Face to Face Dinner – Part Two
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After the appetizers, soup and a light fish dish, the meat dish came.
There were several bite-sized steaks on the plate, lightly grilled on the surface, covered with a deep brown sauce. At the same time, the glasses were lined up, and this time, wine was poured.
‘It’s probably wine during meals. With pregnant women in the house, I’m not sure if alcohol is a good idea, but I’m not going to stop. One drink or so would hardly affect them.’
“This meat is so delicious.” (Suzuya)
“Is that so? It’s a deer filet. It’s the chief specialty.” (Queen)
Suzuya and the Queen were chatting with each other after eating the food. They were having a good time.
‘It’s delicious, and it’s kind of healthy. The deer filet isn’t oily, the sauce is fruity and it’s definitely a delicious dish, but there is something missing. Since the royal family is a female-focused family, I wonder if these dishes that women would like.
It seems that wine is also used in the sauce. I guess they’re not using the wine because I’m here. Every time I come here, they don’t bring it to me. I think that the ingredients I brought with me have penetrated the market, and the chef, who is the head chef, is doing his own research and using them. It’s probably limited to the high-end food market, but I’m deeply moved when I think that my work is changing the dining table in this way.’
“Wine, is it… I thought it was just an astringent liquor, but it’s surprisingly good when drink like this.” (Rook)
Rook and others were drinking it.
“Don’t you drink, Yuri-san?” (Queen)
Seeing that I hadn’t taken a sip at all, Her Majesty the Queen asked me.
‘It’s hard to say. If it’s a banquet with a lot of people, I can just pretend to drink it.’
“Sorry. Please forgive me, but I have decided to refrain from drinking until I’m twenty.” (Yuri)
“Oh my, is that so? Why is that again?” (Queen)
“After reading a book that drinking alcohol from a young age has a bad effect on the brain, he decided to do it that way, and it has been going on for a long time.” (Suzuya)
‘I don’t think I have to be so disciplined anymore, but since I’m almost twenty, I felt like continuing. And it’s only a few months away.’
“Ooh. Alright then, I’ll have them prepare a replacement drink.” (Queen)
“Then, can I have that lemon drink earlier–…” (Yuri)
Just as I said that, the door opened. It was Carya.
‘She seems to be back.’
On Carya’s desk, the previous plate had been taken down, but the meat dish was still there. Carya looked around the room and walked briskly back to her seat.
But instead of sitting down, she stood in front of the contained chair and glared at Carol.
There was no smile on her face.
‘What? Is the fight about to begin?’
“What is it? Do you have something?” (Carol)
Carol said as she shifted her chair slightly and turned it halfway to Carya.
‘It’s a kind of spiky language that gets you into a quarrel. Well, I guess it’s a stance that can’t be changed anymore. They have been sisters for eighteen years now. It is a lot longer than me and Myaro have known each other.’
“Why did Onee-sama go out with Yuri? You knew I liked him.” (Carya)
‘Eh, are you going to talk about that right here? This is so awkward.’
“Now is… no, I should probably talk to you properly at this point. But I have nothing to say except that I love Yuri too.” (Carol)
“Why did you steal him from me? What’s the fun in taking everything I want?” (Carya)
‘S-steal? Even if I’m not taking a side, I have never been your boyfriend.’
“There’s no stealing, there’s nothing. Yuri’s heart has never been with you. That’s why I didn’t want to support you. Of course, if Yuri had liked you, I wouldn’t have tried to steal… I think.” (Carol)
‘Hey, you’re not confident on that part, you know.’
“You’re my Onee-sama, right? Can you give your sister one thing I want? You have everything. So why can’t I have him?” (Carya)
Carol rubbed her fingers across her brow, as if she had a headache.
“Alright. What do you want?” (Carol)
‘Eh, are you giving in? The way this is going, it’s probably me, right?’
“Give me Yuri. I’ve been in love with… him since I met him when I entered the school.” (Carya)
‘Hey, what do you mean by that?’
“Really!? So, you’re not going to marry him?” (Carya)
“If Yuri has feelings for you, he wouldn’t marry you. So, do you have feelings for her?” (Carol)
Carol turned around to look at me.
‘Me? No no no no. Why are you turning it on me? What the hell is going on here? Are you trying to get this over without hurting Carya? I don’t know how to do it without causing an uproar. It’s too difficult. It’s more difficult than a war. Hmm…’
“Come to think of it, we’ve known each other for a long time, haven’t we? The first time we met was at the Eagle King landing field.” (Yuri)
“Yes, that’s right. It’s been a long time.” (Carya)
Carya said with a slightly embarrassed expression.
‘If I ignore that right now, she’s definitely a beautiful girl, but…’
“I knew you liked me. Well, if you didn’t like me, you wouldn’t have asked me to go out with you on our first meeting.” (Yuri)
‘I didn’t think it would last this long, though.’
“Goodness, you’ve given me a hard time.” (Carya)
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“But I can’t marry you.” (Yuri)
Carya’s smile froze.
‘I know you would do that… But why do you think you can handle the problem of love affairs with this kind of trickery? If someone did the same thing to me, I wouldn’t fall in love with her and marry her either. I still don’t understand her mentality. I feel that I’m dealing with a different species.’
“I’ve never had romantic feelings for you. It’s not Carol’s fault. I’ve had a lot of relationships with women besides Carol. However, it never occurred to me to date you, or have relations with you, or marry you.” (Yuri)
“…What is that? Are you trying to tell me that I’m out of scope among many others?” (Carya)
“Carya, you’re attractive enough. You don’t have to settle for me. There are many better men out there. Go ahead and take a look.” (Yuri)
Carya’s face scrunched up in anger.
‘Hmm… I wonder if I failed.’
“…I understand. Then, make me the queen. You can do that much, right?” (Carya)
When she turned to Carol again, she said something out of the ordinary.
“…Why do you want to be the queen? I’m going to support you with enough money so that you can live while playing. Being a queen would just be too much work and too hard.
Carol said while sincerely questioning.
‘To be honest, I agree with her. I want to tell Carya to look at her own mother. She probably knows that her mother is exhausted. Does she think that the title of queen is a magical title that allows her to be as selfish as she wants, to spend as much money as she wants, and to make people listen to whatever she says? That might be the case in a very fortunate time, but how are you going to handle war?’
“I don’t have anything. So, why don’t you at least give me the position of queen!?” (Carya)
At this point, the Queen, who had been watching the situation gracefully, opened her mouth. She would have been very tempted to interfere.
“Carol has earned her place as queen and Yuri-san has earned his. Did I order Yuri to marry Carol? I can’t force him to do anything. So does the queen. Carya, if you thought that you were more suitable for the Queen, I would have let you take over. Don’t make it sound as if Carol got the blessing from heaven without any effort.” (Queen)
‘What is Carya dissatisfied with? I’ve heard that when a person’s income rises and the rank of their life goes up, they aren’t satisfied with just being extravagant, but they start to seek fame and honor accordingly. Maybe that’s the reason.’
‘Even if she is a princess, a position that is respected by everyone, it doesn’t mean that she will receive unconditional praise and fame. This is because they are given based on the abilities and character, not the position. In a position like Carya’s, it might manifest itself as a terrible imbalance.’
“Mother has no idea… how much I’ve put up with.” (Carya)
“I’m sorry, Carya-chan. Let’s talk about it again later, alright? I’m sure we can find a way to make everyone happy.” (Queen)
The Queen said in a different, gentler tone of voice.
“I understand. I won’t ask you anymore.” (Carya)
‘What did you understand?’
“Uhm, sorry.” (Rook)
There, Rook spoke up. His voice was somehow not in his usual tone but sounded shaky.
I looked at his face and saw that he was very pale.
“Tsk… Father, what’s going on!?” (Yuri)
“I don’t feel good… toilet…” (Rook)
He stood up from my chair, took a step, and with a jerk, he lost his balance and fell to my knees.
‘What the… Food poisoning?’
“Rook, what’s wrong?” (Suzuya)
The Queen and Suzuya were sent for a moment and noticed an abnormal situation.
Suzuya failed to stand up, and the chair fell over with a resounding thud.
‘What the… My parents… Could it be a similar symptom to Rook’s? What’s happening…? Poison? Paralytic symptoms… neurotoxin?’
I tried opening and closing my own hands. I had nothing.
I took a look at the Queen. She looked as if she couldn’t grasp what was going on, and she was doing the same thing as I was. Her hands were shaking, and her gripping movement seemed awkward.
‘…So I’m the only person who is fine? The only thing that I didn’t have was… the wine?’
“Queen’s Sword! Make Father and Mother vomit what they have eaten! Now!!” (Yuri)
I stood up and shouted. The maids, who were just standing there, looked at me with scary eyes, probably because there was no order.
“You can’t just stand there! They have been poisoned! If you didn’t do it, then get your asses moving! Put your hands in their mouth and make them throw up what they ate!” (Yuri)
As I said this, I looked at Carol’s table sitting next to me. The wine was down by about a third. It seemed she had it.
“Carol, I’m sorry.” (Yuri)
I stuck my finger in Carol’s mouth and touched the back of her throat.
“Whoever is not doing anything, bring me some water! Give me all you got!” (Yuri)
Carol leaked sobs, but there was no sign of vomiting. She seemed to be in pain and grabbed my hand.
“Just be patient.” (Yuri)
Carol half panicked, and her teeth hit my hand. I kept stimulating the back of her throat without worrying about being bitten.
Vomit was scattered on the floor.
I looked around the room, leaving Carol behind for the moment.
The maids, whom I didn’t know were the Queen’s Sword, assisted the Queen, Rook and Suzuya to get the contents of their stomachs out. To my surprise, Carya didn’t run away, but looked frightened at what she had done in the corner of the room.
I closed in on Carya, grabbed her by her thin neck, and pushed her against the wall as if to slam her down.
“Did you poison them?” (Yuri)
‘Considering the situation, I can’t think of no one but Carya. The Queen? No way. What would poisoning the Hou Household do in this situation? New continent? No, if so, it would be strange to leave me alone. Even if it was unexpected that I didn’t drink, the Queen’s Sword wouldn’t follow my order.’
“N-no… wah.” (Carya)
‘Are you trying to play innocent?’
I grabbed Carya’s neck and took a glass of wine from Carol’s table sitting. I loosened my hand and put it on Carya’s lips.
Carya’s expression changed. Her lips closed tightly, and she looked as if she had been confronted with a murder weapon.
I had a hunch. She did it.
“Drink it. If you can’t, give me the antidote.” (Yuri)
“I-I don’t… have it.” (Carya)
“Then, die.” (Yuri)
I pressed Carya’s neck even harder against the wall.
“You can die, or you can give me the antidote. Your choice.” (Yuri)
‘There’s no way she doesn’t have the antidote. Considering the way the conversation had just unfolded, if Carol had changed her opinion, she was going to treat her with the antidote. Or maybe she was going to negotiate with them in exchange for the antidote. Either way, it was a stupid turn of events that was never going to work out, but in her optimistic mind, it was supposed to work out.’
“Kuh… gahhakk…” (Carya)
As she began to suffer from lack of breath, Carya flailed about and fished in her pocket, pulling out a single vial.
‘It’s too soon.’
The red-colored vial spilled out of her hand as soon as it was out of her pocket. Along with it, a steel hip flask that was in the same pocket fell to the floor.
I took my hand away from her neck as I threw her off.
“Gaha! Gohogoho–…” (Carya)
Carya, who had fallen down, choked by.
“Queen’s Swords! If any of you knows anything about poison, come here!” (yuri)
As I shouted, a Queen’s Sword came. It was Tilet.
I quickly picked up the fallen vial and can and placed them on the desk.
‘One is a poison, and the other is probably an antidote.’
“This is a poison!” (Tilet)
“Do you know what it is?” (Yuri)
Tilet glanced at the poison in a glass vial.
“Damn it!” (Yuri)
She slammed the desk in frustration.
“What is it? What kind of poison is it?” (Yuri)
“It’s a red canorlia… you can’t drink something like this.” (Tilet)
‘I’ve never heard of it.’
“Give me all the information you can.” (Yuri)
“It’s a combination of shellfish poison and poisonous mushrooms. There is no antidote.” (Tilet)
‘There’s none? That’s not possible.’
“Then, what is this?” (Yuri)
I pointed at an iron can that looked like a steel hip flask.
‘If the one in the glass vial is poison, this one is probably an antidote.’
“Did Her Highness Carya have it?” (Tilet)
“Yes. She took it out after I threatened to give me the antidote.” (Yuri)
‘There’s no way she doesn’t have it, given the circumstances. There’s no way she doesn’t…’
“…It can’t be helped.” (Tilet)
Tilet opened the lid of iron can and poured the liquid inside into his mouth. She immediately spit it out onto the floor.
“It’s aconite.” (Tilet)
Tilet sucked the remaining poison out of her mouth and spat it out with her saliva.
“It can’t be!” (Carya)
Carya interrupted from the side.
‘How is that not possible? Did you think that this was an antidote? Thinking about it, it seems strange to have two kinds of poison.’
“…My tongue went numb. It surely is.” (Tilet)
“Then, wasn’t it a mistake to say red carnolia?” (Yuri)
‘In fact, the vial may be more of an antidote to aconite.’
Tilet made a frustrated expression.
“The poison of the shellfish is red. The red carnolias are made by soaking a mushroom called the Umbrella of Death in fine dust. I know it because I have made it before. Besides, there is no antidote that contains mushrooms.” (Tilet)
When I looked at it, I saw that the bottom of the glass vial was filled with a kind of sediment. Even though the bottle was shaken on the way, it didn’t mix like starch. When I saw how it seemed to have settled immediately, it certainly looked like a mushroom that had been turned to fine dust.
‘Damn. Not just neurotoxins, but a mixture of hemolytic and visceral toxins?’
“Force them to drink some water and vomit again. Clean the bowl.” (Yuri)
“Got it.” (Tilet)
Tilet turned herself around and went back to her life saving effort.
I looked at Carya. I saw that she had opened the window and was throwing something outside.
“Bastard, what the hell are you doing!” (Yuri)
I kicked Carya as hard as I could.
She rolled vigorously on the floor.
‘You son of a bitch. What signal did you give?’
“Someone has instigated you. I see.” (Yuri)
‘Come to think of it, there was no way this idiot could have done this all by herself. Witches?’
I immediately came up with it.
They deceived the weak-headed Carya, sow words of convenience, and gave her poisons under the disguise of an antidote. It’s something they might do.
And it’s unlikely to be done by anyone but Witches. At the very least, they should have been aware of today’s dinner party, which hadn’t been made particularly public. A General household who has no connections in the royal castle can’t come up with such a scheme.
‘As expected. Witches. So, are you planning to treat this conspiracy as an accident and then enthrone Carya? Then, they need to make sure that both the Hou Household and the Queen are taken care of. Do they want to let us drink the poison, and leave? No one knows how much poison to drink. They may not say it just because it was mixed with the meal, not with alcohol. It’s too uncertain.’
‘If either the Queen or Carol were still alive, even for a few days, Carya’s accession wouldn’t be recognized, and the plan would be ruined. If things go poorly, Carya might be executed. If Rook and I survive, the Hou Household will raise an army and march north. Then, it will end in three days.’
‘Damn. If that’s the case, are they going to use the imperial guard? Is that the signal just before?’
“Tilet! Are you still there!?” (Yuri)
I looked around, shouting. Tilet was about to give the Queen, who had been laid to the ground, drinking water.
‘Are the symptoms progressing?’
“Get me the representative of the Queen’s Sword.” (Yuri)
“I don’t want to. Tell me.” (Tilet)
“Carya has been instigated by Witches. They’re coming here with an army.” (Yuri)
“What the!?” (Tilet)
‘The royal castle island is a heavily defended facility in its own right, but the Second Army of the Imperial Guard is located on the island, and the royal castle isn’t directly protected by the city walls. Of course, the First Army is under the Queen, and they are in the royal castle as it is. If they hadn’t turned over, they would have resisted the assault, but their number is not known. The main force is stationed in a fortress on another part of the royal castle island.’
‘If we deploy our troops in advance, the Second Army can blitz the royal castle alone without directly clashing with the First Army, repelling hundreds of resistances and killing us. After that, if they carry Carya as the only royal line and issue a decree, the First Army will not be able to move anymore.’
“Secure the defenses, and if there are defensive devices, activate them. Don’t let them come here.” (Yuri)
I looked at Carol and saw that the maid had given her drinking water. She was still conscious, but it looked painful.
I wanted to scream.
‘Is the Second Army really coming? If so, no matter how much the Queen’s Sword can prevent the invasion, is there any point? This is exactly a rat in a bag situation.’
‘So, break through the siege and escape? Everyone except me got neurotoxins and couldn’t walk. Suzuya and Carol are both pregnant, and Suzuya’s belly is quite large. It’s hard to say that there was no poison.’
‘Should we carry them all and run? There’s no way I can do it. Do I need help from the Hou Household’s army? It will take a few days to come. There are about a hundred soldiers in the secondary residence.’
‘I’ll do whatever I can.’
- Pardon the language. I’m just a father.
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