“Blue Bloods,” was the winner of Finish That Thought Challenge #2-7. The required prompt was, “Two vials lay before [me], the fate of [the kingdom] in [my] hands.” Click here to read the other great entries!
Two vials lay before me, the fate of the princesses in my hands. I picked up a test strip and placed a drop from the first vial on it. The strip instantly turned a shade of blue reminiscent of the peafowl that roamed the palace grounds.
I let out a low whistle; I had not seen this shade once in all my years as the Royal Blood Tester.
Prince Engleheardt’s blood is 98% blue, I marveled, though I should have guessed. Engleheardt, the heir of a large kingdom in the East, had ridden into town atop an impressive steed and had, during the Suitor’s Ball, charmed the King’s eldest daughter to the point of immediate engagement.
I picked up the other vial of blood and grimaced, thinking of its owner. Prince Halfreich was the crudely mannered heir of a small kingdom near the Sea. He’d arrived at the Suitor’s Ball on a salt-encrusted, sway-backed horse. Inexplicably, the King’s second-eldest daughter had found him irresistible.
I guessed his blood would test somewhere in the 15-25% mark – still royalty, but barely. I dropped his blood onto the strip and waited.
This is a day for firsts, I thought, as the test strip did not change color at all. Never before had I gotten a negative result for a suitor’s blue-blood test.
I rushed to inform the King of the results. Everyone was shocked by my findings. Even the scoundrel Halfreich had the nerve to feign surprise. The King ordered his immediate execution and he was carried away in chains.
I scurried back to my lab. As I cleaned up my testing materials, the roar of the satisfied crowd reached my ears; the impostor “Prince” had been dispatched. As I moved to toss the vials into the fire, I noticed a detail which had previously escaped me.
The blood I had tested as Prince Halfreich’s belonged, instead, to our palace chambermaid, and was due to be tested for pregnancy.
My eyes flew to the window, as though someone in the blood-thirsty crowd might have seen my mistake through it, but that was impossible, as my lab was on the second floor. I hastened to locate Prince Halfreich’s true sample so that I could dispose of it. Finding it, I moved toward the fire, but couldn’t resist testing, first, to confirm what I most feared would be true.
The moment the drop of blood hit the test-strip, it bloomed into an indigo blue.