Ari, The Empress.
Ari waited for Marcus to continue but it seemed like he had nothing left to say about her reputation. She grinned, most people went on and on about how she terrified them and listed off the various tales they heard. As they circled around Ari felt as if in this moment they were alone on the ballroom floor. Though, Marcus was one to never be preoccupied with one task that kept him from his duties for too long so she kept that alert at the back her mind. She wanted to enjoy the moment for what it was, a dance with a man she fancied. Another thought tugged at her mind, how the other members would react to their dance? If she was seen cozied up to Marcus the others could think she had gone soft. Yet as the dance continued she didn't mind what anyone else thought, well, beside Marcus. She especially hoped Aerous noticed them as his previous insult had been made invalid.
“It was a pleasure to dance with you.” Marcus gave a bow before he they separated and he took his leave.
“I’ve kept you long enough,” Her voice was full of sadness but she knew it wasn’t a moment that meant to last forever and she also knew that they would have more interactions soon enough.
Her eyes fell upon Liberta and Felicita and it dawned upon her that there were rumors of a grand speech that would happen tonight. Felicita had yet to spoke of anything relevant to Ari yet since she must show respect she knew she had to appear attentive. Thieves were not her responsibility but the protection of La Famiglia greatly concerned her. Moreno was the main aggressor and likely the ringleader Felicita said. He was not one to respect diplomacy so there wasn’t any way Ari could sweet-talk him into a peaceful agreement. She hated the fact that he disallowed her to do her primary job. Ari scoffed at the fact that they were trained killers Moreno certainly needed to do a better job when he trained them. She at least wanted a challenge when she stepped into a middle of a fight. If that was just a warning then Ari was curious to know what was to come. The need to watch her surroundings became more instinctual at the appearance of Nova. Perhaps her dance with Marcus had rubbed off on her in an unexpected way.
Nova’s appearance was sicklier than she remembered from their last meeting. Why hadn’t Luca cured him? Why was he left to suffer, he was clearly on death’s doorsteps and one of the top Alchemist couldn’t do anything? Each of her questions was answered as Nova delivered his speech. He spoke about his health, which lead to talk of a new Papa. Ari couldn’t imagine any of the other Famiglia members being Papa, there was no one. The Arcano Duello sparked an interest in Ari not because of combat but because of the wish. She could easily wish for Nova to bring her father back from his comatose state. Now, her request to Marcus for combat training wasn’t a feigned interest but instead she was genuinely invested in improving her physical skills. Ari almost tuned out the rest of the speech as she closely focused on her personal goals. Fortunately she reverted her attention back as she heard about how death came to whichever Arcana Card The Wheel of Fortune landed on and the winner of the Arcano Duello selected that member. She figured Nova did this so that he wouldn't have to make the decision himself, he cared too much about each of them to ever be able to make that choice. It was a lot to take in, Moreno, Nova's Health, Arcano Duello, and a death to finish. An award for being the most liked member was never to be in Ari's hands, which meant whoever won could easily choose her because of her popularity status in La Famiglia.
Ari went to excuse herself from the ballroom after Nova’s speech was done when she saw her Apprentice of Intelligence cowering behind a column. He bled from one arm while the rest of his appearance wasn’t much better. Alexander Grant, of The Grant family, which was almost, if not, as well known as the de Telarius’s, cardholder of number four The Emperor, and had laughable control of his Arcana Power. Her fisted clenched together as the rage swelled inside her, how he dared to come to the ball looking like that was truly unacceptable.
“You have the nerve to show up here looking like that?” Ari made a motion at his appearance. “You do realize this is your first formal appearance? Unless your goal was to bring dishonor to your family name and to mine?” She cared very little to wait for his likely excuse. “Go on to the infirmary, now. If you can’t beat a thief without a scratch you need to listen to my training. Don’t think I don’t know about your absences or that you try to do it yourself. If you ever embarrass me again,” She quietly hissed so others around wouldn’t be keen to eavesdrop on their conversation. There wasn’t a need for her to finish her sentence despite his short time with La Famiglia Ari had made sure he knew she meant business.
She charged off and nearly ran into another Apprentice, one that only pushed to her anger toward her dangerous level, Tobi. He hadn’t danced with Annabelle and he didn’t do what she asked. She didn’t pretend to smile this time nor laid a finger on him. “Tobi, you didn’t do as I asked. I’m not one you want to anger, I’m a fair person but I don’t like when people disobey my orders. Watch yourself Apprentice,” Ari moved in closer to him as she spoke and as she finished she walked away dismissing any words he had to say to her.
THE EXTREMELY LONELY PAIR OF CAREFULWETPAINT