"I say it's too dangerous !"
"And I say that we don't have a better choice !"
Louise heard the argument as soon as she entered the inn. François and Arnaud were at a table, with Marie and Alexandra. The four musketeers seemed worried about something. It was almost two weeks since she fought and killed the duellist in the inn. The bloodstain had been cleaned quickly, but the mark of her blade was still visible on the wooden panel, where she pinned her opponent. Already two weeks, she thought, and I'm still no closer from those musketeers. Except in their beds.Tallandier had paid her a visit the previous evening, eager for some progress in her mission. As usual, the man hadn't said much but enough to upset Louise. I need something to gain their trust. The musketeers were so concerned by their discussion that they didn't see the blonde duellist coming.
"You can't ask her to do that", said François.
"Who can't you ask ?" said Louise, closing in on the group. The musketeers startled as Louise spoke. She took a seat, stretched out her legs in her light brown leather pants besides the table and looked each one of the musketeers. "I don't know why, but I've the feeling you were speaking about me."
"Exactly", said Alexandra while giving her a cup of beer.
"Isn't it rude to talk about people without them hearing you ?" wondered Louise with a smile.
"Pardon me, mademoiselle", said Arnaud, "we were trying to solve some problem for the Compagnie des Mousquetaires and a few of us thought you could be of some help."
"Interesting, how can that be ?" asked Louise, puzzled.
Alexandra and Arnaud tried to explain her the situation. Since a few weeks, musketeers were killed by mysterious swordspeoples. All victims were male and they were with a girl when the attacks happened. Five or six peoples, both male and female, challenged the musketeer and fought and killed him, while the girl, who in each case wasn’t a fencer, could only watch it happened. The killers were all masked. Musketeers had tried to find them, but those mysterious peoples seemed to attack only lone musketeer with a girl. Some female musketeer tried to dressed as simple girl, but the killers seemed to know every woman from the musketeer´s compagnie.
"That sounds like a kind of vendetta or something." said Louise. "Like they want to humiliate musketeer in front of a lady before killing him."
Silence felt. Thoughtful, everyone was wondering about the thing.
"How can I help you with that ?" asked Louise.
"It´s rather simple", said Alexandra, "as you´re quite new in the city, only few peoples know you, and except us I guess nobody knows your skills with a blade. So, you would be a perfect help. You'll have to show yourself in the street in company of a musketeer, and when those killers would eventually attack, you´ll be there to help."
Before François could voice his opinion, Louise had already understood what the problem was.
"I guess it means I´ll be acting without my blade and need that the musketeer kills quickly one of those masked bastards to take his rapier and use it."
"That´s the problem", answered Alexandra.
Louise pretended to think about it for a minute, but in fact her opinion was already made. It's exactly what I've been waiting for.
"If you give me a partner skilled enough to surprise and kill one of them quickly, then we´ll be two versus four or five opponents, which seems a fight perfectly winnable."
There was a noise of disappointment from François. No way I'm going to let you keep me out of this. And I don't need patronizing, I know what I can do. In silence, the three other musketeers seemed to reach an agreement. Now I just need to ask about that little problem.
"Wouldn’t it be a problem if people discover later that you were helped by a simple duellist ?"
When Tallandier met her in Dijon to recruit her, Louise wasn't told much about what was expected from her. Before the audition she just knew that someone has come from the capital looking for young and talented people, and she didn't know much more after. It wasn't until she arrived in Paris and had some more tests that she was finally explained the aim of her mission : infiltrate the musketeers. The recruiting of that Compagnie wasn't easy. It usually took time and some really good recommendation to be accepted in it. The whole process generally lasted more than a year. But for some reason, it seemed the Cardinal needed someone inside whithin a few weeks, a couple of months at the most. So, Louise was to cut corners to get inside the Compagnie. And at last, she'd found a way to do so.
To solve the problem of honour the Compagnie would have faced with getting help of a 'simple' duellist, Louise had taken an oath, secretly, as an auxiliary. If that meant that she wasn't yet a 'real' musketeer, and she wouldn't be before a long time, at least she was part of the Compagnie. That'll be enough to please Tallandier. For the common people, auxiliaries were kind of second rate members, only the musketeers really counted. They got the whole prestige. But I hope that mission will last long enough to let me become musketeer.
Thus, two days ago in a back room of Le fleur de chardon, an officer of the Compagnie des mousquetaires met Louise and made her swear on her honour to protect and to serve faithfully the king. Despite the lack of pomp and circumstances, the officer made it feel intimidating. It's good to get the honour and attention you deserve. Her membership of the Compagnie would be revealed after the resolution of the affair.
The day after, the duellist began her mission, which consisted of walking through the city at the arm of a musketeer. This evening it was Arnaud who acted as the bait, wearing his dark brown leather uniform, trying to attract as much attention as he can. Tightly fitted in a black latex maid outfit, Louise tried to look totally innocent, holding the musketeer's left arm with both hands, giggling and kissing his cheek every five minutes. If we don't find those killers tonight, I know a musketeer who's going to spend a good night with a maid.
Shortly after they engaged into a small alley, six silhouettes in black leather catsuit appeared at the other end of the street. Their faces hidden by mask, three men and three women were closing to the two 'lovers'. Here we go.
"It seems you look lost, monsieur le mousquetaire", said one of the guys.
"But we can show you the exit. A definitely one", add one of the girls.
Acting as an afraid chick, Louise tried to hide against a wall, saying "please, don’t hurt me". Arnaud unsheathed his blade and tried to look confident, the kind that want to impress his babe with lines like "don’t worry honey, I´ll kill one and the others will flee". The killers started to laugh at this, then they all unsheathed their rapier and attacked the musketeer. Arnaud just had enough place to bend knee and to roll on the side, dodging the blades, then he pushed his rapier into the side of one of the killers. The guy moaned, putting his free hand to the wound. Right into the liver, you'll be dead by the minute. Arnaud stepped backward, as he tried to deflect his many opponents´ attacks, attracting them away from Louise.
As soon as the fight was a few meters away, the swordsgirl stopped sobbing and took the fallen killer´s rapier. Not perfectly balanced, but it'll have to do. Quickly, she stepped behind the killers and without hesitation she lunged, running one of the girls thru heart. She heard the killer cry as the tip of the blade came off of her chest. That's already two down, four to go. Louise didn’t lose time to remove her rapier from the dying girl and was ready to face the two killers that turned to fight her. Now it was two against four, one male and one female opponent for each. Not enough to be a match for me.
"Stupid bitch, we would have spared you", said the girl fighting Louise, "but now we´ll kill you, and I´ll laugh when I´ll see the sorrow and the pain on your face as you die."
The blonde duellist attacked so fast that her opponents had to step back. "Don’t talk about something you can’t do", she answered.
At the same time, she dodged the guy´s blade, deflected the one from the girl and finally lunged. Hit in the throat, the female killer dropped her blade to put both hands to her neck. Good luck with that, girl, I've punctured your windpipe and your carotid. The duellist was now against a simple opponent. A quick look at Arnaud showed that he just wounded one of his opponent badly enough to put him out of the fight. Feeling playful with her opponent, Louise let him try an attack, that she dodged, then a second one, that she parried. At the third one, she deflected his blade then touched him lightly at his thigh.
"You should try better than this to survive, boy."
His eyes full with anger, the guy tried and attacked again. Louise used the same sequence before she touched her opponent´s face, cutting through his mask and giving him a small scar on the side.
"With that, you could have more success with girls."
Totally enraged, the swordsman slash furiously at his opponent. It almost touched Louise, only reflex formed by long practice saved her throat to be cut. The wide movement of her opponent left a great opening in his guard. With a smile on her face, Louise lunged forward perfectly, her blade pierced the leather catsuit of the guy, hit his chest and ran him thru heart.
"Unfortunately, you'll never impress any lady, stupid boy."
Behind the mask, the eyes of the swordsman slowly lowered, to look at the blade piercing through his chest. You're not the first one I surprise that way. Louise twisted her blade, that made the guy cry of pain, dropping his blade to catch his wound with both hand. The swordsgirl removed her rapier and looked her opponent fell on his knee. He tried to raise his eyes to look at her, but they seemed to see nothing. Your last spark of life fades away. The guy eventually fell, face against the ground. The duellist turned to look how Arnaud was dealing with his last opponent.
The female killer seemed pretty skilled, she moved swiftly, dodged Arnaud's thrusts with easiness and tried interesting attack. Too bad I'm not her opponent, that would be a pleasant duel. The musketeer seemed to notice that Louise was done with her opponents. He suddenly accelerated and with some elegance, he succeeded into disarming theswordswoman. It seems you know how to hide some of your abilities to your opponents. The killer stepped back against a wall, the tip of Arnaud´s blade touching the leather of her catsuit, just under her left breast.
"I guess you´d like to know why we did that", said the killer, confidence in her eyes. Ah, you know that you can sell something to save yourself, clever girl.
"It´ll be interesting", answered the musketeer with the hint of a smile, "but I´m more interested in something else."
And he lunged, finishing the swordswoman. Perhaps not that clever, if your opponent is a merciless bastard. Arnaud quickly removed his blade and his cold eyes seemed to regain some warmth as he turned towards Louise. Already forgotten by the musketeer and the duellist, the killer was slowly falling against the wall, both hands on her heart. The swordsman saluted Louise with his blade then sheathed it. Louise did the same.
"Weren't you supposed to try to gain some information about those peoples ?" asked a slightly puzzled Louise.
"The final aim was to eliminate the threat. I don't think there was more than those six killers, so no real need to know more. Besides..." While he fell silent, the musketeer looked as if he was about to add something. Oh, you couldn't resist to finish her. I would have done the same. Louise closed to him.
"Then we´re done with this mission, but perhaps can we still end the night as if our rendez-vous was still going on." She kissed him. While Arnaud answered with sudden passion, Louise slipped a hand into his leather pants. "I don't like to let thing unfinished."