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Noble Blood

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“Hold, Ferrell.”

The servant turned to look at his master and bowed. “I am at your service.”

The aristocrat studied Ferrell, his servant, for a few seconds. “What devilish scheme is my wife hatching now,” he murmured to himself quietly.

Ferrell’s brow furrowed. “I beg your pardon, master Williams?”

‘Master’ Williams cleared his throat and motioned to the teacup which his servant had set down in front of him. “What,” he asked his servant, “did you pour into my tea?”

“I—I beg your pardon, master. I haven’t—

“Don’t lie to me, Hugh. I clearly saw you pour some green-colored powder into my drink. Speak, and reveal to me what that particular powder is!” Williams was turning beet-red. His fists were clenched tightly. “I command you to tell me right now, Ferrell, or I will have you brought to court.”

“I—I—I do not know what powder you speak of, master. I am your faithful and loyal servant, and I will always be until your life’s end.”

“And my life’s end is exactly what my dear wife is planning now, is it, Ferrell,” he barked, “how much money did she promise you, to poison my evening tea?”

The middle-aged servant was visibly shivering. “Master, I could never wish you dead! I have simply poured in some mineral powder, so ease your sleep.”

“Garbage,” the aristocrat uttered, “you mean my eternal sleep, don’t you? Do not lie to me, knave, or I will skip the courts and go directly to the execution stage!”

“M—milord, I—I…”

“Speak, Ferrell. What plan does my wretched mistress have for me? I know, Ferrell, that she is up to something, but I never would have dreamed that my faithful and most loyal would betray me for the likes of her!” He drew his rapier and pointed it at the cowering servant before him. “Speak! This is your final chance before you get to taste the tip of my sword!”

“I—I…” Without warning, the servant burst into tears. “S—she told me to d—do it. She p—promised me a portion of your w—will.” Sobbing, the man collapsed onto the floor, covering his face with his hands. “S—she threatened my f—family…”

Williams recoiled as if struck. “She,” he growled, “takes it too far.” He stood up and picked up the cup of tea. “Now tell me about the tea.”

Ferrell slowly regained his composure and stood up. Williams motioned for him to sit, and he sat down heavily, with his face buried in his hands. “Go on,” Williams whispered, “Tell me.”

“It’s a poison that the Mistress had brewed specially. It acts slowly and painlessly, and it smells just like the green tea that you have every night, master. Y—you were supposed to die in your sleep.”

Williams shook his head. “That woman,” he breathed, “would kill me for my fortune.” He glanced at Ferrell, who was breathing in and out slowly. “Ferrell.”

The servant looked up at his master and stood up. “I am still loyal, master.”

“That you are. Bring me my silver revolver.” He motioned to the door.

“The Anaconda?”

“Yes, the Anaconda.”

Williams looked at the grandfather clock in the corner and held out his hand, in which Ferrell placed the pistol. “Call a cab. It’s time to pay a visit to my dear wife.”

He spun the pistol around in his hand and pocketed it.

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