Chapter Thirty Five

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KASSIE AND RUMAL had had a chuckle at Audi, the poor dog seemed to be dying of embarrassment.

'It's a pity that Nnelg couldn't be here,' Kassie suggested and Rumal shook his head.

'Nnelg will be exhausted. He's run himself ragged keeping the fires going for this. With the requirements of the kitchen, cleaning staff and the sudden influx of guests, it might be time to hire another fire dragon to help him.'

Kassie turned to see if Audi was still there and gasped in surprise. Is Alek glowing gold? The couple spun with the music and she realized it must have been something reflecting from one of the mirrors that lined the walls. It created a fantastic illusion and made the ballroom seem never ending. It also gave you a great opportunity to study what people wore, without appearing to stare at them and Kassie made the most of it.

The Lieutenants of the Cavalry wore formal blazers of deep yellow with dark blue accents; the General Guard Lieutenants wore the same only with the colors reversed. At first they appeared quite striking, but compared to what their wives and partners wore they soon looked dull. Not the Griffon Guard though, thought Kassie and she looked Rumal up and down again. I can understand Cat's obsession with men in uniform now. Rumal in particular, in the ebony uniform; it complimented his dark skin and liquid gold eyes. She admired him again, catching his eye and laughed when he gave her the same look back. 'Our place tonight then?' he murmured in her ear making her energy flush out.

'Mmm, but there's so long to wait.'

He brought her hand to his mouth and gave a sucking kiss to the underside of her wrist smiling when her energy deepened in color. 'Worth it.'

SIAN WATCHED THE centaur women, admiring their costumes. They wore tunic style tops that wrapped around their torsos and had long skirts that hung over their forefeet. Around each of their hooves hung beautiful bracelets. Some wide and thick like an Egyptian inspired cuff and others, thin, delicate chains. They were very fond of gold. Their braided tails had a variety of pretty objects woven into them.

Sian caught sight of Gredel and Citaan in one of the mirrors. Citaan looked stunning and Gredel's eyes stayed fixed on his beautiful wife's face. The dress Ada had created for Citaan was exceptional, highlighting her slender arms and white décolletage while slipping over her baby bump. Not that it wasn't noticeable, but this way it wasn't the immediate focal point which would make Citaan happy. She'd complained to the girls last week that everyone greeted her belly first and then her.

ALEK FELT A tap on his back and turned to find Artama and his daughter Nikol smiling up at him.

'Happy Birthday, Your Highness, and our congratulations to you and the Lady Catherine.' Artama chuckled when Cat rolled her eyes at the title. 'I think it becomes you well, my Lady.'

'Stop it, you're taking the attention away from this lovely lady,' Cat smiled affectionately at Nikol. The young woman beamed at her, adoration clear in her eyes. She'd been present at most of the training sessions they'd had had with the General Guard and, like so many in the castle, regarded the girls with awe.

I THOUGHT NIKOL'S dress very pretty, a lovely shade of ivory that made the hint of green in her skin a little stronger. The goblin and elven blood she had made her a very beautiful looking creature.

'Will you start to train with the Guard soon?' I teased her. 'You're there so often.'

She shook her head. 'No. I'll stick to archery, but I do like to watch your practices.'

'You're very welcome to. I look forward to when you can teach me archery.'

That seemed to please her and I waved goodbye when she and Artama headed off. 'They didn't stay long,' I mentioned to Alek, he gave me an amused look.

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