03: May I Have This Dance?

Rinea: ……

Berkut: You there. What are you doing?

Rinea: Hmm?

Berkut: *gasp*

Rinea: Lord Berkut! Pray, forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to give offense.

Berkut: Not at all. I approached you. It seems a terrible waste that you would come to a ball just to be alone.

Rinea: Perhaps. But mine is a lesser house, and I do not seem to find much favor here. In the end, I tired of all the eyes on me and retreated.

Berkut: You are mistaken, my lady. You were invited here—you have the right to carry yourself as anyone else.

Rinea: As you say, my lord.

Berkut: Do you not like dancing?

Rinea: My lord? Er, that is to say, I love to dance. In…most circumstances. There is a little grove behind my manor. Inside is a flower garden where small birds gather—it is a place dear to me. On days of fine weather, I go there alone and dance until my feet… Ah! Forgive me. You must find this all so terrifically dull.

Berkut: On the contrary.

Rinea: Hmm?

Berkut: Tell me your name.

Rinea: It’s…Rinea, my lord.

Berkut: Rinea. A lovely name. Rinea, may I have the next dance?

Rinea: Wh-what? You mean…with…me? Oh, I couldn’t possibly! I mean, what would people think?

Berkut: Then we can dance here, away from prying eyes and wagging tongues. That is, if you do not mind the absence of your garden and birds?

Rinea: *giggle* Lord Berkut… You are too sweet.

Berkut: I pray that is a yes? I AM the emperor’s nephew, after all. To refuse me would be most uncouth.

Rinea: I would love to dance with you, my lord. Shall we?

Berkut: My lady.