Slurp! Is this… Poison?

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Mia was about to start eating the main course, which was a hot plate of Sunkland beef tenderloin, when she noticed something.

Wait… I thought I was supposed to gather facts.

She had done nothing of the sort. Ludwig worked hard to give her this chance, and it wouldn’t be smart to waste it. It was time to get down to business. So, she took a ribeye piece and put it in her mouth. Her mouth and nose enjoyed the rich sauce, whose taste and smell were enhanced by the natural moisture of the meat. She enjoyed it, and then she did it again with another piece. When she had eaten about half of the food, she finally stopped looking at it and started looking around.

Esmeralda seems to be doing her part of getting information pretty well. She has a lot of feelings for Prince Echard. I guess I need to look at it from a different point of view.

Someone here must know something important about Sion’s possible murder, and she was going to find out who it was. She finished the other half of her steak and then used a piece of bread to scoop up the rest of the sauce. For cooks, sauces were the pinnacle of their skills, putting all of their knowledge into a single, liquid form. Mia’s way of showing respect was to drink up every last drop.

Anyway, once the food-related issues were settled, she went right after Sion.

“I have to say, Prince Sion, that I’m a little sad that you didn’t tell me anything about this thing between your brother and Esmeralda. I was hoping for a little more candor.”

Sion gave a wry smile. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I didn’t know that either. I only just found out about it.”

“My! You didn’t either?”

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It seemed like very important information! Mia’s eyes got bigger when she saw a chance…

Hold on a second…

Then got smaller again.

That doesn’t come as a surprise at all. This marriage was set up to make me and Sion look bad from a political point of view. No, they wouldn’t tell him before hand. But, hmm, I wonder if he knows about Count Lampron’s role and what that means. If he knows what the count wants, that would mean he’s letting this marriage happen on purpose…

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She chewed on that thought some more. It was pretty tasty. Same as bread. It was actually bread. And they were really chewy. No matter what, she came to the conclusion that Sion couldn’t be unaware of what was going on. Her reasoning? Because no one knew about it, the whole thing. After all, this was Sion. Perfection on legs. He didn’t know ahead of time that his own brother might be getting married. Was she to think that he would just scratch his head and shrug when he found out about such a clear attempt to get rid of him?

Not at all. He has definitely looked into it, and either he’s letting it happen on purpose or he has no other choice. Hmm… I wonder what King Abram thinks about this.

She looked at the king. “In any case, Prince Echard’s marriage to Esmeralda will definitely make ties between Tearmoon and Sunkland stronger, right?”

“Yes, that’s true. It makes me happy to think that our nations will be brought closer together.” He gave a friendly smile. “It’s good for us and probably good for the whole continent. If this great famine you talk about really happens, then all countries must work together to stop it. Then we can do what we need to do for our people.”

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Mia smiled in return. “It’s an honor to have my words believed.”

She didn’t even have time to finish the statement before she felt something strange.

Oh? How odd… My stomach feels kind of…

It came quickly and hard, and it hit her right in the stomach. It felt like…I had an upset stomach. When she realized what it meant, she looked up with a gasp and licked her lips, which tasted like sauce. Sauce that is strong enough to cover up other tastes. She felt a chill go down her back.

Is this… Is this poison?!

No. It was just heartburn from eating too much. Let there be no question that she was going to suffer because she didn’t know how to control how much she ate.

That’s right. All the talk about her gut before was a lie! She didn’t have a big heart or a big gut. The only thing big about her was that she thought her guts were big. She thought that her stomach could eat anything as long as it was tasty, but that was just her opinion. There was a physical limit to how much her stomach could hold, and she couldn’t get around it. During her lunch with Rafina, her stomach had already taken in a lot of food. Now that it had to eat even more for dinner, it could no longer handle it and raised the pain flag.

Also, it wasn’t that Mia hadn’t thought, “Oh no, I might have eaten too much,” but she didn’t say it. As a way to avoid feeling ashamed, her brain had just chosen escape. She would rather say that her episode was caused by poison than by eating too much.

The trouble was that stomachaches hurt, and she couldn’t get away from the real pain she was starting to feel no matter how much she tried to think about something else. The reason could have been poison, overeating, or anything else, but the way it happened was unique.

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It’s a terrible faux pas to have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a formal dinner, but ow, ow, ow! I have no choice.

She got up from her seat with a sad determination.

“I’m terribly sorry, but I’ll need to be excused for a few moments.”

She quickly made her way out of the dining room with a beautiful curtsy. She quickly got where she was going after getting directions from a maid who was waiting in the hallway.

After she was done and got out of the toilet, a young man walked up to her.

“Princess Mia,”

It was no other than Keithwood, Sion’s attendant.

“My, Keithwood? What’s the matter?”

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When she asked what was wrong, he gave her a very serious look. “I thought there was something you should know… But first, have you been able to get in touch with Ludwig?”

Huh? What did he say about Ludwig?

She was about to answer with a confused frown on her face when it hit her. Keithwood thought that she had left instructions for Ludwig what to do. That was good. But her answer was a little tricky. If she tells a clear lie, he might get suspicious. She lied about the real reason, which was that she had eaten herself sick. She didn’t want him to find out the embarrassing truth.

“Oho ho. You know me. I’d never do that,” she said in a way that could be taken to mean almost anything.”

This made him nod.

“Ah. Good enough. We’ll end it there.”

“What did you want to tell me most of all?”

“Yes, about that…” He said it in a secretive whisper, “There’s something you should know about Prince Sion and Prince Echard.”