The guards at each set of extravagant doors stared past her, stiff and expressionless in their armour. Blue scalelike patterns ran along jagged ridges of metal, meant to emulate the look of a dragon. To her, it looked like everything else in the room, overdone and suffering from try-too-hard syndrome.
She brushed past, entering the cool air of the approaching nighttime to the just a little too hot atmosphere of the room. One sniff confirmed that no, they hadn't discovered deodorant since her last visit, and instead stuck with slathering on the perfume. Oh well. She was used to it.
Moving to the side, she leaned against the wall and examined the room.
Every sect in the city had its members here tonight. She knew them by face and reputation, not name. The second son of the Thunderous Flame patriarch was in the middle of the room, dressed to the nines in his attempt at dazzling armour and flowing robes. He was visible anywhere, with his dyed red hair, and clashing yellow-red robes.
Giggling at his flirtations was the seventh princess, Do-Lin-Ra. Rocking the mockingbird getup tonight, she noted as she watched the younger woman wave her fan in front of her face. Probabaly needed that thing to keep the makeup on in this heat.
So, two big names in the centre of the room, each surrounded by their preening friends. With the princess stood her own little circle of women, all emulating her own dress to a lesses degree, while the kid had four other with him, all in the same colour armour as him. Others from his sect, then.
Her eyes drifted over the crowd, noting big Hyun eating silently in the corner, his green uniform one of the few modest things in the room. Honestly, were it not for the fact that they had a violent argument a few months back, and ended with her whipping him soundly in a street fight, she might have gone over to talk. He was friendly enough, but still like the others.
Lao of the Darting Dolphin sect was having an animated conversation with a crowd of fans, the cause of much arm waving an adoring sighs from the girls watching him.
Likewise, the daughter of the Thousand Blossoms sect head was with her own crowd near the back, casually blocking the buffet tables as they loudly discussed whatever the juiciest piece of gossip the day provided.
There were many more names in the room, but she hadn't bothered remembering them, just the most important ones. Factions and individuals showed themselves, slowly milling in the open centre of the floor. Slaves scurried after their masters, raising some bile in her throat. After two years here, she still couldn't get over how casually cruel these people could be. She hadn't gotten used to it, and never would. Oh, she could be a deliberate bitch, but never just so offhandedl
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