His Imperial Highness, Prince Regent Juan Carlos Luxurioso Espinozo di Calico y Tabby, stood in the shadows of the alcove adjoining the throne room and listened to the exchange between his insipid sister-in-law, Isabella, and her thoroughly odious servant, Madame Sealpoint.
His whiskers twitched with annoyance and his regal ears stood especially erect and forward. Was he caught in the throes of some inexplicably horrible nightmare? The queen was with child…or worse yet…children perhaps? Given the historically fertile nature of her damnable family, he now faced the very real possibility of multiple heirs, multiple obstacles that is, to his plans to assume the throne in its entirety and not merely in the role of regent.
He’d gone to a great deal of trouble to ensure that his beloved brother Reynaldo Cristiano had spent the past several years…indisposed. It had been no easy matter to introduce just the precise amount of lactose into his brother’s diet to guarantee his ongoing digestive difficulties without actually killing him. It had helped his cause immeasurably that the Royal Physician, Count Chartreux, had been naïve enough to pledge the prince his unflagging loyalty and support without actually having the specifics of his reward laid out.
Juan Carlos had every intention of, at some undetermined time in the future, inducing a full lactic overdose in his brother and placing the blame for his subsequent death squarely on the corpulent shoulders of the doctor. He’d stashed away enough fabricated “evidence” to ensure the fool would end his days feebly protesting his innocence to a succession of indifferent guards in the Royal Dungeons.
But now? His plans were dissipating like so much litter box freshener with this new development. The prospect of an heir or heirs would place Isabella undeniably back in control as the Queen Regent to whatever detestable little furball was deemed first in the line of succession. Such an injustice could simply not be permitted. His thoughts raced around every bit as frantically as one of his rodentish afternoon snacks and with every bit as little hope. Dared he contemplate some sort of…accident to befall Isabella?
In counterpoint to their phenomenal fertility, the females of her line were infamously clumsy and thoroughly lacking in both grace and agility. A mishap on the stairs, perhaps? An unfortunate stumble ending in her lying crushed and broken beneath her enormous custom scratching post? The possibilities, while certainly not endless, were copious enough to warrant further contemplation.
So absorbed was the royal villain in his schemes he never detected her approach until the hideous harridan, Sealpoint, cracked her heavy walking stick against his exposed shin. Suppressing a yowl of pain, he fixed her with a murderous glare that she returned with equal animosity.
“Lurking still in darky places and such is you, Most Noble Prince? Always evil and tricksy feline has you been. Best had you had some drowning accident while still kitten would it have been, thinks I. This only says I and best you listens, Great One. Watching you is I with eyes still much sharper than you might suspects lest some terrible unfortunateness should befall my sweetest Izzy. Tread carefully, should you. Is not only mousies winds up in traps they never suspects until is too late.” Turning, she shuffled off without so much as a single look back.
Hissing with pain and frustration, Juan Carlos vowed that whatever accident befell the queen would now, also, spell the end of her foul servitor. Limping slightly, he slunk off to his quarters with a multitude of plots most foul festering in his brain.