horrified by your fashion choice you'll have plenty of girls drooling at the sight of you.
If I weren't your sister, I'd be falling all over you!"
She giggled teasingly and winked at him.
With a welcoming sense of comfort, Chess joined her laughter. Tightly she gripped his hand and squeezed it.
"Don't worry, I'll be at the party too, if those girls are falling all over you too much, though I'm fairly sure you'll allow it, then you can come over and chat with me." She said quietly.
Her voice had some tease but Chess could see she was worried as well.
Squeezing her hand, he drew in a breath dramatically long and pushed the door open.
"Prince Aric Arren and Princess Grace Olivia Arren," The announcer declared to the nobles enjoying the party below the staircase.
A few pairs of eyes flickered to the blond beauty next to the prince and to Chess himself.
With gritted teeth, Chess shot the announcer a pointed look who had called him his birth name and began leading Grace to one of the elegant white tables spread about the room below them.
"I hate it when they call me by my birth name," Chess muttered under his breath, hooking his elbow with Grace's.
"Chess," She whispered softly in protest and stumbled on a step of the staircase, nearly falling.
With one swift movement Chess brought her back to his side before too many nobles could notice her mistake but several eyes had already seen it and sniggers were exchanged.
Peering into Grace's eyes Chess frowned.
"Remember, the nobles are watching for mistakes,
" He hissed in reply and smoothly brought her to a table closer to the shadows though it still seemed too many gazes followed their every movement.
A young debonair man approached them with a dimpled smile at Grace causing her to blush and a firm handshake with her brother.
"Allow me to introduce myself, I am the ambassador of the Clardain universe, pleased to meet you."
The ambassador left an unsubtle lingering kiss of Grace's hand and gave Chess a playful pat on the shoulder causing Chess to frown.
The man lifted his eyes to Grace's after a low bow, a light pink coloring that matched her dress washing over the princess's face as her gray eyes met his dark ones.
"But you may call me Belle."
Belle smirked, pleased with himself for the coloring he had caused her cheeks to become.
"Ah, you two must be the lovely princess Grace and the brotherly prince Aric. I have heard much about your little adventures from rumors spread about."
Winking at Grace, Belle continued.
"And have yet to meet the adventurers of such tales."
Chess chuckled dryly, protectively placed an arm around his sister, and stared intimidatingly into the ambassador's eyes.
"I hope my servants haven't told you too many unrealized tales, I'd hate for you to believe we were uncivilized citizens.
But I must say before I leave with Grace to speak to my parents, I daresay you've now met us and we've met you,
I'd prefer you stay away from either of us this evening as we have to speak with many nobles and can't possibly spend to long with only one like yourself.
Surely it is enough to meet the characters of such tales?"
Hungrily Belle's eyes roamed Grace with a smile that radiated nothing but trouble.
"Well," Belle replied with a sly grin.
"Surely the young beauty your sister is, can spare a dance or two with a young man such as myself? The night is young and so is she."
With a wink at Grace, Belle departed to another table to speak with another guest.