Long Live the Queen
As soon as the Queen took a sip, she realized it was poison. She could feel the now-familiar tang hit the back of her throat, mixing sourly with her evening tea.
Eidelene set down the gold-enameled cup, lips pursed, and blue eyes narrowed. How pitiful. This one didn’t even try to add magic to the mix. It’s a simple concoction of herbs and toxic seed.
The fair-haired Queen stirred the dark brown liquid, annoyed at its contents.
One would think that the rebels in my kingdom would realize after the 20th attempt that mere poisons cannot inflict harm on me, especially one without magic.
Something tingled in her stomach–the feeling of being watched. Eidelene cast out a wave of magic, searching for the source.
Ah. There you are.
A young boy hid in the tree outside the dining hall’s arching crystal windows, waiting with naïve hope.
“How foolish,” Eidlene murmured to herself. With an amused smirk, the Queen picked up the cup and drained the last of its contents. “What a fool you are, boy,” she spoke up louder, turning slightly to face the would-be assassin.
An immense crash shattered the cold silence as the boy fell through the window, losing his balance as the Queen’s eyes made contact with his own.
Eidelene clucked her tongue, displeased. “What are you, a farm boy? Have you at least a bit of magic in your veins?”
To her surprise the boy stood up and faced her bravely, trickles of blood streaming down his arms and face from where the glass shards had cut. “No. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t.”
“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong,” Eidelene purred, amused by the dirt-smudged boy’s bravery. “Magic is everything in this life, child. Without it you are nothing. With it you are everything.”
“You think you’re invincible,” the boy accused sharply. “You think you can’t ever be defeated.”
Yes, he was brave, but Eidelene could feel his fear churning thickly around him like the clouds in a storm.
The Queen smiled, though no warmth entered her lips. “Yes, because I wield the most magic. Didn’t I just tell you? Magic is everything.”
“You’re wrong!” the kid retorted stubbornly.
Growing bored now of her visitor, the Queen flicked her wrist, sending a spear of winter-white magic to pierce the boy’s heart. The magic rapidly devoured the body, turning it into a white shell, then dust, then nothing.
“Magic always reigns,” she whispered to the scattered glass on the floor. Something tickled inside her gut.
“Your Majesty? Is something wrong?” Heavy footsteps broke her reverie as an armored guard strode in.
“Everything is fine.” Eidelene rubbed her temple. Although she had been sitting the entire time, a sudden wave of fatigue had begun to crash against her consciousness. “Fetch someone to dispose of this mess. And behead the chef—the danishes were too sweet.”
“Right away, your Majesty.” The guard bowed then left.
Eidelene glanced down at the drained cup and intricate pastries. That boy spoiled my appetite. The woman sighed then gathered her long, opulent skirts and rose from her seat.
Immediately the room began to swim in a fuzzy swarm of darkness. Eidelene clutched the top of her chair with white, sweating knuckles, free hand pressed to her temple as the awful black began to dissipate. The nausea, however, remained.
I need sleep.
Focused on the idea, the Queen hastened to her room, moving slowly to ensure she would not stumble from the lingering tendrils of dizziness. As she walked, the cold-eyed woman reached inside herself, sending magic to still the quivering and aching that accosted her limbs. By the time she had reached her room, her body had returned to normal.
That was close. Her eyes narrowed as she caught sight of the paleness of her arms. Too close.
“Stupid boy,” Eidelene snarled aloud, startling the maid who had been busy fluffing the rich, purple pillows on the canopy bed. Her eyes latched onto the mousy-haired maid. “Leave me. I will call for you later to resume your duties.”
The woman nodded fervently, as though keen on shaking her head off her neck, then curtsied and fled the room.
Eidelene let herself fall into the silky embrace of the sea of purple sheets, not bothering to undress. The Queen frowned. Was it just her imagination or was it getting a bit hard to breathe? She scoffed the foolish thought away—she was only being influenced by the myriad of annoyance that had been bombarding her all day.
Yes. That was it.
The Queen closed her eyes, succumbing to unconsciousness so swift she didn’t even have enough time to review the day’s death toll.
Eidelene did not know that she too would be on that list.