“What are you doing here Helen?”
Helen had just returned to her room from the bath wearing a blue Kaftan with white embroidery at the borders. Pollux was pacing up and down in her room, fuming.
“Do you think you can just strut back here after what happened last time? You need to at least tell us before hand! Father is still furious about what happened then, he even threatened to disown you if you came back.”
“Calm down brother, he won’t disown me. Those were all empty threats.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I came back for Castor’s funeral. Even if you don’t have his body there will still be a ceremony won’t there?”
Pollux froze. His voice quivered as if he were confronted by the ghost of someone he had betrayed. “How did you know?”
“I got a letter from father.”
“Father still keeps in contact with you?”
“No, it was the first time since I left the last time. I was really shocked, I thought he would be the last person to send a letter about Castor’s death.”
Pollux rubbed his mouth as he did when he was stressed.
“Brother,” spoke Helen in an uncharacteristic soft voice, “did father have Castor killed?” Pollux did not reply. He looked back at Helen with a painful expression, full of guilt.
“I suspected as much,” murmured Helen regretfully.
“Right now, the situation is quite delicate. No one outside the court knows of his death and we cannot let the news spread. After what happened, no one doubts brother’s death was father doing. Yet if any of the other kingdoms and domains find out about his filicide they won’t hesitate to make a fuss. This desert has-”
“What happened? You said ‘after what happened’. What happened?”
“A few weeks ago, the royal fortune teller said the gods wanted Castor to be king,” explained Pollux.
“What! No one believes in that any more! It is just a tradition!”
“The people of this kingdom believe in the tradition. They want to believe it is the will of the gods. They want to be in the favor of the gods. This desert has been on the verge of war for the past few months. War will break out soon and we don’t have a large enough army. We will have to conscript citizens and what do you think will happen if they know that their king was not chosen by the gods.”
“They will think the war is divine punishment,” replied Helen.
“At best they will be resentful and worst they will revolt.”
“But still killing brother is not right. He did not even want to be king.”
“I know.” Castor was exhausted every single moment in the palace had been tense and stressful since the news of Castor’s death had arrived. “It was incredibly short sited of father. He is now trying to pretend Castor never existed. There is not even going to be a funeral, father wants to give him a plaque with the fallen soldiers’ graves.”
“Father is such a monster.”
“But, there is a chance Castor might still be alive.”
“You see, there is something not right with the details of Castor’s death. There is still a sliver of a chance he survived.”
“Oh no!” said Helen, he eyes widening with fear.
“Why? It is good news!”
“No! It is amazing that brother might still be alive but-” Helen’s voice became weaker.
“But,” she continued, ” mother is coming.”
“Why would mother be coming here?” exclaimed Polloux.
“I told her of Castor’s death, of course she is coming here. He was her favorite son after all.”