Thursday, July 3, 2014

Page 747

“In this instance, ‘best’ is a term of gross oversimplification,” said Helen. “Monarchy is a high-risk, high-reward system. Under the right leadership, it can be more efficient, moral, and just than any other; under the wrong, it can destroy its people. That is why the most important decision a monarch will ever make is choosing his or her successor.”

“I suppose the person with all of the power would believe that,” said Luther.

“I did not come here to have an adolescent debate with you,” said Helen.

“No, you came here, because you had no choice.”

“Tell me what you have done to the nation’s finances, Luther.”

“Or what? You will have me tortured? How mundane.”

The Queen rolled her eyes and sighed. “I outlawed torture three years ago.”

“Is that supposed to mean something to me?”

“You might hold my word in low regard, but it does not matter. You will have plenty of time to see the truth for yourself.”

“Torture or not, I see no reason to tell you anything.”

“Hmm. You have a point.”

Luther cocked an eyebrow at her.

Helen turned to the others. “Please leave us,” she said.

David and Harper both hesitated at that request. Darsihm and Mehlsanz were also present, but their ghostly expressions remained unfazed.

“I am in no danger,” Helen assured them. “You can wait for me upstairs, if you prefer.”

Harper glanced at Darsihm, who shrugged and floated off, after which Harper soon followed. David frowned but did as she asked. Only Mehlsanz remained behind, floating silently by the Queen’s side.

And perhaps he sensed an unfavorable change in the atmosphere, because Luther backed away from the glass of his prison cell.

Helen iced her expression. She’d hoped she wouldn’t need to resort to this tactic, but it seemed there was no helping it. “One of the reasons I have taken so long to come visit you is because I wanted to do my homework first. It may not make up for years of inattentiveness, but on the other hand, I feel it grants me a bit of perspective.”