Kingdom of Tofu (Chapter 5)

The Queen decided to call their attention. She walked towards them. “Isn’t it a beautiful garden, Gabriel?”
Gabriel stopped smelling the flowers, while James looked at his aunt surprisingly— as if she just appeared out of nowhere. While Geo did not show any sign that his sleep was disturbed.
Gabriel walked to the Queen and kissed her hand.”It’s as beautiful as you, my Queen.”
The Queen smiled at Gabriel. Then looked at James and Geo. “Hmm. But not beautiful enough to be appreciated by my nephew, nor Geo.”
James walked to his aunt and kissed her hand.
“Did your father give you his approval to come here, James?” asked the Queen.
“Yes aunt Veronica. He actually sent me here.”
“Really? Why?”
The Queen looked genuinely shocked and curious. James hesitated to answer her for a moment.
“Well, my brother… he disappeared moments after you left…”
There was a moment of silence in the garden. Veronica waited for her nephew  to continue but Gabriel was also waiting for his aunt’s reaction. None of then said a word for a long time.
Veronica looked sorry for a moment, then sad, then unsure and suddenly, angry. She grinned.
“I get it. You followed to check whether I have my nephew.”
James looked at his aunt. “It was father’s order aunt Veronica.”
“Do you think I have Ronald?” the Queen asked him.
James hesitated to answer.
“Of course you do! Why did I even bother to ask?”
Geo woke up. He looked at James and Veronica. Puzzled by the scene, he looked at Gabriel.  Gabriel ignored Geo’s questioning look and turned to Veronica and James.
“Oh well… you’re free to search the whole palace,” Veronica said. “But I assure you, it would be useless. I don’t have him.” She turned away from them and ran to the palace.
“Aunt Veronica!” James called. But the Queen was too upset to talk to him. Gabriel plucked a flower and walked towards James. Geo stood up.
“Well, what now?” Geo asked.
James looked at the two of them and said, “My brother is not here.”
“Are you certain?” Gabriel asked.
“Yes. Let’s go back now.”

Veronica reached her room. She was angry. Really angry. She started talking.
“They thought I stole him.”
“He disappeared.”
“Where is my nephew? Who did this?”


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