"A truth potion? You plan to prove the duke's innocence by giving him a truth potion?"asked Artmis.
"Potions have never been a specialty of mine, other than love potions."Venus admitted. "That's a good point, though! I never thought of that!"
Looking carefully at the vial, she realized that there was only about a few drops in it. Barely enough for one person.
"I thought to give it to the duchess to get her to confess, but maybe it might be better if we use it for the duke. He might know something she doesn't. But then she might know something he doesn't. Then again, they might both be in on it? Maybe we could split it between them? The duchess is very petite. Do you know how much she weighs? She might not need much. Only half a drop or so."
"Barely a drop or so is what's in the vial."he pointed out.
"I should have sent for more, shouldn't I? It's too late now. The trip from Venus would take a while, and then to prepare, and come back, that's a lot for one small vial. Even just having it shipped here. So we'll have to decide on whom. Or maybe we might still have enough for both. Let's go!"
"Wait!" exclaimed Artemis as he ran to catch up.
Instead of going towards the rooms where the Duke and Duchess of Rhea were, she went towards the Princess of Mercury's rooms. There she found one of her ladies in waiting.
"I need to see Her Royal Highness of Mercury." she said without preamble.
The girl curtsied.
"She is in her personal library, Ma'am."
Mercury looked surprised when Venus burst in, followed by Artemis.
"How much would you say the Duchess of Rhea weighs? Or the duke?" was the first thing she said, and put the vial before Mercury.
Mercury looked at it, puzzled.
"There's barely a drop or so, but I'm hoping that it might be enough for both. If they weigh little enough."
"Oh!" Mercury understood. "How potent is the potion?"
"Somewhat in the middle. You know."
"She doesn't know." supplied Artemis.
"Well, the gravity of Venus is obviously a little stronger than on the Moon. How much the duke weighs…? Well, to be sure, you would need a scale, obviously. Especially given the fact that we don't know how potent the potion is."
"The duchess is such a petite woman!"said Venus impatiently. "And the duke doesn't look very heavy, either!"
"The potion is for the duke?"
"We're not sure yet."
"He's of average height…"
"We'll just use the average weight! Can you tell how much we'll need?"
Mercury picked up the vial and studied it closely.
"I'm not sure at all, but I think you only have enough for one person."
Artemis gave Venus an I told you so look. Sighing she took the vial back.
"But why do you want to give the duke a potion?"
"It's a truth potion."said Artemis.
"We're not sure yet. It's an idea."
Everyone was gathered in Venus's boudoir. She was walking back and forth, the vial in her hand.
"Originally, I sent to Venus for it because I wanted to find about the Princesses in the Tower."
"Which is really completely irrelevant."said Kunzite, but Venus ignored him.
"They claimed they had a claim to the throne stronger than that of the Empress and the only way would be for them to be descended from one of the others! And no one knows what happened to them!"
"The one who sent those notes were the Duke and Duchess of Rhea. Or rather the duke. He sent them, and she was simply an accompli-"
"I don't want to hear it! Now, we only have enough for one person! Should we give it to the duke or the duchess?"
"I think him."
"He knows more."
"She sent the notes."
The eight all had a different opinion.
"I say we go with the majority. And it seems that the majority thinks the potion should be for the duke."Artemis sounded firm.
"Then to the duke's apartments we go."said Kunzite.
Upon entering, the Duke of Rhea looked up.
"Are you here to tell me when I shall be executed?"he asked.
"You sound as though you hope it."Venus observed.
"I don't think you told us the entire truth."Kunzite told him.
He would have said that there were some who didn't believe him, because he certainly did.
"What other truth can there be?"
"That we will find out."
Kunzite took the vial and gave it to him.
"What is this?"the duke asked.
"A truth potion."Mars answered him.
He turned pale. If he did say anything other than what he already had, who knew? Perhaps he wouldn't be the one executed, but his wife, as well.
"No, I already said the truth."
Nephrite drew his sword.
"You will drink it. If you don't, your duchess will."
So he took the vial and drank its contents.
"There were fifty of them. How could anyone keep track of them all?"
"But where do you suppose they could be?" asked Jadeite. "Here?"
"No. No." Nephrite dismissed that. "Not on the Moon, I don't think."
"On one of the other planets?"Mercury sounded horrified.
"The duke's own ancestor was spared by Selene II because he was only the son of one of her sisters. If he had been a daughter, he would certainly have gone the same way as his mother and aunts."said Mars.
"Most of his aunts. Most." Jupiter reminded her.
"So one of them escaped by trading places and dressing up as her sisters' nurse. It was the girls' nurse who was executed in her place. Only where would she have gone?"Kunzite sounded frustrated. "She would have been recognized anywhere in the galaxy!"
"Wherever she went, she did have descendants, and they are the ones now threatening our Empress and Emperor."said Venus.
"If we only had somewhere to start, and then we could trace her line down to her descendants today."
No one spoke for a while.
"But then what are we going to do about the Duke and Duchess of Rhea?"asked Zoicite.
"There's not much to do, really. Execute them, I suppose. Like all traitors. But they are of very little importance now."answered Kunzite.
"They're households will be disbanded, obviously. I think each of us should take someone of their confidence! Perhaps the duchess said a thing or two to one of her ladies? Or perhaps they heard something? I propose that each of us take one of her ladies into our own households! When returning to Venus, I shall take Calaveras with me. I think everyone else should do the same."