Allegra and Jimmy reached the last booth at the edge of the festival. The tent was a deep blue color, with gold fringe. Madame Serena's tent. Allegra had liked to have her fortune told by Madame Serena since she was a little girl, much to the dismay of her parents. Jimmy didn't take it seriously, but he didn't mind accompanying her, either. He found it entertaining. Allegra hadn't had time to get her fortune told when she was herewith Lilianna, and she hadn't wanted to get her fortune told in front of Sam.
Allegra's guards checked inside the tent, then waited outside while Allegra and Jimmy went in. It took Allegra's eyes a second to adjust to the darkness. With the tent flap closed, the only light came from a few candles and the softly glowing crystal pumpkin that rested on a table before a woman with exquisite silver eyes and, wavy, golden-brown hair that flowed over her shoulders.
"Hello, Madame Serena," Allegra said buoyantly.
"Princess Allegra! It's nice to see you again, child.And you as well, Mr. Adair," Madame Serena nodded to Jimmy. "Please, both of you have a seat." She gestured to the two velvet chairs in front of the table. Allegra and Jimmy sat down. Allegra laid a gold coin on the table.
Madame Serena extended her hand, and Allegra put her hand on top of hers. The fortune teller's hand was cool. Madame Serena rested her other hand lightly on top of the crystal pumpkin. The older woman closed her eyes and breathed in deeply a few times. Allegra waited eagerly for the reading to begin. She wondered if Madame Serena would say anything about Sam.
Suddenly, wisps of color began to form in the crystal pumpkin. Allegra grinned. This was it.
"I see lots of suitors," Madame Serena began. "Lots of young men fussing over you at the ball."
Jimmy winked at Allegra, and she laughed.
Madame Serena's eyes met Allegra's. "Ah, but you don't care about that, do you?" she stated shrewdly. "You only care about one particular young man."
Allegra's face warmed. "Can you tell how he feels about me?" she asked, leaning forward slightly.
Madame Serena smiled. "Of course I can, child. He-"
Jimmy leaned forward, peering at the pumpkin. "What does that mean?" he asked. The crystal pumpkin had begun to darken ominously.
Madame Serena frowned, her hand suddenly feeling like ice in Allegra's. The hair on the back of Allegra's neck stood up as a chill crept down her spine. Madame Serena pulled her hand away and flung a silk cloth over the crystal pumpkin, obscuring the darkness brewing within.
"It doesn't mean anything." Madame Serena said. She gave Allegra back her gold coin. "I'm sorry your reading wasn't clear, my dear." She patted Allegra's hand. "Come see me again next year."
"Thanks, anyway," Allegra said, swallowing her disappointment. She stepped out of the tent into the fading light, confused about Madame Serena's strange behavior. Allegra had her fortune read every year, and the crystal pumpkin had never gone dark before.
As soon as Allegra was outside, Jimmy turned to Madame Serena. "What did you see?" he demanded, keeping his voice low so Allegra wouldn't overhear.
Madame Serena shook her head, her long silver earrings tinkling. "I didn't see anything. But it's a bad omen for the crystal pumpkin to go dark during a reading. Look out for her tonight," she advised,her silver eyes filled with concern.
"I appreciate the warning, Madame." He pressed a gold coin into her palm. She nodded. Jimmy stepped out of the tent. Allegra was waiting nearby, looking curious.
"Did she tell you something else?" she inquired, her green eyes wide.
"She apologized again for not being able to do a reading for you," Jimmy said.
"She didn't say anything else about why the crystal pumpkin went dark? I've never seen that happen before."
Jimmy shrugged. "Maybe it's broken," he suggested."Now, you have a beautiful dress to wear tonight. Don't dwell on this and let it ruin your evening."
Allegra thought about the strange occurrence on the carriage ride back to the palace, but by the time she arrived, she'd pushed it out of her mind. She had more important things to think about tonight.