I spent almost half the day in my bed that day.
I’m normally the type of person who wakes up pretty early and wakes up easily, and I don’t stay in bed forever, even on holidays.
But even this morning, I planned to sleep in for a little while because I was tired. Well, I guess I was mentally exhausted after all that happened.
When I woke up, the sunlight had taken on a hue that was neither…orange nor yellow in the afternoon. It was after three o’clock, so it’s almost evening.
No one wakes me up here, no matter how long of a nap I take. Wow, heaven! I thought at first, but I couldn’t be lazy if I thought I’d be allowed to do it at any time.
No one accused me of sleeping too much, and everyone helped me get dressed, slower than usual.
I questioned Lilia’s absence with my eyes.
The three of them hesitated, but still quietly waited for me to answer, and after giving in to each other, Julia opened her mouth.
“We’re investigating the attempted poisoning of the crown princess.”
When I found out that the clam bloodshed case had developed into the ‘Attempted Poisoning of the Crown Princess’ case, I almost chocked over the ridiculousness of it.
But then I panicked.
Because if it was an attempted poisoning case, the person who made the dish would be suspected.
I knew better than anyone that it wasn’t an attempted poisoning case.
Attempted poisoning is an exaggeration…
I try to tell her that somehow, but she tilted her head at Julia, who still looks strange.
There was a distinction between maidservants, and in the old days, they were not allowed to speak directly to you unless you were an official lady-in-waiting. Even now, there are remnants of this, and I don’t often speak directly to the apprentices.
The only one of my maidservants who is a lady-in-waiting is Lilia, which is why she always speaks to me.
Although it is polite to forbid one’s inferiors from speaking to you, if you observe this part of your daily life, you can’t do anything about it, so it’s an unspoken agreement.
Julia, who helps me get dressed, seems to look down and hold back her tears. Her eyes were slightly red and looks as if she will burst into tears.
“I’m sorry….It’s already past noon, so I’ll just tie your hair up briefly.”
I had no idea…that the real incident happened after I went to bed.
“I must inform you of something unfortunate.”
After getting ready, I sat down in my usual chair.
Lilia, who came somewhat impatiently, bowed in front of me and opened her mouth in an amended manner.
I tilted my head at Lilia’s words, which sounded somewhat strained. Partly because I hadn’t yet awakened to consciousness.
But Lilia’s next words brought me to a standstill, like when I put ice water on my head.
“Your Highness, Ellucia has passed away.”
Lilia shakes her head emphatically at my gaze, which is directed at her, wanting her to deny that she’s lying.
“The cause was the breakfast this morning.”
My meals are served by the maidservants with a poison testing.
This is an expression of the royal family’s vigilance in not trusting…even if it is a birth family, or perhaps because it is a birth family.
To find out what dishes were poisoned, the girls have separate dishes to eat. The dish in question was clam soup and stir-fried shimeji mushrooms and greens. After about an hour of these two poisonings, Ellucia complained of a stomachache.
“By the time I called the doctor, it was too late. She complained of abdominal pain for two hours, and she died shortly in the afternoon.”
Lilia’s words echoed somewhere in the distance.
I was supposed to be sitting in a chair, but I wasn’t sure what I was doing.
I felt like all of my five senses had been taken away at once.
“We still don’t know what poison was used, but the doctor said it was probably a slow-acting poison.”
I’m not a doctor, but even I know that much.
I restrain myself from cursing and uttering useless words. It wasn’t Lilia’s fault.
I took several deep breaths to calm my mind.
I need to stay calm.
Anger clouds my eyes.
I tell myself over and over again…and yet my clenched hands are shaking.
This anger is not right.
I was aware of it myself.
There is certainly at the person who took Ellucia’s life. But there’s more to it than that.
I couldn’t…forgive myself for sleeping while Ellucia was suffering.
Just because I was awake doesn’t mean that I could have done anything about it.
But still, I was angry at myself for lying in my sleep, knowing nothing about it…
In my chest, a swirling anger and sadness…and then an inexplicable resentment.
I asked myself over and over again why this happened.
My mind is a messy mix of simmering anger and tear-jerking sorrow.
…But that wasn’t the only thing that was inescapable
If it weren’t for that clam shell incident, I would have eaten it too.
I know that clam soup is different. Because this is how I’m alive and pinching myself.
Even though I vomited it up, if there was poison in that soup, it would have affected me in some way, if not killed me. If that was the case, it was the fried shimeji mushrooms and greens that contained the poison.
If it wasn’t for all that fuss, I probably would have put my mouth on it.
Because I’m basically going to touch every plate in one way or another.
…Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was relieved about that.
I’m glad I didn’t eat it, and I’m glad I didn’t.
I found myself wanting to cry at the sheer egotism of it all.
Ellucia had died because of it, and yet I found myself rejoicing that I had been saved.
Maybe it was only natural to be happy that I was safe. But I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for doing so.
Ellucia had no reason to die like this. There should have been no reason for her to be killed.
I’m sorry, Ellucia.
I knew that being my maidservant was what had killed her.
My eyes widened…and tears spilled out of my eyes.
Lilia and the other maidservants look at me with astonished expressions.
Because Arthirea had probably never cried in public before.
But I couldn’t stop my tears.
I think of Ellucia, whom I’ve known for only four days.
A face that smiled at me, a surprised face, a troubled face…various faces. It’s only four days’ worth, but I remember it well.
And yet, she is no longer there.
“Ellucia is a lucky girl. She was able to protect the princess…”
The maidservants did not cry.
But they all had red eyes, so I figured they must have cried a lot already.
I rubbed my eyes.
As the crown prince, I must not weep over the death of one maid…the voice of my heart tells me so. I know.
I know. I know, but I can’t stop my tears.
So I turn around. I don’t want anyone to see my crying face.
One of the knights standing outside the balcony was looking at me, but he turned away in a hurry.
I bit my lip…and looked down.
This isn’t crying.
I fold my hands in front of my chest…and hang my head.
This is just praying. So I hope you miss the drips that fall to the floor.
I felt for the first time, that I had truly come…to a very far away different world.
In this world, life can be taken away so easily.
It came out of my mouth.
“Princess, your voice is…”
Lilia and her handmaidens widen their eyes.
“I’ll take Ellucia and go home.”
At my clearly spun words, Lilia looked at me.
I looked up and stared straight back into Lilia’s eyes.
Maybe it was at this moment that I made up my mind. Even though I didn’t think so clearly, I still had decided to live in this country.
Lilia dropped to her knees and bowed deeply.
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2 thoughts on “Chapter 7: Poisoning”
Im confused but I will probably get my answer by reading along
If Arthirea was supposedly living separately from the Duke and was taken away by the Royal Family, how did she end up back at the Duke’s house?
Yes, I believe you will find out as you read along! ^_^