Lud Sellum was not a tonic, but a plant. Rare and precious. He’d been instructed on its care in a clipped voice: dim light, salt, and plenty of water.
“Yes, salt.” Suga bit out the words, but the youth nodded and the fat man continued. “It’s true that most things don’t grow in salted earth, but this plant requires it.”
The rest came to him in a series of directions. Dim Light, feed the plant both salt and water, and in the spring, its leaves would produce a poison with the ability to mask itself as comfort. The poison was deadly but no one would, indeed, no one could, conclude that the victim had died from it.
All the while he’d spoken, Suga had drilled him with his black button eyes as if daring him to speak a word. Elymas had been so unnerved that he’d forgotten to inquire about the amount of watering and simply handed over the last of the payment, a satin rulla pouch which held a ruby the size of a robin’s egg and two large pearls.
He’d accidentally brushed Suga’s palm and the unexpected contact had caused him to jump. The Doctor had laughed openly at his discomfort while the pretty, olive skinned boy had called, “Salt first, water every three days. Morning and night. The roots must stay wet.”
Elymas had stumped out as fast as he could, lest she read more of his thoughts.
Yet for all his embarrassment and filth (he’d had his clothes burned upon return), the purchase had turned out to be invaluable. The plant had thrived, the leaves had produced, and not even the finest practitioners in Casoria or the healing women that Queen Laveth had called in from Glynnis Fen could correctly diagnose William.
Elymas shifted on the throne and followed another path of shadows. He’d stood before them all and handed the King his nightly draught of poison without qualms or questions, reducing William to skin and bones.
But tonight had been time to stop.