Chapter 14 Preservation

“My next piece of evidence is the science behind preservation,” I say.

“Please go on,” says Afonso III.

“In the nineteenth century morticians used Arsenic compounds to preserve human bodies long after they had been buried,” I say.

“What is that and why is it important to this case?” says St. Teresa.

“People poisoned their enemies with Arsenic since the time of the ancient Greeks. During your time, in the Kingdoms bordering the Vatican, heirs poisoned their kings and queens with Arsenic to inherent fortunes,” I say.

“Arsenic is a poison and a preservative. So if a person is poisoned with Arsenic they will be preserved,” I say.

“Be very careful where you tread,” says Afonso III.

“Are you accusing one of Queen Urraca’s children of murder? Someone here?” says St. Mafalda.

“I’m not accusing anyone, but I say a person poisoned her with Arsenic. Before I can accuse someone, first, I need to learn who had access to Arsenic. Second, who had access to the Queen? Third, who benefited from her death, and so had a motive? The last consideration is who possesses the evilness to commit this premeditated act of murder?” I say.

The eyes of the Saints and Afonso III turn to Afonso II while Queen Urraca looks at her feet.

“Again, I say tread with care,” says Afonso III.

“Don’t look at me. I was a good king. I never killed my wife,” says Afonso II.

“Before we continue, I wish to point out something,” says St. Teresa.

“Go ahead,” says Afonso III, the judge.

“I too was uncorrupted. I was buried on June 17, 1250, the feast day we are celebrating today. In 1617 the Cistercian nuns opened my tomb, and it was confirmed a few months later by the Bishop, my body was intact and uncorrupted. The Bishop considered my condition a miracle. And I was not poisoned by Arsenic!” says St. Teresa.

“You, Mr. Time Explorer will have to give more proof of the poisoning by Arsenic of Queen Urraca,” says St. Sancha.

“This is an elaborate charade to tarnish my good name,” says Afonso II.

My dad re-enters the room. He leans over to my right ear and asks, “How’s it going?”

“Please allow me a minute to decide how I should continue, sir,” I say.

“You must prove if Queen Urraca had been poisoned or these proceedings are through,” says Afonso III.

“Yes, sir,” I say.

“Dad, I see you brought your small black bag. Did you bring your iPad?”

“Brought my bag, it has real maps, discount tickets, and a first aid kit,” he says.

“Didn’t ask for an inventory, do you have your iPad or not?” I ask.

He looks into the bag and pulls out the iPad and hands it sheepishly.

“I had searched for Arsenic poisoning symptoms and bookmarked the page,” I say.

“That’s geeky,” says Dad.

“I’m the son of the King of geeks,” I answer.

“The best description I found was of an East Indian swami[1] who was poisoned in the late nineteen seventies and the author described precisely the symptoms,” I say.

“Here is the description,” I announce.

“Dad, can you hold up your iPad for a minute? I’ll make summary notes and questions, and put them in my iPhone.”

Dad holds up his iPad.

“My aunts leave before sundown so please hurry,” says Afonso III. I nod and continue to two-thumb type furiously.

Dad puts away the iPad.

“To decide if Queen Urraca was poisoned, I need to call a witness,” I say.

“Only if the witness is dead and one of my aunts can summon the person,” says Afonso III.

“Yes sir,” I answer. I have a full headache now. It makes concentrating difficult.

“I summon Queen Urraca to step forward to be questioned,” I say. The court gasps in unison!


[1] Swami – Hindu male religious teacher.


Read Chapter 15 Inquiry of the Queen