“Please!” Orpha bellowed as she staggered out of the room in which they kept Marduk. “All of this noise is disturbing the baby.”
Fern continued to scream.
“She’s rejoicing.” Ulrika nodded.
“Oh,” Orpha smiled. “So, it has come to pass, the girl has returned to us. I knew she would.”
“It’s just as you predicted.” Ulrika nodded.
“Who did this?” Fern screeched. “Who did this to my father?”
“He wasn’t just your father, dear.” Ulrika grinned. “He was Marduk’s father, too. And, Miss Polk’s love. And, her brother.”
“I don’t understand.” Fern yelled. “You killed him! You’re monsters!”
“Really,” Ulrika shrugged. “You don’t need to flatter us.”
“She seems upset.” Orpha narrowed her eyes.
“No.” Ulrika shook her head. She looked at Fern. “You’re not upset. Are you?”
“Yes! My father…”
“It’s not as if you ever met the man before. Or have you?” Ulrika asked.
“Then, you’ve no cause to be bereft.” Orpha snapped.
“That’s right.” Ulrika nodded. “If anyone should be upset, it’s Miss Polk. After all, he was the father of her son…as well as her brother.”
“I…I…” Fern stammered.
“And, Fern, you don’t see Miss Polk carrying on. Do you?” Ulrika scolded the girl. “She actually knew the man. All her life! But, she knew that he had to die.”
“So that Marduk could live.” Ulrika frowned. “Really, you are a stupid, little girl. Surrounded by all this beauty and yet you’re carrying on as if something was done to you. Your father had to die so Marduk could thrive. It’s all written down. It’s been planned for ages. This is a very important moment in history. The records of ‘The Fifty’ clearly state that when the Messiah is ready to take his strongest form, he must first feed on the flesh of his father. We’ve done it. Now, Marduk can grow into the majestic ruler that he’s destined to be! Really, you wouldn’t begrudge your brother such a thing. Would you? Especially since you’re to be his consort one day…”
“What?” Fern gasped.
“The girl is a fool!” Orpha scowled, rubbing her stump.
“Let’s not conclude that yet, my dear. She is, after all, just a child, really. Furthermore, she’s been stuck with those simpering mandrakes. Her sensibilities have been muddied.” Ulrika knelt next to Fern. “Now, really, which part didn’t you understand?”
“All of it.” Fern screamed.
“Fern, dear.” Ulrika sighed. “Your daddy has been killed. He was Marduk’s daddy, too. So, Marduk is your brother.”
“That baby with two heads?”
“Yes, dear.” Ulrika nodded. “And, you’re to be his bride once he has grown suitably.”
“Yes, dear. It’s too wonderful. Don’t you think? Now, do you see that lady over there? Do you know who she is?”
“The lady whose hand was chopped off.”
“Yes, dear. But, she’s also your auntie. She was your daddy’s sister, and, she and your daddy made Marduk.”
Fern let out another piercing scream. “I want to go home.”
“You are home.” Orpha growled.
“This was my home, but it’s not anymore!”
“Yes, dear.” Ulrika answered, growing impatient. “It is.”
“I want to go back to the Duke’s!”
“You were just wailing about not wanting to be there. You were running away from the Duke’s man.” Ulrika spat. “You wanted to be here. You knew it was time for you to return! That’s why you’ve come back! And, here you will stay.”
“If you weren’t meant to marry my son, I’d kill you right now.” Orpha stepped forward.
“Now, do be quiet.” Ulrika added. “And, come and see the baby. They do like you so. Remember how they’d gaze at you with his four eyes. Oh! And, you can see your daddy’s face for the first time. Marduk is paying with the baron’s head.”
Fern trembled, her eyes fluttering. With a gasp, she fainted to the floor.
“Oh dear.” Ulrika sniffed. “How inconvenient. We’re going to have to toughen her up, I’m afraid.”
“Leave her to me,” Orpha grinned. “I’ll see that she’s made stronger.”
Did you miss Chapters 1-309 If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 311 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.