urprisingly, no one noticed as the huge mirror on the far side of the ballroom rippled slightly before three witches, in a delta formation, stepped out of the reflections and into the real world. Unsurprisingly, the witches were bickering.
"I can't believe you let him escape, Dinah" the witch on the right hissed, her long hair writhing.
"I only reversed the reflection to give him a hankie, T-Bird" the left witch hissed back. "His sniffing was driving me crazy. He must have caught a chill from being so... naked."
"Sssshhh!" I urged. "Timothy has had prior experience at escaping from our clutches, it's no surprise he managed to fool you."
"He did not fool me!" Dinah shot back, stamping her foot, frost radiating out across the wooden floor. "He just... Saw an opportunity."
The other party-goers had started to notice us. T-Bird surveyed the room quickly, assessing the situation. "We're drawing attention" she said. "Time to blend in." And with that, we seperated and faded into the background as we searched for our missing plaything.
~ ~ ~
The ballroom's main doors were opened by a couple of lackeys, revealing a young(ish) princess looking resplendant in a long blood-red dress. She was announced into the room by the butler.
"Prince-" the old butler hesitated slightly as he looked the young... woman up and down. With a raised eyebrow, he continued: "-ess Petra."
Petra grinned and sashayed into the crowd, heading directly for Prince Eros, who took 'her' proffered hand after 'she''d elbowed the gaggle of princess-wannabes aside.
"My lady" he greeted her, then paused as he noticed her not-so-dainty hand. Well, it wasn't so much not-dainty, as it was large. His ingrained chivalry kicked in before too much time passed, and he completed the action, kissing the princess's hand as 'she' giggled behind 'her' fluttering fan. "Have we met before?" he asked.
"Why, I do not believe so" Petra answered coyly, batting his eyelashes in a rather over-the-top way.
"Would you excuse me for just one moment" the prince asked and turned questioningly to the Queen Mother on the dais behind him. The Queen Mother narrowed her eyes at the newcomer. A seed of suspicion had germinated within her.
With the prince momentarily distracted, the dismissed princess-wannabes approached Petra with looks of seething jealousy slapped across their faces.
"I suppose you think you're All That" the lead girl hissed. "Well, you didn't even dress up. Or didn't you know it was fancy dress?"
"Of course I knew" Petra retorted.
"So, what part of the calendar have you come as, then?"
Suddenly, Petra had found his opportunity to be rid of these pesky Breeders. He smiled demurely and answered: "Why, I've come as The Time Of The Month!" Each and every one of the girls faces dropped. A collective "Eeewwww!" sounded before hands were clapped over mouths and the girls hurriedly ran off to the powder room. Petra was beside himself with glee - Now he had Eros all to himself.
~ ~ ~
In one of the castle's guest rooms, as the fancy dress ball was coming to an end, a bed was being prepared for the only remaining princess. The fact that Prince Eros thought there was something odd about the young woman, a feeling that he couldn't quite put his finger on, was neither here nor there. Nor was the fact that he didn't particularly want to put his finger - never mind anything else - upon her, either here, or there. After all, there were rules that had to be followed. If a ball was held for the Prince to find a bride, then the Prince had to find a bride, and that was that.
However, if the princess wasn't actually a princess, well, that was a different matter entirely!
To be continued...