Malia: "So it seems,"
The Consort was ready to be done with this conversation and was just about to excuse herself when the guards appeared, obviously on a mission by the way they approached not only Sarnai and Malia but also James and Francesca. There were few reasons that soldiers would interrupt the King's funeral and none of them good, Sarnai's gut told her.
Soldier: "My ladies," he said with a respectful bow, "General Kardos requests your presence."
"Of course," Sarnai answered, reaching to take the offered arm and noting Malia's frown as she did. She doubted a decision had been made though; even if it had, the General would have waited until the funeral was over before requesting their presence. Still, the Consort couldn't help but wonder if this would be the moment she was to find out her future and the trepidation she felt was real.
General Kardos: … "There was an attempt on Prince Elliot's life," the General revealed. "The would-be assassin was intercepted, of course, but this shows us that the unrest is growing worse. In questioning, the assassin claimed to be in league with one Oskar Von Essen - a scholar of noble birth from Queen's College." … "A prompt investigation found that Von Essen was holding an assembly, at this very moment, and we have every reason to suppose the purpose of this gathering was to incite an uprising. My men have arrested Von Essen and dispersed the crowd." … "The prisoner will arrive shortly. I must go keep order in the streets. I trust your decision in this matter, my Lord and Ladies."
Sarnai couldn't hide the horror and worry that crossed her features at the news that the Prince had nearly been assassinated. She had questions, so very many questions, but Kardos didn't give them the chance to chime in before he was continuing on with his briefing and then excusing himself.
Sarnai's dark eyes went from one face to the next, her lack of ruling experience obvious in the unsure set of her shoulders and the searching expression she wore. She'd have been much more comfortable seeking out Elliot and making sure he was well rather than trying to find a solution with three people she could barely tolerate. And where was Sanya?
The curious thought reminded her of recent conversations she'd had with the acting Duchess of the South and prompted her to look at the information Kardos had given them with a bit more attention. Where was this alleged assassin now? Why weren't they allowed to be there when he or she was questioned? Could they even trust what the Royal Scholar and General were saying? Was Von Essen nothing more than a scapegoat? There were too many questions and not enough answers and Sarnai was tempted to call General Kardos back to answer them right this very second.
The biggest question though, was who would benefit from Elliot's death? Aside from herself, of course, but if there was one possibility Sarnai could wipe away completely it was her own involvement. Marcus was an option, though hardly one she was sold on after all of the details Sanya had shared with her.
Her eyes went to James. He was certainly a possibility . . .
"Why though?" she asked, no longer caring if she seemed naive. "Why attempt to assassinate a child who hasn't even been granted the throne?"