You may not know this, but there is rather a lot of seemingly useless protocol involved when one country gives a gift to another. (I personally suspect this is because kings and queens decided that if they had to pay their ambassadors for living in other courts then they might as well pay them to do something beyond enjoying state dinners.) Princess Claralinda did not care for protocol. She found it to be dull and felt that it distracted people from the main point of the conversation which was, of course, herself. Consequently she ignored the Utrecht Ambassador and her parents as they politely chatted in extremely awkward, formalized language with an air that suggested that no saint had as much patience as herself. Arnesse watched it all in fascination, mostly because she found it required a lot of attention to understand just what the Ambassador and the King and Queen were saying. Finally, after what seemed like forever to everyone involved, the gift itself was brought in.
It was a golden sphere, perfectly round and glittering in the light from the candles around the room. Arnesse caught her breath, it was extremely well-made. Arnesse knew a fair bit more about gold than most girls her age from some of the dwarves that lived in the forest. She knew, for example, that it is one of the heaviest metals and also that it was quite soft for a metal. She had also learned how to identify dwarf-craft and she had a sneaking suspicion that this pelydryn was dwarf-made. Dwarves had mastered the ability of keeping soft gold from denting or scratching meaning that dwarf-made crowns and jewelry were very valuable. A golden pelydryn was an astonishing gift even if it weren't dwarf-made for pelydryns are magic things and the making of them very complicated. A dwarf-made one would have cost a fortune.
Claralinda knew none of this and saw nothing more in the pelydryn than a golden ball. Nonetheless, she was pleased. It was made of gold, which was precious, and it was expensive. Her only complaint would have been that it was only the size of her fist but she let that go when the Ambassador informed her that it was solid gold and magical. Magical artefacts were even more precious than gold.
Arnesse very much wanted to get a closer look at the pelydryn and for this reason she did something that she was always rather ashamed of later on. She lied. Arnesse had been raised with a very strict moral code. Her parents had taught her that there were certain things that were not acceptable, ever. Lying was one of those things. But despite their very short acquaintance Arnesse knew that Claralinda was not just going to let her see, much less touch, the new pelydryn just for the sake of Arnesse's curiosity. But as you shall soon see, the lie gets Arnesse into an unpleasant situation so it all evens out in the end.
"Well that was deadly dull. I simply can't stand that icky little man." Claralinda was sprawling across a window seat in a way that somehow managed, against all odds, to look elegant.
"You mean the Utrecht Ambassador?" asked Arnesse, her desire to get a better look at the pelydryn overcoming her dislike of the selfish princess.
"Is that what he is? I didn't notice. He's dull. I can't be bothered with anything dull. But what a wonderful gift! And he said it was magical. I love it when people give me nice things! Especially things that are a precious as me!"
Arnesse managed not to roll her eyes at this. But she had noticed something; Claralinda always listened to what someone said if they started out by complimenting her. She saw an opening and she took it.
"You are so precious, your highness," said Arnesse, trying not to wince at the blatant lie coming from her lips. "I can't think of anyone more wonderful. And pelydryns are quite special and I think that one might even be dwarf-made."
Claralinda dropped the pelydryn as if it were on fire.
"What! Made by ugly hairy little dwarves! How awful!"
Arnesse picked up the pelydryn before it rolled away. That had been much easier than she expected. She inspected it closely, running her fingers over the surface and trying to feel the magic in it. There wasn't a scratch or a dent on it despite the fact that it had hit the ground hard enough to bounce. She responded to Claralinda automatically, in a musing tone of voice, distracted by the pelydryn.
"Actually, that makes it even more valuable. Dwarves are master craftsmen and they know gold better than anything. Dwarf-made gold objects are worth ten times what they would be if they weren't dwarf-made. Hmmm... this really is magic too. Not just the crafting of it, it has magical properties, I think it can do something." This last bit was really just Arnesse musing aloud to herself but Claralinda had been paying avid attention since the line about they pelydryn being worth ten times more.