When Princess Pirouette rose from her prayers and turned to leave the chapel, she saw the dark figure sitting in the last pew. Giving her eyes a moment to adjust to the candlelight, after being closed for so long during prayer, she made out that it was the Prime Minister who had been spying on her. Performing a brief curtsey, she said, “How may I help you, my lord?” Except for when he sat at the head of the Royal Council, my lord Prime Minister was the most taciturn of men, so Pirouette was surprised when he spoke.
Moving closer to Pirouette, my lord Prime Minister gave a perfunctory bow and then spoke hurriedly in hushed tones. “I fear, Your Highness, that His Majesty the King is in a most dangerous position. How shall I put it?” He paused to gather his thoughts. “It gives me great anguish to say that I fear His Majesty has been the victim of poisoning. Yes, poison!”