Gloria: In her study. She said she didn't have time to wait for you forever. And you kept her waiting for quite some time.
Sophia: Oh no, we wouldn't want Carmosa's magnificent plans to be foiled just because of Cinders' laziness, would we!
Gloria: You might rethink your attitude. Mother wants to speak to you. I can't imagine how that is going to be a pleasant experience, considering.
Sophia: She said she wants to speak to me? Why?!
Gloria: Well, actually, she wants to speak to each of us. You're just supposed to go first.
Sophia: When I finally get to be the first at something, it's something I don't want. It's like receiving gifts. Good in principle yet always disappointing in reality.
Cinders: Why would she want to speak to each of us? And why separately? I have a bad feeling about this.
Gloria: Oh, stop complaining you two! And you should hurry up and go, Sophia. Unless you feel the need to make Mother angrier, of course.
Sophia: *sigh* I'm going, I'm going.
Gloria: If you did what you were supposed to, you wouldn't need to be nervous right now. Just a thought.
Cinders: Of course! Because everything is fair and honest around here. And I certainly won't get blamed for things I have no control over.
Gloria: I think you do enough on your own not to need any additional blame. Your constant rebelling should get most of Carmosa's attention.
Cinders: And how will Carmosa have an idea about who rebelled and what 'rebelling' actually means, huh?
Gloria: You are not seriously suggesting that I would tell on you, are you? I'm trying so hard to do well here and take care of you two.
And Sophia, she wouldn't just stab you in the back like that for no reason. Would she now?
Cinders: Well, I certainly do not feel as safe as you describe.
Gloria: Ok, so my sister might have an interesting idea of fun.
Cinders: True. But I think we did start some sort of connection, albeit weak.
Cinders: I'm not sure yet, but I certainly hope it's permanent, not some ploy to lower my awareness. I liked the feeling of having a sister.
Gloria: Oh, I'm so glad you say that. And I am happy that you and Sophia get along. Actually, I'm happy she is getting along with anyone.
Cinders: Happy? Why? You hardly ever talk to her yourself!
Gloria: That fact I don't have a good connection with her doesn't mean I can't care. I do wish for her to be happy. I'm glad she's finally able to make friends.
Cinders: I had no idea you cared so much. You're full of surprises.
Gloria: I don't think I need to explain myself.
Cinders: I was just asking, but fine.
Gloria: Let's just wait for Sophia to come out and see what she has to say.
Cinders: Well, it's not like we have many alternatives. I hate waiting.
Gloria: This shouldn't take long. Carmosa is not someone to beat around the bush.
Cinders: True, she's always to the point. No excuses, no diversions. No mercy.
Gloria: *sigh* Let's just wait.
Sophia: Aren't you happy to see me? I'm fine, sorry to disappoint you girls.
Gloria: So what was the talk about?
Sophia: You'll find out soon enough. It's your turn and I wouldn't keep Mother waiting if I were you.
Gloria: Alright. I'm off. Wish me luck.
Sophia: You might need it. So good luck, sister.
Cinders: Good luck.
Sophia: Carmosa swoops down on you like a hawk and submits you to great physical torture and tests your endurance. At one point she took this long needle and--
Cinders: Lovely. Thanks for that image, sis.
Sophia: You did get a little pale. But honestly, you'll be fine.
Cinders: So it wasn't that bad?
Sophia: Oh, don't get me wrong, it was no pleasure either. And Carmosa hatched a plan that will make me lose a lot of sleep till it's all over.
Cinders: This can't be good. I'm almost afraid to ask. What is it?
Sophia: Oh no. You need to be properly surprised when you hear it from Carmosa. That will prove I did not utter a word.
But you don't need to worry too much. Only Gloria and I get to fail Carmosa and her ridiculously high expectations this time. As far as I know, you will not be involved.
Cinders: I never thought I'd be happy to hear that someone forgot about me.
Sophia: I wonder what Gloria will tell. Aren't you worried?
Cinders: I'm not sure. She seemed fine when we talked.
Sophia: As odd as it may be, you might be right. My silly sister babbled a lot about how she finally got through to you. What a success it was to finally come to some sort of understanding.
The most pathetic part was when she decided this 'understanding' was important enough to make it the topic of the day.
Cinders: I'm glad she felt that way. I thought it made for a nice change of pace, as well.
Sophia: The only thing missing from this picture is holding hands and singing. And dancing. Possibly in circles. In the middle of a flowery meadow.
I think I might throw up.
Cinders: I think you could use some hand holding and singing. Having friends doesn't hurt you know. At least it works better for me than isolation works for you.
Sophia: Oh shut up. Let's just wait for Gloria. It shouldn't be too long.
Gloria: What do you mean?
Cinders: Well. Was it, I don't know, unpleasant?
Gloria: Of course not. Why would it be? It was just a normal conversation.
Sophia: Normal for you, perhaps.
Cinders: Come on, Gloria, I can tell it wasn't that smooth.
Sophia: Stop being so nosy! And start asking proper questions. Did Carmosa tell you about her plans?
Gloria: In fact, she did.
Cinders: Sophia, please.
Sophia: Shush now, Cinders. So what do you think of Mother's latest great plot?
You would think she had learned not to expect the impossible of us. Or anything big, really.
Gloria: And maybe it's time to live up to her expectations? You are a grown-up now, Sophia. It's time for you to work on managing your responsibilities.
Sophia: You're hopeless and stupid! Some of us are simply not built for greatness.
Sophia: You must speak plainly. I'm too stupid to understand complex sentences.
Cinders: So what are Carmosa's plans exactly?
Gloria: Oh, I'm sure she'll explain everything in a moment. Now hurry, don't keep her waiting.
You know how angry she gets when someone's late.
Cinders: Oh yes. I feel like this is going to be quite an adventure. And I'm about to enter the beast's lair.
Gloria: You don't need to worry. I didn't tell her about your little excursions.
I did tell her, however you behaved in a responsible and trustworthy manner.
Sophia: Which I'm sure Mother has immediately taken to be true, since she values your opinion so highly.
Cinders: Alright then, I'm going. Wish me luck.
Lady Carmosa: Yes, I did. Come in and close the door. I'd like you to explain something to me.
Weren't you the busy little bee when I was gone?
Cinders: I'm not sure I follow--
Lady Carmosa: I've just talked with your sisters and they both vouched for your good behavior during my absence.
Cinders: They did? Oh, that's--
Lady Carmosa: Surprising? Bah! I realize that! Surely you must have played your cards well, if you befriended them both so quickly.
Cinders: I don't recall playing cards, I just took some time to talk with them and try to understand them for a change. I guess it worked.
Lady Carmosa: How lovely. But I really couldn't care less about that. The important thing is that you didn't do anything stupid or manage to get yourself into some trouble, like I was expecting.
Cinders: I'm-- I mean, thank you, Ma'am.
Lady Carmosa: Regardless of what you may be thinking right now, adding wood to the roaring blaze of that ego of yours isn't the purpose of this talk. Praise means nothing save the purpose it serves -- remember that.
There are important matters I need to tell you about. It has to do with my plans for our family.
Two days from now, a Grand Ball will be taking place in the Royal Palace. Any royal business is very important of course, but this particular ball will be very important even for His Royal Highness. It means very careful preparations.
Cinders: The Royal Masquerade, I might have heard about it, yes.
Lady Carmosa: Oh... You have? This is very surprising indeed.
Cinders: Is it? Recently, I've learned that it isn't that difficult to obtain sensitive information.
One simply has to pay attention to what is going on around them, watch carefully who is meeting with whom.
Especially when it comes to certain shady-looking characters fetching rumours like a trained hound.
Lady Carmosa: Let's hope you'll forge this little success in collecting information into a permanent quality, a quality which I'm sure you'll find useful in life.
Cinders: Being well-informed surely beats being kept in the dark.
Folk say that 'truth shines like light and ignorance is the darkest night'. It's a fitting comparison. After all, night is the time of fear, vulnerability and powerlessness.
I learned quite a few things these days. I feel much safer and more powerful already.
Lady Carmosa: What matters here, is that the Ball is very near and there is litle time left.
It means that I will be expecting our entire family, and I do mean ALL of us, to give their best.
Cinders: Very well. And what is my part in this plan, then? Will I be going to the Ball as well, member of our family that I am?
Lady Carmosa: Don't be absurd. Royal affairs aren't your arena.
Cinders: I see. Then what is my arena, Ma'am?
Lady Carmosa: Why the house of course! If everything goes smoothly, the Ball should mark the point of our family coming back into high society.
And that means one thing: guests.
We will need combined effort to make the residence spotless. But your role in this will be crucial.
Cinders: I see, my lady. Would you also like me to hid in the wardrobe or pretend I'm a statue when the guests come?
Or maybe being a statue would pose too much of a competition for your charming and intelligent daughters?
Lady Carmosa: I understand your anger and your reasons, now you must understand mine.
Lady Carmosa: You may play all sanctimonious with me now, but either now or in ten years you'll understand my perspective. And you will agree with my decision.
Also, I don't see a single reason to yield to your complaints, if all I get from you is recklessness and childish moods. Start supporting the family, and maybe the family will do the same for you.
Cinders: You like to refer to all of us as family, but only if it means I have to do something.
Lady Carmosa: Don't get melodramatic, girl. You sound like a bad novel.
Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to prepare three young ladies for the ball organised by the future king.