In one smooth motion, as if a wave passed over them, every candle in the ballroom goes out.
The light chat rises to panicked whispers in the darkness. I begin to choke on the smell of ash.
A sharp gasp rakes through the crowd as the tall candelabras at the top of the stairs erupt into columns of flame, illuminating the tall figure standing there.
They’re wrapped in flowing silk and sumptuous furs that shimmer like champagne in the firelight. Concealing their face is a goat mask. Its crimson eyes seem to glimmer.
The figure glides down the staircase, their very form seeming to flicker like a candle as they survey the crowd. A small laugh rises from them as their golden, clawed hand reaches to pull away their mask.
In the smoke-choked silence, Nadia’s wine glass shatters against the floor. She brings a trembling hand to her lips. Julian squeezes my hand, urging me to step back.
On the staircase, Count Lucio’s eyes blaze with amusement. His grin splits like a wound.
“Surprise, bitches.” he laughs, throwing out his arms. “i bET YOU THOUGHT YOU’‘D S EE N THE L AS T OF ME”
S O I havE SOM E HOPES ABOUT THE MASQUERADE CHAP T ER