More fast-forwarding...

Mylene: Lync's comment from the last chapter is true in this situation.

Lync: Nothing happened?

Mylene: Yes.

Shadow: You're in a good mood. This means someone is going to suffer soon...

Yumeí: I'm lookin' at him. *to audience* R&R.

Mylene stretched, feeling much better now that the council meeting was over. They were very boring, and long!

Two months had gone by since her sixteenth birthdate, and she was now officially a noblewoman. She was now legally old enough to drive as well, but that didn't seem as important; she never left the palace now.

Mylene walked back to her room, lost within her own thoughts. She had become silent and distant since her fight with her parents. She wondered vaguely what they were doing now. Cressedia too.

She heard commotion at the end of the next hall, and rounded the corner to see a tall boy with wild silver hair wearing a severely worn black trench coat yelling at a guard.

"I'm not a little pansy! I know how to walk! Get away and go do some other stupid 'duty' that all you servants have to do! Next time any of you idiots try and treat me like the rest of the pathetic noble children, I'll make sure you never do it again!"

The guard left a quickly as he could while trying to look professional. Mylene understood why; it was a ritual she'd seen many times during her childhood: boys in the slums, usually gang members, bad-mouthed and insulted anyone who annoyed them in an attempt to intimidate. It seemed very effective on the domestic palace guards.

The boy seemed to feel her gaze, because he turned around and walked directly over to her. Mylene knew it was too late to avoid meeting him now: they had made eye contact.

"You're Mylene Farrow, Cressedia's little sis."

"I'm at a disadvantage," Mylene said coldly. "You know my name, but I am afraid I don't know you."

"Shadow Prove," he said reluctantly. "Inner circle member of the blood moon gang. Re-accepted castle ward."

Mylene processed this information. A runaway nobleman's son. He didn't look like the son of a nobleman; he was tall, well muscled, and looked wilder than anyone who lived out of the slums. But he wasn't entirely like a slum kid either; hardened, but it seemed like a recent event, maybe a few years ago. Not a gradual toughening, but a lightning quick one. His feral nature seemed forced, somehow.

"A pleasure to meet you," Mylene said insincerely. Shadow looked like he was going to say something, but then another boy rounded the corner and said, "An-I mean Shadow, you do realize that Zenoheld has called us in an audience with him? We should be going."

"Why you always gotta be the one to make the plans?" Shadow whined in an amazingly annoying tone of voice. The other boy took no heed, and left.

"And why we always gotta go your way?" Shadow complained, chasing after the other boy.

Mylene watched him go, pondering something she'd noticed for perhaps a spit second: Shadow came across as crazy, maybe even insane, but for the briefest of moments, she'd seen something in his eyes that had said nothing but complete self-possession.

Shadow was acting. Mylene didn't know why, but she was going to get to the bottom of it.

Shadow: That is just painful...

Lync: *looks at Yumeí* You were right.

Yumeí: Of course I am.

Volt: Don't get a swelled head.

Dream: That'll be hard.

Yumeí: Hey!