Chapter 104 - Deceit
Alena accepted the goblet from an all too subdued Marianna. The second her hand locked around the cold metal, she knew. Rowan turned in the same instant, and Alena realized that the warning hadn’t just echoed inside her own head. Poison.
Their eyes met and locked. Alena would have dumped the contents, but Robert stepped from behind the table with an identical goblet as if he awaited this treachery all along. He switched the two cups in passing and did the same with Rowan, all without Mariana noticing anything.
“Drink deeply,” Robert instructed them both, and with no choice, they obeyed. Marianna turned to watch them with a small smile of triumph, not paying attention to Robert, who stood in the shadows.
“I don’t feel too well,” Alena feigned after a minute or two, and the smile of triumph grew to something malicious on Mariana’s face.
“Let me take you to your room,” Rowan offered with a slurred voice.
“No, I’ll be fine,” Alena murmured and made her way slightly unsteadily to the door. Within seconds Marianna excused herself and left through another door.
Robert brought the goblet to Rowan. Without hesitation, he dipped his finger in the wine and put it inside his mouth.
“Wolfsbane, and silver nitrate,” Rowan guessed, and he nodded.
“And arsenic,” Robert added. Rowan watched him with hooded eyes.
"She doesn't realize this would kill her but not us, does she?" Rowan asked, and Robert smirked.
“Highly doubtful. Perhaps you two should take care of this?” Robert urged dispassionately. “It might open a door,” he added as he passed by her chair and she knew precisely what he meant.
Alena waited in the corridor, and together, they made their way to Marianna’s room. They followed her one night out of sheer curiosity, and now they found the passages with ease.
Their decision had been made a week earlier, after the incident in the practice room. Like Robert, they concluded that there was only one way to convince Belvare they were sufficiently dispassionate in conscience.
They came to Belvare out of their own free will. He knew they either wanted to kill him or to join him. It was time they convinced him that they were no longer interested in the former and intent on the latter.
Marianna had unwittingly presented them with the opportunity to start their campaign. It may take a lot more than killing Marianna to convince the Dark One, but it was a start. They glanced at each other and then away. This would not sit comfortably on their conscience, no matter what kind of a person Marianna was.
To them, she was more of a nuisance than an actual danger, but her malice might find a way to alter their situation, and dealing with her now, would eliminate the possibility.
They hesitated outside her door. Marianna was humming to herself, already convinced of her victory. If her ploy had worked, she could have claimed that she never joined them for dinner, and the blame would have fallen on Robert. Two birds with one stone in her oversimplified universe.
Marianna had no idea of the value Belvare placed on Robert. He would not cut off his right hand for someone like her. She also underestimated Belvare’s intelligence. He would never buy that Robert poisoned them, or that Robert failed in his job.
She wasn’t just a bitch, Marianna was a fool, and Victor always told Alena that there was nothing more dangerous on this earth than a fool with a mission.
They nodded at each other, soundlessly opened the door and slipped inside. When Marianna finally became aware of their presence, it was far too late.