Afterwards, there were drinks in the parlour. I was interested to find the Emperor's son eager to make my acquaintance.
"Hi," he said warmly, having come up to me as soon as we'd entered the room.
"Good afternoon," I replied.
"How does it feel to be wearing a crown?" he asked.
"Most pleasing. I'm glad for the help I can offer to my people as well."
The young man smiled. He was perhaps the same age as the High Prince of Phoenix - which looked to be about seventeen years old - and had a handsome face, with thick brown hair and warm brown eyes.
"That's delightful to hear. Thank goodness we have moved on from the days where members of royalty were power-hungry and my forefathers had to step in."
Damn, why had I not paid attention in my history lessons? I saw why education was so important now: on occasions like this you needed something to talk about with those you didn't know too well.
"Thank goodness the Eagles are there to aid us land-dwellers," I replied, unable to think of a better response.
"Oh dear: I seemed to have unintentionally boasted about my race. Do forgive me."
Oh no, he'd misinterpreted my compliment!
"Oh, you needn't apologise," I said hastily.
At the young man's furrowed brow and my internal frustration at my stupidity, I quickly amended my statement.
"What I mean to say is that you have no need to apologise since you weren't in actual fact boasting."
"Well, I was slightly, he said, sounding sheepish. "Or if not, making Eagles sound like they're better people than anyone else."
"I assure you, you were not..."
"Adam," I repeated, finishing my sentence.
Behind Adam, I saw people queuing up to talk to me.
"Well, it's been a pleasure talking to you, Adam."
"The pleasure is wholly mine, Your Highness."
"Just Selena will suffice."
Adam's eyes widened in something like awe.
"What a beautiful name."
"Thank you," I said, trying not to blush.
Adam was openly staring at me now.
"The punch is said to be delectable," I said, to change the subject and to persuade him to do something other than stand here gawping at me like I was an angel. "You really must try some before you leave."
Adam nodded, blinking and seeming to come back to himself. "I shall. I hope to see you at the Summer Ball my parents are holding, ... Selena."
With that, he walked away, appearing to regain more and more of his composure with every step. I was flattered - no young man had ever shown me that much attention before. I quickly reordered my thoughts in preparation to talk to a sober-looking High Prince of the Land of Boulders (Dragon territory), who I quickly discovered was called Coal. He seemed to want to talk more about my cousin than me, though, (while naturally remaining courteous) and, seeing she wasn't engrossed in conversation, I pointed to where she was standing. He went to talk to her, smiling gratefully at me. His mother was next and then the other Eagles, including the Supreme Ruler who congratulated me on my excellent performance and impressive calm.
There was one person I greatly desired to talk to after all these: the Phoenix High Prince.