The Arrival of the Guests

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Prince Taryn fastened his mask when he ran into one of the Princesses. His face felt different, and his lips felt swollen. He was still out of breath and confused from the kiss, his first kiss, too. He had wished that Tiernan would be the one to lift the spell, but nothing had changed. It made him sad like he hadn't been in a long time. He danced around the Princess, both taking the same direction several times. They stopped and laughed, and then the Princess lunged herself at Taryn and kissed him. The kiss was brief and nothing like the one he had shared with Tiernan. Tiernan, who he had left behind out of insecurity. A bell chimed, announcing the arrival of the guests and his thoughts were diverted. The Prince pushed the uninvited kisser away and joined his parents on the stoop of the stairs. The guests were greeted with hand kisses, handshakes, and small talk. But no matter how many people were greeted and no matter who they were, none of them made Prince Taryn react as the arrival of his loyal valet. The valet stood behind him, at his usual place, as if nothing had happened. His skin prickled, and his heart raced. He had trouble looking ahead and keeping his hands away from Tiernan. The last guests to arrive were the three fairies and the seven witches. Even the witch who had cast a spell on Taryn had been invited. The King intended to show her that his son would conquer her magic. When she greeted Prince Taryn, she scrutinised him with an earnest face. She looked at Tiernan, who nodded politely and then back at Taryn, and she smiled. She leaned in and whispered in his ear: "I know. And you are going to be alright."

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