With as little fanfare as possible, the Prime Minister announced that the banquet in honor of recently promoted soldiers was cancelled- the rescheduled date to be announced. Despite his attempt at being as blasé as possible, the rumor mill began to turn. There was some conjecture that the Queen, prostrate with grief over the loss of GarGar, had retired to her rooms, refusing all sustenance and eschewing the company of others.
While there might have been some truth to that, the Queen in fact was running a fever. On top of that, her voice was nearly lost. When she tried to speak, her voice dissolved into unintelligible fits of coughing. At the behest of the Prime Minister, the royal physician examined her at length. When he emerged from her chambers, his expression was grave. He looked as if he may have been weeping.
“What is it?” Hissed Tata Sous-Sus who already harbored her own suspicions about Pirouette’s health. The physician shrugged her off, passing a hand-written note to the Prime Minister. After a quick perusal, he tossed it into the fireplace. It was all she could do to keep from trying to push her way past the guards. Her intuition told her that something serious was amiss. As night fell, Lady Abigail approached Tata Sous-sus and whispered in her ear, holding up her fan so that nobody could read her lips. “The pox,” said Abby, her voice shaky. Tata, who had survived a bout of the dreaded small pox some years prior was to be designated her nurse during the illness. If anything amiss befell Queen Pirouette, the blame would fall squarely on Tata’s shoulders.