The ball was a political event.
Then again, most things in that day and age were.
The Grand Elphegort Ball had been organized by the Kingdom of Elphegort to commemorate its recent alliance with the Kingdom of Lucifenia. It was a grand celebration in which the nobles of the two countries came together to dance, drink wine and discuss how incredibly powerful they all were; a sickening sight of self-congratulations that could turn the stomach. Amongst those of the Kingdom of Elphegort and the Kingdom of Lucifenia, however, there were other nobles from the Kingdom of Marlon that was on friendly terms with both countries. It was expected the ball, whilst helping to cement the tentative truce between Elphegort and Lucifenia, would also bring about a three-way peace treaty involving the Kingdom of Marlon, as well.
The men at the ball were all fairly old, with slicked back hair and ruddy faces.
The women at the ball were all young and pretty, with heavily made-up faces and hair coiled in ornate styles and studded with flowers. Sunflowers were the most prominent choice for the women from Lucifenia, and they wore yellow gowns to match. The Kingdom of Lucifenia was somewhat famous for its large sunflower fields, and this had earned them the nickname of 'the Kingdom of Yellow.'
Nobody called Lucifenia that anymore, though. Not after Queen Anne died, leaving her only daughter, Rillianne Lucifenia D'Autriche, as the heir to the throne. Rillianne was the 'princess' only in name, as she was technically the Queen already. Rillianne had a privy council comprised of the same men who had helped Queen Anne reach complex decisions, but Rillianne rarely turned on them for advice. Rillianne didn't want her power to be compromised, or undermined by her council. She believed- perhaps not unrealistically- that if she delegated too much of her power to her privy council, they would soon begin to steal Lucifenia away from under her fingertips. After all, Rillianne was only fourteen. She wasn't stupid, though.
Within a month of Rillianne's appointment as the 'ruler' of Lucifenia she dismissed about half of Queen Anne's privy council- all those greedy for power who might try to overthrow her. They were all sentenced to execution.
Rillianne soon made it clear she was the absolute ruler, and nobody could disobey her wishes. Not even those whom her own mother had previously turned to for advice.
Anybody who disagreed with the princess soon met a swift, painful end via public execution.
Under Queen Anne's rule Lucifenia had been prosperous. There had always enough to eat, even for the impoverished, and the drinking water was (mostly) clean, despite the occasional outbreaks of cholera and dysentery, which were fairly common across the land owing to poor health care. There had been problems under Queen Anne's rule, of course. The levels of adult literacy were appalling. The educated men of Lucifenia were the merchants who traded across the seas, or those who helped the Queen govern her country. About 70% of the population couldn't read or write- most could hardly sign their name. Disease was rife, too, as the poor lived in clustered communities, and some had to resort to begging if their farms failed.
However, Queen Anne was a fair ruler and a kind woman. Whilst Queen Anne lived in a lavish palace and 70% of her Kingdom lived in squalor, it was rumored she never once acted arrogantly or abused her power. Queen Anne did impose taxes on her Kingdom, but the taxes were proportional to how much people could afford to spend, and she always tried to offer aid to those in dire need of it, and donated money to monasteries to allow them to further help the impovrished. Despite her efforts some people did go hungry- some people did die in rags in muddy ditches- but Queen Anne, for the most part, was celebrated and respected by all.
Queen Anne had such a love for sunflowers that the royal gardens surrounding her palace were filled with them; rows upon rows of bright yellow petals that pointed towards the sun. It was a breath-taking sight to behold, and it left such an impression on the foreign dignitaries and merchants from the Kingdoms of Elphegort and Marlon that they dubbed Lucifenia 'the Kingdom of Yellow.'
Queen Anne even, it was rumored, wore sunflowers in her hair at parliamentary meetings- a rumor which had soon become tradition, as most young ladies from well-to-do families in Lucifenia began to wear the flowers in their hair, also.
However, when Queen Anne died…
Generally it was over dramatic, contrived and cliché to say 'everything'- but, in this case, it was true. When Queen Anne passed away (she was only thirty six, and still ever so beautiful; it was a national day of mourning throughout the Kingdom of Lucifenia) her young daughter, Rillianne, inherited her mother's throne.
However, her mother's throne, her mother's blonde hair and her mother's beauty were the only qualities Rillianne inherited from Queen Anne.
Princess Rillianne- not to be officially crowned Queen until her sixteenth birthday, but she was technically the acting monarch- was nothing at all like her mother. Rillianne was cold and cruel, ruling a Kingdom of thousands whilst only ever thinking of herself. Rillianne raised the taxes across the land by 20% only a month after she ascended to the throne. She nearly crippled her entire Kingdom within the space of twenty days. Her greed was said to be unparalleled, her temper even worse, and she responded to any complaints about her rule with violence. After she imposed such harsh taxations 3,000 people were forced from their homes into the streets, several of her ministers tried to appeal to her; tried to make her see sense.
Rillianne responded by imprisoning three of them and executing five.
Unfortunately, Rillianne's reign coincided with the worst famine ever recorded in eighty-six years. The crops withered, the food production fell- and, as a result of fewer crops, what little food was available on the market was incredibly expensive. The prices rose. At the same time, so did the wages, and people unable to pay the high wages were forced out of their homes to die of exposure in the cold. Food prices rose, as did unemployment. It was almost impossible to estimate how many died of starvation- made all the more difficult because Rillianne never concerned herself with those trifling facts, and never bothered to record exact figures. It is doubtful Rillianne herself knew what impact the famine had on her Kingdom. After all, she was still being fed luxurious foods every day- so why worry about the peasants?
"If they have no food, let them eat cake," Rillianne was rumoured to have said, as she bit into a piece of brioche.
Within six months of Rillianne's reign the sunflowers in the royal garden began to wither and wilt. A pestilence had plagued the Kingdom of Lucifenia, and the same illness that struck the crops had also devoured the sunflowers Queen Anne had so lovingly doted upon, as though they were her real children.
Nobody called Lucifenia the Kingdom of Yellow anymore.
Nobody called Rillianne her given name, either.
She was a demon who had brought about the famine through her own cruelty, ruler over a damned Kingdom that had once been prosperous; but now she was dragging her own country and her own people into hell.
The Kingdom of Yellow soon became known as the Kingdom of Evil.
It seemed incredibly strange, therefore, that a monstrous girl like Rillianne should be dancing with Kaito Marlon at the Grand Elphegort Ball with a smile on her face more beautiful than any sunflower ever was.
For the duration of the Grand Elphegort Ball Rillianne- known merely as 'Rin' to those of equal status to her- had been dancing with the various dignitaries from Elphegort, Lucifenia's new ally. The poor harvest had not affected only Lucifenia, but the surrounding countries- and pooling what little food remained between neighbouring countries was better than trying to rough out the famine alone. That was why Lucifenia and Elphegort had made the alliance in the first place; to share their food, and various other products that were in short supply. Lucifenia was famed for its silks and cloths, and Elphegort was a trading Kingdom that possessed great amounts of spice and wine and other fine products from across the globe. Forming an alliance was advantageous to both countries, as they were able to support each other by trade.
It was another political thing.
Most things were.
It was impossible to keep track of all the people Rin had danced with the night of the Grand Elphegort Ball. Rin was rather popular with the foreign dignitaries, her notoriety aside. Perhaps Rin was popular because she was a Princess with great power, but it was equally as likely she was popular because Rin- like her mother- was incredibly beautiful. She was merely fourteen, yet her narrowed eyes held a sharp kind of intelligence, her lips were like rosebuds, and her blonde hair fell about her shoulders like waves of corn. Her black and yellow dress was strangely reminiscent of a bee, but it only served to emphasize how ethereally attractive she was.
And yet, throughout the ball- a ball which had been arranged primarily to declare the greatness of Lucifenia and Elphegort- Rin had not looked truly happy. It was only as Kaito Marlon, looking somewhat awkward with a tentative smile on his face, had extended his hand to Rin and asked 'the princess for a dance', that Rin had truly smiled.
As music swelled through the ballroom of Elphegort Castle and the chatter of various dignitaries washed through the air, Prince Kaito twirled Princess Rillianne about the shining floor, and both of them were smiling.
Kagamine Len had never seen Rin smile so much in her whole life.
She didn't look like a cruel princess at all.
Instead, she looked like a young girl who was helplessly in love.
And, in a time where marriages were brought about solely for political reasons, the soft, warm, childish love of Princess Rillianne was far purer than anything else that ever occurred in the ballroom of Elphegort Castle in the past century or so.
a/n: This is going to be a fairly quick fic set in the Daughter of Evil universe because I love Daughter of Evil XP It's also going to be Kaito/Len (eventually) cause I've been obsessing over this pairing and I wanted to write another fic with them :D
This was an introductory chapter to give you some insight into this lovely fantasy world ^_^; Lots of it was taken from Mothy's written account of Daughter of Evil, that states Rin's name is Rillianne, her mother is Queen Anne (Sweet Ann) and the Kingdom of Yellow's real name is Lucifenia.
I like building universes, expect more universe building in the next few chapters as well ^_^;;