Ever since Princess Pirouette arrived at court, discussions ensued regarding a suitable marriage for the heir to the throne. Now marriage proposals were moving from the discussion phase to the implementation phase. Long lists of candidates, both foreign and domestic, were drawn up and poured over by the royal council. Some would have thought that the Princess herself would be included in the deliberations, but such was not the case. She was expected to marry whomever she was told to marry and that would be that.
The first candidate to arrive at court for inspection was a young prince from a distant city-state. The old King and Princess Pirouette were ensconced on their thrones in the Presence Room, looking both regal and tranquil when the prince made his entrance. The snapping sound of the women deploying their fans filled the room. The rhythm of their coordinated fluttering seemed to mirror their syncopated heartbeats. When he reached the thrones and made his respectful bow, the old King proffered a boney, gnarled hand for him to kiss. After doing so, he waited a moment for Princess Pirouette to extend her hand. When he realized that she was not going to do that, he backed away, looking as if he’d been stung by a bee.