My puppet isn’t dancing.


“Just the algae, please.”

Margaret poured the hot water over the dried algae and let it steep.

“You know, Henry, every intrigue has to start somewhere. It seems altogether unfitting that people’s lives hang on afternoon chats.”

“I suppose. Still, something has to be done! The girl is too young, and with her father out of the picture, some idiot in the court will push to make her queen immediately. And then it will be a thousand times worse.”

“Surely. I surmise you’ve an idea?”

“There’s always Andre . . .”

“Unfitting, that people’s lives pivot on afternoon chats.”

“Having a friend in the royal court is great for getting the inside story, but it’s far different from having direct political sway, insomuch as common rockrats should have it at all. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure what you’re suggesting. . . . This is a dangerous game, Henry. We have no right to do this, you know. How about the council?”

“Maggie, the council is not even sure what we are planning on doing—apart from meddling, just generally. And the way we’re going, probably that’ll amount to nothing too.”

“So the regicide was . . .”

“Not us. At least, that I know of.”

“Then perhaps it is not so bad. The regency is already legally in-place until the princess comes of age. If the council was not brazen enough to murder her father, then surely it retains enough political savoir-faire to prevent the court from . . . accelerating that process?”

“Maybe.” Henry agreed. “Blackmail is fickle, but I suppose we have enough on just about everybody.”

“May you have the wits to use it, then. More tea?”