”You’re going to a party.”
Lucine did not need to turn around to see the scowl on Zae’s face; his tone dripped with disapproval. She studiously ignored the holo of the elderly Ryn as she considered her reflection, trying to decide what she was going to do with her hair. “Not just any party. It is widely considered to be the party of the year here on Kessel.”
“But you hate parties,” the Ryn said skeptically.
“Yes. But I can endure it to achieve my ends,” Lucine replied as she coaxed her curls into an acceptable style. “It is the perfect cover. With all of the guests present, it will be much easier to move around unnoticed. I already have a plan in place to get the holocron. And while I am there, I might as well see what other favors I can collect.”
Finally satisfied with her hair, she gave her reflection one more critical glance. She then spun in front of Zae’s holo-image, showing off the full effect of the forest green ballroom gown. “What do you think?”
”I think your time could be better spent doing other things,” her lieutenant replied sourly. “Don’t you have a war you should be preparing for?”
“I am preparing. Victory is not always decided by who can kill the most enemy troops; diplomacy sometimes comes into play. And diplomacy is done best when you have some sort of leverage,” she replied as she retrieved her lightsaber and hid it among the folds of her dress.
Baron Ruthbert Andayan’s estate was situated to the south of the capital, upon a series of hills that provided a marvelous view of the city. The native vegetation had been cut away to make room for the fruit trees and lush gardens that surrounded the manor house. The house itself was constructed of white marble, which kept it cool even on the hottest days. By the time she arrived, the moon had already risen, lending the manor an almost ethereal glow.
The rules of social etiquette were a labyrinthine maze of niceties and customs. Fortunately, her father had spared no expense in making sure that both of his daughters were fully equipped to function in high society. Lucine had timed her arrival to be fashionably late, as was expected for young ladies who were unable to secure an escort for the festivities. As she handed her falsified credentials and invitation to the footman, she inwardly recounted the things she had to do before she could truly begin enjoying herself. First, she had to pay her respects to the Baron and his wife. Then, she had to at least make an attempt at mingling. Once that was done, she could set herself to the task of acquiring the holocron.
With a pleasant smile upon her face, she made her way to the ballroom, where she would almost certainly find the Baron. The sooner she got the niceties out of the way, the sooner she could have some real fun.