The ball had already started a while ago. Guests, mostly from the kingdom, were arriving and already enjoying themselves. It was only a quarter to eight, but the prince already found himself a glass of wine as he was lingering around the upper level in the ballroom. The ballroom was much different from what other kingdoms had, his mother, and a famous architect, redesigned it so that there could be more room for guests.
As per custom, he was not allowed to walk in till all the guests were there. Malachi did not want to spend another hour or so in his room, it was too dark and dreary for him. Everyone in the palace would be running around, either to the ball room or to him, and who knows if there others are lingering in the shadows. It was nice being up above everyone, watching down on them all in their elegant ball attire. He even saw Edwin in an outfit that matched his wife's silver dress, shining as they waltzed together. Then there was his niece and nephew, who were off to the side talking to each other and the official from their country. Everything looked great, so far so good.
"This reminds me of Sohan's ball, remember? Do you think you're ready for this?" He heard a voice ask him. His shoulders jumped up as he got startled for a second. Out of instinct, he used his free hand to get his dagger out. When he realized that it was only General Maeda, he let out a sigh while rolling his eyes. Letting his hand drop to his side, he waited for his heart to slow down its pace before speaking.
"I'm not sure if I am or will ever be," Malachi vacillated while staring down at his drink. Watching as the drink swirled around, he shook his head before taking another sip. "My brother was much different, he already was so head over heels for his soon-to-be bride and he knew everything that was going on. He wanted to get married, but we all know what happened."
The general rubbed the bridge of his nose as he turned to look down below. In the corner of his eye, he noticed how the prince was rigid and standing as still as a statue. "Your Highness, you are not going to end up like your brother. I believe all will be well with you and Prince Abrose."
"Will it? I believe his family and people do find me to be….difficult and scary. What is that prince even like?"
"From what I know, he is a very vibrant fellow. Very jovial yet is concerned of others. All in all, a good person I suppose. In a way, Prince Abrose is like you, but his personality also clashes with yours too."
"Do you think that marrying him would be a good idea?" He questioned. Pulling his eyes off of the event from below them, he turned to face the general. His side leaned against the gold-painted railing.
"Well, I believe you already know my answer. The people of our lovely Atrovia are a bit worried about you, so is everyone else. You are the last Leeros heir as of now, if you die without a spouse and family, this kingdom is bound to be in the same condition as Abrose's. Unless there is another way, which seems unlikely," Maeda said, "Save one kingdom or watch the two fall. It is your call, Your Highness."
Malachi looked away for a second as he took another sip. Oh spirits, why must everything be so hard for him? A servant walked over to the two men, then whispered something to the general. He did not bother glimpsing over, instead he kept his focus on the people below them. The sound of violins filled the silence of their conversation.
General Maeda couldn't ignore the state of the prince's appearance. The young royal appeared to be the same as always, stoic and calm, yet he seemed to be a bit worried. His breathing looked a bit quicker than usual while his eyes were constantly glancing all over the place. "You are not going to have another panic spell, are you?" The old general took out a handkerchief then lightly dabbed the side of the prince's face.
Taking a step away, the prince gave him a odd look for a moment. His head slightly dipped down as apology. "No, I was only thinking for a moment," He stated, "What did the servant tell you?"
"Almost everyone is here or their carriages have passed through the capital's walls. They believe the saw Prince Abrose's carriage on its way, so we have a few moments before having to head down."
Shutting his eyes, the prince took a deep exhale letting his shoulders drop. There was only one more sip left in his glass. Finishing it, he handed it to a court lady then proceeded to fix his uniform collar. "Splendid," He whispered, "I believe I am ready now." His lips curved up into a tiny smile as reassurance.