The palace nestled in the rolling hills of Insontia was hardly the fanciest place Lux had ever been, and to be honest, it disappointed him. Everything tried too hard to be opulent and lavish, and even when it succeeded, the effort was all too apparent.
Lux had gotten through the gate with an invitation to the party, courtesy of his boss, and he’d been ushered down to the ballroom. Instead of going in, he waited just outside the gilded doors, spying on the masquerade ball with disdain.
The ballroom was filled to capacity. He hadn’t expected that many people to attend a tacky affair like this, but once again, Lux had overestimated the human race. All the girls wore flowing gowns, and their faces were hidden by glittery masks. A brunette caught sight of him hiding in the doorway, and she lowered her mask to get better look at him.
Lux wore a perfectly tailored suit with a black shirt underneath, the top few buttons left undone. His blond hair had been pushed back, so it lay straight, except for where the curls formed at the base of his neck. He had the kind of smile, that when used correctly, got him nearly anything he wanted, but it never quite reached his blue eyes.
There had been a time when all of this appealed to Lux. This anniversary party for a Lord and Lady he’d never met would’ve held some entertainment for him, even with its faux splendor and forced extravagance. The dance floor would’ve been a treat, full of beautiful women on which to dine, but he could barely muster the effort to smile back at the brunette. He’d grown bored with this all.
If he hadn’t been sent, Lux would never have come here. His instructions were to attend this ball for a job, and everything would be explained once he arrived. After years of this, he’d gotten used to vague orders, and it suited him better when he didn’t know what his boss was doing.
A waiter offered him a flute of champagne, and Lux swallowed it down greedily. He considered leaving the palace entirely, hopping on his black horse, and racing off to meet Gula at a bar where they could eat and drink too much.
But he knew better than to disobey his boss, so he settled for wandering away from the masquerade. He needed a moment to let the champagne hit him before he dealt with the crowd in the ballroom.