"What is wrong with me?"
Ione reflected, picking at the woven silk strands of her bed linen. It had been six months since her mother had screamed the question at her. Six months...and she still felt no pain.
“I really am a monster." She sighed.
Immediately regretting the taste of the words, the Princess threw a hard punch into the pillow before lunging off the bed. Walking towards her balcony, Ione grabbed the golden brocade robe from the floor, wrapping it swiftly around her shoulders. The sweet scent of honeysuckle, carried on a cool midnight breeze, kissed the tip of her nose. Brushing against her ears, soft as the tone of a waltz that was playing in the ballroom below. Bright yellow light beamed from the windows, blinking in the darkness with each twirling couple. She could not tell the count, however, it was the 22nd anniversary of peace, so the entire kingdom was most likely invited. Well, the entire kingdom minus one. Herself.
It was for the best, however. Ever since the death of her latest suitor, rumors had begun to spread about the causes. The people were beginning to say that she was a harbinger of death. "If you look upon her eyes for too long, the dragon becomes jealous and will swoop in to steal your soul!" That was her particular favorite. Perhaps, due to the fact that it was as close to the truth as they would ever know. So whilst the kingdom partied, she remained aloft and therefore aloof. Out of sight out of mind. The council would drink easier this way. She blew a disgruntled scoff to the thought, although it didn't really bother her. Crowds and therefore, social events, did not agree with her. Even if she was the Princess Heir, she'd always lacked for interesting members of conversation. The ladies only ever talked about the latest scandal or fashion. The men wouldn't be bothered to speak politics or strategy with a woman.
Leaving her to stand somewhere....
..in the middle...
Along the rooftop of the ballroom moved three dark figures. Their agility like that of alley cats. Leaning over the balcony for closer inspection, she could make out the lines of their garb to be matching those of current party fashion for men, but could decipher no more. Footsteps falling light as feathers upon the stone until the they reached the far outside corner. Her breath caught. "The blind-spot!"
Inside the ballroom, was a darkened corner with two windows that had been built too close together. Here, one could enter without being noticed between the curtains. Or exit. As had become her habit during events. She would understand a few young men sneaking out of the event, but this could only lead to trouble, as they were sneaking in.
"I should tell Ric--"
Turning, she'd met a large hand with her lips and a strong arm with her waist. A tall, warm body stood close to her back pulling her closer.
"So this is the King's precious man-eater?"
The body's lips spoke, in a voice that sent a shiver down her spine. A tone that could only be described as fine mead being poured over a rusted blade. Dark, lucid, and tingy. The lips touched her ear in an even raspier whisper,
"I'd not expected such a normal looking girl."