“What are you talking about?” said Luther.
“David told me that your categorical hatred of royalty is due to our father, but that is not the whole story, is it?”
Luther lowered his face a little but didn’t remove his gaze from the Queen.
“This was not the first time you have attempted to destroy a government,” said Helen. “Nineteen years ago in a tiny country called Snider--that was your doing, was it not?”
Her brother chose not to answer.
“The King of Snider had a reputation for brutality, but nonetheless, Father was on good terms with him. You spent only a single summer there, supposedly enjoying a leisurely time as any prince would. And yet, no more than six months after your visit, the King of Snider was overthrown in a bloody conflict. One might call that a coincidence and be satisfied, but for two entire years after that rebellion, there were several other families attempting to seize power--and all of their efforts were in vain. In fact, each claimant to the throne died rather gruesomely or mysteriously. Or both. Until, finally, democracy took hold.”
Luther was expressionless. “You believe me responsible for all of that? Perhaps I should be flattered.”
“Mm. It was quite difficult to find out the details of that summer visit of yours. You were careful, even then, but you were young. I have spoken with several of your attendants from that time, and they all mentioned your habit of disappearing. For me, however, the truly convincing piece of evidence was the girl.”
Luther turned away and paced toward the wall.
“I have her name written down.” She reached inside her flowing coat and pulled out a notepad. She flipped through the pages. “Lila Vance. She was only six when the King of Snider had her parents executed for blasphemy. She was only seven when you met her, no? Despite lacking the means, she was able to move out of Snider after your visit but before the rebellion. She has lived quite comfortably in Kahm ever since, under the name Lila Demitri. She is but a simple flower vendor, and attributes her wealth to her rich uncle.”