This room had several lamps lit, and very quickly Lucie realized they were in the library. And that they were not alone. The sounds of sucking and lips smacking together with unseemly moans indicated that there were at least two people.
Olivier growled and released her hand. Lucie took it back and cradled it. "What is wrong with you?" she asked indignantly.
"Who did you kill?" Olivier demanded.
"I killed no one! Some old hag drank too much and died on the chamberpot. I had nothing to do with it!" Not much, anyhow.
"After what you said in the salon..." Olivier raked a hand through his hair, most of which had come undone from his ponytail in the commotion. "I do not know what to think."
"Can you keep it down?" a male voice called out. "Your argument is killing the romance."
"I want to know who died," his female companion whined.
Lucie pressed her lips together. She refused to say the name. All of this felt wrong.
"Oh, she said something about a chamber pot! The lavatory is just down the hall. Come, let's have a look!"
The man sighed and stood up. "Oh, all right. Our privacy has been invaded anyway." On his way out, the man glared at Olivier.
"Up yours," Olivier said as the door closed. He turned back to Lucie. "What is this revenge business?"
"It is my business and none of yours." Lucie arched an eyebrow.
"Have you truly come here to kill someone?" Olivier grabbed her shoulders, hard, and she cried out.
"Why do you assume my revenge involves killing? I never said that!" Only when Olivier released her and turned his back did Lucie add, "It is what I intend. Only there is someone else here doing the murdering."
"What?" Olivier whirled around. "Are you saying that Jeanne-Baptiste was murdered?"
Lucie cocked her head. "How did you know that was who died?"
"You said it was an old hag. And she was the eldest lady here." She still found his quick knowledge suspicious. "That is not my point. The point is, was she murdered, or did she did from too much alcohol? I cannot imagine such a death from a few glasses of champagne."
"I believe it was poison," Lucie whispered.
She told Olivier about how she had found Jeanne-Baptiste there, covered in piss and shit and vomit and blood, and further explained how she believed it to be rat poison.
"It does sound like the effects of poisoning," Olivier said. "But many poisons take hours or days to work."
"I know," Lucie said, annoyed.
"Poison is a most effective murder weapon for that reason. If one died as soon as one imbibed the poison, the murderer would be obvious. But when the murderer has many days to disappear... When one cannot even be certain of the specific moment of poisoning..."
"She seemed fine only an hour ago, when we were dancing," Lucie stated.
"And why murder her? Why Jeanne-Baptiste Montpelier, when there are so many others here tonight who deserved it more?" Olivier mused.
"Deserved it more?" Lucie could not discern Olivier's meaning.
"I only mean, there are sons and daughters of high-ranking officials, those who were guillotined for plots against the Republic and supporters of the old regime," Olivier said. "Why not one of them? Why not you, for example?"
YOU ARE READING
The Victim's BallHistorical Fiction
HER REIGN OF TERROR HAS JUST BEGUN... When Lucienne Reneault receives an invitation to a Victim's Ball in honor of those aristocrats who have been guillotined, she believes it must have been a mistake. Of two things she is certain, however: she wil...