This is the final part of Rhe-Anne's mystery story. Please enjoy it!
Toledo prepared for his task. He prepared the quill, obtained some torches to provide light in the passageway and studied the maps of the palace carefully. He was concerned about passing the royal study as the king would work late there each night.
Toledo decided on soft-soled shoes so he could move more quietly. He looked ruefully at his Milanese loafers, they would be ruined by the evening’s outing. “I will have to get a new pair when I next visit the Duke of Milan” he thought.
When the night watchman called out the twelfth hour, Toledo stepped out of his room and headed for the nearest entrance to the secret passages. It was the tiny alcove just past the suit of armour on the landing outside his room. He hoped it would not creak too much when he open the wall. It did. He clenched his teeth as the hinges creaked. Fortunately, the guards were well past on their patrols, That was why Toledo had chosen to do the deed at midnight-the guards would all be patrolling the castle’s servant quarters.
After gaining entry, Toledo lighted a torch he had brought with him and moved forward gingerly. “Thaddeus didn’t do a very good job the last time with the fungus. I can still smell some of it.” he thought to himself. What seemed like hours passed. He made several wrong turns and had to back track. “I’ll have to remember the casino in the servant’s quarters, that game of poker looked really interesting”.
Toledo finally reached the queen’s chambers. The passageway opened into the ensuite toilet. This was fortunate as it meant no one would be able to see him enter the room. Toledo stepped onto the very plush carpet and peeped into the room. His stepmother the queen was asleep on the large four-poster bed. “The dreadful women snores in her sleep”, he thought to himself. Tiptoeing over to her desk, he replaced the quill with the poisoned one from his pocket.
Toledo crept back to the secret passageway. He looked at the queen one last time and thought to himself, “Quite easily done. Sarah is now avenged”
Toledo returns to his quarters exhausted from the night’s outing. He changes out of his dank clothing and collapses on the bed. At daybreak, he is awaken by a huge commotion in the palace. “They must have found her body” he thought. “I must remember to look shocked and grieved.”
A loud knock on his door and the royal chamberlain demands entry. He looks gravely at Toledo and says “Your father the king is dead. Your mother will be proclaimed regent until your coming of age.” Toledo reeled in shock. “How was this possible? How could my father have died! I must speak with Thaddeus!”
Lunging past the shocked royal chamberlain, Toledo races to the Royal Chemist. He passes a palace in an uproar. There are guards everywhere and frightened servants questioned by the dreaded secret police.
Toledo takes the steps to Thaddeus laboratory in a few quick bounds, such was his haste. Without waiting for permission to enter, Toledo crashes into the room. “Thaddeus, what has happened?”
”The king is dead, he was poisoned last night” Thaddeus replied simply.
Toledo shouted, “It’s not possible, I poisoned the quill myself ...”
“Seize him!” the queen shouted from behind Toledo, popping out from behind some bookcases. “There is your murderer, from his own mouth his words condemn him. How could you murder the king, my husband and your own father!” The secret police rush past Thaddeus and the queen to seize Toledo.
“Take him to the dungeon for my personal interrogation” the queen orders.
A search of Toledo’s room finds the vial of poison, loafers and dank clothes. They are presented before the Privy Council, the king’s closest advisers and councillors. “Prince Toledo is clearly guilty of regicide. He is not fit to rule the kingdom,” they announced
With this decision, power is transferred to the queen and she is proclaimed the new ruler of the kingdom. She goes quickly to the dungeon to visit Toledo. She finds him sitting there gloomily resigned to his fate. “Well, my stepson. Here you are and you thought you could try to kill me. I will be merciful and make sure your death is a quick one.”
“I don’t understand. I poisoned your quill myself, but yet my father died instead.” The queen cackles coldly as she considers her reply. “Thaddeus, come forward. Why don’t you explain to this simpleton what really happened!”
Thaddeus steps forward and laughs at Toledo. “You ignorant child, I murdered Sarah and used your desire for vengeance to hatch a plot to kill your father. You were so blind and assumed that the secret police acted on the orders of the queen. She and I are lovers. I have been promised me great power and authority when she comes to power. You stupid rival of mine, it is the gallows for you soon.” The echoes of a smile danced across Thaddeus’s face.
“I took to her my idea to have you use the secret passages and to poison the quill. I too used the passageways that night. I poisoned a quill in the royal study and informed the queen not to use hers. Besides, how else do you think I knew the walls were thin near the royal study!” Thaddeus said, with a contemptuous look on his face.
“Enough talking, prepare to meet your maker. I will rule your kingdom well with Thaddeus behind me,” the queen gloats. Thaddeus nods and grins. Toledo sobs as he is lead to the gallows.
“I have led a wasted life,” he cried in anguish.
~End of Story~